Archive | Food RSS feed for this section

Show Me the Chocolate!!!

30 May

So, if you haven’t wandered off yet…. I’m still around-ish! (though choosing “consistency” as my word for 2 years in a row seems to be um…less than effective!)

And if you have wandered off…COME BACK!!!

Please!

Anyway, if you’ve been around a while, you might have caught on that I love running the Hershey Half Marathon every October. Well, every October for the last 3 years anyway!

The Chocolate Town Challenges group also puts on a 10K in April which I’ve never done because, I think this is the reason, it is the same weekend as a local 4 miler. Or, I’ve just missed out on registration by the time I realize “hey! I want to do this this year!”

So, this year I finally got my stuff together enough to make sure to register back when registration opened (maybe on Jan 1?) and was looking forward to adding this one to my yearly schedule!

As with a couple other events (Hershey Half and the Marine Corps Historic Half) I headed over to Pennsylvania on Thursday afternoon. Now, normally it’s a nice drive. Uneventful. Unfortunately, I left right around the time a pretty significant thunderstorm was hitting the tri-state area so except for about 20 minutes of sunshine in New Jersey it was a rainy, tense drive!

BUT…I made it to PA and Jennifer’s house safe and sound. The plan was to work at “home” on Friday and the 10K is on Saturday. Jennifer was volunteering at the finish line so we decided I’d just do day of bib pickup and we’d wing it from there!

No real swag with this one – some coupons for cookies and discounts at HersheyPark. But a cute shirt!

Short sleeve shirt because it was “Spring” 🙂

Weather was chilly and windy, I wore my Redemption capris in Frolic and a generic black pullover and my ambassador beanie!

The course is obviously different from the half – it starts out the same, circling the HUGE parking lot and then instead of going into the park, we headed out to the highway. Which, in case you were wondering, is kind of a long slow climb!

Then a bit around the Outlets and soon into the park, through a back gate! NB: Why is every amusement park in the world built on so many hills? ß-Legit question I would like to see an answer to!

Finished the same as the half only didn’t have to run the WHOLE stadium track, just a bit – grabbed a water from Jennifer as well as my post race treat bag. ASIDE: THIS is something that Hershey does SO well. For this race it was an insulated lunch box filled with some goodies – including a gigantor oatmeal raisin cookie and a 10K Magnet!

And then I headed to the car to put my things away and get ready to meet the boys to go to the park! Happily, the volunteers got a free ticket voucher so we waited in a long line to redeem and we were set to go!

After a few coasters we decided to leave – none of us were feeling great (and 2 of us were really tired!) I did get a picture with my favorite chocolate bar…though he was a bit put out about my sweatshirt…

I spent the rest of Saturday and some of Sunday hanging with the family before heading home with Phred.

Another great Hershey / Chocolate Town Challenges event that I will likely be doing again!!

Medal and lunch bag

My next race? Well, actually it was going to be the Walt Disney World Half Marathon – yes, the one they do in January!
Also, volunteering for the Dark Side Challenge and 5K!

Yep – that means I was heading down to one of my super Happy places!!

But hold on, it’s about to get kind of confusing!! 🙂 Get ready to time travel!!

O’ – All the Shenanigans

26 Apr

Happy April and belated Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Haven’t been so great about keeping up in March, and most of this month,  but let’s turn over a new leaf. Again 🙂

Every year around St. Patrick’s Day, the Hartford Marathon Foundation puts on a few 5K races. In the past, there were three. This year, FOUR! So that meant 2 weekends of 5 K’s. Starting with…

The O’Shenanigans 5K

This was the new one. Run in Cheshire/Southington CT and finishing up on the rails to trails path behind the Kinsmen Brewery (a new not even open at the time brewery!) It was cold this Saturday morning — well, not cold actually. It was FAH REEZING!!! Like…11 degrees air temp with a wind-chill near…1. So it was a layer up and hope for the best kind of day!

Swag was a colorful buff which came in handy in the cold!!

The course was, as advertised, a flat out and back. The back was on the path which was really pretty. I ran my new favorite intervals of 45:30 which seems to be working for now. The finishing snack was a Kinsmen beer and some really delicious pizza along with the usual Main Street Bakery bars/snacks and water!

After we finished snacking, Kathy and I headed back to the house to warm up. She headed home to RI while I showered and got ready to head over to RI for the night. Tomorrow’s race would be in Putnam, CT which is closer to her house than mine – plus I hadn’t visited in a while so it would be a nice time!

Sunday afternoon’s race is …

The Courthouse O’Putnam 5K

Putnam is a nice little town up in the northwest corner of the state. This is probably the 4th or 5th year I’ve done this one and it’s a fun day. This one is no where near Flat. But I kept to my intervals, mostly – there’s one or two pretty hefty hills to get up!!

And, it was another chilly day for sure!

And today’s swag was a great knit cap! They’ve learned from prior years and this year it’s a hat that will actually stay on while running!! Bonus!

Post race is a delicious corned beef sandwich (really the only time I have one!) and, of course a beer – which I enjoyed!

We also have a post race tradition of stopping into the little hole in the wall bar (literally, if you didn’t know it was there you’d miss it!) – we stopped in here after our first O’Putnam and have come back every year since. This year we sat at the bar and had a great time talking with the bartender/owner? learning some history of the building and hearing some great jokes!  At one point she commented on the fact that she thought we were familiar and so we told her we come in every year!

As we were leaving she hollered out “See you next year!”

Then it was time for me to gather my things, and my dog, from Kathy’s and head home. I had a big week ahead. In addition to the 2 final O’Races, I was throwing a Skirt Sport Trunk show open house and needed to get the house somewhat presentable!

The O’Niantic 5K

Saturday morning following St. Patrick’s Day, I headed south on Hwy 9 to meet up with Kathy for Saturday’s 5K – Niantic is a great little beach town and this 5K is another fun one!

Once again, I bundled up – though fortunately it was a *little* warmer than last weekend – I think we were getting up into the 30’s this week! It was supposed to be a fairly sunny day, but the clouds moved in before the start and didn’t really go away at all.

Swag report – great green gloves! The kind that you can keep on and still be able to take pictures and use your phone!

Again I kept to my intervals, except for that one big hill!

At the end of this race, we got our doohickey to hold our medals together and we also got our “Lucky” mug for doing all 4 of the races!! We also got some vegetarian chili and a beer! After hanging out at Smarty’s for a bit I headed back towards home to grab my voucher for the Trunk Show food and go get that picked up at Noodles and Company!

Then it was time to shower, finish setting up and wait for friends to show!

And, finally, the last race of the series:

The O’Hartford 5K

This year was a year of many changes for this race! New location, new craft brew festival put on by Small State Great Beer.

O’Hartford is a late starter …like 1 in the afternoon late! Which means we got to sleep in, which was nice. And the sun was shining fairly brightly too so there was some hope it would be a little warmer.

But the wind was also blowing so it was still pretty chilly out-

Final Swag – a Pair of Run Irish Socks! And also, I got a replacement for my “Lucky” mug that I managed to shatter in my driveway the day before…

We headed down an hour or so early, to beat road closures and park. Then my friend Pam let us hang out in her office before the race to stay warm (and, bonus! Indoor potties!). Her parents were meeting her down there so when they arrived we headed over to the start.  I was curious to see how I’d like this new course.

Again, kept to my intervals except on the bigger hills (I know, I just need to get over it..see what I did there?) and had a fairly decent finish.

Post-race we grabbed some sort of soup…and beer. This time we could choose from multiple CT breweries and I think I chose well (except at this late date I can’t remember though I think it was from 30 Mile Brewery)

After goofing off a bit we went back to Pam’s office where I may have had a second beer – but a smaller coffee mug sized beer 🙂  And by now it was getting pretty late – so we all headed to our respective homes.

All in all, it was a really great couple of weeks! I had hoped that it would motivate me to get back to a regular running schedule but so far, I’m still hoping…I’ve been feeling really scattered and like there are other things I need to get under control before I get my running back in line — more hoping that Spring will snap me out of my slump!!

All Of The Pictures – 

Using our awesome new buffs to help stay warm…#foggyglasses

All the Skirt Sports winter gear! Love my Toasty Tights, my Toasty Vest and my beanie!! I wore those pants every race during the series!

Swag from the first two races…

PreRace Niantic…I need to get back to Dublin one of these days…SOON!!

Post race Niantic!

This outfit again?!!

Swag from last 2 races…

All the medals, and extra glass. For drinking. Water

 

Coming up next — the Greater Hartford Quarter Marathon!!

Did Someone Say Chocolate?

12 Nov

Playing catch-up again!!!
So, in a nutshell…

Hershey Half Marathon – a fun, cold chocolate and friend filled weekend!

Marine Corps Marathon – a fun, friend filled weekend with a fairly disappointing race

Wine and Dine Half Marathon – seriously. At Disney again with my Ohana?! It’s a win-win situation!!

Up first –

Hershey Half Marathon

After running this for the first time last year (review of last year’s adventure is here!) I’m pretty sure it’s going to become an annual event – I left work early that Friday (what? You didn’t realize I was working again?! Hah! Well, there’s a story there too!) and headed over to PA with my trusty sidekick

IMG_3564

He doesn’t really have a triangle coming out of his head!

My friends Jennifer and Mark were going to be at Disney the week prior to the half, coming home that Saturday and Jenn very graciously offered my their house so I could avoid hotel costs. We got to their house around 7 Friday evening and settled in with snacks I’d brought from home.

Saturday was expo and HersheyPark day and I was hoping to run into a few friends.

This year they moved the expo over to the stadium, outside. In the cold wind. And I’m not sure why but the crowds seemed much heavier this year – there was a wait in line to get bibs and then a separate wait in line to get shirts/swag. And as you can expect there were some complainers in the crowd!

IMG_3575

I picked up my swag and shirt

IMG_3577

And also a pair of BondiBand compression socks since I’d forgotten to pack some of those! Then it was time to head into the park…

Where I ran into the Grace clan and joined them on a couple of rides before heading out to get my long awaited Phillie Cheese steak over fries that I loved so much last year!! Which worked perfectly since my new pre-race carb load dinner has become very meat and potato centric in the last 4-5 years.

IMG_3576

Race belt makes an appearance so that I have a place to store the chocolate from the chocolate mile 😀

I got my clothes all laid out, and everything I was going to need for 13.1 the next morning and got into bed. I expected the family to come home in the wee hours and wanted to get in a few ZZZZs before they did.

Before I knew it my alarm was going off and it was time to get up and dressed. And I had hoped to get Phred out for a walk before I took off. As I was heading out the door, Jennifer, Mark, Brian and cousin Roger came in so I happily left Phred in Bri’s capable hands 🙂

 

Unlike last year I expected the traffic and left early enough to avoid it. I was, however, unable to avoid the cold wind! There had been talk of us all meeting up pre-race but the only person I managed to find was Cannon (on account of he’s so tall and was wearing his purple Dopey cap!) and once we entered the starting area we split up so he could get to the front of the line where he belongs!

Things started on time and the course was as I remembered. Which is to say, hilly – but gorgeous with great crowd support where needed. And, as last year, my favorite part was running through the Milton Hershey School grounds – those kids are all completely awesome!!

The chocolate mile this year was Hershey Kisses! And, spoiler alert, so was the medal!!

IMG_3580

I finished up with a decent time but not great…and headed back to the house to take a quick shower and get on the road home.

It was great to see Jennifer and Mark, even though it was a very brief visit and, as always, a nice visit with the chocolate 😀

I was looking forward to heading back out the next weekend for my Fifth Marine Corps Marathon – I’d be running with friends for the first time and was sure we would have an awesome time. Plus I’d get to see my Disney Ohana again!!

 

Paris Wrap-Up

3 Oct

First of all, if you’re just joining me, WELCOME!!! And go call your friends, I bet they’ll enjoy it here too!!

Wrapping up my Paris marathon trip – but first, if you want to catch up (or refresh your memory!!)  here are the links to all my Paris posts!!

The Official Start of my Trip

Some Filler…. 🙂

Flying to Paris! 

Marathon Expo!

Saturday in Paris

Le Marathon de Paris

Time to Shop!! 

It’s Always a good day for Champagne

Another day of shopping 🙂 

Cooking School!!!

So, our trip ended with the usual trip to the airport, lines through Passport control, security and of course some Duty Free shopping. And the lounge. And I had on some fancy footwear!

leaving

That’s right…this really happened!

My trip ended like it started 🙂 In the Star Alliance lounge. There were yummy snacks and beverages but mostly there was some sad…..

IMG_2789

A few random thoughts:

I had a really nice time, and sometimes it pays to splurge and stay in an awesome hotel that you might have otherwise overlooked.

This was the first time that Eydie and I had ever been on a trip together (not counting Girl Scout camp!) and we should do it more often!

E is not a runner but did the 5K with me and did AWESOME! And one thing we talked about, that is really so true: When the bombing at the Boston Marathon happened, Eydie said she was kind of surprised by the response, mainly from the running community. How everyone seemed to be affected, like they’d been there or had friends/family there. After hanging at the expo and doing the 5K she simply said “Now I get it”. Runners are family. A tribe. No matter where we are.

I can’t wait to go back to Paris, to France. And take more cooking classes and learn more about wines. And, yeah, to eat more of those…..

And, yeah, I definitely need to head back and do that marathon thing the right way — there is definitely a PR waiting for me in France!!

And now, some shots that I maybe didn’t share with you earlier…

IMG_2782

One of many views of the tower

IMG_2720

The Cathedral at Reims

IMG_2597

One of many failed “jump shot” attempts!

IMG_2684

We climbed up these stairs in one of the champagne houses, up from the cellar

IMG_2740

Didn’t actually make it to the Louvre but…

IMG_2752

French onion soup…in France.. 🙂

IMG_2753

Tasty short ribs

IMG_2645

Marathon spectators…and entertainment!

This was a really great trip, and I can’t believe it took me six months to finally finish the story!!! But there you have it – thanks for coming along with me!

 

Cooking Like the French Do!

3 Oct

IMG_2757

When we were planning this trip, one of the very second things we decided to do, after running a marathon and drinking the champagne of course!, was to take a cooking class. I mean…really…how could I not?!

One thing that we knew we absolutely HAD to do in Paris was take a cooking class! Now, I love to bake but I’m pretty plain Jane when it comes to actual cooking grown up food. I enjoy reading recipes and thinking I’ll make some more fancy stuff, but I never do. This would be a chance to learn some new stuff that I’d hopefully be able to use.

Eydie thought I might want to do something related to baking but real food seemed to be the way to go (though, trust me, there were a lot of baking offerings as well!!)

We registered in advance and on our final day in Paris got up early for breakfast and headed out to meet the rest of our group at an outdoor market. The plan is that you shop for your ingredients then head back to the school to do the actual prep and cooking. And EATING!!

As a side note, to continue a recurring theme of this trip, our chef/teacher was from…yes, you guessed it….Texas 🙂

After deliberation, we selected to make scallops (the other options were lamb and veal, which BLECH!). We shopped for our scallops – in the shells still mind you! – as well as some veggies to roast, some cheese and berries for dessert.

It was really interesting to learn about some different and new (to me) veggies as well as hearing about how cheeses are made and aged and what makes them different.

Once back at the school we unpacked our goodies and started the prep work. With 8 of us things went pretty quick and it wasn’t long before we sat down to enjoy our scallops and roasted veg. We were also able to enjoy some nice wine.

The scallops were cooked very simply – salt and pepper and seared in a hot pan. The veggies were tossed with olive oil, some herbs and salt and pepper and stuck in a hot oven while we did the work on the scallops All of this was served with a really delicious, and surprisingly easy, hollandaise sauce – all plated in  a very lovely manner…

IMG_2758

A stack of veggies in the middle with my three scallops…notice the artful “smear” of sauce…

Remember the scallops were in their shells? Well…you know we had to clean those suckers ourselves!! I seemed to be the only one having trouble even getting the darn thing open! I got some help with that and was soon cleaning away with everyone else.

<insert no picture taken of the struggle!>

Our main course was followed with the cheese plate that we had put together in the market and also our berries with whipped cream. One thing that made the whipped cream really tasty was that we added lime zest when whipping. By hand.

Once lunch ended and we said goodbye to our new friends, and took the mandatory medal selfie,

IMG_2770

And medal shot….

IMG_2768

Eydie and I headed back to E. Dehillerin so I could pick up a Staub coquette – I had gone in looking for Le Crueset but really liked the simple black Staub. And, bonus, we had a coupon from the cooking school so once again, my procrastination and indecisiveness paid off! And I also decided to get a set of grown-up tongs!

 

After wandering around a bit (okay, I got us a little lost!) and found this park….

2015-04-16 07.56.35 - Copy

we headed back to the room. I still needed to get some Eiffel Tower medal shots. E was tired so stayed in and I headed out once again making a stop at M. Georges for some macaroons for Phred’s babysitter (and, who am I kidding, me!) and of course the kouignettes which totally lived up to the reviews!!

grosplan_kouignettes

This is a pastry that is Right up my alley — slightly crispy puffy pasty with chewy gooey caramely goodness

Once I’d stocked up I wandered to Le Tour…where I hung around long enough to see them lighting it up for the night!

IMG_2780

The medal visits the Eiffel Tower

IMG_2783

I am not smiling because I have to leave tomorrow…

IMG_2787

There’s a great light show that ends with this!!

I didn’t hang out too long, since I still needed to finish packing and get some sleep – the shuttle was coming pretty early in the morning and after our trip FROM the airport, we were prepared for a very long ride out!

Up next, my final (sob) Paris post – really a wrap-up and recap along with some extra pictures that will hopefully make you smile!!!

I would HIGHLY recommend finding a way to take some sort of class on YOUR next trip to Paris! I know that I plan on it!!

 

What? MORE shopping?!

9 Aug

We had a definite shopping plan for Wednesday — I had discovered a couple of thrift store ideas in my Guidebook and Eydie had her heart set on a Louis Vuitton bag.

First up though, of course, breakfast. Which I thought I should share with you here!!

IMG_2755

Delicious brioche and those wonderful flaky croissant…

IMG_2756

A nice selection of meats and cheeses..and pickles! For breakfast!!!

IMG_2754

The breakfast room – we generally sat in that corner by the window!

After gathering our maps and bags and water and….we headed out to find goodies! Eventually we made it to Reciproque – a series of second hand shops along the Rue de la Pompe.  After my window-shop at Hermes on Monday I was itching to see what I could find at a more “bargain” price. I also thought I might be able to score my own LV bag at less than retail prices!

There wasn’t much to be had in the first couple of doors but then I hit the motherlode (though the shop owner wouldn’t let me take pictures!) Racks and racks of scarves from all designers. Sorted by color. So I dove right in!!

And managed to get a couple of decent bargains – relatively speaking!

IMG_2747

IMG_2751

This Celine scarf has some amazing vivid colors!

IMG_2749

We left the 16th and decided to visit the Sacre Coeur and Montmartre. It was our first real foray into a really touristy area and it was packed!! We wandered up the narrow streets and stopped in on La Cure Gourmande – a shop filled with loads of different biscuits and sweets (we made a stop on our return to purchase said goodies!)

And we made a couple of stops in some of the tourist shops

IMG_2740

Since I didn’t make it to the Louvre…my medal still needed a shot with Mona…

We made the climb up to the Basilica and went inside…

122

 

It was a fairly hazy day but the view is still awesome

128

 

And..of course the medal had to come out!

127

We walked down the backside of the hill…through a tiny market and a couple of small streets with cafes, bakeries and a couple of macaron shops… My favorite was the Maison Georges – chocolate sculptures and chocolates and macaroons and an awesome new treat..kouignettes. I got a few macaroons and some chocolates. But I had plans to go back!!

139

Chocolate Eiffel Tower!

Then we headed back towards the Champes Elysee and Eydie’s big purchase of the day 🙂

We had the most amazing salesgirl — and when she asked if we wanted a drink…water or champagne..of course we had an answer

IMG_2744

And Eydie got her bag – and I have to admit to feeling a little envious!!

IMG_2745

We headed back to the room after our time at Louis V and found a place to go have an actual French-type dinner — it was a small spot out by the Louvre that didn’t really seem too touristy…and the food was REALLY very good!! And I’m pretty sure I had creme brulee for dessert!

IMG_2752

Yummy French Onion soup…. mmmmm

IMG_2753

Braised short ribs…I need to learn how to cook these!

On Thursday, our last full day in Paris, we were going to go to an actual Parisian cooking school for shopping and lunch!! A great way to spend our final hours in France

 

10-Day Be Vibrant Cleanse — The Wrap Up

5 Mar

bvc_3d_cover_large_DIY_01-215x300

A few weeks ago, a fellow Sweat Pink Ambassador sent out the request for people to try the Be Vibrant Cleanse – and I responded since I am ALWAYS looking for way to amp up my healthy eating.

The cleanse includes a detailed meal plan, with recipes as well as a private Facebook group. Every morning you will wake up to an email from Mary Jane in your inbox – a bright bit of motivation to start you day, with hints to get through the day, and do some advance prep! And, for this Spring, she’s running a 50% off deal for my readers!

Overall, this was really quite easy. Lots more food prep than I usually do. But probably a normal amount for someone who hasn’t slacked off on actually making meals!!  And tasty food. Basically you follow a vegan / gluten free meal plan for the 10 days and as much as I love my cow milk I did get through with very minimal milk craving! I can manage with no bread products for a couple of weeks so that wasn’t a stretch!

Breakfast was generally oatmeal, quinoa, berries or a smoothie — which aside from the quinoa, I tend to do anyway. The difference here was cooking my oatmeal in Almond milk instead of water as usual. Loved getting some new variety in my smoothie repertoire – especially with my new NutriBullet to lend a hand!!

Each day included 2 optional snacks – and after the 3rd day or so, I wasn’t hungry between meals so I tended to skip those.

The meal plan had a lot of variety for lunch and dinner.  Though, since I only cook for one, and many of the recipes make at least 2 servings, I ate leftovers probably more than I should have. But I stayed with the spirit of the cleanse.

054

These are tricky to work with…but kind of tasty!

I think the only thing I ate that I hadn’t had before were the brown rice tortillas and the roasted beets – but I have been wanting to try roasting beets for some time and this was my push! I don’t think I ate anything that I couldn’t tolerate, and I ate quite a few things that I’ll definitely be making again!

Some of my favorites were the Stuffed Peppers

051

Spicy, with Quinoa and Black Beans

And the Quinoa Sweet Potato Chili

056

Serious Noms!! And even this Texas girl didn’t miss the meat!!

And this White Bean and Artichoke spread that, really, I can eat with a spoon!!

055

Great tasty spread to use on wraps or as a dip with veggies!!

 

So, given my complete lack of motivation since finishing up with The Dopey Challenge back in January, I’m pretty impressed with myself for getting through this.  I will confess to a coffee cheat a couple of times though – Couldn’t stand the withdrawal headache. Next time, and there WILL be a next time for sure!, I will prepare myself with some buffered Vit C powder!

If you need a jumpstart – or just want to reset things – definitely go to Mary Jane’s website – Live Love Fitness –  and check this out!!! I’m so happy that I did this – way easier than a #Whole30 for me and I am much more sustainable, for me, going forward!

And, don’t forget, let Mary Jane know I sent you and get 50% off!!

Standing Up

Three Months of Travel, Making Merit, and Searching for Peace

The Pioneer Woman

Plowing through Life in the Country...One Calf Nut at a Time

Diabetes and Donuts

A Type 1 Diabetes Blog By The Girl With The Dead Pancreas Who Can Eat Whenever and Whatever She Wants

pamruns

This WordPress.com site is the cat’s pajamas

Mommy Day by Day

Taking it one day at a time

Eat. Drink & be Skinny!

Simple secrets to living a clean and colorful lifestyle!

Pink Running Kicks

Quitters Never Win and Winners Never Quit!

Dizzy Dancing Dope Runs Disney

My journey from a dancing runner newbie to DOPEY @ Disney 2016

Distractions of Debbie

Crafting, DIY-ing, Running, Disney, Cycling and whatever else catches my fancy

jmrockowski.wordpress.com/

Mom. Travel Lover. Part Time Princess. Full Time Muggle. Exploring the world with my family one trip at a time!

NCF FGFOA

North Central Florida Chapter FGFOA

glamrunner

Fun. Fit. Fabulous.

GooberMonkey

When exercise just isn't enough....

Fairytales and Fitness

When exercise just isn't enough....

Scootadoot

fitness, food, friends, fun

SPARKLY SOUL BLOG

Where do you find your sparkle? Where do you find your soul?