...the children were nestled all snug in their beds while visions of chocolate peppermint donuts danced in their heads.  Wait, that's not how the poem goes?  I guess the children they were talking about doesn't include me.  Though the poem describes the night before Christmas not the night before the night before Christmas.  Perhaps tonight my head will be filled with sugar plums, though these donuts are more likely to make an appearance.

It's Christmas Eve, and I couldn't be more in the Christmas spirit!  My mom and I will soon be making bread rolls and chocolate pie, I'll be wrapping gifts (please tell me I'm not the only one who hasn't done this yet!), and I will watch Frosty and Rudolph because no one is ever to old for that.  Or I just haven't grown up yet, which is just as likely.  

But anyway, back to the donuts.  These donuts:
Do I really need to say anything more?  Probably not, but I'm going to anyway.  Chocolate peppermint donuts topped with two different peppermint icings and then sprinkled wit crushed candy cane... do these not sound like the perfect holiday breakfast?  Not to mention that the donuts themselves have around 15 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber.  Not bad for donuts.  It gives you the perfect excuse to eat an extra cookie or two.  At least that's going to be my excuse.
Chocolate Peppermint Donuts
Serves 1

Ingredients (for the donuts):
  • 1/4 cup spelt flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoon liquid egg whites or 1 egg white
  • 1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • stevia extract to taste (I use liquid stevia)
  • 1/4 of a candy cane, crushed


Ingredients (for the icing):
Either:
  • 4 teaspoons coconut butter
  • 1 teaspoon agave
  • 8 drops peppermint extract
Or:
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla protein powder
  • 3 teaspoons almond milk (or other milk of choice)
  • Stevia or agave if the powder isn't sweetened
  • 8 drops peppermint extract

OR you can do half of each and frost the two donuts with different icings!

Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a donut pan (I use coconut oil).
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt, egg white, extract, and stevia.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold together until combined, but don't over-mix.  Allow the batter to sit for a few minutes.
  5. Spoon the batter into the donut pan and bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes.  Test with a toothpick!
  6. For the icing: melt the coconut butter for 30 seconds in the microwave and then stir in the agave and extract OR stir together the protein powder, almond milk, and extract.  Frost the donuts with the icing and sprinkle with the crushed candy cane.
And now, the moment you have all been waiting for... time for the great green glob reveal!!!  Last time, I left you all with this picture and asked you to guess what it was.
I loved reading all your guesses!  Here is what you guys came up with:

  • a quinoa dish
  • kale chips/baked kale
  • veggie chips
  • kale/broccoli dish

However the actual identity isssss (drum roll).... waffles!!  You see, I made an attempt to make green monster waffles by blending spinach into the batter.   The problem was that there was too much moisture from the spinach, and when I opened the waffle iron, this met my eyes:
Because I don't see any point in letting good ingredients go to waste, I scraped the waffle iron clean (which was a workout end of itself), and ended up with the pile of green twigs that you see above.  The whole experience ended with a good laugh when my mom came down the stairs, spotted the bright green glob, and started roaring with laughter.  When my mom lives three years longer from all the laughing that ensued that morning, you can thank me.  And of course, this will not be my last green monster waffle attempt.  This is not a failure, only a minor set back.  Okay, okay, it was a complete failure, but I won't let that stop me!


And now I want to wish you all a MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!  I hope your night is filled with visions of chocolate peppermint donuts and your morning is filled with loved ones and good food.  I am so thankful to have met such wonderful people through blogging!  <3

Questions:

What are your Christmas plans?

What was your last cooking failure?
 
 
Happy Sunday everyone!  Who's ready for Christmas?!  I know that I'm just enjoying spending time with my friends and family!  My Grandparents are currently visiting, and we always have such a good time together so I'm really enjoying it!

Now last post I did before my hiatus, I'd recently completed a half marathon, so you may be wondering where my running has taken me since.  Well to be honest, it hasn't really taken me anywhere.  I guess that is a bit of a lie - let me back up.  On October 26, I ran my first 10k.  It was definitely a success in my book!  I had an official time of 49:52 and got first in my age group.  Oh and I got the coolest medal ever.  Yes, EVER.
Oh and the bones glow in the dark.  Try to contain you jealousy.

So anyway, the moment I stopped running after crossing the finish line, something happened in my feet, and I literally couldn't walk.  I stumbled forward, and after a few minutes, I found myself limping on.  I scheduled an appointment with the doctor on campus for the beginning of the next week, and she said it was either a foot fracture or planter fascitis.  Either way, she ordered me to stay off my feet for at least two weeks.  I've never been very good at following doctor's orders, but I didn't want to mess up my feet for life and never be able to run again.  So I put my running shoes aside and gave running a break.  

My left foot healed right away, but even after two weeks, my right foot really hadn't improved.  So I gave it some more time.  After a month, it had improved quite a bit, so I decided to see if it was fully healed by doing a trial run.  I thought that it was better, but the next day, I realized I had made it worse again by running on it.  So, back to the drawing board.  I didn't run on it again until about a week and a half ago, but I'm happy to report that it is finally healed.  Unfortunately, I had my wisdom teeth removed about a week ago so I've only been able to run once since, but now that I'm almost fully healed, I'm getting back to the roads.

I'm going to have to be careful, of course, that I don't get back into it too quickly and hurt my foot again.  Especially since I have another half marathon in about a month.  Yep, a half marathon when I, essentially, haven't run for the past two months.  I am so out of shape (even the 2.5 miles I did a week and a half ago were a challenge - though I did do about six miles last Friday and they felt amazing), but I'm not one to back out of something once I've committed.  Even if it means crawling across the finish line, I'm going to do it and I'm going to finish.


And now, I'm curious...  What do you think this is a picture of?
Believe or not, it is food - I made it, and I ate it.  Though It didn't turn exactly how I had planned... I'll reveal its identity in my next post!  

In case I don't get a chance to post again before Wednesday, I hope you all have a truly wonderful Christmas and get to spend it with people you love!!


Questions:  


Have you ever experienced a set-back in running or other kind of fitness activity?



I'd really love to hear your  guesses about the green blob above!

 
 
Well, hello there.  How has everyone been over the past, er, several months?  As much as I wanted to keep up the blog over last semester, college got too busy...  How does that happen?!  Oh well, I am finally home for the holidays which means that school has been completely wiped from my mind.  I wish that that also meant that I've been cooking up a storm, but since I had my wisdom teeth taken out last Friday, I've had to stick to stick to soft foods for the most part.  Thankfully, donuts fit the bill, so they were my breakfast of choice both yesterday morning and this morning.  In honor of WIAW, I thought I'd share the recipe!  Now I've shared it before, but it was quite some time ago, and is there really such a thing as too many donut recipes?  I didn't think so.
Now the star of the show here is the frosting.  I could eat it all day, everyday and be one happy lady.  Okay, okay, I'd need a few other things thrown in there to really be happy (e.g. chocolate, gotta have chocolate obviously), but you know what I mean.  The light and airy subtly flavored donut base is perfect.  It isn't at all selfish and lets the icing do the talking.  Oh dear, I'm making food talk and letting it have personalities...  I better just give you the recipe before things get too out of hand!
Peanut Butter Coconut Maple Frosted Donuts
Serves 1

Ingredients (donuts):
  • 1/4 cup spelt flour (I've also had good results with brown rice flour!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 egg white (or just under 1/4 cup liquid egg whites)
  • 3.5 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon extract of choice (I've had good results with almond, maple, and hazelnut extract)
  • Stevia, to taste (I use liquid stevia)

Ingredients (frosting):
  • 2 teaspoons coconut butter
  • 2 teaspoons peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup

Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and nutmeg.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg white, yogurt, extract, and stevia.
  4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry, and allow it to sit undisturbed for a minute or two.
  5. Pour the batter into a greased donut pan (I use coconut oil to grease).
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 13-15 minutes.  Test with a toothpick!
  7. For the frosting, melt the coconut butter and peanut butter together in the microwave for about 30 seconds.  Stir in the maple syrup.
  8. Remove the donuts from the pan, frost, and devour!  

Now since it's only a week to Christmas, my next baking adventures will be cookies - butter-laden, sugar filled cookies.  No healthifying when it comes to Christmas cookies!  Christmas comes but once a year, and we've got to live it up, am I right?!  I'll be sure to share the goodies with you, and I also plan to do a running update post and Quest Bar review in the near future. Fasten your seat-belts, this blog is going for a ride!

I hope all you lovely people are doing well and are preparing for a wonderful holiday!


Question:  What is your favorite Christmas cookie?
 
 
Thank you all so much for your wonderful words on my last post!!  I really appreciate you guys taking time out of your day to congratulate me!

Now I promised a recap, and so here it is!  Enjoy!

One thing I have decided, 3:30 is way to early to get up.  Especially if you were so excited the night before that you could hardly sleep and then realize that you finally were asleep when the blazing alarm takes away your dreams and shoves reality in you face.  And then when you see the e-mail that says that despite the rain and wind the marathon is still on, you wonder why on earth you are no longer tucked away in your comfy little bed sound asleep.  And then it finally hits you - you have trained three months for this morning so you better get moving or you just might miss it!  So by 4:30, I had finished my typical pre-run breakfast (bread+banana+peanut butter), and my brother and I were off!  (Yes, he took me at 4:30 in the morning.  Do I not have the best brother ever?!)

Once we arrived at the finish line (where the packet pickup was), and once I had gotten my packet (not a good sign when you're soaked before you even get to the start line...), we ventured to the start about 20 minutes away.  It was kind of sketch getting there because it was foggy/rainy/windy and we were surrounded by forest, but there were no souls in sight.  But we did eventually find it with plenty of time to spare.  My stomach felt a little wonky which worried me, but after a quick trip to the restroom (taking advantage of the fact that there was no line), I felt fine and ready to run!  That was, until I made my way to the start line and found that I was literally shaking and my teeth were chattering.  Again that question of why did I get out of bed?! creeped in.  But it also made me more excited to run because I just wanted to get moving so I could get warm!  Since it was rainy, I wore my rain jacket.  I though I might get hot, but I stayed comfortable the whole way!  
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My number! Loved the "I can do this"!
Picture
Ready to take it on.
Picture
Waiting by the start line!
Since it was raining quite a bit, I made the decision to not bring my phone with me, aka no music and no way to know my pace.  I admit that this make me a bit nervous.  Two hours seemed like a long time with no music, and I wasn't sure how I was going to know what my pace was - I had an idea in my head of a good pace to keep to ensure that I was able to finish and not burn out too quickly.  But in the end, I think not having my phone was a blessing in disguise.  No music allowed me to focus on the beautiful scenery, and not knowing my pace forced me to listen to my body and let it tell me my comfortable pace (which ended up being much lower than I would have expected!).

We were set out in waves, and I hung back until the fourth or fifth wave (there were probably about 20 waves total, but that included the walkers). The first two miles were the quickest two miles I think I've ever run.  Except for a big uphill at first, it was pretty much all a good downhill on the road.  The only trouble was that it was slippery so I couldn't fly down like I wanted too.  After about 1.5 miles on the road, we were one the trail and weaving around curves through the most gorgeous forest - ferns, moss covered trees, little streams.  It was picturesque to the max!  Even once I hit mile 4 (where I took my second round of Clif shot blocks, the first being about five minutes before I started), I still felt very fresh and couldn't believe how quickly this whole experience was going.  Was I really almost a third of the way done?!  

I didn't have anything to drink at the first aid station, but at the second one, I was thirsty.  I took what they gave me only to realize that it had a pink tint, but it was too late - down the hatch it went.  After one gulp, I threw the rest out.  Had I known it was the electrolyte drink, I would have avoided because I read about how if you're not used to a specific brand, it can upset your stomach if you try it for the first time while on a long run/race.  But thankfully, it didn't seem to have an effect.  It did cause me to avoid the next couple water stations though!  However, I did manage some water at the last two stations.

Mile five and six didn't fly by, but they were steady.  Around mile six, we crossed a really long board-walk like bridge, and I would run the whole thing again simply to go over that bridge once more!  It was almost like running over a tropical forest.  

About half way through the half marathon, the trail turned from gradual downhill curves to being straight and flat.  After this point, every mile got increasingly longer.  We were no longer running through the forest, but first across a wide field and then along side the road.  Luckily, thanks to the thick foliage, I couldn't actually see the road, but the trail didn't hold my attention like it did in the forest.  (Though I did get distracted by the apples and blackberries growing on the sides of the trail and several times considered stopping for a re-fueling snack...).  

At about mile 8 (where I had my final round of shot blocks), my body still felt okay, but it had begun to turn into a mind game.    I fought pretty much the rest of the way to the finish line.  At about mile 11, I could feel it in my entire body.  Now, I was battling my mind and body, but I was determined to win.  I knew that I could do it, I just had to convince myself continually that that was the case.

We made it into town pretty soon after mile 11, and that gave me hope that I was almost there.  It also changed up the scenery which was nice!  My body wanted to slow, but I wouldn't let it.  People driving by in cars would roll down their windows to cheer which was so nice and really did help me to keep my motivation.  I remember being in sort of a trance at this point where I was just running at the same speed as if I was a robot and not really going anywhere but like the scenery was being pulled by around me.  But I could have sworn the miles were getting longer!  At one point I thought that they had neglected to put up the 12 mile marker so that it would seem like more of a relief when you finished (or something like that), so it was a bit depressing when I found that was not the case, and the 12 mile marker gleamed before me.  One part of me said, "oh you only have one more mile!" wile the other part said, "you still have one more mile?!"  And let me tell you what, that last mile was the longest. of. my. life.  

There were so many turns around corners that it was like the course was teasing me.  And the officials/volunteers kept saying that we were almost there making me feel like it was around the next corner but nope!  I remember thinking, "come on, where is it?!  I just want to be done!"  Finally, I saw the park, but of course, I had to make a lap around the park first haha.  When I finally turned the final corner and was only about a tenth of a mile from the finish line, I saw that the time was just over one hour and fifty minutes.  "I'm going to finish in under two hours!" flashed through my mind (that was going to be my goal for my next half if I did one!).  And then, I ran.  I mean ran, as in sprinted.  I was going to finish this strong.  And in the process, I managed to pass several other runners!  Nothing felt better than crossing that finish line.  It was over, I had done it.  
After literally stumbling once I tried walking, I was handed my medal and found my brother (who was in fact standing right in front of me, I just felt a bit delirious at first haha).  We headed to the tent to get out of the rain and wind, and they had rows of subway sandwiches, bananas, oranges, and a bunch of Sunripe fruit strips.  I had a piece of orange as it sounded refreshing and later had half of a veggie sandwich that they had portioned in the bags (plus an extra one and a bunch of bananas and fruit strips to take back to the dorm) even though I really wasn't very hungry yet - I just figured I should eat something after running that far!  It took a while (read: a LONG time) to get official results as the computers weren't working, but once we finally got them (they actually ended up changing - the time they first gave me was about 3.5 minutes higher than my official time) we headed off.  My official time, in case you didn't see it last week, was 1:51:35, I placed first in my age group, and placed 24/260 females which I was pretty excited about!  

We sopped at Whole Foods because by this time I was starving, and I got exactly what I wanted - pizza!!!  And let me tell you what, it never tasted so good.
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Side of broccoli and strawberries.
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Re-hydrated with a carrot, apple, cucumber juice.
I know that this is already a monster long post, but I want to take a minute to reflect on this whole experience.  First off, it was one of the best and most rewarding experiences of my life.  That might sound cheesy, but it is entirely true.  At the beginning of the summer, I could barely run 2 miles without feeling like I was going to die, yet in the following three months, I took on the challenge to do something that at one time seemed impossible, and I conquered it.  I've worked hard for grades in school, but I don' think I have ever worked as hard as I did for the ability to cross that finish line.  Further, this experience has really added a new kind of appreciation for my body.  I put it through so much over the past few months, so much intense training, and on the day of the half marathon, it carried me through with a time I didn't know was possible.  I continually feel proud of it for what it did, and I haven't ceased to marvel at the things our bodies can do.  So if you don't think you can do, you just might surprise yourself.

And finally, it's time for a bit of recognition.  First, I have to thank my parents.  They have shown me so much love and support throughout this whole experience, and although they couldn't personally be at my half marathon, I know they were cheering me on from a far.  I'm so lucky to have parents who support me in everything I do.  I don't know what I would do without them.  Second, I've got to recognize my brother because any fellow who drives his sister to a half marathon in the rain at 4:30 in the morning deserves to be recognized.  Having him there meant so much to me!  Third, I have to thank Brittany, once again, for showing me that this experience was not a fantasy but could be reality.  I probably would not have had this experience without her.  And finally, I would like to thank each and everyone of YOU!!  You have offered me so much advice and encouragement throughout this experience, and it meant so much to know that you guys were there for me.  Thank you so much for allowing me to share this experience with you.  Love you guys!

Well, that was a long one, but I hope you enjoyed the recap of one of the most incredible experiences of my life!  I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and a good week to come!

P.S.  I've almost finished week one of training for my second half marathon.  Yep, it's happening again.  I think I'm addicted.
 
 
I'll be writing a more in-depth post on a future date, but for now, I just wanted to let you know that it's official - I'm a half marathoner!!!
Official time: 1:51:35
First for females ages 15-19!
 
 
First off, I greatly appreciate all your heartfelt comments on my last post when I ranted a bit about my stress levels.  It really helped to read through your suggestions and personal experiences with stress, so thank you!!

But today, I have something on my mind, and it's not stress - it's pure excitement!!!
Yep, my half marathon is only a week away!  I'm literally about to bubble over with excitement (is it wierd that I'm referencing oatmeal to convey my excitement?).  As you might know or have guessed, the last week (or sometimes longer) of training before a marathon/half marathon is extra special.  So I thought I would share my plan of action for the next seven days, including my fueling plan during the half marathon.

In terms of running, I'm planning on doing my final long run tomorrow (the actual distance I go will depend on how I'm feeling, but I'm thinking 10 or 11 miles).  I definitely will try very hard not to push myself too much on this run so I don't ware myself out.  That's the last thing I want!  Monday will be off from running as always, and then Tuesday: 4 miles, Wednesday: 3 miles, and Thursday: 2 miles.  All of these runs will hopefully be light, slower runs - again, just to keep me in shape and not tire me out.  I have my core body class Monday and Wednesday, but I've already talked to my instructor, and I'm going to be extra careful to not push myself when we do our legs portion of the workout. (Side note: I'm super sore from our intense leg workout this past Wednesday, and I'm kind of loving it.  Maybe I could get into strength workouts if I was able to always do them with other people?!  Funny, I though I was an introvert exerciser. :P)

Now the food aspect of next week is where this bad boy starts to get interesting.  First, starting today, I am embarking on a week long caffeine fast.  The reason for this is that it is supposed to enhance the effect of caffeine come race day.  Now I'm not a coffee drinker, so this isn't a huge deal for me, but I will be avoiding chocolate which, I'm not going to lie, is kind of going to suck.  Oh the things I put myself through for the sake of running... Seriously, it is going to be the hardest part of training.  Ten mile runs?  No big deal.  No chocolate?  What am I doing with my life?!

The second big change is that beginning tomorrow after my long run, I will attempt a five day fat load.  I say attempt because it is recommended that you do a three day fat loading trial run earlier in your training to see if your body can handle it, but I never got around to doing that.  I know, I know, shame on me!  So I'll be easing myself into it and see how it goes.  I'm supposed to get 65% of my calories from fat so maybe I'll start with about 50% and see how it goes, or even just be conscious of eating extra amounts of fat.  It's just an experiment after all!  Supposedly, fat loading increases the body's use of fat as fuel and decreases its reliance on carbs.  That way the day of carb loading before the race has more effect because your body won't immediately use the carbs, will save more for the next day, and won't deplete you glycerin stores as quickly during the actual run.  Or something to that effect.  Foods recommended for the fat load that I will be consuming are Greek yogurt, avocados, nuts, and cheese.  Obviously my diet will include other things as well, but these are foods with a large number of their calories coming from fat.  The most exciting part was that I had to go to the grocery store to get some avocados and yogurt - I was reunited with my love once more.  And obviously couldn't stick to just the avocados and yogurt...
Bananas (the were only 19 cents each so I had to stock up!), carrots, avocados, cucumber, coconut oil spray, all-purpose seasoning, olives (another food that gets a lot of its calories from fat), egg whites, Greek Yogurt (I tub of full fat and a tub of 2% as well as some flavored ones for after the fat load), eggplant hummus, tomato and basil hummus, whole grain bread, and dried cranberries.

The day before the half marathon is going to be all about the carbs.  It is recommended to have 10g per kg of body weight so I will need to consume over 500g of carbs.  I'm going to lie, I don't think this will be easy. With the fat load, I'm not too worried if I can't reach the full 65%, but I know that carbs really do enhance running performance from personal experience, so I'm really going to try to get in as much as I can.  I already get a fair amount of carbs on a day-to-day basis, and I have no fear of them, but I don't think I ever come close to that much!  I'm thinking of supplementing a couple meal with orange juice and having bananas as snacks in addition to carb heavy meals.  Any tips on how to get extra carbs would be appreciated!

My pre-run dinner, however, I know exactly what it's going to be.  It's the same meal that I've had before my previous two long runs, and so far it's given me lots of energy and settled well.  Here's the name of the game:
White rice + corn + chickpeas + soy sauce (because I've also read positive things about sodium loading), broccoli, and an orange or orange juice depending on what's available.

There are a few reasons for this meal.  Most importantly, high carbs.  It is also recommended to have low fiber and protein in pre-run meals, but I find that I need both of those for my food to settle properly.  The other is that due to being at the mercy of the cafeteria, I need to be sure that I have a meal I know they will have every night so that I can be confident in my food choice pre-race night.  Best to stick to the tried and true!

Breakfast will be another tried and true classic - bread with peanut butter and a banana.  Again, pre-run meals are suggested to be low in fiber and protein, but this breakfast has a great record of sitting well in my stomach and fueling me through runs.  If it ain't broken, don't fix it.

During the race, I will be fueling with these:
These were recommended to me by Brittany, and I love them!  They're soooo tasty, and I do notice a little difference when I use them.  I will be starting the half with half a pack and then having another half pack every four miles (except for possibly at mile 12 since I'll almost be finished).  At leas that's my plan.  I'm willing to deviate if necessary!  But it worked well in my simulator run.  Supposedly you need at least 30g of carbs per hour to get any effect from them so this will give me at least 36g per hour (if I don't do anything at mile 12).  I mostly just wanted to make sure I did them at an even mile number because there will only be water stations every two miles.

Now, let's talk about times.  Honestly, I have now time "goal."  My only goal is to finish it, which I really don't think will be a problems as my longer runs have gone pretty well.  That being said, I think I can finish in 2:15.  Again if it takes me two and a half hours, so be it!  But I think the 2:15 is reasonable.

Note: the information about the food aspects of the final week come from Matt Fitzgerald's The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition.


If you have actually managed to stick with me through this, congrats!  I think that was the longest post I have every written!  But writing it has made even more excited.  I still can't get over the notion that in a week, I will be a half marathoner!  At the same time, I'm also a bit sad that it's almost ever... but then I can start training for another one. ;-)

Thank you all for your love and support through this experience!  It truly means the world to me. <3
 
 
Hello everyone!  I just wanted to check in with you all!  I hope you are all doing wonderful.  Overall, I'm doing pretty good, though to be perfectly honest, I am stressing out about school already.  The first bit is always so rough because you don't know what to expect from tests and other assignments, how the teachers grade, etc.  I really want to believe that everything will be okay not let it get to me, but that is so hard for me to do, and I'm kind of failing at it.  I think I'm doing a fairly descent job with squeezing some fun things in there though!  Take for example labor day weekend.  Instead of spending the entire time studying, I actually had some fun with my friends!  I felt a little guilty about not studying, but I was trying my best to embrace the extra day off, and you know what?  It all worked out - I had fun and I got all of my studying done, with time to spare.  It can be done.

So what exactly did I do?  I think a little weekend recap is in order!  Saturday began with a bit of homework, but after a couple hours, I forwent that in favor of paying my horse a visit.  As I was heading bach, my friend texted me asking if I wanted to go to the coast.  Even though I wanted to say yes right away, it did take some time for me to realize that I could go and not do homework the rest of the day.  Luckily my parents helped me see that I could, and in the end, I just couldn't turn down the thought of such a great time!  So I had a quick lunch, and my three friends and I were off!  We hit terrible traffic on the way, but we eventually caught some awesome views:
Even though it was gorgeously sunny at our school, the coast had a mind of its own with all that fog!  There were several sightseeing areas that we wanted to stop at, but it was so foggy that we couldn't even see the water. In all of the areas but one...
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I thought this bridge looked like it was out of some fantasy movie!
We also found this adorable little souvenir shop!
We drove along the coast for a ways, stopped at a Fred Meyer because a couple of my friends desperately needed a few things, and then we turned to the most important topic: dinner.  We all decided that we wanted pizza so we turned to our phones because what else was there to do? ;-)  We found one that sounded good, but it was on the way back to school so we hopped in the car and headed out, our mouths watering in anticipation of the pizza we were now craving.  I tracked the path on the GPS on my phone, and as we neared, we began to get excited.  Then we were met with: CLOSED.  What?!?  All of that excitement for nothing???  Our hearts sank.  We were too set on pizza to take defeat though.  So back to the phones it was.  Of  course, there were more pizza places, so I routed us to another one.  But our eyes mate the same tragic sight as we neared.  Darn-it, we wanted our pizza!!!

Not sure what to do, we just kept driving trying to decide if we should head back to school and find something there.  Obviously we weren't meant to have pizza.  But then, like magic, it appeared: a pizza shack that was open!  "Look!" I shouted as I pointed to the magnificent site.  We veered to the left and were soon in the parking lot.  It was quite cold inside as the doors were kept open, and we had to clear our own table to get one (that place was packed),  but it was all worth it.  I mean, just look at that gorgeous pie!!  (Mine was obviously the veggie side.)
With happy tummies, we headed back to school, and our adventure came to an end.  And the best part about the day?  I didn't feel anxious like I have in the past when I pass up studying for something fun.  I was able to just relax and enjoy the time spent with my friends!

The majority of Sunday was devoted to studying, but I took a bit of time off on Monday to hang out with my brother for a bit and also satisfy my intense froyo craving.
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Peach/tart swirl, strawberry, peanut butter cup, and toasted coconut topped with blueberries, strawberries, chocolate chunks, chocolate sprinkles, and a few mini peanut butter cups!
I went with my roommate, and since I just met her this year (I was going to room with a friend from last year, but through the whole room change thing, we weren't able to stay in the same room) so it was great to chat and get to know her better!  And guess what?  She's a chocolate lover too! (Obviously we were discussing the important things in life.)  I think we're going to get along juuuuust fine. ;-)

I wish I had three day weekends every week so that I could just repeat above every week!  At least it happened once and hopefully will happen again!


What did you do for Labor Day weekend?
Any tips on handling stress?

Well, I'm off to go conquer a ten mile run!  See you all next time!!!
 
 
Hey guys!!  I feel like it's been ages since I last blogged.  I guess it hasn't really been that long, but it sure feels like it.  College has already gotten in the way - how could it do such a thing?!  Well luckily, it's off to a pretty decent start.  

First off, important things: my room.  Thought you were going to say food, didn't you? ;-) Well food IS most important, but a good room comes pretty close.  Who wants a room that is small, dirty, and you hardly feel comfortable even walking into?  Not me, but when I walked onto campus to move in, that is exactly what I was faced with.  I'm not normally a complainer - I just try to suck it up and deal with it.  BUT I was not staying in that room, plain and simple.  After several rounds, they finally moved me to a new room in a different dorm that pretty much just rocks my socks off.  Pool?  Check.  Cafeteria (that serves mostly awesome Asian food)?  Check.  Spacious kitchen [for community use]?  Check.  Private bathroom?  Check.  Spacious, CLEAN room?  Check, check.  Needless to say, I'm more that pleased with my current living arrangements.

Second, classes.  Wait, not food?  I promise, it's coming!  I'm just saving the best for last. ;-)  First quarter isn't too bad - just organic chemistry, costume history, art history, and core body.  Second semester though, I just might die because I'll also have calc 3.  Ew.  So far though, my classes seem all right!  I like all of my teachers, though O-chem is, well, O-chem so we'll see how that goes, and I'm not big on history classes (though I love history itself) but the topics are at least interesting to me so that should help!

Oh and really quickly on the running front - the big day is only 4 weeks from tomorrow!!!!  There is a great park to run in near my school so it's been fun to explore that and all the beautiful scenery.

And at last, the FOOD!!!  Not all of these are cafeteria meals but a compilation of food I've had since I got here.
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Vegetable enchiladas with steamed vegetables (at a Mexican restaurant with my parents).
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Fresh picked blackberries.
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Had to throw this in there because I am FINALLY near one again!!!
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Tofu and broccoli stir-fry from my dorm cafeteria.
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Caramel macadamia nut froyo from the Tillamook cheese factory.
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Cheese sampling at Tillamook, aka heaven on earth.
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Vegetable omelet and fresh pineapple.
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Fish, kale, squash, fresh tomatoes, cucumber salad, watermelon.
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Salad with goat cheese bruschetta (from a restaurant with my parents).
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Creamy carrot ginger soup to accompany the salad.
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Whole grain bagel with peanut butter+watermelon.
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Oatmeal that I cooked in the dorm kitchen (sooo excited about that!!) with blackberry fruit spread, flax peanut butter, pretzels, and sea salt.
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Mushrooms, kale, broccoli (that is honey mustard on them - yes, I did bring a [ahem, three] bottles with me... essentials, people), roasted carrots, and quinoa cakes.
I want to do a recap of the road trip here at some point so be on the lookout for that!  I'm not sure when I'll have it up, but hopefully it won't be too long!

I hope all of you guys are doing well!!!  I miss you all. <3
 
 
Hey guys!  Just popping in to let you know that I made it!!  Thankfully we spent the night halfway so it wasn’t too bad, but there was lots of Lost watching, sleeping, and filling out surveys, including this one that Arman tagged me with!  It was a lot of fun to fill out and definitely helped the time to pass.  Thanks, Arman! 

Oh and I’m now on Instagram @ alexvegginout!  It’s probably going to take me a while to figure out how to use it seeing as my battle with technology is never ending, so bare with me.  But if you’re on Instagram too, be sure to tell me your username!

Okay, survey time!        

 

LAST 5 PEOPLE I TALKED TO ON THE PHONE

1.  My Dad to see if he was on his way to pick my Mom and I up (we had to take one of our cars into the shop).

2.  Residential services at my college to see what day I could move into my dorm.

3.  My horse’s farrier to confirm our appointment to have my horse’s shoes pulled and feet trimmed.

4.  My work to let them know that I was stuck at a train and might be a few minutes late (ah trains, they can be such a pain!).

5.  Microsoft support because I was born in the wrong era (i.e. amongst all my tech savvy friends and my brother, I feel like I have two left feet when I touch anything with an on/off button).

LAST 5 MEALS I ATE

1.  Breakfast of green tea, apple, Kashi go lean cereal with almonds, cashews, and blueberries.

2.  Dinner of steamed broccoli with honey mustard, sesame kale, tortilla, veggie dip, cottage cheese – one of those “eat whatever’s in the fridge including the fridge” meals.

3.  Lunch of baked sweet potato with cinnamon, broccoli with honey mustard (can you tell I had a lot of broccoli to eat up?), baked tofu, and a chocolate mint drink.

4.  Breakfast of apple, Chobani peachy pistachio flip, and a tortilla with pb crave cookie nookie.

5.  Dinner of steamed broccoli with, you guessed it, honey mustard (bet you didn’t see that coming ;) ), pizza quesadilla, and a baked sweet potato with cinnamon.   Did anyone notice a slight similarity between meals 3 and 5?  Or is it 5 and 3?  Yeah, that pretty much explains it.

LAST 5 PLACES I'VE TRAVELLED

1.  Currently en route to Oregon, soooo Oregon. (And Oregon last year and a trip back home at the end of the school year, but I’m not counting all that.)

2.  Bermuda with my awesome grandparents (they usually take my brother and I on a trip every year!  Oh and my grandpa is broccoli obsessed too.)

3.  Newfoundland (again, with my grandparents).

4.  Europe, including Greece, Finland, Iceland, Denmark, and technically Germany. (We had an eight hour layover there, got our passports stamped, and walked outside for about five minutes, but that’s literally it.  Call it what you want, but I think I need to go back because I don’t really consider that seeing Germany!)

5.  East coast.  Virginia (for waterskiing – one of my favorite things ever to do), Maryland, and NYC for seven hours.  My grandparents, brother, and I randomly decided to go to NYC for the day so we hopped in the car and went!  It was my first time there, and I must say, it was a pretty fantastic place.  We packed a LOT in, but I really think I need to go back.  I feel like I could spend weeks there and never get bored.  On the bucket list!!

NEXT 5 PLACES I WILL GO

1.  Subway.  Need. food, now.

2.  Gas station to refuel the cars and give my horse water+hay.

3.  Likely another gas station.

4.  Horsey hotel.  Yes, they do exist.

5.  People hotel because, well, we kind of need to sleep.  While my family and I have done our fair share of 24 hour driving trips, we’ve decided not to punish ourselves like that this round.

 

LAST 5 WORKOUTS

1.  Weed spraying (come on, hauling the sprayer around for an hour is totally a workout). 

2.  4.67 mile run

3. 10 mile bike ride con mi mama.

4.  Nature walk (or let’s call it a nature hike because that sounds like more of a workout).

5.  4.5 mile run

FIVE THINGS MAKING ME HAPPY RIGHT NOW

1.  My schedule.  I worked it out, and I think the first half of the semester is going to go pretty well!  I only have three classes (plus core body) first quarter so that will be sooo nice.  Though second quarter is going to be kind of awful… hello calc 3!

2.  My Subway sandwich (yeah, Subway has come and gone).  Anyway, it was goooood!

3.  Hanging out with my dad.  We spent about an hour chatting about the 50s and how awesome it would have been to live then.

4.  My horse.  He ALWAYS makes me happy.

5.  Napkins.  Like seriously, what would we do without them?  I mean food is awesome, but it’s also messy.  Some of my worst nightmares involve picnics with no napkins.  (Um, can you tell I’ve been in the car for a bit too long?)

TAG 5 PEOPLE TO DO THIS SURVEY-

I wish I could tag all of you!!  Oh well, rules are rules.  I’m really not sure who has or hasn’t done this, so if you haven’t feel free to do it (it’s lots of fun!), and if you’ve already done it, well feel extra special that you were tagged again. ;)

1.     Katherine @ Peanut Putter Lover

2.     Tara @ Food and Other Things

3.     P @ Will Study for Food

4.     Courtney @ Courtney Em

5.     Leigha @ Minou Girl


I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!!

 
 
Good morning!  Yep, it has started.  As of yesterday, I have officially begun packing for my sophomore year at college.  Friday, my family and I will begin the 20+ hour road trip to get there, so if anyone has any tips on making time fly (besides a time machine which, despite my greatest efforts, I have yet to find), I'd love to hear them!!

I am excited for school start because I do love to learn, I have my half marathon coming up (and a 10k in October), I have a great, relaxing job at my school working in the garden/greenhouse, I'll have my horse, and of course, my friends.  The only think I don't like about school is, obviously, all the studying that comes with it.  It's not that I mind studying too much, but with me, it tends to take over my life.  Here's how it goes:  I'm already way ahead in my studies, but I think if I did a little more, well then I'll really be ahead and wouldn't that be great?  Um yeah, it sounds great, but when it leaves you feeling like you must spend every waking moment studying and feel guilty when you're not studying?  Not so great.  College is an experience, and that experience Includes hanging out with friends, going to cool events on campus, and NOT studying 24/7.  My goal this school year is to actually listen to myself and live life a little more.  

So, what's my plan to do this?  Well, part of my 20 hour car ride is going involve me creating a "master plan."  It's not going to be a rigid "this is what I have to do when" type thing, but I want to know that I can get enough studying done and still have time for other fun things.  I'm going to be sure to block out specific time in my schedule just for hanging out with my friends.  No more of this "I've already studied for six hours today, why not a few hours more?"  Nope.  I'll have my set time for studying, and when I'm done with it, I'm done with it.  That's the plan anyway, and I think it will help if I start with that mindset so I don't get myself into a big hole before I even begin.  

You might be wondering while I'm sharing all of this.  First off, and most importantly, I know that i'm not the only who struggles with this, so hopefully if my plan works out, it will also help others.  Secondly, I'm hoping that blogging can be another outlet to take me away from extra studying.  I was originally thinking that blogging might drop on the wayside during school, but I really don't want that to happen.  I love blogging and the people I've met through it.  The blog world has such a positive, inspiring attitude, and I really don't want to leave it.  I'll probably be around less than I am currently, but I'll try my best not to disappear completely.

Okay, enough talk.  Let's get this WIAW party started!
Yesterday morning started with a couple of energy bites followed by a glorious 4.5 mile run.  My pace was quite a bit faster than my 9.25 mile run - an average of 9:07/mile.  I felt good and strong and loved every minute of it!  I came back starving and had a rather random breakfast.  Since we're leaving soon, I've been trying to eat up random foods in the fridge.  I started with a huge glass of water + a pink lady apple (best apple type ever!) and followed it with plain 2% greek yogurt with Kind blueberry clusters granola (eaten of the yogurt container because I'm classy like that) and an ezekiel sprouted grain tortilla with cookie nookie pb crave.  Oh my goodness, I just can't get over how awesome that stuff is!!!
A little later in the morning, my mom and I went on a nature walk!  We may or may not have gotten lost several times, but we still had a great time. 
Does this bridge look sturdy to you?  It sure did to us, but we both just about jumped five feet when we started across and found ourselves rocking like we were on a sailboat.  And of course my lovely mom made me walk across first haha. ;-)
It was really quite pretty! 
Although at times we felt like we were trekking across the U.S. to Oregon like pioneers... we will be doing that soon, but we don't plan on using a covered wagon.
See anything wrong with this sign?
We came back ready for lunch!  I totally forgot to take a picture (#bloggerfail), but I had a mountain of broccoli with a bucket load of honey mustard, a cinnamon roll scone, baked tofu, Kashi hummus crisps, and some chocolate milk.  Oh and a couple of pretzel M&Ms before lunch and a ginger chew after.  Don't you guys have appetizers and desserts for lunch? ;-)

After lunch, I hit the packing.  Oh the joy.  And then a little later in the afternoon, my mom and I went to run some errands and pick up some things for college.  Of course, we had to stop by Whole Foods which is where my afternoon snacking took place.  They had samples of crab salad with crackers, white cheddar, and parmesan crisps.  I can first-hand tell you that they were all fantastic.  I also picked up these apple chips and of course had to try them out.  Delicious!
For dinner, I was craving something sweet (when am I not craving something sweet?!).  Oatmeal it was!
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Steel cut oats topped with grape jelly, flax peanut butter, and, of course, pretzels.
A quick word on the jelly:  My dad brought this back from a little vineyard he visited in Michigan! (EDIT: The vineyard is in Florida, not Michigan.  My dad travels so much, he's hard to keep track of! :) )  He brought back three varieties, two grape ones and a peach honey butter.  They're all very yummy and flavorful, but the peach honey butter is especially awesome!  They're also all very smooth and would be perfect for "melting" and glazing (or just spreading on toast, pancakes, waffles or, in my case, oatmeal!).  You can learn more about the vineyard here.
To accompany my sweet and salty goodness, I had some sesame kale from Whole Foods and lima beans.  Oh and a lavender kombucha (my favorite flavor!).
Aaaaand for dessert, a HUGE slice of watermelon and some chocolate chips because no day is complete without chocolate.
Does anyone else find themselves over-studying?  If so, how have you combatted it?

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!