Hi, my name is Jen and I’m addicted to roasted broccoli

Hi there!

Did you get smacked by the Nor’easter that blew through last night?

We didn’t get snow 😦  but we definitely got the cold. And the wind. And the windchill factor.

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The forecast for tomorrow is not any warmer, either. To the tune of about 19 degrees in the morning. And that’s without the potential wind chill factor.

Good thing I have lined running tights! I’m pretty sure I’ll be running my final long run kinda quick tomorrow. 🙂

So, I have a new favorite way of making vegetables, especially broccoli.

I actually think I may be addicted.

I don’t know what took me so long to try it.

Have you ever roasted broccoli in the oven?

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I mean, I’ve roasted veggies with chickens, pork roasts, etc and I’ve roasted potatoes, bell peppers, tomatoes and onions but for some reason, I never did broccoli.

Oven roasted broccoli is seriously the BEST. THING. EVER.

Well, not according to Thing 2 but she’s crazy. Teenagers, sheesh!

I could seriously eat roasted broccoli every single day.

So, I picked up one of those fancy bags of precut broccoli, cauliflower and carrots.

I had big, big plans for those veggies. BIG.

And, I figured since there was cauliflower and carrots in there, Thing 2 wouldn’t fuss as much if I roasted broccoli – AGAIN.

Yeah, that didn’t work out as planned but I didn’t care.

So, here’s how you do it.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with nonstick spray.

Trust me on that. I didn’t do it once and I was peeling foil off the broccoli.

Put all your lovely cut up broccoli (and cauliflower and carrots, if you want) on that baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. How much you use is completely up to you – I used about a tablespoon for this batch.

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Toss all the veggies in the oil and then sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Then, if you’re a garlic fanatic like me or really worried about vampires, slice up a few cloves of garlic and toss those on the pan.

Give the pan a final toss and get it into the oven.

Roast those babies for about 20-25 minutes.

roasted veggies

If your smoke detector goes off, you may have roasted them a little too long.  But, it’s okay, slightly burnt broccoli is AMAZING!

If you don’t like it, call me. I’ll come eat it. Really.

Om nom nom!

 Talk to me: What’s your favorite way to serve broccoli?

– jennifer

Things I’ve Learned from Running & Panko-breaded Pork Cutlets with Sauteed Tomatoes and Cannellini Beans

Hello, hello!

Happy Thursday!

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I’m happy to report that Christine (my car. read yesterday’s post to learn more) is running fabulously! Although, one of her brake lights is out. :/ Must get that fixed. Fix-it tickets can be expensive. I don’t like expensive.

So, as you probably guessed, I’m a runner. If you didn’t know, well, yeah, I got nothing. (Um, please see blog title.) 🙂

Anywho, I’m a runner. I’ve been a runner since I was a kid but I didn’t “officially” become a runner until I joined the track team in high school. We didn’t have a middle school track team that I can remember, but I did try out for middle school softball! I ran track and cross country in high school and I loved/hated it. The workouts were hard, I got really sweaty and I sometimes felt like vomiting but I enjoyed it. I also ran a variety of road races with my dad – he was a runner, too!

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Washington Redskins, NFC East Champions, baby!

I ran because I had to while I was in the Navy. You know, group PT sessions and PT tests. I kinda drifted away throughout the years – started smoking, had kids, was unhealthy, worked A LOT, went to school at night and earned my degree while playing mom AND dad because my sailor was deploying but I would always return, even if it was briefly.

Then, in 2008, running came back into my life full force. I wanted to make a lifestyle change – I wasn’t feeling overly great about myself – and I had made some friends at work who were runners. They were happy to talk running with me and got me all excited about it! So, I started back up. Because I was no longer smoking (quit in 2004, thankyouverymuch!), it didn’t take too long to get back to comfortable. Oh, don’t get me wrong – it really sucked most of the time. But, I kept at it and my breathing improved and so did my fitness and endurance.

I signed up for a 10-mile race in April 2008.

My sailor thought I was bonkers and told me later that he worried about me the whole time. He said he was SO HAPPY to see me coming and cross the finish line.

And when I did cross that line, I fell deeply, madly, and passionately in love with running.

I felt invincible! I had just run 10 miles and I didn’t die! And, I felt GREAT and had FUN!

Okay, so maybe miles 6-8 weren’t that fun but there weren’t a whole lot of spectators in that area cheering us on.

I ran the Baltimore half-marathon in October 2008 and then Philadelphia Marathon in November 2008.

Did I mention I had just started back to running THAT YEAR?

Crazy? Maybe. Crazy in love with running? DEFINITELY!

Now, I’ve run 6 marathons, 3 half-marathons (one trail and one was in a snow storm!), 4 ten-milers, a 15k and a few 5ks. I’m not really into the 5ks. I’d rather run farther.

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Bling, bling!

Yep. Crazy.

Things I’ve Learned from/while Running

1. Running makes me feel really happy and really good about myself.
2. Running is bouncy – go to the bathroom before you leave the house/start the race.
3. Drinking wine the night before a run/race upsets my tummy.
4. Don’t eat anything new the night before or the morning of a run. Unless you know where all the port-a-potties are or have planned your route to include bathrooms.

    4 1/2. Plan your route to include bathrooms! Unless you live in the woods. Then, plan your route to include trees.

5. If you live in a sketchy area, definitely run without music so you can hear the creeper hiding in the bushes. You know they’re not stealthy.
6. Dachshunds are mean, little, spiteful dogs who will bite your ankles if they don’t want you to run by their house.
7. If you’re running on the road, run facing traffic and pay attention. Not all people are ACTUALLY paying attention while driving. And some think you’re playing Frogger.
8. Running in the rain is actually quite refreshing. Running in a thunderstorm or torrential downpour is not as much fun.
9. Wear reflective gear or tape, even in the day time, but ESPECIALLY at night. But, don’t expect this to help people to see you. Seriously, I’ve been lit up like a darn Christmas tree (headlamp, reflective vest, reflective straps around my arms AND ankles) and almost been hit!
10. Being alone in your thoughts for hours is actually really nice! You can write papers, solve problems, sing songs, sing cadence, figure out how to take over the world….
11. When it’s hot out, make every attempt to frolick through as many sprinklers as possible. No one is watching. Really.
12. Smile. Running is fun!

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Questions!

1. What have you learned from/while running?
2. What was your first significant running event/moment?

Bonus Recipe!

So, I whipped this up last night. I’m so proud of myself. 🙂 And, it was so easy and delicious that I just had to share! You lucky dog, you. Enjoy!

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Panko-breaded Pork Cutlets with Sauteed Tomatoes and Cannellini Beans
makes 4 servings

1 tablespoon coconut oil (or use olive oil)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 egg
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
2/3 cup grated parmegiano reggiano cheese
1 pound pork tenderloin, sliced into cutlets
4 campari tomatoes, rinsed, cored, and cut into quarters (use more if you have big tomato eaters)
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 – 1 teaspoon italian seasoning
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1. Mix flour, salt, pepper and cayenne in shallow bowl; set aside. Crack egg and beat slightly in another shallow bowl; set aside. Mix panko and parmegiano in another shallow bowl; set aside.

2. Heat skillet over medium-high heat; add coconut oil. Once coconut oil is hot, dredge pork cutlets in flour, then egg, then panko/cheese mix and add to pan. If your pan is too small, you will have to work in batches. Do not bunch cutlets together.

3. Cook, turning occasionally, over medium-high heat, for about 15-20 minutes or until pork is cooked through and breading is brown and crusty.

4. In a medium skillet, heat extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add tomatoes, italian seasoning and garlic; saute for about 5 minutes. Add drained beans and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for another 3-5 minutes.

5. Pile it all on a plate and have at it! Om nom nom!

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– jennifer

Happy 4th! Why not grill up some Garlic Chicken?

Hello! Happy Independence Day!

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How’s the weather in your neck of the woods? Are you able to barbecue today? Did you do any fun runs? Going to any fireworks shows? It’s rainy and gray here so I have dinner in the crockpot. I’m trying a new recipe for pork carnitas! Om nom nom!

Big news! I slept in this morning! On a Thursday!

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If that’s not worth celebrating, I don’t know what is! 🙂

So, I tried a new recipe last night that would be perfect if you’re dealing with some questionable weather today! And, if you’re lucky enough to have sunshine, you could certainly do this on the grill! It’s really super simple and healthy and delicious!

Why yes, I do enjoy using exclamation points.

Happy celebrating! Enjoy your day, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing.

See what I mean? I can’t stop!

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Garlic Chicken
makes 2 servings

1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon basil, chopped
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pinches unprocessed sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine garlic, basil, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. If possible, prepare an hour or so prior to cooking so the flavors can meld.

3. Rub the mix over the chicken breasts and place in an ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake 25 minutes or until juice runs clear.

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– jennifer