Category Archives: Dinner

Foodie Friday: Black Bean Quesadillas


It’s Friday!  I survived the coldest week yet in Austin, the first week of the semester and first full week back in town.  This morning I met my friends Tiffany and Brandon (also running in the Livestrong Marathon) for an 8 miler around their neighborhood.  Everything felt pretty good though I do find my joints feel stiffer in the cold.  The weekend plan is to do 5.2 tomorrow and 21 on Sunday……yikes!

One of my resolutions goals this year is to make at least one new recipe each week.  My thinking behind this resolution is that I’ll be more conscious about spending money (both by eating out less and not wasting as much from the grocery store), I’ll eat more healthfully and maybe I’ll learn a thing or two in the kitchen…..(like how to chop an onion or properly boil an egg).  But, I also made that same resolution last year and it didn’t happen.  Time to try again!  This week’s recipe comes from Cooking Light’s Weeknight Cookbook.  I whipped up these Black Bean Quesadillas (can you tell my stomach is still in Mexico?!) last Saturday as my pre-3M Half Marathon fuel, and had plenty left over for a few meals during the week!

Black Bean Quesadillas (BBQues.) and Corn Salsa.


1 tbsp Olive Oil

1.5 tsp minced garlic

2 c chopped plum tomatoes (I used cherry – it’s what I had in the fridge)

.5 c chopped fresh cilantro

1 (15 oz) can black beans

4 multi-grain tortillas

3/4 c preshredded Mexican or taco cheese


1 c frozen whole kernel corn

.5 c chopped fresh cilantro

2 tbsp fresh lime juice

.5 tsp minced garlic

1 red bell pepper, chopped

I had the black beans and garlic on hand already but everything else cost me less than $20 (and it fed me five times!).  I broke the recipe down into two steps – first, the quesadilla filling (including chopping the red pepper) and second, making the salsa while the quesadillas cooked.

  1. Preheat the broiler for the quesadillas
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and sautee for 30 seconds.
  3. Add tomatoes, cilantro, and beans, cooking for 5 minutes and stirring occasionally.
    Filling Ingredients

    Filling Ingredients

    Blending the flavors.

    Blending the flavors.

  4. Spread a sheet of foil over a baking sheet and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  5. Place the tortillas (4) on the baking sheet and spoon 1/2 c bean mixture and 3 tbsp cheese onto one side.  Fold in half.
  6. Lightly coat the tops of the tortillas and broil 3 minutes or until tortillas turn brown.
    Fillin' the tortillas

    Fillin’ the tortillas

    Into the oven.

    Into the oven.

    Nice n toasty.

    Nice n toasty.

  7. While they’re broiling, I had time to make the salas.  Combine all the salsa ingredients in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 2 minutes.
    Salsa on the side

    Salsa on the side


Mmmm these were delicious.  Between the beans and tortilla I had plenty of carbs for the 3M race the next day, plus veggies in the form of tomatoes and red pepper!  I wrapped the three remaining tortillas in foil for three separate lunches throughout the week, and used the leftover bean mixture in an omelet one morning for breakfast!  5 meals from that 🙂

Pre-Race Dinner with salsa and guac!

Pre-Race Dinner with salsa and guac!

Have a great weekend!  I’ll be sure to let y’all know how the long runs go this weekend….


Foodie Friday: Authentic Mexican Dinner


It’s authentic because I ate it in Mexico.  And I wanted to share it because it was fabulous.  Last night Emilie and Larry took me, the guest who would never leave (but temporary passport finally arrived!!  First flight they can get me on is Monday afternoon…), back to a restaurant we went to in the first days of my visit.  I loved it so much – food and atmosphere – that I requested we go back, and they happily consented.

Henry’s is set up sort of like the Austin food trucks.  It’s just down the road from the condo I’ve been living in and is set up literally on the side of the main road, under a tent.  It’s owned by Henry, a happy Mexican man who comes to the table and takes your order himself, asking how the holidays were and then takes the orders back to the “kitchen” where his wife and her team of brothers prepare the meals.

The Kitchen

The Kitchen

The menu is fairly small and simple – meats include chicken, steak and shrimp served in a variety of Mexican fashions – taco (hard or soft, flour or maiz), papas, vampire, quesadilla, chorriadas etc. – and hangs from the sides of the tents.

Menus hang from the sides of the tent

Menus hang from the sides of the tent

Not long after seating ourselves at our own mesa, drink orders are placed and appetizers appear.  Henry’s goes way beyond regular chips and salsa.  First of all, their chips are delicious.  I’m not sure how to compare them to our traditional tortilla chips and the only word I can think of to describe them is better (I know, not much help).  With the chips comes salsa, fresh pico de gallo, avocado sauce and pickled onions.  Limes come in a separate bowl with sliced cucumbers, something I’ve never been served in America at a Mexican restaurant.  The limes are for the beer, the cucumbers for munching.

Appetizer spread.

Appetizer spread.

Just before you’ve consumed one chip too many, the next course arrives – bean soup.  Simple and delicious — simply delicious.  And apparently it’s some sort of secret combination of water, Mexican beans, salt and 12 hours of simmering (might have to work on that one in ATX).  I followed the lead of my aunt and uncle, spooning avocado sauce and pico into the simple soup (although I was quite content eating it plain).

Simple Bean Soup

Simple Bean Soup

For dinner I ordered vampiro de pollo or a hard taco shell with chicken, tomato sauce, cheese and cabbage.  I chose it because I’ve never heard of vampire tacos and thought I would take a chance.  It came to me looking like a mini pizza and was also fabulous.  Crunchy bottom, crispy cabbage and flavorful chicken with just the right amount of cheese.

Vampiro de Pollo

Vampiro de Pollo

I finished everything, and it was just the perfect amount of food.  If you’re ever in Mazatlan, Mexico you must hunt down this little tent on the side of the road.  Reasonable prices and the best Mexican food you may ever eat!


Week 11 Long Run: September’s 13.1


Prep for today’s half-marathon (not a race, just the distance) started yesterday morning with my easy bike ride and carb-heavy eating 🙂  I met the boys from work for pizza at Homeslice, an authentic New York pizza place on South Congress that I’ve heard about since the second I arrived.  Surprisingly I’ve been here more than a month and despite at least 4 long runs, haven’t had any pizza at all.  It was time to change that!

Homeslice Pizza

Eating with two “elite” (in “” because I consider them elite, they would never call themselves that) athletes is a little bit of a challenge.  J for one, is a semi-strictly paleo (future) triathlete champion, so pizza’s not on his list of foods he can eat.  BUT the whole purpose of this trip to Homeslice was that pizza is his favorite guilty food and he was ready to ditch the caveman lifestyle for the night.  Then there’s H, a gluten-free long distance speedster.  And he’s not semi-strict, he’s all the way strict on the gluten.  So I called Homeslice to see if they had any gluten free options, this is Austin after all.

Me: Hi, do y’all have any gluten free pizza?

Homeslice: Unfortunately we have alotta gluten in all of our pizzas.

Well shoot.  So the plan became for me and J to grab take out from Homeslice and walk it up to the South Congress trailer park where H would have to hope that he could rummage up some gluten-free food.  Taking out at Homeslice involves waiting in line to place your order at a walk-up window.  We were just ordering by the slice so our options were a little more limited than flavors of pies (pretty typical of by-the-slice places): cheese, pepperoni and margherita are available all the time and yesterday they also had a white slice with spinach and mushrooms and sausage.  I ordered margherita and an Amstel Light.

Homeslice Pizza

We sat on the curb with the other people devouring their slices and I sipped my beer while we talked a little bit about running and fitness, and a lot about our past two or three years of life.  When our slices were ready (not a long wait at all), I had to down my beer (not allowed off the property) and we walked to the trailers.  H managed to find some gluten free Indian food at Nomadosa (I can’t wait to go back and try it myself!) and we ate.  J wasn’t quite satisfied so he found a trailer with some jambalaya and fries (semi-strict remember…) – oh to be a man.

It was a pleasant night so we sat around the picnic tables for a while telling stories of mischief and training and continuing to get to know each other.  They’re good guys, and I’m thinking will be a positive influence on my training – lots of knowledge in those heads.

Long Run

I was ready to go this morning.  Pizza and beer in the belly, legs rested and mind prepped for 13.1 miles on the road and Gary with me, I hit the road a little after 7.  I took the Shoal Creek Trail down towards the lake.  I’ve heard about this “hike and bike” trail and thought it was about time to check it out.  It’s partly paved, partly very rocky and I was glad I had never tried to ride my bike home on this trail before!  Definitely mountain bike material, possibly hybrid bike but I’m not gonna be the one to try it!  I enjoyed the trail on foot though – the terrain was different than the lake trail and I liked crossing under all the bridges.

Rough Trail!

Running towards downtown and along the lake was wonderful – down hill and flat!  Then I knew I would have to climb back up the incline to get home.

Those Last 3…..

The first ten miles felt fantastic – I watched my pace closely on Gary and was surprised when “easy” was sub-9.

Avg Pace
Summary 1:56:24.6 13.12 8:53
1 8:49.4 1.00 8:50
2 8:32.6 1.00 8:33
3 8:32.1 1.00 8:32
4 8:20.6 1.00 8:21
5 8:34.8 1.00 8:34
6 8:10.8 1.00 8:10
7 8:18.2 1.00 8:18
8 8:20.0 1.00 8:20
9 8:52.8 1.00 8:52
10 8:43.6 1.00 8:43
11 9:58.1 1.00 9:58
12 10:49.4 1.00 10:49
13 9:20.0 1.00 9:20
14 1:02.2 0.12 8:57

You can see I started to feel it around mile 9 when my average pace dropped significantly – and then at 11 I hit the hills.  I’m pleased with how well the first ten went, but still have a lot of work to do!  It took 1:56:24 and I need to shave 9 minutes off that for a PR and 11 for the big, fast goal…..10 weeks to go!


I was so thirsty when I got home, I drank two big glasses of ice water first.  I also was pleasantly surprised when I found a frozen chocolate milk carton in the freezer – it was like a milkshake was waiting for me.  My stomach doesn’t tolerate solid food very well for the first hour so I’ve gotten in the habit of sucking down a serving of 1% chocolate milk (sometimes when it’s cold, I’ll go for a mocha or hot chocolate – but that hasn’t happened here yet) and then taking a nap on the couch.

By the time my nap’s done, I’m pretty hungry and today I feasted.

  • One serving steel cut oats with pumpkin mixed in (plus cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice)
  • 2 eggs scrambled with spinach and salsa
  • Bowl of fruit: watermelon, blueberries and strawberries
  • Cup of black tea, serving of V8 juice, glass of water

Steel cut oats with pumpkin (it’s fall – even if the temps are 90!)

I don’t have a microwave so I’ve started making steel cut oats and I love them!  They don’t take too much longer and I like their taste better.  Just boil 3/4 c water or milk and add 1/4 c oats and simmer until the thickness matches your preference – takes less than ten minutes!

Scrambled eggs, spinach and salsa

For the protein!  Plus I like a little savory with my sweet oatmeal.

Plethora of beverages: V8, water, tea

Lots of fluids – water obviously, tea because usually when I’m up from my nap I’m pretty chilly post-run and V8 because I love veggies!  All the drinks aren’t even pictured! Don’t forget the immediately post-run chocolate milk 🙂

Phew – big morning here in Austin, TX.  Now I have to be a student again…..

Happy Sunday!