Tuesday, August 26

I Finally Feel Like A Runner...

After weeks and weeks of making all kinds of excuses for my bad runs I finally came to terms that it's probably due to inconsistentcy. I never seem to have the week nights free to run and running is the first thing to get put on the backbunner. And besides if I want to really train for the half marathon in Myrtle Beach, I need to find time to run.

With daylight savings time coming to an end in a little over a month, I decided I should start doing my runs in the morning before work. Luckily, I don't have to be at work super early. So last night I made up my mind I'd run this morning. Before I went to bed I laid out my running clothes and shoes, put a glass of water and some Cliff Blocks on the nightstand and set my alarm for 6:09AM. It was still a little dark, but I got up anyways and by 6:25 I was heading out the door. Of course it was raining then, which I didn't notice when I got up...good thing I didn't or I definitely would have gone back to bed for another hour of sleep. At this point I was already up and dressed and told myself to just run.

This morning's run is interesting compared to my other runs when I've been up for at least an hour before starting. Normally I start off at a faster pace, then taper off to my normal pace. Today I started off sluggish and then I got up to my regular pace. It wasn't that bad and hopefully I can keep up the morning runs. It's nice to know I had run 3 miles before 7am and I was done with today's work out.

As I was looking for tips on running in the morning, I found an interesting article about running and circaidan ryhthms. It's quite interesting how different times of the day are different for everyone.

Monday, August 25

Peak City Grill

Saturday my parents came over to our house and had appetizers and champagne and then took us out to dinner at Peak City Grill. I have been dying to try this restaurant since so many people have given it great reviews. Plus I'm in love with downtown Apex and how convenient it is to us...less than 2 miles from our house!

We enjoyed raw oysters with cocktail sauce, cream cheese with pepper jelly on crackers and champagne. I was excited to use the serving plate, dip bowl and spreader that Jessica gave me for my birthday. She knows me well and my love for unique serving peices for entertaining.

It was so nice to ride the quick 5 minutes downtown. Peak City Grill is located in the old historic section of Apex. The interior has the high ceilings, exposed brick and wood bar area. I don't think I'll ever get tired of eating here as the menu changes monthly. They have different specials daily as well as monthly events like a couples dinner, dinner with wine pairings, live music and Sunday brunch.

I can only review one appetizer and one main dish, since that's what we all ordered. Dispite the appetizers we had just finished we couldn't reist an order of Firecracker Shrimp Hush Puppies. The special of diver scallops, burgandy wine risotto and spinach and roasted tomatoes sounded amazing, which we all ordered. The scallops were huge and very rich and buttery. My only complaint was I didn't get any greens. Ben shared and they were very fresh and delicious. We skipped dessert, but next time I think I'll order it. The Orange Creamsicle Creme Brulee was very tempting.

Sunday, August 24

Please Stop the Music!

I never thought I'd be one to run without music. Lately I've been having several bad runs which I've been blaming on the high temps, getting overheated and being dehydrated. Even Saturday mornings run when the temperature was in the low 70's I had my most horrible run. I had to take a break after the first mile and only completed 2 miles total.

So this morning, I was determined to try it again. Less than 1 mile into my run I started getting annoyed with my music and just turned off my Ipod. I thought I'd get bored, but once I could finally hear my breathing and concentrate it made a world of difference in my endurance. Maybe it was a fluke and it was just a good day, but I did my best 5k in several months!

I'm trying to find a decent race in mid Sept. to run. I only have one weekend this month, so it'll be a tight squeeze to find a race. I just need something to keep me on track until training for the half marathon starts.

Tuesday, August 19

Pecan Crusted Tilapia

While unloading my groceries from a quick trip at the grocery store one evening, I found a pound of fresh tilapia in my bag that I did not purchase along with cocktail sauce. After double checking my receipt and realizing I was the only person in line when checking out, I figured it wouldn't be worth driving back to the store to return something I didn't purchase. And besides we love tilapia. It just wasn't on my list that day! But, it must be destiny since I searched for a new recipe to make with my free tilapia and we could not have had a better meal! This was super quick and using the pan with a small amount of oil gives it a fried taste without all the fat and calories. This goes into the dinner rotation and definitely became a favorite of ours.

Pecan Crusted Tilapia (Cooking Light)

1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 (6-ounce) tilapia or snapper fillets
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
4 lemon wedges

Combine first 5 ingredients in a shallow dish. Combine buttermilk and hot sauce in a medium bowl; place flour in a shallow dish. Dredge 1 fillet in flour. Dip in buttermilk mixture; dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Repeat procedure with remaining fillets, flour, buttermilk mixture, and breadcrumb mixture.

Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 fillets; cook 3 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Repeat procedure with remaining oil and fillets. Serve with lemon wedges.

An Update!

I haven't made many posts lately because it just seems like we aren't doing anything very exciting. Since we returned from the OBX and had Ben's graduation, we've been enjoying relaxing in the new house before all the craziness of fall starts. This past weekend we spent the weekend in North Myrtle Beach having a lowkey weekend before Ben starts classes with his new program at ECU. I have started making a few new recipes, which I'll post later along with all the yummy ones from the OBX vacation.

From the looks of our calendar, the fall has filled up rather quickly! We'll be spending this coming weekend at home. Then heading to the beach for the Labor Day and the weekend after that to see our good friends Maryellen, Russ and their cute little girl, Ally. I think we're spending just one weekend at home in Sept! I've also planned a girl's weekend with my college roommate, Meg and her mom and my mom for a long weekend later in the month. That is surely going to be a fun filled mother-daughter weekend with drinks by the pool, delicious dinners, happy shopping and long conversations.

Since we've planned our 2nd anniversary trip for November, we''ll celebrate at home and maybe go to PF Changs where we had our very first date over 4 years ago. We'll round out Sept with a weekend in Greeneville at an ECU football game for Family weekend with my sister and the rest of the family.

That brings us to Oct. where we've got plenty of things planned already including the Michael Buble concert, the Beerfest, Kim and Jeff's wedding, the Heartwalk, and another girl's weekend trip to Williamsburg for me. Before you know it Christmas will be here!

Thursday, August 7

Our Fall Vacation...

It isn't much, but just a perfect little weekend getaway to Asheville. Ben just booked us a weekend in the Pisgah Paws at the Cabins of Asheville in Candler, which is about 20 miles west of Asheville and looks over the Pisgah Mountains. After our recent vacation we enjoyed doing nothing but relaxing and that's exactly how we intend to spend most of our long weekend in the mountains.

Technically this is our anniversary trip, but we aren't going until the end of November. For 2 years we've wanted to take a trip to the mountains and find the perfect Christmas tree. This year we're doing just that! And even better, Freddie will be joining us! He'll definitely need his winter vest for this trip. We also plan to do a little beer shopping at Bruisin' Ales, take several brewery tours possibly through the Brews Cruise, and have lunch in downtown Asheville. But mostly relaxing in the hot tub, cooking dinner and reading by the fire is on our must do list.

For anyone looking to get their choose and cut Christmas tree, I recommend the North Carolina Christmas Tree Association to find a farm. We're hoping to make this a tradition!

Sunday, August 3

I want my Baby Back....

RIBS! Ben insisted on having ribs today. It was the first time since we've moved in and since we got our new gas grill he's used the old charcoal Weber grill. Wow! He's really perfected the art of smoking. He smoked 2 racks of baby back pork ribs for almost 6 hours, then basted them in honey chipotle BBQ sauce. They were quite spicy, but we love spicy! A perfect ending to the laziest weekend in our new home history!

Great Divide Oaked Aged Yeti Imperial Stout

This beer will blow your mind!! Ratebeer.com has this beer rated off the chart!! This beer has long lasting head retention that is dark brown and has a dark chocolate taste with a hint of coffee. With 9% alcohol it has very strong punch to it!! I love the balance this beer brings to the table, and they did a great job in bring the flavor.

The Master Bedroom

While almost all of our boxes are unpacked (over 2 months later), we've slowing been completing decorating. Getting rid of the college look, we've finally almost finished our master bedroom. Two of the last items on our list to purchase were pictures for over the bed and something for the corner near the dresser and nightstand. After months of hunting we finally found the pictures. I never knew shopping for pictures would be so difficult, but finding the right color, frame, size and overall look was pretty challenging.

At first we thought we were going for a beach/seashell theme. After buying to pictures today it seems to more nature with shells, trees, flowers, etc. We've yet to find something for the corner, but have finally narrowed our search to a vase with some woodsy branches for height. Either way we enjoy it and it's by far our best decorated room.

We put our pictures on Rate My Space, so we'll see how well we fair with the critics over there. I guess all that matters is we enjoy our bedroom and are proud of it.

Heavy Seas Peg Leg Imperial Stout

For being an imperial stout, it is very light and sweet. Normally, I would say this would be a negative, but some how they pull it off. It looks dark as night and thick with a good head on it, that pores a light brown. This beer in itself is great, but as an imperial stout, it lacks the thick malty taste, you normally get with an imperial stout. Two things come to mind when I drink this beer: one smokiness and two brown sugar. Both I love, and both I have tried in some of my home brews, but Clipper City Brewering Company balanced these two flavors very well. After drinking one, you might be inclined to drink the whole six pack but watchout, this big boy has 8% alcohol. It might taste light and sweet but it will get you messed up if you dare.