Monday, March 25, 2013

Treadmill Interval Workout & Weigh-In

Today is Monday and you know what that means.  It's weigh-in day!  Since hubby gave me some awesome motivation to lose this weight, I really tried to cut back on my food intake and ramp up my exercising a bit. And it paid off!  The scale said 173 this morning!  So that's ONE POUND GONE!  (Excuse me while I break into the Hallelujah Chorus right about now...) I'm so excited!  I was tired of seeing that scale say 174 each week!  Three more pounds until I reach my mini-goal of 170!

Since we got a bunch of snow last night, I didn't figure I would run outside.  (Snow = Cold) So I knew I had a date with the treadmill.  I decided I would break my 3 mile training run into intervals once again so I didn't have a complete meltdown and give up.  But last Monday's workout seemed to take forever when I broke it down into 1/4 mile increments, so I opted for 1/2 mile increments this time.  I also added in two strength training exercises between increments instead of just one like last week.  At the end of the workout, I was sweating and feeling fatigued.  I think the whole workout lasted 50 or so mins (36 mins was the walking/running).  

Here's the break down of my workout today:

0 mi-.15 mi: Walk @ 3.7 mph for warm up
.15 mi-.5 mi:  Run @ 5.5 mph
15 Bicep Curls holding 10 lb weights
15 Squats with Overhead Shoulder Presses holding 10 lb weights
.5 mi-1 mi:  Run @ 5.5 mph
15 Overhead Tricep Extensions with (1) 10 lb weight  See Instructions
15 Girly Push-ups
1 mi-1.5 mi:  Run @ 5.5 mph
15 Standing Front Lunges (on each leg)
15 Tricep Dips 
1.5 mi-2.0 mi:  Run @ 5.5 mph
20 Sit-Ups
10 Leg Lowers on each side (have no clue what the actual name is, but mainly you lay on your back with legs straight above you. Then lower one leg almost to the ground while the other stays stationary...this really works you lowers abs and you WILL feel the burn!)
2 mi-2.5 mi:  Run @ 5.0 mph
10 Inner Thigh Raises with 8 lb weight (on each side)
15 Girly Push-Ups
2.5 mi-2.85 mi:  Run @ 5.0 mph
2.85 mi-3mi:  Walk @ 3.1 for cool down

I'm excited to see if/where I'm sore tomorrow! 

What was your workout today?

Recipe Adventures #13: Brownie Mix

I don't know if you've noticed but there seem to be a TON of yummy looking recipes on Facebook right now!  I can't keep up with them all and have been copying them onto recipe cards like crazy in hopes to one day make them.  

We had company over yesterday and I decided to try this one out...mainly because I was in the mood for Brownies.  This one is a recipe to make your brownie mix instead of buying the boxed ones from the store.  I  am all about eliminating boxed foods from my pantry and any time you make a recipe from scratch instead of buying it almost always saves you money.  This recipe was right up my alley!

Brownie Mix
1 c. sugar
1/2 c flour
1/3 c cocoa
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. baking powder

You can make several of these mixes ahead of time and store them in mason jars or quart-sized storage bags and have them on hand to make in a jiffy or just make the recipe as needed.

To Bake: Add 2 eggs, 1/2 c. oil, and 1 t. vanilla extract to the dry mix.  Stir well.  Spread into a greased 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 mins.

The Verdict:  These were surprisingly yummy!  The color isn't quite as dark brown as store-bought mixes so I was a little skeptical when I took it out of the oven.  But it's pretty darn close to the taste of  store-bought mixes!  This one is a keeper and I don't think I will be buying brownie mixes again!

How My Morning Got Started With a Bang

Wow...what a morning it has been!  I was able to sleep in a bit, which was wonderful.  And woke up to everything covered in snow...which was semi-wonderful.  It looked absolutely beautiful, however I'm really sick of snow and just ready for some SPRING!  But knowing that this will most likely be the last snow of the season, it makes me enjoy it a wee bit more.  

After waking up and getting everyone breakfast and breaking up the usual fights among siblings and posting everyone's daily chores on the chore board, I retreated to my bedroom to start Beth Moore's study on Esther and soak up a few minutes of solitude and QUIET.  Or so I thought.  Approximate 10 mins into my study, I hear a tremendous crashing of what sounded like a lot of glass breaking in the kitchen.  I hurried to the kitchen to find glass shards everywhere and my oldest daughter sitting on the kitchen counter holding her head and crying.  One of her chores was to unload the dishwasher. I guess she was putting away some dishes and had climbed onto the counter top to reach the upper cabinets and whatever she did caused the entire top shelf to give away and all of its contents to come crashing to the ground.  Thankfully she wasn't hurt badly except for a bit of a goose egg on top of her head.  This particular shelf housed all of our wine glasses, soup bowls, and dessert dishes.  My crock pot lid was on the counter under the shelf, so it also perished.

Here's what the pile of broken glass looked like...

 The shelf housed approximately 12 wine glasses, 8 soup bowls, and 7 dessert dishes.  
Here is what miraculously survived the fall....

All swept up and ready to head to the dumpster.  
Good-bye beloved dishes.  You have served our family well.  

The funny thing about this whole situation was that last week as I was spring cleaning, I walked past this cupboard (that has clear doors so you can see the contents inside).  I was on a "we have too much junk and I need to pack it all up and send it to Goodwill!" rampage and thought this cupboard needed some purging too!  Well, I'm not sure I would have purged it down to only 3 soup bowls, dessert bowls, and 3 wine glasses, but now my cupboard has an almost empty shelf!   

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Recipe Adventures #12: PB Oatmeal Cookie Dough Oatmeal

I found this recipe at Peanut Butter Fingers and thought it sounded yummy enough to try.  I've seen recipes for overnight oatmeals before but have never taken the time to try one. 

PB Oatmeal Cookie Dough Overnight Oats
3/4 c old-fashioned oats
1/2 c milk
1 1/2 Tbsp peanut butter
2 t. brown sugar 
1 t. chia seeds

Stir all of the ingredients together in a bowl.  I used a larger cereal-type bowl and put plastic wrap over it before sticking it in the fridge.  Make this the night before and stick it in the fridge to enjoy the next morning.  Before eating, mix a bit more milk with it so it's not so thick.  Do not omit the chia seeds.  You can also top this with fresh berries, chocolate chips, etc. 

The Verdict:  Hmmm...not sure how I feel about this one just yet.  I think I need to try it again.  I had to make a special trip to the health food store to pick up the chia seeds and found out quickly they are expensive little buggers!  I paid $6.99 for 8 organic oz of them!  BUT 8oz should last me a long time, thank goodness!  Anyways, I think the thing that bugged me the most about this was that it was cold.  The instructions didn't say to heat it up so I ate it cold.  And it tasted like cold oatmeal.  Maybe I should warm it up next time to see if I like it better.  Or maybe just let it get to room temperature.  Who knows.  I'm sticking this recipe in the "2nd Chance" pile to try again later.  

If you happen to try it, let me know what you think of it!

Today's 7-Miler

Another long run DONE!  I was REALLY dreading running 7-miles today...especially when I saw the forecast saying it was going to be a whopping 28 degrees while we were running.  BRR!  But it had to be done so I did it.  And it actually was enjoyable!  Jenny and I live approximately 3 miles apart so we started at my house and ran just past her house and then back to my house.  It was a nice change of scenery and I actually warmed up enough to just run in my long sleeved shirt (with tank underneath)!  I'm feeling a little sore right now but not as bad as I had expected.  Thinking a nice hot bath is in order!  

When I got home I decided to try some homemade chocolate milk as my post-run fuel.  Remember how I said I'd never be able to keep already-made chocolate milk in my fridge long enough for me to actually drink it?  Well, I decided to buy a container of Nesquik Chocolate Milk mix instead.  And I hid it.  Yep, you read it correctly.  I hid it in my lazy susan...and so far it's gone undetected by the hubby and kiddos.  Yay!  

Can you spot the Nesquik? I at least turned the container around so the Nesquik bunny was facing backwards so he wouldn't be easily spotted!  Aren't I evil?  Or maybe just very smart.

So I got out my Tupperware Shaker Bottle which I LOVE and filled it halfway with milk, then 2 Tbsp of chocolate mix, then a scoop of protein powder.  Shake, shake-a-roo and voila...a chocolatey protein shake!   I think I need to tweak the measurements of the powders, because it seems really sweet and the protein powder left an aftertaste. Next time, a little less of both, I think!

Not sure what the rest of our day is hubby's birthday and he's at an auction.  Maybe we will catch a movie later and just relax.  That's my kind of Saturday!  

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Today's Workout...Total Body Workout #1

It has been a cold week in Ohio!  The high temps are only 33 degrees....brrr!  And since I'm such a wimp at running cold temps, I've dreaded doing training runs in it!  Tuesday I was a bit sore and tired feeling from Monday's workout, so I took a rest day and didn't do any exercises besides some spring cleaning in the kitchen.  Yesterday I headed out on a run with Jenny.  It was still a cold 33 degrees, but the sun was shining which always makes it feel warmer!  We still had to battle wind, and it's amazing how much running into the wind tires your legs!  After 4 miles my legs felt like jell-o!  Before and after my run I worked some more on spring cleaning my kitchen.  I also vacuumed the entire living room and moved the furniture so I could shampoo all the carpet there.  Then of course I had to reconfigure the furniture because, well....I'm female and that's what we do!

Today I was thinking of just running another 3-miler since our training plan tells us to (and we're ignoring it and only doing a total of 3 runs each week)...but once again, it's cold outside.  And once again I'm a wimp.  So...I hopped on the treadmill for a 30 mins walk.  30 mins FLY by when  you're reading!  Reading and treading really can be done simultaneously!  The only downfall to it is that my back would start to hurt from holding a book so I would have to change hands every so often.  But I found the solution!  I have a Kindle Fire and it was been such a great addition to my life!  I could bore with a list of all the reasons why, but I won't.  But I WILL tell you that I have found that you can make the print larger so that you can still read on the Kindle without having to hold it!  It has been a lifesaver!  And if I have a really good book that I'm reading I could probably tread for hours without realizing it!  It makes time go that fast. 

After treading, I did some strength training.  I've read so much about the benefits of strength training and how it really aids an speeds up the weight loss process and I'm really curious to see for myself.  

Here is what I did this morning:

Total Body Workout #1
30 minutes of walking on the treadmill @ 3.5-3.7 mph
10 Girly Push-ups
15 Donkey Kicks w/10 lb weight behind knee - each leg
10 sit-ups (not crunches...old-fashioned style!)
30 Hydrant Kicks - each leg
20 Squats holding 10 lb weights
10 Bicep Curls holding 10 lb weights
15 Tricep Kick-backs holding 8 lb weights
10 Overhead Presses holding 10 lb weights
25 Reverse Crunches
20 Scissor Abs
10 Leg Lifts with 10 lb weight - each side
15 Inner Thigh Lifts with 8 lb weight - each side
30 second Plank
10 Standing Front Lunges holding 10 lb weights - each side

All in all, I think it was a good workout.  Not too hard to where I am crying and wanting to vomit, but just enough to feel both fatigued and a bit sore!  

I have to work tomorrow so I will probably not do any working out unless I catch a quick walk on my lunch break. Then Saturday will do our 7-mile training run!  I'm curious to see what the scale says at my next weekly weigh-in on Monday!

I'm also going to try to drink 87 oz of water today/  I've read a lot about how most of us are chronically dehydrated and that makes our bodies hold onto water weight.  I guess you are supposed to shoot for drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water!  I love to drink water, but 87 oz seems like a lot!  I will let you know how I do!

I have also started a workout notebook that I'm hoping I will be consistent with.  I would like to write down my workouts that I make up (like today's) and also use it to keep track of my weekly workouts and weight-ins.  I may use it as a food journal, although I hate the thought of tracking everything I eat!

I'm off to shower and head to town for some beautification!  I'm getting a haircut and maybe even some highlights!  Woot!

Happy Thursday!! 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Recipe Adventure #11: Broiled Fish Parmesan

Remember that All Recipes mini-mag I told you about last week?  Well, there was another awesome recipe in it that we tried last night for dinner.  It was called Broiled Tilapia Parmesan.  We didn't have Tilapia, but we had a box of Pollock that I got on sale a couple of weeks ago, so I substituted it and changed the name to Broiled FISH Parmesan!  Sorry I didn't get a picture of the fish...we had someplace to go last night and I guess I was more concerned with putting a hot meal on the table instead of snapping a pic.  Forgive  me?  Good.

Broiled Fish Parmesan

1/2 c parmesan cheese
1/4 c butter
3 Tbsp mayo
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp celery salt
2 lbs fish fillets

Preheat broiler.  Grease your broiling pan or cover it with foil.  (I poked holes in the foil for all the fish juicies to fall through).  In a bowl, mix all the ingredients except the fish and set aside.  Place fish on the broiling pan.  Broil a few inches from the heat for 2-3 mins.  Flip over and broil a few more minutes.  Remove from oven and cover with the cheese mixture on the top side of the fillets.  Broil 2 more mins until topping is browned and fish flakes with a fork.  Do not overcook.

Variations: Can use sour cream in place of mayo. Can sprinkle Old Bay seasoning on the fish before broiling.

I don't think I had my pan close enough to the heat because I had to bake mine longer...and also due to my fish being semi-frozen yet.  So my cooking time was probably doubled...however me and the broiler have a long history of burning things so maybe it was a good thing it wasn't too close!

This says it is 4 servings.  I didn't weigh the fish out (I bought a 10 lb box), but I just filled up the pan in a single layer (which was probably 6 -7 fillets) and had enough cheese mixture to fully cover them.

The Verdict: During the preparation stage, my youngest said, "Yay!  I love fish!" and my older daughter said, "Eww...I don't like fish."  I ignored the negative comment and continued on.  (I don't allow for picky eaters in my house) Once the fish was done, EVERYONE (including Miss Picky) ate a 2nd helping.  When I asked hubby how it was, he replied, "This is Awesome!"  So I guess this recipe is a keeper!  I personally loved how gourmet this dish looks!  It was very easy to make yet looks like it was prepared by a chef!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Recipe Adventure #10: Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Let me start out by saying that a few years ago, I didn't really vegetables.  I grew up on the basic ones: corn, green beans, potatoes, and occasionally peas.  And with the exception of the potatoes, they were almost always from a can.  I ate them and honestly didn't mind them, but when I became an adult and wife and mother, at some point I started wanting to broaden my horizons in the vegetable world.  I started eating salad (yes I didn't even have a salad until I was an adult) some which lead me to love fresh spinach.  Then I tried a spaghetti squash.  Then tomatoes. Then mild banana peppers and black olives (especially on my Subway Italian subs!) Then I tried the vegetable that was WAY out of my comfort zone....BRUSSEL SPROUTS.  One of my running buddies, Shannon, told me how good they are.  I was VERY skeptical.  But one day I decided to try them.  And I had to agree...they were yummy!  And the funny thing is that I actually find myself craving them from time to time.  I NEVER in a GAZILLION years thought I'd ever eat, let along CRAVE a brussel sprout!

BTW - if you don't know what brussel sprouts look like here's a pic...of a lot of them. Don't make that would most likely never eat another one again if you consumed all of these.  Just sayin'. Anyways, they look like cute little baby cabbages.  But way tastier.

Here is how I make them...

Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Brussel Sprouts - any amount desired. Be forewarned that they do shrink up a bit while roasting. 
Lawry's Seasoned Salt
Olive Oil
Parmesan Cheese

*Heat oven to 450 degrees.

*Wash the brussel sprouts. Cut the stem end off of each sprout.  Then cut the sprouts into 4ths or 6ths or whatever size you want.  It also depends on the size of the sprouts.  Sometimes you can find small ones and other times they are larger.  If you get big ones, just chop them in 6ths.  And FYI - I think the smaller ones have more flavor, but the big ones are good too.  

*Place the chopped sprouts on a jelly roll pan or bar pan and drizzle with olive oil.  Stir the sprouts and then drizzle some more.  

*Sprinkle with seasoned salt. Stir again.

*Bake sprouts in heated oven for 15-20 mins until some of the leaves are good and browned.  I usually set the timer for 10 mins, then stir them and bake another 10 mins.  Here are what mine looked like:

*Remove from oven and let cool a bit.  When serving, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  

Not only do these taste yummy, but I just LOVE putting them in my cart at the store and feeling like I eat really healthy foods all the time.  Corny, I know.  

Now that I've mastered brussel sprout-eating, I wonder what vegetable I will try next!  Oh yeah...and these can be grown in gardens in Ohio if you try them and like them, you can grow your own!

A Late Wake-Up, Icky Weigh-In, & A Great Workout!

This morning got off to a cruddy start.  The past two mornings my alarm hasn't gone off.  Yesterday morning it was because I didn't set it (oops), and this morning was due to the fact that I had the actual time set wrong (had it set for PM instead of AM..oops again) so my alarm wouldn't have gone off until this evening.  THAT  wouldn't have been very beneficial at all!  Anyways, when I finally woke up the clock read 6:44...and my son (whom I normally wake up at 6) gets on the bus at 6:50-6:55.  I don't know how we did it, but he was able to shower and get ready AND make it to the bus in time.  I sure was glad because last night we had freezing rain and the roads were icy...and I did NOT want to have to drive him to school in those conditions.  

After that, I got the girls up, dressed, and on the bus and only then was I able to take a deep breath!

I am supposed to do a 3 mile training run today and the forecast showed rain all day.  Running in the rain is where I draw the line between courageous and wimpy.  I don't like soggy clothes, shoes, you name it.  So I needed to devise a plan of how to get my 3 miles in.  It involved my treadmill.  I HATE running on the treadmill.  Especially anything over 1 mile.  But I had some motivation from hubby (more on that below), so I was determined to get these 3 miles in if it killed me (and it could have).  

Since we are in the middle of a master bathroom installation project, our bedroom as double as a construction supply storage area.  This is what I saw when I entered my room....can you spot the treadmill?  

So the first step was to move everything around in order to actually have space to unfold the treadmill.  That was a workout in itself!!  Then I hopped on and got the party started.  As I starting my walking warm-up I came up with this workout that involved running 1/4 of a mile, then stopping to do a strength exercise:

0-.1 mile:  Walk @ 3.5 mph
.1-.25 mi: Run @ 5.0 mph
15 Bicep Curls (using 10 lb weight until exhaustion and finishing with 5 lb weight)
.25-.50 mi:  Run @ 4.5 mph
15 Hammer Curls with 5 lb weight
.50-.75 mi: Run @ 6.0 mph
15 Tricep Kick-backs & 20 Tricep Pulses
.75- 1.0 mi: Run @ 5.5 mph
15 Pushups on knees
1.0-1.25 mi: Run @ 5.0 mph
15 Over Tricep Presses with 1 10 lb weight 
1.25-1.50 mi:  Run @ 5.5
15 Chest Flys with 5 lb weights
1.50-1.75 mi:  Run @ 6.0
Stepped side to side and lifted alternating knees
1.75-2.0 mi: Walk at 3.8 mph
15 Standing Rows on each side with 10 lb weight
2.0-2.25 mi:  Run @ 5.5 mph
Stretched calves (they were really burning)
2.25-2.50 mi: Run @ 5.0 mph
15 Pushups on knees
2.50-2.75 mi:  Run @ 5.5 mph
15 Squats with Overhead Presses using 10 lb weights
2.75-3.0 mi: Run @ 5.0 mph
3.0-3.15 mi: Walk @ 3.5 mph
3.15-3.25 mi: Walk @ 3.0 mph

Here is what my treadmill said when I was done:

I'm not sure the 530 calories burned was accurate (normally I figure @ 110 calories for every mile ran), but my actual time on the treadmill was 40:22 mins, so all in all it was probably an hour workout!  Woohoo!  And I feel awesome!  I got my 3 miles in, worked up a sweat, AND did some strength training to tone my flabby grandma arms!

Speaking of flabby grandma arms...I think I'm starting to notice some toning action going on since I've started doing strength stuff again!  It's always great to see results!

Now about my weigh in.  As much as I HATE to report this, the scale said 174 this morning!  I think I was 173 last week.  But I guess it could be that I'm gaining some muscle.  Or it could be that I ate too many helpings of the TWO Lemon Lushes that I made this weekend.  I'm sure hoping it's muscle. 

Hubby and I had a conversation awhile back about one of his friends promising his wife a trip to Florida if she lost weight.  Now before you get yourself in a tizzy and think this guy is a total jerk, his wife wants to lose weight and he thought this would give her added motivation.  So that got me thinking...why not set a reward for myself like that?  Hubby and I are always dreaming of taking a nice vacation somewhere tropical together, but we never book anything.  So it never happens.  So I asked him what he thought of using that as a reward for my reaching my goal weight.  He said sure!  He quickly realized that it's a win-win situation with  him...he gets a hot looking wife AND a vacation...with no work on his part.  He's a smart man. 

So I am going to get my butt in gear and shed some pounds and in the meantime we are going to decide on a place we'd like to go to.  As I felt like I was dying on the treadmill this morning and really wanting to give up, this reward helped to motivate me to keep going.  I hope the motivation continues!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Today's Run & Post-Run Fuel

Well, today I had to run 6 miles for this week's long run in our half marathon training.  I'm not going to lie...I was really dreading it.  I thought it was going to be really cold, but it actually was quite warm (a whopping 39 degrees).  I met up with two running buddies, Jenny & Shannon, who are also training for the Rite Aid Half-Marathon...and that makes long runs more bearable!  It's so nice to get some adult conversation in while also crossing another training run off my list!  It really is cheaper than therapy!  We completed our 6 miles in 1 hr 7 mins...and that included some faux water station breaks...which we walked "through".  Not too shabby!  I think the past two days of rest really helped me to feel ready to hit the trail running...literally!

Once I got home I took a shower and then my tummy started growling big-time, which reminded me that I needed to fuel my body after burning off 600 calories.  (Goodbye cereal from this morning!) I would love to have chocolate milk on hand for post-run fuel, however with three kids and a hubby who adore chocolate milk...I'm sure it wouldn't last long in this house!  So I opted for another great snack.  Not sure it's the proper proportions of carbs, protein, yada yada that you need following a run, but it tamed the hunger pangs and I'm sure the protein in the peanut butter was beneficial in some way.  (FYI-I'm so NOT a nutrition expert!)

Jen's Fave Snack

Put 1 Tbsp of peanut butter (I used my fave Jif Natural) in a bowl and nuk it for 30 secs.  Then slice up a banana on top of the peanut butter and add a drizzle of honey on top of the banana.  And that's it!  So simple and sooooo very delish!  And I think it's pretty healthy too!  This could seriously be eaten as dessert!

Sorry I didn't get a picture of my snack...I scarfed it down before I could take one!

Have a great Saturday! :)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Recipe Adventure #9: Luscious Lemon Lush

Wow, do I have an awesome recipe for you!  Yesterday I received my Fitness magazine in the mail.  With it was a mini-magazine designed to give readers a glimpse into a new magazine called All Recipes that will be launching soon (if it hasn't already).  I looked through it and one recipe really caught my eye:  Lemon Lush.  The moment I laid eyes on it I knew I had to try it!  And I'm so glad I did!  It was super easy to make and uses ingredients that I usually have on hand (with the exception of the lemon pudding, but I may just have to start keeping a stock in my pantry for when I get a hankering for this!!)  This is my new favorite dessert!

I would like to introduce you to my new friend, Lemon Lush....

Lemon Lush

1 c. butter
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese, softened
1 c. sugar
2 (3.4 oz) pkgs instant lemon pudding mix (can substitute with1 box of vanilla) 
3 1/2 c. milk
1 container Cool Whip

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Softened butter a bit and mix into the flour with your hands. (or use a pastry blender).  Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan.  Bake for 20 mins.  Remove from oven and place on cooling rack.  Meanwhile, soften the cream cheese in the microwave.  Once softened, add the sugar and beat until well blended.  In a separate bowl, mix the pudding with the milk and whisk until well mixed.  Once the crust is cool, spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the crust.  Spread pudding on top of the cream cheese.  Spread cool whip on top of  pudding.  Chill until set....if you can wait that long!

Of course I can never just follow a recipe to the letter no matter how hard I try.  This time I only picked up ONE box of lemon pudding at the store instead of two.  (I'm not a very detail-oriented person).  So I improvised and used a box of lemon and a box of vanilla that I had in the cupboard.  I really liked it.  I was afraid that it would be too lemony but the vanilla really make the lemon flavor more subdued.  I think the all lemon version would be ultra yummy in the summer...and maybe even after freezing the dessert a bit!  Yum!  

The Verdict:  This was a hit!  The only negative comment I got was from my son who said the crust was kind of dry.  And it is, however the creaminess of the rest of the dessert makes up for it.  Hubby took a bite and said, "Mmmm!" and gave me a kiss, so I think it was a hit!  

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Recipe Adventure #8: PB Granola

I hereby declare today as PB Day!  I started the morning out with PB Pancakes (see previous post) and just made a batch of PB Granola. shall I eat my PB for dinner?  

I love to make granola.  It can be pretty pricey in the stores and, being the cheapskate I am, I just can't bring myself to buy it when I know I can make some that's comparable in taste and way cheaper!

I came across this recipe at Peanut Butter Fingers and it looked so simple I just had to make it.  It also had a bit to do with a container of plain yogurt sitting in the fridge begging to be eaten.  Granola is sooo yummy on yogurt!  

Here's the recipe:

PB Granola

2 T. Creamy PB (I used my fave Jif Natural PB)
2 T. Honey
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. vanilla 
1 c. oats.  (I used old-fashioned oats)

Heat your oven to 325 degrees.  Put the pb and the honey in a bowl and nuk in the microwave until melted.  Stir in the cinnamon and vanilla.  Then add the oats and stir to coat.  Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray (or olive oil) and spread the granola goodness out on the sheet.  Bake for 15 mins and let cool until crunchy (if you can wait that long!).  

The Verdict: Hubby and I really like this and, in fact, we've been munching on it this afternoon...even without the yogurt.  I love that the recipe uses all natural ingredients.  And that I made it myself.  This one is a keeper and I can't wait to try it out on some yogurt this afternoon for snack!  Also can't wait to see if the kids like it!  

BTW - I did double the recipe.  Next time I would make an even bigger batch because I'm sure this batch won't last long!  

Recipe Adventure #7: PB Pancakes

This one is a keeper!  I love pancakes.  They are fairly quick to mix up and feed the kiddos before they head to school.  And if you make them with whole wheat flour, they keep you full longer too!  And I love peanut butter because, well, I just do!  I also love this recipe because I normally put peanut butter ON my pancakes to make them stick to my ribs better (aka keep me fuller longer) this is a win-win!!

I found this recipe at Eat At Home Cooks and I'm so glad I did!  Below is the recipe I used.  I made some adjustments based on wanting to make the recipe just a tad bit healthier.

PB Pancakes

2 c. whole wheat flour (or any kind of flour)
1 t. sea salt
4 Tbsp. evaporated cane juice (or white sugar, honey, or preferred sweetener)
2 eggs
5 t. baking powder
1 c. peanut butter (I used Jif's Natural Pb)
4 Tbsp. coconut oil melted (or veg oil)
2 1/4 c. milk

I mixed all the wet ingredients together.  Then I added the salt and baking powder.  Lastly I added the flour. Stir it up real good and plop them on a hot griddle (I heated mine to 350-375 degrees).  Once they are bubbly on top, flip them.  Voila!  PB Pancakes!

We served ours with maple syrup.  Yummo!


I just got back from my 4 mile training run with Jenny and BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR it was COLD.  We had a light coating of snow last night and I think that just makes everything feel so much colder!  I've had a lot of people who think we're plum crazy because we run outside in cold temps and ask how we do it, so I thought I'd share with you what we wear on cold days like today.  (It was 29 degrees today).  

This was what I wore for my run today:

*A pair of tight fitting boot-cut running pants.  Mine are Tek Gear brand from Kohl's and you can find the exact pair HERE  I have a black and gray pair and they are my staple pant in cooler temps.  

* A long-sleeved performance shirt.  I bought mine from Walmart for less than $10 I think.  I have several colors and they are a great base layer.  These are actually still available at Walmart currently, so if you need one...go get one!!

* A long-sleeved performance zippered jacket. I bought mine at Old Navy last year and I LOVE it.  It's tighter fitting so it holds the heat in but also has moisture-wicking so keep the moisture away from my skin.  

*A Fleece headband to keep the wind/cold out of my ears.  Usually I get too hot for it and it ends up around my neck instead, but not today!

*My running shoes paired with a thicker pair of athletic socks.  

* A pair of knit gloves from Walmart...the cheap kind that are like $1.50 for 2 pair.

As I had the items above on and actually walked out the door to head on my run, I felt really cold yet so I grabbed a fleece zippered jacket and put it on too. Before the first mile was up, I was already feeling too hot and ended up tying the fleece jacket around my waist for the next 2 miles and put it back on the last mile because the wind was blowing right in our faces.  

My rule of thumb is to dress like it's 20 degrees warmer because once you get a mile or so into your run you will feel like it is that warm.  But you also have to take into consideration the elements...wind, rain, etc.  Today the wind got the best of us and made the run feel torturous!  But we did it and it feel great to cross that run off of my training!  Also keep in mind that dressing in layers are cooler days is the way to go.  It's way better to be able to peel off a layer of clothes than to wear one heavy layer and be stuck running in it and overheating the entire time!

When I got home I did the Tank Top Workout from Monday's post.  I'm determined to get these flabby arms into shape!  There's NOTHING sexy about a 33 yr old with grandma arms that wave in the breeze.  I am happy to report that I am sore from yesterday's workout!  It feels great to be working my body and that soreness helps me to know that I'm working areas that need it!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Why My Morning Got Off To A Bad Start

Remember my last post?  I was bragging profusely about how great my morning was going despite it being Monday and the recent time change.  

Well, this morning was a completely different story.  It all started with my alarm...and the fact that I succumbed to my inner whiner and decided to sleep in.  My son is 12 and he is fully capable to get himself up and off for school without my help.  And some mornings it's all too easy to let him do just that.  Today was one of those mornings.  I had to get him up (he hasn't reset his alarm clock time or set his clock this week...grr) and then I went back to bed and set my alarm for 7:15 for an extra hour of sleep.  Or at least I THINK I would be able to sleep.  After almost 34 years of living with myself you'd think I'd finally realize that once I've awakened in the morning it's ultra hard for me to fall back to sleep.  So I laid there sort of hovering between the Land of Nod and the Land of Reality.  I think I finally did fall asleep just before my alarm went off.  The alarm goes off.  I get up.  And start round 2 of the morning routine.  I get the girls up and found myself so frustrated.  I was grumpy with the girls, short tempered, and feeling a bit foggy.  Once I finally got them on the bus, I still was frustrated because my kitchen was messy looking and I still needed to do my devotions and work out.  And a customer decided to stop by...before hubby was up....before I could get out my jammies....before I could put a bra catch my drift.  So I get my hubby up and I decide that I'm going to work out.  Now I'm feeling better thanks to my workout high.  

THAT was my morning.  While I was working out I realized that when I sleep in, it messes up my whole morning!  I'm groggy and foggy and grumpy!  And I feel rushed to get through devotions and my workout because I don't want it to take up the whole morning.  And I'm frustrated because when I get up earlier I get the dishwasher unloaded and loaded, breakfast made, and general tidying done.  So here it is 9:48 and I still need to get a shower and tidy up around here. And today I am volunteering in Allie's class this afternoon and leaving straight from there to take Kailyn to gymnastics....which means I need to have some sort of plan for dinner.  Are you feeling my pain?  I hope so.  

SO...tomorrow I will get up early.  Maybe I will even set my alarm just a few minutes earlier each day with the goal of getting up at 5 or 5:30am instead of 6 to streamline my mornings even more.

On a good note, I did get in a workout that got me sweating!  I found this workout on Peanut Butter Fingers' Blog.  (BTW - this blog is one of my newest faves, so be sure to check it out!)  The workout says to repeat it once, but I only did it once and it took me 20 mins.  Afterwards, I did some stretching and a few ab exercises.  My legs feel a bit weak today so I bet I will be sore tomorrow!  And FYI - my arm workout rocked yesterday...I'm sore in all the right places!  

So what time do you get up in the mornings?  I'd love to hear how you tame morning stress!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Not All Mondays Are Bad!

I was really thinking this week was going to be rough with the time change and my lack of sleep due to being sick last week but it's really gotten off to a great start!  

I started this morning by getting my son up for school.  Once he left to get on the bus, I had about 20 mins or so before I needed to get my girls up for school, so I picked up my Bible and headed to the living room for my devotion time.  I tidied the kitchen while the girls got ready for school and once they left for the day, I put on my running attire and headed out for a run.  I was so indecisive about the workout I would do this morning because the weather forecast showed nonstop rain all day.  At first I planned to go to the gym, but the gym is a 20 minute drive away and I just really hated to have it take up so much of my morning.  So I decided I would stay home and work out.  Then I looked outside and realized it wasn't raining after all, so I talked myself into a run instead!  

And I'm so glad I did!  It's a cloudy day, but the temp was perfect!  I started out in a pull-over with a tank underneath and about halfway through my mileage I shed the pullover and ran just in the tank.  Ahhh....the joys of SPRING!  It was just so refreshing to get out and move.  Although it was a leisurely run, I was a bit slower than normal, but that's ok.  I ran 3 mi in 35 mins and my pace was just under 12 min/mi.  Oh yeah...and the best part is that I burned 385 calories!  Woot! Woot!  

I've noticed lately that my arms are looking (and feeling) quite jiggly and I really want to get them into shape before summer gets here so I looked up an arm workout on pinterest (I love pinterest btw!) and found a really good one!  Here it is:

I really liked this one!  It was difficult enough to make me feel challenged and keep my heart rate up!  The only thing I didn't like is that it really made me realize how much strength I've lost in my arms over the winter.  Why oh why do I let the cold temps keep me from being active?  Grr.  Anyways, I guess the important thing is that I'm doing something about it NOW, right?  

Then I decided to do a 1 minute plank called a Dolphin Float.  Yeah...I was a bit overzealous.  I had to stop 3 times but something is better than nothing.  

I really want to start focusing on some strength training while I'm training.  So tomorrow I'm going to do some sort of cardio and lower body strength exercises.  It's time to whip this body into serious SHAPE!  I'm tired of not seeing results, so it's time to get serious!  Like the Wonder Pets say, "This is seerweeus!"  lol

BTW - I was so stoked that the scale said 171 yesterday morning!  And then I had pizza, and fruit with real whipped cream.  And then we all went for ice cream and I indulged in a not-so-small chocolate malt.  Yummo!  But unfortunately this morning the scale said 173.8.  Darn that pizza!  It gets me every time!  But today is a new day and I'm making better choices!  It's all about choices.  I just read a really good book about eating and weight loss...I will post about it soon!

In the meantime, Enjoy Your Monday!!

What I've Been Up To The Past Week or Two

There's been lots going on around here the past few weeks!  Here's a quick recap...

I didn't mention this in my last post, but I was sooooo sick last week!  It started with a scratchy throat and dry cough on Friday night and progressed from there. Each morning I would wake up feeling a bit better (not sure why, because I sure didn't sleep at night) and would do a few normal housekeeping things (like laundry, loading the dishwasher, etc) and by lunchtime/early afternoon, I was on the couch or in bed.  This chaos lasted until Thursday when I FINALLY started feeling a bit better!  I'm glad no one else in my family contracted the horrible illness because I wouldn't have wanted to see my babies going through it!

The week before I got sick, Jenny and I started training for my 3rd (and Jenny's 4th) half-marathon!  I love running half marathons in the spring because it's a great time to train for them.  After feeling like I was cooped up inside all winter, it feels soooo good to get out and run.  And because I've paid the entry fee and booked the hotel room, I'm too cheap to not follow through with it!  (It also provides a much-needed getaway with our hubbys, so that's always good motivation!)  We are both registered for the Rite Aid Cleveland Half Marathon on May 19th of this year.  We've never ran this one before and I'm excited for a change of scenery since my last 2 halfs were ran in Columbus.  The only thing I'm nervous about is what the temperature will be that day!  Last year I think it was in the 80's!  Although I think I'd rather run in 80 degree temps than rain the entire 13.1 miles!  

Anyhoo...we are now currently on Week 3 of our training.  We are following Hal Higdon's Novice 2 Training Plan and I really like it.  We are tweaking it a bit to fit our schedules and we're trying to decide if we really need to do 3 shorter runs mid-week.  Jenny seems to think we've only ever done 2 shorter runs, but I'm not sure.  I try to block training out of my head once it's over...sort of like a suppressed memory.   Here is what we've done so far:

Week 1:  3 mi, 3 mi, 5 mi
Week 2:  Because I was sick, I was only able to do the long run of 5 mi and skipped the short runs.
Week 3:  I did 3 mi this morning and will do at least a 4 miler and a 6 miler...and depending on the weather, maybe another 3 miler.

All in all training is going well.  I'll keep you posted!

Monday, March 4, 2013

10 Things You Probably Don't Know About Me...

If you ever meet me in person, you'd probably notice that I'm a bit quirky.  (Aren't we all though?)  Sometimes in conversations with people when I bring up something about myself, I get a weird look and a "Really?".  In an attempt for you to get to know me better, I thought I'd share some things with you that you probably don't know about me.  Don't you feel special?  You should.

1.  I don't like to run.  Yes, I am a runner.  But that doesn't mean that I like it.  Would I rather do something less strenuous?  Sure!  I run because I can.  And when I run I thank God that I am healthy enough to run.  Running keeps me amazed at my body.  It's not perfect by any means, but it's strong and I like the feeling of accomplishment after my run is over.

2.  I grind my own flour.  Now, if you'd been to my house, I am sure you have probably noticed the big red flour mill in my kitchen and already know this fact about moi.  Feel free to skip to #3.  I won't be a hater.  About 3 years ago I started learning about how nutritionally void white flour is and how your body essentially treats it as sugar and decided to grind my own whole wheat flour.  I really like it and my family and I have transitioned well.  Now, don't get me wrong, once in a while when I'm in a pinch I buy a bag of white flour, but I use it sparingly.  And feel horribly guilty about it.  No lie.

3.  I also don't use white sugar.  I use sucanat in place of brown sugar and evaporated cane juice in place of white sugar.  Does that mean I would turn down a piece of cheesecake because it has white sugar in it?  Heck no!  But I choose not to cook with it.  

4.  I am very intrigued with the idea of raw food diets or Paleo diets.  I'm just a bit too scared to make the change for fear I might diet of starvation or something.  Mainly because I don't like veggies all that much, so I wouldn't eat, and then I would starve.  I would love to just go Paleo 100% for a month or so (ok, maybe a week) and see what effects I see/feel.  I bet I would be amazed...but until I overcome my fear, I will just envy people who have.

5.  I am blind.  Not really, but if someone stole my glasses and contacts from me, I would freak because I would not be able to see anything and have an extreme panic attack.  Don't get any ideas...

6.  I am a bit of a control freak.  I am slowly recognizing this and its effect on people around me, so I am trying to work on it.  And because of my control issue, I let fear of the unknown/new things get the best of me...and in turn I miss out on some of the best experiences of my life.  I'm a work in progress!

7.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of being self-sufficient.  I LOVE growing my own food in my garden and berry patches.  I LOVE collecting eggs from the chicken coop. I LOVE baking my own bread...and having it taste awesome.   In an ideal world, I would live on 100+ acres, grow/raise all of my own food, and build a house with my bare hands (ok, with my hubby's bare hands).  Oh yeah, and have solar panels and a wood cook stove and a windmill.  I long for a simpler life instead of the hustle and bustle work I currently live in.

8.  I sometimes regret getting a tubal after my youngest was born.  At the time it seemed like a great idea (pregnancy and me don't really get along and I'm miserable by the time that 40th week comes along), but I now think it would have been awesome to have a houseful of kids.  I think it's because my kids fight so much and families with lots of children seem to have better relationships with their siblings.  I just think big families are so cool!  

9.  I struggle with insecurity BIG TIME in most every area of my life.  I constantly battle feelings of not feeling good enough, being good enough, looking good enough.  I know that I should be grounded in what God thinks of me and I am trying to renew my mind in that way, but I still struggle.

10.  I long for real friends.  Friends who are willing to risk being authentic with me.  Friends who are willing to give me hard core advice that sometimes hurts.  Friends who will pray for me.  Friends who will encourage me. I do have a few, but many times I have had friends who I am authentic with, but they didn't return the favor.  And that hurts.  If you can't be real with me, then we aren't true friends.  Amen.