Jul 31, 2013

eating the rainbow (and bacon)

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Hi darlins'! It's great to see ya here!

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Happy What I Ate Wednesday! Today, I'm sharing my colorful meals from Monday. Lots of veggies, some fruit, and of course bacon! Enjoy the Eats :)

Breakfast: 3 full eggs, 1/2 an avocado and a small handful of chopped up grape tomatoes.

Snack no. 1: a small plate of baby carrots

Lunch: a bag of steamfresh broccoli cuts, 1/2 an avocado and another small handful of chopped up cherry tomatoes

Snack no. 2: a handful of blueberries

Snack no. 3: a handful of roasted & salted pistachios

Dinner: I ended up finishing only 2 of the Pepper Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Chicken Bites on my plate, but I demolished the rosemary herb roasted red potatoes & homemade brown sugar BBQ sauce! We had too much fun making this meal ;)

Dessert: a homemade chocolate chai popsicle!

Thank you for reading! Some foodie follow-up questions for y'all...

What's your favorite homemade popsicle flavor? orange + vanilla (think dreamsicle)
Favorite way to eat bacon? i like my bacon extra crispy & paired with eggs
101 days until the Nashville Marathon presented by Hard Rock Cafe

Jul 30, 2013

Pepper Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Chicken Bites & Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce

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Hi darlins'! It's great to see ya here!

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Matt and I had some fun on the grill and in the kitchen last night. These little spicy bites of heaven were SO amazing, I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Pepper Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Chicken Bites with Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce

For the bites
8 chicken tenders
1 large jalapeño, minced (we left the seeds in to punch up the heat, but you could seed the pepper)
Softened cream cheese (enough for ~1 tsp. per chicken tender)
8 slices of peppered bacon

For the sauce
2/3 c. Spicy BBQ sauce (we used Stubb's)
1/3 c. yellow mustard
1/2 Tbsp. brown sugar

For the bites

  • Flatten tenders until ~5 inches in length (I just used a heavy whisky tumbler to do this.)
  • Dab ~1 tsp. of the cream cheese in the middle of each chicken tender.
  • Sprinkle the minced peppers over the cream cheese.
  • Roll up chicken tenders, enclosing cream cheese/pepper mixture.
  • Wrap each rolled up tender with 1 slice of bacon and spear with a toothpick to keep it together.
  • Grill bites to your desired level of crispiness!

For the sauce
Combine BBQ sauce, yellow mustard and brown sugar in a small bowl. Stir until ingredients are well mixed.

Plate & Enjoy!

102 days until the Nashville Marathon presented by Hard Rock Cafe!

Jul 29, 2013

24 & Fabulous ;)

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Hi darlins'! It's great to see ya here!

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So, I took a little break from blogging and the computer in general  since my birthday and now I'm feeling really refreshed and excited to start this week!

Here are some of the fun things from the end of last week that've put me in a marvelous mood this morning...

an epic birthday/anniversary Italian dinner...

apertivo: a spanish red wine

Tip: Always call Italian restaurants ahead about BYOB policies... this vino was a gift and since the restaurant had a BYOW policy we only had to pay a small corking fee vs. dishing out double for the same exact treat.

antipasta: bruschetta (homemade toasted bread served with cherry diced tomatoes with olive oil and homemade balsamic vinaigrette) and a delicious new favorite thing, mineral water from the Apennines, Acqua Panna

primo: the "Parma" -- a pizza with fresh mozzarella, diced tomatoes and arugula topped with Parma prosciutto and parmigiano (uhhh-amazing!)

dolce: (FREE) birthday tiramisu

ammazzacaffè: (a creation of our waiter, Fabiano) a shot of Frangelico and vanilla vodka topped with cocoa powder

unexpected birthday presents...
a full day with friends as "Brewers" at the 12th Annual Mafioza's Music City Brewers' Festival...

and even more Italian food... (I told you I loved pizza, right??)

never ending fluff adorableness...
they're not just big brother and little sister, they're best friends!

the low-60 degree temps on my early Sunday run...
the cooler temps let me keep my splits quicker! ranged from 9:12 to 10:05/mile

our 1st Sunday brunch @ Blvd...
We shared the Spicy Habanero Le French Fries, and then I enjoyed an À la carte breakfast of two farm eggs and an english muffin with jam and butter. We will definitely be going back to try more delicious bites!

Following brunch, we went on a relaxing 4 mile canoe trip down the Harpeth river (no pictures because we were all too paranoid to bring our cameras into a very capsizable watercraft). I think the only part of yesterday that wasn't marvelous was the heinous sunburn I walked away with...

Tip: When canoeing, never forget the sunscreen on the back of your neck and the tops of your thighs! (*Youch*).

Have a great start to your week and don't forget the sunscreen! :)

Jul 24, 2013

a (mostly) paleo thirsty thursday

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Hi darlins'! It's great to see ya here!

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Who's feeling great today?? I woke up early and got a 3 mile run in before the sun came up, it felt so wonderful just to get my bum out of bed and beat the Nashville heat. Today I'll be sharing food I ate from last Thursday, an unexpectedly paleo kind of day (except for the happy hour libations).

I also have to mention that today's not just wonderful because I ran this morning and it's What-Ate-Wednesday, it's also my golden birthday! 24! ( *Excited Whisper Scream*) Not only that, it's Matt & I's 4-year anniversary as well. Time flies when you're in love!

Enjoy the Eats!
Breakfast: 3 eggs + 1/2 an avocado

Morning Snack: a handful of pistachios

Lunch: 1 egg, 1/2 an avocado and a bag of steamed cut green beans

Afternoon Pick-Me-Up: Dark roast coffee, no creamer

Dinner: this dish is called the  "Hungry Farmer" at one of our favorite local tap houses -- apple slices, almonds, Black Pepper Salami, Finocchiona (dry-aged with fennel) and Smoked Salmon (lox-style)

Dessert: the Thirsty in my thursday

Have a fantastic Wednesday!
108 days until the Nashville Marathon presented by Hard Rock Cafe!

Jul 22, 2013

#MIMM: Blackened Cajun Catfish Tacos with Homemade Pico de Gallo

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Hi darlins', it's great to see ya here!

I'll first note that I'm feeling extra marvelous today because this week is not only our 4-year anniversary, it's also my Golden birthday! So excited for some fun milestones!

Yesterday was taco night at our house, and the consensus decision was that it was the best meal Matt & I have ever cooked together. What I loved about this recipe is that is was really simple & incredibly fresh!

I give you -- Blackened Cajun Catfish Tacos & Homemade Pico de Gallo

(made ~6 small tacos)

For the Pico
1 medium tomato
1/2 of a white/yellow onion
1/2 a seeded jalapeno
a few sprigs of cilantro
1/4 tsp of garlic powder
1/8 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp salt

For the rest of the taco fixings
2 catfish fillets
Cajun seasoning (we used Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning)
1/4 c. of butter
Corn tortillas
1 avocado
Shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Make the Pico de Gallo first. Dice up the tomato, onion, jalapeno and cilantro then mix in the seasoning thoroughly and refrigerate for ~30 minutes.

Once the Pico is ready, heat up your skillet to Med-High heat. Then dip the catfish in butter and rub all over with your Cajun seasoning. Cook the fillets for 2-3 minutes per side until they're blackened. Shred up the blackened catfish in a bowl, and then you're ready to create your tacos!

I sprinkled a bit of shredded cheddar cheese on each of my corn tortillas before adding the catfish, pico de gallo and a bit of avocado. We topped it off with our favorite hot sauce (Cholula) and they were way scrumptious.

I hope you enjoy the recipe & have a marvelous week!

110 days until the Nashville Marathon presented by Hard Rock Cafe!

Jul 19, 2013

A to Z about Moi

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Hi darlings,

Here's a little A to Z about moi...

Attached or Single?
Very Attached to this obnoxiously adorable man.

Best Friend?
I can't choose -- but here are two of my favorites, Sonja & Megan:

Cake or pie?

Day of the week?
Any day there's brunch.

Essential item?
Lint roller -- thanks to the fluffs, Shadow & Mojo.

Favorite color? Caribbean Green

Gummy bears or gummy worms?
I would say no thank you to "gummy" anything.

Plymouth, Indiana.

Favorite Indulgence?

January or July?
July -- I'm a Leo after all.

Maybe someday.

Life isn't complete without?

Marriage Date?

Number of brothers/sisters?
Four, and they are all fantastic.

Orange or apples?
Oranges. I love throwing them in smoothies!

Injections. Snakes.

Favorite Quotes?
"Every morning when I wake up and I see there's a whole new other day I just go absolutely ape!"
-Audrey Hepburn in Paris When It Sizzles

Reason to smile?
Knowing that I'm somebody else's reason to smile.

Season of choice?

Tag People.
My friend, Sabrina. She writes killer book reviews & is a fellow Hoosier alum & SPA!
My other friend, Bijoy. He has a funny voice that it's impossible to impersonate & cooks yummy things!

Unknown fact about me?
I was born with a dime-shaped birthmark in the middle of my forehead.

Favorite Vegetable?
Broccoli (my childhood self would be shocked & appalled).

Worst habit?
I always have to be doing something, which can make it difficult to relax.

X-ray or Ultrasound?

Your favorite food?

I'm a Leo. Roar.

Now, what about you? -- Oranges/Apples? Cake/Pie? Favorite Indulgence? Essential item(s)? Leave a comment below so I can check it out, thank you for reading & have a fabulous day!

Jul 18, 2013

Trying New Things (#TNT): Rhythmic Breathing

Hi darlins'! It's great to see ya here!

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So. Rhythmic Breathing. It's a term I've heard bandied about here & there, but a recent Runner's World article caught my attention long enough for me to give it a solid try. It's an amazing article, and I encourage all runners (or fledgling marathoners like me) to give it a read. For those of looking just looking for the quick 4-1-1, here's my take:

What is rhythmic breathing?
Creating a breathing pattern that enables you to exhale on alternate foot strikes as you run.

Why is it necessary?
The stress impact from each foot strike while running is greatest at the beginning of exhalation (when your core is most relaxed, has less stability). Always landing on the same foot when you exhale exacerbates this issue, causing one side of your body to continuously carry most of the burden (the article uses a one-strap vs. two-strap heavy backpack analogy that I think demonstrates this point perfectly). So, in a nutshell, rhythmic breathing relieves one-sided stress and helps keep you injury-free!

What are some other reasons to try it?
  • Breath focus is revitalizing (as is taught in Taoism and also Hinduism via yoga)
  • Promotes deep centeredness
  • Quiets your mind and allows you to listen to your body

My Beginner's Pros
  • Focusing completely on how I was breathing made a 45-minute indoor run FLY by
  • Since I busted my headphones (or rather they were chewed up by a certain fluffy mongrel) it helped me stay motivated on a muggy, early morning run
  • For some reason, it made people watching at the gym easier. Always a good thing :)
  • It was so easy to slide into a stride and I felt incredibly calm and relaxed

My Beginner's Cons
  • When it came to running a slightly more prolonged fast pace with a 2:1:1:1 breath ratio (2 inhales-1 exhale-1 inhale-1 exhale), I couldn't figure out if I should be breathing out my nose or my mouth (I don't even know if it matters).
  • Running without headphones on kind of feels wrong to me.
  • I didn't practice belly-breathing enough beforehand, and when those hills popped up, that practice would have come in handy.

Before you start running...
  • Turn off the music. Trust me, the beats will only confuse the bejesus out of you.
  • Learn to breathe from your belly, a.k.a. your diaphragm
  • Practice a 5-count, or 3:2 breathing pattern with a hand on your belly (you can do this laying down)
  • Not to be gross, but if you have allergies like me you'll want to keep a towel/sweatband handy. Your legs and nose might both be a'running!

My Indoor Rhythmic Breathing Workout:
(my outdoor attempt was much less structured and I maintained a 3:2 pattern for the majority of that 3-mile run) 
My Takeaway?
I love yoga, so incorporating breath focus into my running was a fairly intuitive transition. Conquering hills while maintaining a foreign breathing pattern was challenging, but my treadmill run was a lot more enjoyable than usual so I plan on making rhythmic breathing runs a frequent addition to my indoor workout routine!

Thank you for reading!

Have any experiences or thoughts on rhythmic breathing? I'd love to hear from you in the comment section!

Jul 17, 2013

#WIAW no. 12: Recovery Day

Hi darlins', it's great to see ya here!

Happy What I Ate Wednesday! As I said in my last post, my weekend was kind of crazy and I definitely relaxed a lot from my typical healthy-eating routine. Today, I'm sharing eats from my Monday back from the insanity.

Breakfast: 3 full eggs, 1 egg white, 1/2 an avocado, 1/2 a vine-ripened tomato

Morning Snack: organic strawberries

Lunch: a bag of steamed bird's eye broccoli, 1/2 an avocado, 1/2 a vine-ripened tomato and chicken

Afternoon Snack: carrots & peeled cucumbers with a bit of homemade garlic hummus

Dinner: homemade ham, pepperoni and jalapeno pizza with mozzarella cheese and homemade pizza sauce

Don't get me wrong, fresh fruits & veggies do a great job of perking me up, but after my long weekend, pizza for dinner was just what the doctor ordered. Now that I'm getting back into a more heavy running routine, I'm probably going to be making a lot more carb-centric meals for dinner. Yippee hooray!

Thanks for reading! For some more food-gasmic eats, check out some of the other bloggers at Peas & Crayons.

What foods always cure your 2-day hangovers? Pizza and tortilla chips

Jul 15, 2013

#MIMM: Jetsetting and Now Back to Healthier Choices

Hi darlins', it's great to see ya here! I hope your weekend was marvelous!

Mine was actually pretty wild -- I flew up north for a girls weekend and to celebrate a friend's birthday which of course involved copious amounts of delicious Chicago food, adult beverages, froyo, beach time and dancing dancing dancing :)

On Friday evening we enjoyed some delicious BBQ and danced the night away with Jerrod Niemann.

Saturday morning we strolled down to the Green City Market, had some satisfying brunch in Lincoln Park, then it was on to the beach followed by some much-needed froyo.

Suffice it to say that I was in need of a lot of sleep by the time I got back to Nashville yesterday morning! After the longest nap in living memory, I perked up enough to make a grocery store run with Matt and got some serious Sunday food prep on...

Today's scramble: 3 full eggs, 1 egg white, 1/2 an avocado, and 1/2 a vine-ripened tomato

My favorite part of letting my hair down and relaxing my usual fitness/healthy eating regimen over the weekends is how good it feels to get back to healthier choices come Monday. This morning's breakfast really got my week started off on a marvelous note :)

Thanks for reading! Check out what's Marvelous in the Healthy Diva's and others' Monday here!

117 days until the Nashville Marathon presented by Hard Rock Cafe!

Jul 12, 2013

Friday Favorites: 5 Little Things

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Hi darlins'! It's great to see ya here!

Here's 5 of my favorite little things from this week :)

1. Favorite Advice
(from a successful Nashville CEO)

2. Favorite Healthy Recipe

This lady's pancakes are incredible! Instead of using blueberries & bananas in my batch this week, I tried strawberries and it was so so tasty. I topped it off with some warmed up blueberries and a little syrup. Can't wait to make these again!

3.Favorite Workout

A 5-K treadmill run in 29:15. It may sound mundane, but it sure beats running outside in 1,000,000% humidity! 

4.Favorite Running Song

I freshened up my workout playlist recently and the more up tempo tunes I added are really getting me going on runs!

5.Favorite Smile

Witnessing the engagement of two of the sweetest guys you'll ever meet. 

Thanks for reading & Happy Friday! I'll be traveling to Chicago this weekend to visit some old friends, I can't wait to jet there this afternoon!

Question: Anyone know any great places to run in Chicago? Perhaps near Lincoln Park?