Peanut Butter Runner http://www.peanutbutterrunner.com by jen decurtins Thu, 21 May 2015 19:10:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=214 The Most Adventurous Thing I’ve Ever Cooked {Provencal Braised Octopus Recipe} http://www.peanutbutterrunner.com/the-most-adventurous-thing-ive-ever-cooked-provencal-braised-octopus-recipe/ http://www.peanutbutterrunner.com/the-most-adventurous-thing-ive-ever-cooked-provencal-braised-octopus-recipe/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 19:10:20 +0000 http://www.peanutbutterrunner.com/?p=17342 This dinner looks pretty delicious, right? It was actually the most adventurous thing I’ve ever cooked! Last week I received a text from my fiance that there was no need to go to the grocery because he’d already been shopping at Whole Foods. I arrived home to a fridge that looked like it had been […]

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This dinner looks pretty delicious, right? It was actually the most adventurous thing I’ve ever cooked!

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Last week I received a text from my fiance that there was no need to go to the grocery because he’d already been shopping at Whole Foods. I arrived home to a fridge that looked like it had been stocked for the show Chopped. It included a yucca, a daikon radish, osso buco and an octopus. Yes, an octopus. The yucca, daikon radish and osso buco I could get on board with…but a whole octopus? Seriously?

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His response was that we like to order it in restaurants so why not try it at home? I can’t say I was super thrilled about cooking an octopus but there was also no way I was letting it go to waste. I spent the better part of a day thinking about how I could cook it and researching recipes. I didn’t find much online that really excited me so I turned to The Gourmet Cookbook, which never steers me wrong. Their recipe for Provencal Braised Octopus looked great so I decided to take the plunge (ha) and give it a try.

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Step one was to simmer the octopus in a large pot with aromatics for about an hour and a half.

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This is what it looked like at the end of simmering.

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Step two was to rub the outer purple coating off of the octopus. I delegated that task to the one who brought the octopus home!

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Here it is after the coating was removed.

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Next I sliced it into rings to prepare it to go into the sauce.

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The octopus braised in a mixture of petit diced tomatoes, kalamata olives, herbs, garlic, onions and red pepper flakes for another hour or so.

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And then I served it over zucchini noodles and topped it with Parmesan.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was really going to be able to eat it after going through the prep and cooking process but it was actually a really, really delicious dish. The octopus was very tender and the tomato sauce was flavorful. The olives seemed like a strange addition but the saltiness of them was the thing that brought the whole dish together.

Would I make it again? Yes, although I did instruct my fiance that he must clear all future octopus purchases with me before bringing another one home! This is a once every couple of years kind of dish.

What I loved about this whole experience was that it pushed me outside of my comfort zone and gave me a lot of confidence about my skills in the kitchen. This was the most adventurous thing I’ve ever cooked and I was excited when it turned out so well.

Two questions…

1) Would you cook octopus at home? (Or have you!?)

2) What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever cooked?

And for those who might want to try this at home…the recipe! It’s not posted online, only in the cookbook so here she is…

Provencal Braised Octopus
(Recipe source The Gourmet Cookbook with a few modifications)

Ingredients:

1 (2-lb) frozen cleaned octopus, thawed, or one fresh
2 medium onions, 1 quartered, 1 finely diced
4 garlic cloves, 2 left whole and 2 minced
3 fresh thyme sprigs, plus 1 teaspoon finely minced thyme
3 fresh parsley sprigs
5 black peppercorns
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 (16-0z) can petite diced or crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup pitted black or kalamata olives, diced
1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock

Directions:

Put octopus in a large pot and add enough water to cover by two inches. Add quartered onion, whole garlic cloves, thyme sprigs, parsley sprigs and peppercorns and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer gently, partially covered, until octopus is tender when pierced with a fork and purple outer layer rubs off easily, about 1-1.5 hours.

Drain octopus and transfer to a bowl of cold water to cool. Rub off purple outer coating, skin and fatty layer from octopus, leaving suckers intact, if desired. (We did…because…why not?) Cut tentacles from octopus if it still has the head and discard head. (I know, luckily mine did not still have the head).  Cut tentacles into 1 inch rings.

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat and add onion and minced garlic. Cook for about 3 minutes and then add wine, tomatoes with juices, octopus, olives, chopped thyme, salt and chilies to the pot. Partially cover and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until octopus is very tender and sauce has thickened, 45-60 minutes. During this time I added the cup of chicken broth because the sauce was getting to thick and I cooked it for over an hour. You may or may not need to use it (or may not need all of it).

Serve octopus over rice, zucchini noodles, pasta or whatever else sounds good. Garnish with more parsley and parmesan cheese if desired.

Yield: 2-3 servings. Double it if you’re feeding a crowd.

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Cardio Strength Workout http://www.peanutbutterrunner.com/cardio-strength-workout/ http://www.peanutbutterrunner.com/cardio-strength-workout/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 02:55:23 +0000 http://www.peanutbutterrunner.com/?p=17339 Hey! I’ve got a great workout for you today. Since I started teaching group ex again, I’ve received requests from many of you to post the workouts on the blog. Always happy to share my knowledge! I’ve updated the Peanut Butter Runner workout board on Pinterest and you can also check out my workout page […]

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Hey! I’ve got a great workout for you today. Since I started teaching group ex again, I’ve received requests from many of you to post the workouts on the blog. Always happy to share my knowledge! I’ve updated the Peanut Butter Runner workout board on Pinterest and you can also check out my workout page where everything is categorized and easy to navigate.

Today’s workout is from my Sunday cardio strength class at the Y. The way I structured it was in four mini sets of work. Each set was repeated three times through back-to-back with no rest. I gave my students one minute of rest between sets. It took about 40 minutes total.

Cardio Strength PBR workotu

I can testify that this is a great workout because I did it with my class. I was dripping with sweat at the end and a noodle for the rest of the afternoon. The 1 minute squat to press in the last round kind of destroyed me. So hard!

Please modify this workout as needed and let me know if you have questions or feedback! Happy sweating!


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Nut Butter Nation Review + Chip Love + Recent Eats http://www.peanutbutterrunner.com/nut-butter-nation-review-chip-love-recent-eats/ http://www.peanutbutterrunner.com/nut-butter-nation-review-chip-love-recent-eats/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 23:48:08 +0000 http://www.peanutbutterrunner.com/?p=17322 Happiest of Mondays! I’ve been pretty happy because my pantry has been stocked with some new delicious peanut butter. When the “Chief Grinder” (um, awesome title) from Nut Butter Nation reached out to me about sampling his peanut butters, I was like…”yes.” I will never, ever turn down an opportunity to sample a new nut […]

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Happiest of Mondays! I’ve been pretty happy because my pantry has been stocked with some new delicious peanut butter.

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When the “Chief Grinder” (um, awesome title) from Nut Butter Nation reached out to me about sampling his peanut butters, I was like…”yes.” I will never, ever turn down an opportunity to sample a new nut butter! He sent me Brown Sugar Cinnamon and Honey Vanilla Peanut Butter. They are so good!

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The Brown Sugar Cinnamon has a little bit of a grittier brown sugar texture to it and a pretty strong (but not overwhelming) cinnamon taste. The Honey Vanilla is just all types of perfection. Both peanut butters are drippy and easy to spread.

Want to try them? You can get 10% off of your order with code JOINTHENATION.

lundbergchips

On the topic of things I’m loving…these chips. I have mentioned this before but I love having some salty chips in the pantry to snack on. I usually do Pop Chips, tortilla chips or pita chips. Most recently these Lundberg Mojave Jalepeno Multigrain Chips made their way home from Whole Foods with me and they are addictive!

Some things I’ve been eating…

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Overnight oats. Rolled oats, chia seeds, dried cranberries, frozen blueberries, diced banana, plain 2% greek yogurt, soymilk, peanut butter.

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Sunday brunch.

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Packed lunch eaten at the studio. Spinach, arugula, lemon pepper chicken, toasted walnuts, avocado, goat cheese and diced apples. Another thing I’m loving…this Simply Dressed Ginger Sesame Vinaigrette.

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Off the charts veggie burger salad at a little restaurant in Black Mountain, NC while we were on our yoga retreat location scouting trip. The veggie burger was homemade and had diced portobello, parmesan cheese, oats and more. Side of honey mustard and balsamic because that’s the best way to do it! :)

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Turkey and avocado with a lemon herb mayo and melted cheese.

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Kale salad with goat cheese, currants, pepitas and roasted beets at Earl’s Grocery.

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An appetizer spread that dreams are made of at a yogi party on Saturday night. Look at that giant cheese plate and big bowl of stuffed grape leaves.

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My favorite fig and prosciutto flat bread topped with arugula for a late night dinner after seeing the latest Avengers movie.

And that wraps it up!

Any new foodie stuff you’re loving lately?

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Running, Weights & Cupcakes http://www.peanutbutterrunner.com/running-weights-cupcakes/ http://www.peanutbutterrunner.com/running-weights-cupcakes/#comments Sun, 17 May 2015 22:20:55 +0000 http://www.peanutbutterrunner.com/?p=17312 Hope it’s been a great weekend for everyone! It’s been a very sweaty weekend over here. I taught two hot yoga classes on Saturday, took a hot yoga class and met a friend for a run with temps in the 80s (I had those lovely salt crystals on my face after the run). And today […]

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Hope it’s been a great weekend for everyone! It’s been a very sweaty weekend over here. I taught two hot yoga classes on Saturday, took a hot yoga class and met a friend for a run with temps in the 80s (I had those lovely salt crystals on my face after the run). And today I taught a hot class and then taught an hour and a half of cardio strength at the Y.

I need to put some major focus on hydration for the rest of today and tomorrow. All of this activity has left me hungry. I made sure to get some extra calories in yesterday with carrot cake cupcake! :)

carrotcakecupcake

Thank you so much for all of your entries in the “Your Date with Fitness” giveaway. The randomly selected winner is comment 169, Grace. She had a great response.

“It’s funny because my grandmother always did dates with peanut butter rolled in sugar as a holiday treat. Now I do the same minus the added sugar for an awesome afternoon energy boost!”

Here is my weekly workout recap. It was a strong week for me.

Monday

Hot yoga

I usually take Mondays as an easy yoga day to start off the week on a good note and recover from any weekend workouts.

Tuesday

3 mile run + 60 medicine ball partner toss sit ups with a client (love these)

Wednesday

Strength

5 rounds:
Sled Push (100# sled)
10 GHD Sit Ups

5 rounds:
15 Back Squats (75#)
10 Kettlebell Swings (35#)
10 Push Press (20# dumbbells)

3 rounds:
15 Deadlifts (75#)
25 Double Unders

I actually got all of this done in like 20-25 minutes. I was majorly crunched for time so it made for an intense but short workout.

Thursday

Upper Body + Hot Yoga

Peanut Butter Runner Upper Body Super Set Workout

I did this upper body workout that I posted earlier this week…and was sore for two days after!

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Friday

3.5 mile run

I spent the whole day in the car driving to the mountains and back to check out potential yoga retreat locations and desperately needed to move my body when I got home. I had a nice little sunset run that felt so easy and good.

Saturday

Hot Yoga + 6 mile run

I met a friend for a run and she majorly pushed me! I felt like I had run a half marathon after this 6 miler!

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Sunday

Taught a circuit training class and a cardio strength class at the Y. I’ll post the cardio strength workout this week!

What was your sweatiest workout of the week? How do you make sure to rehydrate well after tough workouts?


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Ultimate Plank Challenge: Week Two Recap http://www.peanutbutterrunner.com/ultimate-plank-challenge-week-two-recap/ http://www.peanutbutterrunner.com/ultimate-plank-challenge-week-two-recap/#comments Sun, 17 May 2015 00:05:50 +0000 http://www.peanutbutterrunner.com/?p=17308 We are half way done with the Ultimate Plank Challenge! If you’re just catching up, I’m hosting a 31 day plank challenge in celebration of my new book, Ultimate Plank Fitness. It’s a compilation of 101 different plank exercises for the ultimate in core training…and a total body workout! It’s available for sale at many […]

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We are half way done with the Ultimate Plank Challenge! If you’re just catching up, I’m hosting a 31 day plank challenge in celebration of my new book, Ultimate Plank Fitness. It’s a compilation of 101 different plank exercises for the ultimate in core training…and a total body workout! It’s available for sale at many national retailers. The retail price is only about $15 and it’s a high quality, beautiful book with full color photography. There are photos and written explanations for every single plank variation.

BUY A COPY!

mayplankchallenge

The way this challenge works is that every day I post a short (less than 5 minute) plank workout assignment on Instagram. The challenge moves through a variety of different planks and related exercises from full plank to side plank to reverse plank and more. The idea is at the end of 31 days of consistently planking you will see a big improvement in your core strength and overall strength.

Check out week one in this post.

And here is the week two recap!

DAY 8: FOREARM PLANK

Dropping your plank down to forearms increases the difficulty a bit as your center of gravity gets closer to the ground. Three 45 second holds with 15 seconds rest in between.

Form notes:
– shoulders stacked over elbows
– straight body position from head to heels
– fire through legs to help support the core
– gaze right in front of fingertips to keep neck long

DAY 9: DOLPHIN PUSH UPS

Note, this is one of the hardest variations you will do in the challenge. You can hold in this position for 5 sets of 5 breaths with breaks in between or take the dolphin push ups for more challenge, 5 sets of 5 push ups with rest between sets.

Form notes:
– begin in forearm plank
– walk the feet up towards the elbows…this will lift hips up and over shoulders for one of the only times in the challenge
– for the push ups shift your weight forward like you were coming back into forearm plank and shift forehead past fingertips

DAY 10: FOREARM PLANK HIP DROPS

Forearm plank with side to side hip drops to work the obliques. Your assignment is five sets of 10 (each dip counts as 1 so right 1, left 2, right 3, left 4 etc.).

Form notes:
– straight line from heels while holding plank on forearms
– rotate hips from side to side while keeping shoulders square to the floor

DAY 11: FOREARM PLANK KNEE TAPS

This is the last forearm plank before we move to side planks! In this variation you will feel lots of targeting in the low belly along with a burn in the quads as you bend and straighten the legs. Perform 5 rounds of 30 seconds on, 15-30 seconds rest (as much as you need).

Form notes:
– straight line from head to heels with shoulders stacked over elbows
– feet together to touch
– bend knees and tap to floor and then squeeze quads to straighten legs keep neck long and take gaze to hands in front of you

DAY 12: SIDE PLANK

We are finally done with full and forearm plank variations and it’s time to have some fun! Today you’ll just be holding a static side plank. 3 sets of 20 second holds on each side for a total of 1 minute on each side. I’m showing three levels of modifications in the photo.

Here are your form notes:
– stack the shoulder directly over the wrist and press into the palm firmly
– lift hips up to prevent excess weight in the shoulder and a sag in the side body
– straight line from head to heels with ankles, knees, hips and shoulders stacked
– modification is to split feet for more support or to drop to a knee
– if you have wrist issues, drop to side plank on the forearm

DAY 13: SIDE PLANK WITH LEG LIFT

This variation requires a lot of body awareness and core control. This video shows full and modified variation on the knee. You will feel this everywhere! Try holding this for 10-15 seconds on each leg and do three sets.

Form notes:
– come into side plank first…follow day 12 instructions
– once you feel stable in side plank lift the top leg up
– keep pressing into the palm and lifting your hips as you lift the leg
– if you feel good here maybe try to take your gaze up towards lifted fingertips
– modified variation on the knee and is still hard!

DAY 14: SIDE PLANK CRUNCHES

This one burns! This video shows form and modification.

Form tips:
– start in side plank with leg lift, see day 13 for instructions
– extend the top arm overhead and draw knee into chest and crunch elbow to knee
– note the video is sped up for time but you need to take your time! don’t speed through these…really feel the crunch
– modified variation on the knee

Let me know if you have any questions and happy planking!

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