Weekend Adventures Part I: Spooktacular Half Marathon

Happy Monday my friends!  Before I jump into today’s post, I want to give a big THANKS to Holly, Lauren, Megan, Rachel and Nicole for the kind words on Friday. You ladies inspire me each and every day and I truly appreciate your support!

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Now for the weekend adventures…I ran my first half marathon this weekend! I am still wrapping my head around it. I cannot believe that about eight months ago I was not able to run a full mile and now I can run 13.1 miles! Let me repeat that, THIRTEEN POINT ONE MILES!!! :-) Saying it makes me giddy!

On Saturday the Bear and I arrived at the beautiful Bonelli Park for the Spooktacular race. We met my friend Gaby there, who decided to run the race the night before and this was her first half marathon too! The medal may have swayed her a little. :-)

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Seriously! How awesome are these medals!?

Before the race, there was a consume contest. I have to say that there were some very impressive costumes! I am still not sure how these ladies ran in the jelly fish costume!

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After the costume contest, Gaby and I lined up for the race. At the ready, set, go marker, we were off! We ran the first two miles around a 9 minute pace. The energy from the race always makes me run faster. Plus, we were running down hill so that didn’t hurt matters, but what you go down, you must come back up! I did very little research into the Bonelli Park because I heard it was hilly and did not want to psych myself out. There certainly were hills, and trails, and a creek (!), but it was also beautiful and worth every step.

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I went into this race with a plan of attack: I would run to each water station and walk while I hydrated for about 15 seconds. This plan worked out well and we were still able to maintain a 10:30 pace. Around mile three, I was getting a stomach ache. I was worried because it was so early in the game but by mile four my stomach was feeling better and I started to get into a grove.

Throughout the course, there were a few signs that told us to “turn around.” Without fail Gaby and I would pass the time by singing “turnaround, every now and then I get a little bit na na na na.” I don’t think I can run another race without Gaby. She is the most positive person I have ever met and cheered on everyone throughout the race! It was a blast to run with her!

By mile twelve I was feeling tired and had a minor pain in my foot but ready to tackle the last mile. I picked up the pace and focused on the hill to the finish.  Luckily it was a gradual hill so I was able to maintain a 10 minute pace. At the top of the hill I heard the crowd cheering. With the excitement in the air, I sprinted to the finish! My official time was 2:17:52! Two minutes faster than my goal time!

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Collecting the beautiful Day of the Dead medal was a perfect way to finish the race!

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After the race, I was so sore that I could hardly walk back to the car.  I kept telling the Bear to slow down because I couldn’t keep up. Hah! Once I got home, I got some major stretching done. Then I settled in front of the TV with compression socks, ice bags, and one of my favorite cheesy Halloween movies, Hocus Pocus! Around noon, I placed an order in with the Bear for some animal style fries from In-n-Out. They were as good as I remembered. :-)

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My day almost couldn’t have gotten any better, but then I remembered I had a Pink concert that night. More on that tomorrow…

How was your weekend? Did you run any races? How do you prevent stomach aches while running?

Target Practice Friday #14 + The Honest Life Winners

borrowed stole the idea for the Target Practice Friday series from the ladies over at Fit.Fun.Femme.  I do things a little differently, but ultimately it’s where I share my progress on my short term goals, a.k.a targets.

Hi Friends. I hope you are doing well. This Target Practice is a difficult one for me.  To say that I had a difficult week is an understatement.  I have been in a really bad mindset this week.  On Monday I found out my dad, whom I haven’t seen in eight years, was in the hospital due to organ failure. With the support of my mom and cousin, my brother and I visited my dad for the first time in years on Tuesday. Even though my dad and I don’t have a relationship, I was surprised by the emotions I felt. My family would probably say I acted coldly… all I know is that I am sad.

This week was a learning experience for me. I let my emotions keep me from being active, which was probably the worst thing I could have done. I didn’t work out on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday… basically Target Practice was a total fail this week. If I were graded on my progress I would get a big, fat F! But I am okay with that.

Improve Pace - No improvements here, but I will never miss speed training! :-)

Handstand – Again…nothing

Half Marathon – I struggled through 8 miles on Sunday and I ran a short 3 miles last night. Physically I know my body is able to run my first half marathon tomorrow, but I am feeling less that motivated. I am trying to think happy thoughts and remember how excited I once was for this race. I know my excitement will come back to me tomorrow morning while lining up for the race. I am looking forward to that feeling.

Eating Clean - The one thing I did well this week was eating clean! I even ate a squash enchilada at the hospital! Don’t worry, I will be recreating this recipe!
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It tasted better than it looks!

And because I don’t want to leave you with the most depressing post of all time…

FUCb95YThe Bear sent this to me because he knew it would put a smile on my face. :-) Dog babies. I die.

Now for The Honest Life winners: Congrats to Kristen MacVicar, #45 who liked Chasing Raspberries on Facebook, and Natalie Scruton, #49 who liked The Honest Company on Facebook.  Email me your address at Jillienne (at) ChasingRaspberries (dot) com and I will send these books right out to you!

Thanks for reading! I promise to return to my normal happy, positive self next week!

Have a great weekend and please give your mom or dad or sibling or spouse or friend a big, fat hug tonight!

Mashed Roasted Butternut Squash

Today I have another butternut squash recipe for you! Butternut squash (BNS?) has become my favorite squash of all time, which is a good thing because the last four CSA boxes I have gotten had a BNS in it. Being the good blogger that I am, I just knew that you wanted another BNS recipe this week. You are welcome. :-)

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Luckily BNS is pretty versatile since it can go from savory to sweet with the switch of a few ingredients.   I decided to make another savory recipe because… I like what I like.  Rewind back to last weekend and I was making my classic healthy dinner which consists of baked chicken, green beans, and some sort of carb.  Whenever I am feeling lazy or am short of time, this is the dinner I turn to.  I asked the Bear what type of carbs he wanted with dinner and naturally he said, “POTATOES, and not those nasty sweet kind.” Since I didn’t have brown rice (thanks pantry moths! grrr) or the Bear’s favorite sweet potatoes (I joke) , I went with the BNS (<– getting old yet?) sitting in my vegetable bowl on the kitchen counter.

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I decided to make pseudo mashed potatoes with butternut squash and it was delicious!!!

Mashed Roasted Butternut Squash
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4
 

Ingredients
  • Large butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, whole
  • ¼ light sour cream or greek yogurt
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the cubed butternut squash with the grapeseed oil, salt, pepper, and whole garlic cloves.
  3. Place the butternut squash and garlic coves on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes.
  4. Once the squash is cooked, mash it in a large bowl or kitchen stand mixer.
  5. Mix in sour cream or greek yogurt. Add a few tablespoons of milk if the mixture is too thick.

 

Way better than anything I have made with sweet potatoes. I would even argue it was better than mashed russet potatoes! And guess what?! The Bear loved it!  That’s when I knew I had a winning recipe on my hands.

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For all of you ladies or gents out there with picky spouses, I hope you give this recipe a try.  You might be surprised by it’s awesomeness!

What was the last recipe that you surprisingly enjoyed?

The Honest Company + Giveaway

When I first started my journey toward a healthy life, I mostly focused on eating clean food but paid little attention to the external products.  That changed quickly in my quest for making a full lifestyle change. A few months ago I picked up a great book, The Honest Life.  The book was written by Jessica Alba, and if anyone has seen her lately, it is obvious that the girl is doing something right!

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As soon as I opened the book, I knew I would love it!  She organized the book with a chapter about each of the following: food, personal clean care, beauty, style, home, baby, and inspiration.  The Honest Life is well written and completely relatable.  Jessica admits on page one that she eats meat, doesn’t have time for cloth diapers, and doesn’t grow her own food.  She and her husband even love bacon!  She also admits that she has the money to eat completely organic and buy the crazy expensive Eco-friendly chemical free crib mattresses, but understands that most people don’t.

Throughout the book, Jessica points out dishonest ingredients, like petrochemicals, parabens, triclosan, and triclocarban, that can be found in many personal cleaning products.  After reading the book I rummaged through my bathroom and laundry room throwing out any of the “dishonest” products I could find.  After my impulsive spring cleaning (this was a few months ago), I made an order from The Honest Company to purchase 4-in-1 laundry pods, multipurpose cleaner, sunscreen, and dish soap.

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A week later, the cutest box arrived with all my “honest” products.  I absolutely love the sunscreen and use it on my face every morning.  It is a little thicker than most of the sunscreens I have used in the past but it does not make me break out which is a HUGE plus!  The multipurpose cleaner and dish soap both have a refreshing citrus scent, so I no longer feel like throwing up while I clean due to a nasty chemical smell!

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I love The Honest Company and trust that all of the products they offer are safe for my family.  A month ago, I contacted The Honest Company about a giveaway. They generously sent me two copies of The Honest Life by Jessica Alba to give away to two of my readers!

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Enter The Honest Life Book Giveaway by one or all of the six options listed below.  Be sure to mark that you entered through Rafflecopter.

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Two winners will be announced on Friday!

Apple Nectarine Sangria

As you have probably figured out by now, I love my mixed drinks! Since mixed drinks aren’t exactly the healthiest, I started experimenting with different types of alcoholic drinks. I started drinking wine which was something I never use to enjoy, but have recently acquired a taste for.  I thought it would be fun to combine my new favorite (wine) with my old favorite (mixed drinks) to create a sangria by the glass.

IMG_1162-pSangria is something I started drinking a few years ago when I discovered my love for it in Las Vegas. There is something about the mixture of fruit with sweet red wine that I cannot get enough of.  (I shouldn’t say that as I actually do not drink very often!)

IMG_1169-pMy favorite part about sangria are all the fruit bits that you get to eat once you reach the bottom of the glass!  Since the fruit add natural sugars to the drink, I actually prefer sangria without sweeteners but you could easily add a few drops of Stevia.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Apple Nectarine Sangria by the glass
Prep time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 1
 

Ingredients
  • ¼ nectarine, cubed
  • ¼ apple, cubed
  • 1 cup red wine
  • ¼ sparkling water
  • 2 drops Stevia (optional)
  • Ice

Instructions
  1. In a wine glass, combine the apple wedges, nectarine wedges, stevia, sparkling water and wine. Stir well, top with ice, and enjoy!

 

You could easily make this recipe larger by using the entire wine bottle, apple, and nectarine.

IMG_1171-pAs far as alcoholic drinks go, red wine is pretty much the rock star in terms of health benefits.  Red wine contains resveratrol which helps prevent damage to blood vessels and reduces bad cholesterol while preventing blood clots. You can see why red wine is said to be heart healthy. Of course, this only applies when drinking red wine in moderation, but a second glass never killed anyone! ;-)

Question: 

What is your go to alcoholic drink?

Target Practice Friday #13

Hello Friends! Happy Friday! I am going to get right to Target Practice today because I am heading south to visit my mama today.  She broke her wrist this week, which is one of the most painful breaks but she handled it like a champ!

borrowed stole the idea for the Target Practice Friday series from the ladies over at Fit.Fun.Femme.  I do things a little differently, but ultimately it’s where I share my progress on my short term goals, a.k.a targets.

Improve Pace - Let it be known that I HATE interval training. I find it SUPER hard during intervals, but then after I stop running, I always say to myself that I could have gone longer and harder.  Does anyone have any tricks to get through intervals?!?!

Handstand - Handstand training went about the same as last week. I can still hold myself up (about a minute this time!) against a wall.

Half Marathon – I ran 12 (!!!) miles on Sunday with the Pasadena Pacers.  This is the longest distance I am running before the half marathon next weekend, but I am feeling ready for the race!  I also ran 2 miles and 4 miles this week.  Next week’s plan is to taper down for the upcoming race.

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My first pumpkin spiced latte! It wasn’t to shabby!

Eating Clean - I am getting sick of salads. I actually gagged while eating my lunch salad on Monday. It happens every once in a while, and I have to take a nice long break from salads before I can head back to my green leafy friend.

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 Greek yogurt, canned pumpkin, pumpkin spice, maple syrup mixture topped with granola!

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 This week I discovered kiwi berries! They are little hairless kiwis and are AMAZING! I found them at Trader Joe’s.

It is kind of weird not having a million things planned for the weekend. Is it sad that the most exciting thing I have planned is cleaning out my pantry!?

Happy Weekend Everyone!

Double Tomato Quiche with a Spaghetti Squash Crust

To say that I am excited for this recipe is an understatement!  Yesterday during my lunch break, I was scrolling through the many recipes on Pinterest when I discovered a recipe for spaghetti squash crusted quiche! Yes, I know! I am sure you are jumping up and down just like I was. Yes, I may have started to sing with joy a little… my cubicle cubby buddies probably think I am insane. Naturally, the rest of the day I had spaghetti squash on the brain, so I decided to bump the recipe post I originally had planned for today to next week.

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Fast forward to 5 o’clock – I was getting ready to leave work for home.  I had decided to skip my planned run for the evening because I just knew I needed to make this recipe before the sun went down. (Sunlight is important for good pictures after all!) I walked the 10 minutes out to my car only to discover that I didn’t have my car keys. But of course I left my keys in my gym bag, which I just so happened to leave in my office because I rescheduled my run to today.

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After 40 minutes of walking back & forth and a short car ride home, I was ready to get cooking.  Lucky for me the Bear got home before me and cleaned the kitchen spotless!

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5.0 from 1 reviews

Double Tomato Quiche with a Spaghetti Squash Crust
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4
 

Ingredients
  • Spaghetti squash (1 Small or ½ Large)
  • 6 eggs
  • ¼ cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons sun dried tomatoes
  • ⅓ cup spinach, chopped
  • ¼ cup feta cheese
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon light sour cream

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cook spaghetti squash by cutting the squash in half lengthwise. In a baking dish place the squash face down with ½ cup of water. Heat in the microwave for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, beat the eggs with the light sour cream. Mix in the cherry tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, spinach, garlic, and cheeses.
  4. Grease a pie pan and carefully press the cooked spaghetti squash to the sides and bottom of the pan to form a crust. Cook in the oven for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the crust from the oven and pour the egg mixture into the pan. Make sure all the ingredients sink into the egg.
  6. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes and try to share!

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I was so impressed by this recipe. Obviously someone much smarter than I thought up spaghetti squash crust. I just had to share this recipe with you right away. This recipe wasn’t kid tested, but it was Bear approved! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Questions: 

What is your favorite way to eat spaghetti squash?  What is your favorite winter squash? Have you ever rushed home to make a recipe?!

Sage Butternut Squash Quinoa Bowl

Forget about the pumpkin this fall. It’s all about butternut squash! As promised, I have a amazingly delicious recipe for you today thanks to my CSA organic produce box.  I am going to be honest with you, I had only cooked with butternut squash once before this recipe. I bought those pre-cut butternut squash packets from Trader Joe’s and made some recipe I found in one of my many cookbooks.  I wasn’t a fan at first try, but it wasn’t the squash’s fault.  It turns out I don’t like sweet butternut squash. I needed something savory to do the trick.

STP81107-pSince my CSA box came with a whole butternut squash, I had to learn how to cook it!  I decided to roast the squash baby thanks to Whole Food’s Learn To Cook.

STP81100-pThe sage adds the perfect aromatic note to this dish. It pairs beautifully with the butternut squash.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Sage Butternut Squash Quinoa Bowl
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4-6
 

Ingredients
  • 1 large butternut squash, roasted per Whole Food’s Learn to Cook
  • 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage
  • ⅓ cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil.
  2. Sauté minced garlic, sage, and pine nuts until the nuts are golden brown.
  3. Add cooked quinoa to the sage mixture.
  4. Gently toss in roasted butternut squash and try to share!

 

To counter the sweetest of the butternut squash I added lots and lots of garlic.  I actually used four gloves of garlic; though, the sane person would probably only use two!

STP81094-pThis recipe was inspired by The Shiska in the Kitchen, a great blog with delicious recipes. I threw in the quinoa to add in a little more protein to the recipe.  I promise you will love it! I went back for a second helping!

Question:

What is your favorite winter squash?