Spicy Butternut Mac ‘n Cheese. With Bacon. [Recipe]

I don’t always make mac ‘n cheese…

…but when I do, it’s for flower-senders.

When the sender of the flowers came to visit, I had to make mac ‘n cheese by request.  Of course,  I couldn’t just make a normal recipe.  It had a strange twist or two, but I assure you it was good! Apparently I’m on a butternut squash kick!

Even done with a Laura-like spin, you don’t go wrong with a pan of cheesy noodles!  And… ahem… it would be the perfect side for a bird next week.

Spicy Butternut Mac 'n Cheese… 

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Strange But Good: Mexican Chocolate Cake

Dessert is my favorite part of a fiesta.

 

Christmas counts as a fiesta, no?

I made this for Thanksgiving, but it would be fantastic for a Christmas dinner, too.  Or New Years.  Or just for breakfast.

When you read the ingredients in this cake, you’ll see that it actually wouldn’t be so bad to have at breakfast.  It’s full of healthy fats and protein, and sugar-free!  This brings me to the strange.  The healthy fat in this one is avocado.  It’s good, I swear.

Mexican Chocolate Cake

 

Between the avocado, eggs, and yogurt, this is one of the lightest, moist cakes you’ll ever have.  It’s the perfect end to a heavier dinner.  You could eat half of it without blinking an eye.  Not that I would know.

The almond, cinnamon, and cayenne are the Mexican part.  If you’re concerned about the cayenne, you could leave it out.  It’s not overwhelming; it simple gives the smallest hint of “hmmmm” at the end of a bite.

Mexican Chocolate Cake with Coconut Icing

 

The icing on this cake was yet another healthy fat addition.  I whipped coconut cream into a pillow-y spread for the cake.  Don’t worry if it doesn’t seem stiff enough at first – it will firm up as it settles.

You can have fun with the flavors here.  I added vanilla and cinnamon, but a liqueur like Frangelico or pie spice would be excellent as well.

I know several of you made these Chocolate Avocado Cookies or these (Vegan) Blood Orange Scones… vouch for me! You really can’t taste the avocado.

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Mexican Chocolate Cake

Mexican Chocolate Cake

  • 1 small avocado
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 C xylitol (or other sugar substitute)
  • 3/4 C Icelandic yogurt (or Greek)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 C whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 C unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • Coconut Icing

 

Preheat oven to 350.  Prepare a bundt pan.

In a small blender, mix the avocado and eggs until smoother.  Stir in xylitol, yogurt, and extracts until combined.

Whisk together dry ingredients.  Gradually add dry ingredients to the wet.

Once combined, add in milk and beat well.

Pour into bundt pan.  Bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Cool for 10-15 minutes in pan and then transfer to wire rack to completely cool.

Eat as-is, or ice the cake with whipped coconut cream frosting.  I used this recipe for the coconut cream whip, only I subbed more xylitol for the sugar, and added vanilla and cinnamon.

Note: Like most cakes, the flavors improve after that cake has a day to rest.  Do wait to frost it until the day of.

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How have you enjoyed making co-workers, friends, or family stare with strange but good creations this week? The link up rules can be found here or by clicking on “Strange But Good” in the menu bar above. In short, I want to see what concoctions have earned you weird looks from co-workers, family and friends! Post your Strange But Good creations, grab the logo below for your blog, and link up here.

Sprint 2 the Table

Remember to use #strangebutgood in any Tweets and Instagrams of your creations. :)


***

My mom took home a couple of slices and called the next day (at breakfast) to tell me it had gotten even better!  I think day 2 is the perfect storm for this one.

Avocado.  Would you bake with it? Have you ever?

What is your favorite dessert for the holiday season?

 

Thanks for Bacon + Easy Cranberry Kale Salad

I spoke too soon.

 

I’ve often said I need a 5 second delay on my mouth.

This Thanksgiving I ate turkey, and I liked it.  My uncle brought the most deliciously moist (yeah, I said it) smoked turkey.  So partially I take back what I said about not liking Thanksgiving food.  I still passed on the green bean casserole and the stuffing.

First let’s back up.  I headed to my mom’s house on Thanksgiving morning to drive the family to my grandparents house in north GA for the festivities.  They said they were ready to go, but when I got there only the dog, Honey, was ready.

Honey

 

We finally did get on the road and made it the party without incident (I did have to swerve to miss a kitten in the middle of the road).

The good thing about being late everywhere is that everything is ready when you arrive.  We had quite the spread!  The turkey didn’t fit on the counter so it’s off to the side, along with a table this size filled with desserts.  I’m lucky my whole family likes food as much as I do!

Thanksgiving spread

 

After pre-gaming with cheese crackers, I stacked round 1 with my kale salad, turkey, mac ‘n cheese, sweet potato souffle, pumpkin beer bread (recipe coming!), and had a side of my grandmother’s turnips and ham and a glass of rosé wine I brought back from Napa.

Round 2 looked about the same, but with a deviled egg someone had forgotten in the fridge. ;)

Thanksgiving dinner

 

There was PLENTY of dessert too… I brought 4 different desserts, so I’m going to be sharing some fun sweet recipes just in time for Christmas.  Yes, I use Thanksgiving to test desserts for Christmas parties.

Today’s sweet treat is from Gabby’s recipe for a gluten-free Apple-Bacon Crisp.  I followed her recipe, but added a twist… where she sautes the apples in the bacon pan, I also added 2 tablespoons of whiskey.

Whiskey Bacon Apple Crisp

 

The whiskey I used, Balcones Baby Blue, was a smooth addition.  The blue corn whiskey from Texas  is one of my favorites with its slightly sweet vanilla-caramel taste and notes of candied citrus and baking spices.  My other modification was to use hazelnuts in the topping.  The rich taste played well with the coconut flour.

It.  Was.  Awesome.  I am thankful for Gabby and her #strangebutgood bacon idea.  I scooped it on to my dessert plate with glee.

Bacon Whiskey Apple Crisp

The leftover whiskey was great to have on hand for the weekend, too.  I went to the Tech-UGA game with my cousin and friends Kathleen and Matt.  We were all smiles at the tailgate and the first half of the game.

Then the second half happened, and we realized Tech is as bad at football as we feared.  It’s a good thing they’re smart.

Kathleen and Me Tech

Kathleen and I, pre-loss

Whiskey is a good wound heal-er. ;)

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If you’re like me, you need a very short break from the heavy food, so today I’m also sharing the easiest kale salad you’ll ever have.  It’s simply dressed, and you can make it the night before.  It’s pretty marvelous.

This was my healthy contribution to Thanksgiving, but kale salads are also one of my favorite things to make during my weekly food prep.  Their hearty leaves only get more delicious as they soften in the dressing and the flavor soaks in.

Kale Cranberry Salad

This dressing is light, but doesn’t lack in flavor.  It is zesty and garlicky with a little heat on the end.  If you really like it hot, add red pepper flakes to the top.  I did. 

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Cranberry Kale Salad

Cranberry Kale Salad

  • 2 medium bunches destemmed kale, finely chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp marjoram
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1-2 handfuls dried sweetened cranberries, for garnish
  • Parmigiano Reggiano, to taste (omit if dairy-free)

 

In a mini food processor, process the garlic, lemon, oil, marjoram, pepper, and cayenne until smooth.  Taste and adjust flavors, if needed.

Pour the dressing onto the kale and massage it into the kale with your hands.  Allow to soften in fridge at least 30 mins, or overnight.

Just before serving, top with cranberries and cheese.

***

I’ve been craving greens after the brown fest that is Thanksgiving!

What was the best dish from your weekend?

Are you punctual, or are you the last to arrive?  I’m trying to get better… but it hasn’t taken yet.

 

My Vegan Friendsgiving

Sometimes you need a holiday break to be a real break.

Not that holidays aren’t nice…

This year I was feeling run down after training so hard from my competition, working, and  – yes – consistently blogging.  I love all of these things, don’t get me wrong.  I also love my family.  However, a true vacation getaway was in order.  When Heather and Kirk (her hubby) extended an invitation for me to crash their Thanksgiving vacation on the slopes in Vail, CO I jumped at the opportunity.

We ate fantastic food, drank amazing wine, skied, cooked a vegan Thanksgiving, and even ran a 5K (my first in at least 6 months).  There was also a tasting dinner before we left for Vail, but that’s another post.

I am relieved to report that after a 2 year break, I can still ski.  There were a couple of falls, but nothing bad and after a couple of runs I was able to keep up with Heather and Kirk on their snowboards.  I can tell my legs are much stronger now than they were two years ago.  I guess hack squats work…

We took a break from the slopes for Thanksgiving.  We earned our turkey with a 5K Turkey Trot!  It was a lot of fun… and I realized exactly how much harder it is to run at 9000 ft.

Following the run, Heather made her famous doughnuts.  These were her Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts with Cranberry Frosting.  All vegan, and all delicious.  Heather had to adjust the recipe due to the high altitude; I’m totally impressed by her ability – they were absolutely perfect.  I ate mine at a painfully slow pace (like my 5K – haha).  It was so delicious I didn’t want it to end!

I should also note the lovely orange plates provided by the condo owners.  Seriously.  Doesn’t they know that orange does NOT photograph well?!

We spent the rest of the day watching football, playing Scrabble, and being bums.  It was awesome.  We got up every once in a while to begin another dish for out dinner, so when it was time to eat everything pulled together quickly.

This was my first vegan Turkey Day.  I’ve never been a big fan of traditional Thanksgiving food anyway, so this was absolutely perfect for me.  With a spread like this, why would anyone miss the turkey?

Clockwise, left to right: Kirk opening the champagne, Heather’s Beer & Butternut Mac ‘n Cheeze, the spread, and our vegan hazelnut cranberry roast en croute.

 

Each dish was better than the last.  Heather’s vegan mac ‘n cheese was every bit as good and the “real” thing.  She also made the first cranberry sauce I’ve ever liked!  I made a version of other Heather’s Caramelized Onion, Cranberry & Kale Saute.  It was basically the same except I added jalapeno and used fresh orange juice in place of maple syrup for the vinaigrette.

My (orange) plate:

Much more to come on our adventures, but I’m sure you’ve seen enough orange plate photography for one day. :)

Thank you again to Heather and Kirk for letting me crash their holiday and being such incredible hosts!

***

I fell in love with Colorado.  I may have considered pitching a fit when I had to go to the airport.

Have you ever had a “Friendsgiving” or another friend-holiday?

What was the best dish at your table this year?

Happy (Non) Turkey Day!

Wishing all of you a…

 

 

My Friendsgiving crew (Heather and Kirk) already completed a 5K Turkey Trot (NOT as easy at 10,000 ft.) and we’re on to breakfast before my very first Vegan Turkey Day Feast!

***

Today I am especially thankful for friends that stick by and support through thick and thin, crazy training plans, meals of epic proportions, and everything in between.

Quick – name one thing you’re thankful for!

 

Sources of Protein: Vegetarian and Vegan

Are you geared up to eat?

My stretchy pants are ready.

Before you start the Thanksgiving extravaganza, I have an awesome guest post from Allie about vegetarian protein sources. Allie decided to start training for a her own figure competition, and began working with my trainer a couple of months ago.  We’ve worked out together a few times and let me tell you – this girl lives up to her blog name (Forgotten Beast).  She is a beast.

You guys know the crazy amounts of protein I’ve been eating?  Well, Allie has a very similar nutrition plan, only she’s doing it vegetarian!  While you may not need quite as much protein as we try to eat, it is important to have an adequate amount (typically 0.8g per pound of body weight for athletes).

Instead of a typical What I Ate Wednesday, check out the creative ways Allie crams in the vegetarian protein in a day.

Be sure to click here to head over to Jenn Peas and Crayons to get to see how everyone else is ramping up for Turkey Day!

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Hey kids, I’m Allie! You may have seen me pop up on Laura’s blog from time to time, since this wonderful guest-blog-post-host inspired me to get on the figure competitor train and has put up with me showing up on her doorstep three times now. Training for a figure competition requires mega-protein, and I’m trying to do it on a vegetarian diet.  This may seem impossible, but I wanted show just how easy it can be with some pointers/ideas for getting vegetarian protein in any diet.

Soy, Beans and Lentils

I’m grouping these together to keep it short and sweet. I mean, those are the pretty obvious sources of vegetarian protein, right? But if you’re in a rut or just don’t know what to do with it, you’ve got to give Laura’s Chick-less Nuggets and TVP Oatmeal (20g protein) a try – or pick up a package of tempeh (23g) to make “meat” sauce, stir-fries and more.

Nuts and Seeds

I feel like nuts are another obvious source of veggie protein—but what about seeds? Sunflower seeds (7g protein), pumpkin seeds (9g protein) and hemp seeds (11g protein) are all fabulous sources of protein – and they taste pretty darn good too.

Eggs

Whole eggs (7g protein) and egg whites (4g protein) are some of the most adaptable proteins. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert – there’s no wrong time for scrambled eggs, PB & Jeggs, or an omelet.

Dairy

Greek yogurt tops the charts in the protein-from-dairy category (23g protein in brands like Fage and Trader Joe’s). Other good dairy-based protein sources include cottage cheese (15g protein) and ricotta.

Vital Wheat Gluten

Not an option for the wheat and gluten-free among you, but otherwise?  23g of protein in one serving – and there are SO many ways to use VWG. You can make your own seitan, faux chicken, faux breakfast sausage (Editor’s Note: I’ve made Allie’s recipe with TVP and it is really good!), high-protein bread and more.  Save money and all the preservatives and sodium you find in the vegan “meat” options at grocery stores by making your own.

Protein Powder

Protein powder is an easy way to get a protein boost.  While it is not a replacement for real, whole foods, it can supplement shakes, meals and an overall balanced diet.  There are so many good vegan protein powders out there that there is no reason feel powders are limited to those who can/want to drink whey and casein.  (Or beef protein powder. Really? Has anyone tried this?)

Greens and Veggies

Of course I can’t omit the veggies! Don’t let these precious grams of protein go unnoticed! While a serving may only have 1-3g of protein, if you get 5-6 servings in a day, you’re adding 15g of protein!

 

So How Do You Put It All Together?

Here’s a sample of what a day may look like for me (keep in mind I’m eating seven meals and aiming for crazy amounts of protein – just like Laura – you only need a few of these to meet everyday health goals!):

  • Breakfast: Greek yogurt and fruit (24g)
  • Post-Workout: Peaches and cream smoothie (Vanilla protein powder, frozen peaches, hemp seeds, almond milk) (36g)
  • Morning Snack: Lentil flatbread topped with peanut butter (22g)
  • Lunch #1: Tempeh “bacon” and sautéed collard greens (26g)
  • Lunch #2: Vital wheat gluten “chicken” salad (27g)
  • Dinner: TVP and cottage cheese “hot pocket” with a side of oven-roasted broccoli (42g)
  • Dessert: Egg white topped with cranberries and sugar-free syrup (17g)

Grand Total? 194g of protein

And not an animal in sight.  Half of these options are vegan as well, so, even if you omitted the eggs and dairy (and I do mean omitted—not even substituted one of the other many amazing and completely plant-based protein options), this day would still have 140g of protein – much more than average daily protein needs (which seem to be around 50 – 100g for ladies, from what I’ve read).

While I’m not a huge fan of numbers when it comes to food and nutrition, they can be a helpful guideline, so I’ll include this: this entire day comes in at under 2000 calories and balances out to a 40/40/20 macro ratio.

I hope this answers some questions/busts some myths about vegetarian protein!

***

Thanks again to Allie for such an incredible post.  I am so impressed by her dedication!  For Thanksgiving I’m taking a few days off to relax.  I hope you all get to do the same.  

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

How are you “falling into good habits” over the holiday season?

Do you make an effort to get protein throughout the day?  Post-exercise?

High 5 for Friday

Hold on to the ones who really care
In the end they’ll be the only ones there
When you get old and start losing your hair
Can you tell me who will still care?
Can you tell me who will still care?

 

Can you guess the song?  Maybe the super-complex chorus will help…

 

Mmm bop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, ba duba dop
Ba du

 

If you said Hanson’s Mmm Bop, you are correct!  The prize?  Hanson Beer.

 

 

That’s right.  According to Eater and other sources, the cute little teenage boys are reportedly going to be releasing their very own IPA beer – cleverly named Mmmm Hop – to be released in 2012.  Can this be for real?

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This is just one of the many items I’ve been meaning to share on the blog this week.  Thanksgiving threw me off so today is a “catch up” day.

 

#1

I’ve been meaning to give a shout out to Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen.  This rockstar lady received an job offer she couldn’t refuse… but it had her moving half way across the country on short notice.  What is a foodie to do with the stockpiles of goodies in her pantry?

Share!

 

 

I was one of the lucky recipients of Sarah’s Random Snacks of Kindness (pictured above).  Those arbol chilis in my Pumpkin Tempeh Chili?  Those are thanks to Sarah.

She also included my favorite – Biscoff Spread!  In sample sizes, which make my travelin’ heart happy.  The Hatch Chili Salsa also made me smile.  Spicy food is my BFF.  there was a lot more to it, but those are the items that I’ve consumed first.  Thanks for moving, Sarah!

 

#2

My best friend’s baby is the cutest thing in the world.  I’m not just saying that… truth be told I’m not a huge baby person (insert horrified gasps here).

 

Jackson is an exception.  He also has good taste – we shared a Whiskey Sour and edamame (I’m KIDDING… he can’t chew yet) at Top Flr, one of my “go-to” restaurants in Atlanta.

 

 

#3

The Warhol exhibit at Atlanta’s High Museum was great (albeit small).

 

 

They are running a show called “Picasso to Warhol” right now, so he had to share billing with several artists.  I’d love to go see a full exhibit one day!

 

#4

You all seems rpetty amazing by the bacon weave on the mac ‘n cheese at my “Bargiving“… I can’t believe I didn’t share bacon dish #2.

 

 

Pig Candy.  (Some call it candied bacon… I think pig candy is more fun.)  You coat bacon with brown sugar (and perhaps a sprinkle of cayenne) and cook it on a baking sheet in the oven until crisp.  It’s pretty amazing stuff.

Now that I’m back on the healthy-eating train, we won’t mention how much I appreciated it or how well it pairs with a crisp ale.

 

#5

Last Sunday I was lucky enough to see Kristian Bush (of Sugarland fame) play at my favorite local venue, Eddie’s Attic.

 

 

Long ago he had a band called Billy Pilgrim – this show brought back the days of seeing him (or Jennifer) play teeny venues with my elbows on the stage.  Ah, memories.  

This night he played “in the round” with his brother, Brandon (on the right), and singer/songwriter/storyteller Ellis Paul (on the left).  Perfect end to the weekend.

Does that mean that he didn’t attend Jennifer Nettles’ secret wedding last weekend?!

***

You can thank me later for Mmm Bop being stuck in your head all day. ;)

Will you try the Hanson beer?

Did you ever follow a band/musician before they made it “big?”

 

Pumpkin Rum Bread Pudding

One Thanksgiving meal isn’t enough.

It only comes once a year – why limit yourself to just one wonderful meal on that day?  Especially if you’ve just run 13.1 miles.

Friendsgiving part 2 occurred at one of may favorite local haunts – Diesel.  It’s more of a bar, but does serve up some tasty food.  Except on Thanksgiving.  This holiday they were serving drinks and the feast was a potluck.  BYOF.

Potluck Thanksgiving in a bar = BEST idea ever.

We had 21 feet of food (yes, measurements were taken).  3 turkeys (the spicy dry rub was wonderful), a duck, soups, stuffings, collards, mac ‘n cheeses, desserts… if you could imagine it, someone had brought it to share.

Those Tostidos didn’t get opened

Incredibly, most of the food was homemade and quite good.  Better than average, in fact.  I went back for seconds thirds.

The most fun to look at dish of the night:

Mac ‘n Cheese with a Bacon weave

Despite being totally stuffed, dessert remained my weak spot.

Let’s pretend I didn’t sample all of this

My contribution was pretty tasty, if I do say so myself.  In fact, I made it twice over Thanksgiving.  Both times to an enthusiastic reception.

As soon as I laid eyes on chocolate chip Panettone I knew it was going into bread pudding.  Pumpkin bread is better with chocolate chips… why not pumpkin in chocolate chip Panettone pudding?  In the bar-potluck spirit, I added some booze – dark rum was made for sweets, IMHO.

Pre-bake photo opp

Half-baked

The pumpkin made this pudding especially creamy and the dark rum brought out the sweetness of the Panettone.  Because it is a sweet bread, you don’t have to add a ton of sugar to this recipe – just 1/2 a cup in total.

I’ll even go out on a limb and say this is one of the best dishes I’ve ever made.  I don’t say that about just anything!

 

My dish on display at Bargiving:

It’s all I can do not to make it again right now…

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Pumpkin Rum Bread Pudding

Pumpkin Rum Bread Pudding

  • 1 chocolate chip Panettone, cut to ~2 in cubes (~7 cups)
  • 1 C heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 C milk
  • 1/2 stick salted butter (melted)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 C pumpkin puree
  • 3 T dark rum
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 C brown sugar
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 C chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place cubed bread in 9 x 12 pyrex.

In large bowl, whisk together wet ingredients.  Add sugars and cinnamon and stir until combined.  Pour evenly over bread and toss to ensure cubes are all covered.

Place in oven and bake for 40-50 mins, until pudding is set and top is beginning to brown.  Allow to cool ~10 mins before serving.

Notes: You can use other types of breads, though you will want to increase the amount sugar (Panettone is a sweet bread).  If you don’t like rum, you can cut back or omit it entirely.

***

Coming back to work this week was a terrible shock after 4 days off!

Are you still eating leftovers?

What is your favorite variety of bread pudding?

Grateful Thanksgiving

Grateful as in Grateful Dead.

 

I had a post-race “Friendsgiving” at one of my favorite local restaurants – Rosebud.  How is that related to the Dead?  Rosebud is named for one of Jerry Garcia’s guitars, the one he played in his last show in July of 1995.

A celebratory glass of sparkling with our (now empty) app plates

 

Ron Eyester, the chef and owner, put together one incredible (and HUGE) Thanksgiving feast.

We began with an appetizer consisting of Pimento Cheese, Trail Mix, Smoked Trout Pate, Housemade Pickled Vegetables, and crackers dusted with something spicy (cayenne?).  The Pimento Cheese was our favorite, with the trail mix in a close second (I love those wasabi things).  The Trout Pate was the only miss of the meal.

 

Next up was the main event.  The way the special menus worked you could choose Sage, Apple & Honey Roasted Turkey or Housemade Berkshire Ham with Mexican Coke Glaze.  Then you chose 3 sides from a list of 12.  There were 3 of us at lunch, which meant we could try all but 3 sides.  And so we did.

I chose the turkey with Brioche & Herb Stuffing (yes it was as good as it sounds), Cider & Maple Braised Brussels, and Red Wine & Balsamic Braised Mushrooms.  It was all wonderful.  The stuffing bordered on being bread pudding – a good thing in my book!  Turkey has never been my cup o’ tea, but Ron’s turkey was nearing perfection.  Not the least bit dried out and perfectly flavored.  I loved the sage!

 

Carla’s also chose the turkey and brussels, but ordered the Buttermilk Whipped Potatoes and Baby Carrots with Fennel, Citrus, and Cardamom.  The carrots were one of my favorite sides; they were left fairly crisp and the hints of fennel and citrus made for a fun flavor.

 

Corinne chose the ham.  It was good, but I’m glad I didn’t get it.  A little too sweet as a main for my taste, but if you like honey-baked ham you would love it.  Her sides included the Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Ginger & Sweet Chili, Green Beans with Fresh Garlic and Sea Salt, and Mexican Coke Braised Local Greens with Smoked Ham Bone.  I don’t even know how to choose a favorite.  Maybe the beans?!  I really appreciated how they kitchen left the veggies with some bite rather than cooking them to the point of soggy (all too often the case).

 

Since all of this clearly wasn’t enough food, Ron sent us a plate of the 3 sides we didn’t order (he really is the nicest angry chef in ATL).  Our last 3 tastes:  Mac n’ Cheese, Duck Fat & Thyme Fingerling Potatoes, and Truffled Cream Corn.  The mac and cheese was done with Tillamook Cheddar and couldn’t have been more delicious.  We all agreed the corn was also pretty amazing – and none of us are big on creamed corn!

 

Everyone had a favorite potato – I don’t know if he did it on purpose, but Ron offered the 3 major potato “types” so there was something for everyone.  I was all about the whipped sweet potatoes.

 

My favorite course is always last – dessert!  Chocolate Tart, Bread Pudding with Dried Cherries, Salted Browned Butter Cookies, and Apple Cake with Cardamom Cream.  I love chocolate… but those cookies are my favorite.  I’m convinced he puts crack in them.

 

A “Friendsgiving” lunch at Rosebud was the perfect race recovery meal.  But I had to get home to make the treat you saw in Friday’s post to bring to a Thanksgiving potluck dinner (big revel tomorrow… suspense, I know).  Because one gluttonous holiday meal is never enough. ;)

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Speaking of gluttony… it’s Monday recap time.

Last week brought 2 big accomplishments – the Thanksgiving Half Marathon and I did my 100 push-ups EVERY DAY.  That’s 700 push-ups last week!!!  3 accomplishments if you count the fact that I took TWO rest days.

Looking ahead, I’m ready cut back on the running for a while.  My focus will be more on weights and kickboxing – just in time for the arrival of more winter-like weather (I can’t stand to run in the cold).

 

Workout Recap (11/21-11/27)

  • Monday – 30 mins stationary bike intervals, Biceps/Back, 100 push-ups
  • Tuesday – 2 mile run, 2 mile walk, 100 push-ups 
  • Wednesday – Tris/Chest, Ab Ripper X, 100 push-ups
  • Thursday - Half Marathon, 100 push-ups 
  • Friday 100 push-ups
  • Saturday – 2 mile walk, 100 push-ups
  • Sunday – Kickboxing, 100 push-ups

***

 I promise some healthier foods are coming… after tomorrow dessert post!

Have you ever eaten your Thanksgiving meal at a restaurant?

Do your workouts change in the winter months?

 

Running for My Supper

Literally.

 

I spent a good 9-10 miles of my 13.1 thinking about lunch.  My inner fat kid knows no bounds.  Plus it entertained me while I struggled ran.

 

 

Once I remembered I had a body warmer in my jacket which was making me want to pass out, the first 4-ish miles flew by.  Somewhere between 4 and 6 I had to stop to tighten my laces and lost my 1:45 pace group (not too devastating – 1:45 was a bit ambitions).  Stopping apparently caused me to miss the 5 mile marker, so I was pleasantly surprised by mile 6.  Things were still ok until about mile 8.  My legs were cramping and I had to stop for 30 seconds and stretch.  After that it got hard - not a shock since I really only trained for up to 8.

 

Seeing my Aunt Teresa somewhere near mile 9 was a huge pick-me-up (thanks Teresa!), and I got another push around 10 when the 1:50 pace group caught me.  I knew I didn’t want to finish far behind them so I ignored my screaming legs and cranked out the last 3 to finish with them.

HUGE thanks to the Atlanta Track Club for organizing the event and providing pace teams!

 

Official time: 1:49:52.  PR!  I looked back at my 2009 Half time – it was 2:17:12!  HUGE improvement in 2 years!

My younger cousin Molly also ran and finished seconds ahead of me.  Congrats to Molly!!

 

My mom and sisters were there at the finish line with lots of hugs.  It was really great to have a support group after a hard-fought race.

 

More to come about the fantastic Turkey Day eats (see little taste below), but for now I’m off to the grocery store.  It shouldn’t be crowded… everyone is stuffed and at Wal-Mart… right?

 

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I’m participating in this month’s YBR with Spicie Foodie.  Click here if you’d like to join up too!

How did your races go?

Did anyone brave the Black Friday crowds?