Have you ever wondered how some runners/athletes can push themselves through the point of wanting desperately to stop?  This has always been my big question after finishing a race and not achieving a time goal.  Yes, we celebrate finishing and our ability to run the distance, but we look back and can’t help but ask “Why did I slow down/walk back there when I told myself I wouldn’t ?”  Another question:  “How do I get mentally tough to over come that urge to stop?”  

The following quote by Sarah Bowen Shea “Run Like a Mother: How to Get Moving and Not Lose Your Family, Job, or Sanity” might not be your solution but it’s something to ponder while preparing for that next big race.

“Mental Toughness – Go Get It!” “… if your body never knows what it feels like to go longer, harder, or faster, your mind will never trust that it can.  And the only way you can force your mind to believe it is by crossing your own fence, too.  You don’t have to gun it for 26.2 miles, but you do have to push it for a set period of time.  How long depends on your fitness level, but here’s a guideline:  Go long enough so you’re super uncomfortable and every fiber of you is screaming at your brain to tell your body to slow down,  Then go at least a minute or 5 longer.  

That experience, whether it’s on the track, climbing hills, or going interval work, retrains your mind along with your lungs.  Suddenly, you’ll realize burning isn’t a bad thing; it’s the desired outcome.  Through those workouts you also learn you, too, will survive, you will recover, and you will run again, faster than last time because now you know you can.” 

“…..With running, it’s holding onto the distinct memory of conquering pain that lets us do it all over again.” 

And now let’s review a healthy recipe to help us get mentally and physically tough….

I was doing a little research on Holistic recipes and came across some simple instructions for fish which inspired the following recipe.

Branzino is a European Sea Bass that holds it’s shape well in cooking.  Some of it’s other aliases are:  Mediterranean seabass, loup de mer, robalo, lubina, spigola, branzini, bronzino, or bronzini  SOURCE   It has a mild taste and the bones are small.  It’s a terrific fish to purchase whole and put on the grill. 

Since it’s the middle of winter and the grill is shrouded in a blanket of snow, we oven baked Branzino fillets using a simple but very flavorful recipe.   Easy for a healthy weeknight meal.


Serves 4

  • 4 branzino fillet
  • ¼ cup vegetable broth
  • 2 TBS lemon juice
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 ½ TBS capers – drained and rinsed
  • 2 TBS fresh parsley
  • 1 TBS fresh tarragon
  • 1 TBS fresh chopped chives
  • 4 sprigs fresh dill
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Mix broth, lemon, garlic capers and all herbs in a bowl. Set aside.

Season fish with salt and pepper.

Place into a baking dish and cover with herb mixture and juices.

Bake for 15 – 18 minutes.

Serve with juices.


There is a lot of flavor in this recipe so don’t be afraid to use a stronger tasting fish if you prefer. 

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Eating Outside the Box

by Joanne on January 19, 2015

Friday night, we ate “inside the box”, meaning, we ate at one of our new favorite restaurants in Utica, New York.  Ancora’s

Ancora Haddock and scallop oreganato

A tasty dinner special: Haddock and Scallop Oreganato served with fresh tomato and pea risotto, and sautéed spinach.  A gourmet delight.

Moving on and out of town, to Queens, New York, more of a “business trip” than a weekend getaway, we stayed at the Hyatt in China town. There were no Italian restaurants within walking distance. Surprised? Well, we were in China town.   We made our way to the Oyster Cave but they didn’t serve wine so … moving on and into a place that was doing good business early on a Friday night.  Baidu Shabu Shabu  (no idea!???)

Shabu shabu

It seemed the one person who spoke a tad of English was the hostess, although everyone was smiling and extremely friendly. The service was excellent in every sense of the word (except understanding what we wanted…oh well?!) Since we wanted alcohol (sounding so harsh), we were seated at the bar, down below where we sat alone.  Fortunately, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon was well understood.   UNfortunately, the request for LESS SPICE was NOT understood.

bad peppers

Thai Chili Pepper:  They have a pungent flavor and a bright red color, which makes them popular as a garnish as well as a flavoring. Their taste as also been described as "woody" or "earthy." One unique feature of this pepper is that it contains hydroxy-alpha-sanshool, which produces a tingling, sometimes numbing sensation on the tongue. Thai chili peppers are usually ground for use in dishes. Less spicy varieties may be stuffed with meat or vegetables.

Typically, our meals are started with a fresh, green salad.  At Shabu Shabu, there were no salads.  We ordered spicy cucumbers as an appetizer, had about 3 bites and called it quits. Hot, hot, hot.

cucumber in spicy sauce

See all that red?  It’s ground up chili pepper.  Ouch! Flavorful but OUCH!

The hostess, who seemed to be the only person who could barely make out our language, asked if we wanted bar nuts.  Of course! Anything to help remove the cutting heat off our tongues.

bar nuts

The main entrees arrived. Mine in a very large silver bowl with a side of sticky white rice.

fish with vegetables 3 peppers spicy

Thank goodness for the rice because it helped calm the heat of the dish. The sauce wasn’t greasy, but light and flavorful.  The fish was steamed, delicate, soft and tender. The bok choy, sprouts and other vegetables sank to the bottom but were plentiful, fresh, and again spicy with flavor.

While I was making my way through the “hot pot”, Ted was enjoying his meal of sautéed smoked pork and snow peas, no heat added.

sauteed smokey pork with snow peas

See those thin strips that look like bacon? That is the smoked pork. If the menu had described his meal as bacon and snow peas, then the pork wouldn’t have seemed out of the ordinary to us.  I think Ted was expecting medallions of pork, not bacon strips.  Anyway, he enjoyed it as his plate was spot clean once finished.

We thought it would be insulting to ask for coffee over tea plus we didn’t dare as there was not telling what we’d get due to the language barrier.   We made our way 2 blocks back to the comforts of our hotel and had coffee with a warmed blueberry scone.

blueberry scone2

Soft, sweet, and a perfect closure to an adventurous meal.

Do you enjoy Chinese cuisine? What’s your favorite dish?

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School of Fish Tuna 101 with Sunflower Seeds, Lemon and Chives

January 12, 2015

After visiting several different weather sites in hopes of finding one, just ONE, that offered a ray of hope for a warmer tomorrow in upstate New York, I finally accept defeat. It’s not so much the 2 degrees, it’s the “Feels Like –16” that’s really getting to me.  Of course the treadmill will be turning […]

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School of Fish: Dover Sole with Marsala Sauce

January 7, 2015

Along with trying to keep fit in this frigid wintery weather, we have been eating healthy …again.  The holidays are over, the cookies gone, candy canes put away (although when I crave sweets, my go to candy is peppermint) and the focus is on fruits (fresh and dried-no sugar added)  to satisfy the sweet tooth.   […]

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School of Fish: Baked Crab Cakes with Wasabi Aioli

December 31, 2014
Champagne toast

Here we go again:  Another year past.   Time sure flies when you’re having fun and hopefully everyone had a fun year?  Ours was filled with a lot of good times, a few tears, lots of laughs, and memorable moments.  Friends and family played and will continue to play a big role in our adventures. Here’s […]

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Seafood Orzo Risotto

December 27, 2014
Early Start

It’s tough leaving family when Christmas Day is over. Ted and I looked at the weather and it looked like a wintery mix for Sunday so we left South Carolina Friday, taking a couple of days to get home. I finished my long run on Friday, 16 miles which felt AMAZING considering I’ve had knee […]

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