2017 Boston Marathon Training, Week 12: 2/27-3/5

Seriously though. It was a rough week last week. It’s getting close to the end of the 3rd marking period at school, and that sums up my thoughts lately!

Had some really weird stomach issues last week, combined with a Saturday race. Hanson’s schedules long runs every other weekend with the option of doing one every weekend if you really want, so I opted to not do an official long run this week because of the race. I’ve been doing long runs every single weekend regardless of whether they are on the schedule, with the exception of last week because of my work trip and this week due to the race. Last year, the race and the work trip fell during the same week so it wasn’t as big of a deal. Actually, it wasn’t really a big deal this year either – I didn’t do a long run. Such is life.

Monday: AM pole competition practice + abs + MYRTLs, 10 miles easy, PM pole class
Tuesday: AM pole competition practice + abs + MYRTLs, 13 miles w/4 x 1.5 miles @ marathon pace – 10 seconds per mile (goal marathon pace is 6:45-50 someday, so I shot for 6:35. All were on pace and my last one was the fastest, averaging somewhere in the 6:20s) Highlight of the workout? I did it in shorts and a sports bra. On February 28th.


Wednesday: AM 6 miles easy, Pole Flow class, Pole Competition Practice class
Thursday: AM pole competition practice + abs + MYRTLs, 4 miles easy – was planning to do 8 but had some weird stomach issue that started Wednesday night and felt crappy after one mile so called it a day at 4 miles).
Friday: AM 6 miles easy, Abs/MYRTLS, Pole Competition Practice class – was planning on taking a rest day from running but I felt better when I woke up, so I went to the gym to do the remaining 4 miles of my Thursday run. I had a pretty good playlist going on Spotify and I was actually early for once in my life so I did 6 instead. My outfit for my pole competition shipped!!! I will at least give you a glimpse of it:

It should officially be here soon!!
Saturday: Quakertown 10 Miler (14 miles total with w/u and c/d), Abs/MYRTLs, Pole Competition practice
Didn’t run a PR but this happened:

I’ll get a race report out soon! I celebrated by going to dinner with friends to a restaurant I’ve been meaning to try, Grain. I ate the best Chicken and Waffles I’ve ever had. Actually, I think it’s the only chicken and waffles I’ve ever had.

Sunday: 9 miles easy, Abs/MYRTLS, Pole Competition Practice
Had to do something, because it was my birthday and I knew I wanted to eat as much of this as possible:

My speedy friend, Cassie, is a pastry chef and she made me my cake. I loved it. She is so talented!

= 62 miles

Overall, it was a really good week. I really think I was fighting off a stomach bug or something because from Wednesday night through about Sunday, my stomach felt terrible! I’m hoping I kept it at bay and that I’m past it now.

Did you ever eat chicken and waffles? What was the best birthday cake you’ve ever had? 

♥♥♥

Foodie Friday: Paleo Perfected Conquests

image

I mentioned in my monthly wrap up that I found this gem at the grocery store checkout, and didn’t think twice about purchasing it. Cook’s Illustrated is my absolute favorite resource for all things food related. Their cookbooks are more like textbooks, and the test kitchen chefs try hundreds of versions of each recipe before coming up with their own, perfected version. I enjoy reading about the process and the methods they use to design their recipes.

My goal is to cook every single meal in this magazine in order to continue to develop my paleo cooking skills. I’ve mentioned before that I like to call myself “paleo-ish”. About 90% of my week (when I’m not cheating, like last week!) is paleo, with the other 10% is the “ish”. I can’t get down with subscribing to just one dietary label, for starters. I believe everything is good for you in moderation. I truly love paleo foods, so I don’t have a hard time following the lifestyle. But I still love my pizza, so there’s that. I feel better in general and have lots of energy when I’m on the paleo wagon, and it works for me.

This week, I tried the following recipes:

Garlicky Roasted Shrimp with Anise

image

I love anise, my husband doesn’t. It tastes a lot like licorice or fennel, but anise isn’t fennel – anise and fennel come from different plants. In this recipe, you butterfly the shrimp and make a brine. While it’s soaking in the brine, you create a mixture of ghee (clarified butter, but I just use Kerrygold butter since it comes from grass fed cows), extra virgin olive oil, garlic (six cloves, YAS!), anise seeds, red pepper flakes, pepper, and fresh parsley. After draining and patting the shrimp dry, you coat the shrimp with the butter/spice mixture, and broil on a wire rack set over a baking sheet.

It’s a super easy recipe, and has a ton of flavor. I used shrimp that was already peeled and deveined, but they recommend leaving the shell on. I love red pepper and thought that it was a little overpowering, so next time I’d adjust that slightly. I’d also consider serving this over a salad. I was boring and just made some roasted sweet potatoes, and really could have used another veggie on the side. But lazy. My husband loved it and had no idea that the delicious flavor he tasted was, in fact, anise.

Stir-Fried Sesame Pork and Eggplant

imageEveryone always says stir fry is soooo easy, one pot meal, blah blah blah. I do agree that it’s easy, but it makes a freaking mess! There was lots of chopping for this one (which I enjoy) but I was a little hangry when I was cooking so it seemed to take forever. In reality, it probably took me 35 minutes to get this on the table, which is totally fine.

It called for toasted sesame oil, which I thought I had – but I was out and just used plain old sesame oil. This dish was fabulous anyway, so I suspect it would have a richer flavor if I had the correct oil. Toasted sesame oil has such a bold, distinct flavor. Next time I make this, I’ll make sure I’m less hungry and have my pantry stocked with the correct ingredients. I LOVE eggplant but hardly ever make it. As an italian, I often think the only use for eggplant is to make something with lots of cheese, breading, and tomato sauce. This was a delicious use for a fabulous veggie.

Leek and Prosciutto Frittata 

image

There’s a breakfast chapter at the end of this magazine, and I’ve been eating pumpkin custard for like the past three months. I was ready to switch it up, and this was perfect. I love leeks and prosciutto, and I love eggs for breakfast. I was concerned that the lack of cheese would make me dislike this, but nope. It was excellent, and really easy to make. It makes six servings, so I was able to put the leftovers in the fridge for a quick breakfast the rest of the week.

Latin-Style Chicken and Cauliflower Rice

image

I like all of the ingredients in this dish individually, but normally I’d pass on a recipe that uses them all together. But I want to try all of the recipes, and this looked like a simple, one pot meal. It was easy, but it also required a lot of chopping/prepping. I wasn’t as hangry, so it was fine.

I’ve made cauliflower rice many times before, but this had a little twist – after searing the chicken, cooking the onion, blooming the aromatics (garlic, oregano, smoked paprika, cayenne, tomato paste), cooking the “rice” and finishing the chicken, you add chopped tomatoes and green olives. I LOVE green olives but would never think to mix them in with cauliflower rice on their own. It gets finished off with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro. My husband hates cilantro, and I love it. This recipe was great since you add it at the end, so I just didn’t add any to his. This dish was bursting with flavor, the chicken was cooked perfectly.

These are all recipes I would absolutely make again. I already have my eye on a few dishes for next week that I’d like to try. It’s nice to have a little extra time to cook at night and try new recipes – it’s the perfect way to spend my recovery!

Do you enjoy cooking? Have you tried any new recipes lately? 

Goodbye April, Hello Recovery!

image

  1. Total run miles for April: 207
  2. Miles run, year to date: 1000.3
  3. Number of races in April: 5 (wtf)
  4. Longest run in April: 26.42 miles (too much weaving in Boston)
  5. Highest volume week in April: 58.1 miles

My mileage was almost 100 miles less in April due to tapering, racing and recovering. I was excited that I crested the 200 mile mark at all, and I’m on track to meet my goal of 2,500 miles for the year. I need to be at 1,250 in June. I expect to have a low volume month for May, but to start increasing mileage again in June. My mileage wasn’t as high in April as it was the over the past few months, but this month might go down as my best month of racing ever. I raced (or paced) every single weekend during this month. It began with winning a 10 mile road race, and ended with winning a marathon. I don’t think I could ever top that.

image image

Just like the past few months, I can truly say that each and every mile brought me a lot of joy. There were a lot of huge breakthroughs for me this month. The biggest breakthrough was running a marathon PR: a target I kept shooting for, but missed for the past two years.

While it goes down as one of the best months ever, April was a funny month for running. We had everything from snowy winter weather, to almost summer temps. The first week, I ran a 10 mile road race in the pouring rain. It was a minute off of my PR from March, but I won the race and ran on effort. It was a huge confidence boost just a few weeks out from Boston. The following week was spent pacing a half marathon in a snowstorm. It was my first time ever pacing the 1:40 group and I was nervous with the weather conditions, but it went really well and I enjoyed pacing that time. When Boston finally rolled around, it was way too warm. It resulted in a course PR, but still not the 3:05 goal I’d set for myself.

The Sunday following Boston, I paced the St. Luke’s half marathon. The weather was ideal, and I got to pace the 1:45 group. I really enjoyed pacing 1:40, but 1:45 is my favorite time to pace. St. Luke’s was my first ever race, so it makes me happy to be able to pace it and give back to the running community.

image

image

I spent the week after St. Luke’s running easy miles in preparation of my final marathon of the season. I’m not going to lie – I felt a little burned out and was ready for some recovery. I didn’t look at my calendar closely enough when I was committing to these events and didn’t realize how close they all were to each other.

It was a rainy day in Kentucky, but I finally did it. After two years of trying everything I could possibly think of and failing, I broke my PR. I ran a 3:02:19 at the Kentucky Derby Marathon, and I was the first overall female! It was one of my most favorite days to be a runner, ever. Not just because winning a marathon felt pretty freaking cool. I poured my everything into training for the past two years and I finally had my day. I am still on such a high from that moment.

image

image

With the racing/tapering/carb loading, I gained about two pounds back of the 13 I’d lost. I anticipated gaining a few pounds back over these past few weeks, and I felt really good racing at the weight I got down to. I also realized how much better I feel when I eat a certain way. I really love junk food, but over the past few months I’ve learned that I might like feeling better more. It’s a lot easier for me to have a cheat day, but get right back on track the next day. Moving forward through my recovery, I will certainly be more relaxed about my diet but I plan to continue my eating habits. It’s not even really a question anymore – it’s become my lifestyle. That was my ultimate goal from the start of that conquest.

Moving into May, I plan on still running easy miles but I’m giving myself some “rules”. Nothing over 10 miles, and no speed. Maybe I’ll pick up the pace towards the end of the month to get my legs moving, but there will be no track workouts or pace specific work until June. I’d like to get back on some real trails to do some trail running, and I’m eyeing up a trail race in late May. Mostly, I don’t want my focus to be on running. I want to spend a lot of time in the pole studio and work on strength. My pole competition is on May 21st, so I have the rest of this month to prepare for it.

In the pole world, I didn’t learn many new moves since I’m still preparing for the competition. Busting up my big toe right before Boston scared me a lot little, so I’ve been a little more intimidated of pole class. And rightfully so – it is a dangerous sport, and while I’ve benefited so much from building up that kind of strength, I also have to be mindful of the consequences. I’m not planning to back off or stop doing it, but I don’t have quite the fearless attitude I’ve had since I began the sport.

image

I continued my ❤️ StrongBody Streak through April, but I did take a few days off surrounding Boston and Kentucky. I can see a huge difference with just a little bit of strength training. Although I plan to be relaxed with running throughout May, I will be focusing on strength training. Without racing, I can do actual “leg” days with weights and build some additional strength and balance.

Moving forward to May, I have a few goals – but mostly recovery goals!

  • Strength training – stick with my 15 minutes each day. Keep the emphasis on core/hips/glutes, but really pay some extra attention to legs now that my mileage and intensity will ease up.
  • Diet: Keep up the healthy eating, and cook every single recipe in this:
    imageCook’s Illustrated is my most favorite cooking resource. Their cookbooks are like textbooks. They don’t cater to any diet or lifestyle, so if I wanted to make a “paleo” version of their recipes, I end up tweaking it on my own. They came out with a magazine full of 73 Paleo recipes, and I almost passed out from excitement when I saw it at the checkout line in the grocery store. The authors realize that there are different definitions of Paleo, so they designed the recipes by adhering to the most strict paleo guidelines they could find. It might take me the whole summer, but I want to cook my way through it, cover to cover.
  • Pole Fitness: Compete in my first pole competition!
  • Cross Training: I want to get on my bike and get to some yoga classes this month. Maybe, if I get really motivated, I’ll get back in the pool.
  • Instagram some more fun pictures as the weather gets nicer!

image

How was your month? Any goals for May?

Product Review: Graze

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

In my newfound love for subscription boxes, I also tried Graze. It’s a snack box. They will deliver snacks to your door weekly for $11.99/week. For that price, you get eight snacks, or about $1.50/snack.  I typically snack on things like Quest bars or other similar types of items, and those often run about $2.50/bar so this seemed like it was worth a try. You can go right over to their site and get your first box completely free – and you should. Free snacks! Head over to Graze and use this referral code: RMM76KZ2P to try it out.

I ordered this product back in February. I was unimpressed with it from the start and never planned to write a review. The site is a bit confusing to navigate at first. You can rate snacks, but I still have no idea how they decide what you’re getting. I get that you can “trash” the ones that you are uninterested in trying, but the other ratings are things like, “try, like, love”. If I’m right, you get a majority of items that you “love” and a few of the others mixed in. I’m still not sure.

Your first box (the free one) is really just a sampler. It came with four snacks, but a regular box that you pay for has eight snacks. I had no clue when the box was coming because there was no tracking info. I kept looking outside on my doorstep each day, but no box. I got an email saying it was on it’s way, but there was no way to track where it was.

As it turns out, the snacks come in smaller boxes and get delivered in the mailbox. It sat in my mailbox for several days, since we don’t always remember to check our mail each day. Fine for the time of year, but what about in the summer? They didn’t include ice packs or anything to keep it cool. Some of the snacks have chocolate in them that could melt if the weather was warmer. Weird.

I thought the box never came so I canceled the service before I even tried it. Once I figured out where my box was and got to try the snacks, I was semi-impressed. Semi, because though the snacks were really delicious and interesting, but they were small. I’m hangry 97.2% of the time, people. Don’t give me a handful of honey roasted cashews and try to pass it off as a filling snack. You can’t fool me.

I took zero pictures of the first box because I was just “meh” on the service. Also because I opened the box on a Friday and as you know, it’s game on for eating on the weekend for me. My husband and I ate the entire box of snacks before we even got to our usual Friday night pizza (you know, like an appetizer). I was sure Graze was a thing of the past and the only other thought I gave it was to cancel it.

Then, it redeemed itself. It sent you a survey asking why I canceled the service. I filled it out and I got a response offering me 50% off of two weeks worth of boxes. So eight snacks for $5.99? Okay, I like having a little treat in my pantry to snack on now that my mileage is up. I can get down with that.

Again, I got an email saying it was coming, but no idea when it would be delivered. I checked my mail the day I got the email and it was there, so that was a plus. Here is what a regular box looks like:

image

image

In a regular sized box, there are two layers of snacks:imageimage

Note: you can choose all kinds of dietary preferences, including gluten free. I wanted them to send me some real treats so I just liked any snacks that looked different and fun, and this is what they sent me.

I really enjoyed the snacks they sent this time around, and I received my second discounted box this past Monday. I went on the site to cancel the service upon receipt of the box. As I was clicking “cancel”, they offered me another box at 50% off ($5.99)! I’m going to keep “canceling” after each delivery and see how long I can ride the 50% off train. I don’t think this service is worth full price. To have random, fun, healthy (ish) treats in the house – especially during my peak week of marathon training – is worth the $5.99.

Usually, first impressions are everything and can make or break how I feel about a company. I wasn’t impressed with the sampler box, but Graze redeemed itself with the snack selections and continuous discounts. I don’t recommend going and purchasing the service, but I do recommend getting yourself a freebie treat since your first box is free using RMM76KZ2P. It’s free regardless, but they gave me that code so I figured I would share it. And who knows – do it, cancel it, and they might offer you some 50% off deals!

Another bonus: while you do have to put in your credit card information to get them to send you the service, but it’s super easy to “snooze” boxes and cancel the service when you are ready to discontinue.

Overall, it was a fun way to try some different treats in moderation, but not something I would purchase on the regular.

Would you ever try a snack box service?

What I Ate Wednesday (and maybe a song, too)

I’ve never done one of these before, but a few readers requested it so here goes! In February, I mentioned that I dropped some weight (as of last Friday, I’m down 12 pounds!) and really focused on cleaning up my diet during this training block. Part of what I lost, I gained during the holiday/recovery season. The last few pounds were pounds I always wanted to drop to get to what I believe would be my ideal racing weight. I don’t really know how these posts work so I picked a day, and started documenting what I’ve been mowing down – the good, the bad and the ugly.

If you’ve followed along for awhile, you know I call myself “Paleo-ish”. I like the concept behind the Paleo lifestyle but I don’t follow it 100%. Mostly because subscribing strictly to one dietary label doesn’t work for menot saying it doesn’t work well for others. I’ve learned that if I restrict myself too much, it’s game over pretty early on.

I’m a religious Fitness Pal user. I’ve been using it since the spring of 2012. I go through phases where I’m diligent about documenting, but for the most part I log something everyday. I don’t log every single thing on my cheat days, which occur over the weekend. I almost always eat more than my allotted calories/exercise calories on my cheat days. I tend to get crazy when I see the red numbers yelling at me for eating too much, so most times I don’t log the extras on my cheat days. Ignorance is bliss, I suppose.

Here’s a snapshot of what I ate the day before I started this post. It’s a good example because it’s what I like my weekdays to look like in terms of calories in vs. calories out. On this day, I ran 10 easy miles and went to pole fitness. I use a Fitbit to track my activity and calorie burn.

imageimageimage
The Coffee Situation

There are [at least] three occurrences of coffee per day. It all starts with the two cups that I brew at home. These are pretty strong and get a tiny splash of real half and half or heavy cream…whatever I have on hand! I don’t always remember to log this one because I barely put anything in it, and I feel like it’s as necessary as oxygen is to survival. Anyone who’s seen me before I’ve had this cup of coffee can tell you that I’m completely incapable of being nice or functioning like a normal human in society.

image

Then, there’s the sacred morning Misto. Venti Pike roast with steamed whole milk. I can’t adult without it. It’s 160 calories, so I can’t skip logging it. I consider it part of my breakfast.

imageAfter work on days when do my hard workouts (but mostly I just get one everyday because…coffee♥) comes the short Pike roast with cream. If you didn’t know, the short is a smaller coffee at Starbucks that’s on their secret menu. They will make you any drink in a short. It’s 8oz. Also a great idea when they have new lattes and you want one but don’t want all of the calories, or to pay a million dollars for a coffee 🙂

imageAnd look, they even put my dream marathon finish time on the cup. Great coffee and motivation!

On Sundays, I change up my order for a post-long run treat…Have you tried the Latte Macchiato yet? Life changing.

image

People post pictures of booze, I post pictures of coffee. Don’t judge me.

Water

I know, I know. The bottles are wasteful. But the water at my house and work both taste like garbage. I usually aim to down six of these during my work day, if possible. Seven, if I’m really motivated.

image

And even though I don’t know if it’s the best things going for you, I work with kids and computers and germs all day so I always have at least one packet of Emergen-C (sometimes two if I’m feeling extra germaphobic):

image

I like the orange, pink lemonade, and tangerine.

Breakfast

I’m boring. Lately I’ve been making that Paleo Pumpkin Custard I posted about. I think I’ve made a batch every week for the past two months. It travels to work well so on the days where I’m lazy or working out, I just pack it and eat it at work. Even though it doesn’t take the prettiest picture and looks like a bowl of mush, I swear it’s pretty tasty and filling. I’ve been making it with almond flour instead of almond butter (I ran out, so I substituted) and I think I like it better!

image

Or, I’ll make a breakfast scramble with whatever I have on hand to change things up. I usually add some veggies, but I was lazy and running really late on the day I took this picture. It’s just ground turkey and scrambled eggs, all mixed up. I like to add spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, etc…but…late. Story of my life.

image

Lunch

I try to make something fun for lunch and switch it up often. This week, I’m on an egg salad kick. I make my own paleo mayo to mix it up with. My intention was to have this as a wrap with some lettuce on my Almond Sweet Potato Flatbreads but they kept breaking, so I now call this Egg Salad Flatbread Pizza. Normally, I try not to eat so many eggs for everything but it’s Lent and I do meal prep on Sundays. I don’t have the time or energy to think of something else to eat on Friday’s when we aren’t supposed to have meat…so…eggs.

image

Training Staples

If I’m doing a hard workout, I usually have Lemon Tea Nuun tablets (which are discontinued, but I think I bought the remainder of their supply so I have a ton of them!):

image

And GU:

image

Both packages came from the bottom of my bag so they look like they’ve seen better days.

I made sweet potato waffles for my long run this week (spoiler alert: you might get the recipe on Friday), which don’t look pretty but they taste great:

image

Dinner

I LOVE soda (especially diet soda, which is full of all of the bad processed things I try to avoid), but I rarely ever drink it. Instead, I get really wild and crazy at dinnertime and have a stiff drink:

image

I had a meal from Hello Fresh, and it was a Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto (the “ish” to my Paleo):

image

Another Hello Fresh meal, Dukkah Roasted Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Snap Peas (I will totally make this again!)

image

Or my own post track workout creation, inspired by Pinterest – the shrimp is cooked with bacon, mushrooms, smoked salmon and coconut cream. I made it with roasted veggies that I tossed with a homemade tangy coconut dressing and zucchini “rice”. Delish!!
image

Whether I plan my dinner or Hello Fresh does, I make very similar types of meals. Usually lighter on the grains (Paleo-ish!), but I do make sweet potatoes, risotto, farro, couscous, etc., when I feel like I need it. Or, I try to make some kind of “casserole” type dish that can be prepared ahead of time and serve it with a salad.

Snacks

There are my daily carrots that I eat each day around 10:30. I have a love/hate relationship with them. Some days, they’re the perfect snack and other days I can’t stand the sight of them. I never know what kind of day it’s going to be until I open the container.

image

Then my afternoon snack of an apple or a banana. Now that my mileage is getting higher, I add two tablespoons of Just Great Stuff Chocolate Peanut Butter (it’s powdered like PB2, but it’s made with coconut sugar so it’s a little closer to being Paleo…except the peanut part:)

image

image

image

I am a huuuuuugggggeeee night time snacker so if I can’t deal and need a treat after dinner, I try to have a cup of tea. That hasn’t been cutting it since my mileage has been increasing (so no picture of tea for you), so it’s either a microwaved Quest Bar (have you ever heated these things up? I read about another blogger doing this. MAGICAL), or a random bar that I impulse purchased when grocery shopping, or a Siggi’s 4% yogurt. My recent favorite, which is a bit higher in calories, are the Quest Peanut Butter Cups. I’m not going to tell you that they rival Reese’s by any means. They are a bit dry but have a ton of protein in them. When you need a candy substitute, they work pretty well!

image

Microwaved (I already took a bite before I realized I didn’t snap a picture…#rungerprobs):

image

image

image

During the week, my diet is heavy on protein and fat. I don’t choose low fat items because I find that I get too hungry and then I start to pick on whatever is in my path, and that gets pretty destructive.

Weekend Eats

The weekends are a different story. Game on.

Pizza Friday! Best day of the week.

image

Sweet Potato Quesadillas with a black bean salsa!

image

Chimmichuri Steak and Couscous with Roasted Vegetables for dinner (another Hello Fresh meal):

image

On Sunday nights, I make some sort of “junk food” or “comfort food” dinner. This week I tried a recipe for Ravioli Lasagna. It was basically a vehicle to consume as much cheese as possible. Cheese raviolis, ricotta, pecorino romano, shredded mozzarella and fresh mozzarella layered up into lasagna. I added ground sausage to the sauce. Sooooo good! I used this recipe but I added my own little tweaks to it. I eliminated the jarred sauce and after browning the sausage in the pan I added fresh garlic and crushed tomatoes and let it simmer for awhile. I added a layer of pecorino romono cheese, and basil in the sauce and layered in… because basil ♥

image

Over the weekend, I spend a little time each day meal prepping for the upcoming week. Last weekend, I made another batch of mayo and egg salad, flatbreads, the waffles pictured above, and pumpkin custard. I used avocado oil for the mayo and it was a pretty color:

image

I had my final week of Hello Fresh last week, so I had to prep some of my dinners over the past weekend. I made my goat cheese stuffed meatloaf and a tray of eggplant lasagna since I haven’t made those since I posted about them. This way, if I’m running far and/or going to pole class I can call my husband, have him pop dinner in the oven. Voila, I got in my workout, dinner has magically materialized on the table, and no one was inconvenienced. We can eat when I get home, making us less likely to eat out or eat junk. It really helps me stay on track if I spend some time food prepping on the weekend. Plus, then we get to enjoy home cooked meals together on weeknights, which get busy for both of us.

Annnnd that’s some of what I was eating over the past week! It was fun to do this, but I already miss giving you guys your weekly dose of music. So while I do have a music post with a super fun song all drafted up for next week, I’m going to give you an old favorite of mine this week. This song is not new by any means, but it never leaves my iPod. It’s one of my favorite jams for when I’m doing a hard workout/racing and put myself in the hurt locker:

“Send the Pain Below”
Chevelle

“I liked,
Having hurt,
So send the pain below,
Where I need it.”

How do you eat when you are training? What are some of your diet staples? Do you do any food prepping on the weekend? What song do you like to listen to when you’re in the pain cave?

Review: Marley Spoon

logo-bfb3c4a69ff918a893837a7aaf63e1ba

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

A few weeks ago, I tried and reviewed Blue Apron and Hello Fresh. I loved it so much that when my friend sent me a promo for Marley Spoon, I was all over it.

Marley Spoon is a meal delivery service. You choose from an assortment of recipes and can get three to four meals per week delivered to your door, based on a plan for a two person household. They have options for families where members can get more or less delivered each week. Subscribers receive all of the recipes and all of the ingredients for each meal. Even with having to chop the ingredients, the whole process of prepping and cooking each meal was under 30 minutes.

The offer I came across offered a week’s worth of meals. I could choose from three meals for $21, or four meals for $36. I’m kind of obsessed with these services so I was all about getting four meals. I’m such a sucker. $36/week for four meals (each feeds two people) is pretty good, considering the types of meals I would be receiving (shrimp, chicken, beef, etc).

My first delivery was set for Thursday, February 25th. Deliveries could be scheduled from Monday-Thursday. The food comes packed neatly in a medium sized box. Inside the box is biodegradable insulation, and it contains all of the food plus enormous ice packs. 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.
image

The recipes I received were:

  • Creamy White Bean Soup with Kale and Mozzarella Toasts
  • Skewered Sesame Shrimp with Ramen and Wilted Spinach
  • Tangy Yogurt Noodles with Spiced Beef and Shitakes
  • Sage and Pancetta Chicken with Farro and Spinach

imageimageimageimage

Side note: that mini piece of chicken is not a serving. It broke off so I added it’s own little piece of pancetta to it! What you see in that picture is considered one serving.

The recipes come on separate card stock sheets with clear, concise directions. The protein comes in vacuum sealed bags, and every item is clearly labeled. Each recipe comes with a special bag that contains 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.

imageimageimageimage
I can’t decide which meal I liked best! I really loved the soup and the kale toasts – that was really delicious. I forgot to take a picture of the actual soup because I was so enamored with the kale toasts. I’d eat any of these meals again, and I will recreate these in the future. I guess my only complaint was that these meals were a bit more carb heavy and calorie dense than the other two services. I try to do the Paleo thing, but I’ve been making an exception for these boxes. This week, I probably ate more carbs overall and more calories at dinner each night than I have in a long time.

The difference between Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, and Marley Spoon is minimal and really comes down to what your personal preferences are. I still think flavors and cooking style in the Blue Apron box were a bit more suited to my taste and lifestyle. Hello Fresh has proven to be the most affordable and offer lots of opportunities for discounts (check out my post on Hello Fresh for $40 off your first box!!). The recipes from Marley Spoon were also extremely creative and enjoyable, but on the heavier side.

Serious foodies looking to try a meal delivery service should consider Blue Apron or Marley Spoon. Families and those who might not be as adventurous with food but would like to change up their weeknight menus would probably enjoy Hello Fresh. As with all of the boxes so far, it was a joy to come home and know I had a brand new meal to prepare that wasn’t going to take me all night to cook. Oh yeah, and I didn’t have to meal plan or food shop for any of it – it’s all shipped right to your door!

I deactivated my account after my final delivery because they will automatically charge you and ship you more food. It was very simple to cancel the service (and to restart it).

There was no discount code given to me for this one to share, but they offer some Groupons and promotions if this has piqued your interest. I like that it forced me to cook with ingredients that I usually pass up. For example, between Blue Apron and Marley Spoon, I’ve cooked with farro. I usually shy away from grains because Paleo, but this is one I would regularly incorporate and really love. It gave me some great ideas for side dishes during the week, which is what I usually struggle with. While I don’t eat bread often, the next time I serve it as a side dish I will totally dress it up with some fresh mozzarella and sauteed kale. I’m still drooling over that one.

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

Foodie Fridays: Almond Sweet Potato Flatbreads

imageLast year, I was hung up on a paleo wrap recipe that I would make and use for lunch – well, really for any meal but I’d bring them to work for lunch. Honestly, they tasted great no matter when I ate them but they worked best if I could quickly heat them up in a skillet (just for about a minute) before using them. Otherwise, they would fall apart a little. I didn’t mind and would just eat them with a fork.

This school year, I wanted a wrap but I wanted it to be a bit lower maintenance. The other ones didn’t take too long to make but they required some attention as each one needed to be cooked kind of like a pancake or a crepe, where you flip them halfway through and have to keep your eye on it. I found this flatbread recipe on Pinterest and it met a lot of my requirements: paleo, simple and fun ingredients, super easy, lots of flexibility to modify and change it up with whatever you have on hand.

As usual, I modified the original recipe and added some spices to fit my taste buds. You could switch up the spices, or even chop up some fresh herbs to go in the crust of these depending on what you use them for. I’d guess that you could also sub pumpkin, banana, butternut squash, or maybe even some cooked and mashed apples for the sweet potato. I haven’t tried (yet), but I can’t see why it wouldn’t work.

Here’s the base recipe that I like, and what I made almost every single week since coming across it to keep in my fridge. They taste great with pretty much anything – I topped it with a paleo chicken salad, I’ve spread almond butter, cut up banana and a drizzle of honey on them. I’ve filled them with an egg scramble for a breakfast wrap. I had some leftover marscarpone cheese the other day and warmed up a wrap and slapped that goodness on top. OH EM GEE.

Paleo Almond Sweet Potato Flatbreads
Makes 6 Wraps

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups almond meal
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 cup mashed, cooked sweet potato
  •  1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon spice of choice (I use turmeric, mainly because I like the color and the anti-inflammatory properties, but you could do anything. Cinnamon for a sweet flatbread, perhaps? Paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, cinnamon, curry powder? Possibilities are endless!)

Method

  1. In a large bowl combine the almond meal, spices and sweet potato. Mix with a fork until well combined.
  2. Add egg white and mix until dough forms. The dough will seem like it’s a little too wet, but don’t panic.
  3. Divide dough into 6 pieces.
  4. Place one section of dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper and flatten with hand (or rolling pin) into a 1/4 inch thick circle.
  5. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and repeat with remaining dough.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.
  7. Top as desired.

Enjoy!

image image image image

What do you eat for lunch? Do you do meal prep ahead of time, or just wing it?