Transitioning

I am currently in the processing of having my blog hosted. I’m pretty sure I have everything I need to make the switch.

Matt at Kitchen of a Runner has been SO helpful in my making the switch, too. I consider myself pretty literate in computers but sometimes I just get so confused and I’m so thankful for other bloggers who are willing to help me out. :-)

So, as of now, if you are subscribed to my blog or just follow on a whim, my new address is http://www.joggingconcierge.com. I’ll be going between that and the wordpress site for a bit until I have everything underway.

And thank you so much for those who follow me on here and Twitter! I’ve only been doing this seriously since August of ’10; I never thought I would have this many readers in only a 5 month span. I’m glad you like what I have to say and I love reading your blogs as well!!

Hope everyone has a great weekend! I’ll be posting tonight about my job’s holiday party. I still don’t know what to wear! Honestly, I don’t really own very many “fancy” pieces of clothing. I’m a sweater and button-up shirt kind of person but it would be nice to have some silk pieces or other clothes of that nature in my wardrobe too.

My break will probably consist of Marshall’s and Chipotle. :-P

Have a great day!

Testing the Product

Hello again!

I’ve emerged from the snow and I am finally back at my apartment.

My day started…yesterday morning. I decided to finally try out my cold weather running gear that I got for Christmas and headed out on a 2 1/2 mile run. Nothing long because it was cooold. My top layers were an Under Armour compression shirt, Nike Thermo-Fit half zip fleece top (with a hood and thumb holes!) and a North Face windbreaker. I had ear muffs and new gloves on as well. For the bottoms, I had my compression shorts, long-john pants from Patagonia and Fila wind pants. My brother in law and his fiancée got me some new socks (along with the gloves) so I tried those out as well. I was toasty! I even had to take off my gloves about half way through.

I ran the 2.5 miles in just over 24 minutes. I’m slowly getting back to it. At the end of this month, I’ll be starting my training for the 5k in March (hoping to PR!) and after that, half marathon training! I found out that a bunch of Boston bloggers that I follow will be running the Run to Remember half marathon too! I certainly hope to meet Tina and Ali.

After my run I had my breakfast: oatmeal and coffee.

For this batch, I added something different: figs! :-P In the mix was honey, raisins, figs, granola and Teddie peanut butter.

I had to go into work early for a meeting so I had some of the leftover mac ‘n cheese with broccoli and tamale from Target.

Well, the 1pm meeting turned into a 30 hour marathon at the Fairmont! I was scheduled to work the 2-10 shift and because I was coming back at 7 the next morning, the hotel let me stay for the night because there was NO way I was going to be able to drive back to work in the morning.

They gave me the cutest room, which also happened to be the farthest from the elevator. Ah well, the walk was good for me.

Having fun with PJ’s that my mom gave me for Christmas.

These products from Miller Harris smelled yummy. But I am partial to citrus smells. ;-)

My morning shift was scheduled from 7a to 3p but the evening concierge called out because of the weather. I was on the desk till about 6:30 and luckily when I left, the roads were better. Definitely not GREAT, but they were better. The highway just outside of Boston was fine but the closer I got to 95, the worse it got. I just took it slow and I was able to get home with no problem. It was also nice to pull into the lot at the apartment and be the only car not covered in snow (thank you parking garage!).

I was really happy to see David, too because with our schedules, we kept missing each other. We took a little nap before he went to work.

For dinner I reheated some leftovers into a delicious “soup.” It contained low sodium vegetable broth (that I had cooked the chicken in.), quinoa, kidney beans, broccoli and carrots. I added some pepper for flavor and it was really delicious and flavorful. And it definitely warmed me up.

I enjoyed with a side of British muffin topped with Teddie peanut butter and honey.

And of course, right now, I’m watching my late night TBS shows, Conan and George Lopez. And I just booked our trip to…

LAS VEGAS! David and I are leaving in a few weeks for 5 days as a vacation before he leaves. A few years ago, I had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of Gary Loveman who is the President of Harrah’s Entertainment and after e-mailing him (a shot in the dark!) he offered us a comp room at the Paris hotel! Score! We’ll probably stay on the strip for the first 2 days and then take day trips to National Parks and the Hoover Dam. I’m so excited!

Are you a fan of Las Vegas? Anything that’s a MUST see?

Right now I have to break away from the TV because I still have to put together my outfit for my company’s holiday party tomorrow! Night!

Cooking and Me

“Oh, I love that recipe. I’m going to add that to my meal list this week!”

“That’s a keeper for my recipe book!”

“Can’t wait to make those tomorrow morning.”

These are common comments that I have made on food blogs and I have yet to actually make anything. You know why? I’m actually kind of intimidated. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love to cook and I certainly have my staples, but I seem to rely on them a lot. And I rarely get out of that “cooking bubble”.

I think that’s why so many of my posts have been about baking because it’s down to a science. I can follow the recipe to a T and the dish will come out great. When it comes to dishes where you can add a spice here or there, or substitute ingredients, that’s when I start to think “What if this doesn’t taste good?” “What if I’ve wasted the ingredients?”

I would love to utilize more of my cookbooks and get ideas from blogs, Foodbuzz, magazines, etc, but I must admit it is quite overwhelming! Everything looks so good and I just want to try it all. This is where a weekly meal plan will come in handy I’m sure. Having that ready when I go to the grocery store, I’m sure will alleviate some of the tension I have. It is tough to get into it though because David and I have such differing schedules. I work the 2p-10p shift at the hotel and he works the 10p-6a shift at his security job. And for the next week, he’ll be working Army as well. It’s tough to be able to get our schedules together where we can actually sit down and have a meal. Maybe lunch will have to be that meal! Maybe I’ll try Tina’s cookbook challenge and make a new sandwich once or twice a week to try and shake things up.

I’m also dying to make some more breakfast items. But what to make for the husband who doesn’t like eggs and who generally doesn’t like eating breakfast? These are in my radar (but in pancake form) and I would like to make more adventurous oatmeal dishes a la Kath.

Now, onto Monday. Today was my last day of my three day weekend. Here is a recap:

Social Networking
David’s burgers and a Saucy Army
Ristorante Saraceno

This morning I was determined to continue my exercise kick and I’m hoping it will certainly stay with me! David told me that it was frigid outside so it was a good excuse to get my P90X on.

This workout always makes me sweat and it makes my triceps kill! That’s definitely a problem area for me because they are not very strong.

My breakfast came a little bit later in the afternoon so I made sure it was substantial.

What a handsome mug. :-P My TJ’s British muffins were topped with scrambled eggs (1 part regular egg, 2 parts egg whites) and one topped with Teddie’s peanut butter. I had it with a side of banana with plain yogurt, honey and almonds. And of course, my cup o’ joe with organic vanilla syrup, half n half and Sugar in the Raw.

The afternoon consisted of cleaning up the kitchen and making a Target run. I also looked for a new top for my holiday party this Thursday. I didn’t find anything exciting (the theme is Arabian nights) but I did find a sweater for my sister-in-law’s birthday party this weekend!

When I got home, I stuck a few chicken breasts in the Crock Pot and let them simmer, with some low sodium vegetable broth, salt and pepper, on high for 3 hours.

They came out fork tender but after a while out of the broth, they became rather dry. Hmmm. Something to work on. For a side dish I had broccoli and Annie’s Mac-n-Cheese (mixed with Greek yogurt).

It was a delicious dinner. Right now I’m watching Hoarders (it is Monday night!) and they’re showing clips for the new show Heavy which premiere’s in 1 week. I am definitely intrigued and will most like try and catch those episodes. I’ve also been watching I Used to be Fat on MTV and the show is actually really inspiring. Some of the kids whine and complain at first but they finally get to a point where they are happy with themselves and it definitely makes me think of the way I used to be and what it took for me to get where I am today.

Do you enjoy makeover shows like I Used to be Fat?

I’ve posted a lot in the last day or two because tomorrow I’m working back to back shifts and with the snow storm I may have to stay at the hotel. May not be back to blogging until Wednesday. Bundle up Boston!

P.S. Matt over at Kitchen of a Runner is having a coconut chips giveaway! Ends January 14th!

Ristorante Saraceno

The last two Christmas’s, Ristorante Saraceno on Hanover Street in the North End sent out gift cards for all of the concierges to come and try out their restaurant. I had heard good things about it from other colleagues but have always had my go to’s: Antico Forno for pizza and Limoncello for classic Northern Italian.

Well Saturday night, I was going to change that. David and I originally had reservations at Chart House (another go-to!) but I wanted to try something different. We got ready, grabbed our gift card and were out the door. On a Saturday night in the North End, parking can definitely be tough but because of David’s military affiliation, we were able to park at the Coast Guard station!

My first impression of the restaurant was definitely cozy. There were about a dozen tables and David and I were sat at the table right next to the door. Thankfully there was someone who manned the outside and indoor door such that I never felt cold or needed to wear my jacket.

We started off with a few pieces of Italian bread dipped in olive oil. Is it just me, or does the bread scratch the roof of your mouth? It has a tough crust but it’s still yummy.

For wine, we opted for the house pinot grigio. David is a sweet-white-wine fan so I hoped this would work for him. It was a little dry for him, but I enjoyed it with my pasta. I’ll pretty much drink any white wine; it’s red wine that I’m so particular with. ;-)

To start, David and I both had the insalata della Casa. It consisted of romaine and spring mix lettuce, olives, tomato, red onion and pepper topped with balsamic vinaigrette. The salad was crisp and fresh but there was definitely too much dressing. It ended up pooling at the bottom of the plate.

For our entrees, we decided on two pasta dishes and shared them. I ordered the Spaghetti all Amatriciana which is spaghetti with tomato-onion-bacon sauce & sharp Parmesan cheese. David ordered the Lasagne al forno della Casa which is the homemade lasagna. I pictured my dish but not David’s.

Hey there bacon!

The portion sizes were perfect; David and I were able to split both and we didn’t feel full. Both dishes weren’t out of this world, but they were tasty as comfort food. Mine had just the right amount of bacon but I didn’t really taste any of the onions in the sauce. That’s probably because the downside to both entrees was the over seasoning of salt! With his lasagna, David said it was as if the chef put salt in the pasta, then drained the pasta, put more salt and added salt to the meat. It also wasn’t as cheesy as I like lasagna to be. There was minimal mozzarella and a bit of ricotta. It was definitely meaty and saucy though.

For dessert, David chose the chocolate mousse cake. It came out in less than 5 minutes. And it tasted like a hostess cupcake. Tasted good, but definitely not authentic, and it seemed as if it came right out of the fridge. I also had a cup of coffee with my bites.

The service was also dicey. It wasn’t unreasonably slow but it would have been nice to not have to wait 10-15 minutes before placing our order. It probably didn’t help that former Channel 5 news anchor Chet Curtis was having a large party there that night; I’m sure the servers attention was on them most of the time. But when we were served, the gentlemen were extremely pleasant and helpful. And at the end of the night, I gave them the gift certificate along with my business card and they returned the gift certificate back and told me to come back anytime.

I may take them up on it, but during the week and to try a different entrée.

But my overall impression is that there are a ton of Italian restaurants to choose from and this one would probably not be on the top of my list. I didn’t leave with any lasting impressions, but we did enjoy our evening nonetheless. For casual dining, I like to stick to Limoncello and if you want to be wowed by food, then I recommend Prezza. :-)

Happy Dining!

Posted in Dinner. Tags: , . 7 Comments »

A Saucey Army

Ok, where did I leave off?

Oh yes, waiting for David to come home so that we could have burgers for lunch!

David takes such pride in his burgers. He gets lean ground beef, Vidalia onions, bacon, extra sharp cheddar cheese, and Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce…for his burger. Mine is usually a smaller patty, onion, ketchup, lettuce and cheese. Every so often I will have a slice of bacon. Oh, and it’s not a slice of cheese; he melts it. After seeing a Travel Channel show where they were featuring Ted’s in Meriden, CT, David has been melting cubes of cheese in a small bowl and smears it on the patty. It’s delicious.

Side note: We even had a BBQ the day before our wedding (instead of a rehearsal dinner) and David manned the grill for the majority of the afternoon.

Explaining how he makes the burgers to our celebrant, Rob.

Now, back to Friday afternoon!

Trader Joe’s British muffin, with a 1/4 lb patty, ketchup, melted cheese, lettuce, onion and a slice of bacon. I had it with a side of Triscuits and water.

After lunch I headed to work and the hotel was soooooo slow. I ended up leaving at 9:30 (shift gets over at 10:30). Saturday morning/afternoon, David had army drill so I went to my parents house to do some much needed laundry and, just to meet with my parents. :-)

Before I left the apartment, I had an old oat favorite with an apple, honey, cinnamon, Teddie peanut butter and granola.

And on my way, I picked up a pick-me-up! French vanilla with skim milk and one Splenda (DD has yet to stock Sugar in the Raw.)

When I got to my parents, we spent a few minutes catching up and then we were off to Planet Fitness for a good treadmill run! It’s been years since I went on the treadmill, but I can honestly say…I prefer running outside. I felt like I was killing myself at a 9:15 pace. But it could also have been that I haven’t really run since the 5k on December 5th. Who knows? But it was a nice almost 4 mile run with my mom next to me and Father of the Bride Part II in my ear buds.

When we got back to their place, I showered and had an open faced sandwich for lunch.

It was topped with hummus, spinach, one slice of cheese and two slices of turkey meat. A side of scoops completed the lunch. For a sweet treat, my mom and I split a Think Thin brownie bar. Not too bad, but not my favorite. I still prefer Lara Bars.

When I got home, David and I went to Ristorante Saraceno in the North End for dinner. I’m going to put that review in another post. :-)

Today was a cleaning and cooking day. David and I are in the process of moving out of our apartment and my goal is to get our loose papers and things in order so that the move is easier. I actually like the packing aspect of moving because it allows me to pare down where I need to and have only the necessities. I’ve even been doing that with my toiletries. Every year that I run the CVS Downtown 5k, I get a free goodie bag of products and I’ve been going through them all before I go and buy something new (like lotion, body wash, etc). They usually end up in a basket in the closet, and then I go and buy something new. So I guess another goal is to use everything up before I buy something new!

Do you like packing at all?

In the morning, I had an energetic breakfast: British muffin, Teddie peanut butter, banana, Morning Star “sausage” and coffee.

Throughout the day, David made a huge Crock Pot tomato sauce that included ground beef, sausage, onions, garlic, parsley and oregano. With his job, he likes to have food to grab and go so he made enough to fridge and freeze for the next week.

Not all of those jars went into the pot, but they were having a sale!

(L) Leftovers of my lunch: quinoa with black beans, – I then had it topped with melted cheese with a side of pita chips, tatziki, carrots and cucumber
(R) David’s leftovers

And I enjoyed a little refreshment with our pasta dinner.

Tomorrow is another day off for me (got to love those slow days at the hotel)! The plan: shoulders and arms from P90X, Target run and some more cleaning around the apartment.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Social Networking

Hello all! Hope you had a great week! Today is Friday and it’s actually my Friday! Usually my Friday is Saturday but I have this weekend off. Yeah! :-)

Tomorrow David has drill and I’m still up in the air on what to do. Hmm..Any Boston area bloggers want to get together?

This morning I actually got my butt out of bed and I exercised! This morning I did the Chest & Back DVD of P90X. I focused mainly on the chest and did a few back exercises. I also didn’t do the Ab Ripper X. I have to admit, that’s my least favorite part of the DVD series. It’s only 16 minutes long, but man, they hurt! I’m sure as time goes on, it will get better. I still can’t do a real push up. I still do them on my knees. That will be a great goal for me this year! Be able to do at least 5 REAL push-ups. :-)

After my workout, I had my favorite bowl of oatmeal with a cup of coffee. I had so many bags of coffee in the kitchen and one big Folgers cannister so I just mixed them all. It’s a mix of Folgers medium blend, Starbucks cinnamon (which I’m so glad I mixed because that stuff is strong!), and Eight O’Clock coffee. I put a little of the organic vanilla syrup, Sugar in the Raw and a splash of half-n-half. In the oatmeal, there’s honey, banana, granola, raisins and a spoonful of Teddie peanut butter.

After cleaning up the apartment and running to the grocery store, I had some of my delicious cornbread. Seriously, I didn’t think this would be as good because it wasn’t sweet, but it’s a great little snack.

Right now I’m waiting for David to come home so that he can make his world famous burgers for lunch! His are always loaded with cheese, bacon and BBQ sauce, but I like to make up my own toppings – lettuce, onion, ketchup, pickles….and some bacon…and cheese ;-)

I’ve been following blogs since spring of last year and became more involved with my blog in August and I noticed that lot of them have a few things in common: Twitter, Foodbuzz publisher, giveaways and OpenSky to name a few.

I’ve since joined Twitter (never thought I would!) but I’ve found out that it’s more than just constant “status updates”; you can find out about giveaways and deals going on at your favorite retailers and, if you have enough followers, get ideas on what to do in your city or a city your traveling too. I have a few follows (yeah!) but I never really know what to write. Follow me @jogconcierge! What do you tweet about?

Which brings me to the giveaways and OpenSky aspect. I know that I’ve only had my blog for a few months but I would love to be able to offer these things. Do you generally have to seek people out for that? Or do companies stumble upon your blog and if they see what products you love as well as how much traffic you get, they will contact you?

I have signed up to be a FoodBuzz blogger but I’m currently on the waitlist. I hope that works out!

So, why ask these questions? I really want to take my blog and make it a big part of my life. I never thought it would be so much fun to write about what I do and what I cook/bake and the fact that I get comments and followers is awesome!

I guess my question really is: What did you do to get your blog where it is today? I know that these things don’t happen overnight, but I would love to be able to get in the right direction! And thank you for those that do read and comment! I love “meeting” other bloggers and to read their stories and blogs too.

Oh, I’m also on Facebook! The Jogging Concierge. :-)

Pumpkin Pasta

I still have a large can of pumpkin in my fridge and I really wanted to use it up. BUT I didn’t want to end up doing yet another loaf of bread, muffins, or oatmeal so I posted on the What’s Cooking board of TheNest.com and asked if any cooking bloggers had ideas of what I could make. Thank goodness for Cara’s Cravings and her amazingly creamy pumpkin penne!

I didn’t have every single ingredient but I figured that I could finagle and change a few things because, hey, it wasn’t baking!

Amazingly Creamy Pumpkin Penne
Loosely based on the recipe from Cara’s Cravings

  • 4 oz rotini pasta
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lb chicken, diced
  • 1/4 cup non-fat, plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup nonfat milk
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook gently for about 10-15 minutes, until softened and beginning to caramelize. Add garlic and chicken, continue to sauté.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions. Mix together pumpkin, yogurt and milk in a small bowl until smooth. Add to chicken mixture in skillet and continue to cook over low heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.
  3. Drain pasta and top with the chicken mixture.

The original recipe was made for two servings; I made mine for one. And it was hardly as creamy as I would have liked. Maybe next time I’ll up the pumpkin and greek yogurt. The original recipe also calls to put the pumpkin, yogurt (well, cottage cheese in the original recipe) and milk in the blender to mix it better.

I had my pasta with a side of carrots and a whole wheat English muffin topped with Earth Balance butter and garlic powder.

This dish wasn’t bad, by any means, but it really didn’t have much taste to it. Next time I’m going to try the original recipe and have the spinach, sage and chicken SAUSAGE to add. But it was a fun dish to experiment with and really, anything with onions and garlic is a-ok with me. Thank goodness David loves onions and garlic too. ;-)

This week, and next, will be extremely slow at the hotel, so I don’t have many hours available at the desk. Thankfully, my mom’s office is more than willing to let me help out by having me come in for a few days to do filing, answer phones or other admin work.
And my mom was nice enough to make me lunch. Thank goodness too because all I had was a single leftover piece of pizza from the Horseshoe Grille and some triscuits and an apple. She made me a spinach wrap with turkey, cheese, spinach and hummus. It totally hit the spot for the afternoon. Thanks Mom! :-)

And for a snack, a delicious clementine.

I also received a Christmas present from my Aunt Denise: flavored olive oils! I can’t wait to use them!

What is your favorite comfort food? For me it’s always been pasta. I grew up with Prince pasta nights on Wednesday! Aaaaaaanthony!!!! :-)

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