Monday, December 27, 2010

Just Another Musical Monday

Christmas is officially over. It's always sad to watch the holiday cheer slowly seep out of folks as we dismantle the Christmas tree and woefully regret our overindulgence (okay, maybe we don't really regret it. I mean, those brownies were totally worth it. And that's what the holidays are for, right??).   Anyway, life goes on, we reckon. The new year is just around the corner - and though we won't be making any resolutions this year (since we've clearly already made ours) - we're reaffirming our vows... to running. As our feet meet the street this week (in the 'ham still because our flights home were inexplicably canceled),  we're kicking it up a notch by getting pop-tastical, so brace yourselves...

  1. Dirty Diana - Michael Jackson (a bit slower for a warm-up)
  2. Beautiful Day - U2 (c'mon - we just ate our weight in pecan pie so cut us some slack... we're still warming up to this one)
  3. Indestructible - Robyn (okay enough of that. Time to kick it into turbo mode)
  4. One Life Stand - Hot Chip
  5. I Like It - Enrique Iglesias
  6. Moth's Wings - Passion Pit
  7. DJ Got Us Falling in Love Again - Usher
  8. Dynamite - Taio Cruz
  9. Raise Your Glass - Pink
  10. Tik Tok - Kesha

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Seasons Greetings

Happy Holidays and Seasons Greetings to all of our four readers. The Footsy gals hope these days are merry and bright as we all enjoy time spent with friends and family!

So from our spandex to yours….

And a few that didn't quite make the cut...

Cheers! Feliz Navidad! Happy Kwanzaa!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Next reindeer is due any minute

Merry Christmas Eve!

A Foodie Friday of the Traditional Sort

For the second Foodie Friday in a row - we are not going the healthy route. But 'tis the season people, reserve your judgement for another week - it's time to eat, drink and be merry y'all! So I'll make the same disclaimer that Sal made last week - WARNING: judgy healthnuts need not read beyond this point!!

Everyone has their usual Christmas traditions. Most of mine revolve around meals and the amazing dishes that we have every year. Because let's face it - the most fun with friends and family is always had around the dining room table....once we've all properly popped the champagne, spiked the 'nog, and poured the wine. We kick it off on Christmas Eve by having my favorite meal of the year, seafood gumbo! It's the best gumbo you've ever had in your life, I kid you not. My mom has been expertly cooking it for - I don't know...25 years or so and she can get the roux so dark it will bring tears to your eyes, it's beautiful. It's a top secret recipe that was passed down through my dad's family.

[a little side rant: When my great-great grandparents on my father's side, Charles and Marie Lusco, came from the mother-land of Italia, they eventually settled in a little town called Greenwood, MS. Guess who else is from Greenwood, MS...that's right, the hubster - i know, kismet. Anyway, they opened up a little grocery store in Greenwood where my great-great grandmother started serving meals, so it eventually became a restaurant, a restaurant called Lusco's (as in my maiden name), currently run by some of my cousins, the Pinkstons. Other than the fabulous food, the neatest thing about Lusco's is it's atmosphere. Still at its original location from 1933, it has these private booths maintained from the prohibition era when people had to secretly get their drink on. Lusco's is amazing, and if you are ever in the Mississippi Delta you must go there. I insist. And if you don't get the onion rings, the broiled shirmp, the pompano, or a steak - shame on you!]

For Christmas day supper, we always have a yummy beef tenderloin. A lot of people have turkey on Christmas day - and to each his own - but I love the fact that we change it up with beef tenderloin. I feel like I was just stuffed with turkey and dressing less than a month ago, and there is so much yummy amazing food in the world, why repeat when you can have beef tenderloin! So anyway - Christmas dinner consists of the roast beast, normally with some sort of amazing potato side dish (accordion potatoes are my favorite).

While those two traditions are the longest standing....for the past five years or so we added a new one - where I cook the Christmas morning breakfast feast. And in this Christmas morning breakfast feast there are always two staples. The Beautiful Breakfast Strata from Notably Nashville, the Junior League of Nashville cook book, and cheese grits. How did I get assigned the task of breakfast chef? Well when the stresses of preparing three huge meals took a tole on my mom and she threatened to cut one - I saw the breakfast strata was in jeopardy and I knew I had to rescue it (it was in everyone's best interests). So I did what any good daughter would do and took over the meal.

So today, on this Eve of Christmas, I'll be baking the strata and carrying the breakfast tradition to my in-laws, where we'll be spending Christmas. If you're looking for something to add to your holiday recipe arsenal, or looking to make your family drool, I recommend this recipe. And as much as I look forward to eating it on Christmas morning, I can't wait to eat the left-overs throughout the rest of the week.

Beautiful Breakfast Strata
1 cup milk
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 loaf dried French bread
2 cups loosely packed cilantro
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces smoked Gouda cheese, thinly sliced
3 ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 cup basil pesto
4 eggs
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup whipping cream

Blend the milk and wine in a shallow dish. Cut the bread into 1/20inch slices. dip 1 or 2 slices in at a time in the milk mixture and press gently to remove excess liquid, taking care not to tear the bread. Arrange the bread in a lightly greased 12-inch baking dish or 10-inch pie plate (note: it makes quite a lot and I don't think I've ever been able to fit it all into one baking dish. Be prepared to have a small auxiliary dish on hand for what won't fit. You can freeze it and bake it later if needed.) Sprinkle with the cilantro and drizzle with the olive oil. Layer the cheese, tomato slices and pesto 1/2 at a time in the dish.

Beat the eggs with the salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Pour evenly over the layers and pour the cream over the top. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 8 hours or longer. (this is definitely a make ahead dish - which actually makes Christmas morning easier and stress free. I've even made it on the 23rd).

Let stand at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours. (seems like a lot - but no worries, just set an alarm to set it out and go back to bed...or start w/ some mimosas and see what Santa brought ya!) Place the baking dish on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until puffed and golden brown.

Take a bite. Let the swooning commence. Amen.
Serves 8

[photo disclaimer: Since I have not yet made the strata and am currently making the recipe myself, I therefore do not have a picture for this post. And I found no strata picture on the internet to do it justice. Stay tuned, I'll tweet-pic the final product]

Whatever you do....just don't spill the strata

Merry Christmas Eve everyone!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bless this highly nutritious microwavable macaroni and cheese dinner and the people who sold it on sale. Amen.

I won't lie, folks. The past week simply has not been pretty for yours truly... and I'm not sure it's going to get any better until after Santa wraps up his World Tour. 

I've been an utter failure to my fellow footsy gal, Liv - and though I'm thankful that she has picked up some of my slack by working out extra hard (including some rather icy runs this morn) - sadly, I don't think it really works that way. And I'll no doubt be feeling the burn if when I finally get back on track. But I'll do it. Minor relapse this month, but full steam ahead in 2011. Girl Scout's honor.

Until then, for your viewing pleasure...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Just Another Musical Monday

Let's be honest. Right now, we're far more focused on a certain holiday that is only 5 DAYS away. We're extremely tempted to just take a little break from all forms of exercise until after Christmas, but fear not... our accountability to each other and to this blog (not to mention that dadgum countdown clock to the 2011 MCM on our homepage that, we swear, is speeding up time) will help us power through. Here is our absurdly random playlist for the week... 

  1. Rococo - Arcade Fire
  2. Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) - Florence & the Machine 
  3. Bruises - Chairlift
  4. Run This Town - Jay-Z, et al.
  5. No Rain - Blind Melon
  6. Perfect Day - The Constellations
  7. Zeus - British Sea Power
  8. Little Lion Man - Mumford & Sons
  9. Ready for the Floor - Hot Chip
  10. Living in the USA - Steve Miller Band
Merry Merry!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fatty Foodie Friday

Shaking things up a lil' bit this week with a Foodie Friday post from the non-cooking Footsy gal. While I haven't exactly given my culinary skills any fine-tuning this week (though I did turn on my oven... to heat up a frozen pizza... and then set off the smoke alarm), I have most certainly given my taste buds a workout (I plead the 5th on whether or not my running shoes have gotten a workout too).

I've made it my personal mission this week to fatten up a certain someone who "accidentally" lost 15 pounds recently (obvi we hate him for that). And clearly, it just wouldn't be right if I didn't take one for the team and match him bite for bite.

It's quite possible that I'm taking the "December Bender" to a dangerous extreme, but after all, it's basically charity work. Call me Mother Teresa if you must, but I've felt a personal calling to eat an excessive amount of not-exactly-fat-free-foods this week... for the sake of others, of course.

In case any of you folks are feeling called to join my cause - and if you happen to find yourself in the DC area soon, I've included a little highlight reel from this week's binge fest. WARNING: judgy health nuts need not read beyond this point. you simply won't be amused.

I wish I could say that this was a comprehensive list. Or at least that all of my other meals consisted of fresh green salads with lots of seasonal vegetables. But sadly, this is just the tip of the iceberg. It's certainly not helping either that it's that "send-an-absurd-amount-of-cookies-to-the-office" time of year. I have absolutely zero will power when my route to the copier just happens to pass by 10 varieties of cookies and a barrel of popcorn. To make matters worse, this weekend will more than likely involve a lot of these...

and a lot of this...
Though I'm certainly feeling a wee bit convicted by the absurdity of my current eating habits - and perhaps a lil' guilty about ignoring the SOS calls from my arteries, I vow to soon return to my healthy healthIER lifestyle (and I'm hoping Liv is running enough for the both of us). In the meantime, hopefully this list will make you feel better about yourselves this week - or maybe just give you some foodie suggestions for the next time you're in the 'hood.

Merry Merry, folks! 'Tis the season for celebrating little round bellies that shake when we laugh like a bowlful of jelly!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dear windshield factor of 10 below,

Please go away! Monday morning I was ready to pound pavement - start the week off right (considering I may have not run on both Saturday and Sunday) - so when my alarm went off at 6:15, I was thoroughly disappointed to find swirling pouring SNOW! So what did I do but climb back into bed, and instead went to DDY for my first hot yoga in 2 months - which was awesome.

Tuesday morning normally consists of run of about 3 to 4 miles pre-weights workout. I say normally because I did not get to do that either because it was bloody windy. I had to settle instead for a little over 2 miles on the treadmill. Which, I know - I used to love the treadmill - but now not so much, I've adapted to life on the road, I don't want to go back to this again.

Last week I thought I had made it, I was basically as hard core as a navy seal - I had run in the morning when it was 28 degrees and I was bragging about everyone. I thought - hey, I can handle this, bring it on January and February. Oh, young grasshopper, how little do you know. The weather gods laughed in my face at my boastfulness and said "let's see how you handle the wind." I could even handle the feeling that after 4 miles my legs still felt numb - shouldn't they be good and warmed up after 4 miles?! But what I cannot handle is my face feeling like it's being slapped repeatedly! I turns me into a card holding member (with Sal) of the red face club. Last Thursday when I walked back into the Equinox to lift, everyone was like whuck is wrong with your face. It did not return to it's normal color until I got to work that day.

So this post started out as an open letter to the windshield factor. Now it's turning into an open letter to everything that went wrong with my running this week. Last night, I had pumped myself up to handle the cold for a run this morning. I checked the weather - the wind at 6am was only going to be blowing 4 mph. I could handle that. Not to mention I commandeered this little gem from my husband:
Sure it's a little big on me and makes me feel like I'm about to rob a bank, but the more my face is covered, the more likely it is I'll brave the cold at all.

....Then my flippin alarm failed to go off. I opened my eyes and immediately thought to myself, "self, it's entirely too light outside to be 5:15." In a panic I reached for my phone only to see that indeed - it was 7:13 - mother-cusser!

Just to stick the knife in when it really hurts - the DC area has accumulated 2 to 4 inches today in it's first substantial snow fall of this glorious season we call winter. The good news is it's not supposed to snow tomorrow - the bad news is it will inevitably freeze tonight which means it will be icy on the sidewalks tomorrow thus no running for Liv. (I really don't think it would be fun to handle the airport madness of the holidays on crutches next week)

I would say I'm hopeful for all of the running I'm planning to do whilst travelling the South for the next two weeks. One would think, "hey, it's the deep south, it should be much warmer down there." From the looks of the ten day forecast there is rain in my future just in time for Christmas, oh, and lows in the 20s.

....*sigh* - thanks weather gods

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

All We Want for Christmas is...

Dear Santa,

We've been really good this year...we swear! And we're not asking for much, really. Just a few things to enhance our performance, make us stronger/faster/warmer/cuter for our runs.

In home pilates reformer machine (with a trainer)
Bethenny Frankel as our personal chef to cook us yummy healthy things.
lululemon: Inspire Jacket

okay, pretty much everything off of the lululemon gift guide

Technogym Run Personal Treadmill (and it's only $10,000!)

In-Home Sauna (extremely practical for our tiny DC apartments)

A massage... on a beach... with a pina colada.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

We did NOT get the golden ticket

Aw cuss!! Fears are confirmed - we did not get selected by the lottery for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler.
But congrats to the hubster's aunt and uncle who did! Which means they'll be coming to DC to visit - and that makes us super excited! Hubby's aunt and uncle actually met through a running group in Memphis where they live. They are marathon veterans - and I certainly plan on picking their brains and possibly even hitting them up for a guest post...pretty please Jennie and John?

So what are we to do now? Well there are really four options.

  1. Become an online charity fundraiser. While I love a good charity - especially one that helps to treat sick children - this gives me anxiety. Basically you just have to raise $500 and you're in! Sounds simple right - especially when you think of all the friends, family, and co-workers you could hit up for just small amounts of $10 to $20 to equal the total amount of $500. However, let's just say I'm a bit of a procrastinator when it comes to some things, and it wouldn't be unheard of for me to not get on the raising of the funds early enough, and then I would likely be writing a $500 check with $500 that doesn't actually exist. I wish I could give thousands (actually millions -because then that would mean that I had millions myself) to charity - but at this stage in my life, that's just not in the cards.
  2. Cross our fingers for the number transfer process. Based on my rejection email from the nice people with the lottery, last year nearly 1,000 runners obtained entry through this process - which will be taking place Feb 1st through Feb 28th. But with this, do we need to know another runner who can no longer participate, or is there a Craig's list-ish forum where you just post that you would like a transfer and hope it works out? Also, there is the risk that one of us would be able to transfer in and the other one might not - and we don't like that risk because we're in this together.
  3. Volunteer for the race this year. Volunteering for the race this year gets you automatic entry into the Cherry Blossom run for 2012. In their book Running for Mortals Coach Jenny and the Penguin recommend that runners new to racing volunteer to work races because it allows you to be a part of the race day atmosphere, promotes a sense of camaraderie, and it helps you understand what race day is all about. It gives you an appreciation for all that it takes to put on a race, and an appreciation for the volunteers when you run one. Also, if you're working a water station it helps you learn how to go through one yourself. (which for some reason just happens to be something about races that makes me nervous)
  4. Our final option - suck it up - understand that we just did not get in, and party that much harder on Sal's actual birthday (which just happens to be April 2nd, the day before the big run) - because we won't have to wake up at the crack of dawn like all of those fools actually running in the race.
Looks like we have some options to weigh and a decision to make. But in the mean time, because we didn't get to post the fun "we won the golden ticket" video....we're feeling a bit more like Veruka.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Just Another Musical Monday

While the Christmas music was lovely and all, we're just about over it. Call us Scrooge if you must, but it seems you can't go anywhere this time of year without getting bombarded with holiday tunes. So in an effort to hold on to our last dangling bits of holiday cheer, we're turning OFF the merry melodies - at least while running - and getting back to reality...

  1. Dog Days Are Over - Florence & the Machine
  2. Feel the Love - Cut Copy
  3. The Rabbit, the Bat & the Reindeer - Dr. Dog
  4. Shut Up and Let Me Go - the Ting Tings
  5. Run - Vampire Weekend
  6. Quiet Little Voices - We Were Promised Jet Packs
  7. Something Else - Diamond Rings
  8. And in honor of the Ghostland concert @ 9:30 this week... Sad Sad City - Ghostland Observatory
  9. Give Me the Beat - Ghostland Observatory
  10. Stranger Lover - Ghostland Observatory

    Friday, December 10, 2010

    Foody Friday: A Savory Side

    Why did it take me until my mid-twenties for me to discover brussel sprouts? Ya know - the healthy vegetable that every kid loves to hate, but then you discover when you’re an adult that they are awesome! That is all I want this fall when I go to restaurants. Friends have asked me if I’m preggers with the way I crave brussel sprouts and mushrooms. Huge capital letters just to be clear - I SWEAR I am not (in fact as I type this I’m enjoying a nice glass of pinot - so Mom - I swear, not pregnant and I promise not to announce it on the internet first). But have you noticed that restaurant brussel sprouts are amazing - so amazing that you think, I could never make them like this at home? And, how do you make brussel sprouts anyway?

    Liv + Sal recommend these restaurants in DC where we discovered just how yummy they are:

    Since I’ve been craving them so often I finally broke down and decided to make them at home last week. Fear not, they were a success!

    I wanted this meal to be easy - and I bought the brussel sprouts at the grocery store before I selected my recipe, and I wasn’t about to go back to the store for more ingredients. So the name of the game was mix and match recipes to accommodate what I already had at home.

    This is what came out:
    - brussel sprouts
    - about 1 table spoon of butter
    - about 1 table spoon of olive oil
    - 2 cloves of garlic
    - 1 shallot
    - red pepper flakes
    - salt & pepper

    Start by rinsing brussel sprouts. Let them drain in a colander and then remove any outer leaves that look a little rough. Chop the stem off the sprouts and then halve or quarter them. Chop up your shallot and garlic cloves.

    In a large skillet (I used a cast iron skillet because I knew I wanted to finish them off in the oven) add the olive oil and butter and warm over medium high heat. Add your garlic and shallot, mixing with the oil and butter until fragrant, and until the shallots are just translucent.

    Add the brussel sprouts and stir well mixing them in with the garlicky shalloty goodness. I cooked them over the heat for about 8 minutes and then finished them off by roasting them in a very hot oven for 10 minutes (like 450 degrees) or until they were just slightly caramelized and the edges were getting brown. Sprinkle on the red pepper flakes and s&p right before you put them in the oven. If you forget, forgive yourself – and just sprinkle over when they’re finished.

    I may have gotten a little overzealous in experimentation land with all of the recipes I found. I drizzled a little balsamic vinegar on one half and sprinkled a little parmesan cheese on the other half. You can’t go wrong with either of those additions, but I basically decided that I liked them best just the way they were out of the oven. (probably because I drizzled a little too much balsamic vinegar – but it’s okay – I forgave myself)

    Verdit: they were delish - and the good news is that A) of all I remembered to take a picture of them, two) of all, I am no longer scared to do brussel sprouts at home and C) of all, i have another healthy vegetable side option. The bad news is brussel sprouts are another one of those foods the hubster “claims” he doesn’t like. We shall see my friend, we shall see.