"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places." Roald Dahl

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


I just made quinoa for the first time last week and I admit, I'm a little late to hop on this trend.  I've been hearing about this stuff for a while now.  How great it is, it's healthy, it's fun to cook with, etc.  Last week I made it and added chopped peppers, onions, garlic powder and lemon juice.  It was good, but I wanted to try it again with a real recipe.

I pinned the Quinoa Mac N Cheese a few weeks ago because it looked so darn good.  On Monday, I had a little bit of time to myself as I had been banned from the pool (more on that in a minute) and needed something to do that didn't include spending money or soaking up rays.  I made the mac'n'cheese and it was super easy!

Side Story:  I have some crazy running tan lines and I have been waiting for this three day weekend to lounge at the pool and get rid of these tan lines for weeks!  Saturday I got to the pool and realized that I had forgotten my sunscreen (horrible, I know!!) but I was already there and unpacked and it was 3 in the afternoon.  I knew I wouldn't be able to stay for long, so I just hoped that I wouldn't burn.  No. Such. Luck.  I fried.  And it's only in the spots that aren't already tan from running so it is all quite comical.  And it was a little painful for a day or two.  Anyway, I have banned myself from the pool for the remainder of the weekend until the burn is gone.  I also went out and bought two bottles of sunscreen so that this debacle won't happen again.  There you have it.

Back to the Quinoa'n'Cheese...I have heard great things about quinoa, but I wanted to know exactly what was good about it...so I googled it :).  "Quinoa is a grain-like crop grown primarily for it's edible seeds...As a chenopod, quinoa is closely related to species such as beets, spinach, and tumbleweeds." That is straight from Wikipedia.  It comes from the Andean Region of South America and is derived from the Quechua word "kinwa".   It has essential amino acids, lysine, and lots of calcium, phosphorus, and iron.  The reason I wanted to try it out is that it is high in protein as well.  Thank you Wikipedia.

To me, that beats the normal macaroni component.

Anyway, I thought I would give it a try.  It is so good!  And so easy.

1 1/2 cups quinoa
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese

Visit the orginial website for exact instructions at aroundthetableri.blogspot.com but I will also share with how I did it...

1.  Prepare quinoa as normal.  (it takes about 20 minutes)
2.  Wisk milk and eggs in a large bowl.
3.  Add in 1/2 the cheese, then the cooked quinoa, then the rest of the cheese and stir!
4.  Add the mixture to a coated pan (I used a 9 x 9 casserole dish).
5.  Pop in the oven at 350 for 35 minutes.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Workouts: Week 6

Well, here we are, 6 weeks in!  I've almost made it to my June 1 day of starting marathon training.  I am really starting to run faster, but without realizing it.  I'll check my watch at the end of a run and be shocked by my pace.  That's so fun for me!  I am finding 4 mile runs, that were kind of tough when I started, are now my simple short runs.

We are getting some hot humid weather here and it has been kind of tough to run the past few days.  I have pushed through though, done some extra strength training, and this weekend, because it was a holiday weekend, I told myself it was OK to take a day off.  Either way, I had a pretty good week!

Monday:  5 miles
Tuesday: 4 miles w/hills
Wednesday: off
Thursday:  6 miles w/hills and a 45 minute long strength and core class
Friday:  off
Saturday:  3 miles fast!
Sunday:  Intense core and strength training

Total:  18 miles

I feel good with the workouts I have been doing.  I'm getting stronger and I am working out consistently, but I don't feel burnt out.  I love mixing in the hills because it breaks up the workout and it makes the next run without hills feel like a breeze.

June 1 is the day I gave myself for starting the long runs.  That means that this week I switch from "getting in shape for marathon training" to "marathon training".  I'm a really nervous and I really excited all at the same time.  I am so happy that I have my sister to talk to because Catherine is training for this marathon also.  Even though she is halfway across the country, we talk on the phone every now and then and when I am nervous about my training, she always makes me feel better.  It's nice to have something like this to connect us.  She's a pretty bad ass athlete though, so I hope I can train enough to keep up with her come October 7.  We will see :).

Stay tuned to see how I do...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A (kind of) Healthy Dessert

Yogurt Pie

I can't remember how or when we started making this, but I remember that I loved to make it during the summers when I came home from college.  It is a mostly healthy dessert that is pretty light.  It itches that scratch for somethings sweet without leaving you feeling guilty and over-sugared. 

2 things of yogurt, your choice of flavor.  I used Yoplait Low Fat Raspberry because it's my favorite. 
1 tub of Cool Whip (I used low fat, of course).
1 graham cracker crust in a foil pie pan.  These can be found in any grocery store.

Mix the yogurt and cool whip in a bowl.  I use a 1:1 ratio.  Half yogurt, half cool whip.  It does not need to be perfect by any means and I use about half of the cool whip. 

Take the mixture and pour it into the graham cracker crust.  Freeze overnight. 

That's it!!  Before serving, let it sit out on the counter for about 10 minutes so it's soft enough to eat with a fork. 


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I Think I Want a Pet...

Yesterday I saw this on youtube and I could not believe it.  What a cute story.

Doesn't it make you want a pet to hug and cuddle? :)

...And is anyone else wondering if they were slightly worried about his "playful" pats and nuzzles getting a little toothy?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Week 5: Workouts

This week was rough.  As mentioned in last week's post, I was feeling pretty tired.  I kept going, however, and listed to Jan's advice.  I didn't get as many miles in this week, but I made them worth it.

Monday: 4 miles and core work
Tuesday: 2.5 miles w/stadiums
Wednesday: 4 miles w/hill intervals
Thursday: off (soooo sore!)
Friday: 6 miles
Saturday: core work and strength
Sunday: off

Total:  16.5 miles

I'm happy with it and even though the mileage is less, I feel it in my legs.  I have never before actually trained on hills.  I ran a lot of stadiums in college, but never hills.  My quads were incredibly sore the day after the hill sprints so I know I needed them.  And the mix-up in the routine made my 6 mile run on Friday quite pleasant.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Weekend Re-Cap

This past weekend was amazing (I had two full days off!!!).  Friday night we went to the driving range.

Saturday I had lunch with my friend Anna and then we got pedicures, but not before shopping for a few hours at Cameron Village.

Sunday I got to spend most of the day with Derek and it was fabulous!  Sunday evening we had a really nice dinner with Jan and Dusty to wish Jan a "Happy Mother's Day!"

What a great weekend!  I need a few more of those.  Now back to work...er, baby shower planning... :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Week 4: Workouts

This past week I kept up the trend.  It was a good week.

Monday: 4 miles
Tuesday: 4 miles
Wednesday: off
Thursday: 4 miles
Friday: 5 miles
Saturday: 3 miles
Sunday: off

Total:  20 miles

I am feeling a little tired.  Sunday's run was hard.  It felt like my legs each weighed 300 pounds.  I am four weeks into upping the training.  All of the programs say that I should be doing a recovery week now, but I'm not sure what I'm going to do.  I would love to say that I can just keep trucking along, but I have a long way to go - and I want to make it.  Any advice for me?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

My Mom

My mom is pretty awesome.  I made sure to call her this morning so that I could catch her before she left for work.  Yes, that's right.  My mom offered to work today so that her coworkers would be able to spend mothers day with their families.  My sisters and parents will celebrate next weekend instead.  She's pretty selfless, isn't she?  

My mom is always thinking of others, always telling us how proud she is of all that we've done and she works really hard.  She deserves a day just for her.  We need to make sure she gets one.  

I hope she has a wonderful day at work and that the patients are really nice to her!  

I love you mom!!  Wish I could be with you today.

Happy Mother's day as well to my big sister, Paula, who will be a mama in September!  

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Happy Birthday Corey

Today is Corey's birthday and lucky for her, she gets to celebrate it in Washington DC with her husband and parents.  

I hope that she has a wonderful day and a great trip!!  

Happy Birthday Corey!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Summer is Coming!

You know what happens this weekend?!! 

It's a big weekend in our world because the pools open in town!  Derek will be hard at work making sure that everything is perfect, and that also means that summer is here!!  Well, just about here.  This morning on my run I was freezing in the 65 degree weather, but the forecast says 80 degrees and mostly sunny for tomorrow!

I don't really get around to hanging out at outdoor pools all that often in the summer, but there is something exciting about the first day the pools are open. 

Here's what else I'm looking forward to this summer...

* More running outside
* Summer weddings
* Planning/hosting my sister's baby shower
* Eating outside at restaurants
* Playing tennis and golf with Derek
* Day trips to the beach to learn to surf
* Getting to see my family THREE times!!
* Grilling with Derek
* Earlier practice times so that I will be done with work before 7 each night!!

Enjoy the weekend!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Week 3: Workouts

This was a pretty good week of training, as well.

Monday:  6 miles
Tuesday:  4 miles
Wednesday:  off
Thursday:  3 miles
Friday:  5 miles
Saturday:  off
Sunday:  off

Total Miles:  18

Don't let Saturday and Sunday fool you.  I spent both days at a swim meet and was on my feet all day!  So while I didn't run...I'm not sure I'll call them recovery days.

I'm definitely starting to notice a difference in my ability to go farther faster.  I'm enjoying my runs more. They seem to go by so quickly!

Foot Update:  The tops of my feet still hurt a little bit in the mornings and the day after my run.  I haven't seen an actual doctor yet, but I am trying to work on my calf flexibility to help.  The pain has gotten no worse as I've upped my running though, so I'm hoping that it's nothing serious.

Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, May 4, 2012

a Few things for Friday

I love Fridays!!  I would love them more if I weren't working all weekend long, but still - I love them.

Here are some things that I am loving this week...

*Oranges.  Normally, I don't eat them because I think it is annoying and too much work to peel them but for some reason I bought a whole bag of them at the grocery store last week and I can't get enough of 'em!  Sometimes I eat two a day.

*Eggs.  In my attempt to eat healthier I am trying to have healthy snacks handy.  That means that on Monday I hard-boiled a half-dozen eggs.  Now I can grab them on my way to morning practice instead of eating a granola bar or baggie of cereal.  I can also get some quick protein after a run.

*Braids.  I've been putting little braids in my hair like it's going out of style.  Maybe it is?  I don't know, I've never been super trendy...but I like it and I'm going to stick with it for a bit.  It jazzes up a normal pony, that's for sure.

*Spinach.  I put it in my shakes this week and I made a spinach salad last night with dinner.  Yummy!  Shockingly, I couldn't taste it in the shake.  I need to do that more often!

*Cooking!  This week I have cooked not one, not two, but THREE times!!  That's right.  Crazy.  Monday I made Taco's, Tuesday it was homemade BBQ chicken pizza and last night I grilled burgers and squash.  Derek and I could get used to this :)

Yes, it is getting hot.  Ignore the dusty dashboard

*Instagram.  I have been hearing about this for a while and quite frankly, I can't believe I didn't jump on the bandwagon before now because I am so obsessed with pictures of any kind, but I love it!  I'm using my twitter name so...  it's laur_e_n if you want to follow me.

Post run picture.  ew.

*Running.  I'm finally getting to the point where I look forward to my runs!  As it gets closer to summer my tan lines are absolutely ridiculous.  I need to get to the pool ASAP.

*Revenge.  Not for real - just the TV show.  Derek and I are hooked.  And after a bit of a break it has been on for two weeks in a row now!  If you don't watch this show, I highly recommend it.  Suspence, love, drama, and of course, revenge.  It's got it all.  My mom got me hooked when I was home for Thanksgiving, then I came back and Derek and I watched all of the shows on my computer to catch up.  Since then we have not missed an episode!

*Hanging out with Derek.  His schedule doesn't allow for a ton of down time right now, but we've been having dinner together and getting some quality time in still.  Last Sunday we spent the whole day together and it was pretty awesome. We even ended our car ride home with a little contest to see who could hold their arm out the sun roof the longest.  Yes, we are unique :) and for the record... Derek won.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


This past weekend I went to the Sugarland show with my friend Anna.  These were the tickets that I won last week at Casino Night and they were good seats!  Anna and I had a blast!

It was cold!  I've never had to bundle up so much at an outdoor concert down here before.

Their tour is called "In Your Hands" and the audience gets to request the songs they want to hear via posters, texts, and emails.  It's an interesting theme.  At one point they pulled a 10 year old girl up on stage to sing a song that she had requested with the band and I thought that was adorable.  

I started liking Sugarland back when their first hit came out, "Baby Girl".  It's a song about a girl who leaves home to follow her dreams.  One time when we were on an 18 hour road trip with my family from Chicago to Rhode Island I remember belting it out in the car with my mom and sisters.  It was probably four in the morning and we had been in the car way too long, but we sang our little hearts out to stay awake.  It's a great memory and that's the only thing I think of when I hear that song.  They played it, and that was the best part of the night for me.