Friday, October 29, 2010

Dish Report #6 (aka Out of the ordinary #6)

Last night I made Salmon fillets over couscous.  The dish was super easy to make and it presented itself quite lovely.  See?


Q took the pic immediately after it was plated which increased the desire to dig in and eat it.  And... everyone was here to taste it and all came eagerly to the dinner table to try out this new experimental dish that I had made. 

But first, here are some questions that we "discussed" before anyone tried anything.

What is couscous? 
Me:  Some kinda rice or pasta that's super tiny.
The Wiki's answer:  Couscous is a coarsely ground semolina pasta. The grain is a staple in many North African countries. 
Note:  Family is from south Texas and is mostly familiar with latino rice dishes and some Italian style pastas.  Mom, me, is full blooded latina.

What's all the stuff in the 'gush gush'?
Me:  Chopped tomatoes, green bell pepper, yellow squash, green onion, and crumbled feta cheese.
Note:  Teach family how to say couscous.

Is the salmon supposed to be pink?  Is it cooked?
Me:  Yes.  It's not raw.
Answers.com says:  Salmon eat large amounts of a tiny shrimp called Krill. The pigment in the shell of the Krill is red and over a long period of consumption the flesh of the salmon absorbs the red pigment from the Krill.
Confession:  I did have to put the salmon back into the oven for an additional 10 minutes.  My glass dish was too small for 6 pieces so they needed more time than what was noted on the recipe.
Note:  Family's exposure to seafood cuisine includes, but not limited to, fish sticks, fried catfish, and most recently grilled tilapia.

Last week I mentioned that I was going to have everyone complete a scorecard on my weekly dinner experiments.  Their feedback is important, right?  Here's what we got.

Rate from 1 to 5:  Avg score 2
Would you eat it again?  3-No, 2-Maybe
Comments:
"gush gush was a wanna-be rice"
"feta cheese too overpowering"
"don't really like seafood, first time i've eaten salmon"
"rice was funny, like cream of wheat"
"make less slimy looking"
"salmon was good, maybe better if grilled"
"couscous was made better with McCormick's Montreal steak seasoning"
"try a wild rice dish as the side"
"do not et it" (new speller here)
"it's cool that you're doing this"

I liked the couscous so I saved the leftovers and I'll add some ham to it for lunch tomorrow.  There was only 1 salmon fillet leftover so not big enough for Q's lunch so I gave him hot dogs & chili.  Who doesn't like hot dogs & chili?

Next week, maybe I'll try something that everyone has a baseline familiarity with the main part of the dish... or maybe not.  It has been fun trying foods and recipes that we aren't familiar with and everyone is "playing along."  Everyone took the "scorecard" seriously which made it fun.

Note:  Little Q ate a lot of the salmon, and tried the couscous.  V tried everything but opted out.  They both ate the alternate side dish of bean & cheese tacos.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

New Name... Same Blog

Changed the name of my blog to "Snow Running Mama" since 'snowmobile-sa' was a spur of the moment name at the time of blog creation.  I like it... 

Today is Thursday and my 'out of the ordinary dish' will be salmon.  Never have I made this, I've eaten it a few times in restaurants, Q likes it.  I'm gonna have my family rate the meal so I'll let you know tomorrow the "score".

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Because I want you to know...

If you are a runner or a walker, I care about you and your safety.  When I first joined the running group, I didn't know these "rules of the road."  There are so many times as I'm driving and I see people on the wrong side of the road and all I do is pray they are kept safe.  So even if you are not a runner, but you enjoy walks on the streets in your neighborhood, these apply to you too :o)

Running and Walking - Rules of the Road Walkers and runners must always practice safety first when training near traffic! The first four of these are Texas laws.
  1. Please always walk/run facing oncoming traffic.
  2. Always stay on the sidewalk when one is available.
  3. If there is no sidewalk, always stay near the left side of the road in single file.
  4. Do not cross intersections opposing street lights.
  5. Always watch for traffic in all directions - vehicles are bigger and danger is ever present.
  6. Light colored clothing is always recommended.
  7. On cloudy days or at night, wear/use reflective gear - front and back.
  8. It is recommended you run/walk with a training partner or a group.
  9. If you use an Ipod, remember you need to be able to hear traffic, angry animals, etc.
  10. First and foremost - Safety First! It could save your life.
Borrowed from San Antonio Roadrunners.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Benchmark Run - DONE!

I spent last week preparing for our benchmark run on Sunday.  Carb-loading, hydrating, getting plenty of rest and even taking it easy on Saturday. 

We did go to the corn maize on Saturday, but we went early and the sky was overcasted, so we weren't attacked and drained by the sun.  My family had a lot of fun and I have tons of pics on my facebook page.


Sunday morning - got up at 5 am and met Connie at 6 and we drove over to the park to meet our USA Fit running group.  The walkers were scheduled to start at 6 and runners at 7 but some runners decided they would go ahead and start earlier.  We opted to wait for the "official start time" of 7. 

So, 7 o'clock came and off we went.  We felt good and it was perfect running weather.  We ran an interval of 1/2 mile run to 1 min walk/recovery time.  Our route had a lot of hills - the elevation gain was 869 ft and loss was 875 ft which wasn't so bad.  In fact, we kept having to slow our pace down, since during the first half, we kept dipping into an 8.5 min pace as opposed to a 10 and we knew if we kept doing that, we'd be spent for the last half.  THEN we got to mile 14, where almost like a bad dream, all we did was climb, and climb, and climb some more for 4.5 miles!  That incline completely drained whatever last bit of strength and energy I had in my calves, thighs, butt and back.  The last 1.5 miles was flat and long, which was perfect, cuz I was ready to just lie down and die.  We didn't die (me, Connie, Jim & Karen - I think they wanted to die too).  We made it to the end.  The benchmark was supposed to be 21 miles, but our Garmins tracked only 20.2 miles and our end time was 3:55:45.  As of today, this is the longest distance I have ever run in my life!

There are 19 days left until the Rock 'n Roll Marathon.  Nov. 14th.  M-Day.

I rested most of the day yesterday and my legs are sore today, but I'm ready.  I'm ready to take on the 26.2 mile challenge.  I'm nervous.  Nervous that the sun will be out and it will super hot and humid.  I'm excited.  Excited to start and finish something that a lot of people would love to do, but for whatever reason, don't take on this kind of physical/mental challenge.

What about you?  Do you have something that you are preparing for & it is really challenging you right now?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Out of the ordinary dish #5

For last night's out of the ordinary dish I made a pork tenderloin, sweetened spaghetti squash, & steamed broccoli.  I marinated the pork tenderloin in a mix of garlic cloves, parsley, soy sauce, oil & peach nectar for a few hours, then cooked in the oven for about 40 minutes and it was tender, juicy & tasted really good.  I've never made my own marinade.  Remember, I'm an HEB cook.  So my approach to cooking a pork tenderloin, has been to buy the HEB preseasoned brand, remove the wrapped seal, bake, slice & eat.

The spaghetti squash was the challenge.  It's a vegetable that I've only tasted once (loved it) and I've seen on the Food Network umpteen times.  So I decided to give it a try.  (Note:  Be prepared to be brutal with this gourd - I had no idea.)  After I finally got my knife to impale the skin of this squash, I slammed it on the counter, twice, to break the thing in half.  Q got home in time to pierce both halves with a fork since the skin is shy of being just as hard as a coconut.  Rubbed some butter on the flesh and baked it for 30 min, then filled the cavity with some brown sugar and a little more butter, then baked for an additional 10 min.  Scooping it out was cool.  The flesh comes out like spaghetti noodles.  We added a garlic & onion seasoning and it tasted all right, but was kinda crunchy.  The sweetened flavor was OK.  Q suggested that maybe some spinach and herb seasonings would make it a better dish (leave out the brown sugar).  I agree.  Next time, I'll bake it, scoop out the flesh and toss in a pan with some herbed seasoning and EVOO to soften it up.  I'll attack this gourd again.

I think I'm gonna add a scorecard next week for my family to fill out and share.  For this one, I'd give the tenderloin a 4.5 of 5 (always room for improvement), the squash a 2 (crunchy & need to go easy on the sweet), and the broccoli a 5 (it was steamed, no biggie).  So overall score of 3.8

Looking forward to the weekend.  Corn maze on Saturday.  Benchmark run on Sunday.

Edit: For my WW friends, total points for this meal was 9 with 2 veg servings. :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Got a new pair...

In the past 30 days, I've logged 100.28 miles!
I got a new pair of running shoes at the beginning of the training season in July.
They are my first pair to hit the 400 mile mark
in less than 6 months.

I was super-duper excited to get a new pair of running shoes
this weekend.  I tried on at least 10 pair and finally decided on these...

I like running.  I really enjoy it.
Each time I run, I push my legs and my body to do something I NEVER thought
I would ever or could ever do.
It's empowering.
It's freeing.
It's relaxing (after the first mile).
It's good for my heart.
It gives me a clear head.
It's me time.
Time to think.
Time to sing.
Time to celebrate.
Time to pray.
Time to be thankful.
Time to live.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Out of the ordinary dish #4

Chalupa Burgers are now my favorite burgers!  I first had them at Big's Burgers, so my out of the ordinary dish this week would be my own spin on them.  It's a basic burger that has a bean & cheddar cheese chalupa with pico de gallo on top of a beef patty.  I made 2 different patties, lean ground beef and ground turkey.  Beef for Q and turkey for me - I'm back on weight watchers.  I also made baked french fries from a recipe I found at allrecipes.com.  (If you are on WW, my turkey burger came to 7 pts & the fries were 2.  I used 3 large potatoes and divided it into 8 servings.)

You may be wondering why this would be an "out of the ordinary dish" for me.  Believe it or not I have never made pico de gallo.  I know!  It's such a basic food item for latino's and I've never learned how to make it.  I have relied heavily on my Dad and my sister to come through with those toppings at family gatherings and, frankly, I have become dependent on HEB to make it for me at home.  However, after spending only than .03 on 1 serrano jalapeno, .25 on cilantro, .33 on 2 roma tomatoes, .48 on a yellow onion, I'm wondering why I haven't been making my own all the time!  Not only did I save money, but it tasted pretty darn good!  Texted my Dad this morning since he coached me on this simple recipe and told him that the pico was "muy sabroso."

Q liked them and said "I like these better than the other ones so far."  He packed up leftovers for today and the pico is all gone.

I didn't get a picture since the buns I used were too small and it looked a burger from Saturn, but no matter, we laughed and had fun eating them.  Chalupa ring first.

So here's a pic of what it's supposed to look like...


And here's a random pic of Q sipping a cup of hot coffee.  Just because he's so cute.  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Photo Fun...

I really like the shake-it photo iPhone app.

Can you match the shoe?

I only have to strap them in my car to get new pics - Haha!

Here's little Q working a school project.

We had a fun afternoon.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Not Good, Good, & Very Good

We ate out 4 times this past weekend and we were left hungry for good service.
Not Good.

Friday
Got the IHOP coupon for Kids Eat Free & Free Entree - so we decided to go there for dinner.
Little Q ordered the Smiley Face and the strawberry eyes did not look like eyes but 1 big puddle of strawberry goo with 2 pieces of strawberry trying to catch a breath.
Not Good.
Q ordered chicken fried steak & sunny side up eggs.  As the server set his plate on the table, the sunny side up eggs slid off the plate on to the table.
Not Good.
I wanted to substitute my fries with a salad.
They brought me fries anyway.
I ate them.
Not Good.
Plus the salad.
Good.  I think.

Saturday
Q & I had a date night planned and were set to go to Silo.
I had purchased the Groupon a couple of weeks ago and figured it would be a nice anniversary treat.
I didn't know we needed reservations.
Not Good.
So we went to Houlihans.
We've come to like Bryce as our server so asked to sit in his section.
He was full.
Not Good.
We were served instead by Ashley(?) - I think.
Can't remember if that was her name.
Food was Good.
Ordered dessert.
Super yummy - ate all of Q's.
Not Good.

Sunday.
Went to Willie's after church on Sunday to meet Q's mom for lunch.
We ordered and we sat down and nobody saw us for almost 10 minutes.
Not Good.
Finally flagged someone down, ordered, & ate.
Okay... Good.

Sunday afternoon.
The Cowboys lost.  Q not happy.
Not Good.

Sunday evening.
Went to Las Palapas for some friend's birthday dinner.
The one in Leon Springs is open on Sundays.
I asked the server if they had run out of chips & salsa since everyone had some but us.
She may have been overwhelmed by such a big party.
Not Good.
Food was OK.
Q & I agreed that we prefer Las Palapas for breakfast.

Other than food service.
Hobby Lobby accepts their online coupon via your mobile.
Very Good.
Michaels does not.
Not Good.
Borders at the Forum has very nice, polite & helpful people.
Books & Coffee must make them happy.
I'd have to agree.
Very Good.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Last night's dinner... another out of the ordinary dish

... I made 3-cheese stuffed shells with meaty sauce from the Pioneer Woman.  It was a simple recipe and it was like eating little pieces of lasagne.  I've never made lasagne either but I'm thinking layering noodles may be even simpler than stuffing little pasta shells with the cheese filling.  Q liked it...


... a lot :)



... watching him lick his plate clean meant a lot to me.  :o)

Anniversary...

We met at the bowling alley 15 summers ago.
Wednesday was our 9th Anniversary.
We went to the the Drum Shop for our drum & guitar lessons.
We ate at Subway.  I had the club and he had the spicy italian.
We went to the bowling alley.
We are on a Wednesday league.
Q gave me a dozen roses.
At the bowling alley.
Q gave me bowling tips.
I bowled my first 203.
I love flowers.
I love Q :)


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Boy is sick...

... obviously sick :-)

video

He got his speed stack cups yesterday and conveniently got an ear infection and is at home working on his skills :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I'm smiling...

Today, Q & I celebrate our 9th anniversary.
We've been a family for 15 years - yes, we know - it took us a long time to get married. 
God has truly had His hand on us from the day we met.
Q has been my best friend, the husband of my dreams, and the greatest father to all our children.

Winter 1995 - the year we met.

We were all together celebrating and really happy here.

Our wedding day - Oct. 6, 2001


We added little Q in 2004.

May we always share with each other gifts of love.
May we always be one in heart and in mind.
May we always create a home together that prospers in love, generosity and kindness.

I Love You Q...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Out of the ordinary dish...

A few weeks ago I shared about my 'blackened fried chicken' experience.  Last week, I cooked something new - chicken pasta primavera, a side of corn & cheese, garden salad and breadsticks.  The primavera was good, but I used grated parmesan instead of fresh, so it wasn't creamy enough.  The corn was good so Q mixed it with the primavera to make it creamy.  I made the corn sidedish again yesterday to take to our small group.  Everyone said they liked it - I took home an empty dish - so, that's a good sign.  I added a little more salt than the first time and an extra jalapeno.  When I told Q it had jalapeno, he asked why isn't it hot?  Well, I took the seeds out - I only wanted to add the flavor.  Next time, he wants it hot. Okay :)

I'll be looking over my cookbooks today and planning an out of the ordinary dish for Thursday.  Thursday seems to be the best day for me to venture with my 'experimental, out of the ordinary' cooking.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Where was I...

... this weekend?

It's funny.  Yesterday my uncle asked me how my Mom was doing, I told him she was doing well and I had just seen her the night before, and for the life of me it took me a good 20 seconds to remember what we had done together.  Really.  And before that, I was asked, "did you go to the outreach on Friday?" and it took me a few seconds to remember where I was on Friday.  Really.  So I've figured out that, in my mind, I like to start every day with a 'clean slate' - that's right - with no recollections of what I'd done the day before, much less 2 days or even a week before.  So, today I'm recapping my weekend - more for my memory really since I can't get over how easily I forgot what I'd done.

After Q got home on Friday we trekked out to other side of town to connect with residents of our northwest campus.  It was a great evening.  We gave out free hot dogs, drinks, & cookies and it was amazing.  Meeting new people can be hard.  Especially during those awkward moments of silence when you meet a new person and the getting to know you conversation falls into a pit.  My brain shifts and turns and searches for a question or a comment to restart any kind of dialogue.  The good thing is that when the next opportunity to see and talk to that same person, we can converse back and forth based on our dialogue history - so I'm hoping to see many of them sooner than later, so I won't forget what we talked about.

Most Saturdays, Q & I have lunch together and maybe catch up on the DVR, run errands, and/or visit family or friends.  This Sat, everyone had something different to do.  Q had a couple of side jobs, Vicki had a swim meet followed by date night, and little Q had a birthday party.  I had a 10 mile run, a wedding, and bunco.  I absolutely love the group that I run with and as early as it (wake up at 4:45, to meet group at 6 am), I do everything I can not to miss this time.  Q & I had initially planned on going to the wedding together, but since extra work opportunities came up, I asked Felicia to go to the wedding with me and she did.  We had a very nice time together.  She really is growing into a 'super-woman.'  She is learning to balance life - boyfriend, friends, work, play & bills - and I grow more and more proud of her everyday.  The hard part for me is in offering my suggestion as opposed to giving my opinion.  There is a difference, as subtle as it may be, there is a difference.  So we went to Laura & Rey's wedding and it was beautiful.  I love weddings and I cry.  Felicia laughs cuz she knows exactly when I'm about to cry - but what that really tells me is that it probably makes her want to cry too but since I'm there she 'shifts hers tears' towards me so she doesn't have to.  Chicken.  After I dropped her off at her aparment (of course I said hello to her cat) and returned some things to Costco, I met my Mom, Dad & brother at the VFW off of Broadway for bunco.  I like bunco - it's fun, interactive, and you get to eat :)  I got home around 10 and my hunny-bunny and I watched the Apprentice from last week and both fell asleep on the couches.  This season is filled with some very high strung people that's for sure.

Now we're at Sunday.  Went to church and the message on from Friend to Friendship was great.  It's the 2nd message of the Reboot series.  Sean started with FB and ended with the greatest commandment - mucho clever.  It made me really think about the relationships in my life.  How & why they start?  Why & when do they waiver?  Do they get abandoned?  If they come back, why or why not?  What does it say about me and the value I put on relationships?  Like I said, it was great!

Q and little Q went to the Spurs open practice after church and I stayed home and finished my homework for my bible study this week.  Vicki worked til 6, then Felicia came over for the evening to finish some homework online.  The evening ended with everyone here - at home - safe and sound.  There's something very comforting and warm when everyone is here.

That actually felt pretty good to recap the weekend - now only if I can get into the habit of taking more pictures, it would be even better.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Full is getting closer...

... the FULL not the fool ;)  haha!

The Rock 'n Roll Marathon is getting closer and closer.  This morning we ran 10.5 miles and the running schedule for the next six weekends is ...

16 miles, 10 miles, 21 miles, 10 miles, 6 miles - 26.2 MILE MARATHON

YIKES!  I can't believe it's that close.  I'm getting super-excited :)