Monday, October 31, 2011

Do the Hustle

I started running again. Running definitely comes in seasons for me. I prefer to really get going when the weather cools off because treadmills bore me to no end, and then I stop when going out for a 3 mile run starts to feel like a chore.

I'd much rather run through my neighborhood and see the house and trees rather than watching whatever is on the TV in front of me at the gym. Since it just wouldn't cool off here until a couple of weeks ago, I finally started a new training plan. I hadn't run in a couple of months so I was nervous, but I couldn't believe how easily my first attempt at running 30 minutes went. I was back! So I got a little too anxious and started finding races to run in the next few months. First up - The Halloween Hustle 5K & 10K that took place yesterday morning. I had no idea what to expect since I hadn't been on a running plan long at all, and I would be partying it up the night before, but I decided to go for and do something different...dress up (sort of)!

I went with as the beloved Candy Corn! Speaking of which, I haven't even had a piece of candy corn this Halloween season. I probably need to correct that, but I imagine my body appreciates the lack of a sugar high. Anyway...I knew I couldn't get too crazy with an outfit since I have issues with things distracting me when I run, like head phones flopping. It's strange, but it's me, and so I added one random piece to my outfit just to make me feel a little more festive...

Now the best part of the run was when I walked over to the trailer with the results posted to find...

Female 30 to 34
Place - Name - Bib No - Age - Overall - Total Time - Pace
1 - KRISTEN --- 1717 ----- 33 ----- 13 ----- 28:10.8 ----- 9:05/M
2 - SHARA ----- 1751 ----- 30 ----- 17 ----- 30:12.9 ----- 9:45/M

It was too difficult to paste our enter age group, but you get the idea. Second in my age group! 17th overall!! I was so impressed! Now I can't wait for my next race Thanksgiving weekend. It's Christmas themed so I've already got ideas stirring around in my head for my outfit. Fun, Fun!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

A New Favorite (Baked Apples)

I prefer to eat small meals throughout the day, but sometimes snacking on a plain old apple isn't as appealing as something warm. After searching online for a way to may baked apples as healthy as I could, I basically combined what I liked from several others' recipes and came up with my own.

(Apple, Apple Slicer, Yogurt (I prefer Vanilla), Raisins, Cinnamon, and Sugar)

I slice the apple and usually just leave it in big chunks, but sometimes when I'm not being quite as lazy, I cut them into bite sized pieces. Today was more of a "I just want to eat cause I'm hungry" situation so I didn't cut them up.

In a bowl add apples, raisins, cinnamon, and sugar. Also be sure to add a little water to the bottom of the bowl to keep everything (especially the raisins) from drying out. I always place a paper towel over the bowl, and then microwave for 5 minutes. The bowl and the apples are pretty hot after 5 minutes, so I let everything sit for a minute or two in the microwave.

Once you take the apples out, if there's a good amount of water at the bottom, feel free to drain it. Then add a couple of spoons of yogurt to the top. I kind of love how the yogurt melts on the apples, and after you give it all a stir, it's like apple cobbler (minus the breading) with melted ice cream. Yum...

Baked Apples
1 Apple
Raisins (as desired, but I use about 1/8 a cup)
Cinnamon (as desired, but I love it so I get a little crazy)
Sugar (1 tsp or a packet of sweetner)
Water (just enough to add moisture)
Yogurt (about 3 dollops with your spoon)
Nuts or Cereal (optional)

Slice apple and place in bowl with raisins. Add a little bit of water. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top. Cover with a paper towel. Microwave for 5 minutes and let stand 1-2 minutes. Drain any excess water. Spoon yogurt on top of apples and mix together.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Very Pinteresting

Okay, it took me a week of thinking "what in the world is going on?" after I signed up on Pinterest to get in the swing of things. Now that I figured it all out, like 99.999999999% of Pinterest users, I adore it! I'm learning so much, like how to make my eyes have that smokey look, and how to not have the same hair-do everyday. Let me clarify, I am by no means a professional artist in the hair or makeup world. I get by just fine, thank you, but that's where it stops, and these tutorials are changing my day-to-day hair and makeup routine.

Moving on...I found this sock bun tutorial that I thought was really neat. Now that I have bangs, I'm channeling my inner Audrey Hepburn/Zooey Deschanel/Feist these days, and I'm all about finding new dos. As hard as I fought it, I might have a little "hipster" side coming out of me. I've purchased a few striped sweaters as of late, and I even own some skinny jeans now that I love (they're curvy so they actually look good on a curvy girl). I don't even know who I am anymore, but it's all good because I'm having fun.

Wow, another derailment! Remind me not to blog when I've had a cup of coffee, please. Here's the tutorial:

And's what I was able to do with it:

Oh, I love it!! I actually wore my hair just like this when I road the rail down to the great State Fair of Texas to meet some friends. There I sat in my (curvy) skinny jeans, a boyfriend cut v-neck, and my hair all done up while listening to Feist on my iPod feeling like I owned the city.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I'm Shara, and I'm an Avoider

Once Spring and Summer are in full swing, I rarely wear slacks for work. It's skirts and dresses all the way! But when my busy time of the year starts in late August, I know slacks are going to be part of the wardrobe again. The only problem is, something happens over the course of the summer when I'm in free flowing waistline starts to expand. I knew this was definitely the case this spring and first half of the summer since I put working out on the back burner, and when I saw my slacks hanging in my closet (size "smallest I'd ever bought"), I couldn't bear to try them on. I didn't want to know the truth, and I completely avoided them.

Instead, I went to Kohl's and bought one pair of slacks that fit just fine.. Those were all I would allow myself to buy and wear until I could fit back in last year's slacks. I also made sure to pay attention to what I was eating and how often I was eating along with starting a new training program for running so I could get last year's slacks back in the rotation.

A month went by, and my waistline was getting back to where it should be. The new slacks were getting pretty loose, but I still couldn't bring myself to try on the others...until this morning which marks close to 2 months since I started paying attention to things again. I reached in the closet, unclipped a pair of the slacks, and I was surprised at how loose they felt in the thighs as I was pulling them up. But then came the tell-all sign. How would they fit when I buttoned them? How much of me would be pushed up above the pants to make them fit??

Imagine the surprise (me, the avoider) I felt when they buttoned just fine. Success!!

I love happy endings :)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Chicken and Greek Salad Lettuce Wrap

Yesterday evening, I was headed home from the driving range (we can talk about this new obsession of mine another time), and since I'd already went out for my daily run (also something to discuss another time), I was starving! I had about a 30 minute drive home which gave me lots of time to think of what I wanted to eat. I knew what was in my refrigerator, and I knew I had chicken I needed to put to use so I decided I would go with a new favorite of mine - greek salad, and build from there. Unfortunately when I decided to add the greek salad with chicken and make lettuce wraps I did have to run into the grocery store to actually buy lettuce, but once I was home, I had my dinner ready in 20 minutes (the time it took to poach and shred the chicken).

Here are the ingredients:

(chicken tenders, cucumber, tomato, feta cheese, olive oil, red wine vinegar, pepper, salt, and a packet of Splenda)

If you don't know how to poach chicken, you should learn! It's one of the easiest ways to prepare it. I love seasoning on chicken, so I loaded mine with garlic and pepper before putting in the pan to cook. Once that got going I started on the vegetables:

Peel the cucumber, chop it up, then chop up your tomato and purple onion (forgot to put that ingredient in the first photo - oops!!)

I probably should go ahead and tell you unless I'm baking something that needs precise measurements, I don't like to take the time to get out measuring spoons. I'm lazy like that, so I just wing it. For the greek salad dressing I went with Pioneer Woman's ingredients - olive oil, red wine vinegar, and sugar (I used Splenda) to cut the bitterness. If I had to guess, I used a TBSP of each and half the packet of Splenda, but I was only making this for myself. You'll definitely need more if you're cooking for more than one. I also added black pepper to the dressing since I really can't get enough pepper.

Once the chicken was cooked through, I took two forks and shredded into big chunks. If I was making shredded meat for tacos, I would've gotten much crazier with it, but I thought big chunks would work for this. Then I took a couple pieces of iceberg and built my wrap by adding chicken, the veggies mixed together, and some crumbled feta. I poured the dressing on top, but, if you want, you could easily put the dressing in a small bowl and dip your wrap into.

And here's the finished product:

It was light, flavorful, and definitely hit the spot! For those of you that like greek salad you probably noticed I left out the olives. If I have a can, I use them, but I didn't this time so it worked fine without it. For those of you that don't like greek salad. Sorry! I'll hopefully make something you're willing to eat next time.

Chicken and Greek Salad Lettuce Wrap

Chicken Breast or Tenders (seasoned with garlic and pepper)
1 Cucumber
1 Tomato
1/2 Purple Onion
Iceberg Lettuce
Feta Cheese (to taste)
Olives (optional)

Greek Salad Dressing (makes 1 serving)
1 TBSP Olive Oil
1 TBSP Red Wine Vinegar
Packet of Splenda (sweeten to taste)
Black Pepper (to taste)

Poach Chicken until cooked
Peel, slice, and chop cucumber
Slice tomato and 1/2 of purple onion then combine all 3 vegetables
Once chicken is cooked, remove from pan, and shred with two forks
Tear off lettuce leaves and lay flat to add chicken, veggies, and feta cheese
Pour on or dip wrap into dressing

On a final note, I'll be sure to try and make my meals when it's still daylight out. These pictures under a fluorescent kitchen light don't necessarily make me want to eat what's on the plate.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I'm Baaack!

I don't know why I pretend like I can blog. I want to. I really want to! But I get distracted with life, and probably more so, I don't know why any one would care to read what's going on in my life. This summer came with lots of changes. Lots! I had more changes (exciting, scary, bittersweet, and flat out sad) in one month than I've had in a few years, but I've gotten in a pretty good routine, and I'm ready to try this "blogging" thing again.

This time I want to try something different. I don't think how I spend my day is that important. What I do want to do is show you recipes I make that (I think) are yum-o, easy, and made with hardly any of the not-so-good-for-you stuff. I just tried out my first recipe tonight, and I even took pictures. Look at that! Mixing two things I thoroughly enjoy - photography and cooking! Maybe this was meant to be. Now don't get your hopes up (the one of you out there that might have hopes at this point). Who knows how long this will last, but I'm still going to try it out. I'll be posting the recipe tomorrow, so stay tuned...