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Archive for March, 2010

Wednesday Retreat

First off, THANKS! to Kelly for the shout out this morning.  I think she’s a good soul too and one of my besties for sure!

Today has been a busy day!  It started with my normal morning cardio.  after my 8 mile run yesterday, i decided to vary the workout a bit more today.  I did 15 minutes on the elliptical, 3miles on the treadmill, and finished up with 15 minutes on the bike. 

I got home showered up and quickly whipped up a green monster.  I also grabbed a Cherry Pie Larabar (my fave flavor) and was out the door.  I had to drive to a cute lakeside town called Marble Falls for work, leaving me to a breakfast on the road. 

The drive was beautiful with the bluebonnets in full bloom.  Shout out to our state flower 🙂  It really does brighten up the side of some pretty boring, middle-of-nowhere roads.

Gorgeous!

I didn’t have time to stop and take my own pics, but believe me, those little blue wildflowers were on my list of positives first thing this morning.

I worked a full morning and then stopped for lunch.  I headed to a restaurant with a porch and lakeside view and had a nice midday retreat in the perfect upper 70 degree, sunny weather.  I had a date with my computer and my favorite blogs during lunch  since I missed my morning perusing.  It was perfect!

Whata day!

Not sure what the ugly rusty building at the bottom of the pic is, but it was easy to look past it. 

So nice!

While I was eating and surfing the web, I found an article that caught my eye.  The title was “Do you follow good running and walking etiquette?”  Ok, at the risk of sounding like Tea Leoni’s character from Spanglish and her screaming “On your left” at people as she runs and nearly takes them out, I can get pretty irritated when people do not get out of the way when people (me) are trying to pass them.  That’s my #1 workout pet peeve.  The article on Daily Spark listed several others as well.

1.  Pedestrians do not rule the road:  Make sure it’s clear to cross the road and don’t assume cars are willing to share the shoulder.

Now I have to say this is actually an irritation for me as a driver more than a runner.  I am known to cross streets in a cross walk without looking (and would take full blame if a car creams me), assuming cars will stop for me, but when I’m driving and cyclists or runners (usually 2 or 3 wide) are in my lane or on the shoulder so that I have to slow down or get over, I get a bit peeved.

2.  If you are going to spit, make sure there is enough distance between you and the runner next to or behind you.

Enough said on that one.

3.  Don’t be a litter bug

Hang on to your gu packs and other running paraphernalia (had to look that spelling up for sure 🙂 ) until you see a trashcan.  Littering is lame!

4.  When passing other runners or walkers, say hello.

I could work on this one.  If I have on headphones, I usually don’t say anything and can’t hear anything.  I always wave if I’m driving and pass another car, though.

5.  If you are walking or running with a partner and another runner or walker come up behind you, give them room to pass.

This is it.  Do this!  I have issue being on a trail or path that has only so much room and multiple walkers or runners are side by side taking up the whole area and don’t move to single file or get over to let people pass. 

Are there any others missing?/What are your gym, running, or workout pet peeves?

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New Do and Dinner Too

It’s Lost night, so I’m writing during commercials 🙂  Can’t multi-task during this show.  

I had a busy afternoon complete with my normal noontime yoga and with the addition of a hair appointment.    

I did try another new bar for my afternoon snack while I was out and about.  I tried the Think Pink honey oat bar.  It was new to me anyway.  It tasted like an iced oatmeal cookie and even had a thin layer of “icing”.  I am a fan!  It was a yummy snack, could be dessert, and proceeds benefit women’s cancer research.  Did I die?  Is this heaven?  Haha, I told you before after the roll incident that I have  a flair for the dramatic:)  I did really like this bar, though.  

Pink Perfection

I got a wild hair at my hair appointment this afternoon(get it, wild hair/hair appointment?  I’m so witty :))  I decided to go darker.  I usually highlight my hair, but I tend to rebel against the masses going into summer and actually darken as the weather warms.  I can’t stick with the same thing for too long and I didn’t want to cut it, so… 

Before

After

What do ya think?  I actually like my hair better dark, but my mom and my husband vote for lighter.  Luckily, my husband really doesn’t care, so he wasn’t surprised when he got home and found a brunette in his kitchen. 

After fighting traffic all the way home, it was time to start dinner. We got in almost all food groups with one meal.  There was no bread (quite a deviation from the rolls as a main course from monday:) ), but all else were represented.  It consisted of chicken stuffed with garlic and herb laughing cow cheese and sliced almonds with sautéed apples and haricot vert salad as sides. 

                                                         The protein and dairy: 

Almond and Cheese Stuffed chicken – Serves 2 

     2 (4-6oz) chicken breasts 

     2 wedges laughing cow garlic and herb cheese 

     2T sliced almonds 

     2T butter 

Mix the cheese and the almonds.  Cut a pocket in the chicken and stuff it with the cheese mixture.  Secure with toothpicks.  Heat the butter over medium heat and add the chicken.  Cook about 6 minutes per side, flipping once, or until cooked through. 

My plate

Green beans sound so much more elegant when you call them haricot vert 🙂    

The vegetables: 

Haricot Vert Salad – click on link for recipe 

                                                               The fruit: 

Sautéed apples – Serves 1-2 

     1 granny smith apple – peeled and chopped 

     2t brown sugar 

     2t butter 

     cinnamon 

Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat and then add the apples.  Sautee the apples until they start to brown then add the brown sugar and cinnamon.  Continue to cook until apples are soft and sugar has caramelized.

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Tree Man

Can You See Me? 

Tree Man

Isnt’ my hubby sexy!  I know you must be so jealous 🙂  In reality, he is, but he had me on the floor crying last night when he put on this get-up.  He actually acted out for me how he could stand still and the “leaves” on his outfit would blow in the wind by shaking his hips a little.  You had to be there, but it was hilarious.  So sorry I’m going to miss this in action in the wild 🙂 

The other source of laughter last night, was our little three-legged blue heeler and his “ball”.  He found a lime somewhere.  It must have ended up on the floor in the kitchen somehow and he must’ve thought, “hey look, a pretty green ball.”  After chewing on it a bit, the ball became sour and he had some pretty classic “what the F***” faces 🙂 

Huh?

On to the morning.  I got in a nice 8 mile run this morning.  I haven’t been more than 6 in a few months, so it felt great.  Mile 1 was at an 8:20 pace, mile 2 and 3 at 8, mile 4 and 5 at 7:50, mile 6 and 7 at 8, and the final mile 8 at 8:20. 

For breakfast, I made up a yoatgurt with Gold Standard caramel toffee fudge protein powder.  I usually stick to plain chocolate or vanilla protein powder, but this was on sale and was a small tub, so I figured I’d try it out.  Very glad I did.  It’s a great change and was yummy in my yoatgurt 

New Twist

In the Bowl 

     1/4c oats cooked in 1/2c water 

     2T flax 

     1/2c greek yogurt 

     1/2 scoop Gold Standard caramel toffee fudge protein powder 

I topped it all off with banana and almonds.  You may see sliced almonds often on here for a while, since I snagged a 2 POUND bag at Costo.  2 pounds of pecans also found their way into the basket, so I’ve got lots of nutty times ahead.  There will be some granola or other nut-heavy recipes cooked up this weekend I’m sure.  It probably won’t even put a dent in it.  Seriously, look at these suckers. 

Gone Nuts!

I love nuts and they are good in oats, yogurt, salads, and as “breading” for oven fried fish and chicken among thousands of other uses.  They definitely won’t got to waste in this house. 

Any yummy nutty recipes out there?

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No Knead

Well,  I’m back after my battle with the dough.  It was a fight to the finish, but it was a victory for me in the end.  Ok, enough war analogies.  It really wasn’t that bad and the final result was more than worth it.  My hubby said the rolls were awesome and tasted like foccacia.  I ate 2 and savored every bite.

Success!

Due to the multi-step, made-from-scratch (smiling from ear to ear at my new skill) rolls, the rest of dinner was tortilla crusted tilapia from a box and cukes. 

Bread was the main course 🙂

Sea Cuisines tortilla tilapia is our go to boxed dinner when I don’t have time to make something totally homemade.  I buy a big box at costco and always have some around.  Since I didn’t feel like juggling too much in the kitchen, I just popped  the fish in the oven with the rolls and 12 minutes later, we had dinner.  I also cut up some mini seedless cucumbers.  Cucumbers are The Man’s favorite veggie, so he’s happy with plain ol’ raw cukes as a side.  I like almost all veggies better raw or when steamed or roasted, I prefer them to still be very crispy.  All in all, it was a great dinner.

The roll recipe is a bit long for me to type out, but I’ll put a link below.  I know I have made a HUGE deal out of the whole process, but that’s just because I’m new to it (and I have a slight flare for the dramatic 🙂 ).  I highly suggest this recipe and know I will be making it again for sure.  If you’ve never made bread (other than quick bread) from scratch, try it.  The feeling of accomplishment is through the roof right now.

No-Knead Overnight Parmesan and Thyme Rolls

Oh and one more yummy give-away.  Granola bar goodness is up for grabs over at Krista’s Kravings.

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Give-A-Ways Galore

Interested in vegan/raw diets?  Get your questions answered and enter a giveaway….

Elena of Eat Healthy! Be Happy! Vegan Recipes and Living Blog is giving away Organic Artisana Cacao Bliss RAW Coconut Chocolate Butter. Enter to win HERE.

 OR, if you are gluten-free or interested in trying gluten-free products, head over to An apple a Day.

Last but not least, get your Zen on at LoveVeggies Yoga and her Tazo tea give-away

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Yum Balls

Lunchtime yoga today was especially hot.  There is a small room and a large room at the studio I go to, and the lunch hour session is in the large room since it is one of the most crowded classes of the day.  Well, not today.  The humidifier was out in the large room, so we moved the already over-crowded class to the small room.  I don’t know if it actually was hotter due to all the bodies and the close proximity, but it FELT much hotter.  At one point I thought, “Is there actually enough air in here for all of us?”  No, it was not easy, but I have felt fabulous all afternoon and know it was a good thing I stuck around.  

What passers by might have witnessed

© Kogan 2010 

I had a thought after yoga.  though it was not the most comfortable class, I felt fabulous all afternoon after.  I hear people say all the time they don’t exercise because they don’t like to.  I admit I do like to, but we all have times that are less enjoyable than others.  the major motivator at that point is the way you feel after.  I think you just have to push through.  You may not love that 30min or hour, but the you feel healthier the other 23 – 23 1/2 hours that day. That’s a  pretty good pain to profit ratio, I think. 

Do you work out because you like to or you like the way you feel after?/Both? 

I was famished when I got home after I showered and cooled off a bit.  I got inspiration for lunch from one of my favorite restaurants here in Austin, Chez Zee.  They have a salad where with goat cheese rolled in nuts.  Cooking Light also had a similar salad in one of its recent issues.  I rolled my goat cheese into four balls and rolled them in crushed pistachios.  I threw them on some mixed greens with dried cranberries and some fig balsamic vinegar.  Yum balls! 

Goat Balls

I was going to title the whole post Goat Balls, but decided to take it down a notch and be a little less overtly crude 🙂 

Lots o green

There are dried cranberries in there, too, but they kinda sank to the bottom and got lost in the sea of green.  This may be my new lunchtime salad for a while.  Once I find something I really like, I tend to stick with it for a while.  i also had the rest of my rotisserie chicken dipped in spinach artichoke hummus.

Salad with Goat Cheese Balls 

     Mixed Salad green – a couple of handfuls 

     1 ounce soft goat cheese 

     1T crushed pistachios or other favorite nut 

     1T dried cranberries or other dried fruit (or fresh) 

     1T fig vinegar (raspberry or other fruit infused would be good too) 

Roll the goat cheese into four balls.  Roll the balls in the pistachio and then re roll the balls so the pistachios are kinda inside and the re-roll in the pistachios.  Place the mixed greens on a plate and top with the goat balls, dried cranberries, and vinegar 

Snack this afternoon was Fage with cinnamon and blueberries.  The other little ingredient…Agave.  Now this is not novel to most of you, but I am going to admit that I have never tried it before.  I was reading another blog the other day (I’m sorry I can’t remember which one) and they were saying they just tried agave for the first time.  I was glad to know I was not the only one who had not joined the masses, but then I actually was now that she had tried it.  It went on my shopping list immediately and was purchased on this weeks grocery run. 

What can I say?  I get the hype and am hooked.  I love honey, but this has a very distinct flavor that is really good, too.  I can see a place for both in my food repertoire.  Don’t worry, honey, I won’t leave you for good.  I’ve got enough sweet tooth for you both.  Maple syrup and stevia have their place too 🙂 

I also had half a German Chocolate Larabar.  This flavor is new and I hadn’t tried it yet, but thought how can german chocolate anything be bad.  It wasn’t!  I loved it.  I like most Larabars, but the Jocolat ones really satisfy my chocolate craving.  Score! 

Jocolat

 The chocolate hazelnut and the chocolate coffee are my other Jocolat faves and the lemonbar and banana bread are at the top of my list for Larabars.  I haven’t tried them all, but have the new PB and Jelly in the pantry waiting to be tasted, so stay tuned for that review.

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Battery Recharge

Yesterday was a nice end to a fun weekend.  We woke up and all (mom, dad, brother, and sister-in-law) has breakfast together.  It was various forms of oats and fruit and, of course, lots o coffee.  

While reading the paper over breakfast, my dad announced that the little 10-year-old we escorted to the finish of the 10K got 2nd place in his age group and got his name in the paper.  He was only supposed to run 2 miles, missed the split off for the fun run, ran a full 10K for the first time, and got 2nd!  My dad lit up.  He was so proud that he had helped.  His best friend called him the eternal boy scout after hearing the story.  I have to admit it was pretty cool to feel like maybe we encouraged a new runner.    

My dad has always been the most encouraging person in my life.  He is kinda my safe zone.  My mom is my best friend, but I’m a total daddy’s girl.  Going to my parents’ house (my childhood home) is my place of rejuvenation.  I always feel recharged after a weekend there.  I think it’s partly being able to relax around people who have known you all your life and everything you have ever done and still think you’re great.  Also, when I’m at my house there is always something that needs to be done.  I have errands or chores and it’s hard to just sit and relax knowing I have things I have to do.  When I’m in Tyler, I don’t feel a need to do anything. 

Do you have a special place to go to recharge?/A place where you feel totally relaxed?   

Don’t get me wrong, I love my home in Austin and more importantly those in it…the hubby, dogs, and cat.  The one thing missing this weekend was the hubby.  He had to stay behind in Austin to get some stuff done, and after breakfast and some more hanging out with the fam, I was more than ready to return to my love.   

When I got back, he was busy in the yard, so I went for a leisurely 6 mile run.  The beautiful 70 degree weather was calling to me and I couldn’t resist.  I have to move after being in the car for 4 hours.  I will never be a road tripper.  

I got home and cleaned up and it was time to start dinner.  I made homemade black bean burgers topped with a mango, avocado salsa.  It was so yummy!  I also had a salad with spinach, strawberries, and feta. 

Waiting to be shaped

 

I love the Morning Star black bean burgers and have seen several other bloggers make their own.  In an attempt to eat fewer processed foods and continue to expand my cooking knowledge and kitchen skills, I decided to create my own patties.  I used a recipe from Cooking Light.  I mainly chose this one because I still had mango already cut-up from last weeks bbq shrimp tacos. 

Ready to bake

 

They were remarkably easy and the combination of the black beans, mango, and avocado proved to be a very satisfying dinner.  I didn’t have any jalapeno, so I just added a dash of cayenne pepper, and they were perfectly spicy but not hot. 

Topped off

 

Black Bean Burgers with Mango Slasa 

     2 cans balck beans (15oz each) 

     3/4c monterey jack (i used mexican cheese) 

     1/2c cilantro  

     1/4c. panko 

     2t cumin 

     1t oregano 

     1/2t sea salt 

     1/2 medium jalapeno (I used a dash of cayenne pepper) 

     2 egg whites 

Place black beans in a bowl and mash rougly with a fork.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.  bake for 20min at 350, turning carefully once. 

Salsa 

     1  1/4 c chopped mango 

     3T shallots 

     1 1/2T lime juice 

     1 avocado – peeled and chopped 

     1 garlic clove minced 

     1/4c cilantro 

Mix all ingredients and place about a 1/3 cup on each burger patty. 

Nutrional Info (w/whole-wheat bun) – Calories: 350     Fat: 11.9 

Protein: 13.4     Carbs: 46.2     Fiber: 10.1     Sodium: 777mg      

While the burgers were baking, I started some homemade rolls to have with dinner tonight.  I have never made any type of bread other than quick breads and have never used yeast before.  I have always been intimidated by the whole process, but now I think it’s not so bad.  We’ll see how they turn out, though.  I may be singing a different song once I actually try to shape them and taste the final product.  I’ll be back later to let you know if I and the dough survived 🙂 

Just resting

 

It is sitting just like that in my fridge until later tonight.  Can’t wait to see how it goes. 

This morning I got in a 5 mile run.  The first mile at an 8:20 pace, the next 3 at an 8, and the last at an 8:30, increasing the incline by 1 every min up to 5 an then decreasing 1 every minute to the finish.  I ended with 15 minutes on the bike and a jog home.  

I made yet another batch of protein pancakes this morning and added a dash of cinnamon and almond extract to the chocolate version and topped all 5 perfect pancakes with sugar-free maple syrup and bananas. 

Digging in

 

I have to say the addition of the cinnamon and almond extract definitely kicked these up a notch.  I may be in love! 

Ok, sorry for the long post, but I had to make up for being MIA yesterday.  I’m off to work.

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