Archives for January 2013

Foodie Penpals!

Happy Thursday!! Is it okay to be doing my Friday dance a day early? :)

I have an exciting post for you today! Each month, Lindsay from over at The Lean Green Bean, sponsors a fun program for bloggers AND readers called Foodie Penpals (FPP for short). Basically, you get matched up with two penpals – one that you send a food package to and another that you receive a package from. Once you find out who your penpal is, you contact them to learn about their food preferences, allergies, dietary restrictions, etc. and then you HAVE A BLAST shopping for items (within the $15 spending limit) that you think they would like. On the last day of the month, all of the participants (at least those who are bloggers!) post about what they received and link up to Lindsay’s blog.

Today’s blog is going to be extra long so stick with me here, it’ll be worth it! First, I am going to have a little show and tell to show off ALL the awesome things that Tess from Cross Country Cajun sent me. Then, Lauren – who was the recipient of my package – has a guest post of all of the goodies she received from me.

Are you excited? Better yet, do you have snacks close by? This post is going to make you extra hungry!

FPP 1-13

Holy Moly, where do I begin? Beignet Mix, Chocolate, Crackers, Jam, Coffee, Energy Bars, Vega Smoothie Mix, Mardi Gras Tortilla Chips AND Beads, Nut Butters, Granola and “Slap Ya Mama” Cajun Seasoning… Tess hit this package out of the park! It was FULL of goodies that I couldn’t wait to try.

FFP 1-13-2

I’ll begin with the coffee and jam from The Loveless Cafe. Tess sent me a postcard a few days after the package describing the cafe as a landmark place outside of Nashville, TN that is everything but healthy yet oh so delicious. I haven’t had a chance to try out the jam or the coffee but I know it’ll make for a decadent Saturday breakfast AND the next time I am near Nashville, you better bet your britches (do that say that in Tennessee???) that I’ll be checking out The Loveless Cafe :)

FPP 1-13-3

Tess also include a Vega Energizing Smoothie (TOTAL YUM! I was hesitant to try this at first but it was AMAZING! Next time I see this, 20 of them are going into my shopping cart!), Love Grown Granola (this may already be gone ;) ), Picky Bars Energy Bars, Beignet Mix (Kyle’s super excited for these French doughnuts when he returns from PR), and some Slap Ya Mama Cajun seasoning. I cannot wait to try the recipe on the back of this seasoning for the Super Bowl on Sunday. ANYTHING with a name like Slap Ya Mama has to be good ;)

FPP 1-13-4

Finally, Tess included some Mardi Gras-colored tortilla chips that Kyle and I quickly devoured and some fun Mardi Gras beads. Mitchell loves the beads… at least while he’s being bribed with a treat :)

FPP 1-13-5

FPP 1-13-6

I seriously LOVED everything that Tess sent me! This was a great opportunity for me to try new foods that I would have never picked for myself. I can’t wait to participate next month! THANKS TESS! :)

Now onto Lauren’s guest post!

This month was my first time participating in Foodie Penpals and I’m so glad I did. I literally emailed my match as soon as I received Lindsay’s email. I didn’t think I could get more excited, but then I got an email from Becky asking about my food preferences. I let her know that I was open to almost anything she had in mind, but that I tended to eat healthier and more natural foods. The contents of my package did not disappoint!! Becky sent me three of her favorite local Midwest produced foods.

FPP 1-13-7

First, she included a nice big package of Bliss Bircher Muesli. I eat oatmeal practically every morning for breakfast but I had never tried Muesli before, so this was essentially perfect! Even better, the muesli is produced by hand and all natural. Becky sent the Triple Berry flavor containing cherries, blueberries, and cranberries all produced in Wisconsin. With hints of orange oil, nutmeg, and cinnamon, the flavor is incredible. I’ve been eating this hot like oatmeal (not a huge fan of cold cereals) and sprinkling it on top of EVERYTHING. Can’t wait to order and try the other Bliss products.

Second, Becky sent me a packet of The Secret Garden’s Corn Tortilla Soup. Living in New England, there is nothing better than soup this time of year. Not to mention I LOVE everything Mexican and Southwestern. Again, the soup was a healthy choice and the mix itself only contained three ingredients: Onion broth, corn, and herbs/spices.  Becky also wrote in her note that she likes to add black beans, more corn, and canned tomatoes and then top it off with cheese, tortilla chips, and chopped avocado. I’m actually preparing this tonight but I’m confident that it’s going to be fabulous.

The last item Becky sent was a chocolate bar by Ethereal Confections. I checked out their website and they truly have a great assortment of indulgent chocolates. Better yet, most are dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan. The bar I received was the Pistachio Cranberry made with 66% dark chocolate and sprinkled with fleur de sel. The first bite was surprising, as even knowing this was extra dark, I was still expecting the typical dark chocolate taste. Nevertheless, I enjoyed every single bite. It was a struggle not to eat the whole bar in one sitting. There was the saltiness of the pistachios and fleur de sel and the sweetness of the cranberries.

I can’t thank Becky enough for introducing me to these new products! It’s definitely worth taking a peek at their websites and checking them out!

-Lauren 

 

And now it’s time for some details about Foodie Penpals from Lindsay herself. 

 

In case you’re a new reader, here’s a reminder of what the program is all about:
-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
-Foodie Penplas is open to US, Canadian & European residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. Same with Europeans. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa.
If you’re from the US or Canada and are in participating for November, please CLICK HERE (www.theleangreenbean.com/foodie-penpals/) to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.
You must submit your information by February 4th as pairings will be emailed on February 5th!

*If you’re from Europe, please CLICK HERE (www.thisisrocksalt.com/foodie-penpals/) to signup.

Push-Up Challenge – Week 1

Happy Wednesday!

How are your push-ups coming along?? I am going to post my workout for today and Friday on today’s blog. I am not too sore – actually not sore at all! – from Monday’s workout so it is time to step it up a notch! ;) I am just praying that we do not have a push-up WOD anytime soon in CrossFit!

But first, I had a request to create a blog button for this challenge. It took me a few hours to figure out the code for this (pathetic, I know…) but here it is! If you’re participating in this challenge, feel free to copy this button over to your blog :)

Olives 'n' Wine

Wednesday’s Push-Up Workout

1. As many real push-ups as possible!
2. 1 minute rest
3. 90 second plank
4. 1 minute rest
5. 30 knee push-ups
6. 1 minute rest
7. 90 second plank
8. 1 minute rest
9. 30 knee push-ups
10. STRETCH!!

Friday’s Push-Up Workout

1. As many real push-ups as possible!
2. 1 minute rest
3. 25 knee push-ups
4. 1 minute rest
5. 25 knee push-ups
6. 1 minute rest
7. 25 knee push-ups
8. STRETCH!!

Going forward, I’ll be posting the 3 weekly challenge workouts at the beginning of the week so you can plan accordingly. Sound like a plan?

Were you sore from Monday’s workout?

Chocolate Chip Birthday Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are great – don’t get me wrong – but sometimes you need something a little more….. fancy.

Yes, my friends, fancy cookies. There is such a thing and they are on my blog today.

Chocolate-Chip Birthday Cookies 1

The fancy part of these cookies comes from my all-time favorite ingredient – SPRINKLES!! Who doesn’t love sprinkles? They add vibrant colors to cupcakes and sugar cookies and, in my professional opinion, they make everything taste better – especially ice cream :)

Chocolate-Chip Birthday Cookies 7

My Chocolate Chip Birthday Cookies will give you the pizzaz you are looking for in your next cookie! Since sprinkles are not only for birthdays, these cookies would be perfect for any party.

Are you having a Super Bowl party later this week? Customize the color of the sprinkles for your favorite team!

Chocolate-Chip Birthday Cookies 2

Creamy milk- and white-chocolate morsels and bright, colorful sprinkles complete these chewy, vanilla cookies.

Chocolate-Chip Birthday Cookies 5

Chocolate Chip Birthday Cookies (Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens)

Makes approximately 45 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup sprinkles

Directions

In electric mixer, beat butter on high speed until light and fluffy. Add in brown sugar, sugar and baking soda and mix until combined. Beat in vanilla and eggs and then slowly mix in flour and cornstarch, scraping sides as needed. Stir in, by hand, chocolate chips. Wrap cookie dough in saran wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour (can be chilled overnight if desired). After one hour, preheat oven to 375 degrees and roll dough into 1-inch balls. Roll dough in sprinkles and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until slightly browned. Cool for 1 minute on cookie sheet then remove to wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

Chocolate-Chip Birthday Cookies 6

Super easy, super tasty, super pretty and super fancy. What more could you ask for in a cookie?

What are your favorite kind of cookies?

Push-Up Challenge: Day 1

It is Day 1 of my Push-Up Challenge! Have you done today’s workout yet?

Before I get into the challenge, I have some exciting news – I am going to be attending the Blend Retreat in May!

What is the Blend Retreat? According to the website, “The Blend Retreat (named so because we wanted to combine “blogger” with “friend”) is a relaxed, laid-back retreat for healthy living, food and fitness bloggers across North America. Instead of focusing on seminars and speakers, the focus will be on friendship and having a weekend away to get to know one another in real life.”

The weekend will be full of lots of fun activities including a few bootcamp-style workouts, hiking and a gourmet dinner!

I had considered registering last week and then Carly – from Snack Therapy – asked me last night if I was going to attend and that was about all of the convincing it took :) I’m SO SO SO excited to be able to meet some of my blends (blogger + friend) in Park City, Utah for a fun weekend in May! Can’t wait!

Push-Up Challenge

Okay, now onto push-ups…

I was able to complete 6 (yes, SIX!!) real push-ups this afternoon before my push-up workout, one more than last week :) It’s all about progress, right? So… my starting number is 6 and my goal is to be able to complete 15 real push-ups by February 28th. It is a lofty goal but I am setting the bar high for myself!

How many push-ups did you complete Day 1? What is your final push-up goal? Make sure to comment below if you are participating so we can all support each other throughout this challenge!

Duluth, MN Recap #2

Okay… where was I? Oh yes, the beginning of Saturday morning.

Breakfast wasn’t served until 10:00am on Saturday (I thought I was going to starve!) so Kyle and I took advantage of the extra time and slept in :) Before heading over to breakfast, I enjoyed a birthday bubble bath and opened my gifts from Kyle. He knew exactly what I wanted… Le Creuset cocottes!! I’m super excited to make some gorgeous food in these minis. First on the list is french onion soup when Kyle returns from PR!

After I got over my excitement for my new cooking gadgets (yep, it’s official, I’m old!), we headed over to the mansion for breakfast. They must have known that it was my birthday because they served up some of my favorite breakfast foods – fresh pineapple and strawberries AND stuffed french toast with cinnamon apples. Everything was OMG amazing! I thought it would be tacky to pull out my phone to snap a few photos but seriously you guys, the plating was gorgeous. I would go back there for the breakfast alone! ;)

After breakfast Kyle and I headed to Canal Park – a cute shopping and restaurant area with gorgeous views of Lake Superior. Unfortunately, the windchill was -22 degrees and I couldn’t feel my toes so we did a quick tour of the lake area so I could take a few photos and then hopped back into the car!

Canal Park 1

Canal Park 2

Canal Park 4

Canal Park 3

To warm up, we did a little shopping – I found a super comfy sweater and some new earrings – and then we stopped at Canal Park Brewing Company – a new brewery + restaurant in Canal Park. The brewery had 8 of their beers on tap so we decided to try a flight of all 8 – Happy Birthday to me! :) Our favorite was the Stoned Surf IPA.

Since the brewery was on the lake, it had amazing views and I can imagine that their patio in the summer is going to be full of tourists and beer enthusiasts alike!

 Canal Park 5

Canal Park 6

Following a little more shopping and tourist-y things, we headed back for the wine and cheese reception at the mansion. And you guessed it, there was more chess on Saturday afternoon! Kyle told me that I had drastically improved my chess strategies overnight. I think he was just being nice because it was my birthday ;)

After enjoying my weight in cheese (sadly this is not a joke, we didn’t have lunch and I was starving…), we headed to the Minnesota Wine Exchange. Another place on our list for the weekend! The MN Wine Exchange is new and sources only MN wines. Personally, I think they would see an increase in business if they expanded their wine selection to include wines from outside of the state and also included beer on the menu because not everyone (including myself) thinks MN wine is the best. BUT I wanted to try it and was pleasantly surprised. Flights of wine were only $5 and they had a large variety of MN wines. Kyle – the in-house wine snob – even found a few that he wanted to try again!

MN Wine Exchange 1

MN Wine Exchange 2

Then it was time to head to dinner! After reading multiple reviews and looking at a variety of menus, I settled on the New Scenic Cafe. They source local and sustainable foods and had rave reviews online and from our B&B. We had reservations for 7:30pm but they were super busy so we had to wait until 8pm to be seated… hence the sad face.

New_Scenic_View_1

The owner was very apologetic and brought us out a free appetizer – sushi ahi tuna tacos!! This put a smile back on my face :)

New_Scenic_View_2

After being seated, we started out with a champagne split and some fondue (more cheese!). For dinner, Kyle ordered the lobster bisque that came with the LARGEST scallop I had ever seen. It was seriously the size of a small steak.

New_Scenic_View_3

I ordered New Scenic’s pasta special of the evening – butternut squash ravioli. Holy yum. I was already full by the time my entrée arrived but that did not stop me from devouring my entire plate. It was my birthday so calories didn’t count ;)

New_Scenic_View_4

For dessert, New Scenic provided a complimentary salted-caramel chocolate tart for my birthday! The actual tart was cut out of the photo below (too much champagne, Kyle??) but it was amazing. I am certain I’ve said this before but salted-caramel anything is my new favorite dessert and this was the king of everything caramel since it came with chocolate too!

New_Scenic_View_5

I forgot to make a wish before blowing out my candle. I guess that is what old age will do to ya! Since we didn’t finish dinner until after 10pm, we just headed back to the B&B for the evening. I think I fell asleep in the car on the way back… I’m apparently 28 going on 85. NBD.

Sunday morning after sleeping in for a second morning in a row (!!) we packed and then enjoyed another delicious breakfast at the mansion – blueberry muffins and eggs benedict. We would have liked to explore more of Duluth since it was actually ABOVE freezing on Sunday but decided to head back to MPLS in the morning due to the ice storm that was hitting later in the day.

Overall it was a really fun and well-planned (Thanks Kyle!) birthday weekend! I can’t wait to visit Duluth again in the summer :)

What is your favorite thing to do when it is your birthday (or birthday week or month ;) )??

Weekly Health Goals + My Push-Up Challenge

Have you signed up for My Push-Challenge yet? If not, we are starting tomorrow so get your arms ready!! :) I plan on doing a recount of my push-ups tomorrow morning and then completing the following push-up workout tomorrow afternoon.

Push-Up Challenge

  1. Starting push-up count (I could do 5 last week.)
  2. 10 “real” push-ups – I plan on taking breaks during these :)
  3. 1 minute rest
  4. 15 “knee” push-ups
  5. 1 minute rest
  6. 15 “knee” push-ups
  7. 1 minute rest
  8. 15 “knee” push-ups
  9. Stretch

Let me know if you do this workout tomorrow or if you have a different plan to increase your push-up strength!

It’s snowing again in Minneapolis this Sunday afternoon so you know what that means… Kyle is going on another business trip to Puerto Rico. He seriously picks the best times to leave this awful-weather time of year!! I have a really difficult time meal-planning when he travels. Most recipes I typically make serve 8-10 people and, well, that is a heck of a lot of leftovers for one person. Knowing that I’ll be eating the SAME meal for pretty much the entire week, I decided to make a healthified comfort food. To be honest, I didn’t eat the healthiest last week so I’m looking forward to eating well this week.

I also was a HUGE slacker in the fitness department last week. UGH. It was just so cold and dark every morning and I had no motivation to get out of bed. I also had zero motivation after work to jump on a treadmill or elliptical for a quick sweat sesh. I’m going to work on my motivation this week…

Weekly Meal Plan

  • Sunday: TBD (Kyle just told me we have a free pizza coupon for Papa Johns… I think he is hinting at his dinner preference!)
  • Monday: Chicken Enchiladas
  • Tuesday: Cooking healthy Chinese with a friend!
  • Wednesday: Leftovers
  • Thursday: Leftovers
  • Friday: Happy Hour/Dinner with Coworkers
  • Saturday: TBD

Weekly Fitness Plan

  • Sunday: Rest (I’m feeling lazy today)
  • Monday: Run + CrossFit  + Push-Up Challenge
  • Tuesday: Run
  • Wednesday: Elliptical
  • Thursday: CrossFit
  • Friday: Run
  • Saturday: Run

Do you have any tips for staying motivated to eat healthy and workout in the middle of winter?

Duluth, MN Recap #1

Hi Friends! Happy Sunday :)

I hope you are all having great weekends! This weekend, Kyle and I celebrated my birthday with a trip to Duluth, Minnesota! Duluth is a quaint, boutique-like town on Lake Superior in northern Minnesota – about a 2 hour drive from Minneapolis. We had never visited Duluth before so we thought that this weekend would be the perfect opportunity!

We stayed at The Cotton Mansion, a gorgeous bed and breakfast close to downtown Duluth. The house was absolutely stunning. Kyle booked the Bella Flora Suite which is apparently the honeymoon suite at the mansion, haha! Here are some of my photos of the mansion.

Mansion 1

The library.

Mansion 2

Another view of the library – The fireplaces were HUGE!

Mansion 3

Kyle taught me how to play chess on Friday night. I loved it so we are going to get a chess set for home :)

Mansion 4

The living room.

Mansion 5

In addition to serving breakfast in the mornings, a wine and cheese reception was provided on Friday and Saturday from 4-6 – Perfect!

Mansion 6

We arrived in Duluth around 3pm on Friday afternoon and could not check in until 4pm so we headed downtown to grab a late lunch. Last week we made a list of places we wanted to visit while in Duluth so we could make sure we fit it all into our weekend :) Fitger’s Brewhouse was high on Kyle’s priorities so we made that our first stop while waiting for our check-in time. Kyle ordered a whitefish burger for lunch and I got chips and guacamole. Don’t judge, it was my birthday weekend so I could do what I wanted to! We also tried a few of their house-brewed beers.

Fitgers 1

Fitgers 2

After lunch, we headed to The Cotton Mansion to check-in. One of the owners, Ken, gave us a very detailed tour of the house and showed us up to our room. Our room was in the carriage house, a separate building from the main mansion. Once we were ready for the evening, we headed over to the mansion for the wine and cheese reception. Kyle and I enjoyed a few glasses of wine and some cheese and crackers while he taught me how to play chess.

Chess 1

Chess 2

We didn’t have concrete plans for Friday night so we just headed downtown and visited a variety of local establishments, ending at Zeitgeist Arts Cafe for dinner. The cafe was cozy, especially with the frigid temps outside! Right after the bartender took this photo of Kyle and I, a woman at the bar asked us if we were newly engaged! Maybe it was because I was drinking champagne ;)

Zeitgeist

After dinner we headed back to the B&B to get a good night’s sleep since we knew we had a busy day planned for Saturday, starting with a fancy breakfast at the mansion :)

I’ll continue my Duluth recap tomorrow! Stay tuned :)

Push-Up Challenge

Hi! Happy Friday!

Do you have any fun plans this weekend? Since my birthday is TOMORROW (and yes, I have been playing the birthday card this entire week ;) ), Kyle and I are headed on a fun trip this weekend! I’ll give you all the details on Monday. I’m super excited to get out of Minneapolis where we’ve been going stir-crazy in this toocoldtobreathordoinganythingworthwhile weather!

Sadly, I don’t have a wine to share with you this Wineday Friday. I had all of the best intentions of posting one today but I haven’t had one recently that I felt worthy to share. This weekend should be full of great wine and beer and cocktails so I will be back with a wine for you next week!

In the meantime, I have a challenge for you. Are you ready?

I had a kick-butt CrossFit class on Monday night. (This story eventually leads to my challenge… stick with me here!) My trainer wanted each of us to scale this workout for obvious reasons so my scaled version is in parenthesis below. Also, we were limited to 6 minutes total for the pull-ups and were cut-off at the 30 minute mark for the entire workout.

  • 100 Pull-Ups (70)
  • 1000m Row (700m)
  • 100 Squats (100 – no scaling)
  • 1000m Row (600m)
  • 100 Sit-Ups (100 – no scaling)
  • 1000m Row (600m)
  • 100 Push-Ups (45, mostly on my knees)
  • Die —> Okay, this really wasn’t part of the workout ;)

Can you find the weakest link in my workout above? Yep, it’s push-ups! For some reason push-ups are one of the most difficult exercises for me and I think a lot of you would agree. We ALL want to improve our push-up skills, right? They are a great strength-training component for multiple muscle groups (back, chest, core, arms…) and require no fancy equipment or expensive gym membership.

So, I thought what better way to improve our push-up abilities than to host a challenge! Who’s with me??

Push-Up Challenge

Here are the rules:

  1. Must complete “real” push-ups – No knee/girly ones in this challenge!
  2. Your chest must TOUCH the floor during each push-up – Us ladies have it a little easier for this one ;)
  3. No resting in between push-ups (AKA – Dropping to knees or lying on the floor)

**You can obviously still participate if you would prefer to do “knee” push-ups but I’d like to challenge you to try the real ones!

The Push-Up Challenge will run from January 28th-February 28th. Your beginning push-up number should be counted on January 28th and your final – and much improved! – push-up number should be counted on February 28th. I plan on doing a push-up workout every Monday/Wednesday/Friday in order to improve my strength and slowly increase the number of push-ups I can complete!

 Make sure to comment below if you are going to do the challenge with me!

As a test, I attempted some push-ups last night and I struggled to get to a whopping 5 ;) I am going to re-test my abilities on Monday but for now, my personal goal is to get to a total of 15 uninterrupted push-ups by the end of this challenge!

Are yYOU going to join my Push-Up Challenge??

Monster Dash Recap

It’s Wednesday! Do you know what that means?

It’s time for a fitness post! :)

Instead of posting a new workout this week, I am opting to share a recap of my first (and most likely my last…) half-marathon. The Monster Dash on October 29, 2011!

Monster Dash

The Monster Dash is sponsored by Team Ortho – a non-profit agency focused on helping individuals who suddenly find themselves with a traumatic injury. Team Ortho sponsors a variety of events in and around the Twin Cities every year. Their events are always well staffed and a lot of fun. The Monster Dash is no exception! The event hosts 5K, 10 Mile and Half-Marathon runs and since it is held close to Halloween, many of the runners dress in full costume!

Since the 2011 Monster Dash was my first race of this length, I chose to not dress up. I knew that I would be happy lucky to finish it WITHOUT a heavy costume on, plus the temps were in the 20’s that day and I needed my layers! The runners that were in full garb definitely kept me entertained through the 13.1 miles – How can you not laugh when you see a man in a gorilla suit and his friend in a banana costume running in front of you on Mile 9??!?

For my training, I took the advice of one of my coworkers and followed Hal Higdon’s “Novice 2″ Half-Marathon training program. The longest I had ever run before deciding to do this race was 4 miles so I knew I needed some sort of training schedule to build up my stamina and distance. I only made it up to 11 miles on my longest training run (the training program recommended getting to 12 miles) but I felt very well-prepared for the actual race.

Me (in the center in ALL black) around Mile 8.

Becky Half-Marathon 2

The one piece of advice I would give anyone training for a long-distance race is that walking is imperative in your training program. It is perfectly okay and acceptable and NEEDED to walk during your runs. After my running distance increased to 7 miles, I would incorporate a 30-second walk after each 3-mile increment. It helped me to catch my breath and it also helped to prevent injury as I wasn’t pushing myself to run through pain.

Funny thing is, during the actual race, I didn’t stop to walk once!!! The adrenaline must have been pumping through my veins ;)

Mile 13! Almost done… Can you see the look of pain on my face?

Becky Half-Marathon 3

My goal time for the race was approximately 10 minutes/mile or 2:10:00 and I ended up SMASHING that goal!

My final time was 1:52:15 – an 8:35 minute mile! I was so proud :)

Here are my full results:

Race Results

FINISHED!! Sadly, I was so exhausted and dehydrated that I couldn’t even drink the free beer they gave away after the race :(

Becky Half-Marathon 1

At the beginning of this post, I stated that this would most likely be my last race of this distance. Here is why… Following the race, I was in a lot of pain. My knees were throbbing and I had a lot of issues actually walking back to the car. I was also diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma while training… an inhaler helps to ease most of the breathing discomfort when running long-distances but doesn’t prevent all of it. I hate the tightness and pain that I get in my lungs when running more than 7-8 miles.

If you all could solve my breathing and knee-pain issues, I would totally be up for half-marathon #2! ;)

In other news, my CrossFit box is doing a “Paleo Challenge” starting the day after the Super Bowl – Coincidence?? I’m still not sold on the whole paleo diet fad – I understand cutting out processed foods but removing foods such as legumes and grains is bizarre to me.

Have any of you ever tried the Paleo Diet? What do all of my nutritionist/health-counselor readers think of this diet? Should I try the one-month challenge?

Chocolate-Covered Potato Chips

I have a treat for you today that will entice your taste buds. It’s sweet. It’s salty. It’s crisp and chewy. It’ll satisfy your chocolate craving AND your chip craving in one bite.

Chocolate Potato Chips 4

It’s Chocolate-Covered Potato Chips! A tantalizing treat that is as easy to make as it is delicious. 

Now, before you completely dismiss this sweet and salty duo, stick with me and keep an open mind. Remember that Super Bowl Sunday is coming up in a few shorts weeks and what type of food do (most) men like just as much as beer and chips? Yes, that’s right. Chocolate!

Chocolate Potato Chips 5

How impressed would your husband/boyfriend/significant other/guy friends be if you prepared a BIG bowl of these Chocolate-Covered Potato Chips for their Super Bowl party? They would be forever indebted to you. Like so indebted they would owe you presents and diamonds and vacations to warm places and… okay, maybe I’m dreaming here but you get the idea ;)

This perfect party food takes approximately 5 minutes to prepare. Easy peasy. And no worries, it’ll be our secret… The men don’t need to know that the other 30 minutes we spent in the kitchen was our little tactic to enjoy wine while avoiding the pre-game show ;)

Chocolate Potato Chips 3

Chocolate-Covered Potato Chips

Ingredients

  • 1 Bag Potato Chips (I used Ruffles)
  • 16 ounces Chocolate Almond Bark

Directions

Melt chocolate per the package instructions. Dip chips, one-by-one, into melted chocolate, allowing excess chocolate to drip off of chips. Place onto parchment-lined pan and refrigerate for 5-10 minutes, until hardened. Enjoy!

Chocolate Potato Chips 1

If you are feeling fancy, you could easily add sprinkles to these while the chocolate is still soft. This would be fun if one of your favorite teams are in the Super Bowl!

Do you watch the Super Bowl? What are your favorite game-day treats and snacks?

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