Long Over Due Update and Honey Roasted Eggplant Sandwich

I know, I know it’s been much too long since my last blog post and much has happened, some of which will explain my lapse in blogging.  Since the trail run in my last post I have completed 3 more 5Ks, a 6K and a 7K.  The holiday season is a big time for races in Arizona as it’s too hot in the summer months to run/walk unless it’s super early in the morning.  The holidays also wrecked havoc with my healthy eating (don’t they always?) but I’m slowly trying to get back on track with cooking more frequently and making my choices healthier when I can.  Now comes the big news and the main reason for my hiatus…. I BOUGHT A HOUSE!!!!  Yup, after going back and forth and then finally searching for one I found a house.  I closed mid December and moved in right around Christmas.

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With all the races and the holidays and everything else I was without a kitchen for quite a few weeks and then just too busy to cook (ok that’s totally an excuse for eating badly and I admit it).  My kitchen is now in full working order and I absolutely love it!  Tonight I’m testing a new idea and decided it was a perfect time to start up the blog again.  Last night I just couldn’t sleep and suddenly I had an idea for a brilliant sandwich combination, so good in fact that I felt compelled to text my friend in Australia about it and then I promptly fell asleep.  It’s a good thing I did send the text or I probably wouldn’t have remembered it today.

Honey Roasted Eggplant and Goat Cheese Sandwich

  • 1 Eggplant
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Honey
  • French baguette
  • Goat Cheese
  • Arugula (Rocket)

IMG_20140127_181237IMG_20140127_185723Cut the eggplant into about 1 inch cubes.  Salt liberally (about 1/2-1 Tbsp of salt depending on size of eggplant) and place in a colander over a large bowl.  Salting the eggplant will pull out some of the bitterness and will also prevent the eggplant from soaking up so much of the olive oil when roasting it. Let the eggplant sit for about half an hour.  Rinse under cold water and then press between kitchen towels to remove the moisture.

 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Put the eggplant on a baking sheet and drizzle with enough olive oil and honey to cover all of the pieces.  Salt and pepper then mix to coat then spread out evenly.  Check on the eggplant every 10 minutes until tender and caramelized which will take about 30 minutes.

Cut off desired length of baguette and slice in half.  Brush lightly with olive oil and broil in toaster oven or oven until edges start to brown.  Spread goat cheese onto bottom half of bread.  Top with eggplant and drizzle with a little honey.  Place arugula on the eggplant and lightly drizzle with olive oil and then top with the other half of the bread.

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The sandwich turned out amazing and was truly the sandwich of last night’s dream 🙂

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It’s OK to be last

For the last few years I have been doing various 5ks with my sister.  We have a blast doing them and they keep us moving.  Sometimes my sister will run (she has been battling sports injuries for a while so it depends on how she feels) and sometimes she will walk with me.  I ALWAYS walk.  Years ago after I lost all my weight the first time, I did a half marathon.  During training I really messed my knee up so I decided after proving to myself that I could do the 13.1 that I was done running and would stick to walking.  I usually do 5Ks but will do up to 5 miles depending on the race. We have done all sorts of races, races for causes, races for fun, color runs, mud runs, butt crack of dawn runs, big runs, little runs and we love them all.  One thing I have come to terms with though, especially in the smaller runs, is that I will most likely be last, and I really am ok with that.  Smaller runs, especially runs in their first year(s), tend to be attended mainly by runners and not very many of them at that.  So logically me being the only walker I will be last.  Want to know why I’m ok with this?  It’s because I did it. I go out there and I do my best and I meet my goals by just finishing.  I know there are people out there that will snigger and giggle at the heavy people out there in their exercise clothes that may be too tight (why do they not make readily available and affordable plus size exercise clothes????) as they are walking behind everyone else or at the gym sweating beyond reason but you know what?  They are doing it and that is all that matters.  This weekend I did the first in a series of trail runs with my sister and I PROUDLY finished last.

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BTW, my time really wasn’t that bad considering it was a 5k trail run and not a super easy trail at that.  58:21

Kiss Me Dirty!

This weekend my sister and I participated in the Kiss Me Dirty Mud Run with a group of wonderful women!  It was a blast as usual.  The KMD races raise money for local gynecological cancer research.  In Tucson the race helps the University of Arizona Cancer Center.  So not only are you getting dirty and having fun but you can feel good about the reason.  This is the second race our group has done and one of the best parts is coming up with the team names and themes.  In March we were the Lady Bits: League of Extraordinary Women and we all went dressed as superheroes (and a few villains 🙂 ).

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This time we were the Tartan Tatas and has some fantastic shirts made.

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Although I do have to say the competition is tough and we need to step up our game with team names like the Baracooters and the Desert Clitortises.

1395371_10200727568820050_830592557_nThe race itself is a lot of fun.  There are several obstacles along the way including fireman’s poles, rope ladders, teeter totters, a color station, and obviously a lot of MUD! 1392040_10200727574980204_1476717589_n We always have a great group of ladies doing the race.  We have pooled people from friends, family and co-workers.  My favorites are when we have our mother-daughter pairings and of course sisters and cousins are always awesome.

The age range for the team ran from teenage to almost 70.  The older ones are absolutely amazing and I hope that when my sister and I are that age that we are still doing these events!  Even though they said they felt like they were going slow or holding us back (and they were not doing that in any way) my sister pointed out that all of us were winning over those still on the couch.  So kudos to Jan and Peg you are heroes to all of us!!!!!

1374146_10200727582820400_862231528_n1393456_10200844997669032_1127349105_nSo check out the runs in your area.  They don’t have to be a competition they just have to be fun and maybe you can raise a little money for a good cause.  Get out there and be healthy!

 

Espirit de She

20131010_173634One way I enjoy getting in some exercise is doing running/walking events with my sister.  For the most part we stick to 5ks but we throw in the occasional 6k, 7k, 10k or 5 miler.  This week we did a mid-week, night event called the Espirit de She.  It was an all female run at Tempe Town Lake on Thursday night.  This was the first time they had done this particular run in Phoenix so there were a few kinks.  The event was originally supposed to be in Scottsdale and about a week before we all received calls saying that the venue had changed.  They also advertised it as having a night market that was supposed to have fresh produce, crafts and local artisans and there was none of that which was really disappointing.  There were some things that they advertised and delivered on like the bubbly bar and a spa tent.  The bubbly bar had mimosas with either orange juice or grapefruit juice and they put fresh raspberries and blueberries in them.  You got two free drinks with your entry fee and that was a nice treat after the walk.  The spa tent had mini massages, hair braiding and nail painting.  I partook in a nice pre-race massage and some of the other girls in our group did massages or hair braiding.  The post race food was also a little disappointing since it was advertised as tapas but it was just Jimmy Johns sandwiches and chili (if you got there soon enough for the chili).

crossing the bridge

crossing the bridge

All in all it was an ok event but definitely was not as advertised and I don’t know if we will be doing it again next year.  I always walk at these events and my sister goes between walking and running.  At this even we met up with some friends and all walked together so it was a lot of fun just walking and talking.  So even though it didn’t meet expectations it was still fun and a great way to get out and get moving.

Bellytastic Weekend!

A healthy lifestyle isn’t just eating right it’s also about getting out and moving.  One form of moving that I enjoy is belly dancing.  I have been belly dancing for the last year and I absolutely LOVE it.  Dance has always been a large part of my life.  Growing up I started with ballet and over the years I added on tap and jazz but ballet was always my favorite.  As time went on my body decided to no longer play nice and I have some knee issues that aren’t very compatible with ballet.  About a year ago a group of friends and I decided that it would be fun to try something new and take a belly dance class through the local community college.  Needless to say I fell in love and continued to study with the teacher, Kathryn Ferguson, at Xanadu Dance Studios.

bellyThis weekend was full of dance with a dance party Friday night, a show on Saturday night and a workshop today.  Friday night was just a small party with some performances for dancers to get acquainted and to meet the guest performer and work shop leader Frank Farinaro.  It was in the Cabaret Theater at the Temple of Music and Art and was a lot of fun.  The next day was a big showcase called Mediterranean Nights with several groups performing several types of dance and performances.  Some of the highlights were Dr. Costa who was one of the most talented guitar players I have ever seen, Ava Mendez an amazing belly dancer, several dance troupes and of course Frank!  If you want to see some fantastic dance check out this video of Frank Farinaro on YouTube.  Today was a workshop taught by Frank.  The first part of the workshop was working on pops, locks and pendulum movements.  A lot of these isolations were new to me and challenging but in a good way.  The second class was all about brining the traditional belly dancing back to belly dance.  He spoke about how a lot of dancers use so much fusion in their “belly dance” that they end up losing the roots and he demonstrated ways to bring it back in.  As I was watching the video I linked above again I actually noticed one of the steps that we reviewed and went over in class.  It was a great experience and an absolutely amazing first workshop for me to start with.  I look forward to many more in the future.  Obviously I would highly suggest to all of you to try out a class and see what you think but the truly important thing is not that you try belly dance but that you get out and move, belly dance is just a fun way to do it 🙂

Apple Annie’s Produce Extravaganza!

Me

Me

This weekend my sister and I took a trip out to Apple Annie’s which is an orchard and produce farm about 90 minutes out of Tucson.  You would think that having lived my entire life in the area and a large portion or it considerably closer to Apple Annie’s than I am now that I would have been before but sad to say this was my first visit.  And let me tell you both of us were like kids in a candy store!

My Sister

My Sister

I will not share the exact amount that was spent but our haul was magnificent with several projects in mind.  One of which, and the most important one, is the apple butter of our youth.   Apple Annie’s is divided into two main areas.  There are their orchards which consist of many varieties of apples, a few varieties of pears and peaches.  Also, located at the orchard is the gift shop and bakery where they have several varieties of apple pies, apple bread, fudge and canned goods galore.  On this trip we picked over 30 lbs of apples including golden delicious, Rome beauties and granny smiths and then over 20 lbs of absolutely beautiful Asian pears.  Of course we couldn’t leave without getting a pie, some bread, fudge and the fresh apple cider needed for the apple butter (ok, ok I know this part wasn’t exactly healthy but you can’t be good ALL the time).

Apple Orchard

Next we headed over to the produce stand where they have fields of you-pick vegetables of all sorts along with the biggest pumpkin patch I have ever seen and a very large corn maze.  Yet again we went a bit over board on the veggies but they all looked so wonderful we couldn’t resist. I got acorn squash, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, pickling cucumbers, green beans, tomatoes, patty pan squash (the perfect size for stuffing), sweet corn, jalapeños, a regular pumpkin and a pie pumpkin.  It was a very “fruitful” visit to the farm and we are both looking forward to all the things that we will be making, enjoying and sharing with friends and family.  So to each of you I say visit your local orchards, produce stands, farmers markets and you-picks to get some fresh local yumminess and more importantly make some memories 🙂

Apples and Asian Pears

Apples and Asian Pears

Veggies

Veggies