Brunch x2

31 10 2011

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Did you go to a Halloween party this weekend? I did! I spent the weekend in Richmond with my best friend Leah and a bunch of her friends from law school. They are such a fun group! I’m so glad I was able to go down there!

These pics are from Sunday morning brunch. I promise my friends don’t always wear obnoxious headbands to brunch. They were remnants from Halloween costumes ūüôā We had an amazing brunch on Sunday at this place called the Sidewalk Cafe. The place was a little divey, but the food was awesome. I had the Eastern Omelet, which was covered in chunks of crab meat and gooey cheese. So good, and only $7.95!!

Brunch on Sunday was just as good as Saturday’s brunch, prepared by the adorable Jen and Colin. They’re getting hitched on St. Patty’s day!

They knew we had a big night of partying ahead of us, so they fed us well! Colin baked eggs and Canadian bacon in a muffin tin, which, when put between an English muffin make a delicious breakfast sandwich! What a creative and easy way to make perfect egg patties!

Jen made a sausage strata.

I’ve never had a strata before, but whenever someone references a strata, I think of the movie The Family Stone, when Sarah Jessica Parker makes a strata for her fiance’s family, and then spills it all over herself before putting it in the oven! There was no spilling of the strata here. We gobbled it right up! It wasn’t exactly the healthiest breakfast, but it was SO TASTY. Check the bottom of this post for the recipe!

Of course there were mimosas and bloody marys too. Brunch is not complete without either of those!

The boys watched football while the ladies strategized about costumes. A trip to the craft store was in order!

Leah’s girlfriends have done a group costume for the past few years, and this year was no different. They were the Flinstones last year and the Carebears the year before. This year, they were the Four Seasons. They wore similar dresses, cute headbands, and homemade sashes with something that related to their season on it.

I’m not a big fan of the whole dress up for Halloween thing (the whole “Slutty fillintheblank” costume idea really bothers me), so I went with a minimal effort costume.

Any guesses as to what I am?

No, I’m not a Kashi hater, I’m a Cereal Killer. Yes, cheesy, I know.

I headed out with the girls and their sig-Os to the party, where I actually ran into another cereal killer! I wish I had gotten a picture with him. His version of the costume was a sports jacket covered in those tiny travel size cereal boxes with plastic knives in them. I didn’t even think of using plastic knives, but I was glad I opted to make a fake one out of foam board and tin foil.

The party was a lot of fun! The house had some great decorations, lots of funny/interesting/scary costumes, and yummy snacks. I wish I had taken some pics! We hung out for awhile, then headed back to our hostess’s house to hang out for awhile before crashing.

I had been on the fence all week about making the trek to Richmond, but I’m so glad I went. Why pass up an opportunity to see my best friend, another college friend who I hadn’t seen in almost two years, my old roommate and her boyfriend, and Leah’s¬† fun law school friends?¬† Life is about spending time with people you care about, and that’s exactly what I did.

And here’s the recipe (THANKS JEN!):

Sausage & Mushroom Strata
Ingredients
6 eggs
2 cups whole milk (I’m pretty sure you could sub other kinds of milk here)
1 cup heavy cream
handful of grated parmesan cheese
1 tbs dried parsley
1/2 tbs dried rosemary
salt
pepper
canola oil
1 pound country sausage (or chicken sausage)
1/4 lb of button mushrooms, sliced
1 large loaf, or 2 smaller country style white bread
1 cup of shredded Gouda cheese
How to:
Butter a 13×9 inch glas baking dish.
In a bowl, whisk 6 eggs, 2 cups of whole milk, 1 cup heavy cream, a handful of grated parmesan cheese, 1 tbs dried parsley, 1/2 tbs dried rosemary, salt and pepper.
Heat 1tsp canola oil in a fry pan and add 1 pound country sausage (or chicken sausage).  Break up the sausage and cook until almost done.  Stir in 1/4 lb of button mushrooms.  Cover and simmer until mushrooms wilt and sausage is finished. Drain sausage and mushrooms onto paper towels.
Slice 1 large loaf, or 2 smaller country style white bread into 1/2 inch thick slices.  Arrange slices of the loaf on the bottom of the baking dish.  Top with half of the egg mixture, spread half of the sausage mixture over top, and top with 1 cup of shredded Gouda cheese.  Layer the rest of the loaf on top, layer the rest of the sausage and top with 1 more cup of shredded Gouda.  Let stand at room temperature for 20-30 minutes (can be covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours).  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for about 45 minutes, or until eggs are mostly set and a butter knife comes out clean when placed in the middle of the strata.
Enjoy!

Question of the day: What was your Halloween costume? What did you do for Halloween?

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Season Reflections

27 10 2011

Did you catch my guest post over at Fitnessista? She has a “Focus On” series of topical posts, each dedicated to a particular athletic activity. Well, I had the opportunity to write her “Focus On” post yesterday about triathlons. So head on over there and check out Gina’s blog!

While on the topic of triathlon, I’ve been meaning to post some reflections on my season. It’s been over a month since the Waterman’s half, and I haven’t really thought much about racing since then. I’ve been enjoying my off season by taking spin classes and yoga classes, and starting to do some lifting. I’ve run a few miles here and there, and my bike has been sitting idle in my room. The only swimming I’ve done has been here:

While in Bermuda, Bill and I went swimming twice. Once for a brief swim to check out the fish, and another time, we swam two loops of the cove (maybe 500 meters or so?). I certainly can’t complain about that!

It’s been really nice to just relax and do what I want, when I want. And “what I want” doesn’t have to be running, biking, or swimming.

This season I did SIX individual triathlons between May and October:

Kinetic Sprint

Rock Hall International

Rocketts Landing Olympic

Tuckahoe Sprint

Atlantic City International

Bassman International

and ONE relay

Waterman’s Half

Phew. That’s more triathlons in one season than I’ve done in my entire “career” as a triathlete! This year I got a little more serious about the sport, joined USAT (got my money’s worth!), and really went out and did what I love to do-compete in triathlons.

Overall, I am really happy with the way my season went. Sure there were some less than ideal races (See Rock Hall), but I had a great time racing, training with friends, meeting new ones, exploring new cities and seeing familiar ones from a new point of view, and just pushing myself mentally and physically to finish each race to the best of my abilities.

A few things I’ll take with me into the off season:

1) Continue to work on the run leg. One thing that was really missing in my training was speed work. I’ve never done a track workout, and I seriously think that doing speed sets or intervals will help me get faster!

2) Go on more bike rides. When I ride, I usually stick to my usual routes: my commute and loops on the trails around my house. I need to grab some of my many blogging triathlete friends and ride with them!

3) Six races makes for a LONG season. After my “A” race in July, I was mentally done for the season, and tired of training. But silly me kept signing up for more races! I really enjoyed the late season races I did, and surprised myself with my performance, but my season was flat out LONG and exhausting. I need to pick an “A” race and do a few races before, and maybe only one after it.

I haven’t picked my triathlons for next season, but a Half will definitely be on the list. In the meantime, I’m thinking about a running race or two for the off season. I’m leaning away from the Miami marathon, just because I would have already needed to start training, and I’m not ready to jump into “training for a race” mode yet. And that’s A-OK with me. I’ll be ready when I’m ready, refreshed, relaxed, and ready to rock it!

Question of the day: What are some things you’ve learned from your past racing season which you are taking into your next season?





Washy Washy, Happy Happy!

25 10 2011

If you’ve ever been on a Norwegian Cruise, you’re probably chuckling at the title of this post. Every time you walked into the buffet, there was a crew member with a spray bottle of sanitizer ready to douse your hands saying, “Washy washy, happy happy!” They’re pretty serious about sanitizing, with dispensers scattered ALL OVER the ship. No germs will spread on this ship!

A week away with basically no connection to the outside world was very nice, but left me with lots of emails and blogs to catch up on! So, I’ll leave you with some of my favorite shots from my trip. Enjoy!

Our bus tour took us past this picturesque spot. All the houses are stone and painted a solid color. They’re all required to have whitewashed roofs, which are designed to collect rainwater alongside or under the house.

We went on an excursion to the aquarium and zoo…

and to the Crystal Caves!

A 14-year old kid discovered these caves in the early 1900s!

Crazy right?

We didn’t get to the pink beaches, but this one’s pretty close. Look at the beautiful water!

I finally got to see these guys perform on stage.

(I’m a nerd and took a picture of their picture outside the theater)

They were fantastic! They had the audience busting out laughing, squirming with nerves (when Bill swallowed a sword), and sitting in awe at their impressive juggling skills. The whole time I had a huge grin on my face, so proud of my man.

He makes me laugh a lot too ūüôā

I took this picture from about 100 feet up, from the wall of an old fort. We went snorkeling down there and saw a TON of fish. I didn’t bring a waterproof camera, but Bill’s teammate, Jonathan, saw some fish up close and personal.

We got all dressed up for formal night. Well, we thought it was formal night, but not a lot of other folks were dressed up. Oh well, it was still fun!

I had a blast hanging out with Bill on this cruise, and can’t wait to do it again!