Can we talk about how foolish I was when I believed that life would slow down after the marathon? Yeah, call me crazy. Regardless, life’s been pretty good lately. Also, confession: I started writing this post last week…and am just now publishing…fail.
Prepare yourselves, this is going to be RANDOM!
As you know, I am officially 26 as of a couple of weeks ago. It doesn’t feel much different than 25, other than I didn’t have a birthday meltdown. I’ll call it a win! How did I celebrate? A margarita and nachos with girlfriends, of course! On my actual birthday, I woke up to a delicious breakfast of filet mignon, homemade hash browns and a fried egg. Perfection.
My excuse for being absent? I’ve been insanely busy at work and in spite of some major technology/communication issues, extremely productive. I’ve managed to finish some special projects that have been hanging over my head and am able to focus on other things, at least for now. As a result of this busy-ness, I haven’t even wanted to look at a computer outside of work/on my lunch break. My bad.
Also, does anyone else get completely weird with daylight savings? I just can’t get a handle on it. Hence my writing this post more days after Daylight Savings than I care to admit….
In other news, I’m super excited because my friend Tina is not only doing the Turkey Trot this year (AND, Vanessa, too–I think!), but she asked me to run the loop with her a couple of weeks ago. She may have thought it was a mistake when I made her run up the hills, but she was glad when it was all said and done. I’m still waiting for her invite to run the loop again…
Other than that, I did a race three weekends ago. My friend Kristy and I even went in costume…kind of. She did an awesome job of painting our faces. Read about it here.
Big news! Farmer Ben and I finally bought a new bed. Not only did we upgrade from a full to a queen, but we also went with memory foam, and let me tell you, I have not slept so well in a LONG time. We also got a ridiculously good deal.
In fact, between daylight savings and our new bed, getting up in the morning is damn near impossible!
Moving on, Farmer Ben made bagels. While cooking dinner. I know I’ve said this before, but how amazing is he?!
Breakfast was epic last week…
And dinner? Even better. What he made while making bagels:
In other food news, I’ve been craving greens lately. Greens and anything kind of related to tacos/nachos.
On the running front, I’ve been bad about getting out and running (shocker, I know), but I have a run planned after work (Hi Kristy!) and as soon as I finish this post, I’ll be updating my schedule to include workouts this week. I am still deciding if I want to a December half marathon for giggles… and I have it narrowed down to two races! One of them will be free if I can find a volunteer…any takers? It’s in Gloucester, MA…. The other is in New Hampshire…apparently I like torturing myself by running in freezing weather….
This weekend was marvelous. I slept in on Saturday, drove the hubby to work, came home, vegged out with a movie, took a nap, caught up on some reading and discovered an awesome new workout app. I’ll fill you in a little more on my next post, but I am still sore today.
Big shoutout to my friend Chelsea on her most recent 5k. She ran a kick-ass race and improved her time by about 9 minutes. 9 minutes!!!! Amazing!
Tell me, what’s your favorite breakfast? What foods are you craving lately? Any winter races on the docket? Give me a random update!
In my last post, Dad, Eileen, Gary and I were in Saranac Lake getting our local food on… I managed to pick up a few goodies….
After bringing Farmer Ben a surprise coffee, I took Gary and my Dad for a long walk on a bike path by the lake. It was hot…and sticky.
I then rushed home to clean-up and make some more delicious eats….
Here is what I whipped up….
What you’ll need:
- 1 baguette…preferably local
- 4-5 cloves of garlic
- 2 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for drizzling on bread
- 2 large tomatoes (or 3-4 small-medium)
- 15 fresh basil leaves (approximately)
- 1 tbsp. or a splash of balsamic vinegar
- Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
- 1 avocado
What to do:
- Preheat oven to 350
- Mince garlic.
- Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat, add garlic. Stir…cook garlic until it softens-do NOT let burn. This won’t take long. Pour garlic and oil into a metal mixing bowl and set aside.
- Chop/dice tomatoes (this will be depend on how big you want your chunks to be–side note: chunks is not an appetizing word.) Add to mixing bowl with garlic and oil.
- Also, if you don’t want soupy bruschetta, drain some of the juices before adding to bowl.
- Chop basil. (tip: stack some leaves on top of each other, roll them length-wise and slice into thin strips) Add to mixing bowl.
- Add in remaining balsamic, salt and pepper and stir. Set aside
- Slice baguette on the diagonal into 1/4 -1/2 inch slices. Place on baking sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil.
- Place in oven and let brown. Meanwhile, dice up your avocado and add to the bruschetta mixture–do NOT do this until ready to serve.
- Remove toasted baguette from oven and top with bruschetta mixture.
If you’re feeling extra naughty, grate some parmesan over the top.
Serve immediately and enjoy!
Garden Delight Pasta
(Or…trying to use up all the veggies on your counter/in the fridge pasta)
What You’ll Need:
- 1 lb whole wheat pasta (I used angel hair)
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion (or 1/2 a giant onion like I used…), diced
- 1 medium zucchini, chopped
- 1 medium eggplant, chopped
- 6 large kale leaves, sliced (I just ripped it up)
- 2 large Swiss Chard Leaves
- 2 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped (about 1-2 tbsp.)
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 large tomato, chopped (or, if you have leftover bruschetta mix, that will work too!)
- 3 oz. goat cheese (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
What to do:
- Heat water for pasta and cook according to package
- While your water is boiling….
- Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
- Add in onion, until it starts to soften.
- Add in zucchini and eggplant, stirring occasionally, be careful not to let veggies stick/burn. Reduce heat to medium low. (This should take about 10-15 minutes, depending on your veggies/size of pan)
- Add in Swiss chard and kale, cover and let wilt. Stirring occasionally.
- Stir in cooked and drained pasta (it should be hot) and mix in remaining ingredients.
Remove from heat and Serve hot. Makes 4-6 servings.
Favorite seasonal meal? How do you use up all of your leftover veggies? Goat cheese in pasta, yes or no?
Stay Tuned for Scenes…Part 3!
This weekend went by entirely too fast… that seems to be the story of my life for the month of August… So, here’s a random update, Noelle’s Notebook style….
We found this little guy in the pumpkins on Sunday. He even held a pose for me!
Speaking of the garden, you’ll be happy to know that I’m still on my giant salad kick.
I bought a bathing suit this weekend for the first time in about 2 years…it was on super sale. I also bought a cute summery dress. Yay for end of season savings!
I got a grand total of 12 hours of sleep between Saturday and Monday morning (between a bachelorette party, long run, church, work and watching old movies). This makes for a very grumpy Noelle…my apologies.
In spite of a serious lack of sleep, I managed to come into work very early yesterday … I broke my streak of not buying coffee and treated myself to Starbucks during lunch. Unfortunately they messed up my order. S-Bux FAIL.
I tried to get up early and run THIS morning…but I failed miserably and hit the snooze button a few more times than necessary. This means that I will have to go for a run tonight when I get out of work…oops.
Also, PSA Time: PLEASE Pay attention to the road when you are driving. I was almost in a major accident yesterday because of someone not paying attention.
Allow me to explain;
My company is located on a pretty busy road, the highway entrances/exits, 3 gas stations, the state police station and an airport are less than a mile down the road in either direction, along with several businesses.
I was coming back from lunch and put my signal on to turn left into the parking lot. There was on-coming traffic. As I am waiting to turn, I see a car speeding up behind me…my car is obviously not moving and the other car was NOT slowing down. Unfortunately, there were still cars coming and I was starting to get very nervous because I had nowhere to go.
Long story short, the other car got very close (to the point that I could see the driver’s face in my rearview mirror!) before the driver slammed on the brakes. To–BARELY–avoid hitting me, she had to veer to the right (cars were still coming the other direction). She hit the brakes so hard that she not only went completely off the road into the grass, but she also spun completely around. I was able to turn at the last possible second and pulled into the parking lot (I HAD to get off the road).
I stopped to make sure the other driver was okay and what did I see? She pulled back onto the road and sped away–without even looking to see if there were any cars coming…SERIOUSLY?!
Anyway, I don’t know what she was doing, but again, PLEASE pay attention to the road. IF not for your own safety, then for others on the road.
On a brighter note, some really great things are happening lately!
1. I signed up for August’s Foodie Penpals after taking a long hiatus and I am pretty pumped. I got two awesome match-ups.
2. I had a really honest and encouraging email discussion with a company that makes a running fuel. I learned a lot of interesting information about the manufacturing process and was able to give them some feedback.
2a. I ordered a sample pack of this product to try…it should be here soon…can’t wait to try it on this weekend’s long run! I’ll be sure to let you know how I like it.
3. I won a giveaway! I NEVER win anything so you can imagine that I was not only shocked, but pretty darn excited! Brittany was hosting a Simone France giveaway and I entered on a whim…so glad I did!
4. The hubs and I went on a late night Price Chopper run… we picked up the essentials: Annie’s Mac & Cheese (there was a 10 for $10 sale!), Chipotle Tabasco sauce and cottage cheese (Tabasco, cottage cheese and black pepper is one of my favorite snacks in the world).
5. This weekend is my 20-miler! Yes, I’m a little nervous…but I feel ready.
6. Speaking of running, my foot and tendon pain have almost disappeared. I still notice it if I have a super busy night at the restaurant, but otherwise, my feet are feeling pretty good.
7. Next week the hubs and I celebrate 2 years of marriage. Time flies!
8. Our dear friends are tying the knot on the 24th. I am so excited to share in their special day…AND to show you what they chose for a wedding dessert.
9. One of my sisters will be in town next week. HOLLA!
10. We have tomatoes… Another week and they will be coming out of our eyeballs. I CANNOT WAIT! This is not one of our tomatoes, but ours are/will be similar
11. Fun fact: I am currently the same weight that I was my junior year of high school…weird.
What are you up to this week? Ever won a giveaway? Favorite wedding dessert? Worst driving pet peeve? How about your favorite snack?
What are you growing? Any mystery plants in your garden? Have any good pumpkin recipes to share?
As promised, here is a Garden Update.
First: All of the rain we’ve gotten has made gardening a challenge. Simply put, we just had too much water!
The plus side of all the rain? We have ha so many greens!
The potatoes have also exploded… Farmer Ben got a little excited and dug up one of the plants… when the rest are ready, we’re going to have to clear out an entire closet to store them…. but there’s something about home-grown potatoes. So good.
Our scallions, chives and dill are taking over. We also had a ridiculous amount of cilantro, but we had to pull it and dry it because of all the water.
Our peppers and eggplant are only doing so-so…it’s going to be sheer luck if we get a big yield this year. But we have gotten a few jalapenos.
The tomatoes (my favorite) were off to a rough start but have since flourished. I can’t wait until they all ripen! We even got a couple of random plants that popped up. Score!
The corn, beans and squash are coming along. Ben is a big fan of the three sisters method, as you can see. We planted a red corn (bloody butcher, I think) for drying and a later season bean.
The garlic seems to keep coming back, but we’re not sure how. It’s a survivor.
The chocolate mint won’t leave.
Our sauce tomatoes (Paisanos) are doing the best out of all the plants. We’re going to be making a LOT of sauce in the next couple of weeks!
Farmer Ben and I had a lot of winter squash this year and we put the seeds in our composter. Well, sometimes when you do that, you get mystery plants that take over half of the garden…
This squash plant?
First we thought it was zucchini, then we thought and 8-ball zucchini…then an acorn squash. Now we think it’s a pie pumpkin. Whatever it is, we are going to have a lot of them.
Our beets and greens did pretty well. The beets were small, but so tasty and we got a huge yield of beet greens (and to be honest, that’s my favorite part anyway).
Again, our beans seem to be doing pretty well, and they provided the perfect shaded area for our lettuce.
We also had Swiss Chard come back this year. Not that we mind because we both love it.
Here are some more photos of our mystery squash. Does anyone know what kind it is? Again, we are narrowing it down to pie pumpkins… but we could be wrong.
And last but not least, here is our potato jungle. I think potatoes are the my favorite item to harvest and it looks like we are going to have a lot of them.
So there you have it… Farmer Ben’s been working really hard, and although the garden isn’t exactly as we planned it out this year (random squash, Swiss chard and tomato plants, mint take-over), we are enjoying the fruits (err…veggies!) of our (mostly his) labor.
We’ve also been able to share with our friends and loved ones, which is an equally amazing feeling.
What are you growing this year? Did you have any mystery plants? What challenges are you dealing with in your garden?
I love local food…especially when it’s coming straight out of the garden or from a farm down the road.
Even though the growing season has been slowed down with all the rain, we’ve been very blessed with loads of arugula, radishes, swiss chard, beets and beet greens, chives, scallions, cilantro and lettuce. We’ve also been picking up beans, carrots and other veggies, along with local meats, eggs and cheeses at the market or our co-op.
My favorites (potatoes, tomatoes and peppers) are coming along and I can’t wait… we’re also going to have a squash and bean surplus…perfect for the freezer!
Anyway, here is a peek at how we’ve been using up all of our greens lately (please forgive my less than stellar photography skills):
I was on a butternut crust pizza kick a few weeks ago:
But we always love our giant salads…
And we’ve had a few other tasty hot meals:
And here are some of my meals I’ve been packing for breakfast/lunch:
What about you? What’s your go-to summer meal? What’s been on your plate lately?
I don’t know about you, but I am beat.
You may have noticed a few changes in appearance at this little blog. I’ve been playing around with the layout and I’d love your feedback!
As for weekend plans, I have a long run (as long as my feet cooperate), a baby shower and possible dinner with friends. At the very least, I have some much needed hubby-time penciled in and I cannot wait!
Other than that, I don’t have to much to report today, but I wanted to share this garden picture… mostly because I think it’s pretty neat.
Squash has taken over the garden!
I realize I haven’t been posting much about the garden this year, so to be continued!
Happy Weekend! Any big plans?
What are you growing this season?
I’m embarrassed to admit this, but up until last weekend, I had never oven-roasted garlic. My chef husband probably judged me for this. Luckily he was at work while I was playing in the kitchen so he missed the huge mess I made.
I can saute garlic like a champ, but now, after trying the roasted variety, I don’t know if my life will ever be the same.
Seriously. I may or may not have stood over my oven, shoveling an embarrassing amount of baguette into my mouth and burning my fingers as a result of not wanting to waste any of this delicious-ness that didn’t make it into the above mentioned pesto. It happens.
If you’ve never roasted garlic, here is an excellent tutorial, courtesy of the Pioneer Woman. It’s crazy easy and totally worth it.
I must note, that I only roasted my garlic for about 30 minutes, but I think it’s because my oven is possessed and chooses its own temperature… but that’s a different story… Moral of this story, use your best judgment for roasting times.
Anyway, onto the pesto.
I don’t know if you knew this or not, but it rained like crazy in Upstate NY last weekend…like 8 inches of rain in three days. Or, if you live near Whiteface Mountain, you got three feet of snow. In May. I’m not kidding. This made national news…
Luckily, I missed the snowfall. And just got stuck with wind, rain and cold. And it was in this lovely weather that I ventured outside to pick arugula from the garden. Brilliant, I know.
But I had to… I had pesto on the brain. And it was totally worth it.
Roasted Garlic & Arugula Pesto
- 1 head of garlic
- 2 cups arugula (less if you want a less peppery pesto)
- 2 good handfuls spinach
- a few tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (more or less depending on how wet you like your pesto)
- 4 sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
What to do:
- Rinse spinach and arugula and let dry.
- Roast garlic (if necessary, see tutorial link above). Once garlic is cooled, gently squeeze cloves out of the skin (also in tutorial).
- Put all ingredients in a blender. Pulse until smooth.
The pesto will be perfectly delicious at this point. So you can serve over warm pasta with or without lots of parmesan cheese, spread on a baguette…or store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.
Roasted Garlic and Arugula Pesto Version 2.0: Rollatini
- Goat Cheese, about 4 oz.
- 1 package lasagna noodles.
- Diced tomatoes (Optional)
- Mozzarella (Optional)
What to do:
- Cook lasagna noodles according to package, drain and lay out on a cookie sheet to dry/cool.
- Pre-heat oven to 375.
- Prepare a large casserole dish by putting a thin layer or diced tomatoes or tomato sauce in the bottom, set aside.
- Prepare pesto exactly the same way as above. Transfer to a medium-sized dish and mix in goat cheese. (If you don’t like lasagna noodles, you can just add the kicked up pesto to cooked pasta of your choice…or bread.)
- Using a rubber spatula, spread pesto-goat cheese mixture along 2/3 of the lasagna noodles, as pictured below. If using diced tomatoes, sprinkle those on as well (be sure to drain so they don’t get soggy).
- Roll noodles spread-side first.
- Place prepared noodles, open-end down, in prepared casserole dish.
- Top with leftover diced tomatoes.
- Bake for 20 minutes, covered.
- Uncover and bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until noodles are hot.
If using cheese, add at the same time as you top noodles with diced tomatoes.
Follow same baking instructions. Bake until cheese is browned and bubbling.
Makes about 5 servings (2 rolls per serving).
I know… I have so much to catch up on in the blogging aspect of things. This weekend was Strides for James and it was so much fun! I’ll be doing a post that details a little bit of everything… but I honestly haven’t had a moment to sit and collect my thoughts. So, to keep you until then, it was awesome. Our first year was a success.
So, I’ve been taking a lot of random pictures on my phone lately. Mostly of food and some other things…but mostly food.
So here’s a look at what I’ve been eating and doing lately.
I have a serious weakness for scallops…and margaritas.
I’m seeing a food theme here…
This is what happens when you are planning a fun run and go to the grocery store at 6:00 am…you leave with two cases of free bananas and one discounted case.
After the race…we had a lot of leftover bananas…so I’ve baking a ton of banana bread (gluten-free–recipes coming!) and making things like this (sorry the picture isn’t great)…
Speaking of baking banana bread, I was checking to see if one of the loaves was done…and stupidly burnt the tip of my finger, through a towel. Only me…
I’m also happy to report, after taking home about a half case of bananas, we are down to seven. Farmer Ben and I are a great team in the kitchen!
A mid-week run past a neighbor’s house… somehow we came home with two dozen eggs!
Another sunny day was spent out working in the garden (a week later, it went down to 28 at night… gah!)
And this last piece… just made me chuckle.
What have you been up to lately?
Eaten anything exciting?!
Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending a good friend’s bridal shower.
The best part? I got to get crafty and make the favors.
Now, if you know me, you know that I am not the most DIY talented person…but this favor was something that ANYONE can do.
I did a quick Google search and found these little beauties.
Again, so easy, even I was able to do it…with some help from my amazing friends Vanessa and Tina. Thanks, Ladies!
Here’s what I came up with to go along with the seed packets.
These were actually pretty fun to make and did not break the bank. A great idea for upcycling.
The best part? We get to use all of the leftover cardboard cylinders for starting seeds. Win!
What did I use?
- Cardboard tubes from Paper Towel/TP Rolls (Free from friends!)
- Fun Purple Paper
- Glue Tape
- Seeds (Free from Farmer Ben)
- A few different stamps and purple ink
- A purple marker for marking packets by type
After you have all of your pieces, just tie them together with a pretty ribbon.