The Cooking Runner

A Calabrian Valentine’s Day

Miles run this month: 19.2 miles

Miles left to reach 2013 goal: 1946.5 miles

Ran outside…super awesome!!! Icy, yes…but I just can not do the treadmill!

The hubs and I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day. I cook, but, then again, I cook 5 nights a week on average.

So let’s start by pretending we are here…


Just a little north of Calabria, in Sorrento, but I had to use one of our pictures from our honeymoon

 I made

Salsiccia Calabrese (Calabrese fennel sausage)

Pane Calabrese (everyday bread)

Pasta from The Local Epicurean

A variety of cheeses from The Cheese Lady

Gelato alla Liquirizia (pure licorice ice cream)

Chocolate covered strawberries

It seems like a lot of food…it is really not. It also seems as though it could be a daunting process to make everything, I had to prepare everything a few days before hand to let the flavors blend in the sausage and let the bread starter and sponge ripen. It really was not bad at all.

Salsiccia Calabrese (Calabrese fennel sausage)

Recipe adapted from “My Calabria”  -Rosetta Constantino- but like all recipes I post, I have altered them slightly 🙂

3lbs pork

1/4 cup sweet paprika

1 TBS ground sea salt

1 TBS fennel

3 tsp ground cayenne pepper

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl and blend with your hands for about 10 minutes to ensure all the ingredients are uniformly blended. Wrap the raw sausage in plastic and place in refrigerator for 24 hours.


After the 24 hours, shape into patties or links and saute’ in a pan until cooked throughout.

I divided the meat into three portions. I froze two portions and cooked 1.


*The original recipe gives directions to stuff the sausage casings. I didn’t do that…1) because I do not have a sausage filling machine, and  2) ATS doesn’t mind eating the casings on brats and sausage, but I am not a fan. Since I am the cook, I don’t make sausages with casings!

Pane Calabrese

Recipe adapted from “My Calabria”  -Rosetta Constantino- but like all recipes I post, I have altered them slightly 🙂


*Side note on all the breads I make… I use all King Arthur Flour. It is the only flour currently sold that does not use and GMO’s. It is expensive, but I am willing to pay it.

The starter is a three day process… The bread takes 5 days from start to finish.

1/2 cup flour

1/4 tsp dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water (about 105-110*)

Day 1… Mix all the ingredients together. Wrap the bowl in a towel and place it in the warmest place in your house. The towel helps insulate the bowl.

Day 2… Divide the starter in half and discard one half. Add 1/2 cup flour and 1/4 cup warm water.  Wrap the bowl in a towel and place it in the warmest place in your house.

Day 3… Repeat the directions for day 2.

Day 4… you can save the starter for later, just put it in the refrigerator or you can make the bread now.

The Sponge

1/2 cup starter

1cup flour

1/2 cup warm water

Day 4…combine all the ingredients and wrap the bowl in a towel and  place it in the warmest place in your house for 24 hours.

The bread dough

3 pounds flour

1 TBS sea salt

3 1/2 cups warm water

Day 5… You can either use a mixer or your hands. I used a mixer because I could add all the ingredients and turn it on while I did other things. But if you make it by hand, always make a “well”. Put the flour in the bowl and make a well. Put the sponge in the well followed by the salt and the water. Mix the bread in the bowl, if possible. The dough is a fairly sticky dough and will stick to the counter. The more you knead the dough the dryer it will become. If you do need to turn the dough out on the counter, try not to add more flour. You want to knead the dough for about 15 minutes until it is springy.

The first rise…

Gather the dough into a ball and place in a oiled bowl (I use olive oil) wrap with a clean towel and place in a very warm place away from any drafts. Let it rise about 2 hours. It will form “stretch marks” on top when it is done. IMG_0799[1]

The second rise…

Divide the dough into three pieces. Shape the dough into logs, or whatever shape you want your bread. I did two loaves and 6 doughnut shapes, to make Friselle. (that is another recipe for another day!) Cover the loaves with a towel and let rise again for 2 hours.IMG_0800[1]


Preheat the oven to 475* Bake the bread for 15-20 minutes until golden all over. Lower the heat to 400* and cook for another 25-30 minutes. IMG_0803[1]Continued tomorrow!

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FINALLY!!! A NYC 26.2 email!!!!

Miles run this month: 14.7 miles

Miles left to reach 2013 goal: 1951 miles



Since the 2012 NYC marathon was cancelled due to the hurricane, the people at NYC marathon have been trying to figure out what to do with all the runners. They came up with a refund system, which I thought was completely fair (some did not) and now they are working to figure out how many runners they will allow in for the 2013. Well I FINALLY heard from them about my entry!!! I have been denied the past 3 years.Untitled-1

I am a “guaranteed entry” for 2013!!! I was wondering what I was going to do either Chicago or NYC. I have run Chicago a few times before, it is an amazing race, but NYC is a dream race. Once in a lifetime. I am not a fast runner, so to qualify using my time, would be slim to none!!!

It is amazing what a little good news like this does to your motivation!!! I braved the wind and cold and ran outside. Almost slipping on the ice about a million times, but completely worth it!!!

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The bike strikes again

Miles run this month: 10.8miles

Miles left to reach 2013 goal: 1954.9 miles

Yes, once again, the bike is in use. Woke up this morning and the temp was perfect for me…39*. The winds on the other hand, gusting at 40-50 mph… not perfect and I am a wimp. 🙂

I met this girl…5449_1200400171640_7226285_n and her sweet baby girl for lunch today down in Grand Haven at Kirby’s. Love that place.

I was looking at my race calendar this year…



May… I was suppose to do the Color Run, but I procrastinated and it filled up before I could register so…Untitled1







I need to find some races to do!!! Suggestions?

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Running to the ball…

Miles run this month: 10.8miles

Miles left to reach 2013 goal: 1954.9 miles

Well, since the weather has been somewhat crappy, I am not able to run outside. I have to ride my bike on my trainer. Which I love, but it is not subtracting miles from my goal!!! I will be making up for it when the weather breaks! I braved the temps and this is what running in 16* weather looks like…IMG_0770[1]

Only did 4 miles. My lungs were really hurting from the day before. I shoveled and ran outside. So I decided that 4 was better than none so I was happy with that.

We had the Military ball this weekend. ATS had been gone on military orders and I had to pick him up from the airport at 5, the ball started at 530 and we made it there by 6…

Stylin in the cell phone lot

Stylin in the cell phone lot

It was at the Amway Grand, ooh la la!!! It was very nice. The food was amazing, and the wine was even better. When I got home, I realized that I did not take very many pictures… so you are blessed with this one… I love a guy in uniform.


Hope you all had a great weekend!


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A cup of HEAVEN with a side of snowshoes

Even though I have been on vacation, doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking. Somethings I have learned from the last week…

1. There is a reason why the Italians make pizza on bread and not on portabello mushrooms- it is super gross and a major let down.

2. Using white wheat flour in the Neiman Marcus chocolate chip cookie recipe COMPLETELY ruins the cookie. Once again-

it is super gross and a major let down.

3. If you want the greatest hot chocolate on earth with homemade marshmallows, go to the Four Season’s Vail.


IMG_0729It is made with 80% cocoa, homemade marshmallows, and creamy goodness. The stomach ache afterwards was worth every single sip. I am in the process of putting together my own recipe and come close to this heaven in a cup. Stay tuned!

When I was in Beaver Creek, I ran a snowshoe 5k…wow…yeah… I thought I was in awesome amazing shape…AT SEA LEVEL. Add 8100 feet with a 1200 foot climb, and it puts your ego in check! I thought I was going to die. I picked up my race bib with K and went to get my complimentary pair of snowshoes from Atlas snowshoes. We were able to use a pair for the race…BONUS!!! So when I was getting my snowshoes, the guy asked me what my bib number was. I stared at my bib, then turned it around and then it hit me… I felt like an idiot…IMG_0719-001

Yep my number was 69 and I turned the bib every which way to figure that out… Yeah I know total genius here!

 I finished the race in 48 minutes. IMG_0721IMG_0722

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Beaver Creek or Vail?

We skiied both Beaver Creek and Vail, first time at both.

I love love love Beaver Creek. It is compact, great slopes and short lines… and there are outdoor fireplaces with couches at the base of the mountain. K and I skiied some black runs ( I crashed on a black run)  at Beaver Creek, but mainly stuck to blue runs.

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The down fall of Beaver Creek? The town is so so.

I love love love Vail Village.

 IMG_0732   IMG_0733

Vail mountain is HUGE. It is a little too big for me. There is over 5,000 acres of ski runs. The hubbers really likes Vail, but he is one of those crazy fast, daring skier, you know the ones that ski the double black diamonds. K and I stayed on the green and blue runs at Vail.  It was also super crowded, so I kinda felt like we spent more time in lines at the lifts than we did actually skiing. On the upside though, you can not beat the views…


If we could make a resort with Vail Village and Beaver Creek Skiing, it would be golden! The staff at both places were amazing. They are so friendly and helpful on an off the slopes… I know, I know, ATS….they are paid to be friendly. Still, it was nice to have help at every turn.

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Our Ski Holiday

I did not bring my computer with me on vacation because it is too big and bulky. So I have to catch you all up on my amazing ski holiday! We flew frontier from Chicago. After an hour delay because of snow and a two hour drive from the Denver airport, we finally made it to Vail/Beaver Creek!!!

Not my pic- taken from the Beaver Creek website

Not my pic- taken from the Beaver Creek website

We stayed at the Arrowhead Village in Beaver Creek. Very nice!! The best part? (besides being slope side… I switch turned on the fireplace! We had a two bedroom condo…

Once again not my photo  :-)

Once again not my photo 🙂

This was not our condo, but it was similar. For whatever reason, I took ZERO pics of our condo. Awesome blogger right? sheesh.

Me and the Hubs!

Me and the Hubs!

The most amazing friends you could ask for

The most amazing friends you could ask for

I went for a 30 minute run to test out how elevation would effect me, not that bad! The first day it snowed and was so windy!!! But so awesome!!! I totally crashed. My hip cramped and locked up and I was done for. I got back up and skied on! No worries that my neck hurt for the next two days… I am invincible!!!

IMG_0696[1]This is how I roll after a day on the slopes!

We had dinner at SaddleRidge in Beaver Creek…WOW so good!


The Hubs had Rabbit.


I had elk carpaccio and Elk & Bison Chili. It was all amazing. Then we had Carrot cake with a goat cheese frosting…ohh so good. I am going to figure out how to make that!!!!

Waiting for our shuttle

Waiting for our shuttle

More to come!!!!!

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To Run or Not to Run

Miles run this month: 47.3 miles

Miles left to reach 2013 goal: 1965.7 miles

Yesterday I was able to run outside because all of our snow melted, the sidewalks were clear, and it was super warm. I thought it would be an amazing run. I had been faithfully riding bike, doing core strength. 2 miles into my 5 mile “easy” run, I had to walk. I can count on one hand how many times I have had to actually stop to walk because I felt horrible. I have stopped to walk multiple times due to  naughty puppies, though!

So when I got back home I felt defeated and so frustrated. The one day in January, in Michigan that the temp is above 50, and I can’t run more than 3 miles. TOTAL WASTE. So I showered, made myself tea, and turned to my favorite blogger to cheer me up.  SR posted this great link to The Running Hungry Girl Blog, (two of my fav bloggers) I totally wish I knew this stuff as a new runner, but it is a great reminder for a seasoned runner as well!!!  I am almost feeling better!!!happy-o-meter-300x180

I checked out to see what Sierra was doing, because, well, she is just awesome, and she lives in my hometown and I live vicariously through her 🙂 So between healthy eating/cooking using Trader Joe’s food and Flywheel reviews (which Mags, if you are reading, we are going to do this summer!) I feel like I am back in Chicago.

OK, I am feeling better now about my crappy run!

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Too Cool For School

Miles run this month: 47.3 miles

Miles left to reach 2013 goal: 1965.7 miles


FINALLY a gorgeous day to run outside, in the mid 50’s!!! My shoes were soaked but that was ok!!! The puppies were oh so grateful! For breakfast I made my leftover burrito.. so good. I took all the meat and beans out of the tortilla. The tortilla was nasty and soggy, gross. So I sauteed the meat and beans then cooked an egg and mixed the two together! Heaven!!!IMG_0663[1]

Then I made some energy bites. I am going to try them as fuel for my longer runs. They taste like a cookie but no butter!

1 Cup oats

1/3 cup honey

1/2 cup peanut butter

some dark chocolate chips

1/4 cup Flax seed

Mix all ingredients together and form dough into 1″ balls. Refrigerate for about an hour. You can store them in the fridge or out. Super Easy and Super Healthy!


I found an awesome pair of Aviators at TJ Maxx, I have been looking for a pair for SO LONG… I am now 10 times cooler than I was before.  Hence the fish face  🙂 Actually, if you look in Webster’s Dictionary under “Dork” this picture comes up…true storyIMG_0678[1]

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Friends day

Miles run this month: 43.6miles

Miles left to reach 2013 goal: 1969.4 miles

Had breakfast with Sara & K at Panera. Then, while walking into Target I looked down and found this on the ground!IMG_0661[1] Then had lunch with R&A at a “mom and pop” in Fremont. SO GOODIMG_0662[1]

At lunch Robin & A talked about colleges for A… She wants to go into Culinary Arts…so I am slightly jealous, but I am super excited that I get to go with to check out Le Cordon Bleu! Hmm… I wonder if they have a master’s program! 🙂

With the weather being totally crappy  I have been stuck with my bike on the trainer. So my mileage hasn’t changed, which is frustrating  but I am still working out so that is what matters! To change it up a little, I tried some turbo fire today in addition to my bike ride…yep I am going to be sore tomorrow!!! If you have never done it…check it out!!! There are a few short videos on youtube.

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