So here’s my weekly recap of running, along with a really great-tasting, simple recipe for the sake of having pictures in my blog 🙂 I have no pictures related to anything else (none in mind yet…) so the food ones will have to suffice 🙂
First, about my run today.
I know that I start out slowly, but looking back at my runs this week made me realize that EVERY time I’ve run lately, each successive mile has been faster than the previous mile. That hasn’t always been the case in the past because I used to run a lot more hills and now I tend to stick to the area where I have a few more gentle hills or none at all. Overall, though, I do seem to do much better on runs (reviewing the past two months) as far as overall pace and achieving negative splits, if I keep my first mile pretty slow. I don’t usually stretch before I run or do any sort of warm-up, so I think using my first mile to really stretch out and get my blood going is the way I have my best runs.
Here are my three runs for this week:
Monday: 2.55 miles at 12:13 pace (this one was in the rain 😦 )
Wednesday: 5.13 miles at 11:52 pace
Saturday: 3.19 miles at 11:59 pace
Today I was feeling pretty tired when I set out for today’s run, and it was about 45 degrees out and extremely windy. Yes I was questioning myself for continuing to run at 36 weeks in such unpleasant weather. All sorts of negativity was flooding my brain as I started out down the hill behind my house. I was thinking – when you mention moving to Seattle, everyone says, “you know it rains there all the time,” but when we were moving to England no one mentioned that. And I would dare Seattle to produce more rain than we’ve seen here in England. (Maybe in volume they have more since our rain is seldom pounding, but still, we get months where it rains every single day, and the most time I’ve seen without rain has maybe been two weeks.) Sure I was passing a 14th century church and cemetery, peaceful horses munching in the beautiful rolling hills, and stands of fir trees littered with wildflowers, but the gale force winds were making me pretty grumpy as I kept questioning my decision to run without arm sleeves or a jacket.
Soon, though, my body had warmed up, and I was past the worst of the cow manure smells, happily trotting along and passing cows who stopped eating long enough to stare me down. I had planned on a turn-around point that would make it just a 2.5 mile run (and would eliminate a slightly big uphill on the way back), but once I got there I was ready to keep going and made it to the end of the road, still going strong.
On the way home I couldn’t stop visualizing my finish at the Marine Corps Marathon which I am signed up to run in late October. It really got me excited to be running, and thankful that I have two legs and that I am alive and healthy. I plan on running it with a group of fellow Naval Academy Alumni called “Run to Honor” which runs in memory of our fallen classmates and their families. I have so many blessings to be thankful for, including my wonderful husband and five children, and I can’t even begin to imagine what it has been like for the families who have lost their loved ones in the line of duty. A mixture of pride and sorrow I am sure, but more grief than anything for a time. Anyway, that is something far in the unforeseeable future right now for me – since we don’t even know where we’ll be stationed yet – but it is a good goal to shoot for and to focus on when I am struggling.
Here’s more on that recipe I mentioned. At one point we had a name for this, but since we had made up the name anyway, we just reverted to calling it “that potato-carrot-sausage meal.” If anyone can give me a good suggestion for a name I might formally label it. 🙂 This has no seasonings and can be prepared the night before or earlier in the day before dinner. It’s also a bit flexible – since the original “recipe” as told to me was with cabbage instead of broccoli, but we changed it to broccoli when I had no cabbage one day and haven’t switched back because my kids like the broccoli better anyway.
Basically you just layer the ingredients into a large pot and then put it on the stove to steam for 30 minutes, and viola! The flavors from the sausage permeate the dish and make seasoning anything else unnecessary.
The first thing you put into the pot is diced potatoes. I forgot to take a picture of them, but they are layered about 2-3 inches deep in this soup pot. For our family, or for making a ton so I can have leftovers, the amount varies. Often it’s about 4 potatoes. It needs to be enough to cover the bottom of the pan with a few layers of potato. Into the potato pot you run some water to JUST COVER THE LEVEL OF THE POTATOES. You don’t want to boil the other things – they’re going to steam from the water that is boiling the potatoes. You might be afraid of boiling this dry, but don’t forget that the grease from the sausage will add to the liquid as it is cooking. (I have boiled it dry before because I’ve forgotten about it, but it’s just burned the bottom layer of potatoes, and they’re not the yummiest part.)
Here’s a close-up of the pot so you can see the potatoes peeking out from underneath the sausage. I use Polska Kielbasa for the sausage – but any type of “smoked sausage” will do – healthier versions from the butcher, chicken or turkey sausage, whatever. This is everyone’s favorite part, and the most important for leftovers (because I use the leftovers to cook with scrambled eggs) so we use a lot of sausage.
Next, cut up the carrots and make a carrot layer on top of the sausage. I use about 4-6 carrots normally. At this point I put it on to start steaming, but if you’re using cabbage you need to chop up the cabbage as well and make that the top layer. Since it steams for 30 minutes I wait until the last 10-12 minutes to open up the pot and add the broccoli to the top (since everyone hates overcooked broccoli!)
The amount of broccoli or cabbage you add normally ends up depending on the size of your pot and the fact that your lid needs to fit very tightly. I made this for a simple dinner last week in the midst of my cooking extravaganza, which is why I couldn’t post it then. Since the potatoes in the bottom are in water they don’t turn brown if you make this ahead and stick it in the fridge to cook the next day. I used two heads of broccoli if I remember correctly. This meal really looks way too simple to be called a “meal” and the things in it too few and uncomplicated to call it a “recipe,” but I’ll tell you, it’s saved us for dinner many times. Even visiting children love it – everyone who tastes it raves about it. Unfortunately for the Brits reading, I haven’t seen this type of sausage anywhere in the stores except the American Commissary. Possibly the Polish Deli? It’s worth a check. It’s definitely unlike every type of sausage that has ever been served to us in our myriad of hotel “Full English Breakfast” experiences along our many travels in the UK this year. Hope you enjoy! Now I am heading out for a pregnancy craving – a frappucino – and since I’m out close to dinner will be picking up Chinese take-out and lettuce and tomato at the store for BLT’s after church tomorrow on homemade bread – yummy!!!