Monthly Archives: August 2014

Breakfast for Dinner

Caprese Grits Opener

Have you figured out that I’m all about easy food in the summer time? Easy and as fresh as possible, that’s my jam. Since we started getting heirloom cherry tomatoes out of the garden, I’ve been caprese crazy. With hubby and I both back to work now that the school year is on the horizon, it’s basically a coin toss as to who’s going to cook dinner. Last week, I was craving fried eggs (I crave things NOW, can you imagine how awful that will get when I’m preggo someday?!), and fried eggs and grits are one of my favorite combos, but I wanted something fresh to balance out the delicious richness, so to the garden I went. Then, this idea came to me: why not combine two of my favorite things, the flavors of caprese and breakfast eggs?!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Lazy Caprese Ingredients

-1 cup fresh basil

-as many cherry tomatoes as you care to use, quartered

-Parmesan

-3 c water

-3/4 c grits

-butter

-EVOO

The Miller light really enhances the cooking process, but isn’t technically an ingredient. Also, our beer standards have really dropped this summer. We got cheap.

Start by chiffonading the basil. I talked about the chiffonade in my last post, but here’s what it actually looks like:

Roll the basil leaves together as tightly as you can.

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Slice thinly down the length, creating delicious basil-ey strips.

 

 

 

 

IMG_2236 Chiffonade in Progress

 

Hubby insisted on an action shot. After he corrected my knife skills a few times. Side-note: I have all my fingers.

Meanwhile, get those grits going. Bring water to a boil, salt, and whisk in grits. Return to boil, then simmer for 5-6 minutes, or until grits are soft.

Grits

 

Heat 2 T EVOO in a frying pan, and add tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, and cook over medium until blistered. I wanted to have more tomatoes than that, but I made do with what was actually ripe.

 

Blistered Tomatoes

When both grits and tomatoes are cooked, toss tomatoes into grits along with 1 T butter and 1/4 cup of grated parm. Mix well, until creamy. If you want more cheese, add more cheese. This is the perfect time to experiment and toss in anything that sounds good to you.

Delicious Mixins

 

Mix in about half the basil and stir to combine. The rest should be set aside for garnish.

 

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Husband was in charge of making fried eggs to top off our bowls of grits. He made them in the same pan that I cooked the tomatoes in, so that they would pick up some of that flavor and extra oil.

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Serve yourself a big heap of grits, top with a fresh fried egg, season to taste, and sprinkle a little extra basil on top. And enjoy!

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You could really add in so many things to this recipe. Other ingredients we thought would be good? Mushrooms, chicken sausage, mozzarella (I would have used it but didn’t have any), shrimp, spinach…I could go on. And if you don’t like fried eggs, make a scramble with the tomatoes and top the grits with it. Eggs are so versatile. I could probably eat them every day and not get tired of them. I hardly EVER order sweet breakfast items when we are out to eat, because EGGGGGGGGGGS.

I hope you enjoy as much as I did!

Question of the day: Are you as obsessed with the basil/tomato combo as I am? Is there another flavor profile you’re addicted to? Talk to me!

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Easy Salad Sides

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Lately, we’ve been taking advantage of our garden harvest and have been fixing a lot of what I’m calling “yard salads.” Aka a bunch of random stuff from our yard tossed together.

Last night, I mixed up two such delicious bowls because we had cucumbers, tomatoes, and basil we needed to use. My mom has been fixing both of these since I can remember, and they are so easy they don’t even really need a recipe, but they sure are tasty.

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First, slice up a cucumber in a medium size bowl. Drizzle with a few tablespoons of vinegar to coat (I used apple cider vinegar this time, but balsamic is also good, and gives a sweeter flavor). Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and beau monde seasoning (or celery salt).

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The second bowl is kind of like a caprese salad with cucs instead of cheese. Chop two to three tomatoes (or halve pint of cherry tomatoes) and mix in a bowl with a sliced cucumber. Then, chiffonade about 10 basil leaves to mix in. Chiffonade-ing sounds complex, but really all you need to do is roll the basil leaves together and slice thinly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then drizzle with 1/3 cup Italian dressing of your choice (I’m really into Ken’s right now).

Both of these are perfect complements to any fresh summer meal (holla for the grillables). The flavors are crisp and zingy and with garden fresh veggies, these sides can’t be beat.

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My First 9-Miler Down

I slept in today, the day of my nine-mile long run (it’s long for me anyways). I’ve been real bad with my sleeping habits lately. But, thanks to hubby, I set out at 10 ready to tackle the challenge, because it hadn’t gotten too hot yet.

I made it. I wasn’t fast, but I was faster than my last long run, and kept my average mile pace under 13 minutes. I also did a sufficient amount of hill work, mostly because I was looking for a park with a water fountain so I could refill my running belt bottle. Pretty sure I will be emailing my local park & rec department about the serious lack of water fountains. I FINALLY started listening to music during my runs…I don’t know why I waited so long, because it helps SO much! Plus I can lip synch and amuse passers by. I loaded a few Rock My Run mixes onto my iPhone, which I use anyways for Nike+ Running, and jammed out for almost two hours. Though I did learn that the song “Selfie” makes me want to rip my ears off.

I’m happy I forced myself out the door and did this run. I think it helped my confidence, because for some reason I just figured I would be passed out by the side of the road after 7 miles. I’ve never run that far. Less than four weeks to go until race day!

Other than trying to keep up with my training schedule (August didn’t start out as strong as I wanted), we’ve been working, gardening, and reading. Right now, I’m super into the guilty pleasure teen series “Pretty Little Liars,” by Sara Shepard. It’s like “Gossip Girl” but with more of a mystery bent to it. Don’t judge. Yesterday, we took our nephew to the Portland Children’s Museum, which was a hoot (the words that come out of that kid’s mouth!), and I think, judging by this picture, it was a successful afternoon:

Sleepyhead

 

We also discovered that our front yard produces The World’s Best Blackberries Ever. I’m willing to deal with the blood loss from the thorns in order to harvest them. Holy noms.

Sweet Deliciousness

 

And that’s life for us lately. Soaking up the last bits of a hot, wonderful summer. What’s been going on with you fine folks? Runners – what do you suggest for adding distance and/or cutting time? I’ve really just been…running. So I’m looking for some training tips!

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Training for a Half – One Month Down

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I officially finished the first month of my 12 week half-marathon training, and I feel pretty great about how things are going so far. You can see from the calendar photo that I shifted around some rest days and modified things a little bit depending on how I was feeling (or how hot it was…it was really hot). But I ran 46 miles during the month of July, something I could never say before this.

I’m still doing a run/walk mix, which will most likely continue through race day, but I’m getting better at limiting walking breaks and pushing myself through running spurts. The last few couple of runs have been on the treadmill at the gym, so I experiment a little more with speed, which has helped me find a good pace. I keep surprising myself with how well I’m keeping my 12-13-ish minute/mile pace on my longer distance runs, and I hope that continues.

Now I’m dragging hubby to the gym so I can do my short three miles for the day. I slept in and now it’s too hot to run outside (I’m an Oregonian, what can I say?!).

Here’s to kicking off month two of training!

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