Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Italian Tomato Tart (April 2009 Cooking Light)

I made this last night for dinner and it was so yummy!! Stephen and I both liked it...I love breakfast foods for dinner but Stephen doesn't and this was a great meet-in-the-middle compromise. This would be delicious as a brunch or breakfast item as well. I think the key is to use a good quality cheese and prosciutto instead of the part skim mozzarella they suggest. I put my substitutions in red and you'll see that I prepped the tart ahead of time and all I had to do when I walked in the door was turn on the oven and put in the tart!! Easy-peasy!!

Italian Tomato Tart (April 2009 Cooking Light)

4 servings (serving size: 1 wedge)
1 (10-ounce) package frozen long-grain brown rice (such as Birds Eye Steamfresh)
I used a boil in bag brown rice.
2 tablespoons commercial pesto
I made my own pesto
1 tablespoon grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
Cooking spray

1/2 cup fat-free milk
1/2 cup egg substitute
1/4 teaspoon salt
I omitted.
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Dash of ground red pepper
1 large egg
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
I used a good quality smoked mozzarella chopped into thin slices.
1 ounce prosciutto, cut into thin strips (about 1/4 cup)
3 small plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. To prepare crust, cook the brown rice according to package directions. Combine cooked rice, pesto, Parmesan cheese, and 1 egg; firmly press mixture into the bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes. Remove dish from oven.
I created the crust and filled it with the egg/tomatoes/prosciutto/cheese then placed into the fridge. When I came home from work, all I had to do was turn the oven on and put in the tart.
3. Increase oven temperature to 400°.
4. To prepare filling, combine milk and next 5 ingredients (through 1 egg) in a bowl; stir with a whisk.
5. Sprinkle half of mozzarella and half of prosciutto into bottom of prepared crust. Top with half of tomato slices. Repeat procedure with remaining mozzarella, prosciutto, and tomatoes. Pour milk mixture over tomatoes; bake at 400° for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325° (do not remove tart from oven); bake an additional 35 minutes or until set. Cool 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with basil. Cut into wedges.

Nutritional Information (with the same ingredients Cooking Light suggests)
Calories: 279
Fat: 13.9g (sat 4.8g,mono 4.8g,poly 1.4g)
Protein: 18.5g
Carbohydrate: 19.3g
Fiber: 1.8g
Cholesterol: 127mg
Iron: 2mg
Sodium: 542mg
Calcium: 289mg

Monday, March 30, 2009

Walks and the first Long Run

Did I even have a weekend? It sure doesn’t feel like it.

Saturday morning I got up and went out for my planned long run (7 miles this week). When I first walked out the door, it was raining pretty hard. And as hardcore as I like to think I am, running my first long run of the season in a downpour was not going to happen. So I went back upstairs and checked the radar which showed the rain should be clearing off in about 30 minutes. I put together our menus for this week and the grocery list…by that time, the rain had cleared off a bit. It was still drizzly/rainy but not a downpour. And off I went. (My secret for running in drizzle/light rain is wearing a baseball cap…it keeps the moisture off your face.)

I used my hydration belt with 1 bottle of water and 1 bottle of Gatorade (each bottle is 10 oz.). Each bottle had about 2 oz left when I got home. I also took along a package of Luna Sport Moons but didn’t end up consuming them. Pre run snack was a Clif Z bar and a cereal bar. (Sorry…you guys probably don’t care all that much about my fueling pre and during run but I’m using the blog as a way to keep tabs on this stuff so I know what works for me.)

Other than running, we watched basketball (stupid University of Oklahoma lost!!! Woohoo!!! That makes me happy!!) and did our usual weekend errands. We went suit shopping for Stephen and found a few that he purchased.

I’ve started going out for walks during the day. I’m aiming for 2 15 minute walks for my morning and afternoon breaks and then a 30 minute walk for lunchtime (I eat at my desk while working). I’ve also been taking the stairs to my 5th floor office when I come back from my walks. I’m using these walks as a way to explore the area where my office is (it’s on the other side of DC compared to my old office building). Plus my eyes feel so much better when I take my walk breaks…staring at a computer all day really gives me a headache. It’s just a small way to try and sneak in a little extra activity!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sweaty Sleeper

So glad it’s Friday!! I haven’t worked a 5 day week in a long time (probably way back in September or October)! I’m not feeling too tired this morning but that’s because I slept in until 6 and didn’t do my workout this morning. I plan on getting a short one in after work. This was definitely one of those mornings where I needed the extra sleep versus getting in a workout first thing.

I’ve been sleeping weird this week and what I mean by that is I’m getting really sweaty in the night. I’ll be cold when I go to bed but then at some point I must get hot and I start sweating like crazy. And for some reason, I’m not kicking the covers off or anything. I just sleep until I turn over and my clothes, sheets, pillow, and hair are all sweaty. It feels gross turning over so I wake up. And then I get cold because I’m all wet. And it’s this cycle that goes on all night. It’s so weird…I don’t know if I’m running a low grade fever or if it’s hormonal or what’s going on but hopefully, it stops soon because I’m getting tired of washing the sheets, pillowcases, and my jammies every day.

Anyways, not too many plans for the weekend…I do have a 7 miler at some point and there are two festivals (kite and cherry blossom) going on downtown so depending on the weather we may check those out.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Confessions of a running addict

I never mentioned this but last Saturday I volunteered at the National Marathon. I worked one of the water stations. I had so much fun!!! Seriously, tons of fun!! The only thing that sucked was it was about 20 degrees outside and I had no gloves…my poor fingers were frozen when I was trying to fill cups with Powerade. But I still had loads of fun!

It was so awesome to give back to the running community, especially with all the races I have planned. I just had a blast cheering everyone on and getting to see all types of athletes…the lead marathoner who was amazing, the everyday people aiming for a new PR, and then people who were just having fun. I really can’t describe how much fun it was!! The timing was very serendipitous as well…I volunteered for the marathon on Saturday and then on Monday started my racing season training. I was all pumped about starting my training after seeing the marathon on Saturday.

We did run out of cups (when we still had about ½ of the runners to come through our station) so we just put out the water jugs and people drank directly from them. What else can you do? If they’re thirsty enough, they’ll drink out of the jug. But it did remind me when I’m doing my races to not depend on the water stations for water or Gatorade…sometimes they run out (which I learned first hand in December at the Las Vegas half). Plus if I have my own, I can avoid the bottlenecks near the water stations.

Total sidenote—I just noticed my desk is uneven. The top has a gradual downward slope from right to left. It’s not a huge slope but it is slightly uneven. And I kept thinking I was tilting my head funny…must be me trying to keep the computer screen even in my head.

I started reading a book, “The Perfect Mile,” that chronicles three runners trying to post a sub 4 minute mile in 1952. It is so interesting. I highly recommend it to any of you that like reading and running (granted, I’m only 70 pages in but it’s very inspirational).

Hmmm…do you think I like to run? I read books about running, volunteer at marathons, watch DVD documentaries on running (“Spirit of the Marathon” being my top recommendation), wake up crazy early to run, get excited when others talk about being excited about running (seriously, I read Lynn’s post about how she’s thinking of doing a half marathon and got so excited my heart started beating fast). Totally and hopelessly addicted.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Marathon Training has started!! Woohoo!!

Officially, my marathon training started yesterday but since Mondays are cross-training days, I did 60 minutes elliptical and 15 minutes weights. This morning was my first official training run for the 2009 racing season (well, my 2009 racing season). I was only supposed to do 3 miles but since 5 is my norm, I did 5. I plan on continuing with my usual 5 miles during my weekday runs even though that’s not following my training plan. I just don’t like doing runs shorter than 5 miles unless I’m feeling sick or doing speedwork…somehow I don’t feel like it’s worth it for me to get up so early to only run 3 miles. Weird, huh?

So basically, until I’m several months into the program, the only addition to my usual schedule will be the long weekend runs. This weekend starts with a 7 miler and the mileage increases as the weeks progress (obviously) but I’ve built in a few Saturdays/Sundays where I can choose to do a long run or I can give my body extra rest, depending on how I’m feeling. I also built in these long run off-weeks in case we take an out of town trip or the weather is crappy.

My 2009 Racing Season (first ever racing season!) looks like this:
April 26—GW Parkway 10 Miler
May 10—Pacers Running Festival Half Marathon
May 31—Annapolis Half Marathon
October 10—Baltimore Marathon (the big Kahuna!!!)

I might add some more races in there from June to October but since the heat/humidity is bad here during the summers, there aren’t that many races in this area during that time. I’ll see how I’m progressing on the marathon training…I may just focus on the full marathon after the Annapolis Half.

As far as my training plan, I pretty much made up my own. I used Hal Hidgon’s plan as a base and changed it for me. For instance, I wanted to add in the long run off weeks and add in other races in the middle of training for the full. So I essentially took his 18 week plan and made it a 28 week plan!! I modified some of the long runs to fit with the racing schedule above but kept the theme of every few weeks dropping my long run mileage. I’m excited for my first long run!! Now only if the weather would warm up a bit so it’s not 30 degrees when I’m running in the mornings.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hmmm...still a bad blogger

Well, so much for being a better blogger. I’m not going to make promises to you or myself I can’t keep…with this new job, I’m not sure how much time I’m going to have to devote to blog reading/commenting/posting. I’ve been good about not spending too much time at work on it and I’d like to keep it that way (for now at least). So please excuse me for the next few weeks if I’m not commenting or posting as much as I used to, I’m still getting adjusted to my job.

On the job front, things are going great!!! Everyone was so friendly my first day and my supervisor took me around and introduced me to every person in my branch. So even if I can’t remember specific names and faces…at least I have an idea of who I’ll be working with on a regular basis. My section or team is taking me out to lunch on Friday so we can get to know each other better.

Plus the work seems somewhat exciting (definitely more exciting than working at my old job). Not only has my direct supervisor (my section chief) been great about checking up on me and seeing if I have any questions but her supervisor (director of my branch) has also checked up on me several times. They are definitely more welcoming than my old job.

On to non-job stuff, I’ve still been getting up at 4:30 to workout. Previously, I would get up and go to the apartment gym and then later in the day run outside at lunch. With my new job, I obviously don’t want to be gone for a huge chunk of the day (for now at least) so I’ve had to combine my running/weights/ellipticalling all into my morning workout. And today, I got up at 4:30 and I ran 5 miles! I’m always scared of running in the dark but I turned my music down on my iPod and ran on the trails near our apartment which are very well lit. I saw bunnies on the trail!! They were so cute! Keep in mind that I live in a very residential, developed area but there were two bunnies sitting by the side of the trail looking like they were just watching the people go by.

I’ve been discouraged with my running lately. I think it was doing two workouts in one day…I’d be so tired by the time I did my run at lunch that I really had to push myself. This morning’s run was fantastic!! Next week I’ll start my half and full marathon training (post to come) so my exercise plan as of now is:
Monday, Friday: workout in gym (weights, elliptical)
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: run
Saturday or Sunday: long run

But this mornings run was so great. (This is really cheesy…) In the middle of my run, I thought of how great I felt and my brain thanked my body for getting out of bed and running. It was a really cheesy moment but I felt so glad to be back out there and even though I was tired this morning, I still went and I know I feel so much better because of it.

Anyways, that’s my update for now.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Bad Blogger

I've been a bad blogger lately...sporadic posting and not commenting. But I'm back to regular posting and commenting. Last week was just crazy with leaving my old job. Here's a quick update on me:

Have left old job. Friday was my last day. I'm so glad to be gone. I'd like to say my last week was fun and made me sad to leave but that would be an outright lie. My last week was horrible and reminded me why I'm leaving. I don't want to get into it too much but my boss was incredibly rude (told me on my last day that I wasn't good at my job...who does that?!) and my colleagues really couldn't have cared less that I left. Again, great reminders as to why that job made me so unhappy and how ready I was to leave.

Friday I also had to have an emergency root canal. My tooth has really been bothering me and Thursday night I couldn't sleep so I found a dentist who could see me last minute on Friday. Ended up having a root canal done and paying $1300 for it as my insurance does not cover root canals and crowns (so why do I pay $60 a month for it?!). Friday was just a horrible, horrible day and in the interest of not spreading negativity, I won't recap the entire thing but I was excited to go to sleep on Friday knowing that Saturday just had to be better.

I was supposed to start my new job today but Friday (part of the horrendous day) I got a call saying my fingerprints did not go through and that on Monday (today) I needed to go get them redone at a location an hour away on the subway. Then I could start my new job on Tuesday. So this morning I go all the way out to get my fingerprints done and I get a call as soon as I get there saying that I don't need to have my fingerprints redone...they ended up getting accepted late Friday night. I also found out that I can't take leave for today (i.e. I won't be paid for today). I am so ticked off that I have to take today as a leave without pay day...I have 90 hours of leave I could use but since I haven't started my new job, I can't take leave from that job. It is so annoying b/c it's their fault...they are the ones who wanted me start a week after offering me the job and then they don't get my fingerprints submitted to the FBI on time so I have to take a day without pay. After having a root canal done on Friday...I could really use the $175 I would have made today. And I was so looking forward to wearing the first day of new job outfit I got.

Oh well, there's nothing I can do about it. It's not under my control. I am going to talk to the HR people again tomorrow about it when I do my first day orientation/paperwork. No use expending energy on something I can't change. Instead I'm going to look at this positively...I have one more day to rest and relax before starting a more stressful job. I have one more day to rest after my root canal.

Well, I said that was going to be a quick update but it ended up not being so quick. I'm off to check up on you all. This blog will go back to running/working out/eating healthy topics tomorrow...no more drama for me.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Awesome and not so awesome

Fantastic news on the new job...they are actually going to be paying me more than my current job! I went in knowing I was going to have to take a pay cut but now I'm not!! How awesome is that?!

What has not been so awesome...my eating habits. Carbs, sugar, and more carbs and sugar. I know it's nerves because of the new job and trying to wrap up my old job so I'm trying to be gentle on myself. I need to remind myself that carbs and sugar do not make my anxiety go away. Plus carbs and sugar make me breakout which causes more anxiety.

I am excited about moving on to a different job. I have been unhappy at my current job for a couple of years now and I'm thrilled about moving on to a job with actual responsibilities and a job where I'll be using my degree!! But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous. And although I've been unhappy about my current job, I have been able to have a very flexible schedule and have time to do lots of blogging/Facebooking/running at work. I'm going to have give those things up (at work anyways) but the trade-off is well worth it.

I think what I have the most anxiety about is a change in schedule. I like my schedule and I like a routine. Right now, I don't know what my routine is going to look like at my new job.

Anyways, I've got to get some paperwork overnighted to my new job so they can get everything set up for my first day (just 6 days from now!). Off to FedEx I go...

Thursday, March 5, 2009


So it's official...I have a new job!! My salary still hasn't been agreed upon but as it stands right now, it will only be a little bit less than what I'm currently making. There's still some negotiating going on and they might be able to match what I'm making now which would be awesome but either way, I have a new job!!! I am so excited to have a job where I will be busy and where I'm going to have actual real responsibilities. And since I'm tranferring between federal agencies, my last day at my current job is next Friday...which is so incredibly soon. Ack!! I'm trying not to freak out.

Generally I don't always handle change well, particularly fast changes. I keep reminding myself that I'm okay, it's going to be alright, etc. I never realized how much personal stuff I have at work until yesterday when I started packing things up...I have a lot of stuff in my office!! My goal today is to get as much of my personal stuff packed up so this weekend I can drive in and pick it up. And then the next step will be trying to figure out where all this stuff is going to go in the apartment, temporarily at least. One step at a time...

I'm so excited!!! I'm also getting really nostalgic about leaving but I know it's the right step.

Off to pack.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Breaking Radio Silence

Hey, sorry I’ve been away so long. I just felt like I didn’t have anything to say for a while and just needed a bit of a break. Two big things happened while I was on my break….

Most exciting news first, I had a job interview last Friday and yesterday was offered the position. I actually did 2 interviews on Friday (same agency, same job just in two different divisions). I interviewed for the job I was there to interview for and the interviewer asked me if I was willing to do a second interview in a different division. Of course I agreed (b/c it would be stupid to not do a second interview while I was already there). Funny too b/c I was asked the same exact questions in both interviews. I left with a really good feeling that I would be offered one of the jobs (several clues doing the interviews) and then yesterday got the call offering me the position. I’m trying not to get too excited yet though b/c I have to wait on a formal salary offer. I would start out making less than what I make now (which I knew when I applied for the position) but I can’t take a significant cut in pay. They’ve assured me that they can get pretty close to what I’m making now so hopefully the formal salary offer reflects that. Otherwise, I’ll have to pass up the position.

And equally exciting but not as recent news…my sister is having a baby!! I actually knew about this a few weeks ago but kept quiet. My sister has been trying to have a baby for a few years now. She has PCOS and they’ve done several rounds of hormone shots and one round of IUI. Oddly enough, she got preggers in the month when they did nothing (well, not nothing but no hormone shots/treatments). She got pregnant the week after her and her husband came out to DC to visit so Stephen and I should be given all the credit. Not really but we are thinking of marketing a Fertility trip to DC business…wonder how much we could charge? I’m excited to be an Aunt!! I’m going to be the coolest Aunt ever! (My step sisters have kids but this is different.)

Other than that, just the everyday workout, run, work, sleep routine. I’m ready for warmer weather…I’m so tired of running in the cold and having to bundle up.