Half Marathon is Done, So Let’s Bake!

Well, I did it.  Finished my 2nd half marathon! And it was still just as challenging as the last.  I really slacked my last 2-3 weeks of training and it showed.  BUT I had my wonderful sis-in-law to push me to the finish with her encouraging words! Thanks, Lindsey!   It was about 45-50 degrees, which in my mind is a perfect running temp.  We never over heated. . .even though my knees felt like fire at the end.   That’s all for race updates.  I’ll do a more detailed post soon.  Thank you for all your support and encouragement.  Now I’m going to need it  x100 for the full marathon. What was I thinking?!?!

Before the race began

Since Sunday, the weather has definitely cooled down.  The high today is 52 degrees and it’s been raining all day.  Which is really nice because TX doesn’t see many rainy days. In fact, I think since we’ve lived here, there hasn’t been any good thunderstorms.  Miss those!   Anyway, I made some soup for din and thought it would be a great day to bake some bread (especially since I wasn’t working!).   I bookmarked this recipe a while ago and just pulled it out of the oven! It’s going to be yummms!  I used all whole wheat flour and nixed the white flour.  I also didn’t have buttermilk, so I made my own by mixing skim milk with 1 tbsp vinegar.

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Pantry not gone.

So, I know I had this goal at the beginning of the week last week not to go grocery shopping…BUT I kind of made that goal on the whim without checking out what we had in our fridge.  It wasn’t much.  HA!  However, we have managed (and it’s definitely taken some adjustments) to rarely eat out.  It’s so easy to fall into the habit of just picking something up and not worrying about cooking dinner.  Preston and I knew from the beginning of marriage that eating out was something that would have to significantly decrease if we wanted to save money.   And guess what?  It has been hard at times, but we’ve done it.  We have saved some money and our health. Yay!

Something that has changed in the last month or so, is that we are eating a lot less meat. And guess what?  We don’t miss it that much.  We mainly did this for health reasons, but also because meat is expensive!  If we’re going to eat meat, it’s going to be organic. . .and that’s expensive to say the least!  It’s what I feel strongly about and I’ve done too much research to be blind to the effects of eating non organic, commercial meat.  Ick.  Don’t get me wrong though.  The cheap stuff entices us often and I sometimes have to give in for the sake of our bank account.   It’s hard to find a balance, but we are really trying.   I’m still researching, thinking and contemplating all the things being said and discovered in the food world. . .and oh my word there is so much to be said by so many different people.  All I know is that whole, natural and organic foods are suppose to heal, promote health and give us energy,  not make us sick, fat and tired.

I’m not on a soap box, I promise.  You can still invite us over for dinner or out to eat.  Organic or not.  Meat or not.  I’m no food snob…I just like good food!

So on the quest of less meat, I bought some tofu.  Didn’t really know what to expect.  I forgot where I found it, but I found a simple recipe for first time tofu-ers. And it wasn’t bad.  Tofu pretty much takes on whatever flavor you cook it with. Here is the brand that I tried. $2.99 for the whole package which has 5 servings! Pretty dang great!

Only later, after eating about half of this package, did I see the “Best by” date…Hmm.  I’m still alive, so that’s good.

I’m really obsessed with these little guys right now.  They’re great to take to work.  Plus, I don’t look like an idiot who eats PB out of the jar. . .or a fatty.  Okay, I do it at home.  It’s really embarrassing when Preston finds me licking PB off my fingers and elbows.

If you have any tofu tips to share, please do!

Or any tip for that matter.  Money…advice.  Whatev.

Fridge and Pantry Food Be Gone!

I know this is a weird goal to have, but I am going to try to use everything currently in my fridge and pantry to make dinner this week.  Not going to go grocery shopping.  Not going to eat out.  I don’t think this will be too difficult, but I guess we’ll find out.

I made these little healthy muffins today.  Yummmm.  Added in some Flaxseed and Chia Seeds.

For dinner, I threw this in the crock pot and I think it’s going to be tasty.

An exciting announcement is coming this week. Get ready! (And for all of you who think every time I say I have announcement it means I’m pregnant, you’re going to be disappointed every time for a long time. Sorry)

Two weeks from today I run the Dallas Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon with my sister-in-law, Lindsey!  We have some family coming in town, which will make for a fun weekend!

Just 7 weeks after the half, I begin training for my full marathon that is in October.  Woah.  I can’t believe I’m going to do it!  I am going to be enlisting the help from a place called “Run On” that meets three times a week to train together.  Sunday long runs, and Tues/Thurs run workouts.  It’ll be really good for me to have some accountability because this is going to probably be the hardest I’ve worked for something in my life physically (and probably mentally, too).  The workouts start at 5:15 am.  Help me Lord.

Tomorrow Preston and I are going to see The Civil Wars!  This will be Preston’s first time seeing them and I am excited for him to be blown away by freakin’ amazing talent.  Plus, they’re at a really awesome venue in Waco. Common grounds, woot woot!

Eating, Reading and Listening.

2011 has brought mixed feelings.  Not a lot has been going on, but a lot has at the same time.  I decided to focus on all the good things that have been happening despite the lack of work I have been doing.  So here’s what I have been Eating, Reading and Listening to this month. Because I know that you sit up at night wondering. . .

Growing up I really wasn’t a big fan of breakfast, but as the years have passed, I begun to love the morning ritual of making a large cup of coffee.  It all started there.  Then, meeting friends for breakfast.  Gailey’s was where this all started.  It makes me miss home and crave their sweet browns.

This month I have been eating eggs like all the chickens in the world are about to go extinct.  I literally have had this same breakfast sandwich 9 days in a row.  English muff, laughing cow swiss cheese, an egg, and a little bit of lettuce. Delish.

I don’t know why it has taken me so long to discover french press coffee, but now that I have, I don’t think I will ever go back.   My little french press makes just enough for a large cup of coffee and since Preston hasn’t acquire a taste (yet) it’s the perfect amount.

I’ve also started to explore the vegan and vegetarian world.  One of the blogs that I have really come to love is Healthy. Happy. Life. Sometimes I am a photography snob when it comes to food blogs and only look at blogs that are well designed (this formed growing up around really artistically talented people) but this one has great recipes.  Plus, she knows her stuff and I love that she explains all the health benefits in each individual recipe.

Sidebar: The photography on this website is not bad, but there’s a lot of advertisement that is distracting…nothing to do with that food.  It’s wonderful!

With all this unwelcome time off from work, I have decided to take that time and do what I always wanted to do when I was stuck reading text books for hours in college.  Read for pleasure.  A friend of  mine saw that I had Redeeming Love on my book self and suggested some other books by Francine Rivers.   And let me just say that I finished the 500 page book in a matter of days. Her Mother’s Hope and Her Daughter’s Dream is a two books series.  I am about to start the second one and I’m sure it won’t take me very long to finish it.

I also purchased a text book like read recently.  If you’re into food, you will most likely like this;  It’s called The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia.  I love it  because it goes in depth into the healing properties of whole foods, as well as their thermal properties…it also throws in stuff about traditional chinese medicine.  I’m a nerd when it comes to this stuff. So interesting.

Preston surprised me the other day with a copy of The Omnivore’s Dilemma.  Best husband award.  I’m really excited to read this little guy as I’m sure it will only spur me further into this journey of vegetarianism and ethical eating.

Tunage. Here it is.  If you have never heard of these people, please just go buy their albums.  If not on itunes, off Amazon ( I highly suggest this; most of the time it’s cheaper).

Local Natives -No words. Just go listen.

The Head and The Heart-Acoustic goodness and catchy choruses.

S. Carey-The guy plays with Bon Iver.  Need I say more?

Richard Walters– Preston discovered him via Pandora.  I could listen to Rich for days…and I have.

Sleeping At Last– They have been one of my favs for years, and will always amaze me with their poetic lyrics.  They just recently release Yearbook-December EP and Yearbook-January EP both of which are stunning.  Listen to Snow on the December EP.

ADELE– Another one that I have loved for awhile now.  I am highly anticipating her new album in February! She has one song on her myspace up already…go. now. And then get excited like me.

Toodles.

Daylight savings is a Life Saver

It’s true.   Although it has been hard letting go of that extra hour of daylight, I rejoiced on Sunday whenever I got that extra hour of sleep.  Plus, Preston and I decided that it was a great way  for us to kick off going to bed earlier. I know, I know…Old person alert!  In all seriousness though, getting enough sleep can help prevent so many health related issues and I am all for that!   It’s been great waking up and actually feeling awake.  As I am typing this, it is 9:58 pm and we are both in bed with the lights out.  Apparently I wasn’t quite ready because here I am.  Too much excitement from date night I suppose.

We had a date night tonight.  When I was at work yesterday I mentioned that Preston and I were having a date night and it was kind of funny the response I received from the other ladies.  They pretty much responded with a, “ahh, that’s cute.  You’re young and married and just wait till you’re our age” kind of response.  As I know much happens as you get older and one becomes much more comfortable with the other,  I sure hope that as Preston and I grow old together that we remember to rejoice in our marriage and do new things together.

Preston took me to this amazing little place in Mckinney that serves tapas.  I had always heard this word “tapas” thrown around but really had no idea what they were…until tonight.   Cafe Malaga serves everything tapa style.  All of your food comes in small portions, kind of like a sample of things.  Loved it. And everything we ate was absolutely delish.  From the hummus to the bacon wrapped dates, I can assure you that we will be returning. They also have a pretty good wine selection.

We ended the night by watching the first Harry Potter.  Preston has never been into Harry Potter, but me on the other hand…well, let’s just say Harry and I have a history.   I mean, we have practically grown up together!  I started reading the series when I was in 5th grade; And here I am now, a college graduate and still loving the books and movies.   Preston wasn’t into the movie and I know he won’t read the books.  I’m  going to keep plugging them though, because I think he will like them after a while.  Plus, they only get better after the first movie. Am I right?

Cheers to more great date nights.

The Best Pumpkin Bread You’ll Ever Taste

That’s right.  I went there.

A couple of weeks ago, I began having cravings for anything and everything pumpkin.  I love fall.  Coincidentally, living in Texas, fall’s arrival is a bit delayed and it is still in the lovely 80’s here.  It has it’s perks though.  For example, we can still sit out on the patio at a restaurant and enjoy a nice cold beverage.  Other than that…I am more than ready for a little chilly weather.

So, I made some pumpkin bread but not just any pumpkin bread. I found a recipe for Pumpkin-Honey Beer Quick Bread and I was officially sold on making it.   It is so moist and yummy.  I froze  half of it after baking as to not eat it all at once, because let’s be honest, I love it that much.  I just took one of the mini loaves out of my freezer, and even after a week of being in the freezer it still tastes so fresh!

When I was making this bread I realized that I didn’t have “honey beer”.  So, I just added the same amount of beer (I used a wheat beer) the recipe called for and then added about a tablespoon or so of honey.  Bam!  Here’s the lovely recipe. Enjoy.

 

Yield: 2 loaves, 14 servings per loaf (serving size: 1 slice)

Ingredients

  • 14.6  ounces  all-purpose flour (about 3 1/4 cups)
  • 2  teaspoons  salt
  • 2  teaspoons  baking soda
  • 1  teaspoon  baking powder
  • 1  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 1  teaspoon  pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2  cup  water
  • 1/3  cup  ground flaxseed
  • 2 1/2  cups  sugar
  • 2/3  cup  canola oil
  • 2/3  cup  honey beer (at room temperature)
  • 1/2  cup  egg substitute
  • 2  large eggs
  • 1  (15-ounce) can pumpkin
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, salt, and next 4 ingredients (through pumpkin pie spice) in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk.

3. Combine 1/2 cup water and flaxseed.

4. Place sugar and next 4 ingredients (through eggs) in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium-high speed until well blended. Add flaxseed mixture and pumpkin; beat at low speed just until blended. Add flour mixture; beat just until combined. Divide batter between 2 (9 x 5–inch) loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack.