Thursday, August 25, 2011

Running Moms: 343 Challenge on dailymile

I am so excited! I can get bored fairly easy with doing the same workout routines for too long. This time, I am not mixing it up just for variety but in tribute to fallen firefighters in 9/11. One of my running momma friends had the idea to do a 343 Challenge and track our progress on dailymile. We are a group on Facebook, and live in different states all across the nation. The goal between all of us is to collectively run 1 mile for each of the firefighters who lost their lives in the tragedy that day between 9/1/11 and 9/11/11.

At first, I accepted the challenge for fun. Until I clicked on this link and actually saw all their faces, there on one page looking back at me. Some younger, some older, mostly serious, several smiling. They were fathers, brothers, husbands, boyfriends, lovers....who lost their lives doing their job that day. I realize how fortunate I am to still have my husband and family intact. I also recognize that life can be fleeting. When Chip heads off to work every day, I don't give it a second thought, treating it almost the same as when I head off to my professional, white-collar job in an air-conditioned office. But its not the same. Every day that he comes home I should consider myself lucky.

I quickly went from feeling jazzed about this running challenge to feeling proud to be a part of it. In our own little way, honoring those that gave their lives for others on that fateful day.

I am linking up in 2 places today! Check out these great places to follow new blogs!
Let's BEE Friends

Fitness Friday Blog Hop

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Wheels On the Bike Go Round and Round

We had a nice family bike ride today on the trail by our house. The entrance to the trail is just around the block, and we definitely make the most of it. I run with a friend there at least once a week. Chip and I love taking the kids out there, we get a little exercise and Monkey gets to burn off *some* of his 5yo energy! He rode 15 miles this weekend, which is pretty good for a little guy I think!

He** on Wheels!
I think its important to teach our kids to have a healthy lifestyle. I can't wait until Buddha can pedal. For now, he just gets to kick back and watch. He's got a pretty good thing going.

Chillin' like a villain
It seems like yesterday when Monkey wasn't able to pedal yet, and I would either push him on his trike when I went for a walk, or push him in the jogging stroller so I could get a run in. Before long, he was riding his bike with training wheels (albeit slowly) and I could get a semi-decent jog in next to him. Even though I wasn't getting the best work out, I wanted to encourage him and wanted to show him that fitness could be fun. He has already asked to go running with me, and I anticipate we will be doing that in the next few weeks.

In the old days, when they could both fit
I'm so proud of my boys, and happy that my oldest is active and likes to channel his energy in positive ways. After we went on a bike ride Friday, he asked to go again both Saturday and Sunday. He didn't look at it as too hard, or boring or something he didn't want to do. I love that!

Monkey's come a long way from this!
I am excited for our first run! I want to get him some decent shoes to run in first. I expect it will be totally fun, as that is just what I've come to know about this kid! He's a blast!

I Love Breakfast

No filter did the ripe strawberries justice
 Breakfast has always been my favorite meal of the day. I have the best memories of spending the weekend at my grandparents house and my Grandma always made me whatever I wanted...french toast, waffles, pancakes, eggs, bacon, etc. Not all at once of course. It was such a treat and quite the opposite of what I would have been eating at home with my parents who were not big on me having what seemed like "dessert" for breakfast.

I have brought my boys up with the love of breakfast as well. Without them articulating it, I believe it is their most favorite meal of the day also.

Today I adapted this Cooking Light recipe for French Toast Waffles. I use wheat bread for almost everything and always have it on hand, so we substituted the french bread in the recipe. I also eliminated the melted butter. I had started out wanting to make waffle batter from scratch with whole wheat flour and decided this was such a nice short cut! Heat the waffle iron, mix the egg, milk, cinnamon, vanilla. Dip the bread, heat in the waffle iron, and voila!

The powdered sugar, strawberries and 100% maple syrup was just icing on the...toast. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Twist on Pancakes

This should keep me going for a while!
What is it, you ask? Today its a whole wheat pancake, made from scratch (pat, pat). A spread of almond butter and some banana slices. Pretty tasty.

I have also discovered how much nicer my food pics look when I use a program like Instagram. I do not boast photography skills, and I am usually too focused on just getting a picture of what I am eating or cooking to make a nice presentation like a lot of other food blogs too. I really need to be better about that. So for now I will cheat! Photo today is my typical "not thinking" shot. Gotta work on that.

Tonight we are having "date night" and going to sushi with some new friends. Sushi is so pretty. Hope I don't screw it up and can manage to take some photos of our food. 

Happy Saturday! What did you have for breakfast today? What do you have planned this weekend?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Guilty Pleasure: Burrito Baby

Aaah. I call it a burrito baby because its HUGE. As I cradled it in my arms on my way back to my office, it was almost like a preemie. Seriously.

This burrito baby is a guilty pleasure. It is a veggie burrito and they did not hold back on the guacamole or cheese. At least I told them to hold the sour cream and got black beans instead of pinto. And, well, because its HUGE. I know, I said that already.

Not to mention, it  is from Whole Paycheck Foods. I love that place. But things aren't cheap there, and somehow I can never leave getting only what I went in for. Somehow my burrito baby ended up costing almost $20.

My only regret is that I devoured the whole thing and I need a nap.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Stuffed Zucchini!

Yup, our garden is still going off...even though it just got going. Lots of zucchini and I'm getting creative! Stuffed zucchini is my latest and greatest. SO good!! These were made with ground turkey, onions and cheese and some spices of course! I am very excited to try the zucchini enchilada recipe I got from a friend yesterday. And more muffins will be made this week as well.  I am really starting to appreciate how versatile and tasty zucchini is!

Stay smart and delicous my friends!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Transition: Working It Out

The only thing that is constant is change. I don't know who the first person was who said that but man, they weren't kidding. Monkey goes back to school on Thursday. He's going to be in shock, starting at 7:45 and all. The poor kid is going to have to get up at 6:15 am, a full hour earlier than he had to get up for preschool. And for the first time, he'll be going to school every day. I have been trying to put him to bed earlier the last several days, but that's not going so hot. I guess he will eventually self-adjust.

And what about poor Mama? I had been working out and running in the mornings before my kids get up. I have been dedicated for the last several months, but I just don't see myself getting up at 5 am. I will have to work out, get ready for work, get the kids ready for school, drop them off and go straight to work. I shouldn't knock it until I've tried it but I have never been much of  morning person and that just seems like it would be pushing it. Just a little.

I am also contemplating going to work in walking clothes, doing a power walk for 30 minutes around my office complex and changing before I head into work. There is also an onsite gym but I don't know if I will have time to get a decent work out, shower and walk into the office before 9am. My 45 minute commute unfortunately eats into any good chunk of time I would have to be productive. bleh. It will be a work in progress, stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Can I Bottle That Energy?

Swimming is his latest obsession!
He's our resident pirate....

He's our organic Farmer....

Future ice hockey player.....

Michael Phelps-in-training....

...a really good eater, too, after all the sports!

Now he's asking to play soccer too, and not in place of anything.  My Monkey barely turned 5, and is starting kindergarten next week.He doesn't even know what he would be getting himself into and we don't want him to bite off more than he can chew. He has SO much energy. Where does he get it? I am pretty active, but usually after all my activities I am pretty beat. This kid will go to his aquatics team work out and not even take a nap afterward. And, I have to put a big effort out to get him in bed and to sleep every night.

We are not signing him up for soccer, and we are actually cutting his swimming back from 4x/week to 2x/week once school starts. He will still go to his pre-alpha hockey class once a week on Saturday. He is going to a karate "buddy" day with a neighbor next week to check it out. I am totally happy that he has interests, and stays active and away from video games. He does looove TV though, but there will not be much time for that once school starts. I swear, if only I had half his energy!

How do you manage your child's activities with school and make sure they get enough rest? What guidelines do you set during the school year to make sure you aren't too much of a taxi and your child can get their homework done?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Leftovers Never Tasted So Good

Today for lunch I whipped together this baby:

Not as boring as it looks. Read on.
I spread a bit of red pepper hummus onto a whole wheat wrap. I cut up pieces of leftover bbq chicken from dinner last night, and added a couple big spoonfuls of my roasted zucchini, tomato and onion concoction I've been eating a lot for dinner lately, added a little salt and pepper and rolled it up. YUM.

This is what's hiding inside
What interesting things have you thrown together with left overs?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Healthy(er) Zucchini Muffins

 What on earth do you do when the zucchini you planted in your garden starts going off? I was faced with this dilemma, but have managed to keep myself pretty busy in the kitchen, with simple recipes that taste great and make me feel good about participating in growing my own food.

I never buy commercially produced muffins because I have seen the crazy fat/sugar/calorie content in them and also never trust what preservatives may be lurking inside. Bakeries are fun, but since their success depends on their stuff tasting over-the-top good, you know they are not skimping  on the sugar or fat either. So I had some fun making my own and shared them with my family and co-workers. I substituted some of the traditional ingredients for healthier ones and was pleased with my results. Especially when my kids gobbled them up and asked me to make them again when they were gone!

Maybe just a little too enthusiastic about this muffin

Zucchini Nut Muffins
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon - I looove cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw)
1/2 cup applesauce - no sugar added
 2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup finely shredded zucchini
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place 12 paper baking cups in a regular size muffin tin. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, nutmeg and cinnamon in a large bowl. Set aside.

Place egg, sugar, oil, zucchini and vanilla in a medium bowl. Mix well. Add to flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Stir in nuts and spoon batter into muffin cups.

Bake approximately18 to 22 minutes. Muffins should be slightly browned. Insert a toothpick into the center and make sure it comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature, and enjoy!

Makes 12 muffins. If you have more zucchini than you know what to do with, double the recipe and share with others! I did!

**I used whole wheat flour in place of all purpose white flour. Applesauce was added for moisture so you can use less oil. Turbinado sugar was used in place of granulated white. 

My kids weren't too excited about eating zucchini, until they saw that it was in the form of what looked like a cupcake. Whatever works.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Missing the Boat: Our Latent Garden

I can't believe that I am simultaneously doing back-to-school shopping and reaping the first rewards of our garden that we planted almost 4 months ago!

Green Goodness!

I'm not really complaining, I am super excited about our garden, but it's AUGUST. So far, we have had a few ripe roma tomatoes, which my tomato-loving Monkey has quickly devoured, and some enormous zucchini that we dicovered hiding under the  leaves of the huge plant (man that sucker took over everything), a few green beans and a couple carrots which are still pretty tiny.

Zucchini Monster

The tomato plants are on the verge of exploding. The roma tomato and cherry tomato plants are full of fruit, they just haven't ripened yet. We are waiting for the carrots to grow, as well as the onions and have sort of given up on our eggplant which never quite seemed to take off (insert frownie face here).

We're almost there!
Tons of Tomatoes!

He said, "Yeah, baby!"

Earlier this week I charmed my family and co-workers with zucchini muffins.  I have also enjoyed the zucchini at dinner time, intended as a side dish which actually turned out to be a main dish another time, in such a simple, healthy and tasty recipe. Monkey has eaten several green beans as a snack, washed and right off the plant. We are chomping at the bit for this garden to take off, dammit!

Crunchy, snappy snacks

Healthier, whole-wheat flour, less sugar muffins

Roasted Zucchini and Tomatoes over Kamut Spirals

It's been slow growing, probably due to the weirdness of the weather this spring, but we can only hope it means we'll be enjoying these vegetables well past October!

Did you plant a garden? How did it grow this summer with the weird weather?