A Little Light Reading…

Hey all!

I have been so busy the last few weeks that my many magazine subscriptions have been piling up. I haven’t even started to read Real Simple or Cooking Light – both of which I usually tear into as soon as they arrive.

So, can you guess what I’m going to do now until bedtime? That’s right – time for a little light reading 🙂

BTW – I’m going on a surprise outing tomorrow – check back tomorrow evening to find out where I went!

See you all tomorrow!

Carrot Farming

Today was my second-to-last Friday off from work (next week is the final Friday). For nearly 3 years, I have had the majority of Fridays off, and working 35-40 hours a week in 4 days. All good things must come to an end. Even though I was technically off from work, I felt like I worked the ENTIRE day! I have been going non-stop from 5:30 AM until now, and that’s after going to bed at 11:30PM! Sometimes, I just don’t know how I do it.

If you’ve been following me for the last few months, you will know that at the end of May/beginning of June, Scott and I planted a vegetable garden. We’ve had an abundance of tomatoes, cucumbers, and green peppers – pretty standard garden items. But what I’ve really been waiting for are my carrots. Unlike the tomatoes, cucs, and green peppers which were planted from seedlings, I planted the carrots from seeds. On the packet, it said it would take about 90 days to grow. The carrots would be ready to pick when you could see about 1 inch of the orange carrot top. The carrot sprouts (the green parts) have been flourishing for over a month, but no sign of orange – until a few days ago. I finally saw about 1/2 inch of orange sticking out of the ground and was so excited I called Scott and the kids out to see it. This was no false alarm either – like the other time I thought I saw orange, only to discover it was an orange leaf.

I hesitated to pick it for a couple of days, knowing it could probably stand another week in the ground. But, after a particularly rough day and work, I felt like pulling the head off of something, so it may just as well be a carrot. So, I gave a good yank and out popped the 4-5 inch carrot. Even though the carrot was on the small side, I still felt a huge sense of accomplishment knowing that something that started from a seed grew into a full-fledged, edible vegetable. I don’t know anyone who has ever grown a carrot in their own backyard, let along from a seed. I was so proud of myself, for a quick second I thought about quitting my job and becoming a farmer. I mean when you think about it, many times I work longer hours than farmers. And beside, I love farmer’s markets. Hmm…maybe not. I don’t really have the patience  – hence the short carrot – and I’m not very good with farm machinery.

After taking about a zillion pictures of my pride and joy, I peeled it and sliced it up. It was much lighter in color than the carrots you buy from the store and not as sweet, but still very good. Right now, I have about 15 other green carrot “stalks” that have yet to poke their orange heads out of the ground. Ahh, I can just smell the cream of carrot soup in the air. Ok, I have to stop thinking about it.

I don’t know how farmers do it. Patience, please, patience.

HLS Swag Bag Winners!

Hello All!

Thank you all so much for entering my Healthy Living Summit Swag Bag Giveaway! I don’t want to keep you waiting any longer so here you go—

And the winners are (via random number generator online):

  • Jenna Z Posted August 16, 2010 at 12:13 pm | I am a Quaker ADDICT! I LOVE oatmeal, in bowl, bar, cookie, ANY form! Once for vacation we stayed at Quaker Square Inn, where the hotel rooms are INSIDE the grain silo at the former Quaker factory. And they have an oatmeal bar everyday for breakfast!   AND
  • Krista B. Posted August 19, 2010 at 12:47 am | Hi Jennifer! This is actually my first post on your blog. I discovered you a few weeks ago and have been reading it ever since. I don’t consider myself to be an avid runner – yet. Like you, I enjoy staying in shape but LOVE food! Your blog has become an inspiration to me. 
My personal favorite of the products would be the Stoneyfield Yogurt.
Especially when I top it with mixed berries and Kashi granola! Yum!
I’m looking forward to reading more! 
~ Krista

Jenna and Krista, please email me your mailing addresses at jennifer at runningwithcake.com so I can send you your swag!

Stay tuned for another awesome giveaway next week!

Everything In Moderation, Including Chips

Have I ever told you how much I love chips? I don’t mean just love , I mean LOVE!!!! Hi, my name is Jennifer and I’m a chipaholic. And this isn’t a new love affair for me either. I’ve loved chips for as long as I can remember. I know what you’re thinking – I’m supposed to write about how to live a healthy lifestyle – and chips are bad, aren’t they? Well, it’s true that chips have little nutritional value – aside from standard carbs, fat, and calories that our body needs. However, my feeling is that no food should be bad or good. Eat any food that you like, as long as you eat it in moderation and balance it with a variety of foods from all of the food groups. So, I can absolutely have my chips as long as I balance them with vegetables, fruit, etc.

In the last few years, Scott and I have been trying to eat foods in their most natural state – even chips. About 5 years ago, we were determined to find chips that had the fewest ingredients and ingredients we recognized. We settled on Cape Cod chips for the simple reasons that they tasted good and only had 3 ingredients – salt, oil, and potatoes. For years, Cape Cod chips were the ONLY chips we would eat, but we have since broadened our horizons.

Last week, when I attended the Frito Lay tour, I learned that Lay’s signature chips – the plain potato chips – have only 3 ingredients – oil, salt, and potatoes. Shocking! I mentioned this to Scott over the phone who believed the ingredients, but was skeptical about the taste. But something must have peaked his interest along the way because he went out and bought 2 bags of Lay’s reduced fat all-natural potato chips made with sea salt. Tonight, while eating them with our turkey burgers and carrots, he said, “these taste better than Cape Cod, I don’t know why”. I admit, I felt the same way. Sorry Cape Cod, there’s a new chip in town.

Anyway, after the Frito Lay tour, I begged and pleaded with the Frito Lay girls to give me a shirt, but alas, they had no more. Fortunately, they found a extra shirt back at the office and mailed it to me. Thank you!! It arrived today and I couldn’t wait to put it on. The shirt actually has a dual meaning for me. Not only did I want the shirt because I love chips, but I’m also an alum of Central Michigan University, home of the Chippewas – or the “Chips” as we would call them.

And, as they say at CMU – Go, Fire Up, Chips! Have a great night everyone.

Get Out of Shape in Just Three Weeks

Have you ever taken a vacation from running or working out? For the most part, I have not. Aside from a three-week hiatus from running due to surgery, I have not taken more than 3 days off in a row.

Some people see this as dedication while others just think I’m crazy or borderline obsessed. What do I think? I think I’m worried about getting out of shape because I spent so many years getting into shape and maintaining it. I remember the three-week hiatus – it was sooo hard to start running again after that. Granted, I just had surgery three weeks before, but still, it was one of the biggest hurdles I’ve had to overcome in relation to exercise. And rightly so.

Experts say that after two weeks of not exercising you may lose a little of your fitness level, but should be able to bounce back fairly quickly. However, an exercise gap of longer than 2 weeks can cause your fitness level to drop even further, making it much harder to get back to your original fitness level. Yet, experts also say that those individuals who already have a fitness base (those who have been in good shape prior to the exercise gap) are much better off than those who have never really exercised.

My three-week running gap did affect my overall fitness, weight, and toning. I felt out of shape and just breathing during exercise was a challenge. But, I stuck with it knowing that I was in great shape before and that with hard work, I could get there again. Sure enough, after a slow start, followed by incremental increases in running, I was able to get back to my original running distance and pace in 3-4 weeks. It was tough, yes, but so worth it in the end.

If you are contemplating an exercise hiatus for more than 2 weeks, remember that the more time you take off the harder it will be to come back.

Fitbloggin 2011 Here I Come!

Hello All! It has only been one day since the Healthy Living Summit and I am already having signs of withdrawal! Why can’t people at work take pictures of their food too?

So what does a blogger do when she has the post-blogging conference blues? She signs up for another conference! And that’s exactly what I did! I am officially attending FitBloggin 2011 in Baltimore in May and can’t wait!

I’m so excited that FitBloggin 2011 will be in May next year! Last year it was in March, but luckily, Baltimore was experiencing freakishly warm weather – 75-80 degrees the whole weekend! I’m so hoping for a weather repeat next year. I am especially looking forward to staying at the hotel – it’s in an awesome location right by the harbor. Plus, the location is a prime spot for running and site-seeing at the same time.

As you may remember from FitBloggin 2010, Scott and I had a little too much fun taking in the sites and exploring all of the food options Baltimore has to offer. As you can see from the Fitbloggin 2010 photo above, I was not shy about having my mango smoothie and drinking it too! See my previous post about the FitBloggin conference for a recap. And remember to follow @Fitbloggin on Twitter for more deets.

So, anyone else going to Fitbloggin 2011 and want to meet up?

“Taste of HLS” and Swag Bag Giveaway

As you all know, I’ve been at the Healthy Living Summit in downtown Chicago for the last 2 ½ days. As many of you know, Chicago hosts the “Taste of Chicago” every year in June/July. It’s essentially a HUGE taste festival of the many restaurants in the Chicago area. Seeing as I’m from Chicago, I thought I would offer you a “Taste of HLS” – a short recap of all of the things I experience and “tasted” at the conference. In just 2 1/2 days, I managed to:

1) Take a tour of Frito Lay in Beloit, WI, with about 25 HLS attendees, including Pickley Pear. Frito Lay products are awesome and healthy!
2) Hug Chester Cheetah – I know you’re jealous!;

3) Attend a swanky cocktail reception hosted by OpenSky where I took some crazy pics in the photo booth with Fervent Foodie and Training To Live;

4) Take an early AM walk with some wonderful women around Chicago’s “Bean” and even caught a glimpse of morning tai chi! Thank you to A Girl and Her Mutt for arranging! Sadly, I am the one taking the picture so I’m not in it 🙁

5) Enjoy a wonderful breakfast by Quaker Oats and Stoneyfield yogurt. 6) Listen to some amazing sessions about nutrition for athletes, food photography, and time management;

7) Have a fantastic lunch provided by Arnold and Oroweat breads;

8) Actively participate in a kick-ass flow yoga session (my head is still spinning from trying to keep up!);

9) Munch on some super yummy Athenos products – OMG, everything is betta with feta – seriously, it is!;

10) Get a little too friendly with some salad that ended up on my head. Thanks Chiaseedme!;

11) Go on a very cool 3-hour tour by Tastebud Tours sponsored by Arnold and Oroweat – Lynn, you rock! The tour included stops at the Bergoff and the Billy Goat Tavern (Cheezborger, Cheezborger, Cheezborger, no fries, Cheezborger);

12) Run a fairly decent 10K on Sunday AM along the lake shore; 13) enjoy an outstanding farewell brunch by Thomas’ bagel thins where we were encouraged to make a new cream cheese creation. I made a walnut, pineapple, and raspberry mix – fantastic!

14) And, last but not least, say goodbye to some fabulous bloggers – I hope I will all of you again next year!

Thank you to all the sponsors and especially to the HLS planning committee for all of your hard work in making this a conference of epic proportion.

Now, for all of you non-attendees…The Healthy Living Summit Swag Bag Giveaway!

Before, during, and even immediately after the event I read about so many of you who wanted to come but could not due to work, school, finances, etc. I hope that you can all attend next year because this conference was truly worth the money.

And for all of you who could not make it to the Healthy Living Summit this year, you have a chance to experience a little piece of HLS via Running With Cake! As you probably heard, HLS attendees received some very hefty swag bags thanks to the many sponsors and the HLS planning committee. There’s no way I’m going to use all of my swag so I’m giving some of my goodies away to you!

That’s right – I’m giving away two HLS goodie packs to two fortunate readers. Here are some of the items that will be divided between the bags:

  1. A reusable grocery/gym bag by Frito Lay or Oroweat
  2. Oroweat travel coffee mug
  3. $4 and $1 coupons for Arnold/Oroweat products
  4. $10 giftcard to subway (only one of these, sorry!)
  5. Free Stoneyfield yogurt coupon
  6. Frioto Lay Chips
  7. Quaker Granola Bar
  8. Free Attune food coupon
  9. Oh Nuts! cashews or peanuts
  10. Arnold and Oroweat recipe cards and measuring spoon
  11. A surprise gift from me!

How to enter:

  • Leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite product/brand is from the ones I mentioned above. OR…
  • Tweet/Retweet this post over Twitter

Do either of those things by 9 PM Eastern on Thursday, August 19, and you will be automatically entered. I will then randomly select the two winners and let you all know who won!

Sound fun? OK, let’s go!

HLS: Aim for Being Healthy, Not Skinny

Hey all!

I’m live blogging from the Healthy Living Summit ! Only have time for a quick update because my computer battery is quickly wasting away.

This morning, I met a bunch of HLS women for a walk before breakfast. We headed across the street to Buckingham Fountain then onto the Bean!

Breakfast was a small bowl of Quaker Oats – gotta have my oats! I’m then attended an awesome session about nutrition for athletes, which also reinforced the need to aim for being healthy rather than skinny!

See you all later (or tomorrow, depending on Internet connection) for a full recap!

Me and Chester Cheetah

I’m officially at the Healthy Living Summit! I arrived in downtown Chicago around 8:30am yesterday and made the huge mistake of walking to the hotel in sweltering heat while rolling my 50 pound bag. I was a complete sweaty mess by the time I arrived.

Because the room wasn’t ready, I had to change out of my sweaty shirt in the lobby bathroom! I then headed off to the Frito Lay tour in Beloit, WI.

After a 2.5 hour bus ride, we finally arrived in Beloit. We listened to a short and very interesting presentation about the history and practices of the plant followed by a can and healthy lunch of wraps, salads, and fruit. This left me wondering, what about the chips? How can we be served lunch at Frito Lay and not have chips? Well, no sooner did I wonder than the chips were pulled out from under a surprise curtain! Plus, a variety of dips arrived just moments later.

Then, it was on to the tour. In small groups, we learned all about the process of turning potatoes into chips and corn into corn chips. What amazed me most about Frito Lay Was how much attention they put on health and quality. Seriously, many of there chip products only have 3 ingredients- corn or potatoes, salt, and oil – that’s it! So simple (which, by the way, is their goal, to make their products with the simplest ingredients) and yet solo good.

My favorite part of the tour was sampling the hot doritos fresh off the line! Of course, hugging Chester Cheetah wasn’t bad either. Plus, check out the swag bags!

Stay tuned for more conference deets!

A Visit From The UPS Man…

Only one more day of work until the Healthy Living Summit! Yeah! I took the afternoon off from work to run some errands and to get some last minute sun by the pool – he he! It was so relaxing laying by the pool and following everyone’s HLS comments on Twitter – HLS bloggers are awesome!

While laying by the pool, I heard a familiar noise at the front of the house – the screeching/halting of large tires and the grrrr of a large engine. Who could it be but the UPS man! I’ve never been so happy to see Brown! And what did my Santa in brown shorts bring me? My Anthropologie top for Saturday’s dinner at Mercadito (can’t wait to meet Rhodeygirltests and Fervent Foodie!) and my RWC t-shirt.

I was so excited to receive the packages that I ripped them open like a child on Christmas morning. Unfortunately, my RWC tee did not turn out exactly how I had ordered. Thankfully, Cafe Press addressed the issue and is sending me another one – directly to my hotel on Friday – free of charge! Now that’s service! As of now, this (or a similar one) is the shirt I will be wearing to the sessions on Saturday – hopefully, you can pick me out from the crowd!

And on the subject of clothes, here’s what I will be wearing…

  • Friday Frito Lay Tour – yoga pants and t-shirt
  • Friday night OpenSky reception – cocktail dress
  • Saturday sessions – capri yoga pants and RWC t-shirt
  • Saturday Arnold Tour, Mercadito Dinner, Drinks/Dancing – Capris and a fun Anthropologie top
  • Sunday run and breakfast – Lucy running skirt and fitted running shirt

All outfits are subject to change based on weather, mood, and if I spill the odd drink on myself! Ok ladies, must get packing, then it’s off to bed to rest up for my 6-mile run in the AM. Safe travels DawnPickley Pear and everyone else attending HLS!

Night all 🙂