Saturday, June 7, 2014

Meet Me Downtown 5K: Experiencing the streets of Tucson

One of the 1st weekends we lived in Tucson, 6 years ago (!!!!), we decided to head downtown one Saturday morning to "check out the city". We had visions of walking around shops, and having lunch at one of the bistros.

When we got downtown, our expectations and reality were very diverse.

Everything was closed.

Garbage layed in the streets.

No cars were around.

No people were to be seen.

We walked a few blocks down, thinking, "Up ahead is where the action must be".

All we found was a homeless man sleeping on a bus bench.

Well, 6 years later, things have changed drastically. Over the past 2 years, there has been a huge push to make downtown Tucson cool again. And it has worked!

Now you go downtown, and it bustling with new restaurants, coffee shops, yoga studios, apartments, new construction everywhere, and a street car that takes you from the University of Arizona, to 4th Avenue (an arts district), to downtown. In the evenings, you will find live music, coffee shops filled with live jazz and folk music, food trucks in the streets, and artists on the sidewalks.

I could talk about the negatives (financially) that Tucson has suffered from these developments. I'd prefer to focus on the positive. Downtown Tucson is now cool!

They have done a race for several years that starts downtown, and goes through the neighborhoods. This year there were 3000 runners! It's fun that they make it a night race (start time is 7pm). I love that it brings business to all these new restaurants/bars! I'm all about supporting the local small businesses!

After the race, the streets are filled with runners in their race bib's (many of the restaurants offer food discounts for those with race bibs). It was such a fun energy! Live bands, good food, music, and tons of runners! (However, I felt kind of gross in the bathroom at a bar

I'm happy with my time on this race. I loved the "no pressure" of a 5K. 22 minutes and I was done!? Much better than 4 hours.........

Ryan (aka speedy) and I did not  run together, as he finished in 21:06. I was done in 23:11 (which was a 7:28/mile pace). It was 99 degrees at race start....so I am happy with that pace!!

Let me tell you, the beer tasted really good after that run! It was so hot and dry. 99 degrees with 3% humidity. Gahhhh (that's what noise your throat makes in these conditions)

Another fun part of our weekend was we decided to make a staycation out of it. So we stayed at my favorite resort in town, the JW Marriot Starr Pass Resort and Spa! It was so nice to just get away from life, and lounge by the pool, read, and eat delicious food. And from 3pm Friday until 3pm Sunday, Ryan vowed to not touch his study books or flight manuals. I don't remember the last time I had Ryan for that long where he wasn't stressing about studying! (I don't know when I'll get that, either. Ha! But that's okay!)

Here are a few photos from the race!

I grabbed this aerial view photo from the Southern Arizona Road Runners facebook back. I just thought it was so neat!! The people leading this race were insane. Because this was also part of the National 5K Olympic qualifiers! So there were people doing this in 14 minutes!

Here we are pre-race!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A Recipe! She's back at it in the kitchen!

I don't know if you've noticed my absence of recipes, but my abandoned kitchen tools have. It's just not fun to cook for yourself. It is so much easier to just heat up some boring black beans and eat it with a salad when you have no one to cook for.

Now that Ryan is home, and we are adjusting to "married life" under the same roof again - I am rekindling my love of the kitchen!

I made a recipe on Sunday afternoon, that I just had to share!

Green Lentil Curry.

I bought a bunch of bulk lentils from Sprouts last week, and had the thought to make them ahead of time for lunches during the week. And I found the perfect recipe for this!

And it was so easy! I found the recipe on Pinterest, made a few little changes. It is so good!!!

  • 2 cups green lentils (dry)
  • 1 14 oz can coconut milk (I used the lite version)
  • 8 oz tomato paste
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped finely
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp coriander, ground
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  1. Sautee the onion and garlic with olive oil, until onions are slightly browned.
  2. Add in the seasonings, to allow the depth of the spices to come out (*cue amazing smells in your kitchen*)
  3. Transfer this to a crockpot. Add in the coconut milk, tomato paste, water, lentils. Stir to dissolve the tomato paste.
  4. Cook on high for 3 hours (or low for 6 hours).
  5. The consistency should not be soupy. You want the lentils to absorb all the liquid.
The recipe recommends serving with cilantro and tomatoes as garnish. I forgot about this part, but we didn't feel it needed garnish! The flavor was just so perfect, I wouldn't want to add anything to take away from it.

My meat-loving-man did ask if I could add meat to the dish, and because I love him - I did. So I took chicken breast, diced it, marinated it with curry, cumin, cayenne, pepper, olive oil, and orange juice. And served that on top of the lentils.

What have you been cooking lately?