Saturday, August 31, 2013

Less Running & More Recipes

The Microwaved Cookie Experiment
When it comes to running, there's good and there's bad.

The Good: 

  1. I spotted my first bald eagle while I was on a run. I took a ton of pictures, but they all look like I took a picture of a speck in the top of a tree.
  2. I ran 4 pain-free miles yesterday.
  3. I ran 3.5 miles today. I stopped when I felt a slight twinge in my leg, just to be safe.

The Bad: 

  1. I've been running less than usual the last two weeks because one of my legs feels funny when I run - like it is going to give out on me. 

Focus on Other Things

It would be disappointing to not be able to run the marathon I'm training for (5 weeks until race day), but I know it wouldn't be the end of the world. Since I've been running less, I've focused on other things. We had family visiting and someone had to show them the last three years of our vacation photos, complete with commentary, and to make them some Cake Batter Truffles, which I think they liked even better than "Picture Night"!

Cheesy Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole - no canned soup!
Plus, I made some cookies because one can never have too many cookies. (I like to freeze some of them to save them for long run days.) There was good and there was bad with the cookies, too.

Bad Cookies

I performed a Microwaved Breakfast Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Experiment with 3 different recipes. They all produced tough, rubbery cookies. You don't really need links to those! However, no-bake cookies are a different story...

Good Cookies 

I liked Chocolate Peanut Butter No-bake Cookies with chia seeds. I used only 1/4 of the amount of honey called for in the recipe. To make them, I also used the wheat germ that I won from Fitness, Health & Happiness!

More recipes can be found on my Pinterest page. How do you organize your recipes? On Pinterest? In your kitchen junk drawer? I have a couple in that drawer, too!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Busy in My Kitchen

Today I did some strength training exercises for 15 minutes, rode my bike 6 miles and then I ran 3 miles. The variety made it a fun workout.

I gathered some links to share some of the recipes that I used this week while we had family stay with us.

Rainbow Swirl Cake  - The vibrant colors made for a fun surprise when we sliced into the cake. I put the cake batter into six bowls. Then I added gel food coloring. I dropped the colored batter into the cake pans. So easy! The next photo shows the cake - a new favorite for me.

Fluffy Pancakes  - I accidentally added 1/2 teaspoon vanilla instead of 1/4 teaspoon, but I thought that made them especially good.

Chicken Pot Pie - This is one of my own recipes - a family favorite.

Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps  - I used Shredded Chicken in this recipe. Rather than using a fork to shred the chicken, I used a blender making it easy and quick to shred it.

Lasagna Casserole - This made enough for 9-10 servings - a lot! I served it with the next recipe...

French Bread - The only recipe I made that didn't work out. That may be because I didn't follow the directions exactly. The bread came out flat, but it was still good enough to use with the next recipe...

Carrabba's Herb Oil for Dipping Bread

This week, I had the most fun with the cake. Somehow I was able to make the cake and frost it without anyone seeing it before it was finished. That way, it was a surprise for our guests when the cake was sliced.

8/26 Update: I made the French Bread again. This time, I didn't let it sit and rise too long. It was a success this time!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Biking, Salted Caramel & More


In addition to running 53 miles this week, I rode my bike three times. It's a lot of fun and I think it will make me a better runner since it works muscles that are complementary to running. For more on that, read this article: Which Kinds Of Cross-Training Are Best For Runners? At the top of my mind is running my best at the St. George Marathon in 7 weeks.


I've been doing more push-ups lately, as in 20 of them throughout the day with a goal of 5 sets total. Sheri Piers, 20th woman overall at Boston this year, inspired me. Sheri does 6 sets of 25 each day.

Heart Rate 

Jack Daniels says that it's a good idea to keep track of your individual heart rate, which changes according to weather and other factors. I wore my heart rate monitor during my long run this week. Watching it kept my mind occupied in those last slow miles, especially since I didn't have music to keep me occupied.


Since caffeine may help muscles recover after a hard workout, I added mocha Nescafe coffee to my chocolate milk. 

I tried the caffeinated Salted Caramel Gu gel this week. It tastes just like its name, like a caramel candy with salt. I liked it, but even better tasting to me was the Clifbar caffeinated mocha gel I had during my long run of 18 miles. I also used the Clifbar Razz, which tastes like raspberry jam and has no caffeine. I couldn't tell a difference during the run between using gels with or without caffeine - not that I expected that, though.

Best Online Videos I Used this Week

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Running, Healthy Food & Cookie Dough

When I'm running, it's great when I see something unexpected like these pigeons that flew round and round the lake and so close to me that I thought they might hit me.

Here's how I exercised this week:

Monday - 8 mile run (hillwork) with Rice Krispies before the run. Strength training in the evening with my husband who helped me out with his 35 pound sandbag. I couldn't do much more than lift the heavy weight high into the air, so I had to get out the regular weights, too.

Tuesday - 13 mile run with Blueberry Banana Overnight Oats before the run. Vanilla Powerbar gel and grape Clifbar fruit rope during the run. I saw an armadillo, rabbit and Cardinals.

Wednesday - Strength training and an 8 mile run with peanut butter on toast first. I stopped to talk with a couple of walker friends about the interesting birds at our neighborhood park: Great Blue Herons, bald eagles (I've only heard about them, so far), woodpeckers and mysterious ones we need to do more research on.

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

Thursday - 20 mile run with English muffin with peanut butter and honey before the run. I had 20 oz. Gatorade, a raspberry Powerbar gel and a package of raspberry energy blasts. I like the taste of the blasts, but they take a long time to chew. The day before, I ate rice and noodles with my meals and I had an English muffin as an after dinner snack.

It helped that I listened to music the last 10 miles and that I had snack time to look forward to every 2 1/2 miles: Gatorade or Powerbar food. Towards the end, I saved a bit of Gatorade in my bottle so that I could have a little taste of it every now and then. I've read that just swishing some around in your mouth helps.

The temperature rose from about 80-90 so I took some walk breaks and even sat down here and there towards the end. After mile 15, I figured I had a 75% chance of finishing my 20 miler - not feeling confident. It felt really good to finish that long run.

Friday - 5 mile run with a banana before the run. Strength training.

Saturday - 6 mile run with overnight cinnamon ginger banana oats and a hard-boiled egg before the run. The best part was running with my husband and my Weimaraner through the woods and seeing a deer up close (who ran as soon as I pulled out my camera!).

The Week & Countdown

I ran 60 miles this week and strength trained 3 times. It will be nice to take a rest day tomorrow. There are only 8 weeks until the St. George Marathon!

This Week's Favorites

Skim Milk Is Healthier Than Whole Milk, Right? Maybe Not - The article states that children who drank skim milk and 1% were heavier than those who drank 2% and whole. Here's one more short bit of info on that topic. (I drink whole milk.)

Healthy Cream of Chicken Soup Substitute - This sauce was good with some chicken and tomatoes on top of noodles. This is what I ate for dinner the night before my long run.

Healthy Post-run Snack: plain yogurt topped with crushed pineapple, flaxseed and sweetened coconut. Later, I made this as a smoothie to drink after my long run. I used 1/2 cup milk, 1/4 cup plain yogurt, 1/2 cup crushed pineapple, 1 tablespoon sweetened coconut and 1/2 tablespoon chia seeds to thicken it.

Chocolate Avocado Mousse - Start with mashed avocado and add sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla to taste like I did or follow the link for a recipe that uses agave.

The Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Recipe for Cookie Dough Stuffed Cupcakes - These cupcakes would be fun to make, but I only used the dough part of the recipe because I just wanted to eat some cookie dough. I decreased the amount of chocolate chips, which may sound crazy, but I really like cookie dough!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Pre-run Eating & Recipes

This week, I started eating before I run more often than I have been in the last few weeks.The first day I ate before my morning run (cereal and 1/2 banana), I noticed that I didn't have the usual heavy legs in my first or second mile. After having the same thing happen many times, I think that eating first makes me feel better. I've been enjoying my small pre-run breakfasts and my morning runs without heavy legs!

Food I Ate This Week

I have a Pinterest board for recipes that I want to try in the future. I have almost 100 recipes on my Pinterest "Recipes to Try" board. After I try a recipe that I like, I put it on one of my other boards like "Cookies" or "Salads & Vegetables". Here are some foods that I enjoyed this week. You could eat them for breakfast or any time you like!

Single Serving Microwave Granola - Good when you'd like a small amount of granola in a hurry.

Spiced Pumpkin & Oats
Frozen Banana Dessert - I added pumpkin pie spices and walnuts to frozen bananas. That was good, but then I added cocoa powder and peanut butter to bananas and that was really good!

Spiced Pumpkin & Oats

I wanted to use up the small amount of pumpkin I had left so I stirred together: 1/4 cup each canned pumpkin and oats and a little bit of pumpkin pie spices, raisins, pecans, orange juice and maple syrup. The orange flavor with the pumpkin tastes surprisingly good.

After making that, I saw this: Pumpkin Bread in a Bowl. That sounds good, too, so I pinned it. It looks like I'll never whittle away all of the recipes on my "Recipes to Try" Board!

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