Grilled Caesar Salad with Homemade Vinaigrette 

If you haven’t tried grilling your lettuce, you’re missing out!!!  It warms the romaine, but still maintains the crunch. Drizzle it with this simple Caesar vinaigrette and some Parmesan cheese and you’ll have a light healthy salad for your summer barbecue!
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To make the vinaigrette, either whisk or blend together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste.  I choose to blend mine to make it a little creamier.  It’s just personal preference.
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Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.  Slice your romaine hearts in half length wise.  Do not trim the base (it keeps the leaves attached).  Spray both side lightly with an oil spray.  Place romaine on the grill.
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Turning once or twice, grill for around 6 minutes until the grill marks form and the tips of the leaves start to char and wilt.
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Drizzle with the vinaigrette, sprinkle some additional Parmesan, and serve!
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Ingredients:

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese; plus additional for garnish if desired
salt to taste
Olive oil spray or Coconut oil spray
2 hearts of Romaine lettuce

Instructions:

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, and pepper. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and season with salt to taste. You can alternately blend the mixture, parmesan cheese included, in a small food processor.

Preheat the grill over medium-high heat. Oil the grill’s surface. Remove any wilted outer leaves from the romaine hearts, then cut the hearts in half length-wise leaving the end intact so each half holds together. Spray them lightly all over with the oil spray.

Grill until grill marks or charring forms and the lettuce wilts slightly, about 6 minutes, turning once or twice. Serve drizzled with the vinaigrette.

Recipe adapted from: Dessert Now, Dinner Later

Related Recipes:

Lemon Grilled Asparagus
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Simple Grilled Brussels Sprouts
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Grilled Chipotle Cauliflower
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Denver Day 4

First…I’m hoping to have my race recap typed up for you tomorrow.  I’m waiting to see if the race will send out their pictures so I can include them in my report!

Sunday: Post-Race

I woke up feeling great!!!!  It was a wonderful surprise.  I tried to negotiate a shake-out run with Jason.  He wanted to walk.  We settled on a bike ride around town.
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Say ahhhh!!  or Open wide!!!
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We met up with a few of our friends for breakfast at Snooze!  Christ Beth ordered the cutest hot chocolate!
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And then we headed out to walk-off our yummy breakfast around the Highlands neighborhood.
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Christi Beth and Bob wanted to checkout the giant REI.  We were happy to return for a second visit.  Should this be my new gardening hat?  I seriously could have used the sun protection during the race!
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CB and Corrie were deep in thought while testing out the rocking chairs…
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And, I found some super flattering “camping panties.”
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After a little room time, we hopped back on some bikes and rode to the Corner Beet…a super cute vegetarian juice bar!  I had a carrot cake juice and goat cheese and jam toast….yum!!!
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The Tattered Cover is one of the largest independently owned bookstores in the United States and right by our hotel.  We had to check it out!  I could spend hours in there!
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On the way back to the room, I picked up a carrot cake cheesecake.  Isn’t it pretty?!!
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We planned Corrie’s birthday dinner for after the race, so we could all relax and enjoy the night.
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We had an incredible dinner at Osteria Marco.  Jason and I had a truffle, mushroom, and robiola pizza and a butterscotch bread pudding for dessert…heaven!!!
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We all headed over to The Oxford and ended the night with a cocktail at Cruise Room.  I had a Champagne Cobbler.  Cheers to a wonderful trip!!!!
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Who raced or ran long this weekend?  Share!

Peak and pit of your weekend?  Peak: Getting to run North Fork with Corrie for her 30th birthday!  Pit: A 5:45am flight home!

#choosejoy

Corrie’s 30 and My Race Goals

This seemed like an appropriate Friday post on my Instagram!
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I met up with the birthday girl for a 3.0 mile shakeout run to kickoff her 30th birthday!
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We joined our husbands for breakfast at Syrup.  I had the creme brûlée oatmeal with berries…yum!
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Denver has the second largest REI and it was within walking distance of our hotel.  We had to visit!
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I had a sweet tooth so we stopped by Milkbox.  I had the most delicious vegan rocky road ice cream!
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Then we just chilled in the room for the afternoon.  A) We needed to rest a little for Saturday’s race.  B) The altitude has left me feeling really nauseous.

The rest of our crew made it into town and we all got together for dinner!!  I love these friends so much and I’m so excited to have this adventure with them!
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Eat all of the carbs.
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We have a 1 hour drive to Pine, Colorado in the morning, so I made sure to lay everything out the night before.  Basically it’s lots of Cocogo, Picky Bars, Gu, Banana bread for breakfast, extra Swiftwick socks, Garmin 620, and dry clothes for the finish.  I’m only doing one drop bag, but I get the chance to use it twice on the course.
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Race outfit:
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My Goals for the North Fork 50k:

  • Stick with Corrie for her first ultra.  She chose this race to celebrate her birthday and run her first 50k.  It’s all about her!
  • Run my first race at altitude.  I’ve always struggled with altitude sickness during ski trips.  Running a 50k should be a challenge, but I’m excited to see how it goes.
  • No vomiting during the race.  Anyone that has suffered from altitude sickness knows this struggle.
  • Enjoy the gorgeous scenery.
  • Have fun!!
  • Our group has agreed to not set a finish time goal.  It’s all about the adventure with friends!

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Are you racing or running long this weekend?  Share!

Do you take advantage of mid-race drop bags or do you carry everything with you? 

Denver

I’m skipping this week’s Friday Five, because we’re in Denver to run the North Fork 50!  We had to be at the airport before 5am.  This seemed fitting…
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TSA Pre-Check…If you don’t have it, get it.  No waiting in the security line and you don’t have to take your shoes off.
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All was well once we were on the plane with a Starbucks!
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Of course I brought fruit with me on the plane for first breakfast.  I may or may not be part fruit bat.
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What is up with the art in the Denver airport?!  This is the mural in the baggage claim. Welcome to Denver!
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We went to Snooze for second breakfast.  They were so sweet and brought Corrie a birthday pancake!
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We thought it would be fun idea to take a bike tour of Denver! The weather was beautiful and I loved getting to see the city.
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Corrie and I were genuinely thrilled to have bells on our bicycles.
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We saw the Rio Grande patio and stopped for lunch.  They had the cutest mini-margaritas!
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We checked into our hotel.  They even have a little bird in the lobby! 🙂
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For dinner I had the yummiest vegetable lettuce wraps and sweet potato sushi at Blue Sushi Saki Grill.
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The sky opened up with huge rain and then left us with a double rainbow!  This was a great first day in Denver!
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Do you ever take active tours when you’re traveling…running or bike tours?

Denver peeps: We’re staying in the LoDo area?  Any restaurant suggestions?

How early do you arrive to the airport?  Jason will get there 45 minutes early.  I like to get there at least 90 minutes early…just in case.

#choosejoy

 

Let’s Catch Up & I Need Some Altitude Advice!

Monday:
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I joined friends for 6 miles and added on 3 more solo miles.  I love following @runfoxxirun on Instagram.  Her handstands and cartwheels always make me smile, so these were dedicated to her!

I got a chance to wear my new We Run Social shirt…love it!  Of course I had to include a peace sign for the @pavementrunner!
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We grilled our romaine salad
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and the squash and zucchini from Dave’s garden!! (I’ll post recipes next week.)
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Tuesday:
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Track Tuesday workout:
4.5 mile warmup
5 x 1200m (400m recovery jog)

I skipped the cool down to take Charlotte to the vet.  (Just a little update: We met with a neurologist and she goes back for an MRI next week.  Thank you SO much for all of your sweet words and prayers.)

I made the yummiest Watermelon Chia Chiller…recipe HERE!
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I was out running errands and had to make a deposit at the bank.  I will forever be loyal to my bank because they give out warm cookies!!!!  (It’s completely normal to make financial decisions based on cookies.)
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I worked on my blog from my front porch swing…not a bad “office!”  Yes, it’s 100 degrees outside, but it’s too cold inside because the A/C is constantly running.  (First world problem.)
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For Taco Tuesday…
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we had Chipotle for dinner.
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For dessert, I made a cup of hot chocolate in my new Just Love Coffee mug.  I am loving our new coffee shop!!
Side note: Every time I buy a new mug Jason gives me a hard time.  I hate clutter but I might have developed a mug hoarding problem.
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Wednesday:

I met up with Kate, Jenn, and Corrie for a run through Percy Warner Park.  Ollie, Kate’s pup, joined us, too!!!
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I stopped by the Juice Bar for a smoothie after our run.
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I always get the same green smoothie, but my friend Gail rave’s about the Cocoa Banana.  I tried it today and it was the bomb.com!!!
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I’m about to leave for Denver to run the North Fork 50…eek!!!  I’ve always struggled with altitude sickness, and this will be my first race at such a high altitude.  Everyone’s advice is to hydrate!  Peach infused water has been my jam!
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You know what else is my jam?   Coconut Aminos.  I’ve been subbing it for soy sauce lately and love it!  Jason had a work dinner, so I had a avocado rolls! It has 65% less sodium and just a hint of sweetness.
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Do you have too many coffee mugs?  

Do you get in a rut of ordering the same smoothie, coffee drink, etc…or do you regularly mix it up?

Any advice/tips for racing at a higher altitude?

#choosejoy

Watermelon Chia Chiller

With temperatures rising, this watermelon chia chiller is the perfect refreshing treat!  It’s super simple…just toss the ingredients in the blender.  It’s also hydrating, naturally sweet from the fruit, vegan, gluten-free, and includes chia seeds (Click HERE to learn more about the benefits of chia seeds).  Most importantly, it really hit the spot after a hot morning run!
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Ingredients
1 1/2 cups fresh watermelon, cubed (black seeds removed)
1 cup frozen pineapple
1/2 ripe banana; previously peeled and frozen
1/2 – 3/4 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
1 lime, juiced
Fresh basil or mint leaves (I used 3 large basil leaves.)
1 Tbsp chia or hemp seeds (optional)
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Instructions

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until creamy and smooth, adding more almond milk to thin, or more frozen pineapple or ice to thicken.
Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more lime for acidity, banana for sweetness, or watermelon for a more intense watermelon flavor.
Serves 2 – Best when fresh, though leftovers keep covered in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.

Recipe adapted from: Minimalist Baker

#choosejoy

Brown Sugar Biscoff Cookies

Yes, I used cookie butter to bake cookies!  So I guess these are cookies within cookies.  Biscoff spread is a cookie butter with a cinnamon, graham cracker taste. (Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter would also work great in this recipe.) The cookie butter is combined with brown sugar to make rich, chewy, soft-baked cookies.  It’s a one-bowl recipe and it uses zero butter.  It’s important to chill the dough before baking to insure that your cookies stay puffy and soft after baking.
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Let’s bake!  Start by fitting your stand mixer with the paddle attachment.  A handheld mixer with a large bowl will work as well.  Cream together the eggs, cookie butter, brown sugar, and vanilla for around 5 minutes.
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Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and mix on low until just combined.  Don’t overmix.
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The dough will feel  a little oily, but shouldn’t be wet.
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Add the sparkling sugar to a small bowl or ramekin.
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Using a cookie dough scoop, form dough mounds (around 2T), roll into a ball with your hands, and roll the dough ball in the sugar to coat.
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Place the dough balls onto a plate(s), cover with plastic wrap, flatten the dough slightly, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.  Do not skip this step!
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Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  While the oven is warming up, place your chilled dough balls onto a baking sheet.
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I baked mine for 8 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to finish cooling.
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Enjoy!!!
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Of course, I had to eat one while they were still warm.  Just look at how soft and gooey the center is…er….was!
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I yielded 29 cookies.  This recipe can easily be halved if you want a smaller batch.

Ingredient:

2 large eggs
2 cups creamy Cookie Butter or Biscoff Spread (the recipe will work with peanut butter as a substitute but the flavor will be totally different)
1.5 cups light brown sugar, packed (dark brown may be substituted)
3 tablespoons vanilla extract (yes tablespoons, not teaspoons)
1.5 cups plus 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour (see directions below)
4 teaspoons cornstarch
3 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste
Sparkling sugar or granulated sugar to coat the cookies (This is optional, but I love the sugar crunch on the outside.)

Instructions:

To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large bowl and electric hand mixer), cream together the eggs, Cookie Butter, brown sugar, and vanilla on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Do not shortchange this creaming step, and if using a hand mixer, 6-7 minutes may be necessary. Don’t overbeat or overdo it so that the oils start releasing (more prone to happening with peanut butter than Cookie Butter); just make sure the mixture is properly creamed.

Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and the flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, baking soda, optional salt, and mix on low speed until just incorporated, about 1 minute; don’t overmix. The dough will be soft and on the oily side, but it should come together and not be sticky, tacky, or wet. If it is, add up to 2 more tablespoons of flour, and mix to incorporate. Due to climate and variance in ingredients such as moisture level of brown sugar, volume of egg, brand of Cookie Butter, etc. the flour amount could vary by a few tablespoons.

Pour sparkling or granulated sugar into a ramekin.  Using a medium 2-inch cookie scoop, form heaping two-tablespoon mounds. Roll the mounds into a ball and roll the dough ball in the sparkling sugar to coat.  Place dough balls on a large plate, flatten slightly, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or up to 5 days, before baking. Do not bake with warm dough because cookies will spread and bake thinner and flatter. Properly chilled dough is mandatory.

Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat, or spray with cooking spray. Place mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart (I bake 9 cookies per sheet). Bake for 8 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just beginning to set, even if slightly undercooked, pale and glossy in the center. Do not bake longer than 9 minutes if you want Softbatch-sytle cookies because they firm up as they cool. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a rack to finish cooling.

Store cookies airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 4 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 4 months, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.

Recipe from: Averie Cooks

Related Recipes:

Molasses-Spice Cookies
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My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies
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White Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Bars
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#choosejoy