Happy Sunday! Just wanted to take a break from my books to fill you in on some of the random things I’ve been up to this weekend. Strange title – yes – but don’t worry, all those things didn’t happen at once!

Let’s start with sharp knives. One of the things my lab professor said in class last week is that a sharp knife makes all the difference in cooking. So. True. I have this beautiful Global chopping knife (much higher quality than my new chef’s knife) that I received as a gift many many years ago, and I let it go unsharpened for far too long, to the point that it’s been pretty useless for awhile now. I finally brought it in to Broadway Panhandler on Friday to be sharpened (it’s recommended that you get your knives sharpened once per year) and prepared a salad with it that evening. It’s amazing how much easier prep is when you are armed with the proper tools! So get your knives sharpened, folks. It only cost $5 for my mid-size knife and was worth every penny.

   

As discussed in my last post on basic cooking methods, I recently learned how to properly sear chicken breasts (among other things) and finally got a chance to test my new skills. I got the oil nice and hot and added some rosemary and garlic cloves to the pan. I seasoned the presentation sides of the breasts (the smooth side, where the skin used to be) with salt and then placed the breasts presentation side down in the pan, since the first side to be seared gets the best golden coloring. I made sure they were not touching, since this interferes with browning. I seasoned the top side and walked away, letting them cook for five minutes or so. As they were finishing up, I basted the top side with the hot infused oil, to start the cooking process before turning them over and letting them sear on the other side. Because I didn’t pound the meat to even out the thickness, I had to turn the breasts on their sides a few times once both sides were seared to make sure the meat cooked evenly. When they seemed done, I inserted my thermometer (first time using it!) in the side to check the internal temperature, which confirmed they were ready. And voila – delicious, moist, seared chicken breasts! Such an improvement on how I used to cook them. I ate one with kale and sweet potato after my 13.5M long run in Central Park – a very nutrient dense and tasty meal!

My run wasn’t quite so successful. It was okay and I enjoyed catching up with my running buddy, but my right hamstring has been bothering me this week (hence the two cancelled runs) and halfway through my long run my LEFT hip started to feel tight too. My left side never gives me trouble! So I’m resting today and seeing a physical therapist on Tuesday morning. I’m sure it’s just a question of not stretching enough, and most likely getting a little carried away with my track workouts. I also am doing a fair amount of brisk walking to and from campus, often with a heavy backpack, and not sleeping enough, so that may explain why my body isn’t too happy with me! Hopefully a week of taking it easy and some targeted stretching and strength training will do the trick. I want to make sure I’m in good shape for the NYC Half!

Moving onto flashbacks – check out this photo that my mom sent me yesterday! That’s me on the right, age 15 (that’s 15 years ago!), after one of my high-school cross-country races in California. So crazy – I don’t think I’ve ever seen this photo before. It’s not a great photo, but I wanted to post it because that was the year I started to run! Apparently my parents have a few more photos from my first year on the cross-country team – can’t wait to see them.

  

Fast forward back to this weekend in NYC – it’s fashion week, as some of you may know. One of my good friends from college is a designer at Tibi, and invited me to her show yesterday. I’ve been dying to see her designs on the stage for years now, and have never been involved in NYC fashion week, so I was really excited. What a different scene than I’m used to – my first thought when I walked into the main entrance was, “Whoa, this definitely is NOT a marathon expo!” It had the crowds and the same kind of buzz in the room, but obviously it was as opposite as you could get! I got slightly dressed up and I *think* I managed to kind of blend in, but I felt a bit out of place. I don’t think I’ve worn anything but running gear, pajamas, jeans and sneakers since school started! I had a great time though – my friend is SO incredibly talented, and it was really fun people watching. I recognized a couple semi-famous people, and had some good laughs from the crazy outfits I saw. Nice to get a glimpse into someone else’s world for a couple of hours! I got to go backstage afterwards too, which was pretty cool.

   

I just want to make one comment about the models, since this is a blog about health, nutrition and fitness. I of course expected them to be extremely thin, but in person they somehow looked even thinner than I had imagined they would be. I know this is the norm and it’s also an ongoing problem/debate in fashion, but it made me sad to see just how malnourished they looked. Whether it was their natural body type (they all looked very young) or they were actually anorexic, or a bit of both, I’m not sure. The clothes certainly were beautiful – but it’s hard for me to see how a young woman who is THAT skinny can be considered attractive. Or let’s put beauty aside – because the real focus is the clothing – I don’t really understand how that body type is a desirable vehicle for the clothing. Does it hang better? I definitely do not claim to know very much about the fashion world – and I’m sure designers carefully select their models for specific reasons – but as an outsider, athlete and nutrition student, those are my two cents…

All I know is that I’d be one sad woman without things like this delicious pizza that I just made!

  

This was perhaps the best pizza I’ve made to date. I used a few different ingredients than last time – in addition to red, yellow and orange bell pepper, shallots, garlic, baby bella mushrooms and cherry tomatoes, I also used zucchini (regular rather than baby), sun blushed tomatoes (my favorite kind from London), and kale. I also tried putting the shredded mozzarella beneath the vegetable toppings (last time I did the reverse) and sprinkled feta on top. I think this definitely worked better. I also cooked all the different vegetable toppings separately before adding to the pizza rather than sautéing them all together, to ensure each was cooked optimally (this was suggested by my cooking textbook). I ate half the pizza, which is probably overkill given I haven’t moved all day, but it was just so delicious. Glad I ran long yesterday! At least it’s whole wheat, the shredded cheese was part-skim and all the toppings were very nutritious.

Time to get back to my books – it never ends!

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