Month: July 2013

What I’ve Been Up To

The fact that today is Friday would be WAY more exciting if I hadn’t agreed to work a bajillion (yes, exactly one bajillion) extra hours at second job this weekend. I know I’ll be happy when the paycheck comes but until then I will whine about it because that’s what I do best.

Let’s take a look back at the eats of the week.

I’ve been LOVING the fruits of my labor, i.e. all the prepped food. My week has been filled with quinoa bars, tofu wraps and blueberry bran muffins and I am happy about that.

Also filling my life- and stomach- is my beloved Chobani. They should really become my life sponsor because I could live off this.

Three days of breakfast, three kinds of yogurt. Pineapple, mango + raspberry in the pancakes.

This has been my lunch every work day this week and I couldn’t be happier. Flatout flax wrap + garlic-dill hummus, baked tofu, quinoa, red peppers + cucumbers. Delicious and so filling.

I also made a HUGE batch of peanut noodles and pumped up the nutritional value with lots of broccoli, red peppers + green onions. K. was happy to eat them for two dinners + a lunch.

Training wise this week has been all over the place. I took a much needed rest day on Monday (after last week’s not-really-a-rest-day-because-I-did-yoga) and then I ran Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday which is odd for me. Running just sounded good every day and I’ve been getting a bit of my speed back (finalllllllly) so it’s been a bit addicting. I was actually hoping to sneak in another run this morning (probably a bad idea) but I slept through my alarm. Apparently two nights of fireworks and staying up 3 hours later than usual will tire me out, who would have thought? I’ll take the extra rest day though because I’ll be on my feet at work all weekend long and I’ve got a 7 mile pace run tomorrow morning which I am kind of dreading. Fresh legs will be appreciated for that.

Finally, because it wouldn’t be right to not include it, here is the worst picture of fireworks ever taken.

The fireworks we saw were really awesome and somehow this is what I came away with. Super fail.


Fun for the Fourth!

Happy Fourth of July! Hopefully you all are lucky enough to be off work and enjoying fun time with your families + friends (and FIREWORKS!). 

This survey has been floating around Blogland for awhile so I decided to have some fun and fill it out myself. 

The ABCs of Ashley.

A. Attached of single? Happily attached 🙂

B. Best friend? Too many to name! I’m lucky to have such good friends + family.

C. Cake or pie? I guess cake or more specifically a cupcake. Pie’s all right too but I like the filling more than the crust.

D. Day of choice? Probably Saturday. Long run day!

E. Essential item? Sadly, my cell phone. I feel lost without it. I should work on that.

F. Favorite color? Teal! I have a serious addiction to this color.

G. Gummy bears or worms? I had never thought about this and my instinct was bears but I think I like worms better. Interesting.

H. Hometown? Euclid, OH

I. Favorite Indulgence? Ice Cream or my ridiculously overpriced haircuts/highlights.

J. January or July? July. Hands down. Who in their right mind would pick January?

K. Kids? The kind of with four legs + fur.

L. Life isn’t complete without… RUNNING!

M. Marriage date? Some random day in the future

N. Number of siblings? Two amazing sisters and two stellar brothers-in-law!

O. Oranges or apples? Apples, because they are less work and I am lazy.

P. Phobias? People touching my neck. I wonder if there is an actual term for that. There should be, it’s terrifying.

Q. Quotes? I used to be REALLY into deep & meaningful quotes, my old journals are full of them, but now I pretty much only quote TV shows + movies. And I don’t even do that very often.

R. Reasons to smile? oh so many! Cute cats, a good workout, quality time with people I love, a funny movie, a beautiful day, etc. etc.

S. Season of choice? Summer. There shouldn’t even be other seasons.

T. Tag 5 people. I’m going to skip this, but readers feel free to steal this survey and complete it yourself 🙂

U. Unknown fact about me? This is definitely not unknown (my sisters + K. are well aware of this) but I cannot speak in accent to save my life. Doesn’t matter what accent it is I am completely incapable. It makes me really sad.

V. Vegetable? All of them. Seriously. Unless you count olives, are they a vegetable? I HATE olives. 

W. Worst habit? Grinding my teeth at night. It’s bad news bears.

X. Xray or ultrasound? I don’t understand this question. But I’ve had many x-rays and one ultrasound- on my EYE. It was the weirdest thing.

Y. Your favorite food? hummus or popcorn. Things I could (and typically DO) eat every single day.

Z. Zodiac sign? Leo. I haven’t read my horoscope in forever but I used to read it every morning (and it was never very accurate).

Do you want to have some fun too? Use your initials and answer the corresponding questions in the comments. Or just choose random letters you want to answer, I’m not picky!

Blueberry Bran Mini Muffins

Whenever I write up a grocery list the only specific fruits I include are apples + bananas, beyond that I just write “whatever is on sale”. This week it was blueberries.

I got a good sized container of blueberries for $3 and was already dreaming up ways of how I could use them beyond the standard yogurt mess. Blueberry pancakes, blueberry shortcake and blueberry muffins. Muffins are one of those delicious looking baked goods that pretend to be healthy when in reality they are very high in calories and loaded with sugar. Generally speaking you are better off choosing a donut than a muffin from your local bakery. I was determined to make a slightly healthier muffin that could still pass as a sweet treat.

After searching Pinterest (of course) for inspiration I realized that many of the so called “healthy” recipes I was finding were still using up to 1/2 c. of canola oil and I was not okay with that. I read through at least a dozen recipes to get a good ratio of liquids vs. dry ingredients and decided to play around on my own.

Since I was flying blind I just wanted to make a small batch, I used a mini muffin tin to make 12 bite sized muffins (and actually had a little batter leftover).

Blueberry Bran Mini Muffins
makes 12 muffin bites

3/4 C. wheat bran
1/2 C. lowfat chocolate milk (it is the perfect recovery drink so why not bake with it?)
1 egg
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 C. natural applesauce (unsweetened)
1/2 C. whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
dash of salt
1/2 C. (heaping!) of fresh raw blueberries + 1T flour to toss them in

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a measuring cup mix together the wheat bran + chocolate milk. This was a step I noticed in almost all bran muffin recipes so I did it as well. I only let it stand for a few minutes and I can’t be sure if it was necessary. In a separate bowl whisk together the applesauce, egg and vanilla. Add in the bran/milk mixture and stir to combine. Sift together the remaining dry ingredients directly into the bowl. Toss the blueberries in the flour and gently add them into the batter. Fill the mini cupcake wrappers about 2/3 – 3/4 of the way full (because muffin tops are the best part) and bake for 12-15 minutes. 

Nutritional Information for 1 muffin bite (per MFP) 
67 calories
~1g fat
18mg cholesterol
58g potassium
15g carbs
2.4g dietary fiber
8g sugar
2.2g protein

A nice little after dinner treat and delicious when crumbled into yogurt. 

Food Prep Attempt #1

My inaugural food prep weekend was, overall, a success. I hit a bit of snag when I got called into second job on Sunday (yay for extra money pre-vacation) but I was still able to get plenty of stuff done between Saturday and Monday. 

 On Saturday I baked a dozen eggs (well, eleven. One guy didn’t make it)

[Fun fact- I bought 30 eggs for our household of two. While a few of those found their way into baked goods, the majority are just there for us to eat. We really like eggs.]

And made the sweet potato chickpea burgers (two for dinner, two to be frozen for later this week or next). They were pretty good- I’ll keep the basic recipe and play around with adding more spices the next time I make them.

Last night I really got to work in the kitchen.

Two batches of quick hummus. 

Normally I would have soaked dry chickpeas with a little bit of baking soda and removed all the skins and made a creamier hummus, but I was super crunched for time. I used canned chickpeas and made a garlic + dill batch and a double spicy red pepper. I eyeballed more than I measured but the basic recipe was 1 1/2 – 2 C. chickpeas, 1-2T tahini, 1/4 C. olive oil, 1/4C. water and a generous amount of salt + pepper. For the garlic-dill I added 1 tsp of dried dill and 3 cloves of garlic. For the double spicy red pepper, I roasted a red pepper and chopped it up, I then added 1-2 tsp. of sriracha and a 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes. Done and done. It’s definitely thicker than my normal hummus but it will work really well in wraps.

Marinated (in soy + agave nectar) and baked two blocks of tofu. 

Next to the tofu in the above picture I’ve got mini blueberry bran muffins. This was a total experiment but they turned out really well! I’ll share the recipe tomorrow.

And finally a big double batch of quinoa breakfast bars. I put almonds in only half the tray because K. wasn’t sure if he wanted nuts of not. I sliced them into 12 bars and put them in individual plastic baggies for easy grabability (that’s a real word). 

Unpictured we’ve got another 2-3 cups of prepared quinoa and a good amount of washed and chopped fruit and veggies. Tomorrow night I plan to make a huge batch of black bean burgers (we have a vacuum food sealer so we plan to freeze a good amount) and the spicy peanut sauce, I was just too exhausted to get there this evening.

I feel really good about all that I accomplished and love knowing that it will only take a second to grab breakfast, lunch + a snack for the day. The extra effort will definitely be appreciated as I get towards to end of this very busy week. Hopefully next weekend I’ll be able to find another chunk of time to do this again, I’d love to keep this up. 

Anyone else get some food prep done over the weekend?

Training Rundown Week 3- Achievement Unlocked!

The illusive perfect per-my-plan training week has been achieved, yay! To be honest, it wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it would be and I didn’t feel like I was sacrificing my social life at all. Ask me again about that when my weekday runs are 70 minutes and my long run is 22 miles, ha!

Monday: 50 minute run
I hadn’t even set my alarm for this run in the morning because I thought my legs would be tired from Sunday’s bike ride but then I officially signed up for the marathon and I knew I couldn’t skip it. I set out after work and it was a terrible idea, so hot and humid! I got it done, didn’t die and didn’t have sunburn, I consider it a win. 

Tuesday: 45-60 minute cross-training (60 minute bike ride)
This may be the first time I ever went on a training ride on my own. I’ve been cycling a lot more as a form of transportation but I’ve still been doing most of my athletic rides with a partner. It felt good to suit up and keep my own pace. I ended up covering 14 miles in exactly an hour, which is a decent pace for me. My butt was definitely still feeling the 30 miles from the weekend though, haha.

Wednesday: speed-work. 40 minutes, with 4-6 pick ups.
This run SUCKED. It was cold, it was raining, it was 5a and I had a 13 hour work day ahead of me. Nothing about this was enjoyable and I was glad when it was over. I’m looking forward to the shift if speed work next week, I don’t like these pick up runs, I’d rather just do tempo runs. 

Thursday: 40-50 minute cross-training (40 minute bike ride)
I was so crunched for time but still wanted to get some distance so I tried to ride hard. I ended up maintaing a 15 mph pace for the whole ride and felt great about that. I’d like to thank the girl I encountered on the trail for getting me through a hard climb, nothing like competing with a stranger 😉

Friday: 40 minute run
Totally uneventful minus the part where I got lost and ran up and down the same hill three times (don’t ask). I watched my pace closely as I was saving my legs for my long run and I knew we had a lot of bike commuting happening later on in the day.

Saturday: long run- 12 miles!
Per my plan this run was supposed to “only” be 11, but with vacation coming up I did a little bit of shuffling to insure that I got this twelver in. I woke up a bit sore and was hesitant. Since my whole Saturday was open I took my time, let my legs loosen up, ate two pieces of toast covered in PB + jelly and hydrated. I got out the door around 1045a but luckily it wasn’t too hot of a day. The first few miles weren’t great but by mile 5 I felt strong. I was keeping my HR lower in the zone and still maintaining a good-for-me pace. By mile 9 I felt awesome, the runner’s high was in full effect and I just kind of floated through the next 2 miles. I had a little hiccup with my Garmin when my sweat started changing the screens. Yup, I was so sweaty that my touch sensitive bezel was going nutso. Must remember to lock that thing on long runs! I finished still feeling good and so accomplished. That half in August is going to feel like an easy weekend run 🙂

Sunday: Yoga!
So grateful that free yoga fit into my schedule this week. My legs were dying for a deep stretch. I consider this my rest day because with yoga you make the practice your own- I didn’t push it too hard and was just happy to be working on those hamstrings.

Total Mileage:
Running 25
Cycling 24

A nice even split!

Weaknesses: Strength (ha). I dropped Jillian this week because I didn’t want my legs to feel too heavy. I should have still added more core work (since yoga barely counts) so that’s what I’ll be focusing on next week.

Overall I feel great! It’s nice to see the mileage coming back up and still have my legs feeling strong. 

Just for fun- June totals! 

Per my Garmin (so just runs + rides)

Workouts: 19
Total Miles: 157.16 (75.15 running, 82.01 riding)
Total Time: 19h28m20s 
Calories burned (per my HRM): 11,117 (mostly replenished by Dairy Queen 🙂 )

I’m thinking July will be the first month I hit 100 miles running which is a milestone I’ve been looking forward to!

How did your week go?