Monday, May 21, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan and Groceries

I know I've shared about meal planning before, but I want to elaborate as my meal planning style has changed over the last few months. As long as I can remember, I have loved everything about grocery shopping. Growing up, I went grocery shopping with my mom every week. If I wasn't able to go, I always felt like I missed out on something special. I also quickly became the coupon clipper/list maker for our family. I've may have grown from a little girl to a married woman, but I haven't lost my love for planning meals, writing a list, and perusing the aisles of a grocery store.

I've started to notice that we rarely cook on Fridays. We're so exhausted after a week at work that we just want to veg and end up chilling on the couch watching Lost and eating take out. I've incorporated that into our weekly meal plan so we don't end up with spoiled food.

I planned simple meals around the items on hand. I was lucky because we had quite a bit of chicken left in the freezer. Next week will require a bigger haul from Costco of staples like organic chicken breast and maple syrup. This week was a little different for me, I set a very strict food budget and actually came in well under budget at the register!

My meal plan:

Saturday- Hamburgers (on our new grill!)
Sunday- Crock Pot Chicken and Black Bean Tacos
Monday- Balsamic Chicken (from the April issue of Clean Eating Magazine)
Tuesday- Leftovers or Egg Sandwiches
Wednesday- Grilled Salsa Drumsticks (from the May/June issue of Whole Deal)
Thursday- Crock Pot Chickpea, Butternut Squash, and Red Lentil Stew (from Eat, Live, Run)
Friday- Salmon or Take Out (anything goes on a Friday night!)

The first half of my grocery haul. See the Cap'n Crunch in the background? haha!
I've found the shopping list from Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free to be a very useful tool. Amy created two lists depending on how you shop, a list for one grocery store and a list for four grocery store. This was actually my first week ever using the list for one store! I've been shopping at four store every week (no lie) and decided it was for the birds. So this week I only went to Publix and found grocery shopping was much more enjoyable. Click here for the the downloadable PDF lists from SS&GF.
My list looked like this:

almond milk
Greek yogurt
chicken drumsticks
Ben & Jerry's ice cream
Cap'n Crunch (by special request)
BBQ Popchips
canned black beans
canned chick peas
garam masala
diced tomatoes
butternut squash
baby spinach
sweet onions
3 sweet potatoes
2 Eat Smart veggie packs
Florida oranges
green pepper
Grocery Haul Take 2

I made another run yesterday to buy more fruit- grapes, blueberries, and a huge watermelon. We had a quarter of a melon in the fridge and I didn't want to buy more until it was finished, but we devoured it Saturday night with our burgers. It was amazing and still on sale at Publix! Oh, and I still came in under budget!

How do you plan your meals and grocery shop? I'm always looking for great ideas!

<3 K.E.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Soreness and Yoga

Well, my first week of nothing but yoga comes to a close today. I didn't stick with it quite as well as I'd hoped too. Quite frankly, I found that my body was seriously craving down time after the race which surprised me. I knew I was worn out from the 10k training + new lifestyle, but I didn't expect to feel like I was rehabbing!

A few hours after the race, my legs stiffened up. I noticed just how stiff and sore when I tried to stand up after Avengers- ouch! But it was a good ouch, I knew I'd pushed my body (especially my legs!) very hard and they were reacting to that accomplishment. I opted to take Sunday off completely because I was still pretty wiped out when I woke up and because I was celebrating Mother's Day with my beautiful momma!

We had the best celebratory brunch: gluten free french toast with berries, chicken apple sausages, scrambled eggs, and strawberry mimosas. YUM!

My workouts for the rest of the week looked like this:

Monday: Jillian Michaels' Yoga Meltdown DVD level 2 (a quick, but intense 30 minute yoga session)
Tuesday: Bob Harper's Yoga for the Warrior DVD (an hour-long practice)
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Off
Friday: Yoga at the YMCA (I wasn't a big fan.)
Saturday: TBD ;)

I took Wednesday and Thursday off because 1) I was sore on Wednesday and 2) I opted to go to the chiropractor's on Thursday after work instead of practicing yoga. A worthy trade in my opinion.

My thoughts on nothing but yoga...I'm surprised because I don't enjoy it nearly as much as I assumed I would. I am becoming more flexible and believe it or not my upper body is looking more toned (yay!), but I find myself itching for a higher intensity workout. I want to run! I know the break was good and I definitely needed it. I feel healthier, stronger, and less exhausted. But I will be bringing back other forms of exercise next week if I keep craving it. So my plan might be changing, but what's new? We really can't predict where life will take us and my #1 goal is to listen to my body and what it needs.

After Monday's Practice

If you're interested in a great yoga DVD, I absolutely L.O.V.E Bob Harper's Yoga for the Warrior. It is a fairly fast-paced, vinyasa style of yoga. He leads you through various poses, including Sun Salutations. I don't know about you, but if my practice doesn't have a few Sun Salutations, I am always bummed out- they are my favorite.

Unfortunately, I don't love Jillian Michael's Yoga Meltdown. It feels more like body weight strength training than yoga. That isn't a bad thing, but it isn't what I'm looking for in a yoga practice either. I like to feel relaxed and stress free when I finish my practice and I find that happens more with Bob's DVD and I still get a great workout. I do love that I can fit in a practice no matter how busy I am because her sessions are 30 minutes each. And I will admit that the more I practice with her DVD, the more I warm up to it. Who knows- I might just convert after all.

The husband and I are members of our local YMCA and I was really excited to take a few group exercise classes. Thus far I have been pretty unimpressed. I love, love, love Sharon's classes (if you remember she teaches spinning and pilates). But both of the yoga classes I've tried leave much to be desired. I think they are a little too boring for me. I like a more upbeat, face-paced class (i.e., Yoga for the Warrior or Centurgy). Oh Centurgy, how I miss you! Anyway, I think I need to try out Power Yoga. I was intimidated by it because it is labeled as an "athlete" level class, but after two rather boring classes/instructors, its time to try it out before I throw in the towel on YMCA yoga.

So sorry the post is kind of all over the place. I've been a spaz lately and right now I'm trying to write this in between cleaning, laundry, Lost, and baking. I'm trying out PB Finger's recipe for Oatmeal Peanut Butter Banana Cookies. Sounds amazing, right? Peanut Butter and oatmeal are two of my favorite foods right now. I could eat them all day every day and a cookie that combines both? Heaven on earth! ;)

<3 K.E.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

10k Wrap-Up

WOOHOO! 10k accomplished! ;)

I woke up bright and early this morning thanks to my husband's alarm clock- he was a volunteer at the race, coordinating one of the water stations (Mile 3 represent!), and had to be there at 5am!

Started off with my breakfast of champions and vanilla coffee- as a side note, I'm so thankful I discovered vanilla stevia!

recycled photo...but you get the idea. :)

Luckily the race was right down the street and I was able to get ready in time to ride with the hubby to the race. I'm so thrilled about that because I absolutely did NOT want to drive separate cars today. That's no fun. I did manage to forget my headphones and iPhone armband so I dropped him off and headed back home to pick them up. The good news is that was the only mishap of the morning!

After retrieving my missing gear, I met up with a few work friends for the opening ceremonies (Hi, Marcia and Molly!) and then I found my pace group. I opted to start with the 9:30 mile group because that was my goal time (58:00).

I wish I would have taken the time out to actually document the race so I would have photos to share. Unfortunately, I had such a bad case of nerves (I dreamed about bombing the race all night!) that it was all I could do to remember the absolutely necessary things!

During the week, I read several articles and blog posts about fueling for your race and pacing yourself, so I felt pretty prepared. I loved Tina's post on 10k Pacing Strategy. It helped me stay focused and feel like I had a plan! 

My planned 10k breakdown:
Mile 1- 9:20
Mile 2 & 3- 9:35
Mile 4 & 5- 9:30
Mile 6- 9:25
.2- as fast as possible!

My actual 10k breakdown wasn't quite what I had planned. I actually started the race at a 8:00 pace. Unfortunately, the "herd" slowed me down to 10:29 for a little bit until I could break away. I ended up staying at 9:00 pace for most the race (Mile 4 was a bit slower 9:30-9:40). A few times I checked my Nike+ app and noticed that I actually was running 8:30! I didn't even know I could run that fast! 

Focusing on my husband waiting at Mile 3 was my motivation for the first part of the race. He has never been at one of my races before and I loved seeing his proud face and hearing him cheer me on. Best. Thing. Ever.

Mile 4 was the most difficult. My breathing was heavy and labored and I started cramping up (too much water?). Because of my training runs, I knew it would pass and was able to work through it and keep going. There were definitely a few "Why am I doing this?!" moments during Mile 4.

After surviving Mile 4, the rest of the race was challenging, but bearable. I kept coaching myself through the hard parts. "You can do this!" and "You've got this, Kristina!" were my self-motivating mantras. ;)

Having run the race last year, I had a pretty good idea of when I was nearing the finish line and picked up my pace big time for that last push. I almost cried when I saw the timer and it flashed 55:55 as I ran under the finish line banner. The sign time alone was two minutes faster than my goal time. I'm still in awe. My d-tag registered 55:31:3 which translates to an average of 8:57/mile (according to the results post...I haven't attempted the math). WOW.

I'm beyond proud of my time and of how strongly I finished. Have I mentioned that I'm super motivated for my next race? I am! :D

The hubby treated me to brunch at First Watch to celebrate (The tri-athlete omelet is to die for!). And I treated myself to a luxurious body scrub,

My favorite brand for body scrubs.

painted my nails,
Coral Reef=Summer!

and ate Lunaberry Swirl coconut ice cream at home.

My new favorite flavor. YUM!

How was that for photo overload?  ;)

Now we're off to see The Avengers!

<3 K.E.

P.S. Tom is excited about my time too! :D
Say hello, Tom!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

May Fitness Focus

This morning I completed my last run prior to the race on Saturday. I've learned a lot during this period of 10k training. I've learned I'm capable. That I can do anything if I give myself time to train for it. I've also managed to consistently run long distances at a faster pace than I had previously been running my 5ks. Running empowers me. It is a symbol of what I can do despite my doubts or physical limitations. With the 10k looming, I feel a sense of freedom, of completion. This was the first goal I set for myself this year. I wanted to race again. I wanted to improve my running. And I have. I'm ready for this race and for the next phase of my fitness journey- whatever that may be. 

I've been pushing my body hard for the last few months. I've enjoyed it, but I also feel a little worn out. I've been trying to do everything, run, weights/strength training, Pilates, cycling, yoga, and I honestly just can't do everything all the time. Once the race is over, I want t0 take some time out to try new types of exercise and figure out what works best for me.  While I try to figure out my next move (no pun intended!), I've decided to focus on one aspect of fitness for two weeks. I think the focus will give me a chance to breathe and truly evaluate myself and my goals.

One thing that has really stuck out is that my flexibility has decreased over the last few months. It isn't too noticeable, but I am definitely not as flexible as I was when I religiously practiced yoga every week. Weekly yoga also happens to be one of my 2012 Goals. The only one I haven't even come close to meeting.  So voila! My next fitness focus- yoga.

For two weeks beginning on May 13 and ending May 26, my goal is to practice yoga every day. I would like to invite you to join me. It doesn't have to be a full hour practice. It can be a 30-minute yoga DVD or even a few sun salutations in your living room before work. Just work on your practice. These two weeks are for centering ourselves. Finding balance in the midst of our crazy lives (you're going to start reading a lot about balance around here) and being kind and gentle to our bodies. I'm not banning other forms of exercise during these two weeks, not at all. I plan to continue to have a weekly run and to attend my Tuesday spinning and Pilates classes at the YMCA. I just want to make yoga my focus instead of the activity I didn't get around to. I want to work out the stiffness from running and increase my flexibility and decrease my stress. I hope to emerge at the end of these two weeks refreshed and ready for a new challenge!

<3 K.E.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Beach Day Recap

I would say our day at the beach was a huge success! As was the wonderful spread prepared by my amazing mother- no one makes chicken salad like she does! And the addition of birthday presents and carrot cupcakes (minus the icing for me!) were big perks too. :)

It also happened to be a beautiful day- nothing but sunshine!

And a stray cloud or two.

I did end up fitting my 5.5 mile run this morning. I was pretty happy with the results- 9:58 average per mile. That is my best time for a long run so far. I'm hoping to run the 10k in under an hour, but I'll be OK if that doesn't happen too. I plan to go out there, enjoy the weather and the excitement of the race, and run my best. I'll be happy with whatever the outcome of my best is.

Happy Monday, everyone!

<3 K.E.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Beach Trumps Run Any Day

Good morning, folks! 

Today is supposed to be my last long run before the race next weekend- instead I am going to the beach. I have mixed thoughts about this:

1. It was my idea and I am super excited about having a day to soak up the sun with my husband and family.

2. I didn't really think about fitting in my run until after we made all the plans and it was too late to change them.

3. Maybe I will just designate tomorrow morning as a pseudo-Sunday for my 5.5 miles? What do you think?

My mom is providing a scrumptious lunch of my favorite chicken salad (same recipe that she made for my bridal shower), veggies to munch on, and-hopefully- carrot cake cupcakes made with ingredients I can actually eat! YUM! My contribution was originally going to be the best peanut butter bars ever, but I've been pigging out like mad since Friday night and when I heard she was going to make cupcakes I thought I'd better pass on the Peanut Butter bars or I'd be walking around with a 9-month food baby all day- not attractive in a swimsuit let me tell you. Instead, I whipped up a batch of these beauties from Eating Bird Food

Instagram of these days I will pull out my DSLR...just not today ;)

Baked Banana Oatmeal Cups. No flour, no sugar (sweetened with Stevia and banana) they were super easy to whip up and are the perfect easy breakfast to bring to the beach. I wish they were slightly sweeter, but that is probably because of my 36 hour sugar binge, because nothing is sweet enough right now. I also have a sugar hang-over headache and I am very much reminded why I never eat cane sugar and I eat other sweeteners in moderation. Oy vey! ;)

And what weekend morning is complete without coffee? This mug is full of Caribou medium roast (the giant k-cup pack from Costco!), 365 unsweetened almond milk, NuNaturals Vanilla Stevia, and topped with a dash of cinnamon. Heaven in a cup.  (Also in the best mug ever- a souvenir from my hubby's trip to San Diego. He's the best.)

Happy Sunday!

<3 K.E.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Overnight Oats in a Jar

Good morning!

I am obsessed with breakfast. Nothing sounds as good to me as breakfast from a bowl of Oh's to eggs to oatmeal. YUM!

All across the blogs you can find recipes or mentions of "overnight oats in a jar." Basically, you mix up oats and milk and a few other ingredients and leave it in the fridge overnight. I was beyond skeptical of this- who wants to eat soggy, cold oats for breakfast?! But I eventually had an almost empty jar of peanut butter (WF brand=YUM!) and thought I would give it a try.


Holy yum, Batman! It was incredible. And oh so easy. Its also kinda addicting...I can see why overnight oats in a jar are taking over the blog world one post at a time.

The inside of my first batch of overnight oats

You've probably noticed that I share links to other bloggers' recipes much more often than I share my own. That is because I don't really have time to experiment in the kitchen. I love to bake, cook, and whip up scrumptious goodies. Right now life is just too busy to create recipes though. And when I do come up with something original, I forget to document for the blog! I'm working on this oversight! AHHH!!!!

Today is a new day.  Without further ado, here is my recipe for overnight oats in a jar. I love it and after a few tweeks am satisfied enough with it to share with all of you. It is naturally sweet from the banana, chewy from the oats, and all around ah-mazing. A peanut butter jar is not required- a bowl or container will work just fine. ;)

Overnight Oats in a Jar

1/3 cup old fashioned oatmeal
2/3 unsweetened almond milk
1/2 mashed banana
4 strawberries sliced in quarters
1 heaping Tbsp of ground flax seeds

Mix all ingredients into jar/container. Cover and leave in refrigerator overnight. In the morning add yummy toppings and enjoy!

Topping suggestions:
sprinkle of granola
more berries
nut butter

<3 K.E.