Nick

Kara

9.30.2011

Running & Blueberry Cheesecake Bites

This week I was able to run all week - no speedwork but it's not too painful and it's going well. Here's what the week looked like:

Monday: Swim 3600 yd and run about 4 miles
Tuesday: strength training and spin class 13 miles
Wednesday: Run 6ish miles
Thursday: Run 1 mile, bike 10 miles, abs, run 2 miles
Today: swim 3300 yds
Saturday plan - attempt 16 miles

The running mileage is on the low side - I can tell because I have so much cross training in there. It builds up over the next 3 weeks leading up to the marathon. We'll see how it goes!

Thanks for the tips on the toddler eating. We had a good day yesterday - The kids had smoothies with banana, spinach, blackstrap molasses and almond milk for breakfast with breakfast pizzert:  snuck in some squash & blueberries with whole wheat flour, cornmeal, cinnamon and almond milk. I put some 10x on top.  They liked it! When they start hounding the cupboard around 5pm, I gave Kara cut up grape tomatoes - she LOVED them! and Nick broccoli with ranch dressing - ate it up! I felt so much better about it. Nick is really into the broccoli, even plain, and Kara into tomatoes. Neither of them will eat carrots (well, Nick can be bribed). Do you give your toddler raw carrots? I cooked them since they are so hard.


 I had seen this recipe on WEELICIOUS but then when I clicked the link I couldn't get to the page, but this is blueberry cheesecake bites:


 BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKE BITES adapted from WEELICIOUS
Oat Crust:
1 Cup oat flour (blend your oats to make flour)
1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour - I used about 10 ginger o's crushed
1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar did not use because of the sweetness from the cookies
6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, chilled (I melted it and this was

Filling:
4 oz Cream Cheese, room temperature
1 Large Egg, at room temperature 1 T. ground flax
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 Cup Sour Cream
1/3 Cup Light Brown Sugar scant 2 T white sugar
1 Cup Fresh Blueberries


1. Preheat oven to 300 F.
2. Melt the butter (maybe?) and mix the oats and ground cookies to make the crust. Add more as needed.
3. Press the crust on the bottom of muffin tins or an 8 x8 pan and bake 10 min or till set.
4. Lower the oven temperature to 250 F.
5. To make the filling, place the first 5 ingredients in a bowl and beat to combine.
6. Fold in the blueberries.
7. Pour the batter on top of the crust and bake for 1 hour.
8. Cool and then chill until ready to serve.




9.27.2011

Eating habits

Do you eat the same thing for breakfast every day, or lunch, or dinner, and get into a routine of eating the same thing over and over again, or do you switch it up?  Is there a food that you have to have every day? I love trying new things but tend to stick with the same thing over and over and over again.

In college, I loved marinated mushrooms from Costco. I ate them everyday for many, many days. And then one day, I couldn't look at them anymore.  I still can't eat those things, the thought of it makes me want to gag.  For the most part, I'm a fad/routine eater. I will buy the same thing over and over again and eat the same thing over and over again until I'm absolutely sick of it.  Then I move on to something else. I wish I had more variety in my eating habits!

The same thing happens for lunch with the kids - I'm always looking for ideas. Kara is the most picky eater and throws her food on the floor. Nick isn't too far behind but at Kara's age, he was eating ANYTHING!  Today I made tofu dippers as a dinner plan with nacho mmmm sauce from Peas and Thank You.  Neither of them would take a bite. Maybe they are just too young for crazy food like this? I didn't even think it was crazy, but maybe it is.  What ended up happening - grilled cheeses. So frustrating! Usually I don't provide another option but I felt like maybe I was offering something out of their league.
Tofu dippers with Nacho MMM sauce  (right)


half attacked sandwich, 1/2 the chickpeas on the floor...

I need some ideas for kid's dinners. I feel like even mac + cheese has to be rich and creamy like at a restaurant for them to even want it. I'm very frustrated! They are 1 and 2 and I think I want them to eat like non-picky eaters. Good luck to me :)





Butternut Squash Quinoa Doughnuts



I wanted to make something fun for breakfast today, and it's always nice to have it made ahead of time and ready to go. Donuts are always fun because to the kids, it's a treat.  Instead of icing, I opted for cinnamon sugar. I'm ready for fall! Bring on the fall weather.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH QUINOA DOUGHNUTS
This was adapted from the banana quinoa muffins.


2/3 c quinoa flour (toasted ground quinoa)
1/2 c oatmeal
1 c whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 to 3/4 c butternut squash
2 T maple syrup (might want to add more)
2 T coconut oil
1 T flaxseed  (ground)
1/2 to 3/4 c almond milk
1 tsp vanilla

Topping
1-2 T Coconut oil
1-2 T Cinnamon
1-2 T Sugar

Mix the flours, oatmeal, powder, soda and cinnamon in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, add the squash, maple syrup, coconut oil, flax, almond milk (start with 1/2 c) and vanilla. Microwave 20-30 seconds and let sit about 5 minutes. Add the wet to the dry. If the mixture is too dry, add more milk and/or squash. Bake at 325 for 13-15 minutes till set.

Dip one side into coconut oil then cinnamon sugar. Let cool.  These aren't too sweet so the topping makes them!


9.25.2011

Sunday catch up

I ran today for the first time since last weekend's half marathon. I was going to try to attempt 16 miles until I got in touch with my coach and he suggested I run about an hour. I ended up running 8 miles. This was made possible by visiting my friend Kelli, the chiropractor yesterday. She worked on my hamstring and I could actually run with minimal pain today. It's not feeling so good now but I made it through the run without feeling awful! I'm hoping it improves with more visits and following through - I wasn't smart about stretching and here we are. 


We're in the marathon crunch time. There's 5 weeks until the marathon, and I need to fit in some long runs. My longest run has been 13 miles. My goal is to be able to run with my sister for most of the miles but I need to get my a** in gear to do so. Next week I'm planning 16, then 20, then 12 and 8. I hope my hamstring cooperates.

There was one picture of me and my sister of 13.1 miles last weekend and some girl is smack in the middle. Bad job taking pictures last weekend pros!!


My sis was educating me about my running form that I'm bringing my arms across my body and shoulders are not back. Also you can see how I'm running and it doesn't look pretty. What do you think? Any tips?
I'm not an efficient runner.

The foods I am loving right now are potatoes and cream cheese. They are really good together. Add in some black beans and it's a nice protein rich meal.  I had dismissed potatoes in the past but here are some of the good things about this carb rich food:
  • More POTASSIUM than a banana!
  • High in Vitamin C (45% of DV)
  • Also contains some B vitamins, and minimal niacin and folate.
  • The skin is a great source of fiber

As far as the cream cheese.... I've got nothing to say about that!

9.24.2011

Clif Bar Seasonal Flavors & College Incentive

The other day, I posted about the new Clif Z bar flavor - Full Moon Brownie (available Oct 1) - brownie with white chocolate, mmmmm.  Last year they had seasonal flavors - Cranberry Orange, Spiced Pumpkin Pie and Iced Gingerbread, and this year they swapped out the Cranberry Orange for Peppermint Stick.




There are 16 year round flavors of CLIF Bars - what is your favorite? I like the Peanut Toffee Buzz for pre-workouts. It contains caffeine which I like for pre-workout but not for everyday.  Each flavor is made with organic, natural ingredients such as oats, fruit, and nuts. CLIF BARs also serve as a good source of protein and fiber, which help the body digest carbohydrates slowly to deliver sustained energy. They are good for long activities!

CLIF will be donating 1% of net sales from the seasonal flavors to Winter Wildlands Alliance, the first and only national organization that works on behalf of skiers, snowboarders, snowshoers, winter hikers and other outdoor adventurers to address national issues that impact our winter wildlands.

CLIF also has an incentive going on for college students this semester so that they get outside and be active! Students who follow @ClifBar on Twitter and post their active #StudyBreak will be eligible to receive a CLIF BAR Energy Pack, containing great-tasting CLIF BARs for sustained energy, plus a selection of items designed to make outdoor activity more fun.

A few fun facts from CLIF: 
Exposure to parks and other green spaces has been shown to improve the ability to focus and concentrate. Environment & Behavior, 2001

Evidence suggests that physical activity improves self-image, social skills and cognitive functioning, all while reducing symptoms of anxiety. Public Health Report, 1985

Compared with exercising indoors, exercising in natural environments amps up feelings of revitalization, increases energy, helps you relate better with others and is a serious stress-buster. Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, February 2011

The part of your brain that controls long-term and spatial memory actually gets bigger with exercise, and, when it comes to the hippocampus, bigger is definitely better. In one study, physically fit people were found to have larger hippocampi and performed 40 percent better on memory tests. University of Illinois, University of Pittsburgh, 2011.

Stay tuned for a giveaway on some seasonal flavors!



9.22.2011

Seasonal Flavors

I love fall! The leaves changing, beautiful weather with open windows throughout the day and especially at night. Waking up chilly and going for walks, pumpkin picking, pumpkin bread and flavors, now apple picking... it's my favorite season!

I love that companies have started doing seasonal flavors. Here are a few below to check out.

I received 2 bags of Godiva Coffee to try and review from the Food Buzz Tastemaker Program.

Godiva Coffee- Pumpkin Spice and Caramel Pecan Bark
Godiva came out with Pumpkin Spice and Caramel Pecan Bark for the Season.
The pumpkin has a pumpkin flavor with a hint of nutmeg.  I love it on the cool mornings!

The Caramel Pecan Bark takes like butterscotch to me - one of my favorite things. You can't get much better than this with a coffee flavor!

 I made a pumpkin spice latte:

Brew the pumpkin spice coffee as normal. Fill another mug with about 1/2 cup milk and 1 T. Pumpkin puree. Microwave 30 seconds and stir. If you have a frother, froth away! Add to the coffee and add cinnamon on top too! Delicious!!


CLIF Z BARS in FULL MOON BROWNIE
This pairs so nicely with the coffee!! This is a brownie with white chocolate chips and white chocolate icing!! It's a seasonal flavor and the kids love the Halloween characters on the packaging. It is similar to the Chocolate Brownie flavor but I love the twist of the White Chocolate. Great flavor!!

What is your favorite seasonal flavor?

I've been suffering since the 1/2 with my hamstring/butt injury that flared up again and haven't ran all week. I have been cross training and doing some lifting after taking Monday easy. Hope to be back at it quickly!




9.21.2011

winner of the Chick Bands

Congrats to the following randomly selected winners! #1, #13 and #24

Chari
Marlene
Sweet and Savory by Sarah

Please send me an email with your address! tosha25italia at yahoo




9.19.2011

Catching up with Kara Goucher

Today was race day! My sister came home to run with me and ran under my brother's gf Miranda's bib #.  We arrived down in Philly around 6:30 - left the house around 6 and parked behind the Art Museum. We had some time to kill and used the port-a-potties by Kelly Drive.  We walked up to the starting area, went to the bathroom again, and then dropped off baggage at the UPS trucks. We were just hanging out doing some exercises by the start when Kara Goucher walked by.  I did a double take and got giddy. Here is my account:

Oh my god! That was totally Kara Goucher!! She just walked by! What should I do??? I started to get nervous and crazy. Should I go up to her?
My sis: You should totally go up to her, you can get a picture!

(Ok, ok. I'm pacing a little and think I can do it.)
I run up - she's pushing little Colt in the stroller - already walked past us.
Me: Kara? 
Kara: YES?
KARA GOUCHER?
(HAHAHAHHH.)
Kara: yes?
me: Oh my gosh!! Can I give you a hug?
Kara: sure! (what a creeper!)
me: I named my daughter after you! I'm a big fan! Is this Colt? He is adorable! How old is he? ( I knew the answer but didn't want to seem like a total stalker)
Kara: almost a year!
Me: My daughter is 14 months. I'm just a big fan! So you're husband is running today right?  Was he ready?
Kara: Yeah, I'm nervous for him. 
Me: Can I get a picture with you?
Kara: sure!
Me: Thank you so much!
Kara: Sure, good luck today!!
She was so nice and down to earth. The hug part cracks me up- I was totally star struck and shaking and did not know what to say or do.


I was semi shaking for this picture and then my mind was going bonkers for a good 10 minutes after that and I was laughing at how I acted. Oh man! But it was awesome!!  I wish Kara had been with me for the picture!

As for the race, my sister and I started and finished together. I didn't have big expectations and knew that my pace wasn't going to be near the 1:47 in March, I just haven't been speed training enough and most of my runs have been in the 8:35-8:55 range. I was fine with it, wanted to enjoy the day and finish and I did! This was my sister and I's first successful start and finish together.  There have been many races we planned to do together or wanted to do together and never did, a couple we started together and didn't finish together and one that ended up in the ER but this was it! A beautiful day and 1:55 finish. I was happy with it and thrilled I got to meet my running idol!  Oh and my garmin had me running 13.5 miles! That happen to anyone else?



finished! check out my chick band headband!

Rocky statue

awesome medal!

gotta love the support crew

fun waiting for us to meet up
Oh I am pretty darn sore today! My hamstring injury /muscle that I haven't heard from in awhile is back and my quads are extremely sore. Sad for not even "racing" it. Comfortable pace until mile 11/12 where I just wanted to finish - stomach issues with the Cytomax!!  What is your recovery week training schedule? My coach had me running 6 miles today - not happening.


9.16.2011

Cake Pops with Ghiradelli INTENSE Dark Chocolate

A couple weeks ago, I saw this recipe for cake pops on Peas and Thank You. I knew I had to make them! And the day it was posted was my sister's birthday so I wanted to make them for her.  This week, I was sent a treat from Foodbuzz- Ghiradelli Intense Dark Chocolate samples to try and review!
I received 3 different kinds:
Twilight Delight 72% Cocoa
Midnight Reverie 86% Cocoa
Sea Salt Soiree

My favorite one to eat was the Sea Salt Soiree - hint of sea salt with almonds folded into the chocolate.  I used the other two for my cake pops! They are definitely INTENSE.



CAKE POPS a recipe from Peas and Thank You
First off, you need a styrofome circle to place the pops on to cool (I had this from Nick's first birthday), candy/baking sticks (had them for the same occasion), and wax paper helps.

Cake:
  • 1 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c. unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/4 c. cocoa powder
  • 1/2 c. organic sugar
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 c. water
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 T. vinegar (white or apple cider)
  • 1 t. vanilla extract

Frosting:
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 2 T. coconut flour
  • 1 1/2 c. organic powdered sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla extract

Coating:
  • 1 1/2 c. Ghiradelli INTENSE dark chocolate
  • 1 1/2 T. coconut oil
  • sprinkles, sea salt, etc.

Preheat oven to 350.
For the cake, take a large bowl and combine flours, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda and powder, salt, water, applesauce, vinegar and vanilla. 
Spread batter into an 8×8 pan that has been lightly spritzed with oil or cooking spray.  Bake for 25-30 minutes until firm.
Allow cake to cool completely.

Make the frosting by beating together butter, coconut flour, powdered sugar and vanilla.  The frosting may seem a bit dry: the thicker the frosting is, the better your cake pops will hold together.


I had a little helper for my baking adventure. First I made the cake. Then it was time for the icing. That icing was ridiculous - so delicious. Kara happened to wake up right when I was making that.

hmmm is that edible?

let me just check

taste test

you've been totally holding out on me Mommy!

Add the cake into the frosting mix.  I used the beater for this and it worked nicely, cleaning the sides of the bowl. When the frosting is completely incorporated into the cake, roll cake into balls and set them on waxed paper.  Put in the freezer for 30 min. This helped keep them set.  Make your frosting. When they come out, stick in the sticks.  Then dip in the frosting. Place them on the circle to dry and in the fridge till set. Make sure you let the chocolate drip off before you place on the styrofome (so that it isn't a complete mess). Then add on your sprinkles, sea salt, or whatever pretty topping you want! The sea salt was a great touch!

With the cake mixed in - going back for seconds.
We won't tell Aunt Kimp about this.

I want one of them Mommy!
Had to explain to the kids that they had to go in the fridge to set. Regardless - a 2 and 1 year old don't understand that. Nick started crying on the floor in front of the refrigerator that he wanted "one of those."  You have to love the 2 year old behavior.



How did they taste? Fantastic! The inside was soft and chewy, the dark chocolate shell was delicious! I think I would do these again with a vanilla base, or even pumpkin/pecan for the fall.

9.15.2011

What's for Dinner: Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Last night I made this soup for dinner, subbing in veggie broth and almond milk for the chicken broth and half and half. It was kind of thick which I didn't like, but tasty and the kids used it as a dip with croutons and broccoli. Nick eats broccoli straight up - only veggie he really digs - so weird!



Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Chickbands review and giveaway

A couple weeks ago, Kara, originally from this Philly area, and the creator of Chickbands contacted me to do a review and giveaway. Deja' vu that her name is Kara! I don't know many Karas. 

The bands are ribbon that shows out and velvet - so soft - on the back - the side that goes on your hair. They are sewed very professionally and then have elastic along the bottom half.   I like that they have the velvet- it makes them very comfortable and pretty looking too.  Kara sent me two bands - a thick and thin one. Pictured here is the thin one is sparkly blue.  I wore it to pick pears to keep those weird pieces that hang down back.  It stays put and doesn't slide back and it's stylish! I love the sparkly blue. I have to look into a sparkly pink - I like girly colors!  For running, I wore the thicker band but didn't take a picture. It had flowers on it and was multicolored. It stayed put nicely and kept the sweat out of my face.  There are many different prints and she does custom orders for different logos - they are so cute!  The bands go for $7 and $8 each  - check out Chick Bands on Facebook and Etsy! 



GIVEAWAY!

Kara is graciously offering 3 lucky readers a headband. To enter,

MANDATORY
Please leave a comment below with your current favorite headband.
Extra entries (optional)- leave a comment for each one:

1- Like Chick Bands on Facebook and let me know that you did.

2- Visit the Chickband Etsy shop and let me know your favorite print.

Contest will end on September 20th at midnight and winner announced September 21.

9.14.2011

Family planning & coaching

How many kids do you want? I remember when I found out that I was pregnant with Kara, I felt horrible for Nick - like he wouldn't get his time 1 on 1 and he was getting shafted. Sometimes I still feel that way - there are so many fun things to do for his age, but we're stuck when Kara has to nap or is fussy and makes things less fun. I think how easy it was with just 1 and how easy it would be with one 2.5 year old! But Kara adds so much to his life - built in friend and playmate. He isn't there yet that he sees this - instead I think he sees her as his enemy and constantly knocks her down, steals toys and tries to head butt her, but think when they are a bit older - I hope they'll be the best of friends!

With Kara, many people have told me something like, the first one gets everything, the baby book is complete, etc, and the second one everything just goes by the wayside. I have tried so hard to not let that happen and feel like I've done a good job making sure we celebrated every milestone, kept her baby book in order (maybe even better than Nick's) and tried to do everything as much as I did for Nick. Her scrapbook doesn't have as many pictures as Nick's does but it has very many pictures - Nick's has a ridiculous amount of pictures.   Also with Kara, I have always kept birth order in mind.  I am the oldest, then my brother then sister. My brother always complains that he got the shaft (only boy, middle child) and that I always pushed him down when he was learning to walk. I was hoping Nick would not do that (push Kara down) but he does it - I think it's just nature and some kids just end up doing that?  He's in time out often. Since Kara will most likely be a middle child, I worry about her getting her time. Have you thought about this?  What things do you do to make sure your kids get enough attention one on one and feel loved equally?

Since I am thinking of having 1 or 2 more children, I'm very aware about the birth order but concerned about attention growing up. If I have 4 children, will they all get enough of my love and attention one on one? Is 4 too many? I grew up with 3 and think we all got our time in the spotlight and plenty of love and attention. But how many is too many where you just can't give each child the attention he/she needs? I've been thinking about this alot since I feel overburdened with 2 a lot of the time!

TOO MANY!! HOW MANY IS TOO MANY?
 And I wanted to briefly mention coaching. All of my training is loaded by my coach into training peaks - an online website. I go in and enter what I do each day.  I don't really get any feedback.  I was supposed to have a big race this weekend and heard nothing from my coach. I thought it would be nice to have a good luck email or something?? Also I haven't entered anything in since mid last week and - haven't heard anything. I'm kind of disappointed by the lack of any feedback, but I guess this is what I paid for? Just to have a plan to follow? Now I know that I would really like feedback, at least a weekly check in email - I think it would be more effective for me.  If you've had a coach, what was your experience?

9.13.2011

Nick's first day of pre-school & running

Today was Nick's first day of pre-school! He was so excited it was hard to feel sad in any way. I just felt sick to my stomach. He had a great time - it was only an hour and a half and this morning before it was time to go he was ready to leave.  He was barely interested in giving us kisses goodbye before he walked in the door and gave his teacher a big hug and ran in to play. And when I picked him up, he didn't want to leave. Nick had a blast! I can't believe how fast they grow up :(  Since today was only 1.5 hours (instead of 3) to adjust them gradually, it was probably an easy adjustment for him and for me, wasn't much of a break or down time, but I think 3 hours might seem like an eternity. I'm not sure, since today seemed like 10 minutes, or at most 1/2 hour. I think he's going to love it though.
ready to go!

w/ mom and dad
w/ Kara

hanging his book bag and ready to go in
 He goes again on Monday and Tuesday for 3 hours. I think I'll be more nervous/sad for that than for today!

I downloaded my times from my own triathlon on Sunday and here they were:

1650 yd pool swim - 24:00 (did 21s when I was in high school)
33.4 mile bike ride (accidentally because we missed a turn) 2:31
10k run - 1:00:00  (the run was awful and I couldn't motivate)

For Monday, I wanted to get back into some core work and little cardio, so I did some lifting and used the erg machine (rowing) at the gym for 15 minutes. Probably haven't used that thing since erg tests in college! I did about 3000 meters.  Thinking about what to do today, I didn't feel like doing anything - not feeling swimming, running is sluggish and I like the spin class on Thursdays and Saturdays so I couldn't motivate to go today. I decided I needed to be kicked in the butt so I went to the track session for speedwork. I haven't done this in a while and it shows.  We did 6 x 1000 with 200 recovery. I didn't go all out. It felt like 70% was all I was willing to give since it's been so long and I am running the half marathon this weekend (I think). I am really glad I went and my abs are feeling it - and legs too! I have to make that a part of my week again.

I will probably force myself through the half marathon on Sunday but I'm not feeling it. I haven't missed this race in a long time and love the medals so maybe that will get me through - or my sis running with me? Trying to convince her. I might run under the name "Miranda" - who signed up and isn't running it, so that no one can look up my time : ) Expectations are low. I feel like I dropped the ball on running and have not done enough outside running and it has majorly suffered. Something has gone wrong!

9.11.2011

Follow your heart

I think one of the lessons of 9/11 is to hold your loved ones tight, always tell them how much you love them and to follow your heart and be happy.  What I remember of the morning of September 11, 10 years ago, was heading to my morning education class - I was in senior year of college near Philadelphia. It was in an old building and a TV was on in the lobby area and people were watching it. I had no idea what was going on.  I sat down in the classroom and our teacher was visibly distressed, told us what had happened and that he could not hold class that day. We all left and went to look at the TV. I went back to my dorm room - I was an RA at the time and I remember watching the TV with Bill in my dorm room and wondering if my afternoon class would be cancelled. For all of those who have suffered a loss from 9/11, my thoughts are with you on this 10th anniversary.

Today was to be my 2nd Olympic Distance Triathlon, in Washington D.C. My sister works for the company that puts on the race and got me a free entry to it after it was already sold out, after the Philly tri.  Over a month ago, I saw a special on the History Channel about what a bomb would do to DC on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.  After seeing that, it stuck in my head. I was nervous about the date and venue, but really wanted to go and do it. I think it was on Thursday or Wednesday when they brought up the terror threats in either DC or NYC and I still thought I would be ok. As Saturday approached, I still planned on going but was getting more and more nervous and being dramatic and looking at the kids and thinking, will this be the last time that I see you? Is this going to be the last Friday that I spend with you? Will I be dead and not be able to take Nick to his first day of pre-school? I was having total anxiety.

Saturday around lunchtime I said goodbye to Bill and the kids and thought I was going to have a breakdown. I held it together and my mom hopped in the car for our ride to DC. I was expressing my fears and concerns and in partial tears talking about bombs as we decided what to do. I think my mom thought I was a total nutjob - which is probably very accurate.  I really wanted to go see my sister, hang out, and do the race. She had a suite to share with us at the host hotel, everything was perfect and the weather finally cleared up for the weekend. My mom said we could always drive to outlets on the way and decide then. I decided that I just wanted to go. We made it to DC in 2.5 hours. About 30 minutes away, I started to have an anxiety attack again.  Any small kids that I saw I started to feel like I was going to puke. I was hoping going into the expo would make me feel excited and stop feeling like I was. But instead I felt worse. I thought, why am I here?? There isn't a swim so it isn't a full triathlon, I might die and never see my kids again, and I was picturing myself on my bike or running tomorrow and just scared for my life and wondering if a bomb was going to blow everyone up. It was awful, I was a complete mess. We saw my sister and told her how I was feeling and she thought I was being crazy (I was). My mom wasn't saying too much and just asked me what I wanted to do.  I knew my heart wasn't in it. I just didn't care enough about the race and felt like I was risking my life to do it. So we stayed in DC for 2 hours and drove home. I felt comfortable with this decision but kept questioning it - but it was too late, we were headed home. I wish that the race was another weekend where I could have had a great time hanging out with my mom and sis, but I couldn't swallow it. So I was a DNF today.  If I had no kids, I know I would have been fine. All I kept thinking of was the kids.

All of the bike training - for no reason, but part of me doesn't even care.  This morning I did my own triathlon - swam a mile in the pool, then went for a benefit bike ride at our Y for 33 miles and then ran a 10k. I tried to do all this at race pace and did well until it was time to run. I'll have to compare my times. I guess this is my race report on the race that did not happen. I wonder how I'll feel about this in a couple days or weeks.

9.08.2011

Spinning improvements and duathlon

When I was training for the sprint triathlon in April, I started taking spin classes. Little did I know all classes were different and I was taking a pretty bad class that wasn't making me work hard enough.  At my first spin class, which I really did not like, I biked 11.9 miles in 42 minutes - about 17 mph pace.  Leading up to the Philly tri, I think I was on my bike about 3 times. Yikes! Training for this one focusing more on the bike, I've been out 1 or 2 times a week on my bike and to one spin class. It was toned down in early August to one outside bike and one spin class a week, but I'm still way more prepared than I was for June.  Now I can bike 21mph in spin class, yipee! I wish I could do that on the road - I'm still around a 14/15 mph pace. I'm hoping I see some good improvement on the bike course!

I found out today that due to the insane rain we have been having and crazy flooding my race on Sunday is now bike 40k, run 10k. Kind of disappointing when you do all that training and want to compare your times, but what can you do? The swim portion, even though it's a strong one for me, still gave me a partial heart attack at my first open water swim triathlon in June.

9.07.2011

bad idea!

On Tuesday, I swam alone since I missed a swim on Monday. It was so boring. I was dragging myself through each lap. Swimming alone is so not fun! The time flies by when I swim with the group! After that I really wanted to do some abs or core work so I got out of the pool earlier than planned and when I got home I put on Jillian's 6 week 6 pack workout - level 2. I don't think I've ever done that one and it didn't seem all that bad while I was doing it. I was sweating a lot but it didn't seem super hard. Well today I feel like I ran a marathon 2 days ago. Every muscle in my lower body is sore. I am walking up and down the steps like I did run a marathon! And the sitting on the toilet too, you know how it's hard when you squat down??? Enough said.  The thing is, my abs don't even hurt and that was the point!  This confirms a few things for me - I have not been putting in the time with the corework. I was doing so well with it until I got into the intense triathlon training in July. I cannot believe my core is so out of shape. Also, I feel like all of my muscles are stronger when I have the corework. My stomach was doing so well and over the past 2 months it became a dough ball.  I'm excited to end this 3 sport training in some ways and fill in some core work.

The race I've been training for is just a few days away - Sunday- and I'm having second thoughts aka freaking out about the venue & date. I mentioned this before that the race is on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 in DC. About a month ago there was a special on the history channel that I was watching while running (somehow it caught my interest) about a bomb in DC on 9/11 would be the plan. I haven't heard anything this week but I'm starting to think what my state of mind is going to be while racing. Will I be thinking of my times or bombs? Am I being crazy?

Marathon training is kind of a bust so far. All of my "long runs" - longest I've done is 11 miles have been on the treadmill mid week so that I can do a long bike on the weekend. Starting next week maybe I'll get back into the Saturday long runs but I'm not sure how motivated I even am for that.

Today's smoothie was a basic spinach/ banana/strawberry/blueberry/protein powder/ amazing grass. I need more ideas!

9.06.2011

Crunchmaster Gluten Free Cracker Review

Through Mom Select, I had the opportunity to try CrunchMaster Gluten Free crackers.  I was sent a sample of the Original Multi Seed Crackers.


The ingredients for these crackers are listed above. I like the ingredient list and found the crackers to be tasty. They remind me of rice crackers that I've had before (hence the first ingredient - brown rice flour) - they are crunchy and full of taste. They aren't crackers that are going to be gone within a week at my house, but I eat a handful here and there with lunch.  They are good by themself because of the different tastes. I think they would also be good with cheese. They make a good snack or lunch paired with cheese and fruit!

Have you tried these?  Did you like them? If these are a product that you like and you are a coupon cutter, please contact me and I'll send you a coupon!

Sabra Hummus

My favorite hummus used to be any kind of all natural, plain hummus.  As a result of being all natural, if you didn't eat it within a few days, it would spoil (a good and bad thing).  When Sabra came out, it was my new favorite and continues to be. It's creamy and tasty.  I love how it has the little "toppings" and oil on top. I use hummus + nutritional yeast and water almost everyday as a topping for fresh veggies or a veggie burger or pizza sauce. Sabra is the only hummus that I prefer for the "humnut" sauce! I made my own hummus for a brief stint but still would rather buy my Sabra Roasted Pine Nut. What's your favorite brand and flavor of hummus?

photo from gfwithpizazz.blogspot.com

Other things I use hummus with
* dip for veggies
* with cheese in a quesadilla/wrap

I received a free coupon to try a Sabra product from Foodbuzz. The opinions expressed above are my own!

9.05.2011

cake batter smoothie, green bean casserole

I gave this to Nick for breakfast:  The cake batter smoothie with spinach. Wow it looks so much better on Katie's blog but it was super tasty! Ice cream for breakfast? What??

Spinach Cake Batter Smoothie -
1 to 1.5 cups spinach
1 frozen banana
1/2 to 2/3 c almond milk
1 T cashews
1 tsp coconut oil melted
whip cream and jimmies!

 I tried this Green Bean Casserole to go with dinner from Peas and Thank you. It was tasty and easy!

I need some more smoothie ideas! what's your favorite?

9.04.2011

September is smoothie month

I'm going to have a smoothie challenge for this month, one smoothie to try every day. Anyone want to join me?  I was getting bored of the same smoothies day after day - bananas, strawberries or blueberries, spinach and milk. Blahhh. So I've been doing some research to find some more exciting ones.  What is your favorite smoothie recipe? Please share.  I always add spinach because you can't even taste it.

Today's smoothie was:

Chocolate Cake Batter Smoothie
I added spinach and it was green
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cups oats
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp cocoa
  • 1 tbsp cashews

Yesterday's smoothie was Gingerbread. 
This one was more like a meal. I drank this around 11am and didn't eat lunch did 4pm yesterday. It was filling.
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

Next up: Healthy Cake Batter Smoothie

I mean, just from the names, who wouldn't want one of these??

My training this week was weird because our gym was closed for the annual week of maintenance.  On Monday, I ran on the treadmill. Tuesday I used my dad's espresso bike. I went so slow on that thing. It was a hard workout. Wednesday morning we got to swim in the outdoor pool for masters. It was FREEZING! but I love swimming outside, it was great! I took the kids for a stroller run and warmed up quickly once I got home. Thursday was my long run (on the treadmill) and Friday outside swimming again. Yesterday I did a good but short swim set outside and today was my long bike ride.

One week until race day! This week's stats for the bike were low without the spin class! I think spinning adds on the miles but isn't accurate for me. I can spin 21 miles/hour but outside my average speed is probably 12-14. I'm looking forward to seeing what my bike speed is in the race since I've really been training more on my bike!

Run 23.9 miles
Bike 28 miles
Swim 5.9 miles




9.02.2011

pre-school activities, fall muffins & Crab cakes

And now after a little diversion of repeating myself for the 100th time which happens once a month despite vitamins, I bring you some fall muffins, pre-school activities and crab cakes. I ultimately decided to send Nick to pre-school for 2 days a week/3 hours a day this fall coming up. I'm excited for it, although it was a really hard decision for me and I will probably throw up the entire week before I have to drop him off, and also cry the day I drop him off. I think he will do GREAT though!!  Here are there I find some fantastic ideas and try to do them with Nick. Here are 2 I think are worth sharing.

I call this one MONEY MAKER:
You can find it on this activity tray post - tons of great ideas. You trace all a bunch of coins on a piece of paper and color in the ones that are the same (quarters, dimes, etc). Then you give your pre-schooler a bowl of all the coins or just pile them up and have him/her match the coins to the right circle. It was fun and I was also teaching him all the names of the coins. I love doing stuff like this!



The second one that I found is matching up lowercase and uppercase letters.  This is fun because you can make it seasonal if you want. I used orange and if I have time I'll draw pumpkins around them. The blog writer used hearts for Valentines which was cute. Nick wasn't totally ready for this and I think putting all 26 letters out at once was probably overwhelming. I think I'll start with the easier ones - o, c, s, u, etc -and just 5-7 at a time.

PUMPKIN MUFFINS! Fall is just around the corner, my favorite time of the year, I can't wait!  With fall brings everything pumpkin. I took Baby's First Muffins and turned them into Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins adapted from Simply Pure Vegan + Baby
1/2c  oatmeal
2/3 cup oatmeal flour or quinoa flour

2-3 T whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1T ground flax or chia + 3T water
2T coconut oil
2 T maple syrup 

1/4 cup pumpkin
1/4 cup/ 1 handful chocolate chip muffins (no need to measure here!)


Mix the pumpkin, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, flax and water in a small bowl and microwave 20 seconds. Let sit. Meanwhile mix dry ingredients except chocolate chips.  After the wet ingredients gel up (about 5 minutes) add wet to dry. Stir to mix, add in chocolate chips.  I used mini muffin tins - bake at 350 for about 10-12 min or till set.

Crab-free cakes??  Check out Atlanta Running Mom's Post with this recipe which is where I saw it. I followed her recipe except I don't do mayo and I skipped the sauce because I got lazy didn't have some of the ingredients.



I bought Veganaise to make this recipe and I couldn't open it. I was afraid so I brought it back. Mayo really grosses me out! Has anyone tried the veganaise??

TEMPEH CRAB CAKES
• 8 oz tempeh
1 C water
• 1 T soy sauce
• 1 T extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp crushed Bay Leaf
• 3 T sour cream
• 1 T spicy brown mustard
• 1 tsp garlic, minced
• 1 T red wine vinegar ( I used white)
1 large mild jalapeno- finely chopped - I didn't have this
• 1/4 C finely chopped onion
• 2 Tbsp finely chopped celery - didn't have
• 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 2 tsp fresh ginger
• 3/4 tsp nutmeg
• 1/2 tsp allspice
• 1/2 tsp dried oregano
• 1/2 tsp celery salt
• fresh black pepper
• 2/3 C whole wheat bread crumbs
• 1/4 C olive oil (for pan frying)

Break up the tempeh into a small pot. Add the water, soy sauce, oil and crushed bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, let boil for 10-12 mins, stirring once, until most of the water evaporates.

Place steamed tempeh into a large mixing bowl. Using a fork, mask until about 50% smooth. Let cool for about 15 mins, until tempeh is lukewarm. Mix dry spices in a separate, small bowl to evenly combine. Add the s. cream, mustard, chili sauce, vinegar, bell pepper, lemon, and ginger and stir together. Add the spices and mix well. If you are making ahead, cover and place in refrigerator.

Before frying, add half of the panko to the tempeh mixture. Stir until just combined.

Preheat a thin layer of oil in a heavy bottomed non-stick skillet over medium heat (I tried just using non-stick cooking spray at first...you really need a little oil!)

Pour a remaining 1/3 C of panko onto a plate. Scoop a heaping 2 T of the tempeh batter into your hands and form into a ball. Gently flatten balls between your palms and then dip them into the panko to lightly coat – just a bit for some crunch.

Fry cakes for 4 mins on one side, flipping when dark golden brown. Fry for ~2 mins on the other side and transfer to a crumpled paper towel to drain (crumpling the towel better allows the oil to drain).

Makes 8 cakes (~3-4 servings). Serve cakes in a warm pita pocket with fresh arugula and remoulade sauce.

Remoulade:

• 4 T Light Mayo
• 1 T whole grain mustard
• 1 T chili garlic sauce
• 4 tsp capers
• pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix to combine. Can be made ahead.