Posts Tagged ‘Food’

Run to Munch has moved to RunToMunch.com but I’ll still post here a bit in hopes of getting more people to resubscribe and re-link to my new blog.  =)  Please re-subscribe on the new link, wordpress doesn’t allow me to transfer subscriptions =(.

Our third day in Chicago we go less ambitious.  I wanted to do two things:

1. Visit Brooksfield Zoo

2. Eat at Calumet Fisheries

However, neither were next to each other and each involved a trek of an hour out of Chicago via rail or bus combo.  It was Sunday and we decided to stay inner-city.  Well relatively… since we went north.

Our first stop was a neighborhood called “Ukrainian Village.”  I wanted to visit it and see if it compares to Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, NY.  Alas very few things do but none the less the little village did have it’s charm with being smaller, friendlier and cleaner than NY!

Interesting part of Chicago neighborhood layout is that north is Wicker Park, a hipster hood of “vintage” shops and yummy cafes.  Midday you can see the babushkas walking along side the skinny jeans trotting hipster.

I scouted yelp for a place to feed my belly and stumbled upon Shokolad

Tony was HUNGRY and ordered “Gutsulske Pechenya” which was cubed beef, potatoes, carrots, lima beans, & celery combined in a clay pot & cooked until tender. Served with freshly backed ricotta rolls.  I ended up eating half his rolls while scooping up the soup.  It might have been 95 degrees outside but tasty hot soup is still tasty!

I went a little less heavy and ordered one of my childhood favorites!  Blueberry Varenyky!  Oh how home sick they made it!  I wish there was a place in Boston I could get them.  I could always make my own but I got two left hands when it comes to cooking.  So good with sour cream!

We then continued to walk around the check out the churches and all the residents in their Sunday wear.

This was one of the cooler 10 churches we saw; but I’m not sure which is called what.  Afterwards we took a bus outward to Lincoln Park

They had a really cool green house with free entrance!

The problem with wearing yellow is that I think I confused all the bees!  They loved me.

So many cool orchids!

Giant Fishies!

Aside from the botanical building, Lincoln Park also has a free city zoo!  They guy was feeling the heat as well

And this was my first time seeing a hippo out of water!  They are huge!!!!!! So cool!

We left the park to go search for Fro-Yo, however we never made it to fro-yo

Instead we got distracted by a pizza joint… We saw a bunch of people outside and wondered why!  Chicago Pizza & Grinder over Co.  So we came to a halt of something shiny and walked in.  The guy that owns the place doesn’t take your name, he just remembers your face as you wait to get seated.  Luckily Tony and I are small so we took a TINY but cozy booth right away.  While we were deciding between pizza or continuing for fro-yo, locals assured us we have to eat here, it’s the best, they been going here for YEARS… so how could we say no to the eager faces looking to share their joy.

Tony and I were actually not that hungry so we decided to split a small salad and a half pounder (of pizza).  And yes that’s their version of a small side salad.

The pizza! I’m usually not a fan of Chicago Style pizza being a New Yorker and all I view it more as a pot pie with tomato sauce. However, call it what you might this was quite tasty!

Yes I look dirty and exhausted.  Walking around miles in 95 degree weather definitely throws vanity out the window.

After the pizza and frosty adult beverages I forgot all about the Fro-yo as we walked back south to North Beach where I ran the day before.

It’s so beautiful!  Chicago Peeps you’re too lucky!

We were totally in love with Chi-Town!

This picture was taken from the Navy Pier as night which aside from the city view was very uneventful.  They didn’t even have an arcade… I was really itching to play some skeeball… None the less a great day and sadly our last full day.


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Sorry if you get this post twice in your email, I hit publish by mistake before I was done!

Tony and I took a 6AM flight from Logan to Midway which let us explore the most in day one without having to pay for a hotel the night before.

It was early and after checking into the hotel we started by walking down to Millennium Park… Well actually correction, I started by walking us in the wrong direction (north vs. south).  It was a good mile uptown before I said to myself, hmm the lake seems to be on the wrong side!

I have to admit, seeing a real metropolis distracted me from my usual sense of direction

After doing the embarrassing tourist turnaround, we made our way to the park

They have a very cool outdoor bandshell where an orchestra was performing! Also, what makes Millennium Park even cooler was that 12 years ago it was a wasteland of parking lots and railways and now is one of the greatest urban parks out there!  Per Google this is what is used to look like:

Projects like this always go beyond budget and have a ton of corruption behind them but the results are still so amazing and great for a city.  Down with parking lots up with parks! Roar!

We walked past the smells of Taste of Chicago (I decided to pass on sausages and hot dogs in exchange for finer snobby dining) and made our way to Buckingham Fountains.  We had lunch reservations at 1:30 and it was mind over stomach!

Also a sad but gross display, Toms are comfortable BUT nothing including Toms will be comfortable in 95 degree weather as you walk around for miles being a tourist.  My feet cried for flip-flops and I’m pretty sure these shoes lost 10 months of wear from me pressing in the back.

Finally it was time to walk over to Blackbird for our reservations.  I was super excited after reading about it on yelp, blogs and Anthony Bourdain’s love for Chef Paul Kahan.  I’m an impressionable foodie…

I opted for a 3 course special, I think it was like $25 bucks or something.  My first course was great.  kombu cured fluke with spring mojo verde, spruce tips and lardo.  I love cured salty fish, its the little Jewish gal in me. After the first course, I was excited for the main entree…

Yup.. that was it.  My cat could vomit up a bigger plate of food!  Give me a slice of bread with it at least.  Those are small thin pieces of wood-grilled sturgeon with some kind of sour white sauce on the side.  It tasted great but I was hungrier afterwards then I was before it.

Then there was the terrible service.  It’s not that our waiter was rude, he was quite polite and seemed like a nice fellow, but each course took over 35 minutes to get there.  I get it that when you sit down things take a while to get started but you usually don’t have to wait 35-45 minutes between each plate.

Before the dessert came out, I was wondering if the chef drove out to the woods to pick the blueberries himself.  We got there at 1:30 PM and it was 3:30PM on a Friday.  The place was mostly empty so it wasn’t that they were swamped with orders.  Finally after staring for 45 minutes at my mostly empty plate, this came out.  No apologies, no explanations, as if I really have nothing better to do than sit and stare at an empty plate for 45 minutes.  Don’t get me wrong, the blueberries with hay ice cream, smoked honey meringue, thyme were delicious, but I was starting to get a splitting hunger headache.

Tony got a burger that he claimed was tiny but it looked like a meal fit for a king compared to mine.  Luckily he had some fries that I stole as my plate became empty fairly soon.

Two hours later and more hungrier than before we walked back to the hotel for a nap.

Artsy parking lots?

After nap time we went to a random sketch comedy thing I found on GoldStar comp tickets.  I highly recommend if you’re bored with nothing to do and want to go out check out the comp section.

We walked around Wicker Park, a sort of Williamsburg wannabe.  I loved all the shops, and restaurants and could have started a new home there and been happy.

Luckily for our second meal of dinner.  It did not disappoint!  Cumin, a modern Nepalese resturant was just what we needed to regain our confidence in Chicago dining.

I went with cauliflower florets deliciously cooked in nepalese spices with tomatoes and ginger-garlic paste and Tony went we a chicken curry dish and we had ourselves a happy feast!

So day 1:

– Lots of walking, Toms are bad for 95 degree weather

– Chicago is fun to explore, especially millennium park

– Don’t eat at Black Bird unless you’re not very hungry and have 2 hours to sit and stare

– If you’re in Wicker Park, check out Cumin!  You must, you must! It was so good.  Looking at the pictures is making me drool!

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Back to Running business

As my holiday came to an end I wasted no time in getting back to (running) business.

Tuesday 10.5 miles broken up with 6 for lunch and 4.5 after my slow stretch and strength class.

Today was the same 6 during lunch that felt difficult and draining with the humidity on full blast in the gym.  I went in the late afternoon after everyone worked out so the sweat of all others was fully in the air!

I’m excited for the half marathon in Providence at the end of August and wish it was sooner as I get a little depressed without racing.  I would race Tony but he just gives me a dirty look and says no.

Since I have nothing introspective to write, I’ll entertain you with pictures of what I ate (last) Wednesday since this Wednesday its less picturesque.

Arugula, shrimp and weird coleslaw from the cafe!

My favorite “cooking” creation as of late – quinoa . rainbow of chopped peppers, sprouted tofu with sesame oil and lots of red pepper

Mango and spinach coconut milk protein shake; try not to like it, I dare you!

And yes I have to confess, Georgetown cupcakes is as amazing as everyone says it is. I’m not a cupcake type of gal (cookies are my true love) but this pumpkin baby held my heart for the hour.   It just opened up on Newbury so feel free to check it out!

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July 4th is a special day… not only is it America’s birthday but it’s also Tony and my anniversary and we all know what’s more important!

This year Tony took me out to Salts, a French influenced contemporary American restaurant.  Their own organic farm is located in Canterbury, New Hampshire and I’ve been salivating over photos of their food since I read about it a few weeks ago in a foodie mag.

We started with the highlight of the meal!

Just kidding!  While we waited for our app, the waitress brought over this soup that was a mix of roasted peppers and mushrooms!  So good.  The plate is so big and crazy though.

Next came our appetizer!

Bergamot Cured Ocean Trout that they split between two plate so Tony and I didn’t have to fork it out on who can eat faster so we could eat more.

All for the main course?

All mine!  Just kidding, this was the roasted duck for TWO… or just me on a long run day. Luckily for Tony I only ran a 3 miles that day.  It was perfect, crispy on the outside, soft and juicy on the inside!  I ate the apple herb stuffing and turnips in seconds and then I progressed to the beast.

They carved the duck for us and this is what the plate looked like for each of us.  We almost cleaned it and I thought we did a great job on the duck… that is until I turned around and saw there was still more than half of it left.   We did call it quits and took it to go.  A perfect dinner for later in the weekend.

Tony is hard at work there.

We were too full for dessert but the waitress brought these over with our check and how could we say no to free cookies

Yup, I guess we weren’t as full as I thought we were.

Quality price I pay for always forgetting my camera but I guess memories are memories even in all blurry forms.

One of my favorite dinners with my favorite guy!

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So I didn’t get the coveted Reebok invitation for a fitblog conference in their Boston headquarters.

I guess writing about your undying love for salsa isn’t exactly fit or blog worthy.  So before I take my sorrow out into a bag of Tosititos and a jar of Chichis, I had my own conference to go to.  A tax conference!

I won’t get into the specifications of the exciting world of state nexus, and income repatriation but, I’ll share the eats.

The conference was hosted at the Sheraton in Needham, MA.  Aside from being in the middle of nowhere west of Boston, it was a nice hotel.

Breakfast was fruit, cereals, pastries, and these awesome egg whites with cheese and spinach whole-wheat wraps.

Lunch was a salad, some white fish, and I don’t know what the stuffing in the chicken is but I want more.  Please?

They gave us too many options for dessert so of course I had to test taste them all


It was an all day conference so I had to stay focused somehow

I know you’re jealous, don’t lie.

Upon reviewing my food options, I guess I can see why I’m not invited to health conferences.  No worries, I got a half marathon tomorrow!  It’s all about the carbo loading.. Sugar is carbs, I’m good.

What was also cool was that one of the presenters managed to use this picture in a slide… and they say tax accountants have no sense of humor.

And the best part, the swag!!!

You always need the duckie!  As for the golf ball… that will have fitness use.  I intend to massage my pain in the butt sciatic nerve with it.

Hope you all had a great Friday!

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I must confess, I plan my rest days around the weather.  I take a look at my dinky Iphone weather app and on the day the sun icon is the biggest, I schedule my long run.  Real science at work there.  Although with my work schedule, I only have two options: Saturday or Sunday.  Regards, its cold and rainy this morning and after 5 days of running it was time for a break.

Friday was the first sign of a rest required.  6 Miles – 2incline – 52:30 – 6.9MPH. 

Too slow for a speed workout so I’ll write it off as an easy run even if it felt less than easy.  After my run, I came home and enjoyed some Spaghetti Squash and some frosty adult beverages.

Also, is anyone else addicted to Temple Run?  It’s a silly Iphone game where you run and collect coins.  Pretty simple but addictive. Anyways I finally broke a million!  If you’re in the 5 million and up club, don’t laugh at me!

On Saturday I decided a rest day makes a great day for volunteering. Community Servings is a not-for-profit food and nutrition program providing services throughout Massachusetts to individuals and families living with critical and chronic illnesses. Aside from hanging out with some awesome people while peeling potatoes I get to enjoy an awesome free lunch!

Roasted veggies, spicy taco meat, rice, black beans and a crispy quesadilla!  This is totally worth peeling some potatoes for!  But the real part I came for was the dessert!

Chocolate cake, Ice cream and a toffee bar.  It was a triple birthday party at CS so triple dessert.  I love my birthday but other people’s birthdays are pretty awesome too.  Especially when I get cake!

After some volunteering I put my apron and hair-net away and went to Trader Joe’s to load up on wine for my fundraising party I’m throwing next week.  You think this is a single serving?

And because I haven’t posted a cat picture in a while here’s Agent Meower ready for his bath:

Rest day for the cat

Jack Meower like me is also taking a rest day and is enjoying the comfort of sleeping on my butt behind my legs.

Did you get snow or rain this weekend?  Where are you?

We had 3 small snow storms before Friday and then rain today.  I’m in Boston =)

What did you do with your Saturday?

After volunteering I am now catching up on episodes of Fringe and my book “Girl who played with fire”

What are you favorite rainy day activities?

Mine include ice cream, books and tea!

What about Sunday?  Anything fun?

Hopefully my last longest run before DC.  I’m targeting 26.2 miles

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I’ll start with some happy news.  Yesterday after work I ran 15 miles on a treadmill.  Total time 135 minutes 2 incline.

First 10 miles were run in 88 minutes while the other 5 in 47 minutes.  Also for the first time since I started doing greater than 7 miles on a treadmill runs, I didn’t feel like poop afterwards.  I was hungry yes, but my knees were happy, my stomach was okay enough, and my energy was not wiped out.  Practice may not always make things perfect, but it definitely makes them better!  I went from dying/wanting to throw up after a 14 mile TM run to actually feeling great in the span of 1,5 months!

Now was the less happy news.  I had a bit of a rude awakening this morning.  I did my Inbody analysis.  And lets just say that results since marathon training were not the ideal health type.  No I didn’t gain weight, but I lost muscle which was replaced by fat.  So no weight gain or loss; yay!  Switching muscle for fat; boo!

So first what is Inbody?  The InBody uses bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) [try saying that aloud 5 times!] to analyze your body composition.  BIA is a technique that measures body impedance by sending an electrical current through the body.   How futuristic! Its quick and you feel nothing at all as the current only passes through the water fluids inside the body, and based on the impedance values collected, the body water volume is calculated.  Since water fluids are usually inside muscle tissues, by using the water volume, the fat-free mass can be calculated.  Body fat calipers measure skinfolds to calculate how much subcutaneous fat(fat under the skin) a person has.  According to research it’s highly accurate and not subject to human error (me pinching in different places).  However, water fluctuates and to avoid that its recommended to not eat or drink 2 hours before your test.

Now in summary this shows I’m a healthy, average person who could use a few or many core workouts.  My trunk muscles are non-existent.  This can lead to back problems, bad posture and all sorts unpleasant stuff from working at a desk job all day.  That was already known to me.  Also, between the 6 weeks I did not gain any weight which is awesome being that its winter and all.  I didn’t lose any weight, which is fine since that was not my intention with running.  However, my overall fitness level went down.

I lost two pounds of muscle and traded it in for two pounds of fat.  Clearly with my desire to be healthy and fit, this is not the direction I want to go in.  So I needed to evaluate my recent habits and see what’s going on.

Biggest change in my life for the past 3 months?  I’m training for my FIRST marathon.  Its super exciting and I’m learning everything the stupid way because I’m just that brilliant.

Here are a few reasons for my body change (even if it’s a 2% change)

“Change in eating habits”

I’d like to say marathon training has made me a healthier eater, but it has not.  While before I used to eat a small light meal at lunch (salad or a small deli sandwich from home), I find myself needing bigger meals to get through post work training runs.  My cooking time has also drastically decreased.  I am no longer cooking balanced meals, but instead picking the option of eating out.  When I get home at 9PM post run, I want food NOW, not an hour later once I’m down slicing, dicing and baking.  Tortilla chips and pop chips seem like great options as I savage through my kitchen.  While those make a great in between meal snack, I shouldn’t be adding them in addition to my regular dinner.  Also due to time, I have created a more vegan diet.  I am skipping lean meats like chicken and replacing it with a more fatty protein like peanut butter and other nuts.  Why?  Those are much easier to pop in my mouth as I am always in a rush.  However, while I am keeping up with my protein intake, I’m sure my fat content in my diet is increasing drastically at a higher rate.

Solution: I need to keep an eye on my healthy fats intake.  I need to cut back on peanut butter.  I’ve been really going to town on that jar and eating it in place of a more balanced snack such as an apple or yogurt.  I’m also going to make an attempt to increase my lean meat consumption instead of just relying on nuts to get my protein content.  I don’t feel like I need to cut calories, but I definitely need to change the content of them.

 “Are you resting more than usual?”
I read this somewhere and I think it applies to me.  I am no longer running in addition to my normal activity.  Instead it’s become in place of my long walks or biking or hikes I used to do.  No more Jillian Michaels workouts.  My mind has taken the mentality of “wow I ran far…I can relax the rest of the day”. Before marathon training a typical Saturday was a few hours of hiking followed by grocery shopping, laundry, pretending to clean and then out with friends. I was moving constantly. Now a Saturday involves two to three hours of running followed by vegging on the couch most of the day and a bag of tortillas for “carbo-loading”.

Solution: Don’t let running take over my life.  Even though it’s winter, it’s coming to an end and definitely make a better effort of staying social.  Try to go hiking when the weather is good.  Clean the dust of my bike.  Don’t direct all my energy to just running.  I know this will get easier once I feel like I have the base for running 26.2 miles and am not paranoid that I do not have enough training.  Also cut back on “carbo-loading.”  If I eat healthy, I’ll have enough, there’s no need to find an excuse to stuff chips in my mouth for every meal.

“Calories Rewards”
As my running mileage starts doubling for the week; it has become very easy to say “why yes I deserve a 3pm cookie!  10am cookie, this is just breakfast part 2, I ‘pomise’;” Puppy dog big eyes.

Solution: I really have no need to eat half a bag of M&Ms with my tea before lunch time.  Save my sweet tooth for 3PM.  Cut giant cookie in half or have a few M&Ms.  I don’t really need both items.  Better yet, but a cool kid and half an oz of dark chocolate.  I hear it has some pretty nifty health benefits.  Also just because I have free baked dessert at work available daily does not mean I need to take advantage of it daily.  Grab an apple instead!  If I’m not hungry enough to eat the fruit, then I’m definitely not hungry enough to eat the cookie. 

“Building glycogen stores”

Another reason for my loss of muscle and gain of fat could be my glycogen stores.  Everyone and their great-aunt know about the importance of glycogen storage for distance.  Your body automatically stores water with the glycogen and that might lead to weight gain and a reading of less muscle mass.

Solution: None needed, it’s okay I should be happy with this as my races are coming up.

“Rebound Hunger”

As common with others, (I am not a unique snowflake) I am not feeling very hungry post long run but am famished the next day.  Problem is when my hunger is out of whack, I make silly eating decisions.  “Why yes, peanut butter brownies make an excellent breakfast” vs. a normal oatmeal serving like a normal child.  Repeat this for a couple of days a week and bam fat/weight goes up within a few weeks of training.

Solution: Seriously, as stated earlier in this rambling, I do not constantly need to be shoveling chips, almonds and M&Ms into my mouth.  Take the time to eat an actual meal so I don’t find myself famished when my metabolism catches up to me.

“Lacking of Strength Training”

Also, I need to make more time for strength training. As my running mileage increases, I still have the same limited amount of free hours in a day.  This leads me to cut out my strength workouts I used to do.

Solution: Take the time to cross strength.  Skip a run and do a Jillian Michaels workout instead.  Do 5 minutes of planking a day.  Wake up, Plank up, shower and head out.  It’s not too complicated, I just need to stop finding excuses.

Basically the conclusion is, although its great that my endurance is growing, I need to stop using my running/training as an excuse to eat crap (chips, how did this habit start) and avoid weight/strength training (I really hate weights and non cardio workouts).

Have you ever one of these body composition analysis?

Have you ever noticed changes in your body as you were training for something?  What were you training for and what changes did you notice?

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