ALOHA to the scale

People have asked us about using a food scale. Brett and I actively use our Salter food scale with most meals. It’s actually kinda fun 🙂

I remember hearing some of the stigma around measuring out food a few years back:

“That’s a little excessive…”

“Aren’t you taking healthy eating a little too far?”

The truth is…you would be astounded at the difference between a “scoop” and the gram measurement in a serving of food. That’s why we did a weight test when making breakfast this morning. Check it out!

We put together some greek yogurt with chia seeds, fruit and our new dried green juice powder from Aloha. We started off by measuring out the greek yogurt. One serving is 1 cup or 227g. When using a 1 cup scoop, this is the measurement we saw on the Salter:

Crazy, right?

Crazy, right?

50 GRAMS DIFFERENCE! That’s a big deal. Now, you see why we measure out our food.

So, on to the actual eating. Aloha sent us some samples of their dried green juice. We were excited to test it out a few different ways. The beautiful thing about this product is there are only a few ingredients and you can pronounce them ALL. If you’re trying to clean up your eating habits, one of the first things to do is to check out the ingredients of the foods you are eating. If you can’t pronounce the ingredient names and/or you aren’t familiar with them, it’s probably a safe bet that it shouldn’t be going in your body, eh? Food is like our own personal medicine. Keep it clean. We were so impressed with Aloha as a company that we simply had to give their products a try:

#alohamoment

#alohamoment

We used our first sample with our greek yogurt:

Green Yogurt with Chia and Fresh Fruit

1 serving greek yogurt (don’t forget to weight it out!)

2 tsp chia seeds

1 packet Daily Good Aloha

Half a banana, sliced

A handful frozen or fresh blueberries

Thoroughly mix together the greek yogurt, chia and Aloha. Top with fruit and enjoy!

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We’re looking forward to trying Aloha Daily Good in our smoothies and maybe even a salad dressing? We’ll see what we can cook up next 😉

Aloha is offering free samples for new faces 🙂 – you can claim yours here.

Happy Friday and aloha! #wheresmyicecream

Happy Friday and aloha! #wheresmyicecream

Birthday goals

It was Brett’s birthday yesterday.

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I’m a genius and found him these boxers.

Turtle power

Turtle power

Yes, that is a cape

Yes, that is in fact a cape

He swears that he will wear them (with cape) during his next race. I’m hoping it will be for his 100 miler in September. That would be hilarious.

I also got Brett Run or Die by Kilian Jornet. If you haven’t heard of K Jornet, you should jump in a lake. He is the biggest bad a** in the running world. This guy ran up Mount Kilimanjaro. Yes, I said ran. HE RAN UP KILIMANJARO. He RAN up Mount Kilimanjaro! Yes, I repeated myself 3 times. Fierceness like that is jaw dropping and worth the repetition. I’m looking forward to reading his book when Brett’s done. It will be an inspiration for both of us.

Given that my birthday is around the corner, I’m ready to set my running goals for the year. 27 is going to be big. Heck, Brett is running 100 mile races at 31. I only have a few years to catch up! God help me…

I will need massive amounts of water...

I will need massive amounts of water…

*Drum roll please*

This year, I plan to run my second marathon and *dun dun dun* a 30 mile ultra.

Peeing my pants is a definite possibility

Peeing my pants is a definite possibility

I will settle for a marathon and 2 half marathons, but I’d like to stick with the former. I’d like to finish this year and feel a little like Kilian Jornet or the ridiculously amazing and determined man in my life.

Uhhh

Uhhh

I meant this one :)

I meant this one 🙂

In order to start the process, I made a delicious smoothie this morning. Check it out.

Mango Avocado Smoothie (Serves 2)

Half an avocado

1 banana

1 cup pomegranate kefir (try Lifeway = delicious if you don’t feel like making your own)

1/2 cup water

1-2 cups spinach

1 cup mango

Added ice, optional

Combine kefir, water, spinach and avocado in a blender, blending until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and blend for a few minutes until incorporated thoroughly.

#yum

#yum

I made a separate smoothie for Brett. I’m nice like that. You’re welcome, sweetie.

Happy Birthday! Thanks to @lifeway

Happy Birthday! Thanks to @lifeway

 

 

Smoothie cleanse

With all the craziness of moving and job hunting, my food intake has been poo. When you eat like poo, well, you know how it goes…

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When attempting to exercise, after said poop diet…

#fail

#fail

I really miss my blender. It’s packed away in storage and I desperately begged Brett to get it for me on his way home last night. My blender and I are now happily dating.

Hey, yourself.

Hey, yourself.

The quickest way for me to get back to healthy eating involves lots of fresh juices and smoothies. I have a difficult time getting enough vegetables in my mealplan so by adding a ton of spinach or kale to a smoothie, I give myself an A for amazing.

I started off this morning fresh with a new smoothie created by yours truly 🙂

Spinach Mango Kefir Smoothie (Serves 2)

Ingredients #letsgo

Ingredients #letsgo

1 cup homemade orange kefir

1/2 cup water

Spinach, to fill the blender (pack a TON in there)

And add some more!

And add some more!

1 Tbs chia seeds

1 banana

1 cup frozen mango

Ice, optional

Add the kefir, spinach and water to the blender. Blend for 2 minutes, until you get a lovely wicked green color. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. If you’re making this for 1, bring the whole thing with you! I usually put the entire smoothie in a mason jar, drink half, and sip on the rest throughout the morning. It gives you a great added boost throughout the day.

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Speaking of boosts…let’s discuss the benefits of drinking greens. Holy energy, my friends. I drank my smoothie this morning and went to the gym 90 minutes later. I was able to run 7:30s on the treadmill during my interval workout. This is a big deal given I’ve been on the running struggle bus lately. I was able to power through a full 30 minutes of climbing hills and faster speeds. It helped that I watched the Biggest Loser during my run. This has become my new obsession. If Jillian Michaels doesn’t scare the crap out of you to work hard, you’re a lost cause.

#peedmypants

#peedmypants

Feeling accomplished, I headed home to have a hardboiled egg as a snack.

Seems I wasn't the only one ready for an egg. Happy weekend!

Seems I wasn’t the only one ready for an egg. Happy weekend!

 

mug cakes and dog runs

Apparently, I’m on a creative, breakfast kick. This morning, all I could think about was making something new and different. Quinoa cereal? No. Almond milk oatmeal? Nah. Oatmeal and a hard boiled egg? No thanks. Mug cake? Uh, duh! I’ve made mug cakes in the past for dessert, but making a mug-worthy breakfast was a new challenge I was ready to tackle.

The best thing about mug cakes is that they’re FAST. Mix together ingredients and in the microwave they go to blow up for a few minutes. Done. Favorite part about making the mug cake this morning (besides eating it) was the way it made me feel. I wasn’t tired or run down like I would be with most pastries or donuts. I felt light, sated and ready to go. Tastes like dessert and makes me feel great? I’d say that’s a double win.

Almond Cocoa Chia Mug Cake (Serves 1)

2 Tbs cocoa powder, unsweetened

1 1/2 Tbs almond butter (I used Justin’s Maple Almond – delicious!)

1 tsp chia seeds

1 overripe banana, mashed

1 egg

1 tsp maple syrup

Fresh or frozen mango chunks (optional)

Ingredients - go!

Ingredients – go!

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until thoroughly combined.

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Pour into a medium size coffee mug. Cook in microwave for 3 minutes. Remove from microwave. Simply turn over the mug onto a rack or plate to remove the cake – it should pop right out. Let cool for a few minutes and serve with a side of mango.

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Breakfast is served with an iced coffee with almond milk

Breakfast is served with an iced coffee with almond milk

Afterwards Fred and I went for a run. We’ve both been out of running shape as of late. For those of you that don’t know, I deal with some tough anxiety – some of which manifests itself during my time on the road. Unfortunately, that’s made it rather scary for me to lace up my running shoes. Running with Fred is the perfect solution. He is so entertaining outside that I hardly think about the stressors of anxiety.

Let's go, Mom!

Let’s go, Mom!

Since Fred likes to stop to smell everything…I mean everything: grass, random invisible spots on the pavement, mailboxes, the air, etc. Personally, I think it’s his excuse for a running rest. He’s so lazy.

...and happy :)

…and happy 🙂

 

While Fred is in nasal euphoria, I make the most of my time by doing calf raises or lunges in place. I may look quite ridiculous to any drivers passing by, but guess what? I’m working out…with my awesome dog and they’re sitting on their behinds in their car. I’m pretty sure Fred and I win.

Take that, lazy people. Go eat cake! ;)

Take that, lazy people. Go eat cake! 😉

Raspy yogi

This has been one bizarre week. I attended a work conference in NYC. I lost my voice completely. Brett left for work with his slippers on and Fred decided to eat a bar of soap. Good thing I don’t need to talk during yoga.

Unfortunately, grandma voice aside, I had no excuse for skipping my yoga class this morning. Voice or no voice, I was going to downward dog until  I couldn’t downward dog anymore.

When I first started taking yoga classes (not good ones, mind you), I was so bored. I remember saying to Brett after our first class:

Me: “I get more of a workout while sleeping…”

Brett: “Please don’t make me do that again.”

Well, we’re not quitters. After trying a few different classes, we found our yoga mojo. It’s all about the instructor and how invested you are in the practice. Most instructors will give you three options for poses, so it’s really up to you how hard you push yourself. That being said, don’t try to do something you’re not ready for. You’ll wind up like Brett after attempting the Happy Baby pose the first time. He still hates that pose. He’s a Happy Baby hater for life.

Good thing I made him a fruit smoothie for breakfast. He’s less cranky after eating 😉

Chocolate Almond Berry Smoothie

1 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk

2 Tbs cacao nibs (If you don’t have cacao nibs, try cocoa powder)

2 Tbs unsweetened coconut

1/2 or 1 frozen banana (We usually freeze ours since we mostly use them in smoothies)

1/2 cup each, raspberries and strawberries (Feel free to use whatever berries you like)

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Use a mason jar if you’re on the go. It works nicely! Otherwise, sip and enjoy 🙂

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Raspy goodness

 

Find your strong

In two weeks, Brett will run 50 miles. 50 MILES. It’s amazing how quickly time passes once you sign up for a big race. It’s a physical challenge, but as all runners know, the real challenge is an uphill mental battle. He’s been one tired guy lately and though he’ll tell you differently, I think he’s a little nervous. I would be, too. So, this morning we had a chat.

Brett and I always wear two bracelets on our right hands.

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we never take these off

After attending an inspiring Saucony event a few years ago, we wear one colored bracelet that reads “Find your strong.” We were going through a rough patch at the time and made a promise to one another. Whenever we felt as though we were struggling, we would look to each other. As corny as it sounds, Brett is “my strong” when I’m going through a tough time and vice versa. The other bracelet is for Homes for our Troops – to remind us that we’re a part of a bigger cause – building seriously injured veterans new homes. This morning, I reminded Brett of our promise. “I’m your strong and I’ll be right there on the sidelines waiting for you. You can do it. I believe in you.” I never saw a bigger smile 🙂

Sometimes we all need that reminder from someone we love.

To top off the day, I made him a brand new smoothie. It combined some of his favorites: Blueberries, avocado and unfiltered apple juice. Great for some post workout sustenance!

Blueberry Avocado Smoothie

1 bunch spinach

1 cup unfiltered apple juice

1 Tbs chia seeds

1 frozen banana

Half of an avocado

1 cup frozen blueberries

A few Tbs unsweetened coconut 

Add water if needed

Blend the spinach, juice and chia seeds for at least two minutes until completely smooth.

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Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until fully combined. If the smoothie is too thick for you, just add some water and continue blending. Brett “likes to be able to drink his smoothie.” I, on the other hand, like a thicker smoothie. It reminds me of a frozen dessert. So sue me. Enjoy your preference!

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Overnight smoothie

When tackling an early morning gym session, when do you eat? Before? After? Cooks on the Run says? BOTH.

You can read all different kinds of studies that lean towards eating before or eating following exercise. I’m sure they are all convincing and provide scary facts. For early morning sessions, Brett and I go for something light to give us some energy boost before breaking a sweat. What do we have? Sometimes before a run, we’ll each have a small glass of juice (usually 100% organic apple juice) or a piece of fruit such as a banana. We’ll couple this with some cold green tea or coffee before heading out. Ultimately, we’ve tried a bunch of things, but this works for us. Find what works best for you – just don’t have too much.

For post workout, you’ll want to have your morning meal within 30-60 minutes. What is the easiest breakfast? Easy. Make this smoothie the night before and keep it in the freezer. By the time you are finished with your workout, your smoothie will be calling your sweaty name. If I have a longer run, I tend to use my favorite vegan-friendly protein powder blend from SunWarrior.

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Plant power 🙂

It’s light and mixes easily with any smoothie ingredients and surprise: no chalky taste like other powders. Plus, it’s 80% pure protein – raw, sprouted, whole grain protein. Hypo-allergenic, too, for my friends with allergies!

Kale Raspberry Cacao Nib Smoothie (Serves 1)

1 serving SunWarrior Blend

1 cup organic, unfiltered apple juice

1 Tbs flax seed, ground

1 banana

2 tsp raw cacao nibs

1 cup raspberries 

1 bunch kale

Add the protein powder, kale, juice and flax to the blender. Blend 1-2 minutes until smooth. Brett and I blend any vegetables and liquid we use first so it’s completely broken down prior to adding the fruit.

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KALE yumtumtum

Next add the banana, raw cacao nibs and frozen fruit. Blend for a few minutes until the mixture becomes a dark, rich red. If you don’t have a blender bottle, you can pick one up at your nearest nutrition shop (i.e. GNC) or WholeFoods. These come in handy for protein shakes or smoothies on the go.

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shake, shake, shake

Finally, the hardest step of all…putting it in the freezer and not drinking it NOW. heh. Trust me, it will be perfect after a sweaty run!

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brrrrrr

 

Forget your pants? Just go for a swim

I’m blaming my sick coma over the past few days. I get to the gym and realize I forgot pants. Who forgets pants?! I stood in the locker room for a few minutes thinking “Gym Gods: 1, Dana: 0.”

As I was about to leave, I realized I had my swimsuit.

I WIN…kinda. I wasn’t really in the mood to swim, but once I got in the pool, my mood changed. Usually, I’m too busy paying attention to my form in the water to think or notice things around me while swimming. Today was different. In the lane to my right, there was this cute, older couple sharing a lane. They were discussing their day and something about watching them interact warmed my heart. It was pure and simple: old-fashioned companionship and love. To my left, there were a few little boys and girls in a swim lesson: laughing, shouting and splashing around.

While underwater, I could not for the life of me get that Miley Cyrus song out of my head. It reminds me of her infuriating performance. Then, it struck me. I completely sputtered around in the water like one of those kids trying to swim and caused quite a scene. With an influence like that, will these children ever experience romance and intimacy like the sweet, older couple to my right?  Will future relationships be all about twerking and sexting? It’s scary to think about.

All we can do is focus on the “right now.” For me, that’s swimming, eating fresh, clean foods and reminding Brett how much I love him every day. All we can do is set the right example for younger generations. Treat people the way you would expect to be treated. Take care of your body (and dress appropriately…heh). Don’t forget to remind the people you love how you really feel about them. Do something kind for those that you may not know. Most importantly, show your gratitude wherever you can – it’s been shown to increase your happiness.

 

 

So, as a surprise, I’ll be making Brett one of his favorite fall breakfasts tomorrow morning before I leave for work. I’ll leave him a special note (that’s our thing). Years from now, we can look back and be proud of our relationship and how we carried ourselves – setting an example for those that are younger by loving each other every single day – instead of being embarrassed by behavior that will ultimately lead to being alone. Be proud of who you are and the relationships you have!

Pumpkin and Carrot Spiced Smoothie

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Hello, fall 🙂

Half a 14.5oz can of pumpkin 

1 carrot, peeled and diced

1/2 cup unfiltered apple juice

1/2 cup green tea (or water if you don’t like green tea)

1 banana

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

6-8 ice cubes (or feel free to add your favorite frozen fruit instead)

Blend all ingredients and serve cold with a side of a sweet note for someone you love…

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coming back with a vengeance

Let me ask you a question.

If you found out today that you would be dealing with arthritis in your back for the rest of your life, what would you do?

Maybe go home and have some comfort food…watch tv…call your family and share the news?

What if, instead of schlepping on the couch, you said: “I will not let this define me” and pushed yourself to do something great?

I’m proud to say that the person I plan on spending the rest of my life with did just that. This morning, Brett signed up for the StoneMill 50 Miler and I couldn’t be more inspired by his determination. There is nothing more motivating that seeing someone you love keep their head up and move forward in the face of one of life’s hurdles. As Brett and I like to say, this year’s motto is “coming back with a vengeance.” Well, babe, you’re sprinting forward with a vengeance!

In honor of his big commitment, we started off the day with a healthy breakfast to fuel our day.

Quinoa Cereal with Fresh Fruit (Serves 1)

1 cup cooked quinoa

1 Tbs sunflower seeds

1/2 cup fresh fruit (think sliced banana or strawberries)

Between 1/2 cup and 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk depending on your cereal preference (Try Silk’s unsweetened vanilla – delicious!)

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#NOM

Lunch was even more exciting given that we are both still salivating over last night’s new recipe from Herbivoracious. We tweaked this recipe to our liking and we were very pleased with the results. Don’t be surprised when you see it on next week’s meal plan!

Green Lentils and Mushroom Stew (Serves 4)

1 small white onion, finely diced

3 cloves garlic, finely diced

2 Tbs EVOO

2 cups green lentils

4 cups water

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp sea salt

1 Tbs plus 2 tsp sherry vinegar

1 pound crimini mushrooms, quartered lengthwise

16 cherry tomatoes, halved

12 big leaves of basil, chiffonade (chiffonade means to pile the leaves on top of one another, roll them up and chop up – this will make long, thin ribbons)

black pepper

2 Tbs fresh thyme

In a large saucepan, saute the onions and garlic on medium high heat with 1 Tbs olive oil, until softened. Add the lentils and 4 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let cook for 20 minutes, until the water is mostly all absorbed.

While the lentils are coming alive, prep the sherry vinegar (two small bowls – 1 for the Tbs and the other for the 2tsp), the paprika and the salt. Part of this should be added to the lentils (paprika, 1 Tbs vinegar, salt) once the water is absorbed.

In a saute pan, fry the mushrooms with the other Tbs of oil, flipping and stirring occasionally until browned on all sides. Remove from heat and season with the fresh thyme.

IMG_20130731_190233_272

Note: Do not add salt while cooking. This will draw out the mushroom moisture in the pan. If you do salt, do so sparingly, but we recommend waiting until after.

Toss the halved cherry tomatoes with 2 tsp vinegar, basil and a little EVOO.

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I could eat just this…

Start an assembly line to prep your serving dish. Plate 3/4 cup lentils, a portion of mushrooms and tomatoes to top. Keep in mind that you will need two serving of leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.

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Congrats, Brett – I’m so proud of you!

Oatmeal in the Tropics

Like many of you, we don’t have the luxury of making grandiose breakfasts every morning. I am lucky to have Dana serve me lemon-chia pancakes in bed sometimes, but the daily b’fast routine can get old.  I’m only able to handle eating plain oatmeal and hard-boiled eggs so many days in a row.

While Mason and I were exploring the island of Maui, we stumbled across many wonderful restaurants and indulged as we should.  However, we were trying not to eat every meal out, so we purchased some organic rolled oats at a natural food store.  Needless to say, I almost had to suffer through a boring oatmeal breakfast in Maui!  Oh, the horror…

Using resources from the island, Mason and I created an energizing breakfast to start off a day of adventure.  I prefer to use old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats instead of instant-oats.  Old-fashioned and quick-cooking oats are higher in fiber than the precooked, instant kind.  To me, the old-fashioned oats, which are larger and thicker than quick-cooking oats, provide a chewier texture and more “tooth” without adding cooking time.  Hardly ever do we cook oatmeal on the stove; the microwave is a great tool to help prepare a quick b’fast, even when using old-fashioned oats.

Where's the oatmeal?!?

Where’s the oatmeal?!?

Our Tropical Island Oatmeal came to fruition because we had some amazing fresh fruit, but this would work just as well with frozen .  Maui provided us with tasty papayas, exquisite pineapple, and macadamia nuts to complete our morning’s fuel.  Mason prefers to use soy milk, so that was our liquid of choice.  The fruit, nuts, and cooking liquid can be chosen to suit your tastes and the market/freezer choices available.  Next time, I think I would use almond milk as a slight variation.  We all like the vanilla flavored or plain.  Just be sure to read ingredients and avoid much added sugar!

Some words of caution:  Use a larger, microwave safe bowl to prevent the oatmeal from boiling over.  Or, put a plate under the bowl to catch any overflow; this will make clean-up much easier.  The bowl will be HOT; use a dry kitchen towel or pot holder to remove the bowl.  If you decide to use Macadamia nuts, be aware of how many nuts you use.  Macadamias have a higher calorie content then many other nuts.  With that being said, breakfast is the time to eat like a king.  You need the calories after fasting for the night and to get you through the day.  This is a hearty breakfast, so feel free to lower the amount of fruit and nuts to your requirements.

Tropical Island Oatmeal

½ cup old-fashioned oats, Bob’s Red Mill oats are great

1 cup Silk soy milk, almond milk, or water

Pinch of sea-salt, if not using salted nuts (optional)

½ cup pineapple, chunks.  Maui Gold rocks and they ship to the mainland!

½ cup papaya, chunks

1 medium banana, sliced

½ ounce Mauna Loa Macadamia nuts, roughly chopped

In a large, microwave-safe bowl add the oats, milk, and salt.  Stir to combine.  Microwave on high-power for approximately 4 minutes (microwaves differ, so adjust accordingly.).  Let oatmeal stand for a minute, then stir.  Stir in the nuts, and top with the fruit.  Enjoy!

Variations and substitutions:  As stated earlier, frozen fruit will work just fine.  Try mango instead of papaya, peaches (not tropical, but still good) instead of pineapple.  Any nuts will work, but I would choose salted sunflower seeds as a substitute.  I haven’t tried it, but I would bet a dash of ground ginger mixed in the oatmeal would be great!  If you’re not using flavored almond/soy milk, a drop or two of vanilla is a good addition.  Remember, a little vanilla goes a long way!