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Leftover Spaghetti Gets a Face Lift

Pasta is a favorite at our house so we’re making it all the time.  But, we never stop to measure out the number of servings we plan to eat …instead we just dump the whole box in and then deal with the leftovers.

This is even more true when we’re talking about spaghetti. 

Why?  Because my husband absolutely LOVES the stuff..but I can’t stand how thin and stringy it is.  And how it clumps together into a sticky ball as soon as you leave it unattended for a few seconds.  So, when it’s made, I tend to steer clear of it.

What to do with the leftover spaghetti or pasta then?  Take a play from my Mom’s personal cookbook and make spaghetti (or pasta) pizza with it.  Yep, I said pizza. 

To pull this off, you’ll need a few ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups of cold, leftover pasta with a little bit of sauce mixed in
  • 1/3 c parmesan cheese, grated
  • 4 oz cooked ham, cubed and fried up in a pan
  • 1 egg plus 1/2 cup egg whites
  • salt & pepper to taste

Making the dish is really simple.  All you do is:

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees
  • Bring a small to medium-sized oven-safe, frying pan to med-high temp
  • Coat the frying pan with cooking spray or a little olive oil
  • Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and pour them into the frying pan
  • Cook for 5-10 min so the bottom begins to crisp and the egg begins to set
  • Move pan to oven and finish cooking for 20-25 min until crispy on top
  • Remove from heat, allow to cool for 10 min
  • Move to a plate and cut into 6-8 slices and serve

And there you have it…a quick, tasty way to give your pasta leftovers a makeover and to make a pretty decent appetizer or side for one of your meals.  I have to warn you that while this pizza is baking, your house will smell absolutely heavenly…melted cheese, sizzling ham, and crispy pasta oh my.

And on top of the flavor goodness you can expect, this recipe also can be adjusted to fit into any nutritional plan.  Therefore, it’s a win win. 

Hope you get a chance to try it and enjoy.

From Scratch BBQ Pulled Chicken

This past Saturday and Sunday were quite rainy and dreary.  So to keep myself busy, I decided to take part in several indoor activities like:

  • loving up my new Mac Book Pro.  As a lifelong PC user, I have to admit this thing is so easy to use and SUPER FAST.  Once you go MAC, you never go back (or so I hear).  We’ll see.
  • getting into the 31 Days of Halloween on Syfy.  Who really cares if I’ve seen Resident Evil about 40 times since it came out in 2001?  You better believe I caught the double-header on Sunday night again.
  • watching cooking shows on the Food Network Channel.  I especially dig the new recipe episodes.  In fact, after seeing Rachel Ray’s 3o Minute Meal of Bourbon BBQ Pulled Chicken , I decided to try it.

I’ve never made my own BBQ sauce from scratch before.  I’m more of a squirt it out of the Baby Ray’s bottle kind of girl.  But since I had extra time on my hands, I figured why not?

I followed Rachel’s recipe to the letter with one exception.  I absolutely LOATHE mustards of all kind so I left out the Dijon.  Instead, I substituted in a dash of mustard seed figuring it was in the same family but it wouldn’t set off my ‘I hate mustard’ alert.

Poaching the chicken in water with oranges, onions, carrots and bay leaves did wonders for the flavor. Plus, it was very easy to work off of the bone once done cooking.

The BBQ sauce itself was a lovely reddish-orange color and the perfect consistency after it was reduced down.  However, I found it much sweeter than the bottled brands that I’m used to.  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t bad just different.

Dollop a pile of the pulled chicken on a bun, top it with some pickle, and you’ve got yourself a hearty sandwich to enjoy.

Though I didn’t make the slaw as the sidekick to my sammy on this day, I did pick up all the ingredients to whip it up later in the week.  I’ll keep you posted on what I think.

Tell me…is there a food that completely grosses you out like my aversion to mustard?  I’ve disliked it as long as I can remember.

Finding Compassion & Connection

If you had asked me whether I thought I was a good person who truly cared for others prior to this year, it’s very likely that I would have answered that I tried to be without hesitation.

And what’s fascinating is that this answer would have been both the truth and not at the same time.

My life experiences are my frame of reference.  Based on what I’ve lived and seen, I’m able to put myself in the shoes of others and appreciate or feel for their circumstances.

Having been fortunate enough for most of my life to not have experienced significant loss or heartache, it was hard for me to relate at times, to understand what others may have been feeling, and therefore to be someone who could support others in the way that they needed during certain life events.

I wasn’t aware of this.  And looking back, I feel bad about it.

But now, I believe things are different.  I’m different.  I wish I could have made it here without having experienced our loss but that’s not the path I was meant to travel.

People said that out of this darkest day there could be some good. That I may not see it right away but that with time and healing, it’s there for the taking if I’m open to it.  Of course, at the time, I thought it’s just something people say to give you hope – something to cling to – though now I can see what they meant.

The good that I found and will look to foster and grow is compassion for and connection to other people.  To hear them out when they have something that troubles them.  To let them know that even though I can’t necessarily solve the issue they’re faced with, I can listen.

I can let them know I’m thinking of them by reaching out.

I can send them positive energy at their time of need.

I can show that I care.

And, I can feel for them – not just by saying the words that are expected                                                            – but by really feeling genuine emotion.

It would be great if by doing all of the above you could make things good and right for the people you know.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t rid us of all the bad that’s out there but it does help those in your life to feel supported, to feel connected to other people and not so alone, and it sometimes can strengthen their resolve to tackle what lies ahead of them.

When I needed them, I had a handful of people that I could count on to be there for me.  Now, I’ve learned that I can and want to be that person for others.

Have you discovered anything new about yourself recently?

It’s Time for a Makeover

At different points in our lives, each of us is hit by that feeling that says, “Hey.  It’s time for a change.”

Maybe you go out and get yourself a new wardrobe (which I think I might do).

Perhaps you decide to take your doo from this

  to this ….

Or maybe the change is a bit more substantial.  Some sort of life event has caused you to stop, reevaluate your priorities, and to start veering down a slightly different path.

This is where I find myself now.

It’s true for my life.  And it’s true for this blog.

Therefore, I’m planning to give thetreadmilldiaries a makeover.

How will it change exactly?  Not sure.  Though I do know that I want to make some basic design & layout changes while tackling the content too.

My goal of pursuing a healthy lifestyle isn’t going away so you’ll still see posts on recipes, fitness, and the like.  But, I plan to move beyond just this and to bring more of my other life experiences and thoughts to my writing.

It’ll no doubt be a good outlet for me to share more about my views and interests– and hopefully it’ll make for a better, well-rounded read for all of you as well.

Thought I’d give you fair warning.  :)

To Cut or Not to Cut

My hair is the longest it’s been in a very long time – like 10+ years.

And though I’ve been known to keep it short and care-free, I’ve been thinking about doing something a little different with it this time around. A few weeks ago, someone on facebook mentioned donating hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths.

I learned that Beautiful Lengths has a minimum hair requirement of 8 inches which is a lot less than what others require. And, what’s even better, is that Pantene in partnership with the American Cancer Society creates wigs for women who are battling cancer at no charge to them. But, they create only as many wigs as they can based on the donations they receive.

So, I’m going to do what I can to keep this hair of mine growing and in good condition.

To avoid grabbing scissors to snip it off at the next opportunity, I’ll probably have to keep it up in a ponytail. I’m not a fan of it dangling in or touching my face. But, I think that’s a small price to pay in return for doing good. And, the ponytail look is very pro running midday and not looking crazy afterwards at work. J

Plus, I like the idea that a small choice I make can potentially have such a positive impact on someone else’s life.

If you’re interested in learning more about the program and how you can participate, feel free to check out the donation requirements.

Have you ever participated in this program or something similar that benefits others?

Sunday 5 Miler Video Footage

I’m happy to report that things settled down after my Unwanted Saturday Drama and that the rest of the day turned out to be quite pleasant.

First, my doggies came back from their salon appointment looking cuter than cute. See for yourself.

From Right Before….

             From immediately after…

                       

Then, I turned my attention to cooking us some grub – beer marinated beef tips, mashed potatoes, bruschetta on toasted focaccia bread, grilled corn on the cob, and a huge salad (which isn’t pictured). It was all absolutely fabulous if I do say so myself (and so did my husband).

              

We ended the night with a short bonfire and some TV watching. Very relaxing.   End Saturday.

 

Enter Sunday.

When I first got up, I wasn’t feeling my usual run so I first ate some breakfast (cinnamon raisin French toast) and then got my grocery shopping done. With those things behind me, I decided I could trek out to get some miles.

Now, I’m not really sure what came over me but my interest in a short outing turned into MUCH MUCH more. It may have been that it dawned on me that today’s routine marks 50 DAYS of daily workouts. Not too shabby, right?

And, I surprised myself by feeling that in honor of these 50 days I could run 5 miles today even after yesterday’s 7.  But, that’s not the weirdest part.

I got the big bright idea to shoot a VLOG / video while running.  So, I did.

 

Video Disclaimer:

  • No one was harmed in the making of this video including me (to Jon – aka my husband)
  • I’m not the most eloquent of speakers while in motion and forced to improve. Yes, words get used more than once. Wrong words are used in places. But you’ll get the drift of what I’m trying to say (hopefully).
  • Since I am exercising while filming, please forgive the sweating, the lack of make-up (again) and my stylin outfit.

And now thetreadmilldiaries presents…what Di said on her 5 miler. LOL J

 

 

Here are my stats for the run:

 

Who out there actually thinks they look or sound good in videos??

My 5K Results

Before getting into the details of the event and how I did, I have to say that I really enjoyed taking part in the

The turnout was fabulous (about 5000 of us took part), the runners were polite and supportive of each other, and the crowd did an amazing job of gathering and cheering us on. Plus, a special shout out to the peeps who sat out with garden hoses spraying us down around mile 2. It felt great. J

Now, here’s a bit more about how things went down and my individual results.

It was a lovely day in Manchester NH. Sunny, blue skies, temp in the high 70s, and a light, cooling breeze. The perfect set-up for a run downtown. But getting downtown was a challenge because of the number of us trying to do it.

With literally minutes to spare, I made it into the city, found a parking space, and had to jog around to find / grab my race bib. Coincidence that it was in my favorite green color? I think not.

Then, it was time to hustle over to the starting line for our assigned waves: Professional runners, Casual Runners, & Walkers. I was in wave two anticipating that I would come in somewhere above 10 min miles based on my training this past month.

When the starting gun was fired, the crowd barely moved since there were so many of us. But eventually, we got on our way.

Attending a race of this size for the second time, I knew what to expect. The start would be slow. I would have to weave my way around runners in the first mile until we all set into our actual paces. And, I’d have to make up time to finish with numbers that matched up to what I’m used to seeing in training.

My splits were solid and improving with each mile:

Mile

Average Pace

Fastest Pace

1

0:10:10

0:08:19

2

0:10:06

0:08:39

3

0:09:54

0:08:40

3.15

0:09:40

0:08:28

…and as a result my finish was respectable. I was happy with it. In fact, more than happy with it since I haven’t been this fast on a 5K since before pregnancy. This tells me that I have it in me to get better – possibly back to my old numbers and beyond.

I wasn’t expecting to PR yesterday but I was expecting to prove a point to myself and I did. YES.

Which is why I was sporting a look of extreme satisfaction after the race….

…or maybe the look was saying ‘I know my husband picked up pizza and starbucks for my post-run celebration and I can’t wait to devour it’. You be the judge. ;)

All in all..it was a fun event, a solid running performance, and a great day. I can’t complain.

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