Monday, February 28, 2011

Meal Plan Monday {Feb 28}

Last week we totally abandoned our meal plan a few times and ended up going out for Mexican food & Margaritas on Tuesday {National Margarita Day}, then we went out for the 2 for $20 deal at Chili’s on Thursday after picking up my prescriptions, and on Friday we ordered in pizza!  Ugh. 

So, our goal for this week is to FOLLOW the PLAN and DON’T eat OUT.

Monday ~ Veggie Quinoa Stew {based on this recipe, I’ll be making the stew sans the chicken}

Tuesday ~ leftovers

Wednesday ~ Fire Cracker Chicken

Thursday ~ leftovers

Friday ~ Whole Wheat Gnocchi {from Trader Joe’s} with Giada’s Marinara Sauce {adapted from this recipe}

Saturday

  • Breakfast ~ bagel
  • Lunch ~ Green Monster & soup {from the freezer}
  • Dinner ~ Sloppy José Supper {recipe to come}

Sunday

  • Breakfast ~ Baked Oatmeal
  • Lunch ~ Green Monster & Panini’s
  • Dinner ~ Family Dinner Night ~ Tofu Tacos {recipe to come} and Pinto Beans {no bacon since my sister-in-law doesn’t eat it}

Other goodies I’m cooking/baking this week:

What are you making this week?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Unplanned Interruptions

After I ran the CIM in December I took a few weeks off from running and most other activities.  I was relishing in the fact that my body carried me 26+ miles and I wanted time to heal.  Also, I just felt like I needed a break after training for almost 6 months {training for the Urban Cow half in October and then the CIM in December}.  I was struggling with some bothersome hip pains leading up to the marathon plus I was experiencing shin splints on & off the whole 2nd half of 2010.  I knew a little time off would be good. 

On the last day of 2010, New Years Eve, I went for a slow run/walk.  I was ready to get back to running and I knew I needed to start slow.  I really wanted to start the new year {2011} off with a bang and planned on starting a new streak of running AND walking as many consecutive days in a row as I could.  I love running but I also love taking Lucy for walks and I figured it would be good “cross training” {walking on my non-running days}.  On my running days I slowly increased my mileage and my run/walk break times.  I got up to running a full mile before walking and I kept that up, while adding on mileage each week while taking as many walk breaks as needed, for a couple of weeks.  Then I started experiencing some pretty severe ITBS as well as some piriformis issues so I decreased my run ratio and increased my walk ratio and started incorporating more hip/IT stretches. 

Over time the ITBS lessoned, but would occasionally flare up pretty bad while running {as a very sharp and painful pain on the outside of my right knee}.  I took a whole week off running and stopped doing any exercises that were explosive or involved lunges or jumping.  I continued to go on my daily walks.  I was on a streak, and really wanted to reach my 1000+++ miles this year. Plus, walking seemed to help and Lucy needs the exercise too.  After a week I was feeling a lot better, the pain on the side of knee was gone and my hips were getting more flexible.  I could tell that the knots in my IT band were going away {got to love the foam roller and The Stick}.  So, I started running again.  Only 3 days a week {Tues, Thurs & Saturday} and I stuck to a 5 or 10 minute walk warm-up followed by either a 30:1 run/walk interval or a 1:1 run/walk interval.  I kept up with my hip stretches and I continued to walk, do yoga, and foam roll.  I even started taking ice baths for my shins after my runs because, I guess I forgot to mention, that I had been having a nagging shin pain in my lower left leg for a few weeks {it was typical shin splint pain that would stop after I stopped running and wasn’t there when I was walking}.  I continued to slowly increase my running mileage {about 10% a week, usually by adding a mile onto my long runs on Saturday’s}. 

Then all of a sudden on a Thursday after my run I had severe shin splints, in both legs.  It was a typical run {as typical as a run can be in the rain} where I warmed up with a 5 minute walk then did around 4 miles with a 1:1 run/walk interval.  After an ice bath and some stretching then rest for that night and the next day/night, they were gone {except for a nagging pain still in the bottom of my left shin}.  So that Saturday morning, a week ago tomorrow, we went to meet with our running group for our long run.  Jon planned on doing 16 miles as he is training for a half marathon; I planned on 9 since I did 8+ the week before. 

I did a warm-up walk of 10 minutes then I started my 1:1 run/walk intervals.  The first few intervals were slow but okay.  I was having some tightness in my right quad and my shins starting hurting almost immediately.  Now, I’ve struggled with shin splints on and off since I started running in 2007.  Usually I can run through them and after a mile or two they actually go away.  So I kept on running.  A few times I did a longer walk in between run intervals.  But the shin pain never stopped.  After the run was over {I ran intervals for just over 7 miles and did get around 9 total with my 10 minute warm-up walk and by walking the last 1+ mile back to our starting point}, I did a lot of stretching – everything felt tight – and I took an ice bath when I got home.   I felt defeated.  I felt like every time I took one step forward with my running/fitness I ended up taking two back.  It’s been injury after injury after injury.  I rested for the rest of the day.  By that night my shins were in so much pain still and walking was troublesome.  I took some ibuprofen and figured I would feel better the next day after a good nights sleep to let my legs rest. 

But I didn’t feel better the next day.  I felt worse.  Standing was painful.  Walking was worse.  It was like all of a sudden my shins decided they had had enough.  What was once minor shin splints now felt like the worse pain I’ve ever felt in my shins.  I started to fear that I was suffering from a stress fracture on my left leg where the pain was the worse, especially when standing or walking – or any activity that applied pressure to that leg.  The right leg had a very centralized pain on the inside of the shin, just below the knee, that hurt when pressure was applied directly to that area.  The pain was worse each day and by Wednesday I was unable to walk without severe pain in the left leg; while the right leg continued to feel tight and tender.  I had an internal debate for a couple of days earlier in the week about taking some time off, going to see my doctor, going to the Urgent Care, making an appointment with a sports specialist … not knowing what would be best.  But after not being able to put pressure on my leg {standing or walking} on Wednesday I called my family doctor and scheduled an appointment for Thursday morning.  And I didn’t walk on Wednesday, breaking my streak of 54 days in a row of walking and running.

I knew what to expect from the doctor.  She would tell me not to run or walk, which I had already figured out.  She would possibly prescribe me some pain meds, which she did {600 ibuprofen, three times a day} as well as a muscle relaxer.  I thought maybe she would send me for an x-ray, which she did not.  I knew that because of the type of insurance I have I would need her to give me a referral for a sports specialist or even a physical therapist, which I know {and I hope she knows} that would be better for me since she is a general family doctor and didn’t even know how far a marathon is!!!  Yet, her plan of action is for me to take the muscle relaxers and ibuprofen for a week as well as rest from all activity {except some calf exercises and stretching, if they doesn’t hurt} and come back to see her in a week.  She told me she did not think I had a stress fracture but if I was not doing better by my appointment next week then we could discuss an x-ray and that she wanted to try the meds first because that is what my insurance would prefer before sending to a specialist or PT.  I walked out of the office crying.

So, here are the few things I’m feeling right now:  I’m upset that I couldn’t get a referral to a sports doctor.  I’m pissed I had to break my walking/running streak.  I’m worried I’ll start to gain weight while I’m not able to be active.  I’m angry, so angry, that I’m suffering again from another injury.  The up side:  my legs are starting to feel a little better.  The pain was the worst on Wednesday.  It was a little better on Thursday {yesterday} but it was still painful to walk.  Today the pain is even less but the pain is probably just masked by the pain killers and the muscle relaxers. 

I know I need to rest so my body can heal especially because quitting running IS NOT AN OPTION to me but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Race Recap: Elk Grove Fun Run #1 {01.30.11}

The first Elk Grove Fun Run for 2011 was held on Sunday, January 30th.  It was dumping rain and freezing cold!

I had no expectations for this race other than to get out there and participate.  I anticipated walking most of the 3.1 miles because I was dealing with some knee pain associated with my IT band and my piriformis issues and I had run the previous day with our group.  And walking is what I did.  In the rain.  I was able to run a little bit, but the pain was pretty severe so I stuck to mostly walking as fast as I could.  My main goal was finishing since I plan to participate in all 4 of the races in the series again for 2011 to get my All Participant Award.  Jon walked the race with me since he had run a long run the previous day. 

Considering how much it was raining, and how cold it was, I was surprised as the size of the crowd at this race.  I guess its hard to turn down a $5 fun run --- even in not-ideal weather conditions.  Especially when the money goes to a good cause --- The Running Zone’s non-profit, The Running Free Foundation, which donates shoes to Sacramento area student athletes in need.  

The highlight of this race was the fact that our race bibs numbers were #1 and #2!  That’s just how we roll --- you know, since we know the organizers and all {our running coaches are the organizers and the owners of our local running store, The Running Zone}.  The pain I had in my knee/IT band during & after this race actually prompted me to take a week off from running after this race.

Official results ~ 3.1 / 45:58

CIMG5733In our “rain” gear on the morning of the race

Monday, February 21, 2011

Meal Plan Monday {Feb 21}

Monday ~ Pizza {Trader Joe’s refrigerated pizza dough --- have you had this?  Our friends made some homemade pizza using it last weekend and it was sooo good!}

Tuesday ~ Chicken Noodle Soup

Wednesday ~ Lemony Chickpea Stir Fry {I’m continuing my venture into dried beans this week with garbanzo beans (chickpea’s) --- I can’t wait to make roasted chickpea’s and some homemade hummus, too!}

Thursday ~ leftovers

Friday ~ Spaghetti with semi-homemade marinara sauce 

Saturday

  • Breakfast ~ bagels
  • Snack ~ Green Monster’s
  • Lunch ~ Sandwiches
  • Dinner ~ leftovers

Sunday

  • Breakfast ~ Homemade Pancakes
  • Snack ~ Green Monster’s
  • Lunch ~ Soup {freezer}
  • Dinner ~ Turkey Burger’s

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Homemade Chicken Flavored Rice-a-Roni

One night, while walking Lucy around the neighborhood, when it just happened to be around “dinner” time, I kept getting whiffs of dinner’s cooking and suddenly had a very strong craving for Chicken Flavored Rice-a-Roni.  I don’t often purchase or eat convenience pre-packaged foods {like Rice-a-Roni} and I much prefer to be able to make a copycat version of anything at home {easier to control what goes in it} so as soon as we got home from our walk I “Google’d It” {my favorite thing to do} and found this recipe.  It did not disappoint.  It tasted exactly, if not better {its been a while since I’ve had Rice-a-Roni}, like the real thing!  I highly suggest you make this … right now!

IMG_2495

Homemade Chicken Flavored Rice-a-Roni
Adapted from:  Sweetnicks

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup long grain white rice*
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat spaghetti noodles broken into 1/2” pieces
  • 3 TBSP butter
  • 14 oz water**
  • 1 packet of sodium free chicken bouillon {I used Herb-ox brand}***
  • 1 tsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Melt the butter in a large pan and sauté the rice and pasta until lightly browned. 
  2. Add the water, bouillon, parsley and garlic powder. 
  3. Bring to a boil then cover.  Reduce heat to low.
  4. Cook for 15 minutes without lifting the lid. 
  5. After 15 minutes check to see if all the liquid has been absorbed and fluff rice with a fork.  {If all the liquid has not been absorbed let the rice sit for a few minutes with the lid off, and the heat off, then fluff with fork}.

In the photo above I had added some poached, diced chicken breast to our rice-a-roni to make it a “meal”.

*Next time I would like to use brown rice which would mean the cooking time will probably be higher and more liquid will probably be needed.

**You can use 14 oz of chicken stock instead of water {I suggest no fat, low sodium} --- I didn’t have any the day I made this and had no desire to go to the grocery store for one item.

***I’d love an alternative to my brand of bouillon that does not have MSG --- if you have any suggestions, please let me know!!!

****A sautéed white or yellow onion would also be a great addition to this recipe. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Date Night: January 2011

On the last Friday night of January we decided to have our first Date Night of 2011.  Just like in 2010, we decided to have Date Night once a month in 2011 too.  We didn’t want to spend a lot of money so we decided to go to a local golf course and hit a bucket of balls at the driving range.  Not only was it fun but it was also cheap ~ we only spent $5. 

However, it was really cold & really foggy.  In fact it was so foggy that you could barely see the end of the driving range.  I blame the fog for my awful shots NOT the fact that I am an awful golfer :)

We decided to be super glassy on this date night also so we brought a couple of beers to drink ~ in plastic water bottles! 

All in all, despite the fog & the cold, we had fun.  I can’t wait to repeat this date night ~ hopefully when the weather is a bit warmer!

There were a few other people out there so I didn’t want to use my flash on my camera and distract them so the photos below are not that good.  Next time I’ll have to remember to bring my dslr

CIMG5720

CIMG5726 CIMG5730

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1.  Running in the Rain
This morning it was dumping buckets of rain but I knew that I needed to get my run in or I wouldn’t do it later.  I did a 3.5 loop around my neighborhood doing 1:1 run/walk intervals and felt pretty good overall {as in less shin pain than Tuesday & very little knee pain for only a minute or two during the 2nd mile}.  I got soaked and sometimes the wind was gusty but luckily it was only a light rain/drizzle instead of a down pour for the 40+ minutes I was out there.  My overall pace was 13:08 and my average pace during the run intervals was in the 10’s!  Since it was raining and I wanted to keep my Garmin dry I decided to forgo the headphones/iPod and set up a workout interval on my watch so that it beeped to tell me each time to start/stop an interval.  I’m so glad I did this for three reasons (1) it meant my watch stayed dry and under my rain jacket, (2) it was a nice change to run without music for once, and (3) it meant I didn’t have to constantly be checking my watch to find out it if was time to run or walk and I didn’t know my pace so I was running based on how I felt. 

2.  Typing Tests
After my morning run in the rain I headed over to a friends house to catch up & chat and together we went to a career center {she got laid off with me too} and got certified typing tests.  I’m still above 60 wpm so that was good news!  One more step towards finding new employment {I also finally updated my resume last night too}!

3.  Daily Mile
I decided earlier this week to update all my workouts so far for 2011 into Daily Mile.  It took a long time but it’s all up to date and now I can log in and see how all my workouts for the year and how many donuts I’ve burned which I think is really cool {86+ and counting}.  You can find me on Daily Mile here.  I also post all my workouts on this page. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

White Chocolate Chip Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

I made these cookies last week for a get together with my 182’er group {friends from my graduating semester at CSUS --- we all had the same final business class together ~ Mgmt 182}.  I forgot to get any photos so you’ll definitely have to make these to see what all the hype is about.  They are that good.  I’ll definitely be making them again and again and again …

White Chocolate Chip Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
Adapted from:  Baked Perfection

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries {craisins}

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl; set asise.
  3. Beat butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla extract until fluffy.
  4. Gradually beat in flour mixture until well combined.
  5. Stir in oats, cranberries and white chocolate chip pieces.
  6. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto an ungreased baking sheet
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes {depending on your oven}.  Cool on baking sheet for 1-2 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

*I used a 2 tsp cookie scoop and ended up with almost 6 dozen cookies. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Meal Plan Monday {Feb 14}

Last week, even though I had my cooking “mojo” back, still did not go as planned and we ended up eating out so at least one recipe rolled over from last week to this week. 

Last week I finally experimented with dried beans for the first time AND it was a success.  I soaked & cooked up 2 lbs of black beans.  I’ll be using some this week for a black bean burger recipe and I was able to freeze up the rest for future use.  I’ve got another 5 lbs of black beans & 5 lbs of garbanzo beans to soak & cook.  It was super easy {just time consuming} but if you plan it right then you can soak them over night and cook them up in the next morning. 

I also baked up a batch of some pretty amazing cookies {which I’ll post the recipe for this week} and this week I plan to do some more baking {muffins} as well as I plan to soak & cook some more dried beans {garbanzo this time --- so I can make some homemade hummus}. 

Today is Valentine’s Day and we planned a special at-home steak dinner with mashed potatoes and asparagus & chocolate fondue for dessert.  We are going to continue our new tradition {that we started last year, our first married Valentine’s Day} of going to the movies with a matinee date this afternoon {luckily we have a gift card for the movies that we got as an anniversary present last year}. 

 

Monday ~ Valentine’s Day Dinner {steak, mashed potatoes, & asparagus with chocolate fondue for dessert}

Tuesday ~ Black Bean Burgers on Flatout Wraps

Wednesday ~ Baked Turkey Taquitos {rolled over from last week as we didn’t make it}

Thursday ~ leftovers

Friday ~ Spaghetti with semi-homemade marinara sauce 

Saturday ~ leftover spaghetti

Sunday ~ Family Dinner Night at the in-laws

 

What are you making this week?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Long runs = cookie cravings!

The other day I mentioned that I’m not in “training” for any races right now.  But, I am still running and increasing my long run each Saturday.  Today I ran 8 miles :)

There are a couple of races coming up that I want to run {the Nutrition Fuels Fitness 5k/10k and the Inaugural SacTown 10 miler} so I’ve been slowly adding on miles each week {mainly for 10 mile race in April}.  Our running group is training for an upcoming half marathon {as is my hubs; but not me} so I’ve been building my long runs as they do each week.  I’ve been doing run/walk intervals to build my fitness level back up and because I’m still battling an IT/hip/piriformis issue on my right leg.  Each day, and each run, I’m feeling a little bit better --- I guess that means that all my extra stretching/foam rolling/strength exercises are working :)

During today’s run I was pretty much thinking about cookies the whole time.  I get a serious craving for cookies whenever I do long runs and I just happened to have a batch of super yummy cookies at home that I baked up yesterday to take to a get together tonight.  So, after my run, I ate a healthy recovery meal of a Green Monster and 1/2 a sandwich {jelly & soy nut butter} along with an orange, 1/2 an apple and 1/2 a grapefruit.  Then I had a cookie AND it tasted sooo good :)

Here are my splits from today’s long run:

  • Mile 1 = 14:14
  • Mile 2 = 13:21
  • Mile 3 = 13:31
  • Mile 4 = 13:10
  • Mile 5 = 14:14
  • Mile 6 = 12:57
  • Mile 7 = 13:06
  • Mile 8 = 13:09
  • last 0.70 = 8:48

8.70 / 1:56:35 / 13:24 avg / 854 calories burned

This is the best run I’ve had in weeks.  I have very little pain {the pain from the IT/hip/piriformis manifests itself as a sharp pain on the outside of my right knee and my hip starts to tighten up} and I really think the walk breaks helped keep the pain to a minimum AND are helping me continue to run as I heal.  My hips felt loose the whole run and I also didn’t have ANY shin pain either.  I think that means I deserve another cookie :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

2010 Date Nights

Before I start sharing about our 2011 Date Nights, I wanted to share the rest of our date nights from 2010.  I didn’t stay on top of blogging these as they happened but it was a very successful year of date nights with my husband.  I’m looking forward to keeping this going in 2011. 

Here are links to the first few date nights of 2010:
January & February
March & April

May ~ stay at home date night to watch the series finale of LOST

June ~ dinner out at our favorite local Italian place, Paesanos, before Jon left to go out of town for a few days to a music festival

    The same thing that happened in May, happened in June.  It was just about the end of the month and we hadn’t had our date night yet.  Jon was getting ready to leave for 4 days to attend a music festival over the Fourth of July weekend {that he goes to every year} so we decided to go out to a nice dinner at our favorite Italian place, Paesanos.  It was a nice evening; we enjoyed an appetizer and drinks and dinner along with Tiramisu for dessert.  Perfection :) 

    July ~ RIVER CATS game

      In July I started giving Jon a birthday present a day for each of the 30 days leading up to his 30th birthday.  One of the first gifts I gave him was tickets to a River Cats game on a Friday night ~ perfect for our July date night!!! 

    August ~ GIANTS game for Jon’s 30th

      The last gift I gave Jon for his 30 gifts in 30 days for his 30th birthday was tickets to a Giants game in San Francisco.  We had great seats and great weather and had so much fun at the game!  We definitely need to go to more baseball games :) 

      CIMG4900

    September ~ dinner out to celebrate 2 yrs of home ownership

      In September we celebrated owning our home for 2 years and just like we did the year before we went out to a sushi dinner to celebrate and then enjoyed some champagne at home afterwards. 

    October ~ dinner out for my 30th birthday at The Melting Pot

      For my 30th birthday we went to The Melting Pot for dinner.  It was a wonderful meal & experience.   

      CIMG5159

      CIMG5161 

    November ~ concert at Harlow’s in Downtown Sacramento to see Keller Williams

      November’s date night was a group date night where we attended a concert at Harlow’s in Downtown Sacramento with a few other people.  We saw Keller Williams, he is a one man jam band, and the music was AMAZING.  I love going to his shows.  We also had tickets to see him two days later in SF but the weather prevented us from making it down there ~ the car was literally blowing off the freeway just outside of Davis so we turned around and headed back home.   

    December ~ stay-at-home date night decorating our Christmas tree while listening to Christmas music

      We always get our Christmas Tree on December first and we had our “date night” when we stayed home to decorate it and get in the Christmas spirit while listening to Christmas music. 

      IMG_1271

      IMG_1284

    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    Three Things Thursday

    Here’s three questions I’ve been asked lately …

    1.  Don’t you normally run?  A pair of ladies in my running group {which is also a group for walkers and run/walkers} asked me this last weekend during the first mile of our long run.  I had been walking behind them {they are walkers} from the start, doing a 10 min warm-up before starting my run/walk intervals {that day my goal was 10 min warm-up then run 30 seconds-walk 1 minute, repeat as long as possible without pain --- I made it the full 7 miles I planned} that I’m doing right now.  I was a little surprised, even though I know they meant well, and I was able to quickly reply with “I’m still recovering from my marathon” --- which is mostly true.  I did run a marathon.  I did sustain some injuries during training that I’m still dealing with.  However, I’m still a runner. I’m just having to take it really slow right now and I am definitely taking it one day, or run, at a time.  It is because of this that I haven’t been talking much about running on here lately.  I’m getting out there but most days its not pretty.  Plus, I’m not training for anything right now.  I’m just running to RUN and to get exercise.  I love it like you wouldn’t believe and I’m so angry/frustrated/upset most of the time because I just seem to keep getting injured. 

    2.  How’s the job hunting going?  In case you didn’t know, I was laid off from my job at the end of January due to a company merger.  So, I get asked this questions A LOT.  And frankly, it’s going GREAT because I haven’t started looking … yet.  I am definitely enjoying my time at home but I am also definitely missing the paycheck.  I did get a nice severance package but at some point I do realize that its not going to be enough.  I have no idea what I want to do AND there’s not a lot of jobs out there right now either.  I feel like I need to take this opportunity to really research and find a job that I will enjoy better than my last one but when it comes down to it, a job is a job is a job and I will need one again someday soon. 

    3.  What have you been doing with all your free time?  You’re house must be so clean!  Actually, no, my house is not that clean.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I did so a lot of cleaning over the weekend to prep for our Superbowl Party, but I didn’t spend my free time last week cleaning.  I did do the dishes and the laundry and make the bed every day --- but that was about it.  This week, the second week of unemployment, has been a little better.  I mopped my kitchen and entry way and vacuumed the living room.  I also did laundry and picked up a lot of clutter in my office AND I cleaned out & organized a few cabinets in my kitchen.  BUT there still is a lot more I could be doing, I just don’t want to.  Instead I’ve been catching up on blogs in my Google Reader; I’ve been playing Angry Birds on my iPhone; I’ve been running & walking the dog & doing yoga & cross training; I’ve been reading {although not as much as I normally do}; I’ve been hanging out with friends & talking to my mom on the phone.  I haven’t even watched that much TV {shockingly}.  I’ve got a lot I’d like to do and I’m sure at some point I’ll find the drive/motivation to get it done.  Until then … I’m enjoying my time :)

    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    Proudly on Display

    IMG_2435

    We’ve got quite a collection of race medals growing and one of my goals for 2011 was to find a way to display them better than using push pins & nails.  I first saw the Allied Medal Displays on Healthy Tipping Point and I knew I had found what I was looking for.  

    It took a while to decide which one I wanted and I even contemplated the Custom Display where you can customize what you want your hanger to say.  But after we completed the marathon I knew exactly which hanger I wanted:

    Never Limit Your Challenges, Challenge Your Limits

    Now our race medals are proudly on display in our office and one more 2011 goal is crossed off the list.

    Tuesday, February 8, 2011

    A newer vehicle we can all fit in

    I bought my 2003 Volkswagen Jetta GTI back in September 2005, just a few months after I had started dating my husband and after graduating from college.  It was a great car and it was exactly what I wanted, at that time.  It was larger than my previous car, a 1994 Toyota Celica {and the car before that too --- a 1984 Honda Prelude}.  Unfortunately, it was still quite small.  While it was a 4 door vehicle, there was not much “room” inside. 

    Jon’s a tall guy at 6 feet 6 inches and he never really quite fit in the car.  His head would hit the roof if the seat wasn’t lowered all the way; his knees would be up by the steering wheel when he drove; no one could sit in the backseat behind him because he needed to have the seat back all the way {either in the drivers seat or the passenger seat --- and even then he didn’t have enough “leg” room}. 

    For over a year we had been discussing trading in The Jetta and getting a larger vehicle.  We started by visiting a few dealerships back in 2009 and sitting in all the SUV’s to determine which would be the most comfortable for Jon, and which one would fit in our budget.  We decided on the Honda Pilot’s. 

    Over the course of 2009 and 2010 we visited the dealerships a few times; never finding what we were looking for or not ready to take the next step.  Finally in September 2010 we decided to find out what it would cost us to get a brand new 2010 Honda Pilot {since we were there and that dealership didn’t have a used one that fit our parameters} unfortunately it was way out of our budget.  The hunt for a new car was put on hold, again.

    Fast forward to the beginning of 2011.  My last days of work at my job were approaching quickly and I knew we needed to make a decision about purchasing a newer car soon before I didn’t have any verifiable income.  Plus, The Jetta was going to need some extensive work if we kept it much longer {tires, brakes, 90k service, etc}.  So, I started researching what was available at all the local Honda dealerships and we made plans to visit the dealerships and see if we could find exactly what we were looking for.   One Saturday afternoon we started our dealership visits and we were extremely disappointed in the first dealership we visited.  So, we went to the next one on the list.  The second dealership had three used Honda Pilot’s --- all that fit what we were looking for, and one in the color we desired! 

    We ended up going for a test drive and then sitting down and working with a wonderful sales person.  We were able to make a really good deal and got a good trade-in credit for The Jetta and then drove home with our newer vehicle --- a 2008 Honda Pilot EX. 

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    Our newer vehicle is larger – it seats up to 8 with a third row that collapses down into the cargo area.  Lucy’s crate fits in the cargo area perfectly.  Jon has plenty of room --- both as a driver & a passenger.  It gets pretty good gas mileage {about the same as The Jetta} and is easy & smooth to drive. 

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    We definitely made the right decision when we traded in our smaller, older vehicle for this larger, newer one.  Plus, I really like driving it :)

    Monday, February 7, 2011

    Aunt Agnes’ Blueberry Coffee Cake

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    My dad loves all things blueberry and his oldest sister, my Aunt Agnes, gave me this amazing recipe for blueberry coffee cake a few years ago.  My dad just celebrated his birthday at the beginning of the month and I wanted to bake this cake for him to serve when he was here visiting for Superbowl.  I looked everywhere for my copy of the recipe but somehow I had managed to loose it over the years.  I sent an email to my Best Coast, West Coast cousin Judy {my aunt’s daughter} to see if she had a copy; but she didn’t.  So, I sent out a message on Facebook to a few of my other cousins and another one of my aunts to see if anyone had a copy; but no one did.  However, the aunt I sent the message to on Facebook called my other aunt and told her I was looking for the recipe --- and my aunt emailed it to me to save the day!  This cake is really good and super moist.  I highly suggest it for blueberry lovers like my dad :)

    Aunt Agnes’ Blueberry Coffee Cake
    Source:  My Aunt Agnes

    Ingredients:

    • 3 cups flour
    • 3/4 cup butter, softened
    • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 3/4 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 4 eggs
    • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • 1 TBSP flour
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    • 2 cups blueberries, washed
    • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
    • 1-2 TBSP milk

    Directions:

    1. Lightly grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Mix 3 cups of flour with the baking powder, baking soda & salt; set aside.
    3. Combine the brown sugar with 1 tbsp flour and the cinnamon; set aside.
    4. Beat butter with sugar and vanilla at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
    5. At low speed beat in the flour mixture (in three additions) alternately with the sour cream (in two additions) until well combined.
    6. Turn one third of the batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly.  Sprinkle with half the blueberries and half the brown sugar mixture.  Repeat layering. 
    7. Bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
    8. Cool in pan for 20 minutes on wire rack. 
    9. Gently remove from pan.  Mix confectioners’ sugar with milk until smooth; drizzle over the cake; serve. 
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    In an effort to start taking better photos and learning to use my dslr more efficiently, I’ve started to take my photos outside in the natural light.  On this morning the puppy, Lucy, was outside playing so hubs had to come out and distract her to keep her away from the cake while I took photos. 

    IMG_2443 Jon keeping the puppy away from the cake!

    Meal Plan Monday {Feb 7}

    For the last couple of weeks I’ve felt like I had lost my cooking mojo --- thankfully it seems that it has returned.  One of my goals this week is to finally venture into the world of dried beans.  Wish me luck!

     

    Monday ~ Pineapple Salsa Chicken over rice with leftover Edamole

    Tuesday ~ Tofu Taco’s

    Wednesday ~ leftovers

    Thursday ~ Baked Turkey Taquitos

    Friday ~ Spaghetti with semi-homemade marinara sauce 

    Saturday ~ Homemade Pizza @ the 182’ers reunion get-together :)

    Sunday ~ leftovers

    Sunday, February 6, 2011

    Lucy’s first trip to the snow

    Back in early January we took a day trip to La Porte, California to go sledding in the snow for my niece's 8th birthday.   Of course we brought Miss Lucy along with us :)

    She had a lot of fun; we all did.  The birthday girl enjoyed playing/sledding in the snow with lots of family & her friends.  The sun was shining {while the fog was thick in the valley} and it even warmed up enough to take a few layers off during the day! 

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    Lucy really enjoyed the fresh powder.  She was running and jumping around in it.  She enjoyed running down the hills behind us while we were sledding. 

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    She was a good dog the whole day.  We had to keep her on her leash because there were a lot of people around as well as snowmobiles driving through.  I think she would have been able to jump around into the powder more if she would have been off her leash but we didn’t want to risk her running off. 

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    The birthday girl :)

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    Family photo :)

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    It was a great day and a fun way to celebrate my niece’s birthday.  And, I got to cross another goal off our 2011 goal list

    Thursday, February 3, 2011

    At-home Boot Camp

    I own a good selection of workout DVD’s and in January I used one of my Insanity DVD for my cross training/strength workouts.  But since I’m having some IT band & piriformis muscle issues {both on the right leg} I decided that I need to cut out the plyo exercises and anything that including jumping or hopping for a little while.  That meant that I wouldn’t be doing any of the Insanity DVD’s or any of my Jillian Michael’s DVD’s {30 Day Shred, No More Trouble Zones, Banish Fat Boost Metabolism}.  Since I don’t have a gym membership I decide that I needed to come up with my own at-home Boot Camp.  I was able to incorporate lots of hip stretches and exercises that will benefit both my IT band and my piriformis muscle.   

    I started by checking out the Living Room Boot Camp page on N Her Shoes.  I also spent some time on Runner’s World watching videos and collecting hip exercises.

    The result = a custom at-home Boot Camp that targets the areas I need to focus on the most and incorporates lots of other exercises too.

    Warm-up:  walk/jog in place for at least 1 minute or complete workout after daily walk
    Hip circles, 10 clockwise & 10 counterclockwise
    Toe touches, 10 each side
    Arm circles, 10 front, 10 back, 10 cross front
    Eagle Supine, 10 each leg
    Leg scissors, 10 left/right, 10 front/back
    Leg swings, 10 each leg front/back, 10 each leg side/side
    Donkey kicks, 3 sets of 10 each
    Pushups, 3 sets of 10 each
    V-sits, 10
    Prisoner squats, 3 sets of 10 each
    Power running, 15 seconds/side
    Reverse lunge with twist, 3 sets of 5
    Front lunges, 3 sets of 10
    Bridge pose, 3 sets of 30 seconds
    Lying side leg lifts, 3 sets of 15 each
    Lying side inner leg lifts, 3 sets of 15 each
    Lying squats, 3 sets of 10
    Side punch, 3 sets of 10
    Front punch, 3 sets of 10
    Upper cuts, 3 sets of 10
    Hooks, 3 sets of 10
    Side kicks, 3 sets of 10 each leg
    Belt kicks, 3 sets of 10
    Bicep curls, 3 sets of 10
    Tricep curls, 3 sets of 10
    Standing side leg lifts, 3 sets of 10 each leg
    STRETCH, STRETCH, STRETCH

    On Monday I only did one set of each and completed the workout in about 25 minutes. 
    On Wednesday I did all the sets and completed the workout in an hour.

     

    What is your favorite way to exercise at home?

    Wednesday, February 2, 2011

    Green Monster

    Since I have the luxury of being at home right now {due to my current unemployment} I have been able to enjoy working out during the day and enjoying Green Monster’s after my workouts!  I’ve been making the Classic Green Monster {without the chia seeds/ground flax or nut butter, using organic vanilla soy milk, and frozen chopped spinach --- also I add just a splash of OJ too}. 

    Classic Green Monster
    From Oh She Glows

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup milk of choice
    • 1 ripe banana, preferably frozen
    • 2 handfuls of organic spinach
    • 1 tbsp chia seeds or ground flax
    • 1 tbsp nut butter
    • 1-3 ice cubes

    Directions:
    Starting with the liquid, add in 1 cup of your choice of milk.  Now add in the chia or flax and nut butter {if using}.  Next, add in the spinach followed by the banana on top.  Blend until smooth.  Add in your ice cubes and blend some more.  Serves 1 – about 2 cups!

    Since I’ve got this extra free time I was also able to take my Green Monster outside for a little photo shoot in some natural light today too. 

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    Miss Lucy was not very happy about having to stay inside while I was outside … its a good thing she got to go for a nice long walk this morning! 

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    That is our new sliding glass door that we installed back in November … don’t mind the unfinished stucco around it :)

    Tuesday, February 1, 2011

    Monthly Recap: January 2011

    How many variations of these monthly recaps are floating around in blogworld?  You can find one on Caution:  Redhead Running, Racing with Babes, Mission to a(nother) Marathon, Morning Runner, and probably lots of other places too.  I love the format so I’ve adopted it for my monthly recaps too!  Now, go check out those blogs I mentioned --- those ladies are some pretty AWESOME runners with great blogs :)

    January 2011

    Number of miles ran/walked:  91.03

    Days of running:  10

    Total consecutive days in a row to date running and/or walking: 32 {starting 12.31.10}

    Longest run: 6.0

    Number of races:  1 {Elk Grove Fun Run #1 for 2011}

    Days of cross training or strength training planned/completed: 4/6

    Days of yoga planned/completed:  4/8

    Days of core work planned/completed:  4/5

    Currently Reading:  Haven’t started a new book yet, finished Country Brides by Debbie Macomber {I’m a sucker for love novels, this was my 1st book finished in 2011, 11+ to go for the year}

    Current shame-inducing guilty pleasureenjoying not having a job

    Current Obsessions:  my new iPhone

    Current excitement:  Superbowl Sunday, we’ll be having our fathers over to watch the game and eat chili

    Current triumph:  successfully walking/running for 32+ days in a row; sticking with my workout goals of yoga once a week, cross training once a week, & core work once a week; creating my own Boot Camp workout for cross training!

    Current bane of my existence:  I’ve managed to irritate my IT band and my piriformis muscle on my right leg --- running has been sidelined for at least a week to see if that will help --- I’ll be focusing on yoga, lots of stretching for those muscles, strength work for those muscles, and foam rolling

    Current goal:  heal my piriformis & IT band so I can RUN

    Current need:  a job, I guess, to get a paycheck

    Current wish list:  a paycheck WITHOUT having to work, haha

    Current indulgence:  lots & lots of free time!!!

     

    How was your January? 
    What are you looking forward to in February?