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

A little “Hope” & some Oven-Fried Chicken

Hello! Hooray for Tuesday! Okay, seriously, is it Friday yet? 🙂

Over the weekend, many CrossFit boxes (aka: gyms) across the nation participated in the workout “Hope” to raise money to help find cures for catastrophic children’s illnesses. You can read more about their mission here: Hope for Cures. My CrossFit box Alpha Omega did the workout yesterday.

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Um, hard.

But not as hard as being a kid dealing with a life-threatening illness. Just saying.

The next time this happens, I want to do this workout on the National Mall. Will you be joining me? 🙂

So, I posted a recipe yesterday on my Facebook page (the link to it is over there on the right) and my sister shared it with one of her friends. Which is fabulous! I love when my recipes or blog posts get shared, commented on, or tried! Makes me happy, happy, happy!

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Cucumber and Black-Eyed Pea Salad! Om nom nom!

But, she said something interesting. Her words describing me were, “She’s a health nut (and an exercise fiend), but she’s a great cook.”

But? What is this “but?”

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I’m glad she thinks I’m a great cook! That actually means a lot to me that she thinks that. 🙂 She’s a pretty darned good cook, too!

However,  it sounds as if being a health nut and an exercise fiend are bad. I don’t think those things are bad. Is that just me? And, are those things (health nut, exercise fiend & great cook) mutually exclusive? Clearly, it’s not impossible to be all those things but is it improbable?

What do you think? Do you have friends who are health nuts? Do they routinely offer you food that they’ve made that isn’t good? Do you think healthy food gets a bad rap? I think it does. People tend to view “healthy food” as bland, boring and bad tasting. (Ooooh, check out my alliterative skills!) It certainly isn’t! Well, unless it’s a Brussels Sprout. There’s a healthy food I can do without, thankyouverymuch. But, when offered a cookie or an apple, do more people choose the cookie because they think the apple, being healthy, isn’t going to be as delicious? Okay, perhaps that’s a bad analogy. I would likely choose the cookie, especially if it’s a snickerdoodle. Yum! And, even if it wasn’t a snickerdoodle, if you were offering me a red delicious apple, I’d probably choose the cookie even if it was flavored with Brussels sprouts because I am SO not a fan of the red delicious. Who decided that should be its name, anyway? I certainly didn’t get a vote.

But, I digress. And now I want a cookie.

Anyway, I’m sure she didn’t mean that I’m a great cook in spite of the fact that I’m a health nut and an exercise fiend. Surely, she meant to use the word AND instead of but. 🙂

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Speaking of cooking, I tried out a new oven-fried chicken recipe that is AMAZE-BALLS!

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Okay, okay. Fine. It should really be called “oven-baked chicken” since there was definitely not any frying involved but who’s going to try that? Sounds boring, doesn’t it? (See….bad rap!) Well, it may SOUND boring but it certainly doesn’t TASTE boring! This chicken is super moist and flavorful on the inside and crispy, crunchy on the outside. Just the way fried chicken is supposed to be! And, it’s easy. And it’s healthy. And, you’ll never know the difference. But, your waistline will. 🙂

Om nom nom!

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Oven-Fried Chicken
makes 4 servings

2 cups buttermilk (or 1 cup plain, nonfat greek yogurt & 1 cup milk)
1/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot pepper sauce
1 pound chicken thighs and drumsticks (I opted for boneless, skinless chicken thighs because they are just easier to cook)
2 cups Panko bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1. Combine buttermilk and hot sauce in a large bowl or sealable plastic bag. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Cover the bowl or seal the bag and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 12.

2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a bowl, combine the bread crumbs with the spices. Working one piece at a time, remove the chicken from the marinade and dip into the bread crumbs to thoroughly coat. (When breading food, it’s best to use one hand for the dry ingredients and one for the wet.)

3. Place the breaded chicken on a nonstick baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, until browned and crisp on the outside and cooked all the way through.

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Per serving:
Calories 310; Fat 7g (saturated 2.5g); Sodium 710mg

Recipe from Cook This, Not That!

– jennifer