Last Week in Workouts

>> Monday, July 29, 2013

There are few things better than running barefoot on the beach.


Here's last week in workouts:

M: 4 miles
T: Rest
W: 4 miles
R: 6 miles at 8:30/mile
F: 4 miles at 8:15/mile w/ intervals
S: 5K (8:40, 8:10, 7:40) + 6 mile beach walk
S: 9 mile long run, barefoot on beach + 25 minutes Pilates

TOTAL: 30.1 miles running, lots of walking around Cape May

I'm really proud of how I stuck to my training this week despite being away from home. I think this might be the first time EVER that I got in all my miles while on vacation. And to add to it, I did other active stuff, too. That 6-mile beach walk was to get Ada to sleep the day we didn't have a place to land during her nap.

Worked like a charm! (And yes, I hate the sun. SPF shirt + wide-brimmed hat for me!)


You might notice Pilates in the mix -- a workout I've done only maybe twice in my life -- we're in Wildwood Crest this week with family, and my future sister-in-law Kate is a certified instructor. I am hoping she can whip my core into shape by the end of the week. Or at least get a start. (PS: You can take classes from her too!)

I'm taking today off to let my calves recover from all those barefoot miles in the sand yesterday. Ouch. Honestly, I didn't realize I had gone quite that far until I had to turn around. Oops. Accidental longer run. I needed to do one, so I guess it was the best way!

How'd your last week's workouts go?

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A Cool Day

>> Friday, July 26, 2013

Yesterday's temperatures didn't rise much above 70 degrees and the weather featured thick cloud cover, a steady wind + occasional spitting rain. I thought it was absolutely perfect -- and it's the kind of day I secretly wish for whenever I'm at the shore. I'm not one to lounge on the beach all day -- I'd rather be out exploring, which is harder to do when it's hot, humid, and super sunny.

After a cool 6-mile run followed by a peanut butter pancake breakfast, I did some research and found Higbee Beach near West Cape May. It's a bit off the beaten path, but well worth the trip. The preservation area includes a few miles of sandy trails that wind through dense vegetation and a semi-secluded beach where dogs are welcome + gigantic ferry boats pass by every once in a while.

A toddler's heaven.


It's sometimes always more fun to go beyond the usual attractions while on vacation. After Ada's nap yesterday, we got some local flavor by heading to the Cape May Brewing Company in North Cape May. Again, a bit of a drive . . . but when we got there, it was packed with people.

Good beer -- and on the way we saw a couple wineries in the area, too!


We'll definitely be back to Higbee and the brewery before the vacation is over. And I'd love to book a trip on the ferry and head over to nearby Delaware. Possibly even to Dogfish Head for a brew. Fares are a bit steep, though, and we're hitting the half-way point on our trip, so time will be limited and I'm sure we won't be able to hit everything we want to see. One day at a time.

Onto Friday! Hope you all have a great weekend. I'll be celebrating my 30th birthday on Sunday and I hear another stormy day is in the forecast!

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Ocean of Bread + Cheese

>> Wednesday, July 24, 2013


It's only Wednesday and I can tell you already this week is a wash with regard to eating well. Or I guess I should say eating clean -- because I'm surely eating lots of delicious, "good" foods of the cheese and bread and chocolate variety. I don't know if you can relate, but whenever I have a vacation on the calendar (which, I suppose fortunately for me diet-wise, is rare, really), I promise myself to indulge some, but keep a sensible, healthy dose of foods to balance it out.

Dinner: Flatbread pizza with beer
Dessert: Chocolate ice cream
Balance Breakfast: Shredded wheat + almond milk + fresh berries

I almost always give in to all the local eats and treats. Usually down a jar of Nutella for good measure, too. I guess we're back on the conversation of Eating Like an Adult here, aren't we? I can't blame myself entirely. It seems for vegetarians, the shore isn't exactly high tide when it comes to meat-less or fish-less fare. And the couple places we've found otherwise are steep $$$.

That's just an excuse.
Maybe I should take a lesson from Ada?


Picky eater or will-power tot extraordinaire, she has yet to eat anything we've ordered out for her. So, she's on a steady stream of what are to her comfort foods -- plain tofu, chickpeas, berries, whole grain waffles, bananas, and the occasional baby food packet. Good girl! Though, I did see her sneak a cookie the other night.

OK. I don't really know why I'm writing this post. Maybe a swift kick in the butt to clean up my act. I'm not talking entirely -- because this is vacation, after all -- but definitely I'd like to even things out a bit before a single week of edible indiscretion turns into two.

Guess I could start by swapping the locally made, creamy, delicious ice cream for frozen yogurt (not a total loss). Maybe start with a salad before downing yet another pizza pie. Oh and how about cooking those veggie burgers we brought with us. Save money and another heavy pasta meal = win-win.

How do you stay somewhat sensible with vacation eats? I guess I'm not really saying there's GOOD and BAD foods I should or shouldn't be eating, it's just a crazy landslide of different.


And if you're like to see some of what we're up to on vacation, check out Writing Chapter Three.

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Running + Vacation

>> Monday, July 22, 2013


We're on vacation, which I wrote a bit about (from a family perspective) today on Writing Chapter Three. Since this blog is more exercise + food focused, you'll be getting that highlights reel over here. And what's more of an issue on vacation than fitting in exercise?

As much as the beach is a runner's wonderland, when you're juggling two running schedules + a toddler, things can get tricky. Here's some ways we're both sticking it out and enjoying a good sweat session each day.

// 1: Stephen runs in the AM, I run in the PM. It may sound like I'm getting the short end of the stick, but I'm an afternoon runner anyway. Since I'm still working mornings while on vacation, it's better to split stuff up this way. Plus, the shady streets of Cape May + ocean breeze get things comfortable again after the mid-day heat by 5:30 or so -- squeeze it in before dinner.

// 2: We brought our jogging stroller. And we both plan to use it for more than strolling. Since we aren't down here with family (yet), we realize it might be best some days to get in a run together. The BOB (we have the Revolution SE) took most of the storage space in our tiny Kia, but packing light to make room was well worth it.

// 3: We're being active otherwise. I may not totally meet my 30 mile goal this week, but with all the additional walking to the beach and town we're doing, I'm moving my body more each day.

// 4: I'm skipping long runs. Stephen isn't, but whenever I'm on vacation, I'm just not in the mood to run double digits. Plus, dehydration is an issue since it's so much warmer/sunnier than we're used to. Instead, I opt to run more days of the week at up the mileage a few of those days versus loading it on one day. Instead of a week that's got a 4, 3, 4, 6, 12 . . . I do something like 4, 5, 4, 6, 8, 2.

// 5: I push through. Sure, there's a lot of other stuff I'd rather be doing (like eating mounds of pizza or lounging at the beach), but there's time for all of that. Taking a half hour to hour out of the day to exercise is important. And it's a great way to explore the new scenery.

// 6: I pay attention to hydration. I didn't write about it, but I had some type of sun poisoning or dehydration issue at the shore last summer. It may have had to do with running + breastfeeding + being at the beach all day, but this year, I'm paying better attention. Drinking water with chia seeds. Avoiding peak heat/sun times. Etc.

How do you keep up with running (or other exercise) while on vacation?

Other running-related stuff I've written recently for WalkJogRun:

Simple No-Bake Energy Bars
To Get Faster, Run Slower
Running in the Heat: A Northern Girl's Tricks
Keeping Baby Occupied On the Run

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Sweet + Savory

>> Friday, July 19, 2013

So, the other day I said those Summer Market Waffles could go either way. Sweet or savory. To use up our mega-stores of squash, we ate the waffles each morning this week. It was a grand week, I must say. And guess what I found out? You don't have to choose just one direction for breakfast to go on the flavor spectrum.

See what I mean?


I'm not the type to go nuts and give a gazillion variations on the same recipe. But I'd say this change up (however slight) on the waffle recipe was a huge winner. So much so, I felt compelled to give it to you TODAY so you'd have it in time for weekend brunch. (I hope you all have at least a little time for a weekend brunch.)

This version two point zero is heartier, more flavorful. Just . . . different. So, give it -- and the original, yellow squash + basil filled Summer Market Waffles -- a try!

ZUCCHINI + CARROT WAFFLES
still vegan, still great topped with syrup or eggs

What you'll need . . .
  • 1/2 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • pinch salt
  • splash vanilla extract
// Mix everything together, scoop into your waffle maker, and cook as directed.


I was all set to have my sweet breakfast drippy with maple syrup goodness . . . when Stephen motioned over to the stove. He had made surprise tofu scramble! I noticed immediately it wasn't the usual recipe we use (that curried masterpiece is here), but instead a sort of hack -- a shortcut -- with only a few simple ingredients.

TOFU SCRAMBLE HACK

What you'll need . . . 

  • 1 block tofu, crumbled
  • good pinch salt + pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

// Stephen actually crumbled the tofu the night before (I had no idea!) and mixed in the seasonings to let sit overnight. Then this morning he put a fry pan over medium-high heat with a bit of olive oil and cooked until browned on all sides. I imagine you could just put everything together in the moment, though.

Now that we have his + her breakfasts . . .


Here's what he + she will be reading at the beach in the next couple weeks. What are you guys reading? Any suggestions? I'm thinking Under the Dome will keep Stephen occupied for a while, but I'll likely breeze through Cinderella Ate My Daughter.

And don't forget to enter the Mighty Leaf iced tea GIVEAWAY!

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First Aid Kit for Runners

>> Thursday, July 18, 2013

I don't think I've seen many posts about the random things runners need from time to time to heal up blisters, sore knees, cuts, and the like. And, really, we didn't assemble any sort of first aid kit on purpose. Instead, there's been a gradual accumulation over the years as we've encountered various issues on the run.


Here's what's in our medicine cabinet:

// Blister Band-Aids: I don't get too many blisters, but Stephen definitely does. So, he uses the cushioned covers specifically for fingers + toes after he drains a blister. (Ew. But I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about, right?)

// Biofreeze Roll-On. It's always best if you have a nagging ache or pain to address the issue before medicating the pain away. However, if you're actively resting or the pesky IT-band is acting up again, rolling on some Biofreeze can provide temporary relief. And the cryotherapy benefits will last up to 6 hours.

// Bodyglide: File this one under preventative. I get major chafing under my armpits and between my thighs, especially on long runs. Using a bit of lubricant gel can help keep everything gliding smoothly and avoid that nasty sting when you finally have to go into the shower + the water hits the sore spots. Ick. Not fun at all.

// Sunscreen: Another before-the-issues-happen sort of item -- SUNSCREEN. I think a lot of us are bad at sun protection in the summer months. And year-round, if we're being honest with ourselves. I get particularly bad burns on the top of my head, which is why I like Banana Boat's SPF spray specifically formulated for use on the scalp.

// Witch Hazel: We use witch hazel for almost everything. With regard to running, it's a good way to soothe and disinfect wounds. This particular kind by Thayer has aloe in it, so I like to use it to soothe sunburns as well. (Bonus: I tend to get breakouts on my chest from sweat and some witch hazel clears them up!)


// Cold Pack: When frozen peas just won't cut it (we eat them too fast!), we use our trusty cold pack to ease discomfort and keep overuse injuries (again -- that stupid IT-band!) at bay. Ours is designed for clinical use and provides 30 minutes of soothing relief.

// Foam Roller: So, I guess we like to think outside (what would fit in) the box. If you can't tell, a lot of my running issues are from IT flareups, so I use a foam roller + regular yoga practice to keep things loose and happy.

// Toenail Clippers: Of course we know clipping nails is all part of regular hygiene. For runners, keeping toenails clipped short + evenly (no sharp pokers!) is especially important. I've definitely found myself searching around the house in emergency-mode before a long run looking for clippers.

// KT-Tape: While I do stay away from Ace bandages, knee braces, and other over-the-counter injury aids, KT-tape can be a great help for little nagging things. It's just a bit of support where you need it + provides 140% bilinear elasticity -- the same as human skin.

// Instant Coconut Water: I suppose this is more of a luxury item, but we have some powdered coconut water on hand for particularly hot days when water, alone, isn't cutting it for hydration. More potassium and less sodium than most sport and energy drinks. Less spoilage and you can water down the flavor more to your liking, too!

What essentials did we miss?

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Mighty Leaf Iced Tea Giveaway

>> Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Summer. The season when I always -- 24/7 -- have a drink in my hand. I'm trying my best to make healthy choices because wow can I get hooked on high calorie drinks and smoothies. So, when Mighty Leaf Tea was kind enough to send us a sampling of all their summer iced teas to try, I thought -- what a perfect opportunity to clean up my ways!

No deprivation here!


First off, check out the flavors: Organic Black, Ginger Peach, Sunburst Green Tea, and Calypso Mango. All ranging in caffeine level, of which the green tea is my go-to because it's a bit lower on the spectrum. I'm always impressed with Mighty Leaf's flavors and their high-quality tea bags are just neat.

How to make iced tea? It's simple:
  1. Add 1 tea pouch to a glass pitcher. This handy carafe, which you'll have a chance to win, makes it really easy to pour + store the tea.
  2. Pour 32 ounces of boiling water over pouch and steep for 4-5 minutes.
  3. Remove pouch and add ice to remainder of pitcher. Though -- GASP -- I'm not much for actual ice in my iced tea. I know that sounds strange. I usually just fill up the pitcher with additional water.

I could explain up and down how these teas are absolutely delicious. How they take the edge off a particularly hot day. How I am IN LOVE with the mango and a squeeze of lemon. A drizzle of honey. Maybe even some chia seeds on occasion. On and on.

Why don't you try some for yourself?
Yes. This is a giveaway post.
Thanks, Mighty Leaf!


What you'll win ($60 value) . . .
  • Takeya Glass bottle
  • Takeya Iced tea pitcher
  • Mighty Leaf Iced teas (in all flavors listed above)
TO ENTER: Leave a comment with the word MIGHTY somewhere in the mix.
IN ADDITION: Please leave a comment about your favorite iced tea recipe + choose a Mighty Leaf Iced Tea you'd likely use to make it.
GIVEAWAY CLOSES: Wednesday, July 24th at 9:00PM EST
PRIZE SHIPS: USA only.
ALSO: To win, I need your email address -- so please provide it (or your blog link so I can find it -- just some way of contacting you) or, unfortunately, you cannot win. PS: One entry per email address is allowed. The winners will be selected using a Random Number Generator and announced Monday (7/26) morning.

Good luck! I'm off to yoga with a nice bottle of chilly tea . . .



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Summer Market Waffles

>> Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Quick recipe today. We haven't had waffles in a while, so I've been itching to get out the maker again and mix up a batch. I don't know about you, but this time of year our fridge is bursting with local yellow squash and leafy green basil from our CSA share.

You see where this is going.


SUMMER MARKET WAFFLES 
vegan + veggie-filled; makes enough for 2-4 people, depending on hunger status

What you'll need . . . 

  • 1 cup shredded summer squash
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch salt

Method . . . 

  1. Mix together all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Then add the squash, basil, and liquid ingredients. Mix until fully combined, but do not over-mix. 
  2. Preheat your waffle maker. When it's ready, generously grease the top and bottom with Earth Balance or spray oil. Then scoop heaping 1/4 to 1/3 cupfuls and cook as directed. 
  3. Eat immediately or follow the instructions in this post storage.

Sweet? Savory? So, here's the best part: This waffle can go either way, depending on your mood. Top it with peppery fried eggs + hot sauce, like Stephen did. Or some Earth Balance + maple syrup like I did. Both were absolutely appropriate and fantastic at the same time.

I love when recipes turn out to be so customizable!

Don't have a waffle maker? No problem. This recipe would work well for pancakes, too. You can get an adequate waffle machine for under $20, scratch that, under $10. It may not be fancy, but it does the job!

MORE WAFFLE GOODNESS

Homemade Applesauce Freezer Waffles
Green Egg-Topped Waffles
Gluten-Free Waffles
Peanut Butter + Banana Waffles

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Lumpy Bumps

>> Monday, July 15, 2013

Hi! My name is Ashley. But you already know that.

I run 30 miles a week most weeks and consider myself a relatively active person in general.
You probably know that, too.

In the past decade, my weight has fluctuated between 117 pounds and 132. (The former eating mostly Lean Cuisines and 100 calorie Oreo packs and the latter, which is where I'm at currently, with more muscle, but also some sugar binges that need taming.)

I've lifted weights.
I've not lifted weights.
I've done yoga, cycled, and swam.
I've guzzled water and eaten clean foods.
I've taken time off + indulged my cravings.

And no matter what size or activity level I'm at . . . or fancy + expensive creams I use, I've had cellulite and stretch marks on my thighs since high school. I've now accepted that it's just a feature of my body that -- despite previously Herculean attemps to "fix" -- just isn't going to change.

Rather, I am accepting. It's a process.


Yup. Even here, at my thinnest the day after my wedding.


Yup. Even after running this marathon.

Anyway, I'm gearing up for two weeks at the shore. (Whoa that sounds like a lot. Teacher-families must make vacations into MEGA vacations since we can't take off during the year. It's our big hurrah!) Do entire days spent in my swimsuit all day sounds appealing to me? Definitely YES and definitely NO. But, like I said, I'm slowly accepting that cellulite isn't just a fact of my life, it's a shared experience with many.

AmIright?

This article got quite a lot of love on Facebook. I thought I'd share it here, too, because it helped me quite a bit with feeling better about my, uhm, situation: The Dirty Little Secret of the Female Athlete: Cellulite.

And this topic made me remember this gem. Can't believe it's 6 years old!


You don't want no drama. No, no drama no, no, no drama . . .

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Rustic + Grilled Kalamata Tomato Sauce

>> Thursday, July 11, 2013

So, I've got my pesto pizza crust ready to go. But no sauce or tomato puree in sight. 
Oh, crap! No mozzarella either. 
A half container of ricotta left, but it'll go South starting tomorrow. 
Must use tonight. Hmm. 
Wait. What's this? I spy a sleeve of kalamata tomatoes! 
Looks like the basil plant is doing well from all the rain we've had lately, too.

Drip, drip.


Basically, you've all just taken a trip inside my head around dinnertime. I've been wanting to fire up the grill and take our pizza adventures to the great outdoors, but it seems like afternoon thunderstorms are always in my way. This weekend. It's going to be epic -- the grilled bruschetta pizza I'll make. Promise!

But in a pinch, using what we had on hand last Thursday allowed us to go beyond our usual roasted veggies and cheese-heavy pie.

BOOM!


RUSTIC (INDOOR) GRILLED TOMATO SAUCE 
goes great atop pesto pizza crust or on any other pizza recipe

What you'll need . . .

  • 6 to 8 kalamata tomatoes (you may use whatever tomatoes you have, though! the heartier, the better.)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt + pepper
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon each dried oregano + rosemary


Method . . . 

  1. Chop your tomatoes head to toe into thick slices (about four per tomato). Toss into a large bowl with the olive oil and other ingredients. Toss around until well coated.
  2. Preheat your grilling pan* for about 5 minutes on medium-high heat. Then plan your tomatoes atop the grill and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Flip and cook another 5 minutes. Flip again and continue until the tomatoes start to get grill marks and release their juices.
  4. Once they get goopy, start mixing the sauce around in the pan and take off the heat. Let cool and remove from pan and continue mashing until desire consistency (we left our tomatoes rather whole).
* A grilling pan isn't required to make this recipe, it will just give those nice blackened grill marks. You can also use a regular fry pan with similar results.


The sauce truly was the star -- majorly chunky + rustic -- and the dollops of ricotta were light. Almost sweet, lending perfectly well to the freshly picked basil I grabbed right before the afternoon's second deluge of rainfall.

To cook your pizza, just preheat your oven to 450 degrees F, preferably with a pizza stone preheating as well. Roll out your pizza dough and then cook it for about 4 minutes before taking out of the oven and flipping over. Put on your toppings -- including the basil and perhaps a shake or two of Parmesan -- and bake for about 15 more minutes. Until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly.

I gladly tackled this half myself.


Enjoy!

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Eating Like an Adult

>> Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I'll give you that pesto crust pizza recipe I promised tomorrow. I've just been meaning to write this particular post for a while. A continuation of where we left off regarding my current diet, but couldn't seem to finish it. You see, in all my food adventures, I've received some amazingly supportive notes/emails/comments. I try and thank each person individually because these words of encouragement mean a ton, but if I have somehow missed anyone along the way: THANK YOU.

On the flip side, I've also found some harsh messages to balance out drag down all the good vibes. One such phrase that stuck with me? How I should "grow up" with regard to my high sugar consumption and start "eating like an adult." After I fumed at the flippant, nasty (at least I imagined) tone, I stopped to consider what this person was imploring me to do.


In most ways, I do eat the things I should be eating at this stage -- and in any stage -- of my life. I crave kale, brussels sprouts, swiss chard, collard greens, and all sorts of other weird veggies my child-self would have made disgusted faces at. I love tofu and all sorts of weird proteins. I eat whole grains and drink mostly water. I try my best to use healthy fats like olive oil versus butter, etc.

But . . . adults don't eat bags of candy. Right? Or, at least they should have the self-discipline not to do that sort of thing. A basic knowledge of nutrition and perhaps enough memories of childhood gorging sessions to know it's just not a good idea.

Wow. This whole train of thought made me feel 10,000x worse than ever.


I mean . . . why do I find myself powerless at times to spoonfuls of chocolate chip cookie dough? Or entire multiple chocolate bars? Peanut butter cups? Or whatever sugary crap is left around at parties? Even though I hate white cake with white frosting, why can't I seem to ignore it? Why can't I just eat a small piece and get on with my very adult life? Am I defective?

Thing is, I know I'm not alone in my struggles. And, yes, I use the present tense because I continue to struggle with sugar addiction and despite many attempts to cut it out/lessen my consumption/or change my ways, it always comes back to quite literally bite me.

I've thought a lot about the hows and whys of the situation. How I was a thin, small kid. I could eat basically anything I wanted and was still teeny tiny -- my idea of health was quite different. How when puberty hit, I found not-so great ways of dealing with inevitable weight gain, and it's at that point where occasional binges started up.

Now that I know life isn't all about being skinny and food is for health + well being, I still can't get it right. How even with relatively "good" eating habits running has enabled me to indulge a bit more than I might normally . . . and even served as a motivator to eat more.  

(Run 12 miles? Have 10+ cookies!)


I am almost 30 years old (shown eating a veggie Big Mac on the 4th of July) and I'm still trying to figure it out. I've tried the zero sugar plans and failed miserably. I've attempted them again with the same result. I've tried eating moderate amounts and playing that golden rule game. I've attempted to adjust my tastes and enjoy only natural sugars. It all cycles back. I don't know the answer, but I'll keep trying.

This idea of "eating like an adult" -- hmm. I certainly would like to somehow make this switch that should, I guess, be so easy. I know each and every time I falter that I shouldn't be, say, making brownies yet again this week. Or that I should perhaps just stop buying sugar at the store. But is it really this automatic thing I should fundamentally be able to pass up now that I'm older + wiser?

What's your take?

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Pesto Pizza Dough

>> Tuesday, July 9, 2013

I told you I'd be back with more pesto-riffic ideas for you. I'm pretty sure this is my favorite way to use homemade pesto in bulk -- and it works no matter what ingredients (think GREENS) you end up using. This basic pizza dough works great for, well, pizzas + calzones, but also a sweet modification of one of my favorite recipes: Pumpkin Pesto Rolls.

Now make some PESTO garlic rolls!


PESTO PIZZA DOUGH
Vegan optional, depending on your pesto.

What you'll need . . .

  • 2-1/4 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or honey/maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup Garlic Scape + Swiss Chard Pesto
  • 3+ cups bread flour
  • pinch salt


Method . . .

  1. If you haven't already, make your pesto. As I've said in the past, you can sub in most leafy greens you have around your kitchen -- so feel free to get creative. We've used anything from swiss chard to kale, etc.
  2. Then in a large bowl, combine the warm -- not hot -- water, yeast, and sugar. Stir and let sit until frothy -- around 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Add the pesto and olive oil. Stir well.
  4. Then add in the bread flour + salt -- at first just 2-1/2 cups. Knead and add more flour 1/4 cup at a time until the mixture forms an elastic ball. Not sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 2 hours until doubled in bulk. 
  5. Then punch down and divide into two balls. Store one and divide the other again -- but into between 6 and 8 balls. Then follow the instructions in the Pumpkin Pesto Rolls post for the rest.

Like I said, making a simple + satisfying pizza is always great, too. Tomorrow I'll share this beauty with you -- homemade kalamata tomato sauce and all!


Have I convinced you to eat pesto with every meal yet?

What's your favorite use for the gorgeous, surprisingly healthy green spread?

MORE THINGS PESTO:

Steamed Pesto Dumplings
Garlic Scape + Swiss Chard Pesto
Pumpkin Pesto Rolls
Spinach Pesto
Vegan Walnut Pesto
Basil-Pesto French Toast
Pesto French Toast, II -- with Avocado Butter
Pesto Quiche with Oatmeal Crust
Pesto Garlic Knots
Pesto Portabella Sandwiches
(Pesto) Smothered Mother

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Running Lately

>> Monday, July 8, 2013

My training lately has been solid. I had planned to run the Boilermaker 15K this coming weekend, but due to various circumstances, we ended up selling our bibs. Now, I'm running consistently . . . but with no real race until October.

So, I'm trying some new tactics with a couple non-race goals in mind:

  • Increase weekly mileage (to 30-35 miles) 
  • Run 5-6 days/week
  • Incorporate strength in a sustainable way


Here's the last two weeks at a glance:

M: 3 miles
T: 4.5 miles
W: 5 miles
R: 3.5 miles
F: OFF
S: 6.5 miles
S: 4.5 miles
= 27 miles

M: 5K + .5 cooldown
T: 4 miles + kettlebells/pushups/burpees
W: OFF
R: 6.2 miles -- x-country run
F 4.25 miles + pushups/burpees
S: OFF/travel
S: 10 miles at 9:12 pace
= 28 miles

I didn't try any strength that first week back after being sick, but even just one day of kettlebells last week was tough. I'm hoping to take a class at our gym which is 45 minutes long, twice a week -- hopefully other people and a scheduled time will motivate me to stick with it.

Mileage-wise, it has taken me a really long time to push past 20-25 miles a week. When I was breastfeeding, I felt the energy was literally sucked out of me several times each day -- and running 4 times a week was a gigantic accomplishment. Then, I got used to running 4 days a week because it allowed my body to rebound and avoid injury.

Now? I'm feeling strong and, all of a sudden, ready for more. As I prepare for pregnancy with number 2, I'd like to develop a bigger base, too. So, I've been experimenting with 5-6 days a week and -- so far -- haven't had any issues. I have been making sure to increase weekly mileage slowly from week to week and am thinking I will likely top out around 30-32 miles this coming week.


The heat + humidity has played a major role, but not necessarily in a bad way. Make no mistake: I HATE summer running. But it forces me to slow down most days and run my hard workouts hard and the rest at much easier paces, which taxes my body less, too.

>> Take yesterday's long run -- 10 miles at 9:12/mile (as logged on my Garmin 10). Usually I run my long runs between 8:15-8:30/mile, depending on distance . . . but with the humidity, I just went along at what felt comfortable.

>> Today, I was able to go out and run a shakeout run without any aches + pains + tiredness. Yet, I was also able to show my speed on last Monday's 5K hard effort with 7:37/mile. I've never been one to go as easy as I should on maintenance days, so learning how it works, when to hold back, and when to go fast has been a big step.

Have you been doing anything new with your training?

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Running X-Country

>> Friday, July 5, 2013

Hope everyone had a great holiday! Ours was packed with activity, food, and fun. And it all started with a morning run of Stephen's high school cross-country course in NJ.



It's been a long time since I've run on grass versus roads -- so, to say this course was incredibly challenging for me is an understatement. We started after 10AM (dumb!) with the temps already in the mid-80s and the humidity at 95%.  To complicate things, it's been raining a lot in our region -- so the ground was saturated, muddy -- and extremely steamy with the sun's rays.

I think you can see where this is going.

The plan was to run the 5K course twice (for me) and 3x (for Stephen). The first loop, we'd do together so I wouldn't get lost. If you've never run a cross-country course around a high school before -- basically it zigzags irregularly around the grounds and woods surrounding. At Stephen's school, there were markers, but nothing is numbered -- so it was easy to get confused. Even Stephen forgot some twists and turns.

The first mile was alright. We finished in 8:10 . . . but the humidity was oppressive. I'm sure that's a relative statement, but for this Northern girl . . . I have little tolerance. This was WAY beyond even my most extreme capacity for heat. Thankfully the second mile dipped into lightly shaded trails, so we got some respite, although an incline to boot.

Soon after that, we found ourselves in this gigantic cornfield. And this is where I had a mini-panic attack. Not really. Sort of? Well, we ran down, down, down the field and I knew it was humid, but because we were zooming with little effort it was OK. Then we had to go back up the incline again. The sun had been covered by the clouds but was swiftly revealed again as soon as we hit the uphill, and -- all of a sudden -- I couldn't breathe.

I told Stephen I had to stop . . . I tried getting a breath, but felt completely trapped and suffocated by the thick air. I think my lungs are still recovering from my chest cold a couple weeks ago, so that could be part of it. But whatever it was, I spent 30 seconds frantically trying to get a good inhale. Eventually I calmed down, some breeze hit me, and we decided to keep going.


After the first loop, I just didn't want to do it again. So, I rested under a tree for 5 minutes or so. Drank some water, too. Stephen went off to finish his run on the roads (he wasn't feeling it either, plus the mud was tricky to maneuver). I ran to the track to do a few drama-free loops + eventually headed back to the shaded part of the trail and finished up my other 5K.

I definitely was running 1-2 minutes slower than my usual pace -- it was a little shocking to see on my watch. But in the heat, you do what you can, right?

Yup. It was an up and down sort of run. I'm sure you've had them. I guess even the most dedicated and semi-"hardcore" runners can freak out and have a massively bad day. Still, it was really fun to see where Stephen raced so many times when he started his running career.

Let's go back in the fall, shall we?


Did you sweat to celebrate the Fourth? I'm thinking a lot of you ran races! Tell me about them!

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