Thursday, May 31, 2012

Light & Fresh

The past couple of days I'm grateful to say I haven't craved much of anything that's really bad for me :) Nope, light and fresh is what I'm loving! 

For lunch today I made cucumber sandwiches. Because the weather was warm, I think they were a big hit and everyone loved them! My recipe? Your favorite salad dressing or mayo on whole grain bread layered with thinly sliced fresh cucumbers. Remember to be sure and slice your cucumbers very thin-- no one wants to bite into a huge cucumber that makes the whole sandwich fall apart! Small and delicate is much more appealing. You can still pile it high, though! :P 

We're trying a new hummus around here... the cayenne pepper version! It's different and I like it for a change. 

Before breakfast, I did The FIRM's Accelerate Cardio workout and a few other things. My total workout time hit around 50 minutes, add stretching in there and it timed just over an hour. 

While skimming the headlines this morning before my workout, I ran across this article on sugar. What do you think? Should the government have a say in how much we can eat or drink or this a personal issue, one of self-discipline that they shouldn't touch? Interested to hear your thoughts!

I've been thinking a lot about time and it's value, particularly concerning exercise. I know you've thought about this, we all have: Is it really worth it to spend an hour of my day just working out? Considering that most of us don't lead an active lifestyles and a large part of the day is spent sitting behind a desk, I think you'd agree with me that an empathic "YES"! is in order. Now, there are phases of life where we honestly can't give as much attention to this part of our lives for way too many reasons to list at the moment, but physical exercise is important. It doesn't have to be in the gym or doing a workout DVD. It can be playing basketball with your kids or friends in the backyard, throwing the Frisbee with your dog (make sure YOU move, though), or running with a friend to build relational capital. I guess my point in bringing this up is, physical fitness shouldn't be self-consuming or self-focused. In a very real sense, it's not about us- it's about being a good steward and taking care of ourselves so that we can reach out and take care of others. Just some thoughts... Let me know what you think! 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bagels for Breakfast

This morning was such a treat! Mary made completely from scratch honey whole wheat, raisin bagels. Can you believe it?! There were out-of-this-world some kind of deliciousness!!!

The smell of fresh bread baking is like none other. It fills the house with a wonderful aroma that is calming and reassuring. It's interesting how smells from our childhood can bring back feelings of peace or not... 

I ate my breakfast in the car on the way to work this morning. 1 whole egg and 1 egg white scrambled together and made into an egg sandwich! Delish. Definitely planning to do this combo again. It's quick. It's easy, and it's good for you! 

Yesterday I didn't workout... I know, what happened to me? Well, I'll tell you. On Monday, I wore almost 4-inch high wedges to the picnic (clearing of throat). Yes, and well... my ankles were just too sore to do much of anything yesterday. Just walking was enough :P I enjoyed it though, the shoes that is, and and I guess this is just proof that I'm a preppy, southern girl as I'd do it all over again in a heart beat! This is where you say, "Bless your heart..." 

The week feels slightly off as everything seems to have been out of the ordinary. Taking a Monday off always seems to throw the week off. It's great, but I do appreciate routines. Discipline brings freedom.

I'm branching out... or at least trying! I tired this new protein powder from Vega this past week and I'm happy to report it's not only great tasting but it's plant-based. I highly recommend it!

I came across an article yesterday which I thought was interesting. Michael Pollan's health/fitness advice? 
  1. Eat real food.
  2. Not too much.
  3. Mostly plants.
I thought this was great advice! Here's the link if you're interested :) 

did workout today, though. A short 20 min workout DVD and 15 minutes worth of good stretching and I was ready for the day! For some reason, I don't feel like I can fully focus on the rest of my to-do list until I've worked out, even if it's just a few minutes. It helps get my blood moving and wake me up.  Life is constantly changing though and flexibility is something I'm aiming for.

Later in the day, I ran 2.5 miles which felt amazing. I love the feeling after a run so much that it motivates me to keep running!!! 

When do you like to workout? Do the mornings work better for you or can you still give it your all at the end of a work day?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Fresh Fruit for Fitness

These beautiful berries are from a bush in our backyard! They were so delicious and I had to restrain myself to keep from eating them all so there would some left for others :-) 

Blueberries are a wonderful source of natural fiber and it's one of the best fruits you can eat for antioxidants which fight free radicals. 

It might be down right wrong for me to share this next photo with you after the above... but I will anyways :P 

We savored these delicious peanut butter cookies this week... Oh my, they were so yummy! I'll see if I can snag the recipe for you sometime in the future :)

Memorial day weekend was kicked off for us starting Thursday evening with house guests from out of state. So fun and so refreshing! And, I should have mentioned this was the reason for the cookies. No, unfortunately we don't make cookies around here on a regular basis and it wasn't a "just because". Purpose, folks, purpose :P

Here's a picture of the food spread. Homemade chicken salad with walnuts & apples, quinoa with tomatoes & avocado, dill flavored deviled eggs, pineapple & strawberry fruit bowl, fresh bell pepper salad, poppy seed bow tie pasta, green salad with goat cheese and bakery fresh whole wheat rolls with butter & jam.

We have lots of leftovers so if you're hungry, come on over! :-)

Here's a up close of the quinoa! If you'd like to check out the original recipe, here's the link. We ended up having to do something a little bit different with the recipe because our grocery store didn't have the plain quinoa and instead it was a brown rice/quinoa mix with rosemary seasoning. Anyways, this recipe looks great and I'm planning to try it once I get some plain quinoa :)

And, here's the workout run down from the week: 

Mon - 1 hour full body workout

Tues - 1.5 mile run, 30 min FIRM sculpt workout

Wed - 30 min full body workout (kick boxing included), ran total of 3 miles

Thurs - .65 mile run in 5 min, 20 min FIRM burst DVD, upper body sculpting: bicep curls, overhead presses, tricep dips, push-ups, etc...

Fri - day off

Sat - 3.25 mile run, randomness (i.e.: push ups, lung & squat plyos-- so fun!), barefoot workout :)

Alrighty, y'all! I hope you enjoy the weekend and the extra day off. Remember to find a veteran and express your gratitude. Life as we know it would be completely different without their sacrifice.

Last summer I went to Normandy with a group of students and was privileged to walk beside some of the men that fought in WWII as they returned to the beaches of Juno & Omaha. After personal encounters, hearing their stories, and watching them tear up as they spoke of their fellow soldiers who never returned homes gives this Memorial day a whole new meaning for me. Here's the link to the trip which shows a final celebration for these brave men who were willing to give up everything so that we could be free.

How do you plan to spend your Memorial day weekend? Any plans?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Working Wednesday

It's already Wednesday? Wow. This week is flying past and it only gets busier from here on out :) Don't you just love weeks like that?! 

On Monday, my sister dragged encouraged my to do this workout called The 500 Calorie with her. Ahh! I fully expected to be unable-to-move kind of sore after it but it wasn't as bad as I anticipated. Actually, I was barely sore which surprised me :) It's a great motivator to stick with those hard exercises when you have someone watching you. Reputation at stake! 

Tuesday I did sculpting with weights and ran. My goal was to run 3 miles, but I had to stop twice because of terrible stomach bubbles.  This has happened to me the last few times I've run and I'm not quite sure what's up. In the end, I only went 2.6 miles... Does anyone have suggestions or know ways to make this stop? I really want to run!!! 

{Italian goodness}

This is what was on the menu for supper last night. Delish! So sad to not be able to share the recipe with you all, but I didn't make it. It was an Italian pasta bake which shouldn't be too hard to replicate though :P 

{Supper side salad and apple with cinnamon}

I have a lot of things going on right now and feel it's nearly impossible check off all the boxes on my to-do list. It's a fun phase of life, though! Investments I've made in the past are beginning to pay off and more ideas are in the hatching process :-) 

{This morning's protein shake included a mixed of spinach and kale for added nutrition}

Today I wanted to RUN and thankfully I was able to log 3.1 miles this morning and some good kickboxing. Oh, yeah-- my favorite!!! 

And, I should mention breakfast was delicious! I know I probably way overdo it with my green smoothies, but they are so refreshing!!! They give me a satisfying feeling I can run on till lunch. You can be so creative with it! If you love fruits, well this is a great way to be sure you get all your daily servings. Don't like greens too much? This is an excellent way to hide the taste behind those fruits you love! I encourage you to experiment and join the adventure! 

{The colors of real food are so vibrant!}

Well, folks, that's all I have time for now... Hoping you have a fabulous day and enjoy the sunshine! 

Please feel free share what delicious eats you've been experiencing! I'm always up for new ideas :-) 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

It's Pizza Time!

Thursday night was fun. In fact, this whole week has been great! The secret to staying fit while enjoying food? Moderation. It's the key. You don't have to label foods on the "no-no" list to reach your fitness goals. Fill your life with as many good choices as possible, and then, if there's the occasional slice of pizza you can relax and enjoy the moment, but just make sure it's not every moment of your life :) 

These little homemade pizzas are quick & easy, and they're the healthy version! In my book, pizza can't be but so healthy since it includes 3 hard to digest foods (wheat, cheese and meat), but there are some ways to improve it such as using wheat flour instead of white or going for the veggie version. 

Here's the dough recipe:
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 envelop active dry yeast
  • 2 cups (+) whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon honey granules (or sugar) 
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • pinch of salt

Recipe makes 1 disc. Proof the yeast in water. Mix flour, salt & sugar, optional: onion powder, garlic powder & parmesan cheese. Add yeast to flour mixture and mix together. Make your pizzas! Bake at 350 degrees until pizza is cooked. Really have fun with this. I'm doing my best to tell you what it would take to make it turn out, but if you feel it needs a little more of one ingredient or another that's fine. Just play with it until it's right. Hope you enjoy!

My workout on Thursday was a great experience! I enjoyed a 40 min workout DVD called burn & shape. It's called that for a reason :P Ooh, so fun to try something new! Actually, it's not a new DVD but I dug it out of the drawer and decided to go for it :) I also ran 2 miles and did some core workout. Does anyone else really love core work? I read a cute saying once that went like this, "I don't count my crunches until I start to feel the burn". he! 

Lunch on Friday consisted of a sprouted grain tortilla with delicious sesame garlic dressing and fresh lettuce & beans. I like it simple! 

Friday, burpees with squats and overhead presses were on the list, but I never got to them so I did them today :) Yes, it's hard, but you can do it at your level. Take breaks if you need to, but then come right back and do some more :) It's a great exercise to tone your whole body! 

Reasons to do burpees? #1, It's the ultimate full body workout. You pretty much work everything! #2, It's portable. All you need is yourself! #3, It's great for fat burning. Because you're using your whole body, you're strengthening, conditioning and challenging your body in more ways than a target muscle exercise would.

After a 40 min cardio/sculpt portion of Friday's workout, I ran 1.25 miles. I have to admit, I love working out, but I just plain feel better after a run even if it's not far. I'm so thankful that I started the Couch to 5K Plan last October (yes, I'm still very new at this) and that I kept going through the winter. I guess that's the great thing about training for a race during those chilly months-- you have to move! 

Last night, one of my friends was graduating so we went to that. The event was beautiful and Garret did a wonderful job with his speech and the whole ceremony was full of purpose and vision for the future. I'm thankful to have a community of friends where I am challenged and encouraged to stretch myself! There's is absolutely no substitute for fun with friends and good edifying conversation. {I'm sad I didn't get any pictures... I was too busy talking, connecting and soaking up all the fellowship :) } 

My lunch today was really good! I worked out with my sister (kickboxing!) this morning so I was craving something nutritious by 1 o'clock. It feels like this day is whizzing past! There's so much to do!!! I love days like this :) 

{My first experience with an orange tomato. Delightful!}

And, for a treat... I've been enjoying this with my family! 

I logged 3 miles today making my total weekly miles = 10 and a quarter.  It doesn't feel like I've run very much this week so I think going to need to make specific goals for next week to be sure I aim a little higher. How about you? What fitness goals do you have for next week?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Announcing... The Sun Warrior Protein Powder Winner

It's the big day and I'm so excited to announce a winner for the 500g bag of vegan Sun Warrior protein powder!

Drumroll, please....

And, the winner is... Brittany from Eating Bird Food.

Yeah, congratulations, Brittany! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! If you'll just send me an e-mail at with your mailing address and the protein powder flavor of your choice I'll ship it out to you :0)

For the rest of us, there is great news! Sun Warrior gives out samples in every flavor so you can try it before you make the investment. All you have to do is send them an e-mail at requesting a sample :) They have great customer service too so you can't go wrong!

For my workout this morning, I ran 3.5 miles. This picture? Well, I started out wrapping my leg, hoping that it would support whatever in there was hurting, but the wrap got in my way and felt plain weird so I took it off. I was able to make it without pain. So thankful! There's nothing quite like not being able to do something you really want for a few days. Perspective is everything, wouldn't you say?


Of course, since today is all about Sun Warrior protein :) I had to make my shake with it this morning!

Strawberry Mango Smoothie
8 oz water
1 sample packet Sun Warrior vanilla protein (this was the first time I'd tired the vanilla and it was so good! I'm going to have to purchase this one myself)
1/4 fresh mango
1/3 cup fresh chopped strawberries
Ice, to preferred consistency

Blend all ingredients together before adding ice. Enjoy!

And, this... well, after taking a picture of the lovely pink strawberry version, I came back inside and added some greens :) Yes, you know me-- gotta have my greens for the day! Love how it makes me feel!

Thank you to all who participated in the giveaway! There's always next time :)

More recipes coming up!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

3 NEW Protein Powder Recipes

You asked and I delivered! Here you go, fitness fanatics- 3 recipe attempts to incorporate some more protein into our diets. To start off, we'll make protein bars. Would you believe it? I found a recipe that specifically uses Sun Warrior!

{I think it was too much Stevia... I really don't like the after taste of Stevia.}

I didn't really like the way these turned out (note: it had nothing to do with the Sun Warrior protein, just a bad recipe) so I'll spare you the recipe with a commitment to experiment some more and a goal to find something that is both nutritious and delicious for all of us. I'm a big believer in that if it doesn't taste good you shouldn't force yourself to eat it. At least they were vegan, nut-free, dairy-free, corn and soy-free... 

Often the temptation when something doesn't work out the way we'd originally envisioned is to give up... like I was this morning :P Squash that bug and go at it again! If you keep trying you'll eventually find something you love :-) 

{At least they make a pretty picture :P}

Recipe #2, I'm happy to report turned out much better than the first! This is a quick one you can do with the blender when you're rushed or just don't feel like doing much, but still need some good nutrition. This recipe counts as a meal replacement as it's around 350 calories. Or, you could split it with someone for a nice snack :)

1 banana
1 1/4 cups sliced strawberries
10 whole almonds (I used pecans because that's what I had) 
2 tablespoons water
1 cup ice cubes
3 tablespoons chocolate Sun Warrior protein powder 

Blend the banana, strawberries, almonds and water together until well mixed. Add the protein powder and blend thoroughly. Gradually add ice until preferred consistency. 

Recipe #3 I think is one of my favorites! Low carb protein pancakes. You don't need much to throw these together! It's also a great option for when you want a pancake but don't want all the carbs to go along with it :P They are dense though so if you're looking for something lighter go with the smoothie, but these are a great treat after a hard workout.

{Can you tell I love flowers? They bring sunshine to any kitchen!}
Melt your PB. Crack you eggs, beat. Then add 3 tablespoons protein powder (choose your favorite!) and mix all 3 ingredients together until batter forms. Make pancakes! I used a little coconut oil in the pan to keep them from sticking, but you probably don't even need that with the oil from the peanuts. Serve warm.

The nutrition facts for this recipe are low on the carb end and high on the protein.

{To see nutrition facts for this recipe, click here!}

These recipes were fun to make while at the same time, good for you! Food can be healthy and good tasting too! Sometimes it just takes a little thinking. Makes life interesting!

Okay, onto my eats and workout updates: 

Yesterday, I lifted weights (I'm still in the 3-10 lb free weight range) and did a lot of leg work. I can feel myself getting stronger and that it's so exciting! Thinking back to when I would do certain workouts and how they would leave me pretty much incapacitated the next day makes me chuckle now. I can do those "back then" hard workouts and they leave me feeling great now, not 1/2 dead... ha! You can always intensify though and I need to step it up. A little deeper on those squats and a little heavier on those biceps curls...

For running, I've enjoyed using this 10K program from as a guide. I've seen my stamina increase and it's been a great motivator to feel myself getting stronger and see the progress! I highly recommend it for a workout schedule. Even if you're not interested in doing an actual race you can use the training schedule as a workout.

Today I had planned to run 3 1/2 miles but had to scratch that because I think my leg injury from last week stills needs to heal a bit more :( Instead, I did cardio (with some sculpting) for 45-50 minutes. Have you heard of the FIRM'S Thin in 30 workouts? They're awesome. I did a few of those (they're only 20 min each) which seemed to work :) 

{I saw this gorgeous butterfly out while I was snapping a a picture of my lunch. I love the yellow accent against the black next to the yellow pot :) Isn't natural beauty the best?}

And, this was lunch. I think I was just craving something fresh. Veggies with ranch dip are a quick & easy solution!

Allie (my sister) and I made strawberry jam! Uh, hum, can you believe it? We actually pulled it off :P

It's so delicious! I'm so glad we stopped debating and just did it :) There's nothing like picking your own fruit straight out of the field, making the recipe yourself and eating it!!!

What workouts have you enjoyed of late? Please comment if plan on trying any of these recipes as I'd love to know if you like them too! Oh, and if you get a chance, please "LIKE" me on Facebook :)

Enjoy your evening! You have until tomorrow to still sign-up for the giveaway if you haven't already :-)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Protein Powder Giveaway + A Grad Party

Last night was. the. bomb. I love parties! The whole day was fantastic! A day we had looked forward to for weeks, but in reality- years as it was representative of a lot of hard work and sacrifice. I'm so proud of my little sister! (to enter giveaway, see end of this post)

{Getting ready! Homemade chicken salad with croissants and pizza pinwheels.}

{A blurry picture of us filling trays. The kitchen is a hoppin' place at our house when there's a party.}

{Bamboo fruit skewers. An excellent healthy choice!}

There was TONS of good food, organized by my aunt Rhonda and Mary, of course, seeing as it was her party  :) The rest of us pitched in with the cleaning and attacking the to-do list once the menu had been decided upon. The party itself was beautiful, but I'd have to argue Mary was even more so :-) 

I love the colors! Red, white & black are so classy, southern. 

Lots of yummy food!

This party had attitude!

Fun with friends :)

We had a total of SEVEN homemade pound cakes. The flavors included lemon, cream cheese and chocolate. I tired a taste of each, of course- why not! It was heavenly.

{And this is the grad, Mary, lovely as always!}

Okay, so another very important factor that I need to mention is working out, since this is a fitness blog :) I started the day (Friday) with biking, just 2 miles and as I'm learning to brick, I hopped on the treadmill and logged 3.1 miles at a 6.5 pace with my time coming in at 28:30. Not terrible for a beginner, but I definitely want to see myself get stronger :0) It was such an invigorating way to start the day! Since I went out early, the weather was slightly chilly during the bike ride but it felt so good and refreshing. 

{Green smoothies are an awesome way to start a work day! I tried to stock up on nutrients so I could enjoy all the party foods:) } 

Today, Saturday, we had voice lessons for 1 hour this morning. I know, unusual for a Saturday, and especially since we didn't hit the sack till past midnight last night with the party and everything (so fun!). Anyways, my sisters are singing at a Memorial Day picnic in honor of the WWII veterans who sacrificed so much so our country could be free. That's coming up in just a few weeks so we've been working to pull that together. I think we all feel better after today's practice :-) 

After voice and lunch, I went bike riding in a neighbor with lots of hills. Ouch! The challenge was a nice and welcomed one. Biking across grass pastures can be hard, depending how bumpy it is, but there is no substitute for a real hill! I'm not sure exactly how far I went, but my goal was 15 miles and I think I at least came close to that.

Interesting experience, included being chased by a wild very protective neighborhood dog. He just wouldn't leave me alone and it was on this killer hill, too. There were some guys working on a house not too far away and as the dog kept coming after me, I wondered how fast I could get over there for backup! {Bet I could have done it in "record" time. :P} Anyways, I was thankful to know that when dealing with dogs you have to be "the top dog" and act like it. It eventually worked and I finally got away- scary, though!

After biking, I ran out and bought a Mother's Day present for my mom. I was still in my workout clothes, and hope I didn't smell too bad... ahh! But then, workout out clothes are some of the cutest! Homeward bound, one fast mile on the treadmill, a few squats and lunges and decided I was done for the day.

We had delicious leftover party food for supper and I feasted upon the broccoli and celery sticks. Delish! I then had a small serving of pound cake and the night felt complete. I'm tired, but I love this feeling as I know it's my body getting stronger. How about you? How have you pushed your body to the "ouch"?

So, now onto the fun part! The protein powder giveaway!!! Thursday morning, I opened a delightful package of samples from Sun Warrior. This is one of my most favorite protein powders on the planet! I love the chocolate version and I'm excited to try the vanilla :-) Here are just a few reasons why I love it:
  • Gluten Free
  • Soy Free
  • Dairy Free
  • Hypo-Allergenic, and
  • Non-GMO!!! 

The winner of the giveaway will receive the flavor of his/her choice of Sun Warrior Vegan Protein Powder in the 500g bag. 

To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment telling me what you would like to see more of on this blog (more running posts, recipes, daily living info, you name it!) If you link to me on your own site or tell a friend- I will enter you twice, but please be sure to tell me when you comment so I know :P 

Okay, folks! There you have it! I'm excited to announce a winner this coming Wednesday, the 16th! Wishing you the best!!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Friendship and Fitness

Tuesday was quite the day! I was able to spend quite a bit of time with one of my dear, dear friends, Casey Kay. She's such a beautiful person, inside and out, and I know all of you would just love her! Get this! She runs!!! Actually, Casey is one of the forces that helped motivate me to start running myself :) Great to have friends that stretch you! 

Surrounding yourself with the people you want to be like is a good tactic, but the best is becoming that person you wish everyone else in the world be yourself and that's when the world really starts to change. It starts with hearts, folks. Change happens from the inside out! 

So anyways, this was our lunch. La Croix are so good! I highly recommend them for a special treat. 

The two of us! Self-portrait :) 

Yummy, out-of-this-world delicious scones! Casey made these with whole wheat flour and sucanat. I'll have to see if I can snag the recipe so I can share it with you :) 

Homemade strawberry jam. This girl is amazing! Wouldn't you just love to dine at this house for a week :P

This picture is from my supper. I had an appointment with a client that evening which lasted several hours so I missed supper with the family and ended up eating rather late all by myself (super sad-- who likes to eat alone?).

This morning, I was out the door bright and early for a pressing matter that needed to be done ASAP at the office.

{Scrambled egg whites with sliced apple & natural PB}

{Wednesday's wrap. You can't really see from this picture, but it had tons of things in it! Black beans, cheddar cheese slice, delicious dressing and tons of lettuce straight from the garden. Yummy!}

My workout today including weights, biking and running. I biked 5 miles today which was so fun! Afterwards, I hopped on the treadmill and went 1.25 mile. Ooh, the thing I'm reminded of as I write this is stretching! I will have to make that a priority tomorrow :) It's a little past 11pm as I'm posting this so I don't feel much like doing it now :P

Stay posted for the weekend. Party pictures coming!