marathon training, Recipes, Sunday Supper

Weekend wrap up

I’ll start this post with the fact that I was supposed to be on weekend duty at the hospital.  Once every 5 weeks I am deemed in charge of the entire laboratory and it’s mind blowing and scary all at one time.  BUT..my amazing peer and friend offered to take my duty knowing I should be home resting with my daughter, and not enduring unneeded stress.  I couldn’t thank her enough, so left her a card and a Starbucks gift card on her desk for the weekend.  Good friends truly rock.

We had a very quiet weekend filled with normal housework, laundry, and snuggles.  I’ve learned a hard lesson that I’ve wasted far too much time stressing over cleaning and mundane chores.  So it’s been glorious snuggling up with my girls to watch a show, or take an extra 20 minutes after my J’s shower to brush and dry her hair. No…I’m never too busy for that.

This morning I had 12 miles on deck and had planned to run the miles with my friend Debra.  She texted me early at 7 am notifying me the stomach bug from hell was still in the house.  Crap.  I knew Janel was meeting me for a couple miles, but could I do 12 on my own?  You’re darn right I can, and had the help from Melissa, Seth and Janel for the first couple miles,  and my sister texting me at mile 10 that I better run faster so I could be DONE faster, LOL! It worked, I finished my last mile in 8:45 with an over all average pace of 10:06.

yeah. Did that.
yeah. Did that.
I have pretty cool friends.
I have pretty cool friends.

I came home, made some bacon and eggs, and took a very long shower as I was frozen to the core.  Despite the 30 degree temps, the wind-chill made it feel more like 17 degrees and I. WAS. COLD.  After my shower I crawled in to J’s bed, and we watched Netflix for 30 minutes.  It’s SOOOO good to see her on the mend, and able to do more ‘stuff’ each day.

Sunday Supper rolled around and I decided to make fish tacos with homemade guacamole and red cabbage slaw with a side of twice baked beans and roasted veggies.

3-22ss

Guacamole

3 avocados

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 plum tomato, chopped

1/4 red onion, diced

juice of half a lime

Seasonings: kosher salt, pepper, cilantro, cayenne pepper to taste

Combine in a food processor-pulse until mixed well, but still chunky

Red Cabbage Slaw

3 cups of red cabbage, thinly sliced

1/4 red onion

juice of 1/2 lime

splash of vegetable oil/rice wine vinegar

Seasonings: salt, pepper, and cilantro

Twice baked beans

In a sauce pan add one can of red beans, one can of black beans that have been drained and rinsed

Add 1 clove of garlic, 1/4 cup of diced poblano peppers, and salt, pepper, and smoked paprika to taste.  Heat until tender, and transfer to your food processor.  Puree on high, then transfer to a baking dish.  Top with shredded cheese and toppings of choice.  Bake at 375 for 15 minutes or until cheese has melted.

The rest is pretty cut and dry.  I roasted my carrots and red peppers for 25 minutes at 375 degrees and grilled my fish for the tacos.  All in all? Delish, and healthy.

While on my run today I was reminded of so many things.  Why I love to run, how thankful I am for the support my family has, and that we need to focus on those that lift us up, not those who tear us down. And for a moment, I felt myself nearly flying.

3-22trails

How was your week?  Log any miles?  Make any good food?

Keep Movin’ forward, y’all!

❤ Michelle

moving forward

Motivation in many ways…

I didn’t sleep very well last night.  The never ending thoughts of, “Can I do it all” haunted me as I rushed around packing lunches, drying snow pants, and signing the infamous “daily folder” to avoid the nasty note from the teacher.  Oh, and did I wash S’s ballet uniform for Monday night?  Crap…her tights need to air dry.  Lemme throw that last minute load of clothes in at 10 p.m.  LOL

But we had a mostly successful Monday morning with only minor drama as I dropped off S at the neighbor’s house before taking J to school.  This  calls for a win in my book.  I also woke up to a loss of 1.4 lbs.  Double WIN for a Monday!

2-9WIN

But as I drove to work this morning sipping my yummy protein shake, (insert sarcasm here-pass me the bacon and eggs please and thanks) I thought about several things.  What motivates me, what inspires me, and what keeps ME movin’ forward.

The last few years have been pretty huge for me.  Between Marathons, my MasterChef tryout, and moving on to a new job this past year-I finally feel like I am finding my groove.  But that underlying voice saying “GO chase your dreams” is still very real.

repeat, sorry, but a darn proud moment! (MasterChef try out)
repeat, sorry, but a darn proud moment! (MasterChef try out)

See, I’ve always been an oddball.  A stand out…a person who never really fit in with any crowd.  I’ve always felt…well…different.  And that’s ok…truly.  I like who I am…who I’ve become.  But I’ve always felt I had a bigger purpose in life…

alone

So while driving home tonight, I decided to think, pray, and reflect on what motivates me to keep movin’ forward.  Here is the list I came up with, in no particular order:

1. To be a better Mom.  I’ve failed sucktastically at this more times than I can count.  But may my girls never have to feel an ounce of the sadness I did growing up. (To no fault of anyone-just life circumstances).

2. To be a better Wife.  See…there’s this dude, that I call B around here, whom I love dearly.  He’s made me a better ME.  I can only hope to do the same for him.

and lastly…

3. To be a better ME.  I have done more, pushed myself further, and tried harder to live life to the fullest in the last 3 years than I did in the last 42 years combined.  And isn’t this the example I want to give to my girls?

You’re darn right it is.

Truth!  Pic from Pinterest
Truth! Pic from Pinterest

I drove home tonight nearly in silence as I thought about ALL of this.  And I realized, no matter what, my voice matters and I need…to KEEP MOVIN’ FORWARD.

And in perfect time for this post, my J came downstairs to say goodnight, in tears.  Someone told her today she looked ugly, and immediately my Mama bear came out in full force.  I took a deep breath, reminded her of the importance of kindness and hugged her tightly.  Being a parent is so tough, yet rewarding…And THIS fuels my fire.  daily.

What motivates you?  Tell me!

❤ Michelle

 

 

food, goals

Fell off the wagon…

Sometimes life gets in the way of our best intentions and this week that very thing happened in my household.  Life stressors and crappy weather won over the goals I had set for myself.

Fitness wise, I managed several walks, and 2 strength training sessions, but a bruised toe nail kept me from running, and all I can do is chalk it up to a bad week.  I’m human.  As I watched everyone posting “snow runs” this week I had to slap the envy away…I hate the cold, snow and winter.  I want to embrace it and the beauty of a fresh snowfall…but instead, I embraced an extra glass or two of wine, LOL.

Decluttering wise, I did manage to really clean my house well yesterday, as well as food shop for healthy eats…I cleaned out my fridge which is always a great feeling.

Tonight, I decided Sunday Supper would be a healthful, Spanish inspired meal filled with summer dishes of gazpacho and pan seared Ahi tuna.  Winter denial at it’s best?  You betcha…

I started the gazpacho at around noon today to allow it ample time to chill in the fridge.

And while cooking, I watched my kids enjoy the first snow fall of the year.  I can’t express the happiness I get from watching them play…together.

I totally took this picture, from inside the warmth of my kitchen...does that make me a bad Mom? lol
I totally took this picture, from inside the warmth of my kitchen…does that make me a bad Mom? lol

Gazpacho:

1st part-

Place all of these ingredients in a large bowl:

6 vine ripe tomatoes, boiled for 1 minute and peeled/seeded, then chopped finely

1 large cucumber, diced

1 red pepper, diced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 green onions, just the white parts, diced

Salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper to taste

This just screams summer, and I love it during these bitter cold days!
This just screams summer, and I love it during these bitter cold days!

2nd part:

Get out your blender next:

Add in 2 cups of cherry tomatoes

Splash of Worcestershire sauce

Splash of balsamic vinegar

The juice and zest of half of a lime

Glug of extra virgin olive oil

Blend until liquefied

Strain

Strain well, getting rid of all the seeds
Strain well, getting rid of all the seeds

Add the mixture back into your blender, and add in the diced veggies, pulse a few times to your desired consistency

To make a yummy garnish, take cucumber rolls and let them sit in rice wine vinegar for about 30 minutes.  Drain and rinse, and you’ve got a beautiful, elegant garnish for your gazpacho.

No, this isn't a cocktail, LOL
No, this isn’t a cocktail, LOL

Ahi tuna:

Next, while this was chilling in the fridge, I prepared the Ahi tuna.  I made a simple marinade of lime juice, rice wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic, saffron, salt, pepper, and cilantro.  Whisk in some extra virgin olive oil, and pour over your tuna steaks.  Marinate in the fridge for one hour, allowing yourself time to have the fish sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.  Pan sear for about 2 minutes in a screaming hot pan that has EVOO in it, and flip only once.  Set aside to plate.

I made sautéed spinach and mushrooms for a side dish, along with roasted baby Yukon potatoes.  It was a win all around, and healthy to boot.

Doesn't get much better than this!
Doesn’t get much better than this!

The key is to have the center still pink, as this cut of tuna is just divine. Cooking it well done would take away from the beauty of this fish.

Perfection on a plate, if I do say so myself.
Perfection on a plate, if I do say so myself.

So my goals this week, are to make more time for working out, and eating lower fat/higher protein meals.

What is on your agenda this week?  Any tips on staying motivated in the winter months when it’s too cold to get outside for a run?

Have a great week, Movers!

❤ Michelle

 

running

I’ve lost it…

In the past several weeks, going on just over a month actually, I have lost my motivation to run.  Between the MasterChef gig, and ITB issues, running has been on the back burner in my life since my last half marathon in late September. 

So looking at the calendar with my last half marathon for 2014 steadily approaching NEXT weekend, I find myself terrified.

For the first time I am toying with a DNS (did not start) because I just have no motivation/desire to run this race.  I can’t believe I am saying those words but they couldn’t be more true.  My longest long run was last weekend with 9 miles ran at a super slow pace.

Pretty sure I will look a lot like this next Sunday...
Pretty sure I will look a lot like this next Sunday…

But.

I paid for this race.  I committed to run this race.  So…I’ll run this race.  Lord willing at least…

The forecast is terrible, with cold temps and rain/ice on deck.

Someone…help me find my motivation, QUICK.  :-/

Help!  I lost it!
Help! I lost it!

How do you tackle lack of motivation in regards to running/racing?

❤ Michelle

dedication, food, goals

Part 2; the Obligatory like and social dismay

I don’t have a lot of free time. Who does? I try to spend this time with my family, running, cooking, writing, taking pictures etc. But in the last few months I have found myself forgetting a lot of the above listed items and getting sucked in to social media, liking, posting, commenting, and crunching the numbers I had once hoped to get behind my fan page. And in doing so, I found myself reeling back in to a time where I thought too much about all the STUFFS that didn’t matter. And I found myself feeling empty, and sad for lack of better terms. For those that administer a Facebook fan page you have seen the demise of most pages who refuse to pay to boost their posts. I just can’t bring myself to pay to try and motivate, inspire, and help others get through tough times/depression at this point in my life. Should something so selfless and inspiring come at a cost? Apparently so in FB land…With a page of nearly 9500 followers, I am told less than a dozen see my posts, and even fewer comment, like, or engage. Why? Because I don’t pay…in the land of SOCIAL media, I have found my page to be less than just that…

But I keep it going…I have worked so hard on this silly little page (to some) that reaps me only the benefit of knowing I may touch ONE life every day. And I remember back to a time when I couldn’t wrap my brain around getting through a single day without crying or feeling sad, so if just ONE of my posts makes someone smile, inspires someone to go out for a run, or motivates someone to keep movin’ forward I am satisfied.
you-can-do-it-

I have also learned that I need to focus my energy where it counts. I have spent too much time worrying about how to get my FB page moving forward, that I myself nearly stopped dead in my tracks.
70949-simon-cowell-please-stop-gif-UNRo

So I have embraced half marathon training with my husband. We just finished week 7 of training and I am so proud to say he finished his 7 miler (a PR in distance for him) yesterday.
I have dusted off my camera and starting taking pictures again.
I have been regularly texting/calling my friends and family as best time allows.
I have revisited my goal of writing a cook book and have been working hard and transcribing my creations for compilation someday in the future.
(I did make amazing stuffed portabella mushrooms and a potato/leek mash, but that post will have to follow later).

recipe to follow!
recipe to follow!

Why am I writing this down? Accountability, reassurance, venting, or who knows?

I just know it’s time for more change…time to unplug more, spend time doing things I love more, and always, MOVE FORWARD…more.

food, goals, moving forward, running, strength

Two things, Tuesday…Gluten Free goodness and more!

Something…is different. But we will get to that a bit later.

Topic number one is….DINNER!
As I spoke about in my last post, I am working making quick yet healthy meals during the week since my work hours no longer allow 2 hours of prep time and cooking in the kitchen.
Although I am not gluten intolerant (at least by what I know medically) I do know that avoiding it has helped my IBS tremendously. I try to buy all gluten free pasta, quinoa, rice, sauces and dressings when I can find-them which is more times than not as the selection has truly grown 10 fold in the last few years. I picked up some gluten free soy sauce last weekend, and figured a nice stir fry was in order for dinner tonight.
What you will need:

A Wok for the stir fry
A sauté pan for the chicken
1 pot to boil your water for the noodles

Ingredients:
1 package of skinless chicken thighs, cubed into 1 inch pieces (place in a bowl)
ADD to the chicken:
2 teaspoons of Chinese all spice seasoning, pinch of kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons of gluten free soy sauce
4 cloves of garlic, minced
Mix well, and set aside to marinate

Veggies:
What is in your fridge? The selections are limitless!
I used:
2 cups of shitake mushrooms, sliced
6 radishes, julienned
1 baby Bok Choy, sliced at an angle
1/2 of a red onion, chopped
2 cups of fresh broccoli
2 scallions, chopped, and set aside for garnish

Pasta:
One package of Gluten free rice Pad Thai noodles

Next, fill 4-5 cups of water in your pot to boil for your rice Pad Thai pasta…
Then, quickly sauté your chicken in a skillet until cooked through, and set aside, should take about 10 minutes.

Your water should be boiling now, but before your drop in your pasta, heat some light oil (avocado or Grape seed) in your Wok on high heat.
Drop your pasta in salted boiling water (cook for about 8 minutes or until al dente), and then stir fry all of your veggies in your Wok. Season the veggies with salt and pepper, and a dash of the gluten free soy sauce. The last 2 minutes add your chicken to heat through
Drain your pasta, and serve the delicious stir fry mixture over the top! Garnish with the reserved scallions, and serve! Quick, and easy and on the table in about 30 minutes.
1-IMG_6645

Topic number 2…are you ready?
I have been retired from the Air Force for almost 3 years now. In those 3 years I have felt lost, tired, and have lacked more motivation then I care to admit. Frankly, it was tough to hang up my uniform, and put on a different ‘hat.’
It’s early to judge…but so far, I am really liking my new hat. I am letting go of things I can’t control, and embracing the future.
It is a pretty cool feeling…

Sweet dreams, Movers…

❤ Michelle

dedication, goals

A new year….

I don’t like to look back, too much…yet sometimes I find it soothing to look back on where I once was, and find where I now am is pretty darn incredible.

Today is the first day of 2014, and sadly I woke up to a completely stuffed up nose, and foggy head. I could say it was due to too many drinks last night, but I partied “smart” drinking water in between each of my four cocktails.
But sometimes, working too hard and sleeping too little tends to catch up with the body and eventually that strong body, breaks down. I missed my group run this morning, even after waking up on time as I knew I needed some extra rest.
But the missed run won’t take away from my goals this year.
I don’t ‘do’ resolutions, more so I focus on goals.
So for this year…my goals are as follows.

I will WRITE, daily, if not weekly as time permits.

I will run, 3 times per week, regardless of snow, rain, or inclement weather.

I will start my half marathon training, THIS WEEKEND, and not look back.

I will run for FUN, with friends, and as often as possible.

I will focus on what I HAVE, not what I want…

I will learn more about photography and cooking, which are my two ‘other’ passions besides running.

I will sleep more. Drink more water. Smile more. And eat better.

I will lose 10 lbs, come hell or high water.

I will work on my e-book. Will it be a cook book, motivational book, or inspirational story? I’m not sure yet. But I won’t put it off another year.

Bring on 2014…I have big plans, to build my page, my passions, and my happiness. All of which will benefit my family.

And I’ll stick to this Ab challenge, DAILY!
#keepmovinforward