Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Favorites #11

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you all had an awesome week, and have a great weekend planned! I promise I don't have any introductory rambling this week so let's just get right to it and talk about some favorites:

1. Daisy

Remember how I told you guys last week that Margot was getting a puppy? Well, this is the sweet girl! Her name is Daisy and she's adorable and the second cutest puppy I've ever seen (Layla obviously being the first hahaha) and I love her! I asked Margot to send me some of her favorite pictures for me to include in the post this week and I got 14 which had been narrowed down from the approximately 120293483 pictures on Margot's phone. Since 14 was a little more than I bargained for, I picked these 3! 

I mean can we just? I have no words to describe the cuteness. 

2. Skinny Brown Sugar Oatmeal Muffins

Amanda, Margot, Hannah, and me had a big ole baking session on Wednesday which was a lot of fun! We decided on one of the many, many recipes Margot and I have been pinning for baking sessions, and it was these muffins here from Averie Cooks. The muffins turned out great and I would highly recommend them! Especially since the macros are pretty good for a regular sized muffin-- 25g carbs, 3g protein, and 1g fat! Not too shabby! After baking, we watched a scary movie that Hannah borrowed from the library. Anyone heard of No Good Deed with Idris Elba? Well, it's more of a suspense/thriller movie but to me that's scary! I'm such a baby when it comes to scary movies but this one wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. I was definitely relieved about that! However, it's not gonna ever make it on a favorites list because I'm much more about light-hearted movies. 

3. Yoga

I have to admit, I'm starting to love yoga! I've honestly never been able to stick with it before. I'd try it for like a day or two, and then get bored because I had a hard time focusing on it. I think I figured out the trick this week-- videos! It really helps me a lot to have someone telling me what to do and instructing me, otherwise if I just try to follow a print-out or list of moves then I struggle. This way it keeps me on track and focused on the workout. My back has been feeling much better, and I'm off tomorrow afternoon to figure out what the heck has been going on with my foot pain! Wish me luck!

4. Girls Picture!

Every time I see this picture it makes me smile! Probably because it has two of some of the most important people in my life: my sister and my dog haha! Yes, I consider Layla to be part of our family! I'm not entirely sure how it started but I was laying in my bed before going to sleep reading, and of course Layla was already around. Amanda came in to see what I was up to, and somehow we all ended up dog piled (no pun intended) in my bed. I'm not usually a picture-taker but it was super cute how Layla was spooned between us so that definitely called for a picture! The cutest part was how Layla had her head resting on my shoulder and nuzzled against my cheek but then as soon as I pull out my phone to take a picture (I swear she knows what it means) she tries to look away! She does that a lot when she doesn't want her picture taken haha! I'm almost positive she does it on purpose, I promise I'm not crazy. 

5. Quote of the week

"The power of love alive in us is limitless"

Again, this week's quote is from a song but I still count those as quotes. I LOVE this song called Limitless by Colton Dixon who is another one of my favorite artists! I think the message behind this song is awesome and empowering because I know I sometimes struggle with confidence, insecurities, or doubt my abilities. I need to remember that it's not about what I can do but what God can do through me! His power is what's alive in me, and is limitless. I just need to keep in mind Philippians 4:13-- "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength" because as humans yes we have limits but if we give it all over to God, He can do the most miraculous things!

"Doubt sees a mountain, no way around it
Faith sees a victory, no doubt about it
Fear sees a ceiling, hope sees the stars"

 I actually got chills at that part in the song when I first heard it, and I wanted to share that too because it truly struck a chord with me. So, that's been my favorite quote of the week to keep in mind, and gives me encouragement. I hope it can do the same for you!

What are some of your favorites this week?!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Squash & Chicken Salad

I've really been on a salad kick lately! The other night for dinner I made some chicken and sauteed squash but then halfway through cooking it, I had a huge craving for a salad. So, I threw in some lettuce, cashew pieces, balsamic vinaigrette and called it a day! It was delicious and hit the spot! I absolutely love having a mixture of warm and cold ingredients in a salad which I know freaks some people out. I usually like to add another layer of texture by adding something crunchy, which is what the cashew pieces do!

This salad had:
3-4 cups butter lettuce mix (Trader Joe's brand)
1 cup sauteed squash
3 oz chicken
sprinkle of cashew pieces

For the squash, I just sauteed it in a pan with salt, pepper, and sunflower seed oil. I let it brown a bit and then cooked it until it was fork tender so for about 8 minutes or so. The chicken I cooked in another pan with salt, pepper, garlic seasoning, sunflower seed oil, and a spicy blend called Kickin' Chicken which is great! I'm not sure what's all in it but it adds a little amount of heat.

I poured a little bit of balsamic vinaigrette for the dressing, and then dug in!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Ground Turkey Taco Salads

So one of my favorite ways to alter traditional tacos is to make it in to a salad! I'm definitely a volume eater so I love these taco salads because I get to eat more! It's not exactly the same thing since it's with lettuce instead of a taco shell, but I actually prefer the salad version. It's so much lighter and fresher, and really hits the spot! 

Another thing with this recipe is we used ground turkey. I honestly don't remember the last time I had regular ground beef. Beef is just usually not my protein of choice, not even in chili or regular hamburgers. I much prefer a turkey burger, bison/elk burger or even a veggie burger! With most recipes that call for ground meat, I always just use ground turkey. You can certainly use beef though! 

The idea with this salad is pretty simple: you have everything you'd put on a taco but instead of a shell you just use lettuce! 

For the ground turkey, it was just cooked on the stove top with some onions and seasoned to taste with the typical taco seasonings. Some salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, and a spicy chili blend that we have. Honestly, I'm not sure how much was used, just a few dashes of each. You can certainly make it as spicy or mild as you like. Amanda and our mom are not big fans of spicy so we definitely had this seasoned on the milder side! 

While the meat was browning and cooking, I prepped the toppings. I diced up yellow and orange bell peppers and pearl tomatoes. For the dressing I used an organic salsa and for a bit of a taco-like crunch some tortilla chips! I personally find the tortilla chips to be a must for taco salads! 

It also served as a great appetizer as I was chopping up all the veggies :)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Taking a Rest Week

I made the decision this morning to take an honest to goodness break from all exercise this week. Lifting and running injuries have been popping up, and I'm finally going to listen to my body and give it the rest it's practically yelling for. It's hard because I have so many goals but I realize that is very short-term in the bigger picture. Yes, I want to cross that finish line for the marathon in May so, SO badly but I also want to be running for the next 30+ years. I'm not even kidding when I say that, I have extremely long-term plans for running!

So, I'm taking this toe pain issue seriously and I'm going to take this week off, and then hopefully jump back in to training next week. I've been doing a lot of research and I'm praying that it's an easy fix like a lot of the running experts suggest. Fingers crossed that I can get the right shoes to fix the problem, and that regular icing and exercises can prevent any further pain. That's my game plan for now at least! My main goal is to control it enough to get through the next two months, and if it turns in to something longer then I'll address it after May.

I know, I know that isn't ideal but like I said I signed up for that marathon and I have all intentions of running every single step of it. I'm not giving up that easily! It's only 6 weeks away at this point so I have very little precious time to spare.

I've also given up lifting entirely right now due to a lower back issue that has been flaring up every so often. It happened in the very beginning when I was first lifting, most likely when I was working on better form, and went away for awhile. Well, I admit I probably didn't give my body enough time to rest (I promise that's something I'm learning to work on!) so it's been coming back from time to time. Since it didn't heal all the way, certain moves can really start to aggravate it but again I didn't always give my body enough rest.

That's another change I'm making this week, and I've decided that I really need to try out yoga like I've been saying for many, many, many months (most likely years ha). I've always heard it from other runners that it helps them a lot with running in terms of stretching out muscles and strengthening their body. So since I am wiping my schedule completely clean of all other exercise then there's no time like the present! I'm hoping that the combination of rest and yoga will help my back injury.

Most likely I will keep lifting out of the equation for the next couple months to ensure that my back fully recovers, and to give my full attention to running. I need to remember that even though I'm young, I'm not invincible and I NEED to invest in my body now and take care of it if I want to keep up with exercising.

With that said, I'm off to research some yoga and I'll let you know what I find!

Hope you all have a wonderful start to the week!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Favorites #10

I made sure to post Friday Favorites this week because they've been requested by popular demand! Just kidding, it's only Margot and she told me she checks every Friday but I only post this about a third of the time, sorry about that lovie! My memory is not the best and sometimes I get caught up in writing other posts that all of a sudden it's Friday and I have no favorites to list. So, I even began brainstorming this list last Saturday and even drafting it by the beginning of the week! For me that's a lot of pre-planning haha! I'm never this organized. 


This is obviously my favorite thing about this Friday, and I knew that it would be my favorite since her and I have only had a countdown going for oh I don't know about the past 40 days! She's away at college and I miss her terribly because she's one of my favorite people ever, and I love her dearly. I can't wait to have all kinds of baking sessions, testing out recipes, going for runs, crazy crocheting parties, froyo dates, French bakery excursions, and lots of laughs! She also is getting a puppy today which I am so excited about because I mean it's a puppy, and she's gonna be Layla's new BFF because that would be super adorable. Then we'll be able to have tons of puppy parties and I can't wait! But more importantly I just can't wait to have Margot home for the week!

Is she not the cutest?!

It's not like we're excited or anything! Also I know her name is extremely random but a person's name in my phone is usually a direct correlation of the relationship haha! The weirder the name, the closer we are. 

2. Growing Up Duggar 

Amanda got this book out of the library and it's pretty much played musical book in our family haha! First she read it and then before I could request it, she gave it to Hannah to read. It finally came to me this week and I'm loving it so far! Amanda actually had to renew it because between the three of us wanting to read it, we would go over the allotted borrowing time. All three of us are big fans of the show and watch it a lot, often times without me while I'm at work #rude. As it's probably Amanda's favorite show, our mom had to become a fan by default too!

I love the book because it talks a lot about how they maintain healthy relationships with the people in their lives like their parents, siblings, God, friends, and looking for the right guy. It's written by the four oldest girls Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger (I don't think I mentioned that), and it's really insightful and made me rethink some things in my personal relationships with family and friends. I'd definitely recommend it as I've gotten a lot out of it, and it's a pretty easy read!

3. Chocolate Protein Muffins by Katiesfitscript 

I've been so excited that my coach Katie has been posting more recipes! I had based my protein brownies off one of her pumpkin bars recipe and I really liked the results. Not only is she knowledgeable about fitness and nutrition, but she has great recipe ideas too! I loved these little chocolate protein muffins and were great for an on-the-go post-workout meal. I took them to the gym with me yesterday morning to gobble down after my spin class. The macros are amazing, too, and it makes a pretty good-sized batch of mini muffins. Two thumbs up!

picture source: Katiesfitscript

4. Fit Girl Fuel Conditioning Workout 

Lately, I've really been in to adding little HIIT sessions in after my shorter runs about twice a week. I'll write a separate post about my new workout splits because it's changed a lot lately, for the better! Anyway, usually I'll do this on Mondays and Fridays after a 3-4 miler and it's great because it only takes me about 10 minutes or so, but really gets my heart rate up and finishes off my workout for the morning! I think my body is happiest with a combination of running, lighter lifting, and some conditioning workouts. I've finally found a balance that I'm really happy with so like I said that's another post for another time! Until then, you can check out Marie's workout video here.

If you don't want to watch the video then here's the list of moves:
10 push-up burpees
15 leg raises
20 pop squats
15 bench dips
20 jumping lunges
Repeat 3x or as many as you want

Just a quick note: I substitute the burpees with 100 high knees. Burpees really hurt my lower back so I save myself the pain and just substitute in another move!

5. Lunea Sneakers from Target

I've been doing some shopping for spring, and was in need of a new pair of some comfier walking shoes. A lot of times with my job I'm running around campus going to different visits with participants so in the summer I like to have a more stylish pair of shoes than just tennis shoes but are still comfortable enough. I had this old pair of canvas shoes from Target that I was obsessed with but they got pretty worn down the past three summers! So, I hit the stores trying to find replacement ones and when I couldn't get that same exact pair, I found these sneakers at Target! There are tons of different colors and options all while being very comfortable.

6. Romans 8:38

"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love"

This Bible verse has legitimately been popping up everywhere for me this week! In my daily Bible verse app, my SheReads truth app, and my notebook that has Bible verses printed at the bottom. It's been a very encouraging verse for me this week, and a wonderful reminder!

7. Quote of the week!

"Mercy and grace and compassion are only words without action"

So, I've decided that I'll either do a Bible verse that really spoke to me during the week or a quote that I really liked. This week I couldn't decide since I loved both so I'm including both haha! This quote actually came from a song called Evidence by Citizen Way, and I heard it on the radio the other day and it was one of those songs that make you crank up the volume! When I heard that line I fell in love with the song and the message. I've really been trying this week to keep that in mind as I go about my day because those words will mean nothing if I don't try to reflect God's love and compassion to others around me.

I also have some exciting news that I've finally decided to share on here: I'm officially going to graduate school! After a long process of applying, writing essays, and weighing all the financial pros and cons between the schools, I actually made my decision. There's no turning back, I've already sent in my official "Yes I'm going" letter back to a school! It's still so new and slightly stressful as I think about the numbers and stuff, but I'm putting it all in God's hands. If this is where I'm meant to go, well then that's where I'll go! The rest will fall in to place.

Okay so now I want to hear about some of your favorites from this week!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Lower-Impact Full Body Workout

I wanted to start including some lower impact workouts that you could do in the comfort of your living room but were also modified without sacrificing the sweat! 

I know that a lot of people might have various injuries or weak spots on their bodies that are prone to injuries. For me? Shins and knees get me every time! I have to be careful because running comes first for me so I need to make sure I'm preserving those joints. Like I've said before, I want to be one of the 80 year-old ladies you see kicking butt in the races! I'm a runner for life so I need to make smart decisions about my body now. I like to do short HIIT circuits that are about 10-15 minutes after an easy run about 2 times a week. It keeps things interesting for both me and my muscles! 

This is a great workout, though, for when you need to give your body a break from those higher impact workouts or for others who simply can't handle a million high knees and jump tucks in a row!

I picked some lower impact moves that were modified from more intense ones. I swapped out jumping squats for pop squats, jumping lunges for switch lunges, and the knee-tuck kind of mountain climbers. I don't know if you've noticed this or not but there are two types of mountain climbers that come up when you google the exercise. The main one (at least how I think of them) is when you sort of push your leg up towards your hand in a more explosive movement. That's shown in this video. The second is more of a knee tuck while in a plank position. Which is the kind I'm talking about in this workout since it's lower impact. You can reference this video here!

The switch lunges aren't a jumping lunge but more of a faster lunge if that makes sense at all. I tried finding videos of what I wanted but nothing was coming up! Probably because I was making it up in my head to call them switching lunges haha! Rather than an explosive jump from one lunge to the next, it's more of a little hop in between switching to the next leg. Your feet don't ever actually come off the ground at the same time like they do in a jump lunge. That way it's easier on your knee and hips! Instead you do a lunge on your right leg then quickly bring your right leg back up so that you're in a standing position before quickly pushing back your left leg. That's why I ended up doing a little bit of a hop while I was switching legs in between the lunges. Here's a picture of what I mean that I hope will help:

Here's the rest of the workout! I went through it three times but do it as many times as you want! You don't need any extra weight, just your body weight. If you try it out, let me know how it goes!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Chocolate Banana Protein Brownies with Peanut Butter Frosting

I've been trying to test out some new recipes lately, and I'm happy to say that I have another one for you guys to try! I got inspired by a post for protein pumpkin bars that I saw, and I know it doesn't sound that similar to chocolate banana ones but the basis of the recipe is similar. I played around with some of the ingredients because the first round I made them with applesauce and I wasn't that big of a fan of the texture. I decided to swap out the applesauce and try a banana, and I think it worked out much better! 

So let's get to it. What you'll need: 
1 medium banana
1 cup oats
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk 
2 scoops chocolate protein powder
1 egg
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4-1/2 cup baking stevia
pinch of sea salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

2. Spray a 9x13 pan with non-stick cooking spray 

3. Combine all the ingredients in to a blender and blend until smooth. It will be pretty similar to a regular brownie batter so don't worry if it seems on the thinner side. 

4. Bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes or until the middle seems done. My oven was not cooperating (again) so I hope that temperature and time is accurate for you guys! Just keep an eye on the brownies as they're baking to make sure it's going alright. 

*Recipe adapted from Katiesfitscript*

Just a quick note: I added stevia to my batch because my protein powder has very little added sweeteners. There is some stevia but not a whole lot so I added in some extra stevia to the batter. If you have a sweeter protein powder then you might not need to add as much or if you have a much riper banana that could add sweetness. Just taste the batter once everything is combined and check for your sweetness level! I don't always have the biggest sweet tooth so for me, 1/4 cup baking stevia was the perfect amount. 

While the brownies are baking you can throw together the peanut butter frosting if you like! It's super simple and only two ingredients: homemade honey roasted peanut butter and cool whip! This is totally optional but for me whenever I make a recipe there are pretty much two questions-- 1) did this work out okay? and 2) can I put peanut butter on this?? 

This was happily a recipe with a yes to each of those questions! 

So I decided to make a little frosting with the peanut butter and cool whip that I had laying around. I didn't need to add any sweeteners since the honey roasted peanuts took care of that but if you're using plain peanut butter you could always add some if you want! 

For the frosting you'll need: 
2 tbsp honey roasted peanut butter 
~1/2 cup cool whip 

I used very rough measurements for the frosting, I just mixed it until it got to a consistency that I liked! I'm trying to get better at actually measuring things so that I can accurately pass it on to you guys, but this was one of those times where you just sort of eyeball it. So you might end up using more or less than a 1/2 cup of cool whip but like I said that was a rough estimate. 

The finished product!

The other best part? Check out those macros! This recipe made 9 good-sized brownies and each one only 79 calories. Just an fyi but this is without the icing. If you add in the peanut butter frosting then it's another 30 calories per brownie. Still, an entire brownie with frosting for only 110 calories? I'll take it! 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday Favorites #9

Happy Friday my friends!

This morning was absolutely wonderful for so many reasons. Since I like to over-share, you know I'm going to tell you all about them anyway! First, I got to sleep in until 6:15am which may not sound like sleeping in to a lot of people but I get up at 5am during the week so yeah I'll take that extra hour and 15! Secondly, I was able to run with Amanda which was awesome because we don't get to run together that often. We took Layla, too since Amanda was only planning on doing 3 miles. It was so sweet to watch Layla because she gets super excited when we're all able to run together as a little pack haha! After we hit the 3 mile mark, Amanda took Layla home with her and then I finished the last 2 miles by myself. The last couple miles alone were so peaceful and serene to watch the sun come up, and a great time to pray and thank God for being alive! Does that ever happen to other runners out there?! Sometimes it'll just suddenly hit me like how truly amazing life is, and I reflect on it all. I start thinking about how cool it is that our bodies are capable of so much, and the gift of being able to live out what I love doing every morning. It's truly a blessing, and I'm so thankful for running!

Anyway, back to my favorites this week! I had all intentions of posting this last week but then you know me, I kinda forgot as usual. So this is technically a combination of last week's and this week's favorites.

1. Perfect Whole Wheat Pancakes

I legitmately made these for dinner approximately 5 out of the 7 days last week. Amanda actually started to get on my case because I only wanted pancakes for dinner. I made no apologies because these are amazing!

I ending up taking a screen shot of the recipe because I got tired of having to keep going back to my Pinterest app, scroll through my boards, open the recipe, and then make it (so rough haha). So by just being able to have the picture cut down the time it took me to get a plate of these delicious pancakes in front of me!

You can find the recipe here

2. Denver visiting!

I realized that most of the pictures I'm including this week are screen shots so I apologize for the even less-than-professional-looking pictures! Maybe one of these days I'll actually invest in a good camera. It's on my to-do list! P.s. shout out to Hannah for photo bombing this one! I was taking the screen shot of Amanda's snap chat, and then I saw the text from Hannah but I was like "I got ninja reflexes so I totally hit the buttons in time before her text showed up." As you can see, this picture tells what really happened...

Anywhooo, Denver is such a little sweetie, and he's probably going to be staying with us for another week. I figured it would most likely turn from 2 weeks into 3 but I don't mind at all! Layla loves having him here, and I love getting hilarious pictures like this one throughout the day. The two of them are adorable together! 

3. Great Value Flavored Drinks

Amanda originally got these for our mom at Walmart because we have to get on her case sometimes about drinking enough water throughout the day. She didn't really like them but I ended up loving them! They're made with stevia so no artificial sweeteners, and are 30 calories for the whole packet. I have the mango pineapple, and strawberry watermelon, and both are great! I just put one in my 32-oz water bottle, and the ratio is perfect! Sometimes I might struggle to get the last water bottle in for the day (I drink about 1-1.5 gallons total) so this is a helpful way to reach my water intake.

4. Luke 6:31

I subscribe to the Encouraging Word of the day from my favorite radio station, K-Love. It's such a positive way for me to start my day since the email comes out pretty early so it's there in time for me even when I get up at 5am! Without fail, they send it out every morning and I love waking up to a small snippet of God's Word. I usually write down or screen shot the ones that really speak to me that week, and last Tuesday it was this verse from Luke. This was my favorite from the week because lately, especially with social media, it just seems as though people aren't nice or respectful anymore. We forget that we're called to love on one another, and to treat others as we want to be treated. So, I wanted to share this one because it was a great reminder for me to remember to show and spread love! 

5. Family Dinners

I wanted to share some news about my grandma, and for those of you who don't know she's been battling leukemia. Well, she'll have to be on the chemo pills for the rest of her life, BUT her numbers have drastically decreased which is amazing! She technically can never be in remission since this is a type of leukemia that will always be there in her body, but she is pretty close to remission as it possible with this type of cancer. We know that things can change, though, at the drop of a hat so we're still praying for her. But for the time being we're thankful for how God has worked in her life, and she is doing so much better! In fact, she's been able to come around for our Friday night family dinners the past two weeks when she wasn't able to before for health reasons. She even hosted a family dinner night at her house this past Sunday which was a huge deal! I can't even put in to words what it means to have her be able to be a part of family gatherings again.

6. She Reads Truth: 12 Days of Gratitude Plan

The She Reads Truth app is one of my favorites in general! I downloaded the Bible in a Year plan but also looked in to other ones. I found the 12 Days of Gratitude Plan for under a dollar, and I love it so far! It's just a few chunks of scripture that focus on giving gratitude in different circumstances. For example, giving thanks in times of stress, times of plenty, times of sorrow, times of joy, etc. I take about 10-20 minutes a day to just sit and have quiet time with God, and read that day of the plan and then take down notes of things I learned, verses I liked, and my daily prayer to God. I'm on day 9, and I will definitely be sad once it's over!

I'm just gonna end the post with these two cuties! This is definitely by far my favorite picture of the two of them :) photo credit goes to Amanda so she doesn't yell at me haha!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Finally Getting Back to Running!

My mood has been off the charts this week and being able to run outside on a regular basis probably has to do with most of that! I have missed being able to run so much that it was like an ache, call me dramatic but I truly love it that much!

The ice is officially (hopefully) gone which means I'm free to run until my leggies give out, and I'm taking full advantage of that. I was actually talking to my coworker earlier as we were walking back to the office about the battle I'm currently having. The weather is GORGEOUS right now, clear with not a cloud in the sky, sunny, and a crisp 45-50 degrees. Now that's my kinda weather! It's not too hot, not too cold, all you need is a light jacket. Anyone seen 'Miss Congeniality'? If so, you know the reference I'm making!

Okay back to my point but I really, really, reallyyyy want to go for a run today but I already ran Monday, Tuesday, and yesterday plus I'm planning on going tomorrow and then a tester long run on Saturday (trying for a minimum of 10). I know that I need to make up some miles from the past couple weeks for marathon training but I also know not to jump back into it too quickly.

Today is supposed to be my scheduled rest day but it's really hard listening to logic right now when I just want to soak up all this lovely weather! I'll be honest, I know myself and I'll eventually listen to my better sense but for the time being it's going to be a struggle. In the end I know that taking it easy and skipping an extra run today is better than potentially injuring myself in the future and not being able to run at all.

I can't remember if I shared this on here or not but I was experiencing some pretty uncomfortable pain in my left foot that I've never, ever had before. It started probably in December and I got concerned because it really started to limit me to less than 10 miles. Shin and knee pain I know what it means and I know how to fix it but never my foot. It worked out that I couldn't run with all the ice because I think my foot needed some rest. So far it's been good this week which is the main reason I want to ease back in to running. My long run on Saturday will hopefully give me a better idea about what's going on with my foot! Before I had to struggle to get over 8 miles which is no bueno for a marathon!

Amanda and I have decided that we're just going to give it our best shot over the next 7 weeks (eeee that sounds so close!) with making up the lost miles and see what happens on the marathon day! I realize that may not sound the smartest/best plan to most people but hey I want to do a marathon and there's no time like the present! I signed up for that bad boy, and I fully intend to run it unless my legs fall off or something.

Okay, so on the nutrition end of things I still have not been fully tracking. I plug some things in every day but then life happens and things change. I'm loving it, and I feel even more free than when I was doing macros. Don't get me wrong, I'll always be grateful for the freedom IIFYM gave me but I'm on to the next chapter in my life!

I figured I would share a couple of the meals I've been eating this past week!

The other great thing about this time of year? Fruits are coming back in season! I'm a fruit/veggie nut so I get really excited when my favorites start coming back in season. Amanda picked up some strawberries and other fruits at Aldi's this week, and as soon as I saw those strawberries I knew what must be done...

It's my second favorite oatmeal recipe so I was in heaven when I saw the ripe strawberries that Amanda found! I made this for breakfast at work this week, and topped it off with some stevia for added sweetness. Along with my coffee it was the perfect start to my day! 

On Monday night, Amanda made ground turkey meatballs in the crock pot that were delicious! She found a Paleo gluten-free recipe I think on Pinterest. I'll see if I can find the link for you guys because I was a big fan of the recipe. We also steamed some broccoli to serve the meatballs over. It was a great low-carb option that was packed with protein! 

Yesterday I did an easy 5 miles with the sun still out even after 5pm! It was fantastic but also really throwing me off at the same time. I kept feeling like it was only 3 or 3:30 and even when I got back after 5:30 I wasn't too hungry for dinner at first. It was almost like my body didn't think it was time for dinner yet since it was still too light out haha! Is there actually any science backing that up? I'm curious. 

Even though I wasn't actually super hungry, I knew my muscles needed some post-recovery fuel. Brinner was on the menu (it happens like twice a week at least haha) so I whipped myself up an egg white veggie scramble. This one had cauliflower and spinach mixed in, it was exactly what I needed after my run! 

I've also still been on my Jodi Picoult kick and pretty much just reading all of her books (I blame my friend at work haha!). I never knew there were so many! I picked up The Tenth Circle this week, and literally finished it in less than 3 days. So far I've read: My Sister's Keeper, Nineteen Minutes, Plain Truth, Leaving Time, Vanishing Acts, House Rules, and The Storyteller which was definitely my favorite out of them all so far. For those of you who are big fans of her, which one do you recommend next?! 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Marinated Balsamic Veggie Salad

In true me style, I fashioned myself a little bowl of veggies without really knowing how it would turn out. I'd say about 90% of my recipes are just "let's throw this all together just to see what happens", and roughly it works about half the time. The other half ehhh not so much!

This recipe wasn't so much of a risk but it turned out well anyway! I wasn't sure how it would do with the dressing sitting over night but it was one of those times that I didn't feel like bringing 500 tupperware containers to work for my lunch since I already had so many others to bring in that day. So I told myself that I would let the vegetables "marinate" to make it sound more like I knew what I was doing. I know, such a science right? So to avoid using a separate container to keep the dressing in, I just added it on the veggies the night before and let it sit until lunch the next day.

For the vegetables I cut up two pearl tomatoes (little bit bigger than grape tomatoes), one mini cucumber, and an orange bell pepper. The ratios of vegetables doesn't really matter, that's just what I had on hand! Then, I used a tablespoon of light balsamic vinaigrette to cover them and mixed it all together.

It was the perfect side salad for my lunch! Very light and refreshing. I haven't been keeping track or calculating but it's safe to say that it was under 100 calories but that depends on the dressing you use, mine is only 25 calories a tablespoon!

What are some of your favorite recipes to throw together at the last minute?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Another "Eggcellent" Weekend!

Whoops I've definitely been slacking on posting! I have a bunch of different little ones that are in the making but I just realized now that I haven't posted anything since last Tuesday. It just felt like it hadn't been that long since I've technically been working on different posts all week! 

I have an exciting announcement, though, yesterday Amanda got: 

Chickens! Did you figure it out by my oh-so-clever-but-not-really post title?!

I told my one coworker this morning and her immediate reaction was "to eat them??" Nah, they're for laying eggs! My aunt has some in her backyard and it might sound unusual to have them while living in a small suburban town but I think it's pretty cool. I wasn't too crazy about the idea at first since I didn't know what would happen when we'd eventually move or if they'd bee too high maintenance or noisy. Plus, I don't eat that many whole eggs (just the egg whites normally) so I didn't want all the eggs to go to waste. 

Amanda's birthday is around the corner, though, so I decided to be a good sister and caved so she could get what she truly wanted this year. I mean I finally got my dog so I honestly don't really mind at this point! As long as I have Layla I'm happy haha! Which means yesterday we had a whole family outing to a chicken farm! And when I say chicken farm I mean this farm was swarming with chickens of all breeds and ages. I never knew there could be so many different breeds of chickens but there are dozens! 

These were some of the wee little baby chicks that were so cute! 

We ended up getting four adolescent chickens and all of them were a different breed that will lay different colored eggs. That way we'll be able to tell which of the chickens are laying eggs if there comes a time when they're too old and no longer laying. Don't worry, I'm not going to allow Amanda to send away the old ones! We'll just build another coop next door so there will be a retirement place for the older ones :) 

Count on me to be the one person who gets too attached to their chickens haha! Also, the condition that I gave Amanda if she got the chickens is that I got to name them. I told her I'd pick the most ridiculous names I could think of and she wasn't allowed to change them. 

So far we have: 
Garthetta (Garthie for short)

Yes, Garthetta is not a name. But my cousin Hannah has an obsession with Garth Brooks the country singer and kept telling me to name one of the chickens Garth. Well since that's a boy's name my aunt joked around and said to call her Garthetta to make it a girl. So that's how that came about and we'll call her Garthie as a nickname! I know we're ridiculous! But I love it so it's sticking. 

So far Amanda has approved of the names but we're looking for a fourth! I told my friend Megan she could have the honor of naming the fourth so we're waiting to see as they get older which names fit each of them. We're open to any suggestions and the more fun/crazy/random, the better! 

Right now they're set up in Layla's old crate on our sun porch. It worked out because Layla hasn't needed her crate since she was about 6 months and the chickens can't go outside yet since they're not old enough. My dad is building the coop for us so in the next month or so when they're able to go outside, their new home will be ready! For now, they're fine in the dog crate with everything they need. 

Layla absolutely LOVES them so far. I swear there's no one or nothing that she doesn't like! As soon as we got them set up yesterday, I had her come out because I want her socialized to them as soon as possible. That way she'll always have a good reaction to them, won't hurt them, or won't get too excited or curious about them. All I did was allow her to come to them on her own, sniff around their stuff, and then opened the door for her so she could see them. After she seemed comfortable, I took one out and let her sniff it up close. I made sure to be calm and neutral about it so she could read my take on the situation. If she sees that I'm calm and comfortable then that's how she'll react to them too! I don't want her to get overexcited with them and think they're something to play with or worse to chase or hunt. 

This morning she was super cute. As soon as I opened the door from the living to go on to the sun porch to let her outside, she went right over to the crate, jumped up so she could put her paws on the table, and then wagged her tail!

On another happy note, I was able to run outside again this weekend and today, too! The best part was I was able to take Layla with me this morning. It's finally gotten to the point where most of the ice is off the sidewalks so I feel comfortable taking her with me again. Before it was too much of a hassle to negotiate myself through the dark with the ice let alone have her to possibly slip too and take me off balance.

We did a nice easy run this morning since the poor thing hasn't been able to come with me since probably the first week of January or so. It's been so long that I've completely lost track! We did between 2-3 miles and she loved it! As soon as I told her we were going for a run this morning her little ears perked right up. She got absolutely filthy with all the water and muddy patches but I just toweled her down really well and wiped her clean with wet paper towels. I didn't mind at all because I love being able to take her running with me! Plus she has to go to the groomers soon anyway so I'll let them take care of the deep cleaning!

I'm going to work on getting some other posts up soon but I hope you all had a great weekend and wonderful start to the week! 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

I finally got to run OUTSIDE!

So I just got back from a lovely three-day weekend, and feel very much refreshed! Sometimes it's great to just plan out a mental health day especially since I'm going to have a next couple of busy weeks at work. But what I was most excited about this weekend was that I got to run outside! Oh, and that we have another doggie in the house :) except unfortunately that's not permanent. We're just watching a friend's dog! 

His name is Denver and he's made an appearance before on here since we watch him probably a couple times a year. This time he's staying for two whole weeks! Which will more than likely turn into three but I have no complaints because he's a sweetie! And a lab which happen to be my favoriteeee! Shhhh don't tell Layla. 

Ok, back to running since this post is called how I got to run outside and not "how I'm a crazy dog lady: evidence #3,098". 

It was definitely still cold Saturday morning but the sun was out and not a cloud in the sky! The sidewalks and roads seemed to be finally clear so I knew there was no way I was NOT going to not take advantage of that. Single digit degrees be darned! I was going to run outside!

And I did and it was glorious and the best 45 minutes of my weekend! That is honestly how excited I was to be able to run outside and in the sunshine! I just doubled up on the under armor, had on extra socks and gloves, and I was one happy runner. 

It really didn't seem that cold once I got started, and the sun warmed me up. I will admit it was a little rough in the beginning because I have kind of a cold so the congestion was a little hard to deal with especially once the cold air started to loosen things up even more and there was just a lot going on sinus-wise (TMI? oh well I think we're at that point together now).

I didn't plan out a specific mileage but decided to just kinda run wherever I felt like. I planned on doing about 45 minutes because I figured that would ease me back in nicely, and prevent me from turning into a complete popsicle. It was the perfect amount of time spent running! 

On Sunday there was once again another blizzard that then turned into another ice storm sooo there went my plans for running outside the rest of this week! I'm not going to let it get me down but rather just focus on making up more indoor workouts! 

I watched the snow safely from inside with a cup of hot chocolate to stay cozy! 

Then, Denver arrived on Monday morning! Amanda had spent the weekend visiting her friend, and then brought him back with her so he could stay with us. Layla was over the moon to see him as I knew she would because she loves everyone! Amanda and I joke around that Denver is the male version of Layla but it's so true! They're both so laid-back, friendly, playful and sweet! 

I love Denver but I told Amanda that if he's staying with us for that long then we're going to have to do a sort of "doggie boot camp" because he's a little rough around the edges training-wise. I'm not claiming Layla is perfectly behaved or anything but I am pretty proud of how well she does for only being a little over a year old. Denver is nearly 4 but there are a few things that I'll be working on with him while he's staying with us. He's not badly behaved at all there are just certain areas that he could use a touch more discipline and consistency. Just small stuff that I usually take for granted in Layla since she's already learned it. 

I also had to share this video because Layla can be such a nut sometimes! Her and Denver had been playing most of the afternoon so he was trying to take a break but Layla was having none of that! She kept jumping around him in circles trying to get him to play with her again. I couldn't help but laugh because she's such a goofball!