let it…snow?

Well.  I tried to be mature about this.  But waking up to snow this morning was not at all my cup of tea.

In fact, I felt like doing nothing more (or less) than griping and complaining.  And I definitely let out a loud groan as I turned the coffee maker on, which probably (most definitely) woke my parents up.  Yep.  Real mature.

But a girl can change her mind, right?

I slipped on my flats (because I absolutely refuse to wear Uggs in April!) and stood on the porch, overlooking the magic around me.  It was beautiful.  Everything.  Beautiful.  The snowflakes were large and melted on my face as I grinned up at the sky.  The world was asleep and I was completely alone.  Watching the snowflakes.  Life is so beautiful.

Dad walked into the kitchen and ate some breakfast with a mug of coffee.  And then we decided to head out for our morning run.  In the snow.  I felt like a little kid on my day off from school, running and splashing through puddles.  Fingers feeling numb from the cold.  Face feeling frozen.  This is what contentment feels like.

Happy Easter, everyone!  I hope that you are able to enjoy the day with the ones you love the most.  😀

QUESTION: How are you celebrating Easter this year?

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Sarah’s “Official” Half Marathon Training Plan

Week 1: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 2: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—5 miles

Week 3: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—2.5 miles

Week 4: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—6.5 miles (YIPPEE!)

Week 5: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—3 miles

Week 6: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—8 miles (We. Did. It! :D )

Week 7: 
Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—3 miles

Week 8: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—9.5 miles (Feelin’ Good!!)

Week 9: 
Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 10: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—11 miles

Week 11: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 12: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—12.5 miles

Week 13: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 14: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—14 miles

Week 15: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—5 miles

Week 16: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—HALF MARATHON RACE DAY


Yes, I love winter.

We are knee deep in winter right now and I kind of like it.

That’s not to say that I never gripe or complain about how cold I am.  How much I’m looking forward to summer even though it’s only January.  Sometimes, I even exaggerate the unbearable chill factor by wearing my down jacket indoors.  The Uggs are saved for those especially cold moments, but I’ve yet to wear my wool hat around the house.  I’m not one to say that this won’t ever happen though. 😉

But putting aside how much I love the sun and the warmth of summer, I really do love the winter too.  There’s nothing quite like waking up on my day off to realize that buckets and buckets of snow have fallen down around me; a blanket of white.  I love watching the strong, fierce winds whip the delicate little snowflakes into circular tunnels, as they travel in each and every direction.

All of this happening while I’m safe and sound in my own home.  So yes, I really do love winter.

Oddly enough, when the temperatures drop, my breakfast choices are usually on the chillier side too.  Yogurt.  Overnight oats.  Things like that.

Some things will never change.

“Layer One” Kashi Go Lean Crunch

“Layer Two” Sliced Banana

“Layer Three” Dollop of Plain Yogurt

Stir, Stir, Stir. 

“Layer Four” Cashew Butter

 Now we’ll see who wins.  Yoga in my living room?  An outdoor walk in the woods? 

My bets are on the yoga. 😉

A Simple Yogurt Mess

Unfortunately, a bowl of cereal never seems very filling to me.  Cheerios is like air in my belly. 

Thankfully, this is one situation where cereal is very filling.  The combination of a high protein cereal mixed with yogurt and nut butter (i.e., healthy fats and protein!) makes for a very satisfying, very crunchy, very filling breakfast.  This makes a nice change from a regular breakfast routine, and it’s quick enough to make for those busy mornings.  Mix in some of your favorite cereals, but be sure to keep the fiber and protein up in order to keep you going all morning long. 😀

  • 1-1/2 c. Kashi Go Lean Crunch
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 6-oz. plain yogurt
  • 2 T. cashew butter
  1. Combine Go Lean Crunch, banana and yogurt together.  Top with cashew butter and let the cereal sit and soften for about 5 minutes.  ENJOY! 😀

Question: What is your favorite season? 

perfect endings.

One week.  One week of babysitting two of the most adorable cats you will ever meet. 

My sister and her husband are on a week-long vacation for their anniversary, and I was more than happy to babysit their fur-babies.  I am, after all, a very proud aunt. 😉 

Just as a note, Stitch and Highstreet have convinced me that dogs aren’t the only ones who keep their owners in shape. 😉  We’ve had many wild chases around the house, games of hide and seek, and—of course—lots of cuddling time.  These boys sure like to cuddle. :mrgreen:

And, really, nothing beats getting head-butted by a warm fuzzy kitty at the end of a hard, long day at work.  These guys never fail to make me smile and laugh.

Speaking of hard, long days at work…

…Today I had a hard, long day at work.  When I came home, I was completely frazzled out.  A nap sounded more appealing than anything, but I pulled on my sneaks and headed out for a 3-mile walk instead.  I know from experience that a bit of fresh air is almost always the perfect medicine.  Well, that and a warm, delicious meal. 

Tonight I chose some of my favorite, simple autumn flavors for dinner.  Roasted brussels sprouts.  Mashed garlic infused red potatoes.  Smashed butternut squash with nutmeg.  Baked cod with crumbs.

Everything came together in under 30 minutes which I liked.  Everything tasted so perfect, so delicious, so healthy, which I loved.  The perfect way to end a long, hard day at work.

Time for me to unwind and relax with a cup of raspberry tea and Biggest Loser!

Question: Are you an animal lover?  Which is your favorite? 

transition phase

Yesterday was all about fall.  And—if this is at all possible—I’ve become even more excited about its upcoming appearance, after reading all of your ‘fall-filled’ comments.  Beautiful.  Absolutely beautiful.  Bring on that cool, hoodie & jeans styled weather! 😀

But around here, we’re still in that silent transition phase.  That point where you’re not really sure if fall is just a tease, or if summer truly is on its last running stretch.  Days that offer a little bit of summer, a little bit of fall.  I like to think that this phase gives us the best of both seasons, all in one day.

With today being Labor Day and all, my family needed to celebrate.  Outdoor style.   

Any good celebration includes (1) a picnic table (or anything that allows you to eat outdoors, really…a picnic blanket would do just fine 😀 ).

(2) A grill to cook off of.  And hopefully someone who knows how to cook on one.  Let me tell you right now, I am hands off when it comes to the grill.  Too little temperature control, too much a mind of its own.   Scariness!

But then again, maybe I should add ‘master the grill’ to my bucket list?

Lastly, any good celebration involves (3) family.  The more, the merrier.  My Pepere and Nicole came to join us for good food and fun conversation. 

Mom and Nicole

One of my favorite things about cookout fare in the late summer/early fall is that it’s absolutely a-okay to grill up the meats, veggies, corn, etc. on the grill, while simultaneously turning on the indoor oven. 

These babies were baked in the oven (325 to 400—temperature was increased for timing reasons 😉 ) for a good 2 hrs.  Roasty.  Crispy.  Perfect. 

I went for a sweet potato version which went through this whole ooey, gooey, caramelization phase.  It was lovely. 😀

Let’s talk corn.

For the full experience of enjoying corn on the cob, corn must be grilled in its husk at least a few times a year.  Yes, you can boil it for decent results.  But for that really sweet, “I can’t resist your love” type of feeling, you simply need to grill it.  Just soak the corn in the husk for about 15 minutes to prevent scorching and then throw them on the grill, rotating every so often.  It takes about 15 minutes (longer or shorter depending on your desired results.)

I chose tempeh for my protein of choice today.  I’ve never been a steak girl (I know, I know…many grill masters would cry over this fact—sorry!), but tempeh and tofu are extra nice when grilled.  Using weber’s tofu method for grilling (spray a sheet of foil, plop the tofu or tempeh on the sprayed sheet, and grill for about 10 minutes, flipping once), I first basted 1/2 the block of tempeh in some Bone Suckin’ Sauce.  The sugars in the sauce helped contribute to those nice, golden markings and rich, smoky flavor.

Delicious.

And, really, no celebration is complete without my sister’s focaccia bread.  It’s quickly becoming that secret recipe which everyone begs for at every. single. family. gathering.  Summer, fall, winter, spring.  It really doesn’t matter what the season, somehow this bread always works.  Always.

The meal was considered complete when this local, last-of-the-season watermelon was brought out for dessert. 

Sweet perfection. 😀

I love the seasons’ transition phases. 

Enjoying the foods of both summer and fall.  Taking in the warmth that the summer sun still has to offer.  Enjoying a cool breeze.  Wearing a hoodie and a pair of flip flops.

*Sigh*

Life is good. 😀

Time to get organized for tomorrow’s busy day at the school!! 😀

Question: Did you celebrate Labor Day?

weekend post: summer & salads

You know how some parents joke that they want to put a brick on their kids’ heads in order to stop them from growing?  I was kind of thinking.  Is it possible to do this with summer?

Today I wore a light hoodie and a pair of jeans.  “Hoodie weather” (i.e., roughly 70 degrees) is incredibly comforting and cozy.  On a numerical scale, such a day would receive a 10 out of 10, with 10 being the most ideal, perfect, and delicious of days.  But at the same time, I’m not ready for summer to be over.  Not yet.  I know there will still be plenty of warm days around the corner, but I want summer to last.  And last.  And last.

It’s not just the warm weather that I want to hold on to.  It’s the fresh garden tomatoes—tiny, yellow tear drops falling from the flowering plants.  It’s the freshly canned beets, boasting their deep, summery colors.  It’s the fresh basil hummus that I made in the morning, after snipping away in the herb garden.

Summer.

If only placing a brick on a kid’s head would stop him from growing.  If only I could hold on to summer forever.

If only.

But then, there wouldn’t be any apple picking, would there?  Or snowshoeing.  Or baking cranberry nut breads and roasting acorn squash.  Or dethawing by a warm woodstove after coming in from the frigid weather.  Or being handed a hot cocoa two weeks before Christmas, while decorating the tree.  Or witnessing the magic of winter’s first snowfall.

I guess this is why I will always call myself a true New Englander. 

Question: If you had the choice, would you make summer last forever or do you enjoy the other seasons as well?

in season

There’s something about eating a whole wheat bagel with lots of nut butter and a banana.  It instantly puts me in running mode.  I feel like an athlete, ready to take on the world.  Like I could knock off a marathon if I put my mind to it.

All because of a whole wheat bagel and lots of nut butter.

Anyways, my mind eventually came back to planet earth, and when it did, I laced up my sneakers for a hilly 4 miles.  

It was by far the toughest 4 miles I’ve run in a long time.  The sun was scorching hot.  Relentless.  I could have definitely used a water bottle on this run, if just for the point of being able to spray myself with it every mile or so.  On the last mile home, I kicked into high gear and gave it everything I had left in me.  And then I came home and collapsed on the front yard. 

Followed by a copious amount of watermelon. 

Shrimp is one of my favorite sources of lean protein.  Although it can come across as semi-pricey, it does occasionally go  on sale.  Especially the raw, shell-on, medium sized shrimp.  Which is fine by me, because in my opinion, these are the ones that taste better anyways.  Home-cooked shrimp is way more flavorful and tender than the pre-cooked version.  You have control over how long to cook it, and it literally only takes about 3 minutes.  Literally. 

This meal takes advantage of the garden fresh summer squash, which I love.  It’s nice finding new recipes that fit in vegetables that are at their peak of flavor right now. 😀

Summer Past Salad with Shrimp—taken (and tweaked!) from Everyday Food

  • coarse sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/2 lb. whole wheat penne
  • 1 medium yellow squash, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 4 lightly packed cups baby spinach
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest + 2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  1. Cook pasta according to directions, until al dente.  Drain, trainsfer to a large bowl and toss with squash, spinach, lemon zest and juice, and 1 T. oil.  Season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 2 tsp oil over medium high.  Add shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until opaque.  About 3 minutes. 
  3. Top pasta with shrimp, and season with salt and pepper.

This meal comes together in minutes.  Everyone (the three of us) went back for seconds, and there is plenty left for at least another 2 meals.  Gotta love it! 😀

Afternoon Snack = latest obsession = Snyders Whole Wheat & Oat pretzels with string cheese

I saw these Snyders Whole Wheat & Oat pretzels at the store this week, and decided to pick some up.  They’re made with whole wheat flour, oats, chia seeds and agave nectar.  And they taste amazing.  I love them with string cheese, for the perfect snack on the go. 😀 

Dinner

What do you do when your fridge has three—count ’em, three!—sets of leftovers (canned salmon, refried beans, and chickpea quinoa pilaf) that are going to be thrown away if not consumed by the end of the night?  What do you do if none of these leftovers really seem to fit together into one cohesive meal?  What do you do when your economic side wins over your foodie side in such a situation?  And what do you do when you decide to throw these three random leftovers together, and there’s nothing—nothing!—aesthetically pleasing about your meal?  Nothing! 

I don’t know.  But honestly—for your sake–I almost decided not to post about dinner.

Even as I was plating it, Dad looked over my shoulder and just smiled.  And when it was time to say a prayer over dinner, he prayed that my stomach be able to handle this strange concoction that was about to enter it.  :mrgreen:  What can I say?  I hate throwing things away, especially highly nutritious foods.  It would be a shame and a tragedy and I would hate to be the cause of it all!  You know?

So here you go.  It’s not pretty, but it actually tasted kind of good.  Not that I plan on remaking it any time soon or anything. 

Oh, and my stomach totally survived.  So far. 😉

I found some goods at TJMaxx today, and tomorrow I’ll be ransacking through my closet to come up with several “new” outfits.  I need to have a casual wardrobe for the internship’s orientation, and I’m quickly discovering that I’m a little low on cute/casual clothes.  I have plenty of workout shirts, yes, but everything else is seriously lacking.  But sometimes all it takes is a few key items to come up with a whole “new” wardrobe, so I’m excited to see what I can make of it. 😀

Off to relax…G’night!

Question: What is your favorite vegetable/fruit that is currently in season?  Aside from blueberries, I’m also in love with garden fresh tomatoes and cucumbers! 😀