Ready? Set? GO! It’s carb-loading time up in herre!

subtitle: no. that does not mean you need to run a single step. we all need the carbinfusion sometimes simply for the sake of comfortcarbloading.

I wear a lot of hats: blogger, writer, web & graphic designer, mom, and most relevant to this post: wife of a marathoner. We eat reasonably well, and as a family we’re pretty active, but our big weakness is Italian food. Happily, my husband runs a marathon at least once a month (81 total at last count), so we always have a good excuse to enjoy some pasta.

Sure, as spectators we technically don’t need to partake, but we’re willing to take one for the team if it means one of us can run a bit farther, or faster, the next day. Lately, Mr. Marathon has been eating Chinese food the night before his races (he swears by the salt content and stomach-settling effects of the rice) but the following recipe has also long been a favorite in the Stuperb household:

Baked Ziti

Ingredients (measurements need not be exact):

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced (fresh is best!)

28 oz canned or fresh crushed tomatoes

½ teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/8 teaspoon pepper

8 oz ziti (or penne), cooked and drained

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (we use a lot more)

(We usually double the recipe.)

We also include 6-8 links of mild or spicy Italian sausage, peeled, crumbled and cooked in olive oil.

Directions:

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion and garlic; sauté for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, oregano, basil, and pepper; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Place pasta in a shallow casserole dish; stir in sauce. Sprinkle (generously, if you love mozz as much as we do) with cheese. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Since we usually double the recipe, we end up with two dishes in the oven. Often, we do one with sausage and one without for our vegetarian friends.

Enjoy!

I wanted to let Shelley introduce herself because, after I read her post & checked out her husband’s blog, I decided that MY way of introducing her would be to deem her a Marathon Widow.

That guy must need a ton of carb-loading to keep up his hectic running schedule which all made this newrunner think BETTER YOU THAN ME.

ok, running peeps & those married to the running addicted: is this an affliction? do you see yourself as a running widow(er)/as having morphed your spouse into a running widow(er)?

or are the miles logged & the stress REDUCED the glue which keeps your marriage together?

Oh.

And the ziti? Miz is having a LOT of company for Thanksgiving. Im definitely whipping this one up at some point during the extended visit.

To carb-load for our extended couch sits.

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Comments

  1. says

    I’m sure Adrienne sometimes feels like an exercise widow sometimes. Most nights I’ll get home from work, then get changed and disappear out the door for a ride or a run. But, I think you hit the nail on the head, it’s probably better to put up with this than put up with the grumpy, grouchy un-exercised me!

    81 marathons – wow !

  2. says

    My fella just puts up with being an exercise widower now, although it’s taken some time for him to accept that this I’m not going to change! We spend a lot of time together otherwise, I think it’s healthy to have a bit of space and the odd separate hobby.

    I think our marathon man may be in a sliiiightly different league to me though :)

    Ziti! That’s what it is. We just call it pasta bake. Who knew?

    TA x

  3. MizFit says

    and with nary a marathon EVER IN MY SIGHTS this post has started me down the path of wondering:

    the notion of WORKOUT WIDOWS/ERS.
    how has your workout time impacted your relationships.
    have you just started? is your partner at all irritated by the time away? not minding it? JOINING YOU?

    for me. even though we rarely workout together. it has made me HAPPIER and less stressed and my husband would HAPPILY be a widower for a bit to have a more Zen like Miz.

    you?

  4. bea says

    my partner did not love that i as getting out of bed in the mornings early at first.
    I think he felt guilty he wasn’t joining me?

    but now he loves the results and I think loves his time in the bed alone some too.

    interesting question. now I want to wake him up and ask him.

    but I won’t!

  5. says

    Marathon Man dos a pretty good job of keeping me from feeling like a running widow. He thoughtfully walks our son to school every day before taking his daily run, and asks me to come on all his various marathon trips – he *usually* does his best to fit his hobby into our lives instead of vice versa.

    And if ever I start to think it’s a little much (which I admit that I do from time to time), I remember that the men in his family have typically died pretty young and that he’s giving himself / us the gift of years.

    Ok, sometimes I have to remind myself of this over and over through gritted teeth – but mostly not :)

  6. says

    Hmm. My husband claims that I am much nicer now that I exercise (i.e. taking my pissiness out on machines). But I don’t think my workouts are carb-load worthy. When we indulge in pasta, it’s the Barilla Plus. Think I’ll put ziti on the menu this week.

    81 marathons in a month is impressive only because they stopped making them in 1981 and now you have to buy the expensive and imported Curly Wurly’s. What, we weren’t talking about candy? Blame Bag Lady…

  7. MizFit says

    bea? Good call on the not waking….just tell us later.

    Diana & Cammy? I’d laugh at your comments but meKNOWS you are not alone.

    And Stuperb? I did laugh at yours….I had the (now ruined) visual of your Man making your Son RUN TO SCHOOL ;)

  8. says

    I don’t run unless someone is chasing me. Even in my youngest, healthiest, fittest days, I hated running. I can walk and bike for hours… but I hate running.

    Though I love carbs!

  9. MizFit says

    ok. Back as Marianne was typing while I was.

    A. I’D FORGOTTEN ABOUT THE MARATHONS. (Yeah. That’s for that reminder as I’ll need to search Hometowncandy.com when I’m at computer)

    2.ANNOUNCEMENT:
    If you get a Monday Facetime where Miz is showing her recumbent bike while wearing FISHNETS & HEELS in an effort to GLAM UP please to *blame* MizFit Match: the Bag Lady & Marianne.

  10. says

    Morning.

    Pasta is a weakness for me…and my big dog. She loves spaghetti. Crazy pooch. If I make ziti, I will eat and eat and eat ziti. Lovely recipe, though.

    :D

  11. says

    I love pasta. I have been buying the healthy one with whole wheat, protein and omega-3s. I have a small portion with chicken and a huge salad and feel satisfied. I remember the days of huge plates of fettucini alfredo……yikes!

    No running widow here……….hubby runs to the recliner when there’s a football game or wrestling on but that’s the extent of his running. He used to be in the military and ran every day……..that was 50 lbs ago! He gained weight with every pregnancy ;)

  12. says

    Thank you dragonmamma! I am this close to throwing in the towel. Miz? Ideas on how real people can do this thing? I promise to stop making homemade potato chips in a steady state…

  13. MizFit says

    Ideas on how real people can do this thing? I promise to stop making homemade potato chips in a steady state…

    yes.

    musing later :)

    life calls. STUPERB? can we get Marathon Man up in herre to help until Im back?

  14. Robin says

    Mmmm, I love baked ziti. I will have to try this recipe.

    As far as running, neither of us do, so I can’t comment there. I will say that I would happily give up a little more time with my husband if he would just get his chubby self to the gym. Seriously, he needs to start shaping up, if for no other reason than I want him around for a long time. Any ideas how to motivate him?

  15. MizFit says

    Robin? In a serious vein I’ve seen such a pattern with regards to readers asking this question.

    Ones who are walking the walk themselves in an effort to motivate family members and it isn’t taking.
    Yet.

    Uncoming post, yes.
    (And I’m dragging Ren Man into the fray)

    And, in my motivatedbymoviesmind, I wanna have an intervention for them all (ALA OLD SCHOOL), ‘capture’ them and drag em to Bumbling Band Bootcamp led by me and MizTer Will Ferrell.

  16. seekatyrun says

    My hubby doesn’t complain about my running because most of it is done pushing the double stroller while he is working. On his occasional weekend off I feel a twinge of guilt at leaving him to deal with the preschoolers while I run alone, but it is only a little twinge. We’re all happier when I run!

    And, like Robin, I would do anything to be able to help motivate him to do anything fit at all. I finally got him to address his sleep apnea (yeay!) but still no progress on losing the weight that could very well kill him.

    <> Marianne, I MUST know more about Curly Wurly’s — Marathon bars were my very fave!! I’m off to google them now!

  17. Jana says

    LOL @ the couch sitting.

    I think my husband hopes to become a weight training widow.

    is Ren man one?

  18. says

    The ziti sounds yummy.

    I’ve gone to great lengths to try and make sure that BK doesn’t feel like he’s losing me to exercise, unfortunately, I do get cranky and resentful sometimes (Like when I skip a cardio session to snuggle with him and he spends an hour on his fantasy football thing).

  19. says

    I think it’s rather the opposite up in here! My husband sometimes feels like a fitness widower. Thankfully he also loves to exercise – maybe just not as much as I do – and so we often do active stuff together. That recipe looks tasty!

  20. says

    World of Warcraft widow here. But that’s ok. While Husband is holed up in his computer room playing, I can go down to my little basement gym and work out. I aspire to be a runner some day, but the going is slow.

    Also, pasta = comfort food, as far as I’m concerned. I could eat it every day. Don’t, but definitely could.

  21. MizFit says

    I hear now you can make your entire Thanksgiving dinner from just one ingredient, OATS!!

    DANGNUBBIT, Doctor! does that mean I have to rewrite my post for next wednesday?

    Have Yerself an Oat’y Little ‘Giving
    subtitle: 8324927 easy steps to molding a turkey out of oats, water and a lot of wine.

  22. says

    The hubs likes it that I am working out more, because more workouts = a kinder, gentler me.

    Oh my gosh, could you please come kidnap me and take me to Old School Boot Camp??? You know I loves me some Ferrell. (Which makes me wonder, does streaking count as running?) ;)

  23. MizFit says

    YOU’RE MY BOY, BLUE!

    We’d all need nicknames Jill and I can promise you that there’d be streaking AND protein shake bongs **and** I’d have a nice little Saturday planned.

  24. says

    The Bag Lady slept in and now discovers folks have been talking about her down here in the comments! Sheesh.

    The ziti recipe sounds fabulous! Might even have to take a walk or something to justify serving it…..

    Marianne – what is this Marathon and Curly Wurly of which you speak? Am I missing out on something by being Canadian? Dangnubbit.

    And Jill? You cracked up the Bag Lady with your wondering if streaking counts as running! Of COURSE it does! It’s great cardio because not only are you running, you are trying not to get caught because, really, who wants to go to jail wearing nothing but a frown!!!!???

  25. MizFit says

    I linked the curly wurly in #28 BL. methinks marianne was showing off for us. displaying her international chocolate tastes :)

  26. says

    Holy Cow – he runs how many marathons???? Wow – that’s amazing! I feel like I got a great workout just thinking about that. :) Can’t wait to try the ziti – sounds awesome!

  27. says

    Ziti, huh. One more thing we can do with the tomatoes we have frozen. I’ll have to play around with the pastas as we use spelt or kamut and there’s a limit to varieties.
    You’ve given me ides. I like that.

  28. says

    I’m looking forward to carb-loading the next 2 days for my race on Sat. Not too much carbs, but more than normal.
    Hmmm- maybe if I started running earlier and got destressed my wife would still like me? ahahahaha

  29. says

    I’m with everyone else on the HOLY CRAP 81 MARATHONS!?

    That’s amazing. If only I liked running. I would totally see your 81 marathons and raise you 19. Hehe.

    The baked ziti is really similar to a dish that my dad likes to make (but his “recipes” are usually just the off-the-fly, toss pasta/Italian sausage/random spices in a dish). I will definitely have to give this a shot.

    My boyfriend (now ex) was a total workout widow. We actually had a lot of arguments because of my boot camp (getting up that early made me tired so I wouldn’t be able to stay up too late to hang out with him). It was rather a predicament.

  30. says

    Wait, I haven’t been able to read the rest of the post… ONE MARATHON A MONTH!!!!!

    !!!!
    !!!!

    A MONTH? ONE A MONTH?????

    *stunned*

  31. says

    Mmm, ziti…

    one marathon a month is crazy! my feet would probably rebel at 1 :)

    i have no insight into the affliction, but it would be fun to find someone who likes running/hiking/tri’s…

    ps: miz, i gave you an award!

  32. says

    Bowing down to anyone who runs one marathon a month – my mind can’t quite wrap itself around that – and bowing down to Shelley too for supporting him through it!

    Must be the ziti. Ziti solves all of the world’s problems.

  33. says

    Thanks, Miz – they were called Wig Wags in Canada and they were scrumpdillyicious!!! I hadn’t thought of them in years!
    (When I read the Wikipedia article, I actually said out loud, “OH, I remember Wig Wags! YUM” – doesn’t take a lot to excite the Bag Lady……)

  34. says

    Oooo, it’s so fun having tons of guests for Thanksgiving! I took time off work to make my Thanksgiving even longer… I love everything about this holiday, even the awful traffic.

    I am a runner, and my man is a runner/swimmer (he is stronger and faster than me but I am gaining on him!!) I carb-load before my longer runs on Sundays. Pasta is good because it doesn’t have too much fiber (any runner will tell you that lots of fiber the day before a big race is going to cause major digestive issues ughhh). And baked ziti is just straight-up comfort food.

    Awesome recipe thank you for posting!! (81 marathons? Goodness me oh my)

  35. says

    oh and in regards to exercise widow-dom: we rarely exercise together, but we both exercise most days. The time apart is great for us, and we both very much appreciate each others hard work and diligent effort! (He’s SUCH A BABE) ;-)

  36. says

    dayam.. part of me is really glad I can’t eat that ziti (figuring out a dairy-free, gluten free variation is not worth it. I never liked pasta that much).

    Way too much exercise involved in working it off. And unless a bear is chasing me I’m not running!

    Still admire the stick-to-itiveness to do 81 marathons!

  37. says

    I didn’t realize your Ren Man ran a marathon every month. Wow. That is ridiculously impressive. Can he do a guest post for us on running and how to stay motivated? I’m in awe of anyone with that much dedication to running and that much consistancy.

  38. MizFit says

    definitely not MY husband (she thumbtypes LAUGHING HARD. Sorry honey.)

    And I’ve tried to get Marathon Man up in herre for a guest post before….maybe now he’ll do it?

    Yes, MM?

  39. says

    Nummy van-nummers chica.

    Veggie shreds and tofu pepperoni works well as a cheese/meat combo substitution. That is, if you’re not soy intolerant AND lactose intoleran. Then you’re screwed. Like me ;-)

  40. says

    The role of the Supportive Spouse cannot be overstated! I am supportive of my guy when he wants to spend his free time after work playing basketball, and he is supportive of me with my races (even volunteering and joining in). Now I am going to have to add this baked ziti to the list of things we do for each other! Thanks for mentioning the vegetarian option.

  41. MizFit says

    tfh? that first sentence in your comment? AMEN and in ALL facets of life huh?

    Ren Man so supports me in this endeavor and sees its value even though it isnt quantifiable in terms of any traditional sense (read: money generating).

    A Supportive Spouse is invaluable.

    Miz.

  42. says

    I purposely trained for the Half rather than the full-marathon for this reason. Yes, it keeps me balanced, but the relationships in my life need balance too. Hubby loved it, and says he wants to train next spring with me. I’ll still keep it to a half, though.
    baked ziti….mmmm!
    Deb, I make a really great dairy-free, gluten free version and it’s easy!
    We like “pasta joy” brand gluten-free pasta the best, then mix “better than cream cheese” with garlic, pepper, and salt in a pan with any kind of tomato product that you like that is “free.” And put that on top of the pasta, toast for a few, and voila! delish!

  43. says

    Cadbury Flake? Did someone mention my all time favorite childhood sweet? MIZ!!!! I’m forming a stronger affinity for you now!

    Baked ziti: Good. Cadbury Flake: The best.

    81 marathons? That’s amazing!! Good luck.

  44. says

    Thanks for all the props. ;) Marathons aren’t as hard as you think they are, everyone can do it if they’d like. Although I admit I may take it to more of an extreme than others.

    But it is possible to run more than a marathon a month (if you have a super cool spouse, which I do). I’ve done 18 this year and have done two in the same weekend (sat/sun) 4 or 5 times.

    Because I, unlike MizFit, have ZERO will power or portion control. Especially when I am on the road for work. I eat a lot and drink a lot of wine while eating a lot. So if I didn’t run I would easily be 30-50lbs heavier, which won’t not be a good thing.

    Also it keeps my stress levels low so my family will put up with me.

    MarathonMe

  45. says

    > And I’ve tried to get Marathon Man up in herre for a guest
    > post before….maybe now he’ll do it?
    > Yes, MM?

    Sure thing, what do you guys want to know. I can pontificate with the best of them (just probably not as good as them)

  46. says

    Bag Lady – when I clicked on the link and was reminded of Wig Wags, I also felt kinda excited. And then kinda old. I do remember them and I remember them being good.

  47. says

    Oh, I’ve missed a lot by wearing my domestic hat.
    Protein Shake Bong? Oh Miz, ya had me going…and then I thought ‘what if I get the munchies? she’s gonna make those nasty patties she tries to pass off as pancakes, and probably sneak in some chia!’.

    I’m trying to work up the motivation to that ‘get the burn on’ thing. I’ll tell my uber-supportive spouse that he has to have marathon/wig wag/curly wurlys at the wake…

  48. kelly says

    really mizfit? will you be taking the day OFF from working out on thanksgiving???

    really sitting on the couch?

  49. says

    Love baked ziti! And a marathon once a month!? How does his body not crumble? How does he AFFORD it?

    I think my boyfriend gets annoyed with my running, probably because I’m all, “Nope. Can’t stay out late. Can’t do anything fun.” But I get sooo cranky when I’m injured and can’t run that I think he realizes that it’s worth it.

  50. says

    Wow. A marathon a MONTH? I can’t decide if that’s daunting or inspiring. So I’m just gonna pick inspiring, ok? ;)

    Mmmmm, ziti. LOVE the pasta. Seriously. A LOT. That might be part of my problem, LOL. Hence the Tae Kwon Do lessons. (Yes, I’m going back.)
    CUE CONFETTI!!!

  51. MizFit says

    really mizfit? will you be taking the day OFF from working out on thanksgiving???

    really sitting on the couch?

    YESYESYES Ma’am!

    familytime includes many things but, at Casa Miz, not gymtime.

    In fact, even though I shall tout it as a great idea next week Im sure, we rarely even do the after-thanksgiving-dinner-stroll.

    we all get together so infrequently that we are definitely more the plop on floor & chat crowd.

    Miz.

  52. says

    I’ve never dated or been married to a marathoner. I imagine the length of time they’d have to train would get annoying sometimes (like if I really wanted their company, for instance). But would I ever tell them to stop running? Absolutely not. If it’s good for them, it’s good for me.

  53. Ann says

    I run, but my husband does not. He didn’t even workout when we first were together, but I told him that working out and staying fit were really important to me, and they were values that I’d like to pass on to the kids that we (probably. eventually) will have and values I’d love if he shared with me. Then we joined a gym (that we cannot afford) and he’s been working out regularly ever since. I don’t push him, but I let him know that I see the results and we enjoy reviewing our workouts with each other.

    I know a lot of marathoners (I’m lucky enough to live in Eugene, OR) and the marathon widow is DEFINITELY something I see a lot (except when both partners run them). I hear two complaints: marathon training makes people CRANKY, and the marathoner’s life completely revolves around the training schedule. Going to bed early on the weekends, not doing anything else fun like mountain biking, have a really strict diet…it all gets frustrating for the non-marathoning partners. It’d be interesting to hear more about this… thanks ann. passed this along to marathon man…

  54. says

    Weird. I just wrote an post about Italian carbs. “Spontaneous a la Pasta.” Must be Italian carb loading day. Even thou I’m pretty sure “a la” is French. At least I’m on the right side of the world. Ever since I stepped up the cardio I’ve been increasing my carbs.

    Quick and easy Italian. I can always do that. Honestly, I may end up tossing Prego and pasta in a dish and cooking it up…that’s just when I don’t have time to make my own sauce.

    When I make a sauce for one meal I try to make a ton of it because I can always use it for something else. Same amount of dishes, and a lot less work in the long run. It freezes very well too.

  55. says

    Holy macaroni! 81 marathons. Sheesh, that’s a lot!

    My hubby and I are both runners so we both support each other. I wouldn’t say we’re widows/widowers, though. If I ever got to 81 marathons I’m sure the husband would consider himself a widower (he has no desire to run a marathon).

  56. says

    81 marathons? The mind boggles at what it would take to train for something like that, let alone run them. I have a tough enough time fitting in 30-45 minutes of running and doing a 5K now and then, but then I’m just starting out and the kids are young. Maybe by the time they become surly teenagers I’ll be able to run that far? ;-)

  57. says

    Hi miz
    The ex was definately a workout/running widower. But I’m hoping my next will be more like me in the exercise department. It’s actually on top the wish list for the next guy :)

  58. says

    **drool*** Oops, excuse me; let me wipe that up.

    I love my carbs and I love any form of pasta. This recipe looks particularly good. I’m going to print it right now and make it this weekend. Yum!

  59. says

    I love pasta!!! Too much, alas.

    No running here, but I have been known to take some excruciatingly long power walks. I solved hubby’s walk widower problem by convincing him to come with me. Now when the weekend comes, he’ll often say to me first, “We walking today?”

    He’s become kind of annoying ;-)

  60. says

    Definitely glue.
    I’m much less…um…cranky when I’ve exercised :)
    J’s eyes sort of glaze over when I talk about it too much, but I usually run in the mornings when he is either asleep or at work, so it’s never really interfered with things too much…
    Thnk I’ll make ziti for supper.

  61. says

    I’m not even a pasta person except for the occasional bit of spaghetti but that looks yummy!

    The Mister is most definitely a fitness widow. Running probably takes up less of my time than CrossFit/Pole Dancing/Step since I run three times a week early in the morning before he even thinks of getting up.

  62. MizFit says

    lanie? I must know if you make it this weekend…so you can warn me of any pitfalls before I attempt.

    and keyalus? why do I think NO MAN would lament being a pole dancing class widower? :)

    I so wanna try that…

    being the highly uncoordinated MizFit I am it would be COMEDY GOLD Im sure.

  63. says

    I ended up making chicken with a tarragon-riesling-grape sauce, lemon scented rice, and salad. Pasta will have to wait until next week!

  64. MizFit says

    I ended up making chicken with a tarragon-riesling-grape sauce, lemon scented rice, and salad.

    um, holy crap? there is a good chance that, after I wrestle with the tornado and get her bathed and in bed and wait until LATE when the ren man is released from work that it will be FIBER1 cereal for the evening meal up in herre.

    that’s what we are having too!!

  65. says

    81 times? Surely that must be a record!

    That is an awesome recipe. I think I have everything but the mozzerella (which I will get tomorrow).
    Ziti is a house favorite of ours, but we always have it delivered. I MUST try this!

  66. s says

    ok, all i have to say is, i read all of the comments, and now i’m tired. but yeah, 81 marathons is a lot.

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