Nonetheless, the hubby told me to get a move on, so I reluctantly bundled up in long tights, two layers of long-sleeves, hat, and two pairs of gloves and we prepared for the run. Now, the first 12 miles of this course is essentially one long uphill (or at least feels like one), and the first 4 miles in particular are straight up the mountain and what I like to call "in your face steep." Starting a few minutes behind the main group (because I'm a slow poke), the hubby and I trudged up the mountain at a brisk walk. About 4 miles in, the grade of the trail leveled off but an icy snow began to fall. Twenty minutes later that turned into a full-force blitz snow storm in which I was convinced we might just freeze there on the side of the mountain if that type of weather decided it wanted to continue. Thankfully, it did not, and the weather improved though we did still hit some patches of snow and wind. And after 12 solid miles of uphill and 4000 ft of elevation gain, we began to make the trek back down the mountain, which I MUCH rather prefer! It was cold and a bit miserable at times, but also a strong, solid long run of 20 miles total. There may not have been much smiling during, but at least we were smiling at the end!
So what does all of this have to do with today's recipe? Not much, other than the fact that a hot grilled panini and warm bowl of soup would have been the perfect post-run refuel (had I not been in the middle of nowhere). That being said, and in honor of National Grilled Cheese Day, I'm excited to share with you all this fanciful gourmet twist on the traditional cheese slapped between two slices of bread and melted to ooohy gooey perfection in my Balsamic Glazed Portabello Panini. My husband is quite the lover of grilled cheese, but is constantly wanting to change things up and include fun add ins. I created this earlier this year while on a portabello mushroom kick (still am) in an effort to boost nutrients and flavor. This pairs well with a warm bowl of soup on chillier days, or perhaps a lighter, crisp salad as we begin to see warmer and warmer temps this spring.
3 Portabello mushroom caps, sliced into 1/2" thick strips
1 red pepper, seeds remved, diced in strips
1/4 white onion, diced into strips
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbsp fresh basil, diced
4 slices provolone or mozzarella cheese
1/4 c. Balsamic Vinegar
1 tbsp honey
What's your favorite twist on the traditional grilled cheese?
Kristen Chang is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) and triathlete residing in southwest Virginia with her husband and dogs. Follow along as she shares favorite fueling recipes, general wellness and sport nutrition tips and stories from her athletic endeavors.
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