Sunday, May 22, 2011

Italian Chicken-Lentil Soup

One of the things I've come to enjoy in the past year is cooking.  Specifically, in my slow-cooker.  I've dubbed "Crock-pot Sunday" as the day I test out new recipes while engrossing my tiny apartment with the aroma of food.  Add a little Ella Fitzgerald in the background and sometimes I think I'm at a romantic restaurant instead of my cramped kitchen. 

As a runner, I have to make sure that I eat a balanced diet; as a runner in her 30's, this has never been more important.  Gone are the days of heating up Lean Cuisines via microwave (I can't believe I ate those).  Nowadays, while cooking is a way for me to relax, it also helps me keep track of what exactly I'm putting into my body.  And with marathon training around the corner, fuel is imperative!

On the menu this Sunday: Italian Chicken-Lentil Soup

I've never made soup.  Or cooked with lentils, so this was going to be an experience.  I actually had most of the ingredients on-hand, which shocked even myself because I think this actually means that I can somewhat consider myself more than a "novice" at cooking!

Prep: 15 min Cook: 6 hour 15 min.
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
4 medium carrots, sliced
1 cup dried lentils (rinsed and sorted)
4 1/2 c. chicken broth
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 c. sliced mushrooms
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil or 1 tbsp. dried basil leaves (I used 1 bay leaf because I didn't have basil)
Shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired

Remove fat from chicken.  Mix remaining ingredients in slow cooker except : mushrooms, tomatoes, basil and cheese.

Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours.

Remove the chicken from cooker; place on cutting board.  Pull apart chicken into shreds.  Return chicken to cooker.  Stir in mushrooms and tomatoes.  Cover and cook on low about 15 min. until heated through.  Sprinkle with cheese. 

Hopefully, my first attempt at making soup will be a success - and I'll have lunch prepared for at least the next two days! 

Monday, May 16, 2011

In a funk

Sometimes I get bored with my day-to-day workout routine.  This generally happens when the weather finally breaks and it is finally light enough outside for more than nine hours.  I start frolicking around the city, gorging myself with beers at outdoor happy hours and smiling because it's almost summer and I will have all the time in the world to work out like a maniac/lounge by the pool perfecting my tan.

So although I've been running for the past month, there is no documentation of it.  And that's fine by me.  Right now I'm not necessarily training for anything major - that will begin in the sweltering month of July when the realness of the Chicago marathon hits me.  Until then, I'll be partaking in a few fun races just to keep my competitive heart sane (and my body in tip-top bikini condition).  Here's a list of some of the races I intend on running:

Wissahickon Trail Classic: This is 6.2 miles of intense, single-file trail and I love it.  I ran this race last year when it was like 90 degrees and 100 percent humidity and still had a blast.  You won't see any cell-phone-talking girlie treadmill joggers here - this is for the purely dedicated and insane running "professionals."

1/2 Sour/ 1/2 Kraut: Seriously, say the words, "beer" and "sausage" and I'm there, whether it's a half marathon or not.  Although there is an option for a full marathon, I'm not entirely sure that June in Philly is the best time to log 26.2 on the trails.  But, who knows.

20in24: For this insane 24 hour relay race, I'm teaming up with 3 others.  We're each running roughly 16 miles all for the "Back on My Feet" charity, which helps homeless people become self-sufficient through running.  I'm thinking I need to join this organization in the future.

SheRox Duathlon: I've always wanted to complete a duathlon, ever since I registered for one 7 years ago and never did it because it was raining.  (I have my days when I'm a shame)  Not only will this be my inaugural duathlon, but it's a "women's only" event.  I'm not sure if this excites me because of all the "girl power" I'll witness or disappoints me because I won't be able to see any hot men in tri outfits. Hmmmm.

I think that's a good summer line-up, don't you?  I mean, it has to be better than all of the crap I'm going to watch on T.V. this summer, right?!