Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Five - Chardonnay 10-Miler Race Goals

It's Friday!! That means I run 10 miles tomorrow! And I kind of feel like I'm getting sick. So I'm drinking crazy amounts of green tea, continuously eating zinc tablets, and carb loading with noodle soup. It's probably just my body trying to trick it's way out of having to run so much tomorrow.

(Image Source)

Anyways, instead of sitting here and wallowing in my hypochondria, I'm joining the DC Trifecta's Friday Five linkup as usual. Today's theme is fitness goals, so I'm sharing 5 goals for tomorrow's race.

First up, my three race day goals a la this advice from Run Eat Repeat, with 1 being the hardest and 3 being the easiest to achieve.

1. Finish in under 01:50:00 (11 min mile)
I'm not really sure how likely this is because i was over this for my curren- PDR-setting 8 mile run. But hey, race day adrenaline does amazing things right? 

2. Finish in under 02:00:00 (12 min mile)
Still feel this would be a respectable finish time considering I had a month to go from 5K to 10 miles.

3. Make it to the wine tasting
Because that's the most important thing after all. 

And here are two goals that I want to complete no matter what. 

4. Go slow and walk when I have to
During my last race I started out way too fast and burned out by the end. And that was less than 1/3 the distance of this one. So I need to swallow my pride, pace myself, go slow, and walk if I need to. 

5. Enjoy the view
I wanted to make this goal "enjoy the race" but I thought that might be too ambitious. But the course goes right along 5 miles of super beautiful California coast, so I figure I can at least enjoy the view.

(Image Source)

Q: Are you racing this weekend? Any tips to survive my first long-ish race?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Workout Wednesday Guest Post - Running the Boston Marathon

Happy Wednesday! Today's my first time hosting the Workout Wednesday (WOW) linkup, with fabulous co-hostesses Diatta Harris from Femme Fitale Fit Club, Sheila Simmons The Frugal Exerciser, and brand new co-hostesses Natalie from Clean Eating Teen, Jenn from Comeback Momma, and yours truly!

I've been focused on my first 10-mile race this Saturday, but I wanted to kick off my Workout Wednesday co-hosting duties with a very special guest post. My friend and former co-worker, Lauren, is preparing for a much bigger race this week, and is here to share her story.

"Hi! I am a former cubicle-mate of Amanda's who has kindly invited me to guest post about my experience training for the Boston Marathon on April 21st! Since we worked together in Washington, DC, Amanda and I have gone separate ways - her to lovely Santa Barbara, and me to Boston for graduate school.

I've been a casual runner for years, ever since a friend convinced me to do the Cherry Blossom 10-miler, but never ever considered a marathon, even after doing two half marathons in the past year. However, my university, Tufts, has a relationship with the Boston Athletic Association that reserves 100 bibs for students, faculty, staff, and alums, with a requirement that students raise $1,500 for nutrition and obesity research at Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. This is pretty cool, because the Boston Marathon is notoriously difficult to qualify for, and running as a charity entrant can require raising several thousand of dollars. So, with the encouragement of my sister, who ran the Marine Corps Marathon a few years ago, and peer pressure from some friends, I signed up.

So, in January, my training began in earnest as I contemplated running more miles (in training!) than I had ever run before. We are lucky to have an awesome coach for the team, and the camaraderie of having built in teammates. We also had several scheduled runs on the marathon course, and team runs twice a week. It makes it much easier to wake up for a 7 AM run in January when it's 5 degrees in January when you know that there's a whole group of people waiting for you!
There have definitely been challenges - the polar vortex, a stubborn IT-band problem, trying Gu for the first time - but overall it has been an incredible experience to realize I can run further than I ever thought. I can't believe the race is so soon, and I am sure it will be emotional given last year's bombings. I am looking forward to crossing that finish line!"
I'm so proud of Lauren and inspired by her decision to seize the opportunity to run the Boston Marathon in such an emotional year, even though it was something she'd planned on doing. I hope everyone will join me in wishing her luck on her first marathon!

If you want to follow Lauren's progress during the race, read these instructions to track her bib number, 30620. Lauren's a rock star and has exceeded her fundraising goal, but if you're interested in supporting nutrition and obesity research at Tufts you can donate here.

Now that we've had that dose of inspiration, let’s get on to the party!

Point & Purpose: The purpose of this link up party is to mix and mingle and support each other’s sites by visiting, subscribing and/or leaving a comment. Please do not drop a link here, disappear and not follow through by visiting other party goers’ sites. 

Theme: We are linking up blog posts, Google+ posts or Facebook posts related to FITNESS, RUNNING, HEALTH or WELLNESS.

Simple Rules:
1. Follow, Like and Subscribe to your hostesses and co-hostesses:

2. Don’t be a wallflower. Show some comment love and support to other party goers of this link up by visiting their blogs and either leave a comment on a post, subscribe or both! Visit at least 5 others who have joined the party.
3. Invite your like-minded friends! We love finding and reading new blogs so spread the word so we can increase the size of our parties every week.
4. Use hashtag #wowlinkup when you comment on someone’s post for easy identification.
5. Last but definitely not least, HAVE FUN! This IS a party.


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Monday, April 14, 2014

Meal Prep Monday - Banana Sweet Potato Pancake Bread and Sauteed Tempeh

I can't believe it's Monday already! This weekend was super short and kind of gloomy, but I did manage to get a PDR-setting 8 mile run on a grey Saturday. Not going to lie, it was kind of rough.  And then I finished my training for this week's 10-miler plus wine tasting by going to Brews at the Beach, which was also a little rough. But I do have some exciting news!

As you may have seen on Diatta of Femme Fitale Fit Club's blog, I'm joining Femme Fitale Fit Club, The Frugal Exerciser, and Clean Eating Teen as a new co-host for the Workout Wednesday (WOW) Linkup! I've really enjoyed participating every week and have found a lot of great new blogs to read. Please stop by and join in on Wednesday!

Now on to the meal prep.


I really wanted to make these high protein cottage cheese pancakes from Ambitious Kitchen, but I wasn't capable of standing up long enough to make a week's worth of pancakes on Sunday. So I decided to make it into a baked good, and changed the ingredients based on what I had in the house. Here;s what I ended up with:

Banana Sweet Potato Pancake Bread

Calories: 273 | Fat: 5 g | Cholest: 75 mg | Sodium: 639 mg | Carbs: 41 g | Fiber: 5 g | Sugars: 8 g | Protein: 18 g

2 cups old fashioned oats

1 cup multigrain pancake mix
2 egg whites
2 eggs
2 cups cottage cheese
2 very ripe banana, mashed
1 mashed sweet potato
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 cup almond milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix ingredients together until batter is mostly smooth.
Spread into a large, well greased baking dish.
Bake for 45 minutes or until the top begins to brown and the bread feels firm in the middle.
Makes 6 servings.

I think I like my Blueberry Pancake Bread better, but this is a nice change of pace. It's super dense and moist and not very sweet, and is low calorie enough to top with plenty of maple syrup or other sweet toppings.


I made tempeh again this week but changed up my cooking method. Instead of baking it, I crumbled the tempeh and sauteed it with a little coconut oil, amino acids, rice wine vinegar, and vegetable stock to get that ground beef texture and feel. It turned out pretty well and I think it'll make a great neutral protein for this week's meals.


I made a bunch of new veggies this week, including artichokes! I've never cooked artichokes before, so I just followed these instructions and roasted them whole in the oven. They're a little darker than the picture, so I think I over cooked them. They still tasted good, so I'm going to call it a win. I also cut up and roasted a kabocha squash, some turnips, and sweet potatoes, and boiled some fava beans.


This week is all about the Chardonnay 10 Miler, so besides my beach volleyball leagues I'm going to do a little running and a lot of rest, and then trying to survive 10 whole miles!

Q: How was your weekend? Do any running or tasting or any other exciting things? 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Favs - Trader Joe's Finds Part II

It's Friday!! Super exciting but also super scary because it means I'm only eight days away from the Santa Barbara Chardonnay 10-Miler! That's right, with all your support/peer pressure I actually pulled the trigger and bought a race registration. And three wine tasting tickets. Don't worry, they're not all for me. Unless the race goes REALLY badly. Or really well :)

Even thought it's scary I'm really excited to be running this first race in my new town. I've mentioned before how much more having such beautiful scenery and weather has made me like running, and the course is supposed to be super pretty so I'm excited to use picture taking as an excuse to take breaks share lots of race pics with you.

Something else I've been growing to like since my move is having Trader Joe's as my main grocery store. It's kind of annoying sometimes because I have to make multiple trips to find things like aluminum foil, dried chickpeas or turnips. But on the upside it has given me the chance to try a lot of cool new Trader Joe's foods. 

I shared a few favorite Trader Joe's products back in September, but since I've been trying a lot of new things lately I'm joining in the DC Trifecta's Friday Five linkup with five favorite recent Trader Joe's finds.

1. Cruciferous Crunch Collection

As you can probably tell if you've seen my Instagram lately, I'm OBSESSED with this new salad mix from Trader Joe's. The mix of kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and green and red cabbage is so full of texture and makes for a great hearty salad or stir fry that keeps even me full.

2. Sparkling Mineral Water

I'm probably way late to the party, but I did not know that Trader Joe's sold delicious and cheap flavored mineral water. This is a great, healthy alternative to sugary sodas and it's my current non-water beverage of choice. The lemon and lime flavors are my favorite!

3. Organic Dark Chocolate

Trader Joe's has a lot of great chocolates but this is my current favorite. It's dark, rich, organic, and was only $1.99 a bar!

4. Dr. Praeger's California Veggie Burgers

I first saw these on this list of healthy veggie burgers made from ingredients you can recognize and looked for them the next time I was at Trader Joe's. I love that they are GMO free and made from mostly whole ingredients, and I love that you can taste the veggies. And they're pretty cheap for a veggie burger.

5. White Cheddar Corn Puffs

As you may have seen in my last WIAW post, these are my newest cheesy, salty, snacky obsession. I'm a huge fan of Pirate's Booty, but I may like these even more because this whole giant bag was only $1.99! Warning: extreme danger of eating the whole bag.

Q: Are you a Trader Joe's fan? Any favorite food finds lately?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday - Day in the Life

I can't believe it's Wednesday already! Beach volleyball rec league started this week, and signing up for both women's and coed doubles may have been a mistake. Two hours of beach volleyball doubles two days in a row is a little rough on the legs, and I had to skip my run yesterday. But it's kind of hard to complain when I get to see this after work.

But enough about working out, let's talk about eating! I've done What I Ate Wednesday/WIAW posts before, but I've never done a traditional day in the life post. So today I'm joining the What I Ate Wednesday and Workout Wednesday linkups to share everything I ate on a normal day (this Monday). Prepare to be amazed by the sheer volume. 

I almost always eat my breakfast in front of the computer at work. Who really has time to eat before they leave the house? This morning, I was at work by 7:30 so it was really nice to have a mason jar of blueberry banana barley ready to grab, heat and eat. 

Oh and I also had a big thermos of coffee with almond milk. I'm addicted.

I was getting really hungry by about 11, so I sliced up a gala apple and a wedge of garlic herb Laughing Cow light cheese. Not the most photogenic combo, but pretty tasty.

I usually have lunch late but I had a 1 pm meeting, so I ate around 12:30. I love that we have mixing bowls at work, because regular bowls just don't cut it for my giant salads. This one had Trader Joe's Power to the Greens mix, roasted cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and Avocado Greek Yogurt Tofu, tossed with a little bit of olive oil, apple cider vinegar and garlic salt.

I like to finish my meal with something sweet, so I also ate a yummy red pear.

I was hungry again at 2:30 and craving chocolate, so I made a piece of sprouted wheat toast with Nutella and a cup of tea.

With two rec league games right after work, I was really worried about running out of fuel, so I had a Kashi snack bar around 4:30. Sometimes I think worrying about being hungry in the future makes me eat more in the present. #firstworldproblems

I was starving and super tired after playing two hours of beach volleyball doubles (and winning!) so I started replacing the calories I burned as soon as possible. I made a recovery drink with coconut water for hydration and tart cherry juice for muscle recovery, and ate a bowl of Trader Joe's cheddar puffs for deliciousness. And carbs or something.

After taking the edge off my hunger and finishing an episode of House of Cards with my housemates, I finally had my real dinner. Another big tofu salad bowl, but this time I made it Mexican style with avocado, tomatoes, salsa, and shredded cheese.

I've been late-night eating a lot, but I must have managed to stuff my face enough that I wasn't too tempted, and I just drank a bunch of club soda with lime before passing out around 11:30.

Whew, that was a LOT of food. Pretty much the main reason I stay as active as I can is to eat piles and piles of food :)

Q: What did you eat yesterday? Any exciting new foods or impressively large quantities?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Meal Prep Monday - Blueberry Banana Barley and Avocado Greek Yogurt Tofu

Hello Monday, so we meet again. I have a ton to get done this week and really need to hit the ground running.So, while I really wanted to post one of the millions of super funny "I hate Mondays" pictures I found, I decided to start the week on a positive note.

(Image Source)

This was the ONLY happy Monday pic that came up in my search. Luckily, it's pretty cute. Anyways, on to the meal prep! 


It's been a little chilly here (like high 50s, don't kill me East-Coasters) so I've been craving a hot, filling breakfast. And even though you know I love oatmeal (click here for some recipes), I wanted to switch things up. Standing in front of the small grain section at Trader Joe's, I picked up the barley and though "hmm, would that be weird for breakfast?" So I decided to find out!

Blueberry Banana Barley

Calories: 389 | Fat: 15 g | Cholest: 0 mg | Sodium: 167 mg | Carbs: 44 g | Fiber: 9 g | Sugars: 15 g | Protein: 19 g

1 cup barley

2 1/2 cups almond milk
6 egg whites
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup nut butter
1 very ripe banana, mashed
2 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 cup blueberries
3/4 cup slivered almonds

Combine almond milk and barley in a medium sized saucepan.
Bring to a boil (carefully, since milk boils over easily) over medium high heat.
Turn heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes or until barley is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed.
Stir in the rest of the ingredients until well combined.
Makes 6 servings.

Turns out barley for breakfast isn't weird at all! I love how hearty the almond milk-filled barley is, and the fruit and maple syrup add the perfect amount of sweetness without tasting sugary. Highly recommend for those not-quite Spring mornings, or for anyone who gets cold when it's less than 60.


The Lean Green Bean's Greek Yogurt Chicken is one of my favorite chicken recipes. This week, I had the brilliant idea of trying to make a tofu version. I gave it about a 50/50 shot of being a total disaster. Surprisingly, it actually worked out!

Avocado Greek Yogurt Tofu

Calories: 131 | Fat: 7 g | Cholest: 0 mg | Sodium: 61 mg | Carbs: 4 g | Fiber: 0 g | Sugars:  g | Protein: 15 g

1 package extra firm tofu

1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 ripe avocado
1 tbsp sriracha 
1 tbsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place tofu on a plate lined with a couple paper towels. Cover with more paper towels, another plate, and place something heavy on top of the second plate. Press for at least 30 minutes.Cut tofu into about 1/2 inch thick slices.
Mix together all the ingredients except tofu in shallow bowl.
Dredge tofu slices through the Greek yogurt mixture to coat.
Place tofu on a very well greased cookies sheet (full disclosure, one of mine was better greased than the other and the not well greased one stuck a lot).
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the tofu is firm and golden brown.
Makes 5 servings.

This worked out really well, despite half the tofu sticking like crazy to the not very well greased baking sheet. The avocado and Greek yogurt form a nice crust and add richness to the crispy tofu, and the sriracha gives it a great flavor kick. Definitely a step above my normal plain baked tofu.


Asparagus season is starting, which means it's cheaper and yummier than usual. I just tossed it with a little bit of olive oil and amino acids and roasted it at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes and it was super tasty! For some reason, asparagus and mushrooms seem to go together in my mind, so I chopped some mushrooms and cooked them the same way. I also roasted Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, and cooked up some quinoa.


I signed up for both women's and coed doubles beach volleyball rec leagues, and they start this week. Great for being social, not so great for my 10 mi training plan. Hopefully throwing in an extra rest day will be enough.

Q: Mondays, love em or hate em? Any tips for at least pretending to love them?  

Saturday, April 5, 2014

(Virtual) Coffee Date

Hey guys! Wanna meet for a coffee date? Well, a virtual coffee date. I mean, I'll drink real coffee and you'll drink whatever you like while you read this and I pretend I have friends I'm talking to instead of typing on my phone at this coffee shop.

In case that super clear explanation didn't make sense, the virtual coffee date is a blog post that all the cool kids bloggers are doing. It's basically a chance to share a bunch of small life updates, just like if you were having coffee with a good friend. And today's coffee date is extra amazing because it's part of The Ultimate Coffee Date Link-Up hosted by Jill Conyers, Nikki at Grab Your Kicks and Lynda at fitnessmomwinecountrySo let's get this party started!

If we were having coffee today I'd tell you...To tell me about your life while I scarf down this giant Bagel w/ Eggs Ranchero from Jack's Bistro & Famous Bagels because I'm really hungry. This would not surprise you because I am always hungry.

Then, because you're an awesome friend that cares, you'd probably ask me a lot of questions like:

How's work?

I really like my new job (which is good since I moved 3,000 miles for it) and my coworkers are great. But lately I've been putting in long hours without achieving much. I'm getting frustrated and honestly a little scared. I need at least a small win, badly, and I'm starting to wonder what happens if I don't achieve all the things I'm supposed to by the end of the year. I know I just have to keep plugging away and doing my best, but it's hard sometimes.

How's your new place?

My new housemates are awesome, and I love that there are 4 of them! I was worried it might be hard living with so many people, but I really like always having someone to talk to and I still get plenty of alone time. I also kind of live on the wrong side of town, which I didn't know before moving. But, as you can see, we have a great view, pretty flowering and fruit trees in the yard, and I've never felt unsafe. So far so good.

Have you made any new friends?

I'm really lucky that I live with 4 super cool girls, but I haven't really made friends that don't kind of have to hang out with me because we live in the same house. I know I just need to keep showing up to things and meeting people. But by the time I finish working, working out and blogging, all I really all I want to do is curl up in bed with a book or Netflix. 

How is the whole long distance relationship thing going? When is the bf moving out there?

Everyone keeps asking me this and it's my least favorite "getting to know you" question. Being in a bi-costal relationship is hard. We've been doing a good job of staying in touch and seeing each other almost every month, but it just isn't the same. As for when/if the bf is moving, I just don't know how to answer that. He really likes his job and needs to find a job here he loves as much as I love mine. How can I be mad at that when I'm the one that left for a job in the first place? We're just trying to take it one day at a time, so there isn't much to say and I don't really like talking about it.

So what, do you actually LIKE running now?

I definitely don't hate it anymore. The beautiful running scenery helps, and I think we're starting to have a grudging respect for one another. I think it's like one of those old arranged marriages where I'm spending so much time with running that I can't help beginning to kind of like it. And then one day, when we are old and about to part ways, I'll realize I've grown to love it. Cue sappy violin music... 

Thanks so much for joining me for virtual coffee today! I hope you have some to to drink a cup of real coffee (or other adult beverage. It's after noon. I'm not judging) and relax a little this weekend. And don't forget to stop by the link up so you can go on some more great dates. I won't mind. I'm not the jealous type.