Archive | November 2013

Funktastic

I’m not going to lie.  I’ve been in a pretty serious funk the last two weeks.  The last time I even attempted a workout was when I ran my half marathon 2 weeks ago.  Since then (that very day in fact), I’ve moved into my new house and life has been pretty hectic ever since.  After we moved into our new home, I had to go back to work on Monday morning so there was no day of unpacking a getting settled.  It was get up early, go to work, come home, bake a pie, and head out to Bible study.  The week consisted of unpacking box after box and figuring out where to put things.  I finished unpacking my kitchen, which took 3 days, and then moved onto my closet which also took a few days… When the weekend rolled around we spent the entire Saturday raking leaves and ripping ivy off the side of the house as well as off some of the trees.  Did I mention that having mature trees totally sucks?  Yes, they are very pretty to look at but they completely suck in the fall.

Before I knew it, Monday had rolled around again and it was back to work I went.  Where did my weekend go?  This week was worse than the first because my husband had to leave for a work trip which left me alone with the dog.  This meant earlier mornings and later evenings, cooking, cleaning, and more unpacking plus my normal after school tutoring gigs (I tutor 4 different kids every week Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursdays).  I know that people say (and I’ve been guilty of it too) that if you really want something you will find the time to do it.

Let me tell you – I really want to work out.  I really enjoy working out.  But I honestly could not find the time to do it unless I woke up earlier than 5:30 AM or went to bed later than 11:00 PM and I’m sorry but sleep ranks high up on things that I need to function and I’m not willing to give that up.

I am a person who craves routine.  I live for routine.  It makes me comfortable and keeps my stress levels low.  These last two weeks I have had ZERO routine and I’m still struggling to find it.  I’m trying to figure out how to juggle my full-time job, my part-time job, volunteering at church on Monday evenings, cooking home-cooked meals not only for dinner but for my lunches as well since it is tough for me to eat out, unpacking my house, keeping up with my house responsibilities, AND finding time to get the gym.  It has not been easy.

Today was the first time I was able to actually step foot in the gym.  I ran for 3 miles and about puked all over the treadmill.  I’m not sure if it’s because I’m out of practice or because I ate that piece of gluten-free chocolate cake about an hour before I left for the gym.  Either way, my gym experience was less than stellar (and not because of the facility, that was great), but because I’m just out of the game.

Here’s hoping to get back on track and finding a routine that works with my new schedule so I can get back to working out and feeling good.  Fingers crossed!

Gluten Free & Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

We are on week 3 of the Alpha course at my church and so that means another dinner and another dessert.  Last week I asked one of the kitchen volunteers what his favorite kind of dessert was (he didn’t get to eat the apple pie because he is allergic to apples and I felt bad).  He told me cupcakes.  So I decided to figure out how to make a tasty allergen-friendly cupcake.  I came up with chocolate chip cupcakes because they seemed kid-friendly.  I mean, who doesn’t love mini chocolate chips sprinkled on top of your cupcake? Of course I had to taste test it and let me tell you – delicious!  Your friends will be blown away that these are homemade.

Makes 20 cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients
1 box yellow gluten free cake mix (I used Betty Crocker)
3 eggs
1/2 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread, melted
3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 cup Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips

Icing Ingredients
1 cup vegetable shortening
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2-4 tbsp. unsweetened vanilla almond milk
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line pans with cupcake liners.
2. In a large bowl, combine eggs, melted buttery spread, almond milk, sour cream, and vanilla extract.
3. Stir in cake mix until smooth.  Add chocolate chips and stir again.
4. Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full and bake for 17-22 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
5. Icing: Beat shortening and vanilla extra for 30 seconds in an electric mixer on medium.  Slowly add about half of the sugar while the mixer is still running. Add vanilla almond milk.  Add the rest of the sugar in small increments.  If you need to, add more almond milk for the desired consistency.
6.  Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and top with extra mini chocolate chips.

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Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon

The Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon was my 2nd half marathon for the 2013 running season and my last race of the running season as well.  Yes – I’ve hung up my running sneakers until the weather gets warmer again (metaphorically… we all know I still workout during the winter months, I just don’t pay to run in the cold).  I’ve never run in the Indy Monumental half before, but I’ve run two downtown races so I figured it would pretty much be the same thing.

For this last race, I ran with my friend, Alyssa.  Alyssa decided to run the half marathon (her first half marathon) to raise money for Joy’s House, an adult day service in Indianapolis for adults who need assistant and cannot provide for themselves.  She had a goal of $200 and a finish time of 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Where do I come into play you might be thinking?  My job was to be her running buddy, to keep her motivated when she wanted to quit, to help her with her pacing, and to let her know she was doing a good job.  I was able to run with Alyssa a few times prior to our actual race day but nothing more than 8 miles.  In fact, neither one of us ran more than 8 miles before the race.  (To be honest, I didn’t train as much as I should have for this race but I was in the middle of moving from my house into an apartment and then from an apartment to my new house… it was quite a hectic month for me).  I wasn’t too worried for myself, however, knowing I had run 13.1 miles earlier in the year and I run quite often.  I know how to pace myself for longer runs without over doing it in it the beginning.

Race day arrives and we get to the start line.  There is no race coral and no one is really pushing to be up towards the front.  I find this oddly refreshing compared to my last downtown half marathon start.  It is very relaxed.  The music starts and we are off.

We ran most of the 13.1 miles with a couple of walk breaks and lots of water breaks to ensure hydration.  In the end, not only did Alyssa exceed her $200 fundraising goal, but she also finished her very first half marathon in just 2 hours and 24 minutes (6 minutes under her goal).   I am so proud of her and I’m so glad I was a part of it!  Way to go!

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Alyssa and I with our finisher medals and bananas!

Gluten Free, Dairy Free French Apple Pie

For the next 8 weeks I am volunteering at my church’s Alpha group in the kitchen.  Including myself, we have 4 gluten allergies, 1 MSG allergy, and 1 lactose intolerant person.  Feeding that many people with that many allergies can be intimidating and perhaps slightly overwhelming to many people and the easy way out would be to buy a box of allergy-friendly cookies and send those people on their merry way while the rest of the participants get to dine on spiced cake or brownies with ice cream.  These people come to Alpha not only to feed their spirits but also to feed their bellies and I want everyone walking away with that, “That food was so good, I can’t wait to come back next week,” feeling.  So I took it upon myself to make the allergen-friendly dessert.   I got the skeleton recipe from good ole’ Betty Crocker and then tweaked it to make it dairy free as well.  It was delicious and there were no leftovers for me to take home, even the people without allergies were wanting a piece.  Had I known, I would have made more!  Anyway – here is the recipe, enjoy!

Golden brown and deliciously allergen-friendly

Golden brown and deliciously allergen-friendly

Ingredients – Filling
3 apples, peeled and sliced (I used 2 McIntosh and 1 Rome)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 cup Biquick Gluten Free mix
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 tablespoons Earth Balance Coconut Spread, melted (you could probably use coconut oil or coconut butter as well)
3 eggs

Ingredients – Streusel
1/3 cup Bisquick Gluten Free mix
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons Earth Balance Coconut Spread

Directions
1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees.  Grease 9-inch glass pie-plate with coconut oil.  In a medium bowl, mix apples, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Place in pie plate.

2. In the same bowl, stir remaining filling ingredients until well blended.  Pour over apple mixture in pie plate.  In a small bowl. mix all of the streusel ingredients using a fork until it is crumbly.  Sprinkle evenly over pie filling.

3. Bake for 45 – 50 minutes or until golden brown and inserted knife comes out clean.  Serve warm with Almond Dream Praline Ice Cream or store in the refrigerator for later use.

Makes 8 servings

Serve it warm with a big scoop of Almond Dream Ice Cream for the perfect fall dessert!

Serve it warm with a big scoop of Almond Dream Ice Cream for the perfect fall dessert!

Easy Paleo Chili

Earth Fare emailed me this awesome coupon for 2 1/2 pounds of grass-fed ground beef for just $10.  Originally at $7.99 a pound, this is a really, really good deal.  I simply couldn’t pass it up, but what in the world would I do with 2 1/2 pounds of ground beef?  Then it hit me: chili.  I’ve been wanting to make chili ever since the weather started to officially feel like fall.  Usually, I put a ton of beans in my chili and just a little bit of meat.  Since I’ve started eating primarily paleo, I’m no longer eating beans.  So what does that mean for my chili?  Lots and lots of meat.  Strictly ground beef can be boring so I added mild Italian sausage and some round roast to the mix to heighten the flavor.  You can make this as spicy or as non-spicy as you want by fluctuating the chili powder amount you add to your own chili.  I used 2 tablespoons and it was pretty spicy for me.  Next time, I’ll just stick to 1 tablespoon for sure, but my husband sure loved it!  I also utilized Bird’s Eye Recipe ready chopping onions & garlic to save on prep time.  I also picked up the diced tomatoes with green chilli peppers in them to save me time on dicing my own.  I’ll take whatever help I can get. So, if you are craving some chili, I highly recommend this recipe.  It makes A TON so either have a lot of people over, freeze some of it, share it, or be prepared to be eating it for dinner for the rest of the week.  Enjoy!

Ingredients
2 1/2 pounds grass-fed ground beef
6 oz. mild Italian sausage
1 pound round roast, chopped into pieces (or stew meat if it is cheaper)
2 bags – Bird’s Eye Recipe Ready chopped Onions & Garlic
1 red bell pepper – chopped
1 green bell pepper – chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2-28 oz cans diced tomatoes with green chilli peppers (do not drain!)
1-2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
salt to taste

Directions
1. In a 6 qt. pot, combine ground beef, sausage, round roast, onions & garlic, and bell peppers.  Cook on medium high. Stir to crumble up sausage and beef.  Cook all the way through.

2. Once all the meat is cooked through, stir in the tomato paste and seasonings.  Add diced tomatoes with the juice.  Bring it to a boil and lower the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes uncovered.  Serve immediately or turn off and cover to let the flavors continue to merge together.  Top with freshly sliced avocado and enjoy!

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Perfect for those chilly fall nights! (no pun intended)

Ghost and Goblin 5K

The Ghost and Goblin 5K has got to be in my top 5 favorite 5Ks to run, most likely because I get to see a bunch of my students participating plus the proceeds benefits my school district. But it is also a really fun course to run. It takes you through downtown Carmel and over to the Monon trail for some great fall scenery before taking you back to the high school.

Ever since I was hired by Carmel Clay School District, I have run in the Ghost and Goblin 5K. In fact, this race was my very first 5K I ever ran in back in 2011. It really does hold a special place in my heart.

This year it was unusually brisk out for an October run, 33 degrees to be exact. Luckily I had my long pants, long sleeve running shirt, and running gloves to keep me warm. I can’t say the same for my supportive husband who had all of his jogging pants in storage (we were in the process of moving and the majority of our stuff was in storage). He toughed it out in a pair of gym shorts, long sleeve shirt, and a thin jacket. I’ve certainly got myself a good man!

We headed out for the start line with 5 minutes to spare and took off. The great part about repeating races is that you are familiar with the course and so it is easy to pace yourself. Plus the cold is motivation for you to run a bit faster so you can get warm quicker. We took off, set a solid pace, and simply enjoyed the run. It was over before I knew it and I was back at the high school looking for my students to congratulate them on a job well done!

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Some of my students who participated in the race.

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My wonderful, loving, supportive, husband!

 

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Ghost & Goblin 5K
Official Time: 25:33
Division Place: 11/85
Overall Place: 160/870