Friday, November 20, 2009

sticking with it

IMG_5487Happy Friday all!  Since we met last my knees were in a bit of a fuss for the 4-5 mile run I decided to put them through last Sunday.  I am happy to report that they are feeling much better and Diana introduced me to a training program called ‘Couch to 5k’.  It’s a simple training program that combines running and walking, where the running is gradually increased until you can run a full 5k without stopping. 

image At first I was thinking, well I’m not a couch potato!  I need to be running 3 miles right off the bat because I can handle it.  Well, you know what, this program is going to be just what my knees ordered I believe.  I did the first 30 minute session yesterday morning at 4:30am and was even able to do a weight lifting class that evening at 8pm without any mysterious aches and pains!  Yes!  The best part is it has an iPhone app too that tells you exactly when to run and when to walk.  Yes!  I’m feeling empowered already and am actually looking forward to my next lil session.  So I guess I’ll be sticking with this running thing a bit longer :) 

I also signed up for my first 5k Turkey Trot!!  I’m really excited, and while it’s going to be way before my C25K training will be over, I figure I can just take it easy and see how it goes.  Anyone else doing some planned physical activity on that holiday weekend?  Great way to balance out all those good eats, although we will all be practicing proper portion control, right?!

I still can’t get used to this time change!!!  The lighting is just terrible in my house now by the time I get home and I think I’m going to have to search for some kind of lighting station or special photography lights??  Anyone know of something like this that is reasonable? 

I’ve been wanting to share this casserole recipe because it has become one of my favorites among many.  I love casseroles because they can be easily adaptable to a healthier profile and are so easy!

Quinoa Chicken & Broccoli Casserole

Serves 8


  • 2  tbsp  butter, 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1  medium onion, diced
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1  pound shiitake or other mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 tbsp AP flour
  • 3-4 cups skim milk (or you could do 1/2 broth, 1/2 milk)
  • 3-4 heads of broccoli, chopped
  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 1-1.5 cups Italian cheese mix, shredded (I used TJ's Italian Mix)
  • 1/2  tsp  salt, all purpose seasoning, garlic powder, 1 tsp thyme, 1 tsp herbes de provence, pinch of cayenne
  • 2 cups cooked chicken breast meat, chopped


1. Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, and cook. Stir in garlic, and cook 1 minute. Add mushrooms, and cook 8 minutes or until softened.

2. Melt 2 tbsp butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add flour, and cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk, and cook, whisking constantly until mixture thickens.  Add broccoli and quinoa to cook halfway.  Remove from heat and slowly whisk in 1/2 cup cheese, seasonings, mushroom mixture and chicken.  Transfer to a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch (4-quart) casserole dish.

3. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or bake, covered with foil, at 375° for 30 minutes or until bubbly, uncover, sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and brown for 10 minutes.


Great for leftovers too!


As far as the weekend plans . . .

Tonight Chris and I are heading out with some friends to a place called Casa di Amore.  They have great Italian food and also a live crooner that sings till the weee hours of the morning and sounds just like Sinatra.  I just love that kind of music, especially with a nice glass of wine.  We’ll see how pictures go, as you can imagine the lighting is pretty low to ‘set the mood’. 

photo (2) At the Lee’s Wine Experience that we went to a little while ago we found a Pinot Noir that was out of this world called Ritual. 

We thought we should order some since it was such a special find.  Well, I guess we got a few of them!!  We aren’t going to drink all these ourselves, but will take a few bottles for Thanksgiving and for gifts. 

Other than that I would like to get another run/walk or ride in and finish tackling my proposal/presentation for Research Methods.  I have the lit review mostly done and now have to start working on the methods/statistics, eeek!  This is my area of weakness.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!!



Julie @savvyeats said...

There is something very important for you to see in this post:


Gina said...

For me the lit review and the proposal were my least favorite parts. Yeah, the statistics sucked, but all the research, yuck, I hated it! So good for you for clearing that out of the way.

This couch to 5k program sounds wonderful! I'm really glad it's working well for you. I have run the Turkey Trot three times, but the last few years I have skipped it because all of my high school friends come in town and go out the night before Thanksgiving. Therefore I am NEVER ok to wake up and run a 5k on Thanksgiving. It's worth it to hang out with good friends I haven't seen for so long!

Chow and Chatter said...

have a lovely evening what a neat casserole

Nicole M., MS, RD, LD said...

Mmmm! Wine! I had a glass of merlot this evening that was wonderful! Oh, who am I kidding...I had 2 glasses : ) Have a good weekend!

Oh, and to answer your question I have a run planned for tomorrow (3 miles) and 2 hockey games on Sunday!

MelindaRD said...

YAY for quinoa. Thanks for letting me know this is an iPhone app as I am interested and maybe after I get some itunes gift cards for Hanukah I will look into this app. Have a good weekend.

MelissaNibbles said...

I use the Galloway Method when I run sometimes. I run for four minutes and walk for 1. For some reason, my time is always faster when I do this. I hope your plan helps relieve your knee pain.

Good luck with your presentation!

Shannon said...

Great running plan! I hurt so much when I first started running. I didn't want to run just a mile at a time or have to walk, but that was the only way to do it without ending up in real pain afterwards.

I love your casserole. I'm going to have to try that!

tam said...

That casserole really does look tasty x

Astra Libris said...

Oooo, your casserole looks incredible!! I love casseroles too - they're so cozy and comforting in the wintertime! A casserole with quinoa makes me especially excited... :-)

Thank you for telling me about the running program! Maybe I can convert to being a runner after all! :-)

Hope you're having a wonderful, fun, delicious weekend! :-)

Diana said...

So glad the Couch to 5K is working out so far! :) Wow, that casserole looks awesome! I must try that sometime!

Gina said...

Hey KRisten!

Do you mind e-mailing me your address? My e-mail is

I'm sending you something.

Devan Geselle. N said...

im so excited for you and your running plan! :)

nice casserole!