❤️ StrongBody Streak

strongbody

When I think of February, I think of Valentine’s Day. Which makes me think of chocolate love. One thing I haven’t been loving so much lately (and really should)? Strength training. What happens when I stop loving up on my strength training? Injuries. Well, it’s a new year and I have a new attitude, and I would like to stay injury free for a little while.

Over the past month, I’ve gone from having zero inspiration to run/workout to being somewhat back to my normal self. I’ve cleaned up my diet and gotten back into a routine. I’ve lost the weight I gained over the holidays, and I feel better in general. I’m still struggling with getting my run speed back, but it’s a work in progress. Ultimately, I think I am thankful I took a break over the holidays. A few weeks ago when I was huffing and puffing on my runs, I might have said otherwise.

One thing I’ve been neglecting is strength work, and my body is letting me know. I have the usual aches and pains that come along with marathon training. Some tweaks that I feel are just because marathon training does put wear and tear on your body, but some are because I’ve let a few things go to the wayside. I do a lot of upper body strength work with my pole fitness addiction. But I’ve sort of lost sight of regular core work outside of pole fitness (remember when I was doing 6 minute planks? My abs don’t), hips, and lifting for my lower body.

Overall, I could use a good strength focus to reinforce some good habits. I’m teaming up with Elaine over at myRUNexperiment to work on this, and we would like all of you to join us!! If you haven’t check out her blog, head on over and say hello! She did a successful strength streak over the holidays, and it was inspirational to me.

For the month of February, we invite you to participate in our 29 day ❤️ StrongBody Streak! All you have to do is commit to 15 minutes per day of strength training. You decide what sort of activity you want to do during those 15 minutes and make it happen. If you need a little inspiration, you can request to join our soon to be up and running Facebook group. We are going to post daily to hold ourselves accountable and share ideas for some great workouts! Maybe you want to choose part of your body that you want to strengthen and use that as your focus. Or perhaps you want get into some full body strength training and need a place to start. And hey, if you want to do a 15 minute plank everyday, that counts! Or 15×1 minute planks – go for it!! It’s all fair game.

The challenge begins on February 1st. Let’s make 2016 a strong, injury free year starting with a ❤️ StrongBody as our foundation!

Who’s in?  Let us know by posting in the comment section, then look for our up and coming Facebook group, ❤️StrongBody Streak and request to join.

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Foodie Fridays: Eggplant Lasagna (Paleo-ish!)

I was one of those people who went to the grocery store before the blizzard. Except I waited until the first flakes began to fall, and then I headed out to avoid the zoo. It was a good strategy.

I did not, however, go to the store for eggs, milk, and bread like everyone jokes about. I had a list of ingredients for some recipes I wanted to try, and in the event that I got snowed in I had big plans for cooking. We sure did get snowed in, with snow totaling 32″ in our area and I sure did cook. When the blizzard hit, I made junk food to celebrate. I also spent a few hours trying some paleo-ish recipes.

The recipe I’m sharing with you this week was inspired by something I found on Pinterest, but it’s my own recipe. Eggplant lasagna simply uses eggplant as your lasagna noodles. The original recipe caught my eye because of the use of eggplant, but I didn’t like the ingredients or method so I just made my own. I LOVED the idea of using eggplant for lasanga noodles instead of zucchini, which most people do. I like zucchini, but I think eggplant is more fitting for this type of dish. When I think of italian dishes, I think of things like eggplant parm or eggplant rollatini. The use of eggplant in place of lasagna noodles just makes sense to me.

With that being said, if the eggplant thing turns you off, just replace “eggplant” with “zucchini” and you will get a similar result. It’s funny how many people informed me that they are not an eggplant fan. Personally, I LOVE it. I prefer it to zucchini and squash. But I am realizing that a lot of people don’t feel that eggplant love. It’s cool. You can still enjoy some fake lasagna noodles using an alternate veggie if eggplant isn’t your jam.

The thing that makes this recipe paleo “ish” is the addition of cheese. Cheese is a grey area in the paleo world. While there is no evidence that dairy was consumed in the Paleolithic era, many people who follow a Paleo diet eat cheese in moderation. I’m one of those people. Honestly, I’d be happy if you gave me a huge chunk of any kind of cheese to gnaw on. I love it that much…thus why I’m an in moderation person. Cutting it out is out of the question.

I try to use organic, pasture-raised, grass-fed, full fat and fermented products when I can find it and if my budget allows. If you want to go even further, try to find raw dairy direct from the farmer, which will retain all the original properties of the milk. We do have some local dairy farmers that sell their products to the general public, but I haven’t investigated that.

I always use the full fat, whole milk options when it comes to dairy. I believe having fat in your diet is healthy as long as you are consuming the good fats. I also don’t agree with the process that dairy goes through to make something “low fat” (like skim, 1% and 2% milk) because it goes through a scary process and raises the sugar levels in the product. And what does sugar do? It’s metabolized in your body both as a carbohydrate and as a fat. I could go on and on, but that’s a post for a different day. Mostly, I want to you feel the eggplant lasagna love so feel free to use whatever your dairy preference is.

This was SO GOOD, and my husband LOVED it. He loves real pasta, but he really enjoyed this lasagna variation and didn’t miss it. You can certainly change this recipe up – swap out the beef for ground turkey or ground sausage, etc. I had the beef on hand so that was my choice of protein. It’s not the prettiest to photograph:

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Paleo-ish Eggplant Lasagna

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb grass fed ground beef
  • 1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups of shredded mozzarella
  • 2 ounces (about a half cup) of parmesan reggiano (or pecorino romano)
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Crushed red pepper

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Slice the eggplant about 1/4″ thick and place on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes, flipping each piece halfway through.
  3. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and heat on medium heat. Add the onion and cook  until soft and translucent, 5-6 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, a pinch of crushed red pepper, and a pinch of dried basil. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  5. Add the ground beef and saute. Using a wooden spoon, break up the chunks and cook until the meat is browned and loses its raw color.
  6. Add the can of tomato sauce and another pinch of crushed red pepper and dried basil. Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Off the heat, season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the chopped fresh basil.
  7. Place a small amount of the sauce at the bottom of a 9×13 dish (or casserole dish of similar size) and spread around in a thin layer (to prevent the eggplant from sticking). Place a layer of eggplant “noodles” on the bottom of the pan. Add half of the sauce/meat mixture and spread on top of the eggplant. Add 1 cup of the mozzarella, and a few tablespoons of the parmesan. Add another layer of eggplant noodles, another cup of mozzarella, and more parmesan. Add the final layer of eggplant noodles, the final cup of cheese, and remaining parmesan.
  8. Bake, uncovered, for 12-15 minutes at 425 or until the lasagna is bubbling. Let it sit for a few minutes, and enjoy!
  9. If you make this dish ahead and refrigerate it, just take it out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for about an hour. Place in the the oven at 425, covered with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil, and bake for 15 more minutes or until bubbling.

 

Not in Kansas Anymore…

When I posted last week’s music post and my last training update, I snuck a few words in there about a little competition that I may or may not be registered for.

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Whoops. So it seems I will be competing in my first pole competition. Who am I?

A few months ago, the owner of the studio I frequent started talking about the competition. I had zero interest in participating, but I thought it would be cool to put a routine together just for fun. My sister in law, Cassie, was the interested party and didn’t want to do it alone. She’s really, REALLY, good. I told her that if she were to do it, I would do it. It was more about getting her to sign up because she is good enough to win, but was lacking confidence.

Fast forward to last week – we agreed to sign up. So I registered…and a few hours later she texts me that her husband’s college graduation is THE SAME DAY. They got married young and he went into the Navy, so he’s just now graduating. She has to go to the graduation, so there’s a good chance that she can’t compete due to the timeline posted for the competition.

But…but….I already registered. What the actual fuck did I get myself into.

So now seems I need to come up with a routine for this very different type of event. I have no problem training for a race and showing up prepared. But pole dancing? I’ve been doing this for less than a year. Let’s also discuss the part where I can’t actually dance. I’m not just saying, “oh, I suck at dancing” and want everyone to be all, “ohhh but you’re so GOOD!” No, like, I really suck at dancing and I could swear that I really have two left feet.

I throw down a short trick reel on a pole, but you can’t just get up and do four minutes of your most badass tricks (or can you? My teacher seems to think otherwise). I’ve been dusting off some of my crazy yoga moves in hopes that I can use those as “floor work” because Lord knows I am the opposite of “sexy” when I try to dance (or ever, really). Trust me, my husband would second this claim. I can’t dance. It’s going to be quite comical.

I am so in over my head. The categories you could choose to compete in are:

  • Amateur
  • Freestyle
  • Masters
  • Burlesque
  • Championship
  • Exotic

Freestyle, burlesque and exotic were out. Freestyle was out because I can’t just start busting out moves – at this point, I need to think about it ahead of time. Exotic and burlesque were out for obvious reasons. That left amateur, masters, and championship. I’m a newbie – so amateur, right? Wrong. So very wrong…

Amateur:

  • This event is designed to welcome new pole dancers into the art of competition. Great, this is for me.
  • In this category, they will showcase basic beginner tricks, spins and movements. Perfect, I can do that. 
  • Competitors in this category must keep 4 points of contact on the pole when inverting.  But my best tricks all use 2-3 points of contact…that means I can’t even do a butterfly.
  • Inversions must all happen from the floor, aerial inverting is not allowed at this level. I can’t invert from a climb?
  • Use of spin pole is not required at this level. No spinny? No bueno. Moving on…

Masters

  • This event is for our intermediate pole dancers. I’m a beginner…okay, sure, intermediate. Lets go with that.
  • Aerial inversions are allowed as long as 3 points of contact are used. More my speed…
  • Use of spin pole in this category is required. This sounds like it’s for me.
  • In this category, competitors must keep 3 points of contact when inverting. Better, but three? No ayeshas. No jackknives. No pencils. No fun. 

Championship

  • This event is for those dancers wishing to compete with a traditional technical competitive aspect. I mean, I’m not trying to make a career out of pole dancing…
  • Designed to offer competitors the type of experience found at the other major pole competitions, the focus will be on the dancer’s technique, flexibility, artistry and difficulty of tricks. HAI’m not a dancer, I’m not very flexy, I am certainly not an artist. I guess I can do some fancy tricks, but that’s about it.
  • This category is designed for the advanced pole dancer. Intermediate was a stretch. I can’t stretch that any further.
  • There are no restritions on inversions in this level. Can aerial invert using as little as 1 point of contact. I can do all of my best tricks…
  • Use of spin pole required. Well of course it is. Yay.

I was still leaning towards masters, but when I got to the studio that night and we were discussing the categories the owner informed us that we had to do championship based on our abilities. I mean, she would have supported the decision to choose the masters category but she strongly suggested we choose championship so we didn’t have to limit ourselves when designing the routine.

So I chose championship. Efffff.

What it really came down to was the whole “points of contact” thing. I’m not graceful or sexy, but I am strong. My most impressive moves have minimal contact with the pole. If I want to be able to choreograph something without being restricted, I have to be in this level.

I wouldn’t quite as nervous I’d registered for amateur or masters. The championship thing sort of terrifies me. I don’t expect to win anything at ALL, but I am in way over my head in that category.

The thing is, it scares me and that was the real reason why I committed to the competition and the category. The things that scare me the most have always brought me the greatest sense of pride and accomplishment. I was scared to sign up for my first race, and practically shit my pants when I registered for my first marathon (believable since I do that in training sometimes anyway) but I did it and now I can’t imagine my life without running.

I’ve never been the kind of person to let fear stop me from doing something. I’m just as scared (if not more) to stand on a stage and spin around half naked on a pole and be judged for it. But you know what? Even if I fall off the pole, or split my shorts, or my boob pops out, I’ll survive and have a great story to tell.

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What I’m Working Out to Wednesday

Alessia Cara
Here

I don’t have too much to say about this jam because to be honest, I am actually pretty unfamiliar with the artist. I just downloaded the whole album though, and it seems pretty great. This song comes up when I’m listening to Pandora (I need to get on Spotify yesterday) and I always love jamming out to it. I love her voice, and how I feel like she never really takes a breath. And the lyrics are awesome. It describes how I feel when I’m in an uncomfortable social situation and I want to go home, ha!

Ever hear of this chick? Thoughts?

Boston Marathon Training: Hansons, Week 6

Did you guys hear about winter storm Jonas, #Blizzard2016? Even if you weren’t affected, just log onto any social media outlet and you are bound to see pictures of the magnificent event that occurred over the past weekend. I know it’s not Wednesday, but since the storm has been named Jonas I’ve had this stuck in my head…

Who couldn’t use a little old school Weezer on a Monday morning anyway? Plus, I have tickets to go see them in June ❤

So, I live in northeastern PA – the Lehigh Valley – and we got 32″ of snow! What!! I know I should be whining and crying about it (especially since it doesn’t make Boston training very easy), but I love snow. I love winter, and I love the snow. I swear half the reason I became a teacher was so I could fully enjoy the snow and the summer.

Training went really well this week, even with the blizzard. I’ll get into it, but between tacking on some extra miles on my easy runs this week and adding to my long run, I ended up only being about 3 miles short of where I wanted to be because of the snow. I had very productive track and tempo runs, and a surprisingly successful long run in the aftermath of the snow. I’ll take it!

Here’s my pace guide:

Marathon Goal –  3:05
Marathon Pace/Tempo Runs –  7:03/mile
Recovery Runs – 9:11/mile
Aerobic A/Easy – 8:36
Aerobic B/Easy – 8:01
Long Run: 7:42

Monday, 1/18: Skiing + Pole Fitness

Mondays are scheduled easy run days on the Hansons plan, and Wednesdays are rest days. It was FREEZING out and I had to meet my dad at 7:15 am for our annual “Daddy Daughter Ski Day” at Blue Mountain. We usually do this Christmas week, but considering the 70 degree temps and lack of snow, we had to move it. I decided I would run after skiing, but then skiing kicked my ASS. I came home and completely passed out – the cold, the wind, and just being on skis for the first time this season was rough. I knew it meant I would have to make it up on Wednesday. I’m trying to follow Hansons to a T, but sometimes life happens. It’s not like I’m skipping the miles, just moving them.

That’s my dad on the far left in blue, and me next to him in the plaid jacket freezing my butt off:

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And of course, a quick morning coffee break to warm up – me in the front left, my dad is in the back in the blue vest (no hat):
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I grew up skiing, and my dad is the ski patrol director at Jack Frost Mountain. He’s retired, so it’s a great gig for him. He’s pretty much the coolest 63 year old guy I know. Not only does he ski, but he plays lead guitar in two different bands and plays out several times per week. I am completely serious when I say that my parents are way cooler than I am.

After lunch with a group and a nap at home, I made it to pole class. After a nap and some dinner, I made it to the 6:15 class. I had a great class and learned a new transition into a Janeiro (my favorite). It’s more of a video kind of thing, so you have to check out Instagram for that!

Tuesday, 1/19: Track Workout: 3 mile warm up, 4×1200 w/400 recoveries, 3 mile cool down (about 10 miles) + Myrtls/Core

I did my track workout on the treadmill AGAIN. It was cold and windy and I was being a baby. It’s not the warm up or the intervals in the cold that bothers me, but the cool down. I’ve been trying to really do the longer end of these “something of substance” runs. The last time it was this cold and I headed to the track (two weeks ago), I had a really hard time with the cool down. It was like my legs went numb from the cold – it was so strange. Hansons recommends a 1.5-3 mile cool down, and I think I barely made it to the 1.5 that day. I feel like the past two weeks on the treadmill have been more quality miles, but I do want to get back on the actual track.

But to keep it real and honest, I’ve been having a hard time with my interval paces lately and I could deal with it better on the treadmill. I had a goal of hitting 4:27-4:42 for each interval, which is about a 5:58-6:18 pace. I did 4:34, 4:36, 4:35, 4:35! I actually felt really strong. I knew we might get a huge storm this weekend and might be confined to speed work on the treadmill for awhile now, but I feel more confident about taking my interval work back to the track.

I followed the run up with MYTRLs and some core work. I felt pretty good! I think I really like 1200s.

Wednesday, 1/19:  7 Mile Easy Run + Skiing

First of all, I had to run in the morning and started the day to a dead Garmin – like dead as in RIP, I need a new one. 😦

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I used it as a glorified stopwatch on my run, but no GPS signal. When I run on my road in the morning, I know where to turn around for various distances so I just ran and logged the time overall, no splits. It was around an 8:30 pace.

I’m so bummed that I can’t go to pole on Wednesdays for a while, but I am one of the advisers for the high school ski club. I have a 6 week obligation to be at the mountain on Wednesdays.

It was a good night up at the mountain. It was cold, but not too cold and we skied for a good two hours. It wasn’t crowded so we got a lot of good runs in. Blue Mountain is our local mountain and they offer night skiing. I have my own equipment and get passes at a discounted rate (it ends up costing me less than $20 to ski each time I go), so most times I don’t go for a full day of skiing. The mountains around here aren’t too big to begin with and the lack of snow this season has made it tough for the resorts to get all of the trails open, so we get bored pretty quickly. We had a blast, and I was home at a reasonable hour.

Thursday, 1/14: 12 Mile Tempo Run w/7 Miles @ Goal Marathon Pace + Pole Fitness

I was so nervous for this run all day. Hansons recommends a 1.5-3 mile warmup and cool down, so I should run anywhere from 10-13 miles. I wanted to run at least 11 since that’s what I did last week, but no more than 12. I was already upping the intensity of this run by adding another marathon paced mile, so I wanted to be careful about tacking on too much distance. That’s usually when problems arise for me.

At work, I was tired and chilled all day. I was concerned that I was getting sick. I grabbed a coffee after work and headed to the Plainfield trail. My brother lent me his Garmin (the FR405, which I liked!) since mine was busted, and I got started. I kept the pace easy for the first three miles to warm up – 8:30-8:40 pace. I still wasn’t sure how I felt, but when I hit mile 3 I knew it was go time. I picked up the pace and cranked out my 7 miles: 7:01, 7:03, 7:05, 6:44, 6:54, 7:01, 6:45!!! The 7:05 is technically two seconds slow, but it was slightly uphill and I was under my goal for five of the miles, so it all averages out and it was a success in my book.

It was so strange because I really felt so good. The past few weeks of tempo runs have made me believe I should rethink my goal. And maybe I should, but this run gave me so much confidence. Even though I was successful with last week’s tempo, it felt MUCH harder and it was a mile shorter. I thought adding a mile would make this even more torturous, but it wasn’t as bad as I expected. At one point, I was at mile 6 of the run (but only 3 miles into my 7 mile tempo) and I had a string of really great songs come on my shuffle. I had my old Garmin set to vibrate AND beep at each mile, but my brother’s was just set to beep and I didn’t realize that when I started running. So I looked down at mile 6, and then started to zone out to some music. The next time I looked down, I was at mile 8 – only two more tempo miles to go! It was like I forgot to look since my wrist didn’t vibrate with each mile. What a treat. My cooldown was 2 miles and in the 8:20s. I didn’t feel spent, I felt good. Overall pace, 7:36.

Don’t get me wrong. It was still a really hard run for me. I don’t want to paint a picture of myself breezing through a 7 minute pace like it was nothing, because it certainly wasn’t. It was hard, but it was the first time that it felt manageable. To me, that was the biggest win. I’ve been struggling with confidence lately, and I’ve had some really good runs over the past two weeks that have helped boost it a little. I am thankful for those miles, and I can only hope they continue.

I headed to the pole studio after, since adding Wednesday night ski club meant I missed pole the night before. I don’t necessarily want to go on Thursday nights since I like doing my tempo run and being done. But now that I signed up for a little pole competition (more on that coming very soon), I want to make sure I still get to the studio 3-4 times per week. Saturday was up in the air because of an impending snow storm, so I sucked it up and went. I didn’t learn anything new except for something called a Pegasus, which I didn’t quite get into but I got close. I worked on some combos and reviewed some of the things we learned earlier in the week.

Friday, 1/15: 7 Mile Recovery Run + Pole Fitness 

I was dreading this run because it was at the ass crack of dawn and less than 12 hours after my tempo run. My legs felt surprisingly decent, and I stayed right in my easy run range (8:26). It was cold out and by the end of the run I was ready to be done, but I actually enjoyed this run. Not much else to say about it!

I went to pole after school but I ended up a bit frustrated. I started working on my competition piece but I had the pole dancer equivalence to writer’s block. I had fun, but I felt a bit stuck. After class, however, I did finally decide on a new Garmin… 🙂

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I went to Aardvark (our local running store) and ended up buying the Garmin 235! I was previously leaning towards the 230, but the more I read about the 235, the more I thought this was what I was looking for. Also, irishrunnerchick posted a GREAT review that really helped with my decision. I was going to go with the 230 because I thought I didn’t need the heart rate data until she showed the heart rate charts that she gets. I will post some initial thoughts later this week as I become acquainted with my new running buddy, but so far it was love at first run.

After our usual pizza Friday dinner, I dragged my husband to the grocery store with me in case we really did get hit with Snowopacalypse. Since it was later at night, it wasn’t as insane as I expected. But fighting the crowd was still like a workout in itself!

Saturday, 1/16: 3 Mile “Run” + 60 Minute Trainer Ride

I had plans to meet Mark and Kathy for an 8-10 mile run. The snow was supposed to start closer to daybreak so I thought I had a shot. I ended waking up and finding that we already had upwards of 6″ on the ground. I mulled over what to do with a cup of coffee. I knew I wasn’t driving over to their place to meet them – I’d never get back home and would end up stranded on the highway. It was extremely windy, so the roads would be really unpredictable. I was going to run on my road, but I live on a pretty main road and there were people out driving, even with the snow. It was still dark out, so I resolved to wait until the sun came up so the drivers could see me.

As the sun came up, I saw the plows had been plowing my road, but there wasn’t a whole lot of room. It was windy, and we were experiencing white out conditions. I have yak trax for my shoes, so the actual run wasn’t what worried me – it was the drivers on the road in these conditions. My husband woke up and we started some snow removal. We have a huge driveway, so I was running the snowblower and he was running the plow on our little tractor. It still took us two hours and there was already a foot of snow on the ground at this point. It was so beautiful, though. This is our barn in our backyard:

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As we were snow clearing, I decided the best thing to do would be to swap the run for a trainer ride indoors. When I finished running the snowblower, I grabbed my bike out of the garage and set it up on my trainer. I HATE the trainer. If I had to pick my top three least favorite activities, it would go trainer, elliptical, treadmill (in that order). I wished I could get in just a few miles running, and then I remembered my new Garmin tracks indoor running.

I live in a 2600 square foot farmhouse that technically has four floors – if you count the basement and the attic, which are easily accessible by stairs.  I have two different staircases (the main one and an au pair staircase off of the kitchen) that go to my second floor. Most of the house is under construction, so there isn’t much furniture in the way.

I queued up a great playlist on my Sonos, and laced up my sneakers. I strapped on my new Garmin and put it in “indoor running” mode. I proceeded to run a 5K in my house. Yep, that happened. First I ran one mile because I thought it would be funny. Then, I added another one because I wasn’t bored or tired yet. I was pretty over it after two miles, but I talked myself into another mile to make it a 5K! I averaged 10:24 pace!

I still followed it up with about an hour on the trainer. If I went with the bare minimum, my original plan was an 8 mile run. I figured an hour on the trainer and a 3 mile “run” would be a good substitute. Also I can’t stomach even one second over an hour on the trainer, so it had to be okay. We did another two hours of snow removal, and then I spent the rest of the afternoon making snow day junk food…diet or no diet the storm of the century deserves a proper celebration!

Gnocchi Mac and Cheese:

And for dessert, caramel stuffed Snickerdoodles:

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I always pick a few easy junk food recipes on Pinterest before snowstorms just in case. If I get lucky and my husband is snowed in with me (he usually goes to work in anything), I make us treats. 32″ of snow =  a two treat kind of storm.

Sunday: 1/17: 12.5 Mile Long Run + Pole Fitness

I woke up to a winter wonderland:

Our house…
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The barn…

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The summer kitchen (where my kitties live – poor things were nearly trapped in there):

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The snow level…

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The road I live on – it’s normally pretty busy:

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I got up as the sun was coming up to snap a few pictures and to decide what I was going to do about my run. I messaged my friend Chris G., a local speedy marathon runner who lives in a different township but where I do almost all of my runs, asking how the roads were by him. He told me decent, and asked if he could join me! He’s a 2:45 marathoner. I’ve run with him a few times before, but only when I’m in good shape! We decided I would meet at his house at 11 am.

On my drive over, I saw a lot of this:

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Most of the roads looked like this:

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He wanted to do something like 16 miles, but had spent the morning shoveling and had zero motivation. We cranked out 12.5 miles at a 7:39 pace! I had to wear yak trax on my shoes and it was extremely slippery – I couldn’t believe we held that pace in the snow. I certainly had to work for it. I actually rolled my ankle and ate shit about halfway through our run, but I got up and kept going. My ankle is a little sore but it doesn’t bother me to run. I didn’t even realize it was sore until hours later when I was stretching.

The problem with this run was that the Hanson’s plan only designates long run pace every OTHER week. This was supposed to be an easier, off week in terms of the long run. Technically, I wasn’t supposed to do more than 10. I didn’t mind running a few extra miles because of the missed miles the day before, but I didn’t think we’d be able to crank out that pace in those conditions. It was about 25 seconds per mile faster than that run should have been. I’m not complaining – I’m happy about hitting the pace and having good company for the run – but I really want to avoid injury. I need to be more vigilant about the “other” weeks. I’m considering this week as a win because of the conditions. I’m not sure I would have done more than 10 by myself because it wasn’t an easy run.

The owner of the pole studio opened in the afternoon for some open gym time, so my sister in laws and I went to play on the poles with her. We stayed for 2 1/2 hours! I actually got a great jump on my routine and felt so much better about the whole ordeal. I choreographed about the first 1:16 of the song I chose and still really need to clean it up, but I like where I’m going with it. I didn’t post any pictures of that, but I did post a video of me playing with some spins on spin pole. There was so much snow on the roof of the building that the poles actually wouldn’t really spin! I was trying to use that spin as a segway into something fancier for my routine but the pole would just stop spinning abruptly. Regardless, it was a very productive afternoon and I had so much fun playing on the poles.

Things I slacked on this week: MYRTLs, abs, foam rolling.  I need to really get on that! Other than that, I think this week was pretty successful, snow and all.

Winter storm JONAS! Did you guys get to feel any of his wrath?? Are you a snow lover or hater? I promise I’ll still love the haters.

Swim:  0 meters ♥ Bike: 0 miles ♥  Run: 51.5 miles

Foodie Friday: Pumpkin Breakfast Custard

Another week of healthy eating down, and another recipe to share. I found this delicious creation on Pinterest when I was meal planning a few weeks ago and needed something new for breakfast. I made it last week for the first time, and again for breakfast this week. I’m a little obsessed.

It’s so weird that I like this recipe enough to share it, because I have a serious sweet tooth and this recipe is only mildly sweet. When I think of custard, I think of the delicious creamy stuff that Rita’s mixes in with their Gelatos, or a creamy dessert like a Panna Cotta. This recipe doesn’t promise any of that, but it does promise to be a satisfying breakfast. I needed something new that I could eat on the go, and I liked all of the ingredients so I gave it a shot.

But back to the sweet tooth thing: I often find that anything “paleo” or recipes that subscribe to a particular dietary label are never sweet enough, or flavorful enough. Or the texture sucks. I’ve tried so many recipes that promise to taste EXACTLY like [insert junk food here] that just don’t come close. And anytime I make some weird recipe like that, I most likely had to go on a scavenger hunt for some really strange (read: expensive) ingredients. I end up eating the whole batch of whatever it is just because I feel guilty about the time it took and money I spent.

Enter this recipe. It isn’t super sweet, but you could add maple syrup, honey or coconut sugar if you wanted to. I made it as is, and I’m keeping it as is. But the texture and the taste is really great, and it isn’t expensive to make. It also makes 8 servings, and it didn’t go bad over the week that I was eating it. I looked forward to it everyday. I adapted the version I found online and added a bit of salt and some vanilla extract. If adding sweetener, I would recommend starting with a quarter of a cup of maple syrup or honey. It won’t pile on the calories but it will give you that extra little sweetness if you need it. You may have to extend the baking time slightly if you add in the sweetener.

custard
Photo Credit : Louisiana Bride (mine didn’t look as pretty as hers, but still tasted great!)

Pumpkin Breakfast Custard
Adapted from the Louisiana Bride
Serves 8

Ingredients:
  • 15 oz can pumpkin puree
  • 13.5 oz can of full fat coconut milk
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (your choice – I like pecans or walnuts)
Method
  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the nuts. Use an immersion blender and blend the mixture until well combined. If you don’t have an immersion blender you can put the ingredients a blender or a food processor. Alternately, you can place the ingredients in a large bowl and use a hand mixer or stand mixer and beat well.
  3. Place mixture in a 13×9 baking dish. Sprinkle the top with nuts and place in the oven for 30 minutes or until the custard is firm. Serve warm or chilled (I prefer chilled).

I would portion mine out in Tupperware containers and eat it with my coffee at work.

Enjoy! xoxo

On-the-go breakfast recipes/ideas…GO! What are your favs?

Review: Blue Apron

peachtree-roadies-blue-apron-logo

Disclaimer: I purchased this product on my own and have no affiliation with Blue Apron. This review is based on my personal opinion of my recent experience with this company.

After Christmas, I began getting my act together with my diet and got back to my weekly meal planning. I happened to open up an e-mail from Groupon that was offering Blue Apron at a discounted rate. One of my co-workers orders from Blue Apron regularly and raves about it, so I figured it was a good time to try it out.

Blue Apron is a meal delivery service. You choose from an assortment of recipes and can get three meals per week delivered to your door, based on a plan for a two person household. They have options for families where you can get more or less delivered each week. You receive all of the ingredients for each meal and the recipe, but it’s up to you to prep and cook the foods. Even with having to chop the ingredients, the whole process of prepping and cooking each meal was under 30 minutes.

The Groupon I came across was offering a weeks worth of meals for $39. I had a $10 off coupon for any Groupon, so I was able to purchase this for $29. $29 for three meals (each feeds two people) is pretty good, considering the types of meals I would be receiving (salmon, chicken, pork). It’s cheaper than eating out so I figured, “Why not?”. I know how to cook and meal plan on my own, so really this was about it being a good deal and something fun to try.

I wish I took more pictures, but my delivery was set for Saturday, January 16th. You could choose Monday-Saturday for your delivery and don’t have to be home to receive it. Your food comes packed neatly in a medium sized box. Inside the box is a silver insulated bag made of bubble wrap, and the bag contains all of your food plus two enormous ice packs (score!! I will re-use those for sure). If I wasn’t home to receive this, I would feel comfortable leaving it packaged this way for a whole day and not worrying about it spoiling. According to my shipping information sent to me via FedEx, they had my delivery early Friday morning (12am) and I opened the box on Saturday around 1pm. The ice packs had not even begun to melt when I received my food.

The recipes on the menu for the week were: Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches with an Endive and Blue Cheese Salad, Seared Salmon and Salsa Verde with Orange, Spinach and Farro Salad, and Korean Tteok and Spicy Pork “Ragu” with Baby Bok Choy. The protein comes in vacuum sealed bags, and every item is clearly labeled. Each recipe comes with a “knick knack” bag containing all of the little extras you may need, like random spices and seasonings. You do need to keep the basics at home, like olive oil, salt and pepper but they give you everything else.

Meal #1: Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches with an Endive and Blue Cheese Salad (610 calories/serving)

I didn’t take pictures of this one, but I wish I did! I chose to make the Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches for dinner on Sunday. It’s probably the least healthy of the three and I am more lenient with my diet on the weekend. I was concerned that it wouldn’t be enough food as I unwrapped the items: there were only two rolls for two sandwiches, and the portion of meat seemed small. Everything was measured out so I coated the chicken with the mixture provided, and pan seared according to the directions. I prepped the lettuce and the endive, and made the vinaigrette following the recipe provided.

First of all, my food looked exactly like the picture. It was perfect. And second of all, you put two pieces of chicken on each sandwich and it was a PERFECT portion. I was stuffed when I was done. There was one endive that was cut up and dressed with the vinaigrette and added blue cheese to – what a delicious, simple salad. The vinaigrette was a mixture of champagne vinegar, minced shallots, salt, pepper and olive oil. They gave you the champagne vinegar in the cutest little one serving bottle!

If I had to list a negative, it was the quality of the rolls. I expected something a little nicer, but these were just plain old potato buns. They were fresh and not squished, but I thought some nicer rolls would have put this meal over the top.

Meal # 2: Korean Tteok & Spicy Pork “Ragù” with Baby Bok Choy (700 calories/serving)

This was a super easy one, and I remembered to take pictures. I didn’t know what tteok was before this, so I was most excited to try this meal. Korean tteok is really just a chewy, steamed rice cake. It kind of reminded me of mochi – and I love mochi, so I loved this dish.

First, I assembled the ingredients:

Then, I opened the little knick knack bag…

Seriously, how cute is that little soy glaze bottle! All of the knick knacks are already measured out for you. It’s totally like cheating. The next step is to check out the recipe (the actual instructions are on the back):

image

And after prepping and cooking, about 20 minutes later, mine looked just like theirs:

Mine is on the left (my retro yellow countertops in my temporary kitchen, yeaaaahhhh!) and theirs is on the right. I think they used more of the Gochujang sauce because you can tell that theirs has a little more color, but I added a little while cooking and then added more after. It had quite the kick so I figured you could add more, but not take it away. This meal was outstanding, easy to prepare and clean up, and we really enjoyed it!

Meal #3: Seared Salmon and Salsa Verde with Orange, Spinach and Farro Salad (525 calories/serving)

Oh my gosh you guys. This was incredible. Every single bite I was going, “Mmmmm! Mmmmm!!” I love all of the ingredients in this recipe, but it’s not a recipe I would have chosen to make on my own. I would shy away from it because of the farro (trying to follow a Paleo-ish diet, this wouldn’t fit), the capers, and the orange. Not that I don’t like any of those flavors, I just don’t usually pick recipes with those items.

First, the ingredients:

image

The knick knacks…

The finished product (less than 30 minutes later)
imageI wish the picture did it more justice, because the spinach/farro/orange salad was actually a HUGE portion. And the quality of the salmon was spectacular. It seemed like it was a king salmon or a sockeye salmon, not the less expensive, farmed Atlantic salmon varieties. It. Was. AWESOME.

My husband liked the Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches the best, but I liked the salmon the best. Honestly, I would gladly eat any of the meals again and loved the convenience of this service. I deactivated my account because they will automatically charge you and ship you more food, but I plan to order from them again when I have busy weeks with little time for meal prep. And if I come across a coupon, I will absolutely be ordering up a week of meals. It was very simple to cancel the service, not like one of those charges on your credit card that will not stop showing up.

I really liked that it forced me to cook with ingredients that I usually pass up. It gave me some great ideas for sides during the week, which is what I usually struggle with. Even just a simple endive salad with quick homemade vinaigrette is a great idea, but something I wouldn’t think about. If you get the opportunity to try this service, I highly recommend it!

Have you ever tried a meal delivery service? What are your thoughts on this type of business? I’m obsessed!