Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Cranberry Brussel Sprouts

Tis the night day before Thanksgiving and if you're still searching for that tasty yet healthy but still memorable and crowd pleasing dish then let me offer up this contender:

Cranberry Brown Butter with Roasted Brussel Sprouts


  • 2 pounds Brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons EVOO
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen, thawed cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger root
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. On 2 large rimmed baking sheets, toss the Brussels sprouts with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 40 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the sprouts are tender.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the cranberries, maple syrup, ginger, and orange zest. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until the cranberries break down and thicken, about 10 minutes. <Here's where I took a short cut and used a cranberry orange relish from Publix>
  4. In a medium skillet, cook the butter over moderately high heat until melted. Remove from the heat, add the shallots and thyme, and stir into the cranberry sauce.
  5. Transfer the butter-cranberry mixture to a serving bowl, add the Brussels sprouts, and toss. Season with salt and serve warm.

What do you say?  Sprouts are known for their cancer fighting properties and cranberries can help reduce inflammation and prevent infections.  When you combine them together the cranberries shine and even non-Brussel-lovers will enjoy the sweet and savory side dish.

This recipe is inspired by the US Cranberries site and my boss, Tara Gidus, is featuring on a segment on the Daily Buzz on Thanksgiving morning. 

Let's talk about Thanksgiving morning shall's going to be cold.  IN ORLANDO!  It hasn't been under 70 all fall and for our Turkey Trot I'll be announcing in 37 degree weather! And see that's cold, but I can deal with'll be back to the 70's in two days.  What gives?  I'm over Central Florida weather.

<end rant>

Today's Elf4Health challenge is to try a new workout.  

If you're stuck at home over the holiday try this At Home Turkey Burn workout that Kyle and I created last year.  
For my workout I'll be doing an easy 4-5 miler.  No that's not new, but it's my first time tapering for a marathon (since last time I didn't train properly at all), so it's technically new to me! :)

I have on my "to-do" list to try a Barre workout.  Maybe in 2014...

What are you bringing to Thanksgiving dinner?
What new workout would you like to try?

Love and good for you veggies, 
Carissa & Kyle

Since it's Wednesday, don't forget to check all the yummy offerings on Peas & Crayons.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Wine and Dine Half Marathon 2013

If I didn't work for RunDisney, the Wine and Dine Half Marathon would be on my annual "must do" list.  A night race that promises a run through Disney parks and wine at the end? Oh why can't every race be like that?
This year over 14,000 runners took part in activities as part of the Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend at Walt Disney World.  The weekend started with the two day health and fitness expo, the Jingle Jungle 5k (recap here), the kids races, and the half marathon...oh and the private after party in Epcot that went until 4 am!
As a race announcer for RunDisney I started my weekend by opening the expo on Friday. Runners picked up their race packets in the HP Fieldhouse at ESPN's Wide World of Sports and then got their shirts at the Josten's Center where the Health and Fitness expo was held.
A great part of the expo for me was running into a group of "rock star" bloggers that New Balance brought out for the event.  I always love running into Julie from Peanut Butter Fingers and it was great meeting Tina and Sarah aka Skinny Runner.  I read both of their blogs daily!
I also got to hug Meghann and congratulate her on her recent Ironman Triathlon finish.
No Disney event would be complete without a photo with Heather our fitness/RunDisney/Disney expert and blogger and mommy-to-be Jen.
Saturday morning after running a great time in the 5k, I showered (yes, I did) and rushed to open the expo at 8:30.  Around 9:15 a golf cart came and whisked me away to the holiday themed kids races.
This is "Elf Stevie" our DJ doing the "What does the Fox say" dance.  I may be obsessed with the song and made him play it about 7 times throughout the event.
Once the kids races ended I finished up my day at the expo that closed at 3pm.  Then I grabbed a quick nap before we were picked up at the hotel at 6pm for the half marathon.

Another fun part about this race is the massive dance party pre-race.  While you are standing in line for the port-o-potty you can dance along with DJ Stevie.  Never have I seen people who are about to run 13.1 miles boogie down like they do at the Wine and Dine Half.
Or you could check out the great race costumes in the crowd.  Remember this guy from Tower of Terror?
Yes his costume is comical, but did you know he is a type 1 diabetic and cancer survivor?  Pretty awesome...and yet still hairy :)

Around 9pm Rudy and I headed to Victory Way to begin getting everyone ready for the race.
Hi Kelly! 
This was the second race with RunDisney's new corral system, so there were corrals A - L.  The feedback I heard was that the new corral system is working well.
Rudy and I sent off each wave of runners and a special thank you to those of you who shouted at us and we then shouted back!  Thank you also to Heather for these great pics.
After the start we rushed over just in time to catch Justin Schied run a speedy (and record setting)  1:11:47.
Around 12:30 I headed into Epcot for the awards ceremony.  Afterwords it was quite crowded getting out of the park, so we had to run the last .75 of the race.  I didn't mind...although I didn't get a medal for that effort.
Mom ran the race and did a great job finishing in 2:42!  I think she's still not a fan of the night race, but she's always a trooper.

Our announcing wrapped up at 2:45am and I passed out in bed around 3:30.  After 10 years as a race announcer this year's Wine and Dine is the first time I have ever lost my voice. For those of you who thought I sounded like a frog or who's name I totally missed at the finish line because I couldn't talk please forgive me!
Congrats to all the finishers!

Have you ever run a night marathon or half marathon?
Can you drink alcohol after a race?

Love and liquid calories,
Carissa & Kyle

Friday, November 15, 2013

RunDisney Jingle Jungle 5k 2013

The award for best RunDisney race of the year goes to...

Mickey's Jingle Jungle 5k!
Yup, I'm calling it my favorite of the year.  Maybe I'm biased, because it's one of two family fun run 5k's that I get to run, but I LOVE it.  It has come to signal the start of the holiday season for me and I can't think of a better way to kick it off than with a 3.1 mile jog through Animal Kingdom with decorations, music, and holiday dressed Disney characters.
For those new readers, I am an announcer for RunDisney's races in both Orlando and California.  You can see my recaps of all the races on my RunDisney page.

Disney races practically require a fun outfit.  I enlisted the help of my super creative Mom to make a Christmas tree skirt for the race.  Each Christmas tree is different and hand sewn.  Plus, there's a hidden Mickey tree topper.  I also wore a Christmas Sweaty Band.
Before the race I ran into these crazy kids from Corral G in their "ugly Christmas sweaters". They're actually a light material from Ink 'n Burn. I'm considering buying one for Kyle to wear to the gym this December.  These guys know how to have fun and it always seems like they're having a blast whenever I see them.

After a quick potty stop (keeping it real) and some fake snow, we were off.  I started right at the front of corral A.  First because I had to be at the expo by 8:30 and the race started at 7:30.  Secondly, because even though it was a fun run I wanted to have a good time.  You can run a PR if you start in Corral A.  After that the course gets pretty congested with walkers.
Mile 1 takes you around the Animal Kingdom parking lot.  I used this mile to control my pace and my breathing.  I aimed to stay around a 8:30 pace.

Mile 1 - 8:22

The end of mile 1 takes you into the park and past the holiday tree and the Tree of Life.  At this point I felt good, so I decided to not take photos and just run.  I really wanted to beat my time of 25:10 from last year.  What motivates me on this course is the Christmas music, characters, and seeing so many people I work with.  I like saying "hi" to them.  I tried to not look at my watch and just run at a "quick" pace.

Mile 2 - 8:11
Last year my Garmin measured the course at 2.97.  A little short, but it's a fun run so NBD.  However I wanted to finish under 25 minutes so thinking the course was short again all I had to do was average 8:20 pace.  I can do that.  Around mile 2 I realized that the course was different.  Curses I had to run the whole 3.1!  haha!  I stopped looking at my watch and just ran the last mile.  No math games - just run.
Finally a race pic where I actually look like I'm running!
Mile 3 - 7:37

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't hurting that final .1.  I saw my entertainment director and tried my best to wave, but it was a sad attempt.  It may not be kosher to post "proofs", but I had to share my post race finish.  I showed my friend Megan this pic and she said, "This is why I hate 5ks".
It's just a fun run, but the official Garmin stats said 3.16 miles and 25:18.
So I left the finish line feeling bummed.  I really, REALLY wanted to finish under 25 minutes.  I got my medal and my food box and exited the chute.  Then I flipped my Garmin to see my average pace and what to my wondering eyes should appear - 7:59 average pace!  My first race ever with a 7-something pace!  I was thrilled!  Christmas miracles to happen!
Now I "think" this is my fastest 5k ever.  Last year my Garmin said 2.97 miles and 25:10.  This year with the new course it said 3.16 miles and 25:18, so regardless of the finish time I was moving faster this year and that's progress.

I can't say enough awesome things about this race.  The weather was great, there were holiday characters out on the course, and I had my Mom there to cheer me on.  Best. 5k. Ever.
What Disney park would you most like to run through?
Do you run in fun costumes?

Love and DAK,
Carissa & Kyle

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