Monday, January 30, 2012

New Recipe 9 - Crock Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup

Last night was another new recipe... Well on the way to making 52+ new recipes this year!  Unfortunately, there's no picture.  

The hubs and I had plans for his parents to come over to set-up our new headboard.  Keeping that in mind, we knew that something in the crock pot would be best.  So, off to SkinnyTaste I went, in hopes of finding a yummy crock pot recipe.  

Well, pretty quickly, I found this beauty - Crock Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup.  The hubs and I are both suckers for anything remotely close to Mexican.  I took a look at the ingredients and it didn't look complicated at all.  

The only thing I didn't know much about was the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I am not one to use any pepper much more exciting than diced green chiles.  I thought that we could just give it a whirl...  Needless to say, I should have done a tiny bit more research before using these peppers...  After trying to figure out why the soup was so great for clearing out stuffed nasal passages (i.e., a little too spicy for my liking), I figured it out.  A chipotle pepper is another name for smoke-dried jalapeno.  I have never in my life used a jalapeno for any recipe, until last night.  The soup turned out excellent, and we received the added benefit of clearer noses after eating! 

This is definitely in the collection of make again recipes, but I would make a few changes:

  • Actually read some reviews from others that have made it beforehand and consider their experiences with the spice level
  • Use only one chipotle pepper versus the three I used last night because I didn't read the recipe close enough
  • Add some chopped veggies and brown rice for more umph

Friend Makin' Monday - Makeup Favorites

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers.  The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!
Friend Makin’ Mondays:  Makeup Favorites
1.  Do you wear makeup everyday?  I wear makeup on all weekdays, simply because I don't want to give my coworkers heart attacks.  The weekends tend to be more low-key, with less makeup.
2.  Does your routine change if you’re going out with friends/on a date/to a party?  If the hubs and I are going on a special date night or I am going to see folks I haven't seen in a while, I tend to try to make things a little more interesting.  Sometimes that just means a different color combo or actually putting on eyeliner and mascara.
3.  Are you loyal to one brand, or do you use different brands for different things?  I am Bare Escentuals girl!
4.  Do you wear primer/concealer? If so, what’s your favorite kind?  PrimeTime primer and Bare Minerals SPF 20 concealer
5.  What’s your favorite brand of foundation?  Bare Minerals Matte
6.  Do you use blush and/or bronzer?   Again...Bare Minerals... My favorite colors are "Joyous Jennifer" and "Giddy Pink" right now.  If I am not in the mood to do a lot, I use their "Warmth" product
7.  Do you wear eye shadow/eye liner?  I have several favorite Bare Minerals shades that I like to mix and match.  They tend to be in more neutral shades with a little spunk - Queen Phyllis, Celestine, and Dove with Hope, Passion, Imagination, or others in the crease of my eyelid.
8.  What’s your favorite kind of mascara?  I don't use mascara... Putting it on freaks me out.
10.  Lipstick? Lip gloss? Both? Favorite?  I don't tend to wear it often, even though the hubs begs me.  I love the Bare Escentuals Buxom Lips collection.
11.  Do you wear nail polish regularly?  If so, share a few of your favorite brands/colors.   Yes!  I go to a salon every few weeks to get a new color of OPI Axxium.  My current favorites are:  Russian Navy, OPI Red, and Purple with a Purpose.
12.  How do you remove your makeup at the end of the day?  Well, if there is any left after my run or workout, I use Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit Oil-Free Acne Wash or AquaGlycolic face cleanser. 
13.  Do you feel prettier when you’re wearing makeup? No, not really... I do feel a little more comfy in my own skin though.
14.  Do you have any beauty tips that you could pass along?  Not really... I should probably read everyone else's advice and take it to heart!  If I don't start taking better care of my skin, I am gonna be one wrinkly old woman! 
Now it’s your turn to answer the questions!    And also be sure to come back and leave a link to your FMM post in the comments!  Happy Monday friends!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The "Girl Box"

Yesterday, during my Girls on the Run orientation meeting, a video excerpt of Molly Barker (founder of GOTR) providing the "herstory" of GOTR was shown.  I found myself getting caught up in memories and becoming a little emotional during the video.  That video showed me even more that I was where I needed to be...  Molly talked in the video about the girl box.  

What is the girl box?  "...The girl box is the place where many girls go around middle school when they begin to morph into what they think they should be instead of being who they really are. The messages of the girl box vary but the overarching theme comes from a culture rooted in the belief that girls and women must conform to a set of standards that are often unattainable and dangerous to our health and well-being..." 

When I heard Molly describe the girl box, my heart and mind were flooded with memories, both good and bad.  I don't remember the exact moment that the girl box became an issue for me.  I know that I had a difficult summer between 5th and 6th grade.  I was dealing with some health issues, my PawPaw Pilcher passed away, I was moving up from the comforts of Beaufort Elementary to the unknowns of Beaufort Middle, I gained a bunch of weight, etc.  I was hearing lots of "noise" and mixed messages all around me.  I was starting to get stuck in the girl box...  

Those thoughts of the girl box were not completely obvious.  In fact, I would say they weren't obvious at all, at least to me.  I was the average girl that was friends with everyone.  I didn't have a place in the various cliques, but I was friends with them all.  I didn't fit the mold of the cheerleaders, the athletes, or the band geeks.  However, I did whatever I could do to fit in with those groups.  I played this role very well for a very long time.  

In my desire to conform with the standards, I ended up causing myself more pain and harm.  I gained weight, I went from an average-sized kid to the fat kid, I was ridiculed at school for my clothing, I hid food under my bed and denied it when asked, I sassed my parents, I had very few really meaningful friendships, etc.  Was this productive?  Was this healthy?  No.  Not at all.

When I moved away from my small hometown in 1998, I was determined to come into my own.  I did my best to remove myself from the girl box.  I decided that I was going to "look out for #1" - me.  I worked hard to maintain the one really meaningful childhood friendship I had - my friendship with Margaret.  She was the one constant from diapers through high school, and never seemed to care that I didn't fit the mold that society pushed on girls.  I worked to get involved at Meredith College, became a youth counselor at the Y, and started participating in a local church.  These things helped me begin to get out of the girl box, but it was a long journey...  

That was all back in the late 90s...  As time passed, I continued to let myself go in and out of the girl box.  I remember destructive behaviors and actions from the later years of college.  I remember the awesome feeling I had when I got my first full-time job and bought my first car.  I remember being hurt by friends that I thought would always be in my life because I wasn't quite what they thought I should be.  I remember deciding that I was better than that...

I remember meeting my awesome husband.  I remember Margaret encouraging me to take care of me and go with my heart.  I remember the night that Jason proposed.  I remember the joyous calls made that evening and the next few days.  I look back with a full heart on the happiest day of my life and the celebration with family and friends...  Those moments, good and bad, all led me to the ultimate, freeing moment...

I remember the day that I decided I was going to step out of the girl box for the very last time.  First, I joined a new gym and got a personal trainer.  I decided to start watching what I eat.  Then, I started to run.  That was it - the moment.  I started running and it felt awesome.  I can recall those terribly hot days during the summer of 2010 and how my coworkers would tell me I was crazy for going to my running program.  I kept telling them that I had to go - it made me feel good.  Running made me free.  I was finally free of the girl box, some 18 years after it first came to me.

It is amazing what a bit of self-reflection will do for you... With the help of my husband, a couple of really awesome friends and my family, I can now say that I am out of the girl box.  I am just doing my thing, conforming to no other person's expectation of how I should be.    

That's why I am coaching girls on the run...  I am grateful every day for the childhood I had, but I am so glad that this program is here for these girls because I could have used it when I was their age.  I could have used the encouragement.  I could have used the messages that Girls on the Run teaches.  

The Core Values  of GOTR are:
  • Recognize our power and responsibility to be intentional in our decision making
  • Embrace our differences and find strength in our connectedness
  • Express joy, optimism and gratitude through our words, thoughts and actions
  • Nurture our physical, emotional and spiritual health
  • Lead with an open heart and assume positive intent
  • Stand up for ourselves and others
Imagine how awesome life would be if we all taught and lived by these core values!  I am going to do my best to help these girls understand and embrace these core values, so that they can stay away from the noise and hurt of the girl box.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

So ecstatic - Girls on the Run!

Please allow me to apologize now... This post will be all over the place I am sure, but it is simply because I am so very excited!

Let's start with the back story...  Most of y'all know that I started running in 2010.  This started with the dream of running a Disney race, specifically the Disney Princess Half Marathon, as part of an overall transformation of myself.  As I look back on my goal to transform myself, I have continued to look for opportunities to build up myself while also building up others.  I think that I have finally found the ticket!  Girls on the Run!

I first heard about Girls on the Run in December 2010.  Sarah and I participated in the Reindeer Romp in Cary.  Little did we know, but this was the season culmination race for the fall GOTR program.  During the 5K, it was so awesome to see these young girls running with their buddies.  There had to be thousands of young girls out there...  Well, maybe not thousands, but there were several hundred.  They were all so excited.  They were happy and smiling.  Some didn't have fun the entire run, but they all worked to encourage one another.  So awesome!  After the Reindeer Romp, I hemmed and hawed about whether or not I wanted to volunteer.  I kept thinking that I wasn't the right volunteer - not healthy enough, not "cool enough", not a good enough runner, enough of this, enough of that...  Needless to say, I let my feelings of self-doubt keep me from volunteering.

This summer I volunteered for the NCRC Beginner Women's Running Program.  This program was the program that got me started with running.  This program is where I met so many awesome friends.  I knew that I wanted to give back to the group.  As we began our runs, I settled in on my role as an encourager.  I am not into being a front of the pack pacer/leader.  I wanted to be able to be there for someone that needed the little extra push.  That's just what I did.  Every run usually ended with me telling some of the ladies "...Just a little further...Push on through...  Y'all are so awesome...  Think about how far you have come..."  It was such a wonderful feeling to pass along the same encouraging messages that others have provided to me.  Through this, I realized that I wanted to do more...

So, yet again, I let my feelings of not being good enough, etc. keep me from volunteering for the fall season.  I continued to hem and haw until yesterday.  Jenelle posted a message on Facebook about there being a big need for volunteers at one of the sites for the spring season.  When I read her message, I realized that it was time for me to sh*t or get of the pot.  Period.  There was no better time than the present.  GOTR had a need, I had a desire to help.  What else could you ask for?  

The past 36 hours have been a GOTR whirlwind...  I have applied to be a volunteer, talked to the Program Manager, attended orientation and picked up my program manual, and started prepping for next Tuesday's first session (eek!!).  I realized even more during the orientation meeting that this is where I need to be right now.  It is the right time and the right thing for me - and I hope it will be the same for these girls.  

So, this post is getting long.... I am going to write about my thoughts on Molly Barker's GOTR "herstory" tomorrow...

(Video about GOTR Triangle)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Awesome weekend and New Recipe 8 - Sweet and Russet Mashed Potatoes

The hubs and I had an awesome weekend!  We got to catch up with family and friends, have some yummy meals, and enjoy being tourists in our own town.

The only negative of the weekend is the cold that I have... It was a little annoying at the end of last week, but today is has me on quarantine in our living room, snuggled under a blanket along with a cup of coffee.

On Friday afternoon, my cousin and her hubs came into town.  They were planning to go to the Carolina Hurricanes vs. Washington Capitals hockey game that evening.  J and I were planning to go to the game too, but unfortunately, we had difficulty getting accessible tickets that didn't cost an arm and a leg.  Luckily, it worked out perfectly that they were heading to the CharGrill near my office to meet our uncle and aunt for lunch.  So, I took a nice little lunchtime stroll and joined them for lunch.  I haven't seen Natalie and Chris since April, when they were in town for our Granny's birthday.  It was great to catch up with them!  Don't they look so happy!  They just got married in October and are definitely perfect for one another!  

After a long workday, the hubs and I headed to our normal Friday evening spot.  A World of Beer opened about a 1/2 mile from our house in December.  I affectionately call World of Beer "Cheers on Steroids".  We tend to go most Friday evenings for a couple of hours. We enjoy talking to the staff and other folks that are there.  World of Beer has a very cool Loyalty Card program.  Since the hubs and I like different types of beer, we share a loyalty card.  I tried a new beer on Friday night that was so good.  It is by Southern Tier Brewing and is called Mokah.  I loved reading the description on their website: 
"...  A stout brewed with chocolate and coffee...When empirical and creative impulses collide, the result is often timeless. The classic utility-art aesthetic of the coffee maker is an example of design and engineering working in concert. 

It is through similar cooperation that the simple bitter cocoa bean is transformed into a sweet treat. As scientists, our brewers utilize their materials to exacting standards. As artists, they couldn’t resist the temptation to combine two of our highly acclaimed Blackwater Series Imperial Stouts: Jahva and Choklat. Alone each is perfect, but together as Mokah they are an inimitable expression of two of the world’s most sought after flavors. Enjoy Mokah stout with – or as – your favorite dessert!..."

I woke up feeling terrible!  My throat hurt, I couldn't swallow, and I could barely breathe through my nose.  Lovely way to start the day...  I had planned to join some buddies for an 8-miler, but the rain and the way I felt changed that.  I ended up just piddling around the house most of the morning.  

The hubs and I met Debbie and her daughter for lunch at Cinelli's.  J and I love Cinelli's and we were excited that Debbie's daughter had a birthday party at North Hills - perfect time to meet them for a yummy lunch.  Debbie and I ordered a small Tuscan Pizza to share and house salads.  The hubs got his new favorite from their restaurant - Chicken Marsala with Angel Hair.  After our delicious lunch, we headed to the Starbucks to finish lunch off with a coffee and a little sweet treat.  

We spent the rest of the afternoon running a few errands, before heading off to the in-laws for dinner.  My mother-in-law will tell you that she isn't a good cook, but I have to beg to differ.  When we arrived, we were greeted with cocktails and some small appetizers.  For dinner, my mother-in-law prepared yummy beef ribs, greek-style green beans, and some wild rice.  So yummy!  

After dinner, we enjoyed some cake from Whole Foods and began to discuss my outfit for the upcoming Disney Princess Half Marathon (well, the boys watched election coverage while we talked about my costume.)  I am going to dress as Belle for the half, since Belle is my absolute favorite Disney Princess.  I am planning to purchase a Sparkle Skirt as the base.  I have a yellow running tank that I am hoping will match.  We're going to add some tulle to the top and/or skirt to give it a little more fluff.  I have a Belle tiara that I got at Target.  With this, the Belle costume is coming together nicely!

Yesterday we had the opportunity to be tourists in our own area.  As I mentioned earlier, Natalie and Chris were here for the weekend...  One of the things they wanted to do was visit the campus of the University of North Carolina.  Since the hubs is an alum and loves campus, we couldn't pass up a visit.  We met up at our house and loaded up to head to Chapel Hill.  The first stop when we got to campus was Boshamer Stadium, home of Carolina baseball.  I am ashamed to say that we haven't been to a game at the new Bosh since contributing to the capital campaign and renovations.  Now that I have seen the "new" stadium, we're definitely going to be heading to some games this spring.  Then we headed to the Dean Smith Center/Dean Dome.  Unfortunately, it is only open for the public to wander around during regular work hours.  While on campus, we also visited the Natatourium beside the Smith Center.  On our way to Franklin Street, we passed by Kenan Stadium.  By this point, I was frozen, so I stayed in the car with J.  Natalie and Chris went into Kenan and Natalie even ran on the field.  Looking forward to getting back into Kenan Stadium for some Carolina Football this fall!

The first order of business once we arrived on Franklin Street was to go to Chapel Hill Sportswear.  They recently moved locations and their new location was huge, but I miss the character of their old location.  After the boys procured their purchases, we headed to Time-Out for Chris to try the Chicken Cheddar Biscuit.  I have never eaten at Time-Out (and I wasn't going to start yesterday), but it is a popular spot for Carolina students, especially after an evening of drinking.  Chris had seen Time-Out on Man vs. Food and had to try it.  As far as we could tell, the Chicken Cheddar Biscuit met his expectations - I am glad he was pleased!  After Time-Out, we headed to Top of the Hill for lunch.  Top of the Hill is another Chapel Hill favorite.  We had a nice lunch, but then realized it was time to head out for Chris and Natalie to get on the road back to DC.  It was a great day and I thoroughly enjoyed being a tourist in my own town!

Last night, we tried a new recipe to go with our dinner.  We had planned to have a pre-marinated Pork Sirloin, roasted russet/sweet potatoes, and steamed broccoli.  Before I headed to the grocery store, we both decided we wanted a little more of a comfort food feel.  So, we changed things up a bit...  We ended up having pork sirloin, sweet/russet mashed potatoes, and collards.  The mashed potatoes were awesome!  The sweet potatoes added a little something to boring old mashed potatoes.  I think we'll be having these again very soon!  

Friend Makin' Monday - Short Answers

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your blog then add your link in the comments section at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. 

 FMM: Short Answers

  1. Mac or PC?  Prefer Mac, but have used both
  2. Do you paint your own nails? Heck no!  They'd look terrible.
  3. Beach or mountains?  Beach!
  4. What’s the title of the book you’re currently reading?  Thin for Life
  5. Do you dance?  No, two left feet here
  6. CNN or Fox News?  Anything but Fox News!
  7. Do you ride a bicycle?  Yep.  Nice and relaxing!
  8. Do you get a yearly flu shot?  Yes, but only because they come to my office and give them for free.
  9. Best movie you’ve seen in 2012?  Saw Beauty and the Beast in 3D last weekend - LOVE!
  10. Do you prefer to workout at home or at the gym?  Gym
  11. Last airport you were in?  Raleigh-Durham International returning from our Disney vacation
  12. Married or single?  Married :-)
  13. iPhone or Android? iPhone
  14. Do you prefer to be in pictures or taking pictures?  I tend to take more pics
  15. Favorite brand of sneakers?  My Mizuno Wave Inspires are a current fav
  16. Do you like snow?  NO!  Not at all!!
  17. Do you have/want to have kids?  Nope
  18. Summer or Winter? Summer!
  19. Do you know how to swim?  Yep.  Wouldn't mind going for a swim at Cape Lookout right now!
  20. Do you prefer to shop in store or online?  Depends on my mood.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Good question from Friend Makin' Monday

My cousin left a comment on my Friend Makin' Monday post from yesterday that I thought I would answer for every one's benefit, since she isn't the first person to ask...

How do you handle the mess of getting sweaty at work and getting back into your day? Since I eat lunch at my desk, I technically have an hour to kill, but am nervous to workout and go back to my desk a literal, hot mess. 

Well, there are a few different scenarios:

  • Scenario 1 = no meetings or after work activities to worry about:  On these types of days, I tend to go run around 11:45 a.m. with a coworker or by myself if she isn't able to go.  I tend to run longer/harder on these days because I am not really concerned about getting my "stank" on...When I get back to the office, I heat up my lunch and use the remainder of my lunch hour to cool off and eat.  After eating, I go to our bathroom and get put back together.  I generally just quickly dry off any sweat that may still be left, use some deodorant and some body spray of some form.  Sometimes, I just deal with being a little "icky" the rest of the day and stay in my running clothes.  Thank goodness my boss understands!
  • Scenario 2 = quick meeting or two with coworkers that know I workout often during lunch and/or obligations after work:  On these types of days, I tend to go a little easier on my run.  I don't go crazy and make myself work up a big 'ole sweat.  When I get back to the office, I fix lunch and cool off.  After eating, I go in our bathroom and (again) get myself put back together.  This involves going into the handicap stall and pretty much taking a whore bird bath (Thank my Granny B. for that term!).  I use a no rinse bathing wipe to get all the "ick" off.  After I feel clean enough to make it through the rest of the day, I get dressed, reapply some make-up, etc.    
  • Scenario 3 = meetings during the workday and/or obligations after work:  These days are not fun.  I generally just move my run to after work or switch the days of the week up.  I guess these would be the days where I feel like work gets in the way.
Do you work out in the middle of the work day?  How do you handle being a "hot mess"?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Friend Makin' Monday - Weight Loss Tips

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers.

FMM: Weight-Loss Tips

  • Drink water, water, water.  I have noticed a big difference in how I feel since giving up soft drinks.  I, honestly, get a little tired of water sometimes though - that's when the little Crystal Light packets save me! 
  • Track/log what you eat.  This is huge for me.  I don't think it matters what method you use to track/log your food, but do it.  It is interesting to see what different foods do to your mood, energy level, weight loss, etc.
  • Make exercise an appointment on your calendar.  All of my fitness activities and exercise are on my calendar on my computer at work and this syncs to my iPhone.  The appointments are marked as private so that others at work that have access to see my calendar can't really see what I am doing, but they know not to try to schedule during those times (i.e., lunch hour 3 days a week for short runs, after 4:30-ish all other days of the week, etc.)
  • Pack food to take to work.  I pack my breakfast, lunch, and two snacks for nearly every single workday.  I also set a little "rule" for myself - If I didn't pack it, I don't eat it.  This is especially helpful during the holiday cookies, lunches, etc.
I am always looking for tips and tricks to help me.  I appreciate all the advice that I have gotten from others in the past and know that it has really been a huge benefit.

New Recipe 7 - Cajun Chicken Linguine Alfredo

Last week, my cousin Natalie shared her weekly menu plan with me.  One of the recipes caught my eye immediately - Cajun Chicken Linguine Alfredo.  Normally, I am not one to go for any recipe that mentions Alfredo - I am not a fan.  I decided to read the list of ingredients to the hubs, without mentioning the name of the recipe, and he said to add it to the menu.

So, tonight, this is what we had... A nice big serving of Cajun Chicken Linguine Angel Hair Alfredo and some roasted broccoli.  I have to say that I was very surprised that I enjoyed it as much as I did.  I am not a fan of heavy milk-based sauces.  They just don't sit well on my tummy.  This was so delish though! 

Here's the hubs take on dinner tonight - "... I liked that the dish had some kick to it.  When we make this again, I would probably use a different pasta and make it have a little more sauce.  You may even be able to add some other vegetables or change the chicken to shrimp..."  His assessments were pretty right-on with mine.  Can't wait to doctor this one up again in the near future!

New Recipe 6 - Italian Pepper and Egg Sandwiches

Sunday mornings are usually reserved for long runs.  After I get back from my run and after the hubs is done working out, we take our time getting showered, etc. and tend to be fairly lazy for the remainder of the day.    

When planning our menu for the week, Sunday is a brunch day.  I love brunch - I love mimosas, waffles and syrup, eggs, and everything else that comes with brunch.  However, we try to keep our brunches as healthy as possible and save the indulgent brunches for a nice restaurant brunch.  (Oh, how I miss the Sunday brunch buffet and Bogart's!) 

Anyway, our brunch yesterday was a new recipe.  I found the recipe on Weight Watchers.  These Italian Pepper and Egg Sandwiches were the recipe of the day earlier this week.  When I saw them, I knew that the hubs would love them.  He is a sucker for anything with a sauteed onion or pepper! 

When I started prepping for brunch, I kept thinking "...What in the world makes these "Italian"?..."  I sliced my bell peppers and onions and still kept thinking the same thought over and over.  Well, to the right - you can see the picture from Weight Watchers.  You also can see that those little peppers on their sandwich are not bell peppers!  They are cubanelle peppers, also known as banana peppers...  So, after looking at their picture, I felt sure that our version was destined to be a flop.  

The sandwiches were very easy to prepare and brunch was on the table in no time, complete with hash browns!  As you can see, my sandwich didn't look nearly as pretty as the Weight Watchers version.  Despite my mess up with the peppers, I have to say that they were pretty dang delicious!  The combination of the egg, onion, and bell peppers was great - like a western omelet on bread.  The hubs seemed to enjoy his too.  I think they will be back in the rotation, but with banana peppers next time! 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Long run and heel pain

Today's scheduled training run was a 10-miler with Mary.  We were joined by several others from NCRC BWG for miles 1 through 8.  While I don't mind running alone, running with someone is so much more fun!  It is nice to be able to talk to others, hear various drama of family dynamics, etc.

I set my alarm for 6:30 a.m. to be ready for our 8 a.m. run.  When the alarm went off I stayed in bed and stretched my left foot a little.  Lately, I have been bothered slightly by some pain in my left heel.  I have a feeling that it is plantar fasciitis.  The slight nagging little pain started just before the OBX Half Marathon.  After lots of stretching, icing, and rolling the bottom of my foot, the pain was pretty much gone.  

Then, of course, life got in the way...  After the half, I ran Thanksgiving Day, then only ran 3 or 4 times in December with the longest run being 7 miles on December 17.  I didn't run again until January 8 and  started off by bangin' out a little over 8 miles.  So...obviously, my left foot is a little annoyed with me because I was an idiot.  

The 10-miler today wasn't terrible, but the nagging pain in my heel didn't really make it enjoyable.  I wasn't in pain, but I was a little uncomfortable.  After our run, I stopped at Starbucks just south of the trail.  The person in line in front of me happened to be a physical therapist.  I guess it was obvious that my foot was hurting a bit and she gave me some ideas for stretches, etc.  I have seen all the stretches she mentioned, but I tend to be a little lax with follow-through.  

Lovely!  I look like a hot mess! But, at least
it is helping my foot.
When I got home, I popped in the shower and got prepared to be nice to my foot for a while.  Complete with my blue-white polka dot bathrobe and lime green CEP socks, I settled in a chair with an ice pack and my i-need foot massager.  See that cute little striped sock?  It is holding my ice pack.  After 20 minutes of icing, I used the hardest shiatsu setting on my massager for 20 minutes.  After the massager was done, I repeated this pattern two more times.  After the last cycle, I am beginning to feel like I am on the mend.  I am going to take it easy the rest of the day, and probably repeat my icing/massage pattern a couple more times.  

Also, I have an appointment scheduled with Dr. Molly at Active Chiropractic on Wednesday.  I am sure that she will tell me that my hips are terribly misaligned again and she will probably kill my foot with ART massage.  

Oh well, I gotta get this stuff worked out.  The Disney Princess Half Marathon is in 42 days and I am not gonna do anything to risk not being able to run that race!

Friday, January 13, 2012

New Recipe 5 - Spiced Shrimp Quinoa

The goal of having at least one new meal per week this year is working out well.  So far, we have had 5 new recipes in the first two weeks of the new year.  At first, I was concerned that this goal was a little too much, but I have been able to discover even more food blogs.  Blogs written by others on a journey to a healthier lifestyle make it a lot easier.  Of course, that isn't to say that toward the end of the year it won't get hard...But for now we are enjoying it!

Last night, we had Spiced Shrimp Quinoa from TheChicLife.  I love reading Diana's blog.  I am motivated by her recipes, fitness ideas, and her awesome sense of fashion.

Anyway, back to the recipe...  I was skimming Diana's blog one day and decided to look for something with quinoa.  She has a section marked for entrees with grains and this little beauty was there.  I read through the ingredients and was convinced it was on the menu when I saw shrimp and quinoa - two of my favorites!

The recipe is very simple and the "hardest" part is taking the 20 minutes or so to cook the quinoa before adding everything else.  I love to fix recipes that allow me to take care of other things around the house while one part is being cooked, etc.  Since I had just gotten home from work and a run, this was the perfect recipe for multi-tasking.  I put the quinoa on the stove and while it was cooking, I was able to shower, fold and put away a load of clothes, and prepare lunches for today.  Perfect in my mind...

As far as the flavors go, I messed up a little.  I didn't have an onion or turmeric as the recipe called for.  I also didn't have pine nuts.  The hubs doesn't love nuts or anything that resembles a nut, so I knew they wouldn't be needed in our version.  I am sure that the missing ingredients wouldn't have changed the flavor drastically, but I can't wait to make this again with all the pieces!

Try it!

Monday, January 9, 2012

New Recipe 4 - Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Tonight's dinner was the ultimate comfort food - Chicken Pot Pie - in the form of soup! 

I love, love, love good 'ole Chicken Pot Pie.  You know the one I am talking about - a PetRitz pie crust filled with diced chicken, cream of potato soup, and a couple cans of VegAll.  Unfortunately, that combination just isn't the best and most healthy option. 

As usual, SkinnyTaste did not disappoint.  When I was searching for new recipes to try this week, I knew that I wanted a soup of some form.  We haven't had really good, hearty soup in a while.  This seemed to fit that bill perfectly.   

Assessment the hubs - "The soup was incredible, with a slight delectable sweetness".  (Can you tell he is embellishing for my sake?).  He did suggest that next time I baked a small pie crust and crumble the pieces on top.  Sounds like a decent idea... 

I definitely think this will stay in the "make again" rotation, with a few minor tweaks.  Next time, I will try to use just a tiny bit less liquid.  I would prefer that it be more thick, rather than "soupier".  I also will be better about actually measuring the salt and pepper during preparation.  I had to add some once I served the soup because it just seemed to be missing some flavor. 

Can't wait to have the leftovers for lunch tomorrow and again for dinner on Wednesday!

New Recipe 3 - Pork Chops Marsala

Last night, we had another new recipe!  I am on a roll with the new recipes.  I want to make sure that I keep up with doing at least one new recipe per week for the year.

My in-laws came over last evening to help me get the Christmas tree down to our storage room.  We also took time to talk about the best Christmas gift from my mother-in-law -- a bedroom makeover!  After hanging out for a while, we decided it was about time to fix dinner.  When we decided to invite them for dinner, I thought I would make them my guinea pigs for a new recipe.

Last night's dinner included Pork Chops Marsala, roasted red potatoes, steamed broccoli, and some Ravenswood Zinfandel.  I think the recipe was a success.

My thoughts:  The recipe was very flavorful.  I did add a little extra salt and pepper, but that is just personal taste.  If I were to make one change, I would cook the pork just a little less.  I was the only one that "complained" at dinner, but I think the pork was just a little too overcooked/tough.  The roasted potatoes and simple steamed broccoli were the perfect sides for an easy meal that presented very well.  I look forward to having this again very soon!

Close up of my plate - (from left) pork chop with mushrooms and
Marsala sauce, steamed broccoli, and roasted red potatoes
Also... totally serious after seeing these pictures...  The nice camera will be coming out for all future food pictures.  The iPhone just isn't working for this...

Friend Makin' Monday - Getting to Know You

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at so we can all see your FMM questions and answers.  The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

FMM: Getting To Know You

1) What is one of your favorite ways to spend a Saturday? I enjoy spending Saturday with my hubs.  We usually hang around the house in the morning, then run errands, grocery shop, and end the day with a yummy dinner out.
2) List your top three favorite TV shows.  This changes by the minute...Right now, I am loving 2 Broke Girls, Rules of Engagement, and The Biggest Loser.
3) Would you rather be in pictures or take them?  I tend to take more pictures than appear in them.  I guess that's a holdover from when I hated how I looked, etc.
4) Why do you blog?  I started blogging in 2010 after my therapist encouraged me to start a diary.  She felt it would allow me to get my feelings out, but also be an encouragement to others that may have similar feelings, etc. 
5) Share five websites that you visit regularly…
  1. Weight Watchers
  2. Pinterest
  3. Twitter
  4. Skinny Taste and other cooking blogs
  5. Facebook

6) If you could have lunch with one person from your Twitter list who would it be? Hmmm...  Probably Kirstie Alley or Kathy Griffin.  Not really sure why, but I think they would both be cool to hang out with for a little while.
7) List a few of your favorite snacks. Really???  My list is so long...  Almonds, Trader Joe's Hummus and Carrots, Clementines, Cracklin' Oat Bran cereal, TJ's Valencia Peanut Butter on an Apple, Triscuit with Laughing Cow Cheese...
8 ) Do you have a pet? If so, what kind?   Nope.  The hubs doesn't really care for animals, so he is my pet ;-)
9) Which three material possessions would you struggle to live without? iPhone, laptop, and running shoes
10) What’s your favorite drink?  I love a good Cheerwine from the fountain.  However, I am resolved to no longer drink soft drinks, so water is the new fav.
11) Do you enjoy cooking?  I love to cook.  I love trying new recipes, tweaking them, etc.  
12) Do you have children? No
13) What are your favorite hobbies?  Is it sad that I don't really have a hobby?  I consider running and maintaining a healthy lifestyle kind of a hobby.  I love scouring the internet and reading books to learn more.
14) Would you consider yourself to be shy or outgoing?  I have to admit that I am outwardly pretty outgoing, but it wears me out.  So, technically, I am kinda shy.  Clear as mud?
15) If you could change one thing about yourself, what would you change?  I would continue to work on being more healthy.
16) Who is your favorite actor/actress?  I will always have a soft spot for George Clooney :-)
17) What’s the coolest thing you’ve done this week?  Hmmm... No clue.  Last week was pretty anti-climactic. 
18) Do you live near your family or far from them?  I live about 3 hours from my parents, my mom's side of the family, and part of my Dad's side of the family.  I have extended family in Michigan and Washington, DC.  My in-law's live in the same city, about 4 miles away.
19) List three of your talents. Organization, honesty (to a fault), and cooking/baking
20) What is your greatest attribute?  I am persistent.  Once I get something in my head, I make a plan and stick with it until I succeed.
Now it’s your turn to share your answers.  Don’t forget to link up in the comments at!  Happy Monday!