a series of serious questions

I was in an especially thoughtful kind of mood today, spending some time chewing over those very important, real-life kinds of issues.

Things like, why can’t I sleep past 6 o’clock on a Saturday? Or, why do cold oats never keep me as full as warm? And, why am I still using St. Patrick’s Day napkins on April 2?

Because, you know, these are all very important, current, real-life issues that must be mulled over every now and then.

The real question, however, was this: Why do I feel the need to run?

Some would argue the point that runners run because they can.  Plain and simple.

But that answer just doesn’t work for me.  Because theoretically, I could go bungee jumping…”because I can.” But I don’t.  I could eat an entire cake in one sitting…”because I can.” But I don’t.  I could walk up to a tall, dark and handsome stranger, give him my number, and tell him to call me…“because I can.” Theoretically.  But I don’t.

So what is it about running that lures me in?  Why do I run?  Why do you run?

This is what I came up with…

When I run, I pray. Sometimes I pray just to keep me focused.   Sometimes I do it just because it feels good to finally be alone and talking to God.  And sometime do it just to get my mind off of the way that my legs are starting to feel like dead weights hanging from my body.  😉

When I run, life feels more simple. My schedule suddenly makes sense.  My days don’t seem so crazy.  I feel focused and ready to embrace all that life brings.

When I run, I am strong.

When I run, I feel free. No phones, gadgets, internet connections (even worse, lack of) or demands.  I am alone.  I am content.  I am blissfully free.

Yes, bungee jumping is something that I could, theoretically, do.  But it wouldn’t really make life seem more simple.  It wouldn’t make me feel free in a good way.  And while I would be talking to God, I wouldn’t necessarily be praying.  More like begging and pleading for my life.

And so, take it or leave it, this is why I run.

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Grilled Salmon

This salmon is simple enough to make for a busy weeknight, but delicious enough to serve when company comes over.  It also makes the perfect post-running fuel, as its chock full of omega 3 fatty acids which may help to reduce inflammation.

Serve with your favorite veggies and some mashed sweet potatoes, rice, or a baked potato.  Enjoy!

  • 1 lb. wild caught salmon
  • 1 tsp lite soy sauce
  • garlic powder
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh or dried parsley
  1. Heat grill to medium heat.
  2. Drizzle salmon with soy sauce and sprinkle with garlic powder, pepper and parsley.  Cook skin side down on grill for about 5 minutes.  Flip.  Continue cooking for another 3-5 minutes, depending on desired doneness.  Fish will flake easily with a fork when finished.  Avoid overcooking.  ENJOY! 😀

QUESTION: What is your exercise of choice?  What makes this your favorite?

a taste of summer

 In my house, an overripe avocado is like an overripe banana.  It doesn’t exist. 

This explains why we rarely eat banana bread.  Why banana fro-yo is such a prize.  Why avocado dressing is some sort of far reaching dream. 

But now and then, every once in a while, there comes along an avocado with just a few brown age spots.  Some unsightly blemishes; an avocado with no personal faults aside from having been left in the fruit bowl for one too many days. 

I love overripe avocados, just like I love overripe bananas.  They’re perfect.  Creamy.  Soft.  Full of possibilities.  Practically begging me to smoosh them with a fork (not together, of course, although I have seen some promising avocado banana bread recipes over the past couple of days!)  Begging to be loved and used and appreciated.  I’m asking you, how could a girl possibly say no?

“It’s about time,” I thought to myself, “that I have an avocado dressing sitting in my fridge.”

I also decided that it was about time I use up some of the frozen, “fresh” basil that a friend had given me over the summer.  Despite my fears, it still tastes just as good as it did when I first recieved it.  Bright and brimming with summer!

Once all the ingredients were in the processor, I just let them do their thing.  Mixing and mingling and just hanging out.

And then I made a tropical salad filled to the brim with black beans, fresh pineapple, garlic rubbed chicken and diced bell peppers.

And then I made an oath to always have an overripe avocado on hand.

Avocado Citrus Dressing—adapted from the Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health Cookbook
(Makes 2 cups)

Be sure not to use too much water when you’re thinning out the dressing.  Otherwise, the result will be a watered down guacamole look-alike.  Not a good thing!

This dressing can also work well as a veggie or a pita dip, if you keep it thick and creamy.  In the same way, it can also be used as a spread on sandwiches and things like that.  The bright lemon flavors add a summery note to this zingy avocado dressing.  You’ll enjoy it any which way you serve it. 😀

(p.s. As is true with many dressings, this tastes best when served the following day!)

  •  1 large ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
  • 1/3 c. orange juice
  • 4 T. lime juice
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro or basil
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • salt to taste
  • dash of cayenne or ground black pepper
  • honey or agave to taste (optional)
  • 1-2 T. olive oil
  1. In a blender, puree all ingredients together until smooth and creamy.  Add a little water if dressing is too thick.  Add salt to taste.  Store in refrigerator for about a week and bring to room temperature before serving (this prevents congealing.)

 Question: How do you make use of overripe fruit in your house?  If apples are over done, I like to make applesauce or muffins.  Bananas are obviously turned into banana bread, or frozen for later use.  And pears?  I’m hoping they overripen soon so I can find out. 😀

a piece of salmon

Salmon has always been my favorite fish.  Haddock is nice.  Cod is lovely.  A trout from the lake is almost incomparable. 

But when all is said and done, my heart belongs to a piece of wild caught salmon.

Some people are off-putted by salmon’s strong flavors.  Where haddock is subtle and shy, salmon is loud and confident.  But the secret to working with its vivid personality, is to either (a) showcase it with simplicity or (b) find a marinade or rub that works well with the stronger flavors, thereby masking any “fishiness” that some find to be overwhelming.  That being said, a good piece of salmon should never taste “fishy.”  Strong.  Loud.  Sweet but lively.  Yes.  But never “fishy.”

Most of the time, a sprinkle of sea salt and a dash of fresh pepper are the only extras that find their way on my plate.  But once in a while, on some rare occasions, I find the need to try something new. 

I prepared a simple rub, taken from Cooking Light’s website.  I was a little skeptical of the ingredients (chili powder?  cumin?) but decided to just roll with it.

On the side, we grilled up some asparagus…

…and roasted some butternut squash (425 degree oven, 20-25 minutes, flipped halfway through.)

One important thing to keep in mind when cooking salmon is to please, please, puh-lease avoid overcooking!  Nothing will ruin a beautiful piece of wild caught salmon like letting it sit a few minutes too long on the grill.  Salmon should flake when it’s ready.  And it should melt on your tongue as you take your first bite. 

In other words, if you are chewing your salmon like you chew your chicken, you know there’s something wrong. 😉

Dad is the grill master in our family, and so this highly pressured job was left in his hands.  As always, it came out perfect. 😀

Grilled Asparagus with a Spritz of Fresh Lemon

Roasted Butternut Squash

Brown Rice

Maple Glazed Salmon

Maple Glazed Salmon—courtesy of Cooking Light

This recipe is quick and easy to prepare.  You can even make the rub the night before, sparing you any of the preparation duties for the following day.  This is especially nice during a busy week. 😀 

Any leftovers are fabulous served as a sandwich, in a stir fry, or simply as a salad topper for your lunch. 😀

  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground ancho chile powder (or, you could use an extra tsp of regular chili powder)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 (6-oz) salmon fillets, preferrably wild caught
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  1. Prepare grill, heating to medium.
  2. Combine first 5 ingredients.  Sprinkle fish with salt, rub with paprika mixture.
  3. Place fish on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 7 minutes.  Drizzle fish with syrup; grill1 minute or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.
  4. ENJOY! 😀

Question: Do you regularly eat fish?  What is your favorite kind and how do you prepare it?