Looking for something quick and easy to make for dinner?  How about a big ol' salad?
Salads tend to be on the menu almost every night of the week in our house.  And since this restaurant serves up salads almost every night, I try to make them different.  I like variety when it comes to a salad.  My typical go to salad is made with a red or green leaf lettuce and some fresh, colorful veggies.  Always topped off with cheese.  
I'm not a huge fan of fruit on my salad, but strawberries are in season so I gave it a try.  Key word here was try.  I used some arugula, added sliced local strawberries, not so carmelized onions, toasted pecans, and baked goat cheese, tossed with a honey mustard dressing.  I would have to say with a little bit of tweeking this salad could be a favorite.  Next time I will carmelize the onions rather than burn them and I would use a better dressing recipe.  Store bought dressing may be the way to go for this one.
This salad is my favorite to make and it looks pretty.  Oh and it tastes good too.  Double bonus!  First, I chop up some lettuce and put it on the platter.  Next, I cut up cucumber and tomato (I just use whatever I have on hand whether it be plum, cherry, beefsteak tomatoes.....) and toss them with a lemon dressing (I use half the recipe).  Spoon the cucumber and tomatoes on top of the bed of lettuce.  Sprinkle with some feta cheese crumbles and toasted pine nuts.  Top off with the other half of dressing.

 Lemon Salad Dressing
3/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. basil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 garlic gloves (minced)
Salt and pepper to taste

Wisk all these items together.


Any good salad dressing recipes you want to share??
 
 
This past weekend I went to the Italian Market in Philly for the first time.  That's right, I have been living in Philadelphia for seven years and have never gone to the Italian Market.  Since there was a festival at the market this weekend, I was told it was going to be the normal Italian Market times 100.  And it sure was.
The Italian Market is open everyday and the street is lined with vendors selling fresh produce, meats, baked goods, pasta, cheese and dancing cupcakes.
Well......maybe the dancing cupcakes are not there everyday.  If I had to guess, they only showed up for the festival.
Me and my Kermit the frog pants enjoying the best drink ever......Iced Coffee.
I stopped into Talluto's and got an amazing Tomato and Mozzarella salad.
I love a tomato and mozarella salad.  I just made one a couple weeks ago.  Making it is easy peasy.  I used fresh mozzarella (from Costco) cut into chunks, cherry tomatoes, and drizzled that with some olive oil.  I also added some salt, pepper and cut up some fresh basil from my herb garden.  And just like that you have a fresh salad.
Next time I need to get my cheese from the Italian Market.  Sorry Costco, but your cheese can't hang with the Italian Market cheese.

Enjoy!
 
 
Now that the weather is getting nice, I prefer to run outside rather than on the hamster wheel at the gym.  That also means I don't always have easy access to water when I get thirsty.  I don't like when my mouth feels as dry as the Sahara Desert so I bring some sort of hydration with me on my runs.  I know some people swear by it, but I've tried the Fuel belt and hated it.  It would not stay still and I kept fidgiting with it, so needless to say, Charlotte is weaving a web all over it in my closet.  I've moved on to the Camelback. 
Water in a back pack.  Brilliant idea!  I recommend that if you want to use a Camelback for running, get one that buckles across your chest.  I had another one prior to this that didn't buckle and it bounced all over the place once it was less filled with water.
If I'm going on a 5 mile run I don't need my backpack, but I do want some sort of hydration.  I've tried carrying a water bottle, but I find it to be uncomfortable.  I recently came across this water bottle at Lululemon on clearance.  I love a sale! So I figured why not give it a try?
I have not had a chance to test it out, but it felt comfy and fit snuggly.  There was also a pouch to tuck some gels, cash, keys, cat, dog, etc.
As far as fueling on the go goes, my #1 pick is energy gels.  The only flavor I have come across being able to get down without my gag reflexes coming into play, is chocolate.  I like the Clif, Accel Gel and Honey Stinger brands the best.  They taste exactly like chocolate syrup.
I only use energy gels on runs 10 miles or longer.  When I do use them, I take one before my run and then I fuel with one every 5 miles.

How do you hydrate on the go?
 
 
The sun was out all weekend and so was I!  I was able to get a start on my gardening for the season.  Since the backyard is the size of a small closet, I don't normally grow any veggie plants.  But this year I was thinking of trying out a few random veggies plants that won't take up to much space like a cherry tomato plant and jalapeno pepper plant. 
I always plant some herbs and so far I planted rosemary, lemon balm, basil and chives in this container.  I also have to plant my mint.  I had it planted in the ground last year, but it spreads like wildfire so it had to be taken out and be translpanted to a pot before it took over the entire backyard.  I can only make so many Mojitos.  I also have another fabulous find to plant.....Chocolate Mint.  I saw it for the first time this year at the garden shop and my parents' neighbor just so happened to have some and gave me a little.  Super excited for this!  Just not sure what to do with it. 
Crossing off #15 on my goals in life, because we planted a self pollinating plum tree.  As you can see its just a small little guy that does not offer too much shade, but Temp does not seem to mind.
Along with all this planting that needed to get done, so did some Spring cleaning.  I've cleaned out my closets and sold some stuff to a local cash for clothes spot and put the rest up on sale on Ebay. Check out my yard (ebay) sale

What veggie or fruit  plants are you planting this season?  Any suggestions on plants that do not require too much space?
 
 
I did it!  Another Broad Street Run completed.  The running conditions were absolutely perfect.  It was overcast and around 55-60 degrees.  Only if all races could be blessed with such great weather.  My day started at 6:30 am.  I got up, got dressed and had a Wasa cracker with a little bit of Almond, Cashew, Peanut butter.  I typically don't eat before a run, but I do like to eat something small to hold me over on race days and long run days.
All my essentials for race day include my Garmin watch, Ipod shuffle, gel pack(only chocolate flavor for me), Body Glide, knee strap and a much needed coffee.
Getting ready to go! 
We picked up my partners in crime and the hubby dropped us off at the start with about 15 minutes until the race started.  I attempted to stop at a Dunkin Donuts on our drive over to use the restroom before the race because I drank too much coffee.  No bathroom.  FAIL.  Porta Potty lines at the race resembled a line from an Apple Store on the release day of a new Iphone.  So you guessed it, second attempt was another FAIL.  Next best thing was to cross my fingers I could find a porta potty along the course or not pee my pants for ten miles.  I ended up not peeing my pants for ten miles.  Talk about uncomfortable.  For being so uncomfortable I ended up running a decent time.  No PR, but I'm still happy.  My Garmin read 10.07 miles with an average pace of 8.17/mile and a total time of 1:23:25.   But I have to go by my official chip time of 1:23:25 for 10.00 miles.  So that comes out to an 8:20/mile average pace.
Split Times (according to my Garmin)
Mile 1- 7:52
Mile 2-7:43
Mile 3-7:59
Mile 4-8:12
Mile 5-8:24
Mile 6-8:12
Mile 7-8:35
Mile 8-8:41
Mile 9-8:50
Mile 10-8:27
extra .07- 0:31

Yay!  We finsihed!

Overall, I think the Broad Street Run is a fun, easy race.  That's why I come back running year after year.  Maybe for the petting zoo at the end keeps me coming back too.  It's a great begginner race and the spectators and help are amazing.

Congrats Broad Street Runners!!
 
 
Spring is here and I am fortunate to live right near a park where you can hike, take the dog for a walk, ride your bike, take a leisurely stroll or go for a hard run. 
You can even grab a bite to eat or get married at this cute little spot in the park. 
This area of the park is called "Forbidden Drive".  It's a great spot to excercise and not have to worry about the traffic (hence the name Forbidden Drive).  It is also the place where I run a lot of my training runs and have photo shoots with the dog.
I have not ran in the park this season yet, but I have been running on the treadmill to get ready for my first race of the year this weekend.  It's the Broad Street Run.  I have ran this 10 mile race for the past six years.  The race has grown so much that it sold out in five hours this year and has more than 30,000 runners.
I went to the expo today to pick up my bib (and some friends) and stood in line for an hour just to get inside.  Props to the sunny weather today.  Then I waited another 15 mins to get my bib and finally walked on over to the other side of the venue to pick up tshirts.  I do believe my time spent going to the expo will take longer than the race itself.  I literally went in, got my stuff, spent 5 minutes looking for new running socks (fail-no one was selling the brand I use) and left.  I don't do Black Friday shopping, but I imagine the Broad Street Run expo to be very similar.  Wait in line, trample over anyone in your way, get what you need and get out before you max out your credit cards.  Do you really need a $5 soft pretzel and a $4 bottle of water?  That expo was no walk in the park, but I sure do hope the race is.

Anyone running the Broad Street Run on Sunday?