Tag Archives: running

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. 🙂

8 Mile

6 Sep

My weekend can pretty much be summed up in one word; staining. We stained all 1100 square feet of our fence except for 12 boards (we ran out of stain). Luckily that part is on the back where I don’t see it or I would’ve been running to Lowe’s yesterday at 5pm to get more stain. We weren’t even going to finish it this weekend but I HATE leaving a project unfinished. I like it done yesterday.

Friday was crazy busy. It totally got away from me. I was supposed to get done at 5:30 but I believe I left after 6pm. My boss didn’t even leave until 8pm! We are in the process of hiring two new employees and they have to start training on the 12th of this month. Yikes! Needless to say, I didn’t want to take time to cook when I got home. I turned my Chipotle Lime Tempeh Tacos into a taco salad. I added some chipotle salsa, cheese and avocado. Mmm….

Saturday I did my long run, eight miles, with the pup. We went pretty early in the morning but Edie still got pretty hot. I stopped at about 6 miles and let her jump in the river. When we got home the silly dog wanted to play soccer. I kicked it a couple of times for her even though she could barely breathe. We came inside and she drank all the water from her bowl. A few minutes later I heard a familiar sound and saw that she puked all her water up on the floor. That was pretty fun to clean up, course, it’s good it was just water. That night we went to our neighbors’ house for a BBQ. It was absolutely delicious! They made salsa, salmon, chicken, and corn. At the hub’s request I made a chocolate pudding pie (super easy; make chocolate pudding, put it in the graham cracker crust, top with whip cream after it’s been in the fridge for a couple hours). After having years and years of horrible apartment neighbors, it’s so nice to have our own home near neighbors we love.

The rest of the weekend was filled with staining the fence. My in-laws came up, and the girls went shopping and ran errands for most of the day and the boys stained. I tried to relax when we were done but I had to pitch in and help. We also let Edie out during breaks since she spent the whole day inside whining. We were using a sprayer and didn’t want to have a red dog.

Kick my ball!

The next morning Elisa and I took the dogs to the river. It was pretty shallow so they had a grand old time running through the water. After we got home I was itching to get the neighbors side of the house stained. Because they have trees about a few inches away from the fence, I had to stain by hand. I stained the whole side of the fence in about three and a half hours. I just put my Ipod in and rocked it out (I hope all the neighbors liked my rendition of “Baby Got Back”).

Play Time!

After we finished, meal planning and grocery shopping were the last thing I wanted to do. I was absolutely exhausted and actually debated going to bed at 7pm. I was about 150 pages from finishing my book, The Raising, and since it was a mystery/suspense I had to see it through to the end. Since my mom is coming tomorrow I just picked up some Alexia’s fries to pair with turkey burgers. That will tide us over for a few days before I send my mom grocery shopping.

I am so excited to see her! She is like my twin in so many ways, it’s a little scary. Our wedding reception is at our house on the 17th so she is coming to lend her assistance. My dad took a trip to Minnesota so he’s going to join us a little later.

I had an 8am appointment today and another one tomorrow so I must get some rest. Less than 24 hours until I see my mom!

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!

New Shoes from Fairhaven Runners & Walkers!

25 Aug

Yesterday after my run I felt a familiar twinge in my shins. No, please no, not again. I stretched, iced and soaked in the jetted tub. I even popped some ibuprofen, but my right shin still felt tight and achy. I decided to rest completely today and apply ice. I took Edie out to go to the bathroom and jogged just a short distance but it didn’t matter. Pain shot through my shin on the right and a dull pain on the left.

I’ve been plagued with shin splints several times. I’ve never seen a sports doctor about them, just my regular doctor. He just said the normal thing, ice and rest. Of course, he didn’t really go into the why so I did the research on my own. There are several reasons you can get shin splints–

  1. Too much, too soon. Working out too much before you have built up the stamina can cause various injuries in different places. Running too many miles too soon can cause shin splints.
  2. Incorrect shoes or old shoes. If you haven’t replaced your shoes after about 500 miles (or six months, depending on how far you run per week), the support system could be shot.
  3. Weak muscles. I’ve read several articles that claim weakness in different muscles are responsible for shin splints. I’ve heard weak hips, hamstrings, and ankles can all be at fault. Since I’m not a doctor, I can’t really say which one is correct but general strength training to protect all your parts is definitely important. I have very small weak ankles. I’ve sprained my right ankle over five times and have very weak tendons in that side. Just so happens, it’s also the side where my shin acts up.

Typically I run on trails but since the move I’ve had to add some street running. Since my needs are now different and I can’t remember the last time I bought new running shoes, I knew I had to go visit my buddy Steve at Fairhaven Runners and Walkers.

Best Running Store Ever

I met Steve when I worked in the Fairhaven neighborhood of Bellingham. He is one of the nicest people I have ever met. When I found out he owned the store, I peppered him with questions about running, fitness, and health. He was always more than happy to answer all of my questions and then some. Each time I saw Steve, he asked me how my running was going and asked about my goals. He really held me accountable and always encouraged me. Steve genuinely wants people to succeed in all their goals and aid them in any way he can. I’m so happy I have the privilege of knowing him.

Holy shoes Batman!

Even before I met Steve I bought running shoes at Fairhaven Runners and Walkers. They are experts on what shoes will work for each running style and foot type. The employees watch you walk and run to determine your stride. This is imperative if you plan on running a long race or doing any extensive running. Just stopping in any store and grabbing a shoe that’s labeled “running” is like going into Macy’s and just grabbing the first dress you see. You need to try it on and pick something that works for your body; something that enhances your best features and aids you in areas that aren’t your best.

I'll take both of the pink tops please

All the men's clothes

Steve picked three shoes in neutral strides for me. He also took into consideration that I was doing a lot of street running and my tendency to get shin splints. I tried on two pairs of Mizunos (my past 2-3 pairs have been Mizunos) and one pair of Brooks. I narrowed it down to a pair of Brooks and Mizunos. I ran down the block in both and was really torn. The Mizunos gave a lot of support, as did the Brooks. The Brooks felt a little more cushy, but I tend to veer away from anything too soft for running because I’m afraid it would give out sooner. Steve reassured me that this wouldn’t happen, and he felt the Brooks would support better and impact some of the running vibrations better.

They have organized runs throughout the week and clinics!

I ended up going with the Brooks Defyance 4 shoe. I didn’t take a picture because I was lazy and, I know this is very ungirlie, I don’t really care what the shoe looks like. This might come as quite a shock to some, especially since my original major in college was Retail Merchandising, but now, I’m more concerned with how the shoe performs than the look. Wow…little Jessica is all grown up! 🙂

I also grabbed a couple of packages of Clif Shot Blocks (I’m not a huge fan of Gu but I will use it) and a new energy chew Steve recommended, Honey Stinger. They are organic energy chews with Vitamin C and electrolytes. I’m really intrigued since they are made with organic honey and organic tapioca syrup, and I can pronounce all the ingredients on the package. That’s always a plus in my book!

All in all, it was a great shopping trip (also got my hair did!). I highly recommend you visit Fairhaven Runners and Walkers if you are ever in Bellingham or are in need of some new shoes. It’s great to shop local and it’s definitely worth it for all the personal attention and advice you get. I love working with Steve but I’ve bought two other pairs with the equally capable staff. Run there now!

I heart Steve!

Willpower and Chafing

24 Aug

A few weeks ago on my birthday, I brought home treats I bought at work for charity. I purchased a dozen brownies and a dozen peanut butter cookies. I left a half-dozen at work and a half-dozen were brought home for Nathan. The whole night they sat on the counter taunting me. I asked Nathan if he would bring them into his man cave so that I wouldn’t be tempted. He argued that if he kept them in there they would all be gone in one night. He said, “Why can’t we just leave them out here and you can use your willpower?” Apparently he didn’t see the irony in that comment.

I went to a nutritionist a few years back when I was having stomach issues. I told her that I ate pretty well but when confronted with “treats” at work, I have trouble leaving them on the plate. The nutritionist, who was about ten inches taller than me and probably weighed ten pounds less than me, said she had trouble saying “no” to treats when they stared her in the face as well. Although I found it hard to believe, I was a little comforted by that. I have no trouble ordering something healthy when we go out to eat, but it’s much harder when free food filled with addictive sugar is staring right at you. And because of the addictive nature it’s difficult to say no to “just one more”. I prefer just to not even have a bite.

Another time my willpower is tested is that wonderful time of the month when your hormones scream for sugar. That happened to me this week.

Bucket 'O Donuts

Unfortunately, we started a tradition last year of buying a bucket of donuts from Voodoo Donuts (um, not a great tradition). $5 for a huge bucket of donuts? What a great deal! Nathan’s brother has about seven people living in a rented house with him in Portland so we knew these would go quick. However, Jessica the PMS Monster was on the prowl. I swear, I must have eaten about four donuts. Then when we got home I made Mama Pea’s Dough Balls which was another mistake. On my run this morning I could feel sugar oozing out of every pore.

So my tips for avoiding your trigger foods and pigging out on them–

  1. Don’t even take a bite unless you are confident that you can eat only one. To help, tell another person you are only eating one or heck, tell your whole office. They may look at you crazy but you will be the one who doesn’t have a tummy ache at the end of the day.
  2. Don’t even put it in front of you. If you are going out to Mexican and not having a “treat” night ask them not to bring out chips and salsa (same with bread). If the people you are going out with have to have it, keep it towards them and/or let them know you aren’t having any. I find saying things out loud really helps you hold yourself accountable.
  3. Let people know you are eating healthy. They may not make food you can eat but at least you can justify yourself when you don’t eat any.
  4. If you do want a treat, go for something full fat. I’ve tried doing the low-fat low-cal treat before and that “itch” does not get scratched. Eat something full fat but in a small portion. You will get the flavor you were looking for.

As for chafing…well, everyone has it. Blisters? Those are essentially chafing. My chafing mostly involves my inner thighs. Yeah, I said it. My inner thighs touch when I run. I’m a curvier gal and I always will be, so the odds of my thighs never touching are slim to none. This does not bode well for running in the standard running shorts. I have to wear tight capris or shorts. If I don’t have any that are clean, then I have to use my anti-chafing stick. If you are considering any long distance run, I highly recommend purchasing some. It will save you every time. I put it on my armpits, between my thighs, and on the bottom of my feet. It looks and goes on like a mini deodorant. I found mine at REI but I’m sure any sporting goods or running store would have some.

Those are my thoughts for today. 🙂 A little random match but that’s how I roll.