Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Runner's Christmas!

The husband and I had a really nice Christmas yesterday, just the two of us.  We are always on our own on Christmas Day, and it's simply heaven.  We get up whenever we want, have a leisurely breakfast followed by opening presents, then I start preparing our traditional prime rib dinner.  My hubby got me some great presents this year, mostly related to running:


Are you really excited about getting socks for Christmas you may say, but those aren't just any old socks.  I bought a pair of Feetures a couple of months ago, and they are AMAZING.  Not only are they wick away, but they also offer compression in the arch of the feet.  They also are supposed to help prevent numbness in the toes, which I was having an issue with at times.  They are not cheap, they are about $14 a pop, but definitely worth it.  I was very excited to not only get one but two pairs of these!r

He also got me an iPod holder and a Fuel Belt (aka fanny pack!), which I desperately needed.  Right now I shove keys, my phone and my iPod into my bra, which isn't exactly comfortable or convenient, especially since I'd rather not lose any of those things!

My aunt also got me a $50 gift certificate to one of my local running stores, which I was super excited about.      I could use more long sleeved wick away shirts, so that is probably what I will use it for.

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Review of The Hungry Hottie Cookbook



This review has been several days in the making simply because I wanted to take my time to make a few of the recipes, take pictures and really get a grasp on this cookbook.  To give you guys some background on why I was so interested in this cookbook, Cynthia Pasquella is the creator of the P.I.N.K. Method, which has ultimately been the program that has really helped me to reset my silly brain when it comes to health and fitness.  The principles behind the P.I.N.K Method is to live and eat naturally as possible, and to eat a mostly or fully plant based diet.  I definitely recommend the program and feel like anyone could have success with it, even if you modify it some to fit better into your life.  This cookbook is the perfect companion to living a healthy PINK lifestyle.

I was definitely excited to get this cookbook and start working with it.  It's easy to get into a rut when you cook healthy, and our meals as of late are pretty boring.  I definitely would like to incorporate more vegetarian/vegan meals into the mix in the new year, as does my husband, so this cookbook is going to be a great place to start.  Here are a few of my general impressions of the book.

Pros of the HH Cookbook:


  • The cookbook looks beautiful, and you cannot help but be drawn in by the beautiful pictures.  Since the point of this lifestyle is to celebrate and appreciate food, this seems like the first step of putting you in that frame of mind.
  • The recipes are simple and fast, and they also do not require a ton of ingredients.  I love to cook so a big recipe doesn't necessarily scare me or bum me out, but after a long day working I did appreciate being able to throw together an elegant dinner quickly.  
  • The recipes taste great, which obviously is the most important thing.  I admittedly looked at some of the recipes and thought that anything that simple was going to taste spectacular, but they did.  
  • The dishes look beautiful, which makes them all the more easy to enjoy.
  • I felt amazing and healthy after eating these dishes!!
  • If you have gluten or dairy allergies, or just avoid those things on principle, this book is 100% for you.
Cons of the HH Cookbook:

  • You may have trouble finding some of the ingredients.  I live in a very hippie, touchy feely part of Oregon and still had trouble finding things like xylitol, Braggs aminos and nutritional yeast.  Luckily few of the recipes call for these ingredients, and you can substitute other things in.  You can order these ingredients online as well, if you're really determined to use them.
  • If you don't like vegetables, you're screwed.  This book is 100% vegan, so if you're not into vegetables, don't even bother with this cookbook.  (I personally love vegetables so I can't help you here.)
  • If you have picky eaters at home, they may have issues with some of these dishes.  (To be frank, I have no patience for food pickiness, and my opinion is that if you have a picky eater in the house to tell them to suck it up or starve, but you may be nicer than me.)
  • I am not sure who can afford a Vitamix, but I certainly cannot.  As much as I would love to have one, I just can't justify spending $500-$600 dollars on a blender.  I mean trust me, you will get by with making these recipes in a food processor and a decent blender (I have a Ninja).

Overall, I really love this cookbook, and my goal is to make ALL of the recipes from it.  I definitely see myself reaching for this book again and again.  Here are a few of the dishes from the book, just so you can get a sense of what's in it.  I will stress again, ALL of these were wonderful.

Tasty Veggie Tacos


I am not going to lie, this is far and away my favorite recipe from the book, and is more addictive than crack.    The filling looks convincingly like ground beef, however, it's 100% vegan. I paired this meal with the white bean and rosemary soup (no picture because the pics I took looked gross), and it was a very light but filling dinner.  A+!

Beautiful Buddha Bowl



This is another solid recipe, yummy veggies and greens over brown rice.  Yum!

5 Minute Delicious Oats


I never thought I would be able to use the words "fast preparation" and "steel cut oats" in one sentence, but now I can with this recipe.

"Almonds - What A Joy" and "Chocolate Mint Cups"


Full disclosure, I am awful at making regular candy, and I am apparently also awful at making "healthy" candy too, which would be why these candies are doing the gangsta' lean.  If you have never worked with xylitol (I certainly had not), you may get tripped up making these candies.  It doesn't behave like regular sugar, and certainly doesn't dissolve, or at least it didn't for me.  I also found that the servings were about half of what the recipe indicated it was supposed to make.  However on the plus side, these tasted really good, which is what matters I guess.  They even passed the husband test!  ;)

If you are interested in ordering a copy of the Hungry Hottie Cookbook, you can order it online on Cynthia's site:  http://www.cynthiapasquella.com/cookbook/.  She offers an e-book version as well as a physical copy, or you can straight up get a bundle.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Vacation and Mental Resets

Ahhhhhhhhhh.  That's the sound of a woman sighing with joy at the prospect of not going back to work until January 2.  We got released early yesterday, and my husband and I are so excited to have life slow down a little bit.  This is going to be a much needed break and mental reset.

Full disclosure, since that is the purpose of the blog...I have not been very healthy the last couple of weeks.  There hasn't been any running really other than the Holiday 5k, and my eating has been the opposite of perfect.  I really have looked forward to this Christmas vacation, because I feel like it's finally a chance to reset and get back into a healthy lifestyle.  I physically have not felt well from all the nonsense of the holidays...the candy, the booze, the running around.  My pants are getting tighter, and that simply can't happen because I threw away all of my fat pants.  ;)

My husband and I both looked at each other this morning and were like, um yeah we feel like shit.  We ended up eating a healthy breakfast (more to come on that...I got a new cookbook and plan on doing a review, but have wanted to make a few of the recipes first so that I got a proper sense of the book), and now we're about to go to the gym.  I can't wait to move physically, to run again.

I have been trying to determine what derailed me, and I think a lot of it is terror.  I signed up for the marathon and just suddenly froze from fear.  I have signed up for a bunch of other races and it hit me suddenly the training that I will have to do, the discipline I will have to have, and it just utterly scared me.  This shit isn't a 5k, it's not playing around....26.2 miles.  I feel like a lot of eyes are on me (all supportive eyes, but still), and I choked a little under pressure.

My body this time says that it can't go back to what I was a year ago though.  Physically the food/booze/inactivity doesn't feel good anymore.  It's never been like that for me before, so I think my body's complete protests against the binges are a great thing.  I am coming back around to my original goal, to why I am doing this, and am definitely ready to get back on the horse.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Rainy Holiday 5k


Well, tomorrow is my birthday, and I thought the best way to celebrate another passing year in my 30s would be to run 3.1 miles!  I also invited a bunch of my friends to come out and run the 5k with me, and surprisingly they were crazy enough to agree.  It sounded like a great idea at the time, but apparently I did not remember that I live in Oregon, and that is currently December and the weather SUCKS big time!  Come to think of it, this is my first winter race I've ever done, and I'm still not sure if I'm sold on them.  ;)



That is my friend Tara and I before the race, and I'm sure you can tell how super cold we are!  Tara's birthday is tomorrow as well, and we are only a couple of hours apart in age!  Pretty neat huh?

Back to the race...I am sure I have been that miserably cold and wet in my life, but I certainly can't remember when that would have been.  Our meteorologists need to get a freaking Farmer's Almanac, because they never seem to get the weather right.  They did call for rain today, but said that it was not going to start until later in the afternoon.  Of course, it POURED the entire time we were at the race, and it was around 39 degrees.  I literally could not feel my fingers and toes until well after the first mile!

The race itself went ok.  Admittedly, I have not run for 2 weeks, and it definitely showed in my performance.  I had a horrible side stitch and had to take walk breaks, and I simply didn't have the energy or stamina that I normally do.  I am also not used to running with people, and one of my friends and I were having a grand time gossiping about people at work the whole run.  The problem is, gossiping/talking takes breath and air, which I desperately needed during that race!  I still finished in about 37 minutes, which isn't bad for taking such a long break.  I'm still not satisfied with that

Despite the weather, having my friends there made everything worthwhile.  I was so touched that they came out and ran with me in such crappy weather.  This is all of us after the race, with yours truly all the way to the left!


See what I mean about having awesome friends?  They even had smiles on their faces despite how soggy we were!  My husband is the one who was taking the pictures, and talk about a trooper....he was supposed to run with us but has a horrible cold.  Despite all  of that, he stood in the cold and rain to cheer me on today.  What a guy right?



Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Grand Fir

Today we went and got our Christmas tree, which I can't even believe I"m saying since my brain can't catch up to the fact that it's December!  It's been kind of a rough day, I'd originally planned to make a roast duck and for us to have champagne after we'd decorated the tree, but we went to a friend's party last night and enjoyed ourselves a bit too much.  I woke up at 3 am dehydrated and with a headache and have been awake ever since.  My hubby had errands that kept him later than intended, so I scratched roasting the duck (my stomach just wasn't even in that mode anyway).  We finally went to the lot by our house and were able to get a really beautiful Grand Fir.  It's heavy and sappy as hell, but it sure is beautiful and fragrant!

This will be my mine and the hubby's 7th Christmas together, and I simply love our little traditions.  We always get a hot chocolate after picking out our tree from the local doughnut shop, and come home and savor that before we get down to business.  I also make a fun playlist on my Rhapsody account to play while we are decorating.  I am an unrepentant rock/metal fan, and one of my favorite guilty pleasures around Christmas is the Monster Ballads Xmas album:


Lots of fun stuff on here, but my favorites are Jani Lane's versions of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and Winger's version of "Happy Christmas, War Is Over".  I like to mix it up with other fun songs like "Christmas in Hollis,"  Everclear's version of "Santa Baby" and some of the traditional Burl Ives, Dean Martin type stuff.

I thought our tree turned out really nice this year.  We realized when we opened our ornament box that we had a conversation last year about throwing away our crappy Dollar Tree ornaments and buying nice ornaments on sale after Christmas, but apparently it was just that...a conversation about it.  We had thrown away the crappy ornaments but had not bought new ones!  We do have a handful of sentimental ornaments we were able to put up, but we're going to go have to get a few more to fill out the tree!  My hubby did a total Griswold with the tree lights this year, but it does look nice:


Even our fish Axl got his living quarter spruced up with a Santa and some Christmas lights.  I think he likes the lights, he's been very active since we put them around his tank.  Either that or he thinks he's on acid.  ;)  He's kind of small, but he's at the bottom of his tank and a greenish yellow.


This is my favorite picture of the night.  This is our dog Natasha, who I love and adore, but she is the definition of an old dog who has run out of give a damns.  She's 14, blind in one eye and we think she may be losing her hearing, so I can't quite blame her for acting like a little old meemaw sometimes.  Anyway if you are dog owner, you know the best part of Christmas is being able to torture your dog with some sort of antler or hat contraption.  In our case it was antlers with jingle bells on them.


Doesn't she look mega pissed?  I kind of don't blame her, the poor dear faithfully got up with me at 3 am this morning and has mostly been awake ever since, and we were especially bumming her out by taking over her sleeping area with our Christmas cheer.  We couldn't resist though.

On another note, my fitness and eating this past week has been really horrible.  I am hoping to be able to get more into a routine once the weekend is done, but I fear that may not be the case.  It has unfortunately been a tough month for me, and I am a little ashamed to say that I will be happy when the holidays are done.  It's not that I don't love Christmas, but it's tough to get into a rhythm when you are pulled in 9 different directions.  I still am highly motivated, but also have to give myself a break for sanity once in awhile.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

All The Tea In China

So, my final Cyber Monday purchase was delivered today, and I had to share it with you, because it's both irritating and hilarious.  This is about to become overtly clear, but I am a HUGE Teavana fan, though I am not so much a fan of going to their store.  They lure you in with their free tea samples, all sitting there delicious and perfectly sweet like an herbal crack rock.  Then you get in there and they flap and waft a million different tea samples in your face, and each smells more lovely than the next.  We bought a grip of tea a couple of months ago, and ended up finding flavors that we don't think we can live without ever again.  We were running dangerously low, so I decided Cyber Monday was the perfect opportunity to get a deal and stock up on our favorites.

They did have a great deal.  You got free shipping, a free tea tin and a free sample.  The problem was that everyone on earth thought that Teavana's offer was a great deal, so their site was horribly buggy.  Long story short, my freaking order went through TWICE.  I was totally pissed, but at the same time my husband and I do drink Teavana stuff at least once a day, so I decided not to call and bitch to them about it.  Plus, I went on their Facebook page and it sounded like several people had the same nightmare, and couldn't even get reps on the phone.  There are some situations where your time is worth more than sitting on the phone and fighting "The Man".  Anyway, my shipment came in today and I had to take a picture of it:



This?  This is what a Cyber Monday purchase gone wrong looks like my friends.  Actually, it's what it looks like when a site is woefully unprepared for Cyber Monday.  Isn't this utterly ridiculous though?  And they pissed me off because they only included one tea tin even though the orders were two separate orders!  I mean honestly, I use canning jars to store my tea in anyway because I have a ton of them around, and I'm not paying $15 for a 3 ounce tin.  Still, I wanted my second free tin!


On a positive note, I am pretty excited to be stocked back up on my favorite teas.  Don't they look pretty lined up in their jars?  One of my very favorites is the Pineapple Kona Pop.  There is no way to describe the smell other than tropical heaven and pineapples.  It is lovely by itself, but also blends well with a lot of the other teas.  I love the way the tea has those beautiful blue cornflowers in them.


The sample tea we got was the Maharaja Chai/Samurai Chai blend, and we decided to make some tonight as our usual nightly tea.  Unfortunately the blend they gave us had way too much of the German rock sugar in it.  It was sickly sweet, so much so that I had to add a ton of water to my cup to dilute it.  Shame, because the smell of the tea itself was spicy and gorgeous, I just wasn't into the sugar part of it.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Layton Marathon Registration

O....M....G....



Well, I did it today.  I signed up for my very first marathon, which is my goal for next year.  I kind of want to throw up, but I am also very excited!!

Cyber Monday

This year I did something I don't normally do and participated in Cyber Monday.  There were a few things I wanted, and I figured that would be the time to get them, and I was pretty pleased with the deals I got.  A couple of my packages came in yesterday, so it was like early Christmas at the house!  Here is the loot:


So, if you have never had those True products, go online right now to www.truelemon.com and order some. And as a tip from me to you, if you go to www.retailmenot.com, they have coupon codes and deals on a ton of sites, one of them being True Lemon.  Anyway, I actually like just plain water, but I do like to jazz it up sometimes, especially if I am drinking seltzer water.  Buying lemons/limes can be expensive, and they are not exactly portable if you are out and about.  The True products are simply crystallized juice/oils and come in these neat little packets that you can carry around with you, and you can add them to water, baking, desserts...just anything!  I am totally addicted to them all, but my favorite is the lime.  On Cyber Monday they were having a free shipping deal and you could get a free box of any flavor you wanted, so I think I'm set for like a week maybe.  ;)

My other purchase was a second pair of my most favorite running shoes in the entire world, my New Balance Minimus Trail 10's.  I have a pair right now, in fact, they are exactly like this pair I ordered:


I can't say enough about these shoes.  I am already a convert to the minimal style of running and minimal shoes, but I have been trying to find the perfect shoes to make my permanent running shoes.  I like the Vibram Five Fingers, but I broke the toes in one of my feet several years ago (unrelated to running), so my toes would begin to ache really horribly after 2 miles in those shoes.  I had the Merrell Trail Gloves after that, and they were ok, but I never really loved them.  They also had really crappy traction, which isn't a good thing when you live in the rainy Pacific Northwest.  I went to a running store, and voila, these are my perfect shoes.  Minimalist, huge toe box, zero drop in the heel, light, plenty of grip, and PRETTY!

Why would I get a second pair if I already have some you may ask?  Well, my marathon isn't until August of next year, and who knows what could happen between now and then.  My shoes now could wear out, break or anything else could happen.  I don't want to be stuck without a backup pair, and honestly, there was a SCREAMING deal on Cyber Monday, so I have a backup pair of shoes now.  

I have more packages coming in, so there will be more posts and product reviews to come!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Pumpkin Soup and HR Violations

Every once in awhile a truly bad day is followed by a truly good day. Thank God, today was one of the truly good days. Yesterday was a Kellog's variety pack of crazy, mostly due to work, and I ended up not being able to run, though I did stay strong and had a healthy dinner of grilled chicken and roasted cauliflower/butternut squash. (I may or may not have followed that healthy dinner up with my new favorite treat, Fluff mixed with Justin's chocolate almond butter.) I got up this morning and had lost weight, which always puts a smile on my face. And losing weight during the holiday season? A bonus!

During lunch today I had a coworker I hadn't talked to in a long time come up to me. We chatted for a bit, and then he was like, "Can I tell you something and you promise not to report me to HR?" (side note: he was joking...we have a zany sense of humor at my workplace) Understandably I was concerned and amused at what might follow, but I was like, sure. He was like, "I don't know what you're doing, but you look REALLY amazing." I felt pleased, bashful and so excited all at once! I told him I'd simply been running again and monitoring my food, and he was like, "Keep it up, you really look great." I was really touched, and it was such a nice boost. I am lucky enough to have a fantastic husband who tells me ALL the time that I look great and that he is proud of me, and my family does the same thing. Deep down though, you always feel that there is some bias, but when someone who doesn't really have an investment in you tells you they notice a change, it really hits home that you look different!

Tonight I was supposed to do yoga and the elliptical, but my yoga studio called to tell me my class was cancelled. Total bummer, because I was really looking forward to it! I feel racked with guilt that I missed my run yesterday, so I was wanting to double up on the workouts to day to make up for it. Oh well.

Dinner was easy peasy tonight since I took a moment to throw together a soup in the crockpot this morning. I originally wanted to make the Smoky Black Bean soup from the December 2012 issue of Runner's World. Instead it was one of those moments where you realize that you have like 2 of the ingredients needed to make the recipe, so I improvised. I had a shit ton of fresh pumpkin from one that I cut up the other night, and I've been putting it in random dishes to get rid of it, but it actually worked really nicely in the soup. I was pretty happy with how it turned out:



Here is the recipe I did. Warning, this was hella spicy, so if you're not into that, you can omit or reduce the chipotle pepper.

Black Bean and Pumpkin Soup
  • 2 cans black beans
  • 1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 TB canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth (or veggie)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cups raw pumpkin cubes
  • salt and pepper to taste
- Drain and wash black beans and place in crockpot.
- Strain the juice from the tomatoes, and combine them with the chipotle pepper in a blender with the chicken broth.  Blend until smooth, then add to the crockpot.
- Add diced onion and pumpkin to the crockpot.  Cook on low for 8-10 hours
- Serve topped with nonfat Greek yogurt, sliced avocado, or if in your calorie budget, a little cheese!

This makes four 2 cup servings.  The approximate nutritional info per serving is 266 calories, 50 grams carbs, 0 grams of fat, and 9 grams of fiber.

If you are interested, the link to the original recipe from Runner's World (that this soup barely resembles!) is http://www.runnersworld.com/nutrition-runners/easy-one-pot-postrun-meals 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Beginning

Ah, the awkward first blog post of a new blog. Do I keep it short and sweet, or do I regale you with my whole life story? I say let's shoot for somewhere in the middle!

My name is Mary, and the purpose of the blog is to chat about two things that are very important to me, running and getting healthy/losing weight. By keeping the blog, I'd like to keep myself accountable and also share things that have helped me in my journey. My goal weight is somewhere in the 130-140 range, and I currently am 219. (I have lost about 25 pounds this year). I don't have some fancy fad diet that I'm doing, although I do follow a combination of the P.I.N.K Method, local/organic eating, and good old fashioned calorie counting. As the title of my blog suggests, I do love booze and treats, and yes I make sure to fit them into my life. I want my eating plan to be something I can do every day of the rest of my life, and I have found that once I came to that conclusion, healthy eating has come pretty easily for me.

Running has been very important to me since about 2009. I spontaneously signed my husband and I up for a 10k under the pretense of getting us out of our comfort zone, and became absolutely hooked on racing and running. Unfortunately I did not train properly or treat my body right, and became practically crippled by plantar fasciitis. This became my hell for about 2 years, until I switched to minimalist footwear and then rehabbed my body with yoga. I have been doing yoga at least 2-3 times a week for a year now, and I am happy to report that I am pain free and running again. It's a blessing considering during this time last year I would almost buckle to my knees from the intense pain of putting weight on my feet in the morning!

My goals for 2013 (which are already a work in progress now) are to try to get to my goal weight range, and also run my very first marathon! The one I have chosen to do is the Layton Marathon in Layton, Utah. The marathon is at the end of August, so I have plenty of time to train (and boy will I need it!).

Thank you for bearing with me during this first post! I have been putting off writing it because I am a typical impatient Sagittarius, and just wanted to just start talking about my thoughts and ideas, and didn't want to have to bother with the intros!