You Get What You Give

I really like listening to podcasts in the car, working out, or just working around the house. I like music, too, but for long things podcasts are nice because I feel like someone is talking to me.

I’ve been a fan of Rachel Brathen, aka Yoga Girl, for several years now and she recently started doing a podcast every week. This week she talked about body positivity but also how the energy you put out is what you get back and I know how true that is.

I used to be such a bitter, deeply angry person because of my life. I was upset that my parents had been taken from me when I was younger and that I didn’t get to have an adult relationship with them, that my stepmother now held all of the things I remembered from my childhood and would never give them up, and so many other things. I felt ugly and bitter inside and showed it outside, too. I was just mean and so envious of good things in other peoples’ lives, because I didn’t have them but also felt that I didn’t deserve anything good. It was just this cycle of being angry with my life and then showing that anger to others and then being angry because (surprise) no one wants to associate with an angry, bitter person (weird).

I can’t put an exact moment on when things started to change, but it’s taken me years to let that go. Years of being miserable and unhappy and selfish.

It’s so true though that what you put out is what you get back. My deployment in Afghanistan changed me in a lot of ways, all for the better I hope. I’ve felt like a different person since I came back, and I felt differently there, too. I feel like what I do matters and that my life is in my control, which is a lot different from how I used to feel that I was powerless and poor-me-can’t-do-anything-about-it. I’ve also noticed that things that used to be hard for me are a lot easier now, either because I’m more comfortable in my skin or because I don’t make people unconsciously want to escape the room I’m in.

That’s not to say everything is perfect and I’m great now. I worry an incredible amount about things that I can’t change and have a hard time letting go of that, I’m impatient, and snap when I feel like I’m getting stressed. But I really do think that the way you put yourself out there makes a huge difference in what you get back from other people and positivity goes a long way.

Pregnancy Questions

Since I’ve gone public about being pregnant, I’ve gotten asked the same questions over and over again. I wasn’t surprised, but thankfully haven’t gotten any ludicrous advice yet though I’m sure that will come later.

How did this happen?

Well, you see when a man and a woman love each other very much…

I mean, were you trying to get pregnant?

You mean, did I have unprotected sex with my husband?

Are you going to stay in the Army?

I don’t really understand this one, honestly. For one, as an officer I can’t just decide that pregnancy is cause for getting out but also, I have eight years in service. I’m clearly still serving because I like what I do.

What about your dogs and cat?

This one makes me a little angry. My pets are part of my family. I love them and they bring so much happiness and silliness to my life. Zane is too special needs to be happy with anyone else, Sophie’s already been dumped by one family, and Twister has such a strong bond with my husband. I would sooner give our baby up for adoption because that’s how it feels even thinking about giving away my pets. Zane and Sophie have become extra attached to me since I got pregnant, though that could also be because I’m the one who feeds and walks them and they love that I go to sleep to early.

How are you feeling?

Like someone substituted my nose for one of my dogs’ noses but left everything else the same. I can smell everything and it all makes me gag. Also I just feel tired all the time. As soon as I wake up for work I daydream about when I can go back to sleep. I’ve still been walking my dogs twice a day and going to the gym because I know staying active will make this easier on my body, plus, I’m still in the Army and I have to pass a PT test next year after the baby’s born and it’ll be a lot easier to do that if I don’t let myself turn into Jabba the Hutt.


Changes in the Wind

Sadly, I’ve had to cancel some of my big races this year, including the Ironman 70.3 Augusta but it’s okay because I’m training for something much bigger.


We’re expecting our first little fishing buddy next February!

How do I feel? Excited and also occasionally queasy.  I won’t lie that I am a little bit bummed that I won’t be competing in the Augusta 70.3 this fall, or the Disney Princess Half next February, but those races aren’t going anywhere and I am super excited to start our family.

What about my other races? Honestly, no idea at this point. I’m really sort of playing it by ear. I’m probably safe to do triathlon until the end of my first trimester, but honestly after watching that guy eat it at the last one, I’m feeling less and less inclined to triathlon.  I’m also having a lot more trouble than I already was with running or doing anything outside in our heat and humidity. As much as it pains me, I think I am probably going to be sitting the rest of this season out racing-wise.

But just because I’m not racing doesn’t mean I’m not doing anything. I switched out my half iron training plan for Ashley Horner’s “Creating a Miracle” and so far I like it a lot. It’s still plenty challenging but also forces me to do more yoga, which I should really be doing anyway.

Tri the Parks: Mistletoe State Park

So, after I got home Monday from the Rev3 Williamsburg tri, I worked the night shift and figured I’d just give myself the day off since I’d done a solid days’ work the day before. Then I also took Tuesday off, then Wednesday, then Thursday, and then it was suddenly Friday and I had to pick up my packet before work. I wanted to do this race because it was only 30 minutes from my house so it was super convenient. However, I didn’t realize that I was also working the night shift that week and night shift never gets off in time and then I’d have to get up early to get to the race to set up…and that I hadn’t really packed my bag or anything.

I’m usually a really excellent planner and this was one of the few times where I just didn’t really plan it at all.

I got home and did a tiny bit of work putting my numbers on my bike and oiling the chain and making sure I hadn’t left my helmet in Virginia. I also hadn’t unpacked since the weekend before (I really dislike unpacking) so fortunately(?) most of my stuff was still in my car. P and I debated about whether he wanted to get up early with me and go fishing while I was triathlon-ing. Now, to me we never came to a concrete decision of yes or no but I told him I was getting up at 5:30 and leaving by 6.

I woke up at 5:30, he didn’t. I let the dogs out, fed the dogs, fed myself, and packed my bag and still no P. I figured he’d decided to sleep in. Then I took my bike out and he’d moved my bike rack onto his truck. Weird, I thought. But again, since he didn’t wake up I figured he must have changed his mind. It wasn’t until I got to the park and saw all of our fishing gear in the bed that I thought maybe he’d wanted me to wake him up…oops. Also I had both sets of car keys so even if he’d wanted to meet me out there, he couldn’t. I am pretty much the worst wife ever.

Setting up went pretty quickly for me and then I had nothing really to do but wander around and admire the other pretty bikes. The water was 84.5 degrees so wetsuits were out of the question. Fun fact: ever since I bought my wetsuit, it has been too warm everywhere I go to wear it. I guess if you want to guarantee yourself warm water, buy a wetsuit.


Trying a longer towel method

They grouped all the women together in one big wave (SUCH a big wave!) and to avoid getting pummeled I waited several seconds after the start before heading out. Even still, there were a lot of people and everyone bunched up a bit around the first buoy. The most surprising thing to me the whole day was just how good I felt on the swim. I felt calm and relaxed and even when I got a little fatigued I never felt like I needed to completely stop and catch my breath.

I had also decided that since I didn’t do any solid prep work before this race, I wanted just do it by feel so I left my watch and bike computer at home. It was different and I felt a little naked and lost not being able to look at times, but ultimately I think I liked it better.

The distance from the transition area to the bike mount/dismount was my only complaint. It was ridiculously long. So long that I had time to wonder if the time was getting rolled up into the T1 and T2 times.

The bike course was reasonably hilly but enjoyable, except that there was a lot of drafting going on. At the first turn I tried to pass a group of people but they bunched up so much that I had to drop back because I couldn’t pass a group of six people all riding two by two.

One of the athletes had a bad accident on course and after the race one of the women said she’d been there when it happened. A truck got annoyed by the cyclists on either side of the road and tried to zip between them, went too near a cyclist, who overcorrected on a steep downhill and ended up bloody and in the ditch. When I rode by the police car had moved to block traffic around him and when I came back they were loading him into an ambulance. I really, truly hate when people are jerks on the road. As I was explaining to P about why cyclists don’t and shouldn’t ride in the shoulder, jerks think then they have enough room to pass me and get much too close for comfort. If I ride in the lane, they’re more likely to be safe when passing me because it involves them entering the opposite lane. It makes me so angry that that driver felt like he was in too much of a hurry to pass someone safely and put their lives at risk.

The run course was partially trail, which was nice, but also went down and up a very steep gully, which was not so nice at all. I was pretty done with the race after the gully and still had another 2.5 miles to go. Seriously. I stopped at all the aid stations and tried to find the happiness in running but honestly, I felt pretty crappy. I just wanted to be done. Finally I saw the finish line but I didn’t even try to kick. I was just annoyed by a lot of things that morning (neighbor playing loud reggae at 5:30 that I could hear inside my house, accidentally leaving P at home) and hungry and wanted to go home.

I cleared my things out of the transition area and checked my time. Despite going watch-less, I was pretty close to my self-estimated time of around 1:40, even with all the walking I did on the run course. I also wonder how much quicker that time may have been without the extra distance from transition to the bike mount/dismount line.

I have a couple of weeks until my next triathlon and right now I’m not sure if I’m going to do it or not. It’s an “intermediate” distance but I’m trying to just go by feel at this point. Fortunately, I’m also back on the morning shift for a while and I tend to be able to workout better on it.



Rev3 Williamsburg

A couple of weekends ago I took some leave and drove up that weekend to spend some time with some friends from college and also figured I’d squeeze in a triathlon while I was visiting. I spent Friday night at her house, after some car trouble along the way, and the Saturday we dropped my bike off in Williamsburg before heading to Richmond to meet up with our other friend. Her house was about the same distance to Williamsburg as Richmond so either way I was going to have a little bit of a drive.

They ran a sprint and some kids races on Saturday so we drove over afterwards. I was so impressed by what a big race this was and how well organized it was, too. Triathlon was completely novel to my friend so it was sort of fun showing her around and explaining to her the different things.

Also, Rev3 has really nice packet bags. I got a reusable shopping bag with a nice t-shirt, a visor, and several samples of different snacks. I wish I had taken a picture of it all, but I didn’t even think of it until just now.

In hindsight, I maybe should have just gotten a separate hotel for that night because it would have been easier to get my mind into the game. I had trouble sleeping and I had a lot of doubts swirling around in my head because it was my first olympic-distance triathlon. I told myself I’d feel better in the morning and if I didn’t, I could reassess then.

I felt way better that morning and got up with enough time to head out and stop and get something easy to digest for breakfast. I like to have an hour to set up my area so I can eat, use the bathroom, and not be stressed. Rev3 was running a half iron distance about thirty minutes before the olympic distance so by the time I got to the park, things were very busy. I had to make several trips back and forth from my car to the transition area because I kept forgetting things. Finally I had time to eat my food and then decided to go watch the swim waves start. It’s a good thing I did, too because they decided to move everything up half an hour. I wandered over just as the folks in silver swim caps (I had a silver swim cap) were entering the water and waiting for the start. I rushed in, threw on my cap and goggles with ten seconds to spare.


IMG_2536The swim was in the Chickahominy River and mostly pleasant, aside from the one guy who kept trying to swim on my feet and legs. I got kind of annoyed by that after the fifth time it happened so I spent some time splashing a lot to get him to sight and go away. My doubts came back and I started wondering if this was just a bad idea and if I should just scratch. I just felt really, really tired and another two events seemed insurmountingly hard. I switched to a two-stroke breathing pattern and that made me feel a little better and then told myself I’d finish the swim and then reassess. The last 100 meters or so the river shallowed a lot. I went to tread for a minute and the bottom was right there. Some of the taller people were hitting it with their arms with every stroke. As a result, all that river silt got kicked up and thoroughly coated me in a fine layer of dirt that later dried. Lovely.

I took some extra time in the transition area, ate a Stinger gu, drank some water, and felt a lot better so I headed out for the bike. I learned that I am a very slow cyclist, especially when I compare my average pace to the others in my category. I am slow. But I really enjoyed the course. It was mostly shaded (thank goodness because it was hot that day in Virginia) and only some gentle rolling hills and lots of pretty country houses and farms to look at. I felt really positive during the bike, even as it seemed like everyone and their mother was passing me.

Finally I hit the transition and headed out on the run. Again, the run was mostly shaded and the only big challenge was running over the huge bridge over the Chickahominy just after the start and right before the finish. I was concerned about overheating so I walked at every aid station and drank water and they also had Coke, Powerade, and these amazing ice cold sponges that I stuffed down the back of my sports bra and felt amazing. I also threw the ice from my water down the front of my sports bra and although it made me sound like a soda while running, it felt great. I was so happy to see that Chickahominy bridge the second time because I knew I was almost done. I tried to smile for the finish but it sort of looked like a grimace. I was good and tired by the end of it and so was also overjoyed when they gave me a sports towel that had been soaking in ice water to drape over my shoulders. I used some of it to clean off the dried dirt on my chest, arms, and neck.


Rev3 put on such an amazing event. They had booths from different vendors and also a barbecue for the finishers. I wasn’t very hungry but I ate some baked beans and an oatmeal cookie and got a ten minute session in some Normatec boots that really helped ease my tired legs.



I was in the mood for a caffeine pick-me-up before I tried to drive home that night (spoiler: didn’t make it, spent the night just inside the 250 mile radius of work) so we went to American Brew, the coffee/whiskey bar owned by one of my heroes, Ashley Horner.

I was happy just to be drinking a latte there when Ashley herself actually came. I was too starstruck to say anything to her, but she say my race tattoos still on my arms and asked what race I did. We had a chat about triathlons and swimming and I told her I was a huge fan and asked for a picture. I’m always nervous meeting new people, especially when it’s someone I admire because not only am I a little worried I will act or say something stupid, but I also don’t want to be disappointed by them. I’m so happy to say that Ashley was as unbelievably kind and warm as she comes across in her posts and videos. I was so thrilled to meet her in person and between finishing my first olympic distance tri and meeting her and also getting to see two of my best friends, it was a really incredible weekend.





2017 AJC Peachtree Road Race Recap

I’ve wanted to run the AJC Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta for several years, but it just never worked out for my logistically to plan a trip around it. I was thrilled when I found out that I was moving back to Georgia earlier this year and immediately went to register for it only to find out I’d missed the opportunity to guarantee and entry by joining the Atlanta Track Club by about a week. Fortunately, there was still the lottery option so I entered and back in April found out I’d been chosen.

The Peachtree is held on the Fourth of July every year in Atlanta and is a big tradition. Lots of families run it together and there are many people who run it year after year. It’s the biggest sanctioned 10K in the US as well and while I’ve run big races, they’ve all been marathons so I was curious as to how they’d manage to get 60,000 people through a 10K course.

My original plan was to drive up the morning before, but since I’d registered from Alaska before I had a Georgia address, I’d also chosen to pick up my packet at the expo so it was easier just to drive up the day before, go to the expo, and spend the night, run the race and drive home the following day. I found a Hilton Garden Inn near the finish line and by the MARTA station and booked a room there. Side note: parking was $30/night and there were cheaper garages the next block over, I’d do more research in the future because $30 is crazy.

I drove up, checked into the hotel and decided to get some lunch at a noodle place near Georgia Tech. From there it was only supposed to be a 30 minute walk to packet pick up – it was a 30 minute sweat fest. It was hot, sunny, and my Jacks were not as broken in as I’d thought they were. By the time I’d marched my way to the Georgia World Congress Center and realized the expo was at the building furthest from anything, my feet were decidedly unhappy with me.

I got my packet and realized I must have thought this was a longer race and given them a half marathon proof of time. They had corrals all the way back to Z and I was in W and my corral didn’t start until 0900, when it would definitely be hot and there was a red alert in effect for race day. I already hadn’t planned on running this for time but now I knew I’d need to be more conservative than I’d planned.

I limped my way back to the hotel where I changed shoes and did some recon on the MARTA route which conveniently led me to the Lenox Square mall where I did some shopping before heading back to Midtown for dinner and an early bedtime.

I got up early as usual, which was good since the MARTA was very crowded. I got to the start about an hour and a half early and had time to eat a little breakfast and sit in the shade while watching my corral. Most people were wearing some variation of red, white, and blue and I saw a few people dressed up as characters from American history. We started promptly at nine and immediately, people were walking.

Again, I wasn’t out to break any landslide records or even PR, but it would have been nice if they’d reminded people to walk right and run left because the entire 6.2 miles was just people walking four and five abreast all over the road. It was super annoying.

There was a lot of beer and snacks offered on the course, but it was so hot that I didn’t want to eat or drink anything that might make me sick. I stopped at all the aid stations for water and walked mostly up the biggest hill at mile 3.5 because I felt like I was starting to overheat a bit, plus the people around me were slowing to an even slower walk and I was frustrating trying to run around them. I finished up around wave J, which is probably about where I would have been had I submitted a correct proof of time. At the same time, I know I put what race I was submitting included distance so I don’t know why it didn’t just go by my average pace and not total time.

Once past mile 5 it was a lot better, but right before the finish everyone just completely stopped as far as I could see. I heard that someone may have fainted at the finish line and they were trying to aid them, but everything was so backed up by that point it was insane. Eventually we made it through at a walk and I collected my t-shirt and some water and a snack box and navigated my way back to the hotel. I thanked the Ghost of Christian Past again for booking a hotel by the finish line because I was able to shower and change before checkout time which is always a huge mood booster in my book and I was thankful not to have to ride MARTA back anywhere while hot, sweaty, and smelly.

Also, I didn’t get any safety pins with my packet. Fortunately there was one in my travel kit and I used some thread to see the other side onto my singlet.

Overall, it was an okay race. It wasn’t as much fun as Disney races and I think that had a lot to do with the heat, being in the wrong corral, and just complete lack of runner courtesy and them not reminding runners of it throughout the course. I finished in 1:10, and 20,740 out of a total of 55,413 runners who finished yesterday. That is probably my slowest 10K time ever, and still middle of the pack if that says anything about the heat and amount of walkers yesterday.

I may give it another chance next year when the weather will likely be better, but it’s not at the top of my list of races I want to do.

Georgia Bucket List

When I moved to Alaska I made a big bucket list of all the Alaskan things I wanted to do. I didn’t get them all (partly because I didn’t truly understand how enormous Alaska actually is) but it was a lot of fun to make the list and try to cross things off.

There are already so many things I want to do in Georgia. Here’s the very beginning of my list:

  • Volunteer at a race – volunteers are so important to races going smoothly and I would like to be more involved on that side of the event
  • Volunteer with Girls on the Run – I didn’t start running competitively until college but it made a huge difference in my grades and time and stress management. I want to be able to help others find that same release and confidence in being able to set and achieve their goals
  • Join a running/tri club – because moving means I have to make new friends >.<
  • Run the Peachtree Road Race – the world’s largest 10K
  • Finish the Ironman 70.3 Augusta – because how often do you get to do a big race in your hometown? I love that I could sleep in my own bed and be home in time for dinner
  • Run Currahee – I’ve loved Band of Brothers for years and it would be fun to run the same route. There’s also a Currahee Challenge that runs every year, “three miles up, three miles down”
  • Bike commute regularly – now that I live closer to work and it will be more temperate (though hot and humid), I’d like to try bike commuting for extra exercise and more fun
  • Catch a catfish. I tried a couple of years ago down in Columbus and successfully fed an entire container of chicken livers to the catfish while catching none. I have a few more tricks now that I’m eager to try out.

I am Queen of Excuses

I had a pretty bad week of training last week and even the weekend before. I skipped my Friday workout because I was headed to a triathlon, Saturday was the triathlon, and then Sunday I felt justified in being a slug. I was on a different schedule than normal and it really threw off my groove, plus home stressors just ate away my willpower. I just kept making excuses about how I felt tired and didn’t feel up to the workout planned. Basically, I was being a whiny pansy.

So. Where to from there?

Well, I realized I needed to get back on the train so I committed to solid workouts during some unexpected free time I had at the end of the week and I pushed myself out of my comfort zone with an out-of-the box workout on Sunday with an open water swim (and learned that I am apparently slightly scared of what might be swimming around/under me if I can’t see it) and park bike ride.


This week I’m committed to getting the work in as prescribed. It helps that I’m back on a more predictable schedule again, but I also know that I can’t give up just because I had a couple of bad days, or even a bad week.

In fact, I had a really excellent swim workout today where I surprised and impressed myself with not only how fast I could swim but also how easy and powerful I felt in the water – I guess all those laps and scary open water swims are paying off!


This week Training Peaks reminded me, “He conquers who endures.” Yup, I’m going to endure.

Tri the Parks Blalock Lakes, Take Two

Blalock Lakes was my very first tri (typing that makes it sound like I’ve done sooo many, ha!) so I  knew I really wanted to do it again, plus I wanted to try signing up for an entire series. I missed the first race of the series because it was back in April, but I was so excited to do Blalock Lakes again, especially now that I’ve actually been doing some training.

I planned to drive to Newnan after work so I packed everything in my car so I could leave from there. It’s a good thing I did because my shift ran long and I just made the packet pickup with a few minutes to spare.

I’d also planned on camping but it turned out that the park had actual gates and closed them between 10 pm and 7 am, which was a problem because I wanted to be at the start at 7. So instead I ended up driving back to Newnan and getting a hotel room for the night. Again, I lucked out because the hotel sold out a short while later.

I set my alarm for the next morning but I woke up before it and only a little after my weekday alarm usually goes off so I laid on bed for a bit reading Facebook before deciding to get up. I wanted to get some Starbucks but forgot my wallet in the hotel room so I had to turn around to get it and decided just to go to the start because I was getting antsy that I was getting close to when I wanted to be at the start.

At the start, I realized my number wasn’t actually 89, like I’d thought, but 68. My number was on my helmet upside down. And I’d put all my stuff on the wrong rack.  Whoops. I met 89 and she was super nice about it. I moved my stuff to the correct rack and it was more crowded because two women had huge tri bags right next to their bikes. As a result, all my bike photos from the race were filed under number 89 and not 68. I thought about using a market to draw a line under the bottom of my number, but I didn’t think it would actually do much good, and anyway, I didn’t have a marker.

I signed up as an age grouper because there wasn’t an option for novice online. I was pretty nervous about the wave start so I got in the water and swam a bit to warm up. The water was murky and I forgot to breathe out while swimming.

We watched the guys go and I put myself in the second rank of women. There was some panicking on my part as people swam way too close to me so I pulled off and swam slowly until they’d gotten more spaced out ahead of me. As a result, my swim time was a bit higher than it could have been since I sat there and treaded water until I felt like I had enough space. I didn’t really get a good rhythm down after panicking so I defaulted to two strokes and breathing only on my left side because that’s apparently my favorite side to breathe on. Again the swim seemed like it took forever but it was only about 15 minutes. I know I need some more work on OWS and some more courage to deal with the thrashing water.


I make the best ugly faces coming out of the swim

I rushed into transition and found my bike and then rushed back out. I felt pretty good on the bike. The course was all right turns and reasonably hilly. I got passed a lot in the first half of the course and I really started to wonder what was wrong with me and how was I such a weakling until I started passing the people who’d passed me. I guess they got more tired as the course was on. I’m still figuring out all my gears and what gear is best for the given situation and that day I discovered all the other gears on my bike, which made a HUGE difference in speed! I really loved the course, it was very quiet and Blalock Lakes is gorgeous.


Finally I was back and hurried to my rack and changed my shoes. I got a huge blister from no socks last time so I made sure I packed them this time. It was kind of annoying to put them on and I think my left sock was higher than my right sock, but it beat getting another blister for sure. The run was pretty hilly and I was getting tired so I tried to think of all the positive things I could. One of my coworkers had joked I was like The Little Engine That Could so I repeated that to myself for a while. I took water at mile 1 but by mile 2 I wasn’t feeling so great and a little while later I started getting the heaves and had to walk until I could calm my roiling stomach. I never figured out what caused that but I decided it was maybe the Java Monster I’d had for breakfast since I didn’t get my normal Starbucks, or maybe just because it was 80 degrees with 80% humidity.

A spectator had brought a vuvuzela and was blowing it near the finish line. While annoying, it was great to hear it because I knew I was almost done. I finished, got my water bottle, and guzzled as much of it as I could stand while I ate most of an orange in slices. I checked the results posted but they only had me through T2 so I decided to run back to my hotel and shower and come back to see the final results.


I don’t know why my right hand looks like a lobster claw

Swim: 15:23

T1: 01:18

Bike: 54:19

T2: 01:26

Run: 28:47

Total: 1:41

I had to look up my time from four years ago because I thought it was 1:41 and while I wasn’t going to be upset at getting almost the same time four years apart on the same course, I was going to be a little annoyed with myself. I know, it’s only been like two weeks of training but still. Good news though, my time four years ago was apparently 1:47, so I still beat my time even with walking and letting everyone on the swim pass me.

I registered as an age grouper so I didn’t place, but I would have taken first if I’d registered as a novice. However, novices aren’t eligible for end of series awards and I wanted to try for that. Plus, this was technically my third open water swim so I’m getting to a point where I don’t think I need to register as a novice anymore. I’m still debating on the rest of the season; there’s a few races where I think I need the novice tag for confidence but I’m going to work on getting used to swimming in a pack like a bunch of salmon.

Like always, I learned a lot and had a good time. Plus, it makes for a good excuse to have pizza for dinner!

Summer Dinners For When It’s Too Hot in the Kitchen

When the summer heat is just too much to even think about having a hot meal (is it really only June here?) I have a few recipes I go to for dinner that are filling and won’t make me feel even hotter than I already am.

Cubed, hacked caprese salad from Smitten Kitchen. I have been a follower of Smitten Kitchen for years now and I love her food. This recipe is absolutely perfect for summer weather and has all the classic bits of a caprese salad – mozzarella, basil, tomatoes, balsamic – but also delicious extras like cannellini beans. I usually just eat this with a spoon and sometimes also throw in a cubed avocado.

Okroshka. This is a Russian soup served chilled, like gazpacho. I like it because it has meat which makes P happy, and lots of veggies which makes me happy. I don’t like the yolks of hardboiled eggs so I just leave those out. It’s also great because you can make it in the morning and leave it alone all day and eat whenever.

Watermelon gazpacho. I feel like gazpacho is a summer staple and so is watermelon so this is just a perfect union of the two. Not to mention that this is the perfect weeknight dinner because it’s just throwing a bunch of ingredients in a blender and that’s it. It dirties almost nothing and is ready in the time it takes you to blend it together. I used a quarter of a watermelon for two adults, so a full-size watermelon would probably be good enough for a family of four. 

Shrimp ceviche. I am 85% certain that my husband first fell in love with me because of my shrimp ceviche. I always add extra avocado and serve it with corn tortilla chips and it’s my signature dish for parties and tailgates. It goes with everything and I never have any left to take home, much to P’s disappointment.