Thursday, April 12, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. Miles

Monday - 8 plus-ish miles in 1:10-ish. I didn't really set my stopwatch or pay attention to the clock. My husband got home and I was out the door!
Tuesday - Spin
Wednesday - Full house cleaning + work (day off from running).
Thursday - 6, easy flat w/ the daughter in the jogger + abs & upper body at home.
Friday - Spin + lower body
Sat - off (work)
Sunday - ??? I want to look into getting my old Jamis Coda tuned up. It's a great hybrid bike that can handle a little off-roading (like packed gravel) and I'd like to finally get some SPD pedals so I can take it out on a longer ride. If I can get my bike in working shape I might actually get on a real bike. Outside. Craziness!

2. Munchies

Recipe of the Week: Chicken + Asparagus Penne w/ Roasted Tomato, Pancetta & Pesto

I'd say this recipe serves 4 grown-ups in one sitting. My husband, daughter and myself had it for dinner 2 nights in a row with all that I made. I also use thigh meat for this recipe but you can certainly use breast meat instead. Here's the reason why I prefer the cheaper, tastier dark meat:
"Too often, runners believe that the juicy meat found in chicken thighs, wings, and legs is off-limits. That's a myth. After all, a 3.5-ounce breast has 161 calories, while an equivalent portion of dark meat runs only 200 calories. Yes, dark meat has more fat (11 grams versus four grams in white), but fewer than four grams are saturated fat. Compared to bland breasts, flavor-packed dark meat is also higher in zinc and iron. Bottom line: If you love the taste, dark meat is a healthy way to add variety to your diet, says New Orleans-based sports dietitian Molly Kimball, R.D.
It's the skin that contains most of the unhealthy saturated fat. So buy boneless or skinless pieces or cook with the skin on and remove it before eating." ("Meaty Issues" Runner's World)

  1. Ahead of time, take a couple cups' worth of grape tomatoes and toss with 1 tbsp olive oil, and salt & pepper to taste. Take a whole bulb of garlic and slice through the middle horizontally (don't peel). Dizzle olive oil over exposed cloves and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Place tomatoes and garlic on a baking sheet or pan (I line it with aluminum foil for easy clean-up) and roast at 350 for 45 minutes.
  2.  Render 4oz. chopped pancetta in a skillet over low-to-medium heat. Once golden and crispy, drain off excess fat, leaving a little in the pan with the pancetta. Add 1-2 lbs. chicken. Cook thighs about 5-7 minutes each side, breasts will take longer. Once both sides are cooked, to ensure the chicken is done throughout without drying it, add 1/2c. stock or pasta water (read step 4) to the skillet and cover. Reduce heat to low and allow to cook an additional 5 minutes or so. Turn off the heat and allow to rest with the lid over the chicken until it's time to serve. I chop my chicken up and mix it with everything but you can lay it over top if you're serving to people who don't still need their food cut up for them.
  3. At the same time, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add a generous amount of salt to the water (it's your only chance to season the pasta). I went ahead and made a whole bag (1 lb.) of penne pasta but you of course can make less. If you prefer "regular" pasta to whole grain alternatives, I recommend using authentic Italian-style pasta made with semolina. When I'm being good, my preferred pasta is Barilla Plus.
  4. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, chop 1 lg. bunch of asparagus into 1"-2" long pieces. Add to boiling water during last 2 minutes of the pasta's cooking time. Before draining, ladle out several spoonfuls of the pasta water and set aside. Drain pasta and asparagus in a colander then return to pot (heat off) with 1-2 tbsp olive oil or enough to coat.
  5. In a food processor, combine about 2 big handfuls of basil (this is a completely accurate measurement), a small handful of pine nuts, a big handful of your cheese of choice - I used and asiago and parm mix - and several cloves of your roasted garlic. Drizzle in a few tbsp's olive oil to bring it all together and blend until well mixed. I totally eye-balled this recipe but I'm sure you can google a more exact recipe if you want. Basically, I want you to know that homemade pesto is VERY easy and WAY tastier than the jarred stuff. Using the roasted garlic instead of raw makes it a little sweeter and gives you less offensive breath later, too.
  6. OK, everything's cooked now, right? If you have a big enough pot, mix everything together in there. If not, well... you should add a really large pot to your kitchen arsenal. When you add the pesto to the pot, add back in some of the pasta water you set aside. This will help the pesto coat and give everything a nice, light, saucy sheen (that's right, saucy *wink*
Once you get the hang of preparing a few things simultaneously, this recipe comes together very quickly.

3. Motivation

I'm on Pinterest (go follow me!) but I tend to forget about it for a few weeks, log on and repin 3-4 things, then forget about it again for another few weeks. Well, lately I've been trying to use it more regularly as a source for little bits of motivation and inspiration to share. I just went over and saw this, which made me chuckle:

And I REALLY like this:

What new outdoor activity would you try this year if given the chance? It may be surprising that I don't bike outside much, so I really want to get out for legitimate long rides this year.

Any good words of wisdom or mantras you use to get moving?

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