An indulgent weekend after an 18-miler!

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Not sure what the weather is where you are today, but the weather here in Delaware is absolutely beautiful! I hope it’s the same for you.

As promised, I wanted to do a quick recap of my 18 mile training run that I took on Thursday afternoon.

18 miles

After work, I headed out to one of my favorite local running spots. There is a huge hill but once you get to the top, there’s a 1.1 mile loop that’s absolutely beautiful and a nice, flat place to run. I did a few laps before running back down to my car at mile 9 to grab my gels and some water.

Although I was pretty tempted to run back up and finish my run up there, I knew I needed to get in some hill work, so I ran through some new neighborhoods that were pretty much all hills. My splits definitely showed it (I went from averaging 8:08 in the first half of my run to about 9:00 after), but I felt pretty good and much more confident about running Pittsburgh with all of its hills in just a few weeks!

It was almost 7 p.m. until I finished up (so glad it stays daylight later!), so I took a quick shower, forced myself to eat, and then pretty much didn’t move all night, haha.

As per usual, I was starving all day yesterday. I planned on sleeping in until 7 or so since I was taking a rest day, but woke up at 6:30 and immediately wanted breakfast. That hungry feeling pretty much lasted all day long…

After I got home from work and posted my recipe for a Chicken & Bean Crockpot Chili, I got ready and headed out for a mini-date night with Andy! We had a gift card for TGI Friday’s leftover from our wedding and headed there for a Friday night meal. We’ve had a busy week so it was great to catch up over dinner.

Unfortunately, the lighting was really bad so I don’t have any photos, but I ordered the Sedona Black Bean Burger with avocado and sweet potato fries on the side. It was amazing and worth every bite!

After dinner, we had the chance to go to my friend Courtney’s and meet the sweetest new addition to their family! (Remember her baby shower a few weeks ago?) Their little lovebug was absolutely adorable, and I was so glad we were able to hang out with them.

This morning, I woke up nice and early to get a few miles in before meeting my running group. The weather was amazing, and I got in about 6.5 miles before heading to my friend Julie’s for this delicious brunch …

texas waffles

Yes, we had Texas-shaped waffles! Julie’s from Texas and I was excited to try out her creation 🙂 She cooked them with chopped pecans instead and I topped mine with strawberries, a few more pecans, and some maple syrup with my honey peanut butter on the side. So good!

Texas Shaped Waffle

Now, I’m planning out some menus for the rest of the week and am hoping to get to the grocery store before getting ready and heading to church for the weekend. So excited to experience our first Easter at my church’s new campus!

 

 

What’s been fueling my workouts all week

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Happy Friday!

I don’t typically post twice in one day, but I have lots to share with you over the coming days! First up, I want to share this recipe for Chicken and Bean Crockpot “Chili” — a super easy and delicious crockpot recipe that I’ve been enjoying all week. (I call it “chili” because I’m not quite sure what else to call it, but trust me — you eat this thing with a fork, not a spoon!)

I threw this in the crockpot on Monday morning and was ready to enjoy it for dinner that evening. One of my favorite things about this meal is it’s versatility! I served it over quinoa one day, brown rice another, quinoa/lentil chips another, and a sweet potato another. It never got boring because I was always adding a different texture/flavor to accompany it.

 

Chicken & Bean Crockpot %22Chili%22

Chicken & Bean Crockpot “Chili”
Serves 8-10
Adapted from Skinny Taste

  • One red onion, chopped
  • 1 16-oz. can black beans (drained)
  • 1 16-oz. can kidney beans (drained)
  • 10 oz. package frozen corn
  • 2 14.5-oz. cans diced tomatoes (I used one regular diced tomatoes; another one of garlic roasted)
  • 1 small can of green chilies (Or just purchased diced tomatoes with the chilies if you prefer)
  • 1/4 c. chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp. cumin
  • Optional seasonings: Siriacha, Pepper, Paprika, Salt
  • 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used frozen)
  • Cilantro for topping (optional)
  1. Spray your slow cooker with some non-stick spray. Combine onions, beans, corn, tomatoes, green chilies, and seasonings. Place chicken on top and cover.
  2. Cook on low for 10 hours or high for 6.
  3. About 30 minutes before serving, remove chicken, shred, and return to slow cooker and mix well.
  4. Serve over your choice of quinoa, brown rice, steamed sweet potato, or tortilla cheese, top with fresh cilantro (and cheese if desired), and enjoy!

How to level up this recipe: 

  • I think chopped peppers would be a great addition to this recipe and an easy way to pump up your veggie count.
  • Serve over a bed of romaine lettuce (as I did with my quinoa and brown rice).

How to level down this recipe:

  • For added flavor, top with shredded cheese and/or sour cream (or plain greek yogurt if you can)!
  • If sweet potatoes aren’t your thing, you could easily serve this over baked russet potatoes as well.

And the best part was my friend Leslie introduced me to this Freakin’ Fresh Salsa to top it with, and oh. my. goodness. This stuff is seriously amazing…

Freakin Fresh Salsa

 

The company is actually based right here in Delaware and sells their product at a few local stores including Whole Foods. This stuff is seriously…freakin’ fresh. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!) Look at how thick this stuff is…

Freakin' Fresh Salsa 1Andddd…it’s made with all natural ingredients (tomatoes, onions, lime juice, cilantro…nothing you can’t pronounce), and absolutely delicious. If you’re in the Delaware area, be sure to check out where they sell it and pick some up for yourself!

Please note: I was not compensated for this post in any way…I just loved this stuff and wanted to share! 

I’ll be back later this weekend with a review of my 18 mile training run I did yesterday, my first product review of NuGo Nutrition bars, and more! Enjoy your Easter weekend, everyone!

 

Fit Friday Finds: 3.29.13

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It’s been a few weeks since I did an installment of Fit Friday Finds, but after discovering this fun running tool online, I knew I had to do one for this week!

Fit Friday

With Taz Running, you can choose your distance and your goal time, and it immediately spits out what your splits have to be to hit your goal time. However, unlike other online running tools, you can actually choose your exact race so the tool takes elevation into account (which is huge for me running in hilly Pittsburgh!).

I started by choosing my location and distance…

Taz Running 1

I hit “go” and then chose my race…

Picture 2

Next, I hit “settings” at the top…

Taz Running 3…and then put in my goal time (4:00) and adjusted my expected pace on hills (10 is the average; I put 12 since I haven’t trained on hills as much as I’d like).

Picture 4I scrolled down, hit “save,” and bam…

Taz Running 5Out came my paces (which sound quite manageable, thank goodness!).

There are many different races to choose from, and I love that the app adjusts for elevation. You can even order a tattoo with your splits to put on your arm on race day. Pretty sweet!

And, on a completely unrelated note, here was another fun thing I found this week…I am a Gilmore Girls fan through and through and just loved this article from BuzzFeed!

“27 Amazing Things We Might Get in a Gilmore Girls Movie” 

Any other Rory & Loralei fans out there? What’s your goal for your next big race?

Simple ways to love yourself everyday: Guest Post on My Food n Fitness Diaries

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Hello, Level’ers!

I’m checking in mid-day quickly because I’m excited to share my guest post, which went live on My Food n Fitness Diaries today! I love reading about Miss Ashley’s healthy eats and workouts and am so honored to be sharing my thoughts in her part of the blogosphere today.

Head over to to her blog to check out my post on “Simple Ways to Love Yourself Everyday,” from treating yourself daily to getting in a kick butt 20-minute workout!

My FNF Diaries

WIAW featuring healthy minestrone soup!

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It may be “springtime” but with a snowstorm on Monday, it’s still soup time around here! That’s why this WIAW features this yummy healthy minestrone soup perfect for our March weather.

New to the What I Ate Wednesday party? See what it’s all about over at Peas & Crayons!

This week’s WIAW came from last Wednesday…luckily I was able to get in a good amount of greens before my deliciously indulgent (and pretty green-free) weekend in Pittsburgh! (Did you miss my Pittsburgh recap? You can check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 here!)

I started off the morning with a delicious banana egg pancake topped with TJ’s almond butter + maple agave syrup and sprinkled with flax seed and coconut.

WIAW327_breakfast

For my morning snack, I enjoyed a small honeycrisp apple. (My favorite! They were selling 5 lb. bags at BJ’s for $10 — score!)

WIAW327_apple

For lunch, I enjoyed a leftover bowl of my minestrone soup with a side of (unpictured) carrots and celery. I made it in the crockpot (too easy!) and even froze some leftovers for later.

Healthy Minestrone Vegetable Soup

Healthy Minestrone Vegetable Soup
Recipe adapted from Food Network

  • 3 c. reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes (no salt added)
  • 1 can white cannellini beans, drained
  • 10 baby carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 1/2 c. zucchini (I used frozen yellow + green)
  • 1 c. onion, chopped
  • 1 t. dried thyme
  • 1/2 t. dried sage
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. seasoned salt (from Tastefully Simple)
  • 2 cups cooked whole wheat pasta shells
  • 2 cups baby spinach (or equivalent frozen)
  1. In crockpot, combine broth, tomatoes, beans, carrots, celery, zucchini (if using frozen; if using fresh wait until step 2), onion, and spices. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 5-6 hours.
  2. With 30 minutes left to cook, pour in your cooked pasta and baby spinach. Stir, cover, and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Ladle, let cool, and enjoy!

How to level up this recipe:

  • You know the drill…add more veggies! 
  • There was a bit too much pasta in here for me…I’d recommend you cut it down to 1 1/2 c. if you’re not a big pasta person.

How to level down this recipe:

  • Although it wouldn’t be traditional Minestrone, you could easily add in a pound of cooked lean ground beef or turkey. 

For my afternoon snack, I enjoyed a hodgepodge of whatever I needed to use from my fridge before going away. In the mix: 3 oz. Pomegranate Chobani, 1/4 c. low-fat cottage cheese, blueberries, oats, and puffed wheat. Yum.

WIAW327_afternoon snack_edit

I had a late meeting and was so hungry by the time I got home! I had an unphotographed piece of TJ’s multigrain rustic wheat bread before enjoying this plate of healthy homemade chicken parmesan with roasted Brussell sprouts and cucumbers on the side.

WIAW327_dinnerSince I hadn’t had any oats or peanut butter all day (the horror!), I ended the night with a small bowl of oatmeal. In the mix: 1/3 c. oats, organic skim milk, and natural peanut butter.

WIAW327_oatmeal

There you have it! Stay tuned this week for my first product review — can’t wait to share it with ya!

Food Coma #3: My final day in Pittsburgh

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Good morning and happy Tuesday, everyone! This morning, I’m coming at you with the third and final part of my weekend in Pittsburgh with my sister. If you missed it, you can check out Part One here and Part Two here.

After shopping on Saturday night, we got back to Kate’s apartment to figure out our final day in Pittsburgh. I really wanted to go running and get a feel of the city I’m doing my marathon in on May 5th, but we also really wanted to get breakfast and go shopping before I had to leave around 2 p.m. After going through many different scenarios, we figured out that running + breakfast + shopping wasn’t going to happen, so we were going to have to make some choices. I opted to get up at 7 a.m. to do a seven miler on the treadmill in her complex’s gym and then get ready quickly to head to breakfast and shopping.

Skipping a city run to head to breakfast? Best. decision. ever.

We went to a little restaurant called Waffles Incaffeinated in Southside. Luckily, we got there pretty early so we found free street parking + got seated right away.

The service was excellent, and our waitress quickly brought us waters + coffee (thank goodness).

Katie at Waffles

Kate and I decided we wanted to split two entrees so that we could taste both their waffles and their omelets. In addition to their large menu, you could choose to make your own waffles and/or omelets with at least twenty different “stuffing” and “topping” options.

Finally, we decided to do a make-your-own-waffle. The result? A waffle stuffed with almonds and blueberries and topped with peanut butter chiffon. Phenomenal doesn’t even begin to describe it…the peanut butter chiffon was to die for.

Waffles Incaffeinated - waffle

We also split a mushroom chevre omelet, which was served with tri-colored fingerling potatoes on the side…

Omelette waffles

It was also amazing! The eggs were flavorful without feeling greasy or heavy, and the potatoes were delicious — loved the purple ones!

We finished up within 45 minutes and did our best to finish every last bite…

Waffles finished

After rolling ourselves out of Waffles Incaffeinated (with to-go coffee cups in our hands thanks to our waitress!), we headed to Ross Park to do some shopping. We forgot to look what time the mall opened, so we were about 30 minutes too early. However, we did a quick stop at Ross where I ended up buying some fun new placements and Kate found a dress.

We eventually got to the mall and spent time browsing at a few stores, including Lululemon where I was somehow able to resist the urge to buy a pair of running crops that fit perfectly. Go me. I did however get some jewelry from Francesca’s to compliment my Easter dress, so I’m looking forward to wearing that this weekend!

We left the mall around 1, made another stop at Target, and then headed back to Kate’s apartment where I quickly packed up my stuff and hit the road.

Luckily, there were no accidents this time so I was back in Delaware by 7 p.m. and spent some time catching up on emails, prepping food for the week, and hanging out with Andy.

Overall, it was an amazing weekend. See you in May, Pittsburgh!

Snow day + Pittsburgh: Part Two

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I’m not all for this lawsuit against Puxatawney Phil, but my goodness, was he wrong! So much for spring…we’ve been pelted with snow all day long!

When I woke up this morning around 5:30 to get to the gym, I peeked outside and found no snow, even though they had been calling for overnight snow showers. Typical. I quickly got dressed and headed off to the gym to do a 20-minute speed treadmill workout, followed by 30 minutes of ab circuit work. When I left, I was greeted with almost an inch of snow covering my car and pretty awful driving conditions!

I figured I should go get my work computer and such before the weather got really bad, so I woke up my hubby and begged him to drive me to work. Unfortunately, the snow had started too late for most schools to cancel, so he still had to go into work this morning. He (angrily sleepily) agreed and braved the weather to help me grab my computer, charger, and a few other things I needed from work. Win 🙂

I spent the day working from home (and was super productive!) and am excited to try out a new crockpot meal I threw in for dinner. I’ll be sure to share if it’s a success!

But, first, back to my weekend recap! If you missed my first night in Pittsburgh featuring a trip to the Market District & Burgatory, head to Pittsburgh: Part One.

We had a busy Saturday ahead of us and needed to leave around 10 a.m. for my aunt’s baby shower, so I woke up around 8 a.m. and ate a pre-workout snack before heading to the gym in my sister’s complex.

Pittsburgh gym snackBrown rice cake with a little bit of PB + sprinkle of mixed granola

I took it easy and did a 30-minute pyramid elliptical workout followed by about 20 minutes of arms. With all my emphasis on running, I’ve definitely been slacking on my strength training, so it was good to get some in. After my workout, I headed back upstairs to shower and whipped up a batch of these hot apple pie pancakes for my sister and me…they are one of my favorites! I topped mine with some natural peanut butter and honey.

Pittsburgh pancakesAfter breakfast and getting ready, we finally left Pittsburgh (only a few minutes behind schedule!) to get to my aunt’s baby shower, which was about an hour and 45 minutes away. My parents had driven in, so it was awesome to see them and get to spend time with my whole family!

Baby shower

Baby shower 2

The theme of their nursery is elephants, and they had the cutest elephant-themed shower. Elephants must be the “thing” this year because every other gift was something elephant-related! 🙂 Check out these cute centerpieces and favors…

baby shower decorationsAfter the shower, we headed to my nana’s to have dinner with everyone before heading out. I was so hungry by that point and definitely lacking in my fruit intake for the day, so I immediately had a banana and orange followed by a slice of pizza. (Enter food coma #2 of the weekend.) Around 6:15, Kate and I started our trek back to Pittsburgh.

It was after 8 by the time we got back, so there wasn’t a lot of time for shopping before everything closed. However, we made the most of our hour at the Waterfront Shops! We started with a trip to Famous Footwear and Kate found a pair of shoes, followed by a trip to Express. I found an Easter dress, which I just love! Look how cute…now I just need a belt to match!

Express dress

Source: Express.com

We also got matching shirts, which was only fitting after every other person asked us if we were twins all day, haha! We ended the night with a (relatively) quick trip to Target, and then headed back to Kate’s to make plans for our final day in the ‘Burgh! Check back tomorrow for my final ventures in the city 🙂