Friday, January 6, 2012

Lunch line

Right across the street from my office, there is a hospital. It's not one of those sprawling, newly built medical centers where you go to have your baby, tummy tuck and heart transplant all in the same day. Sure, you could have a baby there ... but I wouldn't. The hospital is more of the kind of place you go to when you staple your finger to your pants, get your wedding ring stuck after mistakenly putting it on the wrong finger or miss the chair and crack your head open on a 7-year-old PC tower.

Oh, it's also a hospital you could go to to grab lunch.

Go ahead. Turn up your nose. But when the office cafeteria has a candy machine, chips machine and refrigerated one with curiously labeled meat sandwiches, you might just walk your butt across the street to get an upgrade in the form of hospital cafeteria food.

The offerings vary day-to-day but I'm always happy with a salad from the bar, hot soup and a veggie from the hot line. I'm not usually persuaded to get much else (hello, meat "gravy" and chicken fingers) but the other day, I dared to be different. I ordered the pesto baked tilapia that was right next to the roasted squash.

Lunch lady, you had me at pesto.

The fish was surprisingly delicious, with the pesto adding tons of flavor to an ordinarily bland fish and roasted tomato garnish adding a bright burst. I knew with one bite that I'd have to make it at home.

Pesto Baked Tilapia with Burst Tomatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil, more or less as desired
2 tilapia filets, thawed
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 pint grape tomatoes
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons prepared pesto, divided

Preheat broiler.

In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, add olive oil. Season fish with salt and pepper. Add filets and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fish. Add grape tomatoes and minced garlic, tossing as the fish cooks another 2 minutes. Top each filet with 1 teaspoon and spread with back of spoon to coat. Put skillet (as long as it's ovenproof) under the broiler for 6 to 7 minutes. The key here is to make sure the pesto gets a bit crusty (for lack of a better word), the tomatoes burst and nothing catches on fire. Trust me, that last one is important.

Serve with couscous, wild rice or whatever the hell you want.

Mark and I both really enjoyed this dish, which is very light - even with the pesto. 

What's your favorite fish dish?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Losing resolve

Give up Diet Coke.

Lose the last of the baby weight.

Stop using curse words.

Take better care of myself.

Keep "treats" as treats.

There are a million and one things that I could - and maybe should (I'm looking at you, Diet Coke) resolve to do in 2012 but I am not going to. Nope. In fact, the only thing on my mind as we begin 2012 is this: Survive the winter.

Winter is always a tough time to stay active and healthy. The cold and snow make running difficult, and heartier meals are much more appealing when the temperature dips. Factor in that many runs are with an infant and my time isn't my own, and I could be in trouble.

But I have a plan. A plan I think will work to keep me healthy, happy and active this winter.

1. Run less. Sounds a bit contradictory, right? However, I was feeling overwhelmed trying to fit in four runs a week during the fall as I trained for the HUFF and I know it's going to only get worse this winter. I plan to run three times a week, with one treadmill specific workout (i.e. speed or hills).

2. Maintain strength. I'm going to start taking Body Pump on Saturdays, and Mark and Miles will be hanging out with Nana on Wednesday nights so I can workout at home with no interruptions.

3. Focus on races. I am registered for the Rock 'n' Roll New Orleans half-marathon relay, and I am eying a spring half marathon. Knowing that I have a reason - a paid one, mind you - to run is a good motivator.

4. New duds. A new workout top or pair of running tights always gets me out the door. I'm a fan of my Pearl Izumi tights, the Under Armour top (as seen in Woman's Day) and this Craft Crew Neck I just spotted (size small, please). My favorite places to get good deals are Marshall's/TJ Maxx and Target.

5. Soup's on. Soup is one of my favorite meals year-round, even in summer. It's a great way to load up on veggies without feeling like you have to eat a salad. In the winter, I usually make soup once a week. It's warm, filling and makes great leftovers.

6. Hot tea. My office gets a bit cold, and it's very tempting to hit up the hot chocolate machine several times throughout the day. While there's nothing wrong with a hot chocolate, 10 a day is not so good.

How do you plan to survive the winter?