5.14.2015

The Spartan {Super} Race

It's mid-May, and if you've been following my blog since earlier this year, you know that it was FINALLY the time for Matt and I to compete in the Spartan Race with our good friends Nick + Amanda!  There are many different types of "mud run races" - you may have heard of Tough Mudder or Warrior Dash, to name of few.  But Spartan Race is pretty much known as the toughest when it comes to penalties, because it is apparently the only mud run that penalizes you for failing to complete an obstacle.  The penalty? 30 burpees - one of the most hated body-weight exercises EVER.

The day of the race, we had perfect weather {it wasn't too hot}, and the trail and scenery were really very beautiful.  It took place about an hour outside of Austin in the Hill Country, and the trails were surrounded by fields of cactus and wildflowers.  The higher we ran up the granite hills, the prettier the views got.  The obstacles were a lot of fun, and the water we had to run and army-crawl through was actually pretty refreshing.  I think the best part might have been the energy and motivation that you experience, though.  Everyone around you is so pumped up and bystanders are cheering you on - you can't help but feel like a Spartan!  And we also had our awesome friends Nick + Amanda there with us, which made each obstacle a team effort and the day that much more fun!







The Spartan Super {there are different levels of races - "Super" is the middle level} was 9.5 miles and around 25 obstacles, which leaves a lot of opportunity for some burpees.  However, I'm glad to report that we did better than expected, and I was only penalized for not completing 2 obstacles {that's 60 burpees total} - the spear throw + the rope climb.

Being that I trained for both of these obstacles before the race, I was super bummed that I didn't complete them.  On the spear toss, I just plain missed the target.  In fact, we all missed except Matt!  The rope climb was one of the very last obstacles, and almost no one was making it to the top.  We were standing in waist-deep, squishy, muddy water {ie. no stable ground to stand on or jump off of}, and the ropes were hanging in said water.  Not easy.  Also imagine how physically exhausted we all were after running 9.5 miles and completing all of the other obstacles.  Put all those factors together, and you get 4 spartan racers not even making it a quarter of the way up their ropes.















Regardless, we all crossed that finish line together - which is a giant leap over some fire into a pit of muddy water - and were greeted with our "finisher" medals at the end.  All I truly wanted to do for my first race was to cross that finish line, so I'm definitely happy with that!  I ended up really enjoying it so much more than I expected to, and I think I may even see another Spartan race in my future... not super near future, but future nonetheless.  And afterward - a true Texas BBQ to celebrate.





Thank you all for reading!

5.07.2015

{Recipe} Spicy Beer-Battered Fish Tacos

One thing I love about meals is that they can really create a "mood" or "feeling".  For instance, a warm bowl of soup is perfect for a rainy day.  Or a hearty serving of chili is just right on a cold, winter evening.  Fish Tacos is one of those recipes that I make all year round, but I especially love to make them as the weather starts to warm up.  They remind me so much of breezy summer days on the ocean during our years living in Southern California, the home of fish tacos, in my opinion! 

Mine is a slightly spicier version of your run-of-the-mill fish taco, and now that spring is in full swing and the temperature around Austin has consistently been in the mid-80's, I'm definitely going to be busting this recipe out again soon.







Spicy Beer-Battered Fish Tacos

Ingredients:

{Tacos}
Lemon pepper marinated Tilapia fillets, cut into thin strips
Spicy guacamole {I make mine myself using about 3 avocados + a spicy guacamole seasoning mix}
Pico de gallo {can be as spicy or mild as you like}
Fresh cilantro
Red cabbage, shredded
Sour cream {we usually use light}
Spicy ranch dressing
Flour tortillas
Limes
2-3 Tbsp. Canola Oil

{Batter}
Aprox. 1-1/2 cups flour
Sea Salt
Ground black pepper
Cayenne pepper
Cumin
Beer {usually a lighter beef - I like to use the TX beer Shiner Bock}


I first like to prepare all of the taco toppings before getting started breading and frying the fish.  After that, go ahead and mix all of your dry batter ingredients in a mixing bowl.  I always estimate the amount of seasonings to add to the batter, but you really can't mess it up.  Start with the flour in your bowl and slowly add your desired amount of seasonings.  Add more or less depending on how much flavor and spiciness you like.  Mix well. 

Slowly add the beer into your batter mix and stir until smooth.  Heat the canola oil in a pan over medium heat.  Using a fork, dip each strip of tilapia into the batter until covered on all sides and place directly into the heated pan. Flip after a few minutes and remove the strips when they are starting to brown.  I always place them into a paper towel and dab off the excess oil. 

Assemble the tacos any way you like them.  I start with the fillet in a tortilla and add a nice squeeze of fresh lime juice, guacamole, sour cream, red cabbage, pico de gallo, fresh cilantro and last - the spicy ranch dressing, which really makes it tasty!  There are a lot of liquid-y ingredients here, so I find that they turn out best when you just do a little of each topping.  That way, they won't get soggy or overflow, but you'll still get all of the flavors!

I hope you try this out for dinner sometime + let me know how you like it!  Thanks for reading!