Tag Archives: Real Fun Food

Cheerful Cherries, Green Beans and Quinoa

After a lovely Sicilian day of a hot morning run, a long day’s work, and a pleasant commute home with my hilarious husband, I turned to the refrigerator and said,


The fridge just sat there humming.

I assumed the Charlie Brown defeat pose and pulled open the refrigerator door.  

I reached in and withdrew a bag of fresh green beans and ripe cherries. Dave had purchased them on Friday for a new salad recipe I had planned to try out over the weekend.  It was now time to use the fresh ingredients before they started to turn bad.

When the produce deterioration has progressed to the point where I cannot eat the product fresh, I will brainstorm how to salvage the edible parts and cook them into a casserole, soup, or a fruity dessert. Thanks, Mom!

Inevitably, there are times when I have miscalculated or failed to keep track of certain fruits and veggies.  At that point, I usually feel deep shame and regret when I eventually toss out the fruits and veggies. No thanks, universe!

Since I am a person who is strongly shame-and-regret averse, I work hard to use the fresh fruits and veggies we have before they become inedible. Thanks, me!

These rituals and procedures are at the forefront of my mind lately, because my friend Millie has adopted a whole foods approach to her eating lifestyle. She eats quite healthy most of the time, but has been talking about cutting out processed foods and food products in an aim to eat even healthier. This immediately got me thinking of my blogger friend Sara, who recalls her disgust at eating steaks with fake grill marks as impetus for her eating lifestyle change. Sara’s change led, in part, to her delightful blog, Real Fun Food.

Sara posted her recipe for Cherry Balsamic Bean Salad, which inspired my dinner tonight. However, I failed to read the entire recipe, failed to buy all the ingredients, and failed to prep beans for the salad. I succeeded in following Sara’s inspiration, I succeeded in salvaging my beans and cherries, and I succeeded in making a delicious dinner from whole foods (mostly), with enough left for lunch tomorrow. WINNING!

I followed Sara’s ratio, substituted quinoa for mixed beans, green beans for snap peas, and the pièce de résistance…I added some V8 Berry Splash for the cherry jelly! That was my inner Lucy guiding my Charlie-Brown-defeated self to dinner victory.

Buona cena!

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Filed under 5-100, Adjusting, Food. Cibo.

Cross Continental Training Run

Ciao Cinquecento Amici,

I am quickly adjusting to my jetlag from a little over two weeks spent in the U.S. visiting family, friends, and attending one of the most romantic weddings of the decade. I started near my official Wisconsin hometown with my immediate family, as well as a few snuggle-bug family members. Then, I flitted over to my adopted hometown, Madison, Wisconsin, for a whirlwind 40-hour tour of favorite friends, restaurants, and running locales. I zoomed over to Dave’s Wisconsin home-region to visit with his clan and their kin – five nieces and one nephew between the ages of seven years and seven months. It was all topped off with a delightful first-time visit to Lawrence, Kansas, where I swooned at the aforementioned wedding.

Some people dislike the word ‘aforementioned’ because it is long and a bit over the top. I love it though; much like I love a run, even on days out of my comfort zone, with high heat and relatively high humidity. That is why despite the 82 degree weather at 8am, and the 66% humidity in Kansas on Saturday morning, I headed out to River Front Park for a 9-mile run.

I was running across continents with Sara from Real Fun Food. Sara took on the beastiest beast of basic running events, the marathon. After I berated her in the comments for her crazy choice, I offered myself up as a slightly-less-crazy long-distance running buddy. I plan to participate in her training runs until they hit about 15 miles, making me slightly-less-crazy than Sara, who will eventually run 26.2 miles (the distance of all modern marathon races). 15 miles is about the point where the running/time cost-benefit ratio runs out for me.

On Saturday, Sara ran through central London, you can read all about it here. She is quite funny, tells a good story, and usually writes about food in connection with the rest of her charming life. Sara has encouraged me to photo-document my running route; so, to commemorate our first cross-continental run, I did just that.

Enjoy the trek from University of Kansas through downtown Lawrence to the Riverfront Park and back. It is a lovely trip.

University of Kansas mascot, the Jayhawk, was everywhere in Lawrence. We stayed at a vrbo one block from the football stadium and campus. This statue was a few blocks off campus toward downtown. While in Lawrence I saw oodles of cardinals and a few robins, but never did spy a jayhawk, except like this.

A few blocks later, still downtown.

Kansas’s state flower, the Sunflower.

After crossing the bridge across the Kansas River, I left downtown Lawrence behind me and stumbled upon this intimate setting.

After about 2.5 miles, I arrived at the trailhead of Riverfront Park, a trail network spanning about 1000 acres along the Kansas River.

After a short water break, I continued on the grated, flat trail on the levee. First, I was running head-on into the burning sun.

Then I turned around for a brief reprieve before heading into the shaded trail for the return route. It almost looks like the yellow brick road!

After I delved into the wooded trail, I kicked myself for spending any time on the levee path!

Here I am just shy of the 7-mile mark; drenched in sweat, but still smiling!

I emerged from the Riverfront Park trail to once again cross the grand Kansas River before traipsing through downtown Lawrence back ‘home.’

Entrance to Downtown Lawrence.

The run was tough, slow, and sweaty. For the previous two weeks, I had been regularly drinking alcohol with breakfast (Bloody Mary?), lunch (beer?), or dinner (cocktails or wine) – some days it was all three! I was celebrating life with my family. Plus, many days I did not get inebriated; it was just that I was consistently having more alcohol and daily calories than my body is accustomed to managing. By the time I got to Lawrence, my body was confused and was seriously considering treating hops as a new form of bread. Considering those drawbacks, together with the heat and humidity, I was happy to finish the run with all my bodily organs still functioning!


Filed under 5-100, Awesomeness, Running