Monday, September 24, 2012

Baby We Were Born to Run

If somebody told 18-year-old me that one day I'd enjoy running in races I'd laugh. I'd laugh hard... right in their face. My dad has always been a runner (he's even completed the NYC full marathon), but I never really understood the appeal... Until recently.

I've tried lots of ways of working out - Spin classes, pilates, gym memberships, boot camps - you name it and I've probably attempted it. After all that effort (and mucho dinero) I've finally found something that I actually love: running outside. And the best part? IT'S FREE! Well, sort of.

My favorite part about running happens to be the races that I've signed up for. They're the secret to make me actually WANT to work out. In high school, you practiced hard in sports because you wanted to be good enough to start in the games. I needed a kick in the butt... a reason to want to workout. These 'races' have become my 'games.' I enjoy running in races so much that they force me to get off the couch after a long day of work and run 5 miles at 8pm.

Now running isn't for everyone, but if you've ever even kinda sorta contemplated attempting a race you should go for it. Whether it's a 5K or a full marathon, there's always training programs available online to help get you in shape at any level. Plus, what's the worst that can happen? You walk a bit, so what! Let's be serious, not everyone (including myself) runs to compete.

The training program I've been using is by famous American writer and runner, Hal Higdon. I've used two of his half marathon programs (Novice 1 and Novice 2) and they're extremely doable and helpful. Mr. Higdon also has a great 'beginners running guide' for those who are just starting out. The man definitely knows what he's talking about.

Here's the Novice 1 program courtesy of
So, if you've signed up for a race, here are a few things to keep in mind when you're running on race day:

  1. When you see a hill, don't think too much about it. Remember, everything that goes up must come down!
  2. Figure out how you're going to deal with water stations beforehand... believe it or not, it's pretty difficult to try and run while holding a cup. I've learned that, personally, I waste less time if I stop quickly and drink, instead of running and drinking... then spilling all over myself like a fool daddy. 
  3. Keep telling yourself 'I think I can, I think I can.' The feeling of accomplishment that hits you once you cross the finish line totally makes up for that numbness in your legs ;) 
Next up for me is the Philly Half Marathon. Need to keep moving to get in shape for next June (257 days to go!)... 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Dinner that Pleases Carnivores and Vegetarians Alike

Since I'm not too keen on eating meat and, well, since Anthony most certainly is, I'm always trying to find recipes that can double as both a vegetarian and a carnivore option. For example, I love making eggplant and chicken Parmesan because they involve the same ingredients, just separate pots and pans.

Here's a great recipe that I found for fish piccata that also works wonderfully with chicken. I used tilapia since it's one of the less fishy fishes, but sole could work as well. Happy cooking!

image courtesy of


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 small white fish fillets (such as tilapia or sole), about 1 pound total
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. While the pan is heating, blot the fish dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Dredge in the flour, shaking off any excess. Saute the fish in the oil until just cooked through, about 4 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove the fish to a platter. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, whisking for about 1 minute. Add the lemon juice and capers and stir. Add the butter and stir or whisk to incorporate to bring the sauce together. Pour onto the fish andgarnish with the chopped parsley.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Tasty Sandwich for the Vegetarians Out There

The sandwich I'm about to show is based off a yummy item from Pret A Manger in NYC... I get it so often that I figured it'd just be cheaper to make it myself! Pret uses their own chipotle sauce for the top, so I decided to sub in Stonewall Kitchen's Smoky Barbecue Aioli (Stonewall Kitchen has some excellent items, all of which can be ordered online and found it most grocery stores). The aioli is amazing... I could eat it with a spoon!

Excuse my little piggy timer in the background

Pepper Jack, Red Pepper, Red Onion & Cilantro Sandwich with Stonewall Kitchen's Smoky BBQ Aioli 

  • 1 loaf of fresh Italian Bread, divided into 4, then cut in half for the sandwich
  • 8 slices of pepper jack cheese
  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced into strips 
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced into strips 
  • 1/2 cup of cilantro leaves 
  • 1 jar of Stonewall Kitchen's Smoky Barbecue Aioli


Divide up the ingredients and layer them on your sandwich... Pepper jack on the bottom, followed by the red bell peppers, red onion, and cilantro. Spread a bit of aioli on top (to taste), assemble, and enjoy! 


Friday, September 14, 2012

A Little Warmth for Those Cold Fall Nights

In this post I'd like to share a great recipe I stumbled upon this week from one of my favorite blogs, The author has a great way of taking recipes - such as this soup below - and making simple substitutions that help cut out unnecessary calories. I highly recommend following her on Pinterest... Although the posts will definitely make you hungry!

This recipe for stracciatella is especially delicious... plus it only took 20 minutes to make! Served with a side salad or grilled cheese, it's a perfect, quick dinner for a cozy fall night.

Fun fact: stracciatella is loosely translated in Italian to mean 'little rags.' When you make the soup, the egg mixture combines to look like little shredded rags :)

Spinach Stracciatella Soup with Orzo

Spinach Stracciatella Soup with Orzo
Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 6 • Serving Size1 cup  Calories: 126 • Old Points: 3  Points+: 3
Calories: 113.4 • Fat: 4.4 g • Carb: 9.4 g • Fiber: 0.5 g  • Protein: 7.9 g

  • 6 cups fat free chicken broth
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 9 oz baby spinach
  • 4 oz uncooked orzo
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring 5 cups chicken broth to a boil. In a medium bowl, combine remaining cup of cold chicken broth with eggs, cheese and parsley and whisk well. Whisk into boiling pot and cook 3-4 minutes on low. Add orzo and cook according to package directions. When pasta is done, add the baby spinach and mix until it welts. Remove from heat,add salt (if needed) and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with additional grated cheese.

(recipe and photo courtesy of 

Friday, September 7, 2012


Last fall I did a post on my favorite pumpkin beer... This fall, I figured - rather than limiting myself to just one pumpkin item (which is very hard for me to do) - that I'd post ten of my favorite pumpkin-ey items for the season instead. Drumroll please...

10. 'It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown' (if you haven't seen this, you didn't have a childhood)

9. BJ's Wholesale Club's Pumpkin Muffins (available in the store only)

8. Molly Stone's glass pumpkins available at Compliment's Gallery in Kennebunkport, ME

7. Yankee Candle's Spiced Pumpkin Candle

6. Mumkins... Look how cute they are!

5. Pumpkin Snickerdoodles (amazing. you MUST try these)

4. Shipyard's Pumpkin Ale 

3. Starbuck's Pumpkin Spice Latte (rumor has it Starbucks is creating a pumpkin spice ice cream!) 

2. The recipe for pumpkin pie on the back of Libby's Pumpkin Puree

1. Pumpkin picking... obviously! (click here for some recommended farms in New York)

I could go on and on, but I'll stop at 10. Hopefully you get to enjoy a couple (or ten) of these items this season!

"Dear Great Pumpkin, I am looking forward to your arrival on 
Halloween night. I hope you will bring me lots of presents." 

- Linus, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day!

Anthony and I took a trip to Kennebunkport, Maine this Labor Day weekend. Although I've spent many a summer in KPT growing up, I never really took to the idea of seafood until recently. Now, for someone who has spent 10+ summers in Maine with tons of famous lobster joints, as well as four years in Baltimore (which is obviously well known for its crab), I'm a little angry at myself for not figuring out that I like seafood a little earlier. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

One of our many food stops in Maine this weekend was the Cape Pier Chowder House. Not only did I have my first full lobster (mom was there to help instruct), but we also got to take in the beautiful views and a yummy local Shipyard Export Ale.

On our way home today, we made a pit stop at an EXCELLENT burger place in Manchester, CT, called Corey's Catsup & Mustard. As a vegetarian, I love when burger joints let you substitute a veggie burger into any menu item... It enables so many more options! I went with the Aunt Laurie's burger and Ant opted for the Potato Crunch burger. They were fabulously messy and absolutely delicious!

We found Corey's on my new favorite website... You can enter in your starting and ending destination and the site will map out every food spot in between that has been featured on Food Network shows. I highly recommend checking it out!

That's all for now. Stay tuned... I think I'm going to post a top ten for Kennebunkport in the coming days!

Enjoy the pictures :)

Anthony and me on the pier at Cape Pier Chowder House 

My mom - the expert lobster cracker - and me on the pier

RIP lobstahs

The beautiful view from the Chowder House

Corey's Catsup and Mustard!