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New Traditions

Before the 2010 Race..Brrr.

Back in 2010, I ran my first road race on Thanksgiving Day – the Feaster Five in Andover, Massachusetts.

Thousands of people turned out that day with their families to take part in the event.  Adults, young children, babies in strollers, even pets.

You had the option of walking or running a 5K or 5 mile course and at the end of it all…you got an apple pie for your efforts.  Now that’s an incentive! :)

I was amazed by how many people set aside the time to participate on a pretty big holiday.  And, now I realize how great an activity this really is for any family. 

You’re together.

It’s healthy for everyone involved.

And, most importantly, it’s a ton of fun.

So this year, my husband is joining me in the event and next year we plan to bring along our boys in a jogging stroller.  (Though I’ll need to get in some hill practice before that day comes)

There you have it – the start of a new family tradition.  One that hopefully sticks with us for a very long time. 

And the big BONUS – you don’t feel so bad about the delicous turkey day feast you’ll enjoy after burning off a few calories in the morning. 

Question – have you started any new traditions recently?

Sweet & Sour Chicken, Italian-Style

Most of us are familiar with Sweet & Sour Chicken that’s served up on your local Chinese Food restaurant’s menu.  Hunks of deep-fried chicken.  Coated in a sticky, sweet sauce.  Throw in a side of fried rice. 

Well, this is nothing like that.  -No offense to those who dig the Chinese food version. 

Instead, this recipe borrowed from my Sicilian Momma gives you a contrast of sweet, sour and salty bites through a mix of flavor-packed ingredients.  Relatively easy to pull off, the dish is ready in about an hour and is well worth the wait. 

You’ll need (for 4 servings):

  • 1 lb chicken (mix of dark and white pieces)
  • 12 green olives, pitted and sliced
  • 2/3 cup flour (wheat or white)
  • 1/8 c capers
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 stick celery, diced
  • 1/2 c apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 c dry white wine
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil & cooking spray
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Making the dish:

  1. Preheat frying pan with oil over medium-high heat
  2. Roll chicken through flour & place in pan. 
  3. Cook 3-4 min per side.  Then pour in vinegar & sugar.
  4. Simmer until liquid evaporates.  Cover & set aside.
  5. Heat saucepan over medium-high heat with cooking spray.
  6. Saute onion, celery, olives & capers for 5 min.
  7. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
  8. Once veggies have softened, add chicken mixture to pan.
  9. Cook through for 20 minutes.
  10. Pour white wine in and cook it off for 2-3 min. 
  11. Your dish is ready to serve

This entree goes well alongside either a side of simple mashed potatoes or a rice of your choice.  And, if you’re feeling adventurous, the sauce also tastes great over wide noodles or pasta.

The Nutritional info per serving:

  • Calories – 360
  • Fat – 13.9 g
  • Fiber – .8 g
  • Protein – 29.7 g
  • Carbs – 19.3 g

Hope you get a chance to try this out.  It’s mighty tasty!

Categories: Food/Recipes

Reentry

Two weeks ago, I returned to work from maternity leave.  The first week, I worked from home.  The second week, I was at the office.

Going in, I expected it would be hard to leave my boys.  I anticipated that I would get a little (or very) emotional about it.  I was warned there would be an adjustment period. 

So, it wasn’t a big surprise when all these things turned out to be true. 

Yes, it’s an adjustment.  Heck – it’s a big shift in the day-to-day routine.  And though I’m all for  change, I’m also a creature who loves her habits.

Fortunately, a little upfront planning and the support of several good people have helped me to quickly work through the process of reentry. 

  • Our childcare is great.  Knowing that Gavin & Quinn are well-cared for puts my mind at ease.  And it lets me head out the door in the mornings.
  • Family has been supportive.  From checking in, chipping in to help, or just being there to talk.
  • My coworkers have been wonderful.  Welcoming me back, sharing their congratulations/well-wishes, asking how I’m doing & talking through the changes with me.
  • Other parents have been a helpful resource.  Reassuring me that things work out, providing advice, and talking about how they enjoy a balance between family and work.
  • My obsession with lists & tasks pays off.  Planning & prepping meals for the week, scheduling chores/household activities outside of work hours, deferring non-essential items to later. 

Here’s the bottom line.  I love my family.  I love to work.  It’s important to me that these two things can coexist.

After working through the past 2 weeks, I believe it’s possible.  In fact, I’m comforted by the fact that other families do it ALL the time.  I have a tremendous amount of respect for other parents and all they do. 

And, though this post is about returning to work, there’s another lesson that’s reinforced here.  One that has held true no matter what the situation.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way. 

It’s early.  I’ve just started down this path.  But, I know it’s doable.  Therefore, I will.

The Training Wheels Come Off

Beaming with pride after finishing my first race in 9:15′s

Last week, I jumped straight into the Hal Higdon half marathon training program at week 6/7 trying to crash course my way to a 13+ mile road race on October 21st. 

Though committed to crossing the finish line no matter what, there was still a question about whether the training time would be enough to run the entire thing - due to my injuries and only having 5 weeks to prepare. 

I knew the first week of the program would be telling and would set the tone for the rest of my training. 

I’m happy to report – ecstatic in fact – that week 1 went REALLY well.  First and foremost, my toe and my hip feel good.  Fingers crossed that they stay that way.

Second, I had respectable runs last week – where I focused only on distance and ignored pace. 

  • 3.5 mi on Monday
  • 4 mi on Wednesday
  • 4.5 mi on Friday
  • 8 mi on Sunday

The 8-miler confirmed it for me.  I can run long distance.  I’m not exhausted when I’m done.  And, my legs don’t feel like they’re going to fall off. 

I’m not looking to jinx it but I think I can do this.  Be ready for the half marathon in the time I have available. 

So, I’m not going in tentative anymore.  Instead, I’m going in with the finish line in mind. Wish me luck.

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.

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