Portsmouth Stay-Cation

I call visiting Portsmouth a stay-cation because I usually just hunker down with the twin and her pup. We don't explore that much anymore. Sometimes I get antsy by this because I love going out to new restaurants and exploring new places, but I love just being in the presence of my sister. And who doesn't love cuddling with a dog?! If you don't enjoy that we won't be friends. I got to Portsmouth Sunday evening and went for a quick 3 mile run after being in the car forever. I am also trying to stay on top of my training while away which is hard. I cooked up some "power" bowls for dinner (aka quinoa, chicken, roasted brussels/carrots/mushrooms, avocado, and siracha). We of course had some wine with dinner. Monday morning I slept in a bit and got ready for a bit day in Portland. I should have ran in the morning but the weather said it felt like -12 out...no thanks. Instead I spent the time preparing and getting ready (no I do not normally need a full morning to get ready). I also managed to get a little bit of homework done.

Around noon time Greg picked me up to head to Portland. What a guy to be willing to travel with me :) We had a blast (in my humble opinion). For a recap of my eats in Portland please see my previous post. It was a seriously delicious day. We watched Neighbors 2 and then Greg and I also watched How to Be Single. So funny.

Tuesday morning Julie and I got up to run 4.7 miles before the snow storm. It was flurrying but not bad out yet. Then I ventured into downtown Portsmouth with the pup to get a cup of coffee and coffee beans to take home. Why is it that I spend $15 on coffee from Portsmouth, but won't do the same and splurge on Speeder and Earls at home? I don't know, but that is going to change.

I got some homework done while Julie worked from home and then come 2pm it was time to start out movie marathon. First up, Safe Haven. Such a good Nicholas Sparks movie. We had some tea while watching and the electricity only flickered off twice. The wine was insane. It knocked down a huge tree across the street. We also watched Amy Schumer's Leather Show on Netflix and laughed for the whole hour. That evening I made pasta carbonara with chicken, kale, peppers, and onions. It turned out delicious. We also enjoyed a glass of rose that I got this past weekend (thank you Dad!). I had googled what to eat with rose because I figured it would be worth while. We ate that while Julie caught up on Greys Anatomy. Then we watched 10 Things I Hate About You and boy do I love that movie. We ended the night with Chicago Med before we both fell asleep. I would call that a good snow day.

Wednesday I woke up to sun and a dog jumping on me. Is there any better way to wake up in the morning? I decided I would do some homework in the morning while Julie was at work and then go outside for a run and to play with the dog. Well after lunch (leftover pasta carbonara) I ventured outside and made it .36 miles. There aren't any neighborhoods that close to Julie and the sidewalks were nowhere to be found. The roads are also very narrow with the snow and once I was sprayed by a plow twice in a matter of 5 minutes I turned around. It wasn't worth the frustration or the potential danger. Instead I shoveled out Julie's neighbor which hurt my arms so much. And then threw some sticks in the yard for Lyla to chase.

I'm sitting here having a dilemma. I am trying to get my runs in...but it's not going well. I'm not one to go to the end of the moon (that's a saying right?) to get these things done. I am getting better about convincing myself to run on mentally tough days. And while I didn't want to do it, I did make it outside and start before turning around. I called Julie's gym and it costs $25 to go for a day...um poor graduate student over here...I'll only go if Julie goes too because then the price gets cut in half. I'm also cooking dinner tonight to pay my keep as Julie put it...and I want to cook something epic.

I ended up combining a few different recipes to make my own version of Jeanne's amazing lasagna which she said comes from a cookbook called Silver Palate. I switched it up by using a bechamel recipe with olive oil and adding ground turkey and more vegetables and different cheese.

While I was cooking the lasagna we heated up garlic bread from Shaw's because there is no such thing better than bread when it comes to me and Julie. I also bought us some Apothic Inferno, which was soooooo good! Definitely one of my favorites. The bourbon flavor is spot on. I served salads on the side of the lasagna and more garlic bread of course. See below for the recipe.

We ate dinner while watching This Is Us and then watched a movie called Impossible. It's about the 2004 tsunami and it was so moving. I definitely teared up at times and Julie, Greg, and I were on the edge of our seats. Well not Greg so much. Lyla was snoring so that brought us back to reality.

Before leaving Thursday morning I went for an early 5 mile run with Julie. It was cold, but the sunrise was beautiful and I loved exploring side streets of downtown Portsmouth with her. Portsmouth is such a pretty town. Headed out around 8:15am to get to Boston for my informal interview and what do you know...another cylinder in my engine broke. Nothing could stop me from getting to Boston though and it's a perfect excuse to spend the night at home before driving back to Burlington in the morning.

Lasagna for the Soul (adapted from The Silver Palate)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 medium eggplant, cut small
  • 2 bell peppers (I used red and orange), cut small
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 8 ounces lasagna noodles
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese
  • 1 jar tomato sauce (look for one without sugar!)
  • 1 recipe for bechamel (Angerer, 2013)
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup flour
    • 2 cups milk
    • spices as desired

Method

  1. Cut the vegetables while cooking the noodles according to the package directions.
  2. In a large saute pan cook the onion in some oil for about 2 minutes before adding desired spices (garlic powder, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, etc.). Then add the peppers and eggplant and cook well.
  3. Once vegetables are no longer crisp pour them into a bowl and cook the ground turkey in the same skillet. Cook until no longer pink.
  4. While the turkey is cooking, mix the olive oil and the flour in a pan for the bechamel sauce. Once combined and no longer lumpy, add the milk stirring consistently over medium heat. You will need to continuously stir as the sauce will thicken and clump/burn. Do not let this happen. Once thickened, remove from heat and stir in desired spices.
  5. Spoon half of the tomato sauce onto the bottom of a pan. Add a layer of lasagna noodles. Top with the turkey and then the vegetables. Cover with 1/2 of the bechamel sauce and about 1/3 of the cheese. Then add the other 1/2 jar of the tomato sauce before topping with the last of the noodles, bechamel and cheese.
  6. Cook in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Cut into pieces according to your hunger level. Great with a side salad and some crispy garlic bread.

 

 

References:

  1. Lukins S, Rosso J. The silver palate cookbook. New York, New York: Workman Publishing Company, Inc. 2007. Print.
  2. Angerer D. Olive oil bechamel - the blog. http://www.danielangerer.com/. Published May 7, 2013. Accessed March 15, 2017.

My First Marathon

My twin sister ran her first marathon a few years ago. In Napa Valley. Talk about go big or go home, am I right? My parents and I went with her because well she couldn't rent a car yet and we all clearly wanted to sip some vino. We had a great time vineyard hopping before and after the race. I ended up biking the last 5k next to my sister because she needed a little motivation. I simply took embarrassing pictures of her and told her that her legs were still there.

(This was not an embarrassing picture I took of her but rather a very embarrassing picture of myself...thank you mom. But it does capture the moment quite nicely.)

julesontherun

Afterwards she cried, looked terrible, and complained for days. I vowed I would never run a marathon. Ever. This girl is six inches taller than me and made it seem like the worst experience ever. My little legs would clearly struggle. (Side note: since then my sister has ran three marathons, qualified for Boston, and developed a passion for becoming a running coach. I don't know it seems like she may not hate it...)

julie-race-happy

Then there is my friend whom I run with. She likes to equate running a marathon to giving birth. Meaning that it's terrible and painful, but once you cross the finish line it's totally worth it. Well now I'm not not running a marathon AND I'm not having kids.

So why now? What made me change my mind? 

For one, I watched the marathon this past year and the atmosphere was so invigorating and exciting. I love races full of hype and wonderful spectators.

On the other hand I was running with my friend one day (yes, the one who thinks marathons are like child birth) and she was like "why don't we run the marathon?" I shut that idea down real fast. But then she elaborated with "what better way to graduate from grad school than to also run a marathon?!" That idea hit the spot... This would be my first marathon to top it off (and maybe last, let's not get ahead of ourselves).

So I bit the bullet. I registered for the Vermont City Marathon and the Unplugged Half Marathon. Why not right? Then I went out and bought new running shoes...since when does it cost so much to exercise? But I am in love with my shoes...

Rotations ended in December and I slowly picked up my mileage. Let me just tell you that after a year of hardly any time to exercise, it feels so great to be back at it. Currently I'm at 20 miles a week. I'm happy with that, but also ready to see what I can handle although I wish it would warm up already...The other day I ran when it was 11 degrees. I had three layers on under a down vest which is not made for running. I also had a ski scarf and hiking socks on...

Just like I can't stop thinking about graduation, I can't stop thinking about the marathon. It's going to be two great weekends back to back. One weekend I will spend with my parents celebrating my future and finally being done with school (I think my dad may cry out of sheer joy) and one weekend spent with my sister carb loading and crying through 26.2 miles...

For now I am going to enjoy my running scenery, my running company, and the time that I have to run. Stick with me through this journey. It will be painful for me, but most likely comical for you.