Thursday, June 30, 2011

Fashion Tips from Georgia (Hint: Don't Wash Your Jeans)

A few days ago the lovely Vanessa (yes, she has an awesome name) from Swift as Shadows tagged me in a neat survey about fashion. Now, Vanessa is crazy fashion forward and always has the cutest stuff. Me? Not so much. If you already know how to buy clothes on sale from Old Navy and re-wear your jeans 4 times before you wash them (don't lie, you know you do it) then I have nothing more to show you...

...until today. Straight from the backroads of rural Georgia, I bring you hands-down the most awesome new fashion accessory imaginable.

Bet you didn't know kneepads could be so sexy, did you? The last few days I've been doing scraping/trimming/cleaning up of insulation in our house. SO GLAMOROUS. Today I decided to take a break to show you just how awesome my favorite knee pads are. 

1) They help you not rip up your knees when you're kneeling and working. Boring. You already knew that. 

2) They make you feel like a roller derby girl and you start pretending you're super hardcore. Awesome.

I would be such a tough derby girl.

3) They make you start posing with random things like brooms. Actually, that one is pretty standard for me. Average. 

Clearly, we should all start wearing kneepads out in public.

Guess what tonight is? Trivia night! Last week I told you about how I was scared to take photos with this new group of friends and explain "blah blah blah BLOG blah blah IM OBSESSED" but tonight I am challenging myself to take at least one photo! Prepare yourselves for a great picture of me in the bathroom, or something equally lame. 

Be honest: how many times can you wear jeans before washing?
Skinny jeans--once or twice. Otherwise, it might be a while..... When I'm on vacation I can wear the same pair of jeans maybe 5/6 times before I need to wash them. Hopefully I'm not alone here. Please. 

Are you fashion-savvy?
That's a big fat no. I like clothes and shopping, but I'm blissfully unaware of upscale brands and trends. I basically buy things in pretty colors, with stripes and/or polka dots. And running stuff. Lots of running stuff. 

Anyone ever Roller Derby? Or just have cute skates when you were little?
When I was a kid I have roller blades that were way cool. Except we didn't have any paved roads, so I would skate in circles on this piece of concrete sad. I wish I had blades now!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Gluten-Free Spaghetti and HEALTHY FRIES!

After a pretty horrific experience with rice pasta a few months ago, I thought maybe my pasta days were over since I'm been eating more gluten-free. I took a chance and bought a new corn/rice blend the other day:

I was so suspicious when I cooked it. The previous rice pasta I made just FELL apart as it was cooking. No bueno. This one was perfect!

Topped with some chicken breast cooked in tomato sauce and rosemary, and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top. Yum!

In other food news, I've been seriously overusing my oven lately. It's just so nice to have one after so long! EVERYTHING is being roasted, so I've made some pretty exciting healthy fries. A potato cut up and lightly sprayed with oil, salt and pepper makes yummy "fries", but it's probably one you already know about:

So here's one you probably haven't tried: okra fries!

I got this amazing bag of garden veggies from my friend this past weekend:

But I was a little stumped about what to do with the fries. I love roasted anything, so I was going to slice and roast them. But then I decided to cut them like fries, toss them in olive oil and salt, and roast them a bit longer. I even dipped them in ketchup, they were so crunchy and delicious!

Finally had a run today, it felt so great after 3 non-running days in a row! 6 miles at 9:10 average pace. 

What is your favorite roasted veggie?
Broccoli! I love it so much, I could eat a whole pan of the stuff.

Crunchy or soft fries?
Crunchy and crispy all the way. The soft ones are gross!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mixing It Up!

My fitness goals for this week were to re-discover strength training and cross-training, and let running take a backseat for a few days. So far, it's been great! I'm not feeling the heavy legs I had all last week, but I still feel like I'm keeping fit.

Monday- 45 minutes of yoga video, 30 minutes of abwork and push-ups
Tuesday - P90X Plyometrics

It was my first time in about a year doing this P90X video. How did I do?

I kid, I kid. It wasn't that bad.

The 60 minutes video didn't kill me, but it was definitely enough to get me sweaty! This is going to be my new rainy day workout, when I just don't want to head outside for a run. Love mixing it up!

Speaking of mixing it are the mix-ins for my post-workout greek yogurt:

Mixed with a sliced peach and flax seeds. And someone snuck a few chocolate chips in there. Weird. Absolutely no idea how that happened. 

If you haven't entered my giveaway for a free pack of BumbleBars, get to it peeps!

What do you add in when your workout routine becomes a rut?
I get in the habit of just focusing on running, so I like to start adding in yoga/core/strength training to mix up my routine and refresh my body. 

Favorite mix-ins for your greek (or regular) yogurt?
Normally I'm a strawberry and grape gal, but today the fresh peaches were calling to me!

Ever try P90X? Does the sound of Tony's voice get any less annoying?
Seriously, his talking bugs me big time. Next time = muted. 

**One of my favorite blogs, Knickers in a Twist is only 4 followers away from her first giveaway. Follow her and give her some blog love. Seriously, how can you not love a blog with the word knickers in the title?**

Monday, June 27, 2011

BumbleBar Review and Giveaway!

If you read my Bar Review a while ago, you'll know I think a good energy bar is a hard thing to find! One bar really stood out above the rest in terms of taste and nutrition: BumbleBar. 

BumbleBars are organic sesame bars, and are gluten-free and vegan. Yay! So far, so good. Additionally, all their ingredients are real and recognizable. But the real test--how do they taste?

The verdict? Delicious, even after a tough run! The lovely folks over at BumbleBar sent me 5 bars to test, and lucky for me they happened to all be flavors I had never tried before. I received:

-Chocolate Crisp

-Chocolate Cherry

-Awesome Apricot

-Original Peanut

-Amazing Almond

I'm such a fan! Hands down, my absolute favorite was the chocolate crisp. Unlike some of the other bars, this has crisp rice as an ingredient, and it really does taste like a (healthier) chocolate rice krispie treat. Amazing! The original flavor is very sweet--thanks to brown rice syrup-- with a vanilla/cinnamon taste. 

I think these could even replace my candy bar cravings, and that's no easy task with the sweet tooth I've got! The best one for the task: Chocolate Cherry. Not only does this one come filled with sesame and flax seeds, but also dried cherries, (dairy-free) chocolate, and coconut. The coconut was so unexpected, but I love coconut so hooray!

Chocolate Cherry--yes, I ate a bite before remembering to snap a pic!
At around 200 calories in each bar, they're a filling snack pre- or post-workout, or (I promise) even a sweet dessert. 

*Disclaimer: While I received these bars for free from BumbleBar, the opinions and reviews are my own. 

Want to receive your own Junior Bars Variety Pack? Enter the giveaway any of the following ways, and leave a comment for each one so your entry gets counted!

--Be a follower of Gourmet Runner
--Like BumbleBar on Facebook here and tell them Gourmet Runner sent you
--Visit the BumbleBar Website and tell me which flavor you'd like to try most here
--Let me know when you would have a BumbleBar: post-run, afternoon snack, etc. 
--Post this giveaway on your blog and let me know the link!

The giveaway will end on July 3rd at midnight, so enter now. Good luck!!

Weekly Workout Recap and a Virtual Miler!

Let's start with my least favorite post of the week (lately). While my mileage is ok, I feel like each week I'm slacking just a little bit more in the whole cross training/upper body thing. Gotta keep trying! Here's the week in recap:

Monday: Ran 5.5 Miles, walked 1.5 Miles
Tuesday: Ran 5.5 Miles
Wednesday: Walked 3 Miles, 30 minutes of yoga/core, push-ups
Thursday: Ran 5 Miles
Friday: Ran 5 Miles
Saturday: Ran 7 Miles
Sunday: Complete Rest Day

Mileage Total: 33 miles (28 running)--oddly enough, the exact same numbers as last week, unplanned!
Cross training: pitiful

Goals: Running this week is going to be my 2nd priority, for a change. My goal is to to do one thing each day non-running related. Even if it's 10 minutes of ab work, or 20 minutes of yoga. Really need to recommit to strengthening my body!

There's one event coming up that I'm pretty excited for. Kari over at Running Ricig is hosting a virtual one-miler in the month of July. She'll even send you an awesome bib if you sign up!

All you have to do is send her an email to sign up, and then race your little heart out for one mile. This is really exciting for me for 2 reasons:

1) I want to have my best timed mile to input into training calculators like this one and this one so I can find my ideal training paces, and predicted race times

2) I want to help Kari get the word out about her fundraising for "Kisses from Katie"

Now, Kari is being pretty awesome and this virtual race is completely free, even with a couple of prizes available. But I was thinking--how much do I spend on races annually? Why not donate a few bucks (or hey, even 1?) to this charity in lieu of a race fee? If nothing else, it will force you to treat it like a real race, and hopefully get your best timed mile yet!

Well, it's Monday morning and I'm getting ready to start work. Blech. If you have the Monday blues like I do, check back this afternoon for my next giveaway/review. It's one of my favorites! (And happens to be dairy-free, gluten-free, and tasty too!)

What are your fitness goals for the week?
Maybe cut my running back a few miles, and focus on re-making some habits like 3-times a week strength training and yoga. 

Are you signed up for Kari's virtual mile? Go!
Of course! So excited to have a real "race" mile to push myself and see just how fast I can go in that distance. 

Any guesses as to what my giveaway is for? If you guess correctly, you'll get an extra entry into the giveaway this afternoon!
Hints: it's been featured on this blog before, it's dairy-free, gluten-free, and comes in lots of flavors!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Vegan Dinner Party!

On Saturday hubby and I made a trip down to the big city--Atlanta. We had a dinner invite with friends, plus some things to pick up from Ikea while we were down there. 

We didn't get to buy the awesome office chairs (BOO!) but it was more fun to have a photo shoot here than in the bathroom sink section. 

My friend named Vanessa --name twin!--and I met when we were 14 at summer camp in Germany. Since then, we've visited each other in Hawaii, Georgia, and again in Germany. She was back in town for a few days and invited us to dinner with her family. To make it even better, it was a vegan dinner party!  Here is the table loaded with dishes before we sat down to eat:

On the table, we've got: a "non-meat-loaf", samosas, carrot and sweet potato soup, ratatouille, couscous, corn on the cob, cucumber rolls, fresh cucumbers from their garden, chinese sauteed eggplant, and of course---some wine!

It was a really fantastic meal, and great company. Nice to meet up with old friends, and of course make new ones. Thanks for having us!!

Hopefully we don't wait 7 years to see each other again!

Today we got to enjoy the meal all over again, with some leftovers. I got sent home with a ton of the non-meatloaf, which was my favorite dish of the night. In it: oatmeal, barley, flax seeds, carrots, and zucchini. With a side of spicy tomato sauce making it extra juicy and moist. I'm definitely asking for the recipe to try to recreate this one. 

We even got a big bag of goodies from the garden--so excited to use the fresh rosemary!

What's your favorite veggie/herb straight from the garden?
Fresh basil! I want to start growing some because I love to toss tons of fresh basil on pasta dishes, pizza, etc. 

Do you have any long-distance friends?
Since I've moved around a lot, my friends are really spread across the globe. So it's great when I'm in the same place as one of them and get a chance to catch up!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Dear Google Users (An Open Letter)

Dear Google Users,

I'm sorry. Obviously some scam is at work to trick you into finding my blog. When you typed "porn" into the search bar, I'm sure you did not expect to find a post about Peanut Butter. I can only hope that you quickly left my blog and found what you were looking for elsewhere. Those pictures of me in the ice bath are for educational purposes only, so don't even think about it.

And to the girl who wanted to know how to "increase my boob size in one week"? Honey, if I knew that I would gladly tell you, but I don't. You're certainly not finding the answers here, or I would be rocking something other than A cups. Read my post on embracing your body shape, because I'm pretty sure that short of surgery, you're stuck with what God gave you.

To the few people who found my blog by searching for "jelly beans and running", welcome! I think you might be the only ones who find what you're looking for on this blog.

Vanessa @ Gourmet Runner

It's tougher than it looks to get a good picture around here. The outtakes:

Lecturing pose.

Can't stop smiling and look angry.

What I look like if you wake me after a nap.

What are some of the funny ways people find your blog through Google stats?
Despite the previous letter, this search term was actually the strangest one ever:

I have no response. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Me vs. Hills

The short version--the hill won.
Every time I head out for a run or even a walk, I am forced to meet the world's meanest hill. Seriously, it hates me. Why else would it slow me down to 15 minutes miles even when I swear my legs are moving as fast as humanly possible? I attempted hill repeats a while ago and nearly cried.

Here's what happens at the end of what is supposed be a be a easy rest day stroll with hubs:


It's ok, still alive
If someone knows more about science than me (haha, if you can spell science you know more than me) please invent some sort of transport device to get people to the top of hills. 

Or...wait. Someone's already done that. 


Hubs and I went to a local trivia night last night, and had so much fun. We've been going with some new friends for a few weeks now, but I haven't taken a single picture. Why? I'm embarrassed! I don't understand...I can post ridiculous (and unflattering, I might add) pics on the internet, but I can't whip out my camera at quiz night? What?!

Here's my goal for next time: take a picture. It will probably be some stealth shot of the floor, but it's progress. What's the worst thing that could happen?

Hills: love them or hate them?
Once a week I'll put on my big girl panties and tackle some hills, but I hate dealing with them day in and day out. 

Is there anywhere you're embarrassed to take pictures, or explain about your blog?
In public everything is fair game--it might look silly, but since it's just strangers I don't mind. But when I'm around new people, I guess I worry about looking strange. Suck it up, Vanessa! Want to join my challenge? Promise to take a picture this coming week somewhere you normally don't: the gym, work, happy hour, whatever. We can be embarrassed together!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Peanut Butter Porn

Don't worry guys, I promise this is suitable for work. Alison, over at The Peacock Diaries, posted a couple of days ago about the Nutropolitan Museum of Art. My beloved Peanut Butter and Co. has a glorious gallery of pictures like this one here:

PB and fig jelly sandwich with whole fig slices and caramel corn. 

Oh, and this one too:

Dark Chocolate Dream PB w/black cherry preserves, whole blackberries, and chocolate chips

Honestly, I thought it was all pretty rude. How can they show us this stuff and not let me eat it? My PB&J sandwiches were looking pretty pathetic. I got my thinking cap on and got ready to make my own PB creation. Maybe not quite as drool-worthy in the photos, but every bit as delicious.

Peanut Butter Rice Pudding 

This makes 2 portions, so adjust if you need more. Ingredients:
-1 cup of cooked rice (I used some leftover basmati)
-1 whole egg
-3 tablespoons of White Chocolate Wonderful PB
-1 tsp. Vanilla
-1/4 cup brown sugar

Mix all ingredients together and pour into an oven-proof dish. Place that dish into a larger dish or pan with hot water--a water bath. I baked the pudding for 25 minutes at 450 degrees. 

It came out perfectly, with a slight brown sugar crust--like you find on top of a creme brulee. 

I portioned it out into two little blue dishes, and saved one for later. I *may* have eaten it for lunch and then chased it down with a quick salad to get my greens in. I really wish I could describe how amazing this was.

Do you like PB? You'll love this. 
Do you like dessert? You'll love this. 
Are you human? You'll love this.

Seriously. Divine!

Am I the only one who drools over pictures of food? Tell me I'm not alone!
That PB gallery was honestly amazing, and gave me tons of ideas for recipes I'll use in the future. I love seeing great food photos on blogs as well, but they always make me hungry!

What's your absolute favorite dessert?
Um...this! I would say cheesecake or creme brulee otherwise. I like sweet much more than I like chocolate desserts!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Cookie Confessions

Remember my disastrous cookie-making attempt a few days ago? I was hoping to redeem myself, and make a delicious homemade cookie that I could serve to hubby warm from the oven and earn a gazillion good wifey points. I've done it! Well...kind of.

They look good. 

Hubby likes them. 

My neighbor liked them so much I got a thank you note!

You guys are probably all really excited for the recipe, right? Um....can we pretend that I was a domestic goddess, and slaved over these for hours? And that they're sugar-free and packed with fiber and protein? Because the truth is just too sad. 

My secret?

Not even a cookie mix. PRE-MADE cookie dough. Directions:
1) spoon dough onto sheet
2) bake
3) soak up compliments

Please don't sign a petition making me change my blog name to "runner who occasionally heats things up." I promise there is occasionally some gourmet-ness going on around here. 

At least I can prove I am in fact running. Yesterday was speed day on the treadmill, and I tackled some 400's at a 7 minute mile pace. 7 repeats total (1:44 each), with recovery 400's in between. With warm-up, cool down, and recovery, I covered 5.5 miles in total. I was hoping to get in 8 repeats--but man these are tough!

Any food you give up on? As in--you can never make it better than the packaged/pre-made version?
I hate admitting defeat. And most foods really are better homemade! I've made great substitutions for pizza and quesadillas for hubby (his favorite fast foods) but these cookies can't be beat!

What is your favorite distance for speedwork?
400s, because they're short enough for me! Anything less takes me so long to get started, and mile repeats....ouch. Those are hard!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fruit Salsa and Fur Babies

Last time I had a post about fish, they were live and swimming around in a plastic bag (and then a pond). Today, the only ones I'm talking about are good and dead--and in my belly! I bought a 3 pound bag of tilapia fillets the other day, and I wasn't entirely sure how to go about cooking them. I decided to play it simple and bake them with some olive oil, a little vinaigrette, and some salt. Good, but maybe boring. The exciting way to spice it up?

Fruit salsa! Such a refreshing addition to fish. This particular one was made of diced mango, cucumbers, bell peppers, and strawberries. I tossed it with some vinaigrette (just a touch) but I think a squeeze of lemon or lime would be even better. 

I got two meals out of this one. 
1) Tilapia with wild rice, corn on the cob, and fruit salsa:

2) Baked tilapia tacos! All the same ingredients (minus the rice, + corn tortillas)

That fruit salsa made me feel so tropical, so I can pretend I'm relaxing on a beach somewhere tropical. Feel free to just eat it with a spoon too--it's that good!

Today may very well be my last visit to this gym, ever! My membership expires on Saturday, but we're living maybe 45 minutes away, so I only go if there's a reason to be in that area. Today, that reason is because we're buying faucets. Hooray!

One last picture for you guys because my fur babies are the cutest things in the whole world. Promise. Also, I may be turning into crazy cat lady. But they're just too stinking cute!

What's your favorite seafood? 
Everything! Honestly, I love seafood. Sashimi is my favorite though, still looking for a good place nearby. And if there's shrimp at a buffet, just back away slowly and you'll be fine. 

Are you a member of a gym? What percent of your workouts are in a gym (vs. outside, at home, etc.)
I am, but obviously not for much longer! I used to work out almost exclusively in a gym, but now it's less and less---maybe 20% right now?

Monday, June 20, 2011

What Season Is It?

I'm seriously confused.
Outside = a gazillion degrees (approximately)
Inside = freezing cold and I need to wear socks and hoodies all the time

Inside, I'm in denial. I'm still eating popsicles because it's summer, dang it.

All the cool kids open popsicle wrappers with their teeth.

30 calories & sugar free means you get to eat 6 at a time, right?

But it just seems a little bit silly to be eating popsicles when you're wearing these on your feet:

I have to wear socks inside because it's freezing. Therefore, on laundry day, I'm wearing the christmas socks with separated toes. Why yes, tomorrow (June 21st) IS the first day of summer. How appropriate!

I clearly need more socks. Donations to Gourmet Runner's Warm and Seasonally Appropriate Sock Fund can be made. Thank you. 

Today's workout was a run on the trails/around the lake. About 1.5 mile warm up/cool down walking, and 5.5 miles of running. 

Who decides the temperature in your house? Are you always warm or cold?
Hubs is pretty kind in all other areas, but seriously I am always cold! He runs about 10 degrees warmer than me. If he's comfortable in shorts and a tee, then I'm in pants, socks, sweater, and maybe a little blanket action!

What frozen treats are in your freezer right now?
Since I don't get to have a fro-yo dispenser at home (what's up with that?) I have the freezer stocked with tons of sugar-free popsicles. Hubs has his supply of ice-cream sandwiches too!

Nutrition Series

I just wanted to let you know about a new page on Gourmet Runner, called "Nutrition Series". This will be the quick way for you to find my posts that are about nutrition and health, as well as the posts where I share what I've learned about how much of various macronutrients we need (especially as it pertains to athletes). The regularly scheduled posts about bugs, caving, running, and candy will still be right here! So far, the articles you can find under that tab will include:

Could Sugar Really Be TOXIC?

Iron Women: Do You Get Enough?

How Much Protein Do We Need?

Much Ado About Fiber

How Much Water Do You Really Need?

Check them out if you haven't read them yet!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Spelunking and BLING, Baby!

Thank goodness for menfolk. Remember how I said earlier that my day would consist of chainsawing and clearing all the trees that fell over because of our storm? Not so much. Instead, the guys took care of everything and left me to my own devices! I managed to get some work done and then we spent the afternoon exploring. Hubs has become my quad-bike chauffeur, and let's just say he doesn't hate it:

We drove around our neighbor's property until we got to the lake--the one I've been running around all week. MUCH more fun to drive down in the quad than to run. Just saying. We hopped in and the water was so refreshing. I managed to get about 30 minutes of actual swimming in, followed by 45 minutes of floating and chatting. Can you guess which one was more relaxing?

After the lake, one more adventure: spelunking. Yes, spelunking. What?

Note: its really hard to "smile for the camera" when you're in a completely pitch black cave. We had to get down on our hands and knees and crawl for a bit---I didn't really know what I was getting into! I signed up for the "oh, a cave? Cool, let's peek inside tour"....NOT the get muddy crawling on the floor in the dark tour. 

Don't worry guys, I made it out alive:

Next time I'll remember to: not wear a wet bikini (it was FREEZING in the cave!) and also maybe not wear flip-flops. Can you tell I wasn't prepared at all?

A handful of blackberries off the bush and a short ride later, we were home. The power is still out, but we have the generator working in short bursts so the fridge stays cold and we can charge our laptops. (Priorities, obviously). Luckily, the best afternoon pick-me-up needs no refrigeration:

OH YES. Ring pop goodness. Apparently now they come in sugar-free which just means that they're basically super healthy and will make you lose weight just looking at it. I promise. Plus, you can feel like a princess with a half pound diamond ring. Totally worth 50 cents from Wal-Mart. 

Have you ever explored caves?
So scary! Whenever I go somewhere completely dark I get really scared. I've seen enough movies to know that when you go in a cave, bad things happen!

When you were little, did you wear a ring pop and pretend you were married/engaged?
You don't even have to answer that one. OBVIOUSLY the answer is yes. I'm only a little embarrassed that I still do this!

Pioneer Living (I Miss the Microwave)

Well, the last day has not gone quite as planned. Yesterday afternoon Hubs and I headed down to our house to get some work done, and it started sprinkling. I was feeling especially lazy and tried to convince him it was a sign we needed to stay home, watch repeats of our favorite series and nap.
That didn't work.
We got there, got started, and then the rain really hit. I have never seen torrential downpour quite like this, and the hail was intense too. We were really just standing around watching in awe (and checking the roof to make sure it doesn't leak!)

When we tried to leave, we realized tons of trees had fallen down in our driveway, but we managed to avoid most of them and get back to where we're staying. Only to realize there was no electricity. That was yesterday at 5 in the afternoon, and this morning at 9 still no dice. That's where the next few photos come in:

Our neighbors are just about the friendliest, kindest people around. They got the generator up and running and sorted us out with some little lamps and candles. We can use some lights thankfully, but no big things or it will go out again. Obviously I take this to mean I can still charge the laptop. We can't live like animals, people! Dinner was a mixture of greek yogurt, spoonfuls of PB, cookies, and candy. I'll be honest--I was pretty ok with this. 

We took our neighbor's ATVs out on a tour of his property to survey the damage--looks ok, minus a few trees that will need to be cleared. Looks like a day of chainsawing ahead of us!

Any guesses why nine months after power outages a bunch of babies are born?
Hubs and I were laughing about this last night when he remembered an article about it. We're so dependent on technology, it get boring without our computers, lights, and TV's after a while!

Sunday plans?
Um...I guess chainsawing? Hopefully we can get everything cleared, and maybe squeeze something fun in there if we get done by the afternoon!