Friday I’m in Love {with Food}

Lately, I’ve been eating so many good foods. Probably more than I should be considering I want to lose some weight, not gain it.

Whatever.

I will never apologize for my love of food. Or my love of photographing my food (something I’ve done way before Instagram)!

On Monday, I was having some difficulty picking out my breakfast cereal. Do I go with the always delicious frosted mini wheats? Or do I mix it up and choose Special K Chocately Delight? Being the indecisive person that I’ve been known to be, I mixed them together. The result? The most amazing flavor combination of my breakfast cereal life. So much yumminess in one bowl, it disappeared in less than two minutes.

Honeycrisp apples have RETURNED!! You can have your pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin beer, I’ll enjoy every honeycrisp apple I encounter. I spotted these beauties last week while Chris and I were grocery shopping and shrieked with delight in the store. People stared. It wasn’t that awkward. The first bite into this apple and I knew that wait all year was worth it. No other fruit compares to the beauty and the amazingness of the precious honeycrisp!

Ice cream for dinner might be new favorite way to eat dinner. Put it in a waffle cone and I am sold. Wednesday night while I was getting my sweat on at the gym, Jenny sent me a text asking if I wanted to go for ice cream later. She then put a sad face saying that I wouldn’t be able to go since I hadn’t had dinner yet. I quickly replied that ice cream is a perfectly acceptable dinner choice for a twenty-five year old adult. And it was, it really was.

Apples and pizza for lunch? If you insist! The extra cheesiness of this pizza with the sweetness of the apples made me s happy. Unfortunately, two slices was one too many.

I’ve had some other tasty treats this week including breakfast tacos and pulled pork. And I am in no way sorry about that. Everything in moderation. I wasn’t overeating, but I could have incorporated more vegetables into the diet. Clearly, I fell off the wagon this week with eating (okay maybe the last few weeks), but I don’t believe in depriving myself of something that just tastes SO good! Next week will be filled with apples, salads, frosted mini wheats, and maybe not ice cream for dinner.

It’ll all even out.

And it’ll be delicious.

What is your favorite food? Why? Do you like to take photos of your food, why or why not? How do you change your eating habits when you have ‘bad’ weeks? Let’s discuss!

PS. Penny likes to explore the dishwasher.

Race Recap: Leesburg 20K

Start Line

Yesterday morning, Kristen and I ran the Leesburg 20K.

The goal? Finish the race. Just keep moving and finish. I will worry about time for the half marathon, but this was a training run. I was going to do twelve miles this weekend anyway so I might as well add a little extra and get a free t-shirt. However, this race felt more like a dead sprint for seasoned runners. And I was definitely out of place.

The course was beautiful. Loads of trees, shade, and wildlife. We ran the majority of it through the W&OD trail which prevented spectators from collecting along the sides and cheering like you would see in a road race. The lack of crowd support forced me to get inside my head and convince myself that I could finish.

Somewhere on the Internet, there was mention that this was a particularly hilly course. Totally not the case at all. I expected a major incline, not a few small rolling hills.

The stations were spaced out perfectly (less than every two miles!) and equipped with gatorade and water. One of the stations also offered Gu but only in the fruit flavors and we know how I feel about fruit. There was also whisperings that there would be a bathroom stop around mile 9, unfortunately this was a lie unless they meant nature.

Fortunately, I didn’t need to make any pit stops along the way. Maybe my subconscious knew that the possibility of a bathroom stop was a lie…

I moved slowly from mile to mile. Like a tortoise. I might’ve been shuffling at one point.

At mile six, I made use of my Nuun hydration tablet. A small boost of energy flowed through me and I was on my way. At mile nine, I opened my Clif shot gel. I managed to only get through half of it before a bee flew toward my face and I chucked it. The sugary sweetness from the gel reminded me of frosting and I remember thinking that I wish I had a cupcake instead.

“Just keep moving,” became my mantra.

Running

During mile 9, I turned to Kristen and told her I wanted to die (I’m dramatic). At this point, my arms were chaffed so bad and the bottoms of my feet were on fire. I’ve never had an issue with chaffing until today and wow did it hurt. The pain in my feet is a rubbing issue I thought I was used to but I was wrong. Annoying.

Just keep moving.

I crossed the finish line at 2:46:21. Pace was 13:25.

I walked more than I should’ve, but I finished. I finished the 20k. I was second to last for my age group, but I finished.

An award I definitely earned today.

Unfortunately, they did not give out finishers medals. I know there was an awards for the top 3 finishers in each age group, but the ceremony was over before I crossed the finish line.

I feel like the last person in each of those age groups deserves recognition as well, so I made the medal above as a consolation prize even though I was runner-up for last.

As I was trying to cross the finish line, this man who had completed the 5K ran up to me with this giant American flag that he proceeded to thrust into my hands in order to pump me up. I appreciated the patriotism but at that point I felt like all of my limbs were going to fall off. The flag was heavy and weird and ugh.

Talk about awkward.

All participants were invited to a post-race brunch hosted by one of the sponsors. The post-race party was severely picked over at this point. Apples, bananas and water were all that remained. I’m sure had I finished sooner I could’ve enjoyed more of it, but I didn’t care.

I planned in advance and made reservations at my favorite restaurant for brunch.

Amazing.

Totally worth every ache and pain I felt in my body at that moment. I almost ordered the croissant french toast as well, but refrained.

After brunch, I returned home where I proceeded to put my compression socks on and make myself comfortable on the couch. Many naps and a lazy afternoon followed.

It felt like my calves were being hugged. A glorious feeling.

Now that I’ve finished this race, I am pumped for the Virginia Beach half marathon. My time goal for that has always been to finish in under three hours. Now, I want to finish in under 2:45. If I can just pick up my pace a little between now and then, I am confident that I should be able to finish with time to spare.

I suppose I will just have to keep reminding myself to “just keep moving.”

Have you ever competed in a 20k? How did it go for you? Do you stress about meeting time based goals or do you just aim to finish? Any tips for me on how to improve within the next two weeks?

The Girl with the Fruit Issue

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So, I really am not a fruit person. My husband can attest to this. For the majority of my life the only fruits I would eat were granny smith apples, watermelon without seeds, oranges, cantaloupe and green grapes. Nowadays I swap the granny smith for honeycrisp because they’ve become too tart for me. I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about this before but just to reiterate — I’d rather eat a vegetable than a fruit.

Right now I am questioning if I can still use the identifier “fruit hater”.

Why? Because as part of my breakfast this morning, I willingly enjoyed a white nectarine (as pictured above). When I put some in the cart at the grocery store, my husband gave me a puzzled look and I just turned to him and said “I like white nectarines now.” His shock and awe followed with this response “so, I’ve converted you!”

I’m pretty sure that while my fruit choices may be limited, I definitely no longer reserve the right to turn my nose up at them.

What is your favorite fruit? Why? If you had to choose between fruits and veggies which would you choose? Let’s discuss!

Trying New Things

I know its only Wednesday but this week has already been filled with a handful of new experiences. I am not afraid of trying new things, but like most people, I get stuck in the same habit and the habit becomes a rut. No one likes a rut, am I right?

For example, my beloved egg sandwiches. I’ve been eating them constantly for breakfast over the past few months. Wake up in the morning, get ready for work, make my sandwich and listen to Chris grumble about the smell. Easy easy easy. Until a week or two ago, I just wasn’t feeling them anymore. The craving for them subsided. And, like an overplayed song on the radio, I was over my egg sandwiches.

This left me searching for something new to eat. Or at least something I hadn’t really been eating lately. Usually this means I revert back to some form of Special K, but after reading an article somewhere about how it is one of the worst things you can buy at the grocery store, I turned my back on its deliciousness.

So Monday, I decided I was going to try oatmeal for the first time. Ever. In my life.

The result? It wasn’t so bad. The first few bites were really awkward because it looks like mush and you don’t really have to chew it.  Also, I whimped out and went with a flavored oatmeal. And I didn’t put enough milk in. On Tuesday, I tried the same flavor again. This time with a little more milk and was pleased with the outcome. And it kept me full for a little while. A win for me, I suppose. Today I brought in plain oatmeal and added a teaspoon of light brown sugar and two teaspoons of semi-sweet chocolate chips. It tasted like a warm, melty double chocolate chip cookie and I was totally fine with that. Will I become one of the millions of healthy-living bloggers who rant and rave about the magic of oatmeal? Ehhh we’ll see, I am still trying to get a handle on it. Also, I don’t know if I have the patience for the mythical ‘steel cut oats’ kind but again maybe. But, I’m not holding my breath.

On Monday, I went to my first ever Mat Pilates class. Totally LOVED it. Kristen went with me and we slightly giggled our way through the various poses and moves. The class was great because I felt like I was working but I wasn’t sweating my butt off. Yesterday, I didn’t really feel too much pain in my abdomen and core area but goodness gracious this morning when I woke up it HURT. The pain is right below my hip bones and on my obliques. Ow ow ow. I just want a strong core. Along with a strong everything else! End result? Pilates is definitely going into my exercise rotation.

Today, I decided it was time for me to try the hoopla that is Greek yogurt. When I was little, friends parents used to try to convince me to try regular yogurt and I would and then I’d essentially spit it right back out.

The same exact thing happened with Greek yogurt except I threw up a little in my mouth. And I might’ve cried a little. No joke. It was that bad. Chris laughed hysterically at me during this entire endeavor. Not even a bite and a half and I chucked it. [Hence why I had oatmeal for breakfast this morning.] The flavor I attempted to eat? Vanilla. Brand? Chobani. Mix-ins? Bare Naked granola. It tasted exactly like sour cream with nuts in it. And I like sour cream. However, the idea of shoving a spoonful of straight sour cream into my mouth, uhhhh gross. I wondering how much of this disdain for the yogurt is psychological and how much is actual tastebud hatred. I will probably at some point attempt to try Greek yogurt again and I will add more stuff into it but then I start to wonder how this seemingly healthy food remains so after you’ve added a bunch of toppings.

What have I learned so far this week? The ever-so apparent, you win some; you lose some.

Any ideas for how to make yourself like a food you find impossible to choke down? How do you take your oatmeal? Have you ever done Pilates? Let’s discuss!!

Food Love: Kitchen Successes

 

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but the meals I’ve been making lately have been out of this world. I’m talking DEE-LISH-US.

From looking at the photos above you’ve probably already noticed that I like two main ingredients — cheese and vegetables. And to be perfectly honest, I really love cheese and vegetables. So much. The creaminess of melted cheese and the added flavor and mmm mouth watering over here. Vegetables, I could sing their praises every day. Raw, sauteed, roasted, steamed, frozen, canned, whatever – give them to me in any form and I will eat them happily. Before I started to explore the kitchen, I used to just eat like four or five servings of vegetables for dinner because I love them so much. My husband doesn’t always agree with my love of veggies but he just picks them out and puts them on my plate. More for me!

You many have also noticed that I like my meals to resemble side dishes rather than main courses. I’ve never gravitated toward the turkey, or the ham, or whatever for holidays. I always have wanted to know what else was being served with it. In college, my lunch everyday was a combination of three side dishes; usually mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and vegetables. Honestly, after typing that, I think I need to explore the world of casseroles more because they just popped into my mind as to being a giant side dish. Favorite casserole of all time — green bean casserole. Get in my mouth. But, seriously, it’s hard for me to get excited about adding meat to my meals maybe casseroles will help me get there without it feeling like a main dish.

Back to the meals featured above. A couple of times a week, I’ve been trying my hand in the kitchen. Usually on nights when I have a shorter workout planned and I always make enough to take for lunch the next day or for leftovers another night.

Top Left Corner: “Skinny” Baked Macaroni and Cheese
I saw this meal on Pinterest a few weeks ago and I knew I just had to have it. Please refer to my earlier tangent about my love of cheese and vegetables. This combined both. Broccoli and macaroni? Sign me up! This was also an incredibly easy meal to make. Combine broccoli and macaroni in pan with water. Cook macaroni to al dente (look at me… so fancy). In separate pan, make the cheese sauce by combining all the other ingredients. Put both in a casserole dish and let it bake. Boom then serve.

Top Right Corner: Crispy Cheddar Chicken and a Salad
So so so so easy to make. And delectable. I was licking my plate clean by the time I finished this one. Holy cow. Expect a future recipe post for this dinner because it is sure to please.

Lower Left Corner: Brown Rice with Veggies and Creamy Cheesy Sauce
Chris was not a fan of this dinner but he was polite enough to eat it. Me, on the other hand, loved it. We have a rice maker so I didn’t have to stress about actually cooking the rice so I just sauteed the veggies and I used a lot of veggies – orange, yellow, and red pepper plus mushrooms, broccoli, and zucchini. This also reheated really well. So a definite plus in my book.

Lower Right Corner: Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast with Cheesy Zucchini Rice and Roasted Asparagus
Clearly a theme that night for me. Cheese cheese and more cheese. This was my first time making stuffed chicken breast and it was so EASY. I’m still dreaming of these, so looks like I am going to have to make them again. The zucchini rice didn’t turn out as I had hoped. I think its because I don’t exactly follow a recipe measurement for measurement and that was one that should’ve been.

So, these are the goings on in my kitchen as of late. Do you want to come over for dinner? I’d be happy to make you whatever you like.