Sunday, January 31, 2010

Figuring out what’s wrong

This week I’ve been feeling unsatisfied with my eats. I can’t figure it out—nothing completely satisfies me. I’ve been working hard at eating regular portion sizes, eating all my veggies, whole grains and good healthy fats, staying away from crap (for the most part—I might have snuck in some Animal crackers and oatmeal almond flour cookies) but honestly, I can’t figure it out.

My workout routine has been the same—5 days a week in the morning. I ran 4 miles Monday and Wednesday, did cross training with lifting Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. But I don’t feel like I’m doing more than normal. In fact, since we had another shit snow storm this weekend, I couldn’t get in my long run and I feel like I’m missing out. Dennis ordered pizza and I passed, and we went out to dinner with some family at a Mexican joint and I opted for a plate of veggie fajitas, didn’t eat the rice, and only had one very small tortilla….I basically ate veggies with some black beans and guac. I mean, I was full but I wasn’t satisfied.

And I feel very bloated. What the hell is going on?

It’s not the week before my period, which is when this normally happens (and no I’m not pregnant)

I’m just having a hard time figuring out how to manage these cravings because pretty soon, I might inhale an entire pint of ice cream, a whole pizza and maybe even some wings—and that would be just for lunch.

On a positive note, I made a really tasty lunch using up some leftovers from the week. I finally got to try my Food for Life tortillas, and they were much better than I expected. Only problem is that I can’t properly fold a wrap to save my life, so I took the picture before I ruined it.

  • 2 eggs, one egg white, scrambled
  • 2.5 small boiler potatoes, sliced in quarters
  • 1/4 cup black beans (prepared with onions, peppers and tomatoes and cooked in my Crock Pot)
  • a small handful shredded cheddar cheese



This was pretty tasty, but it was lacking something…I think I should have tossed in some fresh herbs or something. Cilantro maybe? Or maybe some fresh salsa. But it was still pretty good!

I’ve been writing less on this blog because I’ve actually started writing at blog at work. I had a pretty busy work week and adding the blog makes me less creative for this one. But I’ll still be around. Welcome February!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Cross training in 30 minutes-reinventing my morning love

I used to laugh when people said they ran in the morning. Getting up at 6 a.m. to work out was never my idea of fun, but when I started doing it 2 years ago out of pure convenience, I discovered that those people were on to something.

I am fortunate enough to have a free gym membership at work so I have been putting it to good use by waking my ass up a little earlier than normal to work out in the morning. It’s been nice to get back into this routine, but it’s been making me HANGRY during the day. And, I was so exhausted this weekend that I didn’t bother going to the gym or running outside in the 50 degree weather we had yesterday. But I did work out every day this week (Monday through Friday) so I guess taking the weekend off is OK.

I give myself 30 minutes for cardio and strength, so I’ve been making damn sure to get the best out of that time each day.

Here is my new favorite cross training day workout:

Start out on the elliptical with the resistance on the highest setting it goes (on the one I use, it’s 20) Warm up for 5 minutes at level 6, then push it up to 10 each minute, totaling 10 minutes.

Move to the treadmill. Grab 10 pound dumbbells. While walking at a brisk 4.0 pace on a slight incline, do 3 reps each of bicep curls, overhead triceps curls, arm raises, and arm pumps (just pumping your arms while you walk) for 30 seconds each rep. In between each rep, walk for one full minute doing arm pumps. Do this for 10 full minutes.

Move to the stair climber. Climb your ass up those stairs for a good heart pumping 5 minutes (this is as long as I can go for now) at level 10.

Move to the mat. Do 1 20 second plank, 30 bicycle crunches, 30 regular crunches, and another 20 second plank.

Total time: 3o minutes.
I did this Tuesday and Thursday.
Monday I ran 4 miles, Wednesday I ran a 5K.
Friday I did the elliptical for 10 minutes and ran as fast as I could for 2 miles without absolutely killing myself. (I think it took me just under 17 minutes) I will have to admit that I might have sprinted at 7.5 for a minute, then dropped the pace down to 6.0 to catch my breath, and bumped it back up to 7.5, then 8, then back down to 6.0 to catch my breath. But I did run at 7.0 for a full  mile before I started messing with the pace.

Now I just have to fight off the exhaustion I felt this entire weekend so I don’t waste anymore good long run days.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Rice and black bean salad

Have you ever had a stand by dish that always seems to satisfy no matter what?

Growing up, rice and beans were always a staple. The only family dinner where you won’t find rice and beans on the table is Thanksgiving. If I can’t find something to make, rice and beans are quick and easy and always satisfying.

But I’d never had it cold until tonight.

And the good part of it is that it took me about 30 minutes to assemble. (Well, I cooked the rice ahead of time, so I guess that’s cheating a little)

I adapted this recipe from Robin Robertson’s Quick-Fix Vegetarian cookbook.

Black Bean and Rice Salad with Roasted Red Peppers and Avocado (serves 4)


  • 3 cups of cooked and cold brown Jasmine rice (brown Jasmine rice is SO good!)
  • (1) 16 oz. can black beans, drained and rised
  • (1) 6 oz. jar roasted red bell peppers, drained and chopped
  • 1/4 cup white onion, chopped
  • 2 Haas avocados
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice (one lime)
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro
  1. In a large bowl, combine cold rice, beans, red peppers and onions.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, chili powder and salt. Whisk in the oil.
  3. Pour dressing onto rice salad and toss lightly to coat.
  4. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  5. Add cilantro and avocado and serve.



This was so good, and I can guarantee it will be even better tomorrow after it has time to soak up all the flavors.  And like I said, if you cheat and make the rice ahead of time like I did ( I just made it the night before) it can be ready in about a half hour. YUM! Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

It spoke, I listened

There was a time where if I had set out to run 5 miles, you better be sure that come hell or high water I was running that damn 5 miles. Whether or not I was feeling well during the run, I made sure I finished because I didn’t want to fail. What I didn’t realize was that this was worse than not running at all.

So Monday morning when I looked out the window and saw the sun shining and people running with shorts and t-shirts (it was in the mid 50s) I thought, “I’ll run 5 miles today.” But my body didn’t think that was a good idea.

I blame this on the fact that when I woke up I was ravenous, so I made some oat bran. I took off about an hour later, so my body clearly was not ready for a 5 mile run. I slowed down my pace and banged out 4 miles instead of 5, and I’m really glad I did. I felt tired and sluggish all day long, so maybe my body was trying to tell me something.

Along my route. I can’t wait until the leaves grow back on the trees!

Oh, and my Garmin foot pad is working again, but now the challenge is trying to get it to clock my pace by mile rather than by the whole workout. It’s set to “Auto Lap” so I’m not sure why it’s not working.

Stats: 4 miles, 36:03. Average pace: 8:58

Monday, January 18, 2010

Who doesn’t love brownies?

I know I’m on an almond flour kick, but when I find something I like, I try to play around with it until I get it right. Here’s what I came up with.

A few weeks back I found a pound bag of slivered almonds for $4.99 at my grocery store. I figured the could come in handy for something sometime down the line, so I bought them.

slivered almonds

What did I find? They make some kick ass almond flour.

I was using Trader Joe’s almond meal, which was much more course than regular flour, but seemed to work OK in my recipes. I didn’t like the way my pancakes came out, but my cookies came out fine.


So when I headed over to a dinner party at our friend Suzanne’s house Saturday night, I knew that making brownies were in order. But not just any brownies, of course.

My brownies contained:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup agave nectar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder (I will omit this next time)
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • 1/3 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips


  1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter and unsweetened chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; cool.
  2. Meanwhile, grease an 8x8x2 inch baking pan; set aside. Stir agave into cooled chocolate mixture in saucepan. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon after each additional just ntil combined. Stir in vanilla
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and baking powder. Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture; stir until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips, then quickly pour batter into pan. You’ll see the chocolate chips will start to melt so swirl the top for fun effect.
  4. Bake at 350* for 30 minutes.  Eat and enjoy.


These were a little cakey for my liking, but I think it’s because I used the baking powder. However, they were a hit at the party and NO ONE KNEW I used whole wheat and almond flour, and agave instead of sugar.


I surprised myself with how tasty they came out. Next time I will also use baking chocolate squares to get the fudgy effect but I only had the powder on hand.

Oh and I got my car back. A new radiator, fixed head gasket, “new” engine, and $6K later, here’s to not being stranded on the highway (or anywhere for that matter) for a while. 

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Head games

head games

If you’re an athlete, then you know that training for your sport can be tough on the mind. Getting past the mental part of things is more than half the battle, and honestly, it’s why I love being a runner.

Saturday’s forecast called for a high of 56, so I knew a long run was going to be in order. Good thing Marley woke me up promptly at 6 a.m. begging for food. I got up and immediately started getting ready to run with my running group. Since they run at 8:15 during the winter months, it’s so hard for me to get up and get out of the house on a Saturday when it’s dark in the morning.

Head game #1.

I didn’t want to wear too much since I knew it was going to warm up, but when I got to the trail it was 30* and frosty. I grabbed Dennis’ man gloves and put on a head band and figured I’d be good to go. But man, I seriously couldn’t feel my feet for the first 3 miles. And I’ll be honest, I was struggling.

Head game #2.

I still haven’t been able to get my FR60 to coordinate with my footpad since I had to have it serviced, but since the trail is well mapped out by the mile, I just timed myself. When I got to the first mile marker my watch said 11:54. 11:54?? I don’t ever remember running a mile that slow! And I was struggling—my heart was pounding, my feet were numb, I could barely breathe, and I plain old hurt. But damn, 11:54?

Head game #3.

Ok, so the plan was to run 8 miles. Since I’m trying to get my mileage back up, worrying about pace shouldn’t be an issue here. I told myself that since it’s cold and it’s not a competition, just let my body warm up and concentrate on just enjoying the run. What’s the point of running if I’m going to stress out over every single run? Isn’t that why I started running in the first place all those years ago? For stress relief?

So I decided to just go with it and forget about time.

I know I’ve written about it before, but being too competitive is a problem that I struggle with on a daily basis. It’s good to be competitive with some things, but not most things. I’m competitive with myself at work—I try to do too much and then I get so overwhelmed that I feel like I’m letting myself down. I’m human! I make mistakes and I have to stop, slow down, and take it one step at at time.

And that’s what I did.

Let’s just put it this way. The first 4 miles took me 39:32. The last four took me 34:02. I cut 5:30 minutes off of my time during the last 4 miles. I paced 9:54 for the first 4 miles and 8:30 for the second. Talk about  a comeback!

My total time: 8 miles – 1:12:38. Not too bad for such a horrible start. Average pace: 9:03

I ended up feeling so good after I was done that I completely forgot how crappy I felt for the first 30 minutes of my run. Just goes to show how amazing our bodies are and how the mental game is just that: mental.

To be continued…

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Banana Coconut Oatmeal Protein Pancakes (Another HEAB inspired breakfast)

Whew! That’s a mouthful!

These pancakes were delightful. I had an overripe banana that needed to be used and since I ran out of pumpkin puree, I decided to try something new.


  • 1 overripe banana
  • 1/2 cup oat flour (just grind up 1/2 cup rolled oats to a flour consistency)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup milk of your choice (I used 1% bc it was all we had left)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp. dried unsweetened coconut
  • About 1 tsp cinnamon

I mixed the dry ingredients together first, and then I mixed the wet in my fake Magic Bullet. Then I blended all of the ingredients together since it doesn’t seem to mix well by hand. It might seem a little runnier than the usual pancake mix. If you want it to be thicker, either add less milk or use more flour. (obviously!) I’m still playing around with this recipe so next time I will add less milk to start.





The banana and coconut together was so good.

Moving back to Bubba the dog.
Dennis and I had a long talk about adopting Bubba. The problem is that he is a pit bull and we don’t know what kind of life he had before he ran away from his owner. Dennis is very worried that he would hurt our cats, especially since Marley hates dogs. If this dog is not used to cats and he tries to attack Marley (because Marley WILL attack any dog that comes near him) he could really hurt the cats.

I was very very sad when I realized that he’s right.

However, since being featured on the news, according to the Save A Dog, Save A Cat website, many people are showing interest in adopting Bubba. I just feel so bad that it couldn’t be us. Oh well.

After the whole Bubba ordeal we went to PetSmart to get food for the cats. I mentioned in the car that if there was any kind of adoption fair going on in there that I would probably lose it. As soon as we walked in, there was a huge sign saying “Adoption Clinic Today” and Dennis just looked at me like, “Ooooh boy….” After we walked by cages and cages of cats and kittens that needed homes and a few dogs playing with volunteers, Dennis said, “You know, the problem is that if we adopted another animal, you’d still walk by here and want to adopt more.”

He’s so right! And in the words of my mom, “You don’t want to be known as that crazy lady with all the animals. No one will want to go to your house!”

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Saving Bubba


010710 Bubba the Dog

This is a random post out of hope for an 11 month old puppy that was just featured on the news. I am beside myself right now because I want to adopt him so bad, but I’m not sure we can afford it.
Read the story about Bubba the dog HERE.

Click HERE to get the latest update on Bubba and his surgery.

I have been a mess all morning. I spent about 10 minutes convincing the cats that they would LOVE to have a puppy little brother and another few minutes whining to Dennis before posting this. Animals really have a way with me.

If anyone wants to help please let me know! Of course I want Bubba in my home, but if someone else gets to him first that can provide him a good home, I would love that too.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Blown engine

Hi all. This will be short and sweet.

My car died again.

Picture it: 7:45 a.m. on I-495, my car decided it just didn’t want to go anymore. I could see my exit. I pressed the gas and Poof! Nothing. There was no shoulder so I stalled right in the middle of my lane, cars honking at me all pissed off, arms flailing everywhere. What was I supposed to do? Get out and push my car?

Luckily I stalled near a construction site. A worker saw me stall and pulled up about 200 feet behind me to re-route the traffic. He called the cops for me and the Virginia DOT pushed my car off to safety.

Now it’s in the shop again. My engine blew.

Son of a….

Tomorrow is my company holiday party. We’re going to a Washington Capital’s game with a sweet  (no pun intended) hookup in the owner’s suite (from what I understand anyway. Watch—it’s probably just some random person’s suite) Either way, it should be an awesome time.


There will be plenty of food and drink, and I will be the jackass looking for a fight to start on the ice. Hells yeah—that’s what a live hockey game is all about!!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Off on the right foot to 2010

Happy 2010 everyone!

I started out my new year with a 10K and my favorite Pilates DVD—Crunch Pick Your Spot Pilates with Ellen Barrett. The only thing this DVD doesn’t have is a section for arms, but it doesn’t matter because it still rocks.

I decided to run outside because the weather has been so crappy these last few weeks that it hasn’t allowed for it. Plus, I’m trying to avoid going to the gym for the next few weeks because, let’s be honest, going to the gym this time of year is a mad house. From the week after Christmas through the first few weeks of January, the freaks come out. I say that with love, of course, but come on—you know the scene: it’s almost like people are coming out of the woodwork taking up the treadmills and sweating all over the balance balls.

It’s really annoying.

It wouldn’t be so bad if they knew what they were doing, but most of them don’t. You can just see in their eyes and by the way they’re huffing and puffing that their gym craze won’t last; and sure enough by the end of January, I can get a treadmill again.

Which brings me to my New Years rant: Making Resolutions.

I get the whole, “New Year New Me,” mindset, but come on…the idea of waiting until January 1 each year to set all of your goals I think is the reason why so many people fail each year. Think about it:  They swear off all things evil; i.e. sweets, alcohol, anything with fat, anything that tastes good; and swear that they will go to the gym every day and workout for at least an hour each time. They promise themselves that they will lose 40 pounds NOW, no matter what it takes, etc., etc.

No wonder they fail!

And it’s not just goals to lose weight. I’m talking about everything from saving money to starting your own business.

Don’t get me wrong: I do believe in the premises of New Years Resolutions. Setting a goal is the perfect way to make changes in your life, but waiting until New Years Day to start making those changes, and swearing to make them all at once, is completely unnecessary and an invite for failure. I personally believe that setting smaller goals throughout the year is much more attainable. There is no added pressure to keep up with everyone else’s resolutions, and no one even needs to know you made any.

I tend to change my goals up seasonally. Things change throughout the year, so setting goals to go with those changes works best for me. I can’t say on New Year’s Eve that I’m going to save X amount of money each month for the year because what if I get laid off? Trust me, it’s happened. Twice in one year (last year.)

I know people like to have check lists to check off and that’s fine. If you want to list all your goals at once, do that; but then set smaller goals to get to your  bigger goals. It makes getting to your destination much less stressful. Oh, and starting on New Years Day is never a good idea. Wait a few days. No need for the extra pressure.

So on that note, here’s to a great 2010! Happy New Year all.