Thursday, January 31, 2013

Is this really happening?

Two days ago, I recieved an email from a woman who works at the Alzheimer's Association, wanting to use the video that we made for The Longest Day in some promotional material for the 2013 event.  

A few minutes later, I recieved this cryptic email: 
"I just had a crazy and fun request for our meeting in Dallas next week that involves you! Do you have a minute to talk today?"
Err.. ok. 
I called.  She pitched me her idea.  I pooped myself.
Rachel and I are being flown to Dallas next week to speak at a schmancy dinner during the annual Alzheimer's Association Leadership Summit about our experience during The Longest Day.  In front of 750 people. 
If you'll kindly click to my "Fear Can Suck It" list, you might notice #11.  My tremendous fear of public speaking.  If I make it through our speech and don't die, I'm crossing that MF'er off.
Not to get overly sentimental here, but I'm just struck by what this little crazy idea has snowballed into.  When we first decided to run 16 hours on a track, we did it because, hey, it'd be a funny story right?  No, we're not trained for an ultra, yes, we'll be going round and round on a track all day, and hey, it's going to be 100 degrees.  Funny.
Then when the day came, it was just incredible.  Some of the feelings I had that day were truly indescribable, but they're feelings I'll remember forever.  As people joined us on the track, we were exhausted, but exhilarated, and thoroughly humbled by the support and the sacrifice that our friends, family, and total strangers showed us. 
And then as the day wore on and we thought about the victims of Alzheimer's, and the people that are suddenly forced to care for their parent, for their husband or wife, a person who is slowly and cruelly losing their mind... it was one of those rare moments in life where we truly felt part of something bigger than ourselves.
To all of our blogger buddies who entered our raffle last year, thank you.  Because of you, a ton of money was raised for the Alzheimer's Association.  Because of you, I'm going to be shaking and sweating my ass off on a stage next week trying not to vomit.
I'll leave you with another video, this one a little outtake from the day.  Because I know you've had enough of my inspirational drivel, here is a little peek into how we felt after running 35+ miles, and realizing our final lap would put us a minute or two longer than 16 hours. 
We have big plans for 2013... stay tuned. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Quinoa Spinach Delight

I usually don't post recipes on here, but once in awhile I make up something so delicious I feel it would be bad karma to not share with all of you fine folks.


Quinoa Spinach Delight

I firmly believe every recipe title should end in "Delight".  Or "Surprise".

OK, so I'm not much of a measuring type, but rest assured this is an extremely forgiving recipe, and it just isn't a huge deal how much of each thing you put in.

Start with some quinoa and a broth of your choosing:

Sometimes I make my own broth, sometimes I stock up with what's on sale.  It's great with chicken or veggie (and then you've got yourself a vegan recipe if you're into that sort of thing.)
The next step is the most important:  Rinse the shit outta that quinoa.  Measure it out, and then put it in a fine mesh strainer and rinse until all of the bubbles are gone.  The Incas used that soapy residue that you're rinsing off to launder their clothes, and you can bet you do not want that flavor in your dish.
So for this recipe, I'll use 1 cup of quinoa.  Rinse it.  Put it in a pot.
Add in 2 cups broth.  That's the key with quinoa - use twice as much liquid as quinoa, plus a little extra if you forget you have the burner on high while you're wrestling markers out of a toddler's hand and need to put some moisture back in.  Not that that has ever happened to me.
Turn the burner on, and add some salt and red pepper flakes.  I don't measure this, but it's a small pinch of salt and a larger pinch of pepper flakes.
Then add some minced garlic.  I buy the roasted stuff in the jars because it's handy and I hate peeling garlic cloves.  How much?
Uhhh, this much.
 It's probably about a teaspoon, or two cloves minced.  Seriously though, it DOES NOT MATTER.  Just get some garlic in there.
Now cook on medium high heat for awhile, until the liquid starts soaking into the quinoa.  Stir occasionally if you're that dedicated (I am not.)
When it's cooked down a bit (probably 10 minutes) throw in a bunch, bunches, handfuls of spinach.  I used three huge handfuls in this pot and I could have gone with more. 

I also threw in a handful (1/3 C?) chopped Vidalia onions

Stir it around a bit, and add a bit more broth if it's looking like it needs it.

Here's how to tell when the quinoa is done:

See how the little grains are getting translucent and you can see some of the lines around the outside that makes them look like seashells?  It means you're getting close.

Close, but no cigar.

Now see how the germ is separating from the grain?  If you see little Cs and Os everywhere, you're good to go. 

Mmm.  Germ.
When it's ready to serve, I squeeze a little lemon juice  on it and try to not drool everywhere.

Today, I served it up to my professional food critic:

I do not like eating under scrutiny, Mother. 
Mmm.. is that a hint of lemon?
Get in my belllyy..
Must. Use. Hands. 

 So, there you have it.   Company-worthy delicious, packed full of nutritional goodness, and a great side dish or main course.  Plus it's pretty to look at, good hot or cold, and keeps well in the fridge.  It might be the perfect recipe for our household.

Here's the ingredient list for reference:

  • 1 C quinoa
  • 2 C broth
  • pinch salt
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • small handful chopped onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • approx 4 C spinach
  • squeeze lemon juice

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A look back.

I'm not much of a New Year's resolution kind of person.  The first of January doesn't hold an allure for me that I think it does for a lot of other people; the chance to start shiny and fresh.  I tend to think of my goals as either ongoing or completed, not on a 365 day cycle.  Plus, nothing like a lofty fantastically failed resolution to make you feel like crap halfway through January.  If anything, December 31st is more meaningful for me: a time to reflect on the highlights of the year.

2012 will go down in the books as a pretty productive, happy year.

The Top 10 from 2012
(in no particular order)

1.  I had some sweet PRs:

5k - I finally conquered my five year old PR of 23:17 with a 22:42 at a tiny, picturesque race in Upper Michigan with my buddies.  I felt truly fast for the first time, and I loved it.


13.1  - Perhaps the race with the most emotional significance for me - it was my first long distance PR since my femoral stress-fracture, and I felt so accomplished and relieved.  And vaguely Mexican.

Old PR - 1:59:28.  New PR - 1:55:30

I also PR'd in the 15k and 5 mile.

2.  I ran my first marathon.  It was fun.  And hard.  And I had the best supporters a girl could ask for.

3.  I ran a 16 hour track relay to raise money for Alzheimer's research on the hottest, and longest day of the year.  Indescribably cool, and I became an ultra-marathoner. 

4.  My kids went from being silly little almost-two year olds to silly little almost-three year olds.  I have loved every single stage they've been through, and I swear, they just keep getting cooler and cooler.  I get kisses and hugs and eskimo kisses all day long.

5.  I got my personal trainer certification, started my own business, and helped some women realize their inner strength and accomplish amazing goals:  weight loss, a Tough Mudder, PRs, and renewed self-confidence. 

It's been a learning experience and a little frustrating, but I'm glad I did it.

6.  I ran Ragnar Chicago and expanded my core group of runner buddies exponentially, and I couldn't be more grateful.  What a sweet, funny, and determined group of women.

Cover Photo

7.  I celebrated my four year anniversary with my husband.  He's just simply a great guy, and I married up for sure.  He's super hot too.  And a great dad.  Yesss... I am so lucky.

8. I got to be part of a real ultramarathon as I spectated and paced for Rachel and Julia, respectively.  I didn't think it was going to be as cool as it was, and it turned out to be one of those days where time just sort of stands still and you just really appreciate where everyone is at each point in this crazy cool journey.

9.  I went on a trip to Vegas with my husband in Februrary, and was lucky enough to see The Beatles Love Ciruq du Soleil show, and make lots of poop jokes about the bus on the Strip.


10.  I organized and ran my first donor drive for DKMS.  It was awesome - I really felt part of the community and it was so exciting every single time someone got added to the bone marrow registry.  It's something I'll definitely do again.

My wonderful volunteers.

I will swab the shit out of you

So that's that.

What's your biggest accomplishment from 2012?

Are you a resolution maker?  What is yours?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...