Monthly Archives: February 2012

Finding Motivation through…Pinterest?

I feel like I was one of the last few people among my friends to jump on the Pinterest bandwagon. The last thing I thought I would need is yet another computerized distraction to keep me from getting real work done. That being said, I finally broke down and joined the pinning community. I had no idea I would find so many useful tips, tricks, quotes, or workouts to help with my training — or simply to get my butt off the couch and out the door!

Last Saturday, I was facing my first 6-mile run of this training program. I felt overwhelmed by my fear of failure. The little voice in my head was trying to talk me out of it. I was tired. I had an essay to write for class. The weather would be better the next day. All of these excuses flooded my brain as a result.

I was procrastinating, which is usually what happens when I’m faced with a challenge that I’m not sure I’m ready to tackle. I found myself browsing Pinterest, and wasting time. Thankfully, the fitness category was chuck full of motivating tidbits that managed to tune out the negative self-talk. Before I knew it, I was double knotting my tennies and strapping on my Garmin — ready for the challenge. Before I left the house, I grabbed a pen and wrote, “6-miles. Don’t quit and don’t stop,” on the back of my hand, just for good measure.

The first 3-miles seemed to breeze on by. I didn’t check my pace as I went, but instead listened for the beeping of my Garmin to tell me when I completed another mile. I thought that sneaking a peek might psyche myself out. By the last stretch, I could tell I was getting tired and my legs felt heavy. I was almost within view of my house, and kept up the pace. I rejoiced when I heard the final beep telling me that I had reached my goal for the day!

The sense of accomplishment was amazing. I can’t imagine what I will feel like when I cross the finish line in an actual race! I’ll probably laugh, cry, fall over from exhaustion, and be looking for a snack all at the same time.

I have to say, my attitude toward Pinterest has certainly changed. It may be a weird way to find motivation, but it worked for me that day and it has worked for me since. I guess anything to get me out the door!

The week after that infamous 6-miler was pretty easy, and this Sunday my long run was only 4-miles. But from here on out, the training will become more grueling and those 6-mile runs are going to feel like a drop in a bucket compared to what lies ahead. Can’t wait!

Have you found inspiration through “pinning”? 
 How do you get yourself pumped before a long run?
Do you get intimidated by new distances? 

“No-Sweat” Molasses Cookies

I have a confession.

I like to make low-calorie desserts, so I can go back for seconds and thirds without the guilt. I am all about moderation, but there are times when a girl needs to eat three cookies.

This was one of those times. I was having a severe sugary-sweet craving and, of course, I am in desperate need to go grocery shopping. Thankfully, I found a bottle of blackstrap molasses in the back of my cabinet! I don’t even remember why I originally bought it, probably for a “recipe-that-never-was,” but regardless I was up for putting it to good use.

I’d like to introduce you to my molasses cookies!


This is what happens when you stick me in a near-empty kitchen with a sweet-tooth, and a desire to make something I can eat in multiples of two without feeling like I will gain 10 pounds as soon as I swallow the first bite.


To make these a little less fattening, I substituted unsweetened applesauce for the butter. I also substituted 1/4 cup of the sugar with 6 packets of stevia. Instead of using all white flour, I used 1/2 cup white and 2 cups wheat.

At the end of the day, these cookies have approximately 92 calories and 0.3 grams of fat. The sugar is 10 grams, but play around with the amount. You may be able to substitute more packets for the sugar, or cut back on the amount of white sugar altogether. If you’re really feeling creative, I bet you could even sub flax meal for the egg. I thought about doing that, but seeing as how I was already doing a lot of substitutions, I didn’t want to let things get too crazy up in here!

 

 “No-Sweat” Molasses Cookies

inspired by: BonAppetit and Allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

1/2 cup white flour
2 cups wheat flour
2 tsp ginger or nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
3/4tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
6 stevia packets
3/4 cup white sugar**
1 egg
1 tbsp water
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
2 tbsp sugar

Directions:

1. Preheat over to 350 degrees.

2. Sift flour, ginger (or nutmeg), baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, salt and pepper into a small bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, cream together applesauce, stevia, and 3/4 cup of sugar** until light and fluffy looking.

4. Beat egg into the applesauce/sugar mixture. Next, stir in water and molasses.

5. Gradually add the flour and stir.

6. The dough won’t be thick enough to form balls. Instead, scoop the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet by the tablespoon. Sprinkle with remaining sugar.

7. Bake for 8-10 minutes, and enjoy!

**Note: Again, if you’d like to cut back on the sugar, play around with the sugar-stevia ratio. This recipe seems to be very forgiving.

Why are they called “No-Sweat” Molasses Cookies? Because you can eat them without the need to go run 5-miles immediately afterwards…unless you want to that is!

Let me know if you try these, and how they turn out for you!
Do you have any yummy dessert recipes? Share!

Blame It On The En-En-En-Endorphins

I’m either crazy or ambitious, I haven’t decided which category best describes my impulsive race registration from this past Wednesday.

It all started with a run. Or rather, a run that wasn’t going to happen. I was technically supposed to cross train that day, but I couldn’t help myself. I could practically hear the pavement calling for my feet to come hit it. So I did.

I took the dog, but left my iPod at home. I wanted to be able to hear my breathing, and increase or decrease my pace based on how I was feeling. I ran my usual route along the Wisconsin River, which ends up being about 3 miles when all is set and done.

The run felt incredible. I could tell I was pushing it, but my legs and lungs were up for the challenge. I didn’t miss my usual music mixes, and enjoyed being more aware of my surroundings and in the moment.

By the time I got back home, I was riding a wave of endorphins. I plugged in my Garmin and, low and behold, I ran a 9:29/mi pace. That would be my fastest run thus far! Prior to that day, my fastest was a 9:51/mi.

This is where the crazy vs. ambitious debate comes into play! Feeling pretty good about myself, I decided that I couldn’t wait till September to run my half. What did I do? I signed up for another half that I’ll run in New York over Memorial Day weekend in May. Because one just isn’t enough! Oh and did I mention that the week before I’ll be graduating from college, packing my life into a U-Haul, and moving to NYC?

I’d like to say I’m ambitious. The event is one of the Holiday Marathon races put on for free, and you can choose the distance you’d like to run. I am looking at this as a trial to test my training, and to better prepare myself for the race in September. This is my way of dipping my big toe into the racing pool!

Have you experienced an endorphin-high after a run or a good workout?
Ever sign up for a race on impulse? If yes, how did that go?

11 Random Things About Me

Today brings a rather unconventional post because I was tagged by Jamie @ My Run is Not Done to complete this 11 Random Things Questionnaire! You may have already seen circulating the blogging world. If not, here are the rules:

RULES

1. Post these rules. 
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
3. Answer the questions set for you in their post.
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
5. Go to their blog and tell them you’ve tagged them.
6. No stuff in the tagging section about you are tagged if you are reading this. You legitimately have to tag 11 people.

Now that you know what the heck I’m doing here, on to the fun!

1) I have a scar on my right leg from dirt biking in high school. I was attempting to show off my skills, only to find that I had none!

2) My husband and I met while he was in the Army stationed in Afghanistan. I sent him a care package, he wrote back thanking me, and when he finally was able to come home we met for the first time. We’ve been together ever since.

3) We actually won our wedding in a competition for Wisconsin veterans with a great love story.

4) I played basketball for two years in middle school and never made a basket during a game. I did call a time out to tie my shoe! Apparently, I thought I was too essential of a player for me to miss any of the action!

5) I lived on an island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina for a summer.

6) They call me the “car killer” because I always am driving whenever our cars break down.

7) I won $500 off a scratch-off ticket purchased at a random rest stop, while on vacation. I didn’t even know I won, and almost threw it out!

8) I’ve been rock climbing, white water rafting, and sea kayaking.

9) I’ve never traveled outside the United States.

10) My biggest fears about moving to NYC are bed bugs and cockroaches. Yuck!

11) I am a total old lady when it comes to going out — I’d rather be a homebody and stay home relaxing.

So that’s my little bits of random! Now I’ll answer the questions Jamie posted…

Questions:

1. What is your favorite kitchen utensil/appliance?

I would have to say my coffee maker! I need my coffee in the morning…

2. What fitness activity have you always wanted to try?

I’ve been wanting to give Bikram Yoga a whirl for a long time. I don’t think they even offer classes anywhere within a 50 mile radius. I live in the middle of nowhere… Boo!

3. Where did you take your best or worst vacation?

I have a tie for best vacation. It’s either Ocracoke Island on the Outer Banks or my honeymoon in Disney World. I was with my hubby for both of them, and I think those were some of the happiest times for both of us, and we left with amazing memories and nice tans.

4. What’s your favorite season?

Summer is my top favorite followed closely by spring. I love warm weather, but I also love that first day of the year when you walk outside after a long winter and you know spring is on it’s way!

5. Tap water or filtered water?

Filtered. I will drink tap, but we don’t have the best tasting tap water. I bought one of those filtered water bottles so I don’t buy bottled any more.

6. You have no distractions or obligations, how would you like to spend your day?

I would want to go hiking/camping in Devils Lake with my husband and our dog. I love being outdoors and active, and involving the whole family just makes it that much better. It’s nice to be able to turn off technology, and just enjoy the solitude.

7. How many bones in your body have you broken?

None! Considering I’m prone to being a klutz, I don’t know how I managed to avoid serious injuries.

8. Who is your fitness inspiration?

I never thought about this before! I don’t know if I really have one! I see people that are in shape or running great distances, and I admire them. At the same time, I don’t really follow their training or try to emulate them.

9. Do you have a sweet tooth or a salty tooth?

Kind of both, but usually a sweet tooth! I love ice cream, pie, cake, cookies, brownies…you get the idea! If I’m watching sports, I tend to crave an unhealthy portion of nachos.

10. What’s your favorite shoe style?

When it comes to sneakers, I love bright colors! If I’m wearing dress shoes, I try to pick out a sexy pair of pumps. I’m already tall, but I’m not giving up my heels.

11. What are you most looking forward to doing when the weather warms up?

Running without having my face freeze over! And not having to worry about driving in snow. I have a tendency to wind up in ditches.

Onto the last part of this whole shebang!

I’m tagging these blogs to continue on the 11 Random Things. I chose people from among my followers, so hopefully you’ll be happy to do this little activity! If you’ve already done one, I apologize! I guess just let me know, and I can tag someone else.

Forever is Composed of Nows, The GSB, endurancegalOn these feet, Lavendar Parking, Running in Mommyland, Run with Chips , bearrunner, runner on the right, domestic diva, speedy cupcake

My questions for you all:

1. Do you prefer to listen to music, or no music, while running or working out?
2. Where do you find the most support in your life?
3. Would you rather read the book, or watch the movie?
4. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be and what would you be doing?
5. What is your favorite meal to prepare?
6. How many states and/or countries have you visited in your lifetime?
7. Ever travel a great distance for a race?
8. Favorite flavor of ice cream?
9. If your life was a title of a song, what would it be called?
10. What is your greatest temptation (food or otherwise) that might cause you to be less healthy?
11. What is the scariest thing that has ever happened to you?

Have fun with this! I can’t wait to see what you answer!

Foodie Friday!

If you’re anything like me, you may have found yourself stuck in a rut in the kitchen. You end up cooking the same recipes over and over and, while they might be good, they get old fast.

I’ve been trying to kick myself of that habit by making a point of trying at least one new recipe per week. So far, I’m really enjoying tasting new dishes! I go out of my way to pick recipes that won’t use a bazillion unknown ingredients, and that are reasonably healthy.

On that note, if you haven’t already stumbled up Chocolate Covered Katie’s blog yet, I highly encourage you to do so. I found the recipe for my Double Chocolate Brownie Batter Pancakes on there, which were incredible and unbelievably low in calories! So far she’s two for two in terms of serving up heavenly and healthy versions of a variety of chocolatey goodness. This little baby is a recipe she created as well, and holy cow! It’s freaking good.

One-Minute Chocolate Cake
(can be gluten-free!)

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons spelt flour (or white, or even peanut flour)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 stevia packet (or 1 more tablespoon sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or vegetable oil (Edit: many commenters have said it still tastes good if you sub applesauce or mashed banana. But I can’t personally vouch for the results if you make that substitution.)
  • 3 tablespoons milk of choice (I used almond milk)
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Step 1: Combine dry ingredients: cocoa powder, flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, and stevia, and mix very, very well. I used one tablespoon whole wheat and 2 tablespoon white flour.

Step 1

Step 2: Add liquid, stir, then transfer to a little dish, ramekin,
or even a coffee mug. I used the unsweetened applesauce instead
of oil to add less fat to the recipe.

Step 2

Step 3: Microwave 30-40 seconds. If you don’t want to eat it straight out of the dish, be sure to spray your dish first (and then wait for it to cool before trying to remove it).

Step 3

Step 4: Chocolate Covered Katie has a recipe for raw frosting you can use to top it off, or do as I did and drizzle with chocolate syrup!

Voila!

If this doesn’t satisfy your sweet tooth, I don’t know what will! It’s the perfect single serving dessert, if you want something guilt-free! The pictures don’t even do this justice, in my opinion.

Of course, there are days when you just have to have the real thing, but this is great when you want to feel indulgent. My husband was out of town, so making a whole cake for just little-old-me seemed like a lot of work. This was a great alternative, and I could have my cake and eat it too! (Ok, that was lame.)

**I have since made this for a second time, but I added a tiny scoop of hot fudge in the batter before microwaving. If you’re not afraid of a few extra calories, this is a melt-in-your-mouth addition!

Do you have any recipes that are to die for? Do you splurge on desserts, or do you like to find ways to make them healthier? Share!