Welcome!

Welcome to the brand-spankin’-new Spreading the Health. :) I’ve revamped the blog, and I’m really excited about it. Here you can find my musings on health and what it means to me, particularly in the realms of food, fitness, and happiness. Check it out and let me know what you think.

12-Miler #3

Half marathon #3 means 12-miler #3! :) The San Diego Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon is in 18 days, which means my 12-miler (the longest of my training) took place last Friday. I am running this race with Team in Training again, and our big official event for this 12-miler (or the 21-miler for the marathoners) was on Saturday. Since I am a mentor for TNT, I was out there supporting instead of running, and I did my run on my own the day before.

Truthfully, I was really worried about this run because I had a solid two weeks of unspectacular runs. And not just unspectacular, but bordering on bad. I have no idea what it was, but it was the biggest running rut that I’ve had so far. :-/ I had to do run-walk intervals for the second half of an 8-miler, and the next week I could only finish half of my scheduled 8 miles! Of course I am still thrilled that I can run that, but it’s not good news five days before I’m supposed to run 12!

However, I was pretty darn determined that I was going to finish my 12. In the couple days leading up to the run, I focused super-hard on my water, my food, my rest, and my positive thinking. All of which I think contributed to my awesome 12-miler! Granted, I didn’t run it as fast as I would have liked. But my time was better than my previous two 12-milers, and considering the variables (it was so hot) I am thrilled. San Diego, here I come!

Besides running, I’ve been keeping up with the weight lifting as always. My current favorite workout is this one from Women’s Health. (Especially those Spider-Man pushups. ;)) I pick that magazine up on a whim every once and a while—I have subscriptions to Shape and Self—and I really like it! They have great workouts.

Of course, I’ve also been doing a lot of eating. It’s been so exciting to have a kitchen to cook in again, and I’m eating it up (pun completely intended). Plus, I have no idea what my options will be in Australia so I’m taking advantage of all that I can! Get ready for a whole lot of random eats…

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This is one of my very favorite recipes; I had it for lunch a few days ago. It’s even on my recipe page! For two servings, I mixed a can of wild salmon (skinless/boneless, I buy it at Costco) with a few tablespoons of Greek yogurt, chopped apple, chopped carrot, dried cranberries, salt, and paprika. Yum. :) It’s really delicious on toast, but I ate it this time with Kashi crackers.

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I’ve also been really obsessed with green monsters. I’ve always liked them, but all of a sudden I’m usually drinking one a day. I just love them, and I’m digging the simplicity right now.

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I make them right now with one banana, one cup of milk, and a few handfuls of spinach. That’s it! (Every once in a while a frozen strawberry or two.) And I promise you can’t taste the green. ;)

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Ooh, this was a good lunch, too! It doesn’t look too appetizing (my fault…I grilled the wrap too long and it ripped) but it was tasty. I stuffed a wrap with spinach, hummus, and chopped carrot before grilling it for a few minutes longer than I should have. I love pretty much anything that’s warm and has hummus in it.

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Oh my goodness, then there was this breakfast. Disclaimer: it may have tasted extra delicious to me because I had just finished a hot run. But I bet it tastes amazing no matter the circumstances. I really, really love these waffles. I don’t buy them that often because they’re expensive and I have no qualms about eating them every day. This is the brand (I get the HempPlus ones) and they’re just awesome. But the really amazing part of this breakfast was the “sauce” I made.

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In a small bowl I mashed together half a banana, a tablespoon of almond butter, a tablespoon or two of milk, and a couple drops of maple syrup. Then I microwaved it for about 20-30 seconds and stirred until it came together to the consistency you see above. It was SO. GOOD. I want to make it all the time and smother everything with it. I am not ashamed at all to tell you that I licked the little bowl.

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And I used the other half of the banana to make a green smoothie—told ya I was obsessed. Plus half a cup of milk and some spinach.

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And last (I promise) was this dinner. First a confession: I had never made tofu before! But I followed this recipe/guide, and it turned out great! Next time I’ll definitely marinate the tofu or make a sauce because it tasted pretty plain, but I like the taste of plain tofu. (For lunch the next day, I mixed the leftover tofu with hummus and made another grilled wrap. Yummy.) Rounding out this dinner was roasted broccoli and zucchini with some sweet potato chips. Love me some sweet potatoes.

And that’s it for tonight! See you tomorrow for some more eats…and maybe some more of that banana-almond butter sauce. ;)

Two-Course Meal

Happy Tuesday! :) I woke up this morning and was eager to try out Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred DVD again. It wasn’t as hard as I remembered, so I guess that’s a good sign! And then my grumbling stomach reminded me that it was time for breakfast.

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I usually tend toward smaller meals and more snacks, but today I decided to try a bigger breakfast and see how that changes the day. Experiments are fun.

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Course one was oatmeal. On the stove, I cooked 1/2 cup oats, 1/2 cup skim milk, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 sliced banana, and 1/2 tbsp. chia seeds. After a few minutes when the oats were done, I added cinnamon and a tbsp. of almond butter on top. Yummm. There are not many things—if any—that I like more than oatmeal.

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And on the side I had another green smoothie! I made this one with the other half of the banana, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 tbsp. chia seeds, a handful of frozen strawberries, and a couple handfuls of spinach.

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Simple but delicious. Yeah, it looks a little like swamp water, but you cannot taste spinach at all, I promise. Just tastes like a strawberry-banana smoothie.

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 Quote of the day: It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.

Veggie Power

I’m pretty much obsessed with any and all veggie and/or bean burgers, so I was plenty excited to see this recipe on one of my favorite blogs. It was on the menu for lunch today.

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I halved the recipe and only made a few changes: I didn’t have any pumpkin seeds, so I subbed almonds and chia seeds. Also, I added paprika and garlic powder while omitting coriander, onion powder, and cayenne pepper.

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Yum! I served the burger on a toasted Oroweat Sandwich Thin with hummus and spinach. On the side, I had sliced strawberries and a few baby carrots with more hummus. The burger was awesome; the flavor with the spices was really nice and I loved the texture. I’m so glad I have two more left over!

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And then came dinner! I was in the mood for veggies, so veggies it was.

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I roasted broccoli and mushrooms, tossed with a little olive oil and salt, at 375*. The broccoli was in the oven for 30 minutes; the mushrooms for 10. Love roasted vegetables.

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And on the side I made a mixture of whole wheat couscous and bulgur. To 1/2 cup of grains (for two servings), I added 3/4 cup water, brought it to a boil, then removed the pot from heat and let it stand for 5 minutes. I fluffed with a fork, added two tbsp. each of sliced almonds and dried cherries, and dinner was done!

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I’m Baaaaack!

Why hello there! :) Long time no see (type?!).

“School’s out for summer…”

Now that school’s done for the time being, I’m excited to get back in the blogging swing of things. And hopefully I’ll have some exciting things to talk about since I’m running the San Diego Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon in less than a month and then in July…

(drumroll)

…I’m leaving to go to Sydney for a semester abroad! :) Yup, I’m headed to the University of Sydney in Australia for the fall semester, and my goal is to blog my way through it.

But I’ve got many things to keep me busy until then, including a lot of cooking and eating yummy food.

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Yes, it’s green, but it’s yummy, I promise. Perfect Saturday morning breakfast if you ask me.

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To make this tasty concoction, I threw the following into a blender:

  • one frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • a few handfuls of spinach
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • chia seeds
  • ground flaxseeds

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And of course I topped it with some Kashi Heart to Heart and tossed it in a bowl for some “smoothie in a bowl” action.

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Warms my heart to get some greens in me in the morning. Plus, let’s be serious, anything that’s a fun color is fun to eat. 

I wish I had some pictures from my food yesterday, but rest assured that I appropriately pampered my mother and made her banana pancakes for brunch and almond-crusted salmon (which was amazing; I’ll be making it again soon) for dinner.

Now onto this morning’s breakfast. I went for a run this morning (got to break in some new sneaks) and since it’s May in Texas, it’s super hot and I was in the mood for something cold. I saw this fabulous idea and knew I needed to try it ASAP. Last night, I mixed 1/3 cup rolled oats with 3/4 cup almond milk, 1 tbsp. chia seeds, vanilla, and cinnamon.

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This morning, I pulled a banana from the freezer and threw it in the food processor until it resembled a soft-serve consistency. Then I layered it all up and added a blob of almond butter on top. (And margarita glasses just make Monday mornings more fun.)

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This was really delicious! Next time I think I’ll try it with my traditional overnight oats recipe (equal parts oats, milk, and yogurt) but I actually really liked the texture of this. Having the banana separate instead of mixed in was really good.

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I’m off, but lunch is already in the oven and it smells awesome. I’m trying a new recipe, so stay tuned.

Quote of the day: Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.

My favorite quote of all time. And that means a lot considering I’m a quote fiend.

It Ain’t Easy Being Green

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Kermit the Frog would be proud of me: my breakfast this morning was gloriously green! I had an early doctor’s appointment this morning so I went for a quick breakfast.

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The smoothie mix:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 tbsp. almond butter
  • 1/3 cup oatmeal (just raw oats)
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • ~1/2 cup almond milk (the end of a container)
  • 1/2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • plus…a few handfuls of spinach!

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This smoothie was awesome. It had enough heft from the oats and the almond butter to hold me through the morning. And I promise that you cannot taste the spinach at all. Try it! I mean, how fun is it to have a green drink for breakfast?

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The appointment with my running doctor went really well, too! He was very impressed with the strength gains that I’ve made in the last few weeks, and I’m sure that’s why my running has been feeling so much stronger lately. He gave me a couple more exercises to do, and I’ve got yet another follow-up appointment in about six weeks. I’ll be deep into Team in Training training by then, so it’ll be a good time for a check-up.

I headed to the gym for my workout a little later in the day, before a late lunch. Today was all about the legs.

I did all of these exercises on the Bosu with a 20-lb body bar.

And then it was time for rehab exercises:

Plus I did 15 easy minutes on the elliptical and ran two 9:20 miles. Whew! My legs were quite shaky after the workout, and I quite literally ran home and toward the fridge. I heated up some of my leftover bulgur-veggie mixture from last night and added some black beans and hummus. Even more delicious, if that’s possible.

Aaand there’s no picture. It wasn’t pretty, you saw it yesterday already, and I really, really wanted to get it in my tummy. :)

But there’s a picture of dinner! And man was it good. I followed this recipe almost exactly. (My changes in bold.)

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Spicy African Peanut Stew

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 sweet potato, cubed (about 1 c. total)
  • 1 1/2 t. curry powder omitted
  • 1/2-3/4 t. garam masala (depending on how spicy you like it) omitted
  • 1 t. cumin
  • 1 T. minced ginger used a tsp. of ground ginger
  • 2 t. minced garlic
  • stevia to taste (I used almost 2 packets of NuNaturals) omitted
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes, in juice used regular diced tomatoes
  • 1 can light coconut milk omitted
  • 2 c. vegetable stock
  • 2 T. natural peanut butter used almond butter
  • 1/2 c. red lentils, drained and rinsed (can substitute quinoa, if desired) used green lentils

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This recipe was meant for the slow cooker, but I just cooked it all in a Dutch oven. I brought the mixture to a boil and then covered it and let it simmer and thicken for quite a while. I was afraid it wouldn’t thicken (I like thick soups!) but it did, in a delicious fashion. It was so good! I’m very happy that I have leftovers. :)

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And here’s dessert, too! When I was poking around in the freezer earlier, I saw a couple of frozen bananas. To me, that means…banana soft serve!

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This is the easiest recipe in the world. I threw two frozen bananas in the food processor and let ‘er rip. After about five minutes, I had glorious soft and fluffy banana soft serve. I split it into two servings and drizzled with my own chocolate sauce. (Just two squares of dark chocolate melted in the microwave.)

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And then what to do with the little bit of leftover chocolate?

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What an awesome, healthy dessert! Enjoy your evenings. :)

One-Bowl Meals

Gah, I had my post all written and Windows Live Writer ate it. :( Let’s try this again.

The other day I got this cute little sample box from Kashi…

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…that I was really excited to try this morning! Kashi Heart to Heart is my cereal of choice, but my grocery store only sells the regular flavor (not warm cinnamon). I’ve tried this flavor once before, though, and loved it. Today was no different!

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I put about half a cup of Greek yogurt on the bottom of my bowl along with the sample box of Heart to Heart (which was a little more than a serving), a sliced banana, two HUGE chopped strawberries, and a small spoonful of almond butter tucked in there.

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And I’m super excited that berry season is not too far off. These were organic strawberries from California…which is better than from Chile!

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Here’s proof that yogurt was indeed underneath there. Sure, it’s not as photogenic, but I can promise you that it was delicious. :)

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My lovely—and somewhat lazy—Sunday was full of errands, brunch out, and time on the couch watching the Canada-U.S. hockey game. How exciting! And if the U.S. was to lose, as least we lost to Canada.

Before too long, it was time for dinner, another meal in a white bowl. I was thrilled to be back cooking again. I just love putzing around the kitchen, creating a healthy meal while listening to some music. Life just doesn’t get much better. :)

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I started off by cooking bulgur on the stovetop. Bulgur is one of my favorite grains: it’s hearty, chewy, tastes awesome, and doesn’t take very long to cook. I cooked it in chicken stock (1:1.5 ratio) and added various veggies: sliced mushrooms, zucchini, summer squash, carrots, and edamame. I brought the mixture to a boil and then covered it and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes. (Be sure to check on the liquid level often! I needed to add more a few times.) Meanwhile, I boiled some shrimp, which I chopped and added to the bulgur when it was done. I plated (bowled?) the mixture on top of a bed of steamed broccoli (takes 2.5 minutes in the microwave!) and finished it off with a sprinkle of sliced almonds.

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This was so delicious! As in, it’s going on the recipe page right now. I’ve got some of the bulgur-veggie mixture left over, and I cannot wait to have it for lunch tomorrow.

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So what about a workout for today? I didn’t run since I did that yesterday, and I didn’t go to the gym. I left my kettlebell and my resistance bands in my dorm room, so what’s a girl to do?

Body weight exercises!

Whew! I also threw in a few yoga moves and some stretches.

Anyone else watching the closing ceremonies? I haven’t gotten to watch much of the Winter Olympics at all, so I’m soaking up this last night. My favorite parts so far are Michael Buble and the giant inflatable moose.

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