Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Rethink your drink

I just stumbled across this image on Facebook and almost spit out my coffee when I saw it:


I am SO thankful I prefer water to any other beverage out there. While it's okay to splurge every now and then, if you are drinking more than 1 of the above every day, you can see how that might affect your weight loss goals.

Scary!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

2013 Fitness Trends


I totally want to host a Fitness Party!! And I'm digging #3, which makes exercising much more accessible to those who are operating on a tighter budget or busy schedule. 

What is the trend you are most excited about?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Low Carb Baked "Spaghetti"

 

Spaghetti squash is all the new rave in the health food world. While I disagree with my mother that it's completely indiscernible from spaghetti itself, it is a great option for those monitoring their carb intake or living gluten free. 

This dish is reminiscent of one of my all-time favorite comfort foods: baked ziti! The mixture is absolutely delicious, combining crushed tomatoes with lean turkey and low fat cheese to make a creamy sauce that binds the spaghetti squash together without all the guilt of traditional baked pasta dishes. 

This dish makes a lot...as in enough for Brent and I to eat for an entire week. So one of my favorite things about the recipe is it can absolutely be stored in your freezer in individual serving sizes! 

Forgive the iPhone snapshot, I forgot to take a quality picture before I started chowing it down!

Low Carb Baked "Spaghetti"

Ingredients
2 medium spaghetti squash
2 tsp oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb ground turkey
1 can cream of mushroom soup
14 oz crushed tomatoes (half of large 28 oz can)
1 cup low fat shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup low fat ricotta cheese
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp parsley (dry or fresh)
Cooking spray
Optional topping:
1/2 cup Panko crumbs -and/or-
1/2 cup low far shredded mozzarella cheese

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Wash squash, cut in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds. Place on a baking sheet, flat-side down, and pierce the round tops with a fork, about 5-6 times randomly per half. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool, about 30 minutes. Separate the strands using a fork, and place the spaghetti strands in a large bowl. Using a paper towel, try to squeeze some excess liquid our of the strands. Set aside.
  • Preheat a large skillet on medium heat and add oil. Add garlic and onions, then fry for about 4-5 minutes. Add the turkey and saute until brown, about 5 minutes, breaking it into small pieces. Drain excess liquid.
  • To the browned turkey, add mushroom soup, crushed tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, garlic powder, salt, and parsley. Mix well to combine, and bring to a boil. Add the mixture to the spaghetti squash and mix well. 
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9 x 13" baking dish with cooking spray. Transfer the spaghetti mixture into the dish and even the top using a spatula. Sprinkle on the topping, and bake for 30 minutes uncovered. Turn on the broiler, and broil the dish for 2 minutes in order to turn the topping golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oven and let it cool 10-20 minutes before serving. 

*Mine made 12 servings. Each serving has about 210 calories and 14.6 g of net carbohydrates.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Housewarming gift ideas

We have a housewarming party to go to Saturday night, so naturally, we waited until the last minute to get a gift. During my Google search for "housewarming gift ideas" this lovely gem popped up:

Because lawn gnomes aren't creepy enough as it is....

Honestly, if someone gave that to me for a housewarming gift, we probably wouldn't be friends anymore.

These, on the other hand, I would gladly except.

And seriously, who would want a zombie lawn gnome when you could have a life size t-rex sculpture in your backyard?

Or this lovely waterproof notepad for when you come up with genius ideas or song lyrics in the shower.

And I think I might need to buy this for the summer time. I have an ice cream thief living under my roof. Brent, hunny, I'm looking at you.

Lastly...just, no.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Barre or no barre?

Like every other person in this country living near a city, I subscribe to every internet deal company possible. In the past, I've gotten some great discounts on dinners, exercise classes, home decor, jewelry, you name it.

Yesterday's Living Social deal was for Barre and Mat Fitness Classes, redeemable at a location a few miles away from my home. I've been very curious about these barre classes ever since their gaining popularity over the past year or so. I'm also SUPER bored with the dreadmill lately, and it takes so much mental motivation to get myself on it during the weekends. I feel like I need something that will get me up and eager to exercise. Plus, I love me a challenge, and from what I hear, barre is exactly that. I've got half marathon training starting back up in a few weeks, so barre fitness might be a great way to gain some more strength in my body before embarking on my long runs.

Has anyone out there tried barre fitness classes? If so, what did you think?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Recipe: Apple Bacon BBQ Sauce

I hope you all had a fabulous Valentine's Day. I sure did! I got a beautiful vase filled with a dozen roses delivered to me at work that really brightened my hectic day yesterday. My gift to Brent was a homemade Broquet. I stuffed a nice big basket (the basket is super cute and totally coming back to me, by the way) with some of his favorite goods, including coffee, a snazzy travel mug, bacon blue cheese mustard (right?!), chocolates, white truffle infused oil, and some homemade BBQ sauce:


I also cooked him up a nice food spread to come home to, fully equipped with candlelight, champagne, and jazz tunes. On the menu:
Naught Deviled Eggs
Mixed Greens with a Dijon Citrus Vinaigrette
Balsamic Chicken with Mozzarella and Pesto
And the best part of all...Homemade Lava Cakes

BUT the purpose of this post is not about last night's dinner. It's about that Mason jar in the lower right hand corner of the picture above. I am beyond excited to share this recipe with you. It just screams I LOVE YOU. Why is that?

Apple. Bacon. Barbecue. Sauce.

BAM.

I think I'll let the ingredients do the talking. It's thick, appley, bacony, tangy, sweet, smokey, spicy. It has all my favorite aspects of a BBQ sauce rolled into one. But the fact that it has bacon in it just pushes it right up to the front of the line for me.

P.S. don't fear the long ingredient list. You likely have most of these already in your spice cabinet and fridge.


Apple Bacon BBQ Sauce
[adapted

Ingredients:
2-3 slices bacon, reserving leftover bacon fat
4 Tbsp yellow onion, minced
2/3 C ketchup
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
4 Tbsp maple syrup
4 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp brown sugar (lightly packed)
2 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
2 Tbsp apple cider (optional)
5 drops liquid smoke (optional)

Preparation:

  • In a large frying pan over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp. Crumble into small minced-sized pieces and set aside.
  • To the bacon fat, add onion. Cook until softened and fragrant, about 5 minutes.

Mmmm don't you wish you had smell-o-vision??

  • Add ketchup, Worcestershire, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, and apple cider vinegar to the pan. Reduce heat to low, and cook until well combined, about 5 minutes. The sauce will thicken as the water from the ingredients evaporates.


  • While the sauce is cooking: in a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, salt, cumin, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and chili powder. Mix well to combine.
  • Add the spice mixture to the sauce. The sauce will start to turn a beautiful brown color as you add the spices. I recommend adding half of the spice mix, then tasting the sauce. If you don't like your BBQ sauce spicy, then keep adding and tasting until you get your preferred level of heat. Personally, I added the whole thing. We like it hot!
  • Once the spice mix is well incorporated, add the bacon crumbles and stir to combine. An optional but highly recommended addition is to also add the apple cider and liquid smoke at this step. The cider will enhance the apple flavor just a tad, and the liquid smoke will provide that perfect smokey flavor. However if you do not have these ingredients, the sauce is still divine.
  • Allow the sauce to cool for a few minutes before transferring it to a storage container. It fits perfectly in a pint-sized mason jar!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Creepy smiling

This guy?


He's pretty darn cute. 

Happy V-Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!!

I have to admit, even as someone completely head-over-heels in love, this is totally a Hallmark holiday. But that's okay, I roll with it every year anyways. Mostly because I'm a huge fan of chocolates, and any excuse to eat them is a good excuse to me.

Before I met Brent and became a happily married gal, I was - yup, you guessed it - SINGLE. For years. And years. And years. I had one (semi-short term) boyfriend in that long singleton gap, but I spent a good 4 Valentine's Days through college stag. Some years, it would make me a little envious to see other people in classes walking around with a rose from their significant other, girls sharing the deets during biology lab about what special gifts their guy got them, and sitting in a mostly empty cafeteria at dinner while all the couples were venturing off into the city for a romantic Valentine's Day dinner. But mostly, I just wanted me some damn chocolates. Sea-salted caramels, that's all I ever asked for.

Whether you're single or taken on Valentine's Day, there is something out there for everyone. Like a nice big bottle of champagne. And if you're single, just think...you don't have to share it with anyone!

Looking to woo the man of your dreams? Make him these Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars. Your number will be in his phone faster than you can take down the entire pan of these bars. Seriously though, these suckers are amazing. I made them this past weekend, and it's really hard to eat just one. Near damn impossible.


This year for Valentine's Day, we're doing a lot more than we typically do...likely because it's our first V-Day as a married couple. What Brent doesn't realize is that if he sets such high standards like this in the beginning of our marriage, it's just going to make it more difficult to top with each passing year. But who am I to protest the ambitious brainstorming of my man?

He planned a romantic night out in the city for Friday night. I get to get all dolled up (makeup, heels, hair curls, the whole nine yards), and he is whisking me away for dinner at a surprise restaurant followed by numerous cocktails. All I know is I have to be ready to leave by 5:00PM. To me, this is perfection. He knows it is killing me to not know the identity of the restaurant so that I can't do my usual preview of the menu to decide my entire meal ahead of time - and he is taking way too much pleasure in the fact that I am horrible with surprises.

Me? I've got dinner duty tonight. I'm trying to keep it a surprise, and since he's likely reading this right now, I will keep my lips sealed. Maybe this will be the day I become better with surprises?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Recipe: Pumpkin Spiced Applesauce Blueberry Muffins


I was sitting on the couch on Sunday night, following the snowed-in weekend where all I seemed to do was wreak havoc in the kitchen, and I had a sudden hankering to make me some muffins. No, not sopping with butter, traditional blueberry muffins...I wanted a nice spiced muffin, preferably on the healthier side but with just as much flavor as the original. Remember when I made that pumpkin applesauce cake, and I was able to substitute a lot of the fattening oil with applesauce without sacrificing flavor? Well, that was the key to these deliciously healthy muffins.

They came out so incredibly moist and flavorful, laced with cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and a hint of ginger, and every single bite was bursting with tangy blueberries. The coconut oil adds just a hint of that fabulous coconut flavor without being over-powering. Oh, but the real winning feature here is that they are healthy! At only 120 calories per muffin (60 per mini-muffin!), you can enjoy these guilt-free! I know what my breakfast is going to be all week...



Pumpkin Spiced Applesauce Blueberry Muffins 
(Vegan-friendly!)

Ingredients:
1/4 C coconut oil, slightly melted
1/2 C light brown sugar, lightly packed
8 oz sweetened applesauce
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg* (see notes below)
1 C all-purpose flour (or whole wheat)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
Pinch of salt
1/2 C fresh blueberries

Preparation:
  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin pan with tins. 
  • Microwave coconut oil in increments of 15 minutes until slightly melted.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the coconut oil and brown sugar. Add applesauce, vanilla, and egg. Mix well to combine.
  • In a smaller bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, ground ginger, and salt. Stir to combine.
  • Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Do not overmix! 
  • Gently fold in blueberries.
  • Spoon batter into cupcake tins**, filling about 3/4 of the tin. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Mine took the entire 15 minute bake time. 
Notes:
*If you want to make these vegan, substitute the egg with 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 Tbsp water)
**I used my snazzy new mini-muffin tin and was able to make 24 mini muffins. If you're using a regular muffin pan, you should be able to get 10-12 muffins.

Calories per regular muffin: 120 | Calories per mini muffin: 60

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Recipe: Portobello Mushrooms with Kale Pesto Guacamole

It's hard to believe that a mere couple months ago, mushrooms were something that I just did not allow to pass my lips. Fungus? Yuck!

And now? I totally can't get enough of them. I created a recipe for stuffed mushrooms a few weeks ago, but they were devoured before I could even take a picture of them...so next time I make them, I promise to snap a pic so that I can get that recipe up on here. Those suckers are surely not to be missed.

I stumbled across this intriguing recipe the other day and figured it was a great healthy snowed-in meal. Not only were these stuffed portobello caps delicious, they were SO RIDICULOUSLY EASY. It's not even possible to screw this up. Well, unless, of course, you add too much raw garlic to the pesto. Pesto tends to take on a really harsh spicy taste when there's too much raw garlic in there, and it's quite unpleasant. So keep it to 1-2 cloves, and you'll be all set! From start to finish, this meal took about 25 minutes, including preheating time for the oven. So it makes a great quick and healthy weekday dinner!

Kale pesto is smart. Kale pesto GUACAMOLE is genius. The flavors go so well together, and the texture is out-of-control-good nestled inside the beefy portobello cap. And topped with crumbled feta? I think I just died and went to heaven. It's almost impossible to believe you are eating a healthy vegetarian meal. It felt more like comfort food to me!


Portobello Mushrooms with Kale Pesto Guacamole

Ingredients:
4 portobello mushrooms (stems removed and caps lightly rinsed)
Salt and pepper
2 C baby kale leaves
2 Tbsp pine nuts
1/3 C parmesan cheese, grated
1-2 small garlic cloves,
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for mushroom caps
1 ripe avocado
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 C crumbled feta

Preparation:
  • Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with tin foil. Rub mushroom caps lightly with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast, cap-side down, for 15 minutes.
  • While mushrooms are roasting, combine kale, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, and garlic cloves in a food processor and process into a paste. With the blade running, slowly add extra-virgin olive oil until a thick pesto is made. Add salt to taste.
  • In a small bowl, mash the avocado. Add the pesto and mix together well to combine. 
  • When mushrooms are done roasting, divide the kale pesto guacamole evenly and spoon mixture into the mushroom caps.  You may have extra guacamole mix, and that's fine. Save it to eat by the spoonful later, like I did! 
  • Top with crumbled feta and serve warm. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Reemerging

The product of having way too much time on my hands this weekend

Well, for all of you that live in New England, I hope you were able to enjoy your snowed-in weekend , watching plenty of movies and eating delicious comfort foods. Brent and I finally escaped the apartment yesterday and headed to the mall for a few hours. I wasn't even totally bummed this morning to have to come in to work. It feels good to be out of the house!

I did a lot of cooking this weekend, and therefore, I have lots of good recipes coming your way over the next few weeks...some healthy, some not so much. Everyone deserves a splurge every now and then, right?

The rest of my weekend consisted of watching House of Cards, cleaning, and running (seriously, I'm so sick of the treadmill right now). Oh, and Saturday turned out to be pretty craptacular. Is that even a word? It is now.

I went back and forth on even including this in a blog post, mostly because I'm still really freaked out by the whole situation. But I decided to share because it's been constantly on my mind since.

On Saturday, the frequent yelling and banging we typically hear from our neighbor above and her boyfriend transitioned from typical to alarming. Through most of the morning, we sat at our kitchen table trying to do work over the yells and slamming of objects from above. We really try to mind our own business but it gets to a point where enough is enough, and we decided it was time to make a complaint with property management this upcoming week. No more than an hour later, I looked out our front window to see the boyfriend with a large liquor bottle, completely smashing the windows of our neighbor's car and discarding the objects within it all over the banks of snow. Now, we live in a very nice apartment complex, full of families, pets, children, and people pay a pretty penny for the security it brings. This man is not a resident; he is a guest. It was broad daylight, and many of the other residents were outside shoveling out their cars. People stared silently on as the boyfriend continued to bash in the windows, shattering glass everywhere.  This crazy man had a broken bottle in his hand and was destroying anything he could in his way. People were afraid to move. I grabbed my phone as fast as I could and called 911. For anyone who has ever had to call 911, every bit of silence on the other end is deafening. All I could do was hope nothing progressed before officers arrived.

Then, our worst nightmare happened. The boyfriend re-entered the building. We heard more aggressive banging from above, yelling, and then in an instant, all noise ceased. We looked back outside to see him hurrying down the street, trying to escape. I was still on the line with the 911 operator, and I remember just screaming that the noise upstairs stopped, and he is going to get away. A moment later, we saw a police car speeding up the hill, and with it, a rush of relief. Brent went to go downstairs to let the responders in. He was back in a matter of seconds, warning me to stay inside. There was blood all over the walls and railing in the stair well and someone might be seriously injured.

Uhm, quite frankly, I freaked out. Especially when two ambulances showed up and three more police cars. All I could think is that we waited too long. Fortunately, it turned out there were no serious injuries, and the blood was from the boyfriend's glass-breaking stunt. He was arrested, but not without a fight.

Since Saturday, we have been sleeping with one eye open, in constant fear he will come back. Needless to say, we are pushing the housing search forward at a faster pace now.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Snowpocalypse 2013

Fitting, no?

I just happened to look out my apartment window and saw not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 people getting out of their cars with arms full of groceries. My first reaction was to giggle a little because it's not every day you see grown men hustling back from the grocery store while a blizzard is happening, but my next thought was...what did they buy for Snowpocalypse 2013?!

Is this weird? I know, I'm nosy, and I can't help it. I'm always curious what other people have on their grocery list. Everyone up here in New England is basically on house arrest for the next 24 hours (at least), and the grocery stores were bled dry over the last two days in anticipation. Please refer to Brent's post on his experience at Shaws this morning.  I sent him there for eggs and graham crackers so I can make these, obviously.

I made my grocery store trip yesterday right after work before rush hour. Rather than of hitting up Shaws like everyone and their mother did in Waltham, I played it safe and stuck with our local farmstand instead. This place is a hidden gem. Fresh local fruits and veggies? Yes, please!

My grocery list seems pretty lack-luster, but I couldn't be more excited about it. It consisted of: crumbled feta, kale, avocados, extra-virgin olive oil, giant portobello caps, cilantro, and parmesan cheese for this dish I plan to make this weekend. Also on the list were diced tomatoes and chick peas for some crock-pot chana masala (already cooking in the crock-pot and smells amazing!) I splurged plenty on my VT trip last weekend, so I wanted to keep it a little healthier yet still exciting. In my opinion, there's just nothing better than a day spent trying out new recipes!

Wow, this post contains a whole lot of words going nowhere. That's what I get for having a bloody mary at 11:30am, I guess. By the way...Christie's Bloody Mary Mix? Best. Stuff. Ever. I fully intended on getting a run in today, but that's not looking so promising. That's okay...I ran 19 miles between Monday and Wednesday this week, so I think a day off is justifiable, don't you? Okay good. Me, too.

If you live in New England, good luck with Nemo. If you're bored and looking for something to occupy the time, Netflix Instant has Downton Abbey. I know that's what I'll be doing the rest of today!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Show & Tell

Some random things on the inter-webs I have found recently that are worth sharing:

1 | This adorable animated Oscar nominated short film by first-time director John Kahrs called Paperman. So. Freaking. Cute.

2 | This absolutely NOT adorable video of the goblin shark. It's like what you'd get if Lord Voldemort was to crossbreed with a shark, and this is their offspring. This thing has an effing LUNGING JAW...you know, because sharks aren't horrible enough as it is. I think I had nightmares for a week after a coworker made me aware of the goblin shark's existence. Ugh. Terrifying. This thing cannot possibly serve a purpose on this planet other than being hideous.

3 | Is this not the most awesome Valentine's Day gift for a guy? Why didn't I think of it first?!?

4 | The Grammy Awards dress code was tightened this year. "Please avoid exposing bare fleshy under curves of the buttocks and buttock crack" is a thing. Check out the other new additions to the dress code here.

5 | New England is getting pummeled this weekend by Nemo, which means we will all be stuck inside for 24 hours straight. So clearly, I will be cooking - a lot. I need to try this recipe. And this. And this. And I guess, this healthy one. God damn you, FoodGawker.

6 | When I'm having a bad day, I look at this. I don't know why, but I find it hilarious. Simple mind, I guess?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Recipe of the Week: Power Salad with Spiced Goat Cheese Crumbles and Vinaigrette

Brent made this for dinner a few weeks ago, and I've been requesting it like crazy ever since. It was so just SO GOOD. I'm definitely not one of those people who can sit and feel satisfied by a couple heaps of lettuce on a plate with some lack-luster dressing - no thanks! So when I find a salad that makes me want to go back for seconds, it's a keeper in my book.

This salad is delicious, fun, multi-colored, flavorful, and incredibly filling. Oh, and it's vegetarian, too! Feel free to add some grilled chicken breast, shrimp, or your favorite cold cuts if you feel you can't last a meal without some meat, but it totally doesn't need it!


Power Salad with Spiced Goat Cheese Crumbles and Vinaigrette

Ingredients:
[Salad]
8 C mixed salad greens (pre-mixed store-bought package)
10 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 pound green beans, steamed or sauteed lightly in oil
3/4 C garbanzo beans (about 1/2 can)

[Spiced Goat Cheese Crumbles]
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
4 ounces fresh goat cheese

[Vinaigrette] 
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 shallot, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp Dijon mustard
5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse sea salt

Preparation:
  • For goat cheese rounds: in a small bowl, combine all dry spice ingredients together and mix to combine. Add goat cheese and crumble with hands, mixing the dry spices together in the crumbles.
  • For vinaigrette: Whisk vinegar, shallot, thyme, and mustard together in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil then season with salt and pepper. 
  • For salad: Steam or saute the green beans until they are tender, about 5 minutes. Combine mixed greens, tomatoes, and garbanzo beans in a large bowl. Add vinaigrette to lightly coat and toss well to combine. Top with green beans goat cheese crumbles. 
Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Boston or Hyannis?


So I realized yesterday that in just 4 short weeks, my half marathon training begins.

Uhm, what?

But didn't I JUST finish that? Yeah, my thoughts exactly. Time sure does fly. And in honor of the one-month countdown, I opted for an 8-miler last night. I took it at an easy 9:00 min/mile pace, since it has been a good 8 months since I have run any distance over 6 miles. My feet were a little sore, which means it's time for a new pair of sneaks, but overall, I felt fantastic! It felt oddly easy. Who would have thought I'd ever be able to say running 8 miles was easy? Not I!

I'm actually a lot more excited about half marathon season this year. Last year, it was an area of complete uncertainty for me, and I was constantly in fear. What if I don't train properly? What if I get injured during training? What if I pass out of dehydration during my long run this week? What if I can't make it 13.1 miles? Will I feel like death? Will I have time to get in my weekly mileage with all of these wedding activities?

Will I still love running after? <---this was probably my biggest fear. And some weeks - GAH - I hated it. I really did. I think a lot of that had to do with my stubbornness to follow a very rigid training schedule. There was no missing any run. This year, I know better. If I miss a few weekday shorter runs, it really isn't going to hurt me. I'd much rather walk away still loving it instead of it becoming a dreaded obligation.

So on that note, I need your help.

I can't decide which half marathon I want to run. I had planned on doing the Boston Run to Remember again, but then I got an email about the Great Hyannis John Kelley Half Marathon, and now I'm thinking it might be nice to try something different. Unfortunately, I cannot do them both, as they are on the same day. Boston's was a really great starting point for me last year; it was close to home, and the course was pretty flat, which would allow me to complete the miles with more ease than would a hilly route. But I didn't love that the course was an out and back - I would have loved to have run through more of Boston than just Memorial Drive.

There's something really appealing about traveling down to the Cape for Memorial Day weekend for the Hyannis half. A new - mostly flat with some rolling hills - route, beautifully scenic ocean-views, and a one-loop course through areas I used to vacation as a child. Doesn't that sound incredible?

Okay, so maybe I just answered my own question. I'm 99% sure I will be running the Hyannis marathon on May 26th. Eeeeeep!

Monday, February 4, 2013

VT + Extreme Snowshoeing


Hello there!

I've returned from the snowy land of Vermont in one piece and am still in a haze from such an awesome weekend. We relaxed by the fire, played board games, guzzled beers + bloody mary's, extreme snowshoed/snowboarded/skiied, tracked animal prints, cooked delicious meals, hung out in the hot tub, laughed (a LOT), watched every ridiculous YouTube video that ever existed, and ate SO MUCH. Seriously, I think I am 5 lbs heavier than when I left on Thursday. I've got a lot of fixin' to do this week, if you know what I mean. But it was SO worth it!


There were 7 of us, and judging by the amount of food we brought up, you'd  think we had an army of 20. I don't even think we got through half of it. On the menu was white chicken chili, roast pork with bacon sauerkraut, roasted brussel sprouts, buffalo chicken dip, slow-cooked BBQ pulled chicken, penne alla vodka, antipasto, cucumber dill salad, like 18 bags of chips with different dips, quinoa burgers, chocolate cupcakes with salted caramel filling...and my new obsession: POCKY! Japanese chocolate-coated biscuit sticks. I have no idea why they are so good, but they are crack, and I can eat like 10 boxes in a sitting. I really wish I was over-exaggerating here, but I seriously can.


I also got to experience extreme snowshoeing for the first time ever. I honestly have no idea if extreme snowshoeing is even a real thing, but I can't imagine what we endured on Friday was anything less than extreme. So I am making the term up and using it for the purpose of emphasizing how ridiculous the terrain was. I think we were likely the first people to use the trail this entire year. It was similar to hiking through un-groomed woods. Think crossing streams, ice, small cliffs, thorn bushes, fallen-down trees, and lots of uncut brush. It took us a good 90 minutes to complete the 2 mile loop, including a 20 minute fiasco trying to FIND the actual trail at the beginning. But it all worked out in the end! We were exhausted once we made our way back to the lodge.


The house we rented was one of my favorite parts of the trip. We deemed it the ultimate adult tree house.


It had a very contemporary layout with an open floor plan, multiple layers, and the most amazing stuffed animal decor ever...like a life-sized stuffed bear at the entrance way.

Paddington the bear (lower right) made a great coat hanger

It also had some pretty fantastic mountain views.


Plus, it was on a dirt road OFF of a dirt road. Can't get more rustic than that!