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Announcement!

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Surely You’re Joking is not going anywhere, BUT I’m moving off of WordPress! (sorry if I oversold it in the title!) WordPress has been a great start but as my blog grows I find myself needing a bit more control (i.e. customization) and wanting to reach more people outside of the WordPress World.

The nice thing is my URL is not changing! You can still find me at surelyjoking.com.

If you are following me via WordPress I’m honestly not sure what will happen, you may need to select again to follow me which I hope you do! Ideally everyone following me will be transferred automatically but I have a communications degree, not a computer science degree so here we are.

See ya soon!

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Pi Day Friday

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I hope you all made it a point to celebrate Pi Day, too! I had the day off since we worked through last weekend and lucky for me it was sunny and warm, we hit 54! I took advantage by doing my 7 miles in the neighborhood and even though it was super windy the sun felt amazing and I even rolled down my arm sleeves. I had a hair cut at noon but other than that the day was wide open.

Brett ended up working from home and we met up with Susie at Filter (3 1/2 stars, 371 reviews) to work on our separate stuff together and get some coffee. Filter has great coffee and a solid menu but their draw is the gigantic living room were many Hipsters gather to work on their various Hipster projects. The majority are most likely putting birds on things. There’s a huge assortment of accent chairs, couches and coffee tables making it an ideal place to get some work done and feel like you’re at home but be somewhat social at the same time. Once my hunger hit I got the Filter salad that had avocado, goat cheese, dates and toasted almonds!

photo 5 (6)After we hit our caffeine and study limit we headed back into the wind (seriously, like 24MPH in your face) and assured Barksdale, once again, that we always come back. The Pie Sisters pies were long gone but I had something savory in mind for our Pi Day celebration and tried a new recipe for individual chicken pot pies. They turned out pretty good although I’m not too confidant in the crust I made from scratch and will probably test out a few other recipes. Still, they were yummy and very cute!

Individual Chicken Pot Pie
Via Anytime Fitness Blog

Crust
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons of cold water
pinch of salt
Filling
3 C mixed veggies (carrots, peas, green beans, corn)
1 pound of chicken breast, cooked and diced
1.5 cups of non fat-milk
3-4 Tb flour (I added this to thicken)
1 tablespoon garlic
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil

Crust
Combine flours and salt in bowl of food processor
Add butter and pulse until mixture is full of pea-size lumps
With motor running, add water slowly, just until dough begins to come together
Dump it onto floured surface, knead a few times, and create dough
Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 min

Filling
Saute garlic in oil, add veggies and seasonings
Add chicken allowing to heat through
Add milk and flour, stirring to mix
Allow to thicken then transfer to ramekins
Roll out dough and cover tops of ramekins

Bake @ 400 for 25 minutes. This recipe fills 6 six ounce ramekins

photo 4 (8)

Brett and I found ourselves at The Logan Theatre once again, catching the 9:15 showing of 12 Years a Slave. We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy watch but we both wanted to see it before the Oscars and especially wanted to check it out since it won so many accolades. Taking advantage of the beer policy we each got one to bring in the theater and enjoyed some salty popcorn, too. I don’t have to tell you the gist of the movie but will say it’s worth the uncomfortable aspects of being put back in the time of slavery to see such a good movie. It’s, of course, intense at times but it’s so well done and the acting is clearly superb.

photo 3 (11)Today I did 15 miles but I am choosing to regale you with that tomorrow because I have yet to have coffee and the couch is calling my name! Happy Saturday, hope you’re having some green beer…or just a beer… or any alcohol, really!

Peanut Gallery:

How did you celebrate Pi Day?

Which of the Oscar nominated movies did you see? What was your favorite?

Doctor’s Orders

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A little background without going all House on you; over the past year I’ve been going to a doctor for blood tests to keep an eye on my low white blood cell count and large cells. Last week I had a bone marrow biopsy (way crazier sounding than it was!) to rule out anything like Leukemia and the results came back clear of anything like that (yay!) but one thing they saw were some fat pockets in my blood. She had me come in Tuesday to discuss what that means; my body is storing away fat like a squirrel before winter, and luckily she’s seen the same thing with other patients and the culprit is always the same: calorie deficit.

I aim to eat around 1,800 and certainly hit 2,000 on the weekends plus I can run 14 miles and do 6 miles of speedwork without falling apart so I was surprised to learn that on a cellular level I wasn’t getting enough! Listen up marathon runners: you may need upwards of 2,500 calories a day to fuel properly! I feel a little silly seeing as I JUST got my personal trainer certification but this goes to show that just because you feel fine doesn’t mean you’re getting enough. It turns out that while I am not at all malnourished, I have no reserves for if I get sick or injured. Certainly NOT a good position to be in, especially when training.

Here’s where it gets good: I am medically ordered to gain 5 pounds.

Andy Dwyer shockedOf course this sounds like a Godsend, but being someone who tries to eat healthy 80% of the time and works hard in the gym, this is easier said than done. I fully believe that not all calories are created equal; one pound from 3,500 calories of hummus, almonds and fruits are different than one pound from 3,500 calories of ice cream and doughnuts. With this goal in mind I’m certainly going to indulge more than usual and not worry about extra desserts (notice I said extra desserts, not just desserts), but I want to be smart about this and gain for fueling my runs properly. Luckily this gives me a green light for peanut butter!

I’m mainly writing this post to not only make others look at their own calorie needs, but to be accountable. My next appointment is May 13th and I will periodically update you all on my progress which will probably include a lot of feelings about my new eating habits so get ready!

Peanut Gallery:

What amount of daily calories do you aim for?

What food would you happily gain 5 lbs from?

Has anyone else been through something similar?

Hints of Spring

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Yesterday Chicago had That Day! I embrace the fact I totally and completely fell into it’s spell by going on a lunch time run on the lakefront path and came close to yelling at every runner I passed, “IT’S HERE! WE’VE MADE IT!” It was the first time since November I didn’t have anything covering my ears and even rolled up my sleeves because the warmth of the sun. Ahhhhhh!!

I made a pit stop at Fleet Feet Chicago’s new South Loop location to stock up on Clif Shots; now that my long runs are picking up I’ll need ’em. Many runners loathe gels but the Clif variety don’t bother me and the vanilla tastes like pudding! I do recommend, especially for women or smaller runners, eating half, running another half hour then eating the rest. It doesn’t sit in my stomach or overwhelm my system when I do that. My favorite flavors are: Mocha, Vanilla, and Chocolate and I got the new Double Espresso to try out!

In real food news; I tried a new sauce recipe I found on Pinch of Yum and am officially in love. Her Creamy Cauliflower Sauce is easy to make, pretty healthy and probably the most versatile recipe I’ve found in recent memory. Last week I poured it over roasted broccoli and pasta and this week I plan to smother pork chops with it (although eating it with a spoon is not out of the realm of possibilities).

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce
Via Pinch of Yum

8 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
5-6 cups cauliflower florets
6-7 cups vegetable broth or water
1 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
½ teaspoon pepper (more to taste)
½ cup milk (more to taste)

  1. Garlic: Saute the minced garlic with the butter in a large nonstick skillet over low heat. Cook for several minutes or until the garlic is soft and fragrant but not browned (browned or burnt garlic will taste bitter). Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Cauliflower: Bring the water or vegetable broth to a boil in a large pot. Add the cauliflower and cook, covered, for 7-10 minutes or until cauliflower is fork tender. Do not drain.
  3. Puree: Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cauliflower pieces to the blender. Add 1 cup vegetable broth or cooking liquid, sauteed garlic/butter, salt, pepper, and milk. Blend or puree for several minutes until the sauce is very smooth, adding more broth or milk depending on how thick you want the sauce. You may have to do this in batches depending on the size of your blender. Serve hot! If the sauce starts to look dry, add a few drops of water, milk, or olive oil.

photo 3 (1)We may have a winter storm looming over us and threatening to produce 4-8 inches of snow tonight, but this morning was runner-perfect so I took my 7 miler outside! I ran to work taking a very scenic route to the lakefront path and enjoyed every second of being in a t-shirt with arm sleeves and capris. I made good enough time to take a workout selfie to document my fabulous mood!

photo 1 (2)

In binge TV show news; I got into Grey’s Anatomy a bit ago and am now in season 5. I realized last week IT’S STILL ON! I had no idea there were still new episodes but at the rate I’m going I’ll catch up soon! We also tuned into Fox on Sunday for the first episode of Cosmos and can’t wait for next week.

Peanut Gallery:

What’s your favorite or go-to sauce recipe?

Have you had that hint-of-spring-day? Did you run?

What’s your favorite on-the-run supplement?

Did you watch Cosmos?

Washington DC Weekend Warrior

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Perhaps it didn’t seem like an eternity for you but without posting in 4 days I feel disconnected! We had our annual volunteer weekend (now called Grassroots Leadership Summit to make it as formal as possible) for work and I was in Washington DC from Friday morning until yesterday evening. Here are some highlights on the running and eating I did over the past few days:

Running

My first long run was scheduled for Saturday and I had been fretting about fitting it in before our meetings began at 9. My plan was to get on the trail by 5:45am and hammer out my 14 miles by 8am which is easy to say but I haven’t run over 8 miles since December. 14 is typically not a daunting number and I do have a solid base of 25-30 mpw but I wasn’t quite sure how doubling my peak run would feel.

Our events team hammered out our meeting prep like the champs we are and had nearly 3 hours before our volunteer reception kicked-off and I took full advantage of this new free time. I told them I was going to get my run out of the way since it was 1) daylight 2) 44 degrees and 3) NOT 5:45am. I won’t lie, the sudden change of plans made me a little anxious but I was thrilled to be able to get this monster of a run checked off. Luckily the hotel we always stay in is 1/4 mile from the Mt. Vernon Trail. The first time I realized this and tried it out I swear angels were singing the entire run!

My long runs should be done between a 9:30 and 10min/mile pace and my first 2 miles clocked in at 8:45; needless to say, I was feeling good, but needed to slow it down. The weather had everything to do with this and to not be freezing felt wonderful! By mile 5 I was feeling that old runner’s high and managed to steady my pace closer to 9:10s which I was happy with. I crossed the Arlington Memorial Bridge that brings you to the back side of the Lincoln Memorial and from there you have a plethora of paths taking you around the Washington Monument, Reflecting Pool and World War 2 Memorial; my favorite. Crossing back over the bridge I ran to the entrance of Arlington Cemetery and by the time I hit 10 miles my confidence had returned! I did another loop around the Monuments (fitting in an emergency potty stop just before mile 11) and had a huge smile on my face when I got back to my hotel room. Marathon training: I can do this!

photo (2)

The next morning Heather and I did 7 miles, leaving a little before 7am and enjoyed the early sunlight. My legs felt heavy but we averaged a 9:15 pace and chatting during our run made it really enjoyable.

photo 3

Eating

The hotel food wasn’t terrible but not worth writing about so I’ll skip to lunch on Sunday that I took myself to in Georgetown after our meetings were over. Georgetown is such a cute area and a straight shot over the Key Bridge at the base of our hotel. The sunset the evening before was beautiful on our walk the previous night.

photo 2 (1)But I digress. I had my book and wanted something low key and quick and found Cafe Tu-O-Tu (4 stars, 147 reviews) which fit the bill. I got coffee and their salad combo where you can choose 3 fresh salads; I went with:

Spinach Artichoke Salad
Baby Spinach Leaves tossed with Artichoke Hearts and topped with toasted Pine nuts and shredded Parmesan Cheese and Dill
Pear Salad
Pear slices with Dried Cranberries, Parmesan Cheese and walnuts served on Arugula
Strawberry Salad
Strawberries, Dried Cranberries & Spinach topped with Parmesan & Goat Cheese

photo 1 (1)

Now onto dessert! My coworkers and I found Pie Sisters (4 stars, 122 reviews) over a year ago and it’s now a tradition. They make full size pies but the best thing to get are their Cuppies; individual pies. It’s nearly impossible to decide on one so the past few times I’ve gone I get 4 different Cuppies to bring back home. This time I got their Key Lime, Bourbon Chocolate Pecan, Apple Caramel Crumble and Jumbleberry!

photo (1)Being honest, I really wasn’t looking forward to this working weekend but, aside from being mentally exhausted from being “on” the whole time, I had a pretty great weekend. Between my 14 mile run in the spring weather and the delicious pies Brett and I are still enjoying, I’m in a dang good mood for a Monday!

Hello, Runner’s High! I’ve Missed You!

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I had 7 miles to do yesterday and by God I was NOT doing them on the treadmill! With yoga before work that left an evening run as my option and an opportunity to kill two birds – my commute and my run – by running home and taking the scenic route. I really like running to get somewhere when 95% of my routes start and end in the same place. When you run to where you need to be it’s mentally more of an accomplishment and with each step you are actually closer to home (or wherever your destination)!

photoIt was 26 degrees and the first mile felt chilly but after that it wasn’t bad. My original plan (thanks to Mapmyrun.com) was to stay on the Lakefront Path until North Ave and take that West. The path was totally cleared and I was cruising; then I hit Ohio Street Beach. There were police barricades and the path had not been touched! “You sons of bitches!”, I cursed! I quickly regrouped and decided I could follow on the street/sidewalk side of Lakshore Drive and continue on to North Ave, nearly sticking to my original plan. I didn’t encounter many stop lights like I feared and once Thao & The Get Down Stay Down came on I was basically run-dancing.

Once I hit North Ave I had 3 miles to go and felt great. I passed Fleet Feet Old Town and had a flood of memories of nicer weather when I would run to Chick’s Night every Tuesday and on Saturdays when I would take that route to the Lakefront for a long run. I was smiling at this point and the thought popped in my head, “I’m falling in love with running again!”

It sounds dramatic – which it is – but it’s also true. I do like getting tough speedwork sessions in on the treadmill and it’s a nice refuge from the ice, but I never have the thought “I could do this forever”, or, “I love this!!” which I actually experience on my outdoor runs. I also averaged a 8:19 pace over 7 miles that would have felt tough on Mr. T.

I kept the attitude today and did my 5 miles at lunch, once again on the Lakefront Path, despite the inch of snow that fell overnight.

photoHuzzah!

Peanut Gallery:

Do you experience Runner’s High?

Has your treadmill tolerance run it’s course as well?

 

Let’s Eat!

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My chalkboard menu continues to bring me peace of meals and has honestly left me less stressed about dinner and grocery trips. Below are two recipes I tried over the past few days; one via Skinny Taste and one I made up. I find a lot of yummy and easy recipes on Skinny Taste and this one had Spaghetti Squash in the title so it was impossible not to check it out. If you haven’t experimented with spaghetti squash (and who hasn’t in college!) please do yourself a favor and try it out. I promise it’s not as intimidating as it may sound and this recipe is a great intro into the divine world of the squash that is spaghetti! (I changed a few things in this description but the link is to the original)

Spaghetti Squash Primavera

1 small spaghetti squash
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbs minced shallot
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 C red onion, chopped
1/4 C carrots, chopped
1 C broccoli florets
1 C zucchini, chopped
salt, pepper and 2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 C marinara sauce
1/2 C shredded Mozzarella

Prepare spaghetti squash 
Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds and membrane
Season with salt and pepper, place cut side down in shallow pan, bake 1 hour
Once done, scrape insides out with a fork, set aside

Saute shallots through carrots in olive oil
Add broccoli and zucchini, season with salt and peppers
I let cook for 20 minutes to soften
Add marinara sauce and simmer for 10 minutes
Add spaghetti squash and any seasonings you want (oregano, parsley, etc.)
Top with cheese and place under broiler until browned

photo 1

Gourmet Pigs ‘n a Blanket

1 can crescent dough (I found an organic brand)
marinara sauce
spinach
chicken sausage (I used Trader Joe’s)
shredded Mozzarella

Layout crescent dough on baking sheet
Spread with marinara sauce, top with spinach and cheese
Place chicken sausage at larger end of dough and roll up
Bake according to dough directions plus 2-3 minutes
Serve with salad, soup or veggies (I chose zucchini and asparagus)

photo 2

Peanut Gallery

What’s the best thing you made recently?

What do you like to make as a side?

Have you fallen in love with spaghetti squash yet? How about now?

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