Training Plans

I am so looking forward to celebrating Betsy and Matt’s birthdays tonight, but first there are a few things I need to do.

This morning I headed downstairs to the treadmill to get a 2 mile run in before meeting my long time friend Amanda for ZUMBA! I have taken a couple of Zumba classes before but they are all so different because each instructor has their own style. Today our instructor was this spunky little thing and I loved her! She kept us shakin’ our booties for a solid hour and let me be the first to say it wasn’t just my booty that was shakin’ (har har)! I had such a blast and can’t wait to go back.

After Zumba I went back home to tackle two more miles on the treadmill. Running again after Zumba? Come on, seems like overkill right? Well, that’s because Dana and I are training for our first half marathon!

We have not officially signed up because registration doesn’t open until February, but we have started our training and are pumped! The longest run we have done is a 15k or 9.3 miles, which was in August 2011. The race we ran was for more “elite” runners and it was set up as a 3-loop run. Needless to say we are not elite runners, and it was a little degrading finishing our second loop when a good chunk of the other runners were finishing their third. We did finish in under an hour and 30 minutes which was our goal, but when we both finished we said, “I am not doing that again.” Ha, we’re eating our words now.

Ear buds are out, I see the finish line!

We think/hope that our next experience will be a little more fun, and it should help to do one huge loop versus three small loops. Plus, we have other friends planning to run it too!

The training plan we used for the 15k was one from Hal Higdon. For this round of training, I found this half marathon plan by him and Dana found this training plan by Jeff Galloway that he is following.  I can’t decide which one to do so for now I am just kind of doing a combination of the two. I like the idea of running Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and having Saturday be my long run which is what Hal Higdon suggested, but so far have not done the short run on Wednesday, so I am pretty much following the Jeff Galloway plan. I don’t know, we’ll see. I will keep you posted about training progress as well as registration for the race. Runners are chosen through a lottery once registered.

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Breakfast recap

Coffee and peanut butter banana much like this one except a little more sloppy and on a paper towel to go.

 

Lunch started with some appetizers (samples) at Costco: chocolate chunk cookie, protein bar, bite of meatball which I handed off to Dana, cowboy caviar, and mango peach salsa, all served in bite size samples.

Once we got home I threw together a whole grain tortilla with a laughing cow wedge, lettuce, tomato, and mustard and a handful of almonds.

I wasn’t sure how this would taste but it was actually pretty good! After lunch I finished up the birthday dessert I started making last night which I am bringing to tonight’s festivities. Now I am off to tackle a couple more weekend “to-do’s” and get ready for the rest of the day including a much needed shower.

Happy Saturday!

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Happy Birthday Betsy!

To the Birthday Girl:

We shared a cup of tea…

We were awkward together….

You let me smother you with love…

And make me feel normal for not being normal…

You stand by my side…

And brighten my day.

Happy Birthday to my best friend, Betsy.

Thank you for always staying by my side through the ups and downs of life. You are so special to me and I am so lucky to have someone in my life who has such booty beauty, both inside and out. Hehe I needed to make you chuckle. But really Bets, I love you endlessly peanut and cannot wait to celebrate your big 25 today! xoxo.

Love,

Melanie

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Plantain Trial

It’s the freakin’ weekend baby!

Thank goodness! Today was wild and crazy and I am so happy to have a fun-filled weekend ahead.

I am feeling back to normal today. I regained appetite at about 9 p.m. last night and ate some kettle corn and then some mukimame which is the bean from the edamame (for when you’re feeling real lazy and don’t want to mess with the pod).  I got a good night’s rest and was good as new today.

I began my day with a peanut butter banana

 

Followed by 2 (errr more like 3) cups of coffee with cream and stevia.

I was feeling a little hungry mid-morning and munched on a small handful of almonds.

Lunch was a little bit of this:

In the mix was: broccoli, peas, carrots, mushrooms, green olives, mixed greens, laughing cow, and lite honey mustard dressing (Newman’s Own). Alongside a deliciously sweet clementine and some more almonds.

Cut to post-work. I get home and am ravished. The fridge is not very well stocked but I did manage to find some dates. I ate a handful of dates and a spoonful of peanut butter. I am starting to realize why we go  through peanut butter so fast around here. Anyway, I headed out to run some errands. I needed to pick up some wedding photos from Walgreen’s including one that completes our “guest book” cork board photo frame! We are so excited about it. For our guest book at our wedding we went non-traditional. We had our guests write their names on a wine cork which we then glued into a frame. Check it out…

Wooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!! Love it!

Besides Walgreen’s I also needed to return the book, “The Help” to the library (didn’t get to finish it and couldn’t renew because someone had reserved it—I will be finishing it though one day).

Last stop was Target to pick up some ingredients needed for tonight’s “dinner” and for a special birthday dessert I’m making for Ms. Birthday Girl Betsy and Mr. Belated Birthday Boy Matt.  Oreos are involved! OOoo ahhhh.  I also managed to snag a bag of Whole Grain Cheddar Goldfish which I cracked into as soon as I got home, alongside some chocolate chips. Hmmm…all of this snacking this afternoon, no wonder I wasn’t hungry for dinner. I had good plans for dinner too.  I still made part of the fun special dinner and hubby enjoyed it immensely.

Last weekend I picked up a plantain at the grocery store. I love trying new things as you may know by now and had eaten a plantain before but never cooked one myself. I did a little brainstorming and a little researching for recipes, and then remembered a delicious appetizer I had this summer at Chino Latino’s with  my girl friends.

It was fried plantains served with a spicy black bean dip. After chatting with my co-workers today, two of which are from Columbia, I learned that my plantain was not going to make for the best “chips” because it was too ripe. In order to make good chips you need a really green plantain apparently and mine was more of a yellowish-green with some brown spots. Sounds appetizing right? Well, I wasn’t going to give up on it and I’m not one to throw away perfectly good food, so I got creative.

I started by peeling the plantain and slicing on an angle in 1/8-1/4 inch slices. I preheated the oven to 400 degrees, and covered a baking pan with aluminum foil and non-stick cooking spray. I placed the plantains on the baking sheet (pictured below), sprayed the top with cooking spray, and sprinkled with cumin and chili powder. I popped them in the oven for about 17 minutes, turning halfway through.

In the meantime, I sautéed one small white onion in about 1 teaspoon of  Annie’s garlic olive oil (thank you Brian and Amanda). To the pan I then added: one can of drained and rinsed black beans, one 4-ounce can of diced green chilies, a dash of garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, black pepper, and a squeeze of fresh lime.

Once all ingredients were combined, I continued heating on the stove top for about 5 more minutes while the plantains finished in the oven. I then transferred the bean mixture into the food processor and processed until smooth. I removed the plantains from the oven and served them along side the bean dip.

I don’t know if it was the fact that I had snacked so much prior to this, or the sweetness of the plantains, but something wasn’t appealing to me in this dish. However, Dana LOVED it. Thanks to him my self-esteem wasn’t completely battered. I wouldn’t say my first attempt at plantains was a fail whatsoever, it just wasn’t my favorite ever. Stay tuned to see what new food I try to cook up next week!

I am off to start working on the mystery dessert for Betsy and Matt’s Birthday Party tomorrow! I am so suspenseful I know. Wish me luck!

Have a great night everyone. Peace and love. Out.

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Buggin’?

Good Evening! Hope everyone had a wonderful Thursday.

I started the day off giving the Oatmeal minus the oats another shot. The goal was to get an oatmeal consistency versus cream of wheat consistency. The verdict is……..SUCCESS! Looks pretty good, huh? That’s because it was. This time I used frozen banana that I defrosted in the microwave and added a tiny bit of brown sugar and a scoop of peanut butter. It was fantastic.

It does such a good job of holding me over until lunch because of the combination of protein and fat  from the egg, milk, flax seed, and peanut butter (I chose to exclude the walnuts again).

Fast forward to lunch time. I decided to brave the cold and go home for lunch. I wasn’t sure what I was in the mood for so I started with banana and peanut butter (second time today I know-no surprise), next moved to an apple with a laughing cow wedge, carrots, and then dipped back into the peanut butter a few more times. I am a crazy peanut butter addict.

I’m not sure if I am dehydrated, fighting some kind of bug, or what, but I am not feeling very well this afternoon/evening.  After work I headed down to the basement to get a 3 miler in on the treadmill. I pulled through it but felt completely nauseous towards the end. Dinner time rolled around and I wasn’t hungry. Wheel of fortune was over and  I was still not hungry. I’m always hungry though.

I grabbed a Powerade zero out of the fridge hoping that I was just dehydrated and it did seem to help a bit. I poured myself a small bowl of Quaker’s Life Apple Cinnamon Crunchtime and Crunchy Corn Bran with almond milk. It was just what I needed. I love it when the cereal is a little soggy, and a little crunchy. I am starting to come around now.

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I am very excited that tomorrow is Friday. I am planning on working on the blog this weekend; I feel like it needs so much work! I want to fill you in on workouts, wedding recaps, Italy, recipes, hopes, dreams, etc. and will with time! Thank you to those who are reading this blog right now and supporting me. Feel free to pass my blog on to anyone who you think might enjoy it! I will try to keep you entertained.

Have a great night! Time to hang with the men…

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Crock-pot Black Bean Mushroom Chili

Good morning!

Here is the chili recipe from last night’s dinner. With it being a whopping -11 degrees outside right now in beautiful Minnesota, this would be a perfect lunch or dinner to warm the soul.

Crock-pot Black Bean Mushroom Chili

Recipe adapted from Eatingwell.com Black Bean Mushroom Chili

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound dried black beans, (2 1/2 cups), rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1-8 ounce container mushrooms, sliced
  • 1- 16 ounce jar salsa verde
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 5 1/2 cups chicken broth (vegetable broth would work too)
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 1/4 cups grated Monterey Jack, or pepper Jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

PREPARATION

  1. Cook dried beans according to package directions.
  2. In large fry pan, combine oil, mustard, chili powder, black pepper, cumin, allspice, and cinnamon. Stir over medium heat for 30 seconds.
  3. Add onions, mushrooms, salsa verde and water. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes.
  4. Uncover and stir until mixture begins to thicken. Add broth and tomato paste; mix.
  5. Place cooked beans and vegetable mixture into large crock-pot. Turn heat to high.
  6. Cook covered in crock-pot 5 to 8 hours.
  7. Top with fresh cilantro, cheddar cheese, or a dollop of nonfat plain greek yogurt.
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My Fam Bam

Happy Hump Day!

I am so glad we are more than halfway through the work week. Anyone else super tired today or was it just me? 

I had a pretty boring day of eats today. I wasn’t hungry for breakfast this morning which honestly does not happen to me, ever. I ate an energy bite which is made of dates, almonds, peanuts, cocoa powder, and Craisins (I’ll be getting you this recipe eventually) and headed out the door with my coffee. I did get an appetite a couple of hours later and had packed some dry cereal and a clementine.

Lunch was the exact same as yesterday. I told you it was boring! Whole wheat tortilla with natural peanut butter, carrots, apple, banana, and another energy bite. I actually went home for lunch and walked on the treadmill for twenty minutes to try to wake myself up/warm myself up. Unfortunately it didn’t do either but I at least got a little activity in! I generally like to do my workouts before work in the morning but just couldn’t get myself out of bed after a bad night of sleep.

I snacked on some Snyder’s Natural Potato Chips while we reheated some leftover black bean mushroom chili (recipe revised slightly from this recipe from eatingwell.com). We topped it with shredder cheddar cheese and cilantro and called it a dinner! I also had a side of broccoli with some asian sesame dressing.

Then for dessert….

Micky D’s for some vanilla soft-serve! The snow and freezing cold weather won’t stop us from our ice cream. It was the best thing I ate all day! The chili was actually really good too. I will have to get you that recipe too! 

A brief introduction to my wonderful family

Left to right: Brother Scott, Mom Kathy, Me, Dad Tom, Brother Jeff, and Brother Kevin

I am the baby girl of the family with three older brothers. I love my family like crazy. They mean the world to me. You’ll be hearing about them more in the future, just wanted to give you a quick intro. =)

Hope you all had a great day. Off to get a couple of things done around the house! Good night!

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Try something new… how about tofu?

Good evening everyone! How is everyone’s Tuesday going? It’s not Monday, so we have that going for us right?!

Before work this morning I made myself a breakfast which I have never had before. The recipe is from a blog called Carrots n’ Cake and you can see the recipe here on her blog.

It is called “Oatmeal” minus the oats and is made with egg whites, almond milk, flaxseed, banana, cinnamon and vanilla extract. I excluded the walnuts from my version and added sunflower seeds and a little bit of natural peanut butter once it was done cooking. The directions say to stir on stove top for about 3 minutes or until desired consistency is reached (oatmeal texture) but I think I took it off a little too soon. It had more of a cream of wheat texture, which I liked! Next time I will let it cook longer though. I loved this breakfast option. It was a nice change and it held me over for a really long time.  Or was it the piece of chocolate cake (unpictured darnit) I had at work that helped tide me over? I didn’t take a picture of breakfast (I need to work on getting better at this) but I will be making it again in the future so I’ll try and remember to snap a photo. Thanks Tina for the great recipe!

Lunch today was a random one because I worked until 1:00 and wanted to get my workout in right away and didn’t want to run on a full stomach. So, on the way to the gym I noshed on some veggie sticks, an apple, (still had the cake sitting in my belly at this point), and hit the treadmill.  I got four sweaty  miles in at the gym while people watching, watching Sex in the City and listening to my jams.

Once I got home I was kind of hungry, but more so knew I needed to eat something. I sampled pretty much everything in the cupboard: craisins, dates, crackers, then headed to the fridge and finished off with a clementine. Here’s my lunch I packed but only halfway got around to eating: (whole grain tortilla with peanut butter, string cheese, carrots, apple, and a clementine).

Dinner was something new as well tonight (I must be feeling adventurous today). These may sound gross to some, but I wanted to try Tofu Shirataki Noodles by House Foods. They are in the shape of spaghetti and are made from blending the root of the Konnyaku – a member of the yam family and tofu, according to their website. I found them at Byerly’s.

I marinated the noodles in a homemade peanut sauce (peanut butter, hot water, soy sauce, rice vinegar, black pepper, and garlic powder) and then served them on top a bed of mixed greens with diced carrots, grilled chicken breast and fresh cilantro. Verdict? Not bad but they didn’t knock my socks off. Would I try them again? Sure. I might try a creamy buffalo sauce next time though. I finished dinner with a chocolate calcium plus Vit. D supplement. 99% sure I’ll be having a little snacky tonight.

Quick recap from last night

Butt indentation in the couch from watching four hours of television with Dana. I had to watch Wheel of Fortune of course, then The Bachelor (another guilty pleasure), then The Next Great Baker on TLC (go Nadine!). Nadine is in the top four and she is a cousin of one of our friends!

I couldn’t believe we literally sat on our hineys that long watching the tube. Holy cow. I just remember back to wedding planning days when we could hardly catch a breath much less watch four hours of TV. Anyway, it doesn’t happen often, we’re really not bums all the time.

For dinner last night I made myself a veggie loaded salad with mixed greens, mushrooms, broccoli, tomato, carrots, black beans, cheese, and lite honey mustard dressing. I try and get my 5-9 veggies and fruits in everyday and find it a lot easier when I incorporate a salad into my day.

Now, I should probably go help the hub with dishes, or stand there and try and look pretty. One of the two. Have a great night!

P.S. I’m finally reading the book, ‘The Help,’ and am loving it so far! I wanted to read it before seeing the movie. I would recommend it.

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A nice little day off

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day everyone! I work in a public health agency in the area as a Registered Dietitian and had the day off today for the holiday. I am having a great day so far. I woke up and hit the treadmill for a morning walk while watching some Keeping Up with the Kardashians (guilty pleasure). It kept me walking longer than I was planning because I just had to watch Kim tell Khloe that she wasn’t happy with her relationship with Kris. OMG. I am pathetic I know.

After my walk I made myself a fruit and yogurt parfait, had a couple of cups of joe with cream and stevia, hit the showers, then headed out to take care of some errands.

For lunch I stopped at mom and dad’s. They only live about 15 minutes away and I am very lucky to be able to stop by whenever I please. I always love stopping by their place not only to see them and their adorable Yorkie Poo, Abbie, but also I love raiding their cupboards. They always have so many fun things that I don’t have at my house!

I decided on a piece of whole wheat toast with crunchy pb, banana, carrots, some whole grain chips (bean flavored they are delicious), then finished off with a couple of pieces of chocolate kisses. Mom asked me to make her favorite chocolate drop no bake cookies before I left and I happily obliged. I love baking/cooking because I get to “taste test” the batter which is my favorite!

I will be posting the recipe soon! You won’t want to miss it. I had two of the wonderfully chocolately peanut buttery oatmeal cookies then headed for the home front. Photo shoot time with Mooser:

The rest of the day has been dedicated to getting some things done around the house and hanging out with my boys before the work week begins. Dinner is most likely going to be a whatever kind of night. I’m not sure what I’m in the mood for. We’ll see! Have a great rest of your day!

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