Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A new favorite

The other day I discussed a new find of mine...coconut butter. Well, I have discovered coconut butter's evil twin....Its called Cashew Butter...


For the love of God...this may even be better than the coconut butter. To make this sweet jar of yumminess ever more dangerous, I added an apple and some cacoa nibs...

Together these three ingredients are beautiful, tasty, filling and healthy. That is, if you only use 2 tablespoons or less of the cashew butter, a sprinkling of the nibs and stop at one apple...


I cannot take it anymore. I must stop going to the grocery store and finding new things. I just love these new little treats. Seriously love them. Try them, let me know what you think. If you come to my house and punch me in the face for sharing them, I will totally understand.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Do not try this at home.

If you lack self control in any way, shape or form, do not try this at home. The recipe I am about to discuss could be hazardous to your health. It could kill you from yumminess. Seriously...this shit is good.

Here's the story...

I met a nice girl at a networking meeting a while back. She has a blog - http://www.dietfix.blogspot.com/. She is currently experimenting with eating raw. This is where you eat foods that are not heated over a certain temperature. It includes lots of fruits, veggies, nuts, etc. She posted some awesome recipes. One of these recipes was for raw carrot cake cookies. I LOVE carrot cake. I have been known to eat an entire one by myself. A real one, not the raw version.


Trevor and I have changed our eating while we are training for Ironman Canada. Right now we are getting all our carbs from fruits and veggies. I have fallen in love dates, I think they are a fruit, and I love them. They are really sweet and you can do a lot with them. They serve as a glue of sorts in many recipes. If you are familiar with Lara Bars, dates are the main ingredient in all of them. I also like to put goat cheese inside the dates and either just pop them in my mouth like Buddy the Elf did with cotton balls in the movie "Elf" or I put them on a salad. Anyway, the point is, I love dates.


So I see this recipe and it is pretty simple - dates, almonds, agave syrup, coconut butter...Did you know that they make lots of things out of coconut? coconut milk that comes in a container like regular milk or soy milk, coconut milk yogurt, coconut milk ice cream. I've had the milk and the yogurt and it is really good. It is mostly fat, so you really have to be careful with the rest of your diet, but its a great base for smoothies or to mix with protein. Really yummy. I had seen the coconut butter at the store, but didn't buy it. First because of the price - $13.99 for a jar the size of a peanut butter jar, next because it was the same amount of fat as peanut butter and only 2 grams of protein. Anyway. I bought it for this recipe. I tried a little bit of it on a spoon...this stuff should be ILLEGAL.


I mixed all the ingredients together, modified a bit for my tastes and had a hard time stopping myself. I wanted to eat the entire thing. Instead, I came up with a great variation that was peanut butter and chocolate. I used three ingredients for this one...dates, peanut butter and raw cocoa nibs. Now, these nibs were something I picked up on a whim....they are unsweetened and unprocessed. If you ate some, you would probably spit them out, but I have aquired the taste for them and when I made these peanut butter balls, the cocoa was a perfect addition.

Here are the recipes...


Raw Carrot Cake Cookies

1/4 cup slivered almonds
16 medjool dates
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut and 1/4 cup for garnish
2 tbsp Agave Nectar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp coconut butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup carrots
1 tsp vanilla



Use a food processor. Blend almonds to a fine powder. Add in your medjool dates and blend together. Add in coconut, agave nectar, salt, coconut butter, vanilla, cinnamon and blend together. Remove and set batter in a mixing bowl. Add carrots to the blender until they are almost a paste like consistency. Pour the carrots and raisins into the batter and mix all together. Then roll them into little balls and you can roll them in coconut if you like.


Peanut butter balls

8 medjool dates
2 tbsp peanut butter
raw cocoa nibs

Use food processor. Blend dates until well broken down, add peanut butter and blend until paste like. Roll into balls and then roll in cocoa nibs.

Put them in the fridge, lock it and give the key to someone who won't give it to you under pressure. Because you are going to want to eat these until they are gone. I'm not kidding. Well, maybe I am biase because I haven't had sugar for three weeks - no cookies, candy, cakes, carbohydrate powders, hammer gels, bread, pasta, rice...maybe my mind is playing tricks on me. But seriously, I love these little balls. Isn't the word "ball" fun to say? I think I found a new valentine. We'll see what Trevor thinks of them...maybe he won't like them and then I can eat them all...

In love with lululemon...

Last week I bought some new clothes. I haven't done that in a while and have been wearing the same pair of pants just about everyday. I decided it was time for an intervention. I used to wear nice dress clothes to work everyday. Now, I wear more "comfy" clothes. Since I spent so much time running around, it just makes sense. Plus, we own a sports nutrition store and workout two times a day, so people kind of expect to see us in active gear.

I decided I was going to splurge on one item and I went to lululemon. I wanted to good hoodie to run around in. I used to shop at this store, back when money was growing on trees. When we were a two income, no kids household with a lot of disposable income - this is where I spent it. I had lots of great yoga pants and tops, hoodies, sweatshirts. Times were good.

I went into the store and immediately felt good - I love these clothes and if I had a million dollars I would buy them all up. Instead, I settled on one great hoodie -

I wear it everywhere and I LOVE the way I feel when I wear it. $88 is a ridiculous amount to spend on a sweatshirt, I get that. Believe me. But it made me feel like I HAD $88 to spend on a sweatshirt and everytime I wear it, I feel the same way. People comment on how great it is, how much they like it - complete strangers. And it has the little lululemon emblem on it and so people who know lululemon, think I am doing pretty good because I can afford lululemon.

Someday, my entire wardrobe will be lululemon. My closet will look like a store. I think I'll dream of this tonight. I know there are more important things in the world, but when I put this hoodie on...I forget about all of them...

Friday, February 12, 2010

A better day

After my sad trip to Church's Chicken, I found the need to eat really fresh colorful things yesterday. Here is what I had for dinner:



A salad with pears, cucumber, blue cheese, tomatoes, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Then I had some baked tilapia with chives. YUM. So much better than that garbage I had the other night. Blech.

On another note. Our puppy Maggie does so many funny and cute things each day. The other pets all do too - but these are new things for Maggie. For example, she has just started getting up into the chair when we are at the desk working on the computer. She'll climb up and lay down behind me in the chair, put her head down and go to sleep. Here's a short video, you may even be able to hear her snoring...

video

Then there is her love of running around the yard. With all the rain we get here, our yard becomes a mud pit in the winter. She had a piece of a tree in her mouth - there is a short down time in this video, keep watching and then pay attention to her running along the fence line.

video

Its just mayhem around here...and we love every minute of it....

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Living in my own little world...

Last night I had the opportunity to step out of my own little world and be shocked back into reality. I'll tell you, what I saw was disturbing and I'm am still not right because of it.

Here's what happened....

We had a super busy day. We were heading to watch some Mixed Martial Arts fights at a local bar. We are considering sponsoring these fights, so we wanted to check them out. The bar is in a yucky location - not much else around it. We didn't have much time and were hoping to pick up a quick dinner somewhere. Fast food was really our only option. There was a KFC close by and I know they have grilled chicken which is pretty good in a pinch. So we head there for some chicken and coleslaw.

We walked into this particular KFC and Trevor said, "This place looks like a homeless shelter for the obese" and he was right. We waited in line and after about 10 minutes, it had not moved one bit. We were really annoyed and decided to take our chances on finding another option. Bad idea. We drove around and found nothing. Then we saw a Church's Chicken and thought "it has to be similar to KFC"...."they probably have a grilled option". Another bad idea.

We had no time left and we were both starving, so we went ahead and go some chicken, figuring we could just pull off the fried part, eat the chiken and have some coleslaw. We sat and waited for our food - I watched, in horror, at the people around us shoveling this garbage into their mouths. I watched the employees making all the food (if you can even call it that). I was losing my appetite.

Our food finally came and I was not happy about our situation. Trevor pulled the breading off his chicken breast and if he had more than an ounce of chicken left I would be surprised. There was a pile of breading....no chicken. As I looked at my tray full of objects that were all a bland tan or white color, I said to Trevor "this is not food". Where is the color? Where are the vegetables?



Then, I looked at the posters they had hanging on the wall. One said "Feed your family a quality meal at a fair price". This is when I just about lost it. Are you kidding me? THIS is a quality meal? I should feel proud to feed THIS to my family.

I totally lost my appetite. I wanted to cry. I felt so sad for everyone in that place, including myself. I just got done visiting the Church's Chicken website and looking at their nutritional menu. It pissed me off that I didn't have access to that last night. We got some wings that I thought would be a better option than the chicken strips....wrong again. The wings we ordered had over 2500 mg of sodium. Yuck.

I am so disgusted, I can't stand it. I want to tell someone, but I don't know who. These are the things that make me crazy. What are we doing to ourselves.....what have we done....how will we EVER undo it....

Usually, I prepare our meals. They are colorful and nutritous with lots of fresh veggies and lean meats. I sometimes lose sight of how much of the rest of the world lives and forget how I used to live. It made me want to go to the grocery store and buy every vegetable I could find and prepare it for dinner tonight...just to make up for what I did to myself yesterday....Its going to take me a while to recover.

After our experience with dinner, we went to the fights. That is a whole nother story for another day. I've ranted enough for one blog post!

Monday, February 8, 2010

A hectic week

Last week was a tough week in our house. On Wednesday we were pretty sure we'd be saying goodbye to our old dog Wookie. He is on some pretty heavy medicine and seems to be doing better. We are showering him with love and attention and letting him do all the bad dog things he wants. He loves it! The other dogs and cats are getting some extra fun out of it too. We are trying to keep it from becoming a free for all, but at this point, we don't care. We just want to live every single day to the fullest so that we have no regrets when its time to say goodbye. The vet says 2 to 4 months, I am trying not to think that far ahead and just focus on today.

Our training is coming along. I hurt my back a few weeks ago - sneezing - and am having some issues related to that. My legs are killing me - my IT bands, glutes, hips - mostly because I am trying to protect my back when I run. I am going to take it easy this week. I cannot believe I actually said and mean that. Instead of cycling this morning I swam. I'll see the dr tomorrow and get this worked on so I can be back to normal by the end of the week.

In the meantime, I have been having a hard time getting my time in the pool. This is a good way to bootcamp it - I am going to spend as much time as I can in the pool this week and expect that will get me back in the swing of it. Our next big event is the Whidbey Island Marathon on April 11th - triathlons don't start until June-ish.

Our eating is going well. Trevor says I am cranky from the lack of carbs. I say I am cranky because I am bitch. I don't know why he acts like this is something new. But he does. Oh well, if it makes him feel better to blame it on the low carbs, then good for him. I know the truth. I don't really feel like I am craving carbs. I am enjoying our food so much more - eating lots of veggies and fruit. Its refreshing. I have been feeling crappy during my runs but I am sure that is my body, not my nutrition. I felt great during my hour long swim this morning and usually feel good during weights and cycling. In another two weeks we will start adding back in some of the whole grains as we periodize our training and our nutrition.

My diet is generally the same every day. I've found a new snack that I really like - I put peanut butter on a celery stalk and then some raisins. Then I cut it into bite sized pieces. yum!! I have two smoothies a day, eggs and veggies, meat and salads, I even had tofu and broccoli for lunch one day. I have to work harder to make all this stuff flavorful and filling and that has made for some good eats.

Our half marathon is on Feb 28th - less than three weeks away. I am not sure if I have mentioned this, but we are promoting this event through our store - the Max Muscle Vancouver Half Marathon. It has been quite an undertaking - from the course mapping to the permits, the vendors, sponsors, volunteers....tshirts, finishers medals....lots of stuff to do. We are down to crunch time now - everything has to get done in the last few weeks.

I have been meeting with some nice ladies from the ARC of Clark County. They put on a run/walk every year and lost their person who does a lot of the planning. I volunteered to help. We met today and they said their first event meeting is in the a few weeks. I was thinking about how I have done all this on my own. I need a committee!! I am a committee of one! Something to think about for next time...

Another thing, I have found myself as the Marketing Director for the Hazel Dell Parade of Bands on May 15th. This is the third largest parade in the state. We are going to do a fun walk/run that will lead the parade and follow the same route - I hoping to stretch it to a 5K.

We have a lot going on. I feel like the time just gets away from me. I thought that once I didn't have my job anymore I would have lots of time to blog. Its really the opposite, I don't have time much at all now! I still have lots to say, I just don't have time to put it all down.

I also miss reading all the blogs that I used to read. I loved knowing what everyone was up to. I feel so out of it these days. I rarely get onto any news sites, so I have no idea what is going on in the world...except that there was an earthquake in Haiti - because that is the only story on CNN.

We are in our own little cocoon right now. And really, I am okay with that. For the time being, our family is intact...whole...complete. All I want to do is breathe it in so that I can remember every single second of it.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wookie

I've talked about my pets before. If you have read my blog for any amount of time, you know that Trevor and I LOVE the animals. We have 7 - 3 dogs and 4 cats and we could not love them anymore. They live good lives and our lives are better because of them. One of the main reasons that I love Trevor the way I do is because of the way he loves our animals. We share a passion for these furry creatures and the joy they bring to our lives.

We found out today that one of our dogs - Wookie - has cancer, Lymphoma to be exact. He is 14 years old and his days are growing short. I have to write this blog today because when he passes I don't think I will have it in me to go into any details about this sweet love of our lives.

Wookie has been coughing and wheezing for a bit now. A few weeks ago it go so bad that he was having a rough time sleeping at night. One night we were awake all night listening to it, the next day we went to the vet. His lymph nodes were really swollen. They gave us an antibiotic and steroid for the cough. We hoped it was just an infection. A week later, the cough was gone, but the wheezing was still there. Over the weekend we realized that his lymph nodes were getting bigger and bigger. On Sunday we took him back to the vet and they did an aspiration with a needle to send off to the lab. The vet said she was pretty sure it was cancer.

We really tried hard not to think too much about this. Wookie seemed to be doing okay and we were just waiting for test results. Yesterday morning he took his normal walk and was content. I got home last night around 7 and could immediately tell that something was wrong. When you have a pet, you know their language, you know what is right and what is not. He was laying in a strange way and didn't wag his tail or lift his head when I came in.

As the night went on, Wookie didn't get up to eat or want outside. He just laid there looking really sad. He appeared to be having a rought time breathing. When it came time for bed, he could hardly stand up, so he had no interest in going up the stairs. We decided we would sleep downstairs with him. We brought down our pillows and blankets and slept all night with Wookie, Opal and Maggie - all our dogs.

This morning we headed to the vet. Wookie had a high fever and they had just gotten the test results - so they told us it was cancer and gave us some options. Wookie is spending the day at the vet getting some IV fluids and medicine that will hopefully lower his temp and improve the way he feels. We are picking him up tonight.

We were both pretty sure that he wouldn't make it past today. As you can imagine last night was tough. We took turns laying next to Wookie, petting him and talking to him. We said our goodbyes and told him that if he was ready to go that he should just go to sleep.

The doctor told us this diagnosis can be a roller coaster, he may do okay for awhile, then not, then be okay again. So we don't know what the future holds.

I am very scared. I get scared when I think about how badly it will hurt when Wookie is gone. I get scared when I think about how the other dogs will react when they realize he has passed. I am scared that I won't be able to stop crying. And most of all, I am scared that Wookie will suffer.

Trevor and I have been talking alot the last week about Wookie's life. We've laughed at a lot of things and smiled at how sweet he has always been. Everyone loves Wookie. He's just a big, soft sweet ball of fur.


Trevor has had Wookie for 13 years. I have known Wookie for almost 10. He is an important part of our family. He's the reason the rest of the dogs get walked. Wookie LOVES to go on walks and if we are a little late taking him, he lets us know. Wookie loves to lay in the sun. We were really hoping he would get one last summer so that he could lay in the grass and sunbathe one last time. If I have any regret, it is that we didn't move somewhere warm and dry where he could lay in the sun all the time. He hates the mud and rain (join the club buddy).

Wookie was the first pet and has tolerated the addition of all the rest. First Opal, then Gus, then Daisy, Roxie, Norwyn and finally Maggie. For some reason, Maggie annoys him and so he growls and barks at her. Maggie, on the other hand LOVES Wookie and just rolls on her back and crawls over to him. She wants him to love her so much. I wish he would have. I think he needed some more time to come to terms with a baby in the house. But he never bit her and he never hurt her.

I could go on and on about this sweet boy. When the time comes to say goodbye for good, I know it will surely kill me. How can you survive a broken heart? We always say that the only difference between children and our pets is that when you decide to love a pet, you know that they will die before you...you know that it can only end in sadness. Yet we love them anyway. That really says something about what these creatures bring to our lives. People who have never had an animal will not understand this. Those who have, will.

I hope we have more time with Wookie. I hope that whatever they do to him today will extend him life for a while, a few weeks, a few months. I hope that he wags his tail when he sees us tonight and that when he gets home he goes to the kitchen to see what we are making for dinner. But I know that eventually, none of that will happen anymore. But I am still hoping.

We love you Wookie. I hope that where ever you go next is sunny and warm. Our lives will not be the same without you.



EDITED WITH UPDATE:
Wookie is home and feeling better after his day at the vet. They have given him some mega doses of steriods and we'll continue that. His prognosis is 2 to 4 months. We are hopeful that he will have more good days than bad days. We plan to make these last months the best he has ever had...that way he can die from happy poisoning.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Fri, Sat, Sun

I am going to finish out this daily listing, then next week I'll switch to a week in review - mostly because its too much to get on and blog every day and probably too much for you to read!!

Here is a recap of the weekend and our diet experiment:

Friday:
Preworkout shake: protein/workout optimzer
Rode bike for 55 mins on the trainer while I watched Oprah's show about the movie "Food Inc"
Breakfast: Smoothie - soy milk, protein powder, greens, berries
snack: soy latte
Lunch: ground beef, salsa, cheese
Snack: trail mix - I ate my weight of this...too much and I felt sick. But it was GOOD - pecans, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, dried apricots and dates
Dinner: Kale, beets, goat cheese and chicken. yum.

Saturday:
Rest day from working out. We spent the day driving too and from the Grand Opening of the Max Muscle in Bellvue. Long day on the road.
Breakfast: Soy smoothie
Snack: soy latter, hard boiled egg, cantaloupe
Lunch: Red Robin Cobb Salad
Snack: more of the trail mix from yesterday, but not too much/veggies, cheese
Dinner: Grilled Chicken and coleslaw from KFC
Snack: small soy smoothie

Sunday:
Long run day....15 miles....
I was apprehensive about this, to change all that we changed....it turned out okay. My quads have been really sore this week and I felt them on every step. But I made it the entire way.
Prerun: Protein/fullblown extreme/some carbs (about half what I usually use)
During the run: 1 hammer gel at the 2 hour mark. I would usually take 2 during a run this long.
After: protein powder/blueberries, followed by a soy latte
Breakfast: Eggs and strawberries
Snack: trail mix (I need to find an alternative to this!)
Lunch: spinach salad with walnuts, goat cheese and chicken.
Dinner: Salad with steak, salsa, cheese, avacado and sour cream.
Snack: soy smoothie

Whew. made it through a week. I am hungry alot, so I have been eating every two hours. I remember hearing that it will take about two or three weeks for my body to adjust. I am anxious to see if that is true....stay tuned...