Chili Bowl Race and Delicious Dinner

On Saturday I ran in the Annual Chili Bowl Classic 5km race in Cleveland. Cleveland is about a 25 minute drive from my parent’s house, so it made sense for me to stay with Natalie and Broca the night before in Little Italy.

Natalie and her puppy, Broca

We hung out and watched Little Miss Sunshine and Toddlers and Tiaras (for comparison’s sake).

In the morning we woke up and I got ready for the race. (Nat couldn’t run as she has badly sprained her ankle and requires surgical intervention so her activity is restricted to walking Broca so he can do his business).

We took Cleveland’s RTA Train to where the race started in Tower City. I had no idea Cleveland had passenger rail. It was pretty sketchy but we made it, on time, and with only one police-related confrontation. Natalie had two unused tickets with her that clearly stated they would not expire until later this year. When she tried to use them to exit the train terminal, the machine beeped erratically and three policemen came over. One of the officers explained that the ticket was no good as purchased tickets expire 1 hour after they are purchased.  Huh? We both knew that made no sense at all as some destinations would take at least an hour to reach. Anyhow, we obliged and purchased the two tickets. We weren’t keen to argue with three (clearly bored) policemen.

Once inside Tower City, I found the race pack pick-up and got ready to run (which usually consists of drinking water, going to the toilet 3-6 times, drinking more water and adjusting my race garb). We went outside to the start line and I was immediately pleased with my decision to wear a heavy sweatshirt as it was really cold.

My teeth hurt from the cold

Mom and Dad joined us before the race started.

My fans

We exchanged high-fives, and I found a spot in the sea of people and started jumping around to stay warm.

Thinking warm thoughts

There were around 1500 runners which is pretty awesome considering the inconsiderate cold.

Sea of 1500 nut-bag runners

I finished in  22 mins, 10 seconds and placed 7th in my age division.

Home stretch

I think I could have done better if it wasn’t so darn cold. It took about 2kms for my muscles to properly warm up. (For the first km I really couldn’t feel my legs). The course was pretty nice. We ran past some big old city buildings, the Cleveland Browns Stadium, and the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. My only complaint is that it was such a short run and over so quickly. I went through all the trouble of getting ready and experiencing pre-race jitters for a 22 min run? I finished feeling as though I could run more. I think I will seek out 10km races in Taipei to see how that distance is for me.

Post-race pose

After the race, we went to the restaurant, Yours Truly, for a late breakfast.

My eggwhite veggie omelet

And after that back to my parents house to start cooking for the evening. Josie, my Mom’s cousin, and her husband, Don, were coming over to see me. Natalie and I did all the cooking/baking.

Icing the carrot cake

Grandma helped by cleaning up after us.

Sugar addict

The menu consisted of:

Moroccan Spiced Carrot Soup, Adapted from Bon Appetit 

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • salt and pepper to taste
For garnish:
  • lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • chopped cilantro

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened.  Add the garlic, ginger and cumin and cook another minute.  Add the carrots, stir, and cook another 2-3 minutes.

Add the broth, bring to a boil and then reduce heat, cover and simmer until the carrots are soft, about 20 minutes.  Use an immersion blender to puree the soup.  Add the allspice and stir to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle into individual soup bowls and add a dollop of yogurt, lemon juice and then sprinkle with cilantro.

Serves four.

Carrot soup

Spanakopita (My own recipe)

  • 2 pounds of spinach, washed and drained well (frozen is fine too)
  • 1/2 pound of feta cheese (I usually use low-fat variety)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 eggwhites
  • filo pastry, about half the package, thawed
  • butter (or cooking spray)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 f or 180 c. Spray a 9×11 inch pan.

Heat some oil in a saute pan and saute onions. Add the drained spinach and cook until wilted. Remove from heat.

One the spinach and onion mixture has cooled down a bit, place it into a large mixing bowl. Crumble the feta cheese into the bowl and mix it all together. Next add the eggwhites and combine well. Season with salt and pepper.

Depending on how healthy you want your Spanakopita, you can either use melted butter of cooking spray for the filo.

For the butter, melt about 2-3 tablespoons and place into a small bowl.  You will need a pastry brush,

Place about 3 sheets of the filo into the prepared pan. (The filo can sometimes fall apart and get stuck. Don’t worry- it is actually quite forgiving and doesn’t matter if this happens. I usually patchwork the filo together and it still comes out perfectly).

Spray the three sheets with cooking spray, OR brush with melted butter.

Repeat with another three sheets. (Repeat again if you like to have a bit more filo).

Spread the spinach/feta mixture evenly over the filo. Then lay another three layers of filo over the top of the mixture and spray with cooking spray or brush with melted butter and repeat with another three sheets (or more if desired).

Bake in oven for about 25-35 minutes. You can usually tell when the top of the filo is nicely browned and flaking.

Cool and enjoy.

Hands down my favourite dish

We also had salad and roasted mini red peppers

A popular side

Nice and sweet

The carrot cake was also a hit.

Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and walnut topping

It was a great meal and of course really nice to see Josie and Don.

Don and Josie

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