Friday, April 13, 2012

Lazy April

I don't have anything wildly exciting to discuss in this blog post- all is fine and well in my world, so certainly no complaints, either. Just enjoying my routine during the week, relaxing and having fun on the weekends, and looking forward to a lovely Philly summer. :)

Some recent happenings

Rhett and I are lucky to be able to travel home and see family on a lot of holidays, but a few we decide to save money by staying in Philly and doing our own thing. Easter has traditionally been one of those holidays. I can’t recall what we did for our first year in Philly, but our second year is when we started our tradition of fancy hotel brunch buffets.

We first tried The Sofitel in 2009 and really enjoyed it. Last year we changed it up and tried the Double Tree Hotel- it was very good, but was just missing that certain je ne sais quoi. So, last Sunday we made our grand return to The Sofitel and it was as just as lovely as we remembered. Bottomless mimosas? Yes please! I think we’ll keep this tradition alive in years to come.

Do you like my frizzy hair?

He approves!

Some current happenings

I’ve been dealing with some pretty mean shin splints in my Broad Street Run training. I’ve consulted websites and blogs for feedback and have been RICE-ing. My last option is to bite the bullet and go to Philadelphia Runner and get analyzed for some new shoes- I’m hesitant to do this, because I only bought these shoes in September and I just don’t think they are spent yet. And (the obvious concern), running shoes aren’t cheap! I’m hoping with some rest days between runs, some icing at night, lots of stretching before and after, and strengthening my weak calf muscles, the problem will solve itself and I can forgo the purchase of new runners until late summer. Fingers crossed.

Some future happenings

Rhett is visiting friends in San Francisco next week, and while I’ll miss him dearly and wish I could go, too, I’m making the most of my weekend alone in Philly. I’m planning on going swimming on the Friday night and test out my new one-piece suit, and Rhett won’t be there to complain that I smell like chlorine. I’m going to Dominick’s 1st birthday party in Fairmount Park, and then on Sunday, getting a facial and a massage and then playing kickball.
Broad Street Run is in 3 ½ weeks! My favorite race of the year. Let’s hope my shins and IT bands behave throughout the 10 miles.

Now, I leave you with a FANTASTIC recipe I made lately: Chicken Tortilla Soup from The Pioneer Woman. No words can do this soup justice. Just make it and taste for yourself.

  • 2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Diced Onion
  • 1/4 cup Diced Green Bell Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Red Bell Pepper
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 can (10 Oz. Can) Rotel Tomatoes And Green Chilies
  • 32 ounces, fluid Low Sodium Chicken Stock
  • 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 4 cups Hot Water
  • 2 cans (15 Oz. Can) Black Beans, Drained
  • 3 Tablespoons Cornmeal Or Masa
  • 5 whole Corn Tortillas, Cut Into Uniform Strips Around 2 To 3 Inches
  • Sour Cream
  • Diced Avocado
  • Diced Red Onion
  • Salsa Or Pico De Gallo
  • Grated Monterey Jack Cheese
  • Cilantro 
 Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix cumin, chili pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil on chicken breasts, then sprinkle a small amount of spice mix on both sides. Set aside the rest of the spice mix.

Place chicken breasts on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is done. Use two forks to shred chicken. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add onions, red pepper, green pepper, and minced garlic. Stir and begin cooking, then add the rest of the spice mix. Stir to combine, then add shredded chicken and stir.

Pour in Rotel, chicken stock, tomato paste, water, and black beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, uncovered.

Mix cornmeal with a small amount of water. Pour into the soup, then simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Check seasonings, adding more if needed---add more chili powder if it needs more spice, and be sure not to undersalt. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Five minutes before serving, gently stir in tortilla strips.

Ladle into bowls, then top with sour cream, diced red onion, diced avocado, pico de gallo, and grated cheese