A healthy chicken poppers kind of WIAW!

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I’ve been gone from the WIAW world for the past two weeks, but I am back! Let’s do this ūüôā

My eats come from last Friday…and I sure was hungry for some reason! I think I ate all day long…

WIAW

 

Breakfast: Two-ingredient banana egg pancake with almond butter and some flax seed +unsweetened coconut

Morning snack: I raided the office kitchen to find some pretzels and two clementines. They sure hit the spot!

Lunch: Sweet potato bowl with 1/2 roasted sweet potato, black beans, red and green peppers, onions, and corn topped with chipotle salsa + baby carrots on side

Afternoon snack: Mango Chobani with puffed wheat and oats (and a few handfuls of puppy chow as I made it for the hubby!)

Dinner…oh, it’s coming! Keep scrolling ūüôā

Evening snack: Small bowl of Crispix cereal with unsweetened vanilla almond milk

And, now for dinner…

Popcorn chicken dippersOh yeah…don’t you just want to dip some right now? I call them healthy chicken poppers, and they are phenomenal with an easy-as-can-be honey dijon dipping sauce! Do you want the recipe?

You do?

Okay, well if you insist…

Healthy popcorn chicken with honey dijon dipping

 

Healthy Chicken Poppers & Honey Dijon Dipping Sauce 

  • 2 large chicken breasts, trimmed of fat and cut into small cubes
  • 1 c. whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1/3 c. panko
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 Tbsp. plain greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp. dijon mustard
  • 3/4 Tbsp. honey
  1. Preheat oven to 375 and spray a cooking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Set out two small bowls. In the first bowl, combine bread crumbs & panko + salt and pepper to taste. In the second bowl, beat two eggs.
  3. Roll chicken pieces in egg wash until covered and then immediately place in breadcrumb mixture. Mix until each piece is covered and then set on the baking sheet.
  4. Once you have breaded all chicken poppers, place chicken in oven and cook for about ten minutes, flipping once. (The smaller your pieces, the less cooking time you’ll need.)
  5. In a separate bowl, combine greek yogurt, dijon mustard, and honey for your dipping sauce. Enjoy!

 

How to level up this recipe: 

  • Gluten-free or breadcrumbs just not your thing? You could easily “bread” your chicken with almond meal instead.

How to level down this recipe:

  • For an added punch of flavor, add 1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese to the breading mixture.

 

Marathon playlist

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So, yes, it was over three weeks ago, but I finally put together my last post about my experience at the 2013 Pittsburgh Marathon. Missed them so far? Catch them here…

I know some people run without music, but I’m not quite sure how. I’ve always run with music, and it definitely helps me get pumped up and focus on my pace. My marathon playlist was 4+ hours long, so these definitely aren’t all the songs from my playlist, but they are some of my favorites!

Marathon Playlist

 

What are your favorite running/workout songs? Can you run without music? 

Back on the grid

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I think we could all agree I’ve been a little MIA lately. Last week was insanely busy (and so was this weekend), but I’m back! I even have a good recipe or two to share with you this week.

Friday night I made some healthy chicken poppers with homemade honey dijon dipping sauce (recipe coming at you for this week’s WIAW!) and then headed to an engagement party for my beautiful friend, Janie. I am so excited to be part of her big day, and it’s only a month away!

On Saturday morning, I broke out my Jillian Michaels yoga DVD for the first time…

yoga-meltdown

 

It was a surprisingly great workout! It was more challenging than other yoga classes I’ve done, and it was only about 30 minutes long, so it’s really easy to squeeze in during a busy day.

After yoga, I spent the rest of the day helping a friend move, which definitely challenged my already-sore arms! I eventually headed to church for most of the afternoon/evening.

Yesterday started bright and early with working at church, and then it was time for our Memorial Day Cookout with friends! I made a variation of my Avocado Cobb Salad and ate way, way too much delicious food, but it was definitely worth it. We ended the night with some sparklers…

Memorial Day

 

How was your Memorial Day Weekend? 

A WIAW-less Wednesday

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This is officially my second Wednesday without doing a WIAW — crazy, I know. I can hardly believe it either.

I’m not sure what my problem is…I recorded a full day of eats both this week and last, but for some reason, really wasn’t feeling like they were WIAW-worthy. In addition, this week has just been so busy so far that blogging was put on the back burner.

I know I’ve been MIA for a few days (and things don’t look like they’re going to slow down at all this weekend), but I did want to check in quickly while I had the chance! (P.S. Now, I am so glad I did all that food prep over last weekend!)

Since I no longer have to adhere to a strict training plan, I spent some time this week mixing it up at the gym! I started off Monday morning with a 20-minute interval workout on the elliptical, followed by a version of my “Feelin’ the burn” leg circuit workout. I added 30 jumping jacks to each round & then did some sprints at the end. It definitely got my heart rate up!

Yesterday morning, I did 5.5 miles before 6:45 a.m. at a local park — and it was daylight the entire time! I. love. summer. weather.

After work yesterday, I headed straight home to PA. I was asked to speak at my high school’s scholarship foundation banquet, which was really exciting! Not quite sure why I have the weirdest look on my face in every single photo though…

Scholarship dinner 2

 

I was grateful for the opportunity to speak and loved speaking to all of the students afterwards — what I wouldn’t give to be their age and be ready to do college again! Luckily, I had my mom as my date last night…

Scholarship dinner

 

I ended up sleeping in PA last night and getting up early this morning to get back to Delaware by 8:15 for work! (It was a two-hour drive…I am so tired right now. Boo.)

However, today is the hubby’s birthday so once I got home, we headed off to the mall to get him some new clothes as a birthday gift. We eventually decided we were hungry and stopped at a Chic-fil-a on our way home. As far as fast food goes, Chic-fil-a is by far my favorite (I actually don’t eat any other fast food anyways), but I was surprised how¬†great their newest salad was! I had the Market Creation Salad which was made with a mix of romaine and spinach, apples, strawberries, blueberries, carrots, and grilled chicken with a zesty apple vinegrette, which was awesome…

Chic-Fil-A Market Salad

 

I highly recommend it for a fresh option on-the-go!

The rest of this week/weekend is jam packed as well, but I know I’ll be making a few new recipes for Memorial Day Weekend, so I’ll definitely be back to check in with those. And even though I’m slacking on the WIAW front, there’s a ton of great bloggers who aren’t so head over to Peas & Crayons to check out their yummy eats!

Staying healthy in a crazy busy week

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Wow…what an incredibly busy weekend!

After a short run of Friday afternoon, Andy and I went to a birthday party Friday night and then spent most of yesterday and today at church for various commitments. However, I had a short break yesterday afternoon and was able to go visit my best friend from home on her graduation day!

Michelle's graduationAlthough I missed her actual graduation, I was able to join her and her family for a party back at her house afterwards. Congrats, Michelle — I’m so proud of you!

After a crazy busy weekend, this week likely isn’t going to slow down at all…I have commitments tomorrow until 9:30 and then am speaking at a banquet on Tuesday night back in my hometown, which is about a two hour drive. I plan on staying at home and getting up super early Wednesday morning to drive back for work and then celebrate Andy’s birthday with him!

So, in light of a super busy week, I wanted to do some serious healthy food prep…

Food prep 5.19

Food prep 5.19 2

 

I made apple almond butter pancakes from Detoxinista, cut up fresh pineapple & strawberries (you better bet I’m having some PB & Strawberry J Bowls this week!), ¬†roasted asparagus, and balsamic glazed white pizza.

Need some of your own inspiration to do some food prep? Head over to the Lean Green Bean Blog…I love reading about what everyone whips up; it inspires me to get creative myself!

 

Fit Friday Find: A snack worth sharing

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I promised I wouldn’t mention the “M” word today, so we’re turning out attention to a summery Fit Friday Find!

Fit Friday

Okay, so I didn’t really “find” any revolutionary foods. I’m talking pretty basic stuff here: strawberries, peanut butter, cottage cheese. However, what’s revolutionary is how amazing these things are altogether…

Healthy PB & (Strawberry) J Bowl

Seriously drool-worthy, right?

I call it healthy PB & (strawberry) J bowl. I actually don’t think you even need to like cottage cheese to eat this. And, if you don’t believe me, fine. Eat it with some plain greek yogurt. I think you’ll still be impressed.

Healthy PB & Strawberry J Bowl

I think the secret is the dollop of homemade strawberry jam I added. It lightly coats the strawberries and adds that jelly consistently necessary to call something “PB & J.”

I don’t even think this qualifies as a “recipe,” more as just like the most simple, summery, delicious snack you’re going to eat all week. But, for those of you that like to follow directions, here you go…

Healthy PB & (Strawberry) J Bowl
Serves 1

  • 1 c. strawberries, sliced
  • 1/4 c. low-fat or reduced sodium cottage cheese
  • 1 tbsp. peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp. homemade strawberry jelly (optional, but amazing)
  1. Put all ingredients in a bowl. Mix. Eat.

See, told ya it was simple!

How to level up this recipe:

  • For added protein, sprinkle with vanilla protein powder or some flax seed.

How to level down this recipe:

  • Throw in some chocolate chips or sprinkle with sugar for added sweetness.

What types of summery snacks do you love? 

Life after 26.2

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So, it’s been over a week since I completed my big goal of 2013 — to finish my first full marathon.

Since then, it’s been a crazy ride! Immediately after my marathon, I experienced a huge outpouring of support from friends, family, and co-workers which meant so much to me, especially since they were the ones who had to listen to all my talk about splits, paces, and tempo runs for the past four months!

Marathon collage

When I took on this challenge, I turned to other food and fitness blogs to read about other blogger’s experiences with marathon training and completing their first marathons. Since I didn’t know many people who had run a marathon in my life, this became a great resource and inspiration for me. If they could do it, so could I!

I want to take some time today to address what I’ve learned and some resources for any of you out there contemplating your own first marathon! If you’re tired of my marathon talk by now, I don’t blame you…leave now and I’ll see you tomorrow for a non-running-related post ūüôā

What to know before tackling training for your first marathon: 

  • You have to do your long runs. I followed a training plan that had me run three times per week, plus two or three cross-training workouts each week. During marathon training, you can get away with skipping a run or cross-training workout here or there, but you can’t get away with skipping your long runs. Building mileage is extremely important for success on marathon day, so whatever you do, squeeze that in!
  • You need time. I’m used to getting up to run or hit the gym in the morning, so I didn’t think it would be that much of a stretch to train for a marathon. However, once your mileage starts creeping up and you’re doing mid week seven or eight miles runs plus 15, 16, 18, 20+ mile long runs, you need¬†time. It’ll start to take you between two and a half and three hours (or more) to complete those long runs + the time you spend getting ready, driving to a place to a run, stretching afterwards, etc. If I was going to do a long run (15 miles or more), I knew I needed at least 3 1/2 hours from the time I put my running shoes on until the time I was back home after a run. And, it’s pretty exhausting to run 15+ miles, so the chances of me doing anything truly productive afterwards was pretty darn slim…
  • You’re probably not going to think or talk about anything else for four months. As runners, we can’t help it…we just have to talk about running, even with non-runners who could care less that we found the perfect gel shot that fits in the pocket of our favorite running shorts and doesn’t bother our GI tract during a run. So yeah…I don’t recommend making any other big goals to achieve during this time of your life!
  • You probably won’t be able to wear flip flops.¬†I’ll spare you the gross details, but your feet will be in bad shape. And be prepared to say goodbye to a toenail or two.
  • Respect the taper.¬†After intense training for four months, the idea of taking time off is hard. I began my taper three weeks before my race, and the week of the race, I took some serious rest. I completed only a four mile run, three mile run, and yoga the week before my race…and I couldn’t have been more thankful come rest day. My legs were fresh, and having earlier 20 and 21 milers under my belt, I still felt confident.
  • It’s really hard.¬†It’s hard. It’s hard to get up everyday and squeeze in an eight mile “short” tempo run before work. It’s hard to have to say no to invitations to a party or ice cream out with a friend because you have a training run the next morning. It’s hard to be glued to your GPS watch to watch your paces, splits, etc.
  • It’s really awesome.¬†It’s awesome. It’s awesome to watch yourself move from considering four miles a solid “short” run to considering eight miles your “short” run for the week. It’s awesome to get up and run more miles before 7 a.m. than most people will run all week. It’s awesome to envision yourself crossing that finish line.

What you need to know about actually running your first marathon:

  • Enjoy every second.¬†You’ve trained for the last four months for this…don’t let it pass you by! This was some of the best advice I received, and I really took it to heart. I enjoyed the race expo, my pre-race meal, getting ready the night before with my sister and friends, and (gasp) even the race itself. When I was running over Pittsburgh’s famous bridges, I made it a point to look to my left and right and enjoy the amazing views of the city. It may cost you a few seconds, but it’ll be totally worth it.
  • Know the course map. I studied the course map and knew that the second half of the race started with a big hill. (I don’t think I realized the hills never really stopped after that!) However, I was prepared for that big hill at mile 12, and that made a big difference. I also went against every piece of racing advise and purposely went for positive splits (meaning the first half of your race is faster than the second). I knew that I’d need that borrowed time later in the race, and I’m glad I took that approach or else I never would have made my four-hour goal. (Also, if you’re looking for a great pacing tool, check out Taz Running!)
  • Expect momentum to carry you through the first half…expect your training to carry you through the second. One of the things that surprised me most is how difficult the last three miles of the marathon were for me. I had trained up to 21 miles, and I just assumed that¬†adrenaline¬†(combined with my training) would carry me through until the end. That distance is so¬†hard on your body, and I remember seriously contemplating quitting less than two miles before the finish line. I was really surprised at the amount of people who had to stop and nurse an injury or stretch out or walk during the final miles of the race…it was a very draining experience. Worth it, but draining.
  • The last few miles will be a total mental game.¬†Just keep telling yourself you can do it! I had written Phillipians 4:13 on my wrist and glanced at it quite a few times in my final miles…at that point, your body will definitely want to quit and things that you think would help (like telling yourself “I did 23 miles, only 3 more to go!”) really don’t help. Keep pushing, keep pushing…it’s worth it.

The Aftermath:

  • Expect an emotional roller coaster… You’re going to thank God it’s over. Then you might just cry (because of pain or joy or, more likely, both). You’re going feel like you’re on top of the world — you just ran a marathon! You’re going to feel like you can’t move. You might ask for strange things. (Ex. I’m never really hungry after long runs. After my race, all I wanted was a freeze pop and ended up settling for the most amazing shaved ice ever.) That’s all within the first hour.
  • …for awhile.¬†The day after the marathon was awesome for me. I was sore, but felt so blessed by all of the support and well wishes I received from family and friends. The second day after the marathon I woke up feeling like I had just been hit by a train. I was really tired and¬†nauseous¬†and just felt out of it. I later realized I was probably dehydrated because after drinking a lot of Gatorade, I felt much better. ¬†(Side note: Stay really well hydrated after your race! I thought I was drinking a lot of water, but I didn’t have any type of sports drinks, and those probably would have helped a lot.) The third day after the marathon, I must have forgotten about all of the pain because I was already contemplating running another one.
  • You’ll feel a little lost.¬†People talk about “post-marathon depression”…and I definitely have it. It’s difficult to describe, but when you lived your life for four months focused on a single goal and then achieved it…what comes next? You feel like you need a new goal, but you’re not quite ready to sign up for a second marathon, so what do you do? I’m still trying to figure this one out…

So, there you have it! It’s been a crazy journey, but so worth it. Thanks for being part of it with me!