Saucy Kale and Tomato Pasta

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I was trying to decide what to eat – knowing that I had to eat/fuel to run since I have a run scheduled for Saturday before the predicted big snowfall. Usually I make a simple pasta dinner the night before a LSR (Long, Slow Run) – with a very easy tomato sauce that can be made in 30 mins. Tonight, after chatting with my running partner Kathy about what to have for supper (she was enjoying lasagna! Yum!) I decided to add a few new things to my good, old faithful – Kale and some sun-dried tomatoes, olives and for good measure a cherry bomb pepper.
Wow! It was really great and so quick and easy!

Here is the recipe.
Saucy Kale and Tomato Pasta
Pasta of choice (**I always use real pasta – Barilla is great and occasionally I will make my own or try another type of imported noodles, always from Italy!)
3 large ripe tomatoes
Kale
Organic garlic – 2 cloves (thank you SP!)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (directly from Puglia, Italy — soooo good!)
Hot sauce – such as Frank’s (you just need a dash or two)
Rock salt for water for pasta
Italian blend of Seasonings
Store bought Antipasta mix:
-sun-dried tomatoes
– green olives
– cherry bomb peppers
**I just love this mix, if you have a Antipasta bar at your local grocery store you can pick and choose what you like and don’t like – if you don’t like olives, pick something else, or if you want something a little spicier go crazy!

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Put a pot of water to boil and add salt to taste.
While the water is heating up, start slicing the garlic thinly (**do NOT chop garlic!) and chopping the tomatoes and kale.
In another large pan on medium heat (I like to use a wok like pan, but please use what you like) add enough olive oil to coat the pan and add the sliced garlic, cook till lightly browned and remove once it’s been browned as you only want the infusion of the garlic not the actual garlic (you can discard it or use it for something else such as garlic bread or whatever else you like).

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Add the chopped tomatoes to the hot oil and cook on medium heat, stirring while the tomatoes cook, this should take about 10 minutes, you can now add the kale. Now if you really love kale, add as much as you want, if you’re not sure, like me, use only about 10-15 stems – I know that sounds like a lot but like spinach, it does cook down quite a bit. At this point, drizzle some olive oil (about 1-2 tablespoons) into the sauce and add a couple of shakes of Italian spices.
As this cooks, you can add the pasta to the boiling water, unlike to set the timer from between 6 and 7 mins- depending on the type of pasta. I like my pasta al dente, but feel free to cook it to your liking.
While the pasta cooks, keep an eye on the kale and tomato sauce.

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Now here is, to me anyway, the secret to any good sauce…
As the sauce cooks, add 2 ladles of the pasta water, one at a time. The water will absorb into the sauce.
Turn down the heat to low but keep on eye on the sauce. It should now have thickened up nicely and all the kale should be very soft. At this point you can toss in some of the Antipasta …. And a couple of dashed of hot sauce ……Or not. 🙂

Once the pasta is cooked, drain as usual and plate pasta in a bowl and top with Saucy Kale and Tomato Sauce and if you’re like me – fresh Parm Cheese.
Enjoy!

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2014 Running Goals

2014 running goals

I’ve been giving this some thought.
It has taken me a little bit to put my 2014 Running Goals together.
I wanted to put goals down that are not only attainable but also challenging – without making them so hard that I would get discouraged and let them fall through the grates. I also thought it would be best that I compile goals that I can actually “plan” for… that I can put a strategy together for. Now I know there are a lot of people would think, why bother, it’s a lot of work, ugh too much structure etc. But I am one of those people who need to plan, so I can have some structure. I don’t like surprises and I like to be prepared for what’s ahead. (*and yes if that makes me a bit of a control freak…then yes, that’s who and what I am – and it works for me. Don’t judge ok?)

While I was getting ready to sit down and put this post together, I came across something that touched me. It made me cry a bit and it made me realize how simple yet true this piece is.

http://www.upworthy.com/right-before-dying-from-a-rare-lifelong-disease-sam-revealed-his-three-secrets-to-happiness

I do believe that all of the above can be applied to not only life in general but to running as well.

1. Be ok with what you ultimately can’t do because there is so much that you CAN do…..  So I may never qualify for Boston but I can and will enjoy my races and runs (the good, the bad and the ugly) that I am ABLE to do.  I CAN enjoy all that running brings me – the feeling of freedom, of accomplishment, the beauty of the landscapes I run – whether they are cityscapes, farms or where ever I am, to feel blessed that I can even run.

2.  Surround yourself with people you want to be around……. These are my running friends, buddies, partners, coaches and supporters.  I’m absolutely a people person but my running people are something very special to me.  I spend a great deal of time with these folks — I run 4x a week during training and this includes our long runs…oh those long runs.  You can learn a lot about someone on these runs.  We have shared hopes and dreams, fears and tears.  We have laughed – soooo much and we have learned even that much more.  I surround myself with these people because they are the best.  Really.  Truly.  The Best. ( *You know who you are!!)

3.  Keep moving forward…..  Always keep moving forward, one foot at a time.  One run, one race, one dream at a time (ok well at least keep the dreaming somewhat realistic!).

4. Never miss a party if you can help it…… Well, this one is easy, and I don’t mean a major bender!  The Parties I think about are the celebrations with my peers – the birthday celebrations, the milestone celebrations, their accomplishments, my accomplishments and of course – the Wrap Up Celebrations after a Race – no matter how well we did or how poorly we ran.  It’s about celebrating our friendships and just being able to live fully.

I would strongly encourage you to have a look at this video – link below.  This young man was not only a brave person but a very wise person who has inspired me to think a little harder about 2014.

( http://www.upworthy.com/right-before-dying-from-a-rare-lifelong-disease-sam-revealed-his-three-secrets-to-happiness )

And now without further ado…. my 2014 Running Goals (** butterflies**).

1. Stay Injury Free.  Enough said.

2. Run my 2nd Full Marathon  AND the Around The Bay this year as a true races and beat my time by at least 15 minutes.    

3. Run a Full with my sister!  

4.  Motivate and help train at least one person who has never run before  – and help them to run a race  – any race! 

5.  Limit my running shopping addiction to only one running item to every 3 months.  (Wow.) **** Gels and nutrition items not included.

6. Run one race with both my sibs – my brother Frank (*who is not a runner! hint, hint see number 5) and my sister, who is just coming off a running injury.

7. Cross Train!  Yup that’s right.  I am committing to cross training at least 2x a week (where am I going to find the time for this?!?)

8. No swearing or negative attitude or words during runs.  I use to swear and complain during the first 2-3km of runs and on a few of our long runs (my poor training partner Ingrid, she had to endure that last year while training for the Scotia, she is such a trooper!) Btw –  Saying Oh Shoot doesn’t count!

9. Plan and run one destination race, even if it’s just across the border or out-of-town.  Preferably with Sis!

10. Learn better fuelling for my races!  That last 2 km at the Scotia was tough!  The cramping…wow.  ouch. This year I need to really try to avoid that cramping so I don’t end up having to walk as much as I did during the second half of my first Full.

11.  Volunteer at least one race this year.

12. Not to be so hard on myself and just enjoy the journey. 🙂

Well, that’s 12 goals that I think are do-able, number 5 might bring some tears and maybe a meltdown or two but very doable.

What are your running goals for 2014?

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No Excuses!

No Excuses!

It’s a New Year, ready for some new Running Goals and absolutely have NO excuses now that I have a huge stash of new running clothes and the gorgeous Asics Gel Kayano 20 – in Pink no less! I feel … Continue reading

29KM Run complete – check. 12 Unplanned hills – check. Epsom Salts…check!

There are days that I can’t believe I am running.  Not because I don’t want to run (well ..there are those days too…) but more because I am the last person I would ever consider to be anything close to being athletic!

This morning we-and I say we because I run with an amazing group of people – ran AND conquered the longest distance we have run so for.  29km.  That is a long way to run.  And for someone who just started really running about a year ago – it amazes me what my body can do.  What my mind can do.  What my spirit can do.

For me running is not only moving my feet.  It’s moments filled with anxiety, moments of elation and certainly moments of just wanting to stop moving.  But some how something inside me propels me forward.  The pain of a run sometimes can be awful and you really have to know when to slow down and really when to just stop so you don’t injure yourself.

Today was a mix of all of those things.  Today we went out on a fairly nippy St. Paddy’s Day and ran an unknown route, and to mine and a few of my running mates came across oh about 12 Hills.  Of the 12 unplanned for hills (we thought we were running along the Waterfront) there was a couple of fairly “interesting” hills.  One in particular stands out and it happened to be almost at the end of our run.  I saw it and my stomach lurched.  Literally.  I felt my already weakened knees wobble in anticipation.  My sister Marie, who bless her wonderful heart, was not feeling 100% on this run actually ran the entire hill!  I was so proud of her, especially because I was running up a little head of her and when I was done with that incline I could feel my stomach turning over in absolute protest what my legs had just done (according to our Marathon Coach we ran a 273 metre gain)!

To give you an idea of what one of the hills looked like….. it looked very much like this one.

Ugly  Hill.One of 12.

Ugly Hill.
One of 12.

BUT – we did it.  I did it.  🙂

This is a very good feeling, especially since the Around The Bay Race is next Sunday.  I am not “racing” that race, I am participating in it as part of my Marathon Training.  It is the oldest road race in North America and somewhat of a coveted and sold out race. I’ve heard stories about it.  I’ve heard ugly stories. The ATB is a 30km race in Hamilton ending at COPPS Coliseum with each runner (and walkers) running into COPPS with your name AND your image on the Jumbotron.   I have to be completely honest.  It scares the living daylights out of me.  Races do that to me.  It’s the crowds, the nervous energy that is in the air at the Expos/Packet Pick up Area, it’s the noise and its the anticipation of running and completing upright and smiling.

I think for most of my non runner friends they often wonder if I have lost my mind.  I mean why would you want to put yourself through the hard training, the early morning runs, the hill training, the Ontario winter weather….all of that.

The answer – the answer to the whys is simple.  It makes me feel like a million bucks.  It makes me feel like I could jump over the CN Tower.  It fills me with pride to be able to say – yup, I did it.

And today  – I did it. 🙂

I am Happy Runner Girl.

xo

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Natural Fuel for a training run.

I think I am totally going to have to make these!  Instead of eating those energy gel before a run I think these would be perfect!

I’m not a huge date fan so I may have to switch it up a bit with dried figs… stay tune!  When I make these I’ll be sure to post it under The Test Kitchen tab for you.3-in-one-energy-bars - perfect fuel for my runs!

3 in one energy bars p2

http://how-do-it.com/How_To_Make_Energy_Bars_With_3_Healthy_Ingredients/