Killer at Large

Hi Friends!

I hope you’re having a great day 🙂

I wanted to mention a documentary that Jason and I recently watched:

If you have a Netflix subscription, please check out all of the instant play documentaries on there. I have found plenty that I want to watch over the next few weeks. Killer at Large is all about the obesity epidemic, and the movie was quite good!

We hear from different experts (including Michael Pollen – the author of the book I am reading), farmers, teachers, athletic directors and lunch ladies. The movie discusses many different ideas as to why our nation is as overweight and obese as it is, starting with advertising to kids, what corporations get government subsidies, school lunches, vending machines, the food guide pyramid, etc.

The part I didn’t like (or maybe I just wasn’t paying attention enough) was when they showed a Northeastern city (I can’t remember the name) that received some sort of grant to make their city “healthy” – so they paved walkways and made bike lanes, businesses gave benefits to employees who walked/biked to work, they had info centers about nutrition, they gave certain restaurants “seals of approval” if they had good menu choices (fresh produce, decent portions, etc). All of that seemed great, but at the end they said that they needed $15 Million dollars to continue the project but they only received $150,000 – and they emphasized that it was such a disaster that they didn’t get the $15 Million – that was for one small city! Again, maybe I misunderstood, but that seemed ridiculous!

I made it to the gym last night and I need new shoes. Badly. I realize that the shoes I have are almost a year old and have tons of miles on them – so tonight I am going to go get refitted and a new pair of shoes. I did get 5 miles completed:

The guy next to me on the treadmills kept singing along to his headphones – but he didn’t say the swear words, he would say the word “beep” – I tried to not laugh and he was too into his workout to notice me at all!

I came home and fixed myself a smoothie. Usually I have a smoothie for breakfast, but this works out so well after going to the gym –

Blueberry Flax Oatmeal Smoothie

4 ice cubes
1 scoop protein powder
1 TBSP ground flaxseed
¼ cup old fashioned oats
¼ cup blueberries
½ banana
1 cup vanilla soy milk

And I thought I’d bring back the Big Mac glass (to go with the movie review, makes sense, right?)  🙂

Afterward I tried making my own Cashew Butter – it worked OK in my Magic Bullet, but it took forever to get even close to the consistency I wanted. So I’m not going to bother putting up pictures until I get something figured out. I have a freezer full of raw nuts from Trader Joe’s with the intention of making my own nut butter – I guess I need a food processor perhaps?

*What is the last movie you watched? Did you like it?

Lonely, Lovely Morning

Hi Friends!

Jason had to go to work today so we were up early – which really stinks 😦 Usually on Sundays we can sleep until at least 8 but this morning we were up before 6! It is lonely being home all alone in the morning though!

As much as it sounds like I’m complaining, I’m really not. I don’t enjoy the act of getting up early, but I never regret it. I get so much done. I am caught up on laundry, I changed the sheets, vacuumed the main floor and the steps (the worst job!) and I got in some reading too. Not bad, eh?

Yesterday we went to our niece’s 3rd birthday party – we had a Tea Party and got to decorate our own tea cup (Jason chose a little tea pot instead!)

Jason stuck with the Alice in Wonderland theme (check out the Mad Hatter!) and I tried to do a nice design. “Tried” is the key word there!

I chose not to take any picture when I was there. If I had kids I wouldn’t want someone putting pictures of them on their blog (unless I was asked or unless it was my kids on my blog because then it is up to me!) But all in all, we had a wonderful time, and my sister-in-law loaded me up with lots of goodies:

Beautiful strawberries, blueberries, ham, mini waffles/pancakes (Jason loved those!), honey roasted peanuts and tons of candy!

My plans for the day include doing some more cleaning, a few errands (a Trader Joe’s trip?), possibly visiting Jason at work for lunch, and making dairy free alfredo tonight – I can’t wait to bust out my new can of Nutritional Yeast (I’ve never used any before!):

What are your plans for the day?

Do you post pictures of your friends/family on your blog (if you have one)? Do you ask their permission first?

Are you a morning person? How can I become one? 🙂

~Holly

Success in the Kitchen: Salmon Patties

Hi Friends!

Well I’m not technically starting Marathon training until next week, but I am already skipping workouts! But, I have a good excuse. With that cut on my foot from Wednesday, I really don’t want it to get infected, so I skipped my Thursday run in hopes of the wound healing properly. Ok it was Jason’s idea. And I was ok with having a reason to not go to the gym!

So instead, I worked on making a delicious dinner. I had a large salad with some roasted veggies on top along with:

SALMON PATTIES

I found the recipe on The Non-Dairy Queen’s site a few days ago and it looked so easy and yet so delicious that I knew I had to try it. Plus I had a can of salmon in my cupboard just begging to be used.

You can find the recipe here. The only change I made was adding some Old Bay seasoning.

Sarena these were delicious! I had one crumbled on my salad and one with a big blob of ketchup.

One of my goals for February was preparing two new recipes each week. Wednesday night was supposed to be one of my new recipes 😦 But it burnt, remember? I’m still kind of upset about that cauliflower dish being ruined — I was so looking forward to it. But these salmon patties totally made up for it!

But I already have a recipe picked out for tonight and it involves:

An ingredient I have used only once before!

What are your plans for the weekend?

Are you a salmon fan? What about quinoa? Any guesses as to what I’m making?

Training Plan & The Return of Pumpkin

Hi Friends 🙂
 
Yesterday was a rest day. A glorious rest day!
 

 
I filled out my training calendar – for Grandma’s Marathon in June– it is ready to go. Next week “officially” starts our 18 week plan. I’ll have 2 “short” runs (3-5 miles), 1 “medium long run” (5-10 miles) and 1 long run (starting at 8 and building to 20 miles) each week. In addition, Sunday will be my crosstraining day (yoga, biking, or elliptical) and on Tues and Thurs I will do strength training after my run. Nothing too vigorous, I want to get through the 18 weeks injury free. Monday and Friday are 100% rest days.
 

The plan I will follow is Hal Higdon’s Novice Marathon Plan. This is the same plan I followed last year. I don’t feel “ready” to move up to intermediate. Maybe next year 🙂
 
Jason ordered Run Less, Run Faster – which is a book I read about on N Her Shoes. I think that type of plan work well for him because of his work commute/schedule. If he reads it (and I read it!) quickly enough, maybe I’ll do it too. For now, I’m trusting Hal 🙂
 
After work yesterday I decided to make one of Averie’s Microwave Banana Oat Cake. It was so delicious on Saturday that I decided to make another one. But I tried switching it up with ¼ cup pumpkin and ½ banana (instead of 1 whole banana), lots of cinnamon and nutmeg.
 

 
IT WAS SO GOOD!!! I think I was on pumpkin overload in November but now I’m ready to slowly add some back into my meals.
 

 
No need for any peanut butter on top or anything. Please, check out Averie’s recipe and give it a try! It is so easy!
  
So delicious!
 
*How do you plan your workouts? Do you like to train for events or do you just choose a workout each day?
 
*Are you a pumpkin fan year round or only in the Halloween/Thanksgiving time of year?
 
I also wanted to say thank you to Christin at Purple Bird Blog – she told me the secret to replying to comments so they are emailed and they appear on the blog 🙂 Thank you Friend!

And thank you to anyone who checked my blog yesterday and saw it had been “deactivated” and then checked back later. I do appreciate anyone who takes the time to read my blog. I was so pissed yesterday morning — and I still haven’t gotten an explanation. I’m glad they realized their mistake and reactivated it somewhat quickly.
 
Enjoy your Tuesday!
 
Holly

Orange-Cilantro Black Bean Salad

Hi Friends 🙂

***Did you check my blog this morning? WordPress messed up and deactivated my blog — they have since apologized for it thankfully. Sorry for the inconvenience!***

Did you have a nice weekend? I did, lots of relaxing, but also some running, yoga, reading, cleaning and shopping! I am ready to get back into my Mon-Fri routine, that’s for sure.

We did watch most of the Super Bowl – I got laundry folded and a little art project finished as well:

My niece (who turns 4 in a few weeks) and my sister/brother-in-law/nephew all live in OK – so I have to mail her birthday gift instead of being able to give it to her in person. I thought it would fun to surround her gift with these paper “snakes”. Here is her gift:

Little butterflies shoot out of the elephant’s trunk and you use the included nets to catch the butterflies. I thought it was so cute, I hope she really likes it.

For dinner last night I prepared a few tilapia filets and topped them with a black bean/orange salad. I found the recipe on the Weight Watchers website and prepared it as follows:

Orange-Cilantro Black Bean Salad

Serves 4

  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cumin Seed
  • 1 cup(s) canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 medium oranges, peeled, segmented (I used mandarin oranges)
  • 2 Tbsp cilantro, fresh, chopped
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp table salt, or to taste
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper, or to taste

Instructions

In a large skillet, warm oil over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 2 minutes. Add garlic and cumin; cook 1 minute more.

Stir in black beans; cook just until heated through, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer bean mixture to a medium-size bowl; stir in oranges, cilantro and vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper; serve. Yields about 3/4 cup per serving.

Over the fish:

This was so bright and beautiful! I liked it, but Jason did not like the onion + orange flavor. You can’t please everybody 🙂

*Do you like shopping for gifts? Do you tend to buy what the recipient “needs” – or do you just go with what you think they would want instead?

*What is your favorite way to use black beans? Or, what is your favorite type of bean?

Have a great day!

Holly

Green & Gold Breakfast

Hi Friends 🙂

How sad that the weekend is almost over! It always goes by so quickly (same with summer in MN, it never sticks around long enough).

So I finished 5 miles yesterday morning – and it was tough! Usually anything over 3 miles is a challenge (and hello 10+ or 15+ are super challenging for me) but I pushed through.

I took a few walking breaks, but generally my pace was 10 min/mile with a 1-2% incline. I’m happy with that on the treadmill for now, but we’ll see what my pace is once I start running outside. It was actually “warm” (30+ degrees!) this weekend, but there is still plenty of snow and ice and SLUSH on the sidewalks. No thanks.

I did have some IT band pain today, so I foamrolled for a while and that seemed to help. I also did some strength training at home (basic stuff like squats, lunges, planks, pushups, etc). Saturday afternoon we went to the Mall of America and it was a total mobscene. I have mentioned on the blog previously that I get easily overwhelmed in large crowds, loud, noisy places, etc so the MOA trip was not the greatest. But it was nice to walk around for a while and pick up a few gifts.

As part of my Feb goals, I tried a new recipe this morning! Spabettie’s Spinach Pancakes.

I blended up the flour, spinach and egg in my Magic Bullet:

I cut down the recipe and used ground oats instead of rice flour, but they still tasted pretty good! I ate them with a fried egg in between, and to be honest anything covered with a runny egg tastes amazing!

Thank you Spabettie – the best part was how GREEN they turned out! (So with the GREEN pancakes and GOLD runny egg — should I cheer for the Packers today?)

Today’s plans include fun things like laundry, vacuuming, cleaning, dusting, etc. But I hope to get some reading in as well. I’m plugging through Love & Respect

The idea of the book is quite simple: the author describes how husbands want respect from their partners and wives want love — and in arguments, it almost always boils down to the husband feeling disrespected or the wife feeling unloved. The author talks a lot about conflict resolution which is wonderful information for married couples, or anyone for that matter. We all fall in to conflict at some point – whether at work, at school, with our parents/siblings, spouses, significant others, friends, etc. Knowing how to share your views/opinions/complaints in an effective matter is something that everyone needs to learn.

Alright I’m off to start some chores around the house! Maybe I’ll turn on the Super Bowl while I’m folding laundry 🙂

*Are you watching the big game today?

*Are you good at resolving conflict? Do you tend to avoid it or do you confront it head on?

Enjoy your day!

Holly

The Magnificent BALT

Hi Friends!

***Note: a few of you asked me about Grandma’s Marathon — it is a regular 26.2  mile marathon, Grandma’s is a restaurant in Duluth, MN who is the major sponsor of the race. Click *here* for more information***

 Thanks for all the recipe ideas – I am definitely going to try some of them soon.

First up, a “new recipe” to me:

Gina’s Amazeballs (click for original recipe)

I made these for Jason, who has been working long long hours, so I thought he’d appreciate having some more snacks at work.

I used oats instead of coconut, but they held together really nicely!

I went to the gym tonight and ran 3.5 miles on a 2% incline. I caught up on some Real Housewives — and I read (I can’t remember where) that there is a Miami season coming out soon? Anyone else hear that?

I felt really good after my run but I was ready to eat! Enter The Magnificent BALT:

 Bacon. Avocado. Lettuce. Tomato. B. A. L. T.

I had it open faced with carrots roasted with cinnamon. This could be one of my absolute favorite meals. I could eat this every day!

Tonight I’m going to start going through my cookbooks:

I picked up a bunch of them from the library – I am excited about 5 Ingredient Fix and Veganomicon. I am not a Vegan, but I appreciate their recipes because they do not contain dairy (something Jason and I do our best to avoid) and their recipes are fairly “clean”. And although I love roasted veggies, sometimes you need a little variety in how to prepare veggies, dontcha think?

1. What is your favorite veggie? I definitely love sweet potatoes, but carrots come close behind – maybe because they are orange as well???

2. Any fun plans for the weekend? I am heading out to Mall of America to do some birthday shopping for our niece, and maybe (maybe) I’ll watch some of the Super Bowl on Sunday. Are you going to watch? Who are you cheering for?

Have a great weekend,

 Holly

Do you have Pooped-Out-Itis?

Hi Friends!

Thanks everyone for the warm welcome back!

I’m sure most of you have heard by now that Jack LaLanne died a few days ago, right? 

 (source)

I remember watching his infomercials for his juicer – and I really wanted one for the longest time. Then, when I finally did get a juicer, I never used it so I sold it on Craigslist. I don’t really miss it, but every once in a while I wish I had hung onto it. Too bad it took up so much space in my kitchen!

On the radio Monday morning they were playing clips of him speaking, and one of the quotes was Jack talking about how so many people are struggling with Pooped-Out-Itis. I agree! And somedays, I struggle with Pooped-Out-Itis too!

 Here is what I do to try to prevent POI:

1. Get plenty of rest. Some nights I go to bed at 9pm or even earlier. It feels good to wake up refreshed and not have to literally pry open my eyelids when my alarm goes off in the morning. There are nights that it takes me a while to fall asleep – if I am stressed or worried about something. Those nights, I find it helpful to tell myself to “think about those things tomorrow” and I mentally cross them off my “list”. Then I actually tell my brain “goodnight”! This may sound crazy, but it really helps me calm myself down and fall asleep.

2. Drink plenty of water. Whether it is hot (for tea) or cold, fluids keep me awake and energized. I drink at least 4 refills of this bottle per day:

And I have 2-3 cups of tea in the morning as well.

3. Exercise. For a few weeks there I was really not consistent with exercise, but I have my mojo back big time. I think getting a new yoga mat and kettlebell for Christmas lit a spark under me – as did signing up for Grandma’s Marathon! But also with exercise, comes a few days of rest. I love my rest days (Mondays and Fridays) and they help me exercise longer and better! (A few of you asked me about my kettlebell, I hope to do a whole post all about mine, what I like and don’t like, etc)

4. Eat well. When I eat junk, I feel like junk. And I feel sleepy and like a blob.

5. Caffeine. I try to limit caffeine by only drinking it before 1-2pm, but to be honest, most days that doesn’t happen. I’ll have some diet coke or a small cup of coffee mid day to give myself a boost.

6. Take mini breaks throughout the day – every couple of hours (when I am at work) I will stand up, stretch, and move around. Usually I just need a few neck rolls to keep myself from feeling so stiff. 

Do you suffer from Pooped-out-itis? What do you do to fight it?

I’m currently writing this post and watching The Biggest Loser. I know, I’ve written before how I really don’t like the show and it is unrealistic, etc but I can’t stop watching! Have you been watching this season? What do you think of the new trainers?And, guess who I saw at Mall of America on Saturday?

(That is Bob Harper for those of you who didn’t know!) No I didn’t get to meet him, the line was too long 😦

Enjoy your day!

Holly

Cinnamon BS Sweet Potatoes

Hi Friends 🙂
First of all, check out this tulip:
It just keeps growing and growing! I just can’t bring myself to trim it yet, I like that (for once) I am able to keep flowers alive in my house! I usually have such rotten luck with plants.
Thanks for the compliments on the Cupcake Hat Katie did such a nice job on it! Yesterday a stranger stopped me in the mall and told me she liked my hat — how nice!
I was getting more holiday shopping done last night and had a short amount of time to throw some dinner together. We had some leftover ham slices and I had bought sweet potatoes to go with them — but I really didn’t want to wait an hour or so for them to bake in the oven (even though an oven baked sweet potato is one of the most glorious things on the planet!). I opted for sliced sweet potatoes — which would roast much quicker than a whole one.
After preheating the oven to 350 degrees, I scrubbed, peeled and sliced one large (LARGE!) sweet potato. I tossed it with some canola oil and threw it in a dish. After 10 minutes in the oven I tossed the slices, and then baked for 10 minutes more. Then, sprinkle on some brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and pepper:
And after 10 more minutes, voila!
Delicious roasted sweet potato pieces. I know, I’m not reinventing the wheel here, but just a few ingredients really make the flavors pop! (The more I look at the pictures, it looks like an apple and not a sweet potato, but please take my word for it) 🙂
These are called Cinnamon BS Sweet Potatoes because they have Brown Sugar on them, but also because this recipe is pure BS. But not as bad as this:

 

I’m sorry, I don’t remember where I saw someone else post this recipe, but it is hilarious! And yes, it is on the Food Network site!
Yep, this is a quick post — busy weekend for me coming up and I’m trying to get a thousand things accomplished before then. (For the millionth time, bloggers who post daily or more than once per day truly have better time management skills than me — I don’t know how you do it!)
Enjoy your day — and tell me about your favorite-quick-and-healthy-meal.

I Walked 9 Miles for Trump Pizza

Hi Friends 
 
Aaaaaaaand its Hump Day! The week is flying by!
 
If you missed Day 1 in Vegas click *here*. Onto Day 2:
 
We got up at about 2:30am. This was really rough for the both of us. We had tickets to see the KQRS morning show (a local MN radio station was broadcasting live in Vegas that weekend) – I listen to them every morning so I thought it would be fun.
 
I was wrong.
I figured the entire audience would be drunk, and I was right, but they weren’t “funny drunk” like I thought they would be. They were “annoying-won’t-stop-talking-super-loud-drunk”. Plus the show had really lame guests. PLUS we had to take a $40 cab ride to get to the casino (it was in downtown Vegas, not on the Strip).
I did like the Golden Nugget Casino/Hotel though. Lots of Dave Chihuly art pieces (or Chihuly knockoffs!)

So, our trip was not off to a great start. We headed back to the hotel and took a long nap. After a few hours we got up, got ready and headed towards the Strip:

A friend suggested that we eat at the buffet in Caesar’s Palace. He claimed it is “the best buffet in Vegas”. I thought it would be a great place to eat.
 
I was wrong. Again.
 
I didn’t even take any pictures because it was so sad – the most pathetic salad bar you could ever see: iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, olives and 2 kinds of dressing, and other foods not worth mentioning. The dessert bar was ok:
I was in a really bad mood after such a mediocre lunch. But we kept walking… 
Finally we got to the Bellagio and bought our tickets to see O on Saturday night (my mood improved after that!) There we saw more Chihuly art on the ceiling and some HUGE pumpkins!!!
It finally got dark and we got to see the lights! We continued to meander through the casinos and hotels:
Finally we got to the “end”: The Luxor and Excalibur. I think Excalibur is the cutest casino – I just love the design.
We were so tired from getting up early to go to the lame radio show that we headed back to the hotel.

9 miles!!! No wonder our legs were so sore. We ordered room service for dinner (again!)

Cheese/Tomato Pizza for me:

Turkey sandwich/waffle fries for Jason:
Looking back, it doesn’t look like we did much on our trip so far. To be honest it was just such a relief to get out of our house, to get out of town, to not have to work and to spend some time together! It felt great to be outside and just to explore a new place!
Trump Pizza was pretty good — tell me about your favorite pizza!