Spring

This weekend’s weather made it feel as if spring has finally arrived. This made me extremely happy.

I spent as much of Saturday outside as possible. I was outside almost straight from 8-4 then 6-7. I couldn’t get enough of the weather! This led me to walking most of my errands and I walked a total of 9-10 miles. Unfortunately, I didn’t get much of a tan.

I started out the day by heading to Cafe Tola on Southport and Addison. I had walked by a week or two ago and they had some delicious looking donuts in the front window(they also make fresh empanadas daily). Getting there before 8 gave me the pick of the batch and I got a maple bacon and a red velvet cake donut for Brian and a big cup of strong coffee for myself.  The sun was so warm that the frosting melted a little on the way home.

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I tried a bite of each, both delicious, but too sweet for my taste. I recreated my restaurant leftovers of salmon with a bacon potato hash into breakfast. How? By adding and egg, of course. Savory. My preferred breakfast.

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With a protein packed breakfast, I was fueled for my walk to Home Depot to pick out some plants for my garden plot.

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Still not having enough of the fresh air, I stopped on my walk to Lincoln Square to have some tacos at La Amistad. Sitting outside to eat them, of course.

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I went on another walk to pick up a few things at Whole Foods to make food for the week. I threw together these “bowls” of quinoa cooked in vegetable broth, black beans, roasted sweet potato, steamed sesame kale and baked tofu. That made 5 of the 10 lunches for Brian and I to eat this week. These came together in less than one hour.

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Sunday, Brian and I got up and ran the Ravenswood 5k. I really loved the route this year and was happy with my time. We had a small miscommunication about breakfast, though. When registering for the race, you could buy a ticket for a pancake breakfast to support the local food pantry. Brian bought one. I didn’t. Wah wah. Fortunately, the pancakes were prepackaged, so he could take them to go. It was probably a good thing, as I was surprisingly not hungry after the race. I had coffee and a bite of a cinnamon roll, but didn’t eat the banana or mini bagel they were handing out.

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After coming home and relaxing for a few hours, I was hungry and made myself a mega lunch. I had a broccoli potato patty, two eggs, my mini bagel(toasted with butter), blueberries and an apple with mango ginger Stilton cheese. I put a little cheese on half the bagel and then a slice of apple on top of that. Heavenly. Absolutely delightful. I rarely eat cheese anymore. Or most diary for that matter. I try to make it a rule that if I am going to eat cheese, it has to be good cheese. This was GOOD cheese.

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I spent the rest of the afternoon going for walk, checking on my garden plot and making up food for the week. I started a batch of cold brew iced coffee on Saturday and was able to drain it off and jar it yesterday. Just the refreshing beverage I need to have on hand with temps in the 80s tomorrow!

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I have been trying to move to a more natural skin care routine. One of the hardest things from me to move away from is my inexpensive but very loved drugstore body lotion. I have tried straight coconut oil before and didn’t love it. I ran across a recipe for whipped coconut oil body butter last week and decided to whip(pun intended) up a batch this weekend. It is absolutely delightful. I can’t wait to share this recipe. A little goes a long way and it really lasts all day.

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Multitasking while I was making the body butter, I cooked up some more food to round out our lunches and some dinner for the week. Look at that well stocked fridge.

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I’ve had a few people inquire lately about meal plans. Hoping to get to a post soon about how I try to do meal plans. Have a great week everyone and get out and enjoy some fresh air!

Tips for running in the heat

I’m no fitness guru or expert on the subject, but I do go out for multiple runs a week. They aren’t always fast. They aren’t always long, but I try to get out there to move my legs and challenge my body. It’s even a bit more challenging when the temperatures are in the high 90s with heat indexes over 100. We’ve seen our share of these days in Chicago this summer.

If you are training for a race, it is not always easy to take the day off. So what to do if you must get that run in?

1) Take your run inside. I know, I know it summer. You shouldn’t have to run on the dreaded treadmill.

If you must run outside:

1) Wear moisture wicking fabrics. And wear as little clothing as possible. Think tank tops and shorts…I’m not telling you to go out indecently exposed. Oh, and make sure it’s light-colored and loose-fitting.

2) Take water with you. And hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I have a handheld amphipod that I fill with ice then water. The cooler temperature against my palm actually helps to cool my whole body. Which actually allows me to run longer.

3) Take walking breaks. This will actually allow you to run longer by helping to cool you down and restore your energy.And run slower than your usual pace. In my case, this would probably be called walking. HA!

4 Wear a visor! Huh? Did you know that you can waste 3 percent of your total energy output on squinting? Just think if you could add 3% to  your run by wearing a visor and not squinting. Visors also help you to keep sweat from rolling down your face and into your eyes. Unless you have eyebrows like Frida Kahlo eyebrows and don’t need help with that.A visor also allows heat to escape your head where a hat can trap it in.

5) Run earlier in the morning or later in the evening to take advantage of cooler temps.

6) Use your head. If you start feeling light-headed or confused, stop.

13.1 recap

So this past weekend I ran my first half marathon. I under-trained, which I knew going into it. It was also very hot and runners were cautioned to take it easy. I didn’t “push it” as much as I could have.

To be honest, my only real goal was to finish. Sure I would have like to have done better, but it was a good gauge for me to see what I needed to do to improve for the next one. Yes, I said next one. I’ve already signed up for another.

Highlights included seeing Katie:

Free beer and pizza. I got my beer just before they ran out!

Not so awesome…my IT band was killing me. I think stretched at least six times Saturday afternoon and night.

Thank goodness we had a bag of frozen peas, because we don’t own any ice packs. What kind of weirdos don’t own an ice pack?!?!

Can’t wait to get that next piece of hardware.

Unplugged

Sorry for the silence, but I’ve been unplugged.

Last Sunday I flew to Iowa for a few days of rest and relaxation at my parents house. I don’t know if they would have said that it was restful and relaxing for them, but it was for me! While there, my parents signed up to a 5k early this fall with me. My mom said she needed to start training, so we instituted 2-3 work outs a day while I was there. Don’t think I’m a slave driver, because I’m not. In the morning we would go to the track and walk/jog and in the afternoon or evening or both, we would go for a long walk. My mom showed great improvement in her running in just the four days. Way to go mom.

What always happens when I am home? Lots of good eating. We started off the first night by making pizzas on the grill. One of my favorite things to do.

Accompanied by a nice cold one:

On Monday, we made a trip to Iowa City to go Father’s Day shopping. Of course we ate at Pancheros:

It was magnificent.

Then I introduced my dad to the glory of The Den. Where we each got a new Iowa shirt, he got a soda and I got tea. Total for 2 shirts and two drinks=$14.98. Only in a college town.

One of my favorite things to do in the morning was to sit on the front porch and drink my coffee with my mom:

And if I wanted to, read the paper. Yes, the paper. Made of real newspaper, delivered to your house daily. That doesn’t happen everywhere anymore.

And I could do that by this bush. A bush with a nest in it with an egg.

We also ate a lot of salad:

And my mom sewed some skirts and dresses for me. It pays to have a talented mother.

I celebrated my return to Chicago by picking up my half marathon packet, eating lunch on a patio with my new tomato plant as our center piece:

Then we went to my favorite gelato place and got a trio of chocolate jalapeno, banana coconut and mint cookies and cream. So tasty.

I hope everyone’s summer is going as well as mine. Back to recipes this week!

Summer goals

I feel like I have been a lazy bum lately. My laziness has inspired me to set some goals.

When I first started making the list, all the goals seemed to be geared toward all of the foods I wanted to make and eat this summer. After looking over the list, I would have to run a marathon every week to not weigh 400 pounds by the end of the summer. Time to rework the goals.

Guidelines: To complete goals by Sept 21, 2012(the last calendar day of summer).

1) My first goal is to complete 3 half marathons this summer. Notice I didn’t say run 3 half marathons this summer. I actually have a half marathon in 2 weeks. Unfortunately, I have fallen off the training wagon. If I was able to run the whole thing, I would be really amazed with myself. I don’t think I will be able to. I would like to be able to run the 2nd and 3rd half marathons of the summer, though.

2) I want to be able to do a chin-up. Yes, like old school gym class, hang from a bar and pull myself up. I have always had horrible upper body/arm strength. I want to focus on getting Michelle Obama arms this summer. Have you seen her arms? Perfectly toned. Ok, maybe they won’t look like that by the end of the summer but I would like them to be closer to that than they are now.

3) I want to eat breakfast by the lake at least once. Yep, I live in this great city on this huge lake and I don’t take advantage of it nearly enough.

4) I want to make 3 crafts off of my Pinterest boards. I have pinned several things, but don’t think I have made anything that I have pinned yet. What’s the friggin’ point?

5) I want to do a 3 day green juice cleanse. Maybe it will last longer than 3 days, who knows, but that would be the starting point. I think they can be a good way to reset your system.

6) I want to have a dinner party at our house. Brian and I live in a pretty big place(for living in the city) and we never have people over. I love to cook but never really cook for other people. I need to do it.

7) Providing my plants produce, or even if they don’t…I would like to can/freeze a few things to have quality produce for the winter.

What are your goals for the summer? Don’t have any? Think about setting some. It gives you a little more purpose and helps get things you want to do checked off the list.

Breakfast burrito

I’m not sure that this post is really post-worthy. In fact, I’m sure many of mine are of questionable post-worthiness. But this breakfast was delicious!

I am not sure if it was extra delicious because I had just finished a 5 mile run or if it was because it involved eggs. I love eggs.

Or avocado. I love avocado.

Or hot sauce. I love hot sauce.

I made two eggs over medium, topped with a half of an avocado(yes, I know that is a lot of avocado) and hot sauce. I had one brown rice tortilla left. So after the eggs came out of the pan, I threw that in there and let it brown a little on each side and threw a slice of organic white cheddar from grass-fed cows on there. I usually try to avoid dairy, but will make exceptions from time to time when it involves grass-fed cattle.

Oh and a nice cup of coffee with coconut milk creamer. Mmmm. My favorite!

Let’s have another look at those eggs, avocado and hot sauce.

Maybe it’s just the endorphins from the run, but this makes me really happy.