Oh Yeah…I Have a Blog! Catching Up, Cycling, and a Pseudo Valentine Dinner

Friday’s Workout:  REST

Saturday’s Workout:  long, fast walk w/ dogs and hubby – NOT what was planned 😐

Sunday’s Workout:  20 mile bike ride, rolling hills

Monday’s Workout:  cycle – interval

So I took some time off blogging this weekend.  Actually, I just kept forgetting to take pictures, so I kept feeling uninspired to fill a blog page with nothing but text without fun things to look at.  I don’t want to bore you, my readers!

As usual, I enjoyed a day off from working out on Friday.  I had to pick Joe up from the airport that afternoon and we went straight to this cool bookstore that also has a wine bar.  It has recently opened in a new location and we wanted to check it out.  Battery Park Book Exchange is nestled in a cozy corner of the Grove Arcade in downtown Asheville.  It has a really relaxed, library-esque feel to it, complete with leather sofas and coffee tables.  It was a great place to wind down the day and catch up for just the two of us.  We went from there back to the house to grab some leftovers for dinner before going to meet up with some friends for a drink.  They all had late plans so we just met them beforehand.  We were in fairly early, as I had to WORK on Saturday.  😦

Breakfast Saturday morning was a delicious Florida ruby red grapefruit.  They are in season down there and are so good right now.  Grapefruit has lots of health and even waist-slimming benefits.  Read about it here.  I accompanied it with another fig bran muffin.  A perfect breakfast!

Saturday’s lunch was…you guessed it…leftovers (if any of you are wondering how I made leftovers stretch for so long, it’s has a lot to do with the fact that Joe was out of town all week!)!

I put the bean mixture from the Chipolte Bean Burritos over a bed of rice and sprinkled some cheese on top.  I added a small side salad with the last of the arugula, avocado, tomatoes, and toasted pumpkin seeds.

Saturday I came home from work and was psyched to run.  I ended up choosing to walk the dogs because it was such a beautiful day and they haven’t been out much lately (they’re old and don’t run with me anymore).  So Joe and I took them on a nice, long, fairly fast walk through the neighborhood.  They say that walking is just as good for you as running and that it’s OK to sub it in sometimes…I still was bummed to miss a run.

Saturday night we had a party to go to and we made a Mexican Polenta Casserole to contribute to the yummy taco bar on hand.

Mexican Polenta Casserole – from Pam, who I think got it from Cooking Light

1 (16 oz) can of fat free refried beans  (I used regular fat refried black beans)

6 scallions, finely chopped

1/4 c fat free sour cream (I used reduced fat)

2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

1 chipolte chile en adobo, chopped (about 2 tsp – reduce this if you don’t want the heat)

1 (14.5 oz) can stewed tomatoes, chopped

1 (16 oz) tube refrigerated polenta, cut into 12 rounds

3/4 c shredded cheese of your choice – I used a Mexican blend

3 tbsp sliced black olives

Preheat oven to 375.  Spran 9×13 pan with non-stick spray.  Combine beans, scallions, sour cream, cilantro, and chipolte in medium bowl; set aside.  Spoon half of the stewed tomatoes into bottom of pan.  Arrange polenta rounds in one layer over the sauce.  Spoon the bean mixture on top of each round.  Top with the remaining stewed tomatoes.  Sprinkle with cheese and olives.  Bake, uncovered, until heated through and cheese melts, about 25 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.  Serves 4.

Sunday morning, Joe fixed French toast and bacon.  I have no pictures.  He sliced a baguette and soaked the pieces in an egg, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and nutmeg blend before cooking in a non-stick skillet.  It was delish!

Sunday afternoon was gorgeous and I went on a great bike ride with my friend Frances.  The terrain was rolling and some flat.  There were a couple of really tough hills but we made it!

As I was scanning through my heart rate monitor to get my stats for the ride, I came upon a scary sight:  my maximum heart rate for the ride was listed at 191!  That would be beats per minute.  😯  It freaked me out because I had calculated my maximum heart rate to be 185.  So this prompted a bit of research on what exactly is “maximum heart rate” and why does it matter?  Read more about it here, but the most important tidbit I got out of my reading was that the generally accepted equation for calculating it (220 – your age) isn’t completely accurate, and that it can vary 10 – 20 bpm from this equation.  Whew!

Moving right along…Sunday night, we celebrated Valentine’s Day early because it wasn’t going to work out for us to do it tonight.   Joe made reservations at Table, a wonderful local restaurant that we had not been to in way too long.  They call themselves “market driven seasonal New American” and it fits.  Their menu changes daily depending on…the market and the season.  😉

Yes, that is popcorn on the salad.  We shared this to start.  Arugula, chevre, popcorn, apples, and a delicious vinaigrette.

I got the potato crusted sea bass with leeks, hedgehog mushrooms, and a truffled pomme puree.  Joe got the seared scallops and butternut squash – the picture of his turned out blurry because he was insisting I didn’t use the flash – I embarrass him sometimes with all my picture taking in restaurants!  😉

We actually passed on dessert but I wanted to share the dessert menu – isn’t it amazingly unique??  We really love this restaurant.  Great for special occasions like Valentine’s!

Today, breakfast was another grapefruit/muffin combo, unpictured.  Lunch was the leftover quinoa with roasted butternut squash from last week over a bed of spinach.

And I may or may not have sampled all three varieties of Girl Scout Cookies that arrived today.  😳  I ♥ Tagalongs, Thin Mints, and Samoas!!

After cycling tonight at the gym, I drug myself to the grocery.  I did not have a plan and just found myself wandering aimlessly.  I got home after 7:30 and just whipped up an old standby – black bean, spinach, and avocado quesadillas.  This is my go-to meal when I just don’t feel inspired.  I did get to use a little of the Rustic Roasted Salsa from last week, so there’s that.

I saved half for lunch tomorrow.  Quesadillas are so easy – you just get a tortilla shell and put it in a skillet on medium-low heat, add cheese, and throw whatever else in there you want.  Fold it in half, let warm 5-10 minutes, flip, do the same, and voila!  Done.  Sometimes I’ll saute some onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes in olive oil and then add the black beans – this gives the beans a nice flavor.  Otherwise, it’s as uncomplicated as it gets.

Wow – what a long post.  I hope you’re still with me!  🙂  Thanks for reading!

What did you do for Valentine’s Day?


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