Military, running

Weekend wrap up

Gosh, where do I start.  Some weekends can be just plain crappy (insert working the entire weekend last weekend here), and some weekends can be amazing filled with friends, family, food, and fitness!

The later was my weekend, THIS weekend.

We started out the weekend after me having to work several hours of overtime (something I try to AVOID at all costs, as I my family comes first) feeling a bit tired, but accomplished. With our unseasonably warm temps here in Chicagoland we made plans to have a fire and drink wine with our awesome neighbors/friends on Friday.  It. Was. GREAT.  We brought over a special bottle of Prosecco that we bought the last time we were in Chicago at Eataly, and enjoyed hours of laughter, conversation, and wine.  WIN.  What a way to start the weekend.

This would have never happened in Chicago last year!
This would have never happened in Chicago last year!

Saturday the majority of the day was spent last minute shopping for make-up and essentials as I was attending my first Army Dining out with my hubby.  After weeks of preparation buying the perfect dress to match his unit, to finding the perfect shoes, we were all dolled up and ready.  And yes…I felt like a princess.  For those that know me well, I NEVER feel pretty these days…but Saturday night, I felt my confidence returning…even if for just a moment.

briandiningout briandiningout1

After an evening of an amazing military traditional event, laughter, conversation and dinner we came home to enjoy a couple of glasses of wine.  This may have been the demise of my 5K today, but I could care less.  We had SOOOOO much fun.  And for once, in many years, I felt at home being surrounded by people in uniform even though I wasn’t wearing one myself.  Yet I found myself standing at attention in all the right moments, even while wearing this amazing gold gown.  🙂  #veteranproblems

Today was the day we were to run a much anticipated 5K that my friend Karen from Trading In my Heels has organized and planned for the last two years.  It’s an untimed race with no actual bells or whistles, but the proceeds were going to suicide prevention and awareness which is a cause near and dear to my heart having battled with depression as well as losing several friends and family members to suicide.

As most of you know, I don’t like the cold.  I don’t sign up for races in the winter…but this one I NEEDED to do.  I got to see several of my running friends, AND I got to meet Wendy from Taking the long way home, which was amazing.  She is one of the nicest people I know, and such an inspiration to me and my life.  After several hugs, and easy conversation we headed to the starting line.

Me and my person
Me and my person
Wendy, Penny, Michelle and me!
Wendy, Penny, Michelle and me!
Misty, Theresa, and Cindy!
Misty, Theresa, and Cindy!

The race started promptly at noon, and I knew this would NOT be my best “race.”  I haven’t been running hardly at all…I haven’t wanted to between the cold, dark, and dreary weather.  So I took it slow, and allowed myself a couple of walk breaks.  Who’d a thunk you could lose your endurance so quickly? #runnerproblems

But we finished in 31:34, headed into Pal Joey’s who was hosting the race, and I was welcomed with open arms AND a Bloody Mary.  Score.  We ate some amazing pizza and had great conversations with Melissa and Jim, more of our running friends.

Nothing better than a Bloody Mary after a fun race!
Nothing better than a Bloody Mary after a fun race!

I couldn’t find my groove during this run, but that’s ok…I enjoyed the hundreds of runners, running for the same cause, dressed up in festive gear, and JUST having fun.  There was no “winner” no “age group award” just 3.1 miles of fun.

I ended the day with our traditional Sunday Supper, and baking with my youngest.  Win!  We had an Asian inspired dish of teriyaki, ginger, honey and garlic glazed salmon over bok choy and quinoa.  Delish.   I also attempted a pumpkin cheesecake…not so sure about that one…lol. #notabaker

My sous Chef helping me make cheesecake
My sous Chef helping me make cheesecake

sundaysupper12-14

Wrapping it up, it was the best weekend I’ve had this month.  Here’s to more weekends like this one!

Do you do “fun runs” for charity?  What’s your favorite thing to do on the weekend?

❤ Michelle

 

food

Gravitational pull

As of late, the dreary, cold, and bleak winter days have left me with little motivation to run.  In fact, I only ran once last week and probably because I put it out there for all to see in order to hold myself accountable.  I’m just not feeling it again this winter.  Although our temps are actually quite manageable, leaving for work in the dark, and driving home from work again in the dark DRAINS me.  Ultimately, winter blues suck. That. IS. ALL.   My hubby and I DID sign up for a 5K on Sunday called the Underground Polar Express, where ALL proceeds go to Suicide Prevention/awareness, a cause that touches my heart.  Check it out….www.undergroundpolarexpress.com

So I’ve really continued to pour myself into my cooking.  (HAHA, see what I did there?) I’ve kept on with my studying recipes, techniques, and experimenting with different dishes.  I have spent the better part of 2014 actually writing out my recipes, and pray I can get my E-book/Cookbook in the works next year.  Why?

Well, because I know I meant to do something OTHER than work in a hospital.  A job I didn’t choose for myself…But it’s been a good job for the last 24 years, and for that I am grateful.  I think I am just at a point in my life where I KNOW I need to be doing something I LOVE.  All the signs are there…pulling at me in a million directions.  I just need to find my “IN” so to speak.  I need someone else, other than my amazing family and friends SEE that I have a gift when it comes to creating food and say, “Hey…I think we could use talent like yours, let us mentor you…”

So yeah…that call hasn’t come yet.  So I keep putting myself out there on social media, posting my recipes, my dreams, my goals…PRAYING someone out there will see the fire I have in my soul.

Sure…I love to run, and it’s a part of my life that I wouldn’t trade.

But I LOVE to cook.  I love to create….to plate…to make my food not only pretty, but amazingly tasty too…

Even more…I love when someone takes a bite of my food, closes their eyes, and sighs in appreciation.  PURE. BLISS.
Last night while watching the “Hundred foot journey” it hit me like a ton of bricks.  The opening scene shows the main character, Hassan, as a young boy in small food market.  There were dozens of people crowded around to buy some sea urchin.  The merchant saw the crowd of screaming potential buyers, but he watched young Hassan pick up a single sea urchin, close his eyes, and deeply breathed in the fresh scent.  He sighed, and took a small bite and smile.  The merchant immediately sold the entire lot of sea urchin to Hassan and his Mother.  Because he “GOT IT.”  He recognized the beauty of the product, with the smells, the sight, and the taste of the food.  And it hit me…THIS is what I do.  I LOVE food. Good food.  Fresh food.  CREATING food.

Later on, as an adult Hassan made the 5 staple sauces of the French for his Chef friend. They can be found here: http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/sauces/tp/Mother-Sauces.htm

credit to munchfoodcompany.com
credit to munchfoodcompany.com

He starts cooking with her, and asks her if she thinks he is a real Chef, not just a cook.  “Yes!!” She replies, in which my husband turned to me telling me he thinks I am real Chef…of course, I nearly cried.  If you haven’t seen this movie, I recommend it highly.

At the end of the day, we have to provide for our families, often times doing jobs we don’t love.  But as I’ve told my husband, “You just watch…ONE day I’ll make my mark on this world, and it’s going to be amazing.

Until then, I’ll keep movin’ forward.

❤ Michelle