Sunday, March 31, 2013

Let's have a Kiki! I wanna have a Kiki....

I've been having a bit of a weeklong Kiki myself, so I figured the best way to finish of my week of Kiki madness is to have a post about the random things that have occurred throughout the week of the Kiki! I know I'm a bit late as far as this song goes, but I love it and it's been stuck in my head this past week (Also, to the right is the video that inspired my Kiki madness). For anyone who is out of the loop (which was me until quite recently) a Kiki is basically just a really laid back, chill party where you gossip, have fun, relax, and perhaps take part in a little casual debauchery. Although I haven't literally been partying all week, I've had quite a few late (and fun) nights, and I've also taken a bit of a Kiki from blogging. This is just a random post of some of the fabulous things that have happened during my weeklong Kiki that I thought others might enjoy, no new recipes, but I'll be back to regular blogging this next week. I apologize in advance for my excessive and often horrendously incorrect use of the word Kiki, I just love it so much that I've been using to replace every word that makes sense.....and many that don't.

The J Brands
Elizabeth & James
Lena Dunham and I are polar opposites...... 
She clearly has no idea that pants even exist, and I have more pants than I know what to do with. This problem was made slightly worse (or better, depending on how you view the situation) by the fact that I had an impromptu Kiki at the melrose location of Wasteland and found some awesome pants.......which I then proceeded to buy......obvi. The first was a pair of printed J Brand skinny pants, they are from this season and were actually in the most recent issue of people style watch, yet somehow I found them in my exact size at wasteland for $40! Also, I have been wanting a pair of camo pants for awhile, and I found a pair of awesome Elizabeth and James Grey/Black Camo skinny pants for $40. SO excited about these purchases it's actually hilarious. Also, let me just say that Wasteland is amazing, I always forget how awesome it is until I go back. Now don't get me wrong, it takes patience and time to find the true gems mixed in with the piles and piles of butt ugly clothes that even a homeless person would refuse  to wear, but it's worth it when you find that awesome deal or two. I spent probably 2 hours looking through the racks at Wasteland before I found my beloved pants.

It's not always black and white, but in this case it is: 
I have been crazy for black and white dresses, skirts, pants, and tops recently. I think it's a combination of watching too many of the fashion shows from fashion week, watching too many french movies, and my zebra dreams (I'm not joking, I have been having lots of dreams about zebras lately). I love anything that's a bold, black and white pattern or print, or anything that is white lined with black, or black lined with white. I found a dress recently on Ruelala that got me more excited than a Kiki on a hot summer night, so I ordered and magically, two weeks later, I was wearing it to work. I'm in love.

Had a Kanye Kiki: I love Kanye; yes, this a little known fact about me that many people are surprised to find out, but I am absolutely obsessed with all of the music he creates. The man is a genius, and as if I didn't already love him enough, he is now dating  Kim Kardashian, one of my favorite people who's famous for......well being famous I guess? Let's be real though, the Kardashian reality shows on E! are one of my biggest guilty pleasures, and Kanye West's music is just my straight up favorite thing ever, so the fact that they are being united is awesome. Anywho, back to the topic; Kanye West's music has rocked my socks since I was a babychild many, many years ago. I remember exactly what I was doing the first time I heard "Gold Digger" (driving in the car on the way to Orange County with a starbucks drink in hand) and I was so obsessed with "Love Lockdown" when it came out my freshman year of college that I almost failed my first Calculus midterm because I stayed up listening to different performances of "Love Lockdown" rather than studying the night before my test (this is a true story, my freshman year roomate can attest to this). I was looking for an acoustic cover of homecoming, and I found something amazing, take a listen.....I hope you enjoy!

Beautiful flowers on our hike
Fresh Produce at the Farmer's Market! Nomsss
Had a Kiki on the Trails: 
My good friend went hiking with me on Saturday, and he took me on a trail that I have never been on before! It was an easy loop that was just over an hour long and it was really beautiful. The trail wasn't too crowded, and the weather was perfect for hiking. We started out at the trails on the top of Reseda where we've hiked many times, but we took two smaller trails that I had never been on that branch off of the main fire trails. The second trail in particular was really beautiful, and surprisingly lush considering how dry the surrounding trails are. The hike was a success, but just to be safe, we went to the farmers market afterwards to make sure our day was extra faboosh.....because I mean what says fabulous more than fresh fruits and I right? (In case you were wondering if that was sarcastic or not, I don't even know, so good luck)

I also took a bit of a Kiki from running:
 Last sunday after my long run, I had major achilles tendon soreness in my right ankle, and knowing that it could turn into something much worse if I continued to run on it, I took 4 days off from running and any other strenuous activity (aka bicycling and elliptical  to properly let it heal). I am glad to say that my ankle is feeling much  better now, and I ran 14.5 miles today with no ankle pain. I definitely know why it happened though, it's because I ran really hard two days in a row 2 weeks ago, and upped my mileage significantly for that week as a result (went from 40 miles per week to 46 miles per week). I also slacked off with foam rolling, which really can't happen, so I've learned my lesson. Although knowing me I'll probably think I'm superman in a couple of weeks and do the same type of thing......what can I say, I'm a smart one. 

That's all I've got for today, the Kikis really took it outtah me..... but I hope you enjoyed my slightly (okay extremely) random post. Back in the next few days with a slightly less crazy post ;)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Persian New Year and a Vegan Tahcheen (savory saffron rice cake) Recipe!

As always, a preview of the recipe to come later in this post: 
Persian New Year: Also known as "Aid eh Norooz" is celebrated  on the first day of spring each year and lasts for 13 days. It is a celebration with various traditions, each with its own significance, and all of which make this holiday so special. This holiday is all about recognizing the good and the bad from the past year, and starting the new year in this time of growth and life (spring) with your best foot forward and a clean slate.........and we get new clothes. So, that's probably my personal favorite tradition, since I clearly don't go near a mall during the rest of the year.....clearly.
Char Shanbeh Suri: This is the name of the last Tuesday before Norooz. It is a celebration that is usually held in the evening with family and close friends. The highlight of this event is that we set up little fires, usually 3, each spaced about 15 feet apart, and then jump over them in succession. I promise this isn't dangerous at all, unless you're me, in which case most things that require decent coordination are life-threatening events.......but most people aren't me, so we're good. Anyways, the fires are very low and small, and are really just symbolic.  The fires are meant to be symbolic of the sun, and while jumping over them, persians sing a phrase that translates to "take my sickness, paleness, and problems and give me your redness, warmth, and energy". I don't know how many times you're supposed to jump over them (something tells ms 3), but I am pretty much that one person who stays outsides jumping over fires by themselves for the whole night after everyone else is done; yes, everyone is aware that I am the coolest person ever, but thanks for wondering. 
Our Soffreh Haft Seen (before we lit the candles of course).
Soffreh Haft Seen: This is the name for the special spread that is set up in celebration of the new year. There are many elements to the spread all of which are symbolic. "Haft Seen" translates to the seven "s," specifically the "s" letter "seen" in farsi. The sofreh has 7 essential elements, each that start with "seen" in farsi and have a special significance, as well as other items that are symbolic but don't necessarily start with "seen." Honestly, don't worry about the whole letter thing, it still confuses me and I was born into this culture of nosy, loud people with quirky traditions; just rest assured that there is some rhyme & reason to what goes onto our table.
Here are the items on our Haft Seen table:
1. Serkeh (vinegar): represents the value of age and patience
2. Somach (sumac): represents the color of the sunrise
3. Sib (apple): symbolizes beauty and health, as well as the element of earth
4. Senjed (dried fruit of lotus tree): symbolizes love
5. Samanoo (sweet wheat & almond pudding): symbolizes affluence
6. Sabzeh (sprouts): represents rebirth
7. Sir (garlic): represents medicine and healing
There are also additional items that are symbolic but don't start with "seen" that are part of our table:
- Tokhmeh morgh (chicken eggs): symbolize fertility
- Sekkeh (coins): represents wealth and prosperity
- Shirini (sweets): represent "spreading the sweetness of life"
- Sonbol (hyacinths): a spring flower to represent spring
- Mahi (live fish): symbolizes life
- Sham (candles, one per member of your family): represents enlightenment and life, as well as the element of fire
- Aynahmeh (mirror): symbolized the sky, and self reflection
- Golab (rosewater): symbolizing the element of water

Vegan Tahcheen (Savory Saffron Rice Cake) Recipe:

The story behind this recipe is pretty simple. This is based on a traditional persian recipe for a delicious savory saffron rice cake with a crunchy rice shell. The traditional recipe uses yogurt and eggs, and also has chicken about half of the time. I have tried to veganize it a few times, and I finally came up with a recipe that works perfectly......success!
- 2 1/2 cups dry white rice
- 1 large white onion, finely diced.
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 heaping teaspoon saffron threads
- 1 1/4 cup water (divided into 3/4 cup and 1/2 cup)
- 3 tsp the vegg powder (optional but recommended)
- 2 cups plain soy yogurt (I strongly recommend WholesoyCo brand)
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 package of vegan chicken strips, chopped (I used Trader Joe's brand, but you can use any vegan chicken or firm tofu you like, or you can simply use seitan)**this is optional, many persians make this dish without chicken**
This is what your onions should look like JUST before
adding the spices and the chicken.
1. In a small pot simmer 3/4 cup water with the saffron until the threads have lost all of their color. This will take awhile, so you can put this on the back burner and let it go while you move on to the other steps, but check on it occasionally.
2. Parboil the rice. This means we will cook the rice halfway, since it will be cooked again later. Simply bring the rice to a boil and let it cook for about 4 minutes. It is done when you can bite through it but it is still definitely very al dente and not cooked in the middle. Drain the rice and rinse with water, set aside for later.
3. In a medium or large heavy bottomed, non-stick saute pan, saute the onion on medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes or until golden brown.
4. Add the vegan chicken if you are choosing to use it, as well as 1/2 tsp of the salt, all of the turmeric, and a dash of olive oil. Continue to sauté and mix well until everything is evenly yellowed by the turmeric (about 2 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside.
5. In a blender or food processor, combine 3 tsp of the vegg with 1/2 cup water.
6. In a very large bowl, combine the yogurt, blended vegg, saffron water (which should now be about 1/2 cup after reducing down), 2 tsp salt, and pepper and mix until evenly colored.
7. Now pour in the rice and the sauteed onion mixture and mix well.
8. Heat up a very large, non-stick sauce pan with straight edges on medium-high heat, and add enough of the oil to make sure the bottom is well coated.
9. Slowly add the mixture, one spoon at a time, pressing each spoonful down to flatten it slightly.
This is what I am trying to describe in step 11
10. After you have covered the entire bottom and sides of the pan in this manner, and the remaining mixture gently into the pan. Make sure it is spread out evenly. Turn down the heat to medium-low.
11. Outfit the pan's lid with a large towel or washcloth such that it is spread tightly over the entire bottom surface of the lid. Then place the lide tightly on the pan and let cook for 1.5 hours. (This is so that when you cover the rice, non of the excess moisture that would have collected on the lid drips back down and makes the rice mushy/soggy).
12. After 1.5 hours, remove the pan from the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes.
13. Remove the lid from the pan, and place a large, round, flat serving dish (by large I mean large enough to cover the entire top of the pan) over the top of the pan, and quickly invert the pan/dish so that the rice slides out of the pan and lands on the serving dish. This really has to be done in one, swift movement, I promise the rice will slide right out.
14. Cut yourself a delicious slice and enjoy!
Pure Deliciousness

Sunday, March 17, 2013

I finally ran more than 14 miles, 16.5 to be exact....whatWHAT?! was hot.
This is a super short post, just checking in really quickly to say that I finally broke my 14 mile curse and ran 16.5 miles!! I am so happy and I don't really feel tired, although my legs feel a little heavy. I will do a more in depth post on how the long run felt and my marathon training ( this real life?) from here on out, but I just wanted to let you all know, because I know you were on the edge of your seats waiting to find out how my run went. Not.

Also, expect an uber persian post later in the day with my recipe for Vegan Tahcheen which is a savory saffron rice cake that is loved by many (and veganized by few). Happy Sunday!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Nighttime Shenanigans and Mango Madness!! I made a Video for you!

Nighttime Shenanigans
Evening Exercise (the only type of nighttime shenanigans I partake in): I haven't run or worked out in the evenings since graduating from school, because I thought I was more of a morning person when it came to running.......but boy was I wrong. I went on a couple of night time runs this past week with my Faja and they were fantastic! I forgot how nice it is to run at sunset and at night, and it is especially good if the weather is hot because instead of it getting hotter as you run (which it does in the mornings) it gets cooler as you run. I'm definitely going to include more nighttime runs in my life, as long as they don't interfere with my double life as a an uber-successful billionaire blogger and venture capitalist. I'm not kidding.
Tips for Evening Runs:
- Wear light or white colored clothing so that cars can see you. Absolutely NO black clothing or other dark clothing.
- Wear a reflective running vest or headband if you have one. They sell super lightweight running vests at all running stores and most bigger athletic store; they are pretty cheap so if you plan on making nighttime running a habit they are a great investment.
- Invest in a headlight. I know this sounds silly, but they are really useful, especially for when you encounter a particularly poorly lit area of your running route. They are also multi-taskers because they not only illuminate your path but they also help to make you more visible to motorists. They make headlamps specifically for running that are comfortable and lightweight, and I highly recommend one!
- Run with a partner. I know this is not always possible, but it is a really good idea to try to run with a buddy if you can, since night time running is notoriously more dangerous, regardless of what neighborhood you live in.
- Tell someone where you're going. Whether or not you are running with a buddy, make sure someone else knows where you are and what you're doing. You can never be too safe.

I have no idea what half of this equipment does,
and the entire block looks like this.
Random thought of the Day: 20th Century Fox has been filming some movie or tv show in my neighborhood for a week (that's what you get when you live in LA) and I'm pretty sure everyone there recognizes me as the girls who keeps running by. But that's not my random thought of the my random thoughts are much deeper. They had to bring in so, so, so much equipment, most of which I had never seen before that it took up a whole block just to park all of their trucks and equipment. And this is for shots I assume don't even have famous actors in them because I stalked that shit like no other and did not see any actor's trailers. I was just so taken aback by how much equipment and how many people they require to get what I assume are a few relatively short shots for their movie or tv show. I've just never realized how much work goes into producing ever second of a movie. So next time you see a movie or tv show, even a shitty one, you best be sure that a lot more work went into that shot than it looks like. Okay, random thought over.

Mango Madness
The elusive Alphonso mango.
One day I will find you......muahahahahaha.
Mangoes & Me: I've posted about my insane love of mangoes a couple of times before, but let me just remind anyone who forgot or hasn't read those posts. I LOVE MANGOES! I honestly don't know what it is, but I would take a good mango over a good glass of wine or a good slice of cake any day......and this is coming from someone who never skips dessert. However, this love is a curse and a blessing. Let me just tell you. I love mangoes so much that I have actually tried many different varieties and have decided which ones are good and which ones are not worth other words I have become a mango snob. Let me just tell you that winter mangoes (a.k.a. Tommy Atkins variety mangoes) are the bane of my existence. I have only tried about 6 varieties of mangoes, and thus far my favorite mangos are Kent & Keit mangoes. I have heard that the "Alphonso" mango is supposed to be the best mango on this planet, but alas they only grow in India, and although I may look Indian (on a tan day) sadly I am not, so I have never been to the country and they don't export them to my knowledge. So that's the deal with mangoes and me.
Why everyone should eat Mangoes (besides the fact that they taste like heaven in a tropical yellow package):
- Mangoes are abundant in cancer fighting antioxidants such as quercetin, isoquercitrin, astragalin, fisetin, gallic acid and methylgallat, as well as the abundant enzymes
- They are rich in fiber which further helps protect from colon cancer, as well as aiding in lowering bad cholesterol (LDL)
- Mangoes are loaded with vitamin C which is an essential vitamin and a powerful antioxidant
- They also have lots of vitamin A which is important for eye health and good skin.
- They help to alkalize the body (which is a good thing) because of various compounds such as malic acid and tartaric acid. I know it seems counterintuitive that acids can help to alkalize the body, but these acids, when digested, do just that!
- Contain lots of Vitamin E which is another essential vitamin and great antioxidant.
- They have moderate amounts of essential minerals such as potassium and copper. One cup of sliced mango contains about 10% each of your daily recommended intake(DRI) for these two elements, which is a great step towards meeting your DRI. Or if your like me you can eat about 35 mangos and meet your DRIs with flying colors ;)
How to pick a good Mango: These are methods that are tried and true (by me) and I am fairly confident in all of them.
- Try to find mangoes that have sap or syrup coming out of their stems. This is really important as it indicates that the starches in the mango have ripened into sugars which is what you want in a bright, sweet, flavourful mango.
- Mangoes should be soft to the touch. Mangoes should have a soft but not mushy flesh. They should be squeezable but still offer a little resistance to your squeeze.
- I have found that mangoes that are more yellow or yellow-green than pure green tend to be riper. Also mangoes with a dusty and slightly wrinkly skin tend to be good (as long as they are not too soft)
- NO brown or squishy spots. These means the mango is bad....avoid this mango at all is not a happy mango.
How to cut a Mango: I made a video for all of my readers......yes all 3 of you! Haha, I kid......but not really. Anywho, I hope you enjoy this video. (I apologize in advance for being technologically challenged, somehow the video ended up being filmed in a vertical frame)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Farm Fresh: Fresh Edamame-Chickpea Burgers with Lemon & Cumin Roasted Veggies

The result of farmer's market inspiration, here is a sneak peak of the recipes to come in this post:

Running down a hill....I promise I don't always heel-strike!
Running Updates: Not much new in the world of running. It has been pretty hott down here in SoCal so my goal for most of my runs is to not die of dehydration and to not go any slower than a 9:00 pace. I know that sounds slow, but if I run any faster than 8:30 pace, I just feel like I'm going to start dry-heaving (it was 90 degrees today....come on)! Also, totally random, but I finally downloaded the race pictures from that half way back in January where I PRed, and well, lets just say that I should definitely NOT consider modeling as a full-time profession. My eyes are closed in half of the pictures, and in the other half I either look crazy or like I'm not running......what's up with that? Anyways, I found one picture in which I don't look like a man or a sleep-walker, so I hope you enjoy (or not).
Marathon Training Updates: I am still definitely training for a marathon, but it was simply too hot last Sunday to run over 2 hours. I am still planning on doing a 16 mile run soon (within the next 2 weeks), so I'll probably just have to grow a pair and wake up uber early one morning. Also, in case anyone was worried about me staying properly hydrated and fed during my longer runs (because I know my electrolyte levels are everyone's number one priority ;) ) I have informed my father and brother that they have officially been bestowed with the lovely job of hydration station managers since I plan on doing most of my longer runs in loops that go be my house once every mile. Say what?! YOU wanted that job?! Well don't fret, I am still taking applications, the only qualifications are that you have to know how to pour water, hand water and snacks to me without making me stop running, and be a 6 foot tall, tan, athletic male with blue eyes, a great sense of humor, and a nice car would be a bonus......I don't ask for much.

Seasonal & Local Recipe: Fresh Edamame-Chickpea Burgers with Lemon & Cumin Roasted Veggies
Look at those beauts!
The Inspiration: I went to an amazing farmers market in Calabasas with my good friend Arik this past Sunday (will do a separate post entirely on this market cause it was THAT awesome) and was inspired by the seasonal ingredients. I went to another farmers market on Tuesday and ended up buying a lot of the same types of produce I saw on sunday. I also bought garbanzo beans....which it turns out are in season? I still don't quite understand how bean seasonality works, but this persian wasn't about to question her favorite bean (and the favorite bean of so many middle eastern people for centuries) being in season! In addition I ended up with colorful heirloom carrots, new potatoes (which are basically small gold, red, and purple potatoes that you don't have to peel), and broccoli. 
Nutrition Note: There are three recipes that follow; one for edamame-chickpea burgers and the two are for roasted root veggies and roasted broccoli & carrots. They are intended to go together to make a well rounded meal, but you can certainly mix and match some of these recipes with other recipes to create your own ideal meal. The edamame chickpea patties are pretty good on protein, the edamame, as well as the pairing of chickpeas and tahini provide a complete protein.....not to mention they provide lots of great fiber and antioxidants. The veggies add some delicious, slow digesting carbs, fiber, and lot of color and antioxidants to make this meal pretty awesomely well-rounded if I do say so myself. Also it all taste delicious that's pretty good too.

Edamame-Chickpea Burgers (Gluten Free)
I remember trying a recipe for Edamame-Chickpea burgers from a Vegan website as my "experiment" in Food Science Lab, and everyone loved them! I couldn't find the recipe, so I decided to try to come up with one that was similar, and although these aren't exactly as I remember, they are definitely delicious in their own way.
This is about the color/texture that you should achieve
after step 2.
- 1 3/4 cup cooked chickpeas/garbanzo beans (about 1 can)
- 1 1/2 cup cooked, shelled edamame
- 2-3 tbsp tahini
- 1/3 cup water OR lemon juice
- 1/2 cup quinoa flour (you can also use rice flour or conventional wheat flour)
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp marjoram
- 1 tsp corioander
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a food processor process the first 4 ingredients (chickpeas, edamame, water/lemon juice, and tahini) for 30 seconds. Scarpe down the sides and continute to process until relatively evenly colored. There may still my some random chunks which is totally fine.
Burgers AFTER being flipped over! NOMSSS
3. Add in all of the rest of the ingredients and process for at least another minute, periodically scraping down the sides. Continue to process until it looks like everything is evenly mixed.
4. Line a large baking sheet with tin foil.
5. Using you (freshly washed) hands shape the mixture into patties that are 2-3 inches in diameter and about 3/4 of an inch thick. Place the patties on the lined baking sheet. You should have somewhere between 9-11 patties.
6. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes and remove when you notice a slight crispy crust form on the patties.
7. Let the patties cool, and then remove them from the foil and flip them over before serving. (This is just a silly step, you don't have to flip them over, but I like the way the golden bottom of the patties looks.....definitely more aesthetically pleasing)

Lemon & Cumin Roasted Root Veggies:
This is about the size that your potatoes should be cut.
- 1 bushel of carrots cut diagonally into inch thick slices (I got multi-colored heirloom carrots that were gorgeous)
- 1 lb of new potatoes (this means small red, purple, and gold potatoes that you don't have to peel) cut into quarters or eighths like in the picture to the right
- 3 tbsp lemon juice separated
- 1 tbsp olive oil **optional, I tried the recipe with & without it, and it works well both ways**
- 3 large cloves of garlic
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt

Potatoes & Carrots, finished baking & ready to go!
1. Pre-heat the oven to 410 degrees and line a baking sheet with heavy duty tin foil.
2. Grate the garlic cloves into the lemon juice. If you are using olive oil, add that as well.
3. Add the cumin & pepper to the lemon juice mixture and stir for a minute.
4. Spread out all of the potatoes and carrots in one baking sheet and pour the lemon juice mixture over them.
5. Sprinkle the salt evenly over the potatoes and carrots and then mix them all around in the tray to make sure everything is evenly coated.
6. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, basically until you see the potatoes starting to get a little golden around the edges.

Lemon & Cumin Roasted Broccoli & Carrots: 
Yes, this is a variation of the recipe above, but it taste very different so I thought I'd share despite the similarities.
- 3 cups broccoli florets
- 1 bushel carrots cut diagonally into inch thick slices
(as mentioned, if you can get heirloom carrots, bonus points for you)
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp olive oil **optional, I tried the recipe with & without it, and it works well both ways**
- 3 large cloves of garlic
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
1. Pre-heat the oven to 410 degrees and line a baking sheet with heavy duty tin foil
2. Place the carrots on the sheet and put them in the oven to bake for 5-10 minutes. I like my carrots al dente so I do 5 minutes, but if you like them super soft, then you should leave them in for 10.
3. Grate the garlic into the lemon juice. If you are using oil, this is the time to add that as well.
4. Add the cumin & black pepper to the lemon juice mixture and stir for one minute.
5. After the carrots are done with their solo time in the oven, remove them from the oven and reduce the heat to 375 degrees.
6. Add the broccoli florets to the same baking sheet as the carrots, and pour the lemon mixture over the veggies.
7. Sprinkle the salt over the veggies, and then mix them all around in the tray so that everything is evenly coated.
8. Place in the oven for another 10 minutes.
9. Remove the veggies from the oven, let them cool, and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Take a Hike! With this Corn, Citrus, Asparagus, and Cannelini Bean Pasta Salad

So this is what's up: Recently I went on a hike with one of my favorite friends, and we were talking about how great it would be to return to that same hiking route and bring a picnic with us. Later in the week I was thinking about some good picnic recipes that would taste light, wouldn't need much prep once we arrived, and would also be tasty as an actual warm dinner incase we had leftovers. I'll have the recipe for you later in the post but here is a picture to tempt you in the meantime:
yummy pasta recipe that taste delicious hot or cold!

.....perfect for a picnic
Running Lately: Running lately has been pretty standard. I have been trying to get a good mixture of speed workouts and distances runs into each week, and always with some cross-training days. Lately cross-training has been in the form of bicycling or yoga. I am trying to up my weekly mileage as well as my long run mileage to see if I have what it takes to run a marathon. My weekly mileage has been hovering between 35 & 40 miles for the past couple of months with the exception of when I was sick, and according to my Dad I need to up it a little more if I want to run a good marathon. The furthest I've ever run without stopping is 14.5 miles (I've actually done it a few times) so I'm thinking that this Sunday I'm going to shoot for 16 and see how that feels. I'll let you all know what happens! I've also been using the foam roller like crazy as well as doing hip strengthening exercises to keep any potential IT Band douchebaggery at bay, it seems to be working thus far.

Hiking: So As I mentioned earlier I went on a beautiful hike recently with a friend to Charmlee State Park in (or near) Malibu. It was a beautiful, easy hike with breathtaking views of the coast and relatively lush landscape for a SoCal trail (all the trails down here tend to be very dry, nothing like the lovely trails in NorCal). I used to hike with my family literally every sunday when I was younger, and recently my friend Arik and I have been making a habit of hiking on Saturdays; it's really nice to be hiking regularly again, especially since it's with a good friend. We have been hiking it up all over the place, so expect more random pictures/posts about hiking in the future.
But Back to Charmlee State Park, it has a few different loop options, I would say you can hike anywhere from 1-2 hours at this park depending on what trail you choose to take. The trails are pretty well marked, and there are lots of little meadows and shady areas where there are park benches that are very ideal for picnics. It is definitely a kid friendly and dog friendly trail, but I would advise bringing an extra layer of clothing because it can get pretty chilly/breezy since it's right along the ocean. It is accesible both from the 101 Freeway aka The Valley (take the Kanan exit) and Pacific Coast Highway aka Malibu.

Fresh Corn, Citrus, Asparagus, and Cannelini Bean Pasta Salad 

- 1/3 cup finely diced shallots
- 2 1/2 cups fresh corn (about 3 ears of corn)
- 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1.5 inch segments (about 3 cups)
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 heaping tsp lemon zest
- 15 oz. cannelini or white beans
- 3 cups dried fusilli, cooked all the way

1. In a large, non-stick frying pan over medium-low heat add the corn and the shallots. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Post-mixing.....ready to go!
2. Add the asparagus and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Add water as needed to keep any of the food from burning.
3. Add in the garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper, and cook for another 3 minutes on medium heat, making sure the asparagus does not begin to loose it's bright green color.
4. Add in the beans, mix well, and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.
5. Remove the corn & asparagus mixture from heat and immediately pour over the cooked pasta.
6. Enjoy this dish hot, or pack it up and have it as a cold pasta salad for lunch! It tastes great both ways!