2.24.14-2.26.14: Is is Spring yet?

Monday:

This day was so boring it’s not even worth trying to make exciting. Onward.

Tuesday/RunDisney Musings:

It was running day so I started the morning with a Quest bar that had the biggest chocolate pieces I have EVER seen. It was incredible.

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I felt good today, so I skipped ahead in my 5K to 10K app. Today, I ran for 17 minutes/walked for 1 minute and repeated two more times for a total of 51 minutes and approximately 5.1 miles. 6 minutes/.6 miles more than I had been doing the last two runs. I felt pretty good about it, but I did take an additional minute to walk in between. Overall, I just feel good about making progress again, rather than feeling discouraged and stuck.

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I’m really excited about registering for the Spring Gallop 5K in Aurora. Though it’s “only” a 5K, I’m so excited to get back outside for a race and to hang the next race bib on my holder. I keep checking CARA’s website for a good 10K race in the future and I’m leaning toward Plainfield’s Fast Cat. I definitely want to run one before the summer hits. I don’t run too well outside in extreme heat. Kind of funny seeing as I dream of running a race on Florida humidity.

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Speaking of dream races, if you haven’t heard yet, RunDisney has announced a NEW race: an AVENGERS themed half marathon and 5K taking place at Disneyland in California! My cousin and I have talked and we want to possibly go for a coast to coast medal next year. (Where you run at least a half marathon distance at Disney World and Disneyland in the same year.) Since Princess falls in February and the Avengers race will take place in the fall, I’m hoping it will be slightly easier to save for both since there is a nice cushion of recovery time for the moolah.

After the run and a good dinner, I finished up the night with a babysitting gig.

Wednesday:

Today I got to sleep in just a tad. I woke up and was desperately craving chocolate. I whipped up my chunky monkey smoothie and chilled out before heading out to go babysit for a couple of hours.

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My little nugget was so exhausted today. We play trains, watched Scooby-Doo, and he passed out within 5 minutes of laying down for his nap.

With babysitting complete, I set out to make dinner for my family, taco pasta casserole. It’s one of our favorites. I demolished my food and headed out to yoga.

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This class was called “Yoga for Athletes,” which had a lot of stretching on my legs which is AWESOME in conjunction with my running.

(Derp face and creepin with my sister.)

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It’s 8:15pm here and I am exhausted. I’ll probably head to bed in a few. Running in the morning then  my favorite activity: grocery shopping for next week! =)

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“Lightened Up” Taco Pasta Casserole

I love Pinterest because it provides inspiration for so many meals. More specifically, Pinterest links me to people who come up with amazing dishes. I was more than inspired by Curry and Comfort’s Taco Pasta Bake. I took her original recipe and made some simple swaps to lower the calorie content. (Which comes to about 375 calories per serving.) Now I use a lot of reduced fat/no fat ingredients when I cook dinner, but not because I’m so concerned about fat content, but because it tends to have lower calories. Many people worry about macros before calories. I tend to put calories first BUT have protein and carbs as a close second. I run a lot. I need protein and carbs to keep me full and provide me with energy. This method works for ME. Modify the recipe however you wish to fit YOUR needs. =)

Casserole will make 8 servings.

Alright, enough small talk, let’s get cooking:

  • 12 oz of pasta (I use Creamette’s 150 calorie per serving pasta or whole wheat)
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 onion (I normally use small to medium size)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic (1/2 tsp is equal to 1 clove)
  • 1 packet of reduced sodium taco seasoning (or 2-3 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • lime juice to taste
  • 1 cup salsa (I like plain old mild, but pick your favorite!)
  • 1/2 cup non-fat sour cream (I use Kemp’s.)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • shredded cheese to your liking (I tend to use a cup. I like reduced fat Mexican cheese for this recipe, but I’ve also used fat free cheddar by Kraft)

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First thing’s first, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and get your pasta cooking.

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Next, chop up that onion and get it cooking in a nice, big skillet. I like to start on medium/high heat to get the onion cooked really well. Next, add your ground turkey and minced garlic. Cook until the turkey has browned.

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Next, add your taco seasoning and cumin. Mix.

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Time to add your salsa, water, and lime juice. I like to add a little bit of lime juice all through out my skillet. Stir!IMG_2513

By now, your pasta should be nice and tender. First add your cream, stir, then add your pasta and mix well.

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Spray your baking dish with cooking spray. You’ll need a big one! Add your Taco Pasta to the dish. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Throw your casserole in the oven uncovered for 15 minutes or until the cheese is nice and melted.

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I could probably eat the whole pan. I honestly always eat about a serving and a half. My family of 4 always has a nice bowl of leftovers, so I know lunch the next day will always be amazing. Enjoy!

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Chunky Monkey Smoothie

This is so easy to make, it really shouldn’t even be considered an actual recipe. I love to make this because it is chocolatey, creamy, and really helps me recover after a run. Did I mention chocolate?

Oh, and if you use unsweetened almond milk, it comes out to just 300 calories.

So really, all you’re gonna need is:

  • Blender or immersion blender
  • 2 cups of milk of your choice (I LOVE unsweetened vanilla almond milk!)
  • 2 ripe  frozen bananas (I let my bananas sit out until they get lots of brown spots on em, then I freeze them, and let them thaw until they are that perfectly cold but kind of soft stage)
  • 1 tablespoon (or so) of unsweetened cocoa powder

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Throw in those bananas into your cup or blender.

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Then cocoa! Remember, it’s unsweetened, but your ripe bananas should provide natural sweetness. I usually throw in about a tablespoon, but ya might have to play around with it to find a taste that works for you! =)

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Milk! If you’re using an immersion blender, I tend to dump in only a cup first, blend a bit, then pour the rest in. It just makes it easier for me. Blend until smooth.

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Beautiful deliciousness.

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2.22.14 & 2.23.14: Weekends for life.

Like most people, I adore weekends. Not to stay up and party, but I love waking up early on a Saturday and getting my work out done. Saturdays at the gym are quiet and glorious. I wish every single day could be Saturday for that reason.

Saturday:

If if wasn’t obvious from my love above, I started my Saturday with a Quest bar and a run. My work out was the same as Thursday: 15 minute run/1 minute walk, repeat two more times for a total of 45 minutes/4.5 mile run. During this run, I watched a tattered USA hockey team unsuccessfully battle Finland for Bronze. I honestly didn’t care who won, I just wish I could have seen a better game versus a clown show from the US.

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After my run, I enjoyed Portillo’s again with the family. Portillo’s is our favorite Saturday lunch spot. I opted for the Apple Walnut Salad again. Dressing on the side and parmesan instead of goat cheese.

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We took a field trip to Total Hockey so my dad could pick up a few more things, then we headed back home. With no errands to run today, it was a lazy afternoon until I had to go babysit.

The people I babysit for on a regular basis are incredible. They have two of the cutest kids who are just awesome. My evening was filled with giggles, hide-and-seek, and Cheerios. Seriously, that’s what I eat when I go over there.

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After the kiddos were snuggled down, I made myself a cup of green tea and sank into the couch for the night. I was over there pretty late and found myself nodding off at 9:30, but that just means I’m back on my early morning schedule, which is awesome. Mom and dad had a great time, which I always love to see, and I headed home at 2 in the morning to get some shut eye.

(Yogi tea is amazing and has the advice.)

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Sunday:

Sundays would normally be my yoga day but I was beat from the night before. I slept in, enjoyed a quick breakfast of cookie dough overnight oats, then met my family at a local breakfast joint for lunch. This place is great. If you’re in the Aurora, IL area, I highly recommend the “Double Yolk.” Great breakfast and lunch food that isn’t greasy. Last week, I chose oatmeal with fruit and egg whites, a safe choice. Today…I couldn’t resist the Belgian waffle! I had it topped with fruit and sugar free syrup and had some egg whites on the side. I haven’t had a waffle in forever, so I was pretty pumped.

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Today was also awesome because I met up with a friend in Naperville to meet Chicago Blackhawks player Kris Versteeg! I had blown off meeting him in the past, so I snagged the opportunity to get my first One Goal book signed. Nice guy, as expected.

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RunDisney Musings:

Yesterday was the Enchanted 10K and today was the Princess Half! I got a text update from my cousin and she said it was the most fun thing she has ever done. Can 2015 get here already so I can do it?! Rumor has it that the race will be on sale JULY 15TH. I highly recommend going to the RunDisney facebook page and checking out all the videos and pictures. I’m drooling over them!

Cookie Dough Overnight Oats

This is my go-to overnight oats recipe. It’s quick, easy, and super tasty. I love waking up knowing I have them in my refrigerator and starting my day with a bowl and a cup of tea.

Enjoy.

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned or rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup (or so) of milk (I use almond unsweetened vanilla)
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp chocolate chips (I like mini)
  • Food storage bowl or mason jar. Or just a bowl with plastic wrap.

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Throwing it all together:

First, take your oats and dump them into your bowl.

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Then mix in your brown sugar. As you can see, I’m not too exact.

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Vanilla! My favorite.

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Then the chocolate chips. I lied, these are my favorite.

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Finally, add that milk and stir. Make sure your milk covers most of the oats.

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Now put your oats into the refrigerator for at least an hour or overnight. Your oats will soak up the milk and became fluffy and delicious.

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Now go to sleep. The sooner you sleep, the sooner you can wake up and enjoy! You can enjoy your oats warm or cold!

2.19.14-2.21.14: Hump Day and Beyond

Wednesday:

I wasn’t feeling too hot today, so I lounged around the house. I ate a bit too much today, but definitely didn’t overeat, which I have had trouble with before. I made soup and pretzel rolls for dinner and they were incredibly delicious.

I got my attendance report from GymPact and I earned $1.23 from gym time and $1.20 for food logging for a total of $2.43 last week! So far, I have a total of $7.43. This week, I upped my gym time by a day and my food logging by 2. I can’t wait to see what that gets me. I might add a veggie log as well!

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Thursday:

I woke up early and headed straight to the gym. Today I was able to run 15 minutes/walk 1 minute and repeat that 2 more times. Big win for me! I feel so much better now that I just gave in and started the 10K app over. It was a rough run today, so I definitely plan on doing the next two days the same way. Things are looking up!

I meal planned and grocery shopped with my momma, it was a wonderful, easy day.

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Friday:

Today I got up bright and early for my osteopath appointment. Though running has greatly improved my back, having everything adjusted once a week greatly improves my life.download3

I did some work from home today. Work has been slow as of lately, so I’ve been doing a lot of babysitting. Getting to work on some flyers and a few graphics was a nice change of pace.

I ran a few more errands with my mom and then went to dinner with my family. It’s been easier to make better decisions at restaurants, which is something I really struggled with before. We went to Chick-Fil-A and I chose the grilled chicken cook wrap and fruit on the side. SO GOOD.

(Repped the Stones today.)

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RunDisney Musings:

My beautiful cousin landed in Florida yesterday for THIS year’s Princess Half Marathon weekend. I am beyond jealous! She has been sending pictures and has promised me a special pin. It makes it so much more real that I will be doing it in a year! Having this goal on the horizon keeps me honest and driven. I WANT to eat better, I WANT to keep working out and running. Not to be skinny, (though waking up without a muffin top would be glorious) but to truly be runner. I want to post a plethora of pictures of myself in my tank tops, race bibs, covered in disgusting, glorious sweat all over my facebook and be proud of it. I want to blog about how awesome my training/race went and I want people to feel inspired. I want to feel the burn in my throat. I want my legs to ache. I want to feel the fresh air in my lungs. I want to triumphantly belt out “Go the Distance” from the Hercules while fist pumping at the end of my run.

Today was the RunDisney Royal Family 5K. Disney released this video which gets me even more excited. Just keep swimming.

2.17.14-2.18.14: Case of the Mondays and Dad’s Birthday

Monday:

On Mondays, my mom is usually off of work. We hit the gym, do some housework, errands, then usually have lunch at one of my favorite places. This Monday was no different. 

I hit the gym at 8am and could only do 15 minutes/1.5 miles again, which yet again, frustrated me. I shook off my anger and decided right then to stop fooling around and just start my 5K to 10K app over the next day, since I really didn’t get a workout in.

Around noon, we headed to Jake’s Bagels in downtown Aurora and I got my favorite: a cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese. I eat *pretty* clean for the most part (I’d say 70/30, but I stay within my calories at more of a 90/10 ratio) but I look forward to Jake’s with my mom on Mondays. After lunch, mom surprised me by picking me up 2 boxes of Quest Bars! They are amazing, but $25 for a box of 12 is hefty. She apparently has appreciated all the cooking I do, but I just like to do my share to help my fambam out. Really.

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I made healthier Chicken Enchiladas for dinner and it was a hit. I hit the sack around 8pm because Tuesday was going to be busy.

 

Tuesday:

My old man and best friend turned 55 today! He had to spend the day at work, but that’s okay, because we still had a great day. I went over to babysit two of my favorite McNuggets at 8am today. They are so much fun, but the kiddos have a case of cabin fever. I cannot wait to take them outside to run around or go to the park instead of sitting inside watching Scooby Doo and making loom bracelets. (Even though that is pretty fun!) I was so hungry today even though I didn’t go to the gym until later. When I woke up (around 7am) I ate a slice of banana bread, at 9:30am, I had an apple, 10:45am, a bowl of cheerios with milk, then 15 minutes later, I had my Quest bar. I don’t know how I survived today.

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I got done babysitting a little early, so I headed out to Nothing Bundt Cakes to grab dad’s birthday cake: a double chocolate chip cake. If you haven’t had Nothing Bundt Cakes before, you need to find your nearest one and GO. They’re perfect. The cake is moist and light. The cream cheese icing is sweet and the perfect consistency, but I digress, this is supposed to be a somewhat healthy blog…(I’m a firm believer that you should enjoy life and foods you love in moderation. =)

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After picking up the cake, I headed to the gym for an early afternoon session. I DID start that app over and hit all the goals I was supposed to (running for 10 minutes, walk for 1 minute, repeat 3 more times) and instead of feeling discouraged like I have been, I actually felt good and look forward to doing it again on Thursday. I even got to watch a little Olympic hockey.

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Dinner and spoils were shared at Olive Garden. Normally I have 2 helpings of their “salad” and at least 4 breadsticks, along with the spaghetti dinner I normally choose. Today was a big win for me. I had one helping of salad, one breadstick, and ordered a pasta from their “under 575 calories” menu. It was all delicious and I felt full without feeling overloaded. It’s probably the first time that has happened at Olive Garden for me.

After dinner, dad opened his gifts and we enjoyed cake. My dad just started playing hockey again (he played from when he was 11 years old until about 45 because of work and us kiddos) so we got a custom jersey made for him as well as a new goalie mask. He was blown away. It’s awesome to get him stuff he wants because he never tells us and always ends up with clothes. I’m glad this year could be different.

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I also decided today I will NOT be running the Pulaski 10K in Chicago. I don’t want to be in the race if I’m not going to be actually running it. That sounds stupid to some, but it’s important to me. INSTEAD, I will be running the Fox Valley Park District’s Spring Gallop 5K at the end of March. By then, I should actually be close to hitting 10K again, then I will find another one I can do. After I hit 10K, I will then begin my half marathon training, which SHOULD take me about 3 months to complete. (Possibly by June.) I would actually like to do a local half before the Disney Princess Half, so I know what to expect and so I can be in a “better” corral. I know there is a lot of stop and go for Disney, but I’d like to still finish in a decent amount of time and not get stuck behind 3480293482309482 other people who are constantly stopping.