Sunday, July 31, 2011

Paco: A Great Excuse for a Party!

Some colorful pictures of paella, the veggie prep, and a few Paco shots.

I am in charge of all the chopping; here are the tomatoes, artichoke hearts, peppers, onions, and garlic.  Not pictured (because they were in the refrigerator): sausage, chicken and shrimp.

This was one HUGE batch of Paella; look at it in comparison to TJ's head!

C'mon over!  There is plenty leftover!

Hot cornbread on the side.

Lemon cupcakes for dessert; the delicious recipe was found on this blog.  

Paco has taken over my favorite corner of the couch.  I can't say I put up much of a battle!

Catching some zzz's before his guests arrive.

A puppy stare down.  That is Paco's new friend Gabby on the right.  He would not leave her alone!

Yesterday was all about party prep; shopping, baking, cleaning (thank you Ben) and paella prep.

Today is all about laundry, relaxing and Paco!  We (Paco and I) were up at 5:55 this morning for playtime.  After breakfast, we (Ben, Paco and I) went for a walk.  At this point, Paco scampers leash-less.  It will be interesting to see how he does when he is tethered.  For now, he stays pretty close and does a wonderful job keeping up with the bi-ped crowd!  

Now, he is sacked out, back in the corner.

Just getting his rest before the afternoon walk!

Hope you have a great Sunday!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Meet Paco Chavez Javier Castroneves!


I am a long hair Chihuahua!

This was taken the first time I met my mom.

I crawled right into her lap.

I am always smiling!

Love at first sight!

I even have already been permitted on the couch!

Paco will never replace Bailey, but he has added a new joy into our hearts!

Check out the story on Nutrimirror!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Du is Doable!

I feel like Wonder Woman right now!

I did it!

Today, just to see if it was even possible for me to do, Ben and I did a practice duathlon.  The one we are looking to sign up for is a 5k, 18 miles bike, then another 5k.

Today we did 2.3 miles, 17 miles bike, then 2.3 miles again!

Fuel is going to be a HUGE consideration to achieve this.  Fuel, and training, of course.

There are some kinks that still need to be worked out, but I am so proud of myself!  I know I can do this!

A proud, happy, sweaty girl!

How does one refuel after that?

A Smoothie in a Bowl!

By no means is this my creation; KATH makes them all the time.  

I blended:

A frozen banana
1 scoop GNC vanilla protein powder
1/2 tea vanilla extract
1/4 cup old fashioned oatmeal
The dregs of a frozen berry blend
Bottom of the spinach barrel (I need to go shopping)
8 ounces skim milk

After it was blended, I poured it into a bowl.  On top I added Ancient Grains Granola, sunflower butter and then melted coconut butter.  If you like Magic Shell on your ice cream, coconut butter does the same thing when you melt it.  (You can actually make your own magic shell at home by combining anything with melted coconut butter.  It solidifies on contact.)

I had the best picture planned; the granola and the sunflower butter sprinkled strategically on top.  Once I added the coconut butter, the weight made a giant whirlpool in the middle of my smoothie!  I watched it all get sucked into the vortex and my pretty picture was not to happen!

You can see a hint of granola here.

There is some SERIOUSLY tasty goodness in those granola clumps!

This is not a breakfast I would have every day.  It was almost 800 calories!  I had torched some serious calories during my duathlon, so today it works!

Time to clean the house (actually I think Ben may already be hard at work doing that), hit the showers and head to the grocery store.

We are having a pizza party here tonight!

Have a great Saturday!


Monday, July 4, 2011

Where Your Eyes Go, So Goes the Bike

When I got my bike two years ago, one of the first things Ben taught me was about cadence.

Essentially, cadence is maintaining the same number of revolutions per minute.  Sometimes, when you are going up a hill, for example, you need to upshift to a higher gear to maintain your cadence.  Conversely, going down the other side of aforementioned hill, you downshift.

I used to marvel as I watched Ben ride.  He didn't have to think; he knew instinctively when to upshift and to downshift.

I took a motorcycle class a few years ago.  They taught us that when you are negotiating a turn, you need to look where you want to go.  If you spend time looking down at the ground, guess where your motorcycle will end up?

Same is true on a bicycle.  I used to have to remind myself of this all the time.

Today on our ride, I found no thoughts in my head of upshifting or downshifting, or knowing where to look.  It was if I was riding by instinct.

I have arrived.

33 miles today, bringing this weekend's total mileage walking and riding to 90 miles.


That is a lot of time for me to think!

I mention the above riding tips, because as I rode today, I did think about how this relates to a healthy journey.

There are times in your life when you are cruising along; you have hit your stride. Along comes a hill.  Maybe that hill is a barbecue, or perhaps it is a stressful event at work that you would normally eat your way through. (Been there, done that.)    There are times when you need to dig a little deeper, do a little more planning; you need to know when to upshift.

You need to keep your eyes on the road, and the health that lies ahead of you.  If you take your eyes off that healthy prize, you end up, just as on the bike, on the pavement. Sometimes you stay there long enough because you are too hurt to get up.  Don't bet yourself up about it, get up, and get back on the trail.

Learning to maintain your cadence on a healthy journey comes with time.  You learn to fuel yourself throughout the day so that you never get famished.  You learn to have snacks at the ready to stave off the call of the vending machine or the cafe at work.  Believe me, those rice krispie treats and Special K bars know my name; I have just learned to tell them to shut up!

You will get there over time; make small changes today that will make big changes in the end.

After our ride today, I made this amazing lunch.  Please do try it!

I got this idea from here.  Her picture is far lovelier than mine!  I imagine mine was just as delicious, however.

Watermelon was a perfect dessert!

The creaminess of the avocado and the scrambled egg with the saltiness of the salmon - BRILLIANT!

I hope you will try this, and to encourage you to do so, here are the stats:

nutrition facts

The toast was made from Great Harvest High 5 Fiber; that an the avocado accounted for 33% of my fiber needs today!

And, hello, look at  that iron!

Off to the kitchen to prepare the rest of the items for the barbecue I am attending today.

Happy 4th!


Sunday, July 3, 2011

How to Use Up a Lot of Calories!

Thought I forgot about you, didn't you?

Nope, just had some errands to run after my walk this afternoon.  I also started my cupcakes that I am bringing to a barbecue tomorrow.  Didn't sit down to dinner til much later than usual.

If you ask me how many calories are in this dinner, I don't know if I will be able to answer that.  Sure, I logged it, but I may be WAY off on the pork rib recipe!  I am normally good at getting the recipe together, but this time the selection of which country pork rib to pick threw me off and as to how much.  I know uncooked it was 2.75 pounds of ribs, but that included the bones and the fat.  Anyways, these ribs could be anywhere from 300 calories to 500 calories.  Regardless, they were delicious!

Earlier this year, I knew I wanted to make country pork ribs for Superbowl Sunday.  I scoured the internet and landed on this recipe.  They are so easy!  You toss everything in the crockpot and you are done!  Whether for a cold January night or a steamy July day, they are terrific.  Note on the recipe - use a LOT more liquid and seasonings than called for.  I think I triple it.  You will still think you don't have enough but the, um, pork fat tends to do a little basting of its own!

I forced TJ to eat outside just so I could take the picture with outdoor lighting!

I wish I could tell you that the ribs stole the show, or that my sauteed greens from my CSA box this week were the hit, but that would be a lie.  The show-stealer?  The darned boxed cornbread from Costco!

There are real corn kernels in there!

I have a corn bread recipe I really enjoy, but have to tell you  - this is amazing.  Moist, flavorful, and this time I made it with buttermilk instead of plain milk.  Heaven.  210 calories of processed food, but still good.  Not something I eat every day or even once a month. I will stop defending myself if you will quit judging me.  It is good stuff!

The greens - sauteed in a little olive oil with some red pepper flakes and a squeeze of lemon at the end.

Beer by Surly - a local brewing company.  

The way to wrap up a busy, active day!

Kitchen is a mess,  laundry needs to be folded, but I still have half a beer left.

I think I will sit back and r e l a x.  


4 hours 37 minutes 6 seconds

I went on a 17 mile training walk today. 17.32 miles to be exact; you know how I am able getting full credit.

It is part of the training for the Susan G. Komen 3 Day for the Cure. I don't follow the documented training schedule for a walker.  With 7 weeks until the event, I am feeling pretty good and quite strong.

Geared up and NOT ready to go.

My legs felt fine after the bike ride yesterday.  I lamented  complained whined to Ben that it was not the distance I was concerned with; it is just so boring!

I headed out determined to make the best of it.

Packed and on my way!

What's in the pack you ask?

A large bottle of water, my garage door opener, sunscreen, chapstick, a peeled orange, a banana, 2 cheese sticks, a granola bar, some spare change and a whole lot of belief in myself.

That's right.  Sometimes you have to pack a belief in yourself  in your bag and take it with you.  At the very least, keep it in your heart.

To keep myself entertained, I watched my Garmin, and watched the miles pass.  Kind of like watching paint dry, you know?  I challenged myself to not let my pace decrease as I went up inclines, and marveled at, how after I refueled, I was able to pick up the pace.

I watched as cyclists sped past me, and families all set out.  I chatted with a little girl as she told me she and her grandpa were racing me. (They won the race.)

After 12.4 miles were done, I headed into Pit Stop 3.  I have various gas station/convenience stores along the way that I stop, grab some water, pee, and text Ben to keep him posted of my progress.

In this particular store, the clerk asked me "Getting in a good workout today?"

"I am training for The 3 Day" I explained.  "I am doing 17 miles today and I have 5.8 to go."

"Good luck with that!" she said, rolling her eyes. "I could never do that."

"Sure you could!" I replied.  I paid for my water, and left.

I took my belief out of my bag, looked at it  for a bit and I held it tight.  The next 5.8 miles flew by.

I thought about this girl, and the truth is, she couldn't do what I was doing at this moment in time.  She didn't believe in herself enough.  She will never be able to accomplish this, or any task she sees as a lofty goal, until she is convinced she can do it.

I thought about things in my own past that had held me back.  The doubts, the negative self talk that has seemed to disappear over the last few years.  

Over 7 years ago, I believed I could be healthy.  I had gastric bypass surgery as my first step/last attempt to make it happen.  I had to believe that it was going to work.  More importantly, I had to believe that I was going to make it work.

5 years ago I finally believed I deserved happiness.  I had to make some extremely painful decisions and choices to make it happen.  Today, I am happier than I ever dreamt possible.

5 years ago I heard a radio ad for the 3 Day Walk and thought "I can do that."  I made it happen.

The very moment you say I cannot do that is like a nail in a coffin.  You are burying a belief in yourself that would otherwise allow you to make it happen.

As I continued to walk, I thought about the power of daydreaming.  Someone very close and wise to me told me yesterday to daydream.  This person has never given me bad advice yet, so I took some time to daydream today.  After all, what is a daydream but perhaps the first step in believing that something truly CAN happen?

Here is what I thought about the rest of my walk.

I believe Karyn, Lynn and I will have a radio show.  We even have a name ready to go.  We just need to get the pieces of the puzzle together to make this happen.  These ladies have an energy that is contagious; I have been so fortunate to be able to meet them.  If you have met them virtually before, you know what I am talking about.  Now take that energy and multiply it.  In person, their health, confidence, energy and a belief in themselves makes them glow.  I believe the 3 of us can make others laugh, can share some thoughts about balance, and can have a ball doing it.  (There ladies - it is in print.  Let's get that skype call going!)

I believe that food is fuel.  I believe it is up to me, or an army of mes, to get this message out there.  You need to fuel your body with the best quality fuel available.  I believe that fresh, minimally processed is best.  That being said, I also believe in your right to choose to eat what you want.  I credit my granola bars today for kicking my butt into a higher gear around miles 10-13!  I will use the Nutrimirror column, this blog, the radio show and whatever media necessary to get this message out there.  Food is not your enemy.  Not believing in YOU is an enemy of your success.

I believe I can make a better, tastier granola bar than the processed one I had today.  Experimentation and details of success/failure coming soon!  

I believe in you.  I think more than anything sometimes others just need to hear it over and over, before they believe it themselves.  It took me a long time to believe in myself; others took the time and effort to believe in me, and now it is my turn to Pay it Forward.

It amazes me how after a long workout, such as yesterday's ride or the walk today, I have thoughts that NEED to come out.  It is obvious that I do a lot of thinking when I have no one to talk to for long periods of time!

By the way, dinner is cooking as we speak.  It was so nice to smell the aroma when I walked into the kitchen after my walk.  Will be back later to share details of what I planned to eat knowing I would have the calories for it!

Hope you are enjoying a wonderful Sunday!


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Blue Skies Nothing But Blue Skies

The sky as it looked as we headed out on our adventure.

What an absolutely spectacular day we are having in MN today! I am not going to say we deserve this weather; after all, the flowers are blooming and the grass is lush green from all of the rain we have had.  

But today we shall enjoy nothing but blue skies.

I mean this not just as it pertains to the weather.  I mean my attitude.  Today I did something I never have done before.  I will get to that.

If I were to take you back 10 years ago, a day like this would not have meant that I could take advantage of it for some outdoor activity; instead, I likely was headed indoors to some mall or just sitting on the couch.

As we climbed into our bike saddles today, I took a deep breath.  I am so thankful that I now live a healthy life.

I already knew we would be riding the trail to the end.  This was a foregone conclusion in my mind.  As stated earlier, the weather and time have not been optimal for a long ride.  Today we had both.

The end of the trail is a 33 mile round trip ride.  Ben and I have done this several times.  The Gateway Trail is spectacular for riding, as all of the other riders on the trail today will tell you.  Yes, some get cranky when you pass them, but I did let you know I was coming!  It was very busy on the trail today, and it is so great to see families out there taking advantage of the trail and the weather.

When we reached trails end, I told Ben that today I wanted to go further.  I wanted 40 miles.

Go back to 10 years ago; was this the same woman?  Clearly, the answer to me at least is no. 

I wanted 40 miles because it is something I had never done before.  To some reading this, perhaps you are thinking that is nothing. Others, you are thinking I get tired driving 40 miles. 

Ben and I talked about how to complete 40 miles, and then headed back.  We decided that when we reached the spot I normally refer to as my happy place we would keep riding the trail and then return to the happy place to head home.

My happy place; this sign means it is an easy 2.5 miles until we are home.
Please note: this is the happy place on the bike.  Not so much when walking!

Thank goodness for my Garmin.  I told Ben I wanted to go 40 miles, but no further.  Let's not be crazy now!

As we passed my happy place and kept going west on the Gateway (where we would normally turn to head home) we were in relatively unchartered territory.  I have walked this part of the trail a few times, but Ben and I had been on there only once before.  That time was known as the Great Inch Worm Disaster of 2009.  (They were hanging everywhere and at one point were all over me. I jumped off the bike and danced as he swatted them off.  Ew.)

As it is no longer inch worm season, we were in good shape.  Little did I realize we were headed down a very slight decline.  I realized it when we were on the return home; it is a very slight, painful incline!

As we hit my happy place and headed the 2.5 miles home, I thought about how good I felt.  I searched my brain for the right word.  Alive, energetic, happy...none of them quite cut it.  I settled on vibrant.  

Vibrant: pulsating with life, vigor, or activity.  Today it was all that and more!

As we rounded the last turn, I looked down at my Garmin and saw the 40.57 miles.  I was overwhelmed with emotion.  Ben no doubt thought I was injured or something, and all I could say was I did it.

40.57 miles.  Done and Dusted!

An overwhelming happiness!  Flower courtesy of Ben around mile 10.

Over on Nutrimirror, we call these moments a NSV, or non-scale victory.  I have no scale victories at all.  I don't measure myself as a success or failure because of what the scale says.  The victory for me today was truly that I did not give a shit what the scale said; at this moment I am the healthiest,  most vibrant person I have ever been in 45 years.  This moment was never going to be defined by the number on the scale.  I won't recall this ride today and think, oh,  this is how much I weighed when I did it.  That is a first.  This experiment, the journey of this year is working.

So, what do you do after you ride 40+ miles.  You EAT!

I did not eat with reckless abandon, but did eat what I had been thinking of for the final 15 miles or so of the ride.

This is a cornmeal pancake with sauteed spinach and an egg.  Don't forget the bacon.  That I DID earn.

Don't be hatin' on my bacon.  I just burned almost 2000 calories!

Here is my wish for you; I wish that anyone reading this at this moment know the feeling of vibrancy.  I wish that you know how it feels to not care if you are up a pound or down a pound.  I wish that you know what it feels like to look at food as fuel, yet still be able to enjoy every bite you eat without guilt.  I wish you health, I wish you happiness, and my mission is to make sure this wish becomes reality.

Now that this is typed, and these words are out of my head, I can relax.  I shall head up to my shower on my wobbly legs and with burning crotch (40 miles ain't easy on female parts and pieces) and an energy I have never before felt.

Have a fabulous Saturday!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Oh This Was Good!

Now THIS is how to make potato salad.  Designed to be eaten warm, and perfect for a summer barbecue.  Not a bit of mayonnaise in sight!

No blog to link you to; I actually received this recipe in an email from Sabai Body Temple, where I have had two massages recently.  Hey, any Temple that would send me a recipe like this deserves a third visit!

This is their recipe for Rocket Potatoes.  Make it this July 4th!

I didn't have the grainy mustard so I used Grey Poupon.  White wine vinegar made a great stand in for the sherry wine vinegar.  Red skinned potatoes were perfect!

Simply Awesome!

Recipe Box
Warm Potato Salad with Arugula - serves 12
Known as "Rocket" in my end of the world.  Rocket Potato Salad sounds pretty cool, doesn't it?
3lb white potatoes - scrubbed
1/4 c plus 3 Tb extra-virgin olive oil
salt and fresh pepper
2 Tb grainy mustard
1 1/2 Tb sherry vinegar
1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
5 oz baby arugula
Preheat the oven to 425 F.  Cut the potatoes into 1/2 inch wedges.  Scatter onto two large rimmed baking sheets.  Drizzle with 3Tb olive oil and toss until coated.  Season with s/p and roast for about 25min. until golden and crisp.  In a small bowl, whisk the remaining olive oil with mustard and vinegar; season with s/p.  In a large serving bowl, toss the potatoes with the onions and arugula.  Top with dressing - toss again and serve. I've also done this with caramalised onions which is a yummy sweet contrast to the peppery Rocket.

nutrition facts