Lazy Friday

Running With Cake Fact: I’ve run in 23 of the 50 United States, as well as Washington, DC.

Hello All! I’ve had such a full day already and it’s not even 2 PM. Friday is my typical day off so I slept in just a tad (6:45 AM but I usually get up before 6!) and was out the door running shortly thereafter. I love my Friday runs. It’s so nice running at whatever pace I want, knowing that I don’t have to rush to get to work. I decided to do an easy 4 miles, and save my longer run for Sunday. 

I forgot to eat my 1/2 powerbar before running so by the time I came back, I was crazy hungry. That’s what I get for eating cereal for dinner the night before a run! So, what did this famished girl have for breakfast….

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You guessed it! More cereal…well it was actually a mixture of 2 cereals and 1 granola. I mixed 1/2 cup of Kashi Go Lean Crunch with 1/2 Kashi Go Lean (both are super high in fiber) and then added 1/2 cup of Cascadian Farm dark chocolate almond granola – a perfect cereal trifecta if you will. But, I seriously think my eyes were bigger than my stomach because the bowl of cereal ended up being HUGE! And, I ate it all! But, I am happy to say that this big bowl of cereal kept me satisfied all the way to lunch.

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After a little breakie, I packed up my things and headed to Target. It was just a regular Target – not a superstore or anything. But, I was amazed and happy to find that LUNA bars were on sale for $1.00! I promptly snagged three…

9.18 LUNA bars

Out of all of the powerbars I’ve been eating lately, so far LUNA is the best. And, I love that they have extra vitamins/nutrients specifically for women. 

After my Target run, I scooted over to the local Italian cafe to pick up a carry-out lunch…

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..a cup of minestrone soup and a 1/2 veggie panini. I usually get the veggie pizza when I go to this cafe, but I was in the mood for a sandwich. This was my first time eating the veggie panini and it was fantastic! It had spinach, red peppers, tomato, onion, provolone, goat cheese, and sun-dried tomato pesto. I’m glad that it was only a 1/2 because I don’t think I could have eaten a whole.

Now, I think it’s time for a little break. The book I started reading last night – Improper English – is ok so far. The heroine is actually a tad too crass for me. I can’t believe that a girl would actually be saying some of these things, but it’s fiction, right? Anyway, I’m off to read a little more.

Have a great afternoon!

Dinner Cereal with a Side of Chic-Lit

Hello everyone! I’m feeling so much better than I was earlier today. I’ve decided I’m not going to let a few sour apples spoil my work endeavors!

Even though I only had one piece of not-so-good pizza and a little salad for lunch, I just wasn’t hungry for dinner. I came home around 6:30 PM, cleaned up a bit and then debated on dinner. I knew I needed to eat something. Then, I remembered my special delivery from a few days ago…

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My new Kashi Heart to Heart cereal finally arrived! This was a single serving size box – even though it looks full size. It was just perfect for a light dinner, but still full of nutrients. The cereal has 130 calories per serving and 4 g of fiber. Plus, it has little clusters of blueberries!

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I added raspberries to mine to give my cereal a little more kick, but you can clearly see the blueberry cluster right up front. Holy yum this cereal was fantastic! The blueberries even made my milk turn blue! I would definitely buy this cereal – even when it was not on sale – he he! I just wish it had more fiber like their other cereals.

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If you want to try a box of Kashi’s new cereals, just go to the Kashi Web site to sign up for your free sample. How fun is that? Kashi has SO many awesome cereal products that it’s hard to choose just one. But I know I’m preaching to the choir on that one!

QuestionHow do all of you feel about cereal for dinner? I don’t eat cereal for dinner very often, only when I’m not hungry or there’s absolutely nothing else in the house.

After my very long and tiring day I am really ready to curl up with a good book. Aside from Harry Potter re-reads, I haven’t read a book for fun in sooo long! I used to be really into the Shopaholic books, but stopped after the first chapter of the Sister book. Now, I’m psyched to read….

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It’s another book set in England, but this time with an American heroine. I just love books set in Britain, especially when there’s a young British heroine. I mean, who didn’t love Bridget Jone’s Diary?  I also plan to have a little snack while reading my new Brit Chic-Lit…

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I decided that a new fun book needed a fun book snack – enter…100-calorie microwave popcorn!

Ok, enough chatter. Must get reading before I end up falling asleep! 

Night everyone.

There is such a thing as bad pizza..

Hello All,

My training course today went ok. It was delivered very nicely by my team. Now, how it was received is another story. It’s very disheartening when you put so much effort into a presentation or program and then someone in the front row is texting the whole time. Not cool in my book. You could at least fake that you are somewhat interested. 

Anyway, for breakfast, I tried my new Cascadian Farm organic dark chocolate almond granola…

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Oh my, this was GOOD! I think I could actually get my husband to eat it. He even commented when he saw the box, “hmm, dark chocolate almond granola… I could go for some of that!” He doesn’t usually eat granola, so, that’s really telling you something.

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I really like this granola – reminded me a lot of my own homemade granola, although I don’t include chocolate in mine. I added it to a bowl of Trader Joe’s vanilla nonfat Greek yogurt and it stayed crunchy the whole time. And, it was yummy!

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I only added 1/4 cup of the granola to the yogurt (only about 70 calories) but I wish I would have added more! The only negative is that I wish there were more chocolate pieces in my box. I shook it around a bit and really didn’t see much chocolate in it.

Between preparing for and actually delivering today’s training session, I was busy from about 9 AM – 1:30 PM, then I had a meeting from 1:30-2:30 PM. Thankfully, the training included a pizza lunch. However, by the time I actually got around to eating the pizza, it was soggy. Oh my, two soggy pizzas in one week = a really bad week!!!

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The photo of the pizza actually looked BETTER than it tasted, if you can believe that. This was really proof that you can have bad pizza, no matter what people tell me.

Alright, I’m wrapping up and hoping to get out of here soon. See you all tonight!

A Bit of A Power Bar Snob

So much for leaving at 4:30 PM like I had planned. I didn’t leave work until 5:45 PM and didn’t get home until nearly 6:30 PM. But, on the bright side, I did get a LOT done. It is really crunch time for me now (and for the next 5 weeks) so every hour of every day counts.

When I finally arrived home from work, I was just aching for something tasty. Well, I got my wish! My husband and made one of my favorite meals – linguini with homemade meat sauce!

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I was so hungry that I actually had two servings (although they were small!).

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Italian dinners like these always seem so comforting and just make your day seem so much better. 

Aside from my fabulously yummy dinner, I had another surprise waiting for me at home – a full box of goodies from Cascadian Farm, makers of over 75 organic food products. This company has actually been around longer than I’ve been alive! I only just recently noticed their cereal products in the store, but never bought them because I hadn’t heard anything about them.

Well, the very nice folks at CF sent me several of their products to try, including their version raisin bran cereal, two kinds of granola, and two types of high fiber granola bars. That was great news to me because I have really been into fiber these days after reading the Full Plate Diet.

So after dinner, I tried one of the granola bars – the fiber right dark chocolate almond bar to be exact.

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Doesn’t that description and flavor combination sound yummy? Well, when I tore open the bar I was pleasantly surprised to find that the bar was drizzled with dark chocolate which, by the way, had a very good taste – not too “organic”. The granola part of the bar was good, but nothing extraordinary. But, I’m very hard to please when it comes to granola/power bars. I’m a bit of a power bar snob I guess, and I haven’t had much luck with them lately.

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As a whole, I thought this bar was definitely better than all three Odwalla bars I tried last week, but not as tasty as the LUNA bar. I would absolutely have this bar again, if not for the yummy chocolate drizzle, then for the 5 g of fiber (and only 130 calories) that this bar has!

Can’t wait to try the Dark Chocolate Almond Granola for breakfast! 

I’m off to bed. I have the first of three staff training sessions tomorrow and I’m leading all of them! So, wish me luck!

Just one of those days….

Running With Cake Fact….I’ve run in 8 countries, not including the United States.

Well, it’s just one of those days. You know, when you’re so tired that you just want to go home and crash. I worked until 11:30 PM last night on “office” related-projects and then didn’t fall asleep until after midnight. And, I spent 2 1/2 hours in a work meeting this morning, to which I was very actively involved, regarding the new staff training that is occurring tomorrow. Blah!

When 1 PM rolled around, I was feeling very weak, and rightly so considering I had only eaten a nectarine since I woke up…

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It was very sweet and juicy, but still not enough to get me through 6 hours!  So, after my grueling morning, I decided to treat myself to lunch.

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I had the most delicious chicken and wild rice soup EVER from the local Italian restaurant near work. It was incredibly rich and creamy and had the best flavor! I wish I could recreate this soup at home. If anyone has a great recipe for chicken and wild rice soup, please don’t hold back!

Gotta run now. I’m trying to get out of here by 4:30 so I can enjoy at least some of this gorgeous day!

See you all tonight!

Why Don't I Eat Belgian Chocolate More Often?

Evening everyone!

My cough/cold is in full swing. I sound like I have a smoker’s cough and I haven’t smoked a day in my life! I would take something, but research shows cough meds don’t work. Guess it’s just tea with lemon and honey for me tonight.

This afternoon went by really fast again. I looked up at the clock and it said 1:15 PM and I still hadn’t eaten lunch. So, I heated up my leftover veggie pizza in the office toaster oven. I was hoping the pizza would be – well…toasty, but it turned out soggy. I hate soggy pizza! I thought only microwaves turned leftover pizza soggy.

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Because that was the only thing I brought for lunch, I threw some parmesan cheese on it, hoping to make it less soggy, and ate it. It wasn’t as bad as I thought.

The afternoon flew by and around 4 PM I broke for a quick yogurt snack..

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I had a small cup of Trader Joe’s nonfat pomegranate Greek yogurt. I added a few chopped nuts on top for extra MUFA and extra crunch.

My commute was longer than usual. So, it was nearly 55 minutes of me sitting in the car  – alone with the little treats that my friend brought me from Europe. I didn’t have ANY in the car. But immediately when I came home, I tried one of the Belgian chocolates…

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See the building on the chocolate? That is the belfry from the most notable building in Bruges, a little medieval city in Belgium. It was so cute, I almost didn’t want to eat it. But, of course, I DID. And, it tasted so good! I thought it would be just a solid piece of chocolate but it had truffle filling with a few nuts. Amazing! Then I started thinking…why don’t I eat Belgian chocolates more often? It’s supposed to be one of the best chocolates in the world and who am I to argue with that legacy?

Scott is at class tonight so I made a 1/2 PB&J sandwich on 12-grain Brownberry bread. I was honestly thinking about peanut butter and jelly the whole way home. I had a choice of several other things for dinner, but I stuck with my craving.

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I also had a few watermelon chunks and low-fat Cape Cod potato chips. Not too big, not too small – just right.

Since I already had my chocolate, truffled-filled dessert, I’m set for the night.

It’s my day off for running tomorrow – woo hoo! That means I get to sleep in a little. I’m glad too because I actually have to do more work tonight!

Signing off now – good night Gracie!

A Tale of Two Kashi's

Morning everyone! Just when I thought I was over my cold, I went to bed stuffy and woke up stuffy once more. I guess it really is cold and flu season. I didn’t let a stuffy head keep me from running though. Although, I was out the door later than I had planned – 6:30 AM. Yikes! That’s late for me for a weekday run. I could only do a fast 4-miler because I was pressed for time.

For breakfast, I decided to NOT eat a full bowl of the really high fiber Kashi (10 g). It was probably a little too much on my system yesterday. So, I opted for a cereal mixture – two Kashi cereals – Go Lean and Original – both high in protein and fiber. After all, what’s better than a bowl of Kashi cereal? A bowl of two Kashi’s mixed together!

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Although I’m sure Scott would disagree. My husband has “issues” with mixing things. He can’t mix noodles (Rotini with elbow? God forbid!), cereal, or other foodstuffs. But, I have no problem mixing and matching, especially with cereal. And, that goes double for two awesome Kashi cereals! In addition to cereal, I had a shot of wellness from Zola and a small bowl of watermelon juicy and sweet watermelon chunks…

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Ohh..so good! 

I didn’t get to work until nearly 9:30!! Oh my, that is so late for me – I wonder if anyone noticed me slinking in so late?? But, when I arrived at my desk, I was delighted to find a bunch of little surprises all over my desk. A girlfriend of mine from work has been in Europe for two weeks and brought back a ton of little mementos for me (not tchotchkes Holly – this stuff I can actually use!). If you want to see all of my great Euro loot, check out my alter-ego post Bistro Chic on Thursday. I’m going to give a full report there.

Have to get some work done. See you all tonight!

How Should Bloggers Reject a Free Sample?

Hey all. I am really ready to crash right now. It was very challenging for me to concentrate all day with only five hours of sleep.

For lunch, I brought the last of my homemade turkey chili

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You probably can’t tell, but it has baby spinach in it. I love that you can put baby spinach in just about anything and have it blend so much that you don’t notice you’re eating it.

After lunch, I stepped outside for a 20 minute walk to wake me up. It was 85 degrees and sunny here today so the walk was quite warm. But, it was also well worth it. I love these last days of summer. The afternoon went by very fast, although I felt extremely tired around 3 PM so I popped open a diet coke. Ah…a cold diet coke on a hot day – love it!

I arrived home around 6 PM and was pretty beat. But, I still managed to pull off a fab dinner – a creation of my very own I am proud to say…

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I made, what has become, my signature dish. It’s my Italian sausage-pasta dish with tri-color peppers and leeks. This is such an awesome one pot recipe and it really makes a lot more than you think so it’s great for leftovers. For all of you vegetarians out there, you could probably substitute tofu or portobello for the sausage – just a thought.

After dinner, I scooted off to the library to return some books, then it was off to Party City to get a few supplies for my first staff training program I’m implementing on Thursday this week. Then, I headed to the local dairy/ice cream store for Scott. He loves mint chocolate chip ice cream and had a special request for it tonight.

I decided to save money and just eat the leftover Breyers vanilla bean ice cream at home. But, I added a few extras – like dark chocolate chips and watermelon, for all of those antioxidants you know!

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Question of the Day

Ok, now for the question of the day, what do you do when you keep getting emails from a company that is trying to give you a sample of a product you absolutely loathe? There is a company that is trying to send me samples of cigarette pack decals/decorations, I assume to make them trendy. But, I am against smoking in every way. Do I not answer their emails? Do I politely say no thank you, or do I really tell them that I think their product disgusts me? At the very least, they really need to get a better PR firm because they obviously did not check to see what I write about – health and wellness. And, since when do cigarettes promote health and wellness?

Ok, enough griping. I’m off to bed. Have a great night!

Running with the Foxes

Well ladies, I don’t know about you, but I am really dragging this morning. I didn’t get to bed until after midnight (racing thoughts about the work week) and then managed to wake up at 5 AM and couldn’t go back to sleep! Don’t you hate when that happens? Especially at the start of the work week.

Oh well, the world keeps spinning, and somehow I keep running. I finally got out of bed around 5:45 after spending 45 minutes of wishing myself back to sleep to no avail. Many experts will say that it is better to sacrifice a workout for more sleep and I am all for that! But, what happens when you can’t sleep? Well, those who can’t sleep go for a run! 

I was out the door a little after 6 AM. It was barely light outside and it was very quiet. It’s that time of year when it’s getting darker earlier at night and staying dark later in the morning. This makes running in the wee hours a little challenging. I don’t like running in the dark by myself. Aside from crazy human predators that plague our society, I also have to worry about coyotes, large fox, and skunks. I don’t live in the sticks by any means, but my area is a very wooded area. I’m also adjacent to a golf course so we get all sorts of critters scurrying around. Even this morning, I caught a glimpse of something low to the ground, moving in the shadows. Could have been a fox or a squirrel, but I did not stick around the find out.

After my fast 4-miler, I headed inside to get ready for work. I decided to throw caution to the wind (and my digestive track) and load up on fiber today. I’ve been reading bits and pieces of the Full Plate Diet, a book scheduled to come out in early 2010 that focuses on filling up with fiber as a way to maintain or lose weight. One of the cereals the book recommends is Kashi high fiber cereal. 

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I always thought high fiber cereal would taste like sticks, but this Kashi cereal is excellent! So for today, I had a full cup of Kashi’s high fiber high protein cereal (10 g. of fiber!!) and a nectarine (2 g of fiber) for a whopping total of 12 g of fiber for breakfast. The National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine recommends that women under 50 get at least 25 g of daily fiber and I’ve already consumer 1/2 of that!

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Along with cereal and fruit, I had a shot of Zola’s Daily Wellness juice – I’m on Day 14 now of my RWC Daily Wellness Challenge!

Now it’s time to actually get some work done. Hope y’all have a great day!

Jen

As American As Shopping and Apple Pie

Good evening everyone. Hope you had a great Sunday! Scott and I did a little house cleaning – OK, I did the cleaning while he made an apple pie – but that definitely counts as work.

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Scott comes from a long line of pie-bakers so I was highly anticipating the first apple pie of the season. Except for the crust, my husband made this pie from scratch – even peeling all of the apples himself. But, at the end, I had the important job of taking the pie out of the oven.

With the pie cooling at home, we headed for lunch at the local Italian eatery.

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I had a cup of minestrone soup and a veggie-goat cheese personal pizza. I was getting full after the soup and two slices of pie (pizza, not apple) so I saved two pieces of pizza for lunch later in the week.

After lunch, we headed to Williams Sonoma so that I could sign up for my first-ever cooking class! It’s not that I don’t know how to cook (although Scott may disagree), but I’ve always wanted to take a culture-specific cooking class. This one, which is next Wednesday, is all about French cooking. So cool! And anyone who reads my other alter-ego blog knows how much I love France and Europe in general.

The rest of the afternoon was full of more shopping with a trip to Barnes and Noble and a highly worthwhile trip to Ann Taylor Loft! They have these new very feminine t-shirts in all different colors. I may or may not have bought the shirt in a few different colors, as well as a few camis.

For dinner, I made homemade chicken soup with orzo soup (see I can cook!).

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The soup was really easy to make, full of flavor, and very low in calories. 

After soup, I got busy making homemade caramel sauce for the apple pie. I’ve made caramel sauce before but just couldn’t find the recipe anywhere. So, I found a simple recipe on the Internet and went to work. Well, the first batch I made burned so bad it turned back into hardened sugar. Not fun. The second batch turn out ok, although I did not let the sugar brown as much as I could have and the color looks more like dulce de leche, rather than caramel. But, it still tasted good over the apple pie…

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So messy, gooey, and yummy – all at the same time! The flavor of the caramel was fantastic! Along with sugar, water, and cream, I also used a very posh vanilla that was sent to me called Nielsen-Massey Mexican Vanilla. Oh my gosh, if you’ve never had high end vanilla, this is so worth it! Nielsen-Massey also sent me several other extracts – coffee, lemon, etc. – which I can’t wait to try this holiday season! FYI – you can get the extracts at Williams Sonoma but they are expensive!

Now, it’s off to bed for me. Monday mornings have been coming very early these days.

Night all!