Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Vodka Pasta and Running a 5K

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I've always hated exercising; many people have encouraged me to do it, some have even tried forcing me (which really doesn't work... I'm a redhead, we're stubborn), but at the end of the day I've always had a "screw it, I don't have the time" mentality. Back when I was a freelance theatre technician it didn't matter all that much because I got a lot of exercise at work, and I was always too busy (or broke) to eat. Now, I have an awesome job but a lot of paperwork, and I have a desk in a room with a fridge and a microwave and a whole bunch of people that like to bring in baked goods. I also write a food blog. You might have figured out where this is going.

So when I moved to Las Vegas I gained a little more weight than I was comfortable with and I also lost a lot of my energy. There was much scolding from my guy, who is essentially a professional athlete, and from my mother who owns a gym, so I've forced exercise into my schedule. I spend probably a total of four hours at the gym a week, spread over six days. How do I manage this? Hulu+ on my phone is how. I get on the treadmill, stick in my headphones, and I watch TV. Since my Hulu queue rarely gets below twenty, there is no shortage of shows for me to watch, and it really does help me forget how long I've been running. Otherwise, you see, I over focus on the time, think how much laundry there is to do, and talk myself out of doing a decent job.

Two weeks ago, I decided for sure that I was going to run the annual 5K that the Circus does as a fundraiser. I've never done one before. From what I understand, the terrain for this one is downhill for half of it and uphill for the other half. So, yesterday I took a stab at running a 5K and my time was pretty respectable. I'm hoping to do quite well!

Of course, I had to give my body the necessary fuel it needed when I came home, and what better fuel than pasta? But, again, I write a food blog, so I put a crap ton of booze in it. Running a 5K is a great excuse to make this stuff.

Vodka Pasta is something I discovered a few months ago. It's remarkably easy and made from pantry staples. It goes wonderfully with chicken or veggies, and it's pretty great just on its own. Plus, hey, booze!

Vodka Pasta
Adapted from Feast by Nigella Lawson

You can use cream instead of the yogurt in the sauce, but I went for the lower fat version and to me, I honestly prefer it with the little extra tang that the yogurt creates.

200g Penne Pasta (about half a standard box)
1 Large Onion, diced
1 Can Diced Tomatoes
2 Garlic Cloves, whole but peeled
1 Tablespoon Plain Yogurt
2oz Vodka
2 Tablespoons Butter

In a large pan, heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil and add the onions. Cook them slowly over a medium heat until they are soft and just starting to brown a little around the edges, about 15 minutes. Then, tip in the tomatoes and the whole garlic cloves and stir, letting them cook for another 15-20 minutes. While the tomatoes are cooking, bring a large pan of water to boil and cook the Penne according to the directions on the box, usually about 12 minutes.

When the pasta is done, drain it and then put it back into it's pan, adding in the butter and stirring until melted, then add in the vodka. Turn the heat off the tomato and onion mixture, fish out the whole garlic cloves, and stir in the yogurt, then add in a good grind or two of salt and pepper to taste. Mix the sauce in with the pasta and serve with a few grates of good parmesan cheese. Yummy! Serve this with some slow cooked chicken, or a bunch of veggies, or just on it's own in a giant bowl in front of the latest episode of Chopped.

Makes 2 main portions or 4 side portions.


  1. I am the same as you at running, I'll only do it when there's decent music videos on the tv haha when one that I don't like or a slow one is on, I just want to stop! I am also tempted to do a 5k, how long before your one?
    Good luck with your training :) also I have never heard of vodka in pasta, interesting :)

    1. Hi Ellen!

      My 5K is on March 24th. I'd like to get it under thirty minutes, but I'll be happy with 35-40.

  2. Ooo that's still a couple weeks ago so am sure that you will be able to get your pace up :)
    Well my main goal is to complete it but I would only want to sign if I could do it in 30 mins haha
    Do you train outside? :)
    I am only training on the treadmill just now so I need to practise outside since its much different apparantly :/

    1. Our 5K is a big charity event so I think there are lots of people that are doing it regardless of their time! I have been training on the treadmill but I've been running more than half of it at an incline to try and give me a better idea of what it will really feel like!

  3. I always think 5K is the perfect race length - I know so many people who have run marathons etc and just get burned out on exercise!

    Im not much of a pasta person but the vodka pasta SAUCE sounds to die for! No wonder youve been eating lots of it! :)