Month: March 2013

What Day Is It?

I’m at the end of a 65 hour work week (between two jobs) and I feel like a walking zombie! I’m not quite as back on track as I had hoped to be but I don’t feel badly about that given how busy I’ve been. It doesn’t help to beat yourself up.

Let’s take a look at some eats!

The week started out well, when I’m super busy I like to try to make it easy to eat as healthily as possible as it truly does make me feel better. Stir fries are a life saver because a well balanced meal can be done so fast.

Monday night was tofu marinated in soy, agave and sriracha on top of sauteed kale, onion, red pepper and broccoli.

Tuesday was K.’s turn to choose the eats and he went with pasta. I cooked up a vegetarian “chicken” patty (I’m not a big fan of these meat alternative patties, but again, on busy weeks it’s a great way to still get in enough protein), topped it with tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella that I let broil for a bit and enjoyed.

Wednesday I inhaled a “chicken” patty between jobs #1 & #2. Seriously. That was dinner.

But it gets worse. Last night after my second consecutive 14 hour work day I had a frosty and split some fries with K. from Wendy’s. That is NOT typical for me but it was the only thing that sounded good at 11p. I don’t feel great about the choice but it happened (and was honestly pretty delicious).

Breakfast has been my favorite still! I am hardcore addicted to Greek yogurt pancakes and love to make myself a single serving and save a little yogurt as a topping. Flavors of the week:

2% Banana! So heavenly, you can’t go wrong with banana pancakes

But seriously, these were THE best thing ever. Coffee w/ dark chocolate Chobani bite inside a pancake. Make these now!

-1 container Chobani bite (since they are only 3.5 oz)
-1/4 c. flour
-1/2 tsp. baking soda 
-1 egg white

I’m glad that I survived the week and that I’ll soon have some time to clean the kitchen, do some grocery shopping and eat nothing but vegetables! (Plus train for this 15K I’m supposed to run next weekend- EEK!) 

Hope that all is well in Blogland, feels good to be back 🙂

Road trips, running and working overtime

This weekend was jam packed and this week is looking even busier! I’ve just got time for a quick rewind and a brief injury update.

Friday & Saturday were spent in Cincinnati with my sisters. We are really close but live in separate cities so whenever the opportunity for a get together presents itself we jump at it! Good food was shared, shopping was done (three cheers for IKEA!) and quality time was enjoyed. It was a quick visit but certainly better than nothing.

I had 10K planned for Sunday and kept wavering on what to do. As I’ve complained about at length, my foot has been bugging me a lot lately but oddly it tends to feel better the more moving around I’m doing. The weather forecast was not looking too stellar (cold and a good chance for snow) and I didn’t think I wanted to deal with that, so I ate a not great dinner of a side salad and curly fries at a super late-for-me hour (and two beers, whoops!) and stayed up far too late. Still, I set my alarm for 6:22a (on a Sunday!) just in case. 

When it went off the next morning I popped out of bed and just kind of went into pre-race autopilot. Toast in toaster oven, add PB + coconut, drink lots of water, use the bathroom, check obsessively, layer up, find headphones, throw shot blox in pocket, out the door. I feel like I hadn’t even decided to run yet and somehow I was already doing a warm-up jog over to the starting line! My foot felt a bit sore but significantly better than I imagined so I was feeling pretty good and stupidly thought “maybe I can nail that sub-50 I had originally wanted despite not running regularly for the past two weeks!” (no, no you can’t). 

The course was set up for a 5K, 10K + 15K so it was just a repeated 5k loop. I knew if things got bad I could just bail after the first lap but also kind of knew I was too stubborn to do that. Before I knew it we were running! I went out way too fast (always a problem for me) and had a lot of different aches and pains throughout. My foot hurt a bit, but also my less than trained legs, my lungs dealing with the freezing cold air and my soul (ha!) because running felt HARD. Our city is pretty freaking flat but I swear we ran up every “big hill” we could. The elevation data from the run was insane. Those hills BURNED. They aggravated my foot and I was just not prepared for them, to make it worse I knew I’d be seeing them again on lap 2. Besides hating the hills, the entire race was seriously a blur. All of a sudden we were at the evil (GIANT!) last hill before the finish line, I killed it going up and barely thought I was going to cross. But I survived! 

Mile 1  7:53 (!!!)
Mile 2  8:26
Mile 3  8:34
Mile 4  8:37
Mile 5  8:41
Mile 6  8:38
0.26     9:05 (ha, I really wanted to die)

My official time ended up being 53:03 (avg. pace 8:30!) and I can’t be disappointed in that. I wore my medal proudly as I pounded chocolate milk, inhaled a banana and stumbled back to my car. I iced, elevated and planned to rest but then I got called into my second job. I was happy for the extra money but 5.5 hours on my feet was pretty rough. I’m recovering today but feeling pretty good overall. I hope to ease back into a regular routine this week and just give extra attention to my foot.


I should be a better blogger.

I disappeared, I know. I’ve been dealing with injury induced depression and my meals have been less than photogenic (last night’s eats were sauteed spinach + peas with feta cheese and a giant plate of roasted purple potatoes). 

My plan for today is to get back on track, mentally. After resting for 3 days, I bailed on last night’s strength workout because I was feeling sorry for myself and I need to snap out of that! I have a long day today because I work both jobs, but I plan to focus on hydrating and healthy eats and I will be back in the gym tomorrow. A new Jillian DVD arrived last night and I’m looking forward to diving in. Regular running may still hang out on the back burner until I figure out what is happening with my foot but I’m hoping to be able to (sloooowly) run my planned 10K race on Sunday. 

I’m really just stopping in to say I’m still here! And to state my plan to return to regularly scheduled workouts first thing in the morning. Bear with me people and send some good vibes my way!

Cupcakes can make you forget a bad run

This weekend was full of ups and downs- too many (unpaid) extra hours at work, sleeping in on Saturday, one of the worst runs of my life (truly terrible), pancakes, baking delicious cupcakes and St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

I don’t want to talk about the work and I definitely don’t want to talk about the run so let’s just jump forward to the cupcakes.

Oh the cupcakes!

We had plans to go to a St. Patrick’s day party yesterday and I knew I wanted to bring a delicious treat. Enter Irish Car Bomb cupcakes. Guinness in the cake, Irish whiskey in the filling and Bailey’s in the frosting. Yes, please!

I found a recipe from the Brown Eyed Baker on Pinterest and was quite pleased with it. I made a few changes throughout (plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, double the whiskey in the ganache filling and less butter and powdered sugar in the frosting). These are definitely not healthy nor for the faint of heart, but there were perfectly moist and a HUGE hit at the party. 

You make the cupcake batter and bake the cupcakes as you normally would.

You then cut out the centers (going about 2/3 of the way down) to fit in the filling. K. was happy to help with this part as he mostly just popped the center pieces right into his mouth.

I piped in the ganache filling using a basic frosting tip. This step was messy but not difficult.

And finally you frost the cupcake! I’m no whiz with a pastry bag but I think they turned out pretty enough.

Our friends seriously gobbled them up in no time. Although my St.Patrick’s day didn’t involve any green beer these were festive (and strong!) and got the job done 😉

Foods + Foot Pain

In complete contrast to last week, today is not Good Mood Friday. But at least it IS Friday.

My foot is still not quite right. I skipped my planned run this morning, opted NOT to cross train (I think I was just being lazy) and even started looking into making a doctor’s appointment. I’m not sure I’m there yet, but I was definitely riding high on self-pity this morning.

To snap myself out of it I made a healthy breakfast (and a large amount of coffee)

Egg whites on toast smeared with herbed goat cheese. Yummy!

Today is an extra long day at work so I packed carrots for my morning snack and used some of last night’s leftovers to make a salad that would keep me full through the extra hours

Spinach + romaine base, cucumbers, hummus, feta and lentil chili. Delicious and quite filling.

Tonight’s agenda is nothing but RICE. My legs are itching to run and I’d love to put in some sort of long run tomorrow morning so I’m going to take it suuuuper easy and hope the mystery pain goes away.

Hopefully there is something new on Netflix so I can have my own little TV marathon tonight. Luckily I know there is half a slice of cheesecake in the fridge that can help to cheer me up 🙂 

Skyline (vegetarian) Chili 3-Way- Healthified!

I don’t know if it’s just an Ohio thing or if it extends to the rest of the midwest (or beyond?) but there is something known as the Cincinnati Chili 3-way. It’s chili, on top of spaghetti, smothered in shredded cheese. Lots of people find this appealing.

My boyfriend, K., was raised as a meat n’ potatoes kind of kid. Lots of hamburger helper, tuna casserole, etc. As he grew up he really expanded horizons and even before we met he was a much more open minded eater. He loves vegetables and will eat literally anything I cook for him (and will give me an honest review). Since there will never be a day that I’m grilling him a steak or making hamburgers (I truly wouldn’t even know how), I try to take a new spin on meals that are close to him. 

There’s a restaurant chain known as Skyline Chili and there is one located a few doors down from his work. On days when he is without lunch or wants a little pick me up, he will head there and eat something that I can only imagine is not exactly healthy. While I’ll never try to turn K. into a vegetarian, I will try to keep him healthy.

Enter my healthified version of the Skyline 3-way.

For the spaghetti base, I substitute spaghetti squash. Nothing against pasta, it’s just not really my thing. I find this swap to be an easy way to cut back on the calories + carbs and add a few more nutrients. I think it would be just fine to use a whole wheat spaghetti though.

I roasted the squash whole (I pricked it all over with a knife) for about an hour at 400 degrees. I then cut it in half, removed the seeds and turned it into “pasta”.

My chili is this lentil chili. I have tried so many vegetarian chili recipes and this is my go to. It’s packed with quinoa and lentils. I made a few changes last night: I used a homemade hot chili oil to spice it up even more, left out the mushrooms (we are kind of mushroomed out lately), left out the bulgur and doubled the quinoa and added dark red kidney beans. The flavors were perfect. 

Combine in a bowl and add fresh grated pepperjack cheese (or whatever kind you enjoy) on top.

A bit more cheese may have snuck on after this picture 😉

Who says comfort food can’t be healthy?

Let’s Talk About Balance


As a long time gymnast I know how hard it is to find a physical balance- lose focus for a moment and you’ll lean one way, try to correct yourself and you’ll lean the other. Focus too hard and you’re likely just making it worse.

I’ve always had trouble with moderation. As I mentioned before, when I do something I do it 110%. As I’ve got more serious about running (and working out in general) over the past year or so I have really struggled to find a balance. At the peak of training I’m in bed by 9p, turning down all weekend plans, waking up at 4a and eating so clean that I nearly forget what sugar tastes like. This works for some people but it doesn’t work for me. As soon as I finished my first half marathon I was craving social interaction, greasy pizza and a pitcher of beer. In complete contrast to the previous months I was staying up too late, eating less than well and agreeing to nights out more often than I even wanted to. I felt like I had so much to catch up on! 

My goal for this training cycle is to try to focus on finding the middle ground. I thought I had been doing better but now I’m not so sure. I really struggled with the thought of leaving the house last night and had to be convinced by three people to make the effort. While I was talking about my training one of our friends said “wow, I really wish I had your determination” and K.’s immediate response was

 “No you don’t”

I was taken aback by that. Initially my feelings were hurt as though he was somehow criticizing me. It took me a few seconds to process and realize that that’s not what he meant at all. 

I’ve been so focused on Me, Me, Me that I know I’ve been neglecting him and us. It’s weird timing to talk about this, as we just had a glorious date night, but when I’m in bed by 9p it means he’s watching “our” shows alone. And when my alarm goes off at 5a he hears it too. If I turn down an invitation out he has to choose between being social with our friends or spending time with me. When a run goes well, I brag to him about it; when a run goes poorly, I complain to him about it. I even went on an “I’m so fat!” rant the other night after a day of calorie counting (yet another slippery slope for me).

I strive so hard to be “perfect”. It’s not a good week unless I completed all my workouts per my training plan, ate 100% clean, abstained from all alcohol and was asleep by 10p each night. I get really obsessed with all these things that pretty soon it’s all I think, talk, read and write about. I want to be the best version of me (and I will run a sub-2 half marathon) but I don’t want to lose myself, I don’t want to distance myself from our friends and I definitely don’t want my relationship to struggle. 

So how do you do it? What’s the secret to finding that balance?

We need to go grocery shopping

Wednesdays are typically my two-a-days, speed work in the morning + Jillian at night. Last night I was 100% dreading Jillian. I was tired, we had a goodbye get together to get to, I was lazy. I was also SO thankful that I had a friend coming over to do it with me because without that extra motivation it never would have happened. She was feeling the same way I was- completely unmotivated. We tossed around some cliche mantras like “the only workout you regret is the one you don’t do” and sucked it up for the measly 20 minutes of 30DS level 3. As expected we felt so accomplished as soon as we finished! Cliche or not, all those sayings are true. (And I think level 2 is worse than level 3, level 3 may be my favorite).

As the title indicates our fridge is barren. I used the leftover ingredients from Sunday’s risotto to whip up dinner

In the pan- 1/2 an onion, rainbow chard, portabella + shitake mushrooms, green peas, dried thyme. Served over quinoa with a bit of herbed goat cheese and a dollop of hummus. Not too shabby!

After dinner we stopped by our friends house to say goodbye to her before she moves on Friday. We played the game Cards of Humanity, which is essentially a really offensive (in the best way possible!) grown up version of Apples to Apples. We ended up playing through the whole deck and hanging out WAY too late.

After the combination of a two-a-day and a very late night I knew the odds were slim that I’d squeeze in a cross training work out today. Luckily my training plan clearly states “Rest or Cross” today so I didn’t even feel bad stealing an extra 2.5 hours of sleep this morning (so glorious).

Due to the aforementioned lack of groceries my breakfast options were slim to none. No eggs, which also meant no Greek Yogurt pancakes. Luckily my pantry always comes through so a classic yogurt mess was on the menu

Raspberry chobani, raw oats, shredded coconut and chia seeds. Delicious but not exactly what one wants to eat on a 29 degree morning. Oh well! At least it was nutritious.

Happy almost Friday!

Date Night

Last night K. and I took a much needed break from social obligations and had a little date night. One of the (many) misconceptions I had about living together was that we might not have enough space for “me” time. I was never really concerned that we’d get sick of each other, per se, just that we wouldn’t have enough time apart. But our lives are busy- we’ve both got jobs (I’ve got two- a full time and a part time), hobbies and our own friends (even though many of them overlap). On a typical week at least one of us is busy 5-6 of the nights! While I love that we are both independent people, it’s nice to take some “us” time.

So we turned down plans, turned off the cells phones and headed out for a cliche night of dinner  + a movie. Since we aren’t as young as we once were, we snuck out of work early and caught the 4:30p showing of Oz: The Great and Powerful (in 3D!)

Visually, the movie was stunning. If you plan on seeing it you should definitely see it in 3D. As far as an overall review, I still feel torn. As we were walking out K. asked “so, what did you think” and all I could say was “I really don’t know!” and he felt the same way. They were plenty of parts that had me laughing and “awww”-ing but I wasn’t sold on most of the casting even though I typically enjoy all the actors in other roles. The movie definitely tried to engage all audiences- I’m sure kids will love it, their parents won’t be bored and mid-to-late childless 20 somethings (like us) will come to see it for the nostalgia factor and the recognizable cast. I’m interested to read other reviews now that I’ve seen it, as I’d been avoiding them so I wouldn’t read any spoilers. I happily went in knowing very little- I knew it was a prequel to the Wizard of Oz but nothing beyond that. I can definitely say that I’m glad I saw it.

After the movie we decided to use a restaurant gift card we got for Christmas. It was a fancy (re: overpriced) chain restaurant that we wouldn’t normally go to and the meal was just okay but the company was great! We took a walk (inside a mall, it is COLD again here) to let dinner settle and then I convinced K. that we needed some ice cream. We grabbed some to go and settled in for an episode of Boardwalk Empire and then I called it a night. It was just what we needed.

CCC Takes on Larabars

Homemade energy bars have been all the rage in healthy living blogs and why not? With simple ingredients and a food processor making them at home was no trouble at all, I probably shouldn’t have waited so long. 

While drooling over everything at the new Whole Foods I saw that organic Medjool dates were on sale and instantly decided that it was time to make my own.  I perused all my favorite blogs and even googled “date based energy bars” for ideas. I mostly just wanted to get a ratio of ingredients as I already knew what I was going to put into my first batch. 

Here’s what I settled on:

3 T chia seeds
1/2 c. raw sliced almonds
1/4 c. sweetened coconut flakes (I would normally use unsweetened, but I had this leftover from a recipe and wanted to use it up.
slightly less than 1/2c. raw cashews
~3/4 cup chopped Medjool dates
1 T agave nectar 

I spread the almonds + coconut flakes on a small tray and put them in the toaster over for a few minutes. I wanted them just shy of browned and could tell when they were done by smell. While those were toasting I ground the chia seeds into a fine powder in my coffee grinder. I added the chia powder, toasted almonds + coconuts, cashews and dates into my food processor and let it run. Once everything was pretty ground up I added the agave nectar and pulsed for a few moments. I dumped the mixture onto a sheet of saran wrap and formed a big rectangle, about ~1/2 an inch thick. I placed the rectangle on a plate to chill overnight. The next morning I cut it into 8 smaller pieces and wrapped each individually. I am going to freeze a few for a long lifespan.

The results were fantastic. 

Super nutty, just chewy enough, great flavor. I can’t wait to experiment with different nuts and fruits and flavorings!

Each small rectangle is only ~130 calories so I may cut the next variety into bigger pieces (and consider 2 a solid snack for now).