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Halloween Giveaway!

29 Oct

I am quite proud of myself for my accomplishments this morning. It was pouring rain when my alarm went off. If you are from the great Pacific Northwest or have ever lived here, you will know it tends to rain in the fall/winter. And I will certainly workout in the rain. But I will not run in a torrential downpour, which is what it was doing at 5:45am. I hit snooze, trying to think of workouts I could do inside (but then the poor dogs suffer). By the time my alarm went off again, I could tell the rain had let up so I popped out of bed. I ran with the girls, did a 20 minute HIIT workout, and ten minutes of yoga stretches. It was all worth getting a little wet.

But, on to the juicy stuff. I am giving away a Skull and Crossbones necklace from my Etsy shop for Halloween! I thought this would be the perfect spooky/funky item for the occasion. What are your favorite October/Halloween traditions? How do you celebrate the season? Comment below with an answer to one of those questions and you’ll be entered to win! I will randomly choose a winner on Wednesday, October 31st at 8pm. Don’t miss out!

Sunday (the day of rest?) and a New Recipe–Bulgur Chicken Stew

23 Sep

This weekend was jam-packed with to-dos. But luckily, I was able to squeeze in a few of my favorite things to celebrate the first of day of fall, my favorite season!

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

Saturday started bright and early at 6:15am. The girls had important appointments; one at the vet and one at the groomers. I dropped Edie off at the vet for her dental cleaning and check-up, while Eve and I went for a trail run/walk before heading to the grocery store. I thought the leaves would be a little more colorful on our run, but it was still great to be in the crisper air.  After indulging in a homemade pumpkin spice latte, I put on my orange skinny jeans (another ode to fall!) and dragged Nathan into town. We dropped Eve off for her trim, and continued on with our errands.

The aftermath of the girls’ day was mixed.

Eve’s trim was a success

Edie was pretty doped up from the dental cleaning

After enjoying a fun dinner with friends, I called it a pretty early night. Since I was laid up with the flu last weekend, quite a few things were piling up at home.

Since my back has felt better, I decided to risk a two-mile run with the girls. I didn’t go very fast and felt a little pain on the run, but I stretched a good ten minutes when I got home. So far, everything is feeling good.

From 10am until 2:30pm, I was on my feet cooking, baking, and doing laundry. I started out making some Multi-grain Waffles from Tosca Reno‘s The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook 2. Since my husband’s friend spent the night, I made the boys “normal” waffles; my husband is a picky eater and I pick and choose when to make him go outside the box. It’s all about compromise! I put the rest of my multi-grain waffles in the freezer so I can just pop them in the toaster.

I like to make homemade bars and snack bars when I can. Sometimes they cost as much as $2 at the grocery store. I haven’t tallied up how much it costs to make them on your own, but I know it’s certainly cheaper than that! Plus, you get the added benefit of knowing exactly what goes into your food. I found a great recipe from a fellow blogger for homemade Kind bars. The first time I made them, I knew I had to Pin the recipe. They honestly taste so much like Kind bars, I’m not even sure I would be able to tell a difference! You can check out the recipe at The Whole Kitchen. I used pecans (my parents live in New Mexico and send me some since they are grown there), almonds, pepitas, and hemps seeds.

I also made some granola from a Clean Eating Magazine recipe and some Blueberry Oat Protein Muffins from EatCleanDiet.Com. I followed the Blueberry Oat Protein Muffins recipe exactly (except for adding a pinch of cinnamon), using frozen blueberries. I would recommend using fresh blueberries or thaw blueberries the night before and make sure all the liquid is drained out. I chose to defrost my this morning and my muffins were a little too wet, but they still taste wonderful.

Muffins pre-oven

For the granola, I replaced the cranberries with apricots since I have quite a few on hand. That’s what I like about nut bars and granola–you can switch up what kind of nuts and fruits you use depending on what’s in your pantry. I also only baked the granola for 30 minutes; when I did 40 last time, the granola burned. The recipe makes about 12 1/2 cup servings.

Tons of granola!

And now for a new recipe! I like to make stews and soups in the fall/winter. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but it’s a great way to get in some lean protein, lots of veggies, and healthy carbs all in one. Plus, if you can cook it in the slow cooker, even better–saves you time and clean up.

Bulgur Chicken Stew

(After plugging everything into calorieking.com, I estimate the soup yields eight 1 1/2 cup servings at about 300 calories)

1 large sweet onion, diced

3 carrots, diced

2 celery sticks, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 1b chicken breast tenders, diced

1/2 cup black-eyed peas, dried and sorted

1/2 cup whole wheat bulgur

6 medium baby red potatoes, diced

32-40 ounces chicken stock (reduced sodium)

1 tsp each, dried oregano, basil, thyme, parsley, black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

2 bay leaves

1 tbsp olive oil

2 cups baby portabella mushrooms, sliced

1) Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add sweet onion, carrots, celery, and garlic cloves to pan. You could also add the chicken to the pan to brown a little if you like. Heat for a few minutes until onions become translucent.

2) Begin to add all ingredients through the bay leaves to your crock pot. Set on high. Cook for two hours.

3) After two hours, add the baby portabella mushrooms (depending on the size of your pot, it can get pretty tight in there!).

4) Cook for another two hours.

Divide and enjoy!

Stew for the week!

The bulgur becomes soft, making the stew almost creamy. Delicious!

Get set for the week! Plan your meals, portion out healthy snacks and your lunches. If you have your food ready, you’re more likely to pick something healthy. Enjoy your bites!

Back to the grind

23 Sep

It’s taken me awhile to get back into the swing of things. Actually, I’m lying; I’m still not back into my normal routine. I have a TON of extra food left in the fridge, I’ve been eating turkey burgers pretty much all week and there are full garbage bags sitting in the garage because they won’t fit in the bin. However, it was all worth it. The party went off without a hitch (unless you count finding some chewed gum in my flower bed, and the fact that Edie continuously tried to hump my seven year old cousin and stole a hamburger and cupcake) and was a lot of fun. Of course, as the hostess, I felt like I didn’t get to spend enough time with everyone.

I pretty much kept up with my run schedule while my family was here, missing maybe two runs. I think it will end up being beneficial to my shins as well. 🙂 On one run I ended up coming home with a bloody foot. I didn’t even notice anything was wrong until I saw some pink marks in the laundry room. I thought Edie was bleeding, but when I looked down my left foot was soaked with blood from the base of my toes up. Well, apparently my toenails were a smidge too long and the nail cut my other toe. It even soaked through my shoe. When I ran the next time the blood from the shoes soaked back into my sock. And of course I hurt myself on that run too. I got my tongue stuck in my water bottle closure and it ripped out. Gotta love a bloody tongue on a 10 mile run.

I’ll sum up the rest of my hiatus from blogging with some pics.

Me and my cousing Austen

 

Me and my cousin Jami

 

The Fam

Hanging out at the farm

 

Ready to party

 

Ta ta for now! I’ll post my Spice Hut Review tonight and a half marathon follow-up on Sunday! I can’t believe it’s already here. Wish me luck!

Family Time

12 Sep

I could post a half-assed review of the Spice Hut tea and spices I got…however, I don’t feel that would do Spice Hut or you any justice. I told myself that when I started my blog it would be my outlet and I would never force myself to write. So rather than give you something mediocre that I’m not happy with, I am going to wait until next week when my life is a little less hectic.

My brain can’t concentrate on anything right now. My head it just spinning with thoughts of the reception, work and these people–

Papa, me and Mama

Both of my parents are here now to help with getting the house in tip-top shape. I could not ask for a better family or greater company. I love and respect them more than I could ever express in words. Since they live in New Mexico, I see them maybe twice, three times a year if I’m lucky. I think you can all understand why I would want to spend more time with my parents rather than blogging.

Never fear though! I’m staying pretty consistent with my eating, since we are trying to clean out the fridge before this weekend. I had some indulgences but I’m trying to keep them at a minimum. I find when I start to log more miles, I justify eating some naughtier things. That’s fine, but I still have to watch the calories. Just because you run 9-10 miles doesn’t mean you can go balls to the wall.

As far as the shin splints go, I think they are under control! They weren’t sore after the 15k on Saturday and I ran two miles this morning with no pain. Tomorrow I have four miles of speed drills. And on Wednesday it’s my Friday! Wooo hooo! My cousin comes on Wednesday with her son. I haven’t seen her for a year and I’m anxious to spend some time with her. I’m so thankful she was able to make it up here from Texas.

For as stressed out as I am, I just have to remind myself that I am very lucky to be surrounded by such wonderful people in my life. 🙂

It’s baaaacccckkkk……

11 Sep

Well, football season is back. I finally wrestled my laptop back from the hub so I could do some blogging. Apparently he can’t go into the “Man Cave” to update or check his fifty Fantasy Football Teams.

My mom is here, trying to help me get things done for our housewarming/reception this Saturday. She is also trying to help me calm down and de-stress, which is probably not going to happen. Things are pretty stressful at work and I want to make everything perfect for the party (which I am well aware is not possible). I know I do it to myself. Thankfully working out helps alleviate stress (as do wonderful talks from my wise husband).

On Saturday I had a run, the Fairhaven Runners Waterfront 15k. It’s been unseasonably hot in Bellingham this past week, and the temperatures got into the 80s on Saturday. The last race I did when it was this warm, I did not do so well. I went a lot slower than I planned so I was prepared to not meet my normal time. The run was pretty and followed some similar streets as the Bellingham Bay Half Marathon (it’s in two weeks!). I had my Aquapods on and used the water stations to pour water on my head numerous times. I was doing better than I thought for a good portion of the race, a pace of 9:00 to 9:30. Of course, that didn’t last. The last two miles I slowed down to the tens because I was just so hot. I remember seeing the leader running past the six mile mark when I was at the three. He was running about a 5:11 mile pace. WOW. I ended up finishing at 9:49 per mile, which I was quite pleased with.

My mom and the hub came to cheer me on at the end. A friend of ours from work ran too and he was cheering at the finish line for me. 🙂

Me and the hub (he's pretending to touch me but he's not because I'm drenched with sweat and water)

The rest of the weekend was filled with errands, breakdowns, some tears, and good food. I will be back tomorrow with a review of the tea and spices from Spice Hut.

But before I sign off, I want to give a piece of this blog to remember 9/11. As I’m typing this, I’m getting tears in my eyes. We’re watching 9/11: Ten Years Later. I can’t even imagine what any of the people in New York went through. There are things I’m finding out that I never even knew. I think it’s because at the time I didn’t want to know all the details. Ten years ago, I was a junior in college at Western Washington University, thousands of miles away from my parents in Minnesota. I couldn’t handle it. But now I am ready to hear the stories and honor their memories. And I will never forget.

Epic Fail

1 Sep

The rooster from the nearby farm decided I didn’t need to sleep until my alarm went off. I highly disagreed with him, but darn him, he is persistent. I still didn’t drag my tired bum out of bed until my cell phone started beeping from across the room (to ensure I got out of bed). I swear the change in weather and the change in light makes it that much more difficult to work out in the morning.

Edie was absolutely hell on wheels this morning. Apparently she did not like taking a rest from running either. For a full block she kept jumping up on me and trying to nip me. I finally had to sprint to get her to stop. I was aiming for three miles but we only ran two. After about a half a mile I could feel the pain in my shins. As soon as I got home I got some ice and smacked some on both shins for about twenty minutes. After that I massaged my shins for five minutes as my buddy Steve recommended. I wore my Sofft shoes at work and was able to sit at the desk most of the day. They are feeling pretty good so I’m going to head out in the morning again and rest on Saturday.

Edie had a pretty great day. Not only did she get a morning run and an afternoon of back to back soccer games with her dad, but Edie also met a new man. Now don’t get me wrong, Benny will be her #1 man for life but she likes to keep her options open, especially since she lives a little further away now. She met a new neighbor named Rhino and it was love at first sight (or it could be because he still has his balls; I like to think a little more romantically). He is a black lab/possible catahoula mix and just absolutely gorgeous. Plus he is huge and very mellow, unlike someone else I know. We made plans with the neighbors that these two will definitely have more adventures.

Edie and her first love, Benny

And for the epic fail of the day….I decided to try to deceive my husband….This is very difficult because I can only keep a secret that I’ve created or about myself for a MAXIMUM of twenty-four hours. I am the queen of spilling the beans. When some friends and I snuck out of the house in middle school, I told my mother after it happened. Yeah, not so sneaky. Well, I made Chipotle Lime Tempeh Tacos and tried to pass them off as turkey to the meat-loving-pickiest-eater-ever, and I confessed about half way through his first taco that it was not meat. He knew something was off because I asked if he liked it, and all I got was a “it’s okay” (note; in Nathan-speak this means “I don’t like it”). Needless to say, I finished his second taco and he had a frozen three meat pizza.

Out of lettuce and avocado; booo!

In other news, I had a meatless Thursday! Yah, less impact on the planet! Maybe it will make up for my total hour commute every day. 😦

Off to digest all my yummy tempeh tacos and read an addicting book that is nearly impossible to put down, The Raising. Check it out!

Shin Splints, Migraines, and Destruction

31 Aug

Great title, don’t you think? Well, besides work and volunteer commitments, shin splints have controlled my life for one week. I took about a week off of running to rest my shins. It’s really pained me, no pun intended, to stay off my feet but I’ve paid for two half marathons in two months and there is no way I’m giving up. I’ve had shin splints before and gone back to running too soon, only to be sidelined with the same injury. If there is one thing that I’ve improved on a lot in the past five years, it’s patience. I still have quite away to go though (ex. starting to ask for my presents way before the day they are due).

Last night we had a shower for an employee who was recently married. I had a wine spritzer, chicken lasagna, Caesar salad garlic bread and corn. For dessert I had a piece of Lemon Lush and Blueberry Cheesecake. When I got home I started to get a pretty bad headache. Luckily I was able to sleep, but today the headache came back with a vengeance and turned into a migraine. I need to start recording what I ate the day before or the day of my migraines because it has to be food related. I have a pretty strong hunch it’s sugar.

Edie reverted back to her puppyhood tonight and ate the sound bar remote. She didn’t have it very long but it was enough to completely destroy it, which is funny because there is only one tooth mark. Apparently it was in the right spot. Edie has destroyed many things over her three years.

One of many books

More books

One of several cell phones

Did I mention books?

And part of the wall in one of our apartments

Needless to say, Papa gave Edie a timeout in her kennel. 😦

Well folks, if I’m going to keep eating healthy I need to go prepare my tempeh for some Chipotle Lime Tacos tomorrow and tofu for my Hugh Jass Salad à la Mama Pea (that one you have to buy the book for).