Saturday Morning Motivation

Today is the bestest day ever!!  It is the day that I get to celebrate the person who is my biggest supporter, cheerleader and my one true love, my husband, Nick. 🙂  Love you, babe and YOU ARE OLD!  Finally, as old as me!

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And to kick off the weekend!  Here are some pics of quotes I found online that gave me some motivation and some good vibes this week!  Happy Saturday!

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Spring Break! Grab the Chipotle Aioli!

This week has been my Spring Break, a much deserved reprieve from school.  My shoulders have returned to their proper position, instead of hanging out somewhere near my ears.  My sleep patterns are topsy turvy, staying up too late and waking up still too early.  I have savored long out-to-lunch lunches vs plastic box lunches (aka as microwave meals) since I have had longer than 20 minutes to scarf down some food.  I’ve had time to eat my breakfast and enjoy a second (or third) cup of coffee. Most importantly, time spent with H and my family has been so nice.

H and I went to visit my sister, brother in law and their newish baby S for a few days.  My mom was already there, so we joined her for the middle part of this week.  H and I drove down mid-day Tuesday, just in time for my sister to get off of work.  I was so happy to get in some baby lovin’.  I hadn’t seen my beautiful niece in a few months and it was so wonderful to see her.

On Wednesday, my sis had to go back to work, so my mom, H and I got to babysit. 🙂  I2013-04-03 14.51.13 needed to get a run in as well, so I headed out early so that we could go to lunch at the Bass Lake Draft House.  The fam tried it out the past weekend and my mom suggested it, knowing that the place was right up my ally.  It was so good that we ended up eating there one more time before we left yesterday.  I ended up trying two sandwiches, El Diablo and the Steak and Cucumber pita. I’m pretty much addicted to their chipotle aioli. The food was fantastic and the cold beer post run was well deserved!  Mmmm….chipotle aioli…oh wait…where was I?

Every time I visit my sister,  I pass the turn for the American Tobacco Trail on the way to her house.  I have friends who have run the Tobacco Road Marathon and Half or have traveled there for a Saturday long run.  They all rave about how nice it is and that’s a great place to run.  I was going to finally have the opportunity to check it out.  So excited!  In addition to running the ATT, it was also the start of April which meant another 5 by the 5th virtual run!

I laced up, drove the 20 minutes to the trail, and headed out once I got my bearings of where I was going.  Since I had to run 5 miles, I was just going to do an out and back along the course.  The trail isn’t really a woodsy “trail”, which I knew, but more of a pea gravel trail so I was happy to be running on a softer surface, just to mix it up.  ATT is very flat too; I had a slight uphill grade going out.  I had an awesome run!  The weather was perfect and the trail provided a lot of scenery and the miles flew by!  I ended up running the fastest 5 miler so far during this virtual run series, beating my February 5 miler by :30!  April 5 by the 5th

It was a great visit to my sister’s!  We enjoyed our time with them, relaxing, hanging with baby S and the rest of the family.  I look forward to more trips especially during the summer, when H and I can head down for a few days here and there.  I also would love to plan for our running group to head to the ATT for a summer Saturday long run.  It would be a great way to mix up our summer running and maybe we can sneak in a visit to Bass Lake, I’ll definitely need another chipotle fix.

 

 

A Color Me Awesome Week!

The last two weeks have been jammed pack and I really had all intentions of blogging about it but I just was holding on, waiting for Spring break.

The weekend after Wrightsville was the start of the local Spring racing season and we kicked it off in true Woo Hoo fashion at the Old Town Beerun.  It was a great time spent with friends even though the weather was less than cooperative.  Find our recap here:

I celebrated my 39th birthday the day after the Beerun.  It was the only good thing about a Monday…haha!  Nick and H bought me some beautiful tulips and some other goodies (my favorite coffee and sea salt chocolate) and we went out to dinner at our favorite restaurant, Lindley Park Filling Station.  It was low key day, but it was perfect.  We were hosting a cookout the following weekend with some of our closest friends.

This week also brought another surprise.  I had applied through Active Ambassadors to become a member of Team ZonePerfect.  It had been several weeks since I filled out the application and I didn’t expect to hear anything for a few more weeks.  I received an email inviting me to join 99 other moms to joint the Team.  They are asking us to spread the word about their kiddo friendly line, Kidz ZonePerfect bars.  I still am learning everything that will be involved with the sponsorship, but I’m excited for the opportunity.  My bars and other goodies should be here any day.  H and I are pretty excited to try them out and pick our favorite flavor! #sponsored

We finished off the school week with a “Run to Frozato” with our girls running club.  We had 35 girls show up to run/walk the 2 mile trip to get some yummy frozen yogurt.  The girls did amazingly well.  The group I ran with held to a 3 minute run, 1 minute walk for the whole 2 miles. They have really come a long way since our first time meeting.  I’m really proud of them!  It was a lot of fun and they were super proud of themselves too.

And finally this weekend brought the much anticipated Color Me Rad run.  As soon as H saw the website for this race, she HAD to do it.  We were excited to be able to run another 5K as a family too. Several of our other running friends all signed up too, so we had a pretty large group all running together.  The race itself was super fun but before that, not so much.  It was a little hectic at times with over 7,000 runners and I had flashbacks of how I felt running the Cooper River Bridge Run a few years ago.  I do not deal too well with the lack of true corrals and although we were in the 9am wave that really meant nothing.  Everyone was all jammed together at the starting line.

We got separated from our group of friends moving to start the line.  Every time we’d look for someone, all you would see were white shirts.  It was hard to pick anyone out of the crowd.  I held on to H’s hand for fear that we’d get separated.  We ended up starting with only 1/3 of our group.  We stopped on the side of the road once we took off, hoping to be reunited with everyone else.  We ended up finding Bonnie and her kiddos and Carole and Henry and his niece and nephew.  We didn’t catch Christie and Eric.  (We later found out they were in our same corral, not behind of us like we thought).

We got moving along the course and the hectic feeling went away pretty quickly.  It was still tough keeping up with the kids with everyone dressed alike.  Need to figure out something different to do next year, if we run it again.  The kiddos had a blast!  The color stations were spaced out well, just far enough apart where the kiddos could walk/run and not get bored or whiny.  This one of the first 5Ks that H was probably disappointed to see the finish line. We arrived back at the start, fully colored from head to toe and smiling.  It was a wonderful time with our family and friends.  We stuck around for the last “color bomb” where everyone throws their packets of colored goodness everywhere then headed home, leaving dusty reminders of our fun all over the car. 601344_357524511035679_323518562_n

“You’ve got to be noisy and colorful and lively.”

~Mel Brooks

Lucky #13! Wrightsville Beach Half weekend recap

This weekend was just fantastic! The family (Nick, H, and I) and our close friends, Carole, Henry, Bekah and Kirsten hit the NC coast for the Wrightsville Beach half marathon weekend. It was a total spur of the moment race for me, having signed up in January just because Henry and Bekah were running it (having both ran it last year) and it seemed like a great idea for a March half and my 13th half marathon, our family’s lucky number. Seemed kind of appropriate for a Wright to run Wrightsville for the 13th one?

My family and the McMurray’s headed down to Wrightsville Beach early Saturday morning and arrived around lunch time jut in time to hit the EXPO. We snagged our bibs and really2013-03-16 14.50.58 nice race tees (one of my new favs!). Carole and I even scored super cute tech tanks for $10 from How Far is the Bar. We found a great restaurant, Dockside, nearby on the water. The grilled mahi mahi tacos were delish! The weather was absolutely perfect for sitting outside, sun shining and a slight breeze.

After lunch, we checked into the hotel and headed to Wilmington to check out the St. Patty’s day Festival and to walk along the Riverwalk. 2013-03-16 16.34.23 We opted for an early dinner, which was Mexican fare, for my traditional pre-race meal. Black beans and rice always seem to do me well! The chips and salsa probably help some too, putting all that sodium into my body. Whatever it is, it works for me! We topped it off with a visit to Boombalatti’s for some yummy ice cream. I enjoyed the Caramel Macchiato, coffee ice cream with caramel and whipped topping swirled together, in a waffle cone. I was a little worried I may have overstuffed myself, but I went to bed full and happy.

4:30am came a little too soon Sunday morning. I slept well, but woke up several times, 2013-03-17 05.26.47fearing that I wouldn’t hear my alarm. I hate that feeling! I had already laid out my clothes the night before so I quickly got dressed and ate breakfast, going downstairs to the lobby for a much needed cup of joe. I was ready to go by 5:30am and headed down to the lobby to meet Bekah who was coming to meet Henry and me at the hotel so we could all head to the finish line together to catch the shuttle to the starting line.

We arrived to the finish line, hit the port-a-potties and jumped in line just in time to catch the last shuttle heading to the starting line. We didn’t exactly time it too well, but none of us were really stressed about it. We ended up realizing that we could have just walked to the starting line (maybe 3/4 of a mile). We would definitely go that route next year. We got to the starting line with 15 minutes to spare. We hurried to the bathroom again and found ourselves caught with our pants down (literally) as our wave started. We headed to the starting line, yelling “wave 2” as we went along, as they were making the “last call” announcement. The 3 of us crossed the starting line by ourselves and Henry bid farewell to Bekah and me and sped off. Bekah and I took off, realizing that we were running a little too quick from all the excitement and slowed up just a bit.

We ran the first two miles around Wrightsville Beach, making a loop through the small town, before crossing the Intercoastal Waterway, heading back up Eastwood towards Military Cutoff and Landfall, a huge resort. We ran really well the first 3 miles, averaging a 9:02 pace. We were hoping to catch up with the 2 hour pacer so that we could settle in for an easier pace for a few miles and just let some miles pass by us. Knowing that we were behind them at the start meant that we could hang for a few miles and still be under 2 hours overall. We picked up our pace for the next 3 miles, averaging an 8:48 pace. It was at mile 6, shortly after entering Landfall, when we finally caught up to the 2 hour group.

We were pretty excited to finally catch them, only to be a bit disappointed that the pacer was singing “99 bottle of beer on the wall” once we caught them. It wasn’t exactly the vibe we thought we’d find once we found them. After hanging around for a mile, we made a decision at that point to push just a bit and we pulled ahead of the group. By doing so, we caught up with the 4 hour marathon pacer who was a bit more chill and we hung with her group for a mile.

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Waiting for mom…my heart! 🙂

By now, we were starting mile 9 and the real work started for us. I held our pace around an 8:56 for the next few miles, hoping that by mile 11.5-12 we could start picking our pace up again. Bekah and I hung together until the water station around mile 11-11.5. I opted not to take water. I was still working on my chomp from mile 9, so I was waiting until mile 12 to take water. I kept going like I had at all the other stations knowing that Bekah would catch up to me, but we just didn’t hook back up the last few miles. The sun was definitely out in full force now, which I knew would be my downfall if I started getting too hot, so I continued on, staying around an 8:45 pace through mile 12. I took water quickly right past mile 12 and pushed through to the end, finishing the last .1 (.2 on my Garmin) at an 8:22 pace.

I came through the finish line chute, finishing under 2 hours (1:59:46) on the gun clock and with a new PR time of 1:57:07, Garmin time! (Unfortunately, at this point, my chip did not work at the finish line and my tag time was not recorded. I am working with the race directors/timing company for the “proof”). 2013-03-17 21.29.38

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I was greeted by Nick and H right after finishing and turned around to look for Bekah who came in right after me. I was so happy to see her! She saw her family and we all jumped the “fence” to get away from the crowd that was leading towards the food tent. We weren’t ready to have food just yet.

2013-03-17 08.53.19After a round of pictures, we grabbed some snacks and drinks and caught Carole and Nick up on our running adventure. Our friend, Cindy, was also there, running with her tennis girls. We found her and chatted with her for a bit about her race. She did amazingly well, finishing in 1:32! She’s a true badass, ran with an uncooperative leg and still killed it. She’s awesome!

We stayed at the post race party for some time, just enjoying the warmth and 2013-03-17 09.44.20sunshine..ok, and free beer. It was so nice! We grabbed some sandwiches for lunch and went back to the hotel to shower and rest for a bit. We decided to hit the beach. H is a beach girl at heart and she was playing in the cold water and building animals in the sand within minutes. We opted for a late afternoon movie, OZ in 3D and IMAX. Go see this movie, seriously. Absolutely fantastic. I rarely want to see movies again, but I would see this one in a hot minute. As soon as it finished, H looked at me and said, “Can we buy it?!” It is THAT good! After dinner at Fox and Hound and another round of ice cream, we headed back to the hotel for the night.

On Monday morning, we all took our time getting up. It was nice to be leisurely. We met up for breakfast and finally checked out by 11am. We weren’t quite ready to head home just yet, so we took another trip to the beach, heading towards the Shell Island Resort, a 2013-03-17 14.27.24place that Nick and I had stayed at several times, years before we had H. It was nice to see how much work they had done to save the beach on the north end of the island. The last time we were there, the beach was slowly washing away and we were always fearful the resort would be go with it. The beach expands 1/2 mile past the resort now. We ventured down to the end to look across the water to Figure 8 island.

2013-03-18 11.55.40When we came to the end of the island, we saw the most peculiar thing, a mailbox sitting on a post in the sand. At first we kind of ignored it, but then curiosity got the best of us and we went to check it out. Written on the outside of the box was “Leave a note” and inside the box were pens and 2 small notebook journals. Each journal was just started this past weekend and several notes had been written in both. Some were just simple reminders of great weekends; other entries had quotes. H sat on the nearby bench and wrote something in one of the books. She didn’t want anyone to see what she wrote so we respected her privacy. I totally wonder what she wrote about?! What would a 92013-03-18 11.55.50 year old want to say in a journal post? It was pretty sweet to see her taking her time, going back a second time to add more to her note. Henry, Carole and I all wrote in the other journal, leaving our thoughts in the mailbox.

It was the perfect ending to a wonderful weekend. Something so surprising as a mailbox on a beach, just sitting there, asking us to leave a note. It was exactly the thing I needed to see. It gave me the time to reflect on this past weekend and more importantly, my family and friends, and to leave a little note, a small token of my gratitude. 2013-03-18 12.42.05

A Balancing Act

7 days of exercise this week, really?! I’m still in awe that I did it and I wasn’t totally shattered by the end of week and it didn’t disrupt our family life. At the start of the week, I wasn’t sure I was going to get any runs/exercise in with a school meeting Tuesday night and the hubby traveling for work, but somehow everything worked out!  Funny how that happens…

Here’s some of this week’s highlights:

Monday and Wednesday: Some running with some of my runner girl friends (Christie, Amy and Amanda), a solo run and Body Pump (Monday).

Tuesday:  Body Pump with 2 of my friends, Katie and Bekah.  Total bonus day of exercise!  I left school, hit the 4:30 class at the Y near my school, stayed through 5:15, freshened up, and headed back to school for parent night at 6pm.  True testimony that anyone can make time for exercise…where there is a will (or craziness) there is a way.

Thursday:  Another girls running club day!  We had 45 girls show up for some yoga.  Andrea led us through breathing exercises and several poses.  The girls (and Bekah and I) had their share of giggles, but settled down after a bit.  They really did a great job! I also realized how much I missed yoga! I need to find a way to mix in classes again.  I grabbed H from school and we headed out for dinner.  No cooking while Daddy’s gone!

Friday: March 1st started the March “RUN EVERY DAY” challenge hosted by I ❤ to run.  I was so torn because I didn’t really have time to run at least one mile before a group of us were heading out to celebrate Katie’s birthday, but I really wanted to see if I could even keep up with a streak for a month.  I finally gave it amends and thought, worse comes to worse, I could just start my own streak on Saturday.  After a few brews and some yummy pizza at Brixx, the hubby and I headed home for the night.

On the drive home, I couldn’t get the challenge out my head.  It was 9:30pm, I had a few beers and a full tummy, but I kept thinking I only have to run a mile, I only have to run ONE mile.  I could run a mile, just one, right?  I changed into my running clothes, threw on my reflective vest and called on the 12athon God and reminisced about our Drunk Pregnant Bunny run from last year’s challenge and headed out to run.  Though that day was way crazier than my mile run, who knew that all that 12athon silliness would be a prelude?!  Nick looked at me like I had literally lost my mind…perhaps I had.  I intended to stay just within our cul-de-sac, but actually felt good and headed out along my normal running route.  I giggled a lot about the ridiculousness of all this, I talked and sang to myself (not a big fan of running at night by myself), and knew that this would make a great story at some point.  Nick was waiting for me out on our driveway, just shaking his head when I showed back up.  March running streak…it’s on!

Saturday: A group of girls had made plans to run a local trail, Owl’s Roost mid-afternoon.  I wasn’t sure if I’d meet up with them or not, but H wanted to stay out another night at her grandparents and Nick was still tired from his trip, so it was the perfect time to get a run in without missing out on family time with them.  4 of us (Katie, Andrea, Sarah and I) met out 5 by the 5that the park and headed out for the 5 mile trail.  It was also the perfect distance for this month’s Mommy Run Fast 5 by the 5th challenge.  We all stuck together and had a great run!

Once we headed back to the parking lot,  Amy was just finishing up with her run and we headed for a quick brew.  After many appetizers and two desserts (!!), I headed home for movie night with the hubby.

Sunday: Long run day!  I wasn’t sure how I’d feel this morning, but I slept great and 2013-03-03 13.07.23apparently all my carb loading Friday and Saturday worked perfectly.  Kathy and I hung together for our 9.75 miler along the Greenway.  We both had a great day running and I enjoyed our time together this morning.  H and I had plans to see Annie this afternoon at a local theater, so I instead of doing the normal bagel trip, I opted for some homemade Mexican eggs instead and got home shortly after she did from the in-laws.

I learned a lot about balance this week, how to continue to juggle all the things that I have going on daily (work and family).  I learned that I can always do more within any given hours of the day.  I also reconfirmed that exercising and running doesn’t have to affect my family life.  I can make it all work with the help and support of Nick and H.

We need to debunk “work[out]-life balance.”  It’s not about continuing an impossible balancing act. What we need is a stronger support system.

~ Amy Tiemann, “Mojo Mom”

“Wrapping” Up a Totally Tublar Weekend

What started out as a pretty easy week ended up being a mad dash right into the weekend.  With some unexpected events, my normal workout nights and our Family Food Competition (FFC) ended up getting all mixed up.  What’s life without a little shakeup now and then, right?  familyfoodcomp

I did tackle my night of our FFC and hit a home run with Nick and H.  I had to outsmart Nick 2013-01-22 18.00.19this week so I went straight for jugular…I cooked H’s favorite meal from one of our favorite restaurants, Lindley Park Filling Station.  I recreated their tasty Howard wrap (H and I love it!).  I cut up 1.5 lbs of chicken breasts into bite sized pieces, quickly cooked them in a frying pan with a little bit of olive oil.  While that was working, I diced a tomato and made the pesto mayo by combining 3 parts mayo with 1 part pre-made pesto.  Once the chicken was thoroughly cooked, I took a large tortilla, smeared some pesto mayo on it  and filled it with the chicken, shredded lettuce (thank you leftover salad mix!), shredded cheddar, and tomatoes.  I didn’t want to go the tater tot route, so opted for a quick cream of tomato soup.  The weather has been so chilly, it was the perfect side.  We topped our soups with just a pinch of feta cheese, so good!  Empty plates and bowls declared me a clear winner!  I ended up with enough leftovers for 2 days of lunches for me this week!  Nick unfortunately was stuck cooking an old standby this week (tacos) so though my meal was a success, I suppose I can’t truly claim the victory.

Nick – 1  Me – 1*   *if I lose by one in the end, this will totally count.

Our big event that we were looking forward was a snow tubing weekend trip with friends and family!  The idea of going tubing has been in the works for several years, but until this weekend, it had never come to fruition.  My friend, Carole, threw out the idea again about a month ago, invited all of our favorite friends, and everyone jumped in on the trip the minute she threw it out there.  Our family, along with Carole and Henry, headed up Friday to Boone to stay for the weekend, the rest of the group made it a day trip on Saturday.  16 of us ended up taking on Hawksnest for an awesome afternoon of tubing.  Each session is 2 hours and at first, we didn’t think that could possibly be enough time, but in the end it was perfect.  H had a blast going down the hills and we would always try to line up so that we could race each other.  After we finished tubing, we all headed back to Boone where we grubbed on yumminess at Mellow Mushroom for lunch. It was the perfect day!2013-01-26 12.53.27

This morning, Carole, Henry and I took to the streets of Boone for our long run, 10 miles2013-01-27 11.27.29, 3.1 miles of which counted towards Anywhere5K’s run, Run Fur Fun virtual 5K.  I went to college up in Boone at the best school ever, Appalachian State.  While I was there, I had not found running again, so I missed out on traveling the town on foot.  I really wish that I had, it was just so nostalgic to run through campus and the cute little downtown area.  I played tour guide to them both, pointing out my dorm building, the stadium, and other buildings of interest.  We ended up running from one end of the town to the other, making the loop through campus twice.  We encountered a few other runners braving the 20 degree temp, even one very overzealous college student who threw up his hands as he passed us yelling “WOOOO!  WE ARE RUNNING!”.  Henry and I gave him a “WOO HOO” back, celebrating with him and laughing at his excitement.  2013-01-27 10.04.03

Here’s to hoping we have a “throw our hands up and yell WOOOO” kind of week!

Weekend Workout Warrior!

This weekend has been a treat!  We ended up with stay at home day from school and work on Friday, thanks to almost 3 inches of snow that fell Thursday night.  But by Saturday and Sunday, the sun made it’s way out finally after a dreary week and the temps yesterday reached near 60!  Today, it’s been sunny, but a cold front is definitely on its way.  What strange weather!

The only unfortunate thing with the snow is it ruined our plans to visit my sister in Raleigh.  My sis and brother–in-law have a new baby, S, who is now 2 months old.  My mom, H and I were planning to go there on Sunday and stay through Tuesday, but with the snow, Tuesday became our snow make-up day.  I am still disappointed that we didn’t get a chance to go and stay for a few days to visit.  I was looking forward to getting some baby time!

So with the change in plans, I seized the time off and the beautiful weather to get in some workouts.  I thought by yesterday, I’d feel tired and worn out, but I haven’t felt better.  I hope that my body is adapting to working out more.  I’m trying to do something every day, even if it’s for 15 minutes. Thanks to those little daily workouts, I can get a quick little core workout on days I’m crunched for time.

Here’s a recap of my weekend:

  • Friday:  Daily Workout
  • Saturday: I hit the Body Pump 84 launch and CXWorx at my gym with my friend, Christie.  Body Pump 84 is amazing!  The new bicep track with just the plates might be my new favorite.  When using the bar all the time, I knew that my right arm was compensating for my weaker left arm.  With the plates, both arms are on their own, having to do their own work. I look forward to seeing how I progress in my weights.
  • Sunday: 10 (hilly, hilly) miles with Melanie J and Carole.  The 3 of us took on a much hillier route than I originally thought.  I should be banned from mapping any more routes! We ended up running it really well, but were all done by the time we finished. Katie, Nathan and Russell came out to run easy recovery miles, having ran long on Saturday.  Daniel, Andrea and Kay came for breakfast!  Pancakes and laughter with 9 of my friends totally made it all worth it!  Later in the day, Katie and I hit the CXWorx class for another core workout.
  • Today:  A short circuit workout. I warmed up with a solo mile, then did Sunday’s daily workout, then headed out with H for another mile.  Our family is running the Color Me Rad 5K in March and she and I are starting her training.  She’s run several 5K’s before and trained at school with the GoFar program.  This will be our 3rd family 5K and we are super excited about this fun race.  We walked for 3 minutes and ran for 1 minute.  She was doing great.  With the last .25, she wanted to run the whole thing, so we went for it!  She was so proud of herself. 🙂  I was too!.

If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.

~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Family Food Competition

“May the odds be ever in your favor!”

familyfoodcompThat quote seems pretty appropriate for the start of our Family Food Competition this week.  If you are like my hubby and I, we often have no idea what we want to cook for dinner, we seem to cook the same 4 meals (tacos, spaghetti, some kind of chicken dish, and leftovers/thrown together meal with what we have in the pantry) and with both of us working, some nights we have no interest in cooking at all.  Add in any nights, I meet my running group, The Woo Hoo Crew for a night run, dinner gets disrupted.  Most nights, we end up getting take-out and regret spending the money cause we’re being lazy.  So we invented the Family Food Competition!

Each work week, we decide to cook 2 of our ol’ standby meals and the other two nights, Nick takes a night to cook and I take a night to cook.  We figured Friday, Saturday and Sunday were kitchen free nights.  The two nights that we cook individually, we have to try something new.  Our 9 year old daughter, H, is a judge and she decides which meal she likes best.  We knew going into this, we would definitely tie if the vote was left to her.  Our sweet girl is too concerned to hurt anyone’s feelings, but it was fairly obvious which she preferred, the empty plate verdict was undeniable.

We had a busy week and we knew that Tuesday we wouldn’t be eating at home.  We were going to see our friend, Nathan‘s recital.  So were were definitely making it a night of it and were meeting friends out at our favorite restaurant, Lindley Park Filling Station.  So that left Monday, Wednesday and Thursday night.  Nick took Monday and I took Wednesday.  Yesterday ended up being a white-out literally, we got snow and we opted for Subway sandwiches and take out.  It’s all about baby steps when breaking bad habits, right?!

So for Nick’s dish, he made a mean meatloaf wrapped in bacon.  It was fantastically delicious.  The bacon made the meat so tender and who doesn’t love some bacon!  For his side dish, he used the bag of hash browns we had in our fridge that was getting close to expiring and he whipped up a casserole.  I was pretty impressed!  I’m not sure where he got the idea to do that on the fly, but it worked out perfectly.  He opted to use Panko breadcrumbs in lieu of the cornflakes called for in the recipe.  It was rich, cheesy and super tasty!  H loved the meal and her empty plate was going to be hard to beat. Nick was walking away with this one and I hadn’t even cooked yet.

Wednesday, it was my turn.  I had already found the recipe I was going to use, Rigatoni and Sausage Bake.  My goal was to have a salad as a side, but we all snacked on all the veggie toppings while I cooked.  We had most of the ingredients needed for the bake already, so I just needed to grab some Italian sausage and ricotta.  I opted for half mild, half hot sausage, hoping to add just a kick to the mostly cheese recipe.  I also added some sauteed mushrooms too, just because I like them. After 30 minutes of baking, I pulled the dish out of the oven and it was bubbling and gooey and smelled fantastic.  I knew this would be a tough sell to Nick and H, but the whole purpose of this competition was to try new recipes.  Nick isn’t a big fan of “big” pasta or mushrooms and H doesn’t like mushrooms, but will occasionally eat sausage.

Nick liked it, surprisingly.  He thought it was all his favorite parts of lasagna, but he would have liked it better with ground sausage vs. slices.  I agreed.  H ate the noodles, freaked out when she found a mushroom (how did I miss that one!) and she didn’t touch any of the sausage.  She had a 1/4 of plate full and when I asked if she was done eating, she was done.  I asked her if she liked the food and what was her vote, she said she liked it, but her plate read a different story.  And with that sad plate of half eaten noodles and sausage, I lost the 1st Family Food Competition.

Nick – 1  Me – 0

The unseen plus side of both our recipes, leftovers! I ate leftover meatloaf and hash brown casserole on Tuesday and I dished out 3 containers of the sausage bake for myself, my sister and my dad for lunches the next day.

Our goal next week is to let H choose the recipe and help with the cooking.  She’s at a great age now where she can help with some of the chopping and prep work.  She also wanted to have her own night where she cooked, but she laughed when she realized she could only cook PBJ sandwiches and H’s Famous Nachos (tortilla chips with shredded cheese, microwaved until the cheese melts).  Sounds like a winner to me!