Planning a Marathon

Marathon Planning at work??

The other day when I was working at the BIC, I attended a workshop for 2011 planning. The first hour was classroom style, and the second hour was putting what we learned to practice. I can’t go into details, because the Big Insurance Company doesn’t like its employees sharing information 😉 but we were split up into two groups and told to come up with a goal.

Goal? That’s a buzz word for me! 😉 So you know I piped up and offered my idea.

Group: “so..what’s a goal we can use?”

Me: “How about running a marathon?”

Group: “Good one! Are you going to run a marathon?”

Me: Hesitates…ask myself if I really am going to run a marathon and then reply, “yes, yes I’m going to run a marathon.”

And so the planning session began.

By the time the planning session was over, I was going to run the 2011 Chicago Marathon in under 4 hours and 30 minutes, begin my training plan on 2/1/10 and hit 15 miles by August!

And you know what? I am going to run the 2011 Chicago Marathon. After seeing the energy, determination, and courage of those who ran in this year’s Chicago marathon – and hearing and reading about their race recaps, I must experience it first hand. I’ll leave it at that, because I need a couple months off of so much running after my last race of the year on 11/14, especially with the problems I’ve been having in my ankle and hip. But come next spring, this blog will tell the story of a girl with an already packed schedule, fitting in marathon training. I’ve seen many of you do it with full time jobs, blogging, and other things like being awesome, so I know I can do it too!

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Now on to fun things in the kitchen. Like basmati rice! Who doesn’t love basmati rice? Who?!

 

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I’ve been craving Indian something fierce lately. I have a couple more packs of Tasty Bite – Indian selections left in the pantry and last night was the perfect night to put one to use.

 

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I used this simmer sauce for the base of the dish – and the ingredients were both recognizable and pronouncable. Double bonus!

I simmered a block of cubed extra firm tofu in the said sauce before topping the basmati.

 

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I was actually a little dissatisfied with this sauce. Very corriandery (corriandery?) and not much zing. But it did the job.

What does one do when one doesn’t have any garlic tandoori naan to compliment an Indian meal?

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Why, they use garlic toast, of course! This was Alexia’s brand – all natural and all good!

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Something’s missing here… ah yes. Vegetables. Woops! Good thing we get a “tomorrow” to fit more of them in, right? 🙂

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Have a good Wednesday, everyone!

Semi-Homemade Indian Feast For Two

Holler!

Holy wind! It’s like a tornado outside– 37 mph winds – not even kidding. And a tornado watch. And pouring sideways rain!! What’s going on!?!

Man am I dragging this morning! Last night’s late game impeded me of getting anywhere near eight hours of sleep since today starts with an early morning client. Combine that with waking up which seemed like every 10 minutes.

Did I mention my client was a no call no show? Yep.

Now it’d be easy to let this start a snowball into a Murphy’s Law kind of day, but I think I’ll stop it riiiight here 😉 On my way home from the gym this morning, I saw a bunch of people standing outside a Labor Today place – in the pouring rain. That made me thankful for having a job, and clients oversleeping is just part of the business. So hey, I’ll think of it this way – I only had to be at the gym for a half hour for an hour’s pay!

Onward and Upward!          

So last night before the game, I did a little work in the kitch.

When I told Shane we were having Indian food involving a new recipe of mine for dinner, he gave me a quizzical look. He gets scared when I say “new recipe” 😉

On the Indian menu:

Madras Lentils

Brown California Basmati Rice

Garlic Tandoori Naan

Pumpkin Rice Pudding w/ Fresh Whipped Cream

This dinner is what you can call semi-homemade, that’s for sure!

I started with the brown basmati rice. I’ve never cooked basmati rice, so I was a little skeptical myself.

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Then moved onto the honey gobi.

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We had this one time at a local Indian restaurant and I haven’t been able to get it off my mind since.

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I will post the recipe for this on my recipes tab this week!

Garlic naan – semi homemade.

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OK, maybe just a teensy homemade. It’s TJ’s Garlic naan with butter on top, ready to go into the oven 😉

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And last but not least, the lentils!

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Haha 😉

Tasty Bite sent me some of their vegetarian options to review on the blog. The last one I tried was the spiced chickpeas, and they were fabulous.

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It’s such a great concept – it’s all natural, ready to go, and only takes 90 seconds to cook!

 

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This meal was whipped up in about 30 minutes. The rice obviously took the longest.

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It ended up being very very good! The husband was impressed and so was I.

A fabulous Indian meal!

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The only thing that wasn’t perfect – the rice. It was a litttttle bit undercooked. After telling this to my client I trained shortly after eating dinner, she declared she was getting me a rice cooker. She spent three years in Japan and feels strongly that everyone needs a rice cooker! Apparently it comes out nice and fluffy and perfect every single time!

I had to leave quickly after eating, so the pumpkin rice pudding went un touched. I’ll leave that for the next post 😉

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What’s your best semi-homemade meal?

Do you have a rice cooker? If not, do you have problems getting the rice to the perfect consistency?

Homeboys at Dance Parties

Hi guys!! 🙂

I made it!IMG_0612

With a little help

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from my friends!

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This was right after Destiny gave me stop and go instructions to park in a tiny parallel spot. Yep…not good at that either. Shoot! And also insert a picture of all of you for your fab advice on big city drivin’ 😉

I got to Destiny’s house a couple hours before Kim, and our plans were to go to Trader Joe’s, but Kim didn’t want to miss that trip. So we just hung around for a few hours, talking, laughing, and waiting.

When Kim arrived, we were all gabbin’ it up in the kitchen. By this point, we were pretty hungry, and planned to go to dinner first. But then, Kim said she had a question for us – if we’d be her bridesmaids!!! Of course we screeched, jumped up and down, hugged, and then opened an obligatory glass of red:

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By this time, we were starved! Destiny had never had Indian food, and she wanted to go with me since I have *some* knowledge. We went to Khyber pass

 

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And there was a buffet – for dinner – on a Friday night! Awesome. This ensued:

 

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Plus two big pieces of naan. If my stomach were a balloon, it would have popped guys. I was that full.

Contemplating what to do next, we were all too full to be in public, so we put on our jammies and headed back for a night of cards, dance parties, and tunes.

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I had a Sam Adam’s Cherry Wheat – yum! But honestly nothing else would fit in my tummy!

The playlist of the night ranged anywhere from 112 to Lil Wayne to Glee, until Dest’s bf couldn’t take it anymore and added Country to that list. However, the theme song of the night remains, homeboy:

It doesn’t get old, does it?! … Don’t answer that 😉

I was pretty tired from running 8 miles, traveling, and being on the go, but I managed to stay up until 1 or so 😉

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Now all the sudden I’m hungry past the point of no return again! I’m the only one up right now and I think I’m going to go find a plan for coffee and breakfast. Story of my life.

Today’s plan includes shopping, dress trying on (for Kim!) picking up race packets, and Trader Joe’s – since we didn’t make it yesterday 🙂 FUN day!

I hope you have a great Saturday!

What type of music do you listen to when you get together with your closest friends? It’s usually rap when I’m with my girls!

I Blame Indian Food

Turns out Friday night’s drinkies didn’t hinder Saturday morning’s long run at all! I’m giving credit to chugging water, eating a pretty decent portion of veggie pizza for dinner, and downing a cup or two of coconut water before bed:)

What the run was is beautifall.

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I picked up my friend Amber about 5 miles from our starting point, as she had only planned on doing 5 miles. So that way, when we reached 5 miles, she simply went to her car, and I ran the 5 miles back to the starting point. However, we misjudged the mileage, and the half way point was only 4.5 miles, so my entire run ended up being nine miles instead of ten.

Total time: 1:21:45

Avg pace: 9:05

It’s just as well, because my hip started to nag at me and I had to get to work.

Which is just what I did after a good foam rolling session, shower, and a smoothie.

 

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This smoothie’s too much for a glass! Good thing, because that granola crunch munch is sooo good!

 

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But I’m afraid to say that I’m smoothie’d out? At least this flavor. This saddens me because it makes for SUCH a good post-run snack! The body can absorb nutrients much easier when in liquid form. I’ll just have to get more creative with the ol’ new Vita-Mix. Like I’ve said before, I become obsessed with things, get too much of it, and then need a nice long break.

After smoothie-ing it up, I had to hurry up and shower and get to the gym to work. While there, I devoured the prior night’s veggie pizza leftovers:

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Cold pizza in Tupperware. Class 😉

Truth be told, by the time I left work, I was wearing down. I had plans to drive to Peoria to meet my friends Jessica and Clint, but I slept through it. Literally!

I blame Indian Food.

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Baigann Bharta, basmati rice, and whole wheat naan.

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SO delicious and SO spicy. Mmmm:)

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But for some reason, Indian food always makes me suuper tired. More tired than a Niko on a Sunday morning!

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I took a “quick” nap, that lasted about an hour too long. Probably a sign I needed to stay home anyhow.

Upon waking, I watched three episodes of Gossip Girl and called it a night. Par-tay animal, yo.

But for now…it’s breakfast time! I had planned on running 4 miles at an easy pace, but I also woke up with some residual hip pain from yesterday’s long run. Looks like that run won’t be happening! Sometimes plans just don’t work out!

Shane and I are going out for breakfast this morning…which rarely happens anymore! I honestly can’t remember the last time. Breakfast is probably my least favorite meal to eat out – but every once in a while it’s fun! 🙂

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Hope you all have a supah dupah Sunday!!

Did you get outside and enjoy the beautiful fall colors this weekend? What outdoor activities did you do?

The Last Yawn

Morning:D

Yesterday was such a relaxing day. I had a to do list…and a lot got done, but I think my mind subconsciously left off some items just so I’d get in some extra R&R.There’s always tomorrow, right? 🙂

I did get in some laundry, cleaning, business schtuff, and what not – but the majority of the day was spent in the kitchen!

After lunch, I had to run out to grab some food for the pets, so I stopped by the local health food store to pick up a few extras. You see, last Friday morning while I was eating breakfast at my cousin, Bronwyn’s house, she gave me a couple of her homemade granola bars. I have not been able to get my mind off of them since. These things are to die for. Obviously, I immediately emailed her begging for the recipe.

So.

I toasted.IMG_9056

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I stirred.

 

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I pressed.

 

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No baking! Just chilling? My kind of bar 😉

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But I didn’t stop there. Just to throw in some more fun, I made another recipe. The second, you can find on Eat Clean Live Green’s blog.

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MmmMMMMmmmMmm 🙂

And then, there was a taste off.

 

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I had Shane do the ultimate taste test (there’s three because I forgot an ingredient in the first batch.)

 

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Bronwyn’s won, but I’m pretty sure in between bites he said something along the lines of “mmmthey’re all pwetty guhd.” And just like that the plate was empty. At first, I was a little upset that I wouldn’t be able to share the recipe with you guys, since it came from Eating Well magazine, but then I did a search and found it online!! Thank me later 🙂 This Almond Honey Power Bar will rock your world breakfast.

Although I was snacking while baking, I was still pretty hungry come dinner time and I wanted to utilize one of the more random items in the Healthy Living Summit swag bag:

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Curry powder!

I followed the recipe on the card precisely.

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I cannot believe cous cous cooks SO quickly! It’s beginning to be one of my favorite grains:)

To be honest, I really wasn’t too sure if this would even be edible. I mean, red pepper, lemon w/ the rind…sugar? pistachios…

But that last little gem is what tied it all together and made it fantastic.

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Served it up with some whole wheat naan for scooping – Eat with your hands! Right Sana? 😉

 

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Shortly after eating, I packed up a bag of granola bars for Heidi and headed over to watch the Last Song.

 

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Although the company was fab, I think the name of this movie should really be called the Last Yawn. Can anyone else just not take Miley Sirus seriously?? I couldn’t get into it. It was weird!

 

Well I’m off to the gym to see if they need me to work a little today and get in a little sweat sesh!

Have a lovely Saturday, friends! 🙂

 

Do you have a favorite granola bar or granola bar recipe? If so, share!

The Indian Food Bar is Set

I’m not sure I’ll ever enjoy Indian food in Bloomington/Normal again.

On Saturday night, I went out to a restaurant called the Chicago Curry House with a bunch of lovely bloggers for a dinner Gina organized:

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The peeps:

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Amazing company! Still so stoked with all the awesome women (and men) I met this weekend.

Since there were several Indian food virgins, the group decided to dine family-style with several veggie options, starting with a fantastic starter of papadum and dippers:

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a yummy, sweet Riesling:

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and plates of veggie appetizers:

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Now, by this point, I was sold. Sold! Already better than anything I’ve tasted at any other Indian restaurant.

But then the bread came. The naan and roti won over my heart.

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Naan…the most soft, pillowy, thick naan I’ve ever set my eyes tongue on 🙂

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And this roti changed my opinion on the usually lesser dense, crackly bread. It was just as soft and chewy as the naan! I could have eaten my own basket, honestly 😛

The entree was Chana Masala and Baigan Bharta:

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Subtly sweet and amazing.

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Spicy and velvety – as Laura (I think it was her..) described it.

Best Indian food experience eva!

So when Shane picked me up from the train station last night after getting home from the Healthy Living Summit, and immediately asked if I wanted to grab Indian food, I surprisingly thought it sounded good too. Indian two nights in a row? Why not?

Welll….maybe I should have waited a few days for my memory to fade of how fantastic the food at the Curry House was…

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My Indian food bar is set too high! This Yellow Dal just didn’t cut it 😉

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Well I’m taking today as a catch up day. A couple clients, deep cleaning of the house, grocery shopping, and LAUNDRY. Oh, and I have about a billion new blogs to read after this weekend 😀

TERRA Chips Accomplishments Giveaway

Good morning! How are you today on this midweek day?

My week started out slow and easy on Monday, but has revved up fast! Yesterday was filled with BIC work and training appointments. On busy days, it’s sometimes hard to do anything but go to the meetings/work/appointments on my schedule, you know, like cook dinner! But yesterday I managed to muster in some time to whip up a delicious Indian feast!

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On Monday, I had made some brown rice for the week:

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And the sauce:

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And then last night when I got done training, I fried up the eggplant in a little EVOO on the stove, added the sauce, and simmered until warm:

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Deeelicious! The recipe for the sauce and the whole recipe will go up on the recipes tab (as well as some other recipes this Friday.)

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I served it atop the rice and with a piece of Trader Joe’s Tandoori Naan.

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I never cook on a Tuesday night! It felt like I accomplished something out of the norm for a Tuesday night. Of course meetings and jobs are important, but it’s nice to make the time for a home cooked meal 🙂

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In yesterday’s post, I mentioned there would be a delicious giveaway soon.   

Well, today it’s sooooon 😀

Stephanie from TERRA has offered one of my readers a TERRA chip prize pack worth $25 of TERRA chips, a martini glass inspired serving dish, and a summer entertaining guide!

TERRA Giveaway Image 2010

The chip varieties include:

• Terra a la Mexicana – The latest addition to the Terra Exotic Mix line-up is this classic mix of vegetable chips seasoned with a piquant blend of tomato, black bean and roasted garlic flavors.

• Terra Original – Terra Original is made up of the classic mix of Taro, Sweet Potato, Yuca, Batata, Parsnip, and Ruby Taro.

• Terra Blues – Packed with flavor, Terra Blues are flavorful yet but with 40 percent less fat than the leading brand of potato chips and are made with naturally blue potatoes. A vibrant bluish-purple in color with a slightly nutty flavor, these Terra Blues® Potato Chips are deliciously different and the Official Snack of JetBlue Airways®.

• Terra Exotic Harvest with Sea Salt – This earthy exotic harvest features a medley of flavorful blue potato, sweet carrots and Japanese kabocha squash. 

So far, I’ve tried the Terra Blues

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and the Terra a la Mexicana

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and they’re both delicious and healthy tasting 😀 The chips are made straight from vegetables like blue potatoes, parsnips, yuca, kabocha and more. And the ingredients are stellar!

IMG_8567No soybean oil, hydrogenated fats, or any of that!

You can also sign up for the “Fire Up the Flavor” online sweepstakes, running through August 31st, features 25 grand prizes (charcoal grill, serving bowl, $250 grocery gift card, 12 bags of TERRA Chips and a printed entertaining guide) and 50 first prizes (six serving bowls, an array of TERRA Chips and a printed entertaining guide).

To enter just leave a comment letting me know one thing you accomplished today that you’re proud of.

 For an extra entry, tweet about the giveaway:” TERRA chip accomplishments giveaway on RAN:http://runningaroundnormal.com/2010/08/04/terra-chips-accomplishments-giveaway/

I’ll pick a lucky winner next Tuesday August 10th (3 days before HLS!!!!) using a random number generator.

 

Have a great Wednesday, everyone!!