Peace and Beauty after the Storm

Grammy,

When I left MA it was storming, but I knew you were in a better place, because then the sky suddenly lit up with color, making it peaceful. Thank you for showing me beauty, honesty, sweetness, strength, bravery, courage. You will forever have immortality, because you are a part of me and all of those who love you.

xoxo

love, Meg

 

Recipe: Chicken Soup

When I originally started this blog, I really wanted to focus on my daily work outs. I wanted this to be my work out log. I wanted to write product reviews and race reviews. Although, I will still be doing this, I must say, I am just way to interested in too many things to just focus on just that. And I travel to, too many beautiful places, it would be a shame not to post where I’ve been, especially considering that my favorite thing about running is how I can easily do it anywhere in the world.

However, I will try to somehow relate my other posts to running in someway. Lets start with my Chicken Soup recipe. I have always loved cooking, but before it was such an annoying hassle because of my old apartment’s pathetic kitchen. But in late May my boyfriend and I bought and moved into our very first home. One of the best things about our vintage 1950s duplex is the amazing updated kitchen.

My beautiful Kitchen, that I can’t stop cooking in. And I clean it everyday, so it sparkles!

This last weekend was cold. Well it is summer and if you live in the DC area you would know that the summers here are like living in a hot swamp. Last summer was a heat wave. There were days that reached 105 degrees, but because of the humidity, it felt like 115. This summer has not been as bad, but there still has been some record breaking days. So when last friday rolled around and it only reached 86 degrees, it was pleasantly cooler. It also rained a bunch, which made me happy – I love summer storms. So with the cooler, breezy, rainy weekend, I decided to make Chicken Soup.

This Chicken Soup recipe that I am going to tell you about is actually from one of Rachel Ray’s cookbooks. But I have made it so many times that I know it by heart. It is loved by my family and friends, and is my “go to” meal. I love this soup for so many reasons.

The first reason why I love this soup is because it is NOT your traditional Chicken Soup. It’s secret is the combo of sweet potatoes and chipotle in adobo sauce. I would have never thought to put these two ingredients together, but boy is this mixture of sweet and smokey hot, tasty. ¬†I also love this soup because it is simple and quick to make, but also hearty, healthy, full of flavor, and extremely satisfying. ¬†Here’s what you do.

Ingredients List:

celery, carrots, onions, sweet potatoes, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper, chipotle in adobo, chicken stock, chicken, white wine, extra virgin olive oil, cilantro, bread, sour cream.

Directions:

1)Use a big soup pot and fill the bottom with about 2 table spoons of extra virgin olive oil. Place over medium heat.

Soup pot, with evoo, on medium heat.

2) Cut 1 large onion. Add to pot. If onions start to brown or burn add a cup of water and lower heat.

3) Cut carrots as many as you like. I usually use half a bag of the small baby carrots.

3) Add celery as many as you like. 

4) Add sweet potatoes. I usually add 2 large sweet potatoes.

5) Add chipotle in adobo sauce. This can be tricky. You have to determine how much smoky hot you want. Always remember that the spice is in the seeds of the peppers. I usually use 1 large pepper chopped. But if one is too spicy, then remove the seeds from the inside of the pepper. 

6) Add garlic chopped, dried thyme, dried bay leaf.

7) Add a cup of white wine. Let it boil for one minute, reduce for 5 minutes.

8) Add Chicken Stock

9) Add chicken.

10) Bring chicken stock to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Make sure chicken is cooked well done, and veggies are soft.

11) Serve hot. Top it off with a spoon full of sour cream and cilantro. Dip crusty bread in it for additional flavor.

cilantro!

Eat, Enjoy, Yummo!

So there you have it! My favorite soup!

Running or Flying…Was it the Watermelon or just me?

This week I had some really amazing runs. Lets talk about today’s…

This morning I hit the Mount Vernon Trail. On average I run this trail a couple times a week, so I guess you can say I am a regular on it, or lets put it this way, normally if I am on a trail, I am on this one.  The Mount Vernon Trail is my favorite because it runs along the Potomac so it has beautiful views of DC. It is also refreshing to run by the river. Another great thing about the trail is that it is surrounded by trees, so it has some shady areas, which is nice on hot summer days.

It totally relaxes me when I am surrounded by nature, and even though, the trail is a paved path, I sometimes feel like I am on a trail run, through the woods. ¬†When running on this trail keep your eyes open WIDE, ¬†you don’t want to miss the Wild Life.

The Mount Vernon Trail has many different entrances, and each entrance has a different vibe. Today I drove to the entrance south of Old Town. I parked at the Bell View parking lot and ran 2.60 miles south and then headed back.

Running 2.60 miles south is a mix of up hills and downs. It is mainly shady on the trail. In a couple places you have to run over wooden plank bridges that carry you over some swampy marshy areas. It ends in a residential area, with some gorgeous houses.

Today, my run was amazing. I ran a total of 5.11 miles in 41 minutes. That is super fast for me. I don’t know if my speed is because I have been running in my Newton running shoes since the end of April, and I am just getting faster. ¬†Or maybe it is because it has been 100 degrees the last couple weeks and today was a refreshing cool 79 degrees. Or maybe it was the Watermelon I ate for breakfast. Whatever, it may be, it felt cool, breezy, and I was running, but it felt like I was flying.

During this run I figured some things out…

If I am going to run some serious distance like 10 plus miles, I usually eat a bagel with peanut butter, because it is a good source of calories, fat, protein, and carbs.

But today my pre run meal was Watermelon. And this was a  fabulous choice. I recently saw on Dr. Oz that watermelon is a super food. Why?

  • Because it cleans your arteries. Dr. Oz says swap your morning glass of water with watermelon juice, because it reduces body fat, lowers LDL cholesterol, cleaning heart -threatening plaque from arteries. I juice mine fresh with my Breville Juicer.
  • It drops blood pressure and boosts circulation. It is one of the few foods that has a powerhouse protein called citrulline. Citrulline produces powerful stuff called nitric oxide, that opens and relaxes arteries. It helps heal wounds and divide cells. It helps with blood flow enhancing circulation to all your vital parts. (just like Viagra does)
  • Watermelon is loaded with lycopene, which fends off heart disease and cancers (other than prostate.) Tomatoes are considered lycopene superstars, but watermelon has 40% more.
  • It makes you think faster.
  • It is low cal.
  • Another great tip: Always keep your whole watermelons out of the fridge. Watermelon stored at room temperature delivers more cell-protecting antioxidants. They continue to ripen and build antioxidants even after they are picked.
  • It is also made up of mostly water. So before my run I was pretty well hydrated. I literally had to pee 2 x before I hit the trail. I also sprinkled a little salt on my watermelon chunks before I ate them. I just like the taste, a little salt won’t hurt an athlete, its actually¬†good for electrolyte balance.

Picking a Watermelon: A common question I have always asked is, How do you know which watermelon to pick? Well this is what I have discovered. When picking out a watermelon, always look for one that has a flat yellow side. This side is where the watermelon was sitting on the ground, and if your watermelon does not have this, then it was picked too early.

My boyfriend’s grandma once said, “The way to find out if your watermelon is sweet is to look for bug bite marks.” Every time I look for bug bite marks on my watermelon, it ends up being really sweet. I promise.

This morning I ate watermelon cut up in cubes with a little bit of sea salt sprinkled on top. Right now as I type this I am sipping on some fresh watermelon juice that I just juiced with my Breville juicer. I added a hint of mint fresh from my garden. Add cucumber for additional flavor.

Watermelon the Superfood! Great for pre run meal.

The Breville Juicer is amazing. Buy it and then try juicing watermelon.

Crush ice, pour juice, top it off with fresh mint.

Enough about watermelon… more about what I learned on my run…

While running I really got into my music. Music for me is a tool I use to enhance my running. Sometimes when I run I use my music as background sound, and when I am done I realize I am barely listening. Today I listened hard and found a rhythm.  Sometimes it is really nice to get lost in a run, in your breath, in your music.

I also became one with my hills. That may not make since to you, but I’ll try to explain.¬†Hills bring me variety, a total flat course makes me bored. Just as I use music as a tool, I use hills as a tool as well. I take them one at a time. Sometimes it hurts running up, but it feels amazing running down. Sometimes I feel slow running up, but boy can I fly running down. After a down hill I try to use that momentum on the next up hill.¬†Some hate hills. I actually quite enjoy them. Some think a flat course is a fast course. I think the opposite.

I know I was a little all over the place in this post, but I had a lot on my mind. I hope you learned a little bit about watermelon, and juicing with the Breville juicer. I look forward to sharing more juicing tips and recipes.

I also hope I motivated you to run a little further, a little faster, a little harder. Today I ran an amazing 5.11 mile run in 41 minutes in my Newtons. This isn’t far for me by any means but it was super fast. It was cold today, 79 degrees, but should be even colder tomorrow. So take my advice: Get out there. Don’t hold back. And just run… run as fast as you can.

©2012

Craters of the Moon

CRATERS OF THE MOON

On our way back to Boise from Idaho Falls, my boyfriend and I contemplated whether we should stop in Sun Valley or hit up Craters of the Moon.  This visit was suppose to be a quick stop, but this National Park was so impressive, we ended up spending four hours there.

Craters of the Moon is a National Park located in Idaho. It is known as Craters of the Moon because the old volcano lava that makes up the park resembles Craters of the Moon. It is also very popular because Hollywood uses the space to film any type of planet or moon scene.

We spent our time hiking through the park. When hiking I felt like I was hiking through a desert. It got really warm and there were not many trees to provide shade. The lava rocks were gray and black so the sun really heat them up.

We also explored two of the caves. I was nervous at first to go caving because we had to get a permit and sign a release form. I didn’t really want to see any bats, but we ended up only exploring the two caves that had natural light streaming through both sides, because the other caves required flashlights and we didn’t have that resource. It felt really refreshing inside the caves because they were significantly cooler. The caves also had that musty dripping water, which is just the way I pictured it.

Even though the park is made from lava rock, there is actually a ton of Wild Life that lives among the rocks. We saw this little guy, not quite sure what you would call him, but boy was he quick.

Wild Life living among Craters of the Moon

Happy hiking through Craters of the Moon.

In the end, I was happy we went caving, and hiked through Craters of the Moon. I guess next time we will grab lunch in Sun Valley.

Winter Wonderland

This will be my last post about Yellowstone, I promise. I know it seems like I am obsessed, but maybe I am a little. Anyway, my boyfriend and I were browsing around one of the gift shops in the Old Faithful Inn, and we came across a series of photography books, one done on each of the seasons. While looking through them, I came to the conclusion that my favorite images were taken during the winter months.

My boyfriend and I later talked about possibly planning another trip out to the west. We are thinking of going to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, one of these winter seasons, to snowboard, and then take a day trip to Yellowstone, so we can experience the park in the winter.

Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of the books or the name of the photographer from the books that I saw in the gift shop. However, I did search online to show some examples of what the park looks like during the winter.

*none of the photos are mine. I found these at Nature Photography Adventures.

Bison covered in Snow

Wolf eating Ribs

Snow

Lonely Bison

Water

Old Faithful Geyser

 

 

©2012

I’LL TAKE A lil bit of this AND a lil bit of that…

BEACHES

I am a total beach bum. I love running barefoot on the beach, it is my favorite kind of run. I love swimming in the ocean, floating on my back, hearing the waves crash. I love boats. I love laying in the sand soaking up the sun. I love the warm tired feeling I get after a long day at the beach. I love eating seafood, especially lobster, crab, and recently raw oysters.

on the beach in Barcelona

Boats in Barceloneta

Beach bum… in Barcelona

Nemo and Coral in Barcelona

Island of Kos, Greece

Island of Kos, Greece

Mermaid Statue on the Island of Syros, Greece. In Honor of those lost at sea.

Boats in Bodrum, Turkey

Storms in Myrtle Beach, SC USA

good morning Myrtle Beach, SC USA

sun, waves, sand

sisters, sun-dresses, beach, Myrtle, SC USA

rainbow

A day at Bethany Beach, DE USA

Beach Yoga, Bethany Beach, DE USA

Camel on the Beach. Bethany Beach, DE USA

Brazil

Best Friends in BrazilThe Christ Statue in Rio.

Santa Monica, California

Hermosa Beach, California

OBX 13.1

finishing up a run on the beach in the fall in OBX, NC