Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Eating out: Red Robin

Yesterday was a day of errand-running with The H and little guy, as they were home from daycare/work. We started the day with a batch of these fantastic waffles, and stopped for lunch at Red Robin.

I've been itching for the taste of buffalo sauce lately, so I ordered a plain-grilled chicken sandwich (lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle come on the side) with Frank's. Rather than fries, I asked for melon as a side and was pleased to see two sweet and juicy slices of cantaloupe arrive on my plate.

I did sample a few of The H's fries, but they weren't doing it for me today so I had no problem cutting myself off. No pictures; I didn't have the camera on me and thought a cell phone pic of my empty plate would be less than impressive.

This is probably the first time I've eaten at Red Robin and *not* felt like a big greasy schlub on the way out. "Yummm" indeed.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Allergen-free* waffles

* If you use the flax "eggs" as described below, and rice- or almond milk, these can be gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free * If you are allergic to corn, then I'm sorry; this is not the mix for you!

My little guy loves waffles. He asks for one almost every morning. So when we got back from Alexandria and I hadn't gone shopping yet, we nearly had a toddler meltdown on our hands. Lucky for him (you know, since he didn't have to get a time-out for having a tantrum) I was able to whip up this semi-homemade version in just a few minutes.

Starting with Bob's Red Mill gluten-free pancake mix, I stirred in half a container of apple-carrot-sweet potato baby food, cinnamon, and ground nutmeg. I also took a chance and added a second egg (the directions call for one) since I thought I remembered reading something like that on the package of Krusteaz pancake/waffle mix once. With a bit of milk and some canola oil, these were ready to be griddled.

I didn't know how they'd turn out, so I halved the recipe that is printed on the the package. Happy to report they were fantastic! No funky GF aftertaste or texture, with a nice wintery spice flavor from the nutmeg. The baby food puree is undetectable, but I feel like it gives us a little boost of orange-veggie intake that we may not have otherwise had.

These turned out so well, the little guy requested them again the next day. Alas, I'd used the last two eggs on the first (half) batch! Then I remembered that Bob's Red Mill pizza crust mix has an egg-free alternative suggestion: * mix together 1 Tbsp flax meal with 3 Tbsp cold water for each egg called for. Let this mixture sit for a few minutes, then use in place of the egg(s). That is exactly what I did, making enough flax-equivalent to replace the two eggs I didn't have.

The flax batch--the ones pictured--came out a little crispier than the ones I made the first time. I'm not sure if that's from the flax, or if I was slower taking them out of the waffle iron. They also stuck to the iron more than the eggy version, even after a spritz of nonstick cooking spray. Just be aware of this if you decide to make them. The original recipe, as printed on the back of the package, is as follows:

Gluten-Free Pancakes
from Bob's Red Mill
makes ~10 single waffles

1 1/2 cups gluten-free pancake mix mix
1 egg* (or flax "egg" - 1Tbsp ground flax + 3Tbsp water)
3/4 cup milk* (cow, almond, rice, etc.)
1 Tbsp oil

We made these again for Christmas morning, a full batch this time, with one egg and one flax "egg", and added cinnamon, nutmeg, and a full "Stage 2" container of apple-carrot-sweet potato baby food. I called them Gingerbread Waffles, and my in-laws gobbled them up.

Oh, and just so you really think we're cuckoo, I feel obligated to tell you that we made them again for breakfast today. Yeah, that's about 4 times in less than two weeks. They're GOOD!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

So here's the plan...

This week, being another holiday week, will be kind of wonky but I don't expect it to be as off-course as Christmas was, given that the majority of the cookies are gone and nobody I know does a gigantic New Year's dinner.

Here's a rough idea of what we'll be eating... what's on your menu?

Sunday - gluten-free pizza and salad with friends after a 3 mile run

- beef stew (local beef, potatoes, carrots, onion, green beans), gluten-free pumpernickel bread, and kale chips (5 mile run in the morning)

Tuesday - 5 mile run, followed by slow cooker soup...perhaps leftovers from last week?

Wednesday - visiting family; we usually have pizza or pasta (gluten-free as applicable) the first night we're there

Thursday - visiting family; possibly scalloped potatoes and ham

Friday - 4 mile "Resolution Run" and family-friendly NYE party with friends; we've been asked to bring a dish to pass. Maybe something from my new Clean Eating Mag cookbook!

Saturday - I like to include some form of pork/sauerkraut in our January 1st menu. I might look for a pork tenderloin this week. That's simple and CrockPot-able.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

The H was a wonderful elf this year. In addition to many running-related goodies, he also got me The Best of Clean Eating Magazine Cookbook, AND a cookbook holder to keep kitchen messes off of it. :) Sweet, huh? I'm so excited to snuggle up with it and a pack of sticky notes and start planning some new menus.

We started the day with coffee while we opened presents with the little guy, then made the 2-mile trip to the in-laws' where we had gingerbread waffles, scrambled eggs, sausage and bacon before opening more presents. With a little downtime in between, we then trekked out to The H's aunt and uncle's house for an early dinner; my plate was loaded with turkey breast, wheat-free cheesy potatoes, green beans with slivered almonds, two deviled egg halves (I made these, using plain Greek yogurt, yellow mustard, and horseradish for the filling), and a scoop of green Jell-O something-or-other with pineapple and pistachios, which I was told was a staple for that side of the family. Oh, and then I indulged in dessert(s)...

Today was pretty busy for us and not very typical food-wise. But I enjoyed everything I ate and don't regret a bit of it, and I'm thrilled to have spent the day with loved ones. I hope you had a warm and relaxing holiday, too.

Stay tuned for some tasty new recipes!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

CrockPot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Yes, this soup starts with a box mix. Don't stop reading just yet. I found it at Whole Foods in Alexandria and was sucked in by the big "GLUTEN FREE!" sign on the shelf. A packaged soup mix that is GF and low sodium? Must investigate!

I love that the ingredients list is so simple:

Really. Rice, veggies, spices (SALT-FREE, did you see that on the front?) and a bay leaf. A real, big whole bay leaf. I was impressed.

The only things I had to do in order to get this on its way was to put chicken breast in the crock, add some fresh chopped mushrooms (I used an 8oz package of button mushrooms, quartered), sprinkle the seasoning over all that, and add some broth and water. Brilliant.

This simmered away all afternoon, from about 2pm until we got home from running group to eat around 7:30.

After tasting the soup, I did add some sea salt based on my personal preference. I enjoyed mine with a few saltine crackers and some awesome dried apple slices from my mom. And then I had some Christmas cookies. :D I claim that *earned* those, after running the fastest 5 miles of my life--at an overall pace of 7:49/mile. For real, right?! It wasn't easy, but I'm thrilled that I could do it. The girl I ran with said she "had a goal for us." I was too scared to ask what it was.

This is some of my Garmin data:

Time: 00:39:16
Moving Time: 00:39:05
Elapsed Time: 00:39:28
Avg Pace: 07:49 min/mi
Avg Moving Pace: 07:47 min/mi
Best Pace: 06:05 min/mi

ANYway, The H ate two large bowls of this soup, saying it wasn't as heavy as it looks. We had enough left over to make three large-lunch portions, one of which I think I'll try freezing. It's always good to know which recipes will last longer than a few days. Of course I could have made a GF chicken-and-rice soup without a boxed starter; people do it all the time. But it's nice to have an alternative when doing it all yourself just isn't feasible.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Old Town A - Homecooking!

So I know we've been home for a few days, but since I wasn't able to upload photos while we were on the road, I'm shuffling in some of them now.

One of the the things we got to do while in the DC/Alexandria area was have dinner with a friend of mine from high school, whom I literally haven't seen in 10 years.

It was so nice to have a break from restaurant food; granted, this trip was shorter than our most recent ones (Alexandria in April and Atlanta in June were both 2 weeks), and I cooked in-room one of those nights, but still. Home-cooked is home-cooked, even in someone else's home!

Our hostess was so gracious to all of us, especially the little guy. He made himself right at home checking out her Christmas tree and candy dish.

I think he had M&M drool on his chin before I sat down to sample the cheese and olives she set out for appetizers.

This is what the table looked like when we sat down:

Gorgeous, no? She was so kind to take The H's allergies into account, and the resulting meal--baked chicken, sauteed zucchini and summer squash, mashed potatoes, and fabulous gluten-free brownies--was simply delicious.

The little guy ate some, but I didn't push him to clean his plate by any means; he ends up being a better guest when he isn't forced to hold still and eat like a big boy. He had much more fun playing games to which only he knew the rules.

Overall, it was a lovely, lighthearted break in the middle of a week of restaurant food. And for the record, the little guy does indeed have highly pinchable cheeks! (Don't you wish you could rock a footie dinosaur sleeper?)

Eating out: Chipotle

Today the little guy and I met The H at Chipotle, kind of on a whim. LG and I were on our way home from his daycare Christmas party (God bless those workers; it was *loud* in there) when The H called us--his company once again failed to get him something GF/wheat-free when they ordered lunch in, so he was looking for something to eat.

Pardon the crappy cell phone pic, but this is my gorgeously colorful chicken burrito bowl, topped with black beans, pico de gallo (the mild salsa), and roasted corn salsa (medium). It was just the right amount of heat, plus a good serving of protein from the chicken and beans. Very satisfying.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"Just say no" to HFCS

Have you seen those annoying "high fructose corn syrup is just like sugar" ads on TV? The frumpy mom at the kids' birthday party, the carefree girl-and-boyfriend picnicking in the park? I can't stand those. They're so misleading. HFCS is *not* just like sugar, it's *not* natural, and it's nearly impossible to enjoy in moderation due to its increasing presence in so many foods. But often when people ask me *why* I avoid HFCS, my mind goes blank. I might stutter something like, "Because it's GROSS." I'm not great under pressure.

This article provides a short, to-the-point FYI in case you are the same, or even if you've never known why HFCS (I mean, corn sugar) is a nasty little bugger. It's one of the first things I cut out of my diet even before I had ever heard of clean eating.

If you're new to the clean eating scene and this is foreign-sounding to you, do yourself a favor and check out the labels on the foods and beverages you purchase and consume this week--even the ones that may already be in your fridge/pantry. You may be surprised at how many things contain HFCS. Chances are, for most of those products, either you'll find that you can buy or make a better (healthier, cleaner) alternative, or you don't need it all that badly after all.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Know what's not bad?

These things--Dr. Praeger's Tex Mex veggie burger patties. I bought them on my last trip to Trader Joe's after hearing others recommend them here and there. I originally thought they'd be a nice quick lunch for myself when The H and little guy are at work/daycare, but they came through in a pinch for dinner tonight. The H his not a gigantic fan of meatless products, but he pasted on a smile and went with it. Actually, he MADE it. I was blustering around a few stores after my run this afternoon and he was kind enough (hungry enough?) to start dinner while I was out.

We served these with sliced avocado, fresh tomato, and sliced sharp cheddar, with some gluten-free mac 'n' cheese (another Trader Joe's purchase) on the side. My meal plan indicates sweet potato fries, but the sweet potatoes were in the car with me, having just been purchased this afternoon. No sense in waiting another 45 minutes when my boys were hungry; the GF mac did just fine as a side. Here's a little tip: you can make your macaroni--the boxed stuff, I mean--with plain Greek yogurt in place of the milk if you want a creamier, "Kraft Deluxe" style dish. Omit the butter and just use 1/2 cup yogurt instead of the 1/4 cup milk. If you swap out the pasta included in the box and use brown rice spirals (oh, Trader Joe, how often can I praise you in one post?) it's a dead ringer for the mac 'n' cheese at Boston Market at a fraction of the arterial damage.

So that's what we had. And what I will be having again, because those patties were good. The H and I commented as such multiple times throughout the meal about them. Not too crumbly, as some meatless things can be, not too spicy, and really rather flavorful. The H's only minor complaint was that some of the veggies in said "veggie burger" are recognizable. ;) Works for me!

Christmas week meal plan

Sunday lunch - breakfast dinner (local eggs, local chicken apple sausage, grapefruit slices)

Sunday dinner - with friends (steak, sweet potatoes, salt-crusted white potatoes, mixed veggies, gluten-free brownies, red wine)

Monday - veggie burgers with home-grown green beans and sweet potato fries

Tuesday - wild rice chicken soup in the CrockPot

Wednesday - CO-OP PICKUP and gluten-free pizza with friends (various toppings)

Thursday - local beef burgers with home fries/potato skillet

Friday - Christmas Eve, plans TBD

Saturday - Merry Christmas! We are brunching with the in-laws and then heading to The H's aunt and uncle's for Christmas dinner later in the afternoon. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday week and a fantastic weekend.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

One for the record books

Yesterday will go down in personal history as one of my worst food-related days since I started eating clean. The whole day was out of whack, having been delayed--then canceled--on our flight home from DC. We ended up spending Friday night in another hotel in Alexandria, only to be back at the airport at 6am for a different flight out (on a different airline, no less) Saturday morning.

We began the day at 4:45am with Starbucks coffee in-room (thanks, Sheraton Suites!) and hard-boiled eggs that I'd brought from our *other* hotel. There were four, and three of us, so it wasn't very filling. I also pulled some organic cereal bars from my suitcase and put them into my carryon bag for later. We had to ditch the coffee since we didn't have enough hands to carry that, the little guy, our bags, and three suitcases. Sad.

Once at the airport, after checking in and enduring the luggage and security lines, we had very little time before our plane arrived. And I was starving. Around 6:45 The H went to get coffee and asked what I liked from McDonald's... and oh, yes, rather than saying "Nothing, thanks, I have a cereal bar" I fired off a quick "Sausage McMuffin with egg!" as he walked away. Ooops. So I gobbled that before we boarded, and finished my coffee in-flight. And then had some Biscoff cookies, which I love. Thanks, Delta! We are card-carrying Continental flyers, but I do love me some Delta Biscoff cookies.

Once we landed, shortly after 9am, The H got us *more* coffee (mmm...Caribou...) and we met my wonderful dad, who was kind enough to pick us up. Oh, and kind enough to pick up a new carseat for the little guy, since by taking a different flight/airline, we also ended up at a different airport, a full 2 hours from the one at which our car--and LG's seat--was waiting.

From there, since we happened to be in town, the little guy and I went with my mom and sister to my extended family's "Cookie Day," which is as you might guess: a day designated for baking eighty zillion Christmas cookies. Having no supplies or recipes with me, I was fully unprepared and basically useless to the operation. I did, however, manage to eat several cookies, drink MORE COFFEE if you can believe it, and eat two slices of pizza for lunch--one veggie, and one pepperoni/mushroom.

As luck would have it, another one of my sisters (who lives in the same city we do) was there. OK, it wasn't luck; we asked her to please please please come to Cookie Day and bring us home with her! So she did. :) The little guy and I slept most of the way home, a much-needed rest for both.

Dinner was a matter of convenience for the sleepy, out-of-sorts, amazingly resilient little guy, and he requested nuggets. It felt like an out-of-body experience as I sat down at Wendy's and unwrapped a spicy chicken sandwich, fries, and root beer. What was I thinking?! I know Wendy's has salads and potatoes, but I apparently chose to ignore that. Sigh.

Once LG was in bed, The H made us some... oh yeah, coffee. Decaf for this round. I could only handle half a cup before I felt like I'd pee brown the next day, and called it quits. A few glasses of water later, I went to bed. My own sweet, blessed, comfortable, non-bleachy-sheets bed.

It wasn't normal. It wasn't pretty. But it is what it is. Today I got back on track as much as possible without grocery shopping, had a great run, and enjoyed dinner with friends (steak, sweet potato, veggies, gluten-free brownies). Tomorrow is Monday--a 5 mile day. Perhaps then life will resume its regularly scheduled programming.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Taking control

Sometimes when we're on the road with The H I feel like I don't have much control over my meals. It's easy to fall into that mindset when breakfast is provided by the hotel, lunch is all too easy to grab while the little guy and I are out and about, and dinner is paid for by the company. However, I know that's not how it HAS to be. Even though I'm not cooking 100% of my meals, I can still choose to take control of what I'm eating most of the time. During weeks when eating out frequently is inevitable, sometimes I feel like rebelling (against myself? LOL) and choosing something fatty, fried, and utterly indulgent **just because I can**. And while that is my prerogative, I think the motive behind it is kind of sucky.

Yesterday after a good, solid run, I exercised good control by opting for a Greek yogurt (Fage 2% with blueberries) and glass of water before making taco salad for dinner. We bought meat, lettuce, cheese, chips, and salsa at Whole Foods earlier in the week, and I combined it all with taco seasoning I'd brought from home. It was good and filling (and spicy!), and aside from the tortilla chips (with the shortest ingredients list I could find), mostly clean. It was refreshing to have a run behind me and dinner on the table before 6:30 on a Tuesday night, when we usually don't get home from running group until almost 8pm. I think that alone, regardless of my dinner, made me feel accomplished and successful.

I carried over that feeling of empowerment to breakfast today, where I had oatmeal with walnuts, raisins, and a little brown sugar instead of the waffle with butter and artificially-flavored syrup I'd been dreaming about. With a side of fresh pineapple and some bites of scrambled egg, I was off to a good start that wouldn't result in a carb-hangover at 10am.

Tonight we're having dinner with a friend of mine from high school, whom I haven't seen in probably 10 years. While I know she's planning a good clean meal for us after learning of The H's allergies, I still might want to squeeze in a quick run before we go. The sun is out, and there's no snow on the ground!

And yes, I know these really long rambly posts without pictures are kinda boring, but I forgot to bring the camera cord with me this week! Maybe The H will be so kind as to offload the pics onto his laptop and email them to me. Well, maybe I should take pictures of something first, and then have him do that... ;)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Old Town A - Day 2

This morning was nice and leisurely, as mornings out of town should be. When the little guy started calling for me at 7am, I told him it wasn't time to be awake yet... so he went back to sleep 'til 8! Merry early Christmas to me. Since I showered after my run last night, I was fresh as a daisy already and just needed to flatten out my hair and throw on some makeup to look presentable for breakfast. Breakfast was nothing to write home about; much of the same from yesterday. Tomorrow I think I'll give in to my inner child and make a Belgian waffle with butter and syrup.

We didn't venture outside until well after 11am, since the little guy made friends with two other tiny boys at breakfast, and they had a good time running around together for the better part of an hour. Once we got moving, we braved the blustery weather--yep, again--so I could get a few things from the Gap and Walgreens. Super exciting, no?

Lunch was in-room: leftover pizza for us both (and a peach cup for the little guy) followed by some coffee with half-and-half for me as I sat down to work during naptime. The sunshine is streaming in the windows, making my legs itch for a run, so I hope The H gets back sooner than he did yesterday! I've got plans to reacquaint myself with the Mount Vernon Trail, and I'd love to do it during daylight hours.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Old Town A - Day 1

The H has a different work schedule than usual for being on the road, which means rather than bringing breakfast to the room for me and the little guy, he's out the door by 6:45 and we're on our own. LG slept long enough this morning that I could shower and get ready in peace. Love that! We headed down to the breakfast buffet just after 8am. I can't tell you the last time I was ready to leave the house that early, let alone that presentably--I did my makeup, folks. Yeah.

My little buddy perused the spread and requested that "orange melon and green melon" be part of his breakfast. Then he insisted upon calling them "oranges and pears." He ate two large chunks of each, along with a sausage patty, less than 1/4 cup of Froot Loops (he calls them colored Cheerios), and some 2% milk. I mostly enjoyed a bowl of melon, coffee with half and half, and an egg sandwich: wheat English muffin with spinach, Canadian bacon, and egg. We snagged a small blueberry muffin to share for morning snack-time. It was dry and we didn't eat it all.

On this fine, sunny, WINDY morning, we blew down to Whole Foods, more to warm up than shop, and later found ourselves in a small independent bookstore before choosing convenience over cleanliness and diving into Subway for lunch. My turkey-on-wheat was mediocre. I didn't realize the "sandwich artist" helping me thought this was my 6" sandwich, rather than LG's kid's meal, so I didn't have it toasted, had her add cheese, and omitted my favorite topping--the yellow peppers! It was instead made simply with spinach, tomato, oil, and vinegar. Fine, but not really what I wanted.

As soon as The H got back from work I blasted out the door for a run. Coming from Michigan, I'll take just about any chance I get to run on clear, dry sidewalks in mid-December, wind or not! Dry sidewalk trumps treadmill. I had to cut my planned 5 miles down to 4 because he was later than planned, and really windy, but 4 is better than zero! I made up a route based on the wind and traffic. It was fun--looking forward to going further tomorrow, hopefully with more daylight.

Dinner was post-run: delicious goodies from ZPizza. Half of a thin-crust "Rustica" style pizza with chicken sausage and arugula (and a light beer--complementary from the hotel's happy hour) for me, a gluten-free pepperoni and mushroom pizza for The H, and a pear and gorgonzola salad with balsamic vinaigrette for us to share. I went shopping at Whole Foods while my boys went to hunt and gather. It was a quick trip. The little guy has been very picky lately, which is unusual for him, but I guess not atypical for his age. We ended up spending less than we ever have at a grocery store on the road with The H! I got some Greek yogurt and organic graham crackers for snacks, cereal bars that the little guy asked for, yogurt/cottage cheese/turkey lunchmeat for The H, and ingredients for taco salad tomorrow.

Tomorrow is supposed to be windy again, so we'll probably stick close to the hotel, but we'll see...

Hello again, Old Town.

This week we're probably going to eat here... and here... and perhaps even here.

Oh, and we'll have to stop in here, of course.

No, I didn't go on a cooking strike. We're in Alexandria, VA with The H again! Despite a fairly stressful adventure getting here, we made it in relatively good spirits. We're staying at the same hotel we were at for this trip, but this time--thankfully--we are blessed to have a two-room suite instead of a studio room! Dinner last night was courtesy of the Whole Foods just a few steps outside our door. The H brought mac 'n' cheese for the little guy, who'd been asking for noodles all day, some turkey, mashed taters, and beans for himself, and a pork tenderloin with rice and veggies for me. A tasty end to a hectic day!

Monday, December 6, 2010

A splurgy weekend

In the interest of keeping it real, this is what my eats looked like from Friday through Sunday...

Friday - dinner went mostly according to plan, albeit a little later than hoped since I underestimated the time it would take wild rice to cook in the CrockPot. We had chicken breast cooked with the wild rice, onion, veggie broth, and cubed roasted butternut squash.

Saturday - typical pre-run breakfast toast, some baked goods after my 8-mile run with friends, and the leftover half of my shredded spicy beef burrito from Friday's lunch. We went out to dinner with some running friends, to a steakhouse chain we haven't been to in a year or more. I had an 8oz steak with sides of sauteed mushrooms and a veggie skewer. I also indulged and had a Coke, which promptly made my eyes water from the carbonation. We capped the evening with a trip to ColdStone Creamery, which I haven't had since... who knows? It was served after my half marathon in May, but I opted for lemon sorbet that day.

Sunday - The H was leaving for another week in the DC area, so we had breakfast as a family at a local place. Although I debated getting my "usual" (eggs, fruit, small pancake) a sugary psychosis carried over from Saturday night and I found myself ordering the gingerbread pancakes instead. Holy smokes; they were like plate-sized gingerbread cookies slathered with cinnamon-roll icing and dolloped with whipped cream. I laughed when the server actually set down a container of maple syrup on the side. INSANELY sweet. That's very unlike me, and while I enjoyed what I ate, I didn't finish the plateful.

The little guy and I dropped The H off at the airport and came home for 3-hour naps. :D Happy Sunday to us! We each had some yogurt when we got up, before making Trader Joe's black bean-and-cheese taquitos for dinner. I dipped mine in a mixture of sour cream and TJ's peach salsa. The little guy picked at his, opting instead for Kashi cheese crackers and a kiwi.

I jumped back into normalcy this morning with a 5-mile run, Nature's Path granola, and some delightful hot coffee. With half-and-half, of course.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Who's afraid of the big bad Kate?

More than once in the past week it has come to my attention that some of my readers and real-life friends feel intimidated by this little bloggity blog, for one reason or another. Yes, I run a lot. But that's just for ME, not something you have to do to make clean eating a success. Yes, the recipes I blog are (mostly) clean, but please understand that's not all we eat. I drink wine, I like beer. And I don't always wait for a special occasion to have a drink. Sometimes The H saying, "Want some wine with dinner?" is occasion enough for me. The fact that I drink less than once a week has more to do with a medication I take than the clean-eating factor.

I don't mean to be misleading when all I post are cleaner recipes, but I don't think a clean eating blog that blathers on about how many times we ate leftovers and/or fast food (yep, we do) in a week would go over so well. We're not perfect. There have been times when I'm simply too lazy--oh yeah, it happens--to prep a CrockPot meal on a Tuesday, so we've blasted through the Burger King drive-thru on the way home from running group. Sometimes I feel bad about that, but mostly not.

If you've been reading me for any length of time, you know that I believe a peanut butter cup flurry is a vital part of my long-run training. Oh, and last week I bought a box of Trader Joe's assorted holiday "Joe-Joe's" cookies (for the uninformed: chocolate-enrobed Oreo-like cookies with various flavored fillings, like peanut butter) just for myself. I have recently developed an insatiable taste for Indian food, particularly chicken tikka masala and garlic naan.

These are rare instances, indulgences, that round me out (haha!) and keep me from losing my mind or being a complete stick-in-the-mud, inflexible, hard-nosed clean eater. That works for some people. But, and I don't know if you know this about me, I HATE being told what to do. That's part of the reason that following a strict training plan for my marathon in October was so hard for me. Of course I like running, that's no secret, but I don't like being told WHEN and HOW FAR to go on my runs. Likewise, I don't like being told I CAN'T eat certain things. If I want fries, I want FRIES already. I won't get a large, and I won't make it a daily habit, but I will eat them. Sometimes my indulgent cravings come back to bite me in the rear, but overall I believe that moderation has been the key to my continued success.

There are times when I need to pull back and rein in my indulgences because I see them becoming more habitual than I'd like. Days when jeans that fit fresh out of the dryer last week are a wee bit snug this week, even on their 2nd wearing. That's when I really dig into my books and magazines and create a solid, clean meal plan for the week. That's when you see a higher weekly-post average from me. It's when I'm quiet about it that I'm stuffing my face with flourless chocolate cake, Andes mints, and flamebroiled goodness.

Now you know my secret... I'll try to give a more accurate representation of our habits, even the not-so-clean ones, if you promise to send more comments my way! Please. :) And now, I'm off to lunch at a Mexican restaurant with coworkers, where I will proceed to order whatever speaks to me at the time. I'm thinking super-spicy beef burrito, actually...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hey guess what?

This morning I registered for my second marathon, the Bayshore Marathon in Traverse City, MI. Crazy, right? :) A whole bunch of my friends are running it this year, so I won't lack training partners. What a way to kick off the winter! Kinda makes this morning's first real snow of the year more bearable to know that it WILL melt, and it WILL be sunny and warm again. :)

Since my marathon in October, I've seen a dramatic drop in my per-mile times, which is both astounding and encouraging to me. Every week I run faster than the last, which is faster than I ever thought possible. Last night I ran an 8:04/mi pace for 5 miles, which is more than 2 minutes faster per mile than I was just a few years ago. Amazing! I'm having a blast doing it, and couldn't ask for more supportive friends and family.

Regardless of my pace for this upcoming 26.2, I'm definitely looking forward to sharing the "first marathon" experience with my friend Cindy, who registered for the same race. I'm so excited that she's beginning this nutso ride with me, and can't wait to see what training will bring.