What Half Marathon Should I Run? + Spaghetti Squash Recipe

Happy Friday, everyone! The weekend is finally upon us! I’m so excited for this holiday weekend, because I’m sitting my favorite pups, and I have family coming in town! Doesn’t get better than that. But before I get ahead of myself and talk about the weekend, I have to tell you all about my day yesterday, because I know you’re dying to know 😉

My morning started off with a 5+ mile run. I didn’t really want to run intervals or put a lot of effort into tracking my pace, so I just made sure to run each mile a bit faster than the last. My first mile was around 9:30, second 8:50, 3rd 8:35, 4th 8:28, 5th 8:25. I finished with a 5 minute walking cool down.

It’s been at least a week since I’ve run 5 miles, so it felt like the right time to get this run in. I’m starting half-marathon training for a race in November. I haven’t yet decided which one – there is a race the weekend before Thanksgiving here in the Tampa Bay Area, but it’s a Women’s Race, and Derek wanted to run too. So we’re working on finding one!

After my run, I was off to the dreaded dentist. It wasn’t nearly as dreaded as I imagined – they gave me headphones and let me listen to Justin Timberlake Pandora as they drilled away. All I got through was “Suit and Tie” and half of “Stronger” by Kanye West, and they were done! I was kind of bummed because I wanted more JT.

They also gave me a blanket.. Pretty sweet, eh?

image

I made the mistake of not eating before the appointment, and had quite the laugh at myself when I tried to eat almonds an hour after leaving the dentist. The novocaine was in full force, and I couldn’t feel and/or swallow the almond. So I fulfilled a 3rd grade longing that I never had, and had an applesauce to go

photo

Next it was time to treat myself. My mom gave me several gift cards for my birthday (back in February), and I have yet to use several of them. One of the cards I still had was a gift card for a massage. I’d been waiting until I didn’t have a CPA exam in my way to use it, because I knew I’d be laying on the table thinking about studying otherwise.

So yesterday afternoon I finally used my gift card for a 1 hour relaxation/deep tissue massage and it was glorious. At least I think it was, I was in and out of consciousness, so who knows?

Dinner Time!

It’s been over a year since I’ve made spaghetti squash, and almost 24 years since Derek has eaten it. Last weekend at the farmer’s market, a spaghetti squash was amongst the goodies I returned home with, and last night was the time to make it. Here is how our dinner came together:

Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Tomatoes

1 Large spaghetti squash

2 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

2 cups grape tomatoes

1 tbsp oregano

1/2 tbsp garlic powder

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°. Cut spaghetti squash length-wise and remove seeds from inside. Drizzle 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper on both inner halves of squash, and place face down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. photo

In a separate bowl, toss grape tomatoes with 1/2 tbsp olive oil, salt, pepper, and oregano. Place tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.

photo

Set oven timer for 40 minutes, and place spaghetti squash in oven. After 20 minutes have passed, add tomatoes to the oven and cook for 20 more minutes.

Remove squash and tomatoes from oven. With a fork, remove the noodle-like insides of the squash and put on dinner plates. Top with roasted tomatoes and cheese.

image

image_4

We topped ours with some simple baked chicken (seasoned with salt and pepper and baked at 350 for 25 minutes), and a basil pesto I made earlier this week.

I love that spaghetti squash has the consistency of spaghetti noodles, but a fraction of the carbs and calories. It also has a bit of a veggie taste to it, so it feels like I’m eating nutritiously!

If anyone has tips for good half-marathons to run, I’d love to hear them!

Perfect Smoothie

I’m stealing this article/recipe from Fitsugar to share with you all, because it’s very appropriate for me right now. I just returned from a cavity-filling (yay) and my super strong mouth needed extra novocaine, so chewing is an issue. I’m about to make a smoothie, and perhaps one like this will be good for me (After all, I ran 6 hours ago. That counts, right?)

Recovery Never Tasted So Sweet: The Perfect Postrun Smoothie

As grueling as it can be, the blissful high after completing a long run is what keeps you coming back for more. But if you fail to eat the right foods afterward, headaches and fatigue can last for days, making it impossible to even consider getting up to go get the mail, let alone tackle another eight miles.

A recovery drink is easy to sip down fast, but if you ran for an hour or more, a sports drink like Gatorade won’t offer your body enough nutrients to refuel and heal those weary muscles. What you need are a combo of carbs to give you energy and protein to rebuild muscle; a four-to-one ratio of carbs to protein is ideal.

Skip the sports drink and reach for this refreshing postrun recovery smoothie instead. It’s made with Greek yogurt and chocolate milk to offer muscle-building protein, and banana and the chocolate in the milk provide energy-packed carbs. Since a long run can be really taxing on your body’s immune system, the blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries will offer your body an antioxidant boost. Top it all off with some water for hydration.

Fruity, sweet, and satisfying, this smoothie should be consumed within 30 minutes of finishing your run. As a bonus, the water and fiber will keep hunger under wraps for hours. 

INGREDIENTS

3 oz. plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1 banana
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup strawberries
1/2 cup raspberries
1/2 cup chocolate milk
1/2 cup water

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth.
  2. Enjoy immediately

By: Jenny Sugar

Blackened Tilapia with Cilantro Aioli + Mango Salsa, and My Envy-Worthy Plans

Can I please start this post off with the cutest picture ever?

photo

One of my best friends, Alissa, got this adorable letterman jacket for Louie, and I just can’t stand how freaking cute it is. Louie walks a little more bow-legged, but I think it’s his way of telling us just how much he loves it. He is such a Nole it hurts.

Moving on.. I started my morning in a Pure Barre class with Megan. My legs were shaking extra hard this morning, so I know the class was working. By the time the class ended, I felt like I was ready to audition for ABC (American Ballet Company, for those of you who don’t know. Actually, I only know about ABC from the movie Center Stage, so I don’t even know if it really exists), or So You Think You Can Dance, whichever is more exclusive.

I love the high-energy that I always get from the Pure Barre instructors, and feel that they pack the most they can into a one hour class.

I also spent about an hour waiting at the DMV, to get up to the window and be told we didn’t have the correct paperwork. I love bureaucracy! Luckily,this was the most annoying part of my day, and if that’s the most I can complain about, I feel like it was a good day!

I read by the pool with Louie in the afternoon.. Life is hard these days. For both of us.

image

Remember when I said earlier that the DMV was the most annoying part of my day? I take it back. The most annoying part of my day happened at Publix, because I can never learn from my mistakes.

image_1

When will I understand that I need to choose the grocery cart over the grocery basket? This happens. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I still had to pick up 4 items after this picture was snapped – you can imagine how ridiculous I looked walking with a cereal box between my legs.

And finally I came home and prepared dinner for the family. This is probably one of my favorite seafood dishes I’ve created in a while, and I think my favorite part of it was the cilantro aioli.

image_3

Blackened Fish Tacos with Cilantro Aioli + Mango Salsa

1 1/2 lbs Tilapia or Catfish

2 Tbsp cumin

2 Tbsp paprika

1 Tbsp pepper

1/2 tbsp garlic powder

Juice from 1 Lime

1/3 of a red onion, sliced

Shredded lettuce

1/2 tbsp olive oil

flour or corn tortillas

Directions

Lay fish on a large tray and squeeze lime juice over both sides of fish. In a small bowl, mix all spices, and evenly distribute spices over both sides of fish. Heat olive oil in a deep frying pan, and saute onions for about 10 minutes. Remove onions from pan and set aside. Add fish to the pan, and pan sear fish for about 4-5 minutes per side. Serve atop lettuce, onion, and tortilla, with Mango Salsa and/or Cilantro Aioli (below)

Cilantro Aioli (Healthy Version)

1 cup fresh cilantro

1 single serving container of fat free plain greek yogurt

juice from 1/2 lemon

1 tsp cumin

2 tbsp fat free mayo

1 garlic clove

Directions

Place all ingredients in a food processor and chop until smooth and creamy.

image_2

image_4

The tangy flavor from the cilantro aioli that came from the greek yogurt really made this dish taste almost refreshing. I’ll be making this again, for sure!

I can’t believe it’s almost the weekend – where has the time gone?! I have a dentist and DMV appointment on my agenda today. It’s natural to feel jealous 😉

Feelin’ Cajun – My First Shrimp Boil

Three weeks ago my heart was shattered in a billion pieces because Derek’s family had a shrimp boil for Sunday night dinner, and I couldn’t make it over for the big meal. I’d never experienced the finger lickin’ delight of a such an event, and it seemed as if I was a day late and a dollar short on this one. But, being the kind folk that they are, Derek’s parents said that we could do it again – and we did it last night! The whole process seemed fairly simple for such a delicious end result, which makes it even more reason to make shrimp boils more regular in our lives!

photo (33)

Since I didn’t do the cooking, I’m not positive on the specifics of the recipe, but from what I gathered it went a bit like this:

Ingredients

3 1/3 pounds shrimp

Corn

Potatoes, quartered

Onion

2 Lemons, quartered

1 bag of Zataran’s shrimp boil seasoning

1 1/2 – 2 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions

Cover your dining or kitchen table in newspaper – this helps for clean up and makes you look more like a professional.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add in corn, potatoes, onion, lemon, cayenne and seasoning.  Cook for about 10 minutes. Add in shrimp, and continue to cook until shrimp turn pink and rise to the top. Drain immediately and pour onto your table. DO NOT USE PLATES OR FORKS OR YOU WILL BE ASKED TO LEAVE THE PARTY.

Serve with butter and enjoy 🙂

image (59)

image (61)

I most certainly enjoyed my first shrimp boil experience, and plan to give it a go at my own house very soon!

Rewinding backwards in the day, I was lucky to meet a new pup, Sebastian, and his sweet owner, who heard of my superb dog sitting skills 😉 Sometimes I find myself day-dreaming about being a dog sitter professionally, for life. Can you think of a better job? Sebastian is a 12 year old Sheltie and I think we will become fast friends!

Before my very important meeting with Sebastian, came my very important lunch with 2 friends – Wendy and Jourdan. Whenever we get together, we always talk about really serious things, like Wendy’s recent encounter and victory over a dragonfly at work. We also ate food, and I had this delicious salad from Wright’s:

image (62)

AND BEFORE THAT, was my workout. For Tuesday’s workout, I ran 10 miles at a 6 minute pace, and followed it with 2,000 crunches and 1,500 push ups. It was really easy and I need to learn to push myself harder.

But seriously, I ran 3.5 miles and then just played with Louie.

Today I’m looking forward to taking a Pure Barre class this morning, taking over payment and title to my car from my dad (yay, bills!), and watching my nephew, Parker this afternoon and evening!

Anyone have fun hump day plans?! Happy Wednesday, friends!

BODYFLOW + A Special Announcement + A New Recipe

Well hello there, guys! I can’t believe I forgot to share with you some of the most important news of the weekend/my life! I was a bit on pins and needles last week, waiting for my score on my final CPA exam to come in. The score was supposed to be posted online on Wednesday, but due to some technical difficulties at the National and State boards, didn’t go up until late Friday night. I spent Wednesday through Friday constantly refreshing my Internet, hoping to see a score. FINALLY on Friday night, this is what I saw:

scoreI got an 86 which, according to my calculations, is above the 75 passing score! So with that, I am D.O.N.E. with my CPA exams. It has been a long 10 months, but seeing that final passing score makes it more than worth it.

Now that I’ve shared my good news with you guys, let’s move on, shall we? Yesterday morning I woke up and snuggled with sweet Lou boy because it was National Dog Day! Who am I kidding? I wake up and snuggle with him every morning, but yesterday was extra reason to celebrate!

photo-150

Louie and Sam are the best dogs on the entire planet, I swear.

image-336

After the cuddle sesh, I headed to the gym to complete a 35 minute treadmill workout before taking a Bodyflow class. My cardio time looked like this:

Work out May 25

As soon as I finished my run I walked on over to the group exercise room to take a Bodyflow class. Bodyflow, like its counterparts Bodypump and CXWORX, is a Les Mills-developed fitness class. Bodyflow is a mix of Yoga, Tai Chi, and Pilates, and is made up of 45 minutes of exercise followed by 10 minutes of meditation. The stretching component of Bodyflow helped me loosen up all the tight muscles I’ve accumulated from Bodypump, CX WORX and cycling over the past few days, and helped me get to a calm place after a whirlwind week and weekend.


For lunch I whipped up a simple but tasty plate of steamed veggies, and topped it with a melted wedge of Laughing Cow sun-dried tomato cheese.

photo-149I’ve been lacking on the veggie-front, so this made me feel a little bit better about consuming massive amounts of cereal and nuts throughout the rest of the day. Sometimes I think I’m part squirrel.

Dinner

Finally a night at home in my kitchen! For dinner last night, I was only cooking for my dad and I, so I made one of our favorite dishes – Tilapia! I wanted to try something new with this fish, so I baked it under sliced tomatoes and basil. Here is my recipe for Herb + Tomato Baked Tilapia

image

Ingredients

2 tilapia filets
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp minced onion
1 tsp oregano
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 tomato, sliced
Handful fresh basil, sliced or shredded

Directions

Preheat your oven to 400° and spray a shallow baking dish or pan with cooking spray. Place tilapia filets in baking dish and set aside. In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt butter. Add lemon juice to melted butter and mix. In a separate bowl, mix thyme, minced onion, oregano and garlic. Pour lemon butter mixture over both sides of tilapia and then top both sides with herb mixture. Place tomato slices and basil atop the tilapia, and bake for 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

image_4

The dish was fairly simple and took about 30 minutes from start to finish – my kind of week night meal! Hope you all try and enjoy it 🙂

Photo Share 8/26

Hi, friends! Happy Monday! I hope you all had a lovely weekend – ours was one of celebration, as we spent Saturday evening with family and friends at our Engagement party! It was a great feeling knowing that our loved ones are as excited as we are for our wedding, and I felt like this beautiful party really got the ball rolling!

image-328Happy Hour @ Copper Fish in Tampa

photo-148Saturday morning spicy breakfast scramble

image-329Lunch @ Oxford Exchange on Saturday to remember a wonderful friend who passed away last year

image-332

Arrangements at our Engagement Party

935951_10200406918511295_1721662354_nWe loved being the guests of honor!

image-2College Roomie pic in my flower girl’s bedroom

1235466_10200406917431268_712621625_nMusic Man at the party

image-324Sunday night homemade pizza

image-326

image-327Roasted red pepper and BBQ – My flava of choice

I’m anxious to spend some time in the kitchen this week, but haven’t yet decided what I plan to whip up. Anyone have fun plans this week? Make it a great one!

DIY Mood

I am officially in the biggest DIY mood ever. Ever since we painted our entertainment center find (from Salvation Army)

photo-141

and painted this antique family heirloom bed to match the master bedroom

photo-142

image-235

I just haven’t had any time for more projects. But this is changing next week, and here are some of the ideas I have in mind:

Cupcakes and Cashmere Delicate Necklace

necklace10

Framed Scrapbook Paper from Belle Maison 23

05752bde5869bca4e772b31e4267808d

Patterned Votive Holders and Bud Vases

e55ede0ba914f50864c805057fdf1ab0

I’m still on the lookout for many more projects, let me know if you guys have good ideas!

Happy Friday, everyone!