Friday, March 30, 2012

Quinoa Stuffed Mushrooms

My husband is an excellent cook.  He used to do pretty much all of the cooking until his job hours changed.  Now he works every day until 5ish.  If we want to eat between 5:30 and 6 (and we do since our little ladies go to bed at 7), the dinner job falls to me.  Yikes.

Most recipes I get from because I can type in the ingredients that I have and it spits out recipes with those items.  We have found many recipes that were keepers and some that were not.

I recently bought the Make it Fresh Make it Healthy cookbook from Pampered Chef for a little variety.

Last week, I made these Quinoa Stuffed Mushrooms:
Oh and they were *that* good!

This recipe sounded good immediately.  I've had quinoa before, but I've never prepared it.  We bought uncooked quinoa from the bulk department of our local Whole Foods Market and luckily, the recipe gave directions to cook the quinoa since ours didn't come in a box with instructions.

The recipe is as follows:
‎4 large portobellos with stems (I used six 3" shrooms and still had extra filling)
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup vegetable broth
2tbs balsamic vinegar divided
1 small zucchini
3/4 cup canned quartered artichoke hearts
4 green onions with tops
2 plumb tomatoes (I used one roma)
2 oz grated Asiago cheese (I used Parmesan)
2tbs fresh chopped basil (I used 1tbs dry basil)
1 garlic clove, pressed (I used 2, love me some garlic!)
1/4tsp ground black pepper

Cook quinoa with 1/2 cup chopped mushroom stems: rinse quinoa under cold water for 30 sec, bring broth to a boil, stir in quinoa and mushroom stems, cover, lower heat, simmer for 15 min or until water is absorbed.

Meanwhile, chop zucchini, thinly slice artichokes and green onions and seed and dice tomato. Mix quinoa with zucchini, artichokes, onion, tomato, cheese, basil, pressed garlic, black pepper and 1tsp vinegar. Thoroughly combine.

Brush tops and bottoms of mushrooms with vinegar, top with filling (I grated a little more parm cheese on top) and bake at 375 for 20-25 min or until mushrooms are tender.

I poured the extra filling in a small glass baking dish, sprinkled a little more Parmesan cheese on top and baked it as well.  We ate it as a side....and then in an omelet the next morning.  SO good!

Have you ever made quinoa?  Any good recipes you'd like to share?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Today, I am thankful for this:
White Lilacs in my Backyard

It might be a strange thing to be thankful for, but it has been four years since this white lilac bush has flowered.  It used to be a huge, healthy fragrant bush.  It was my favorite plant in the yard until four years ago, it suffered a major trauma and I thought we lost it for good.

September 14, 2008, we had a terrible wind storm.  The wind was our share of Hurricane Ike that was tormenting the south.  We had gusts up to 65 or 70mph, a few people in the area died being hit by falling trees.  We had a flowering pear tree in the back yard--a big one.  It was probably 25 years old and 35 feet tall.  Apparently, flowering pear trees are brittle.  It was no match for the wind. The white lilac bush was next to the tree, when the tree fell, it leveled the lilac bush.
September 14, 2008

September 14, 2008
All that was left of my lilacs was the root.  Randy almost took them out, but we figured we'd give it a year, see if it came back.  It grew in the next year.  It had leaves, but no flowers.  We gave it another year, and another.  Each year, it grew taller and fuller but no flowers.

A few days ago, Randy and I were out in the back yard planning where we were putting the lettuce and the green beans this year when Randy pointed to the lilac bush.  We had buds!  WOOHOO!

Of course I'm thankful for my husband and little ladies, I'm thankful for our pooches (and I'm REALLY thankful the flowering pear didn't land on our roof when it fell). But today, standing in the yard smelling that sweet lilac scent, I'm thankful that we were patient and gave my favorite plant the time it needed to heal and rebuild.

What are YOU thankful for today?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

a boy and his toy

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

We Heart Whole Foods

We went to Whole Foods over this past weekend (who am I kidding, we go to Whole Foods at least once a week) for their Kids Klub event.

Our local Whole Foods has awesome (and free) events for kids about once a month. Often they are season-themed: they had reindeer come visit in December (that was super neat)
December 2011
and they've had a beach party in the summer (complete with a sprinkler and sand box). 

This past weekend, they had a carnival for the kiddos. The carnival was to raise money for their Whole Planet Foundation (while most times, the events are free, this one required a small donation). For $5, each kid got an arm-span of tickets.  The kids used the tickets to "pay" for fun activities, like:

Face Painting

Ball Toss
(Aleena has pretty good aim!)

And Ms. Erika made balloon animals!

(My girls just adore Ms. Erika!)

They also had a tattoo table, go fish game, sucker pull and tons and tons of prizes for the kids! (We had leftover tickets, so there was no worries of not having enough tickets to participate in all of the activities.)  The Kids Klub is just one of the many, many reasons we love Whole Foods.  (Another reason: have you tried the pecan crusted tilapia?!  I drool a little just thinking about it.)

Do you have a local Whole Foods?  Have you checked it out?  What other stores do you just love?
I was not compensated, nor was I asked to write a review for Whole Foods Market.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, March 26, 2012

ORRRC Half Marathon--Race Recap

Wowza, Peeps.  This was an awesome day for a PR....

Saturday night, I went to bed around 10 and--get this-- I SLEPT!

Alarm went off at 5am on Sunday.  I popped out of bed (as usual on running days) and Randy rolled over and mumbled something that sounded kind of like "Good luck."  Thanks, Babe. :)  I got dressed, ate some fruit snacks (it was too early for my breakfast, but I needed something so I didn't get too hungry--I need to eat breakfast 1 hour before the start of the race.  (Don't MESS with routine!)  I had a small panic attack when I put my shoes on.  I always, always put the left sock and shoe on first.  I don't know what happened , but the right sock and shoe went on first.  What was I thinking?!  Luckily, after I got my left shoe on, I noticed that there was a small rock in my right shoe and I had to take it off.  Phew.  All was right with the world.  I was calm.  There were no butterflies and no worries about not finishing or not making my time goal.

My friends were meeting me at my house (I have the minivan that would get us to the race) at 6am and it was only 5:20.  I did what any sane person would do: Facebook and Twitter, of course!  I started loading the car at 5:40.  Don was the first to arrive and Anne, Rachelle and Angie all arrived at the same time, shortly after.  We were on the road ahead of schedule at 5:50.  (Are you wondering what happened to my friend, Amanda who was going to be pacing me?  Unfortunately, she's having trouble with a hip and it was best that she didn't join us.  No injuries, thank you.)
Me, Anne, Don, Angie and Rachelle ready to head to Xenia before 6am!

We all chatted during the 1 hour 15 minute drive to Xenia, Ohio.  I'm sure we chatted, but I couldn't tell you what we chatted about.  I was focused on the ridiculous fog I was driving through.  We arrived at the Xenia YMCA shortly after 7, parked in a kickass parking spot right across the street and headed in to get our packets.  Thank goodness for that kickass spot....we ended up making many, many trips to the car to pick up and drop off clothing and bags, both before and after the race.

At 7:30 on the dot, I busted out my breakfast: Long Run Cake from Runner's World Magazine last fall.  I smear peanut butter on top for extra staying power.
Gotta love Don.  Nothing goes undocumented. :)

We met up with some other members of our local running group, RUN DMC.  This group was formed by people in the Columbus area who met on Dailymile.
Top Row: Allen, Peter, Rachelle, Anne, Monica and Ryan
Bottom row: Don, me, Michele and Doug
After the National Anthem had been sung, we all joined the pack at the starting line.  I placed myself somewhere in the middle and hoped I wouldn't have to do a ton of weaving and that I wouldn't get run over.

The race course wound around some neighborhood and city streets before making its way to the Ohio-Erie Trail.  There were lots of hills on the roads.  While flying down one hill I clocked myself at 8:11 min/mi and thought to myself, "This is going to suck to climb up at the end..."   

Don was ahead of me and as I turned a corner around mile 3, he snapped this picture.

Then Allen and his lovely girlfriend, Chikako were waiting just before mile 4 and snapped this one.
Still all smiles!  (and that kid?  He's 10.  That got me thinking whether or not I'd let my
10 year old run a half marathon....that could be a whole other blog post.)
Just after mile 4, I'm pretty certain that over the Avril's angry voice in my ears, I heard a rooster crowing.  That made me giggle a little.

At mile 6, I adopted the guy running next to me as my pacer.  We struck up a conversation, he's a teacher in Michigan.  I laughed when he whispered where he was from.  We in Buckeye Country don't like those from Michigan.  I told him that I'm also from Michigan so there were no hard feelings.  At mile 8, I walked through the water station, he did not.  Farewell, my pacer.

So we're running along and I'm waiting for the turn around....and waiting.  I was hoping to see Anne and Angie soon.  After I hit mile 8 I was starting to run out of pep...and I was wondering why we didn't turn around at mile 6.55?  Turns out that all those hills at the beginning were NOT at the end!  There was one, but I'll get to that.

Finally, just before mile 9, I saw Anne's blue USAF hat running toward me.  Just seeing her made me feel a little better.

At mile 10, I ran into Don again:
He ran with me to keep me company, but I wasn't feeling too chatty.  I got a cramp and had to walk for about 10 seconds, then I was back at it.  Other than through water stations, that was the only time I walked.  By this time, my pace had slowed a little and I was watching the average pace on my watch climb.  I had a little talk with myself.

Self, I might not make it in under 2 hours and 10 minutes.  It's ok.  I'll won't give up, I'll do the best I can, I'll know that I gave it my all and I'll be happy at the finish line.

Don and I ran by Allen and Chikako again around mile 11.
I was so happy to see friends.

There was one freaking hill to climb at mile 11.5ish, shortly after I passed Allen and Chikako, I let myself slow down a little, but I ran the whole thing.

At mile 12.5ish I checked my watch and did some math in my head....holy cow, there's a chance that I'll make it.  I kicked myself in high gear and sprinted for the finish.  I realized that if my actual distance was much more than 13.1, I wouldn't make it.

Mile 13 was my fastest mile of the whole race.  Looking at my Garmin splits later on, I was shocked to see this.  I had no idea I had it in me.  I pushed hard throughout this entire race and I was running on empty.  I was in a full sprint and not stopping until I was across that finish line.  Please don't let me trip...

The clock at the finish line said 2:10 and a few seconds, but I crossed the starting line about 30 seconds after the gun, so just maybe I was in time.

Once I crossed the finish line, there was someone waiting with medals and another person wanting to cut my timing chip off my shoe. I was feeling a little light headed (I'm pretty sure I met my heart rate max in that last mile).  Anne, Angie, Allen and Chikako were all waiting at the finish.  I walked/stumbled to them and started losing my balance.  Anne grabbed my arm and we went in search of sugar.  It wasn't until we were walking into the YMCA toward the food that I looked at my watch: 2:09:42.  The chip time couldn't be more than 15 seconds off.

I made it.

One more photo: Allen with the finishers.
Tired and happy. (Anne and Angie both PRed too!)

Several peanut butter cookies and an apple was exactly what I needed. We sat outside, started to eat and it hit me. I did it. And I cried.  Like a freaking baby.

There you have it, folks.  My ORRRC Half Marathon experience.  It was awesome.  I'm still kind of in shock, and feeling pretty invincible.  I can't believe I did it.  I cut 9 minutes off my previous half marathon time.

The Ohio River Road Runners Club (ORRRC) Marathon/Half Marathon was incredibly organized.  The course was very well marked, the volunteers were very nice, they smiled and cheered, the police officers and other spectators were great.  The Xenia YMCA was amazing.  They cooked two different soups for the runners, they had a variety of beverages and at least 8 different kinds of cookie. The Y also let the runners use the showers in the locker rooms.  Everything about this race was fantastic, I highly recommend it and hope that it fits into my schedule in years to come.

Special thanks to Don, Allen and Chikako for all of the pictures and for cheering me on. :)

Official Chip time: 2:9:53  <--made it by the skin of my teeth!
Over All- 420/674
Women- 171/348
Age Group- 35/50

Garmin splits:
Mile 1- 9:49
Mile 2- 9:43
Mile 3- 9:48
Mile 4- 9:45
Mile 5- 9:51
Mile 6- 10:12
Mile 7- 9:46
Mile 8- 10:05
Mile 9- 10:02
Mile 10- 10:00
Mile 11- 10:01
Mile 12- 10:12
Mile 13- 9:12
Last .15- 8:36

Fastest pace clocked by Garmin: 6:57  <--woman on a mission

Whew.  This was long.  If you made it to the end, thanks for reading! :)

Cleveland Marathon Training: Week 11

Holy moly! Week 11 is over already?! (I say that every week!) It was a light mileage week last week because of the ORRRC Half Marathon (recap coming soon) but I got in plenty of cross training (like I always SAY I'm going to do!)

Monday: cross train- abs and arms
Tuesday: 3.37 miles in the 'hood
Wednesday: cross train- abs
Thursday: 5.05 soggy miles in a torrential downpour (complete with rainbow: check it out!)
Friday: cross train- abs, arms and buns
Saturday: 2.37 easy miles in the 'hood with the worms for a little shake out
Sunday: 13.1(5) race!

Total mileage for Week 11: 23.94 miles

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Seen on My Run 3/24/12

Gigantic freaking worm.  Ew.

A Different Kind of Bling

My friend, Jessi, who I've never run with because I hung around with her when Ellie was a tiny baby...back in my "RUN?  Only if being chased by an ax murderer." days and has since moved to the other side of the country (that's ok, she'd totally leave me in the dust, anyway) sent me a little something!  It came in the mail yesterday. (I love getting mail that is not a bill!)

Wondering what "it" is?

This awesome sparkly PINK running skirt!!
I LOVE it!  And so does Aleena.  Obviously she's jealous of my twirly princess-ness.

Unfortunately, I can't wear it to the ORRRC half tomorrow.  The shirt I'm wearing doesn't match (totally clashes), BUT it is my mission to find a shirt to coordinate with this skirt for Cleveland.  And what a shame, I'll have to wear it a few times before the race to "break it in".  Darn. :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Race Anxiety

I didn't sleep well last night.  I laid in bed panicking thinking about my time goal for Sunday's ORRRC Half Marathon--a totally doable time.  I'll be pushing my comfortable pace a little, but since Cleveland is my main race and I can't afford injury at this point in training, I will not be racing in a balls-to-the-wall kind of way.  Yet, I worry.  See, I tend to choke at races.  I do great in training, then BAM!  The race is slightly less than awesome. 

CapCity? I'd run the distance a couple of times in training and did great.  Race day? I hit a serious wall at mile 11.

USAF? I started feeling fatigued at mile 12.  Mile TWELVE!  Miles 18 through 24 were miserable.

So, what happened?  I have a few theories:
  1. Going out too fast.  Obviously, that's a common occurrence at races.  All the excitement gets the best of me.  I believe this was the main issue last year at CapCity.
  2. Weaving through the crowd of racers. I know I wasted a lot of energy in the first mile weaving around walkers that lined up with the 3 hour pacer at USAF.
  3. Races have a completely different atmosphere than training.  Yes, that's also why we love races.  They're exciting.  Training runs are generally lacking in the excitement department.  Most of the time I'm alone and the most excitement I have at 5am is spying a skunk in the 'hood.  Sometimes I have friends to run and chat with, but it's not exactly race atmosphere. (sorry, friends)
  4. All of the above.
After past races, I could pick out things that happened to make the race less than perfect.  I'm hoping this year, I can learn a thing or two and not make the same mistakes again.  Lucky for me, my friend, Amanda, wants to pace me for the half on Sunday.  She'll keep me from going out too fast and drag me across the finish line at the end.

Here's my big plan to ease the Race Day anxiety:

Wait for it.....

Pretend it's a training run.

That's it, folks!  My big plan! 
Keep your fingers crossed for me, ok?

What strategies to you use to keep you from choking at races?  How do you keep from going out too fast?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Seen on My Run 3/22/12

Ode to the Potette

Sorry peeps, this post has nothing to do with running....but there are some invaluable life tips, so keep reading....

Last night, my favorite husband, Randy, and I took the girls to meet my friend Anne (a runner--hey!  there you go, this post is now about running) and her boys at Handle's for some ice cream.  We met after dinner.  We're mean good parents that way.

The two divas?  Yep, they're mine.
There was a park near the ice cream place so when the kids finished their ice cream, we went to play.  After about 10 minutes of playing, Ellie (age 5) had to go to the bathroom.  Of course she did...and yes, she went before we left.  The bathroom at the park is winterized which left us with a porta-potty. (insert gag and cringe here) 

Luckily, we have a Potette in the minivan.  What's a Potette, you ask?  Only the most genius invention EVER!!  A portable potty chair that folds, uses bags so it never has to be cleaned and fits in a diaper bag--or the stow-n-go in the minivan.

Ours is pink.

Not 5 minutes later, Aleena (age 3) also had to go...yes, she went before we left.  Seriously, this is the most action that Potette has gotten in months!  I almost removed it and left it in the garage when I cleaned the car out a few weeks ago, but put it back in "just in case".  Thank goodness.

I bought the Potette when Ellie was potty training so we would always have a bathroom handy.  My parents, in-laws and siblings live in Michigan, so we frequently traveled the four hours to visit.  Our drive takes us through the middle of nowhere.  There are no bathrooms in the middle of nowhere.  The trusty Potette was used a lot in those days....  There was also that trip we took to VA Beach when Ellie was potty the airport, where the bathrooms echo and my kid was afraid of loud noises--like toilets flushing in a echoing bathroom.  I set this little sucker up behind the counter in an empty terminal so my baby could have some peace and quiet.  Yes, I'm THAT mom.  Don't judge. 

I have no idea where the Potette is manufactured or what celebrity is endorsing it, I just know it has made my life so much easier in the past 3 years.  I can also vouch for its durability to stand up to um...heavier weight limits as I may, or may not have used it....three times.  When you're in the middle of a 4 hour drive, alone, with two SLEEPING babies, waking them up for a potty stop is absolutely out of the question.

When we got home from the park, we noticed that our first tulips of the year have opened!  We had to stop and smell them. :)

Anyone want to admit to having (or using) a Potette?  I know all of my friends have one.  I may, or may not be the only one of us who have actually tested it out.

I was not compensated, not was I asked to write a review for the Potette.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Who doesn't love a good sunset?

My Angelic Creatures

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Spring and the Smell of Sunscreen

As of today, spring is officially here! My magnolia tree is blooming, the trees have tiny green buds and I ran at 5am in shorts and short sleeves and had sweat dripping down my arms after mile 1. :)

Odd thing about my arms: my elbows sweat. Even in the winter the sleeves of my shirts are wet in the elbow crooks. Kind of gross actually.

On this wonderful first day of spring, I took the little ladies to the zoo this morning (forecast of 80+ degrees, how could I NOT?). It was our first sunscreen day of the year. Mmmm, love the smell of Coppertone Waterbabies...

Do you have any odd sweaty spots?
How about off-the-wall favorite scents? (BTW, I also like the smell of normal things: cake, cookies, pizza and pomegranate martinis, just to name a few.)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Well, hello there!

I'm Jamie.  Mother of two, wife of one, early morning runner, dog lover.

I run outside at 5am, sometimes earlier.  I have to be home by 6 so my husband can leave for work.  Yes, it's early. Yes, I'm usually the only person out in my neighborhood, but I'd much rather get up early than heave-ho the double jogging stroller.  That thing is a beast! (My kids-- ages 5 & 3-- aren't getting any smaller, either!)

I'm currently training for the Cleveland Marathon, my second. The Cleveland Marathon is in May, I'm in week 11 of training.  I have 3 smaller races before then; one is the ORRRC Half Marathon this coming weekend.

Tell me about YOU!
What are you training for?
Does anyone else run before the crack of dawn?
Do you have a blog I should be following?