August Foodie Pen Pal Reveal

Good morning!  After three packed days at work, I am enjoying having today off!  Nothing better than sipping a cup of coffee, blogging, and catching up on current events with GMA. School starts next Tuesday, so it’s been a busy, busy week.

On a different note, this month I participated in Foodie Pen Pals via The Lean Green Bean. Can’t thank Lindsay enough for putting this program together! It’s great to have the opportunity to connect with others all across the US who share a love for food. I also love getting snail mail and was really excited to see my box on my front porch a couple weeks ago!

I received a box from Kacie, a registered dietitian, who lives in Alabama and sent a box to Elizabeth in Chicago. It was fun to get out and explore my own city and figure out what “special” foods we have here! I mainly sent Elizabeth foods from my Door County trip including Door County dried cherries, Door County coffee, homemade Amish peanut butter, and my favorite Snap Pea Crisps. On the flip side, this is what I received from Kacie!

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  • Organic unsweetened applesauce
  • Peanut Butter & Co Bees Knees peanut butter
  • Terra Sweets & Beets chips
  • Clif Crunch granola bar in White Chocolate Macadamia Nut
  • Coffee travel mug with Starbucks Via instant coffee (medium & blonde brews)
  • Barbara’s Snackimals animal crackers
  • Glutino strawberry granola bar

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Kacie sent me an email indicating that she has two kids and these are some of their favorite go-to snacks. Some of the snacks I was familiar with, such as the peanut butter, but most of the snacks were new to me. I ate the Snackimals right away. They reminded me of Teddy Grahams I used to eat as a kid. I used the Clif bars to top my overnight oats that I mentioned in WIAW #2 post. I am a fan of Starbucks Blonde roast, but I have yet to try the instant coffee. I think the packets will be really convenient on the go. I could also keep them at work if I find myself in need of a little pick me up (that never happens, right? :)). I am currently in search mode for a recipe using the organic applesauce.

This was a very successful first time with the Foodie Pen Pals! I’m so glad I could participate and was paired with some great ladies! If you are interested in participating head on over to Lindsay’s blog for all the details!!

I am really looking forward to my last long weekend of the summer! We are headed to my dad’s cottage in northern Wisconsin on Saturday. I will be joining the local running club tomorrow AM for the last long training run (11 miles) before the half marathon next month! Crazy I’m almost at the point to start tapering. Crazy, but exciting! Have a great weekend everyone!

What are you up to on this holiday weekend? Are you doing a long run or starting to taper for the fall races?

The Lean Green Bean

 

WIAW #2

Hope you’re off to wonderful Wednesday! I’ve made the transition back to work and I’m still alive! I am the kind of person who loves and needs a consistent routine, so going back to work isn’t so bad. It has been great to see all my coworkers again. I work with some amazing people who truly care about the success and well being of the kids in their class. Woohoo for teachers!!

Today’s post is What I Ate Wednesday numero dos. Thanks again to Jenn at Peas and Crayons for hosting!

First up, not an eat, but a drink. I am loving Dunkin Donuts iced coffee lately. I am a iced coffee “newbie” so I’m still unsure exactly how to order it (does it or does it not automatically come with skim milk?), but it usually turns out okay. I’d rather drink an iced coffee later in the day than hot coffee. And every time I go there it’s $0.99! Score!

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My husband was actually the one to research and buy a dehydrator for us. I was skeptical at first. I’ve bought gadgets/small appliances and then never used them. I hate to have things in the cupboards just taking up room. I am happy to report I have been loving our dehydrator! It’s so easy to use. My favorite foods to dehydrate are zucchini, bananas, strawberries, and apples. Dehydrated fruit is so easy to pack up and travel with. I’ve been eating banana and apple chips on their own, in oatmeal, and on top of toast.

2013-08-26 15.00.232013-08-26 20.06.48I have been craving fresh, crisp salads lately. Sometimes I find that I’m thirsty and the water in the veggies helps to quench my thirst (and water does too :)). I love the versatility of salads and I usually just grab whatever veggies are currently in my fridge. Veggies in this salad included grilled and marinated portabella mushrooms, hard boiled egg, cucumber, shredded carrots, sliced almonds, and lots ‘o spinach. I could seriously eat this every night.

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Isn’t it pretty?

I’m always up for trying a new recipe. In the blogosphere overnight oats are very popular. I tried them a while back with blah results. I’ve always been a hot oatmeal kind of girl. Because I was in need of some inspiration in the kitchen and was looking to try something different, I gave overnight oats another shot. I tweaked this recipe from Caffeinated Runner.

Overnight Oats

  • 1/3 cup of oatmeal
  • 1 container Activia Blueberry Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 TB chia seeds
  • 1/2 Clif bar
  • Blueberries
  • Scoop of peanut butter

Combine the oatmeal, yogurt, and chia seeds in a container and let sit overnight. In the morning add blueberries, peanut butter, and top with a crushed Clif bar.

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I used 1/2 cup of oats and it was a little dry. Did it completely change me over to cold oats? Nope, but it wasn’t bad and I’d try some variation of it again. It’s nice to change things up and eat something cold when it’s so hot and humid out right now!

What have you been eating? Any new, easy recipes I should know about? I’ve been stuck in a breakfast rut lately…help please. 🙂 

What’s Your Motivation?

After my mom passed away last year, a friend of mine sent me a card that said, “You’re stronger than you think you are.” It resonated with me that we are all stronger than we first believe. Somewhere along the way this past year I have gained not only mental strength, but also physical strength. This change has made a huge difference with my self-confidence and motivation to live a happy, healthy life.

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Over the past eight months, I’ve committed to consistent exercising. I used to find any excuse to not work out, whether I was tired, it was too late, too early, or I wasn’t feeling good. More days than not now, I can’t wait to hop out of bed, throw on my shoes, and head out the door for a run.

So what changed?

I’ve been asking myself this a lot lately. When and why did I fully commit to exercising consistently?

When: My husband and I joined a gym last January, like we typically do. January always seems like a good time to “get back to it” and start exercising again. This year was different though. Instead of going to the gym for a couple weeks and then not going at all, I continued to attend classes at my gym. Spring rolled around and I was ready to start running again. (Read about my running & IBS story here.) I’ve learned how much incorporating different kinds of exercise influences one another. My desire to run and stay injury free has lead me to commit to weekly group core and group centergy (yoga+pilates) classes.

Why: Bobbi asked this question a while ago on her blog and it got me thinking. Why do I exercise? What do I gain from it?

  • I have felt those endorphins pumping through my veins (i.e., runners high). Knowing that I created that feeling all on my own is amazing.
  • I have increased alertness and energy throughout my day. It was a common occurrence before I regularly exercised to fall asleep at 8:30. I was exhausted all the time.
  • I have committed (i.e., paid the $) to races and feel that I need and want to do my due diligence by properly training for them.
  • I’ve also noticed that for me, exercising and eating healthy go hand in hand. If I’m not exercising I’ll think to myself “What does eating _____ it matter? I’m not “healthy” right now anyways.” Since I have been regularly exercising, I want and need to eat healthy foods for sustained energy throughout my workouts.
  • I plan my runs/work outs ahead of time that way it’s just a part of my scheduled day. I’m not too much of a morning person, so I usually fit in a run/work out right after work.
  • I truly enjoy the classes and group/solo runs. I’ve met some great people (and hopefully will meet more!) at the gym and at training runs that adds to my desire to keep going. It makes a huge difference when those around you have the same passion and goals.

This time it’s different. I just know now that I’m not going to “fall off the wagon” and stop exercising. I no longer berate myself if I miss a day here and there, as I know how important it is to have rest days.

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I want to be strong, both mentally and physically. I know in order to do that, I need to eat nourishing foods, get regular exercise, and have the confidence in myself to keep going.

If you find yourself in a point in your life where you’ve “fallen off the wagon,” you get right back up. Commit. Commit to a healthy life. Commit to having confidence in yourself. You too, are stronger than you think you are. 

What’s your motivation to exercise? Have you ever “fallen off the wagon”? How and why did you get back to exercising?

MIMM #2 New Shoes, a Wedding, and Boating

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! My weekend was crazy busy. Great to see many family and friends, but we’re pretty exhausted today. Luckily, today is my last day of summer vacation so I can catch up on sleep.

Marvelous is…running 10 miles solo. I had a great run on Friday morning. It pushed me beyond my comfort zone because of the high mileage. It felt so great to get the miles in and to know I CAN do it by myself. I fueled with fruit snacks that turned into Gushers by the time I ate them. It was a hot, sweaty run!

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Marvelous is…getting a mini-break from this little guy. We had to board him for the first time over the weekend because of a wedding we attended. It was hard to be away from him for a night, but also kind of peaceful. 

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Marvelous is…new running shoes! Not for me unfortunately, but I was happy hubby bought a new pair because he was in desperate need. He decided on the Saucony Hurricane. Pretty snazzy. 

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Marvelous is…feeling confident with my body. I bought a new dress ($15 from American Eagle online) and a new necklace ($13, Kohls) for the wedding we went to. 

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Marvelous is…seeing two people in love and strengthening relationships with my husband’s family. My husband’s cousin was married on Saturday. The wedding was absolutely beautiful. 

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Candy bar

Marvelous is…spending time on the water with my husband. We spent the day on my brother’s boat on Sunday. The weather was hot, but beautiful. A guy at the sandbar took one look at me and said, “I hope you’re wearing a lot of sunscreen.” Yep, end of summer and I’m still pale, but I’m okay with it. 

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I had a marvelous weekend and now am  looking forward to this week! I return to work at a school tomorrow. I’m looking forward to starting the year with everyone else, as last year I started in the middle of the year.

I am grateful to spend time with both my husband’s and my own family this past weekend. Have a great week!!

How was your weekend? Did you do any “last time of the summer” things?

Fighting through IBS and Running

Everyone’s story is different. Everyone’s body is different. This is a glimpse into my life living with IBS-C.

*This is a lengthy post. This worked for me, but you may be a completely different story. Do your own research. Listen to your own body.

What is IBS-C?

IBS-C stands for Irritable Bowel Syndrome- Constipation predominent. “Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a functional bowel disorder of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract characterized by recurrent abdominal pain and discomfort accompanied by alterations in bowel function, diarrhea, constipation or a combination of both, typically over months or years. The cause of IBS is unknown.”- Source: ibsgroup.org

How did it start?

I’ve been dealing with IBS-C for 6 years. Looking back, I remember most of my issues starting during a 6 week trip to Mexico. I had problems with constipation before this trip, however, it was exacerbated during my study abroad time. It was so bad I started bleeding when I went to the bathroom. I went to see a doc there and he gave me some medication to make it bearable at least. My mom made me an appointment to immediately see the family doc when I returned home.

What did the doc say?

During my initial visit to my family doctor, he diagnosed me with an anal fissure (cut in the rectum) that was made worse with constipation. If I didn’t fix the constipation, I wouldn’t stop bleeding. He gave me a referral to see a GI specialist. A blood sample to rule out Celiac’s came back negative. So on to the GI I went.

What did GI say?

I had to have a colonoscopy at the age of 22. It came back unremarkable. The GI doc examined me and gave me recommendations to relieve the constipation naturally and artificially. This was the appointment where he recommended I start taking Miralax. Six years later, I have been taking it every day since that appointment. My gastroenterologist preached “fiber, fiber, fiber” more than anything, which I quickly found was difficult to do. I turned to artificial means of increasing my fiber, such as supplements like Metamucil. I also began to eat 100% whole wheat everything, beans, Fiber One bars, high fiber cereals, pretty much anything I could find that had high fiber content. I thought that was the answer. 

I was wrong. Because of the increase in fiber in my diet I began having tummy troubles. My stomach would hurt at random it seemed. I felt I had no control over my body and how I felt. It began to be a waiting game throughout the day. Would I feel good? Would I be in pain? I just had to wait it out and see.

This is how my life was from 2007 to 2012. It affected my social life, my work, and my eating. I wasn’t hungry when I had pain. Alcohol made it so much worse. I would have the opposite problem after a night of drinking. I would exercise in cycles. I belonged to a gym and tried to get there regularly, but honestly I wasn’t committed at that point to exercising. I was wreaking havoc on my body.

The Tipping Point

Last year my husband and I decided (kind of out of the blue) to do a half marathon. We didn’t think about it too much and just signed up. I wasn’t a runner at this point. I would exercise for a couple weeks consistently, and then fall off the wagon and wouldn’t exercise at all. I set out to begin training for the half marathon with a couple miles here and there. I didn’t love running, but was committed to training for this half.

My mom became unexpectedly sick at this time. We had no idea how sick she really was or that the symptoms she had was cancer. Her stomach was bloated, almost making her look pregnant. She was diagnosed with stage III ovarian cancer. On June 17, 2012, a short two weeks after we found out, she passed away from complications of her surgery to remove the cancer. It never crossed my mind that my mom would die. She was my absolute best friend and it still brings tears to my eyes as I write this. So what does this have to do with my IBS? I told my mom before she passed that I would run the half marathon in her honor. She was fighting cancer, I could fight through running and IBS.

Our Photo by Adam Shea Photography-0237

My mom and I on my wedding day.

As I ramped up my training for my half marathon my stomach pains became worse, almost unbearable. During and after my runs the stomach pain I experienced greatly intensified. With short distances I faired better, but I also knew I had to increase my mileage if I was ever going to make it 13.1 miles. The stomach pains became so bad after running I would lay down in bed all day. I was still taking Miralax and eating as much fiber as I could. It wasn’t working and I was at a loss of what to do. 

I gave up. I “ran” here and there, knowing and dealing with the pain that was to come. I completed the half last September. I did it for my mom. It wasn’t fun and I can remember being in so much pain by mile 8. The only light at the end of the tunnel was seeing my dad at mile 12 and having him walk the rest of the way with me. My husband also caught up with me at mile 13 and we were able to finish the race hand in hand together. I finished in 2:54.

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Not finishing strong, but finishing.

When did things begin to change?

I stopped running after that half last year. I was so terribly sick the day after the half that I called in to work. I thought I wouldn’t run again. This year rolled around and I really wanted to participate in local runs. I knew without stomach pains I would really enjoy the different races. So I, again, went to see my doctor. I had been researching running and IBS without finding much, until I came across someone mentioning a low-FODMAP diet. I asked my doctor for a referral to a dietitian to get started with the diet. The diet includes an elimination phase for 6 weeks to remove foods containing Fermentable, Oligosaccarides, Disaccharides, Monosaccarides, and Polyols. These molecules can be found in many of the foods I had been eating. After the elimination phase, the diet indicates to add back foods one at a time and keep a journal of side effects. This approach to eating has changed everything for me. 

My dietitian visit was disappointing, as she had no background in the low FODMAP diet. She had never heard that many runners also have GI issues. She, like many doctors I saw, told me to go back to increasing the fiber in my diet. She also told me to give up running (!). I was frustrated, but determined to figure this out on my own and take back control over my body. 

The Low FODMAP diet

I checked out every book I could get my hands on that had to do with IBS and low FODMAP diet. I journaled when and what I ate. I followed and still follow a mostly low FODMAP diet while still eating natural fiber. I ditched the artificial means of fiber and the high fiber cereals, bars, and breads. I get my fiber now from oats, specific vegetables and fruits, and seeds. And guess what? My stomach pains have gone away. I’m not constipated anymore (at my low point I would go once a week). It’s not perfect. I still take Miralax everyday and still bleed sometimes. I don’t miss the foods I “can’t” eat because I know how good I feel not eating them. I’ve identified trigger foods including raw onions and watermelon. I feel GOOD. I feel in CONTROL. That’s a wonderful feeling. I can run without pain. I can run long distances without having to lay in bed all day afterwards.  It’s a combination of diet and exercise that has made the most difference. It occurred to me a couple weeks ago that I don’t even think about my stomach when I run anymore. That is exciting beyond words. (!!!)

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Running my 4th race a couple weeks ago!

What did you learn?

  • Doctors don’t have all the answers.
  • I know my body better than anyone.
  • It’s important to educate myself.
  • Periodically I need to journal my food, fiber, and feelings.
  • Not to give up. 

If you are curious about low FODMAP diet, please do your own research. There aren’t a ton of books, but there are some good resources out there. Here are some that I found helpful:

*The low FODMAP diet continues to be developed so not all foods at deemed safe/unsafe at this point. It was developed by Sue Shepherd in 1999, who continues to do research at Monash University in Australia.

If you have any questions about what worked for me, please feel free to email me at grabyourkicks@gmail.com. I’ve had to do much of this on my own and I’m no professional, but I can give you insight into what worked for me.

That was long winded, but that’s my story.

*Big thanks to my husband who has supported me through everything. Don’t know what I’d do without that boy.

WIAW #1

My first edition of What I Ate Wednesday! Thanks to Jenn at Peasandcrayons for hosting!

Breakfast consisted of a Kinnikinnick GF Mulitgrain toast spread with Smucker’s natural chunky peanut butter, pumpkin butter I picked up at Wood Orchard Market in Door County last weekend, and cinnamon. This is one of my staple pre-run fuels {And coffee, of course!}. Sometimes I’ll add dehydrated or fresh banana to the top as well.

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Got in a sweaty 5 mile run this morning while it was still cloudy. The picture is a little blurry because it is a STEAMY one out there today.

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After my run, I went to Centergy. I’m really going to miss being able to go in the mornings once I start back at work next week. It’s a great way to start the day!

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I was asked to think about becoming certified to teach! I said YES!

After workout refuel consisted of my favorite green monster smoothie.

Dark Chocolate PB Spinach Smoothie

  • handful of spinach and/or kale
  • 1/2 a frozen banana
  • 1 TB Skippy Dark Chocolate Natural PB
  • 1 TB chia seeds
  • 3/4 cup Almond Breeze Vanilla Almond milk
  • Couple shakes of cinnamon

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I have been craving veggies lately! Ask my husband, we’ll plan certain meals and then I’ll end up thinking a salad with lots of veggies sounds good. Last night I put together this delish salad for dinner. It included shredded chicken made in the crock pot, shredded carrots, cucumber, blueberries, sunflower seeds, and Bolthouse Farms creamy yogurt honey mustard dressing.

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When I first started implementing a low FODMAP diet I needed something to replace the granola bars I was eating. I wasn’t sure if gluten or wheat was necessarily a problem, but I wanted to follow the elimination diet for at least 6 weeks to find out. Because of this, I needed a replacement for the granola bar I would eat between breakfast and lunch. I found a recipe for healthy cookies via Skinnytaste and have been making batches of them ever since. They are SO simple and easy to make. My twist on the cookies is to add 1/4 c. of mini chocolate chips and lots of cinnamon. I most recently tried adding 1/4 c. of Skippy Dark Chocolate PB to the mix and they turned out great! YUM.

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Have a wonderful Wednesday!

What have you been eating lately? Any new recipes you’d like to share?

Are you an athlete?

How is your day going? Do you need a posture reset? How about a life reset? No? Just coffee? Okay. Me too.

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Besides my wonderful “mini” vacation I took last Friday, the other highlight of my weekend included training for my half marathon. My long distance on Saturday was 10 miles. I ran with a local running group, the PaceSetters, which really helps when the mileage gets high. They reported 130 people signed in to run with the group that day! Great to see people in our community getting out and being active. The PaceSetters set up the course map and 2 water stations on the out and back half course (there’s also a full marathon training course).

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My run went well, though I was feeling some pain in my tight right hip (need to do more of these hip exercises via SkinnyChickBlog). I ran mostly by myself for the first 8 miles. At the water station at mile 8 though, I found a new friend to run with! He was really nice and talking with him made the last 2 miles fly by! As we were chatting about running (what else?), he asked me “So you’re an athlete?” I wasn’t sure how to answer his question.

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I am in no way an “athlete” in the same respect as high school, college, or professional athletes. I like to exercise and while I’m {technically} competing at races, I’m not there to win the race. Like most runners, I do like numbers and compete against myself more than anything. It’s exciting to push myself and see improvements from my training. That’s what keeps me motivated.

I told my newly dubbed “running buddy” that I’ve completed a couple races this summer. His reply was, “So you are an athlete.” Again, I was still on the fence with answering and was hesitant to say “YES.” I’ve finally started to get comfortable calling myself a “runner”, I’m not sure I’m ready to call myself an athlete.

I did a quick google search and came up with this definition from Webster:

athlete: a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina

By definition many of us are athletes, though we may not group ourselves with the likes of Kara Goucher or Michael Jordan. We train and learn as much as we can about running. We are strong, have agility, and stamina to make it through 13.1 or 26.2 miles. Still, I wouldn’t use the term “athlete” to describe myself in every day conversation. In my opinion, the key term that is missing from the Webster definition is competition. Athletes compete against other athletes to determine who is the best. Do I do that? Not quite.

In reality, it won’t change anything whether I think of myself as an athlete or not. However, it’s a label that I don’t think really fits what I’m doing.

If I had to answer the question my running buddy posed again, I would say “Nope, I’m not in it to win it. I’m just a girl who likes to run.”

How would you answer my running buddy’s question? Are you an athlete? In your opinion, what makes someone an athlete?

The Divorce Kayak, Wine, & Sex Olives

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Happy Sunday! Hope you all are having a great weekend! The weather has been beautiful here this weekend. Since my summer vacation is dwindling  my hubby and I decided to head to Door County for the day. On the menu included a kayaking tour, wine tour, and shopping.

2013-08-16 08.41.33Our first stop was the DC Adventures Cave and Dunes kayak tour. We left from Whitefish Dunes State Park in Sturgeon Bay and had near perfect conditions on the water. We have only kayaked a handful of times before so I wasn’t sure what to expect (besides sore arms). Our tour guide gave us a quick lesson, hence why I’m in the sand. He deemed our tandem kayak the “divorce kayak” because you need to have good communication to maneuver accurately. Some other couples apparently did not fair as well as us. Luckily, we worked pretty well together and steered straight 80% of the time.

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The tour was so beautiful! Even though I’ve been going to Door County since I was a kid, I got to experience things I haven’t done before. We paddled along the shore. It was calm, peaceful, and literally a breath of fresh air to be on the water. Our tour guide took us inside some of the caves which was really cool to see. The waves carve out caves in the rocks over time. We also saw a shipwreck in the water that happened in the 1800s. I could clearly see the outline of the ship at the bottom of the water! So cool.

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Our next stop was Julie’s Park Cafe in Fish Creek, WI. I looked up reviews on TripAdvisor and was pleasantly surprised with the place. It had a cute, quirky quality. I had a portabella mushroom sandwich with sweet potato fries. The bread was amazing! It definitely tasted homemade.

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After a filling lunch, we headed to Orchard Country Winery in Fish Creek for a wine tour and tasting.

2013-08-16 12.27.06We toured the vineyard and the inside of the winery. It’s crazy how much fruit goes into one bottle of wine (10:1 ratio). We sampled 4 wines on the tour and then went back inside the store for 6 more complimentary samples. Our favorite was the most popular type they sell, Blackberry Blend ($9.95). If you can find it, get it!

The store also had locally made dip mixes,  dried cherries, and a couple “surprising” finds.

Surprising find #1: Sex Olives

Olives to eat during sex? Olives that are better than sex? Your guess is as good as mine.

2013-08-16 12.47.34Surprising find #2: Bitch Bags (specifically, this is the “Dirty Bitch” variety)

Does the drink actually have “attitude”? Or does the drink give the drinkee an attitude?

2013-08-16 12.48.09After the winery we headed north to Egg Harbor to visit Wood Orchard Market. This is one of my favorite places to visit in Door County. As their website says they’re a “third generation business farming almost 200 acres primarily of Honeycrisp apples along with strawberries, raspberries, cherries, and spring vegetables.” I bought their caramel puff corn and a jar of pumpkin butter. They have new sugar free versions of jam, jellies, and various butter. The best part about this place?! THE FREE SAMPLES! Yum. You could literally eat a lunch here with all the free samples they have available.

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It was a great day trip, only an hour and half from home. We will definitely be returning sometime soon. Door County is also beautiful in the fall when the leaves begin to turn color. Many tourists come here in the summer and fall.

2013-08-16 12.15.01How was your weekend? Any “surprising” finds this weekend out and about? If you could go on a mini-vacation where would you go?

It was a marvelous weekend! Now on to a great week ahead!

What I’m Loving Lately {Food and Exercise Edition}

FOOD

Donut House Chocolate Glazed Donut K-cups

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  • Chocolately, smooth, and delicious. I look forward to getting out of bed for this stuff!

Dannon Oikos Red Pepper Greek Yogurt Dip

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  • I’ve tried all the varieties I could get my hands on including cucumber & dill, french onion, and red pepper. Red pepper is BY FAR my favorite. Great dip for carrot chips, zucchini, cucumber, probably any veggie you have on hand.

White Chocolate Wonderful Peanut Butter (Peanut Butter & Co)

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  • It is just me or is life better with more peanut butter options?! I currently have Smucker’s Natural chunky, Skippy Dark Chocolate Natural creamy, and Peanut Butter & Co. White Chocolate Wonderful. They are all  so different, so depending on what I’m making (i.e., toast, oatmeal, smoothie) I choose and blend or spread.

Water infused with cucumber and lemon

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  • Simple? Definitely. Delicious? Yes. Grab me another glass! I mix cut up cucumber with slices of lemon and walaa! It’s nice to have something different than “plain old water” sometimes. Just don’t add too many slices of lemon (or lime) or it becomes over powering.

Zucchini Chips

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  • My first attempt at dehydrating and making zucchini chips was a success! I tossed the slices with 1 TB of olive oil and some garlic powder. They came out a bit “greasy” from the olive oil. I really don’t think the oil was necessary, so today I will be making more sans olive oil. Also making more because my husband ate almost the whole batch I made yesterday! 🙂

EXERCISE…and TV?

Running {duh} 

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  • (And Centergy) Today’s run was what it’s all about. It felt great, wonderful, glorious to run on such a beautiful day. My body felt ready and I quickly got into the “zone,” I need to remind myself of this feeling during runs that don’t go so well (read, yesterday).

Fit Sugar 10 minute Workouts

  • Even convinced my hubby to try a 10 minute workout from Fit Sugar on a rainy day! My favorite ones lately have been 10 Minute to Tone: Arm Workout and Blast Away Belly Fat. These videos change often so always something new to check out. They’re free and effective! My triceps were sore the next day just with 5 lbs weights!

Extreme Weight Loss on ABC

Extreme-Makeover-Weight-Loss

  • I’m slightly obsessed with weight loss shows (anyone else with me?). I love watching the inspiring stories of others getting healthy. It just goes to show that you need to physically and mentally make changes in your life. I ran a 5k in July and, surprise!, who showed up but Ryan Sawlsville! I had just watched his episode so it was exciting to see him out and about in the community. With a little prodding from my husband, I went up and told him how inspiring he is. He is so positive! I told my hubby it was like almost meeting Chris Powell too (practically, I mean Ryan did train with him) whom I love! How cool is that?

Have a fantastic Thursday! Tomorrow we are headed to the touristy Door County, WI for some food, wine, and kayaking!

Question: What are you loving lately? Do you watch Extreme Weight Loss? 

Sights in the City

I’ve lived in my city for about a year now. I grew up close by, so I was slightly familiar with the area. What I knew of the city previously? It stinks, literally, because of the paper mills. Thankfully, we bought a house as far away from the mill as you can get. I smell cow manure more than the paper mill, which I will take.  When I run, I usually stick to familiar routes around my neighborhood. Today, I decided to do some exploring on the other side of town after my group fitness class.

Rise and shine! Centergy was awesome this morning, as always. I can do many of the routines on my own now, as I’ve memorized the moves. I’ve tried to find some of the songs on google music so I can do the routines at home too.

gym

run

Then I changed and headed out for my run.

Gear: 

-non-slip headband from BandItHeadbands

Asics Women’s ARD top

Koss Fitclips (that I won on Facebook!)

-VOGO running shorts from TJ Maxx

Women’s Champion running low cut socks

-Mizuno Wave Elixir 8’s

Flipbelt (under my shirt)

-Garmin Forerunner 10

My town is hilly which is great for building some endurance. My half marathon next month is relatively flat, but I figure throwing in some hills here and there can’t hurt.

Did you know? 

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I ran past this park where someone spelled out “1 in 5 teens abuse Rx drugs” with red solo cups. Interesting.

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A look over the bridge. My city has many dams, which are kinda pretty on a nice day.

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I also ran past this painted mural. Can’t imagine how long it look to paint all that! It was a good run, though I struggled to get into until the second mile.

Splits: (1) 9:28 (2) 9:12 (3) 9:08 (4) 9:29

Miles: 4.22

Time: 39:15

Avg. min/mile: 9:18

I didn’t have a set number of miles for today, just what felt good. It was great to see another part of the city on foot!

dehydrator

On the food front, Amazon came a knockin’ yesterday and left this at our doorstep {translation, I bought it}. I’m really excited to get started dehydrating foods! Since we’ve been going to farmers markets more often, I sometimes end up with more fruits/veggies than we can eat before they go bad. My first attempt will be making zucchini chips. Crossing my fingers they turn out!

Question: Do you like running new routes or sticking to familiar ones? Do you dehydrate foods? Any tips/tricks I should know?

Have a wonderful Wednesday!