A Lovely Vacation Day Morning…

Good Morning All (or Good Afternoon for some!) I was up an out of bed early on my vacation day. I would have loved to have slept in but I have so many things that I need to cram in today before I head back to work tomorrow.

Before heading out for my run, I grabbed another Odwalla bar to give me a little extra energy.

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Unlike the one I had yesterday, this Banana Nut bar had a much better flavor. But, even with a better flavor plus 5g of fiber and 4g of protein, I can’t say that I really loved this bar.

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I ate 1/2 the bar and then put the rest in a bag to save for tomorrow. It wasn’t so bad that I would throw it away like yesterday!

Then, I headed out the door for my Tuesday morning run. I had so much energy and was able to run another 40-minute, 5 mile run with no problem. When I arrived home, I downed a bunch of water and had my daily shot of Zola’s juice. This juice shot is really starting to grow on me – not the taste but more because I feel like I have more energy throughout the day. Maybe that’s why my runs have been so good – he he!

The plan for today was to make an apple dessert since we still have 3 1/2 pecks of Gala apples to eat. I made yet another run to the grocery store to pick up a few things for the week and for the apple cake I had planned on making. 

At the store, I also picked up a little breakfast muffin. Ok, it was a HUGE chocolate chip breakfast muffin! But, after all, I am on vacation!

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I only ate half and saved the rest for an after dinner treat. Then it was baking time! Yes – I really DID make a homemade apple cake today. It smells so good baking in the oven right now, and, from what I can tell, it looks like I did everything right! I really hope it turns out well because I don’t have the best track record when I bake brand new desserts.

Now, my husband and I are having a quick lunch before we head to our afternoon movie – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince!

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I made a 1/2 sandwich with sliced deli ham and low-fat salami and a little veggie pasta salad on the side. I didn’t want to eat too much because I want to save room for popcorn!

See you all after the movie – have a great afternoon!

Odwalla Choco-walla Disappoints a Hungry Runner

Happy Labor Day!

A few days ago, I made a quick run to Dominick’s, a grocery store that I had not been to in at least 6 months. Dominick’s is a typical grocery store, although it generally has higher prices than Jewell, the store that I frequent most often. Well, when I walked into Dominick’s I was pleasantly surprised to see that they had completely remodeled the store – it was now a cross between an upper-scale grocery store and Whole Foods. Perfect timing too, considering the backlash that Whole Foods is receiving. They had a ton of great deals too on specialty and health food items. In fact, I was able to buy 5 power bars, each for $1. I don’t normally buy powerbars but have recently been eating them to see if they help with my running performance.

9.5 powerbars

Of the 5 bars, I bought a CLIF bar, a LUNA bar, and 3 different Odwalla bars – one of which I had today. About 30 minutes before my run I tore open my new original flavor Odwalla bar…

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The original version, called the Choco-walla, is made with fruit, whole grains, and chocolate – all the things I love. Plus, it had a good amount of both protein and fiber. Well, it’s too bad I didn’t love this bar. Ok, I didn’t even like this bar. One taste and I knew this bar was not for me – the chocolate tasted chalky and it had another strange taste/flavor that didn’t sit well with me. I made myself eat 1/2 of it then I thew the rest in the trash. Well, that was only $.50 and 110 calories down the drain. But, I still have 2 more Odwalla bars to try, so we’ll see how that goes.

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After a few sips of water, to hydrate and to wash the weird taste out of my mouth, I headed out the door. On Mondays, I usually only do 4 mile runs because I’m pressed for time to get to work. Today, I ran a little over 40 minutes or 5 miles and felt GREAT! I think I might try doing a 7 or 8 miler next weekend.

I was really hungry again today after my run I did a shot of Zola’s Daily Wellness drink and then chowed on a big yogurt bowl…

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I started with a carton of Trader Joe’s vanilla nonfat Greek yogurt and topped that with chopped watermelon, finely chopped Gala apples (fresh picked on Saturday!) and a few walnuts. So filling and yummy!

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I absolutely love watermelon in yogurt and on vanilla ice cream. It’s a great mix of flavors and it gives you added vitamin C and antioxidants in every bite!

We’re headed out to the store now and then onto to the in-laws for a Labor Day dinner. Hope you all have a beautiful, fun, and relaxing Labor Day wherever you are!

Now Playing…Chocolate-Covered Mulberries

Today went by really fast because of all of my morning meetings and the great staff appreciation luncheon. I have to say that I looked a little funny taking pictures of the food – kind of like the wedding photographer who wants to take pictures of every little detail. I’m just glad no one asked me why I was taking the pictures.

The veggie burger I had for lunch kept me extremely full the rest of the afternoon. I wasn’t hungry at all when I arrived home from work at 6:30 PM. But around 7:30 PM I decided to make a little somethin’ somethin’…


I made a half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Funny, I used to hate these when I was a kid, but now I can eat them for a quick meal or snack. I made my sandwich with a dollop of MaraNatha all-natural cream peanut butter…


And then topped that with some Knott’s strawberry preserves. I also had a few (ok, more than a few!) Cape Cod low-fat potato chips on the side.


The sandwich was just enough to make it so I would not go to bed hungry. It’s weird saying that knowing that there are people who go to bed hungry every night. I thought I was done eating for the night, but then I realized there was a surprise package at my door!!! Yeah! The folks at Kopali Organics sent me a sample of one of their superfoods…


Organic, dark chocolate covered – not cherries, not raisins, not cranberries….MULBERRIES! Can you believe it? Who would have ever thought to cover a mulberry with dark chocolate or any chocolate for that matter. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever had a mulberry before. It actually looks like a blackberry but it’s a little sweeter. Mulberries also are packed with all sorts of good nutrients – antioxidants, etc – and have been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce your risk for blood clots and strokes. 

I wasn’t very hungry but I decided to tear open these little babies.


I really loved the taste of the mulberries. It was a nice change from the typical chocolate covered raisin or peanut. I am rather neutral on the taste of the chocolate. Normally, I really like dark chocolate, but this kind just tasted a little different than what I’m used to – not bad, just different. Maybe it’s because it is organic chocolate, which, to my knowledge, I’ve never had. 

Despite it’s health properties, I don’t think this snack is ready to replace raisinets at the theatre anytime soon, but they would make a nice alternative (you’d have to sneak them though – he he!), especially if you’re looking for a snack that’s on the healthier side. In addition to chocolate covered berries, Kopali Organics also has dried fruit and other organic mixes.

Ok, I need to head to bed. I’m finally getting my hair cut tomorrow and I’m so excited!

Small Breakfast Leads to Major Hunger Later

Afternoon everyone! Although today was my rest day for running, I set my alarm with the intent of getting in a quick 2-3 mile run to jump start my day. Well, when 5:30 AM rolled around, I looked at the clock and decided to stay in bed. I think my body is so used to taking a break on Wednesdays that it just expects to have extra rest on those days.

Because I didn’t exert my usual energy this morning, I wasn’t very hungry at ALL. In fact, I even felt full – which was weird because I only had soup and a couple pieces of bread last night for dinner. But, I never skip breakfast (unless I’m sick). That would not be RWC way! Besides, there’s tons of research showing that if you don’t eat breakfast, you are more likely to eat more calories than you normally would throughout the day, which can obviously lead to weight gain.

So, to accommodate my lack of appetite, I made a very small yogurt bowl – because even a light breakfast is better than no breakfast at all.

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My yogurt bowl consisted of 1/2 a carton of Trader Joe’s plain nonfat Greek yogurt. Plain Greek yogurt is NOT my favorite but it was already open so I wanted to use it up. I topped my yogurt with some fresh blueberries and a dollop of MaraNatha all-natural creamy PB. I would love to say that this was a great combination, but for some reason it just didn’t taste right today. It could have been my tastebuds, appetite, or the fact that the yogurt had already been open and sitting in the fridge since Sunday.

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Needless to say, I had a few bites of this and then just tossed it out. But, I did have another shot of Zola’s Daily Wellness drink…

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Hmm, now I’m waiting for that burst of energy to kick in – he he!

Well, eating such a small breakfast caught up with me around 10:30, I was so hungry I was ready to eat just about anything. But, I remembered that I stashed some crackers in my drawer the other day…

8.2 snack

I received these Kashi original 7-grain snack crackers for free and thought they were quite good. The 1 oz bag had a total of 130 calories, 3 g of fat, 2 g. of fiber, and 3 g. of protein. However, it was such as small bag that it only subsided my hunger for a little while. It’s definitely not meant to replace breakfast.

I decided to eat an early lunch at 12:30 PM (usual lunch is at 1 or 1:30) because I was still hungry after my meager breakfast…

8.2 lunch

I put together a nice size taco salad bowl, full of red leaf lettuce, Tillamook Vermont White Cheddar Cheese, a few random tortilla chips, and about 6 oz of turkey taco meat. Oh my, this tasted REALLY good!

Now, I’m headed out for a brisk walk in the sunshine and 75 degree weather.

Have a great afternoon everyone!

RWC Zola Daily Wellness Shot Challenge

Hello everyone! I started my day with another super fast run. I hope my legs – and whole body for that matter – are not cursing me tomorrow morning! After my run, I downed a bunch of water. In the shower, my stomach started really growling, so I made another cereal mix for today’s breakfast…

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I mixed about a cup of Cheerios Multi-grain with 1/2 cup Kashi Go Lean Crunch, and 1/2 cup fresh blueberries. This was just what I needed to refuel after my great run. Not only did I reenergize with cereal, but I also began my personal, Running With Cake Zola Daily Wellness Shot Challenge!

Zola Daily Wellness Shot

As I mentioned before, a few days ago, I received a bunch of Zola juices (all-natural, acai-based products) in the mail. I also received a 32 oz container of Zola Daily Wellness Shot, touted as supporting the immune system and giving you a boost of energy (although the claims/statements have not been evaluated by the FDA).

As an avid runner and yoga lover, it is very important to me to keep my energy levels up and to stay healthy in general. Aside from this, I began to think about how much I depend on caffeine each day, but especially on those days when I’m sleep-deprived. I basically drink caffeinated beverages (tea, coffee, diet coke) to give me a boost of energy and help me from getting drowsy at work. I know this is a mistake, but it’s a vicious cycle. But when the Zola drinks arrived, I figured I would try the daily shot once a day for 30 days to see if it made any difference on my energy level. 

So today is DAY 1 of the Running With Cake Zola Daily Wellness Shot Challenge. In 30 days, I will report back to let you know if this product really lives up to its claims.

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I measured out 1 oz of the thick purple-reddish juice shot and poured it into a glass. I smelled it at first, as I do with all new food products. It smelled a little fruity and slightly citrusy. Then, down the hatch it went. Wow- what a strong flavor! It wasn’t necessarily good or bad, but very strong and somewhat tart. This is definitely not a juice for sipping – maybe that’s why they call it a shot! Of course, after only one shot, it’s hard to tell if it’s had any effect on my immune system, energy level, or anything at all. So, the experiment continues. If you choose to try this at home, be warned that dark color of the juice may stain. I got a little on my fingers in the pouring process and my thumb is still slightly purple after several hand washings. I checked in the mirror to make sure I did not have a purple mustache – thankfully, I did not. My teeth also appeared to be fine, but I’d hate to see it get on my clothes!

After my juice shot, I jetted off to work thinking I was going to arrive on time, but actually arrived just after 9 AM – blah! I had a presentation to give at 9:30 AM so I had to do a fast prep and then off to the meeting for me.

Lunch happened to be leftovers from the other night…

8.1 Lunch

A grilled Italian sausage with a cup of sauteed sweet peppers and tomatoes. Very tasty, but for some reason, I’m STILL hungry! The snack monster is quickly sneaking up on me and I’m trying to resist. Luckily, I brought a bunch of Dr. Kracker mini-flatbreads just in case.

OK, back to work for me. Have a great afternoon!

A Panini Novice Makes Good

Hey Everyone! Sorry for the late post, but I’ve been gone for most of the day. I went to see my brother-in-law compete in the Chicago triathlon, which was awesome! But, I’ll get to that in a minute. 

Before we headed to the city, I did my typical long Sunday run of 6 miles. It was perfect weather for running – really cool and no wind. After my run, I chowed on a protein-packed breakfast because I didn’t know when we would be eating lunch…

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I had a container of Trader Joe’s vanilla Greek yogurt mixed with blueberries, walnuts, and a big dollop of MaraNatha all-natural creamy peanut butter. I wasn’t sure how the pb would taste with blueberries but it was fantastic!

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So creamy and yummy – like peanut butter fluff! I also had a little more of my Zola Energy smoothie…

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After breakfast, we headed downtown for the event. Traffic was really light going downtown and thankfully, parking was a breeze. We met up with my in-laws and my sister-in-law and her three children near the finish line.

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Isn’t this an awesome photo! I am definitely not the triathlete type – I can swim to save my life, but that’s even debatable. But, I saw the finish line and all of the spectators and it so made me want to run a marathon. We only waited about 30 minutes before my brother-in-law came into view. And, while he was running his last 100 yards,  his youngest son ran on the course with him and they jogged hand in hand over the finish line – so cute!

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This is the triathlete’s medal of honor – how cool is that!

After the race, we all chatted for a bit while the kids ran around. I started to get hungry so I munched on a Luna bar I had stashed in my purse.

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This is my first ever LUNA bar and it was pretty tasty, although it had a slight aftertaste.

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I had the peanut butter flavored bar which had 180 calories, 3 g of fiber, and 9 g. of protein. I’m sure this bar would make a great post-run or post-workout snack.

As it turned out, it took over an hour before we actually sat down for lunch at an outdoor cafe in Millenium Park. By this time, I was so hungry that I could have eaten fish – ok, not that hungry.

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I did split a chicken sandwich with my father-in-law. It was good, but not worth the $12 we paid for it. After lunch, we all said our goodbyes and we headed back home. It took about 1 1/2 hours to get home (way longer than it should have) so we stopped at Barnes and Noble for a Starbucks refresher. I had my typical Frap and enjoyed every sip (sorry, no photo!)

For dinner, we decided to use the panini maker that we borrowed from my in-laws. I made a Greek-style panini…


This was my first time making a panini – a panini novice of sorts – so I was not sure how it was going to turn out. I made my panini with red pepper hummus, sauteed red and green bell peppers, spinach, hot peppers, and feta cheese. I topped it with a homemade cucumber-yogurt sauce. It was absolutely outstanding! I actually made the sandwich for Mezzetta’s sandwich contest, so I don’t want to give the recipe away just yet! But you may find it on my other blog – Bistro Chic – pretty soon!

Now, I really need to get to bed. All of this fresh air has made me exhausted. Have a great night everyone!

Almost like "Hot" Yoga

Good morning friends! It’s another unseasonably cool and crisp day outside. I actually had to wear a jacket to yoga this morning. Yoga was fantastic today! The yogini really took her time with the class. She was also very patient when 24 people showed up to a class that is supposed to be maxed at 20. But, in true yoga fashion, we all just picked up our mats and moved as close as we could to one another without getting into each other’s personal space. With the extra bodies in the room, it was VERY hot – almost like bikram yoga, which I am not used to. People were actually sweating, which I almost never see. But we managed.

After yoga, I tried out a new organic health drink that was sent to me in the mail….

Zola Energy Smoothie

The makers of Zola drinks sent me a big box of juices, smoothies, and a juice-shot drink.  The juices and smoothies are made from a Brazilian recipe and contain superfruits like Acai berry. 

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I had an Tropical Blend Energy Smoothie made with Caja Fruit, Acai, and a bunch of different kinds of fruit purees and juices, like pear, apple, and pineapple. It even has green tea in it.

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I usually shy away from fruit smoothies and juices because they can be loaded with calories and even fat. This smoothie is 125 calories a serving and has 2 g Fiber – not bad for a smoothie drink. The drink itself has a great flavor, although is not as thick as a typical smoothie.

8.29 Zola Energy

Would I buy this smoothie at the store? Yes, I would definitely buy the juice, particularly for the great flavor and the fact that it is loaded with healthy ingredients. But, because I’m not really a juice drinker, I think I would save this drink for times when I needed an extra boost of energy or vitamins, like when I feel a cold coming on.

Aside from the juice, I also made a small bowl of Strawberry-peanut butter oatmeal…

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I started with 1/4 cup whole oats mixed with 1/2 cup skim milk. After I microwaved that for 2 minutes, I added 2 strawberries, 2 tbsp of walnuts, and dollop of MaraNatha all-natural creamy peanut butter. Hmm…so good..

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I think we’re now headed out to do a little site-seeing downtown or maybe just do a little shopping. 

Have a great afternoon everyone!

Think Green, Live Pink: Free PINK Body Lotion

Ok ladies – it’s time to Think Green and Live PINK!

PINK, the bath and body store from Victoria’s Secret, is giving away 1 oz containers of PINK Energizing body lotion. Click here for the coupon, then just print it and take it to a PINK store by September 7. Hurry, the offer is only good while supplies last. I was able to pick mine up on Monday this week…

8.28 Pink Lotion

The lotion has a fantastic citrus orange-mint scent and is just the right size for your car, your purse, or as a travel-size cream. Plus, it’s made with 100% organic and vegan ingredients, so it’s good for you and the environment.

Hope you’re able to take advantage of this GREEN opportunity!

A Pepper Trifecta and Stevia Review

Hey Everyone! It is an absolutely beautiful day here in Chicago! It’s about 70 degrees and sunny. The exceptionally cool weather really helped my long run this morning. I was able to do 6 miles (that’s long for me!) with no problem. I think I am ready for summer to be over – bring on the Fall!

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For breakfast, I had the new Oikos Greek yogurt I picked up from Whole Foods – it was strawberry flavor. It was a first for me and it was just yummy with a tablespoon or two of walnuts (for extra MUFA) sprinkled on top.

8.20 OIkos-strawberry

I also tried a new product that was sent to me in the mail – Stevia In the Raw 100% natural sweetener.


I actually tried it a few weeks ago in homemade lemonade and thought there was a weird after taste to it. My husband just raved about it in his homemade iced tea, so I thought I’d give it another try in my hot tea this morning.

Tea with stevia

I brewed Harney and Sons whole leaf English Breakfast tea and added 1/2 a stevia packet. I’m sorry to report that the sweetener still has a weird taste and after taste that I just can’t get used to. I haven’t given up on it completely though – I may try using stevia as a replacement to sugar during baking. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.

After breakfast, I was just lounging around the house, checking emails, etc. I put on my comfy yoga pants from the Gap (my new favorite pants) and my brand new running/yoga shirt from LUCY.


The shirt really describes how my life goes on most days – I’m up and running with the sun!

Lunch was leftovers – the other 1/2 of the chicken sandwich/burger that I ordered from Red Robin on Friday…

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I paired it with some fresh grilled red, green, and yellow bell peppers and grape tomatoes…

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A perfect pepper trifecta!

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Finally, I had a few Cape Cod low-fat potato chips. My husband and I love Cape Cod chips because they are made from all-natural ingredients and have an awesome flavor.

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As you can see, they are made with potatoes, oil, and salt – can’t get any more natural than that!

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Now, we’re both relaxing on our deck before heading off to our nephew’s birthday party.

See you all tonight everyone.