Steamed Artichokes with Garlic

As far as my eating habits go, it has been really hard not to have my dad here to keep me accountable. In this past week I ate a whole pecan pie by myself, chocolate bars every day, and French toast with tons of syrup and mimosas for breakfast. I really love my sweets. Thankfully, I also really love my veggies. Got some spinach in my organic basket this week. It was my first time seeing spinach with the stems and all. Beautiful 🙂

I also made roasted sweet potatoes with honey and cinnamon. They were even better than the mashed yams I made a while ago. Just ordered more for next week. However, my favorite dish this week was the steamed artichokes. So amazingly delicious that I didn’t even need a dipping sauce with it.

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Steamed Artichokes with Garlic

6 garlic cloves

1 lemon

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 whole artichokes

A bit of garlic salt, Italian seasoning, and olive oil to season the water

Pan with a steamer basket

Cut off the stems of the artichokes close to the base. Cut off the top inch of the artichokes. Trim the tips of the petals. Rub the artichokes with half a lemon.

Put some water in the pan and add a bit of garlic salt, Italian seasoning, olive oil, and the juice of half a lemon to it.

Peel the garlic cloves and slice them in half. Tuck the slices of into artichokes leaves. Drizzle olive oil inside them too. Put the artichokes on the steamer basket and cover. Steam over low-medium heat for about 40 minutes.

Makes 2 servings of 200 calories each.

Artichoke

Artichoke

Running: in-between races

Just finished my half-marathon last week and thought I would have some time to rest before marathon training. Most training schedules are 20 weeks long, so since I wanted to run one on my birthday in May, I thought I could start training in January. Wrong. I have to start training next week because there are no marathons around in May and I had to sign up for the Reno Marathon on April 13th, 2014. I guess I could’ve taken this week off, but I was just too restless and, although I did tone it down a little, only running 10 miles for my long run, I also joined a group run on Tuesday nights and cross training twice a week with Kaia Fit, which totally kicked my butt (and my arms, and my legs…) After much consideration, my plan is to train just the minimum, which apparently it’s only up to a 20 mile long run, but train smart with lots of cross training to get stronger and avoid injuries. I think I’ll muster the motivation to run on weekends, especially now that I’ve found out the Wingfield/Iddlewild trail goes on forever by the river. However, with the days getting colder and darker earlier, I’ll have to rely on my group runs to keep myself accountable. My friend B. also has a goal of running a race the same day as me. Anyone else wants to join us and make that their New Year’s resolution? It can be a 5k, a 10k, or maybe just a “get fitter” by E.’s birthday goal. I hope you consider it!

Running, Eating, and Traveling in Las Vegas, Nevada – My second HALF-MARATHON

It was a great 7-hour drive last weekend to Vegas. I know it seems like a lot, but I just love driving by myself. The road to Vegas from Reno is pretty straight forward so I don’t have to pay attention to any turns, and it is super empty, with  only a couple of towns along the way. By the time I got to Vegas my throat was scratching from so much car singing.

Every time I go to Vegas I do three things: hang out by the pool, watch a Cirque du Soleil performance, and eat a lot. This time was no different. Unfortunately, I had some work to do online, so I spent Sunday morning working… by the pool. Beautiful weather as always. The Cirque du Soleil show I watched this time was “Zarkana” at the Aria casino, which is actually a much larger and nicer casino than I had expected. Definitely one of the best Cirque du Soleil shows I’ve seen because it had the most acrobatics of all. The first 10 minutes is already worth the price of the ticket. As far as eating, I had pizza at “Five 50”, lots of food at the “Excalibur Buffet”, and finally a well-deserved three-course meal after my race at “Camelot”, the Excalibur’s fine dining restaurant, for only $16.

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Now, the highlight of the trip: the half-marathon. As you know, I had originally signed up for the full marathon but didn’t think I would have had enough time to train for it, so I changed it to the half. When I got to Vegas, I had a hint of craziness for a few minutes and thought maybe I should try to run the marathon anyway. I mean, how hard can it be to run for about 5 hours straight??? That way I would have reached by goal of completing 26.2 miles before my 30th birthday and then I wouldn’t have to train anymore. Yeah, thank goodness I got my senses back. Can you imagine how many injuries I would’ve gotten? I know I have the emotional state to do a marathon, but physically I need to train more to do it right.

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Since I had been there for the same race last year and knew how things would flow, I had a pretty chill day before I headed to the starting line five minutes before the official start. The first 2 miles were awesome. Then I got a side ache. Usually I just try to breathe deeply and the pain goes away a quarter mile later. This time it didn’t work. The pain lasted for at least 5 miles, so the middle part of my half-marathon was miserable. Fortunately I was able to finish the race, but I thought for sure that I had taken over 2h30, which was my goal, to finish it. I was exhilarated when I found out I actually had done it in 2h21 minutes! Can you imagine how much faster I would’ve been if I had been feeling well the entire time? I celebrated with tons of chocolate milk as my recovery drink 😉 I really don’t understand why there are no other night time races around. It was such a fun weekend. Can’t wait to go to Vegas again next year!

I run for chocolate

I run for chocolate

I did it again!

Traveling with Dad – Last Week :(

So sad my dad is leaving! I’m really going to miss him! And Slick will be so depressed! Besides our nice walks in the neighborhood, we also went to Carson to see “Les Miserables” (very surprised with the quality of the performers) and on a cruise on the Tahoe Queen from South Lake Tahoe to Emerald Bay. Beautiful beautiful weather and scenery.

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This past week we also went around saying goodbye to all of my dad’s new friends. At his Tai Chi class they even had a little farewell party for him. Apparently I won’t be the only one missing him…

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More Eating with Dad

My dad is going back to Brazil, so this past week we had to take advantage of the little time he has left here. Here are the places we’ve tried:

Miguel’s – Mexican Restaurant. Reasonable prices. Really good chips and salsa.

Briscola – Italian restaurant inside the Grand Sierra Casino. Warm artichoke dip – Yum.

Romanza – Fine dining restaurant inside the Peppermill. I really have to stop going to nice places in yoga clothes, but casino restaurants are so tacky I didn’t feel that bad… Great garlic soup and date/pumpkin cake.

Bowl – local, organic, fresh food. Menu changes often. Order at the counter and sit anywhere in the West Street Market area. Duck confit was amazing. Can’t wait to go back to try everything else.

Z Pie – I can’t believe I hadn’t tried this place yet. Every time I miss my Australia/New Zealand pot pies, I can just buy a Z pie and it’s close to perfection.

Olive Garden – So I asked my Dad which dish he had liked the most out of the 50+ restaurants we’ve tried in the past 3 months, and he said “the salad at Olive Garden”! Well, I don’t blame him: I had an entire bowl by myself, plus ravioli and pumpkin cheesecake.

Thai Nakorn – This place is in South Lake Tahoe and has a new name now, but the food and the service are still the same as before. We had the Pad Thai, the pumpkin curry, and the mango curry. I swear Thai food is better in the US than in Thailand itself.

Friday’s Station – Another restaurant in South Lake Tahoe (fine dining – entrées start at $46), this time on the top floor of Harrah’s. Still got VIP treatment, with a nice window table for the sunset and a plate of oysters prepared three different ways sent by the chef. Oh, and I did dress up for this one!

My house – I made my Dad’s favorite dish for his last weekend in town: bacalhau. He loved it 🙂 BTW, even with all this eating, my dad was able to lose 12 lbs while he was here. As for me, I’m just happy I didn’t gain any!

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Half-Marathon Training – Week 13 (Last week!)

I just hate that daylight savings time has ended: now it gets dark before I even get home from work. This past week I had to jog in Carson City during the week, right after work, and only for 30 minutes, before it got too dark. Oh well, at least I got to see nice sunsets every time.

Cotton Candy Clouds

Cotton Candy Clouds

On Sunday though, we had great weather in the 60’s and bluebird skies, so while I had planned on running for 13.1 miles, I ended up doing 14. That last mile was really tough, but it just made the chocolate milk and cookies I had later even sweeter. Even though I used the roller stick my dad bought me, my muscles were a little sore the next day, but maybe it’s because on that day I also had a record number of steps on my Fitbit: 40,000 / 20 miles!

Fitbit 40k

Fitbit 40k

More: Halloween

Halloween is my least favorite holiday, mainly because orange is my least favorite color, but I’ve come a long way from hating it to tolerating it and actually participating in it. This year I dressed up as a pumpkin (well, I had an orange sweater on and a green hat) for the school dance, and as Black Widow from the “Avengers” (well, just a black outfit with a reddish wig) to go out in Tahoe. I first stopped at a friend’s house where no one ate the Halloween pumpkin pie I made (good for me – lots of delicious caramel-like gooey left overs), and then we went to Peak Nightclub inside Harrah’s. Hilarious fact:  Flavor Flav was the MC.

Unfortunately I wasn’t home for the trick or treaters, but my Dad said more than 20 kids showed up between 6:30 and 7:30, and he almost ran out of candy.

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Eating in Reno. Again.

I completely gave up on cooking dinner at this point. I just don’t have time to go grocery shopping, prep, cook, clean… Even though going to restaurants are still time consuming, at least they know what they’re doing so the food is always good. Here are a few of the restaurants my dad and I tried:

Chuy’s Mexican Kitchen: they looked super busy, but the food came fast and the owner made you feel welcomed. Gosh, there are so many new restaurants in the Midtown area!

The Gas Lamp: yes, this is fine dining with a piano player and everything, but we went with yoga clothes on, and I was so hungry I didn’t care. Actually, not a good restaurant to go if you’re hungry because they don’t serve bread, nor soup or salad with your meal, plus, the portions are pretty small. Nevertheless, they have the best tilapia ever.

Crème Cafe: this place is only open for breakfast and lunch, but I bet I’ll be returning every week. It has one of those European cafes feel so next time I’ll be bringing a book to have with my coffee. (I don’t even like coffee but I’ll order one anyway because they serve it in a French press!) Oh yeah: they serve amazingly light crepes. (Have I talked about Sup, their sister restaurant?)

Harrah’s “Carvings” Buffet: I just love brunch buffets where I can have mimosas, French toast, sushi, and prime rib all at the same time. Their bananas foster is to die for. If you’re a local, you get 50%. C’mon, it can’t get any better for only $7.

Lulou’s: another fine dining restaurant in Reno – don’t go there if you don’t like to spend money. The entrees start at $38. I definitely splurged ordering a cocktail, wine, a crab skillet appetizer, entrees (short ribs for Dad and an Italian style ahi tuna for me – both divine), and a chocolate tart dessert. The $200 dinner was definitely worth it (easy to say when your dad is footing the bill.) At the end of the meal I had a couple of suggestions for the owner Coleen about the service and introduced myself as a “food blogger”. LOL

We also had venison at a friend’s house. Can’t believe I don’t have any pictures of it. It was so good!

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Half-Marathon Training – Week 12

The week started with a snow storm, but I still had to get out and run. By the weekend, the weather had warmed up a bit, but was still cool enough to do my 12 miles without breaking a sweat. Well, I’ll admit I just didn’t have it in me to go too fast (I had eaten too much at the buffet earlier that day), but hey, at least I completed it. I’m very surprised I’ve been doing 10-12 miles every weekend for the past 4 weeks without any soreness. It’s just kind of my routine now. One thing I’ve been doing differently than last year is that now I am stretching before and after my long runs. I really hope my training continues to go this smooth. Less than two weeks until race time!

Traveling: Apple Hill, California

Two hours away from Reno, is a little piece of heaven called Apple Hill, near Placerville, California. We went there on Nevada Day and every place had a deal going on for Nevada residents.

At Kids Inc. we got apple crumble and apple cheesecake. They also had an amazing chicken pot pie. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

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At Boa Vista Orchards you get to pick your own apples straight from the tree or you can buy any apple product at their market.

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My dad really enjoyed the apple part of Apple Hill, but what I really cared about was the wine tasting. We first went to Lava Cap, a winery that also has a gourmet restaurant, and then we walked to Madroña where they were doing cheese pairings as well.

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Although the wineries are year-round, the apple picking only happens in October, so be prepared to deal with long lines and lack of parking, but the combination of lovely weather, delicious food, and good wine is well worth the day trip.