Sunday, August 23, 2009

I've moved!

Hi everyone! Please don't forget that I have moved my blog to:

You will need to update your Google Reader - thanks for doing so! Hope to see you on the new site! :)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

If you want to get to my NEW BLOG where there's a GIVEAWAY....

Hi there!

I hope you are all having a great Thursday. I just wanted to mention that those of you who have me on your Google Reader will need to add a new subscription in order to continue to get new post updates, since I've moved to:

I was able to just put the above url into my Google Reader and it worked fine - or, you may need to put

If this doesn't work, go to this site:

Or, you can go to the new site ( and if you scroll down a bit on the right sidebar, there is a feature ("RSS Feeds") where you can add me to your Reader.

Thanks for your patience! And don't forget I have a fabulous new giveaway on the new blog... hope to see you over there! :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I lied....

This is the url you need to update me to your Google Reader, not the one I mentioned earlier:

Please let me know if you have any problems doing so!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What you've all been waiting for....

Hi everyone!

Exciting news..... in just a few hours my new blog will be up!!! If you use Google Reader, you will need to update it to reflect my new url which is:

Right now it's about half-finished, but it should be completely done by tonight. I'm going to wait to post for today until the new one is up. See ya on the flip side, er, new website! :)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Nutella nutella nutella nutella nutella!!!!

Oh, yes. This is what you have been waiting for... the NUTELLA POST!!!! But first, mi cena:
Good stuff, involving a simple but delightful dressing comprised of flax oil, lemon juice, S & P.
Ok, back to the good stuff!! I have been a huge, unbelievably loyal, addicted and obsessed Nutella fan ever since I first tried the stuff. Growing up, my mom stopped buying it because I would literally demolish an entire container in one sitting... yes, ONE SITTING. I could easily do it again too, don't tempt me with the challenge ;)
Obviously, this stuff isn't super healthy. So, sadly I stopped buying Nutella for the most part and haven't had it in the house in years because I simply can't be trusted with it. Yes, I know it's ok to eat dessert in moderation, but for me, "Nutella" and "moderate" do not belong in the same sentence. My most recent amazing Nutella experience was on our honeymoon in the Mayan Riviera in Mexico, where they had Nutella as part of the buffet. I would smother a croissant with Nutella and PB, and it was heavenly beyond belief, as you can imagine.
Fast forward to today..... when I discovered something amazing. All-natural, raw, vegan Nutella! Oh yes! Here is the recipe:
- 3 c. hazelnut meal (I ground up whole hazelnuts in my nut grinder)
- 1/2 c. cocoa powder
- 1/2 c. agave nectar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- pinch of salt
- 3 T. water
Blend all ingredients together in a FP. You can use less (or no) water if you want it to be very thick, but I wanted mine to blend better so I used the water to thin it out. I would normally just eat it straight, but I'm sending it to someone else to eat (Mike's coworker) so I rolled it into balls and put them into the refrigerator to harden.

Wow. Words cannot describe how good this is!! My mind is spinning at all of the fun possibilities to make with this Nutella..... baked goods, crepes, etc.
I had a lot of fun recreating this raw/vegan version of a typically SAD (standard american diet) junk food: What "junk" or unhealthy food do you wish there was a version of?
Gratitude Journal:
1) Loved spinning today
2) So excited that I got some work pants that fit, yay!! Now if I can just lay off the Nutella so they stay my size ;)
3) NUTELLA... need I say more? :)

A day of shopping and making "Nutella"= happiness

Hola, bloggers!
This morning I woke up with a bit of a sore throat... but no fear, if I end up getting anything that means hopefully I'll have time to knock it out before work starts. I took an Airborne just to be safe , and of course a juice.... I'm running low and celery sadly so I savored this one ! (celery, spinach, 1/2 lemon, ginger root, apple)For whatever reason, I was really hungry this morning. I usually only have a juice before my workout which usually suffices, but today I had a huge appetite - I blame it on the fact that I was drooling over too many food blogs ;)
I tried this: coconut milk yogurt!! What a fun concept, right? Dairy-free and soy-free, I love that. I dumped in about a T. of flax seed and some coconut... and it was good. So good, that I wanted more.
So, I threw what was left into a bigger bowl and added another yogurt cup, but one that was "chocolate" flavored. I thought THAT might not be enough, so I also grabbed this...
Hmmm... the chocolate yogurt ended up being a bit too sweet. I still have a huge sweet tooth obvi - as you can tell from my obsession with baking vegan desserts on a daily basis - but I am totally turned off by anything artificial-tasting. I'll give them a "B" rating. So I didn't finish the yogurt, but I did finish the pumpkin/flax bar. I didn't love the taste too much, but it was surprisingly filling so I would give it a B, as well.
Today was more spinning... LOVE IT. During the class I kept thinking how amazing it is that literally a few weeks ago - less than 2 months ago, for sure - I actually loathed spinning. I remember sitting in class scheming up ways to leave class early, and counting down the seconds. I was in misery. But now, I love that "good pian" that comes from spinning, and I truly feel like I have to go at least twice a week to get my "spinning fix".
I felt pretty stuffed from a big lunch -I know it didn't look but, but the bar was almost 300 calories, plus 2 yogurts, flax, coconut, and juice - ended up being a lot for me so early in the morning.
So, to keep it light, lunch was something I haven't had in a while - some almond milk mixed with chocolate Amazing Grass. So good! I forgot how chocolately and refreshing this is... I definitely need to remind myself to have some more often.
I went downtown today to look for some work pants. First stop: Marshall's! I ended up trying on 16 pairs of pants, but they didn't have anything that fit. I hate to say it, but it felt a tiny bit nice that everything I tried on was too big for me since the reason I was shopping in the first place was that my old pants had gotten EXTREMELY small on me and I had been feeling guilty about that :(
I did find these cute plates however!

Aren't those adorable!?!? I didn't buy them, but I wanted to just because they made me smile :) I ended up spending many, many hours clothes shopping. Thankfully I found some work pants that fit without having to get hemmed - hooray! I also may have made a sneak trip to Trader Joe's ;) Oh man, it's so sad how much I look forward to my TJ and WF sprees lol...
I was starving when I got back - I had been gone much longer than I had planned on!!! I finished off the lentil salad that I had leftover from Saturday. This recipe was great after sitting in the fridge for a couple days! So good...
Alright, I can't post it now because Mike needs the computer for work but I will leave you with this... early this evening I created something........ spectacular. Something.... marvelous. I created.... all-natural, raw, vegan, NUTELLA!!!! Yes my friends, I did the impossible. Check my next posting later tonight for the recipe!!! :)

* MaRaThOn MoNdAy * : Health benefits

When people find out I am training for my third marathon, often I get a positive response - "Wow, that's amazing, good for you!"

Sometimes, however, I am faced with disdain, incredous looks and bad attitudes. Many people have responded to my marathon journey by telling me how unhealthy it is, how I am going to ruin my knees, etc, etc, etc.

Here are some reasons why it is indeed VERY healthy to train for a marathon (aside from the obvious ones - it helps decrease stress, boosts self-confidence, etc.):

* There is a man (maybe in his 40s or 50s?) in my CARA running group who is training for his first marathon - after having a heart attack - BECAUSE his doctor specifically said that the cardiovascular benefits to his health would balance out any wear and tear on his joints. Crazy!

* Those who run 50+ miles per week have been found to have greater increases in HDL levels (good cholesterol) and lower levels of LDL levels (bad cholesterol)

* Long distance runners have lower levels of trigylcerides, body fat, and the risk of coronary heart disease than runners who run less than 10 miles a week

* Long distance runners have a 50% reduction in high blood pressure

* Long distance runners can be as much as 3 times more effective at consuming oxygen

* Dr. Bassler's famous "marathon theory" says that if you train for and complete a marathon, you will become immune to death by heart attack for at least a full year if not much longer

* When I ran my first Chicago Marathon, there were over 80 people who were over the age of 80 running the marathon that day!!! Amazing!!! So much for the theory that all runners will end up wheelchair bound when our knees give out lol....

I love this quote by Dr. Paul D. Thompson, director of preventative cardiology at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut:

" We're unquestionably more at risk the hour a day that we run, but the other 23 hours in a day, we are much less at risk. In balance, you're much safer exercising than not exercising".

In short, while there are always health risks involved with any form of exercise, overall most physicians agree that the benefits of being a long distance runner far outweight the negatives!

How do you respond to people who tell you that running isn't healthy?

Happy running everone! :)

* MaRaThOn MoNdAy * : Health benefits

When people find out I am training for my third marathon, often I get a positive response - "Wow, that's amazing, good for you!"

Sometimes, however, I am faced with disdain, incredous looks and bad attitudes. Many people have responded to my marathon journey by telling me how unhealthy it is, how I am going to ruin my knees, etc, etc, etc.

Here are some reasons why it is indeed VERY healthy to train for a marathon (aside from the obvious ones - it helps decrease stress, boosts self-confidence, etc.):

* There is a man (maybe in his 40s or 50s?) in my CARA running group who is training for his first marathon - after having a heart attack - BECAUSE his doctor specifically said that the cardiovascular benefits to his health would balance out any wear and tear on his joints. Crazy!

* Those who run 50+ miles per week have been found to have greater increases in HDL levels (good cholesterol) and lower levels of LDL levels (bad cholesterol)

* Long distance runners have lower levels of trigylcerides, body fat, and the risk of coronary heart disease than runners who run less than 10 miles a week

* Long distance runners have a 50% reduction in high blood pressure

* Long distance runners can be as much as 3 times more effective at consuming oxygen

* Dr. Bassler's famous "marathon theory" says that if you train for and complete a marathon, you will become immune to death by heart attack for at least a full year if not much longer

* When I ran my first Chicago Marathon, there were over 80 people who were over the age of 80 running the marathon that day!!! Amazing!!! So much for the theory that all runners will end up wheelchair bound when our knees give out lol....

I love this quote by Dr. Paul D. Thompson, director of preventative cardiology at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut:

" We're unquestionably more at risk the hour a day that we run, but the other 23 hours in a day, we are much less at risk. In balance, you're much safer exercising than not exercising".

In short, while there are always health risks involved with any form of exercise, overall most physicians agree that the benefits of being a long distance runner far outweight the negatives!

How do you respond to people who tell you that running isn't healthy?

Happy running everone! :)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Time-saving tips

Hi everyone!

I've been away from the computer all day so this is belated, AND I left my camera at home - wise, I know - so no pix from today.

However, the new blog (and giveaway!) will be up tomorrow or Tuesday.
To do a quick recap, today was comprised of...
Breakfast #1: juice
Breakfast #2: 1/2 a whole wheat blueberry waffle, cherries and blueberries at Mike's parents' house
Lunch: fasolada (Greek bean and veggie soup)
Snack: lots of pistachios
Dinner: Yaya's delicious baked sweet potato fries, salad, and corn on the cob
Dessert: too many vegan "trinidad" candies! so addicting!

Since I've been a lame blogger today, I'll leave you with this:

I have to admit that I used to be a Cosmopolitan junkie back in the day.... we are talking many, many years ago! I haven't picked up a copy of it in about a decade. However, my little sis was in town this weekend for a bachelorette party (for a girl I used to BABYSIT... talk about making me feel old lol!!!)... and left a copy for me to peruse.

I stumbled upon an article entitled "Score an Extra Hour a Day Just for Yourself!"

Many of the tips were things you already know ("don't multi-task", "set mini deadlines", etc),but here are my favorite points from the article:

- Complete similar tasks in batches: such as running errands together, returning phone calls, etc. A University of Michigan study found that when you do this you save brain power

- Follow the rule of two: every day pick one work task, and one personal task (such as going out to dinner or going to the gym) to commit to; everything else can get scheduled around them

- The Firefox application LeechBlock lets you pick certain hours of the day when you are "allowed" to use certain websites, like Twitter or YouTube, and likewise it "forbids" you during other times of the day

- Download Isolator (for Macs) or DropCloth (for Windows) which covers up everything on your desktop, including all icons, so all that you see is that document you are currently working on
- sends out subtle white noise to drown out co-worker noise

Just some things to think about as the work week is beginning tomorrow to perhaps make your life easier!
Gratitude Journal:
1. Slept in today
2. Spent some QT with Mike's fam :)
3. Found some "comfy yet still orthoepedic" shoes for my poor, plantar fasciitis-ridden... one Born brand and one Clark's, for work

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! :)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Vegan "Fannie May trinidad truffle" candies

Like it's not bad enough that my poor laptop has bitten the dust... I've been relying on Mike's laptop all week but he was using it most of today for work. As many of you are similarly addicted to email/blogs/twitter etc, you can imagine how tough this was!
Soooo that's my excuse for not posting til so late. Listen to me.... I'm acting as if you guys have nothing better to do than reading my blog ;)
I was a bit nervous for this morning's long run since the temps were projected to be almost 100 for the high today. Luckily, at the beginning of our run it actually felt a bit cool and breezy, but it quickly turned very humid!
It was raining off and on during most of the 10 miles, but it wasn't a downpour so that was good. However, I've always found that running more than a few miles in the rain = sore feet, which happened again today. Do the soles of your feet get sore when running in the rain? Fortunately, other than this it was a pretty good run. Not a fabulous, effortless run like the 13 miler last week, but it could have been a lot worse. It definitely never got into the 90s during the run so that was a relief!
I tried some new Gu flavors during the run... the camera ate the pix (AGAIN), but I tried a strawberry banana (caffeine-free) and a triple berry, which had caffeine. I liked them both, especially the strawberry banana! I swear I could eat those things like dessert :)
Once I got home, I replenished my lost electrolyes by chugging this...
I loved this flavor! Later, lunch involved food processor fun. I blended:
-1/3 c. water
- 1/4 c. lemon juice
- 1/2 c. cashews/macademia nuts
- 2 1/2 T. dried chives
- 1 T. dried rosemary
- 2 tsp. garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
I drizzled this over a salad of tomatoes and cuke...
It may not look appetizing, but Mike and I found that it tasted eerily similar to Ranch dressing! I loved this recipe.
Being (as usual) in the mood to bake, I set out to make another "experiment". The other day I walked by a huge sign in a downtown storefront window advertising for Fannie May trinidads... you know, the truffles with the nutty, whiteish coating? I have had the urge to "recreate" these ever since.... but of course, raw and vegan!
Truffle Recipe:
- 20 dates, chopped
- 1 c. cashews, chopped
Blend with.....
- 2 c. cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 c. agave nectar or maple syrup
- 1 T. coconut oil
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. almond extract
- pinch salt
Recipe for the "icing":
- 1 1/2 c. dried unsweetened coconut
- 6 T. coconut oil
- 6 T. agave nectar
- 1 1/2 c. cashews, ground
- 8 T. water
- pinch salt
Directions for assembly:
1. Prepare truffles, and put into the refrigerator for at least an hour to chill and harden so that they are easier to roll into balls.
2. Use melon ball scooper (or something similarly sized) to scoop - using your hands will get too messy and you won't be able to roll the balls properly (TWSS).
3. Lay the balls onto wax or tin foil and freeze in layers.
4. Meanwhile, make the icing/coating/whatever you want to call it. Dip the balls into the mixture and then freeze again
These turned out awesome. Next time I make them I just need to figure out how to make them prettier - the icing layer is a bit "goopy" from the coconut - I may thin it out a bit or just blend it.
Speaking of blenders, after getting the new blender blade in the mail from Cuisinart and having Mike successfully installing it, my blender worked for about 5 minutes... before starting to smoke like a chimney!!! Ok Cuisart, I'm pretty sure I told your customer service rep that a replacement blade was not gonna cut it, but maybe now you will believe me that I just need a new blender already!!
Dinner was fun tonight too, even though it officially used up every single veggie I have left, minus the cukes I'm saving for tomorrow's juice. (*Tear*, *sniffle*). Here's the recipe I came up with:
Summer Lentil Salad
- Prepare lentils (I used one bag's worth of red lentils)
- Chill in fridge until completely cooled
- Chop 2 tomatoes
- Chop 1/2 onion
- Chop 1 c. cilantro
- Make dressing from 1/2 c. walnut oil, 1/c c. lemon juice, S, P, and garlic to taste
I really loved this too! I'm so jealous of people who get to cook all day for a living......*sigh*.... a girl can dream!
On a completely unrelated note, I wanted to let all you animal lovers out there know that the small, furry animal that ran into our condo the other night was a neighbor's miniature hamster and luckily it was returned to its owner :)
Gratitude Journal:
1. I completed my 10 miler in the high heat!
2. Had fun cooking today
3. My mom ordered me two VEGAN cookbooks.... yay!!! She told me to check my mailbox for a box from, and the first thing I thought of was that I hoped they were vegan cookbooks - I have a few vegetarian cookbooks but none for vegans. She knows me so well.... what a great mom! Thanks Mom you're the best!!! :-) I'll be talking more about these cookbooks later in the week.
Have a great Saturday night everyone!

Presto pesto

Yum! Doesn't that just look delicious?!?! I mentioned yesterday that I had gotten arugular instead of spinach by accident, but I used to it to my advantage by making an easy but very tasty arugula pesto last night.
Pesto recipe:
- 1/2 c. pine nuts (this gives it that distinct "pesto" taste I think, but other nuts would be good too, such as walnuts)
- 1/4 c. EVOO
- 3 very loosely packed c. arugula (hard to measure but that's my guesstimate)
-1 T. lemon juice
- 1 T. minced garlic (or less if you aren't a garlic fiend like me)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Blend all ingredients in the FP (if you have a big one you can just throw them all in together; I have a mini so I would recommend adding in the arugula last and in stages)
YUM. I wish I had more arugula to make more of this! I will definitely be making it again.
For pizza night last night, Mike's pie involved:
- homemade pasta sauce
- mozzarella cheese
- caramelized onions
- black olives
Mine was a bit more complicated:
- the sauce on half the pizza
- the other half had the arugula pesto as its base, no sauce
- the sauce part was covered in vegan cheese, both mozz and cheddar
- a small piece of the pesto section had cheese
- a small part of the pesto portion had sauce AND cheese
- everything had black olives and capers
Yikes - wouldn't that make a terrible word problem on the SAT's?!? I was so weird about the toppings because I wanted to experiment to see what topping combos I liked the best, and I was worried that the tomato sauce on top of the pesto would drown out the rich but subtle flavors in the pesto.
My verdict was that vegan cheese is great on some things - like crackers or tomato slices - but not on pizza. I felt like it really took away from the fresh flavors of the homemade sauce and pesto. My favorite was just the pesto with the olives and capers..... mmmmmm....

I had a ton of pizza for dinner so that was all that I ate last night.... and thankfully I was able to make it an early night since this morning I had my early long run..... posting on that to come soon! :)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Lazy pizza night

Hi everyone!

I'm finishing up watching The Juror with Mike and then I'm head to bed... tomorrow is a cut-back week so it's only a 10 miler, but it's supposed to get to almost 100 degrees tomorrow and I know the heat will make it a much harder run. So, I want to be fully rested!

Check back tomorrow for:
- My fabulous arugula pesto recipe from tonight's pesto pizza!!
- Hopefully my new blog will be up and running!?!??!
- News of a great giveaway!
Gratitude Journal:
1. Lovely yoga class... I definitely need to start going once a week at least
2. Julie & Julia was spectacular!!! I truly am sad that I won't be able to see it again until it's out on video, it was that good!
3. Love the lazy pizza and movie night with Mike

Goodnight! :-)

I am in love with Meryl Streep

It's true, I am! Movie review to follow.... But first, EATS!
Juice for breakfast. I found out that I accidentally bought arugula instead of spinach, but it tasted awesome in my juice nonetheless :) There was also two fabulous kiwis (fully dressed with skin on), but the photo apparently was camera-shy today.
As I twittered earlier today, I was craving guac early this morning but I tried to make myself wait until at least 10am, haha. It felt weird to have it for breakfast! I had 1/2 leftover avocado from last night, so I quickly threw in some tomato, cilantro, and seasonings. It was a great but unconventional "breakfast" :)
Before leaving the house, I quickly chowed on a lot of dates. I truly can't help myself around dates!! Ahh..... soooo good but I realize that eating handul after handful is probably not the best idea. I threw all of these items together - Newman's Own Organics dried apples and 4 different samples from Living Nuts - for a trailmix for the movie later.
It was a fun mix since the nuts were in various flavors, ranging from banana to cinnamon to sea salt to chocolate!
I went to yoga today for the first time in about 2 months!! For whatever reason, I have a hard time going to yoga even though I do enjoy it, and I want to go more. However, I rarely want to add it on on top of my "regular" workout, and I am still in the mindset that it is more relaxation than a workout of its own. Does anyone else feel this way, or do you often do yoga instead of a "normal" cardo workout?
Wow.... it was tougher than I thought!! I fit it into my schedule today partially because I thought it would be a good, calming, low-impact exercise today before my long run tomorrow. However, it's very possible that my poor legs will be sore tomorrow!! There were a ton of twists and turns that I did not see coming!
After yoga, I went to see Julie & Julia. I just could not wait any longer to see this!! I have been sooo excited ever since I heard that it was being made into a movie, since I read (and loved) the book years ago.
Honestly, this movie was FABULOUS!!!! I am pretty extremely gosh darn excited for The Time Traveler's Wife coming out next Friday (that's an understatement), so I hope you don't think I'm fickle when I gush about that one too, but truly J & J was even better than I expected it to be!
I literally had a smile on my face the entire time. It was just that kind of a movie!! It was extremely heartfelt, inspiring, and hilarious all at the same time!!! Meryl Streep has really wowed me recently, in The Devil Wear's Prada and Mamma Mia (she was SOOOO good in Mamma Mia). This just put her over the top, and I really think she may be my favorite actress. Although Amy Adams did a great job as well, Meryl really stole the show. She was so on the money with her portrayal of Julia Child, and she played the character with such exuberance and zest for life it was just stunning. This woman deserves an Oscar!! Soooo good. I haven't actually read the "official" reviews yet and I have no idea how many stars this movie got, but I would give it 4 for sure.
I'm sure many of you out there will love it as well - especially those of us who love blogging and cooking!!! It was a very uplifting film, the kind that I would love to go back to see again. I left itching to come home and watch Julia Child videos!
Now I'm off to start preparing our pizzas! I'm still in the afterglow of J & J... *sigh*.... wish I could see it again... if you don't have plans tonight go see it ASAP, you won't regret it ;)

A Frango mint while running..... yes please!

I'm gonna do a quick recap from last night - Mike needed the computer for important work stuff which took priority over my blogging, if you can believe it ;)
You may recall that I made Mike a shrimp diablo pasta dish on Monday..... which he raved about... but got a bit sick of eating for the next few lunches. So, with the leftovers I made it into a mock lasagna of sorts. Basically, that just meant throwing it into a pan with some more sauce and dousing it in cheese :)
I ate a frozen banana for my pre-run fuel. Honestly, the banana soft serve is awesome, but it literally takes about 10 minutes and tons of sticking my knife into the miniFP to mix it up, etc. to get a good soft serve. Just eating the frozen banana is just as tasty but much quicker, easier, and with less clean-up!
I could have easily done a 7 miler without a Gu in the middle,but I wanted to test out a new flavor (to see how my stomach reacted to it) so I brought this guy for the halfway point. (I just brought one, but I put another one upside down so you can read the stats!)
It was pretty good weather for a 7 miler last night since we left so late at night. However, we turned around at around 3 miles, instead of at the 3 1/2 mile point, since it was getting dark - Mike was on rollerblades, and while I could have seen ok in the semi-light to run, it would have been more dangerous for him.
Once I got home, I did another mile on the treadmill... which was tough work!!! Yikes!! Our treadmill doesn't have a lower setting than 1.5 elevation, so it was much harder than running on the street, oddly enough. So I actually did a .5 mile, stopped to chill on the balcony for a minute to cool off, and then did the other .5 mile.
I wanted to make sure I got in the FULL 7 miles.... normally it might not matter as much, but I accidentally only did a 3 miler earlier this week (when I should have done a 4 miler), and I already run less runs per week then the training schedule calls for. I do this because it helps me stay injury-free, but since I run less frequently than most runners, I try to adhere to "my" personalized schedule as much as possible. If I'm only going to have 3 runs per week, I want to make sure I do them right!
After my run I had no appetite, but I knew I needed to eat something after running for over an hour so I had a bowl of daikon soup that I had made that morning (unpictured cuz it's not much to look at, but tastes great!)
Oh and I should mention that the mint chocolate Gu flavor is awesome!!! It reminded me of a Frango mint (you Chicagoans know what I'm talkin bout).... very good!! I can see myself sneaking to eat one of these when I am having a dessert craving ;)
I'm going to go pick up Mike's drycleaning and then head to yoga and then it's PIZZA NIGHT!!! I'm also excited that my new blog will be up and running super soon.... so keep checking back! Happy Friday everyone!! :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Sleepy day: Chia seeds to the rescue?

I don't know if you read my midnight posting from last night or not, but let's just sum it up by saying I did not get enough sleep last night!
Ironically I had gone to bed the earliest I had all summer, but I ended up not falling back asleep until 3am, got up at 7, and I was tired allll day.
Part of the reason I couldn't sleep was that my brain kept going at 80mph , thinking about.... recipes!!!! I've always been someone who has a lot of dreams, and during work I usually dream about work every, single night. Yes, it is really annoying!!!
Last night I did not dream about work, but instead, I dreamed up recipe ideas in my head. I had been searching for something to do with my daikon, so this was the main focus of my nocturnal musings. I had used it for a 'salad' of sorts yesterday, so it seemed only natural that I make a soup with it today. However, I wanted to keep it raw and didn't want to have a hot soup..... problem was, my blender is broken....
Voilah! My brain must think better at 3am, since it finally occurred to me that I have an immersion blender!! Now this thing wouldn't work to blend just anything - it wouldn't work on a GM for example - but most soups should be a piece of cake.
In my head while half-asleep, I crafted up the recipe for a blended daikon miso soup. I thought about the miso since everything I had read about daikon online lead me to believe that it is prominent in Japanese cuisine, and I loved the daikon with miso dressing yesterday.
Sooooo, once I woke up at 7am, the first thing I did was make some soup! First I sliced the daikon up really thin and threw it into a pot, like so....
Then I covered the daikon with water and, without adding any other ingredients yet, tried the immersion blender. Yay, it worked!!! So I then added miso paste, EVOO, soy sauce, maple syrup, and some ginger. These ingredients go sooo well together... I love making that "sushi" taste in non-sushi dishes.

The soup was good! It made a TON so I have tons of leftover. No photo since it is basically white, creamy soup - not much to look at but it tastes great :)
Then I went to Whole Foods, something else I had been dreaming about last night... yes I know I am VERY weird lol. I was very good about sticking to my list - all I got was a lot of apples (for juicing), tons of tomatoes (because I love them), a couple bananas (I need one before my Saturday long runs), flax oil, calcium tablets, pasta sauce (to make something for Mike tonight), and I also got a couple coconut milk yogurt cups just for fun, to try out. I love that you can get yogurt that is dairy and soy-free!
Back at home, after replenishing my previously barren apple supply I made a juice. Yum!

And snacked on a couple of these (frozen grapes - what a treat! As good as a popsicle, I tell ya)
Lunch was snacky, and in a few segments.
Segment #1: tomato slices with both cheddar and mozzarella vegan cheese. MMM. I like both flavors, but I think I like cheddar the best!
Isn't this weird... it's not the light, this avocado really WAS purple!!! Luckily it ended up tasting just fine :)
Lunch segment #2: sunflower seed burgers with fresh avocados and tomato. This. Is. So. GOOOOOOD. I was dying to have the other two, butttttt instead I took a nap.
I am so exhausted today!!! After a 1/2 hour nap, I did indeed have the other remaining sunflower seed burgers (2 of them) for Lunch part #3.
Still soooo sleepy and wanting to get up my energy before my 7 miler tonight, I turned to chia seeds. This time, I did good!

I mixed 2 T. chia seeds, 1/2 c. almond milk, 1/4 c. dried coconut, Truvia and cinnamon and mixed it in the miniFP. It was really good, but will it give me its patented "energy boost"? Only time will tell....
I am trying to avoid revving myself up with caffeine. I don't know about you guys, but I have a weird relationship with caffeine. I went for years of drinking an enormous jug of coffee every day...... to swearing it off for years completely... for drinking it only on long run mornings.... to drinking it only on weekdays.... to this summer, only drinking it before long runs.
Looking back to the days when I drank tons of the stuff EVERY day, I don't want to get to a point where it stops to "work" on me. Coffee tastes good but clearly I also like the energy boost, and I am afraid that if I have some every day then it will no longer have this effect. People, am I crazy??? Once I start work again in a few weeks I'm debating whether to go with coffee in the morning, or some green tea (I like the Yogi Energy Green tea), or just juice? Thoughts??
Right now I'm chugging some decaf green tea hoping it will give me a mental boost (or at the very least, that the placebo effect will kick in!) and I plan to munch on a frozen banana before going for my run later tonight. Catch ya later!

More info on the proposed food safety bill

Here is some more info about H.R. 2749 (which was just passed in the House) and its equivalent in the Senate, S. 510, which I originally blogged about here. Here is a passage from

THE HOUSE BILL, H.R. 2749, requires each food facility to:

(1) Conduct a hazard analysis, (2) Implement preventive controls, and (3) Implement a food safety plan.

Requires FDA to:

(1) Issue science-based performance standards to minimize the hazards from foodborne contaminants

(2) Establish science-based standards for raw agricultural commodities

(3) Inspect facilities at a frequency determined pursuant to a risk-based schedule

(4) Establish a food tracing system

(6) Establish a program for accreditation of laboratories that perform analytical testing of food for import or export

Authorizes FDA to:

(1) Order an immediate cessation of distribution, or a recall, of food

(2) Establish an importer verification program

(3) Quarantine food in any geographic area within the United States

Defines the term “color additive” to include carbon monoxide that may affect the color of fresh meat, poultry products, or seafood

Requires country of origin labeling on food, and annual registration of importers

Provides for unique identifiers for food facilities and food importers

Deems a food to be adulterated if an inspection is delayed or refused

Requires FDA to establish a corps of inspectors dedicated to inspections of foreign food facilities

Reorganizes the FDA field laboratories and district offices

Gives the FDA Commissioner subpoena authority

Establishes whistleblower protections

THE SENATE BILL, S. 510, is pretty much the same except that it addresses food bioterrorism. In addition to most of what is in the House bill, it requires HHS and USDA to prepare the National Agriculture and Food Defense Strategy.

It also requires FDA to:

(1) Identify preventive programs and practices to promote the safety and security of food

(2) Promulgate regulations on sanitary food transportation practices

(3) Develop a policy to manage the risk of food allergy and anaphylaxis in schools and early childhood education programs

Requires FDA and CDC to enhance foodborne illness surveillance systems

Requires EPA to assist state, local, and tribal governments in preparing for, assessing, decontaminating, and recovering from an agriculture or food emergency


It' hard to believe that many of these procedures don't already exist, such as:

- having a food tracing system

- standards to minimize hazards from foodborne contaminants

- an accreditation program for food laboratories

- the ability to quarantine contaminated products

- the ability for the FDA to make food recalls

Also - is anyone else disturbed that carbon monoxide is being used as a "color additive"?!?!? I just yesterday bought a carbon monoxide detector for our condo because I was under the impression that carbon monoxided could KILL. Silly me, maybe instead I should invite it into my home to season my food with it....

This information is a bit hard to swallow. If these are the interventions that are proposed for the future - what the heck are the FDA and USDA doing now and why aren't there more federal regulations?!?! What are your thoughts on this?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

There's a mouse/rat/gerbil/hamster in my condo!!!

Ok, I need your help!! Tonight I went to bed SUPER early - before 10:00. It. was. fahhhhhbulous.
However, ironically it's now 1am and I am wide awake. Why? Around 12:30am, Mike woke me up to say that there was a mouse in our condo!!!! I immediately thought that he was crazy/hallucinating/dreaming/drunk, since I recently woke up in the middle of the night claiming that there was a bug in my bed mid-dream.
But he was right!!! Luckily as he was telling me, said animal ran from the second bedroom into the hallway so I could see it. Then, it ran into the coat closet, then back into the hallway, where I was able to shoo it into the building hallway (not the one in my unit, but the communal hallway that connects to the rest of the condo units).
So that the little critter couldn't get back in - because it was tiny enough to effortlessly squeak under the door and get back in - I blocked the crack under the door with two towels like they taught us to do in grade school if there is smoke in your building, lol.
Now, my questions for you are:
1. What was this thing?!!??!?!

2. It looked like the picture above.... it honestly looked less like a nasty rat than it looked like a cute little gerbil or hamster. In fact, mid-attack I commented to Mike, "awww it's so cute!!"

3. Part of the reason I'm not sure if it was a mouse or a rat is becuase it had NO tail. Unless this guy lost it to the chef ("who chopped off their tales with a carving knife") in the nursing rhyme, I think that may means that it was instead a domesticated animal like a gerbil or hamster??? According to google, gerbils have tail too though, so that makes me think it could only have been a hamster. But if so it was a hamster baby, since it was pretty small.

4. Also, I'm wondering, if it WAS a wild animal and not someone's escaped pet, is it possible for a mouse to climb to the 8th floor???? I feel like that's pretty high.... we RARELY even get bugs up here, I suspect partially from being up so high.

5. What do i do about this?!?!?! If it was someone's escapee from their cage, I'm ok with this. It's still a bit gross that it was running around our place - who knows where it's little paws have been - but it's less offensive than if it was a wild animal straight from the dumpster from the sushi restaurant downstairs.
If it is a wild mouse or rat - what do I do???? We joked that we should get a dog to ward them off (something we have wanted to do anyway, but we would just bump up the schedule!)..... aside from that, and cleaning, what should we do to make sure we don't have little mice babies? I just read how over 5 months, mice can have 100s and 100s of grandchildren. Niiiiiiiiiice.
I want to figure out what this little guy was first so that I know what my plan of attack should be. Thanks for any tips! Now I'm wired and am going to go off and read my Google Reader ;) Good night!

Weird eating day + Discount on Road ID

Hi friends!
This is my first posting of the day since I've been doing stuff around the condo, and also getting some stuff ready for the "debut" of my new domain name in (hopefully) a few days! I'm going to be using a different site than the one I have now because I'm just not very happy with what I have currently, yet I am not technologically savvy enough to figure out for myself how to make it look better so I hired an expert ;)
Since yesterday I had such a negative experience - twice! - with chia seeds, I wanted to give them another shot. Because chi seeds are touted as "the purest form of energy" and that "the ancients ate them and then would run all day and night".... I wanted to try them before my workout.
Since my blender is broken :( I couldn't make them into a smoothie (which seems to be the most idiot-proof way to make them, by throwing them into a smoothie), I simply ate a teaspoon of them. Not the best pic, I know. Basically, the majority of the chi seeds went down just fine, even though they are a bit dry. It tasted a bit "wheaty", but a tad sweet - kind of good, actually. However, the moment my saliva (sorry if that's TMI) met the chia seeds, the gelatinous action became to happen! It started to gel up and it was a bit hard to choke down the whole spoonful. Hmmm.... I need to work on this... I'm still open to suggestions!!!
The REAL breakfast (chia seeds aside) was a delicious juice. MMMMMMM I am getting pretty obsessed, if you haven't noticed! Today was the same - celery, spinach, small piece grapefruit, and a 1/2 apple. I'm officially out of apples so I'm going to go to the store tomorrow basically just to get them! I have some frozen grapes and frozen blueberries in the freezer that I thought about using to get some "sweetness" in, but those are just too good to eat by themself and I didn't want to waste them.
Today's workout was...... dum da da dum......SPINNING!! Are you shocked? I'm hooked on this too ;) Today's workout was great - our instructor put together a "movie soundtrack playlist" which rocked. Nothing like some Top Gun tunes to get you movin!
After spinning, I did a bit of strength training since somehow I haven't done this in about 2 weeks. I think I've been spinning on the days when I used to strength train and somehow the strength training got pushed to the wayside, but really I should be doing both!
I was a tad embarrassed to find that I am a bit out of shape in this area. I started with the hip abductor/adductor machine, and could not do as many reps as I usually can. Grr... I shouldn't feel bad about this though, since I know I'm gaining muscle in other areas due to spinning and running.
I need to incorporate more strength training into my life on a 1-3x a week basis, but I a bit hesitant. I'm worried that if I get too sore and tight that this will effect my running.... so maybe I'll just go once or twice a week until the marathon. What do you runners recommend?
After the gym, I headed to Target to pick up 2 things... TWO THINGS..... you all know what happened. I left with, well, slightly more than that ;) I hadn't planned to buy any fun stuff, but I did find these 3 tops for good prices. The green is a cardigan type short-sleeved sweater with puffy sleaves, and the bluey top is to layer over the purple one. It had a fun, silky fabric that I couldnt' resist!
I ended up buying one top in an XS, one in a Small and the other in a Medium. Do you end up doing this too? I wanted the blue top in orange instead, but they only had a size smaller and I hate when things get shrunken in the wash (or due to changes in my weight!).... so I would rather err on the larger size!
For lunch, I was starving and I knew I wanted to use up my rutabagas and beets. Sadly, the beets were already mushy and did not get used. What?!? Beets usually last for weeks, like potatoes. Hm. May not be going to that grocery store again.
Anyhoo, I was too hungry to plan a creative meal so I used my spiralizer on the rutabagas. For whatever reason it worked well for a minute and then stopped, so I ended up just grating the rest of it. I also grated some of my daikon, which grates easier than the rutabaga which was a lot tougher.
I had some miso that I had just bought that I wanted to use, so I made a dressing of sorts from the miso that was mostly EVOO, seasonings, a bit of maple syrup to sweeten, soy sauce, and some sesame oil. I was trying to recreate a sauce I recently had on some noodles at a restaurant and I honestly think my version was even better! ;)
I know, I know, it looks super Plain Jane but it was awesome!! The dressing was fabulous and was very filling.
For dessert, I had.... well..... MANY of these. I mean, I had more than a servings's worth!! But they hit the spot and I felt very satisfied after eating them. They also kept me completely stuffed for over 4 hours, which is a long time for me!
The boring part about my day was that dinner was an exact replica of lunch!! I had another bowl of grated rutabaga/daikon salad with that yummy dressing, with coconut date balls for dessert. It's not that I don't have other food in the house... it was just so good!!
It's possible I'll have something else light later on in the night (I'm thinkin maybe some carrot juice), but probably nothing more than that and some more coconut date cookies ;)
I mentioned yesterday that Road ID has offered to give $1 off a Road ID purchase to the first 20 people that use this code. The coupon code is: ThanksValerie524444. Their website is I just ordered mine on Monday! They have shoe clips (which I got), wristbands, ankle bands, the works! When I go out for a run I usually don't have any identifying info with me, and I know that I should, so I see this as a good investment.
Hey guys, I need some advice! I have been strongly considering joining a CSA. I've always appreciated the importance of buying local, organic fare, but after seeing Food Inc. I was really prompted to finally sign up. I found one that delivers to my neighborhood and seems to have reasonable prices, but the tricky part is how they deliver, since we don't have a doorman at all hours of the day and it may be hard to get the food if they deliver it while I am at work. Do any of you belong to a CSA? If you do and you are in Chicago, which one? Any advice about this?
Gratitude Journal:
1. Great spinning class today
2. Discovered new veggies and how to prepare them - fun times with rutabagas and daikon!
3. I'm SO excited to get the new blog up soon!!!