Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tuesday Tidbits - 101 Greatest Running Tips

Here are some of my favorite from Women's Health "101 Greatest Running Tips."  To read them all, check out  Women's Health online (tip - use the print button, to see them all on one page).

Accept the challenge -  "Everyone is an athlete. But some of us are training, and some of us are not." --Dr. George Sheehan, runner/writer/philosopher

Be a minuteman "The biggest mistake that new runners make is that they tend to think in mile increments--1 mile, 2 miles, 3 miles. Beginning runners need to think in minutes, not miles." --Budd Coates, four-time U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier/coach

Relax to the max "When running, let your jaw hang loose, don't bunch up your shoulders close to your ears, and occasionally shake out your hands and arms to stay relaxed." --Dave Martin, Ph.D., exercise physiologist

Try a "nooner" "Noontime running provides a triple benefit: daylight, a break from the workday, and a chance to avoid eating a heavy lunch." --Joe Henderson, runner/writer

Build with care "If you put down a good solid foundation, you can then build one room after another and pretty soon you have a house. After your base mileage, add hills, pace work, speedwork, and finally race strategy." --Rod Dixon, New Zealand Olympian and 1983 New York City Marathon champ

Have fun on your easy runs "I make sure I have some really enjoyable training runs, remembering to 'smell the roses' along the way. That way I don't become caught up in the training-is-everything syndrome." --Sue Stricklin, top masters runner from the 1970s

Have fun on your hard runs "Do tough workouts that you enjoy. Mile repeats and quarters are more fun for me than fartlek. ["Fartlek" is Swedish for variable-paced, up-tempo running.] I feel better about my running when I do the workouts I enjoy and that I know I benefit from." --Dan Cloeter, two-time Chicago Marathon winner

Rest assured "Back off at the first sign of injury. Three to 5 days off is better than missing a month or two. Take regular rest days." --PattiSue Plumer, two-time U.S. Olympian

Adapt--or weaken "Running hills breaks up your rhythm and forces your muscles to adapt to new stresses. The result? You become stronger." --Eamonn Coghlan, Irish Olympian and only 40-year-old to break 4 minutes in the mile

Get up to speed "Three half-mile repeats on the track at 5-K race pace with a short recovery jog in between shouldn't scare anyone away--and it will improve your speed." --Frank Shorter

Find a reason why "We run to undo the damage we've done to body and spirit. We run to find some part of ourselves yet undiscovered." --John "The Penguin" Bingham 100.

Feel the magic... "For me, running is a lifestyle and an art. I'm far more interested in the magic of it than the mechanics." --Lorraine Moller

What's your favorite running tip?

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Monday, January 30, 2012

Meatless Monday - Hazelnut Chocolate Spread

In a spare minute (seems like that's all we had this weekend), Munchkin and I whipped up this delicious recipe for "Nutella".  To me it tastes more like the "Justin" version of hazelnut chocolate spread (i.e. more healthy and nutty, than gooey and sweet).

love TJs:)
In a food processor, grind, until a paste forms:
1 cup of hazelnuts

Add and blend for one minute:
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup honey
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

...and love my Cuisinart:)
Spread on toast, use as filling for crepes or as topping on ice cream or cupcakes.  


hazelnut chocolate spread on French bread
As you can see, the spread is pretty thick.  Here are my tasters comments:

Tazer - needs more honey
Gaigai - delicious, nutty, chocolaty
Munchkin - awesome actually

I came across this recipe in the Dec 2011/Jan 2012 Men's Journal - same article from which I found the info for Nuts for Nuts.

What's your favorite way to eat hazelnut chocolate spread?

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Giveaway Winners

The winner for the Collagen ImmuCell giveaway is Elle from Eat, Run, Sail - congrats!

...and the winner of Manna Organics bread is Sara of Words to Run By - congrats!

Congratulations to Elle and Sara!!  Please email me your mailing information, and I will forward on the the companies.  Sara - check out your bread choices at Manna Organics - you have a choice of 4 breads.

Thanks to all who participated!

Happy Friday!!

Any exciting plans for the weekend?

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

100 Easy Lessons to Reading

Is your preschooler bored with coloring and ready for reading?

Did you know that early readers hold an advantage over their peers throughout school?

If you have a 3 to 5 year old in the house and want them to learn to read, you have to check out this book:  Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.

The book, based on Distar and published by Science Research Associates (SRA) is a complete, step-by-step program that shows parents simply and clearly how to teach their children to read.

It sounds a little daunting - 100 lessons for a 3 year old, but if you have 20 minutes a day, the patience and perseverence, it is so worth it!  I have used this book now with our 3 older children, and without a doubt will use it with Little A Bomb (in a year or so - but his interest in books is pretty amazing already).  Both Tazer and Gaigai excel in school and read at levels way beyond their grades, and I think it is mostly due to this book and the solid start it gave them.

Munchkin just finished his last lesson Saturday.  Here he is reading...

sorry about the noisy "classroom" :)

Last day to enter two great giveaways: 

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tough Chik Tuesday

Team Tough Chik is a group of 150+ female athletes from around the world.  From beginner to expert, what we all have in common is confidence and a belief in ourselves that we are indeed "tough chiks" - for some reason or another:).

Check out my Team Tough Chik profile along with many others on the Tough Chik blog.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Meatless Monday - Pizzah!

For Christmas I received this awesome Cuisinart food processor.

We received one for our wedding many years ago, but it didn't make it with our last move.  I forgot how great it was, until we started using our immersion blender for making things like raw energy bars.  Anyways, I love it - thanks K!  Last night we made pizza dough, a request from Munchkin for his "100 Lessons" and becoming a reader (stay tuned for an explanation...).

Here's a very simple and delicious (and easy if you have a Cuisinart food processor) recipe for pizza dough:

In a bowl or measuring cup combine:
1 package active dry yeast
1 1/4 c warm water (105-115deg F)
1 tsp sugar

Dissolve yeast and sugar in water.  Let stand until foamy, about 3-5 minutes.

Insert dough blade and to the food prep bowl add:
3 1/3 c flour
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

With food processor running, slowly add yeast and sugar water to flour and salt.  Continue on dough setting until ball forms.  If you do not have a food processor or stand mixer, knead by hand for 10 minutes or until dough is elastic.

Coat dough evenly with:
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Transfer dough to plastic food storage bag and seal top.  Let dough rise in warm place for about 45 minutes.

Place dough on floured surface and punch down, let rest 5-10 minutes.  Roll into desired crust sizes and place on lightly greased baking pans or pizza stones.

Top with favorite toppings.

Makes 1 1/2 pounds.
Prep time about 5-10 minutes, plus 55 minutes rising and resting, 5 minutes assembly and 10 minutes baking.

Bake in preheated oven at 450 for 10 minutes.

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Giveaways and Friday Funny


If you haven't already entered, check out the two great giveaways I have going on...

4 loaves of Manna Organics bread

Collagen ImmuCell

Winners for both will be announced next Friday!  Good luck!

**Friday Funny**

from the Chicago Tribune, January 17, 2012

Happy Friday!  

Any exciting plans for the weekend?

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Collagen ImmuCell Review and Giveaway

Awhile back Neocell sent me some Collagen ImmuCell to test out and review.  After my last (and final) knee surgery, I am doing whatever it takes to stay out of the orthopaedic's and PT offices.

Currently, one in three Americans over the age of 60 suffers from osteoarthritis (OA) while active younger adults can suffer from joint damage. As we age, the body's ability to make type 2 collagen protein slows down and this is the protein needed to maintain and rebuild joint cartilage tissue.

ImmuCell® Collagen Type 2 is a food sourced (chicken sternal cartilage) supplement that holds a high concentration of joint-saving nutrients including hyaluronic acid (HA), glucosamine, and high levels of chondroitin, the major components of joint cartilage. These necessary elements support and maintain healthy joints and repair the damage that causes pain and swelling associated with arthritis. Chondroitin also acts as an anti-inflammatory compound and pain modulator without the negative side effects of non-steroidal medicines while enhancing the synthesis of cartilage and HA. Supplementing with ImmuCell® Collagen Type 2 focuses on the regenerating effects for skin and connective tissue health. In the body, collagen and HA are almost always found together; collagen provides the mechanical strength for connective tissues and HA, with its ability to bind enormous amounts of water, serves to lubricate these same tissues providing necessary hydration. As the aging process begins, production of this important moisturizing lubricant slows resulting in wrinkles, joint pain, and other connective tissue complications.   

Ideal for those individuals suffering from joint issues and degenerative joint diseases 
• High bioavailability with anti-inflammatory and pain modulating effects 
• Aids in replenishment of body’s most abundant structural protein 
• Supports collagen type 2 found in joints 
• Assists in the maintenance and rebuilding of cartilage bones, joints and surrounding tissue 
• Lubricates eyes and skin improving moisture levels, and joints promoting mobility 

The suggested use is to take 4 to 6 capsules daily with six ounces of orange juice or vitamin C drink, preferably in the morning on an empty stomach.  Wait 20 minutes before eating.  I'm not much of a juice drinker, so I take it with my lemon water (hardest thing is to wait 20 minutes before I have my first cup of coffee).  As I mentioned I have been very careful getting back to running.  I spent 4 weeks in PT and waited a full 7 weeks post surgery to start my back to running program.  In addition I have continued with my PT exercises to strengthen my hips and glutes and cross train on the trainer.  I have been taking this supplement for 4 weeks and I have not had any knee pain.  I am hoping that with the combination of my exercise and supplement regiment, I will continue with pain free knees for many years to come - and possibly less wrinkles!

Wrinkles, Joint Pain and/or Inflammation?  Want to try some Collagen ImmuCell?


For your chance to win:

*be(come) a follower of this blog (hit the "join this site" button on the right)

For additional entries:

*Like Neocell on Facebook

*Follow Neocell on Twitter

*Share this giveaway via Twitter, FB, or your blog

Please leave a comment for each entry.

Winner will be chosen using random.org on Friday, January 27th.

(Disclaimer: I was sent this product for free to review on my blog. I did not pay for the item, receive payment for this review, or agree to give a positive review. Aside from information gleaned from the company website and product packaging, the opinions are my own.)

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Looking forward to spring break...:)

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Manna Organics Bread Giveaway

Back in December I won Haley's  (Climb Run Lift MomManna Organics Bread giveaway. For the prize we got to choose 4 of their delicious breads (read our review).  Thanks to Manna Organics, one of you will have a chance to win your choice of 4 also!  

What is Manna bread? It is a cake-like, sprouted bread, yeast free bread, organic bread, free of salt, no oils, no sweeteners, no leavening agents. Manna is moist and delicious, high in protein and fiber. Available in 9 delicious flavors in your favorite health food store, and most Whole Foods markets, in the USA and Canada.

We chose Multigrain Flax Sourdough, Sunny Sourdough, Millet Rice and Banana Walnut Hemp.


For your chance to win 4 loaves (your choice):

** Be a follower of this blog (hit the "join this site" button on the right:))

For extra entries:

** Follow Manna Organics on Twitter

** Like Manna Organics on Facebook

** Spread the word via blog, facebook and twitter

(Please leave a comment for each)

Winner will be chosen using random.org and announced on Friday, January 27th.

Good luck!

Healthy, organic, delicious... and local (for us)!

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Meatless Monday - Super (Vegan) Cookies

Made with sweet potato, oats, nuts and other whole foods, these super cookies are a great alternative to energy bars or other processed snacks.  Ideal for on the chairlift or as a healthy after school treat, the wholesome ingredients provide lasting energy.

Easy to make and huge hit with the kids!

Super (Vegan) Cookies
Preheat oven to 325.

Combine in a small bowl:
2/3 c whole wheat flour
1 1/3 c oats
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

Dry ingredients

In another bowl combine until smooth:
1 cup mashed peeled sweet potato
2 Tbs coconut oil
4 Tbs nut butter of choice

Mix into sweet potato mix:
1/4 c honey
2 Tbs molasses
1 tsp vanilla

Mashed sweet potato mix

Add dry ingredients into moist, then stir in:
3/4 c chopped nuts and seeds
3/4 c dried craisins

Walnuts and chia seeds

Form batter into balls, then flatten and place on greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.  Cool completely on a rack.

Makes about 16 cookies.

(Adapted from recipe in November 2011 Ski Magazine)

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Collagen Sport Winner and Friday Funny

The lucky winner of my NeoCell Collagen Sport giveaway, chosen by random.org is

Jen, of Running with the Girls, with the comment:

Congrats Jen!
Please email me your mailing info and your flavor preference - chocolate or vanilla.
Thanks to all who participated!

Friday Funny

I was walking down the street when I was accosted by a particularly dirty and shabby-looking homeless woman who asked me for a couple of dollars for dinner. 

I took out my wallet, got out ten dollars and asked, "If I give you this money, will you buy wine with it instead of dinner?" 

"No I had to stop drinking years ago," the homeless woman told me. 

"Will you use it to go shopping instead of buying food?" I asked. 

"No, I don't waste time shopping," the homeless woman said. "I need to spend all my time trying to stay alive." 

"Will you spend this on a beauty salon instead of food?" I asked. 

"Are you NUTS!" replied the homeless woman. "I haven't had my hair done in 20 years!" 

"Well," I said, "I'm not going to give you the money. Instead, I'm going to take you out for dinner with my husband and me tonight." The homeless woman was shocked. 

"Won't your husband be furious with you for doing that? I know I'm dirty, and I probably smell pretty disgusting." 

 I said, "That's okay. It's important for him to see what a woman looks like after she has given up shopping, hair appointments, and wine."

Joke from Funzup.com

Happy Friday!

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Drymax Running Socks Review

I was super psyched to start my return to running program with brand new Drymax socks. What makes Drymax socks so great? Among many great comfort and technical features, the one that stands out is Drymax's moisture removal system.  Drymax keep feet 25 times drier than wicking socks by mechanically moving moisture away from the foot. Drymax socks are worn by leading ultrarunners, professional and collegiate athletes to compete and win in the toughest conditions on the planet.

Why is it so important to keep feet dry? For a runner, moisture is foot's worst enemy. Moisture causes blisters and fuels the growth of odor-causing bacteria, and fungal conditions of the skin (Athlete's Foot), and toe nails. In cold/freezing weather, moisture pulls heat away from skin 23 times faster than air, lowering skin temperature so rapidly that wet feet become painfully cold and are much more susceptible to frostbite. So sock drying time is very important.  Drymax running socks need NO drying time; they dry at the speed of sweat.  How you ask?  Drymax socks utilize two different fiber technologies interwoven to form inner and outer layers.  The Drymax Dual Layer System is not a double layer sock -two separated socks knit together. The hydrophobic, or moisture hating nonwicking Drymax fibers are knit on the inside and moisture attracting fibers on the outside.  Your feet will still sweat in Drymax socks, they don't have antiperspirant properties.

Another great feature of Drymax Socks is the antimicrobial additive, MicroZap®. MicroZap® is a silver based zirconium phosphate ceramic ion-exchange resin. MicroZap is not a topical treatment; it is molecularly infused into the Drymax fibers as they are being extruded in the molten stage. This special process makes MicroZap non-migratory and non-toxic, producing permanent long-term odor control.

Drymax socks do not claim to provide arch support, shock absorption or a 100% no blister guarantee.  Although Drymax socks have an arch band to hold the sock in place, adding stretch fibers in the area does not provide enough support to call it "arch support."  In addition, Drymax does not claim that their socks provide shock absorption - that's what insoles and shoes do.  They do, however provide super comfy cushioning.  Finally, Drymax does not claim to prevent 100% of blisters.  Socks are not the only cause of blisters.  Blisters caused by socks usually develop because the socks do not fit right, have an irritating seam or they become wet. Because the Dual Layer Sweat Removal System with the Drymax fiber keeps the skin of the feet dry, blisters caused by moisture are eliminated.

Care should be taken when laundering - no fabric softener or chlorine bleach.  Fabric softeners leave a residual coating on fibers and fabrics, preventing them from performing as designed. To remove fabric softeners, simply launder with detergent and rinse.  Never use chlorine bleach with Drymax or other socks or articles of clothing that contain Lycra® or Spandex (stretch fibers). Chlorine bleach will attack the stretch fibers, causing them to lose their elasticity. The use of chlorine bleach will also render Silver or Copper antimicrobials useless.  Use non-chlorine bleach, or a detergent with a bleach alternative. In addition skin lubricants or powders should not be used with Drymax socks.  Finally... do not iron (who irons their socks???).

Drymax socks are designed with 5 different levels of protective padding. The protective padding comes in four densities and by making the protective padding dense as opposed to thick, it is designed not to affect the fit of the shoes.   In all I tried four different pairs:  Hyper Thin Running, Running Lite Mesh, Running and Cold Weather Red Crew.  I wore these for running, walking, cycling and hiking with the family.  They provide a great fit (with choices of S-XXL), comfortable cushioning and superior moisture control.   Socks contain color size mark for easy match-up after laundering (which Kovas pointed out).  For a male's perspective, head over to Midwest Multisport Life to see what Kovas has to say...  

Love the vibrant red of the Cold Weather Red Crew:)

Drymax has STAY DRY and COMFORTABLE GUARANTEE.  Drymax socks will keep your feet drier and more comfortable than any other sock. If you do not agree, return the Drymax socks (with your sales receipt or a copy) for a full refund.  Proudly made in the USA.

For more info and tips (like how and when to trim toenails) check out the Drymax websiteFacebook page, and follow them on Twitter.

Sources: http://www.drymaxsocks.com/

You can only go as far as your feet will take you.

(Disclaimer: I was sent this product for free to review on my blog, courtesy of Drymax Sports. I did not pay for the item, receive payment for this review, or agree to give a positive review. Aside from information gleaned from the company website and product packaging, the opinions are my own.)

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Humans Were Never Meant to Hibernate!

As soon as I was able to walk, my parents put me on skis (okay, maybe not that young, but by 3 for sure).  During our yearly, or if we were lucky twice yearly, trips out west, we spent many days in ski school, both to learn to ski and to give my parents, relatives and their friends some freedom to ski on their own.  One of my earliest memories is skiing in my grandfather's snow plow and later taking off with my friends through the trees.  Our trips out west were some of the best times of my childhood.  We have continued this tradition with our kiddos.  I am so happy that they love to ski, and that I am able to share the experience with them!

January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month!  Check out deals and more at http://www.skiandsnowboardmonth.org/

What is your favorite winter sport?

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tuesday Tidbits - Healthy Eating Tips

Health-conscious and goal-oriented, many runners start the New Year with a long list of diet goals.  But large, sweeping changes are often unrealistic and impossible to achieve, leaving one overwhelmed even before beginning.  For a more empowering route make smaller, more manageable tweaks to your diet that will keep you motivated and reshape the way you approach food:

MAKE TIME FOR BREAKFAST Numerous studies have found that skipping breakfast is linked to overweight and obesity.

Oatmeal with fruit and nuts
EAT THREE FOOD GROUPS AT BREAKFAST  Many morning foods, like cereal, however, are high in carbs and not much else. Include lean protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats for breakfast. Protein helps build and repair muscle and keeps you full, carbs provide quick energy and fat helps you feel satisfied.

JOIN THE MEATLESS MONDAY MOVEMENT The average American eats about eight ounces of meat daily, which is roughly 45 percent more than the USDA recommends. Eating too much fatty meat increases your saturated fat intake, and increases your risk for heart disease. Two particularly runner-friendly plant-based protein sources are beans and quinoa since they also contain slow-releasing complex carbohydrates that supply energy for runs.

FILL HALF YOUR PLATE WITH PRODUCE Runners who don't meet their daily fruit and vegetable quota are missing out big time. These nutrient-rich foods provide your body with plant chemicals that keep your cells healthy and reduce inflammation, plus by filling half your plate, it leaves less room for higher-calorie options.

GET MORE CALCIUM - THINK BEYOND MILK A study published last year in The Journal of Nutrition found that 38 percent of Americans aren't getting enough calcium, a nutrient essential for keeping bones strong and reducing fracture risk. Nondairy sources include dark greens, canned salmon with the bones (they're edible and provide the bulk of the calcium), tofu, and fortified fruit juices and soy milk. 

PACK A LUNCH  You'll save not only money by making a sandwich or salad at home but hundreds of calories over the typical fast food fare. And you'll gain a big nutritional boost.

PREPARE DINNER...FROM SCRATCH Research suggests it takes on average only ten minutes more of hands-on time to prepare an evening meal from scratch compared with using only prepackaged dishes.  Your meals will be healthier - processed foods often have a lot of sugar and salt, plus artificial ingredients.

Leafy greens
UPGRADE YOUR SALAD GREENS - AND EAT MORE OF THEM Diversifying beyond iceberg and romaine can help  supercharge your salad.  Leafy greens are also the most nutrient-dense of all foods, but unfortunately are only consumed in miniscule amounts in a typical American diet.

DITCH THE PACKAGED DIET FOODS Low-fat versions of your favorite foods, such as cookies and potato chips, may appear healthier than their full-fat counterparts, but they're often high in added sugars and sodium. Eat smaller amounts of real food.

EAT BETTER  Eating high-fiber foods—such as a salad or a bowl of mixed fruit—at the start of a meal helps you consume fewer total calories overall.

CHEW MORE Study subjects ate 12% fewer calories when they chomped 40 times before swallowing, compared with 15 times. Chewing is associated with lower levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin and higher concentrations of a hormone that may squelch appetite. 
LIGHTEN YOUR LATTE Coffee drinks can have 60 calories worth of added sugar from the syrup alone - reduce the number of pumps of syrup.

KEEP SALADS HEALTHY Choose low-fat and fat-free salad dressings that have no more than 70 calories, six grams of fat, and one gram of saturated fat per serving.

EAT YOUR GOMBBS  This acronym is an easy way to remember the most nutrient-dense, heath-promoting foods on the planet: greens, onions, mushrooms, berries, beans and seeds.  

THINK BEFORE YOU DRINK Calories from sports drinks, sodas, juices, and alcohol add up quickly. Aim for no more than 150 calories from beverages per day, and stick to water on short runs.

WATCH PORTION SIZE And in general, adopt the ELF diet - Eat Less Food. People consume on average 570 more calories per day now than they did in the 1970s. 

Tidbits from Runner's World, Women's Health, oprah.com, huffingtonpost.com and scientificamerican.com.

What's your favorite diet tweak?

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