Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday Evening Thoughts...

The Closing Ceremonies of the Olympic Games are on tonight, so my attention is focused elsewhere. Since I'm distracted now, tomorrow I'll be a better blogger.

For now check out another blog that made a very inspiration point that I think we all can apply to both our athletic and personal goals. It's from Beth over at Shut Up and Run, she asks the question "What Produces Greatness Anyway?"

I hope this leaves you inspired to continue or begin to reach for your dreams and goals, even when the going gets tough.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Busy Weekend....

This weekend will be busy with lots to do...

First up a meeting this morning, then we're meeting up with the in-laws for some Buffalo adventures.

We're hoping to check out Buffalo's Powder Keg Festival. It is located in downtown Buffalo, and is paired with LaBatt Blue's Pond Hockey Tournament located one the frozen lake down by the marina in Buffalo. Lots of action in Buffalo!

They have set up a maze made entirely of ice.

You can also go tubing down the Skyway off ramp.

And we still have to pick a restaurant for dinner, so many options here in Buffalo so it is hard to choose sometimes.

Have a great weekend everyone! Recap to come Sunday after my 7 mile run...yeah I'm scared, but I'm just going to do it.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Meal Planning...

Ever since Matt & I began our transition to a healthy lifestyle we have been meal planning. Each week I will lay out each meal for the week, which includes not only the core meals but also daily snacks.

For the last 7 weeks we have been doing things slightly different. Matt has his muscle building meal plan, which includes a higher number of calories and more protein. And I have a seperate plan that follow along with my food buddy, Sabrina.

Each week I pick at least 5 different main meals, 2 types of snacks, and a main breakfast. The main meals are then used to cover either a lunch or a dinner. And to make life even easier one of us will handle two meals and snack, while the other make the other three meals. On Sunday we meet up and swap food, and we're instantly prepared for the week. How great does that sound?

Here's a sample of what next week looks like:

Breakfast: Ezekiel Cereal w/ dried fruit & almond milk
Snack 1: Breakfast Cake
Lunch: Leftovers from prior week
Snack 2: Apple w/ Peanut Butter
Dinner: Pork Tenderloin w/ Broccoli

Breakfast: Ezekiel Cereal w/ dried fruit & almond milk
Snack 1: Breakfast Cake
Lunch: Chicken Tex-Mex
Snack 2: Stonyfield Yogurt
Dinner: Chicken Sausage w/ Sweet Potato

Breakfast: Ezekiel Cereal w/ dried fruit & almond milk
Snack 1: Breakfast Cake
Lunch: Chili Mac & Cheese
Snack 2: Stonyfield Yogurt
Dinner: Pork Stir-Fry w/ Brown Rice

Breakfast: Ezekiel Cereal w/ dried fruit & almond milk
Snack 1: Breakfast Cake
Lunch: Pork Tenderloin w/ Broccoli
Snack 2: Stonyfield Yogurt
Dinner: Chicken Tex-Mex

Breakfast: Ezekiel Cereal w/ dried fruit & almond milk
Snack 1: Breakfast Cake
Lunch: Chicken Sausage w/ Sweet Potato
Snack 2: Stonyfield Yogurt
Dinner: Chili Mac & Cheese

Breakfast: Ezekiel Cereal w/ dried fruit & almond milk
Snack 1: Breakfast Cake
Lunch: Pork Stir-Fry for Sabrina- Jen can't eat meat
Snack 2: Stonyfield Yogurt
Dinner: Tilapia w/ Veggies

Breakfast: Ezekiel Cereal w/ dried fruit & almond milk
Snack 1: Breakfast Cake
Lunch: Chili Mac & Cheese
Snack 2: Stonyfield Yogurt
Dinner: Free Choice

That's the plan, don't worry pictures and recipes to come during the week after the food has been made.

Now I challenge you to plan your week of meals.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New Workout Plan...

So I thought I'd take some time to share my new workout plan with you all. Since Matt and I started our healthy lifestyle journey about a year and a half ago, we've cycled through many different workouts. Here's what we did, or at least what I remember doing:

Personal Trainers
We both had one over a period of three months when we first started at the gym, which is part of how the gym became permanent part of our weekly activities.

Men's Health Belly Off- Body Weight
This was a program offered free through Men's Health online that provided 4 days of planned exercises over a week, along with a suggested meal plan. The good part about this plan is you use the weight you are trying to lose to your own benefit. We definitely saw progress with their 8 week plan. The great thing about Belly Off is that it gets your heart rate up throughout the exercises, so you're getting your cardio while completing your strength training.

Men's Health Belly Off-Fully Loaded
This 8 week program required us to begin incorporating weights into our exercises. We were sweating it out during this phase of workouts, and we were able to take it to the next level. Again it's all laid out for you, you just complete it as instructed.

Velocity Training
This was an 8-week program we did after our wedding to get our weight loss kick started again with some muscles building. It was quite the program too, we definitely saw results. And it helped us to make body measurements more of a regular thing too. The tape measure is a much better indicator of progress than the scale.

5x5 Program
This program was centered around getting stronger over a 12 week period. The program was set up with two rotating routines that are made up of 5 exercises to be completed in five sets of five repetitions. Each time you repeat a routine you add weight steadily over time, if you are losing form you hold at the weight until you have mastered the lifts. The workouts were completed Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Men's Health Belly Off- Dumbbell Challenge
I just started this plan on Monday, and I can already feel it. Again Men's Health has set up an 8 week program that lays out your weekly workout for you, all you have to do is complete them. I don't follow the meal plans, but they are provided if you want to make it easy on yourself. I picked this plan because I think it will go well with the half-marathon training. Also, picked it because hotel gyms are not always that best- so as long as they have a few dumbbells then I should be good to go!

So if you haven't noticed we like to switch things up after each phase, which has worked for us. Since your muscles get use to completing movements after a period of time, it is important to introduce new things and to challenge your muscles. If you wonder why I like to challenge my muscles it is so they will get stronger. Strong muscles help burn fat and calories.

There are also other plan choices, so if you're just starting out don't be scared. Best part is that it is all free. What 'plan' are you following in the gym?

(Note: If you are just starting exercise, please know that I am not an expert. Check with your doctor first.)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Long time, no Jen...

Well I'm back, and I don't plan to go away for a few days. Trying to get things around here either tied up or started so it's been a little crazy. Here's a little summary...

I've been moving it on the treadmill. Finally hit six miles! Woo Hoo!!! I can't wait for the weather to get better! For those of you who are preparing for the Buffalo Half-Marathon with me the weekly mileage looks like this:

Monday: 3 Miles
Wednesday: 4 Miles
Friday: 3 Miles
Sunday: 7 Miles

We've been putting our machine to good use with some fruits this past weekend, actually the grapes are still working on becoming raisins. We filled all nine trays with: strawberry roll-ups, mango slices, apples, blueberries, strawberry slices, red grapes and green grapes.

Everything but the raisins are done, don't they look yummy!

Road Trip
Some of you may know we are in search of a "new" car for me as my lease is coming to an end. Basically we want a used vehicle that is in like new condition, is that so much to ask? The answer is no, but if we want it then we're going to have to do some leg work, which means taking a road trip. So Saturday we headed to Ohio, just a short drive down the 90, to look at a couple cars.

The first car was a dud. When the glove box falls off when you open it, then just imagine the other hidden issues. So we didn't even bother driving it. Then we had some time to kill, so we checked with our trusty iPhone to find a local Whole Foods location. Lucky us there was one located just a short distance from the next car we wanted to look at.

If you've never been to Whole Foods, I'd highly recommend visiting one either near you or in a place you visit. We got some lunch at their fresh foods counter, does it not look yummy?

Tomato Soup with a side of fresh baked bread.

Matt's Corned Beef Panini

Jen's Grilled Veggie Panini

Then we went through the store checking out all the aisles of products, I don't know what it is but you just feel healthy when you are in the store. It must be that they try to incorporate local products into each store to give you an opportunity to support the local companies and farmers. We ended up only purchasing a loaf of amazing fresh made bread that we were served while eating lunch.

They give you a 5 cent discount when you have your own shopping bag, which is typical with some store. At Whole Foods they also give you the choice to donate that 5 cents to a local charity! We donated our 5 cents because every little bit counts, and we saved a plastic bag.

On the way out we noticed a recycling option they offer to customers for those little items not typically taken by recycling companies. For example you can deposit your yogurt containers and they will be re-purposed into plastic used for toothbrushes, cutting boards, etc. Another chance to make a difference with a small act.
The products to the left of the bin are made from the #5 plastic containers.

Lucky Find
So if you're still reading you might be wondering if we found a "like new" used vehicle. We'll we were beginning to wonder if it even existed because we had looked at quite a few cars. But since we knew exactly what vehicle we wanted it was a little easier to narrow down the field of vehicles we were looking at.

And we were able to find a vehicle that you could just tell the owner actually cared for. Do you know how hard it is to find a vehicle with maintenance records?

Here's a sneak peak with details to come later.

Can you guess what it is????

Friday, February 19, 2010

Time is Flying...

Alright you might think I've been missing in action the last couple days, but I'm not ignoring blogging. I was sick Wednesday with some 24-hour thing, then I've spent the last two days just catching up with life. And I'm still at it....

It's getting late and I have some stuff to get done because Matt and I will be out most of tomorrow, so I'll just leave you some idea of what is to come...

-My Milestone Moment
-How to plan a week of simple meals
-Review of Food, Inc.

In no particular order...

Have a great night!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I had some time on Monday to play with the dehydrator. I used what we had in the house to create two flavors of fruit leather for snacking. We also wanted to dry some cranberries and cherries, but with Valentine's day all the red fruit was overpriced, maybe next week.

So check-out the first attempt at some fruit leather/fruit roll-ups:

Place fruit in the food processor.

Produce a nice spreadable mush, for lack of a better term.

Pineapple-banana spread on the paraflexx sheet...

Peanut butter banana with coconut and walnut...

Dehydration time, just put them in and wait...

The finished product:

Yes they taste as good as they look! It's nice, simple snack with lots of taste, but no added sugars. We hope to experiment with some more fruits next weekend, we'll have to see what we can find at the store.

We're taking requests too! If you have a good dehydrator recipe or suggestion let us know!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Half-Marathon Weekly

This weeks runs:

Monday- 3 miles (hopefully you already finished)
Tuesday- rest/cross-train
Wednesday- 4 miles
Thursday- rest/ cross-train
Friday- 3 miles
Saturday- rest
Sunday- 6 miles (we can do it!)

Weekly quote:

"If you can't accept losing, you can't win."
-Vince Lombardi

I think this quote is important. Some days your run or workout won't be the best- you might feel slow or you just don't feel like running. In cases like these don't just give up all together, instead don't worry about the time it takes or adjust your workout accordingly to combine walking and running.

Here's a great post on Failure from Caitlin over at Healthy Tipping Point. I think she explains it well, and it can be applied to many other things we go through each day.

Have a great week of running!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day Treats...

We don't celebrate Valentine Day the commercial way, so no overpriced flowers or heart shaped boxes of chocolates in this house. Instead we had a typical Sunday, with two new recipes- one for breakfast and one for dinner.


Healthy whole wheat pancakes with peanut butter swirl, topped with walnuts and coconut. Don't they look so yummy. Matt loved them. And they didn't even need to have syrup but I used a little agave.

I gotta the recipe from Oh She Glows, she always has great recipes on her site.


Yes, that is deep dish pizza!

It's from the Eat Clean Magazine this month. Loaded with veggies and leftover turkey burger- awesome stuff.

And last but not least: A surprise dessert from my husband.

Is that not the most beautiful treat?!? I've been craving a brownie sundae and boy did he deliver! If you ask me this is the perfect way to celebrate Valentine's Day.

Hope everyone had a great day!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Running Skirts...

Remember when I mentioned the running skirts...

Well check out the skirt giveaway over on Endurance Isn't Only Physical.

But remember I want to win, so only enter if you intend to give me the skirt. (wink, wink)

Friday, February 12, 2010


Just here watching the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. Had a good gym work out. I pushed through four miles on the treadmill to make up for a mile I missed Wednesday.

Just have a short comments about the gym: Today I'm running along and all I can smell is grease. I look around to see who might have just gotten off out of their fast food job- I decided it was the gym who just got on treadmill next to me. Grease isn't a good smell to begin with, but in a gym it is worse. The flip side of that is when a girl comes in smelling like she just rolled in a flower- I just think to myself that a simple swipe of deodorant would have been enough. I guess I'm just sensitive...anyone else bothered by smells in the gym?

BTW, I know you can't leave a comment because it doesn't work. I'm trying to figure it out. Hopefully soon!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thursday's Experiment

Today I tried a new experiment. This time I used chickpeas to create chocolate hummus. I know you're probably thinking that sounds weird, but I swear I saw it in a magazine. There is a company who makes it, packages it, and sells it. So I thought I should try to create it myself- I've gotta a least try it before I judge it.

So with my last can of chickpeas I created what turned out to be a nice chocolate treat to go with my apples. Doesn't it look yummy?

If you're looking to recreate this masterpiece, here's how I created it.

1 can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tbsp of olive oil
1/2 cup carob powder (or cocoa powder)
1/2 cup sucanat (or sugar)
1 tsp vanilla
2-4 tbsp water

Place all ingredients in a food processor, except water. Pulse the processor adding water as needed to create a 'smooth' chocolate mixture. I recommend scrapping the sides at least once. Note: it will not be smooth like peanut butter, but it shouldn't be chunky either.

Serve with apples, banana, graham cracker, or anything you want really. Give it a try you just might like it!

Have a tasty Thursday!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


So today at work they had a health fair. An opportunity for employees to get information on living healthier, preventing diseases, and improving current health issues, right? Not necessarily. I guess my fellow employees need a little more enticement to care about health, so it seems the organizers immediately thought food. I just wish they had thought I little harder...

I saw people coming back from the health fair with plates loaded with sweets and other treats. My first thought was- "Really?!?" I'm not talking about one cookie, think multiple cookies, piece of cake covered in sugary frosting, brownies- some even made a 'lunch' plate with a slice of a sub and some chips. Again- "Really?!?!"

A few of the people that sit near me asked if I was going to go to the health fair, my response basically that I didn't think that the health fair would have anything of interest for me and I certainly didn't need to be tempted by a table full of desserts.

I guess the organizers of this event wanted to ensure that nobody actually got healthy, which would give them job security. Unhealthy people need more medical attention than people who take care of their bodies. If the organizers had thought a little harder they probably could have provided food and treats that had health benefits, and maybe it would have shown people that "diet" food isn't just salads.

And that just leaves me frustrated...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Special Delivery

The pictures say it all...more to come in the future. Maybe this weekend!

Nutritional Yeast

Here's a picture of a new cooking ingredient I came across in the bulk section of our local co-op. A little research helped me find out more about nutritional yeast, which is not the typical yeast you think of because it is inactive- thus it won't cause the rising action that regular yeast will. Nutritional yeast has a very distinctive and savory taste, often described as cheesy.

So when I read it would tasty cheesy, I thought about mac and cheese. I love mac and cheese, so I thought I should see what a healthier version might taste light. So this weekend I put it in the meal plan, and it came out good. Is it exactly like homemade mac and cheese? No, but it is still good and tasty in its own way. The recipe I used had some spices (basil, oregano, paprika) that I normally would not put in regular mac and cheese. I even used pasta made of quinoa and kamut to make it even healthier (packed with protein). Here's what it looked like:

More Information on Nutritional Yeast

-Contains high levels of B-complex vitamins, which helps humans manage stress levels and aid in cell metabolism.
-B Vitamins help support a good metabolic rate, protect against pancreatic cancer and keep skin glowing.
-Popular with vegans and vegetarians because B12 is difficult to obtain outside of animal products.
-Contains folic acid and essential fatty acids.
-It is a complete protein.

Possible Uses:
~Sprinkled over popcorn
~Sprinkled on baked potato with Greek yogurt
~Season chicken or fish
~Add to bread dough for cheese flavor (not a substitute for regular yeast)
~Sprinkled on salad
~As 'cheese' on a pizza
~Mac and Cheese (see above)
~Anything you can think up really!

Let me know if you try it out.

And don't be afraid of the comment button! I'm beginning to think nobody's reading....Leave a comment.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Dinner and Weekly Half-Marathon Update

Tonight's meal was vegetarian, filling, and tasty.

Here's the rundown:

Whole-wheat wrap with roasted red pepper hummus, sauteed portobello, and spinach. A serving of tabouli with black beans, and Matt's homemade crackers with hummus for dipping. It was quick, easy, and made for a nice picture.

What did you have for dinner?

Week 5 of Half Marathon Weekly

Monday: 3 miles
Tuesday: rest/cross-train
Wednesday: 4 miles
Thursday: rest/cross-train
Friday: 3 miles
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: 5 miles

"It isn't hard to be good from time to time in sports. What's tough is being good every day."
-Willie Mays

Since we're in week 5 I think we all need a little encouragement. I found Willie's quote today and thought it was really appropriate to how we're progressing. I know I've gotten caught up in trying to make sure I'm consistent everyday that I run. In my head I feel that I need to keep a specific speed the whole time. This makes it easy to get down or disappointed when I need to take longer and slow down.

This last Sunday during the 5 mile run, I kept repeating to myself- 'Keep it up girl, you can do it.' Sometimes I think we all need a little bit of encouragement from ourselves.

Today however I got some encouragement from Sabrina, and it is a good thing because I needed it. Earlier today I was thinking I'd reduce or eliminate my run, but then Sabrina sent me an email saying I was doing so good with my running. So that made me feel like slacking was no longer an option- so I ran three miles! Thanks for the support Sabrina! I made it and I feel great!

Have you encouraged anyone today?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Black Beans...

Black beans are a great source of protein, fiber, and iron. These beans provide many benefits and can be used in many ways. You can add black beans to your tacos, create a yummy soup, make burgers, and even bake some brownies. We buy them in bulk, I think right now we have at least six cans in the cupboard, plus I used four cans earlier today. There is no shortage of protein in this house!

Earlier today I needed a quick lunch/snack so I took some leftover peppers and onions, half a can of black beans, and some spinach to create a tasty wrap. Add some salsa and it tastes just like a taco. I wasn't thinking about pictures at the time so you'll just have to use your imagination.

For dinner tonight (and lunch later this week), I created some black bean soup. It is filling and very tasty. I got the recipe off the Internet, but it is 90% black beans and 10% seasonings. It couldn't be easier!

For dessert tonight I had one of the 'Black Bean Fudge Cakes', aka brownies, we made earlier this week. I found the recipe in the latest edition of Clean Eating Magazine, you will enjoy it too!

Black Bean Fudge Cakes
1oz dark organic chocolate
1.5 cups soft-cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
2 eggs
1 egg white
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 heaped cup unsweetened cocoa (or carob) powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup raw organic honey (my favorite!!!)
1/4 to 1/2 cups unsalted walnuts, chopped

Step 1: Preheat over to 350 degrees. Mist 8 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Step 2: Melt dark chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat with 1 tbsp water mixed in.

Step 3: Combine melted chocolate, beans, eggs, egg white, oil, cocoa powder, baking powder, vanilla, applesauce and honey in a food processor; process until smooth. Stir in walnuts and pour mixture into the baking dish.

Step 4: Bake in preheated oven until the top is dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides, about 30 minutes.

Remember although these are made with black beans, they still have calories. They are a treat to enjoy occasionally- not all day everyday.

And check out this recipe and many more in the latest Clean Eating:

Friday, February 5, 2010


Here's a look at what we've been making over the last two days....

First creation was brownies, but these aren't your typical out of the box type. The recipe calls them Black Bean Fudge Cakes- yes black beans! The recipe was created to be gluten free and satisfy a chocolate craving. I can tell you that these brownies are very good, and you can't even taste the black beans. My friends and family will be seeing this dessert at gatherings, but I don't think they'll know about the black beans.

Next up was Sprouted Brown Bread. This is a raw recipe suggested by Grandma Langton. Matt soaked wheat berries until they sprouted a half inch, put the sprouted grain in the food processor until it looked like bread dough, then placed it in Pyrex dish in the slow cooker overnight (8 hours). Matt was pleased with the results- the bread had a hard crust, but the inside was soft with a slightly sweet taste (possibly attributed the natural sugars). Will we try this again? Yes, definitely.

Sprouted Wheat Berries...

A close-up...

Becoming bread...

The finished product...

Last was the traditional Chocolate Chip Cookie. If you know me, you've probably had one of these yummy treats. Let me tell you it is hard to sit here and not eat them, they smell so good! They are for the guys at the VW dealership- yes I make my car people cookies. It sounds crazy but they appreciate it and they definitely know who I am!

Stay tuned for some dehydrator experiments in the next week or so. It hasn't arrived yet, but should be here soon. We're super excited!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"Window" Shopping

I was in the mood for some retail therapy, so I hit the Internet. I didn't buy anything, but a girl can dream. I've been thinking lately about the things I'd like for new healthy habit. Check out what I've been eyeing...

Asic GT-2140
I'm pretty sure these are the shoes I'll transition to when my current shoes get older, but I've got lots of miles left for now.

I've read some great reviews on this belt, it will be handy when I'm out of town and have to run. Everyone needs a place to put their keys and cell phone. And it's affordable!

Compression Socks
I've been seeing these bright pink sock, but these aren't just regular socks they provide compression to help your legs recover after long runs. Reducing swelling and soreness. They get good reviews, and the color is fun!

Running Skirt
I'm not a girly girl, but I think these running skirts are cute and functional. I think it will become part of my running gear as the temperatures here in the "Arctic" rise.

Garmin Forerunner 305
I'm definitely considering picking this up. I've been looking at it for a while because when running outside it will help tell me my distance, speed, heart rate, and other information to help me learn from my run. Currently the treadmill is helping me keep pace, but once I hit the pavement I have to find my groove.

Road ID
This is probably THE most important purchase I will make. It can be purchased to attach to your shoes, a bracelet, or an anklet. It provides important information that identifies you and provides emergency contact information- a great idea! I'm going to go for the shoe ID.

So there you have it. Lots of fun running gear, that overtime I will likely acquire. First up will be the Road ID, then maybe the Garmin. I'll let you how I like them as I get them.

Have you done any "window" shopping lately? What's on your wish list?