Friday, June 29, 2012

Run Baby Run!

  Ah, so it's Friday night and you know what means... planning my Saturday morning run!

  I miss running on the gorgeous trails around us so I told Beau he is running with me tomorrow.  You know, so a mountain lion will see him first and I'll have time to hide.  I kid, I kid!

  Anyways, here's our route: running .5 miles to the start of Brooks Creak Trailhead (yellow), connecting to Montara Mountain Trail (red), then east onto North Peak Access Road (white).  Roughly 8 miles total. 

  That's right baby - running up to the top of Montara Mountain!  (roughly 1900 feet elevation)

  Beau has a slight advantage - correction: a lot of advantages, long legs, beastly man power, and having run to the top once before.  I've actually ran (struggled) a good portion of this route pre-marathon training days.  And it's pretty tough, but the views are so beautiful.  You can see our little neighborhood of Linda Mar, Pacifica and Twin Peaks Tower up north in San Fran, and Half Moon Bay to the south.  

  While we're on the topic of being healthy and training (the likes of insanity) I thought I'd share some of my diet - my Clean Eating lifestyle - that I believe is greatly helping me train.  I feel so much more awake, in tune with my body, and I can already start seeing improvements in my strength and endurance.

  I cook 100% gluten free meals (obviously!)
  No dairy.

  We share a huge salad for our side course almost every single night.

  We eat vegan/ vegetarian dinners 3-4 times a week.  

  Organic chicken and fish the other nights.

  We eat ridiculously large amounts of veggies.

  Oatmeal oatmeal oatmeal.  And there are a ton of delicious ways to prepare it.  I think I will have to make a whole post on just oatmeal recipes... I used to hate it and now I love!

  Healthy wholesome carbs like quinoa and sweet potatoes.  so. good.

  We drink ridiculously large amounts of water.

  We eat lots of mini meals and focus on breakfast which is so important!

  And lastly, no refined sugar.  Which is funny, since, you know, I'm a baker and all... ;)

  If anyone is interested in seeing my day to day diet, please comment and I will write up my basic meal plan!  We can all learn from each other and figure out ways to improve our health!  Until then, wish me luck in about 9 hours...

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Easy Peesy Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

 It's funny that my first post I ever  wrote was about Boston's "New" Cream Pie.  

Ohmygosh.  A little embarrassing?  Ah, well I am happy that over the course of a year and a half my posts have gotten a little bit... better?  Yes, I believe so...

  So let's talk about this little cupcake.  It is so easy to make and assemble.  And will wow your guests.  Or you family.  Or... your tummy.  Shhh, no worries I won't tell anyone you ate them all.

1 recipe vanilla cake (or 1 box GF Betty Crocker's vanilla cake mix)
1 package instant vanilla pudding
milk (however much your pudding requires, I used the amount needed for a pie filling so it's thicker)
1 tsp rum extract
1 cup heavy cream
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

1)  Bake your cupcakes following your recipe (or cake box mix if you're pressed for time!)
2)  Prepare the vanilla pudding and add 1 tsp rum extract.  Mix well and refrigerate.
3)  Make your ganache!  Bring the cream to a boil then remove from heat source.  Add your chocolate chips, let them sit a moment to soften, then stir smooth.
4)  Once cupcakes are cool, scoop a little hole out of the top and add in pudding.  Or, I used my handy dandy Wilton Bismarck Tip to "inject" the pudding inside the cupcake.  Much less messy.
5)  Lastly, dip the top of your cupcake into the smooth ganache and enjoy!

  And on a side note... we decided to do some renovating on our already renovated home: we tore out the carpet on the stairs and upstairs, removed the icky popcorn ceiling (that was only left on the hall ceiling- lazy contractors!)  So Beau has been making custom wooden steps everyday after work.  My job will be to stain them at some point.  So needless to say, I kinda wish I had these Boston Cream Cupcakes on hand to treat ourselves {actually only Beau} after our {again, his} hard day of work!


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesdays with Michelle: It's a Purrrfect Life

I couldn't decide what I should write about for today's post.  So lucky you, you don't get to hear me rambling on about some new health thing I'm following.  Enjoy the silence and Enjoy some pictures taken throughout the past few months in our favorite place we now call home: the Bay Area.

Half Moon Bay

 San Francisco

might I add this picture was taken on top of Twin Peak on 4/20...
yeah the fumes from everyone up there nearly killed us... oh San Fran & your lax laws! 

Home Sweet Home, Linda Mar Pacifica

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Housewarming Party... for Us!

A few weeks ago we hosted a Housewarming Party at our new home!  We invited Beau's Coastie co-workers and friends, our neighbors, and my hometown friend Liz!  We had such a wonderful time and I {finally} made a few new friends!
I made a delicious white sangria with our good friend "2 Buck Chuck" from Trader Joe's...

This "Home Sweet Home" bunting was so much fun to make and it made quite a statement!  I love the summery warm colors.  I have two more exact buntings for sale in my Etsy Shop.  You can find it HERE if you're interested  :)

No party is ever complete without desserts!

Mini Peanut Butter Cookie "Smores" Cups... melted mini marshmallows and chocolate buttercream add extra yumminess to the flourless peanut butter cookie base.

Aren't they so cute?!

Rainbow Rice Krispie Treats.

Cake Pops... which were devoured!  I think I know now of a few Coasties who would be excellent spokespeople for my pops - like the two that ate about 5 each... yeah, I saw you sneaking back to take more!

For the savory dishes, I made Baked Chicken Sausage Penne, Bean Dip, my Mom's awesome Spinach Artichoke Dip, veggies and hummus, and these delish Vegan Cabbage Tacos.  

Fresh Quinoa with Basil, Cranberries, Lemon Juice, and lots of veggies

And homemade Almond Thyme Crackers with Sea Salt.

It was such a lovely party and Beau and I cannot wait to host another one!

Thank you to all who came!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Sneaky Peek into My Exciting Life

Yeah, so as you all know I lead a VERY interesting life.  Ha.  Yeah...

So to spice it up I'm doing a killer killer 9 mile run tomorrow.  We're talking mini mountain hills.  Seriously.

Oh, and that route above?  It's only 7 miles so I'm adding 2 miles of {flat} trail in San Pedro Valley Park.  Which is our backyard FYI  ;)

YAY for training!

ps- I'm already running out of miles!  How the heck 
am I going to do 20 miles at Week 15?  Guess I'm going to have to run to Half Moon Bay and Back!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Cannelli Bean Salad with Artichokes and Walnuts

  I have decided that every Thursday is going to be dedicated to sharing easy and healthy snacks, meals, and everything in between {like dessert!}.

  The reason you ask?

  I'd like to help my awesome coolio Dad learn how to cook.  He makes tasty scrambled eggs, and wraps, and... well, that's about it!  So here is my attempt, across the country, to teach him how to cook and prepare meals for him and my Mom.

  Enter: Cannelli Bean Salad.

  This bean salad literally took me 5 minutes to prepare this afternoon.  With all my marathon training (and Blogilates workouts feel the buuurrrn!) I needed something to tide me over before dinner.

  This appetizer/ snack/ side dish is super easy to make and so flavorful.  It's great for hot summer days or days when you just don't feel like cooking.  Just under 5 minutes of prep and you have a high protein dish with a dash of healthy fats and vegetables.

1  can cannelli beans aka white kidney beans (you could sub chickpeas as well)
1/2 red pepper diced (or any kind of bell pepper)
3/4 cup walnuts
1/2 can artichoke hearts cut-up
1 Tbs lemon or lime juice
2 Tbs olive oil
handful fresh basil and/ or cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

  Rinse and drain beans.  Chop your red pepper and artichokes and transfer to bowl.  Add beans, lemon or lime juice, olive oil, walnuts, and herbs.  Season with salt and pepper to your liking!

  Now wasn't that easy?!  This bean salad is so fresh and colorful and packed with all good stuff for your body.  Go make some and keep it always on hand.  Such a great alternative to other snacks out there!

  Good luck on your first "cooking" challenge, Dad!     ;)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tuesdays with Michelle: What's Triclosan?

  Simply put, Triclosan is a pesticide... a toxic chemical...    

  ...And it can be found in every day items such as hand soap, hand sanitizers, antimicrobial plastics (labeled as "Microban"), deordorant, make-up, and toothpaste just to name a few.

  I had never heard of it until a few weeks ago when the Yahoo home page posted an article on it.  Right away I checked some of my product labels and found out that it was an ingredient in our toothpaste and Beau's face wash.  We are now proud users of Trader Joe's Antiplaque Toothpaste with Fennel, Propolis, and Myrrh {it's fluoride-free and we only pay a little over $2 at the store, I don't know why Amazon is selling it so expensive!} 

  Studies show that Triclosan can disrupt normal Thyroid and hormonal function, cause birth defects, and antibiotic resistance.  Studies also prove that Triclosan is easily absorbed into the body; it is found in breast milk of every 3 out of 5 women.  {So all my pregnant friends out there, please read your ingredient labels!}

  With this basic knowledge under our belt, there's no wonder why our society is having so many issues with conceiving and crazy mutated bacterias causing severe illnesses - And this is only one of the many chemicals we touch, eat, and breath every day.

  It's scary to know that the FDA and EPA are aware of this chemical's potential side effects, but still haven't done much about it.  There are on-going tests and trials, and blah blah blah but the least we can do is take action ourselves and rid our homes of this toxic substance.

  There are many many many articles regarding Triclosan, just google and you will be amazed at the info out there.  

  Now that I have got your attention, what household items have you found that contain Triclosan?  Are you going to replace it with a Natural substitute?  Share your ideas so we can all benefit! 

Here is a very informative article about Triclosan.

This is a very in-depth research paper published by Tufts Medical.

{FYI: I am in no way an expert on this issue.  Please do your own research and determine what is best for you and your family}

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Chocolatey Rocky Road Make-Over

   Everyone loves ice cream.  Especially me.  When I received a good report card in school, my parents didn't give me cash.  Or new clothes.  Oh no.  I got to make a huge ice cream sundae!  Which, in my opinion, is soo much better than money  ;)

  As the years have gone by, I've been realizing more and more that ice cream, err, the dairy, does not settle well with me.  So I've been slowly giving my favorite ice cream flavors a make-over!  I used full-fat coconut milk to replace the dairy and it makes this treat oh so creamy and rich, but it doesn't taste coconutty at all.  Actually you know what?  I think it's even better than the dairy ice cream version! 
  This Rocky Road Ice Cream is dairy free, gluten free {obviously!}, refined sugar free, and vegan if you desire to omit the mini marshmallows.

1 can full-fat coconut milk (14oz)
1/3 cup agave (you can get away with less if you like less sweet treats)
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped almonds
handful or two of mini marshmallows (optional)

  Combine all ingredients except for nuts and marshmallows and churn in ice cream maker according to directions.  The last 5 minutes before it's "done" add nuts and marshmallows!  You can either enjoy ice cream right away or freeze for at least 30 minutes to have a harder ice cream.

I'm participating in these parties!

Monday Meals

Road Trip Day 7

  Ahh, you're probably wondering when I'm going to finally stop posting pictures of our travels... well, I still have quite a bit more so hold on and enjoy nature's beauty!

On Day 7 we ventured to the Grand Canyon!  It was gorgeous, hot, and crowded.  Next time I think we'll visit it from the North Rim where it is less crowded and touristy.  And unfortunately we couldn't hike on the trails because we had the doggies with us.  We hope that we will be able to hike into the Canyon on another vacation {hopefully} not too far into the future!