Saturday, January 4, 2014

Great Things

My goodness, there has been so much great food over the past two weeks! Of course, most of it was fed to us at my parents' house. They really know how to celebrate the holidays.

To me, one of the best meals was the last dinner there. My parents surprised us by having Raclette with us!! It is normally something we would have on New Year's Eve, but since we were not going to be together that day and because I just love this dinner so much, we had it that evening! No need to mention, I was beyond thrilled!

In case you've never had it: for Raclette, you need an apparatus like the one in above picture. Its a little table grill/oven that is being placed in the middle of the dinner table. Everyone at the table gets a little pan or two (less people equals more pans!) and you put them into the grill from the sides. The top of the grill can be used to keep things warm (in this case potatoes) or to grill additional things (that depends on the type of raclette machine). 

Two pans for the hungry people!

Then you fill the table with all sorts of good things and lots of cheese! There is special "raclette cheese", which melts easily and is extra creamy, but if you don't have access to that, any thicker sliced, buttery cheese would work, too. 

We usually have ham, pineapple, bacon, mushrooms, corn, tomatoes… whatever you can come up with that will taste good covered with cheese and grilled.

I like this best with potatoes that are being cooked in the skin and then peeled at the table. (Hence the bowl with fork and knife in it.)

Then you just fill your pans, cover them with cheese, put it under the grill, and wait for it to be covered in melted cheese.

This was Nick's pan. He was so moderate filling his pan!
I had to forcefully push the food into the pan in order to fit it under the grill. Unfortunately, I missed taking a picture of my creations. Don't be sad. I promise, I will try to take even more pictures of food in the future ;o)

Lets talk about my next favorite thing to do: Running!
As I told you, I didn't have access to a gym at my parents' house, so I was forced to run on paved roads. Hilly paved roads - and it was wonderful! I can't even begin to tell you how much I love running outside. Seriously, I am worried I'll die of a heat stroke really soon, if I continue running on a treadmill at the gym. Every time, I turn purple and my body temperature rises by 40 degrees. It's bad.
Over the holidays, I was forced to run in the freezing cold and loved every shivering second. Before, I was mainly worried that pavement would be too hard on my knee, but now that I started it, I really, really can't go back to the treadmill.

T-shirt and shorts in 32 degrees are making
for the most comfortable running conditions.
(Apologies for the sleepy face.)
To be safe, I am sticking to a 3 mile distance for now. I can still feel my knee after the runs, so that's as much as I want to risk right now. Plus, after not running for almost half a year, I have to begin at the very beginning, which means that I have to build up milage one step at a time.

I was trying to take a picture over my shoulder while running.
The result was so bad, I had to cut out my face.

On January 1, it was the first time that I was able to run 3 miles without having to walk to catch my breath for a minute. About 3 weeks ago, I ran my first 3 miles with walking breaks in 38:00. Now, I am down to running it without breaks in 28:31. At first, I thought that it was one of those lucky days that you have. You know, when your run just feels really easy, and I was convinced that I wasn't able to do it again. (Plus, I was distracted by all the garbage on the road. Evidence of the previous night's festivities and destructions. Maybe that kept my brain focused on something else.)

However, I went out the day after and did the same thing. I can't tell you how much happiness this little victory brings me. Those legs are finally moving again! It will still be a little while until I will be able to do longer distances and I'm pretty certain that the half marathon in March is not a good idea, but there is progress. What else could I wish for?!

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