Saturday, February 27, 2010

Out with the old, In with the new....!!!!!

What? 2 posts in 1 day?? Hi Again!! (I have tried to post this at least 10 times today but I CANNOT upload the pics...those will come soon!)

I have been struggling with shin splints for 2 months now. I have tried everything: ice, advil, stretching, tying shoes differently, and many more small things. I finally made the choice to get new running shoes. I wasn't looking forward to dishing out more than a hundred dollars on new shoes, that would HOPEFULLY stop my shin splints.

On our way to Duluth, my mom searched for a top-notch running store in Duluth. We found the Duluth Running Company. The guy that helped me was great!! He had me take off my boots and watched me walk back and forth in the store...as he was laying on the floor watching my feet. I showed him my old running shoes and he said that I was in the completely wrong running shoe. I was in a SUPPORT shoe when I needed to be in a NEUTRAL shoe. He said that could be the main reason I was having such bad shin splints.

OLD SHOES
and

I tried on 3 different neutral shoes and walked around the store. It is pretty hard to choose a shoe when you are trying on 3 different pairs. Once I tried on one pair, I forgot about the other pair. I narrowed it down to 2 pairs and put one on each foot.

I chose the Mizunos. They are so comfy and soft. It feels like my foot is surrounded by a pillow...heaven!!
NEW SHOES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Another challenge...

I wouldn't necessarily consider myself a super religious person. But I have always respected those who give up something for Lent. I have never thought myself strong enough to give up something for 40 days...this year was different!

The days leading up to Ash Wednesday, I was constantly thinking of what I could give up. I didn't talk with anyone about it, except myself :)

After a few days, I decided to give up alcohol for Lent. Again, I didn't tell anyone right away. I didn't tell Chad until the Friday after Ash Wednesday. My first challenge came that Friday at Happy Hour with work friends. I told friends I was giving up alcohol, and drank kiddy cocktails all night. Surprisingly, I was satisfied and it was easy.

As you know now, I spent last weekend in Duluth with my mom and brother. Waiting for dinner Saturday night, my mom ordered me a club soda and cranberry juice. She wanted me to get away from the kiddy cocktail, since it has pop and a lot of sugar in the grenadine. The club soda/cranberry juice was NOT satisfying and it made not drinking really hard.

Once we sat down at the table, my mom and I discussed my goal for Lent. After much debate, we decided I should give up alcohol in everyday settings: home, happy hour, etc. Because I love to enjoy a glass of wine while eating out, we decided I should be able to have a glass of wine on special occasions: dinner with mom, cousins' night out, etc. However, I will still abstain from drinking at home and at happy hour. I want this goal to be something that I can actually achieve.

I have already have 2 people believe I am doing this because I am pregnant...

I AM NOT PREGNANT...yet:)

There have been days that I come from work, and I want to have a glass of wine with dinner. It has been challenging, but I am also enjoying the challenge.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Duluth-Bound

My brother and his band have returned from their 3 week tour to record their next album. Their last stop was in Duluth and my mom asked me if I wanted to go and have a girls' weekend...of course I wanted to go!!

She picked me up Saturday afternoon. We had a nice drive up to Duluth and stopped at Tobies which is famous for their bakery. My mom and I both had sandwiches and she had soup. I perused the bakery section but didn't find anything I wanted.

We had a small incident with the hotel...mom thought we had a room at the Holiday Inn....the nice Holiday Inn :) After hauling all our stuff into the hotel, and trying to check in, my mom realized her confirmation email was for the Best Western. THE Best Western we drove by on our way to the Holiday Inn. I am pretty sure I thought, "Glad we aren't staying there!" as we drove by. Oops...Karma. So we checked into the scary-looking Best Western, made our way to our scary, dirty-feeling room and unpacked.
My mom picked up my brother from setting up for the show so he could come shower. Oh the life of a traveling rockstar...

We then had to drop my brother back at the venue so he could do sound check. My mom and I headed to dinner...

Seriously, my mom and I spent at least an hour each searching for the perfect place for dinner. We wanted local, organic food. We ended up at Black Woods, which was disappointing to me since I had already eaten there.

My mom and I ordered a flat bread while we waited for my brother to arrive by taxi. Steak, blue cheese and red peppers. SOOOOO good!!!!!

My fabulous dinner dates...

I was craving steak so I ordered the filet that came with veggies, chive mashed potatoes AND a salad. I almost didn't get the salad because it was SOOO much food.
But the salad was great...house Italian dressing. I didn't eat the bread...such a proud moment for me :)

The steak was awesome. I dipped it in A1. The potatoes were so creamy and the pea pods were still crunchy...I wonder how they cooked them??

Mom also had steak and Drew ordered the salmon. Also very good!! Mom thought the salmon was a little dry but we weren't going to send it back.

After dinner, we dropped Drew off at the venue and went back to the hotel to rest up for the big show. The band wasn't playing until 11:00 so we had some time to wait. It was really hard to get out of bed to get to the show...but I am a loyal sister :)
Drew and his crazy keyboard...

video

video
Like what you hear? Want to hear more??

My mom and I danced and sang our hearts out. We didn't get to bed until 2:30 a.m!!!!!! Crazy party girls :) I was not, however, drinking any alcohol...MORE ON THIS TOMORROW..:)

Mom and I also searched for the perfect breakfast spot too. However, Drew told us that Pizza Luce had the 2nd breakfast (2nd to Al's in Minneapolis). So we decided to check it out.

The ambience was so cool! Live acoustic music, families everywhere, light coming in from the beautiful morning. I wish the Pizza Luce by our house had brunch. I would go all the time!!
The menu was so neat...loved the font and the pictures!
I also loved the coffee cups...I want some of these for our house!!

I had the Western Omelette with hashbrowns and toast. The omelette was good but the hashbrowns were cold. They were still good though. They served local jam which I had to try on the wheat toast. SOOO good and fresh.



Mom had the Pesto Benedict with Sausage. It looked good but I can't do the Hollandaise sauce...something about the texture and consistency of it...gross!

All in all, our trip to Duluth was great! It was a much needed girls' weekend!!

I have class tomorrow night and again, I am dreading another super long day. I haven't packed my lunch or dinner yet so it will either be an early morning, or a day where I get lunch and dinner out...oops. Just sooo tired lately...

Topics for later this weekend:
1. No drinking
2. New running shoes
3. Countdown to 5K plus fun accessories for race
4. Rest or run??

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

1 week already?

I cannot believe it has been 1 week since my last post. Life has been crazy the last week...

I am too exhausted to post a long, pictured-filled post. Hopefully, I will have more time and energy to post tomorrow.

Stay tuned!!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hello old friend...

Are the American Idol episodes 3 hours long? I am watching one on DVR and even with fast-forwarding through commercials, it still feels like I have been watching FOR-E-VER!!

I had a training today from 4-6 and planned to go to the gym after that. However, at 5:45 when we were done, all I wanted to do was go home. I even had to drive by my house to get to the gym...such an internal struggle!!!

I did get to the gym, though. I knew Chad wouldn't be home for awhile and I knew I would sit on the couch when I got home anyways. So to the gym I went!

I did Day 6 of Whittle My Middle, stretched and then took my place on the treadmill. I got my iPod ready, my headband on and my magazine to cover up the screen. I walked for a minute and then set my speed at 5.5. I ran, and ran, and ran. To all you long-distance runner, my distance today is no big feat. But to me, who has been struggling with painful shin splints, my distance today was a big accomplishment.

My BF Shana walked by me on her way to Body Works. I talked to her a bit and she asked how long I had been running..."I Don't Know!!" I looked and it was 20 minutes, 1.80 miles. I was beaming! I said good-bye to her and continued running. I ran 2.2 miles in 25 minutes. I walked for 2 minutes as a cool down.

It felt really good to run without a lot of pain. I stopped at 2.2 miles because I was starting to have some more pain in my right shin. I didn't want to push it.

I got home and wanted a quick, easy dinner. I planned to make Black Bean Quesadillas and they were easy and DELICIOUS!!!

Black Bean Quesadillas
1 can no-salt black beans, rinsed and drained
1 t. dried onion flakes (I used dried onion and garlic)
8 flour or whole wheat tortillas
2 cups (8 oz) shredded low-fat colby or monterey jack cheese (I used pepper jack, cheddar and mozzarella. That was all I had in my fridge)
1 c. salsa
1/2 c. fat free sour cream

1. Place beans and onion flakes in a small saucepan over low heat and cook for 5 minutes. Mash the beans with a spoon and keep warm. (I added a can of corn as well)
2. Meanwhile, heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Place 1 tortilla in pan and sprinkle with 1/4 c. cheese. Cook for 2 minutes or until cheese melts.
Spoon one-quarter of the bean mixture on top and sprinkle with 1/4 c. cheese. Top with another tortilla. Carefully (with husband's help!) turn the quesadilla and cook for 2 minutes or until browned.

THESE...WERE...FA-BU-LOUS!!!!!!!!!

Maybe it was that they were so quick...maybe it was that they were easy....but I think it was because they tasted so fresh and tasteful!!

I needed a side and didn't feel like cutting or cooking vegetables. Last night, I bought these,
for moments just like these. I threw this bag in the microwave for 6 minutes and I had pea pods, red peppers and potatoes...Yummy!

The full meal...

Since I had sweets last night for dessert, I decided to have fruit tonight...so I said hello to an old friend...
Plus a small piece of dark chocolate...

Tomorrow is a dreadful day...work 8-4:30, class from 5-9. It is so hard to think about facing a day like that. I am going to bed soon (earlier than normal) to prepare for tomorrow. I also have to prepare lunch and dinner and get that packed...

Talk to you Friday!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

It all ends with chocolate...right?

I told myself yesterday and all day today..."I will go to the gym. I will run." It may sound silly to some, (like my husband) but it helped me to picture myself going and ignoring my negative thoughts...about being sick and being tired, etc.

I admit...I did think for a second, "I just want to go home and lay on the couch." I pushed through that and headed to the gym.

I did Day 5 of Whittle My Middle. I am feeling a lot stronger with my planks, torso twists and the plank ups (which I HATE!!!). It feels good to see a change in my strength...Yippee!!

I then ran...duh duh duhhhhhh. It was ok actually. I am always nervous when I switch from walking to running, waiting for the pain to set in. I still have a little pain, but not intense enough that I need to stop. Unfortunately, I didn't use the bathroom before I went, so I had to stop early. I ran for 15 minutes straight today...I know that's not a lot, but it is for me right now.

I then did 30 minutes on the Crossramp. I don't know if it is because I have been sick or what, but I sweat more today than I ever have...gross!

I hurried home to make Grilled Chicken with Kung Pao Sauce..."Good-bye Take our. Hello, Healthy Kung Pao!" I found this in January 2010's Shape Magazine.
Ingredients:
1. 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, rinsed and patted dry. (I only used 2 large chicken breasts)
2. 1/4 c. plus 2T. low-sodium soy sauce (I didn't have low-sodium...boo)
3. 1 T. black or red rice vinegar (or red wine vinegar...which is what I used)
4. 1 T. plus 1 t. water
5. 1/4 t. sugar
6. 1/4 c. oyster sauce (I used fish sauce)
7. 1/8 t. sesame oil
8. 1/2 t. cornstarch
9. 1/4 c. unsalted peanuts, chopped (I didn't chop them...I like them whole)
10. 1 scallion, slivered (I didn't use one of these...didn't have one)

Directions:
Grill chicken.
Mix soy sauce, vinegar, 1 T and 1/2 t. water, sugar, oyster sauce and oil. Bring to a boil.
In small bow, combine cornstarch and remaining water and drizzle into sauce.
Return sauce to a boil and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Coat each chicken breast with sauce. Garnish with peanuts and scallions and serve immediately.

This recipe didn't have any vegetables, so I added broccoli, pea pods, green peppers and carrots to the mix.

I also cooked 2 cups of brown rice to accompany the Kung Pao chicken.

Looks good right???

I liked this recipe, although the sauce didn't thicken much so it was kind of watery. The chicken was a little dry even though I added soy sauce while it was cooking. It was a lot like the Chicken Stirfry I love to make!!

After a shower and cleaning up the kitchen, I made a small bowl of TJ's French Vanilla ice cream with raspberries, 1/2 banana, TJ chocolate sauce and TJ's Mini peanut butter cups...A-MA-ZING!!!
Tomorrow is another long day...work 8-4 and MCA Math training 4-6. I hope to get to the gym after that for a run and Body Works Class...


Props to my amazing husband who has been working so hard on his online class...which he hates! He is taking a Humanities class and is learning about art and theater...not really his forte'. But he has been so committed and focused...

How do you make it through a long and gruelling task that you DO NOT ENJOY?????

Monday, February 15, 2010

Off track...

I am having a hard time dealing with my lack of exercise this week. I started feeling sick on Thursday and took a half day off from work. I didn't go to class on Monday because of all the snow. I didn't go Saturday morning because I was still feeling icky. I ran this morning and could barely keep my legs moving...I was SOOOOO tired! I ran a mile and did 30 minutes on the crossramp. I was going to go to class tonight at 7, but again, was sooooo tired. I really want to get over this cold and get back to getting ready for my 5k.

I am on a training plan now and getting sick is not part of the plan. If you know me, you know that when I make a plan, I like to stick to it. I have been working so hard at getting to the gym 4-5 times a week and this last week was quite a set-back.

I WILL go to the gym tomorrow after work. I will run and then do the crossramp. I will go to class Wednesday night.

This sickness will not take another week from me...

Caitlin, at Healthytippingpoint.com said that if you want to make something a habit, you should do it for 2 months. I am almost at my two month mark (February 21) and I can tell already that it is a habit. When I don't or can't go, I am really disappointed! I am no longer making excuses to NOT go. I am finding myself making sacrifices in my life so that I CAN go...

Let's hope this sickness is just a small bump in the road...

The Oatmeal Experiment

Everyone is eating Oatmeal and LOVING it! I haven't found that love yet...I am still looking and trying!

This morning, I tried something new...My oatmeal had
* 1 cup of milk
* 1/2 cup Old Fashioned oats
I boiled the milk and then added the oats. After 5 minutes, I could tell they were getting mushy...however, there was still a lot of liquid in the pan. I poured the oats into a bowl.

I added Chunky Peanut Butter, a handful of Chocolate Chips, a swirl of Agave Nectar, and 1/2 banana.

Still pretty liquidy...but I ate it anyways and was left with this
I followed the instructions I had. Next time, I will use less milk.

Verdict: The oats were really good...I loved the addition of the peanut butter!!

Valentine's Day Festivities!

What a crazy, food-filled weekend!!!!!

My good friend, Shana and I met for lunch and shopping on Saturday. We waited for an hour for a table at the Good Earth at the Galleria. I hadn't been there in a long time and was excited to order something new and different!

While waiting for our table, we did some shopping. We both found some great things at StyledLife. I found two sweaters for 23$ each and Shana got a gorgeous, blue sweater wrap. I also got a new pair of workout pants and a top at Lucy...I had a coupon so I got a really good deal! YAY!!

Once we sat down at the restaurant, we ordered the Nachos. I also had a coffee and a piece of read.


I was torn with what to order...I was kind of in the mood for breakfast, but I also wanted to try something new. I decided to go with the Szechuan Chicken...so good and fresh!!
Thankfully, the plate was big enough for me to bring half of this delicious meal home!!

After lunch, we went over to Southdale. Shana wanted to go to H & M and I needed to refill some of my makeup at Bare Escentuals. Have you heard of this makeup? It is amazing. It is all powder/minerals and it doesn't feel like you are even wearing makeup. I got a new foundation color, and after watching, Shana wanted her own makeup done.
After makeup, I bought a pair of Skinny jeans at Gap (Scary I know!!!) and we went to Len Druskin to try on some find items! After Len, we headed home. I picked up Chad, who had been doing homework all day and was starving. We went to the Lyndale Tap, a new restaurant in the LynLake neighborhood.

Again, I wanted to try something different. I got the Pulled Pork sandwich with a side of potatoes. See those pickles?? They were so good....pretty spicy. Great meal!!

Of course I had a glass of wine too!

We came home from dinner and did a little cleaning and laundry. We planned to get up Sunday morning (Vday) and make breakfast. We were going to go out to eat but we went out the night before, so we decided to stay in. After waking up a little, Chad decided we should go out for breakfast...we didn't have milk for eggs and neither of us felt like cooking.

Chad wanted to go to the Uptown Diner because he loves their breakfast burrito. I really wanted to try somewhere new. We drove down Lyndale and came across the Sunnyside Up Cafe. It was packed...we finally got a table and sat down amidst the many people.

We started off with coffee. We both loved how all the coffee cups were different shapes, sizes and colors. Chad said we should have coffee cups like those some day :)
I ordered the Special Combo-2 eggs, 2 pieces of meat, 2 pieces of french toast and American Home fries. It was fabulous!! Of course, I didn't finish the whole thing. The french toast was a little weird...it had a crumbly topping.

Chad had the Prickly Cactus...refried beans and cactus paddles and tortillas. He loved it! Very unique.

After our Valentine's Breakfast, we went to Caribou and did homework for a few hours. We both had a water because we were coffee'd out from breakfast. Chad bought me cinnamon red gummy hearts for my present and he emailed me an E-card. Pretty cute :)

We ran some errands at Southdale and Target.

Chad wanted to make dinner...a new recipe he got from a work friend. He coated chicken breasts in egg and stuffing. He laid them in a cake pan and baked them for 25 minutes.

While Chad was making dinner, I was preparing some things for the week's lunches and dinners. I cut and cooked 1 chicken breast for a Chicken Wrap.

I cut up onions, green peppers and red peppers as well.
I used my Tupperware Chopper. This is the GREATEST kitchen gadget ever!!!

I cooked the veggies to go along with Chad's Chicken dinner. I wanted to try roasting veggies. I cut up some Brussel Sprouts and broccoli and placed them in a pan that I coated with cooking spray. I sprayed the veggies with olive oil and onion and garlic powder. They came out a little crispy...oops

It ended up being a perfect Valentine's Day!!!