Carrot Pumpkin Spice Muffins (Foodie Friday #34)

Last week I shared some of the food I ate while on the 21 Day Sugar Detox and I was surprised some of you wanted more of the recipes!  Happily surprised actually so today I’m going to share one of the requested recipes, Ill have the next one up the following week.

A few notes before the recipe—this calls for green-tipped bananas.  Apparently this is confusing for some people (*cough* my husband *cough*) so let me explain.  Green-tipped are bananas that are bananas that are yellow but still have the green around the edges and top and bottom.  Do NOT try this with a fully green banana, trust me, they will not mash and you’ll have a lumpy muffin.

Coconut flour is to make this completely gluten and sugar free.  You might be able to substitute in regular flour but I don’t know what the measurement would be on that.  I’ve read that you would need more all-purpose flour and less eggs but you may want to research it more.  I got coconut flour on amazon but I’m sure you could find it in the gluten free section of the grocery store and its not terribly expensive.  I got a 3 pound bag on amazon for $7.

carrotpumpkinmuffins

Carrot Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Servings: 12            Prep Time: 15min               Cook Time: 35-40min           Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 c canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 unsalted butter, melted
  • 1tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 green-tipped banana mashed
  • 1/2 c coconut flour
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 c grated carrots (about 4 large)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a muffin pan with liners, these muffins can be very sticky and the liners will be the best way to keep the muffins in tact when they are done baking.  Have a spare muffin pan ready in case you have extra batter.

In a large mixing bowl whisk the eggs, pumpkin, butter, vanilla and banana.  Mix in the coconut flour, salt, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice until well combined.  Gently fold in the carrots.

Scoop 1/4c of the batter into each muffin cup then bake for 35-40 minutes (golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean).

Enjoy immediately or refrigerate for breakfast in the morning.

Notes:  I would eat 2 of the muffins and some kind of protein and that would fill me up for a few hours.  I prefer them warmed up a little but would be just fine out of the fridge.

CHIME IN!!!  Ever cooked with coconut flour before?  Do you like breakfast muffins?  Whats your favorite breakfast food?

The Carolinas, A Marathon, and Other Random Things(TOL #32)

Happy day before Friday everyone!  Its been far too long since I’ve done a random thought dump for Thinking Out Loud (thanks for hosting Amanda, link here).  So here goes, in no particular order:

Thinking-Out-Loud

  1.   We went to Charleston last weekend and all I can say is BLAH!  Sorry if you live there but I was so totally underwhelmed.  The pineapple fountain was awesome but on the whole the city felt dirty and run down.  I was hoping it was going to be similar to Savannah but alas it was not.  We were going to spend the day there but ended up driving to Myrtle Beach instead.

pineapple fountain

2.  Speaking of Myrtle Beach, I was pleasantly surprised with this city.  I thought it was going to be some nasty tourist trap but the parts we went to were nice and not very crowded for a Saturday.  The water was SO COLD which is a big change from the bathwater in Galveston.  While I probably wont go back here (its pretty expensive to stay) it was nice to visit for the day and say we have been there.

myrtle beach

3.  I am back running which is good because I need to stay in shape but bad because I’m still tired of running.  I think Paris is a little too far off and I know the summer heat wave is coming and I’m not looking forward to that at all.  Anyone have any tips for staying cool in the heat other than running in the early morning and pouring water over your head.

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4.  In other news…I signed up for my first marathon last week.  YIKES and YAY all at the same time.  Of course its the Walt Disney World Marathon in January so plenty of time to prep but yeah…that happened 😉

WDW Marathon

5.  Now that I’m back eating carbs I have more energy but I’m sleeping like crap.  You know when you are bone tired but your mind just wont be quiet and let you get some gosh darn sleep.  Yeah that’s whats going on around here lately.  Maybe its the sugar, maybe its things on my mind, who knows but I’m ready to get some good comatose sleep STAT.

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6.  Anyone reading the Outlander series?  I’m on the 4th book and really enjoy the series.  I read a blurb from the author’s website yesterday saying she experiments with each book on how she writes them.  Like point of view, transitions, story prose, you know things like that.  Now that I know that the books make a little more sense.  You would have to have read (or in my case listened to) the books to understand what I mean but I think that’s very interesting.  Totally random tangent I know but I just found that out the other day and thought I would share.  If you aren’t reading Outlander you need to, its pretty intriguing.

outlander-book-series

7.  I know this wont be earth shattering news, but have you ever tried loose leaf tea?  I don’t remember exactly when I tried it for the first time but oh my goodness the flavors of loose leaf tea are so much more intense than bagged tea its silly.  Teavanna makes some great blends in their store but holy crap its expensive.  David’s Tea’s are much more affordable but I find the flavors aren’t as complex…if that makes sense.  Moral of this random story is you should try loose leaf tea with a tea press (like this one) it will make you feel fancy and tea is so much better for you than coffee.

8.  I may be going to New York City in June and I am so excited about it.  I cant wait to eat all the food, watch a Broadway show and see more of Central Park!  I really love visiting New York but could never imagine living there.  I took this picture the last time I was there…with my cell phone!  I know, crazy right!

NYC sunset

CHIME IN!!!  Have you been to NYC?  Loose leaf tea, bagged tea or no tea at all?  Ever been to the Carolinas?

Workout Recap 4/19-25

Last week I asked my coach if I could take this week off.  I have been mentally and physically exhausted and just needed a minute to catch my breath.  She only half listened to me and still had me do 2 runs this week.  I shouldn’t be complaining, but when I say I need some time off I need some freaking time off!  Tangent over…here’s what I ended up doing this week.

Tuesday:  30 minutes at 11:04 pace for 2.72 miles.  I took the dogs today and it was so foggy in the aftermath of the nasty weather we had yesterday.  Sweat and air moisture make for one soggy run.  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling that night.

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Wednesday:  Rest day!  I was going to get one more run in this morning but my stomach has been acting up all last night and this morning so I decided not to chance it since I have a flight later this afternoon.  Layover in Chicago equals Garrett’s popcorn!!!

popcorn

Thursday:  Rest day!  But I did walk about 6 miles around Charlotte!  It was a beautiful day and I had my trusty tieks.  Oh and I took this with my GoPro!  Still getting the hang of how to use it but pretty cool right?!

charolette

Friday:  Rest day!  We got up really early and headed to Ashville to visit the Biltmore Estate and go up into the mountains.  Unfortunately it was raining all day so we didnt get to go hiking but we did drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway for some pretty cool views.  At the Biltmore we walked about 5 miles just seeing the gardens and house.  Its a huge estate people!

Saturday:  Rest day!  Another early morning again this time we drove to Charleston to see the pineapple fountain, decided we didn’t like the city very much then headed to a local beach where we got eaten up by bugs then drove to Myrtle beach and spent the rest of the day there.  Wow that’s a lot of driving but we saw a lot.  Didn’t walk very much today, ended with just shy of 4 miles.

Sunday:  Rest day!  Thank God because it was a 3:45am wake-up call, a connecting flight and grocery shopping.  I only got a 30 minute nap today but dang was i going to sleep well tonight!  Plus puppy snuggle time is always the best way to spend the day.

puppy time

Monday:  3 mile run with a 11:06 pace.  It was so hot and humid out today getting back into running was a little brutal but run complete none the less.  I’m not quite ready to get back into the swing of running, but hey I have races to prep for!  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling / yoga poses that night.

hot run

CHIME IN!!!  Have you ever just needed some time off?  What’s the longest break you have voluntarily taken?  How is your week going?

Blue Bell Fun Run 10k

April 9th was the Blue Bell Fun Run 1mile walk, 5K run/walk and 10k run.  This is the 38th year of this race and overall I had a great time.  Would I do it again, maybe.  You can read about my goals here but spoiler alert…I GOT A 4 MINUTE PR!!!!

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Alarm went off at 6am.  Wow what a change from Disney races when that alarm goes off at 3am!  We got up, got ready, grabbed the dogs and headed out.  On the way to the race I had a banana with almond butter.  Simple carbs in the system with some protein, I had this a few times pre race during the detox and it worked well so I decided to go with it again this morning.  It took us about and hour and twenty minutes to get to the race and get parked.  I headed into packet pick-up, got my bib, got my shirt (softest race t-shirt I have ever gotten!) then headed to the bathrooms.  The race was a lot larger than I thought!  I have no idea how many people were there but more than the few hundred I expected.  There was a water and gatorade station, porta potties, a DJ, the ice cream station, some vendors and plenty of puppies!  I was actually having some digestive issues this morning and had to pop in a bathrooms a few times.  TMI I know but hey that’s what was happening this morning.  Im sorry I am a horrible person an took these photos without paying…I have no excuse here…dont judge me too harshly.

bluebell

By the time I got through all of that it was 15 minutes until the race start so I took my honey stinger gel with water and headed over to the start line.  There were a few volunteers holding banners with projected pace times to try and space out the runners.  I thought this was a great idea and got in around the 9min mile pace group.  Around 8:35 the race got started (only 5 minutes late, not bad) and we were off for the first of many evil hills.  I’m going to break this down into halves…..

pre race(pre-race…before the evil hills)

The first half of the race was fine, the hills were too steep some pretty solid downhills and water stations at each mile with the high school athletes doing a great job of handing out water.  I got water at each water station starting at mile 2.  I was doing a great job on the times, 8:46 (mostly downhill), 9:43 (mostly uphill), 9:06 (pretty even) then the evil horrible hills hit my legs with a vengeance.  Around 3.5 there was a hill that was a slight incline but was about a half a mile long then a very little decline then a steep uphill and corner.  It was rough.  My heartrate was going crazy and I wanted to quit so bad.  Then came the second half of the race.

half way point(I look happy…but ugh!  Pretty scenery though right!)

I was all set to make a great and I mean great time (54 something) but the hills took me down and I had to walk.  I didn’t stop, as much as I wanted to I didn’t stop, but I did walk for about 30 seconds to get my breathing under control.  Then another monster hill came up and I walked up it.  Mile 4 ended with a 10:40 pace because of the walking.  Mile 5 was a little better with a 10:11 pace but it was pretty much a constant gradual incline with a few flat spots thrown in.  Mile 6 came and went and we rounded the corner to the finish line, that corner happened to be a super steep incline so I powered up it but got winded.  I walked for about 20 seconds then started my final run in.  The last .4 miles was all down hill thank goodness and I powered down it.  I was soooo freaking close to getting a sub hour 10k it was stupid but my tank was empty and I ended 18 seconds short of a sub hour.  My final time was 1:00:17 which is 4 minutes faster than my last 10k PR (a year and a half ago at Houston 10k).

finish strong (coming in strong, bad arm form and totally not happy face lol)

I almost ran down a few people at the finish line because to be honest it was a cluster.  The 10k, 5k walk and 5k run all ended in the same place but the race starts weren’t spaced out enough so that there were walkers finishing while 10k runners (people actually running) were coming through the shoot.  I think if there had been better spacing of the races I might have been able to get a lot closer to my time.  Weaving in and out of people at the last dreg does take precious seconds off your time.  Powering through the finish line there was a mess of people standing around and in the way…yeah I had to yell at people to move so I wouldn’t knock them down.  Finished, got my medal now its time for water right?!  Wrong!  They had ran out of Gatorade and didn’t have any water ready to grab but instead had to wait in line for a half full cup of water.  Yeah so that stunk, I ended up getting my water cup refilled from a hose at the puppy station.  Not my proudest moment but I needed water.  Overall this is my biggest gripe of the whole race, finish line not with-standing.  Runners need copious amounts of water people!  I also grabbed a few orange halves to get some fluids then headed over to get my ice cream.

post race

As some of you may know Blue Bell had a listeria scare last year and just recently began production again.  The ice cream this year was just vanilla or chocolate cups but it was as much as you wanted so I grabbed 3.  1 for me, 1 for Joe and another to share.  I wish they had ice cream bars but I’m not sure they are making those again or not.  I grabbed a picture in-front of the ice cream truck then we headed back to the car.  On our way out we stopped by the actual Blue Bell factory and took a few pictures because why not!  After that we headed home, showered then hosted a thanksgiving in April for the family!

Overall, I’m by no means upset with my time because I ran a solid race with almost no hill training and still got a 4 minute PR.  4 minutes with a short distance is a great improvement to me and  I know for a flat course I could do a 55 minute time.  I think the race was well put together and the course simple.  Knowing Brenham I knew there were going to be hills but I’m annoyed that my coach didn’t listen to me about more hill work.  I told her 3 months ago I needed more hill work and in that time we only had 1 session for hills.  I think I would do this race again but not for a PR goal.

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CHIME IN!!!  How do hills treat you?  What are some of your finish line nightmares?  Do you like Blue Bell ice cream?

 

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream (Foodie Friday #33)

Call me basic but I love simple ice cream.  Vanilla is the best ice cream flavor and let me tell you why…it goes with EVERYTHING!  Warm brownie?  Put a scoop of vanilla ice cream on it.  Hot pie?  Its much better a la mode!  Root Beer float?  Not complete without some ice cream (oh man, I just remembered I have coke at home…yeah that’s totally happening tonight!).   Also—sorry for the dark photos, I am realizing how dark my granite makes my photos.  Kitchen reno I’m coming for you!

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Vanilla is also the best carrier for great toppings.  You get the rich creamy taste of vanilla but the gummy bears, blueberries, caramel, whatever still shines through.  Yeah I love vanilla and I’m not afraid to say so.  I’m sure there are forums, blog posts, articles and more written on the best flavor of vanilla out there.  While I have my own opinion on the matter, that’s not what today’s post it about.  Today I’m helping you on your journey to MAKE YOUR OWN!!!  I am a firm believer in making things as opposed to buying them as much as you can.  Luckily this is a relatively easy recipe to make and bonus points for having no additives!

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I will say this tastes very much like the Blue Bell version and that just makes my heart happy.  I think this vanilla could also be used as a great base for cookies and cream or some other mix in type ice cream.  I would just adjust the amount of vanilla (yes that is tablespoons not teaspoons) if you are going to add in things.  Are you ready for the ice cream recipe that will change your life?

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Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

Servings:  1 quart       Prep Time:  5 min          Chill Time: 30 min          Freeze Time: 4+hrs

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs yolks
  • 2 c sugar
  • 3 c heavy cream
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • ~ 2 Whole Milk
  • 1-2 shots clear vodka* (can be flavored if you want to add a little something extra to the vanilla)

Instructions

In a medium bowl cream eggs and sugar with a electric mixer on medium-low speed.  Once this is thoroughly combined add the cream, condensed milk and vanilla.  Continue to mix until fully incorporated and smooth.

Pour mixture into ice cream bowl (if you are using something other than an electric ice cream maker follow manufacture instructions), add mixing paddle then add whole milk until the bowl is full to the top.

Start mixer and churn according to device instructions (mine was 25 minutes) or until ice cream is soft serve consistency.  At this point add about 1-2 shots of clear vodka and continue churning for an additional 5-10 minutes.

Remove paddle and pour ice cream info a freezer safe container then place in freezer for about 4 hours.  When its hardened a little serve and enjoy!  Top with as many or as few toppings as you want, that’s the beauty of vanilla!!!

*The vodka is so the ice cream doesn’t turn into a brick.  If you want a easy to scoop texture make sure and add the alcohol (technically you could use any clear alcohol but vodka typically has no added flavor).  If you don’t have any alcohol you can by all means skip this step just be warned your ice cream may not be easy to scoop.

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CHIME IN!!!  Whats your favorite ice cream flavor?  Do you have an ice cream maker?  Have you ever had homemade ice cream?

Sugar Detox Week 3 and Final Thoughts (TOL #31)

Its the final countdown!!!

#SorryNotSorry

That’s right, cue the cheesy cliche music…its the last week of the detox!  There is light at the end of this meat tunnel and I cannot wait!  Let’s talk shall we!  (check out week 1 and week 2.  Sugar detox link here)

Linking up with Amanda to do this thinking out loud style.  Check out the full link up here.

Thinking-Out-Loud

Day 15:  A normal grocery bill this week which I am so happy about!!!  A lot of modifications to the meals this week (too much food not enough using the leftovers) but overall I think this weeks meals are going to be good.  Zucchini pancakes are actually legit.  I thought they were going to be nasty but I really enjoyed them.  Yay!  I did have a whole bagel with almond butter tonight but I have speed work for an hour tomorrow so I need carbs.  I’m still super hungry all the time and whats running through my mind now is what are we going to eat post detox to fill me up.  Breakfast:  veggie pancakes with 1 egg and 1 sausage patty.  Lunch:  leftover cinnamon grilled pork chop.  Dinner Buffalo shrimp lettuce cups with guacamole and sweet potato fries.  Snack:  bagel with almond butter, apple with almond butter, nut mix.

breakfast

Day 16:  Today was a stressful day for personal reasons and the last thing I wanted to do today was eat healthy.  In fact my brother asked me to have lunch at a Greek place that’s really good.  I stayed strong though and didn’t eat there (lamb gyro we shall meet again soon).  I almost grabbed a candy bar from the bucket we have at the office (I know its horrible and tempting but on the whole I do well at ignoring it) but I decided it wouldn’t have been worth it.  I had a hard workout today as well so I was non stop hungry but that’s old news right…just have to mention it since this is a recap of the detox right?!  Typical meal prep pic below…but there are usually a lot for veggies around.  It was slightly therapeutic to cute up veggies in the quite house (Joe was working late).  When I cook I don’t like noise or TV or anything like that, takes focus from what I’m doing.  Anyone else like that?  Breakfast:  veggie pancakes with 1 egg and 1 sausage patty.  Lunch:  leftover shrimp lettuce cup.  Dinner:  hot and sweet ginger garlic chicken with sauteed bok choy.  Snack:  apple with almond butter

cooking dinner

Day 17:  A lot of chicken this week you guys.  Joe loves baked chicken so he is so happy right now.  This particular chicken recipe I was not a fan of.  It had Mediterranean spices that I’m not familiar with and just didn’t really like.  We are starting to think about what we are going to eat post detox and finding a balance with getting carbs back into our diet but not going crazy with sugar.  Truthfully I do enjoy making our own snacks so we will probably keep doing that.  I also like making breakfast ahead of time and I think that helps Joe as well so we will definitely keep doing that as well.  I just have to figure out how to lose those last 9 pounds while still eating things that satisfy me.  Breakfast:  veggie pancakes with 1 egg and 1 sausasge patty.  Lunch:  buffalo shrimp cups.  Dinner:  chicken with artichokes and olives with black beans and lemon garlic noodles.  Snack:  apple with almond butter and nut mix.

baked chicken

Day 18:  Its taking a ton of will power to keep going on this detox.  3 weeks of cooking every day is taxing to say the least.  I mainly cant wait for this to be over so I can have room in my fridge again.  I worked from home today and that’s always challenging because I just want to eat all the things but want to stay strong.  I stared super hard at the chips that are in my pantry.  Oh…did yall know this year flavor of the year lays chips is Southern Biscuits and Gravy.  Its delicious, just so you know.  Sorry, off topic.  Banana with almond butter is my best friend right now to work with the hunger but I miss bananas that aren’t green.  The first fruit I’m eating post detox is a nice big juicy pineapple…just saying.  Totally not detox related but pensive husband over here looking over the install manual for our new fan.  Thank God for a handy husband 😀  Breakfast:  carrot spice muffins with leftover green apple sausage.  Lunch:  leftover buffalo shrimp lettuce cups.  Dinner:  meatza two ways with pesto spaghetti squash.  Snack:  banana with almond butter

fun with fans

Day 19:  Pre-10k day!  Hungry hungry hippos today still.  I am ready to be done with the detox and get my energy back.  Luckily today’s food was good and pretty filling but I still had a whole bagel with cream cheese to get carbs in my system for tomorrow…boy was I going to need it!  I was a good girl today though because I resisted many temptations.  Someone brought donut for breakfast and we had lunch catered by a cajun place (read, fried foods) and gigi cupcakes.  I resisted though and was very proud of myself.  Breakfast:  carrot spice muffins with leftover green apple sausage.  Lunch:  leftover  cinnamon pork chops.  Dinner:  chicken with tri-color peppers and cilantro cauli rice.  Snack:  bagel with cream cheese, nut mix, apple with almond butter.

temptation

Day 20:  Well, I didn’t finish the last 2 days.  Today was 10k day and my uncle is in town and I’m making all kinds of delicious foods.  I know its only 2 more days but I don’t believe in making myself sad and miserable just for the sake of finishing off the last 2 days.  I did 19 days of a sugar detox and that’s pretty dang good if you ask me.  If we didn’t have 2 back to back family events I would have finished strong but life happens and I’m ok with that.  Also the 10k had all you can eat ice cream at the finish and who am I to say no to that!  Below is the homemade lasagna bolognese I made…how could I say no to that I mean seriously!

lasagna

Final Thoughts on the Detox:  Super strict no-sugar lifestyles like this are really not for me.  So long as I am an active running I will need carbs in more than rice form.  I know the detox helped Joe realize just how much crap he eats at work this helped me realize how much I stay away from sugar in general already.  It helped me realize we don’t eat terribly but to watch the dessert intake.  I love baking and making sweet treats and that’s where our downfall is.  I do like having breakfasts ready for Joe instead of him eating instant oatmeal.  I also like making our own snacks because I know pre-made things are really not as wholesome as they could be.  We will continue to do things like that but give me back my pasta!  What I didn’t like was the amount of waste this detox had.  A lot of the recipes made more than the 4 scheduled on the menu.  A lot of produce was only half used or not at all.  The amount of meat on the grocery list was always more than what you needed.  I even made a lot of adjustments to the menu and grocery list and I still have a lot of extra produce.  If you do choose to use this plan and the pre-made grocery lists (which by and large are very helpful) make sure you check the list and cross off anything you don’t need.

 breakfast(one of the breakfasts I had)

Not maximizing food use aside…I would say at the end of it all 85% of the recipes we made tasted great and we would make again.  Most of the recipes are pretty easy to make and don’t take too much time.  I also love how they tell you what side dishes to make.  I struggle with side dishes for some reason so having all of these new recipes is going to be great for normal life.  While this was in no way easy and there were a few hiccups in the road I would say this was pretty dang successful and would recommend the program to anyone looking to shake that sugar addiction or just shock the metabolism a bit.  Be warned though, if you are active (in case you couldn’t already tell from my recap) you may want to tone down your workouts until this is done.   Me, I’m happy to be done but glad I found some new recipes to add and have a new outlook on sugar and how it affects me.

happy to be done

CHIME IN!!!  Do you think you will do a sugar detox?

 

WIWW #38

I have a confession to make…I didn’t wear this on a Wednesday.  I wore this outfit to Gourmet Night on Saturday which was Kentucky Derby themed.  I’m flying to Charlotte today so its jeans and a t-shirt for me (I have a connecting flight so its a long day of flying).

I don’t get dressed up really fancy very often so I thought I would share one of those looks today.  I decided to go with a vintage/pin-up vibe with the make-up and hair to do something a little different for me.  I think everything came together really well!  Special thanks to my amazing hair stylist Valerie at Salon Matos who did a fabulous job with the hair.  I wish I got some better pictures of it but alas I did not.

Dress:  ModCloth

Hat:  Etsy (seriously check out her shop she has the most adorable mini hats)

Shoes:  Dillards

Necklace:  Charming Charlie

Earrings:  Kendra Scott

And because Joe looked so dapper in his suit, here we are!  We look fantastic if I do say so myself 🙂

me and Joe

CHIME IN!!!  Ever been to the Kentucky Derby?  Do you get dressed up often?  Hats, love them or hate them?

Workout Recap 4/12-18

My legs are rebelling this week.  They feel all tight and swollen and nasty…made for some interesting runs to say the least.  I didn’t do any cross-training this week mainly because my motivation just wasn’t there.  I need to get back at it though, I have some trips coming up I want to  be buff for 😀  Let’s talk about how this week went!

Tuesday:  Rest Day!  What?!  I know!  A rest day on a Tuesday, the insanity!  My calves have been feeling so tight its stupid.  Those hills man, they are still bothering me.  15 minutes foam rolling and stretching that night to try and loosen up.  I also had my yearly physical today (clean bill of health thank you very much) and worked the rest of the day at home…wish I could have been doing what the puppies were doing though 🙂

resting puppies

Wednesday:  40 minute run scheduled for 3.5 miles but my feet were getting some crazy cramps so I ended at 31 minutes with 2.75 miles.  I have no idea why my body is being a jerk right now.  I was wearing compression socks which I think may have something to do with it.  I’m going to wear my compression sleeves tomorrow for the speed work to test my theory.  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling that night.  I’m working on my pigeon pose right now, I know its dark but there isn’t supposed to be any space between my hip and the floor.  Right now there is like a 5 inch gap.  Yeah I have tight hips lol.

stretching

Thursday:  Well I think it finally happened…I think my fitbit has bit the dust.  First my fitbit was dead from using it yesterday (on a full battery), then I forgot to use the lap function for my workout today, finally it wont sync anymore so I don’t know how fast my pick-ups were.  Ugh stupid fitbit.  After some research I think I’m going to get the Garmin Forerunner 235.  If I do decide to get that one Ill give a full review once I’ve used it for a while.  Anyway the run…so it was 40 minutes with a 10:26 average pace for 3.86 miles.  The goal was 8x1min pick ups at faster than 5k pace with 1 minute rest between each.  The first 4 were a struggle because my achillies tendon is SCREAMING at me (ordered a massager for it, don’t worry I’m working on it) but loosened up a bit for the last 4.  I think my times were 8:30-7:50 pace but don’t know because of said crazy brain this morning.  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling that night to try and loosen up more.  On a positive note my jasmine is starting to bloom!  I am finally getting that wall of white I’ve been working on since we moved here!!!

jasmine

Friday:  Rest Day!  Didn’t do much today, stayed off the legs and all that jazz.  Did 15 minutes stretching / foam rolling that night and did a lot of downward dog.  Those muscles at the back of the ankle have been so tight and I felt it so hard core doing the downward dog…adding another pose to my nightly routine it seems 🙂  I also got my new watch!  My fitbit died on me (the replacement I got for my original) and apparently the warranty for a replacement watch is whatever the warranty on the original watch is…which is stupid…this watch crapped out after not even 4 months.  So instead of buying a new fitbit that I wasn’t happy with I decided to upgrade to the Garmin Forerunner 235.  I’ll do a full review once I’ve run with it more but what sold me on this model was all the added features and the heartrate monitor is in the watch and not a chest strap.

new watch

Saturday:  7 mile run on tap today for 1:15:00.  I ended with 6.93 miles with a little slower pace than recommended at 10:50.  I am still dealing with leg stiffness and the humidity was a beast today which always makes it rough for me to breath.  Took a cliff vanilla gel at 4 miles and tried nuun active tablets today in my water.  Not sure what I think of the tablets yet, going to try them a few more times to get a good idea of how i feel about them.  15 minutes stretching / foam rolling that morning followed by a detox bath.

cloudy run

Sunday:  I was supposed to run 4 miles of recovery today but, I didn’t want to so I didn’t.  We may have also been out pretty late last night for an event and I was just plain dog tired.  Instead we went to brunch and installed a fan at my brothers house.  Better use of my time today I think.

mimosa

Monday:  I don’t know if you heard but it was raining cats and dogs in Houston with a lot of pretty terrible flooding.  I had a 30 minute run scheduled for today but decided to push it back a day because of the mess that was the streets yesterday.  Work was also closed so it was a nice day to stay at home and relax.  Its a bad picture but that’s behind my house which is usually just bone dry…not today…

backyard swamp

CHIME IN!!!  How did your workouts go this week?  Did you get hit by the crazy storm system that is apparently over Denver?  What’s your favorite brunch item?

Disney Dining Tips @ Epcot

Oh how I love Epcot.  With the various festivals throughout the year (food and wine post here, Christmas post here), all the delicious food and beautiful landscaping its my favorite way to spend a day with the least amount of screaming children.  For a day of more adult fun Epcot is the place to be.  Now that’s not to say there aren’t things for kids to do, there are, its just more of an adult park than the other 3.

Epcot

With its 11 countries, there is plenty to offer cuisine wise, not to mention get your drink and snack on.  Since Epcot has the most to offer when it comes to food I’m doing things a little different with this post and breaking it down into sections.

Drinks:

  • Beer—look no further than Germany.  Ok well you may want to look further but for some of the best beers and served cold you need to come to Germany.  There are 2 places where you can get beer and both take the service seriously.  I don’t drink beer but all my travel friends that do will always get a beer from Germany.  Always…that’s not an exaggeration.  You can find beer pretty much anywhere in Germany, there is a beer car as well as Sommerfest, a small counter service in the back of Germany.

Jojo beer

  • Frozen Slush—  Oh frozen alcoholic slushies where have you been all my life.  These delicious treats are found only in France with some seasonal flavors popping up for festivals.  I like the Grey Goose Citron the best but the Grand Marnier is a top favorite of a lot of people.  These also now come in a “double” so you don’t have to run out as fast!  You can only find these slushies in France at the Champagne and Wine kiosk outside of Chef’s de France by the water.

slushes

  • Malestrom Margarita—oh Malestrom you were a strange ride with a cult following forever memorialized as a delicious margarita.  I really enjoy this margarita (served on the rocks) but to be honest there are many great margaritas at La Cava del Tequila inside the pyramid in Mexico.  These margaritas are much better than the ones you will find outside in the kiosk, so skip that line, come inside the pyramid and get a real, honest to goodness margarita.  Or try a tequila flight if you feel up to it!  You really cant go wrong here.  Plus, you can take the drink to-go so you can still walk around the parks while enjoying your deliciously strong margarita 🙂

margarita in mexico

  • Wine—Italy has a great selection of wines with my favorite being Rosa Regale.  While there is wine is almost every country, Italy has the best selection (in my opinion) and it doesn’t hurt I love the accent.  There is also limoncello and some Disney specifically made wines which are pretty good too.  Stop in La Bottega Italiana for a glass, a bottle or hey even some Italian treats.  This is technically a shop and not a dining location, and is at the front of the Italy section.

wine in italy

  • Sake—While I’m not a fan of the drink, there is a great sake bar inside the Japan pavilion shops.  Technically operated by a company that is not Disney there are many varieties of sake to choose from, hot or cold.  The knowledgeable staff is more than willing to help and you even get to taste from Japanese style cups rather than the standard sad plastic cups.  You can find sake inside Mitsukoshi at the very back of Japan.

sake face

  • Country Drinks—while the above are my favorite things to drink keep in mind each country does feature the drinks they are known for.  If you want to drink around the wold make sure you pace yourself, there are 11 countries after all!  Also remember that during festivals there will be even more booths and offerings so make sure and check those out while you are there.

cheers

Sweets:

  • Caramel popcorn—have you ever had fresh made caramel popcorn?  No?!  Well get your butt over to Karamell-Kuche in Germany and try some out.  You better get a big bag though its pretty darn addicting!  In case you couldn’t tell from the name these is actually a caramel store where there are many different desserts featuring, you guessed it, caramel.  If popcorn isn’t your thing try one of the many other caramel offerings!  Karamell-Kuche is located in the front of the Germany pavilion.

karamell-kuche-making-corn(source)

  • Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich—Choose from vanilla, chocolate or a seasonal flavor, trust me when I say you need to try this!  I’ve had the vanilla, peppermint, strawberries & cream, and pumpkin spice.  Surprise, the peppermint was my favorite.  I love macarons, I love fresh homemade ice cream, what is there not to love about the macaron ice cream sandwich.  When this first came out it was almost impossible to get one, now they have wizened up and make more daily.  Stop by and grab one, but not to share you will want to eat the whole thing by yourself 🙂  Macaron Ice Cream sandwiches can be found in the L’Artisan des Glaces Sorbet and Ice Cream Shop in the back of France but before the french shop.
  • Ice Cream Martini—also at the L’Artisan des Glaces Sorbet and Ice Cream Shop you can get two scoops of ice cream served with a shot of alcohol (grand marnier, whipped cream vodka, or rum).  Its pretty strong but definitely an interesting take on a martini.  If that isn’t your thing, get the ice cream alone because the ice cream can definitely be enjoyed all by itself.  Its amazingly delicious.
  • Croissant Donut—If you have never had a cro’nut I feel very sorry for you.  I’ve never had the original but the Disney version is the bees knees.  Soft, crispy, doughy and cinnamon-sugary delicious this treat tops my “must eat” list and is almost as delicious as a churro.  You can now also get this deliciousness with a scoop of ice cream on top.  While I love this alone, I can see the appeal on a hot Florida day.  You can find the croissant donut at the refreshment port before going into Canada.

cronut

Snacks:

  • Pretzel—once you get a pretzel from Germany you really wont want a pretzel from anywhere else.  Served plain, with some mustard or even some butter (you have to ask for that) these pretzels are hands down the best I’ve had.  Grab one while you grab a beer and all will be right with the world.  You can find pretzels at any counter service location or kiosk in Germany.

germany pretzel(source)

  • Anything at Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie, no seriously anything.  This counter service location is located in the very back of France inside the back of the French merchandise shop.  Yeah its pretty hidden, but trust me the food is authentically french and delicious.  I’ve had macarons here but their savory offerings are just as tempting.

les halles

Full Service Dining:

  • Chefs de France—In case you cant tell I really love French cuisine.  A great table service location with top notch food and wine (a slightly cheaper than its 2nd floor counterpart) stop by Chefs de France for lunch or dinner.  I love the french onion soup, but really you cant go wrong with anything on the menu.  Chefs de France is located next to the fountains in France.  Advance dining reservations are recommended but during slow seasons probably not required.
  • Le Cellier-–Leading up to this Canadian restaurant is a beautiful and tranquil garden.  I think the food/gardens are modeled after Quebec (Vancouver is nothing like this) and I love this area so much.  Inside the restaurant its pretty dark and cramped but the food is amazing.  The menu is seasonal but everything I’ve had has been on point.  Make sure you eat the pretzel bread they bring out as an appetizer, its almost as good as a German pretzel.  This restaurant is extremely popular and advance dining reservations are required and should probably made right at the 120 day window.  Le Cellier is located in Canada under the rock formations.  The restaurant itself is hidden so look for the entrance to the garden and follow the path down.

gardens of la cellier

  • Coral Reef—If nothing else you need to eat here just because its a cool restaurant.  Get a close table and you can eat your fish while you watch the fish.  Sometimes there are proposals in the tank but I’ve never seen it.  Sometimes you can even see scuba divers in the tank which is fun to watch as well.  The food here though is also delicious.  Locally sourced and sustainable everything I’ve had here is delicious and perfectly prepared.  While its best dishes are seafood, there are other options available as well.  Advance dining reservations are recommended but not required during slow season.  Coral Reef is located in the Sea’s area inside Future World by the Finding Nemo ride.

coral-reef-restaurant-00

  • Via Napoli—My all time favorite restaurant in Epcot where we eat as often as possible.  The pizza here is to die for!  I love the pizza ovens and they even have names!!!  We’ve had other dishes here but I always go back to the pizza.  Its really the best.  They import the water from Naples that’s how authentic this pizza is.  I really cant say enough great things about this place.  Advance dining reservations are recommended, I would venture to say required but you might be ok just a few days out.  Via Napoli is located in the very back of the Italy pavillion.
  • Teppan Edo—I’ve only been to Teppan Edo once but we had a great time!  How can you not have a good time at Hibachi though!  Great thing about Disney is there are always friendly people at your table that are happy to talk if you alone or its a great place to take a group of people!  There is also a non-hibachi area but why would you go and not enjoy a dinner show!  The food was really good too, I had steak and scallops which were or course cooked to order.  My friend did not partake in the hibachi but ordered sushi (you can order off the regular menu if you would like) and Joe and my other friend both had steak.  I don’t have any pictures from this because we went at a time before food pictures 🙂  but trust me we had a great time and would go again for sure!  Japan is really underrated for food but I would highly recommend giving it a try.  Advance dining reservations are recommended but not required unless going on a peak day like Christmas.

japan

  • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall—My absolute favorite place to meet all the princesses at the same time is Akershus.  The food is better in my opinion than Cinderella’s Royal Table in Magic Kingdom and you get to meet all the princesses!! (its in Norway)  Below are a few that I have met but sometimes Mulan switches out for Ariel.  The princesses are really good about coming to all the tables like good royalty and they are so lovely and spend some time with you but not too much they have others guests to attend to and you have food to eat!  I’ve been here a few times for lunch and have enjoyed the food, but it is Norwegian inspired so be prepared for some interesting dishes.  Advance dining reservations are required and should be made as soon as you can especially if you are going during Princess Half Marathon weekend (the middle of February) 🙂  Akershus is located in Norway and is the only restaurant in that country.

Quick Service Dining:

  • Gourmet Grilled Cheese—I’m talking Canadian cheddar and green apple gourmet.  Also available are soups and salads which makes this the perfect quick service kiosk.  Sadly this location is only open at odd hours and sometimes only during peak days its not always easy to grab a grilled cheese but if you find yourself near Test Track and the Taste Track (cute name right) is open and serving up delicious bites, get yourself a grilled cheese and tomato basil soup and be happy you did.
  • Mac and Cheese Hamburger—this may not actually be on the menu anymore because the burgers do change from time to time but we were lucky enough to try the mac and cheese hamburger and it was interesting, weird and delicious all at the same time.  I love a good cheesy burger though so adding the mac and cheese just took it over the top.  Disney burger patties aren’t really anything to write home about but its fun to try different variations of an old classic.  You can possibly find the mac and cheese burger if not a different interesting burger at the Electric Umbrella in Future World by Mouse Gears.

Electric-Umbrella-Macaroni-Cheese-Burger-3(source)

Well that’s it folks, that’s all she wrote.  Quite a bit actually but Epcot has the most to offer I wanted to make sure I covered as much as I could.  These are all just my favorites, but know there are so many other options out there it might make your head spin on your first visit.  I’m always here for recommendations 🙂

epcot food and wine

CHIME IN!!!  What do you love to eat at Epcot?  Ever been during a festival?  Have you had a cro’nut before?

 

The Best Dang Blueberry Pie Ever (Foodie Friday #32)

Its not blueberry season quite yet but I made this pie for the family recently and remembered how much I love blueberry pie.

We live pretty close to a blueberry farm (Moorhead’s Blueberry farm) so every other year we head down and pick our weight in blueberries.  What I love about this farm is they have a few varieties of blueberries and you can pick pretty much wherever you want and as much as you want.  You can also eat as much as you want, which is a big bonus for kids 🙂  The farm also doesn’t use toxic chemicals or anything crazy to treat their plants which means they are “organic” and bonus they also freeze really well.  I have about 15 pounds of frozen blueberries in my freezer right now waiting to be used and blueberry pie is one of my favorite things to make with them.

blueberry picking(You can see from the size of the plants this place has been around of a long time)

The recipe I use for blueberry pie is actually from my mom and she got it from the farm!  Their site have quite a few recipes now and the pie recipe has since changed but some of the best desserts are simple.  Without further ado, here is the recipe!

Blueberry pie

Blueberry Pie

Servings: 8           Prep Time: 5min             Cook Time: 30min            Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/3 c flour
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 1/2 c fresh blueberries
  • 2 pie crusts (I use premade)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • cinnamon sugar (1c sugar, 2 tbsp cinnamon mixed well)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Roll out one pie crust into a 9 inch pie dish.  Flute edges and make sure the pie crust covers the whole dish.

In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour, lemon juice, blueberries and cinnamon and mix well.  Be gentle to ensure you don’t pop the blueberries and evenly coat the berries with the dry mix.

Pour the blueberries into the prepared pie dish and dot the butter over the top.  Distribute the butter around the top of the blueberries and not all in one spot.  Lay the second crust over the top and pinch the edges shut.  Trim off any excess and cut small slits in the top crust layer.  Sprinkle cinnamon/sugar mixture over the top.

Put pie in oven and bake for 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown (towards the end you may need to put aluminum foil around the edges to keep the outer edges from burning while the middle continues to cook).  Remove and let cool slightly.  Serve and enjoy!

Notes:  You probably want to put the pie plate on a cookie sheet to catch any juices that may come out of the pie to keep your over clean.

Letting the pie cool helps the insides thicken and makes it slightly easier to serve.  You can absolutely serve it right out of the oven but be prepared for a runny pie.  Its also best served with a scoop of Blue Bell homemade vanilla ice cream (recipe coming next week!!!) 😀

20160410_204158

CHIME IN!!!  Are you a pie fan?  Do you make your own pie crust or use premade?  Ever been fruit picking before?