Pour Me a Cup

Behind every successful woman is a substantial amount of coffee.  ~Stephanie Piro


Photo by Andrew Collins

If we were having coffee this morning, I would be ducking in out of the warm Nashville rain and greeting you at one of my favorite spots for coffee and people watching, Fido.

I would join you in line and apologize for being late after just having breakfast down the street.  I’d order Roscoe’s Pumpkin Latte and we’d weave through the people to take our seats by the window looking out onto the hustle of Hillsboro Village.

As I would look out I would tell you how I miss this town and all the crazy things that happen here, like seeing Taylor Swift yesterday with her mom while eating lunch.  I would tell you how much I miss places like this with people like this but how despite all the growing pains I am utterly and completely happy with where I am in life.  Terrified but happy  nonetheless and how I’m learning that a little fright never killed anyone…just keeps you on your toes ;)

I would want to hear all about what’s been going on with you since I fell off the face of the earth these past couple months engulfed in this new world of law school.  I’d apologize for being a bad friend and thank you for your patience with my bad communication which I’d blame on what I’ve dubbed, the Law School Lull.But I’d look you right in the eye and tell you from the bottom of my heart, that doesn’t mean I don’t think about you each day and wonder how you are. We’d probably laugh as I explained the craziness and new life balancing skills I’m learning :)

I’d warm my hands and sip my coffee and listen.  I’d laugh with you at what’s happened since the last time we’ve talked and how things have turned out.  It’s never what you expected but it always turns out better doesn’t it.

I’d probably tell you how terrified I am of finals, finding the right internship in the summer and paying off loans and you’d probably laugh and tell me now wasn’t the time to worry about it and you’d be right.

I’d share secrets with you like how some days I get overwhelmed that I feel I can’t do it or I’ll never understand these new concepts but how the very next day something will happen and I know, this is what I am supposed to do. I’d tell you how I love my teachers, love learning and love laying my head down after a long day knowing that I’ve worked hard at something I love and want.

I’d tell you how last night’s run with The Boy was the best run I’d had in a while which is exactly what I needed because I was getting nervous that I might not be able to do the marathon in December after so many rough runs.

I’d tell you how great it is to spend a whole week with my best friend.  I’d tell you how it makes me realize both how much I miss him and how lucky I am to have his support even from far away.  I’d tell you that I hope I’m the same for him and that he can feel that from miles away even when he’s having a bad day.

We’d have so much to catch up on and after all that as I would head back to my car, I’d be so thankful so a simple cup of coffee and great friends to share it with.

Happy rainy Tuesday!


Virtual Coffee

I first learned about this over at Dear Abby Leigh and like her, as someone in a new city (and one where I still have yet to find a decent coffee shot) I loved the idea!

My favorite part about joining this world of blogging is the people I meet.  I love the idea Amy over at Lucky Number 13 came up with where each week on Tuesday, you shave a virtual cup of coffee with your friends.

Join in and have a cup with me.

He Said, She Said

Don't worry, I don't really have a cotton candy pink phone

She said: My long run this weekend was terrible.

He said: Really? How far did you go?

15. My knees were killing me.

What do you mean?

It felt like knives in my knees every step.  (looking back, I might have been being a little dramaticl)

Well, it could be that it’s getting colder too.  Have you been running in the grass like I told you to so it helps your knees?



What?! (laughing and then remembering the couple steps I did actually take in the grass this time) Oh WAIT! I did listen to you. I did run in the grass this time just like you told me to.


Yes!  (still more laughing) The sidewalk came to an end so I had to run in the grass for a bit.

Wait…how far?

Ummm…Maybe  quarter mile.  Then the sidewalk started again (laughing because I know full well what’s coming next).

I said 75% of your long run on a trail or in the grass.

Oh…Well now you’re just being too specific!

Maybe it’s the change in schedule, all the briefing of cases filling my brain, or drinking too much coffee and not enough water.  It could be the late nights sitting in an uncomfortable library chair, or possibly running solo without my TPFL and Nasties or maybe it’s because I really didn’t listen to the boy… but Training for the Marathon Take 2 is painful.

I am planning on running the Memphis marathon this December after not being able do do the Cincinnati Flying Pig last year after getting hurt, and have really been having a rough go at it.  Physically and mentally.  I went on my 15 mile long run this past weekend and my knees felt every step which just tore me down mentally.

My pre-run ritual now includes Advil and putting inordinate amounts of Icy Hot on my knees.  It’s getting bad people.  I’m becoming like Pavlov’s dog.  I smell Icy Hot and have the uncontrollable urge to immediately go put my running shoes on.

I know there are good days and bad days running so I’m going to hang in there and stick it out but I would appreciate a little help here…knees, I’m talking to you.

The Boy is coming up for the football game this weekend before fall break and offered to run with me for my long run.  I have the sneaking suspicion I’m going to get lovingly pushed into the grass this weekend on my long run ;)  Guess sometimes I should refer to those who are wiser on the subject.  I promise to listen next time.

Do you ever run in the grass or on trails?  How to you keep mentally strong through a hard long run?  Suggestions are welcome!

Advice Well Lived (TPFL)

“I think of life itself now as a wonderful play that I’ve written for myself, and so my purpose is to have the utmost fun playing my part.”  ~Shirley MacLaine

Dear Class O’ 2K10,

I have to start out by apologizing. I have struggled with this blog. I really have.

I love to write and can often pull from my natural sarcasm to evoke some humor but for some reason I have not been able to start this one. That is part of the reason that it is 8:25 p.m. on the night before it will be posted and my sweet friend Jacklyn still hasn’t received it. I have been thinking about this for over a week and I am still not sure where to start. I have thought about several different directions to go with it…

White girl can jump. CBrown kickin' a$ at the high jump.

I thought about telling you about how much I loved my high school experience and somehow tying in how my Captain of the sports teams/Student Council/Most School Spirit/HC Queen coolness related to who I am today. But if I am honest, it really didn’t…

I thought about giving you some tips on how to figure out who you are. I think there are like 9.4 million books written on that topic but the reality is – you figure it out as you go.

I thought about copying and pasting the words from Dr. Seuss’s book, “Oh! The Places You’ll Go.” That, in fact, is true.

I thought about encouraging you to LIVE it up during these years….live every moment, take nothing for granted…you know, that kind of inspirational, overused, and 100% true stuff…

I thought about writing about what is cool. Because you are going to college and you are going to need to know. And because I am the obvious expert. No, seriously.

I thought about copying the entire famous Sunscreen Speech as my entry. It was read by our Valedictorian at our graduation ceremony, seemed like good advice and would be fast. (Plagairized, but fast nonetheless.)  Then I remembered that I never wear sunscreen so that just didn’t seem right.

I thought about telling you what to expect in the coming years and then telling you that these next few years are the best years of your life like everyone told me. But seriously, they aren’t. College was great, but each year of my life has gotten even better since then.

I thought about sharing my journey with you of the God that has pursued me relentlessly since my Sophmore year in high school when I met Him for the first time at a Young Life camp as a lost 15 year old. My story is really His story anyway.

But of all the things that I considered, I came to the conclusion that any stories that I could write, inspirational or humorous though they may be, would probably not be remembered by you in the long run.

So instead, I am going to leave you with a few bits of advice that I have come to live by.

This is YOUR journey…And I pray that you make it exactly what you want it to be.

Congratulations Class of 2010!

Don’t worry about being right, just about being kind.

Help people.

Hang out with funny people so you laugh often.

Work hard.

Fight for what you want and who you are.

Always give good hugs and good handshakes.

Believe in yourself.

Save money. Seriously. Seriously-Seriously.

Dance. Even if it’s just the Step-Touch-Snap…Dance.

You are worth it – don’t settle.

Try new things.

Be weird. Life is so much more enjoyable when you are weird.

Find God.

Love people. Love them well. All of them.

Be someone that you like.


High-Five people for no reason. It’s fun.

Be ballsy.

Always do what is right.

Call people by name.

Don’t ever give up.


Find excuses to wear costumes.

Compliment people often.

Be thankful.


Learn a foreign language.

Say “Boo Yea” daily. It will make you feel better.

Push yourself to do things that you don’t think you can do.

Look for the good in everything and everyone.


Chillax – things are never as bad as they seem.


Wear jeans that make your butt look good.

And lastly, and most importantly…

Make life what you want it to be.

Congratulations Class of 2010!


Lovely Lady

I. Will. Miss. This. Lady. So. Much.

Well, I’ll miss our regular long runs together but I’ll be back.  Not only do I have a training partner but a friend for life.

I mean, read what this girl wrote…can you understand why we’re friends?!

This girl is a self-proclaimed intense friend.  She’s caring, selfless, adventurous, witty and insanely determined and talented.  If Rod is the welcome committee, Christy is the one who makes sure no one is left behind.

I’m honestly having a hard time with her bio because I just think what she wrote captures her so well.  With Christy, what you see is what you get and I love that about her.  Not many people live honestly you know.  Christy does and I love being a part of that.  Head over to Mermaids and Motorcycles and see for yourself.

About this series: This is one of  a series of guest posts in May that will run every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Have I Mentioned Yet That I Love These People?

“As every runner knows, running is about more than just putting one foot in front of the other; it is about our lifestyle and who we are.” ~Joan Benoit Samuelson

East Nasty Water Stop at Tom King

You probably know by now that I run with a fabulous group of people, the Nasties.  And you may also have gathered that these have become not just running partners but great friends.  This has proven to be the most difficult part about leaving. I will miss my city but it’s the people who I haven’t quite figured out how I’ll live without.  I keep saying, I’ll just be displaced for awhile!

I’ve gotten some unexpected practice with that since I haven’t been able to run for a month but I’ve still managed to get my Nasty fix.

This past weekend when I was inducted into the Ring of Honor at Flying Saucer (yes my parents were proud) some came out to celebrate and we were all talking when Rod announced, “Jack I know I have something to tell you. I think it had to do with writing…” Hmmm.  We all carried on and Rod later enthusiastically announced, “Oh, I remember.  You’re going to be East Nasty of the Week.”  He could hardle finish because of the screams of myself and Christy :)  I’m pretty sure we gave someone a heart attack.  It’s ok, it was worth it.

So check out the new ENOW…soon to be displaced but still will come back for runs and of course true to East Nasty style…other very important celebrations.  I love these people! Love love love them!

Come on back over tomorrow to read what my TPFL has to say to the Class of 2010.

Are you in a running group or have  a certain group of friends you always run with?  How has it affected you?  How has it affected your running?

Great Job All You Flying Pigs

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating. There’s really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.”

Here's what I wish I was doing today...

I hated not being able to pound the pavement with the rest of the pigs today in Cincinnati for the 12th annual Flying Pig Marathon but that didn’t mean I wasn’t reloading facebook constantly this morning to see how the runners did.

Marathon winners:

Men: Brian List 2:31:56, Tilahun Abebe 2:34:39, Rob Morwood 2:36:05.  All three are members of Earth Drummers Running Club in Cincy.  Who do they think they are? East Nasty? ;)
Women: Cynthia (Lauren) Arnold 2:55:02, Marnie Staehly 2:58:26, Rachel Bea (Cincy native) 3:02:27

Here's what I was doing :) Thanks a lot Piriformis...I'll be back next year ya pigs

Half marathon winners:

Men: Ben Foley (Cincy native) 1:12:34
Women: Leslie Kraus (Cincy native) 1:24:20

I love how many Cincy natives ran today! Great job runners, and especially since you were running in the rain! I’ll be with you next year.

Speaking of rain…if you haven’t heard, Nashville is experiencing severe flooding.  Davidson county is in a state of emergency and roads in and around the city are shut down because of flooding.  The Boy and I decided to stay in Cincy for the night to be safe and make the wet trek home tomorrow morning…or at least try.  Schools are closed and even T Nels decided to close.  It’s odd being away from home while all this happens to your city.

After talking to my roommate, thankfully, our place is ok now.  I just hope my pup is doing ok.  That sucker doesn’t even like to go to the bathroom in the rain so I just hope he’s behaving himself at the kennel and not giving them too hard of a time!

To all of those in Nashville, stay safe and dry.  Keep me updated about this crazy weather!

Here’s a great link from a fantastic organization, Hands on Nashville, where you can sign up to get involved and help out in the flood relief effort.  Help here.

Change of Plans

“Once you are a runner, it’s always there in the back of your head.” ~Bill Rodgers

So proud of everyone! Photo by Ian White

I’m a planner, a goal setter, I set my mind to something and accomplish it.  I love trying new things and changing it up, but if it has to do for a goal I set for myself, I have a REALLY tough time.  All that said, I’ve had a really tough two weeks.

I hope I haven’t griped too much. Please know anything I’ve written here is to help people.  I have found  so many running blogs that deal with products, training and races, but not many when it comes to injuries, when your sidelined. Instead of going into it, you can see here, where it started to go  downhill and then the diagnosis that has be sidelined and doomed me to weeks of cross training, here.  It’s been tough and at times embarrassing because I feel I’m not meeting my goal.  I was ready for the full marathon. I felt good and I was excited, but life had different plans. There’s a time to be stubborn and run through it (which is my natural reaction) and a time to be smart and take the detour so that you can make it to the final destination unscathed.  I am learning to do the latter.

Yes, this man is juggling while running a MARATHON. Oh the people you see while watching.

Recently, I have been religious about doing my stretches, PT and strength training but getting to the gym to cross train by myself just wasn’t happening. These past two weeks, there was no way that I was going to do the elliptical for two hours.  I think I was throwing myself a little pity party. Well…the party is over.  Time to get down to business.

I hated not racing. I hate that I will not be participating in the Flying Pig  this weekend after training since December and that no matter how long I cycle, elipticize or swim, I will lose some fitness.  I hate that my plans to do speed work this summer are now derailed. But you know what, it is what it is and there’s not a thing I can do.  I’m going to do everything I can to get back into running and focus on having a great attitude about it.

I don’t want to sound cliche but you really do learn so much about life from running.  Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right?  Well…pretty sure piriformis won’t kill me ;) Next marathon, I’ll be stronger and smarter.

The one great thing about not racing is that I could cheer on all the runners.  Being part of a running community means you cheer other on to do the best they can.  I felt lucky to be able to cheer on these amazing runners who I’ve not only put in miles with but learned so much from.  Even though I didn’t realize it then, these runners, even that day were teaching me to take a reroute and even a detour in stride.

Check out what the wall says in front of the church I went to watch at. Priceless.

For those of you who don’t know, Nashville was under a tornado watch the whole race.  At mile 22, marathoners were diverted to the half course and not allowed to finish the full 26.2.  Sure it was disappointing, especially for some in the group for whom this was their first one.  Sure it sucked, but you know what, it happens and I love that these runners are not looking back but looking forward to the next race, and I’m going to join them! We have a couple of options and in the next couple of days I’d love your advice and suggestions on what marathons you’ve liked running.  If I need to cross train for awhile, so be it.  This is merely a detour, a change of plans, a bump in the road.  Instead of stopping, I’m going to keep on running.

Since I don’t have a great post race report, here are some great ones from my friends. You all did an amazing job! I am so proud of you all! I’ll be with you for the next race!

  1. Rod- A fellow EN, Rod PR’ed at the Country Music 1/2.  Read his race report and how his training this year set him up for success.
  2. Miss Chatterbox- The requested title for this is To Stubborn to Stop. She is a runner after my own heart.  After perfect training she just didn’t have the race she wanted to…but she STILL PR’ed! She kept going and finished the race.
  3. Dear Abby Leigh- After fainting at the finish line last year, she came back with a vengeance this year, and some salt in her pocket. You’re welcome for being the drug mule.
  4. Knight- I can’t believe we still haven’t met but this lady is amazing and had a great race. I am so proud of her and love how her post race report was thanking those who watched her.  What if everyone cheered others on in life like they were running the half.  Congrats Knight! Once I can run, you and me are going to go for a run so pencil me in.
  5. Annie- Annie, Annie, Annie. The displaced East Nasty comes home. Look at that face. Who can look that cute after they run 13.1 miles.  I know I don’t! Congrats on your 9 minute PR! Even though we only met in passing, ha, I consider you a dear friend.
  6. I had to save this for last. Christy, my training partner, fellow EN and one of my biggest supporter and one voice of reason that said, I know how stubborn you are but take a step back, get better then go for it. She, like me, didn’t get to run the first marathon she trained for either. This year, her marathon was cut short but the attitude she had about it is exactly what I’m talking about here.  In her post race report she uses one of my favorite quotes, “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.” We are already planning the next full.  The cool part is, this one we’ll be able to run together!

I also want to thank those of you who have encouraged me and helped me through this from the Boy, my training partner, Christy, all of the EN’s and you!  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.

Have you ever been derailed, detoured or had to change plans mid-route?  How do you handle it?

Weekends are for (food)lovers- Story of a vegan & a meat lover

“Do vegetarians eat animal crackers?”  ~Author Unknown

“Again with the food?!” you say.  Yes! Let’s be honest, 2 hours of cross training at the Y when Spring is blooming outside doesn’t make for a happy Jaye and won’t make a very delightful post :)  So, this week, we start with food, which always makes me happy!

The cous, an old pic from my graduation. She's all grown up now and getting married.

My cousin came down from Chicago for her bachelorette party this weekend. It was a blast and so much fun to see her! Friday morning I texted her to see if she had dinner plans saying I’d love to make her dinner. She texted me back saying that was great but that she was vegan now.  What?  Hmmm. Ok.  I quickly emailed a great friend who was vegan before becoming pregnant to see if she could point me in the right direction. As always, she delivered.

I had my recipe, my grocery list and was ready to go. She even helped me figure out what beer/wine was vegan.  Come on, it was her bachelorette party, first things first.

That night, we ended up walking to Rosepepper because it was nice out and the quesadilla and margaritas were calling my name (They have an awesome vegetarian burrito) but I had all the ingredients so the Boy and I made this Sunday night.

I don’t ever see myself becoming vegan, but as you can read in these two posts, I am trying to pay attention to what I eat and how it’s made.  I agree that the state of the food business is not good and that most americans have no clue what they are eating or what happened to it before it got to the plate. Most people, like my cousin, are vegan to boycott that.  With spring here, I’m going to be going and getting food at the farmer’s market and really watching what type of meat I buy, even if it’s more expensive.  How did we get to the point where organic or something natural is more expensive. It makes me angry. Oh well, I’ll think of it as money spent on my health.

So without further ado, in our first corner, we have the vegan.

Vegan Roasted Veggie Pasta. Photo from Vegetarian Times

Roasted Vegetable Linguine with Torn Fresh Basil
Originally from Vegetarian Times

-2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms
-1/2 lb. fresh or frozen asparagus, cut into 11/2-inch piece (I used sweet peas)
-1 small onion, coarsely chopped (1 cup)
-2 Tbs. olive oil
-2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
-1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
-2 cups cherry tomatoes (I halved mine to make them easier to eat)
-1/2 cup white wine
-1/2 13.25-oz. pkg. whole-wheat or white linguine
-1/2 cup torn fresh basil leaves

-Preheat oven to 450°F.
-Toss together mushrooms, peas, onion, oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes in large roasting pan. -Roast 20 minutes, or until mushrooms and onions begin to brown, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
-Add tomatoes to pan, and roast 7 to 10 minutes more, or until tomatoes shrivel and soften.
-Transfer vegetables to bowl. Add wine to roasting pan, stirring to scrape off any stuck-on bits from bottom of pan.
-Place roasting pan on burner over medium heat, and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, or until wine has evaporated by half; or return roasting pan to oven 5 minutes, and let wine cook off.
-Meanwhile, prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta, and reserve 1/2 cup cooking water. Stir reserved cooking water into reduced wine in roasting pan.
-Return pasta to pot. Add wine mixture and vegetables, and toss over medium-low heat until heated through. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
-Stir in torn fresh basil leaves, and serve immediately.

This was really really delicious. Normally when I think of vegan, I think tofu…you can tell how much I know, right. A vegan and a meat lover can sit down at the same table and not only be friends, but have an absolutely delicious meal.  I loved the hint of white wine and honestly, you can never go wrong with roasted veggies and pasta in my book.  I will definitely be making this again, but maybe as a side dish for some grilled chicken :)

And in the other corner we have the meat lover.

Photo by the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond

Recipe originally from My Muse

This is the best part…there are only three!
-1 whole beef frisket, trimmed of all fat (5-8 lbs)
-1 bottle (24 oz.)  Ketchup
-1 package onion soup mix

-Place trimmed brisket into a large baking pan.
-Mix ketchup with onion soup mix and add 1 cup of water to thin it out a bit.
-Pour sauce over the meat, cover pan with foil and marinate 12-24 hours in the fridge.
-Place covered pan into a 275-degree oven and walk away for 6-8 hours, depending on how big the brisket is.
-Check tenderness when brisket has been cooking for several hours: stick in two forks and pull in opposite directions.  Meat should come apart easily.
-When meat is done, remove from oven and place on a cutting board.
-Slice against the grain with a SHARP knife and remember, meat falling apart is a good thing.
-Return the sliced meat to the sauce until serving.

Delicious! Photo by Ree Drummond

YUM. I have never made brisket before but I was game for anything with only three ingredients.  This was so nice because you could just leave it all day.  I did it on one of the days I work from home so I could keep an eye on it but that may have been a mistake because the smell of it cooking is simply mouthwatering.  I can’t stress two things enough on this recipe: 1- use a deep baking pan.  I had some sauce that decided to jump out of the pan onto my leg and brand new running shoes. 2- use a SHARP knife.  When tender, the brisket just falls apart and a dull knife (like I have) makes it nearly impossible to cut these pieces.  I had some amazing brisket sandwiches for lunch too!

No, that's not blood. It's the brisket I spilled on my shoes. As if Caesar didn't want to eat my shoes enough...

And for a quick running update:

Sometimes plans have to change. I’m not very good at this especially since it’s something I’ve been training for since December, but I’m coming to grips with it.  The Country Music Marathon was this past Saturday and I wasn’t able to race it which I thought would really be hard. It was, but it was so fun to cheer other runners on and focus on that instead of a time.

Later this week I’ll have a full update on what’s next in terms of running and will link to some amazing runners who completed the CMM and their race updates, not everyone’s are up and I don’t want to miss anyone! Congrats to all of you!

Race Day Prep- 7 Must-do’s for Race Week

“Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves.  It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it’s all about.” ~PattiSue Plumer, U.S. Olympian

Race day April 24- rain or shine!

In the next two days, thousands of people will descend upon Nashville, rain or shine, with one goal in mind: to finish the CMM half or full marathon.  For those of you  who are going to be running the race, or cheering people on, the Tennessean has put together a great marathon guide.  Writer Jessica Bliss gives you the info on the Expo, places to go eat, a course map and even roads to avoid if you are driving around Nashville on Saturday.  I was so excited and honored when I was asked to be a part of the marathon guide on the Tennessean’s On Nashville site.

Photo my Jae S. Lee

I wrote the piece so people can learn from my mistakes. You’ve put in the work, now it’s time to relax and have fun. While you’re relaxing, head on over to my guest post featured on the On Nashville website to see what I’ve learned about race prep since running, what you can do, my top 7 things to do the week of the race and why now is the time to Eat well, rest well and have fun!

Let me know how you’re preparing or what your race week rituals are!

Weekends are for (food)lovers- My Muse

Cooking is like love.  It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.  ~Harriet van Horne

Ree Drummond aka The Pioneer Woman aka My Muse

I have been noticing a couple of trends here in my cooking habits:

1. I have a cooking Muse- My Muse goes by the name of Ree Drummond, or as more people call her, The Pioneer Woman.  Until blogs, we had our grandma’s recipe books, the recipes we write down from our parents and compile to add to our own repertoire. Our recipe books are scraps of paper, notecards and photocopied magazine pages given to us by trusted family members and friends.  I now add to that list, Ree.  Her humor, stories and pictures, make me feel like I know her and as I star the recipes I want to try the following weekend my mouth waters.  I’m also glad I’m not the only one who has a four legged little rascal that seems so interested in the culinary arts ;) More than just her recipes being utterly delicious, they are approachable, much like she is.  I feel like I am in her kitchen learning and making a mess right along side her.  She really is divine.

2. When I don’t run, I eat- Honestly, what else am I going to do with those 2-4 hours a day when I can’t run, it makes perfect sense to cook and eat.  Right?  Ok, so maybe there is flawed logic lurking somewhere in there but honestly, the last time I did a (food)lovers post was when I was sick with the flu and couldn’t run. Two weeks later, Piriformis syndrome and BAM. I’m in the kitchen cooking up a storm. And this weekend, I had a little extra inspiration to do so.

So without further ado, here is what my Muse inspired me to tackle this weekend.

Picture by Ree Drummond

Chicken with Tomatoes and Garlic
Originally from My Muse

-8 pieces chicken legs or thighs
-salt and peper to taste
-3 Tbs olive oil
-1 Tbs butter
-1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
-1 can (14 oz) whole tomatoes
-2 Tbs tomato paste
-Fresh herbs: basil, parsley, sage, rosemary
-8 cloves garlic
-16 oz of pasta
-grated parmesan cheese
-1/2 cup white or red wine

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
-Salt and pepper the chicken legs.
-Heat ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.
-Add olive oil and butter and when it’s hot, add chicken legs to the pan.
-Using tongs, brown the chicken on all sides (about 2 minutes) and then remove chicken from the pan and put on a clean plate.
-Pour wine in, scrapping the bottom to loosen any bits.  (I used white wine, a pinot grigio in mine, mmm)

Photo by Ree Drummond

-Cook for 1 minute
-Pour in tomatoes with their juice and add tomato paste.
-Bring sauce to a boil then turn off the heat.
-Add plenty of fresh herbs (at my grocery store they had a group of fresh herbs packaged together for poultry so I used that) garlic (come on, any recipe that requires 8 cloves of garlic…perfect) and chicken legs.
-Put lid on and cook in the oven for 1 hour then remove pot from oven and allow it to sit while you cook the pasta.
-Cook the pasta to al dente, drain and add to large serving bowl.
-Remove lid and check sauce, it  is overly thin, remove chicken and boil the sauce for 5-10 minutes (I should’ve done this. The sauce was delicious but a little too watery)
-To serve, pour sauce over cooked pasta, then arrange chicken pieces.
-Sprinkle generously with parmesan (now you see why I like this woman ;)

This recipe was so easy and incredibly cheap! It hardly took any prep or attention.  Now onto breakfast, my favorite food group!

Photo by Ree Drummond. Sorry kids- don't have a camera.

Petite Vanilla Bean Scones
Recipe originally from…you guessed it…My Muse.

-3 cups all-purpose flour
-2/3 cups sugar
-5 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled
-1 large egg
-3/4 cups heavy whipping cream
-2 whole vanilla beans

-3 cups powdered sugar
-1/2 cups whole milk
-1 whole vanilla bean

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Split vanilla beans down the middle lengthwise and scrape out all the “caviar” inside.
-Stir caviar in cream and set aside for 15 minutes.
-Sift together flour, 2/3 cup sugar, baking powder and salt.
-Cut cold butter into pats, then use a pastry cutter or two knives to cut the butter into the flour. Keep going till the mixture resembles crumbs.
-Mix vanilla cream with egg, then combine with flour mixture; stir gently with a fork just until it comes together.

Delicious photo by Ree Drummond

-Turn dough onto floured surface and lightly press together until it forms a rough rectangle.
-Use a rolling pin to roll into a rectangle about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick.
-Use knife to trim to a symmetrical rectangle, then cut into 12 squares.
-Next, cut each square/rectangle in half diagonally, to form two triangles
-Transfer to parchment lines cookie sheet and bake for 18 minutes or just before they start to turn golden.
-Allow to cool for 15 minutes on cookie sheet then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.

– Split one vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out all the caviar.
-Stir caviar into milk and allow to sit for awhile.
-Mix powdered sugar with the vanilla milk, adding more sugar is needed to get a smooth consistency.
-One at a time, carefully dunk each cooled scone in the glaze and transfer to the cooling rack to let the glaze set (about 1 hour)

I have never been a fan of scones but can you blame me for wanting to give them a second chance when they look so good? These aren’t the cheapest things in the world because of the vanilla bean but they are worth it. The recipe makes a lot too so you’ll have them for a couple mornings. I am enjoying one right now with my coffee, so take that Starbucks.

Tiger Balm

And for a quick running update:

Today is my first day of physical therapy.  This is going to hurt. I am getting a deep tissue massage as well, which is supposed to help.  I’m hoping they can help me out on what’s good cross training to do because even being on the bike hurts. I’ve heard swimming is good.  So we’ll see.

I’ve added two new things to my running arsenal…Tiger Balm and an awesome pair of R.E.I. compression shorts.  Tiger Balm is a heating agent which is what the Dr. said to put on before running/working out.  Then the compression shorts help keep the heat on longer during a run.  Again, we’ll see. I’ve wanted compression shorts because I love my running tights and needed a warm weather alternative.  Light running shorts just don’t do it for me. I tried on a lot of compression shorts but they were all so short! These are great because they are a perfect length and they have pockets too for my shot bloks! Hopefully I’ll be able to give these suckers a spin soon! The half is this weekend and the marathon is next!

P.S. I had a break down in the grocery store this weekend when I couldn’t keep walking to finish shopping because of the pain. Called the Dr. to leave a message with his nurse to see if I could get a cortisone shot or some kind of anti-inflammatory to allow me to run my races. I haven’t heard back. I’m sure I sounded like an addict. Perfect.  Hopefully a good running update will follow shortly.  STRETCH people, it makes a difference :)

Weekends are for (food)lovers- Satisfying the Southern Palate

“For those of us who live to eat, these are hopeful times.” ~John T. Edge

Oxford American- Love this photo.

A week ago, I was given a gift by a new friend, a copy of Oxford American.  He told me about it awhile ago before one of our East Nasty runs, saying that within the pages of this magazine was some of his favorite writing.  The latest issue was about food and after seeing that 1- I love food and 2- I love to write about food, he thought it would be right up my alley.

After two weeks, and not being able to find a copy for sale, last weekend as I hobbled back to my car after the 20 mile run that did me in last weekend, I found something pinned beneath my windshield wiper. It was a copy of the Oxford American.

Honestly, is there any better gift than a loaned book/magazine from someone who has handpicked that title with you in mind?

“Oxford American: The Southern magazine of good writing, proudly published from the University of Central Arkansas.”


“With guest editor, John T. Edge,” the cover went on to reveal. Interesting.  Now, I hate to admit it but I had no idea what to expect from a literary magazine published in Central Alabama about Southern cooking.  I don’t like grits, I have never had collard greens and won’t touch fried green tomatoes (you can tell that my knowledge of “southern” food is hardly developed) and didn’t particularly care to read about them.  However, I have long been a fan of John T. Edge, from his column in the New York Times, NPR’s All Things Considered, and guest spots in Gourmet to his books, and since it had come highly recommended, I decided to take a bite.

Douglas Bourgeois "Refrigerator"

Eat dessert first right? That’s my motto. The first course was an article my friend marked for me titled, People of the Cake, by Diane Roberts. I was smitten. The writing was brilliant, mouthwatering and refreshing.

Article by article, I devoured the whole thing.

How silly of me to scoff and think as a girl who grew up in Pittsburgh, raised on bagels, pasta, pirogies and subs, I wouldn’t enjoy this.  I loved this magazine for the very same reasons that I have come to love the South.  These essays weren’t just about food, they were about the people and stories behind them.  These writers masterfully wove religion, rich tradition, cooking, humor and grace together in a way only a Southern writer could.

“If the recipe says fresh coconut, don’t you dare use that stuff in a bag. Suffering for your cake builds character. (We are Presbyterians after all.)” -Diane Roberts in People of the Cake

These writers reminded me not just why I have loved cooking, but writing.

I read the articles a little slower and enjoyed it a little more, experiencing trademark Southern hospitality as these writers welcomed me into their world:

Would you tattoo this on yourself? Kevin Gillespie did.

-Warwick Sabin exposes the dark side of Southern cuisine as fresh local food becomes a luxury item forcing many to go for the mass produced affordable calories instead of fresh produce that are the building blocks of Southern food.

-Jack Pendarvis writes about his favorite local hang with the best food around- Chevron, the one south of the courthouse responsible for serving up chicken on a stick, and how it was ruined once the secret got out.  We’ve all been there, I bet you are thinking of your favorite place right now, just like I am, that you only tell your closest friends about for fear it will ruin the magic.

-Mamie Morgan recants her and her boyfriend saving all their spare change to go to one of their favorite restaurants on New Years, with chef Kevin Gillespie, and how certain chefs and their food much like bands and their music, speak to us. What chef speaks your language?

Nashville's own Olive Sinclair

These stories join others about the array of people and personalities that make up a restaurant, tales of homemade beef jerky, geophagy, or in layman’s terms- eating dirt, the mysterious origins of New Orleans cuisine, and even an ode to Oregano.

Nashville’s own Olive Sinclair is featured as well as a brewery in Durham, North Carolina who’s mission is to “brew farmhouse ales that celebrate the culinary and agricultural  heritage of the South.” But these deserve their own posts so I don’t want to spoil it.

All of that said, I will be subscribing to Oxford American soon and I encourage anyone who loves good writing to do the same. Reading the Oxford American prompted me to do some cooking this weekend when I wasn’t sitting out in the sun so I’ll post those tomorrow.  Until then, I leave you with Diane Roberts’ mother’s recipe for Sour Cream Pound Cake, “the cake she’d make for people who do nice things.” Now if that’s not Southern, I don’t know what is!

The sign of Southern hospitality

-2 sticks of butter, softened
-3 cups white sugar
-8 eggs, seperated
-1 cup sour cream
-3 cups cake flour
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 tsp baking soda
-1  1/2 tsp good vanilla extract

-Preheat oven to 325.
-Grease a tube pan and sugar the edges.
-Cream butter and two cups of sugar until fluffy. While that’s beating, use hand mixer to mix egg whites.
-Add third cup of sugar and continue whipping until they form stiff peaks.
-Add egg yolks, one at a time, to butter and sugar. Beat well.
– Sift the flour, salt, and soda together.
-Add, alternating wet and dry ingredients, the flour mix and the sour cream. Mix well.
-Add vanilla, then fold in the egg whites.
-Bake 60-90 minutes until skewer comes out clean.
-Cool 10-15 minutes and turn out on a plate.