Monthly Archives: April 2012

the Seneca 7 and Spring Rolls

Since I last blogged, in mid April, a lot has happened and life has been a little crazy.

I went on a field trip to the heart of coaltown, PA for a depressing Geochemistry Fieldtrip to study acid mine drainage… their water runs orange from all of the pollution.

It was my birthday so Mark took me to the Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, one of the oldest vegetarian restaurants around, and the Ithaca Farmers Market… I was a happy birthday girl!

Then yesterday, Team Lava Tigers took on the Seneca 7, a 77.7 mile relay race around Seneca Lake. How it works is you get 7 runners and each runner has 3 legs of the race to run and you rotate through your roster, passing off an “official” slap bracelet. The 7 of us held strong at 7:59/mile pace and finished in 10 hours and 21 minutes, putting us in 41st place out of 150 teams… not too shabby!

Stephen, Katie, Emma, Me, Mark, Amil and Will

We did however go through 4 cars… 1st mine, which didn’t start when we climbed in at 6:30 am. So we switched to my teammate, Emma’s, which got us to mile 45, before black smoke erupted from under the hood. So the next two runners, Mark and Katie bummed rides to their exchange points while Emma’s parents drove to our rescue. They got Amil, our next runner, to the next exchange point just as Katie crested the hill… perfect timing. Then they drove us ahead to our next two exchange points. Then Will’s girlfriend Rachel met us to transport us to the final 3 exchange points while Emma’s parents went back to meet the tow truck.

Even with all the craziness, we had a blast and ended our senior year on a great note. I am also super proud of what I accomplished. I ran 11 miles, crested a 350 ft vertical climb coming out of Watkins Glen and showed real mental toughness. This means so much more to me because I have very severe asthma and was born with underdeveloped lungs… every year since I can remember I have failed the lung functioning test, which measures the amount and speed or flow of air that can be inhaled and exhaled. Doctors are shocked when the find out I can run more than half a mile. Training meant not only building up my leg strength but my lung strength as well. I’ll admit it was hard when my lungs gave out before my legs some training days but I kept my asthma in check all day yesterday. This race showed me that I do not have to be defined by my asthma. Some days, I can’t help but wonder what kind of athlete of would be if I was blessed with fully functioning lungs… but after yesterday I wouldn’t change a thing.

I’ve wanted to make spring rolls for the past few years. So I bought some rice paper the other day at the store. I did some reading about making spring rolls and learned a few tips and tricks. First things first, prep all your veggies. Another key thing is to use cold water to soak the rice paper and to only leave it in the water for about 5 seconds. It’s also best if you wrap a cutting board in a clean dish towel and use that to do your rolling. I also made a little assembly line for the whole process. You could add cooked shrimp or meat if you want to.

Spring Rolls (makes 6)

6 rice paper rounds

20 baby carrots, cut into match sticks

3/4 of a bell pepper, cut into match sticks

3 cups of spinach (or butter lettuce or whatever you like)

1/2 and avocado, sliced thin

Set up you station and assembly line. I put the rice paper next to a plate of cold water, then the cutting board wrapped in a towel and the plate of fillings. Then I cleared a place to put the finished rolls. Dip one rice paper round into the water for 4-5 seconds, then remove it and let the excess water drain back onto the plate. Place it on the towel and place 3/4 of a cup worth of filling in the center, but slightly more towards the bottom of the rice paper circle. Fold in the sides and roll the roll away from you making sure to tuck the paper in snuggly as you go, and press it lightly to seal. Move it to the side and repeat. It helps if you line the filling up neatly, parallel to the long side of the roll before you roll it up.

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We served ours with a sauce made of peanut butter, coconut milk, hosin, soy sauce, garlic and chinese five spice… but plain old soy sauce works too.

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Everything but the Kitchen Sink Pasta Salad

We have less than 3 weeks until the Seneca 7. I’m getting a little jittery about the race… I’ve never run 11 miles before. However, training is going really well. Since I got my running app for my phone in the end of February, I’ve logged 100 miles, and that doesn’t include team runs or spring break.

I ran 5 miles 3 days in a row, followed by a speedy 5k yesterday (sub-8 pace). One of those 5-mile days, Mark and I had the team over for a run though Seneca Lake State Park (the finish line for the race) and a BBQ. We grilled up some burgers sausage and veggie burgers. We also made some guacamole, chipotle dip, a spinach salad and a pasta salad. The pasta salad is not your usual mayo-laden, heavy salad. A few summers ago, while in Maine, we were trying to use up all the veggies before we headed home… and this pasta salad was born. Its more veggies than pasta… just the way I like it. I made 2 pounds of pasta salad for the BBQ and the 7 of us ate it all.

You can put pretty much any veggies you like or any you have on hand… all veggie amounts are approximate, there’s really no need to measure

We also got our team t-shirts, courtesy of Mark’s brother, Matt… GO TEAM LAVA TIGERS!

Everything but the Kitchen Sink Pasta Salad

1 lb whole wheat or quinoa penne

1/2 bunch of asparagus, woody ends removed and cut into 1/2 inch segments

1 bell pepper, diced

2 cups of kale, shredded

1 1/2 cups of corn

1 cup of baby portabellas, wiped clean and quartered

1 medium onion

1 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered, depending on size

1/4-1/2 cup of Italian dressing

2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided

3 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning

Lots of black pepper

Bring water to a boil in a medium or large pot for the pasta. Once it is boiling, add the pasta and cook according to the box directions. While it boils, prep the veggies. In a medium sauté pan, over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add in the onion and sauté for 4 minutes, and then add in the mushrooms and sauté for 2 minutes. With 3 minutes left in the pasta cooking time, add the asparagus and bell pepper to the boiling water. Add the kale to the bottom of a colander and place it in the sink. Pour the pasta over the kale and add the corn to the colander. Transfer the ingredients from the colander, the ingredients from the sauté pan, and the tomatoes to a large bowl or casserole dish. Mix it together. Then add in 1/4 cup of the Italian dressing, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and black pepper. Mix it and give it a taste, adjusting it to your taste. You might need a bit more dressing or some more pepper… it’s up to you.

Also, look at the pretty Tulips Mark got me…

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Cajun Cauliflower

I have been craving veggies, veggies and more veggies this past week. I have eaten almost a whole pound of spinach in the past 6 days. I also ate almost a whole bag of baby carrots during one of my lectures (not the quietest snack). When I was a baby, I used to eat carrots and sweet potatoes until I turned orange… I guess some things never change.

Since we got back from vacation Mark has been talking about jerk chicken. I figured, why does he get to have yummy cayenne, paprika, cumin, thyme, white pepper, chili powder, oregano, basil, garlic and onion on his chicken? So, I smothered a head of cauliflower with cajun seasoning and a tablespoon of olive oil and roasted it at 400 for 30 minutes, turning it occasionally… problem solved!

I bought a premixed jar of cajun spice for relatively cheap and I know it will get good use on the grill this spring/summer.

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