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The Power of Nice

Borrowed from Positive Outlooks

I’ve definitely mentioned this before… so I apologize in advance…. but I think it’s important enough to talk about again.

Being kind to people – whether you know them or not – can really make a difference in their day, in their lives, and even in yours.  Sounds like common sense, right? 

Well, it does to me too though we sometimes get so wrapped up in our busy lives that we don’t or can’t make the effort to do a nice thing or two for others.

A quick hello.                  

Extending a courtesy – like holding a door. 

A smile.           

Giving someone else the right of way on a turn. 

Pretty simple stuff.  BUT..it goes such a long way. 

This post is inspired by my own recent, personal experience.  While out running my home route, I was waved down by several ladies in their neighborhood.  I slowed down just enough to pop off my ear buds so I could hear what they had to say. 

And they surprised me with “A bunch of us women on this street see you make your way through here all the time.  Just know that we’re cheering for you.”

Of course, I thanked them for their kindness and for taking the time to chat with me.  Little did they know, that their gesture not only made my day….it also motivated me to extend my run from 3 miles to about 4.5 that afternoon.  I was on such a high.  And, from what?  A quick sentence.  And the smiles and good intentions that accompanied it. 

I strive to be courteous whenever I can but these particular ladies reminded me that it takes so little to lift the spirits of others.  That we shouldn’t be afraid to seek out ways to do some good.

Who knows who you might be helping, motivating, or distracting from pain and circumstances in their lives. 

So, step back …take a second..and do something kind for others when that next opportunity presents itself.  You’ll feel good ..and I bet the recipient feels even better.

Mock Oven Roasted Potatoes

I enjoy having the occasional oven roasted potato but find that I’ll pass up on this side out of sheer laziness or a lack of time.

I mean… you have to turn on and preheat the oven… prep the potatoes…. and then wait 30 + minutes for them to crisp up. 

I don’t know about you but when it comes to something that requires patiently waiting around or precision timing…I’m not that good at it.  I consider myself a cook.  Not a baker. 

Plus, this multi-tasker needs to be doing several things at once.  I’m not known for hanging out. 

So based on all this, should I plan to give up on a delicious, roasted potato fix? 

Nope.  I can just use a crockpot.  Really.

Here’s how:

  • coat your crockpot with 1 Tbsp olive oil (or your preferred oil)
  • cut and quarter 6 medium potatoes
  • season them with salt, pepper and garlic powder
  • place them in a single layer on the bottom of your crockpot
  • throw in a sprig of rosemary or dried rosemary leaves
  • and let them cook for 3-4 hours on high

Believe it or not, they crisp up just like if they were in the oven.  Bonus – your house will smell heavenly from the rosemary.  Mmm.

And for those of us watching our figures, this recipe makes 6 servings with the following nutritional stats:

  • Calories – 163
  • Fat – 2.6 g
  • Carbs – 36.5 g
  • Fiber – 3.6 g
  • Protein – 3.6 g

I’m thinking I just gave you a few reasons to try this dish out.  Enjoy!

Categories: Food/Recipes

Diving in Head First

My husband and I before the Race

I’ve waited long enough.  In fact, I started talking about this back in 2010. 

And, for a number of reasons it’s never been the perfect time – injury, pregnancy, not enough training time, good old-fashioned nerves. 

I’ve finally realized there’s no perfect time so I’m just going for it. 

I’ll be running my first half marathon on October 21st.  The Bay State Half Marathon.

So, that gives me only 5 weeks to prepare.

Why do this now?

Well, with 2 injuries (my toe and my hip), my husband and I just ran the Celebrate Pink 5K on September 15th.  We both did better than we expected (10:30 pace for me – not my best, not my worst) and my body felt pretty decent on the other side of it. 

So, I think I’m physically strong enough to give it a shot.  I’ll do my best to run it all..but if needed I know I can definitely walk to the end.

Plus, my sister is running the ING Half Marathon in Hartford on October 13 in memory of our boys, Micah and Julian, and to support infant loss and care.  She’s going into it with only a few weeks to train as well and will do what she can. I respect that.

The gesture and her commitment touched me so deeply that it got me thinking that if she’s willing to give it a shot in honor of my little angels…that I can do the same. 

So, here I am.  Ready to dive into this race head first with all that I’ve got.  I’ll finish it whatever way is necessary.  And, I too, will be doing it for all my boys that I love so dearly.

Numbers I Can Handle

Some may think I’m obsessed with stats, spreadsheets and the like.  And, generally speaking, they’re right. 

Whether it’s my professional or personal life, I like to break things down into numbers, tasks or  things you can measure.  Why?  Because if you can measure it, you can achieve it.  

It all comes back to my competitive nature.  And like my Dad, I’ve had it all my life. Whether it’s besting myself or someone else, I get satisfaction out of a job well done. 

Well, let’s get to the point of this post.  I’m not a fan of waiting out my weight loss.  Who is? 

  • In July, I lost 6.5 lbs.  Not bad, right?  But considering I worked out 26 out of 31 days that month, I was disappointed.  But, I got over it and focused on August.
  • Then, August went down pretty much the same way.  I worked out 30 out of 31 days  – taking one day off to host a family BBQ.  And…drum roll please…I lost 7.5 lbs for the month. Respectable but not satisfying. 

So at the start of September, I’ll admit to being a little down.  

The weight was coming off slow.  I was dealing with a broken toe.  And, then on top of it all, I injured my right hip.  The chips were stacking up against me and my mood was taking a dive.

And then while walking and reviewing my Walkmeter app reports one day, I got some perspective.  I discovered a few data points I liked and was proud of:

  • I worked out every day except 5 in July and 1 in August.
  • I logged 99 miles (running + walking) & beat my goal of 75 for August
  • I ran/walked 549 miles last year in the 5 months I wasn’t pregnant.
  • Since July of this year, I’ve already put in 197 miles. 

Not only are these solid results, but they say something about me. 

That I can commit to what’s important to me.  That I’ll put in the time and effort that’s needed.  And if everything breaks down into math & numbers, I should be okay. 

Exercise + Eating Right = a Healthy Body.  If you look at the equation, it doesn’t say how quickly it’ll happen.  I’ll just need to trust that doing the right things leads to the right results.

Catching Some Zzz’s

My boys gave me a great gift last night.  8 hours of sleep.  8 hours for them (a first).  And, 8 hours for me (hasn’t happened in a while).

Now, I’m someone who can usually operate off of 6 hours a night and do so on a pretty regular basis.  I didn’t realize how much I really needed this uninterrupted rest until this morning. 

I woke up absolutely energized.  And because of this, I’ve been taking full advantage of it.

After making sure Gavin and Quinn were all set…

I walked 1.3 miles.

I lifted weights for 20 minutes

I cooked.  A black bean salad.  Roasted Red Peppers.  Fresh Pico de Gallo.

And all of this by 12 pm today.  LOVE it. 

Boys:  If you can be so kind as to do this at least once or twice a week, I’ll make it worth your while.  I could sneak you a few extra ounces at meal time or sing you an an extra round of twinkle twinkle little star. 

Just name your price.

Categories: Anecdotes / Thoughts

Stepping Up My Game

Well, the title of this post can be taken both figuratively and literally. 

My game plan for August is to take my exercise program to the next level by achieving several targets – one of them being increasing my monthly mileage. (The other targets can be seen in my workout calendar)

And, I’ve decided that there’s no reason why I can’t do some type of exercise daily.  It doesn’t have to be long.  It doesn’t have to be hard.  But, it does have to be exercise.  For example…..

  • A walk
  • A workout video
  • Weights
  • Or of course my favorite..a Run

Since having a documented plan worked so well last month, I’m taking the same approach for August.  Here’s what I’m shooting for:

Anything above and beyond this is gravy.  I’m hoping that keeping focused on fitness will get my calorie burn up and my body weight down. 

I’ll let you know how I do at the beginning of next month.  In the meantime, I hope you accomplish the goals that you’ve set for yourself.

The One Latin Dish I Can Make

I’m not afraid to admit that when it comes to types of cuisine I pretty much stick to Italian (surprise surprise) and American Grill.

What’s funny is that I like most foods but cooking them is a different story.

  • I’m overwhelmed by Indian.  You need more spices than I have on hand and the prep steps seem longer.
  • I’m squeemish about Thai and Asian.  Though I like the end result, I can’t get over the fish sauce.
  • I just plain stink at Mexican/Latin meals.  Not sure what it is, but these dishes just don’t turn out right.  Even the simplest foods like Fajitas and Tacos are typically fails.

But, I finally have a Latin dish that I can make that comes out delicious EVERY time.   And I can thank a coworker for walking by my desk with it after heating up his lunch.

I made some comment about how good it smelled and how hungry it made me…and come to find out ..he was a cooking fanatic too.  He went on to tell me it was a recipe he found by watching Rachel Ray 30 Minute Meals

He was kind enough to print and drop off a copy of the Latin Chicken recipe that same day.  I have to admit that my husband was the first one to make it.  And it was phenomenal. 

It has the consistency of Jambalaya, Paella, or Risotto – nice thick, sticky rice.  And the sides –  all the things you love about Mexican food like avocados, salsa, sour cream, olives – put it over the top.

Just seeing them makes you want to eat them.  See:

 Green olive & tomato salsa

Avocado sour cream

I can’t say enough how much we enjoy eating this.  And, even better, I can make it and it still comes out great. 

Anyway, if you’re challenged by Mexican/Latin food or are just looking for the perfect dish for entertaining, you gotta give this a try.  You won’t regret it.

 Any cuisines that intimidate you? Or any other fool proof recipes you want to share?

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