Friday Links

We have made it to the end of a short work week! It’s officially “summer” season up here in Minnesota, but I know for many of you it’s very warm and has been so for a while. What wonderful things are you doing this week? I’m going to visit my family in Iowa.

Speaking of, I went to Decorah, Iowa, last weekend; look for a blog recap soon. On the way home I checked out Forager Brewing Company in Rochester, Minnesota. Such a cool space, it has lots of little spaces, rooms and nooks, with all kinds of decor, food and beer styles. I posted a picture on my Instagram. (Follow me at Kale and Ale if you are on IG!)

RELATED: Rochester daytrip: Breweries and hiking options

 

Speaking of, if you are looking for new drinks, I’m hosting a giveaway of a copy of “Wild Drinks and Cocktails,” so enter by Monday! Enter for your chance to win here. Even if you don’t win, check out the recipe for the Claret Cup.

I love running in different locations and races that are on new routes. As the article “9 Best Places to Run in the U.S.” states, running while traveling is great because it’s a way to sight see, feel like a local and work up an appetite for new restaurants and food. I really couldn’t agree more. While I haven’t run any of these places, I’ve walked or been near a few, and can agree these are good locations. What is the best place you have run?

Do you love food trucks and live in the Twin Cities? Here are a handful of food trucks to watch and visit in the Twin Cities in 2016, including a juice and smoothie truck, a sushi-burrito truck, and food served out of a Winnebago.

 

My week in review

I know it’s not a very exciting blog post, but I have had a lot of interesting things come up this week, that I thought I would share them here ahead of sitting down and writing some better blog posts I’ve been meaning to share. Still off my high of my mom and grandma visiting me in Minnesota for the first time since I moved here, some other fun things happened this week:

First, my CSA starts in 10 days! Culinary Delights Farm can not deliver my food to me fast enough! (And remember, if you ever want to find a CSA, market or produce stand in your area, visit Local Harvest.)

I tried (and fell in love with) a new food truck this week: O’Cheeze. They make unique, gourmet grilled cheese, and I added a cup of  tasty, homemade soup on a cold day for only $2 more!

O'Cheeze kaleandale.com

Portobello grilled cheese and tomato soup, great on a cool summer day!

I realized I’m running the July 4th 8k I ran last year, so I got into a running routine this week, the first time I’ve been serious since I moved. That is the kind of motivation I need to run. Although I love it, it’s so easy to slack off. I’m excited for the run, but my lungs and legs are not. I’m thinking of making some kind of Pinterest-inspired shirt for the race. Anyone have suggestions or luck with any such thing?

Not mine, an idea I found on Pinterest.

What fabulous things have you done this week?

Trip recap: Iowa

Edge of Cedar Rapids seen on a run.

Edge of Cedar Rapids seen on a run.

Last week I got back from a wonderfully relaxing eight-day trip to my hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It was just what I needed to recharge, relax and see family before I start a new (exciting and challenging, hopefully) job at my current workplace. So I took this opportunity while the weather was (mostly) nice to catch up with friends, family, sleep and eating. (Wait, scratch eating, I”m always caught up on that!)

Having always loved the Fourth of July and having a job where I work most holidays, I decided to visit home over the Fourth and take a chance that the weather would be great. Clearly many other friends had this same hope or thought, as many hometown friends who also live far also came home. What a special treat to get to spend time with some of my favorite people I don’t often see. And I met some friends children for the first time. I felt loved and blessed to be surrounded by so many people. And because I was home for so long, as opposed to my usual long weekend trips, I got to see my grandparents more than usual as well.

I didn’t really have plans other than hanging out, catching up and relaxing. I did, however, run my hometown Fourth of July 8k, a big tradition. That was exciting as I have never done a race in the Midwest or an 8k. I’ve decided 8k to 10k is about the right distance to push me a little and keep me running more than just a couple of miles at a time. The weather was 66° and I started in a park I’m very familiar with, Green Square Park. This park is across from the church I grew up in and next to where I had my first job out of college. I was really happy with my time, as it was just slightly slower than my best 5k time, and was a longer run with slight hills. The run is from one park to another and back, through an older neighborhood with big homes and big shade trees. And I think this is so cool,  a video of everyone finishing. I’m on the left in light gray shorts and a teal tank top.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYZxX3yktO8&t=30m19s

And what have you learned about me comes after a run? Breakfast! I headed down to the pancake breakfast (a family tradition) full of Quaker Oats food (they are a big employer in Cedar Rapids) and had pancakes, cereal, granola bars and lots of coffee.

Happy after a nice 8k time, run and pancake breakfast.

Happy after a nice 8k time, run and pancake breakfast.

The running plan for the rest of the summer is pretty nonexistent. It’s crazy hot in South Florida so the goal is just to run as far and often as I can without making myself crazy, and then hope to pump up the distance and days in a few months when the heat and humidity drop.

When picking up my race packet at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art (also next to the park), I noticed admission is free this summer. If you are in the area, I suggest a trip. It took my mom and me about 90 minutes to walk through, as neither of us had been there for 15 or 20 years. It was a great way to spend some time, and I was in love with the Grant Wood room right inside the first floor. Grant Wood grew up in Cedar Rapids and painted his largest murals at the Iowa State University Parks Library.

Grant Wood's Woman with Plants

Grant Wood’s Woman with Plants

Grant Wood's Corn Cob Chandelier

Grant Wood’s Corn Cob Chandelier

In addition to running, visiting people and relaxing, I ate and drank! I finally made it to NewBo City Market, where I looked at the vendors, buying fresh produce and getting a Wisconsin cheese I had never heard of, “bread cheese.” Bake it for a few minutes and the texture is like cheese bread. With the pizza flavor, it was a nice side to summer salads.

NewBo City Market scenes

NewBo City Market scenes

I also stopped at Benz Beverage Depot for some Midwest beer (my favorite was the Madhouse Belgian Golden Ale) and Red’s Ale House and Cobble Hill, both huge hits with everyone who went and highly recommended.

All in all it was a really great trip home.

Where are your summer plans taking you?

Running update

So the weather is (for the most part) pretty darn great in Florida right now. Trust me, I’m not bragging to my Northern readers, as summer is just around the corner here already. You will get your time soon enough, Northerners!

MapMyRun

To take advantage of the weather, I’ve been trying to run, training for a 10k later this month. I know I’ll be able to run the 10k, but I’m not sure I will run it at the speed I would like. I felt much more ready for my 10k last spring. I just don’t seem to have the energy or even as much motivation (this is a first for me in running) and my “good” runs are happening less often. I’m enjoying running, so I”m not sure what’s up. However, the running app I use, MapMyRun, is giving me motivation with emails like the one above to keep moving! In addition to running, I’m working on a few things to make running better and get into the zone.

I’m looking to create the ultimate running playlist. I’m not talking Justin Beiber and Taylor Swift songs that are always on the radio. I’m looking for long-term, tried-and-true songs to get people moving, especially in the 10-15 years ago range. What songs get you moving?

I’m focusing more on what I’m eating, making sure I’m eating enough food in general and a good mix of food. I haven’t felt as hungry lately, but I think that is leading to a loss of energy. I have been eating the food from my farm, so I”m eating healthy, but I think it’s still not enough variety or calories some days, especially days for a big run. I’m having a post-run smoothie (so refreshing after a run and easy to digest and start muscle recovery and restore energy) but need to keep eating enough. What do you eat after a good workout or when you feel like you are in a slump?

This lentil salad caught my eye because it seems balanced, is served at room temperature and has contrasting flavors and texture, so I knew it would be a great post-run meal in a pita or lettuce, or a small snack. I added some three-seed bread for carbs and nutrients.

pomegranate lentil feta salad

Pomegranate, feta and lentil salad

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked brown lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 7 or 8 cloves garlic very finely minced
  • 1 red onion finely chopped
  • Handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt & black pepper
  • 1 pomegranate, deseeded
  • 4 ounces feta cheese

Directions

  1. Rinse the lentils under the tap then put them in a small pan with the water, bring to the boil, then simmer gently until lentils are cooked (about 25 – 30 mins). They should be tender inside but still holding their shape.
  2. Meanwhile, mince the garlic cloves & chop the onion very finely. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan, add the onion & garlic and cook over a very low heat until well softened, about 10 – 12 minutes. Then remove from the heat.
  3. Whisk together the lemon juice, 2 tbsp olive oil, cumin, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  4. When lentils are tender, drain well, rinse under cold water then return to the pan.(Not on the heat). Turn the heat back on the garlic & onion pan, add the lemon dressing mixture and heat for about a minute. Pour this over the lentils and gently stir to make sure the lentils are well coated in the dressing.
  5. Stir in parsley and season well with salt and black pepper. You can serve this salad warm or at room temperature. When you are ready to serve the salad sprinkle it with the pomegranate seeds, crumble over the feta and finish it off with a few more chopped herbs.

Chocolate coffee shake

chocolate coffee crunch smoothieRunner’s World tweeted a link to post-run smoothies. One particular smoothie jumped out right away: Crunchy coffee fix. This blends (get it??? Instant rimshot time.) the two things I want after a run: Coffee and a smoothie.

Truth be told, I didn’t have this after a run. I had this as an afternoon treat during a running off day. But it worked really well for that. Especially since I had a salad for lunch, it was nice to have a little sweet treat in the afternoon. And that’s what is great about this smoothie. The chocolate, banana and almond are all present in this smoothie, giving it a nice balance and texture. It has things I always have on hand and can whip up after a run or as a healthy afternoon snack. And the foods work well together, as described in the Runner’s World post. The post also have recipes for a few other smoothies, including smoothies that are each savory, green and dessert-like. So check out the article yourself!

Crunchy coffee fix

1 large smoothie

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces chilled coffee
  • 4 ounces fat-free milk
  • 1 banana (preferably frozen), sliced
  • 2 tablespoons whole almonds
  • 2 teaspoons natural cocoa powder

Directions

  1. Blend all ingredients until smooth.

What do you crave after a good workout?