January 2, 2011

As 2010 comes to a close and the new year begins, there are a few things I’d like to share with all of you.   A purging of guilt…a clean slate if you will.   

1)  I ate a lot of Christmas cookies this holiday season.  And by a lot, I mean enough to give Cookie Monster a sugar high like no high he’s ever experienced before.   Macadamia white chocolate chip, chewy chocolate gingerbread, coconut macaroons, almond (my favorite!), chocolate chunk, peanut butter…mmmm.  Chewy cookies are my greatest weakness.  They’re like crack to me, no exaggeration. 

Well, maybe a little exaggeration…

2) When I left for work on Tuesday, I stepped out onto my porch and realized I hadn’t been outside in over two full days.  I’m pretty sure that if you look closely at my couch cushions you’ll find a permanent impression of my posterior.  An occasional weekend governed by a Lifetime movie marathon can be a wonderful thing.

3) I skipped two runs over Christmas weekend and Coach Bob yelled at me.  I believe his exact words were: “I don’t know why you’re laughing – this isn’t a funny matter!”  See?  I told you he’d keep me accountable.  In fact, I made up all my missed mileage on Tuesday just to get back into his good graces.

What, like you wouldn’t be intimidated?

4) I gained 10lbs in the second half of December.  In my defence, I sat down to 6 full-blown holiday feasts in less than 2 days and it’s only polite to try a bit of everything … right? 

5) I lost all 10lbs in four days.  This is a good thing, but I feel a little guilty about it considering everyone around me is still suffering in their fat jeans.  Sorry … can’t explain it.  Especially because…

6) The kitchen table in my office is still chock full of these bad boys:

If you haven’t had the pleasure of tasting these delicious morsels, let me introduce you.  These almond and pignoli cookies from Vaccaro’s Bakery are phenomenal, though the almond (on the right) are far superior in my opinion.  They’re made with this amazing almond paste that leaves them especially chewy and positively melt-in-your-mouth scrumptious.  Kirk and I ordered several dozen to be served at our wedding and we will gladly make the drive down to Little Italy just for a few of these treats.  Nom, nom nom…

So, what was I talking about again?  …Oh  yes, sin.  Well, I’m sure they’ll be plenty more of that in 2011, too.  

Happy New Year to all!




September 10, 2010

It has been far too long since my last confession — though, not surprisingly, by no means long enough since my last indiscretion.  Time to come clean.

While I’m usually pretty good at eating well and steering clear of temptation, I certainly have my off days.  Yesterday was one of them.

I may have indulged in a slice two slices of carrot cake…before noon.  I blame the birthday boy at the office, not my lack of will power.  And I may have come home from work and baked a loaf of homemade Irish brown bread, eaten a third and called it dinner.  I may have also skipped my usual salad in favor of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but one can’t be certain.

One thing that is certain?  My stomach is not happy.  That’s a lot of carbs for my poor, conceivably gluten-sensitive tummy to take.  It’s painful, distended and it is screaming its objections.  I managed to complete my 7 mile tempo run with minimal discomfort, but once I stopped it was game on.  So. Much. Pain.  I cried on the walk back to the car.

Dear Tummy,

I’m sorry.  I’ll make it up to you — tomorrow will be all fruits and veggies.  I’ll throw the brown bread in the trash!  I’ll eat lean and green and do my very best to get back into your good graces.  I’ll do my penance because we all know the benefits of a healthy diet, but mostly because two slices of moist, delicious cake is so not worth a ruined Friday night spent in bed.  Ugh.

Your most humble and obedient host,

Tri-Tip Flavored GU

August 17, 2010

Well, my 20 miles on Sunday were hard (that may be the greatest understatement I’ll ever make), but thankfully proved to be no comparison for the disastrous, painful long run the week before.  Looking back, I think my fueling, or rather, my lack of fueling was to blame. 

Last week before my 18 miler I had yogurt and fruit for breakfast,  huevos rancheros for lunch, and a salad with the teeniest slice of pizza ever for dinner.  This past Saturday in preparation for my long run I had oats for breakfast, pasta and veggies for lunch and a cheesesteak sandwich and fro-yo for dinner and dessert.   A striking difference that proved to be much in my favor.

Cheesesteaks may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of proper pre-run nutrition, but it is the first thing you think of after watching the standoff between Gino’s and Pat’s on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on the Food Network.  And after all, we’re only an hour and a half from Philly…

So yes, Kirk and I drove to Philadelphia for dinner.  As a co-worker noted this morning, “Oh that’s right. You don’t have kids yet.”  True that!

The verdict?  Did we opt for Gino’s or for Pat’s?  Well, while Pat’s was deemed to have better bread, they also had super water-saturated peppers and onions (think sitting in a bucket of water for days kind of saturated).  Ew.  Gino’s steak was a teeny bit more flavorful, but ultimately, neither were all that impressive.  We were less than enthused. :/

But, as I said, that cheesesteak did me well the next morning.  The run was wildly uneventful, so I won’t bore you with the (lack of) details.  I started before the sun came up at 5:51am and ended 4 Gus and 3 hours, 33 minutes and 31 seconds later.  I was exhausted, but it good spirits. 

Speaking of steak – does anyone else get tired of the sugary-sweet GU flavors?  I realize it sounds gross now, but trust me, two hours into my run on Sunday I would have killed for a tri-tip flavored GU. 

I had an ice bath and a coffee (simultaneously), followed by a viewing of The Last Airbender accompanied by my husband and my faithful icepack.  I can’t say much for the movie, but the icing helped tremendously.  My knees were really achy later in the day, but were much improved by Monday morning and I’m ready to tackle my 7 miles today.   

In other news:  My husband and I have decided to start cooking in the evenings together.  This is going to be a challenge, I think, as the kitchen has become my territory to improvize and concoct things as I please, but I also think it will be good for us.  Mainly, because it will give us something to do together.  My husband and I are total opposites.  We are hard-pressed to find anything (aside from movies and food) that we both enjoy.  As a result, we are perfectly content to do our own thing most of the time, even if that means being away from each other.  The down side of this is the obvious: we spend most of our time away from each other!  We do love one  another’s company, so hopefully working on creating masterful dishes in the kitchen as a team will bring us a little more together time. 

Let’s just cross our fingers we don’t kill each other in the process.  Let’s face it, we bicker like nobody’s business and there are plenty of sharp weapons within arms reach in the kitchen!  Just kidding…

Only Human

July 29, 2010

After all my calculating and photo snapping on Monday I have two things to say to all my readers. 

1)  Thank you for all your feedback and general encouragement!  I’m so appreciative of your thoughtful responses and for all of you that offered up your own tips and hangups.   

It’s nerve-wracking to post one’s daily eats for the masses.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t typically advertise the foods I eat.   In most other matters of life, we are surrounded by people we can model our behaviors by, yet it’s next to impossible to know every little thing that our family, friends or neighbors eat.   Beginning in adolescence, fitting in becomes paramount – we have to have the trendiest jeans and wear our hair in the latest styles.   All it takes is  a glance at the coolest girl in school to replicate her style, but her food habits?  That’s  a different story.  I think because of this grey area and the general inability to compare our habits to our peers,  our diets become very personal as we advance into adulthood.  

This is not to say that I believe we should be comparing our diets to anyone else’s (or their designer shoes for that matter!).  Everyone’s body is different and there is beauty in that.  And what works for one person, may very well be detrimental for another.  I’m simply saying that there is a reason teenage girls are so influenced by the models in magazines and the stars on TV – they desperately want to fit in.   One would think that with a minor in Human Behavior I would be above all the insecurities, but alas, I’m only human.

2)  Major kudos to all you food bloggers out there!  I don’t know how you do it!  Somehow, while perched on the kitchen counter attempting to get the perfect shot of a bowl of mixed berries, I slipped and landed in the sink.  Yes, IN the sink.  I now have a welt the size of a quarter on my spine.  I guess I get  a free pass on crunches this week!

That is all!  Happy Hump Day!

Count It Up!

July 28, 2010

You may or may not have noticed that I don’t count calories.  My relationship with food is just on the healthy side of normal and I know that if I were to scrutinize every morsel that passed my lips beyond its overall nutritional value, the scales would tip and the result would be poor.  That said, I do believe that it’s important for me to step back and evaluate my eating habits every so often.  As I up my weekly mileage for marathon training, the need to be ultra-aware of my caloric intake becomes less of a an unhealthy preoccupation and more of a necessity.  At this point in the game calorie counting isn’t obsessive it’s responsible.  I need ensure that I’m taking in enough calories to balance out my activity levels so that I don’t pass out on a run, or worse, eat my own arm in a hunger induced frenzy. 

Since I really don’t like the idea of calorie counting, I’m lucky that I’m a creature of habit and tend to eat more or less the same things on a day to day basis.  This is a good thing because it means that every so often, I can count up my calories for the day (note: I do this for one day, not every day) and get a pretty good idea of the amount of calories I’m taking in on a daily basis.  I might do this two or three times a year just to make sure I’m on track.

A female of my hight and weight should be consuming roughly 1400 calories a day to maintain their weight.  At 5’5″ and 135lbs I burn about 100 calories per mile that I run and, according to Shape Magazine’s August issue “How Many Calories Do You Really Need?”, it’s recommended that I replenish half of that deficit.  If my average daily run is 6 miles, that’s 300 calories, so  1400 + 300 = 1700.  This is the total number of calories I should be aiming for each day.  On long run days where I’m burning 1500-2000 calories in a single morning, I should be upping the ante to about 2100-2400 calories.   (I do not have a medical degree, this is simply what works for me.  Click the embedded links above to learn more and calculate your own recommended intake)

Let’s see how I’m doing: 


(Note: my less than stellar camera is one of the many reasons I’m not a food blogger)

1 cup of rolled oats – 300 calories
8 almonds, chopped – 34 calories
1 tsp milled flax seed – 10 calories
1 cup almond milk, vanilla – 40 calories
1/2 medium banana –  60 calories
1 tsp cottage cheese – 22 calories
1/4 blueberries and strawberries – 20 calories

Total for breakfast : 486


Salad – 290
3 cups spinach (loosely packed) –  20 calories
1/8 cup raisins – 40 calories
20 peanuts – 85 calories
1/2 tsp milled flax seed – 5 calories
1/2 tsp Ken’s Light Raspberry Walnut dressing – 30 calories
1/2 cup chopped, grilled chicken breast – 110 calories


Mixed Fruit – 85
3 prunes – 25 calories
1/3 cup of strawberries – 20 calories
1/3 cup of blueberries – 20 calories
1/3 cup of raspberries – 20 calories

Total for lunch: 375


(1 eaten around 11am, another with lunch and the last two around 3pm)

1/2 banana (the other half from the morning’s oats) – 60 calories
1 Gala apple – 75 calories
1 Chobani greek yogurt cup (peach) – 140 calories
1 Kashi granola bar – 140 calories

Total snacks: 415


Grilled Veggie Wrap:

2 cups veggies (spinach, red bell pepper, mushrooms, onion, zucchini, squash) – 200 calories
1 tbsp Roasted Garlic Hummus – 30 calories
1/4 cup black beans – 50 calories
1/8 cup reduced fat feta cheese, crumbled – 35 calories
1 tortilla wrap – 60 calories

Total dinner: 375

Total: 1,651 calories for the day

Not bad, not bad. I’m about 50 calories shy for the day … I guess I get a cookie tonight!  A trick that I use to guesstimate more effectively is to aim for a number 200-300 below what I really need.  Why do I do this?  Because underestimating portion sizes and calorie content is a favorite American pastime!  It may sound counterproductive, but since my intake today was right on target, it looks like it’s working for me.

Do you count calories?  If not, how do you ensure you’re eating a diet of healthy proportions?  I try and base my meals on my hunger level.  If I’m hungry, I eat a small meal.  Still hungry?  Drink a glass of water and make sure I’m not just dehydrated.  Water didn’t cut it?  Back to the fridge I go…. 🙂

Breakfast For Dinner

May 16, 2010

…and lunch… and snacks. 

I appear to have a problem.  I think it started  with a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread I picked up at TJ’s after work on Monday.  Instead of dinner I had two slices smeared with almond butter.  I had the same thing for breakfast the next morning along with a handful of strawberries.  Come lunchtime I was craving the oats that I’d skipped that AM, and by dinner I already had pancakes on the brain. 

This continued through the rest of the week; omelets, breakfast breads, hot cereals, even my first attempt at overnight oats.   On Thursday I had a work meeting that ran long and we ended up having lunch delivered.  I ordered french toast (ok, and scrambled eggs and bacon). 

I ate breakfast foods for every meal between Monday night and Friday’s lunch.  Friday night I broke the spell with fish fajitas from Los Amigos.  If there’s anything I love as much as breakfast it’s Mexican. Oh yes, I do love me some Mexican.  Huevos Rancheros anyone?

Team Cathy

April 23, 2010

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I’m running in the Maryland Half Marathon next month and raising money for the Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center.  Part of the reason that I’m so passionate about this race is because my husband lost his mom, Cathy,  to cancer when he was in college.  While her passing happened long before Kirk and I even met, I’ve seen how tough it’s been for him in the years since her death.  He misses his mom every day, and I miss never having met her at all.    

Kirk’s My Uncle Paul (Cathy’s brother) is running in the relay portion of the race with my sister-in-law (her daughter), Lauren next month.  And because Uncle Paul is awesome like that, he’s designed these shirts for us to wear.  The front says “Team Cathy” (it will be in turquoise lettering, her favorite color), and the sleeve will have her initials “CRJ” on it.

On the back he’s selected a yellow awareness ribbon symbolic of both the bladder and liver cancer that took her life.  I am so excited to get our shirts and wear them on race day!  Thanks again Uncle Paul!!

If you’d like to donate to the Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center you can visit the donation page I’ve set up.

Other tid-bits:

  • The chocolate cake at the Gala last night was ah-may-zing. More like fudge than cake.  OMG!
  • I’m baking more Irish Brown Bread tonight.  This time I’m adding molasses for that extra kick. Mmmm…
  • The company is treating all the administrative personnel to lunch at TGI Fridays today.  I checked out their nutritional info online and I think I’m getting either the  Dragonfire Chicken or the Cedar-seared Salmon Pasta.  Nom nom.
  • I can’t stop thinking about delicious food.
  • Good thing I’m scheduled to run a total of 21.75 miles in the next three days.