Wednesday, November 19, 2014

CSA Season Challenges

With the first real snow fall (woo hoo.....) on Sunday, we received our last CSA box for the season. I'm really happy we chose to stick with our half share at JenEhr Family Farm this year. It is so fun to see what is coming each week and was great to pick our boxes up on Sunday's this year.

Any CSA box is not without its challenges. We were challenged by the humongous heads of cauliflower we got in box after box. There are only so many cauliflower salads you can make and it wasn't exactly soup weather. That lead us to finally making cauliflower buffalo "wings" which were awesome!

As the season has changed we've recently gotten a lot of root and fall vegetables- potatoes, beets, brussels sprouts, and the dreaded celeriac. I'm just not a huge fan of celeriac:

1. it is ugly
2. it tastes like really really intense celery (I like celery, but its a little much)
3. it is hard to peel

Supposedly it is good for you, but eh. It is white so it can't be that great.

We got a celeriac root in our box 2 weeks ago and I was traveling for work, so Aaron wasn't compelled to cook it up (big surprise). Lucky us it was still sitting in our fridge when we received our box this week which contained ANOTHER celeriac root, of course. I don't travel this week, so I'm determined to take on the challenge of using all of the CSA box up.

I found the best two recipes I could to try to cover the celery taste:

Garden Keeper's Pie with Beets, Lentils, and Creamy Celery Root Mash - mixing the celery root with potatoes so they can pretend to just be mashed potatoes on a pretty veggie pie.

Ginger and Celery Root Soup - a half cup of fresh ginger root is sure to cover up the strong celery taste, right?

Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Madison Half Marathon

A couple weeks ago I wrote about my 10k race, which was done as part of training for the Madison Half Marathon on November 9th. I finished up my training pretty successfully. I took some extra rest days and had a 2 day scare with a sore quad, but overall I followed the plan. My longest run was 12 miles, which was also the longest I have ever run at once. I'll admit it was a little rough to do and my pace wasn't promising anything special for 13.1 miles.

Photo Booth at the Expo/Packet Pick up
The day before the half marathon I was wondering why I ever signed up for something that started at 7 am on a Sunday morning. Why was I torturing myself??? Luckily I had my dad with me so I couldn't back out. He drove all the way to Madison for the race and we had a great time with him and my step-mom, Nancy.

Waiting at the starting line!
 The weather was a little chilly (around 34 degrees) and I wasn't happy about giving up my warmer jacket at the starting line. When it was finally time to line up I found the 2 hour finish pace group, since my goal was to finish in under 2 hours. I was nervous about starting out too fast and the pace group was awesome for ensuring a steady start. I stuck with them for around 4 miles and then felt comfortable enough to run ahead a little faster.

My slow start paid off and I had a much faster second half of the race. I was able to pass a lot of people, which felt great. Overall I thought it was a pretty easy run and finished in around 1:56 with an 8:53 minute per mile pace. The pace challenged me a little, but I didn't feel like I was in pain or struggling to keep it up at all. It was a fun run and I wasn't nearly as upset about getting up so early and running in the cold while I was actually moving. I was VERY happy to see the finish though and don't see any full marathons in my future.

Finisher's photo and beer!
 The race was extremely well organized and definitely one I'd consider doing again, although I'd also like to do a warmer half marathon! I might have to pay my Dad back by traveling to Michigan to run with him there. We now have snow on the ground in Madison, so I'm thanking the snow gods that the half marathon was last weekend instead of this one and enjoying no training requirements for the time being!