Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pumpkin Risotto

It is October, so naturally my pumpkin obsession has returned! I have already made pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cake, pumpkin soup and pumpkin spice latte!

I have been dying to make something savory using pumpkin, and risotto was high on my list. I looked at a few different recipes and this is what I came up with. It was really delicious! And of course I had to serve it in my cute little pumpkin bowls :)

Pumpkin Risotto


1 tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 c arborio rice
4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth for a vegetarian version), heated on the stovetop or microwave
1 c canned pumpkin
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fat free half and half
Pinch ground nutmeg
salt and pepper


Heat 1 tbs of olive oil in a large saute pan. Add onions, garlic and sage and cook until tender.

Add arborio rice and stir until coated. Season with salt, pepper and pinch of nutmeg
Add the hot chicken broth, one ladle at a time, stirring constantly. Add more broth only when all of the broth in the pan has been absorbed by the rice. This entire process takes anywhere from 17 to 25 minutes.

After the last ladle of broth, stir in pumpkin, cheese, and half and half.

Serve immediately

ZACH'S RATING - *** 1/2
Monday, October 17, 2011

Habitat for humanity 5k

I am over a week late posting this...I am a horrible blogger lately!

Last Sunday, Zach and I ran the habitat for humanity 5k at Duke Island Park in Bridgewater. My PR was at the race two years ago, right before I got pregnant with Finn. I had my hopes up that I could break 30 minutes at this race, considering it is usually nice and cool.

As luck would have it, last Sunday was an 80 degree day and with a 10:00 am start time, I couldn't push my pace enough to pull it off. I finished in 31:07, exactly a minute slower than my PR.

It was a fun race regardless, but I will new redemption soon!
Monday, September 26, 2011

Cajun Crockpot Chicken and Kielbasa

Wow, Running Mama does cook!!! Actually, I have been cooking on a regular basis but I have been too busy to fool around with a lot of new recipes. But fall is here and it's time to bust out the crockpot! So I gave this new one a try and it was a winner!

It could have used a little more kick, but overall it was hearty with full flavors. I loved the shredded chicken mixed with the turkey kielbasa. Definitely going into the rotation!

And I should mention that there is no link to the original recipe because I got it using the app for allrecipes.com on my new iphone. Such a great app! Download it, I promise you'll love it.

Cajun Crockpot Chicken and Kielbasa
Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com


6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 16oz can diced tomatoes
1 green bell pepper
6 green onions, chopped
1 6oz can tomato paste
4-5 dashes hot pepper sauce (or more to taste)
1/2 lbs turkey kielbasa, sliced diagonally
Cajun seasoning to taste
salt and pepper


Spray crockpot with cooking spray. Place chicken in the bottom and season with salt, pepper and cajun seasoning. Cover with tomatoes, bell pepper, green onions, tomato paste, kielbasa and hot pepper sauce. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours. Serve over brown rice.

ZACH'S RATING - **** 1/2
Sunday, September 11, 2011

Spartan Race!

Yesterday, Zach and I participated in the Spartan Race at the Blue Mountain Ski Resort. It was awesome, and definitely one of the most challenging things I've ever done! It was 5 miles of running/hiking UP the mountain with 20 obstacles.

We should have known how tough it would be considering it was being held at on a ski slope!!! The race started with a huge climb, right after scaling a few walls. I was actually surprised at how well I could get over them without any help. After getting all the way up the mountain at the half way point, we were rewarded with the one and only water stop, but only after filling a home depot bucket with rocks and lugging it 100 yards down the mountain and back up!!

After the water stop, we had to make our way down which included sliding down steep muddy hills. Some of the obstacles included pulling a rope with a cinder block down a hill, through water and back up the hill, monkey bars, rope climb, and many more. If you couldn't finish an obstacle, your punishment was 30 burpees.

The best part was the huge slip and slide (also down a big hill) into a retention pond. We were so gross and sweaty that the cold muddy water actually felt amazing! Then we had to trudge through it to the other side.

The race finished up with a mud crawl under barbed wire the length of a football field. That is the one thing I was less then thrilled about. The mud was about a foot deep and it stunk! Not only that but after we got through it, we had to scale a big wall only to find 100 more yards of mud to crawl through!!

To go to the finish line we had to jump over fire, rope climb over another wall and slide down the other side. Then run through a few gladiators and we were finished! The whole thing took about 3 hours, and while moments of it were crazy miserable, it was a blast! We plan on getting a team together for next year!

This race was very intense and perfect for anyone looking for a big challenge. I wouldn't consider it a running race at all, since most of the terrain made running impossible. Since it took the winner about an hour to finish, we were pleased with out performance. It was a fun thing to do together. We have some scrapes, cuts, bruises, and Zach has a sprained ankle from the last obstacle, but we can't wait to do it again.

Our before picture

View of the finish line

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Veggie Burgers

I have been thinking for awhile that I would like to make a homemade veggie burger, but really haven't had the time to go searching for a good recipe. I was thrilled to come across this one on my friend Lauren's blog, they looked so good! We really enjoyed these burgers, they were perfect! I served them on sandwich thins from Trader Joes with a little "Seriously Sharp" cheddar cheese. Lauren put hers in the panini press to melt the cheese and it looked too good no to do the same. Yum!

I had the night off from teaching, making it the perfect opportunity to try a new recipe, but these would be great for our typical hectic weeknights since they can be made ahead of time. I love having a new quick dinner to add into my rotation! As it is, I have 4 extra burgers in the freezer!

Summer Cookout Veggie Burgers
Adapted slightly from
Leslie Sarna by way of Lauren's Kitchen

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup rolled oats (non-instant Oatmeal)
3/4 cup bread crumbs

1 tsp. (or more) chili powder
1 tsp. paprika
salt and pepper to taste
about 3 tbsp. chopped chives
1 egg
olive oil
1 small red bell pepper, finely diced*
1/2 onion, finely diced
4 oz. mushrooms, finely diced
6 sun dried tomatoes, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 large zucchini, grated
1 large handful of baby spinach

In a medium frying pan, heat some olive oil. Add the chopped onion, garlic, bell peppers and a pinch of Salt. Grate in the zucchini. Let cook 2 minutes on a lower heat. Add mushrooms, spinach and sun dried tomatoes; let cook another couple minutes. Let cool when cooked. While the veggies are cooling, in a large bowl combine the Beans, Oats, Bread Crumbs and all the spices and chives. Toss a little and add the egg. Using your hands to mix the mixture until it's slightly sticky and about 3/4 of the beans are smashed. Add in the veggies. Continue to work with your hands.

If the mix feels a little dry, add water by the teaspoon until right. If it's too wet, add bread crumbs : )

Form 8 burger patties. Refrigerate for about an hour. (you can also place these pouches in a Ziploc bag and freeze for up to a couple of weeks) To cook, unwrap the burgers from the plastic and cook in a heated skillet with cooking spray or olive oil in the bottom. Cook about 3-4 minutes on each side

PS these should always be cooked on a skillet or frying pan. Unfortunately, they can fall apart if cooked on the bbq.

*I used my food processor to chop all the veggies really small. Cut down on chopping time :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Summer Veggie Quinoa Salad

This has been my go-to lunch lately and I've been meaning to blog about it for a few weeks! Simple and good, I make a big batch and then eat it all week. Its good hot as a side dish for dinner as well.

Summer Veggie Quinoa Salad


2 cups quinoa
1 large summer squash
1 large zucchini
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella
parsley, chopped
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


Rinse quinoa and prepare according to directions. Cool. In the meantime, dice the squash and zucchini and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven on 450 for 15 minutes. Cool. Toss together quinoa, veggies, fresh mozz and parsley. Drizzle with olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Born to Tri Sprint Triathlon

Running Mama swims and bikes too!! This morning I competed in the Born to Tri sprint distance triathlon in Asbury Park, NJ. What an awesome experience! I am so glad that I decided to go out of my comfort zone for this race because I had a great time. It was challenging (the swim!) but I finished and I finished strong.

We left the house at 4am this morning to head down the shore for the race. I picked up my packet and headed to the transition area to set up my gear. The logistics of a triathlon was just one aspect that I was anxious about, since I have never seen how it is done.

Getting ready!

My biggest area of concern was, of course, the ocean swim. It was a 1/3 of a mile swim with an "in ocean" start, meaning we had to tread water for about 5 minutes before the gun went off. I did a lot of training in the pool for the swim, but open water is such a different ball game. Fortunately I attended a swim clinic a month ago in the ocean so I would know what to expect. That clinic was one of the most humbling experiences of my life. I panicked at one point and needed help back to shore!

I gave myself a million pep talks leading up to today on not panicking in the water. My strategy was to slow down my stroke and take it nice and easy. I kept repeating to myself "slow is smooth, smooth is fast," which kept me focused. It seemed like it took forever to get to the first buey, but after that I got into a good rhythm. Before I knew it I was going around the last buey and heading towards the shore. I was so relieved when my feet finally hit the sand!

Getting into the ocean for the swim start

Waiting for the gun


Running towards the transition area!

Once I was on dry land, I felt great! Transition 1 went smoothly. I was told that packing my stuff in a bucket to use as a seat would be helpful, and it really was! I was happy to be able to sit and put my socks and shoes on. Then I hopped on my bike and started on the 12 mile bike route. It was a double loop and I felt good the whole time. I even passed a few bikers :)

Biking strong

Getting ready for the run at transition 2

After hopping off my bike and replacing my helmet with my hat, I started off on the run. This was the portion of the race that I was most comfortable with, but the beginning was challenging. My legs were definitely wobbly and my calves were cramping up a bit. I decided to slow down my pace to almost a shuffle, so that I didn't have to start walking but I wasn't pushing myself too hard. Slowly but surely my pace picked up and I felt good.

The run was beautiful. It started off through a few nice neighborhoods and finished on the boardwalk. We even ran through the old casino building and convention hall before heading back down the boards to the finish.

Heading to the finish!

I did it!!

Overall I was thrilled with the race, I do not think it could have gone any better for my first one. My final time was 1:40:15. Here are all my times:

Swim - 15:19

Bike - 46:48

Run- 34:24

This will not be my last triathlon. I am looking forward to improving my skills and getting back out there again soon! I will definitely do this race again next year, it was really fun, very "Jersey" which I love, and extremely well organized.

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