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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

Aloha is offering free samples for new faces ๐Ÿ™‚ย – 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

the secret lives of chia and almond milk

Want to know a secret? Chia is one of our secret food weapons. We’re not alone. The Mayans and Aztecs cherished chia, using it as a flour/pressed oil and mixing it with water as a super drink. In fact, “chia” comes from the Mayan word for “strength.”

So, why are chia seeds so good for us? Chia packs in all the nutrients we need with a minimal amount of calories. Friends like fiber, omegas, calcium and protein are ever present in this superfood, giving us the long-lasting energy and fuel we need to power through the day. I often find that chia leaves me fuller longer.

Brett will simply add 1 Tbsp of chia to a glass of water and incorporate some fresh lemon juice. After stirring and letting the chia sit for 10-15 minutes, the water becomes thicker, taking on a slight gelatin texture.

Personally, I think that’s weird.

#gross

#gross

If you can deal with the texture, it’s good and a great boost prior to a workout. I’ll stick with my chia smoothies, chia oatmeal and the latest, chia breakfast pudding! Brett can have his weird, jelly water ๐Ÿ˜‰

Chia Almond Banana Pudding (Serves 2)

2 cups unsweetened almond milk (we use Silk unsweetened vanilla)

4 Tbs chia seeds

2 Tbs almond butter

2 overripe bananas, mashed

Ingredients

Ingredients

Combine the milk, almond butter and bananas in a blender ย until smooth. Pour the mixture into a large mason jar. Add the chia seeds, seal tightly and SHAKE THAT JAR.

Shake it :)

Shake it ๐Ÿ™‚

It may sound silly, but it’s a great arm workout. I add a little kitchen dance and poof…the calories disappear! Let the mix sit overnight in the fridge. By morning, this should take on a pudding consistency and have a almond, banana fresh flavor…yum. This is nice and easy to bring into work if you have an early morning workout. Serve and top with your favorite fruit. I opted for blueberries.

Happy Weekend superfood!

Happy Weekend superfood!

Marathons and big moves

If you decide to run a marathon for the first time, you must:

1) Run a Disney marathon
2) Run with someone you love

If you weren’t aware, Brett and I ran the Disney World Marathon on January 14. It was my first marathon. It was Brett’s first marathon, too, but he ran a 50 mile ultra in November. He’s a serious overachiever or psychopath…however you’d like to look at it.

As a first time marathoner, everything I heard was true. Marathons are scary!

Terrified faces

Terrified faces

It’s a mental race. You can prepare your body (or not. We were a bit undertrained…whoopsie), but ultimately, it’s your mind that does the leg work.

I was in great shape for the first 18 miles. Dancing. Smiling. Flirting with Stitch.

What?

What?

Mile 19 was my “wall.” A wall or a “bonk” is the point in a longer race where you hit rock bottom. That’s where the mental strength needs to kick in. Unfortunately for Brett and his attempt at singing Kelly Clarkson in the ESPN Wide World of Sports, nothing was helping. Not even out of tune twinkle toes to my left. There is excitement in running a big race like Disney though. You look around and realize you’re not alone. We were running the race for Homes for our Troops, but many were running in memory or honor of family, friends, loved ones, etc. It was quite inspiring.

Ultimately, I could in no way have made it through those last 7 miles without Brett. The last leg was a series of challenges.

Me: “Run from here to Safari Mickey then walk?”
Brett: “Allllrighttt let’s do it!”

He walked with me whenever I needed to. He encouraged me when I thought my little legs would go no more, and he held my hand straight across the finish line. It was just nice to have someone by my side. If you’re contemplating your first marathon or ultra race, I would highly recommend finding a close friend to sign up with. My best friend really got me through ๐Ÿ™‚

#wedidit

#wedidit

I’m sure you’ve noticed that we’ve been a little delinquent here on Cooks on the Run. After our marathon, we made a tiny little decision to move to NYC. I know, no big deal, right? Piece of cake. Well, we’ve been hustling our booties off to pack our things to move from VA to the Big Apple. We’re so excited to start posting recipes and adventures from our new home. Until then, I’ve concocted a new power smoothie that has been on repeat in our blender. I know it sounds gross, but give it a shot. You’ll surprise yourself!

Ginger Carrot Smoothie

1/2 cup unfiltered organic apple juice
1/2 cup water
A handful baby carrots (6 or 7)
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen mango

Blend together the juice, water, carrots and ginger for 2-3 minutes. Add the frozen fruit and blend until smooth. Serve and enjoy!

You need a little ginger in your life ;)

You need a little ginger in your life ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here’s to the new year

The most monumental moment (alliteration, heh) of 2013 occurred yesterday. Brett Lance got a smartphone. Yes, you read right. Brett “I will always keep my 2006 flip phone/I’ll never be a smartphone zombie” Lance spent all of last night like a little boy discovering a toy store for the first time.

In the car on the way home from Best Buy:

Brett: “I’m going to learn how to use my smartphone like a BOSS!”

Me: “Oh god…”

Iย really didn’t mind. We spent most of our date day outside running and playing in a cute little town called Reston.

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Date day at the W&OD Trail

We reminisced on holiday time with our family while out on the trail.

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The ladies…and Cody ๐Ÿ™‚

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The gents

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Playtime with Cody

We ate amazing “make your own” veggie burgers at The Counter.

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My vegan veggie burger with sweet potato fries

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Brett’s non-veggie burger…he was in love.

I made some world class new granola, which we’re planning on eating as our pre-marathon breakfast. Combine 1 cup of this granola with 1/2 – 1 cup almond milk, a banana and a protein shake roughly 2 hours prior to race time. For us, this will be at 3am on January 12th…yay. At least we’ll have a great meal to power the day.

Ginger Cacao Nib Granola

3 cups old fashioned oats

1 1/2 cups chopped nuts (we did almonds and pepitas)

1/2 cup mixed cacao nib and chopped crystalized ginger

1 cup raw agave nectar

1/4 cup EVOO

A handful of dried unsweetened coconut

1 Tbs vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 325. Combine the agave, oil, vanilla and spices to a small pot and stir until thoroughly mixed.

Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl. Mix in the wet ingredients.

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Spread out on a baking sheet, making sure that you create a thin layer. Place in oven, removing and stirring every 5-10 minutes for roughly 40 minutes. Remove from oven once the granola is toasty and golden. Let cool for a few minutes, break into small pieces and seal in an airtight container…or eat…

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Get in my belly #nomnom

For us, 2013 was a mighty roller coaster. A move to Virginia from our home in Boston, races, blogging, Homes for our Troops fundraising, family visits and date days galore. We’re looking forward to an exciting 2014 filled with new adventures, starting with the Disney World Marathon.

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See you at the starting line – Happy New Year!

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 ย 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 coconutย 

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 raspberriesย 

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