Dar Essalam – Wilsonville, OR

Mr. Won’t Run had a craving so I met up with him after work at our favorite Moroccan restaurant in Wilsonville, Dar Essalam.  We love this place!  It’s a family run business and they are always super friendly and so accommodating.  They take pride in their food and enjoy seeing others fall in love with it.

If you’re ever driving through Oregon it’s just a little South of Portland and right off I-5.  Although if you’re traveling I’d plan on staying the night because it wouldn’t be safe to drive on a full belly, all you’ll want to do is relax and digest.  It’s not fast food, it’s meant to be enjoyed and savored, so take along some good company and plan for a leisurely evening out.

You have to start with the Iced Minted Green Tea, it’s a huge glass and refillable!  Mr. Won’t Run tried the Minted Lemonade (on the left) and both were delicious and refreshing.

Next comes a cute little plate of humus and pita which we scarf down in about ten seconds.  The humus is a thinner, creamier consistency than most and it has a subtle sweetness to it.  We dug in before I remembered I wanted a photo.

Next is the lentil soup which is always tasty.

Then it’s on to the salad sampler of beets, carrots, potatoes, and green beans – all of it is delicious!

Mr. Won’t Run always gets the Beef Ox Tail Tajine with savory Eggplant Sauce, they don’t even ask him anymore what he wants, they know his order:

My current favorite is the Vegetarian Couscous which I add a couple of kabobs to, tonight they were salmon:

And, of course, baklava!  Everyone orders four pieces, don’t they?  It’s served with ice cream if you order there but we’re always too full so we take it to-go without.

And then there’s the pretty decor:

I love this mosaic piece!

Seriously peeps, do your belly a solid and give this place a try sometime!

Quinoa & Cones

As previously mentioned, I have a little thing for food blogs.  You should see my inbox.  It’s basically all blog subscriptions all the time.  I love it.

I may not be in the kitchen much these days but reading about all those amazing recipes makes me feel like I could be making them one day.

One of my usuals is Two Peas and Their Pod, written by Maria and Josh, a cute couple out of Salt Lake City.  I love that their recipes aren’t scary.  You know the type… 24 ingredients and 35 steps that takes 10 hours from start to finish.  This isn’t that type of blog at all.  Their recipes are user-friendly and the ingredients are typically pantry staples.

A perfect example is the Quinoa Fruit Salad with Honey Lime (and mint) Dressing.

I made it yesterday to take to a girl’s night with the college friends and it’s so light and refreshing; the perfect Summer dish which I will definitely be making again!

In other news, Koko went to our favorite Vet today.  We noticed on Wednesday that she kept licking at the top of her front, left paw and other than typical dog grooming she really doesn’t do that.  The licking wasn’t constant and she seemed fine otherwise, wasn’t babying the foot at all, so we took the wait-and-see approach.  Eventually we noticed what looked like a lump/sore/protrusion of some sort at the base of her nail so I called and got an appointment.

Thankfully it doesn’t seem to be anything serious.  Vet thinks she may have had a thorn or somehow got a cut and with all her licking it has swollen and can’t heal.  He gave us some powder to put on it twice a day to numb the area a bit and give her some relief but she has to wear the cone!

The only other experience we had with the cone was shortly after we got her and she broke some toes on her back, right paw.  Mr. Won’t Run couldn’t take it and he took the cone off her a few minutes after we were home.  That cone was a stiffer plastic and it extended farther so I think she’s having an easier time adjusting to this one.

Except when she runs into something, then she freezes in place and I laugh at her.

She let the PetSmart gal put it on her and only pawed at it a few times.  We even went for a walk and she seems to be accepting it, hopefully Mr. Won’t Run will too!

Couch to 5K. Again.

Re-starting it for the 5Kth time!

There is just enough time to get through the C25K program before the Red Faced Runners 5K Challenge in September so I completed Week 1 / Run 1 last night.

For those who don’t know, the program consists of interval walking/running routines over the course of 9 weeks, 3 runs per week.  It gradually adds longer running periods until you’re running the full 5K distance by the end.

For those who don’t speak Metric, allow me to enlighten you:

(just one sec, I gotta Google… okay, here we go)

5K = 5 Kilometers = 5,000 Meters = 3.1 Miles

Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.

(Please tell me you get that reference?  A real American hero?  Anyone?  I feel old.)

You’re supposed to rest a day between runs but I went ahead and did Week 1 / Run 2 tonight.  I hadn’t planned on doing it until tomorrow, but after taking Koko for a walk my body just wanted to run.  Does that happen to anyone else?  I love that feeling.

I’ve been doing running/walking intervals for the past month or so and really enjoy them.  I have found it to be a good way to ease into running and I think it has helped build my lung capacity as well, I’m not having to stop just because I can’t breathe.

I will admit, I was feeling a little cocky about my running abilities.  I thought about skipping Week 1 of C25K and jumping ahead to Week 2 or 3.  Week 1 is intervals of 60 second runs and I’ve been doing 90 second runs so I worried that cutting back to 60 seconds would be too easy.

How wrong I was!

Week 1 is definitely still a workout and I was dripping sweat tonight!

I also started to feel like I was dripping in doubt.  I was a little stiff on tonight’s run and my mind started questioning.  What the heck am I doing?  Who did I think I am?  Run a 5K in September?  This September!  There’s no way.  I’m not a runner.  Why did I commit to this?  I hate committing to things.  What if I fail?  What if I succeed?

Then I remembered Cindy’s post on training and gave myself a mental slap.

This is exactly what she said would happen:

“You will have doubts and you may want to quit. Often.”

Yep, that’s me and it’s only day 2!  And then I remembered this little Gem:

 “If you run, you are a runner. Period.”

Yeah, you know what?  I am a runner.  I just ran for a minute.

And then did it seven more times!

Right then and there, on that apartment gym treadmill, I decided that those doubts could hitch a ride on the beads of sweat running down my forehead.  How dare they tell me I can’t do the very thing I am in the process of doing!  What the heck do they know?  If they’re not going to say anything nice, then I’m kicking them out!

I’m expelling them from my body and not looking back.

Getting my sweat on at the gym now includes getting my doubt off.

Sweating it out on the treadmill now includes doubting it out.

Sweating out the doubt.

I like that.

Sing it to the tune of “Burning Down the House” and I like it even better.

Red Faced Runners 5K Challenge

You don’t have to know me very long to know that I love food blogs.

So… remember in my last post how I felt like everything was lining up and it was a sign that Will Run for Pasta was the path I am supposed to be on?  Well, last night I discovered the newly launched Red Faced Runners.  And guess who started RFR?

Food bloggers, that’s who!

Eleven of them to be exact, led by the Cookin’ Canuck herself, Dara Michalski.

They recently joined forces {powered by their Wonder Woman knee-highs} to motivate their readers to a healthier, more active lifestyle and people are jumping onboard – including me!  RFR is challenging people to join in a virtual 5K.  By that they mean that for the next nine weeks we’re all training as needed (there is a couck-to-5k type of training schedule here) and then you find a local race to take part in the weekend of September 8th/9th.

How fun does that sound?!  It’s exactly what I needed right now to motivate me to keep up with my running and take it to the next level.  We’re only talking about moving from level 1 to level 2, but progress is progress, right? 😀

One of the contributors to RFR is Cindy from Once Upon a Loaf and she is a certified running coach.  She wrote a great article on Cookin’ Canuck’s site about how to train for a 5K and one of the tips is finding a local running store that will do a gait analysis and get you in the right shoes.  So off I go to the Portland Running Company website and while I’m there checking things out I see a link to a race they’re sponsoring.

Guess what it’s called.

Go ahead, guess.

PINTS TO PASTA!!  Pasta, people, PASTA!

Are you kidding me, Pints to Pasta 10K, how perfect is that?  And apparently it has been voted “Best 10K in the Northwest” by Competitor Magazine.  But, it’s a 10K so I’d be walking half of it which is okay.  But when is it?

Guess when the race is.

Go ahead, guess.





I think I’m supposed to do this race.  How could I not?  But I don’t want to do it alone so who wants to sign up with me?  Mr. Won’t Run didn’t seem too interested :(

Let’s do this thing!

And for the record, here’s my red face.  And my eye wrinkles.

I think I need to hydrate more.

Blog Birth Story

While contemplating the switch from Blogger, I started thinking about what I really wanted to blog about.  Was it just going to be about our life, married with one dog and no kids yet?  Or about foodie stuff like recipes and restaurant reviews (we have both worked in food service so we’re particularly critical when we go out).  Or would it be “green” and talk about the alarming number of chemicals we’re putting on and in our bodies?  Or maybe it would be about my recent jump back into exercising and rediscovering that I enjoy running?

I realized I didn’t need to pick one particular theme and that I wanted to blog about all of it since each one of those is part of who I am.  I want to keep friends and family updated on what we’re doing in life and the things that are important to us, and if a stranger happens to stumble upon the blog then I hope they find something here to enjoy as well, even if they just come for the Koko Puff fluff of which there will probably be a lot!

You would think that figuring out what to blog about would be the hard part, but I find naming the blog is even harder.  If you have ever started a blog, website, or business of any kind you probably know that coming up with a name can be quite the ordeal.  You think of one you like only to find out that someone else is already using it, maybe the blog name is available but the domain name isn’t, or maybe someone on Twitter is using the name and that could be confusing down the road when readers or customers want to follow you.

So, on a lazy 4th of July holiday in 2012, as I sat on our bed with my laptop on my lap (imagine that) and my husband napping beside me, my mind went something like this:

          Hmmm, what would I name it?

          I’m getting back into running, maybe something about that…

          Like when I posted that pic of baklava on FB and said that I work out so that I can eat it.

          Ooh, how about Running for Baklava?

          But then people might think I blog about Greek food which I totally don’t.

          What else do I love to eat?


          I’d run some extra miles for pasta for sure!

          Will Run for Pasta!

          But wait, maybe that sounds like I’m mocking the people who stand on the corner with “will work for food” signs.

          That’s silly, anyone who knows me know that I wouldn’t do that.

          Well, let’s see if the name is even available, it probably isn’t…

          Blog name on WordPress… Check.

          Sweet, WordPress says I can buy that domain and host through them… Great.

          Better check FB and Twitter just in case my blog goes viral and I end up giving Pioneer Woman a run for her money!  Better to grab it now and not use it than want it later and not be able to get it.

          Facebook… Check.

          Twitter… Check.

          No way!  The first name I come up with and it’s available everywhere?!

          Has to be a sign, right?!

          Thank you Lord for making it so clear to proceed!

          Like the cranes lining up for Spider Man! (the latest movie was pretty good)

So there you go… my blog-naming story.

Kind of like a birth story but with less blood and pain.

What’s your story?  Blog or birth, I’d be interested in both!

Coming Soon

Stay tuned for a new blog!  Until then, here’s what you need to know:

I am…

  • living and working in beautiful Oregon
  • almost 34 (tick.tock.tick.tock)
  • married almost seven years to my best friend, he’s pretty cute, we’ll call him Mr. Won’t Run 😀
  • doggy mama to the sweetest little Aussie mix girl
  • rediscovering my love of running
  • about to start blogging my health and fitness journey

You can also find me on Twitter and Facebook.

Looking forward to sharing my journey with you and hearing about yours as well!