Thursday, July 9, 2009

It's Giveaway time!

Hi readers! I hope you are all having a great Thursday! For whatever reason it feels like Friday to me... being off for the summer is a bit disorienting at times!

It's harder to keep track of my day without pictures I've found, so hopefully I can remember everything up until now. I snacked on some cherries first thing this morning, and then headed to the gym. I woke up feeling the most refreshed and rejuvenated than I have in a long time - and I 100% blame the crappy diet that I have been eating for the last weeks, up until yesterday. I ate foods that made me feel good and filled me up at the same time, and it was great to wake up without a terrible stomach ache!

So, I perkily hopped off to the gym, where I started with 15 minutes on the stairmaster. I haven't done the stairmaster in weeks (months?) because it just kicks my butt, but to me, that is even more reason to do it more often until I get better at it! I then switched to the reclining bike for 15 minutes, and then it was time for Muscle Max. I like Muscle Max class a lot - it gives you a full-body workout, and it seems to place a greater emphasis on arms than other classes, which is the area that I probably neglect the most when I am working myself out.

After class, I snacked on more cherries... and then decided a banana "soft serve" would hit the spot... which it did :) For the first time I tried my Nu Naturals products - I threw in a few drops of their Pure Liquid Cocoa Bean Extract. According to the info that came with the product, this extract "contains no fall, gluten, sugar, sugar alcohol, maltitol, sorbitol, erythritol, xylitol" and is not made from artificial ingredients that we hate such as high fructose corn syrup, sucralose, etc. It is also higher in phenolics and flavanoids (antioxidants) than green tea, black tea, and red wine. It added a great, slightly chocolately flavor to the ice cream - and I'm sure you can control the chocolatey-ness by simply adding more drops!

Later for lunch I had a salad of spinach, tomatoes, cilantro, chives, and a homemade dressing made from balsamic vinegar, EVOO, soy sauce, lime juice, salt, pepper, garlic, and ginger. It was a good salad, but I was worried that without anything "on top" to fill me up like I am used to, such as guac, salmon, etc, I decided to have a snack before I headed out of the house.

So, I snacked on some Newman's Own Organics prunes dipped in TJ raw almond butter. WHAT a good combo... just like PB & J :) The NOO prunes were surprisingy good - very soft and juicy, not dried up like I expected. (Maybe I am the dried up one for eating prunes while in my mid-20s?? haha...)

Then I took the El up to Stern's Bookstore, which, if you live in Chicago, is a fabulous gem of a bookstore for anyone in a therapeutic profession. A retired lady with a psych background runs the bookstore out of the carriage house in her backyard, and she has books about psychotherapy, family and couples therapy, school social work, the whole gamut! It took HOURS to make this trip and back, but it was worth it. I only ended up getting one book - about art therapy - but I hope to go back to stock up on more goodies once school resumes in the fall.

On the way back from the bookstore, I walked by the grocery store where I got a sweet potato (to grill tomorrow - we arleady had another one), some kale, and some avocados... because I have been practically panicked about running out of avocados. Now that I can justify eating one (or two!) every day, that's exactly what I want to do, and I wanted to make sure I hate some green ones to get ripe while the ones I currently have are ready to eat.

One of the avocados I bought black and almost ready to eat... I am anxious for it to ripen so I have it sitting in a paper bag with an apple, per the old wive's tale.... hopefully this works ;)

Also, my so-called KALE turned out to be turnip greens!!!! Clearly I have not done this before, lol. It was marked kale on the shelf, and it had huge green leaves, so I assumed it was kale. Wrong! Please guys.... do any of you have a great turnip green recipe??? I was going to make kale chips - hopefully I still can. Let me know what YOU like to do with your turnip greens! :)
Alright I am off to go make Mike some dinner.... last night was risotto with spinach, basil, goat cheese, and tomato, I think tonight I'll make him a pasta dish! But first...


The moment you have all been waiting for.............. Marathon Val's first ever giveaway!!!

How would you like to get your hands on 3 boxes of Holey Donuts?!?!?!? I know what you are thinking... that you would skydive/spend a day on a dessert island with Heidi and Spencer/eat high frustose cornsyrup (*gasp!*) to win this contest...

Luckily, you won't have to go to these extreme lengths! All you have to do is:

1) Become a fan of Holey Donuts on Facebook, if you have Facebook

2) Send an email with "Marathon Val" in the subject line to info@

3) Post on my wall about:

* Why you would LOVE a healthy, low-fat donut, and

* What I can do to improve my blog. I would truly appreciate sincere, thoughtful answers, because as you know I am a newbie blogger, and I would love some words of advice and constructive criticism so that I can become an even better newbie blogger! :)

Not only are Holey Donuts low-fat, but they come in a vast array of flavors, such as coconut cream pie, raspberry graham cracker, jumbo cinnamon bun, blueberry crumb cake, Boston cream Orio cookie, raspberry fudge, toasted coconut, strawberry shortcake, and more!

If you are chosen as the winner, these will be sent directly to your doorstep! It's as easy as just spending just a few seconds of your time!

The end date for this FANTASTIC GIVEAWAY will be next Wednesday, at midnight! Happy Giveaway entering, everyone! :)


  1. I'll link back in my next post!

  2. I would love some holey donuts! I love my sweets! I really don't think you need to do anything to change your blog! I like it...just need to get that camera fixed!

  3. Ooo! Those donuts sound good! I think they'd be totally acceptable in my usually sweet treat-free home ;)

    I think you're a fab blogger, btw, thanks for the mention this morning :) I'm doing Hal Higdon's Novice 2 this time around, though considering Novice 3 w/my schedule.

    Bummer about the camera! The Bberry curve takes decent pictures - at least it can be a temporary fix?

  4. Hello Hello! These donuts sound delightful! I have never tried of them but would love to!

    PS.... You could add a super cute "Marathon Val" banner at the top of your blog?

  5. What a great giveaway!! I've been dying to try these! Totally love the blog - maybe some more recipes and pics (obvioulsly once your camera is back in action!)

  6. Hello!

    I've seen these donuts on a lot of the healthy eating blogs that I frequent, and they make my mouth water every time I see them! I love donuts but rarely allow myself to have them because I want to watch my figure for my upcoming wedding. These donuts look amazingly delicious and I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to try them! I have also become a fan of Holey Donuts on facebook! I think your blog is great, but maybe you could add more photos, the blogs with a lot of photos of their meals, activities, etc keep my interest a little longer!

    WIsh me luck!

    ccoatney (at) westernu (dot) edu

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  8. Oh man!! I have been wanting to try Holey Donuts for the longest time!! I was actually on their website today at lunch drooling over all the different kinds. I was planning on ordering some I got back up to Albany!!


    As far as improving your blog, my only suggestion is to add more pictures to your posts and lest text. Make it easier to read!!!

  9. p.s. I became a fan on FB and emailed them!

    Thanks so much!! I'm so excited!!

  10. Hey Val! I don't want to enter the giveaway, but I did want to say that turnip greens are delicious if you you pan sautee them with a bit of safflower or coconut oil, sea salt, and a drizzle of honey and cinnamon at the end -- sounds weird, but good!

  11. I have been dying to try those donuts!!! Thanks for the giveaway :)

  12. My boyfriend would do anything for me if I won these for him!!!

    As for blog improvements, I already love it! Pictures are my favorite :)

  13. I'd love a change to win!


  14. Who wouldn't love a healthy, low-fat donut?! I would love them, because I'm dying to have a donut, but I can't get myself to go out and buy a cruddy one from the shop down the street. I need me somethin' healthy for my tummy!

    For improvements, MORE REVIEWS! I love to read about people's reactions to different products they try!


  15. I have been wanting to try these for so long!! Great giveaway!

  16. I walk past 2 dunkin donuts every morning and always crave some donutty-goodness, but can't bear the nutritional stats.

    Oh MY GOSH, I would love to try these.

  17. Oooh, I have seen these on so many blogs, the ones with crumb topping look delish! My suggestion for your blog is to consolidate your labels over on the left sidebar. It's a little....overwhelming right now. I would whittle it down to things like recipes, reviews, trips, workouts, things like that. You have a LOT that only have 1 entry, which seems a bit excessive. Unless that's the way you like it. By all means, I am no blogging expert! :)

  18. oh, i would love an excuse to eat donuts again - i haven't had one in forever....