Month: April 2016

Best Salad Dressing EVER!!!

Cranberry Vinaigrette Dressing

My favorite dressing

After my Seniors Walk and a great gym workout this Saturday morning, I tried a new salad dressing recipe for lunch. I must say it is the BEST dressing I have ever tasted!

I collect cookbooks and every now and then I love to try recipes from them. I write next to each recipe how I liked it, what worked, what didn’t for future reference. My favorite cookbooks have the most notes. My mom did the same thing and now that she’s passed if I ever miss her I can look back at her cookbooks, read her notes and feel she’s still with me.

Since it’s Springtime, I try to steer my eating towards what’s available fresh and grown as locally as I can. I made a nice salad for lunch with baby spinach, asparagus, green onion and this amazingly, delicious salad dressing from the book: THE COOL MOUNTAIN COOKBOOK by Gwen Ashley Walters. It’s a very nice book showcasing recipes from some of America’s best winter resorts.

I tried out ASPARAGUS SALAD with BALSAMIC CRANBERRY VINAIGRETTE from the Rusty Parrot Lodge in Wyoming. I will make it regularly from now on. It only takes a few minutes. You will be very happy you took them to make this!

ASPARAGUS SALAD with BALSAMIC CRANBERRY VINAIGRETTE

4 servings

Vinaigrette:

½ cup balsamic vinegar

½ cup honey

¼ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup chopped yellow or red onion

1 garlic clove, chopped

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Salad:

1 bunch asparagus – about 30 spears

4 cups baby spinach

4 green onions, sliced thin

Optional: 1 ounce Goat cheese

Place the asparagus in boiling salted water for 2 to 3 minutes only. Then take out quickly and place in ice water so the stalks maintain their fresh green color. Take out and cool in a bowl in the refrigerator while making dressing.

Place all dressing ingredients except olive oil in a blender and blend for 10 seconds. Turn off and pour a little oil in, place cover back on, blend for a few seconds and repeat until all oil is gone. The dressing should be nice and frothy. It will still be a bit chunky and that’s fine.

Place the spinach in 4 bowls, add the asparagus stalks. Divide goat cheese pieces up between the 4 bowls and pour the salad dressing evenly between the bowls. Sprinkle the green onion slices on top and serve.

 

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Age Makes a Difference

When I was younger I never had a problem losing weight. If I weighed a few pounds more than I should, I lost it right away. Of course, I was A LOT more obsessive about my weight and looks then. Sometimes I would go entire days without eating and later, after running a few miles, I would wonder why I felt so weak or cranky or tired. The mere thought of eating dessert was enough to send me into a trauma.

Have things changed! And for the better, thank goodness!

Life has so many twists, so many surprises and experiences. Through them we learn, we hurt, we laugh, we battle against all odds and hopefully, we continue to move forward.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve added some extra weight, as many of us do, but I’m not emotionally distressed over it. I am determined to lose it however. It’s not a massive amount, but I do believe that I can be a better runner and certainly a better trainer if I am in the best shape I can be. Carrying around extra weight doesn’t help me at all.

And I’m losing it the right way, with healthy eating and lots of great workouts, both strength training and running.

In my fifties, losing weight isn’t as easy as it was all those decades ago. Even a few extra pounds turns into a major chore. It really isn’t easy. And one careless night of bad eating can add those lost pounds in a snap, which will take me weeks to lose once more.

But one of my goals this year is to be a better runner and I really cannot do that unless I shed some weight.

And just after five days of healthy eating and workouts, I’ve lost 3.5 pounds. I know it’s mostly water weight, but still not a bad start!

Have great workouts this weekend!

Cheers!

TRIP TO NEW ENGLAND

My father passed away last October, but his desire was to have his ashes buried in his hometown of Newburyport, Massachusetts. Since he lived in Florida for the last few decades of his life, he had planned it out with his second wife. my stepmom, to have a burial ceremony on the birthday after his passing in New England. So I took the time to head Northeast.

Running Trail in NH

Rails to Trails in New Hampshire

It’s been many years since I’ve been in that part of the country. It’s beautiful country; trees everywhere you look, rolling green hills lined with low stone walls and centuries-old churches and history, lots of history.

I stayed with one of my sisters in New Hampshire just south of Manchester. I was struck by how modern and sleek the Manchester Airport. Tons of charging stations and so clean and intelligently planned. Other airports could learn much from Manchester.

Woods ini NH

New Hampshire woods

Thursday I went for the one run of my trip. There was so much to do and see I didn’t have another chance to run. But the run I got in was great. They have a series of Rails to Trails and the portion I used was beautiful! It meandered through woods and passed lakes. Few people used the paved path. It was chilly out! Luckily I started to get warm as I ran, for I started to wonder if I should have worn my long Under Armors instead of running shorts.

Later that day, my sisters I went out for dinner – LOBSTER! It was spectacular! We drove to the beach afterwards for dessert and coffee. I am really going to lose weight when I get back home!

Friday was spent with family, many of whom I hadn’t seen in many, many years. These times are not easy, it’s so good to reconnect, but also a bit emotional and draining.

Saturday I planned a day to myself. I drove out to Ipswich to see Castle Hill. A manufacturer or plumbing parts magnate from Chicago built this glorious mansion, no, castle on a huge hill at the ocean there and I needed to see it. I love places like this! I wandered around the grounds and then inside. It was in the 40s and windy, so it was hard to be outside for too long.

Castle Hill

Castle Hill grounds

My plane ride started extra early this morning, so it was nice to be back in SF before noon. Back to training and my regular routine tomorrow, which I don’t mind at all.

Cheers!

Marin Headlands

Marin Headlands 4-3-16

The best view!

Trail running is near the top of my Running Loves List. I don’t get to go out as much as I would like, without a car it takes a bit more planning and a lot more time. But I managed to get a wonderful day of trail runs in this past Sunday.

As the calendar moves into spring, there is something always going on in San Francisco. That means traffic isn’t going to be easy. The San Francisco Rock & Roll Half Marathon happened on Sunday morning, so there were lots of street closures. I’ve ran that race before and I’m not sure if I’ll do it again. The first four miles are nearly all uphill; it’s one of the most punishing halfs I’ve ever run, so thinking about a second go-through has me wondering if I want to put myself through it again.

It’s not that easy getting to the Marin Headlands on a Sunday via bus. The earliest one doesn’t leave SF until 8am, and the one I wanted, not until 9:30am, so at least I didn’t have to cut my sleep short. The line doesn’t run often either, so when it does it’s usually packed with hikers, nature lovers and out of town visitors. And, the MUNI #76 Marin Headlands line that goes all the way to Roade Beach only runs on Sundays, so it’s not there is a choice of which day to go.

Headlands 4-3-16

The Headlands hills are steep but pay off!

As we departed for north of SF, the bus got stuck waiting for runners to pass on Larkin Street. It was towards the tail end of the race and knowing how demanding this race is, I felt for their tired faces.

It wasn’t the warmest day. In fact, later on it became completely overcast and a little windy. But as I took to the trail off Cozelman Rd, the sun was peeking out and helped warm me going up that steep first mile.

Those first two miles are harsh!!! Straight up, up, UP!!!! I ran as much as I could, walking lots, finding myself out of breath even. It’s hard to believe that I can still get out of breath so fast over a silly hill!

But once at the top, few things are as spectacular as that view!

When trail running, it’s the one time it’s guaranteed I won’t be listening to music. The natural sounds around me are so stunning and loud! The birds never stopped singing the entire time I was out there. I forgot how much I love natural sounds. They’ve become so distant to me since living in the city and I miss them terribly.

Marin Headlands Flowers 4-3-16

Wild Flowers!

It took me longer to maneuver through the trails than I thought. Many of them had become a little overgrown with the recent rains. There was lots of poison oak and I do mean TONS of it. I had to be careful moving through it because new branches stuck out everywhere, looking for places to grow and I am highly susceptible to it.

I made it to Rodeo Beach about 1.5 miles short of my goal, but the #76 was due any moment. I decided to catch it back across the Golden Gate Bridge and finish up my distance in the Presidio where I could easily take another bus back home.

I won’t make it such a long time between runs here again, even with the hassle of getting there and back, it’s well worth it.

And even if it means spending a little money, I vow to go on some good trail runs a little farther away from home this year. It really is a blast and worth the money spent.

Cheers!