#MoveHappy: My Favorite Fitness Things

The only thing I love more than working out is getting new workout-related stuff.

 

And food.  Obviously.

To start this 3rd week of the #MoveHappy movement out right, I thought I’d share with you some of the marvelous new fitness-related items I’ve been loving lately.

Fitness Favorites… 

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Work it Out: My Fitness Journey

Life is a jungle gym.

 

And I like monkeying around.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned lately is life isn’t linear.  This sounds obvious even as I write it, but over and over I’ve been surprised when my carefully laid plains deviate from the path I’ve plotted.  Things change – you grow up.  You learn new skills.  You have setbacks.  Life happens.

Plan changes have happened in all aspects of my life – career, relationships, fitness, etc. – and I’m sure you’ve experienced the same.  I gt a lot of questions about how I began competing, so today’s Work It Out is my fitness journey.  My jungle gym.

sprint2table-workitout

Before I get into it, I want to be very clear that this is my path.  I’ve done things that were right and that were wrong.  Some are tender subjects; they were part of my journey.  I know you all have your own stories.  I simply submit that I hope no matter where you are in your journey, that you stay true to yourself and have FUN.  No regrets. 

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I love a competition.  Sports, spelling bees,  pie eating… you name it, I’m up for the challenge.  It’s how I’m wired.  This has taken me on many a fun ride in my life.

Related to fitness, I have tried just about any sport you can think of.  I was lucky to have parents who encouraged me to sign up for all sorts of things – from ice skating to horseback riding to softball.  Softball stuck – I still play every season!

softball

Years later I still morn the day that bat broke.

 

In my college years, I wasn’t very active unless you count partying and working.  I was a bartender.  I smoked, drank too much, and ate crap.  Not surprisingly, I gained the “freshman 15″ (and the sophomore 15) and was always tired.  When my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer something clicked in my head.  His disease wasn’t related to unhealthy living; he had actually lost a ton of weight through diet and exercise a few years prior and never smoked a day in his life.

The message that life is short came loud and clear to me.  While my dad was getting treatments he continued light exercise to keep strength that allowed him to turn 6 months into 4.5 years with the disease.  Through his example, I was inspired to clean up my act a bit and started workout out casually.  It wasn’t a total turnaround… but it was a start.

no one wins

Which beer shall I drink first…

 

Fast forward a few years and I discovered a new passion – roller derby.  I only wish my dad had been around to see that!  I had a blast, met some really cool people, and skated about 12 hours a week.  It was thrilling.  I’d found a sport I loved again!

It also proved to myself that it is impossible to out exercise a bad diet.  I was doing intense workouts nearly daily but gaining weight.  I am not saying I was “fat,” but I wasn’t healthy and, more importantly, I didn’t feel good.

derby

 

Looking at my unhealthy habits, I decided it was time for a cleanse.  It was the derby off-season and I took the opportunity to give my body a break from getting beat up (literally and figuratively).  21 days of clean eating was amazing for me.  I reset some habits, had boundless energy again, and I learned to love running.

That Thanksgiving I ran a 10K with my baby sister and my mom!

Gobble Jog

 

Then came a new season of derby.  I was still doing really well with healthy living and had come back for the next season with more energy and passion and ever.  Whatever was in stow, I was ready to jump on it.  Life had other plans.  

I broke my jaw during an expo bout (bout = a roller derby game).  It was miserable.  I looked like Jay Leno and it cost me a pretty important trip in my new job.

 

6 weeks later my jaw was as good as new but I decided it was time to find something a little safer.  Plus, I’d lost a TON of weight from not being able to eat solids, which was not good for playing a contact sport.  I looked unhealthy, and I’d basically forgotten how to eat.  All I’d been able to have was soup, pureed oatmeal, and smoothies!

I struggled with the aftermath of that injury for a while.  Rather than derby, I ran all the time.  I was faster and going longer than ever, but – even though I was eating – my new teeny body couldn’t keep up.  When you are at a deficit and continue to workout at the level you were before… well, you are just going to get skinnier (read: my mom was worried sick).

I almost didn’t post this pic. It pains me to look at it… but it’s what happened.

 

Unrelated to that, my knee decided to give out.  I got half a mile into a run and was in so much pain I had to stop.  The doctor told me my ACL was hanging on by a thread and if I wanted to run distance again I’d need to have surgery.  That may have been the best thing that could have happened to me.

 

Time for a new hobby!  Instead of going under the knife, I decided to go the route of building.  Body building.  If I could build up my quads, my knee wouldn’t bother me in daily activity and running short distances.  I’d always loved lifting weights and had done a round or two of P90X, so it seemed to be the perfect next bar to grab.

Two and a half years ago I met with my trainer the first time and started down the path of something that would forever change my life.  Lifting feels like it did when I fell in love with softball – I look forward to going to the gym, I want to talk strategy with anyone who will listen… it’s my passion!

Lisa and me at Palmetto – both Top 5!

Since then, I’ve gained 10 solid pounds of muscle, 2 pounds of  boob, and competed in 2 figure competitions.  Much to my surprise I placed in both!  Rounds 3 and 4 are in 3 and 4 weeks… they are on very competitive stages, but I’m excited just to have the experience.  I’ve been watching the success of others around me and am stoked (do people still say that?) for the off season and a sold year of building.

I feel great: inspired, focused, and having fun.

 

Fitness looks like a million different things.  What you do isn’t important, as long as it’s something you love and something that contributes to your health.  Don’t be afraid to change your course as you evolve.  Yoga, walking, lifting, cross-fitting… whatever.  Find something you are passionate about and embrace it.

Having been both active and inactive to my detriment, I can promise you that finding balance and the thing that turns you on will make all the difference.  That high, that endorphin rush, is sheer joy.  It’s worth it to make time for it.

YOU are worth it.

***

Need some inspiration?  Check out this post full of inspiring athletes from all walks of life.

Have you always been “healthy,” or was there a turning point for you?

What brings you joy?

 

Travel Meals, Roasted Wins, + Jillian Michaels

Traveling to pretty locations is fabulous.

 

And then you come home…

Last week I was in Arizona at the Camel Back Inn with my mom.  You guys saw part of my travel meals Wednesday.  I made it – and I ate pretty well!  In fact, often I was more happy to be eating my food than the resort food!  That, the fact that I didn’t give in to the temptation of a tasty margarita in the desert sun… the overall sense of accomplishment… is carrying over today to make my Monday Marvelous.

Marvelous Monday

 

Breakfast was easy – oatmeal all doctored up with my delicious Growing Naturals protein and berries and cinnamon from the hotel.  I also asked for lots of lemon.

Best eaten with beautiful patio view!

Arizona breakfast

 

Some of my other meals are below: I took lots of fresh veggies, sweet potatoes, bison burgers, no-salt deli turkey, and baked chicken.  And my delicious greek yogurt dessert creations.

I was able to get plain salmon and brown rice from the hotel, which helped a lot.  I brought my own nutritional yeast, but remember you can always ask for seasonings – lemon, vinegar, red pepper flakes are my standard requests.

Travel meals

travel meals 2

Two favorites:  the cucumber-mint “mocktail” on the bottom right above was a fantastic refresher at the spa restaurant (See my mom in the background?  She was Instagramming her carrot-apple juice!).  My last meal (on the bottom right above) was on the airplane.  Sweet potato, turkey, and a fresh salad purchased at Wendy’s (surprisingly fresh and tasty!) in the airport before take off.

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Despite all the fun, it was nice to be home in my kitchen.  Saturday I got up and went to posing practice, followed by a killer leg day (seriously – SO SORE today).  After all my travels there was NO food at my house so I had a great time reloading at the farmer’s market.  Sea Bass must be in season because this was some of the best I’ve ever had.  Buttery, moist (sorry), and not at all fishy.

Served with sautéed shiitake mushrooms, spinach, eggplantand edamame.

Sea Bass

 

I also roasted a kabocha squash with cocoa powder, cinnamon, and cayenne.  It sounds strange, but it is GOOD!

No real measurements… I just sprayed my squash with some coconut oil and tossed it together.  I roasted it at 350 until tender.

Kabocha Squash

 

Sunday was softball day.  We won the game… I slid into 2nd base at one point.  Maybe not the best decision 2 weeks before a competition because my knee got a little scraped up.

BUT I was safe.  And then I scored.

scraped up

 

That didn’t hurt nearly as bad as the split I did off 1st base to catch a ball.  Note to self: splits are not a good idea the day after heavy leg day.

I missed the second game because I had to shower off in order to meet a friend to see Jillian Michaels!!!  I still had to run my sprints, so I just ran them on the way to the show (about 2 miles away) instead of driving.  Haha.

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Jillian was good… but a lot of what she said I already knew.  Don’t eat crap.  If you want to lose weight, burn more calories than you eat.  It was refreshing to hear someone talk about the basics though.  No “special” diets.

The secret to being in shape is that there is NO SECRET!  Eat good, clean food.  Eat it in moderation.  Exercise.  Why can’t I get paid millions to tell people this?!

The best exercise

 

My favorite part was when she talked about exercise.  She called people out of their half-assed elliptical-while-reading-a-magazine workouts.

Raise your heart rate.  If it’s not high enough, move your ass faster.

Jillian Michaels in Atlanta

I also loved that she wore flip flops.

 

What really got me was what happened in the audience in front of us.  These two (obviously drunk) girls were there… which was funny at first that they were drunk at a fitness event.  It became un-funny when one of the girls PUKED.  I can’t even make this shit up.  

They were clearly old enough to know better.  They even looked pretty fit.  I was embarrassed for them.  Cheers to not being that girl.  Not that I ever puked in a nice theatre (or anywhere in public), but I have had my moments.  What I am grateful for – what is marvelous – is that I’ve gotten past that in my journey and am in a happy, healthy place.  one where I know I’ll wake up tomorrow without a headache and sore only from my workouts.

***

Before you think I didn’t rest at all, I did stay home Saturday night at watch Life of Pi.  It was ok… I liked Argo better.

Does anyone have a magic trick for healing a knee scrape quickly?

What is your favorite part about where you are right now in your journey?

 

Spring is Marvelous

Something about Spring makes life better.

 

Until the pollen hits.

Last week I was in a bit of a funk.  It was rainy and cold, I was tired… but spring arrived just in time for the weekend!  I want to carry over this weekend weather high into the week, and Katie’s Marvelous in My Monday link up is my favorite way to focus on the good and start the week out right!

Marvelous Monday

Almost everything involved the outdoors – something I’d forgotten how much I love!

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There’s only one right way to start the weekend – pancakes!  I made Heather’s Peanut Butter Cookie pancakes and topped them with a fresh strawberry sauce.  My only change to her recipe was to omit the rice flour and reduced the liquid to 1/3 C.  They were perfect!

With the spring berries on top, it was like PB&J cookies for breakfast.

Peanut Butter Cookie Pancakes

 

Those pancakes fueled the best workout I’d had in DAYS.  This week in the gym I had just not been feeling it.  I’d be half way through a workout coaxing myself with post-workout foods if I finished.

Not only did I have a great shoulder/glute day in the weight room, but I was feeling so good I decided to run some sprints before heading home.  Those sprints are great for the glutes and I could feel it the next day!

Carrot Cake Smoothie

After than calorie torch, I made myself a massive Carrot Cake Smoothie… I needed some cool-down fuel because I then met Carol and her puppy for a 6 mile walk in the park!

I don’t know how we walked so long – I was already tired.  We just started talking and the time FLEW by!

piedmont park

 

We parted ways and I headed home for a (much-needed) shower before meeting a friend for dinner.

I don’t know about you, but my #1 favorite thing about spring is patios.  Sitting outside with my flip-flops on, a teensy sunburn, and a margarita makes me happy.  Simple pleasures.

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Sunday I woke up early (read: before 9am on a weekend) to play softball.  We won both games!  Our team is undefeated in a men’s league.  Hahaha! :)

I didn’t have time to make Sunday morning bacon… but my favorite meat-treat still managed to make a cameo.

Bacon socks

 

Sunday is also my grocery store and meal prep day.  I hauled my sweaty, dusty self (#sorryimnotsorry) to the farmer’s market and Whole Foods for the weekly stock up.  No real diet changes yet, but the competition is coming up fast and next week it will be lock down time.

Despite having bags of groceries from 2 stores, I made it up to my condo in one trip.  I saw this on Pinterest, which perfectly captures the moment.  Please tell me I’m not the only person who is this stubborn:

two trips

 

I also bought myself flowers.  Flowers go a long way in brightening up my week, especially when I work from home.  It’s nice to look over and see their natural brightness after staring at a computer screen for hours!

Besides, if I waited for someone else to do it I’d be waiting a looong time. ;)

 

Another favorite of mine in the warm weather is watermelon.  After a long 2 days in the sun, I was happy to have a refreshing watermelon salad… and finally, my Sunday bacon.

Sweet, salty, and a little earthiness from the beets.  It’s the perfect spring salad!  #strangebutgood

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watermelon bacon & beet salad

Watermelon, Beet, & Bacon Salad

  • 1 C watermelon, diced
  • 1/4 C beets, roasted and diced
  • 2 strips crispy bacon
  • Cilantro, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

***

My teensy sunburn got worse on Sunday.  I forgot that with spring comes the need for sunscreen.  #fail

Do you ever buy yourself flowers?

What is your favorite part about spring?

 

Strange But Good Gluttony: Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Gluttony is controversial in blog-land.

 

I’m a firm believer that you should have everything in moderation.  Including moderation.

When my softball team requested these cupcakes after our game last weekend, I had to oblige.  I’d made the ‘cakes for them 3 or 4 years ago, and they’ve been requested every year since.

These are not your ordinary cupcakes.  They are called Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes.  A reader pointed out the negative connotation of that name… I’m sorry if it offends anyone.  These cupcakes are referring to the popular shooter.  Many of you may have taken seen the shot in college.  You take a 1/2 pint of Guinness and drop a shot of Irish cream and whiskey in it.  Then you chug (you have to drink it fast of it will curdle).

Irish Car Bomb Drink

It tastes like chocolate milk, or so I’m told. ;)

 

Turning a shooter into a cupcake may be strange, but it most certainly is good.  In fact, I think these cupcakes are better than the shooter.  Not better for you – hence the gluttony.  But the booze (mostly) cooks out, so at least they won’t give you a hangover. ;)

Oddly, they don’t taste particularly boozy.  The cake portion is a chocolate-Guinness combo.  The carbonation from the Guinness makes the cake light and fluffy, and amplifies the chocolate taste without adding too much sweetness.  The center of the cupcake is scooped out and filled with Irish whiskey ganache.  It is also not terribly sweet, and the whiskey only deepens the chocolate taste.

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

 

The booziest part is the icing.  That Irish cream isn’t cooked out, so you get a little of liqueur taste.  However, if you’ve ever had Irish cream you know it’s sweet and creamy, so it works well as an icing component.  I whipped this up the same time I made the hazelnut icing for Kat’s cake.  I topped it with lucky charms marshmallows (thank you again for that gift, Heather!) to be more “festive.”

The combination makes for a fluffy, moist, decadent cupcake.  You will promise yourself you will only take a bite of… then look down and realize it’s GONE.  Not to be made every weekend, but once a year I think it’s worth a little gluttonous indulgence.

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 Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes 1

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

For the Cupcakes:

  • 1 C stout (I used Guinness)
  • 1 C (2 sticks) salted butter
  • 3/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 C sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 C sour cream

 

For the Ganache:

  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 2/3 C heavy cream
  • 2 T salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 T Irish whiskey (I used Jameson)

 

For the Frosting:

  • 3 C powdered sugar
  • 1 stick (1/2 C) salted butter, softened
  • 4 T Irish cream (I used Bailey’s)
  • Food coloring (optional)

 

To make the Cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350.  Line 24 cupcake cups with liners.  

Bring the beer and butter to simmer in medium-sized saucepan over medium heat.  Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth.  Cool slightly.

Whisk together flour, sugar, and baking soda in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl and, using electric (or hand) mixer, beat eggs and yogurt.  Add the chocolate beer mix to the egg bowl and beat just to combine.  

Add flour mixture and slowly beat.  Just before it’s completely mixed, use rubber spatula to fold batter until completely combined.  

Pour batter into the cupcake liners, ~3/4 full.  Bake ~15-17 mins. Allow cupcakes to cool completely.

 

To make the filling:

Break up the chocolate and place in a glass (heat-proof) bowl.  

Place cream in a small bowl and bring to a simmer.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, allowing it to sit for a minute before stirring until smooth.  If your chocolate isn’t melted completely, you can pop it in the microwave in 15-20 second increments until melted.  

Lastly, add the softened butter and whiskey.  Stir until combined.

 

To fill the cupcakes:

Let the ganache cool and thicken.  If you’re impatient like me you can place it in the fridge to firm up; however, it shouldn’t be hard.

Using a cupcake corer, knife, or an apple corer, remove centers from the cupcakes.  Take care to not cut through to the bottom.  About 3/4 deep is perfect.  (Note: save the centers and mix it with leftover ganache and/or icing to make fudgy cake balls.)

Spoon the ganache into the holes, filling to the top.  (This could also be done with a piping bag, but I don’t have one.)

To make the frosting:

Whip the butter at a med-high speed using an electric (or hand) mixer until light and fluffy.  Slowly add the powdered sugar – just a few tablespoons at a time.

When the frosting thickens, drizzle in the Irish cream and whip until combined.  Add food coloring, if using, until desired color is reached.  In the event that the frosting becomes too thin, simply add more powdered sugar until its think enough to spread.

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Now that my gluttony is out of the way, what’s strange but good creations have you been concocting?  Someone post a healthy recipe to balance me out… ;)

The link up rules can be found here or by clicking on “Strange But Good” in the menu bar above.

In short, I want to see what concoctions have earned you weird looks from co-workers, family and friends!  Post your Strange But Good creations, grab the logo below for your blog, and link up here.

 

Sprint 2 the Table


Remember to use #strangebutgood in any Tweets and Instagrams of your creations. :)




***

 No need to wait until next St. Paddy's to make these cupcakes.  I've done them for birthdays, 4th of July, NYE... Easter... break those Lenten alcohol and sugar bans in style! ;)

Spill it: Have you ever done an Irish Carb Bomb?

What strange but goodness have you been eating this week?

 

Marvelous Monday Meals

Rainy Mondays can be hard.

 

Ok, always.  Rainy Mondays are always hard…

A few weeks ago I committed to making an effort to be more positive on this most glorious day of the week and joined the diva-licious Katie in her Marvelous in My Monday link up.  This week I need to get back on that train.

Marvelous Monday

What a better way to do it than recap some tasty food?  I’ve been eating good this past week, and I have a LOT to share.  This is a long one.  That’s what shai said.  Sorry… but not really. ;)

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To start it off, last Sunday my friend Kathleen and I went to an underground supper club hosted by Souper Jenny. she does these once or twice a year; the secret location and chef is announced the day before the event.

Our surprise chef was Omar Powell!  He is the Chef de Cuisine at my favorite Indian Restaurant, Cardamom Hill (a James Beard nominee!), yet he is Jamaican with a French culinary training.  I was beyond excited to see what he came up with!

Souper Jenny Underground Supper Club - Omar Powell

 

We arrived at the secret location (a local pasta shop, Storico Fresco) and were immediately blown away by the stunning table setting!

Before the meal, we had the chance to walk around a bit and I got in the professional photographer’s way snuck behind the counter to grab a shot of Chef Powell and Chef-Owner Asha Gomez discussing a dish.

 

The first course was a small treat that left me way too excited for the rest of the evening.  Soft farm eggs with ackee, cod, scallions, and bacon.  The flavors could have easily over-taken the egg, but they were perfectly balanced in the delicate shell.  There is nothing more fabulous than a perfectly cooked egg.

Soft Farm Eggs from Omar Powell

Next we were presented with a brown stewed chicken served over tun cornmeal, pickled onions, and fin herbs.

We questioned whether it was really chicken – I’ve never had a more rich, flavorful piece of chicken in my life.  This could have easily passed as a tender piece of red meat.  It doesn’t even look like chicken, does it?

I almost asked for seconds… and I did ask for the recipe!

Omar Powell's Brown Stewed Chicken

The third dish was a Jerked Pork served with yellow yam augratin, mango, papaya jam, and all spice oil.

The flavor combination in this dish was perfection.  The jerk was just the right amount of heat against the sweet fruit, and the creamy augratin.  Augratin can often be too rich for me, but this yam was restrained and didn’t take away from the other components.

Omar Powell Jerked Pork

This next dish was my favorite of the night.  I think… it’s hard to choose!  It was a oxtail agnolotii (agnolotii is a stuffed pasta, like ravioli) in a pumpkin soup laced with all spice and black pepper tulie.

I’m a huge oxtail fan, and the agnolotii did not disappoint.  However, what made this dish for me was the soup.  I admired his use of all spice here because it is one I’m timid with.  A little bit can go a long way.  The burst of it here gave a depth of flavor to the soup, allowing it to stand out against a big flavor like oxtail.

Oxtail Agnolotti by Omar Powell

Lastly, we enjoyed a sweet and savory dessert.  This was a cornmeal pone with comte cheese, “drops,” and thyme honey.

I had not heard of drops before.  Apparently they are a Jamaican street food candy.  It’s a sugar-glazed, chewy piece of coconut.  That sweetness with the thyme honey and the more savory pone and cheese was a storybook end to a memorable meal.  I’d like to say I was too stuffed to eat it all… but I ate mine and half of Kathleen’s.

#sorryimnotsorry

Cornmeal Pone by Omar Powell

Yes, I ate the flower too.

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I had another awesome meal with my mom last friday night.  We went to a family favorite, Everybody’s Pizza.

This place is one that will forever have a place in my heart.  They have been open since 1971 and this coming Tuesday is their last day in business.  My parents used to go on dates there in college, and later my dad would take me as a treat on Friday nights.

He’d tell me stories about what it was like “back on the day” when then had communal seating and tables of strangers would share pies and pitchers of beers.  We would eat an entire pizza and then polish off a giant order of bread pudding.  There are staving kids in Africa, right?

Everybody's Pizza

In honor of my dad, my mom and I had one last meal there.  We toasted my dad’s memory with beers and shared a  giant pizza.  Half cheeseless veggie, and half with extra feta cheese, portabello mushrooms, jalapenos, and meatballs.  And then a bread pudding.  We were only going to eat half… but you know that didn’t happen.  :)

It was a great night sharing stories and eating one last meal at a local haunt.  Everybody’s, you will be sorely missed.

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What do you do the morning after carb-loading?  You take a trip up Stone Mountain!  Mom and I met up with my friend Kathleen the next morning for a hike up the mountain in the gorgeous spring weather.

They were great sports, cheering me on as I ran my sprints up the steep part.  They even joined in for a couple of rounds!

Where’s Waldo?

 

The refuel was classic.  Fro-yo from Yoforia for lunch!  Fruit, dairy, protein… I got chocolate and Irish cream flavors with kiwi, strawberries, pretzels and a Reese’s egg.  Is that not the BEST topping offering?!

This deliciousness fueled my trip to the gym for a killer shoulder and glute workout.  Sprints + glutes in the gym = one tired butt.

Yoforia

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Finally, on Sunday, I rounded out the marvelous with a day of softball.  My women’s softball team beat both male teams we played!

I think it was the lucky socks.

 

After the game we had a social, and I brough a St. Patrick’s Day treat for the team: Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes!!  These cupcakes are an annual request… they don’t have to twist my arm too hard to oblige. ;)

Irish Car Bomb

This is a fantastically indulgent cupcake.  The base is Guinness chocolate cake.  I fill them with Irish whiskey ganache and then ice them with an Irish cream frosting.

I’m too late to post a recipe for the holiday… but if you’re interested I may do a post later this week.  Let me know!

***

It was a bit of a gluttonous weekend, but coupled with a LOT of activity.  No regrets, but I’m really looking forward to getting back to normalcy this week!

Does your family have a nostalgia restaurant?  Is it still there?

What is making YOUR Monday marvelous today?

 

Strange But Good Breakfast

If left to my own devices, my natural “awake” time is 10am to 2am.

 

I blame my mother.  It’s hereditary.

The only reason I get excited for morning to come is breakfast.  It’s the most delicious important meal of the day, you know.  With very little effort, it can also be the strangest meal of the day.

This weekend was the beginning of softball season.  I received a 6:30am wake up text from our team captain Sunday morning.  We had a tournament starting at 8.  It’s a good thing I had breakfast planned, because I am pretty sure I was still asleep on the drive to the field.

TVP OIAJ

 

You’ve all heard of overnight oats in a jar, I’m sure.  I had an almost empty jar, but no oats!  No matter – I remembered my TVP “Oatmeal” and made Overnight TVP in a Jar!  Made just like a traditional recipe, but using TVP rather than oats.  Strange… but good!

I was going to eat this in the car, but was too tired so I ate it at the field… and earned a couple of strange but good stares.  That coffee was GONE by the time I got to the park though.  ;)

 

Overnight TVP in a Jar

Overnight TVP in a Jar

  • 1/2 C TVP
  • 3/4 C unsweetened almond milk (or other liquid)
  • 2 T peanut flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 banana, mashed
  • Almost empty nut butter jar

 

Mix everything together in your jar and place in refrigerator overnight.

In the morning, remove from fridge and devour!  

Note: If you like your oats warm, you can pop it in the microwave for a minute.  You may need to add more liquid though.

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Enough of my strangeness… one of my favorite Instragrammers and new blogger, Alina,  took my Oatmeal Cookie Shake and turned up the strangeness.  She made Chocolate Chip Cookie Pancakes… with the nutritional yeast from my original recipe!

Alina was kind enough to send her recipe to me so I could share it with you all.  Check this deliciousness out, and make sure to go to her blog – it’s full of creative, delicious dishes!

Fluffy Chocolate Chip Cookie Pancakes

Fluffy Chocolate Chip Cookie Pancakes

  • 2 T coconut flour
  • 2 T pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/3 C egg whites
  • 1 T vanilla whey protein
  • 2 T mashed banana
  • 2 T almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp butter flavor/extract
  • 2 stevia packets
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Dash salt
  • 1 T mini Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips (optional)


Mix all ingredients into a thick batter.

Scoop onto griddle or heated pan sprayed with some coconut oil. Yes, the batter is super thick but just spread pancakes to desired thickness and be patient while they cook up!

Flip once until cooked through.

Optional toppings: 2 Tbsp cottage cheese + 1 Tbsp chocolate pb2 , and Walden Farms chocolate syrup.

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 What’s strange but good in your kitchen this week?

The link up rules can be found here or by clicking on “Strange But Good” in the menu bar above.

In short, I want to see what concoctions have earned you weird looks from co-workers, family and friends!  Post your Strange But Good creations, grab the logo below for your blog, and link up here.

 

Sprint 2 the Table

 

Remember to use #strangebutgood in any Tweets and Instagrams of your creations. :)



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Another strange but good – going to have a gluttonous dinner with your trainer post-leg workout.  That happened last night.  #strangebutgoodshamelessness

When do you tend to make your strangest creations?

What is your favorite overnight oats combo?

 

Fundays + Tomato Basil Beet Salad Guest Spot

Forget Sunday-Funday.

 

This weekend was one big Funday!  Friday – for my cheat day – I went to my favorite underground supper club, Push Start Kitchen with my best friend.  Zack was serving a vegetarian dinner and once again blew it out of the water with his creative flavor combinations and impeccable execution.  God bless cheat day.

L to R: the table; amuse – a corn masa with red chili jam and pickled okra; appetizer – chilled zucchini soup with tempura pumpkin flowers, house-made ricotta with preserved lemon, arugula, and smoked chile jam; main – roasted chile, Israeli couscous with collards, black plum mole, crisped tamale “croutons,” cotija cheese, and hears of palm; dessert – arroz con leche with candied lemon, melon sorbet, lychee foam, and basil and sour cherry gelee.

 

Saturday I took an easy bike ride through the park and hit up the Green Market for some tomatoes and a beautiful bunch of basil grown right there in the park.  Doesn’t get more local than that!

 

Saturday evening I got to see some of my favorite bloggers at a going away party for Heather and her hubby Kirk.  They are off to Colorado!  We are sad to see them go, but we had a great time catching up and goofing off. 

L to R: Heather, Lindsay, Tina, and me.

 

Heather cooked up a fantastic (vegan) Mexican feast, even specially preparing ground tempeh so that I had something I could eat (going out on a strict diet is HARD).  I really loved her bean dip too – it was just the right amount of spicy.

I didn’t partake in the Cayenne-spice chocolate chip cookie sandwiches, but am told they were phenomenal.

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Tiffany @ Como Water invited me to write a guest post for her blog.  Please click here to check it out, and check out her blog.  It is a plethora of delicious, plant-based eats!

This dish I made for her is a Tomato Basil Beet Salad.  Who knew this beets and tomatoes would be such a win?  I mean, I thought it would taste good, but whoa.  This simple salad of beets, tomato, basil, and onion blew me away.  A bit of lemon juice, olive oil, and pepper balanced the beet flavor and the sweetness of the cherry tomatoes almost made it seems like dessert.

 

The other item that blew me away was a feta cheese. 

 

Last week I talked about the yogurt I received from Olympus; however, they also included a feta cheese in the package.  This creamy treat is imported from Greece, and is the BEST feta I’ve had in recent memory.  I’m not even exaggerating.  It was impossibly creamy, and have just the right amount of salt to bring out the feta tang.

For the full recipe, check out my guest post on Tiffany’s blog, Como Water.

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Recap time.  I’m on day 10 of my figure competition training and still loving it!  I had an appointment with my trainer Saturday.  It was a tough one – I got busted for my lack of protein on my “cheat” day (note to self: Steve reads blog… watch yo self) and was justly punished treated to a killer leg workout.  I’m really excited about my progress in a short amount of time.  I was able to squat 30% more weight than I could just a week and a half ago!

Thank god this week was only 3 softball games… ’cause it is HOT.  The obligatory #proof pic:

Workout Recap (6/25- 7/1):

  • Monday – Chest/Biceps, 2.5 mile walk
  • Tuesday – Legs (w/ trainer), 2 mile walk
  • Wednesday – Back/Tris
  • Thursday – Shoulders/Glutes, 2.5 mile walk
  • Friday – Biceps/Chest, 2 mile walk
  • Saturday – Legs/Hams (w/ trainer), 20 min bike ride, 1.75 mi walk
  • Sunday – 3 softball games

***

Don’t forget to click here and enter to win 2 boxes of Special K’s new granola bars!  Contest ends TONIGHT at 11:59p.

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Is it in the 100s where you are?

 

BENGAY Zero Degrees + Lots ‘o Legs

Injuries and soreness aren’t fun.

 

Lately it seems like I can’t stay well (thank you, knees), so I was particularly excited when BENGAY contacted me to review their new Zero Degrees product.

What makes it so cool?  It literally IS cool.  According to their literature it is “the first and only topical pain reliever tha can be stored in the freezer, combining the instant sensation of ice with the long-lasting, trusted pain relief of BENGAY GEL.”

 

 

This weekend was fun, but pretty strenuous on my body.  If you’ve been reading for a while, you may know that I’ve had some trouble with my knee for the past few months.  I was in serious need of BENGAY Zero Degrees after a 7 mile hike Saturday followed up by a 3 mile run and 2 softball games on Sunday… and one lovely strawberry on my toosh:

 

 

No, I didn’t put BENGAY on my open wound (NOT a good idea).  I DID slather it all over my aching knees after spending some QT with bags of frozen peas.

I loved that BENGAY Zero Degrees comes in a deoderant-like stick, making it easy to apply – no sticky hands or pain when you forget and stick you finger in your eye.  Another plus is that it doesn’t stink like most other products out there.  My knees may make me feel like a granny, but I don’t need to smell like a granny too!

 

 

BENGAY has offered to send one of these cool Zero Degrees sticks along with some other fun goodies (I received a tote bag, hair ties, a workout towel, and Karina Smirnoff’s dance-inspired workout DVD) to TWO readers!

 

Receive up to 4 entries by:

 

  1. Subscribe to the Sprint 2 the Table RSS feed or email
  2. Tweet: You could say something like: I entered to win 1 of 2 BENGAY Zero Degrees prize bags in the @sprint2thetable giveaway: http://wp.me/p16jDn-1hS  #giveaway #fitness
  3. Be Social: Twitter Follow mePinterest Follow Me and/or Pin Something of MineInstagram Follow Me
  4. Comment: What do you do to help your body recover?

 

Please leave a *separate comment* for each entry!

 

Contest ends at 11:59pm EST on Thursday, May 24th.  The winner will be announced on Friday, May 25th.

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This week’s recap should explain why I need that BENGAY!  :)

I’ve been incorporating more plyo/active rest into my weight workouts.  It’s made a big difference in my appetite!  I feel like I’m getting more out of my workouts and I’m craving protein like a caveman.  Still not going too big on the meat, but I’m killin’ some protein shake creations.  After Sundays games in 85 degree temps and direct sunlight I couldn’t get to the blender fast enough!

 

Put me in coach!

 

Workout Recap (5/7 – 5/13):

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I just realized this post is filled with pics of my legs from various angles.  I love an unexpected “leg day.”

What is the last injury you had?

What is the best workout you’ve had lately?

 

Being Serene

Sunny weekends seem shorter.

 

I never want them to end!  

Before diving head first into a crazy week, here are the top 5 highlights that I remembered to take a picture of:

 

1. Serenbe Cooking Demo

While at my team’s retreat we were treated to a cooking demo by the founder of Serenbe, Marie Nygren.  Serenbe (“be serene” spelled backwards) is a small sustainable community just outside of Atlanta.  It reminds me of Seaside (where The Truman Show was filmed), but without the ocean.

 

Marie led us though a short cooking demo in her home.  She prepared collard greens two ways, kale, and cabbage.  It was all delicious… and her house was GORGEOUS!

 

 

2. *Almost* Justin Timberlake Sighting

Justin Timberlake is in Atlanta shooting “Trouble With the Curve,” with Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams.  Below is the camera crew.  No Justin… but I swear I saw Jessica Biel walking down the street the other day.

 

 

3. Softball Sunday

My team won!!!  The second game.  

Our problem is that we aren’t morning people.  We don’t wake up until half way through the first game.

 

My groin woke up too early thanks to play at first base.  I did a full split and caught the ball for the out.  And pulled my groin.  Ouch.

 

 

4. Powdered Hummus?

On my weekly trip to Whole Paycheck Foods I came across hummus powder in the bulk bins.  The instructions say all you need to do is add is water and olive oil.

Does this sound awesome or weird?

I haven’t tried it yet, but will report back soon!  They also had a powdered black bean dip.

 

 

5. Green Thumb

I’ve mentioned before that I have killed every plant I have owned.  I even killed mint.  Yesterday I helped my mom plant flowers.

 

They are so pretty, right?!  I hope my black thumb doesn’t affect them.


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I miiiiight be allowed to try running again tomorrow.  I go back to the doc and he’s going to give me the green light.  Or not.  I’m a little nervous since by the end of softball today it was a little sore from running bases, but nothing like before.

This week was a little light on workout intensity… and the clean eating… but I’m not going to kick myself too hard over it.  Sometimes you just need to take it easy.

 

Workout Recap (3/26 – 4/1):

  • Monday – This BodyRock, stationary bike, 100 push-ups
  • Tuesday – This workout by Lori, 100 push-ups, 20 mins of P90X Cardio… then quit in favor of playing tennis. :)
  • Wednesday – P90X Tris/Chest, Ab Ripper X
  • Thursday This Pinned Workout (3x), 100 push-ups
  • Friday - Rest
  • Saturday – This BodyRock, Back/Bis, 100 push-ups
  • Sunday –  Softball 2x, P90X Plyo, 100 push-ups

 

***

I totally forgot it was April Fool’s yesterday.  We should have the whole month to mess with people!

Did you play any April Fool’s Pranks?

Have you seen powdered hummus before? Is it good?