Friday, June 28, 2013

Foodie Friday – Chocolate Chip Brownies

When I was in middle school, my family hosted an exchange student from Thailand for a couple of weeks through the Friendship Force.  One of her favorite things that my mom made was her chocolate chip cookie brownies.

A few weeks ago, I remembered these and made them for the hubster.  He loves a soft chocolate chip cookie and I can never seem to get the cookies to be soft…but the brownies?  I actually got an “Mmmm” from him, and he’s my worse critic! :)

And here’s the recipe, courtesy of Nestle!

2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 c granulated sugar
3/4 c brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12 oz package) chocolate morsels
1 cup chopped pecans


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a 15x10 inch jelly roll pan or casserole dish.

Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.


Beat the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in a large mixer bowl.

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Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  I crack the eggs into a small ramekin to ensure no shells make it into the batch!


Gradually beat in the flour mixture, adding a small amount at a time.  Stir in morsels and nuts.

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Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared pan.


Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.  Let the brownies cool in the dish, then cut into bars.

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I like these because they are soooooo much faster to make than cookies.  :)   In this recipe I didn’t add any pecans as these are for my coworkers and I’m not sure of any nut allergies.  You could easily substitute walnuts in the recipe as well.  I bought a bag of toffee bits to add into my next batch!

These would be a great dessert to take to a cookout or summer get together.  Enjoy!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.  I’m going to do a make up back to back run since I didn’t get it in last weekend due to my mom’s visit. 

Until next time,

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Weekend Recap!

I had such a great weekend.  The hubster was out of town in California for a work event, and I had an event on Saturday night, so I invited my mom to come stay with me for the weekend.

She came up Friday night and brought us Chick-Fil-A salads for dinner…I had the Asian and Mom had the Cobb (if you haven’t tried the new salads they have, I highly recommend them!)

Saturday morning I woke up at around 7:15 to get a one mile run in.  After I finished I showered and we went out to run some errands.  First on the list was breakfast.  I’ve turned my mom onto BB’s bagels, an amazing local NY bagel place.  I know most of the time bagel places that advertise NY bagels aren’t as good as the real thing, but trust me…these are amazing.  They make their own cream cheeses and bagels fresh every day.  The owners are from New York/New Jersey and really take pride in their restaurant.  Their food is really good, too!

We ran a few more errands, then went back home to change, grab our clothes, and head to Rock Eagle 4-H Center for the Master 4-H banquet.  Last year I was asked by the former Georgia 4-H state leader if I would serve on the board, and I agreed.  This is our yearly banquet to recognize new Master 4-H’ers and visit with old friends.  I was so excited to see some friends that I hadn’t seen in a LONG time!

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We drove around a bit when we got to Rock Eagle as it had been a few years since we’d been there.  I had a board meeting so Mom did some exploring on her own.  After the meeting I changed into my banquet attire, helped out with sign-ins, and headed inside.  Dinner was tasty, and the banquet went well.  I led the 4-H pledge at the end and then visited with some friends.

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             Summer Camp Counselor friends                                2012-2013 Master 4-H Board

Georgia 4-H has a phenomenal performing arts group called Clovers & Company.  Each year they hold auditions and travel all over the United States performing at events.  We headed to the auditorium to watch the show and I saw another old camp counselor friend!

master6The show was amazing, and I sat in the lobby and chatted with A for awhile.  Once the show was over, we looked for some other friends.  As I headed toward the stage, I was so surprised and excited to see two more friends, T and K!



It was sooooo good to see all these old 4-H friends!

We finally headed home and got back to my house at around midnight.  I was exhausted and went to bed.

Sunday morning I was supposed to do a 5 mile run, but sleeping until 10 won.  Then Mom and I spent 6 hours shopping.  We got home in time to make dinner and clean up before she headed home.  We had a great time together and I hope we can do it more often.

Tonight I got a 3 mile run in.  I’ve started increasing my run/walk to 1:30/1:00.  While I did have to take a couple of walk breaks during the run interval, I was overall pleased with my time as I took off 2 minutes from my last 3 mile time.  I can only go up from here, right? :)

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I am LOVING heading to the freezer and grabbing a PowerICE after my runs this summer.  It gets so hot and humid in Georgia that these are a great treat!  Tonight was also the first time I wore my BAMRband, and I love it!  It stayed put the entire time, and it’s super cute.  I am digging chevron prints right now.

Today I’m gonna take Guinness for a nice walk after work, run another 3 miles on Thursday and meet some friends for dinner, and get back on track with my back to back running this weekend.

Were you involved in 4-H growing up?  What’s your favorite post-run treat?

Until next time,

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Monday, June 24, 2013

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Esprit de She Ambassador

About a month ago (yes…I’m a little behind) I was accepted to be an ambassador for the Esprit de She race here in Atlanta!


Esprit de She is sponsored by Athleta and Lifetime Fitness.  It’s an event for women and they have a variety of different races – 5ks and 10k, cycling, and even duathlons and triathlons!  They host a fitness inspired “happy hour” that proves to be full of fun and maybe even a little competition.

The event in Atlanta is the 5k/10k.  I haven’t decided which one I’ll be running yet…any suggestions?  The night will start off with a run, and then move into a celebration, complete with vendors, drinks, and food.  It’ll be a lot of fun! 

The price increases on July 31st, so act fast!  I would love for some of my local running gals to join me for the race!  It could be part of their taper for the runDisney Wine & Dine half marathon, don’t ya think?

To read more about the Esprit de She events and check for an event near you, check out their website here.

Until next time,

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Dumbo Training Update

The hubster wasn't really home this week...he's had a lot of business travel, so I haven't cooked much, but Foodie Friday will be back next week!

So instead, I thought I would give you a little update on how my training for Dumbo is going.  I've been getting in at least 2 runs a week...I really should be doing more but some nights just haven't allowed for it.  I also spoke with a running friend about how my feet always start to kill me at around miles 9 and 10 when I've run in my half marathons.  Her hubby is working on becoming a coach and he believes that one reason my feet may react this way is that I'm not running enough.  So...I did a little rewriting of my training schedule and (hope) to run at least 4 times a week.

This week, we start our back to back run/walk days to get our body ready to do two races two days in a row.  A one mile walk is scheduled for tomorrow, and instead of an 8 mile run, I'm doing a 5 mile run on Sunday.  This weekend I'm also moving my run/walk intervals up from 1:00/1:00 to 1:30/1:00.  I've run at this pace before but it's been awhile, so hopefully I don't keel over from it!

Last weekend I tried on a new pair of running shoes - the Brooks Launch.  From what I can gather by doing a little research on the internet, these were a very popular neutral shoe that Brooks discontinued, but finally brought back by popular demand.

When I first got fitted for running shoes, I was back and forth between Mizuno and Brooks.  I do still love my Mizunos and will continue to wear them, but I'm hoping that the Brooks can keep my feet happy during my longer runs.  I can't wait to take them out for a test drive!

I also need to start getting serious about my costumes for Dumbo.  I know what I'm doing...I just need to put the pieces together.  I can't believe in just over 2 months I'll be in California for a fun-filled (and run-filled) weekend with some amazing people that I've met, and some that I'll be meeting for the first time!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.  My mom is coming to stay with me tonight and go to a 4-H banquet with me tomorrow night.  I'm looking forward to some girl time with her.

Do you use a pre-written running plan or write out your own?

Until next time,


Friday, June 14, 2013

Foodie Friday – Cajun Chicken Pasta

As I have mentioned before, I discovered the awesome website, Skinnytaste, early last year with the hubster and I wanted to start eating better.  While I don’t stick to it as strictly as I used to, we still have a few favorites that I sprinkle in from time to time, and this is definitely one of them. 

They always say we should eat the colors of the rainbow.  Well this dish definitely has a ton of color in it with the veggies and a great source of protein from the chicken.  I even added some shrimp to the hubster’s portion since we had some in the fridge that needed to be cooked.

Here is the recipe from Gina at Skinnytaste -


  • 8 oz uncooked linguine (Dreamfields)
  • 1 lb chicken breast, cut into strips
  • 1-2 tsp Cajun seasoning (or to taste)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup fat free low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 3 tbsp light cream cheese
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • salt to taste
  • Smart Balance cooking spray


Prep all your vegetables.  In a small blender make a slurry by combining milk, flour, and cream cheese.  Set aside.  Season chicken generously with Cajun seasoning, garlic powder, and salt.

Prepare pasta in salted water according to package directions.

Heat a large heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Spray with cooking spray and add half of the chicken.  Sauté 5-6 minutes or until done.  Set aside on a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken.  Set aside.


Add olive oil to the skillet and reduce to medium.  Add bell peppers, onions, and garlic to skillet.  Sauté for 3-4 minutes.


Add mushrooms and tomatoes and sauté 3-4 more minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Season with 1/4 tsp salt, garlic powder, and fresh cracked pepper to taste.

Reduce heat to medium low and add chicken brother and pour in slurry, stirring about 2 minutes.


Return chicken to skillet, adjust salt and Cajun seasoning to taste, cook another minute or two until hot, and then add the linguine – toss well to coat.


Top with chopped scallions before serving.

Silly me forgot to take a finished product photo, but it was very yummy.  We don’t like mushrooms so I always leave those out, and if I don’t already have scallions I usually won’t make a special trip just for the recipe, but I can assure you that it’s great without them!

Nutritional Information

Servings: Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups  Points:Calories: 323.8  Fat: 6.2 g  Protein:  25.9 g  Carbs:  44.1  Fiber:  6.3 g  Sugar:  3.2 g  Sodium:  126.5 mg (without salt)

If you try this recipe please let me know what you think!  I’ve used it to carb load before a race and it’s great for that!

What’s your favorite pasta dish?

I hope everyone has a great weekend!  I plan to do a little shopping, hang out with the hubster before he heads out of town again, hit up a local pet fair, and get a long run in for Dumbo training.  It’s going to be a warm one so stay hydrated and well fueled!

Until next time,

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

“Spirit of the Marathon II”

I now want to go to Rome, Italy more now than ever…

Tonight I took a friend to the screening of “Spirit of the Marathon II”.  I hadn’t seen the first one yet, but lucky for me, it was on Netflix so I was able to watch it last night when I got home.  I loved the first one and couldn’t wait to see the second one.  A portion of the ticket sales went to the One Fund Boston, which I thought was awesome.

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I really enjoyed this movie series.  If you haven’t seen the first one, it follows six people training for the Chicago Marathon, and they are all on different levels – for two it was their first full marathon, one was trying to qualify for Boston, another was running with his daughter, and two were elite runners. 

The second one follows a similar story line – two elite runners, two first timers, and three veteran marathoners.  The movie followed their journey to the Rome Marathon in Italy.  One is the owner of a pizzeria, and now I want to go there and have his pizza! 

The commentary was wonderful and included so many people who have helped shaped the running world, such as Hal Higdon, Kathrine Switzer, Bill Rodgers, Halie Gebrselassie and, one that all of us runDisney fans know and love, Jeff Galloway.

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I got chills throughout the movie.  Watching these runners train for such a huge event is so motivating and inspiring.  I’m not there yet, but hopefully in the next couple of years I hope to gain the “marathon” status.

I don’t want to give away too much of the movie, but it was phenomenal and I would watch it again and again.

As we were walking out of the theater, I saw a familiar face.  It was none other than Jeff Galloway himself!  We stood outside in the hallway and waited for him to come out so I could speak to him.  We chatted for a couple of minutes and I managed to get a picture of him and told him I would see him again at Disneyland for the Dumbo Double Dare.

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When this movie becomes available on DVD I HIGHLY recommend it. 

Did you make it to see “Spirit of the Marathon II?”  What did you think of it?

Until next time,

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Possum Trot 10k recap

A few weeks back while Ramona and I were watching Brandi run a 5k race, I decided that I would sign up for the Possum Trot 10k, a race that benefits the Chattahoochee Nature Center.  The night before the race I did my usual ritual of laying out everything that I would need.


Since the email the race directors sent indicated that the parking lot to the nature center would be closing at 6:15, I opted to get there early so that I was able to park there and not have a mile to walk to the start line and another mile to walk when I finished…I needed to save my legs!

When I got there, I met up with Brandi, her mom, Ramona, and her boyfriend.  We made a quick trip to the restroom and then Jill arrived.  We all walked down with her to get her race number, made one more trip to the restroom, then back to the cars to grab any last minute things we might need.  I made sure to take my energybits!


Brandi, Jill, and I are made our way to the back of the pack at the start line…Ramona got up close (she’s a fast one!)


The gun went off, and the race began!  I settled into my 1:00/1:00 run/walk intervals, and soon caught up with Brandi.  We ran together for awhile, but her feet were bothering her so she told me to run ahead.  I was doing okay with the intervals…only walking when I was supposed to.  And then the sun started to get to me.  The race was held on a road that ran by the Chattahoochee River, so it was nice and flat with the exception of a couple small hills, but there wasn’t much shade or wind.  I had my water bottle with Nuun, but it wasn’t enough.  I finally had to start walking a bit more.

This was my longest run since I’ve started training for Dumbo, and my longest run since I saw the doctor about my knee.  I was sporting my new knee brace but the left knee started to bother me – I assume it was sore from overcompensating for the right knee.  I had to slow down even more, and I was disappointed because I really wanted to beat my previous 10k time (1:17), but it wasn’t in the cards for this race.

I met Ramona just as she was getting to mile 4 and she told me I was almost at the turnaround.  I saw Jill shortly after and she gave me a high five with a huge smile that gave me a little boost that I needed.  After the turnaround I saw Brandi as well.  After mile 3 I took an Island Boost.  It took a few minutes but I could feel when it kicked in.  I liked the flavor (Blueberry Pomegranate) and liked that it was a liquid and not a gel…much easier to swallow.  I will continue to use Island Boost in my long runs!

We had to pass the finish line twice before we could cross it!  That’s just cruel :)  As I passed it the second time, I saw Brandi’s mom and Ramona’s boyfriend, so I waved to them and he caught a picture of me running by.


I took water at all the water stations and kept pushing through the best I could.  There was one final turnaround at around mile 5.5 and I was just ready for the race to be over.  Finally I saw the finish line.  Jill and Ramona were down there cheering and Ramona’s boyfriend took a few more pictures of me.  I heard the footsteps of someone behind me and was determined not to let them pass me!

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I cruised through the finish line, disappointed with my time, but happy to have finished it.  My official time was 1:24:35…not what is indicated on the clock.


As soon as I crossed, I headed over to the group and waited for Brandi to finish.  As we saw her approach we all started cheering her on.  After she crossed, we headed up to get our shirts.  Jill and Ramon said that we HAD to get a group picture with the Possum, and I had no idea what was in store for us.


“Pluto…I don’t think we’re at Disney World anymore!!”

Is that not one of the scariest mascots?!  She (I’m assuming it’s a she because of the babies in the pouch) bent over and the babies fell out.  She put her hands on her head as to say “oh no!” It was funny, but a little disturbing at the same time.

After the race we had plans to hit up the Peachtree Diner to refuel.  Jill couldn’t join us due to prior commitments but hopefully she’ll be in for the next one!  I’m not sure why the kitchen felt that I needed three ramekins of butter!  I didn’t use any of it, but it was pretty ridiculous.


I had a great time at this race and would most definitely do it again.  I would show you a picture of the race shirt, but I somehow managed to tint it pink.  I think washing my new Sweat Pink tank did it, but oh well!  I can wear it around the house :)

This was my last race before the Peachtree Road Race on July 4th.  Until then I’ll be continuing my Dumbo training and trying to stay injury free!

Until next time,

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Zola Coconut Water Review

I know that coconut water is a great way to rehydrate after a long run.  I’ve tried a couple of different brands both after races and on my own, and have never been a fan of them.  When I heard about Zola and all the rave reviews it was getting, I thought I would give them a shot.

Zola was started over 10 years ago.  The company started with their acai juice, fresh from Brazil.  They’ve now expanded to coconut juice.  The coconuts they use are from Thailand, where the climate is perfect for producing them.  Check out the awesome video about their products here.

I received a package in the mail containing a natural coconut water, a coconut water with pulp, and a bottle of acai juice (and a pretty cool pair of sunglasses)


I immediately put them in the fridge so they would be nice and cold when I was ready to sample them.


I enlisted the help of the hubster to sample them with me.  First up we tried the Natural coconut water.


Out of all the coconut waters I’ve ever tried, this has been my favorite.  I don’t think I could drink it on a regular basis, but would definitely chug one of these bad boys after a long run or a hard workout.  The flavor was subtle and it had no weird aftertaste.  Next we tried the coconut water with pulp.


For whatever reason neither one of us was a fan of this one.  I usually like fruit juices with the pulp, but the texture of the pulp in the coconut juice was one that I was not crazy about.  It also seemed to have an aftertaste that we weren’t fond of.  Lastly, we tried the acai juice.


This was probably our most favorite.  I had never really had acai juice before, but I really enjoyed the slight tartness that it had.  I love that it’s chock full of antioxidants, too! 

I’ll definitely be on the lookout for the natural coconut water and the acai juice to stock up the fridge!

Thanks Sweat Pink and Zola!

Do you drink coconut water to rehydrate after a run?  What’s your favorite brand?

Until next time,

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Race-Kred Winner!

Thank you everyone for entering my giveaway!  You had some really inspiring stories, and no matter how far you've run, all distances are something to be proud of.

The lucky winner of the Race-Kred giveaway is...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats Traci!  Check your email :)

I hope everyone is having a good week.  My parents are coming over tonight to pick up their dog, Rocky, and we're grilling steaks for dinner.  Looking forward to seeing them.

Dumbo training is going okay.  I will post my recap of the Possum Trot 10k tomorrow or Thursday.  Tonight is a run night, but with my parents coming I'm going to push it to tomorrow.  Some of my friends moved back to Georgia from Florida, so we're going to go for a run on Thursday after work.  I'm looking forward to seeing her!

Until next time,