Friday, August 31, 2012

Back to School Green Smoothie Challenge - Fall 2012

I've been excited about this for weeks! Now that September is finally here and the cool weather will hopefully be rolling in soon, I thought it would be fun to run another 7-Day Green Smoothie Challenge!

The challenge starts this Mon, Sept 3rd and last until next Mon, Sept 10th. Who's in?! 

To sign-up, leave a comment on this post saying that you're in (and leave your blog link, if you have one). Feel free to copy any of the photo collages on this post and paste them on your blog or social networking sites. :) 

Green smoothies are a fantastic way to get in your daily servings of greens in a tasty form. I'm planning to share some recipes along the way, so stay tuned :P

If you decide to do a post about this 7-Day Green Smoothie Challenge on your own blog - send me your post link at so I can share it with everyone else :) It's going to be fun! {You can "LIKE" the FB page here, if you want :) }

Ooh, and if want to check out the last Green Smoothie Challenge we did, click this link

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Becoming a Minimalist (Runner's Shoe, that is . . . )

So, I got new running shoes over the weekend! I'd worn my previous pair for nearly six months and after feeling the "shock" and experiencing achy calves for the past several runs I decided it was time to ditch the old and bring in the new. This is something I'm learning with running shoes - going by mileage versus looks is a new thought to me but I'm hoping will save me a lot of pain. {No need to repeat the events from earlier this year . . .}

I'm dabbling with a minimalist shoe and we'll see how it goes :) Hopefully, if my body is okay with the transition I'm headed towards the minimalist runner's shoe to stay, but we'll see :P So, although I was tempted to go with what I know (a regular running shoe) - I picked a shoe with a little less support, that's light weight but still designed for running. Scary but true. Wouldn't it be super cool to be strong enough to run barefoot without running the risk of injury?! What running shoes do you use and how often to you switch them out?

Last weekend it felt like there was a lot going on, but Saturday afternoon we hung out with friends for a bit. And these friends are the ones who are really trying to get me and my sisters to do a Spartan race with them this coming spring! Wow. That sounds like crazy fun, but we'll see what happens . . .  My 16 yr old brother is seriously considering this, though, and at least I know I'd make an excellent cheerleader. :P I'm curious to hear if any of you have done a Spartan race and advice on what to expect?

I'm in one of those phases where I'm itching to get things done. My personality is to start a million things at once but I want to learn to focus on one thing until it's completed. That would be nice, wouldn't it! On that note, here's an interesting example. Have you ever heard the story of the 409 cleaner? Well, the long and short of it is, it took this company four hundred and nine times to get the right formula. Amazing! What if they had given up on the 408th try? Can you image failing that many times and still preservering?

{Black beans, tomato, and sliced cucumber make delicious salad toppings}

My run today was fantastic! I went 2 miles this morning and afterwards I enjoyed a nice long stretch while listening to a podcast :) I was thinking about doing something else this evening, but the soreness from yesterday's water sports has set in {Oooh, my shoulders . . . } My dad and brother went to town trying to throw my sister and I off the tube. It was such a blast! I can get super vocal during events like these and everyone on the boat was laughing their head off :P I think Allie and I made quite the show with our commentary . . . lol!

What did your workout look like today?

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Last Bit of Summer & "Healthy" German Chocolate Birthday Cake

Water skiing is SO much fun! I hadn't done it for nearly 3 years until today. 

This is a spring fed lake less than a hour from our house and since today is my mom's birthday and kids are back in school, it seemed the perfect opportunity to be outside on the water! 

And, then this? This is where my dad was having way too much fun. :P Obviously, I went down :-) 

Thumbs up!

The lunch spread. :) 

I love homemade packed lunches. :) 

We got the tube out after lunch. It's pretty much understood that if you get on this thing there's a 99.9% chance you're gonna get thrown, so hang on! A recipe for a good time :0)

"Smile for the camera, Mary and Josh!"

SoBe waters on boat. :)

This evening we celebrated my mom's b-day with dinner and dessert. The health roller-coaster events of the past year make me really grateful for today! I love you so much, Momma!

I made a cake for the occasion! You have to have cake for a birthday, right? Right.

German Chocolate Cake (naturally sweetened, well - mostly :)

3/4 cup freshly ground whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon sea salt (finely ground)
1 teaspoon baking soda
10 eggs
1 cup coconut oil
1 1/2 cups agave nectar (I used organic blue agave)
Vanilla extract

Combine your wet and dry ingredients in a separate bowl. For the wet ingredients, use an electric mixer thoroughly blending in the coconut oil. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients bowl and mix. Oil (2) 9-in pans and evenly divide your batter. Bake at 350° for 25 - 40 min or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

You want to be careful not to overcook these as the coconut oil makes them appear like they need more cooking but it doesn't. Of course, that depends! If you like your cake dry -  keep cooking :-)

Cakes a coolin', getting ready to go on a pretty platter :) These smelled so good straight out of the oven!

Getting started on the coconut pecan filling:

1 cup coconut milk (I used Blue Diamond almond coconut)
1 cup agave nectar
pinch of sea salt
5 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
3/4 cup olive oil and 1/2 cup coconut oil
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut  

Click here for the rest of the recipe. {When I say I don't follow directions, I mean it :) My version still turned out, though!}

Halfway through this recipe, all I could think was "this better taste amazing for the all the prime ingredients I'm putting into this!" But, special people call for special efforts and since mom really does such a great job trying to stay away from white sugar I volunteered for the adventure. :)

I'd say it turned out well although it was a little heavy (but for whole wheat flour, not bad). Super sweet, though! Happy Birthday, Mom!

{Feb 2012}

With Neil Armstrong passing away over the weekend and seeing a biography laying around, I decided to do some reading on him. I finished up the book just this evening - learned some things! Real stories are the best, don't you think?

I skipped my run today because I figured water skiing was a pretty good workout in and of itself (ha!), but tomorrow I'm planning to get up early and go a few miles before breakfast. :0)

What water sports have you enjoyed this summer? 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Cheribundi Winner & Latest Eats

I always love announcing a winner for a health food giveaway simply because it gives me hope that I'm bringing a smile to someone's face. :) Thank you to all of you who enter and joined in on the fun! 

Just for the record, I'm using a random name selector so the soon announced winner is completely random. :) 

And, the Cheribundi giveaway winner is . . . Athena!!! Congratulations! Please just send your contact info to me at and I will pass it along to my contact at Cheribundi and they will graciously send you a free box of 12, 8-oz tart cherry juices! 

This was lunch on Thursday. Baby bella mushrooms & a sweet onion fried in a bit of butter. :P {The mushrooms were on sale at Aldi's for only $0.60 a package this week!!!}

Last night was Italian: beef spaghetti sauce on whole wheat noodles, spinach salad with Greek dressing and freshly baked homemade artisan bread (my first try with a friend . . . ahh, so good!).  

I love having company over because there's always that fabulous excuse to bring out those treats you've been saving. :) This anti pasta dish was delish! It was olives stuffed with pimento cheese (drained, although next time I will definitely rinse them - WAY too salty) tossed in a little olive oil with feta cheese and freshly diced tomato.

{Mayo tomato sandwich on high fiber bread}

I pulled this lunch together with leftovers from the frig. And, I saved this poor little apple :P It was on the verge of going bad so I decided to come to it's rescue, slathering it with almond butter. :) This nut butter (Barney Butter) is really good - it always tastes better when you get it on sale (way to go, Kris)!

{Turkey dogs on whole wheat buns with a side salad}

And, this was supper this evening. Our last night with house guests before they leave town makes going out with a bang imperative. :-) I love having people stay for extended periods of time; I feel like I grow more when I'm forced to "get out of my comfort zone". Anyone else feel the same?

So, I've been watching Master & Commander on recommendation from a friend. I was not expecting it to be this captivating but it's fascinating and whole story line is really good! I'm almost through with it and can't wait to see the ending!!! So, minus a few very bloody senses, I'm really enjoying it. :) What are your weekend plans? Tomorrow is a run day. :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Natural Remedies - Be Careful!

I couldn't sleep last night to save my life! I kept waking up at least every hour, maybe occasionally stretching that out to 2 hours. So, #1 note to self? Don't try any new natural remedies or methods right before bed! The way your body reacts, Katherine, might just produce a surge of energy!!!

Check out this article for some interesting thoughts on the healing properties of essential oils and be sure to scroll to the bottom. The antioxidant density is staggering!

Okay, so since I really couldn't sleep last night I decided to put at least some of that extra energy to productive use. Pulling out the brains, reading God's Word (Psalm 34 is a favorite!) and writing out some thoughts seemed to help. :)

I enjoyed a delicious raw salad as part of lunch. My sister made this one so I don't know the recipe off the top of my head, but it was really good!

It's been a fairly calm day - not much excitement. :) Supper was meat and potatoes! Wow. It'd been too long!!! I appreciate a good, hearty meal.

Hope you all are enjoying a fantastic evening! Only two (2) more days until we announce a Cheribundi winner so if you haven't signed up be sure to do so :) Click here!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Sinful Mess :P

Whole wheat cinnamon buns in the making! 

The dough was made with freshly ground whole wheat flour, and the ooey, gooey filling was butter & honey with a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. I love anything with a blend of these 3 spices! 

And, ta-da! Fresh out of the oven. :) Want one? Oh, how I wish I could share the soothing aroma that filled the house when these were baking!!! 

After a 3 and a quarter mile run Monday morning, I had a turnip green smoothie for breakfast. :) Yum, yum! 

So this is a sneak peak into the photo album from the recent birth I attended last month. I put this book together for the mother as a special keep sake that I hope she will really enjoy for years to come. :) Anyone want to guess how many pictures I took in total ? ? ? 

A friend from out of state is here for a visit and since she's considering pursuing midwifery the timing couldn't have been more perfect to drop off this photo album to the mother. The three of us sat and talked for close to 2 hours! (and of course, we had to hold the baby)!!! My friend and I started laughing when we got back in the car the glanced at the clock. Wow. Where did the time go?! Those are the best times. :-) 

So, the week is off to a fantastic start! You know, I was thinking about that recently. What defines a "fantastic start"? Is this a "feeling"? or, getting a lot of stuff done? or what? What is it for you?

Enjoy the rest of your day! I'm headed to a Stampin' Up! party this evening - should be fun! 


PS: Check out this link for inspiration and encouragement with your running goals! :)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Cheribundi Tart Cherry Juice Review & Giveaway

I couldn't think of a better way to end the weekend than with a giveaway for all of my sweet readers! I was contacted by Cheribundi and they sent me a box of samples, asking me to do a review on some of their fabulous products!

They are also offering a box of 12, 8-oz tart cherry juices (multiple flavors!) to one Real Food Runner blog reader! But first, a review. :-)

I learned something new today - cherries are considered a superfood! Why? Because they're packed with phytonutrients, and tons of vitamins and minerals. I was surprised to discover cherries contain 19x the amount of vitamin A compared to blueberries and strawberries!

Each bottle of Cheribundi contains the juice from 45-50 cherries.

I was happiest with the ingredient list on the TruCherry because it contains only 2 ingredients: tart cherry juice, apple juice (from concentrate). Amazing! I especially like how this one tastes. The tartness from the cherries makes it different than most fruit juices which is fun. :) 

They even have a protein version! This one has the most ingredients (14 total) and also contains milk, but tastes great!

Ginger is a great addition to help keep our immune systems good and strong!

I'm a big fan of cacao so I'm looking forward to giving this one a try! The ingredients on this Cheribundi are: tart cherry juice, apple juice, sugar, water, cocoa powder, natural flavor and lactic acid. I think this is the only Cheribundi that contains added sugar. 

To enter the Cheribundi Giveaway:

#2 - Leave a comment on this post telling me which Cheribundi flavor you are most interest in and why. {Also leave your contact info so I know how to get in touch with you if you win :-) }

#3 - Comment on the Real Food Runner FB page - telling me what health food you would like to see reviewed next. :) 

That's it! You're entered for a chance to win a box full of 12, 8-oz Cheribundi cherry juices!

The winner will be announced next weekend, August 24th. Be sure to check back then to see if you're the winner!!! 

I tried dandelion greens in my smoothie for the first time today! A great choice for detoxing and cleansing. :) 

I went for a 3 mile run this morning after a quick cleaning spree which felt wonderful. Prep for house guests is great motivation to get on top of those cabinets and clean out those closets!

Have a "cherry" weekend!

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Weekend's Here!

Oh boy! Vegan pizza - what a treat! The kitchen was a fun place to be this evening :) Everything here is homemade, including the sauce.

Here's the recipe to the dough, and for the sauce I sauteed a bit of freshly pressed garlic, added 2 cans of quality petite diced tomatoes, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, and a 1/2 teaspoon of oregano (anyone notice the Julia Child influence???) Simmer until thick, mashing the tomatoes with a fork. This will probably take about 25 minutes to get to the right consistency.

Mushrooms make a great meat substitute for any pizza. Just sautee them in a little olive oil and a shake of garlic salt to soften them up before you toss them on your pizza. Yum!

I'm lovin' summertime! Delicious green smoothies help keep me running :)

Since I had a piano lesson yesterday afternoon, I couldn't resist taking a picture from lunch with this beautiful Brahm's book!

Picking piano back up is helping me in so many ways beyond just improving skills. Becoming a student again (not they we ever stop) reminds me to be patient when I teach others. My teachers don't get frustrated with me, and although they put the pressure on me because they care about how far I go they don't get upset when it takes some work to get there. I'm learning, and enjoying the application process :-)

My Pappy took me and my little sister out for ice cream this afternoon. Ahh, heavenly . . .

My cup - peanut butter and chocolate are wonderful compliments :) Joie de vivre!

We had peaches on hand and I thought a peach cobbler would make a delicious dessert to top off last night's meal. I used the same recipe for this as I did the naturally sweetened blueberry cobbler because it's so good, except I used peaches :-)

I made some homemade ice cream too. It's so easy! Here's the recipe:

Freezer Bowl Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream  
2 cups almond milk
3/4 cup sugar in the raw, turbindo sugar
2 cups heavy cream
salt, pinch

Dissolve your sugar with a whisk in your milk and cream (don't skip this step - very important!). Add you sugar. Churn according to your ice cream maker's directions.

Today's lunch - a delicious Greek salad. It was so huge I couldn't finish it!

Yesterday I ran 3 miles. Thus far, I've logged 9.4 miles for this week. I know, a low number in the running world so tomorrow I'm looking forward to running some more to add a few more miles to that total number :-)

What weekend foods are you enjoying? Anyone making pizza? Or running?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I Give Up!

Okay, not really :) But, I do give up on trying to force people to make the healthy choices I think they should make. Simply - I'm not responsible for other people's decisions, I'm responsible for mine. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink - so stop trying!

What inspired this? Well, early this morning my little brothers were getting ready to leave for the day. It was about 6 o'clock, I'd say. I had ordered this new green drink powder because if tastes better than most and I wanted them to try it.

They started giving me a "hard" time in their sweet sort of way. Instead of my normal - please drink this, you really need it! The conversation went something like this - "Jon, it's like a car. If you want your car to run well, you give it oil and take very good care of it. You wouldn't expect it to work any other way, would you? The same with your body. Green drinks are like oil to your car - they help your body run well. It's your choice whether or not you want to drink this." The end of the story? He drank it :)

Don't ever give up on people! Sometimes it's not a matter of pressing someone to do something, but finding the right method of persuasion and helping them to understand why it's important.

I had wild salmon on Saturday night with brown rice, and beans with lemon and caramelized onions. It was a special treat; I can't remember the last time I'd had salmon! An excellent source of omega-3s :)

This beans dish was easy peasy! Instead of boiling water and cooking the beans that way, I did them in a skillet. Prepare your string beans a usual and melt a little butter in your skillet; add some chopped onion. Toss in your beans and skirt in some fresh lemon juice. Then just cook them until desired tenderness. Personally, I like them a little crispy because the less you cook them the more nutrients are preserved.

I put a carrot in my green smoothie this morning :) Yum! Carrots are a great natural sweetener. 

I went pear picking last night! Amazing experience :-)

This was part of tonight's supper for me this evening. A bowl of granola with greek yogurt topped with frozen fruit is one of my current favorites :) Even though this is typically considered a breakfast meal - I could eat it anytime of day! It's like a dessert :P

I ran 2.4 miles yesterday afternoon and 2 miles this morning before breakfast. Tomorrow is my off day for running so I think I'll do something fun and pull out a DVD workout or something. What are your workouts looking like this week?