Sending off July

I have three major things to share with everyone from the weekend over a giant cup of coffee on this fine Monday morning: a local DC workout, a salmon dish, and adventures in Maryland. Before diving in to all of these shenanigans- can I just say for a second- this weather. After that ridiculous heat wave a couple weeks ago, 80 degree temps and low/moderate humidity just feels like heaven on earth.

ANYWAY. Let’s get into that weekend recap shall we?

The Heights Run Club

This time last year- I had just gotten “into” running and let’s be clear- I never ran outside. I was convinced I absolutely hated it. In fact, the first time I legit ran outdoors on the pavement here in DC was during my first 5k last October. It wasn’t until then that it hit me- hey this whole being outside thing isn’t so bad! And now I would choose running off the treadmill any day over being on a machine inside a gym. If there is a way for me to run outside- I will take it. Go figure. Treadmills are a necessary evil in my life for training purposes (and sometimes efficiency purposes) but I’d much rather be in the great outdoors without any stats, numbers, mileage, calorie counts in my face. Just me. My music. And the world. (ignore the cheesy nature of that message)

I think I prefer running alone… I’ve never really understood how people can run in groups and hold conversations while they jog. I might be better at running than I was months ago, but it’s never something that’s easy for me to do. I’m trying to keep my pace, pay attention to where I’m going, and convince myself that I can keep propelling myself forward- let alone find the mental space to talk intelligibly to another human being.

If I run with others- it’s usually in silent solidarity. We run together, but we have our headphones in and rock out to our own tunes- only chatting when necessary or important. I discovered that my friend Kate is the perfect run buddy when she visited last month because she feels the same way.

BUT seeing as I was missing out on the “running outside” train for so long, I had been wondering lately if I actually would like running with a pack of people versus by my lonesome. Maybe conversations while running would make it more enjoyable?

With impeccable timing, a restaurant called The Heights (on 14th St. in Columbia Heights) reached out to me about their run club that goes out every Saturday at 9am. I decided to take them up on their run club and feel out the whole running with others things. PLUS- post run- they offer the runners 25% off their brunch bill. Score.

The Heights

We started out at 9am outside the restaurant and returned there riiiiight at 10am. Our route took us through Mt. Pleasant, the zoo, down Connecticut, across Kalorama, up (and down) stairs in Meridian Hill Park, and all around. The run was hard, hilly, and hot. But I’m glad I did it. I used to see people running the long drawn out hill that is the National Zoo and say I will NEVER be that person. Well. I was that person. I ran the zoo and I’m proud!

Their routes differ each week to make things exciting for people who come out. It’s definitely a cool way to see the city if you’re new here or aren’t well versed in DC neighborhoods. Even for me, someone who has lived here for five years now, it was refreshing to run someone else’s route through places I normally wouldn’t go.

The people were wicked friendly and welcoming- and a few of them have become quite regulars. I definitely met some nice people and without the ongoing motivation of the leader of the pack- I’m not sure I would have finished that run. I think the best part of run groups like this is that you can find a lil community of people to connect with. It’s part of the reason why I love my gym so much and their classes- the same people who religiously come out for stuff. Having people to laugh/smile/sweat/commiserate with is important when you’re in the city.

Anddd obviously brunch afterwards was awesome. I had a sundried tomato and goat cheese omlette… delicious. The Heights DC is a part of the Eat Well DC group too so you can be guaranteed that you’re noshing on quality food that is locally produced from a restaurant focused on sustainability. Will didn’t join me for the run- but he joined me for the breakfast. Even without the run discount, the restaurant is reasonably priced. It’s a nice little nook of a place. Highly recommend it! Running encouraged first, but if you can’t muster it- check out their restaurant..

Still though… I’m not convinced that I’m a talking runner. I found it hard to concentrate on talking to people while also running. Maybe it’s something that comes with time? I’m certainly not throwing in the towel on run clubs just yet. We’ll see. Thanks for having me, The Heights!

The “Allison Clearly Misses Russia” Salmon Dinner

I know you’re all sick of hearing it by now, but I miss Russia. I really do. I try not to think about it because I get all nostalgic and weird but its hard. One of the things I loved the most about Russia was how much eggplant, tomato, mushrooms, and salmon I was eating on a regular basis. Some of my favorite foods!

THUS I whipped up a little recipe for Will and I that focuses on those four things exactly. If you’re a big fan of those foods too- you’ll totally dig this. The base was a mix of brown rice, roasted eggplant cubes, roasted portabella mushrooms, and roasted green peppers. This was then slathered with salmon cooked in a homemade tomato sauce. Garnished with parsley and shaved cheese.

This recipe generously serves two people (maybe even three)

For the Base:

  • 1 eggplant cubed and roasted according to THIS method
  • 1 green pepper cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 2 portabella mushroom caps roasted and cut into 1 inch cubes… I use THIS method
  • 2 cups of brown rice (or your choice of pasta)
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putting my new peeler to good use!

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I’m awful at cleaning out portabella mushroom caps. I always break off pieces of the sides on accident.

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I don’t understand how people produce beautiful pictures of perfect mushroom caps. Mine are always a hot mess. But the good news is… they still taste GREAT. Even if they’re ugly.

For the Salmon and Tomato Sauce:

  • 6-12 oz. of salmon fillets (your call on how much fish you want)
  • Can of diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 red onion chopped finely
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbl. lemon juice
  • 1 tbl. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbl. capers
  • 1 tbl. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 2 tsp. thyme
  • 2 tsp. garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
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Ingredients in place!

It sounds like a lot of work and a lot of ingredients, but it really was pretty easy. While the eggplant cubes, mushrooms, and green peppers were roasting, I just cooked up the sauce and salmon.

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Eggplant cubes and green peppers roasting- pre me putting the mushrooms in the oven.

You’ll want to saute the red onion in the olive oil over a medium high heat in a pan until the onions appear translucent. I then added everything else (minus the salmon) and lowered the heat a bit to more of a medium low (more of a simmer).

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When there was a little less than ten minutes left on the clock for the vegetables roasting in the oven, I added the salmon fillets into (and under the sauce) ingredients. Salmon usually takes about 3-4 minutes per side. You can either break the salmon up in the sauce or keep the fillets whole. This is also when I tossed the frozen brown rice in the microwave (hooray for three minute cooking!)

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can you spot the salmon buried in there?

Scoop the sauce and plate the salmon over your bed of veggies and brown rice. Optional toppings of parsley and cheese!

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This was my first time making salmon with a red sauce- usually I keep it simple and just pan sear it with lemon, dill, salt, and pepper. I was a big fan of the red sauce and salmon! It tasted almost as good as a similar dish I had in Russia… almost.

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Maryland Adventures

Every day this weekend Will and I drove to Maryland. Apparently we felt the urge to get out of DC. On Friday night we headed to the Merriweather Post Pavillion for the Lumineers concert. It was a little crowded on the lawn as it was a sold out show- but the Lumineers are great and I loved hearing them live. They covered Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and it kind of amazed me how much the lead vocalist Wesley Schultz sounded like Dylan himself. In a good way. Not in that crazy Dylan voice way. You know what I mean.

On Saturday night we went to Camden Yards to see my Red Sox face the Orioles! My excitement level was through the roof. You have no idea how much I miss being around Red Sox fans and being able to see the games live in person. We were surrounded by lots of quality Sox fans and Bostonians (oh, the accents were A PLENTY).

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Not a big fan of the Orioles or their fans… but Camden Yards is always an enjoyable park to visit.

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LOVED this family of Pedroia fans. I also was wearing a Pedroia jersey and was tempted to go sit with them.

I got to scream my face off as the Red Sox crushed the Orioles and I even got to see David Ortiz destroy a bullpen phone… yikes.

AND on Sunday, Will and I went to the Beaver Dam Swimming Club in Maryland. It was a little cold outside and sun wasn’t shining, but the water was fairly warm and it was cool to be out in a lake and out of the city for the afternoon. I didn’t even know this place existed. And Will took advantage of their big ol’ rope swing.

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I am NAHT a strong enough swimmer for 50 ft. depths. Luckily they had some shallower areas of the giant quarry. I absolutely love the water and being in the water- but I’m much more of a crab when it comes to swimming. I like to be able to scuttle across the bottom and just lurk around. Swimming when necessary. Constantly treading water is too much work.

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That would be Will on the rope/anchor swing.

Now- another new week HERE in the District. The week begins with the Red Sox BACK in first place in the AL East, Jeter playing baseball again, and A-Rod facing a looooong suspension (he he he).

The week also begins with FREE YOGA tonight in Meridian Hill Park from 7-8pm! If you’d like to join me, comment on this post or shoot me an email and I’d be more than happy to send you the details. After my Saturday run and spin class on Sunday, I know my body will appreciate the stretch.

Before I go and start  seriously tackling this Monday morning- I gotta give a shout out to my friend Kendall who sent me a late birthday present. MORE KITCHEN GADGETS.

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I’m happy to add a melon baller and food slicer to my growing collection. I can’t thank Kendall enough for these wonderful gifts 🙂 She’s too nice.

The slicer will definitely make the egg salad sandwiches I had on the menu this week a lot easier to make!

Keep it wicked healthy xoxo

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10 thoughts on “Sending off July

  1. I heard about the heights run group but because of work wasn’t able to go. sounds like it was a blast! see I am all about talking and running, it takes a bit more effort and concentration but I love the company when I can get it.

  2. I had already planned on going to the Meridian Hill Park yoga tonight! See you there!

    That sounds like a perfect group – run and then brunch? Winner!

    I’m totally hit or miss on the group stuff. I generally run alone, but when I get the chance to run with someone else (I’ve never done a group run larger than like, 3 people), I really enjoy the company. I had an awesome run yesterday with Alex ^^ and it really made me miss running with others.

  3. Sounds like you had a fabulous weekend! What a cool idea for a restaurant; having a run club and brunch, good promo. Didn’t know you were going to that game; Kevin and I were watching parts from home and he actually said “I wonder if Carmen and Sarah are at this game.” Turns out we did know someone at the game witnessing Big Papi’s rage. Calm down man. Wonderful job on your blog today for the Blog for Hope thing. Very nice explanation of healthy snacking; I should follow it. I am going to start a new routine tonight and go to the gym at 7 pm. It’s my bewitching time for bad snacking. So instead of sitting in front of the TV eating, I’m gonna get out and move. Counting down the days now til Friday. We should get into town around 130; let me know where you want us to pick you up or where you’re at by calling me around 1230-100 that day. Talk to you soon! Love you!

    • That’s an awesome plan, Mom! I hope that it goes well for you- you totally got this! Way to take initiative in your health. I cannot wait for Friday- WAHOO! I will definitely call you on Thursday night (probably when I’m at the airport) to talk details. I love you too!

  4. That running club sounds awesome! I live near The Heights (love their brunch), but I’m like you when it comes to running in groups. I love running with one or two other people, but group running seriously intimidates me…maybe that’s the group to test out? I keep saying I’m going to try, but we shall see if I walk the talk ever.

    • It’s worth a shot! The worst that could happen is that you hate it and don’t go again, ya know? One time couldn’t hurt anything! You’ll at least get brunch out of it and maybe even a new run route to add to your solo run rotation!

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