29 August 2011

I Ran for Chocolate....

This weekend was a great event called The Chocolate Race up in beautiful Port Dalhousie in the Niagara region. There was a 5K, 10K and 10mile full of chocolaty goodness! This race, as I'm sure you can guess, was 85% female but kudos to the gents out there as well - the odds were certainly in your favour! When my friend Fran told me about the run I was instantly hooked and then when I told the ladies who I'm helping train for Detroit about it, they wanted in too so we made it in to a road trip, met a few more friends up there and had a great run!

It was overcast and very windy and the course was all hills but it was a great route mainly on trails and along the water's edge.  As usual, I'm thankful for the people out on their front lawns, with their cups of coffee cheering on total strangers with homemade signs and lots of spunk! Half of our group did the 10K and the rest did the 10miler but no matter the distance we all had a blast.  Along the course the water stops included chocolate-dipped marshmallow & strawberry kabobs, soft serve chocolate ice cream in addition to water and gatorade.  Post run was a buffet of chocolate crossiants, chocolate milk, truffles, salted caramels and more! It was certainly a choco-holics dreams and I think my sister-in-law Tiina better get ready to do this with me next summer!! 
my medal :)
I was overall happy with my time (1:46) which if I can keep that pace for 3 more miles then I will be on track to meet my 2:17 goal for Detroit in less than 2 months time.  I am amazed sometimes as how strong I feel during a race - as much as I worried about not being prepared for this run, I felt great pretty much until the last 500m and that makes me feel confident for my next race.  10 miles is a pretty perfect distance - I think it will be a hard time to decide what I like better between that and a 1/2.... I do run for chocolate - not only in races really but in life.  I run for balance.  To even out the treats with the healthy items.  To keep my heart and body strong.  I run for me.  I run because I can.  I run because I can't fly.  I run for life.  

24 August 2011

I believe in...

"I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles."

- Audrey Hepburn

21 August 2011

Friends & Fiesta

So what better to do on a Saturday night than cook up a storm for a few people such as my sis and friend Sarah.  I yet again lucked out at the market and scored a bunch of gorgeous poblano peppers! The perfect reason to cook up a Mexican fiesta! Plus it also means a trip to Mexico Lindo grocery store where I relish the chance to speak Spanish to someone!! Hola!

After the lentil salad overload of last week, I felt that there would likely be little leftovers of these bad boys if I were to make Julie's Poblano & Corn recipe along with some chicken tacos and fresh pico de gallo salsa.  It was a lovely night, with open windows, a cool breeze through the house and then some chatting on my new sofa.  

If you are like me and could readily eat Mexican food every night, you are sure to like this one.  
- char the poblanos - I usually do on the bbq but it was raining (and admittedly I'm slightly scared of the bbq) so I just broiled them until the skins burned enough.  Let them cool a bit and then peel the skin off - just make sure not to touch any part of your face because it will burn.  Trust me on that one.  Ouch.  
- In small pan, saute diced red onion (about 1/2 a large onion) in oil until semi-transparent.  While these are heating slice the poblanos into thin strips. If you don't like it too spicy make sure to get rid of all the seeds :) Toss these in and saute.  
- Toss in a good amount of frozen corn (I think I used about 3/4 bag) and then cover with milk or cream, bring to a slow boil and then down to a simmer and let stew.   

For my tacos I poached chicken breast in boiling water with salsa and 1/2 a poblano and then shredded it.  Amazing, juicy and slightly spicy meat - perfect contrast with the fresh pico de gallo.  Today I felt the need to run 6.5 miles to get rid of the guilt of eating this much deliciousness! But it was most definitely worth it!

18 August 2011

Lentil Salad Overload

So here is the thing with cooking for one...I'm pretty much used to cooking for 5.  T used to eat for two at dinner (plus me is 3) and then two more portions for each of us for lunch.  I'm not used to scaling down yet - I try but I'm not always successful as with this week's lentil salad.  

So Tuesday night I made a lovely piece of wild salmon lightly seasoned with salt, pepper and fresh lemon.  To accompany I made lentil salad. As per usual I didn't have a recipe but here is what I'm pretty sure I did! 

Bring a bot of water to boil and then add 1 cup of lentils (beware 1c dried lentils will make double when cooked) and cook uncovered on medium heat for 15-20min.  Chop various veggies that you enjoy in your salad - I included tomato, carrot (shredded), cucumber, peppers and onions.  Drain & rinse 1 can of chick peas.  When lentils are finished drain and rinse w/ cool water to stop cooking process.  Mix everything in a bowl and top with dressing and sliced almonds.  Dressing was 4 parts grapeseed oil to 2 parts balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp honey, 1 clove garlic minced.  Put in jar and shake well until blended.  ENJOY! 

Now since I had this massive salad I have enjoyed it for Wednesday lunch and dinner and lunch today.  It goes well with Turkey burgers, chicken breast and pretty much whatever else is in your fridge!! It's a good thing I was raised to enjoy leftovers - Oy!

14 August 2011

My inner Alanis and life's ironies

Life is kinda full of ironies...

Like on Friday when logging in to Facebook, there was a little note in the top right corner that said "Your status from today in 2009" which happened to read "First day in Finland = First day of shopping" reminding me that it was the 2nd anniversary of the day we moved.  Last week was also the six month mark of our official separation which means that we can officially now file for divorce.  So two years ago was the start of a whole new life and now it's the start of a whole new life.   Weird.  Poetic. Ironic. 

Jess & I headed up to visit Ana in the big smoke this weekend.  She single mom'd it last weekend when her hubbie went to Vegas for four days so it was time for a quick getaway before the school year begins and summer ends which really is just around the freakin' corner.  So here we are - two nerds about to hit the town! We arrived by train early evening, quick freshen up and then we headed out to The Keg where Ana was working for the night and hung out there on the gorgeous patio.  Ana's man T.O Double D (aka Todd) met us there, along with a few other friends and we dined on steaks and garlic mashed and closed the place down! It most certainly reminded me of many Friday nights after work finding a hustling city patio with friends and enjoying food & drinks in the summer air.  Makes me miss the city.  A lot.  Our Saturday was filled with shopping, coffees, sushi and then we gussied up again to hit The Drake hotel for a lovely dinner.  

After the most delicious meal and Salted Butterscotch Pudding for dessert (and by delicious I actually mean that if I could have stuck my head and/or my hand into this mason jar to scrape out every last morsel, I would have) we then went over to visit a friend working at The Bowery and met up with a few more pals and chatted the night away.  There really is just something that makes you feel a bit more alive being back there.  I kinda feel more like me there.  It's just that being at this crossroad I remember that the only reason I left was to come home and marry T.  The city is full of people I don't know and there is room for new adventures and fresh starts and I am not Lindsay the divorcee there - I'm just Lindsay.  Sometimes it's kinda nice to be anonymous and not have to have memories hit you in the gut everywhere you turn. But I know now isn't the time to make any more changes so it remains just a remote idea in my head.  

Now, no adventure is complete without at least one crazy character and here is ours... We took the train up so that we didn't have to worry about parking and rush hour and mainly so we could just relax and read trashy and/or fashion magazines.  It just so happened that there was a nerd  bachelor party of 7 Americans headed up to Toronto for one last hurrah.  You know they are serious when they bought the Frommers Guide to Toronto.  Pictured here is the groom (whom we affectionately referred to as the DoucheBag) showing off "his stack" which was actually 200 single dollar bills in his suit jacket, Captain America Tee, ball cap, plaid shorts and running shoes.  When they asked where they could find a place to "spend their singles" (which I have to admit likely do work a lot better than loonies for the manner in which they were intending to use them) I made up a few locales such as "Vaginarama" on Yonge Street which they then tried to find in their guide book....but since I made it up most likely they got lost along they way :) 

Anyways, as always the weekend was too short, the laughs were many, sleep was minimal because we stayed up talking until past 3am each night but well worth every second.  I guess there are always ironies and there are always new beginnings and life is good. 

11 August 2011

Daily Gratitude

My whole life I've been a journal'er.  Putting my thoughts in to words at the end of each day to keep perspective, to capture moments and to find gratitude.  Blogging does a lot of the same for me but I still journal for those thoughts I'm not ready to share with the world just yet.  I sat with a friend on the weekend and tried to help her find perspective after she received a lay-off notice from her job.   She was spiraling down into despair of how horrible her life was, how over weight she was, etc and my question to her was "what are you thankful for?".  Sometimes I wonder if my friends want to punch me in the face for my positive attitude.  Here's what I think: 

There will always be times in our lives where we feel down on our luck and sorry for ourselves but if we take a moment to shift the focus on to what we are thankful for we can see that in fact, it's not the end of the world.  We have the choice at that moment to dwell in the negative or find something positive that we can hold on to like a life preserver.  There is always someone out there who is worse off, someone fighting a harder battle and no one lives their life without challenges.  

So in the midst of our talk I told her about this great online service called Happy Rambles which is an online gratitude journal.  It sends you an email at the time of day that you select (if you want to go to bed grateful or wake up grateful) and asks you "what are you grateful for".  And all you do is email them back with the 3 or 5 things that you are grateful for and they journal it for you.  See you are never too busy to be grateful!! I think it's great.  Then you can't forget your gratitude moments and it sends you what you wrote the day before so you can also remember those things.  It's just a great way to take a few moments and put things into perspective and realize that we can always find something to be grateful for - even if you are just grateful that you had today.  

Every moment in life is what makes us who we are - the moments of happiness as well as the moments of struggle.  Be thankful equally for both because they ultimately are what shapes us.  Be thankful for something as small as a great cup of coffee or something larger such as a great love or a successful project.  Taking those few moments will actually help you try to note things to be thankful for during the day and hopefully bring a smile to you more often than not.  It's just a few moments here but at the end of the day, we really should be thankful for having that day because life is short but your list of blessings should be long. 

07 August 2011

Wedding Weekend

This past Friday - my cousin was this beautiful bride.  To say she looked stunning would be an understatement.  I remember that day and that feeling of just pure excitement and happiness all in one.  The look on Jeff's face as she made her way up the aisle was priceless.  The giant smile on her face from the altar as she looked to her family and friends warmed every heart.  It was a lovely day.  I honestly didn't know what I was going to feel like stepping in to church to attend my first post-breakup wedding but it was actually fine.  I was just so happy for them that there wasn't any part of me that was sad.  I do have some definite ideas for my next wedding and look forward to the day when I will have that great love again.  Now after watching the movie Bridesmaids, I have made Mary promise that they will re-enact a Wilson Phillips song, while dancing on water and with fireworks in the background.  

Rawna and I enjoyed being each other's dates - yes we did dance cheek to cheek at one point and I yet again led the family in The Hustle.  I don't know what it is about a fully organized, choreographed dance number but I pretty much rock it.  And there is usually a photo from family events with me leading the troops.  As you can see in this photo, my sister is sneaking back to the table because she still cannot follow the steps.  I also apparently look like my legs are a million feet long! We amused ourselves through the night with choosing winners for our categories.  (Categories are predetermined prior to arrival at the event).  Now I won't be so mean as to naming the winners on here, although I did try to get photographic evidence of most, but I'll list some to give you an idea.  Best dress - Worst body (Ie: Dress is cute just not for your body type) Worst Up-do.  Worst Footwear.  Biggest Trainwreck (ie: most overall chaos and/or drunkenness) Worst Undergarments (ie: most in need of Spanx) Most 'interesting' Couple.  Us & our new gay friend Tony had a fun time nominating people! 

Mom & Dad                  Sister, bride & me                    Cousins
So a fun time was had by all and again makes me grateful to have the family that I do.  Wishing Megan & Jeff a wonderful, happy and blessed life from now until forever. xo

03 August 2011

Steamy & Shrimpy

Today was yet another muggy, humid, sticky day.  Don't get my wrong, I love the heat of summer but I just don't enjoy the days where you can't even breathe the air.  And don't even get me started on the effects of this on my hair - it's not pretty - at all.  So in this steamy situation, I was craving something light and fresh and delicious.  So Shrimp Tacos with Fresh Mango salsa was the result: 
They are super easy, super delicious and a perfect summer meal.  (Really any mexican meal is the perfect summer/winter/spring/fall meal!) 

Saute some fresh ginger & red chili flakes in grapeseed oil, then toss in the shrimp (I like to chop the shrimp up before I saute).  Cook until pink and opaque in colour.  
Toss on to fresh corn tortillas with aforementioned mango salsa and fresh sliced avacado and ENJOY!