Thursday, December 31, 2009


OMG I am 35 years old now!!! Yesterday was my birthday. I don't feel that old really besides when I see all the gray hair slowly taking over. What really gets to me is that my older one is reading, lost his two bottom teeth and that my younger one can write her name and dreams to be in Kindergarten... This is when I feel a tadd old or a little sad that I'm just closing that volume of my life. But hey onto my next adventure right..... This year I decided to not push myself too hard and thus after the Half marathon in January my next race will be the Spring Sprint in May (0.25M swim, 9M Bike and 3M run) then I will attempt my first longer distance SDIT which is a shorter Olympic distance (1km Swim, 30Km hilly bike ride, 10K run) end of June then I will do the Us Women again.

I'd like to start painting and drawing again. I would like to get back into photography a little more etc.... Finally play the flute again.

For my birthday I got spoiled rotten of course B is the best for that and that makes me feel sooo good. I got a SLR Camera Nikon D5000

and a nice silver pendant from a designer I stumbled accross while browsing the internet. I love jewelry that is a little different. I like interesting designs etc... This fits all the criteria.

We had breakfast at the Beach Grass cafe our favorite spot. MAC wanted pancakes with a dune buggy drawn on it ; ) He got a smiley face instead. He is known to challenge the chef since the happy face doesn't always suit his mood. He often asks for an angry face pancake or a monster face pancake or a sad face pancake.

After breakfast we played at the Fletcher Cove park, then dropped off B's car to get the tires balanced and rotated, then to whole food for some meat to dinner. I chose a veal roast with no idea how to cook it but it sounded interesting at the time. We also picked up some cheese for the NYE cheese fondue evening.

We finally got home around 2pm, I eagerly plopped the charged battery in my new camera only to realized that a memory card was required and nowehere to be found ;) Oops. Here I go to RadioShack next to the house, but of course they are out of them so I had to go to the next store.

After playing with my camera a little bit, B went for his 4M run and I followed him shortly. 3.3M at about 9:02 min/miles then 0.5M cool down.

After I got home I started looking for a recipe for my birthday dinner. Our friends from the house next door were joining us. I found a recipe on the Williams Sonoma site for an osso buco. I adapted it a little by replacing the lemon zests by wild mushrooms that were sauteed in garlic and butter. I also reduced the sauce a little to give it more flavor. I served it with mashed potatoes and I made an orange cake for dessert.

We had an amazing wine to go with it and spend a great evening.

This morning the kids woke us up at 8:30! It is going to be tough to get up on monday. The sky is beautiful and we have little to do today. I do have to work, I'd like to go for a bike ride and B went surfing.

I also bought myself a pair of Birkenstock. I know I know but I saw a mom wearing some at the park yesterday and they looked nice and comfy. I found a pair on super sale cuz 130$ for birkenstock is a little steep. I think they are cute in an old woman kindof way ;)
Now I need to work instead of blogging... I know it is new year's eve and I shouldn't be working but I have stuff to do and anyways....
Happy new year to everyone.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


So as many of you know, I love to cook. I always try to create new things. They are nothing special. I pale in comparaison of great chefs. I am astounded by how they marry tastes that are sooo different from one another. I would love to be able to do so. I read in one of the latest cookbook I got for christmas a dessert made from chestnut cream, pinaple and pinacolada sorbet. Since the chef has a 3 star restaurant which is the best of the best in France I do trust her creation. I am very curious and will have to try though.
One of my dream would be to spend 3 month in the kitchen with all the spices, produces and meats I need without the pressure of feeding anyone.
Anyways many are the nights when B has to wait patiently for dinner at 9pm sometimes 10pm. My weakness is in the asian cuisine I have to admit most of my attempt at stir fry are failed always edible but never close to what I intended to make.
Tonight, I wanted something easy and healthy.
I cut some cherry tomatoes, sliced some onion, garlic, herbs, salt, pepper, added some kirin, balsamic vinegar and port wine. Stuck this in the oven at 405 until roasted. I then chopped kalamata black olives, a ball of fresh mozarella, put on the top of the tomatoes and cooked a little more. I cooked gnocchis then sauteed them with a little olive oil.
Finally, I put the gnocchis then put the tomato concoction on the top of it. It was really good sorry no pictures.

My other creation of the night was macarons. Those things are soooo good and fairly easy to make. I started with chocolate ones and oh boy are they good. I will now have fun and make them in all kindof flavors. Can't wait to get started : )

I think there will be more cooking posts coming stay tuned....
My mom gave me for christmas a great great cookbook. It is from one woman french chef who has a 3 stars restaurant (this is the best of the best).

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas and more ...

On christmas eve, we got ready kindof slowly, played in the park... Before my wax appointment at 1pm and my last minute food shopping I decided to wip the chocolate mousse for the cake, then put the cake layers together.
I went to the mall in search of a cute top for the evening and found a cute one with a bunch of beads at a local store, I chose the medium grey one instead of the black small one. I like the color better but I probably should have gotten the smaller size. Then I ran off to Ralph to buy all the things that I forgot.
Once back home, I made some fried rice for lunch while the kids watched Princess Bride. I then started the cooking.
First I tackled the bread rolls, I chose this recipe from Williams Sonoma. After putting the dough to rise in the oven, I tackled the decoration of the cake. After a melting the chocolate a spreading a thin layer on a cookie sheet, I put it in the fridge to harden. It took a few attempt to get the proper consistency and I was able to decorate the cake. It didn't quite look like the picture on the book but after sprickling some powder sugar it still looked quite nice.
After the bread, the cake, I went onto my next task the "pate a choux" which was going to be used for the potato fritters and the apetizer. Finally I started the pheasant. Since I didn't really have a recipe I kindof invented the recipe. After cutting the pheasant in pieces and browning them in olive oil, I sauteed some onion and bacon. I then added some thyme, oregano, and sage from my garden and finally some port wine, white wine and chicken broth, quatered aple and dried berrys (cranberrys, raisin, cherry and blueberry). I added the meat back in the pot and brought it to a boil. I covered the pot and stuck it in the oven at 325 and cooked for 1h00.
We then got ready, we all put our nice clothes on. Drank our aperitif, then sat down for a very nice formal dinner with the kids.

After putting the kids to bed, we exchanged our gifts. B got me a fuel belt to go on long runs with fluids, a triathlon backpack to organize all my crap on race day, and a new mp3 player much smaller and without itune to deal with than my current option. B got the new ereader from barnes and noble too cool, a nice fleece jacket and a suchi plate set.
We then proceeded to wrap the kids presents. Well should I say I started wraping everything and B put them under the tree.

I was super happy to chat with my sister that evening who called my from Germany. I miss them sooo much, and my nephews who were so excited to have opened all their presents. The older one, woke up a 2am, went to my sisters to tell her that Santa did indeed come by. To which she answered "I know can you go back to bed now". He woke the whole house up at 6:30am. We were a little luckier as MAC woke us up at 7:30am and was able to wait another 30 minutes.
The kids were super stoked by their presents. They had each 7 presents from the whole family. It was a great number, enough variety but not an overwhelming number. MAC had a set of legos, a remote control car, a digital camera, a leapster and a batman game, some books, MEC got a small wooden kitchenette, a diaper bag for her doll, a kit to make a necklace, books, a leapster and a big playdough set.
After lounging for a little bit around the house. I actually put on my tennis shoes and set of for a 5M run. Of course I wasn't properly hydrated and fueled so it was quite painful 4.2M but hey I went out the door. Then we decided to get out the door in search for a place to have lunch! Hahaha we were really optimistic. Between Carmel Valley and Carlsbad on the coast we found 3 places open. We chose a armenian/persian place in Carlsbad. Our lunch was very good. On the back down we stopped by at our friends house in Encinitas and shared their dessert. The kids played and we chatted a little bit.
The next day we decided to go visit B's grandmother in Palmdale. We left on saturday at 10am and came back on Sunday at 3pm. It was a really short visit, the company was really pleasant even if the settings is not as pleasant.
It was good to be back home, eat home cooked meal. Arugula salad, and my brown rice balls comfort food.
This morning the construction workers outside our window decided to move the earth and so we got woken up by bip bip truck sounds at 7am :( We snoozed until 8am when MAC came into our bed, I got up at 8:30am and hung out with the kiddos a little bit. They played around the house for a little bit. After running a few errands we dropped off the kids to the neighbours while we went on our 8M run. I was a little stressed since my last few runs were quite painful. This time I made sure to drink water, to take a gu before leaving, take water with me and another gu midway. It was a great run! 8M at 9:54min/mile pace, my knees at the end were screaming at me since I'm not stretching enough.
I then made sure to refuel but I never get that quite right but at least I didn't completely crash. The kids are now playing the PS3 and soon they will be off to bed and I will work a little bit!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Getting ready ....

I've always celebrated Christmas Eve more than Christmas day. Today we started to get ready for the celebration tomorrow. It is only the 4 of us but we will have a nice dinner. A coworker really nicely picked up a pheasant for me while buying hers and left it on my door steps. All the gifts are in the house waiting to be unboxed and wrapped.
This morning I took MEC to the mall in search of party clothes. She really only has every day wear nothing fancy. I went to Janie and Jack which had a huge sale and found a really pretty cordury dress, Some cute ballet flat and some mac alister boots for Miles. All of this for 65$ gotta love sales. I liked another dress but it is flannel and thus is going to be a little bit less wearable in the summer ;)
I went to Potterybarn in search of stuff to make a nice table and found some silver chargers and a white linen runners. Here is a picture with our plates and silverware. It is going to be super nice.

Finally I put together the menu for tomorrow's dinner and this is what we will be having:

Gougeres (which are puff pastry with cheese) for appetizer
Arugula salad
Cider-Braised Pheasant with Pearl Onions and Apples arranged by me.
Pomme dauphine which are delicious and definitely celebration food.
Fresh bread rolls.
French chocolate cake (meringue and chocolate mousse).

More pictures of the preparation of the meal to come....

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday season

I can't believe Christmas is already there, and my birthday and the new year! I talked to my mom a few days ago and the Burgundy countryside is all covered in snow :( It is hard to not spend this holiday with my parents and sister. I'm sure we will have a nice quiet christmas since it is only the 4 of us. I will be cooking pheasant for christmas, still looking into how I'm going to prepare it. For my birthday dinner I think I may go get a fresh lobster and do some lobster pasta with home made pasta.
We have the Pisa tour of gifts in the garage. We have to open all the boxes and wrap everything up. B has yet to shop for my christmas presents. I think he got my birthday already covered. I'm super happy because his gift arrived in the mail yesterday after a annoucement telling me that it would be ship on Jan 20th!
The office is dead quiet and eventhough I have pretty tight deadline I find it extremely difficult to concentrate. I have made some good progress but unfortunately I still have quite a lot to do.
MAC has been going to a YMCA camp for the past two days and MEC has been really unhappy to still go to her regular school. If it was her choice she would already be in Kindergarten.
On the kids side eventhough we thought that the 3d kid options was killed a couple of month back it has reappeared and we are struggling to make a decision. To make things harder we have been watching our little neighbour. He is 20 months now and he is sooo darn cute. He fits in our family unit so well that a third one totally makes sense. But he is already almost 2, the idea of being pregnant for 9 month really doesn't apeal to me. I am also wondering how my gortex abb will handle a pregnancy. Will have to be reconstructed yet again after this. A baby now would be a age gap of at least 4 years between MEC and the little one at least. We are just coming out of the baby/toddle tunel do we really want to get back in. So many questions difficult to answer....

On the training side, after my really tough run saturday, I went for a short bike ride on sunday. Today I did my intervals 4x0.5M at 8:30 and it was work but easy. On a treadmill, doing intervals my mental isn't has negative as on the road. Too weird.
Anyways I can't wait for this training to be over so I can focus on shorter distance run which suit me just fine, and the bike and the swim.

I will be concluding this post with my carnitas recipe a new favorite:

- Pork shoulder remove as much of the fat as possible.
- Saute onion in a pan, brown the meat a little add some cumin and "Mexican spice" I think. This jar isn't labeled so I'm not too sure. If I had to make it I would put cumin, paprika, cinamon I think.
- Put the meat and onion in a crockpot, put chicken broth up to the middle of the meat
- Let it cook on low for 6-10 hours.
FYI I put my pork which was a really big chunk frozen in the crockpot, I started on high for a few of hours then switch to low. I did turn the meat after about 2hours.
- Take the meat out of the crockpot onto a plate
- Remove the fat pieces and pull the meat with fork.
- Add a little juice to moisten the meat.
- In a pan mix 2 tbsp of tequila, 4 tbsp of brown sugar, some more spices, and 2/3 cup of cooking juice.
- Add the meat and let simmer then caramelize a little bit.

Use it to make carnitas tacos or burritos....

Saturday, December 19, 2009

So what's new in the past two weeks... Well first of all I can't believe it is already Christmas! Maybe it has to do with the city I live in... 75 degree weather doesn't really set the mood. I'm wired that way, winter means cold. It doesn't have to be super duper cold for like 4 months. But temps around mid 50s during the day for a month or two would be welcome. We did have 2 weeks of cold ;) So lets get off the whiny train. MAC had a winterfest during which K, 1st, 2ND and 3rd grader sang each two songs about the winter holidays. It was really really cute.

Work has been crazy busy too, we just released a new version of our software and I have another project due on Jan 4th. It's interesting but I'm a little behind since I didn't get to start 100% on it until a few days ago. Well thank god for Stargate, VPN and multi tasking.
Next year is going to be very interesting on the work front, lots of redesign and new things to learn. Fun fun!

Besides that last week end was very social and it was really cool. Saturday morning I visited our friend in Encinitas. The kids get along pretty well for 5 and 3 year old and I really enjoy hanging out and chat with the mom. After that we came home, I made a feeble attempt at a indoor ride since the weather wasn't really cooperating with me. Now I'm complaining about the rain never happy ;)

We had neighbors for dinner and spent a nice evening.
Sunday I went running 7M with a coworker and ended up running only 6M more on my running difficulties later. Then I spent the afternoon with some other friend baking cookies while the kids were playing together.
That night, the husband joined us and we all went to dinner at a local Mexican joint. I had steak tacos and the meat tasted a little off... Well it was off I got terrible food poisoning that night. I have had my fair share of stomach flus, and food poisoning and I can
say this one was one of the worst. It lasted all night. I spent monday in bed. I emerged around 3pm took a shower, started a laundry, went to pick up the kids, cooked them dinner and made myself some fresh vegetable broth. The next day I felt better, went to work still a little shaky. I finally started to feel like myself mid afternoon.
On thursday that week we celebrated the release of our software by having lunch at a fresh seafood place in Point loma and we played pool at the Society all afternoon. The scallop sandwitch was really good and I was better at pool then I remembered.

That night I cooked for the first time in the week. I made jerked pork chop with sweet potatoes.
Friday was a busy work day and I had two kids party to attend. I was successful at being a attentive mom and a productive employee yay!

Well this week training got wiped out by my being sick on sunday night. I finally managed to put my sneakers on this afternoon, I also put my fuel belt on with water, cell phone and music. I looked like a total dork for a woopy 3.7M. It was hot and my body was tired. I hope I'm gonna get back on track because next week I have an 8M, then a 10M and finally a 12M. I think I like the triathlon training better. Although with a olympic distance I'll probably have to run longer.
Running has been hard over the past few weeks. My mental has completely left the building. I hope that I will get back the will to keep going. B is training as well and he is doing great. He is tired but he is much more disciplined than I am and he is also mentally a lot stronger. I sadly have a tendency to just give up and start walking. Then I kick myself in the butt, start running again and then give up.
More on that later.... Race day is a little over a month away!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Look ahead and rarely back

So today I was chatting with the friend which I didn't know at the time who gave me final nudge to sign up for my first triathlon about her next race. She is training for the Carlsbad half and so am I, I told her she could run with B while I'm puttering in the back. To which she answers.... in front on 12000 people. That's when I realize I rarely focus on the number of people behind me but on the one in front of me that I can never seem to catch up with ; )

So speaking of training, last week I ran in the evening alone, perfect run. It was cold, I was alone and started easy, eased into a good pace and finished strong. Overall probably a 4.2M at about 9min/miles. Two days later I decide that it would be more fun to run with someone, so I go ask one of my coworker if he wants to run with me. He is like sure why don't we do 6M, I didn't have that much time so we settled for 5M. Of course I start way too fast, and when he tells me at one point that we are doing 8:30 I know I'm in trouble. On top of that I had two dry toast in the morning a coffee and some water. Just not enough juice to sustain this crazy rythm. To cap it all he takes me on this trail which has a couple of very short but steep hills... Needless to say that I just died. Well even with all the walking we managed a 10min/miles nothing glorious especially when I was supposed to do a 9:15min/miles but ah well when I was running I was going that fast ;)
On wednesday I even managed to get myself in the pool. It was nice to swim for a change. Didn't push the pace tried to focus on the technique and did a nice 30 minutes. Saturday was our long run. We contemplated doing it together B and I eventhough we are not at the same pace at all more like 1 min apart but we couldn't find babysitting for the kids. In preparation for this long run we had a nice breakfast and I took water with me and nutrition and I just went at a very relaxed pace. I did stop a few times, once to drink water and eat my blocks... A few times I had to stop and ask myself why again am I doing this???
Anyways I finished the 9M at a very moderate pace of 10:40 but I did it wasn't completely exhausted my legs were a little tired but the breathing not at all.
Sunday my only window of opportunity to ride was at 8:30am and with chilly weather, no biking buddy and tired leg riding my bike didn't sound too good. I regret this miss ride because I haven't been on my bike in ages!!! I miss it ;(
Monday was off too because of bad bad weather. I was going to squeeze in a short run in the evening on the treadmill but instead I had to live early to make sure I could get to the childcare on time. After that well when I have to decide between a glass of wine and a bike ride at 9pm I do tend to chose the glass of wine especially when no races are looming in the horizon.
Today I absolutely needed to go run. Intervals were on the schedule however everybody decided to go running at the gym. Seriously the weather is perfect outside! So I headed out there, again started too fast then my head started playing the old record, why am I doing this to myself. This isn't pleasant. Maybe I should stop training and sell my bib etc...
Finish that 4M at 9:45min/pace avg and with some stops.
So yes I'm still trying to catch up to the person in front of me and who knows maybe pass them but oh boy this is tiring!
Tomorrow swimming brrrr it is going to be tough to go swim in an outdoor pool in 55F degre weather.
Stay tune

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Up the coast

Last week end in preparation of the trip I did loads and loads of laundry which are still in baskets but unfortunately not folded and put away. B very nicely cleaned up the car with the help of the kiddos.
Monday we packed up the car and off we went. Our first stop was Rubios about 5min away from home where we had lunch and a big ding in my car!!! Yeah someone completely missed their parking maneuver and ended up in my car but failed to leave a note and left me with a nasty bumper that will need to be fixed ;(

Angry we left on our vacation. Our first stop was Pismo Beach. We arrived around 5pm settled in a beautiful spacious and on the beach room. We then went for dinner to a steak place which served good food but was a little pricey and definitely too much food! Satiated we went back to the hotel. The kids looked at the waves for a while then we all went down. In the morning, the kids were very nice and let us slept in a little. They were too cute as they were playing together and whispering.
After a quick breakfast we took off and headed towards Monterrey.
We stopped in Moro bay to check out the rock there and look at the waves.
We then started our trip on the breath taking 101. It was really beautiful and we were amazed by the houses built on the side of the "mountain" just above the water.
We stopped to go for a little walk. The kids are in a great age and they are so curious and full of excitement. They love discovering new places.
We stopped in Big Sur for lunch but found that the food was overpriced but luckily still good. Since we had a run planned that evening we needed some fuel. We finally arrived in Monterrey around 3pm. The hotel was stunning. I am very happy for my find. B went for his run on the sidewalk of Monterrey while I went for a discovery walk with the kids. We saw sea otters in the ocean. We were on Cannery Row which is really pretty but also very touristy.
We got back to the room and the kids cozy ed up in the bed and watched a little TV, B came back and since it was dark and I'm such a wimp I opted to go run at the hotel gym.
The treadmill had a TV which was cool at first after I realize that there is really nothing interesting on TV. I did manage a 3.5M run at 9:20 min/miles which always pales in comparison to the 5M run of B but hey who is competing ;)
After a shower fresh clothes we went to get a drink downstairs and then off we went to get some food. Monterrey has mostly fish restaurants expensive and where any meat dish is outrageously expensive. The concierge at the hotel did recommend a little Hawaiian restaurant supposedly not touristy, but the stack of cards with his name on it raised our suspicion. However not finding anything, and the kids getting tired and hungry we bit the bullet and went there. I am so glad we did. It was a great place with very very interesting food and very good and reasonably priced.
After a great dinner, I had some jerked pulled pork and B pork tacos and some hot sake!
In the morning, after breakfast at the hotel we packed up and went to the Aquarium. The Old cannery underwent heavy renovation and was turned into an amazing aquarium. The tanks were absolutely amazing and so were the different exhibition such as the sea horses, the jelly fishes. After a few hours of checking out sea creatures, we hit the gift store, outfitted the kids with a shark shirt to continue the tradition and a jelly fish one.
We got back into our car and off we went towards Pacifica on the 1. I loved that part of the road. Maybe not as breath taking than the portion from pismo to Monterrey but more to my liking. Unfortunately, this is also a nature that calls my name. Maybe one day we will move to central/northern California...
We arrived in Pacifica after a lunch stop hit the store so that after 3 days of restaurant we could have some homemade food.
We arrived at our destination, the kids went directly to the yard where they found a much bigger and very excited Tulle. Finally I started cooking and everyone got here. We spent a very nice evening. The kids went to bed nicely and woke up at 8:45am!
Thursday was spent checking out the humongous waves, relaxing and cooking. Friday was really windy and after eating some french toast and bacon we went to Half Moon Bay and try to see Maverick. It was really really windy and the kids were cold.
We got back home around 3pm and we went for a 4M run. All was going well until mid nasty trail hill. After stopping a few times the way down was much better. Lesson: If you want to have energy for your run french toast and bacon 5H00 before are not good nutrition!
That evening we sampled some sake which eating sushi. Saturday morning we left at 10:30 and drove straight through to San Diego hitting some traffic here and there.
Sunday was spent reading for the adult. After that we dropped off the kids at the neighbor and we went on our long run which started with a nasty hill on which I had to stop again. Everything went well until mile 5 then I ran out of juice and my unstretched leg muscles started give me gried. The planned 8M turned into a 6.8M :(
Having to stop in a hill is so humiliating for me. It makes me soooo angry at my body. After that run I had the hardest time to get my warmth back.
Since we are on a health kick and are trying to both lose about 4-6lbs each I've loaded our fridge up with veggie and this is our weekly menu:
- Monday: Homemade butternut squash soup
- Tuesday: Steaks with green beans
- Wednesday: Chicken burritos
- Thursday: breaded fish or maybe sone brown rice breaded balls.
- Friday: Pork chops with sweat potatoes.

Something like that.... Today I'm running 4-5M tonight since a meeting was scheduled over my lunch hour ;( It will be either treadmill, Torrey Pines or around work.
Tomorrow I'll swim, thursday will be tempo, Friday nothing, Saturday 8-9M and Sunday bike ride.... next monday off I think.