Carbo Loading Cooking Fail

After a long afternoon at the race expo, I invited Kara, Nicole and Carolyn over for a pre race carbolicious dinner. Or so I thought. You see, I’m not actually a real cook. I make simple food. I can make delicious healthier versions of most staple dishes. I can get creative and even create recipes with desserts, but there are some things I should not cook. Apparently, gnocchi is one of them. First of all, delicate foods that require a soft touch and attention to detail are not my thing, but the recipe looked easy enough to I told them I would make sweet potato gnocchi.

"Welcome to my house. I will obviously cook you delicious food. I write a blog about food and recipes so I promise I know how to cook!"

Confession, I was super nervous to cook for Nicole anyway. Have you checked out her blog?! She is AMAZING! Her food is ridiculous and beautiful and she could seriously have her own bakery if she wanted! Me? I just got into cooking because I wanted to eat cheese burgers, but not be fat :) Obviously, it wasn’t long before I got down on my knees and begged asked her nicely for a hand.

"Oh good job Nicole, you just cook dinner and I will pose for pictures and pretend like I made it."

I should have known the recipe was fishy when I got the 3 lbs of sweet potatoes it called for, but then had to measure out 3.5 cups and was left with more than twice as much leftover sweet potato puree! Good thing sweet potatoes are pretty much tied with cilantro for my favorite food!

We did have fun with the whole process of getting the gnocchis in the water.

First, transfered the dough to a bag without spilling it all on the floor. This was my biggest success of the night.

This was the fun part. Minus the 3rd degree burns from the splashing boiling water. Sorry about that Nicole. You are welcome to be my guest any time.

Obviously I couldn't leave all the dangerous gnocchi dropping to her. That's just rude. Don't worry mom, I wore long sleeves!

At one point it even appeared that dinner might be awesome.

Not too bad yet, right?

But then it turned into something more like sweet potato mush. Nicole tried to save the dish, but it was a goner.

"Can I PLEASE just mush it all together?!?!?!"

Nicole was very anti mush, but finally when I proved that the dish was beyond real salvation, she caved.

Mush.

Luckily, Steve grilled some seriously amazing chicken, and I didn’t have a total evening of failure.

Asparugus sprayed with olive oil + s&p baked at 400 for 20 minutes. A winner every time. Thanks for that, Heath!

And then there was this baby that I can’t wait to break into today!

Double chocolate peanut butter cheesecake brownies. I had to make Kara and myself a congratulations treat!

Luckily, the company was top notch and they all ate my weird sweet potato mush without complaint. Good friends, I tell ya. After dinner, we all called it a night pretty early because we all had early morning (4:40 for me!) wake up calls. I spent the next few minutes laying out everything I would need for the next morning.

Clothes, new sparkly green headband made by Nicole (LOVE IT!!!), spibelt, Gu, head phones, chapstick. Garmin and ipod were charging, and bib was in the car. Whoot.

Ready to not sleep :)

Steak, Potatoes and Beer, Oh My

I am a person who loves to be busy. Some may say I’m a workaholic, but I am MORE than happy to keep busy by celebrating and spending time with family and friends. Is there a job where they pay you to do that? I think what I do is actually probably as close as you get. Lucky me :)

Let’s catch up, shall we? 2 days before Christmas started out with the 2nd to last long run Kara and I will do before PF Chang’s. We planned for 10, but Kara has been sick for like 2 months straight and after 8 she just wasn’t feeling it, so we ended up walking the last 2 miles home. At this point, we’re ready and the ending walk where we were just able to chat felt really nice actually. We ended up covering just under 10 miles total in about 2 hours. Still not too shabby.

The past few weeks after my long run, I’ve had the craziest cravings for steak. I don’t really eat red meat, but the evening after a run, all I want to eat is a big, juicy fillet! Well, Friday night I finally got what I had been craving! Kara, Charlie and Hermano met us at our house before heading out to Whole Foods to pick out our meat and our drinks. I love the type of dinner party where everyone picks their own meat, Steve grills it all up and I make the side dish. So simple, and much cheaper than trying to buy steak for everyone (ummm Steve’s steak was $30).

Hermano and I each picked out a fillet, although his was 13 oz and mine was 6 haha. Steve and Kara both picked out massive rib eyes. Charlie picked out some chicken, and Hermano also picked up a pound of macaroni and cheese because he was skeptical about the side dish I had planned.

Kara and I also picked out some cherry stout and cappuccino stout. Delicious.

As soon as we were home and we had popped open our beers, Steve fired up the grill and I got to work on the taters.

Hard at work. Obviously. I actually think I was trying to put my hair up, maybe?

Soon enough, dinner was served!

That, my friends, is what a 1.3lb piece of meat looks like.

Hermano's pound of steak and pound of macaroni.

After trying my Maple Bacon Sweet Potatoes (don’t you worry, recipe is coming soon), Hermano regretted his decision not to get some himself, so 2 lbs of food later, he went back to get some.

Yes, that is the pan I cooked them in. Apparently I need to hit my growth spurt so I can polish off pounds of food at a time and still be thin.

Then, 2 beers later (apparently I’m a light weight because that was seriously all I could handle), we were watching The Muppets Christmas Carol and I decided to make dessert. Very tipsy, recipe-less dessert. I didn’t measure a single thing and I thought it was going to be a disaster, but the entire 8×8 pan was gone in about 10 minutes flat. No pictures. No recipe. Sad day. I do remember it included mashed banana, caramel and white chocolate chips. Maybe one day I’ll try to recreate it :)

 

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like…

CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!

At least, at Starbucks it is. You can imagine my excitement when I walked in to get my coffee yesterday afternoon and all of this was happening!

"Look at me. I'm making Christmas happen. I am essentially responsible for bringing you Christmas. You're welcome."

Christmas tumblers!!

And decorations!

It all just makes me soooo happy! I know, I know, I’m a total sucker for this time of year. Before I left for Starbucks, I put Winnie and Clem outside and for a total change, they decided to be super cute.

All that cuteness must be tiring.

I also had not been able to get roasted sweet potatoes off my mind since I kept reading about them on Carrots N Cake, so I made some for myself and they were oh so delicious.

Misting of olive oil, salt, pepper, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. 400 for approx 30 minutes. Yum

And then later in the day, this happened

An apple slicer apparently doesn't stand a chance against the honey crisp!

I seriously just looked at the apple so confused for a good minute before deciding I had to figure out how to salvage it because it was the last honey crisp in my house and they are so delicious!

In other news, I have accomplished pretty much nothing exercise wise since Saturday. I feel just barely better than yesterday, so I’m just trying to wait it out and not make myself sicker. I’m planning to hopefully do a short run tomorrow, but at the very least be back to spin on Thursday, I have a long run with Nicole on Friday (YAY!!!) and the Undy 5000 with Nicole, Mariel and *hopefully* Kara if her ankle is back to normal on Saturday!

And lastly, I can’t talk about exactly what it is yet, but our family did get some pretty fantastic and exciting news yesterday!! I can’t wait to be able to actually share it when it all becomes official! :) Have a good day everyone!

Date Night In

One of the main questions I get from people when I discuss my work schedule with them is “How does your husband feel about it?” or “How does it affect your marriage.” I usually smile and say it’s fine and he gets it and blah blah blah. The truth is, he does “get it” and honestly it is what it is, but it does affect our relationship, and lately we’ve been in a little bit of a rut because of it. I am left feeling spread pretty thin which makes me feel needy and he is left getting nothing from me because I don’t have a whole lot left to give, and it is not ideal. But the truth is, come December I will have more free time than I know what to do with and I will be back to being a much better wife and be able to refocus my energy and effort more onto the relationship. In the meantime, we just have to make this work. Luckily, I married the perfect man. Seriously, perfect, and although he may not always get things in a timely manner immediately, he always eventually understands what I need and then goes above and beyond to make me feel special.

Yesterday before I left for work we discussed how we were both feeling about things. Okay, that’s a lie. I talked in overly dramatic circles about how I wasn’t getting what I needed and I don’t feel important and blah blah blah. What can I say? Sometimes I’m a disaster. Anyway, it was all mostly legitimate feeling/concern and when I left, Steve asked if he could take me on a date. I said yes, but honestly was in no mood to get dressed out of my rehearsal clothes and be out in public. But he was trying so I went with it. While I was at rehearsal he was talking about reservation times and finding a place. I got home at about 5 and he banished me to the office while he got out my “surprise”. In case you didn’t know, surprises are the way to my heart. I don’t like to know they’re coming (my dad used to always TELL ME he had a surprise for me and it drove me crazy because I don’t like to not know things!), but when I walk in to a note or an iced coffee, I feel totally loved and special.

Finally I was allowed to leave the office and I came out to this

SURPRISE!!!!! If I would have been able to tell Steve exactly what I wanted, I would have asked to stay home and have dinner cooked for me. Good thing he is a genius. I think seeing him in my apron was maybe my favorite part. I’m sorry, but I think men are cute in aprons–does that make me a weirdo? Anyway, he had gone to my favorite store (Whole Foods) and stocked up on my favorite things!

Turns out, he had googled 2 of my very favorite foods (I don’t have an absolute favorite. I just can’t choose. It would change every day.)

Chilaen sea bass

and

Sweet potatoes

Have you ever had Chilaen sea bass?! It tastes like butter. Seriously. It’s pricey, but oh so worth it!

I got to play photographer while Steve cooked–it was a fun! But I realized that taking amazing pictures the way he does is way harder than it looks!

This amazing buttery brown sugar sauce was used to brush the sweet potatoes. I almost never use real butter so I kept sniffing all of the sauces and saying “Butter! Butter! Everything smells like butter! mmmm! Did you get this recipe from Paula Dean?!”

The good thing about staying in? Spending time with our children puppies! “Dad! What are you cooking? Can I have some? I want to surprise mom too with my amazing eating skills. I will share with her if you just give me a bite!”

“Look mom, I’m sitting! Now can I have some foods? Or at least have you carry me around like a prince? That would be nice too.”

“But excuse me mom and dad, when do I get my dinner? I don’t think you understand that the big bowl of dog food I just devoured was merely a snack. An amuse bouche, if you will…”

Once all the prep work was finished, it was time to take everything out to the grill! I love this part–I know nothing about grilling, so I get to stand there and watch in awe, and occasionally flip something.

I have a confession: When I watch Steve cook, I find it so hard not to give him notes/tips/direction! I HATE when people tell me how to cook, but I have such a hard time letting go of control and not being the one in charge. Guess that’s why I became a director haha. Anyway, it is much easier with the grill because I have no tips or intelligent input.

Prettttttyyy fire!

Of course the puppies were near by. “Dad dad dad dad dad!!! Did you drop anything for me? Look, I’m sitting. Would it help if I acted extra cute?”

At this point, I was practically drooling. I’m sure one classy date.

I am seriously so lucky to have the most amazing husband ever. Thank you babe for the PERFECT night and for always making me feel important and special! XOXO

What is your idea of a perfect date?