August 26, 2011

Blogging Break

Dear followers of Cincy Spin,

It has occurred to me that my life has gotten much, much busier over these past few months since I started massage therapy school. It's going absolutely great and I am so happy that I've started on this new path. Between two nights at school and my new job - where I've help launch a new website & some other social media outlets - I haven't been able to commit the time I'd like to posting here on CincySpin. So, I've decided to take a break from updating here on the site. I love this blog & I love the outlet it has provided me for the past 3 years. Thank you for following along my life's journey these past few years & for understanding why I need to make this change.
I will be back one day - full of things to say!


July 09, 2011

Johnny's Po-Boy Restaurant

JJ and I recently took a trip to New Orleans for a few days over the 4th of July weekend and on one of our many days filled with walking around the French Quarter we stopped at Johnny's Po-Boy on St. Louis Street for some authentic New Orleans sandwiches. Johnny's had been recommend to us by a friend who has spent some time in NOLA working with Give Back Cincinnati so I was very excited when we were able to visit the oldest family owned po-boy shop in the city.
We tried to hit up Johnny's on a Saturday around 1pm and we could barley stand inside the fairly small dining room, it was that crowded. So we changed plans that afternoon and hit up the shop the next afternoon when it was a little less crowded. After standing in line for a few minutes and staring up at the big white board filled with Po-Boy options, we decided to split a "Johnny's special" - roast beef, grilled ham, swiss & american cheese, lettuce, tomato, and pickle - all piled up on some french bread.
While waiting for our sandwich, I loved all the people watching. Tons of people were bringing out their phones to grab a photo of these huge sandwiches that they were about to consume. The dining room is small, but I did notice some people where headed to the back of the building so I'm guessing there was some more seating back there.
Johnny's is 1 or 2 blocks north of the Riverwalk along the Mississippi River, so JJ had a great suggestion to get our po-boy to go and head over for a picnic along the river. I once saw a show on the travel channel where some guy was talking about po-boys saying that the way to tell if it's a good one is when the juices run down your arm when you take a bit out of it and let me tell you Johnny's did not disappoint - it was totally awesome!

Check out Johnny's Po-Boy if you ever get to the historic French Quarter of New Orleans. Don't be discouraged if there's a line when you visit - it goes fast and if it's a nice day, then I recommend getting it "to-go" and heading over to the Riverwalk area where there are plenty of benches and open green space for a picnic.

June 07, 2011

Attention Glee Fans

Check out this video of a mini warbler fan - it totally made my day so thought I'd share it with you - perhaps it will make you smile too!

Maybe not the best lyrics for such a young kid to be singing, but I still thought it was a great video. Love the outfit with his striped tie and matching warbler jacket, love his enthusiasm and how about those dance moves....

Watch out Blaine & Dalton Academy - looks like you've got some competition at Nationals!

May 18, 2011

Half Marathon Recap

As I mentioned in my last post with the photo recap on my Flying Pig half marathon, it was a totally awesome experience. I trained for 4 straight months with the Running Spot training group for the half marathon. Twice a week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays, I would lace up my shoes and follow the running routes that were planned out by our coaches. All of the gals in the picture below have become some great friends of mine and I'm really thankful my path in life introduced me to them through this experience. From left to right below is Julie, Amy, Coach Carolyn, Beth and myself gathered together right before we lined up for the start of the race:We all stayed together for the first mile or so and it was quite a rush to be among the thousands of runners all lined up in downtown Cincinnati. In the sea of all those people, I got separated from my group of girls, but ended up hooking up with another training group member named Adam. He and I ran together for miles 2-6 and that was great. Having someone new to talk with along the race was a really great way to get those first few miles under my belt without freaking out too much about those miles that were still to come. At mile 6.5 the course headed into a beautiful park in Cincy called Eden Park and that was were the relay switch occurred. So, I follow the path to switch out with JJ so he could start his portion of the 4-person relay run and then I continued on the half marathon course. Being able to share about 1/2 mile running with him was a really cool part of the day. Having him support me in so many ways and seeing him along this journey really helped me push on through the middle miles along the route.

After JJ and I split off on different routes, I did have a bit of mental stuff start to happen. From about mile 7 on, I ran by myself along the route, which was not something I planned on doing. From my first training run, I had my running buddies right there beside me. But on this day, we all got separated and so there I was for 6.2 more miles alone with my thoughts. By Mile 10, I had pushed through some of the rough physical moments with my body, but there were some mental thoughts that started to creep in like "oh lord, I still have 3.2 mile to go", but like I had done on several training runs I dug deep and put my thoughts to good use. Remembering that I could in fact finish this and that I had made it to mile 10 already and the rest of the course was mostly down hill, so just keep putting one foot in front of the other to get to the finish line. These pictures of me below are around mile 11 & 12, so I'm almost about to hit the final straight stretch of the course towards the finish line.
One of the Running Spot coaches spotted me with about .2 miles to go and I did my best to hold together the emotions I was feeling. I gave him a huge "high 5" and smiled from ear to ear - I had done it! With Coach Micheal's encouragement, he told me to pick out someone in front of me and beat that person across the finish line - so that's what I did - set my eyes on a gal in a gray t-shirt and pounded my legs so hard that I blew past her as I crossed the finish line.

The numbers broke down like this:

13.1 miles took me 3 hours and 6 minutes at a pace of 14:13 per mile

The feeling of pride & accomplishment when I crossed the finish line...


May 04, 2011

Flying Pig through Pictures

I had a totally awesome experience with my first (and maybe only) half marathon this past Sunday when I was one of about 20,000 people participating in Cincinnati's Flying Pig Marathon. Here's a quick re-cap through some photos I took along the 13.1 mile course.

Me and JJ at Mile 7

My awesome friends who came out to cheer me on at Mile 11Finish Line with my running buddy Julie and Coach Carolyn
After party at the Running Spot tent with our 4 person Relay Team - Team Swine Flew!

Once life settles down a little I plan on posting about how everything went and some more indepth details about the day. Like I said, it was really great - eventhough it rained the first 5 miles or so, I really embraced the morning and took in all the excitement and emotions that came along with completing this goal I'd set out to finish. I can not thank everyone enough for all the support these last few months and especially the days leading up to the big run. I received tons of shout outs on Facebook and also got many text messages from loved ones cheering me on and all of those mean so much to me. Looking forward to recaping things and getting another blog post up soon with the details and hopefully some of the office race day photos!

April 30, 2011

It's time for pigs to fly!

After months and months of training runs and prep work, tomorrow morning is the Cincinnati Flying Pig Half Marathon. Tonight we went out for an awesome pre-race dinner with my running buddies to Buca di Beppo and loaded up on some yummy carbs like pasta and italian bread. Here's a quick pick of us before we all went home to get our gear ready for the morning. I'm feeling pretty good about things - I've gotten tons of shout outs and good luck wishes through Facebook and text messages, so it's so helpful to have lots of people cheering for me as I embark on this adventure. A few of my peeps are supposed to be out spectating along the course, so that will be fun to look for them along the run. Got all my clothes ready for the early wake up call, so now it's time for bed for some good solid sleep.Thanks again to all my blog readers for your support over these last few months during my training run posts. I'll be thinking of all those who are behind me while I'm out on the course in the morning!

April 27, 2011

Peach French Toast Bake

I decided to make this for Easter brunch this past weekend and it was a great option for a breakfast casserole. In the past when I've made breakfast casseroles, I've usually done the ones with potatoes, eggs, meat, cheese and veggies and they've been delicious. This time, I was in the mood to try a new recipe and got this one from a friend through a post on facebook where I asked for input on people's favorite brunch items. If you are looking for an option that's a bit fruity, but not too sweet, then I'd recommend giving this one a try. Enjoy!


Cooking spray

1 large whole-wheat baguette (about 8 ounces)

8 eggs

1 cup low fat milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 cups sliced peaches, fresh or frozen

1/2 lemon, juiced about 1 1/2 tablespoons

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Spray a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Slice the baguette into 1/2-inch slices and arrange the slices in a single layer in the baking pan. Whisk together the eggs, egg whites, milk and vanilla. Pour the egg mixture over the bread in the pan. In a medium bowl, toss peaches with the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar. Scatter the peach slices evenly on top of the bread. Combine the remaining brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the top. Cover and refrigerate overnight.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Uncover and bake for 40 minutes. Serve warm with (or without) maple syrup.

April 21, 2011

School Update

The first three weeks of massage school have been totally awesome. I have class two nights every week - Anatomy on Tuesdays & Massage on Thursdays.

I've had my first anatomy test and got a great score, which made me very happy. The test covered the make up of the body with various systems and anatomical terms for body parts, so lots of good info to have as a base for when we get into the bones & muscles. It's full steam ahead in that class with our next text covering the chapters on chemistry and cells.

In massage class, it's been hands on learning since last week. I really like this part of how the school approaches the learning process. We have before class reading assignments where we learn about new techniques, then the majority of class time is spent practicing on the others classmates. Our instructor demonstrates the way to do the technique, then spends the class walking around each set of students and helps us with hand placement and body positioning. The basic technique we've learned so far is called gliding, where you use your hands to glide over the body to increase blood flow and circulation in the body.

I've done three practice massages on friends and family so far and they've gone pretty good. I have learned something new during each one of them. My massage room is all set up now since my table arrived last week, so I'm looking forward to the learning process and continued practice on people over the next few months. We will build new techniques and learn new areas of the body over the next month during class and be up to practicing full body massage by mid-summertime.

That's about it on the school front, I'm enjoying every minute of it and still feel I've made the right decision about things. There's an amazing energy I'm feeling in class that is very positive and exciting. It's something I haven't been around professionally in awhile and it's very cool to feel how that positivity can spread and make you want to learn more, do more, and be a better person. There are 13 people in my class, so they will all become my new buddies over the next 18 months as we go through this process together. We are all different and come from different backgrounds, but we're all interested in massage therapy and have choosen this new path for ourselves so we'll be needing each other to succeed in class and in real life as we move forward. So that's it for now, not sure how much I'll be able to update things here on CincySpin but I'll aim for at least one school update per semester.

Thanks to all for your support, it means so very much to me.

April 10, 2011

Running Solo

Last weekend, I made a weekend trip out to Barboursville, WV to visit friends who recently welcomed a new baby girl into their family. We had an awesome visit and I loved meeting their new addition - who for the record is super sweet and cute (just like her big sister!). Now, with being out of town, I knew I needed to stay on track with my half marathon training and we were scheduled to run 10 miles that weekend. Barboursville is very close to Huntington, WV so I went online to the USA Track and Field (USATF) website and searched for pre-mapped runs in that area. I found a "Marshall Alumni 5k", so I built my extra miles off this run and came up with a 10 mile route I would tackle solo with a newly loaded playlist on my iPod.

I drove downtown, parked my car and head out on my run on a nice morning. I snapped a few pics along the way to document my run and overall it was a great day. Starting out on the campus of Marshall University was very nice. There were several other runners around the area which was nice to see along the way.
Once through Marshall's campus, I head out one of the main roads in Huntington and made my way to Ritter Park which is part of the Greater Huntington Park and Recreation District. I am familiar with this park because it is where my friend holds the annual Lexi Black walk for SLOS (check out the link for more info) so I knew there was a 1 mile walking path around the park and there are also tons of beautiful houses and side streets to explore in that particular area too. Checking out these houses and enjoying the view of the park made the time pass quickly along the run.
After a few times around the park, I headed out back to the main road that would take me back to Marshall's campus. I did run into some "shady streets" as I made my way back to the other side of town and some of the roads I had marked on my routed ended up being alley ways, so I choose not to run those and ended up running about 8.5 miles total instead of the full 10. All in all, it was a great morning for a run, especially in a new place. Using the USATF website to map out a run is a great way to explore new areas if you are traveling and want to get in a walk or run. Just be flexible if things don't exactly match up and study your route on the map and turn by turn directions several times before heading out to pound the pavement in a new town. After the run, I headed back to my friend's house, made some coffee and spent the day enjoying the company of two lovey little girls and also loved spending some good quality time with my best friend since 4th grade - hard to believe we've been friends for over 20 years - where does the time go?!!

April 05, 2011

Leap of Faith

April 5th is a big day for me. It's been on my calendar since this past September.

Today I'm acting on a dream I've had for a very long time. I'm stepping out of my comfort zone. Taking a big chance and trusting my instincts. Putting my faith in a higher power that I will find the answers I need to the various questions that are running through my mind about where this new adventure will take me.

I'm about to walk into my first night of school to become a Licensed Massage Therapist.

Excited beyond words, nervous beyond measure, but 100% sure I am where I need to be for me, at this very moment - the rest will come in time...

March 27, 2011

It's official...

As seen in my email in-box today...

Dear Lenna,

Congratulations! You are now registered for the 2011 Cincinnati Flying Pig Half Marathon...

I've made it official by paying for my registration, so it's no turning back now. This weekend was a drop down week with shorter runs for Tuesday and Saturday. Next weekend, we're back up to 10 miles, which I'll be running on my own and not with the group since I'll be out of town visiting a friend and her new baby girl (Yay!). It will be quite challenging to motivate myself to get out there alone and keep going for 10 miles, so I'll be looking for some new tunes to load up on my iPod to jam out to along that upcoming long run.

That's about it for now - thanks for all the support as I embark on completing my goal of participating in a half marathon!

March 19, 2011

Cincinnati's Bridges

9.3 - that was the mileage on this morning's Half Marathon training run that covered Northern Kentucky and downtown Cincinnati. It was a beautiful morning and a great day to get out before the sun came up to take in some of the lovely sights in the Queen City. The thing about running in Cincinnati is that you'll no doubt find yourself pounding up and down some hills and what some people don't realize is that almost any bridge is actually a big hill. So when you set out to run 9.3 miles and you look at the route laid out by the running coach and you see 5 bridges on the turn by turn directions, there's a bit of an "ugh" feeling that sets in before you even start your first mile.Alas, I pushed ahead and got moving across the first bridge - The Purple People Bridge - this is a pedestrian only bridge, so it's a nice smooth concrete surface to run along. The bridge goes between Newport, KY and the east side of Cincinnati's downtown area, near the some popular park areas called Sawyer Point and Yeatman's Cove. On most of our runs, this is usually the first bridge we cross, so it's always challenging to start on a hill, but overall I don't find this bridge too tough to handle. Up next, the Taylor-Southgate Bridge - this is the bridge that I find gives me the most trouble. It's 850 meters, which is similar to the others, but for some reason it kicks my butt every time I cross it. And today, we had to cross it twice (gasp) - on the way out and on the way back - but I made it, thankfully. One awesome moment from today's run while on the bridge was that the sun was coming up right beyond the bridge, so it was a bit easier to focus on the beauty of that image rather than the pain my legs were feeling while running the bridge.

Bridge number 3 was the Licking River Bridge (click link for photo). This one runs over the Licking River in Northern Ky and there's a long gradual hill leading up the this bridge, so it's never fun to cross this one and the pedestrian lane is pretty skinny along this bridge which is well depicted in the photo link.
The fourth bridge of today's run was the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge (the far left bridge in the photo). This one is pretty challenging, however I really like this bridge because of the views it gives you of downtown Cincinnati. It runs between Covington and downtown Cincy and it's right next to the home of the Bengals, Paul Brown Stadium, so when it's football season, you might be able to catch the players out on the practice field.

So, there you have it - a quick tour of some of the bridges spanning the Ohio River that I traveled on by foot this morning. While very challenging, there's a part of me that enjoys the up and downs of the bridges. Usually the down part is my favorite but hey no big surprise there because who doesn't love a downhill!

March 15, 2011

Temptation Island...

That's where I feel I've been living lately when it comes to saying "no" or at least "not so much" to sweets these past few days. I've been full steam ahead with my training for the half marathon and even completed the 8.3 mile run on Saturday without much pain or discomfort when I was finished. So, while I'm pulling it together on the running side of things, I've been struggling with staying away from temptations when it comes to my food choices.

And it seems that sweets have been the culprit as of these last few days - cake and ice cream for a birthday party on Saturday night, more cake with yummy icing on Sunday evening at a neighbor's dinner get together, and then last night was the kicker...a reece cup blizard from the DQ! Now, I did share those last two items with JJ, but let's be honest here, I was the one who wanted them and since he's not huge into sweets, he only had a few small bites of each dessert.

I'm not really looking for any feedback or comments with today's post. I'm just putting it out there for my own benefit and need to "come clean" with myself, so that I can move on with things and get back on track. My water intake is up significantly and today's a new day - one where I will recommit myself to myself. I've got running group tonight, beginner's yoga tomorrow night and plenty of good food choices in the fridge for lunches and dinners, so I'm pressing on, despite this past weekend's minor set back!

PS - Did I mention there's been a huge family size box of Frosted Flakes in the control room at work...seriously...temptations are all around me lately!

March 09, 2011

I'm "flying"...

In response to the recent question I asked myself last week - click here for more details - I've decided to participate in the Flying Pig half marathon on May 1st. Just need to actually sign up and pay for the half marathon now, but I'm full speed ahead with my training and now working on making sure I get all my training runs and cross training workouts in during the week. I'm also going to start experimenting with energy products like gu gels and sport beans on my long runs.

So, the countdown is on: 52 days until my first half marathon

Up next: Thursday's shorter run (3-4 miles) and Saturday's long run (8.2 miles)

Today's question to those runners out there: what has been your experience with energy products? Do you like a particular kind or find that a gel works better than an energy bar? Let me know your thoughts and experiences!

February 28, 2011

To "fly" or not to "fly"...

13.1 miles

That is the question I'm posing to myself after this past weekend's training group run. I accomplished my longest run ever, like ever in my life, 7.5 miles. It's been a tough two weekends with the groups runs - 6.8 miles of Cincy hills and 7.5 miles of bridges and downtown streets. Despite my nerves, I made it through both runs and felt pretty strong after Saturday's 7.5 miler. So strong that while enjoying breakfast with my friends, my ears perked up when one of them told me that you can participate in both the Cincinnati Flying Pig 4-person Relay Run and the Half Marathon. So, after some research that's where I am today - seriously considering runing 13.1 miles through downtown Cincy and some of my favorite neighborhoods the first weekend of May.

When I started this running journey less than a year ago, I never thought I'd be thinking of taking on such a chalellenge. Once I finsihed the Thanksgiving Day 10k run, I did feel that one day I want to tackle a half marathon, I just never thought it would be this soon - less than a year after I started running. But my energy is up, the excitement is all around me, and I feel like there's no time like the present. I'm already half way through the training with the group, so if I want to continue running with them on the weekends, then I'll be uping my miles b/c they're all training for the half - so why not just go ahead and do it - check it off my life's to do list. If I do it, the race falls 11 days before my 32nd birthday and what better gift to give myself - pride and accomplishment on completing my first half marathon, sounds like a pretty great b-day gift to me!

Thoughts - advice - words of wisdom - I'm ready to hear it all. Have you done a half marathon? If so, what's something you wish you'd known before your race? Let me hear it blogger friends!

February 23, 2011

Gina's Turkey Chili Taco Soup

I threw together a big pot of this soup on Sunday and it got two thumbs up from our house, so I thought you might enjoy the recipe for your home. This Turkey Chili Taco Soup comes from Gina's Skinny Taste website, which is a new favorite of mine. I did make one change to the recipe below, I cut out the refried beans and used a half can of great northern beans instead of kidney beans. This change clearly indicates that I'm not a bean girl, but it was a huge step for me to use any beans at all, so the smaller white great northern beans are a good choice for me as I try to expand my horizons into the work of legumes!

Here's the recipe:
  • 1.3 lbs 99% lean ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 10 oz can rotel tomatoes with green chilies
  • 15 oz canned or frozen corn, drained
  • 15 oz kidney beans, drained
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 16 oz fat free refried beans
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 2 1/2 cups fat free low sodium chicken broth
In a large pot, brown turkey on medium heat, breaking up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. When cooked through, add onions and pepper and cook 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes, corn, beans, tomato sauce, refried beans, taco seasoning and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and simmer about 10-15 minutes.

Serve with a few baked tortilla chips and your favorite toppings such as low fat sour cream, jalapeƱos, reduced fat cheese, chopped scallions, onions, or chopped fresh cilantro. Freeze leftovers in individual portions for future meals.

I did make some homemade baked tortilla strips for this dish - it was so simple. Take a few flour tortillas and brush each side with some vegetable oil. Stack them and cut them into strips. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes, flipping at the half way point. Just keep your eye on them so they don't burn and they're a great addition to put on this soup with some shredded chedder cheese. Enjoy!

February 21, 2011

A Family is Like a Football Team

Today I'm going to share a post from a new blogger on the blogging scene. Some of you may have noticed I've added a few new sites to the list of websites I often browse. One of those sites, Communicate Support Inspire, is written by my Mom and I thought I'd share one of her recent blog posts that I enjoyed - perhaps you might find these words applying to your family too.

A Family is Like a Football Team

My Mom typed this up for me many years ago, when I was raising three young children. It's been on my refrigerator ever since!

"A family can be a lot like a football team. Everyone has a different assignment, and if one does it well, and works well with everyone else on the team, the family can have a winning season, and some even a championship season."

If you don't learn to cooperate well with each other, everyone else on the team will suffer. A winning season makes everyone happy.

Your folks, and the rest of the family, deserve to be happy. Give each other a chance. You're not going to stop loving each other just because we all have other people in our lives. It doesn't work that way. The members of a football team change every year, but when we all pull together, we can still have that winning season."

As I read this article so many years later, it still rings true to me! Our family has changed a lot! Our kids are grown and gone, living their adult lives; three of our four parents are gone now; and our "football team" is certainly heading into another season of changes! But that doesn't mean we love each other any less. Our "football team" is still playing strong, why, it's even growing - with a daughter and son-in-law now - and we're all still headed for that winning season!

May your "team" always be strong, too --Best always, Carole

February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Whether you love or hate this often called "hallmark" holiday, there are a few fun ideas out there for celebrating the love we share with our friends and family. My favorite way to spend Valentine's Day is cooking dinner and watching a movie with my hubby. We celebrated this past weekend and made JJ's mom's lasagna and watch The Social Network, which was a pretty good movie. Here are a few things I think would make for a fun way to celebrate, if you're into celebrating Valentine's Day:
How about a heart shaped pizza from Papa John's for your sweetie? According to their website, they sold over 60,000 of these during last year's promotion, so Papa is on board again this year to deliver this fun dinner idea. If pizza's not your thing, then what about this...
Take your sweetie out to dinner at White Castle...yep, I said White Castle. Doing this tonight would have required some advanced planning though because believe it or not the restaurant often sells out for available spots for their dinner service on Valentine's Day. For the past 20 years, White Castle staffers have been playing up on the fun and offering up table side service at each booth, which is cover with linen table cloths and adorned with fresh flowers. You must love the sliders to make this your valentine's day choice, but it seems like a fun way to spend the evening. Don't want anything to do with food to display the way you celebrate this day...
Then you can never go wrong with good old fashion flowers! I got this beautiful red rose today when I walked into work. This really made me smile and was a great way to start the day. A very nice co-worker from the morning show shift went out on his lunch break, picked up a bouquet of roses and passed one out to all the ladies to celebrate Valentine's Day - now how cool is that - it certainly lifted many people spirits and got the day started off right in my book!

So, however you celebrate Valentine's Day (or don't celebrate), enjoy today - share a laugh with a friend, tell your loved ones how much they mean to you and pass on some positive energy to others, because it's the cool thing to do!

February 02, 2011

Meatless Meals #2

Guess who went and stole my idea....Oprah...that's right, I said it. "Lady O" owes me some money I tell ya, because it was just two weeks ago that I posted about wanting to start cooking more Meatless Meals for dinner in our house. And wouldn't you know, what was yesterday's Oprah show about - going vegan - and she talked about having Meatless Monday's at her Harpo studios in Chicago. I'm telling you, girrrllllll owes me some money for copyright issues, don'tcha think?!!?

If you didn't see the show and have any interest in this hot button topic, then I highly suggest you check it out. Here's a link to her website with more about the show. There's an interesting segments where correspondent Lisa Ling visits a slaughterhouse. While this segment might be hard for some to watch, it was the first time I recall seeing or hearing about the details on how cows are treated at the feed lots, transferred to slaughterhouses and put through the process of becoming packaged meat.

Now on to another recipe that I whipped up last night. This is what I call cooking without a plan. I pulled out some veggies from the fridge and we had some cooked thin spaghetti noodles. So here's my take on another meatless meal:
Chop up some fresh broccoli, onion, tomatoes and flat leaf parsley. Heat some olive oil in a medium size saute pan and add the broccoli with some garlic. Once that is cooked, set aside and to the same pan add the chopped onion, tomatoes, and parsley. Squeeze some lemon juice over that mixture and saute for a few minutes. If you so desire (which I did), add in a little white wine too. After the onion mixture softens, add the broccoli back into the pan and toss in some cooked spaghetti noodles. I let all this cook together for a few minutes and below is a picture of the finished product. It was pretty good and the lemon juice gave it a very fresh flavor, which made me think that this would be a great meal to eat during the summer months. You could easily add grilled chicken this dish to satisfy the taste buds of the carnivores in your life too. Enjoy - and don't forget to post any meatless meals you and your family enjoy in the comments section - Thanks!

January 24, 2011

Turkey & Rice Stuffed Peppers

The original recipe for this dish comes from Gina's Skinny Recipes. This gal has a great blog where she posts a new recipe almost every day and she includes the weight watchers info for each dish for those who are counting points with that system. I really liked her take on stuffed peppers - she suggested cutting the peppers length wise, which I thought was great because it made the peppers easier to cut up and eat with out loosing a bunch of the filling. The other great thing about her recipes is that you stuff the raw peppers with the filling, then you add 1/2 cup of chicken broth in the bottom of the pan, cover it with the foil to cook, which ends up steaming the peppers.

Here is my take on the recipe:
  • 1 lb cooked ground turkey
  • small amount of minced garlic
  • 1/4 chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp chef tony's creole spice mix
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 red bell peppers
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cook rice according to directions on box. In another pan, saute onion, garlic and parsley for about 2 minutes and add ground turkey. Add spice mix and cook for several minutes until meat is completely cooked through. Add 1/4 cup of tomato sauce and 1/2 cup of chicken broth, mix together and cook on low for 5 minutes. Combine cooked rice and meat together.
Cut the peppers in half lengthwise, and remove all seeds. Place peppers in backing dish and add meat mixture into each pepper half and fill it with as much as you can. Sprinkle each pepper with cheddar cheese. Pour the remaining 1/2 cup of chicken broth on the bottom of the pan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 40 minutes.
The finished product - Enjoy!

January 21, 2011

Just Do It

Today I conquered one of my fears and ran 3 miles in the snow. So, given this accomplishment, I declare myself a true runner. Winter running can be extremely intimidating and with this being my first cold weather running season, I was totally freaked out about running in the cold, snow and ice. I did end up joining up with the running group to get ready for the Flying Pig Relay and that got me out for a run earlier this week. They also met on Saturday mornings, and tomorrow is supposed to be something ridiculous like 5 degrees. While I'm excited to be getting back out there with the girls, I'm not all about lacing up my shoes for that type of cold weather run. So, when I left work today and saw the sun shinning, I got a big burst of ambition and challenged myself to get out there today and do my 3 mile run when the temps were around 15 degrees and it was a bit warmer than it will be in the morning.

It may not have been my fastest 3 miles and I may not have had the best form, but today I got out there in about 5 inches of snow and just did it. I layered up in some cold weather running gear and like Nike says, I said to myself - "Just Do It" - so I laced up my shoes, headed out the door and before I knew it I was half way through the run. Overall, it was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. With the snow packed down, it was almost like running on sand just much colder and instead of hearing the ocean waves all you can hear is your shoes squeaking down as they pack down on the piles of snow, which is pretty freaking cool!

I took some video to document my run. That may sounds silly to some people, that I taped myself running, but it's honestly something that I never thought I would be doing, especially in the snow with the temperature around 15 degrees. So if you want a good laugh, watch this quick clip from my first snow running experience:

So here is today's message from CincySpin (courtesy of Nike):
"Just Do It"
No matter what it is, no matter how many time you've talked yourself out of it, no matter how much you don't want to, no matter what the out come - at least you will have tried and most likely succeeded at accomplishing your goal - just like I did today with completing my first run in the snow!

January 17, 2011

Meatless Meals

In an effort to make adjustments towards a healthier lifestyle, I've been looking for some meatless recipes. Many websites & blog promote "Meatless Mondays" and offer lots of suggestions on how to make the switch, which is helpful to get more ideas other than pasta & salads.

While we have not fully adopted Meatless Mondays in our house yet, I am trying to make one meal a week that does not include meat, poultry or seafood. So, here's my first recipe for a meatless dinner:

Mariana, Spinach & Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
2 portobello mushroom caps

Mariana sauce

Fresh spinach leaves

Feta & Mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to broil setting. On medium heat, saute mushroom caps in some olive oil on for about 5-10 minutes, flipping the caps to cook on both sides. Place mushrooms in baking dish and fill the caps with marina sauce, spinach, feta & shredded mozzarella cheese. Broil in oven for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

This is a very informal recipe - I didn't do any measuring of the ingredients, so just go with the flow on this & fill the mushrooms with whatever amount looks good to you and bake them up. I'm sure you could also bake them on 375, but I like the cheese a little browned, so the broiling them worked out great for my tastes.

If anyone has any suggestions for meatless meals, I'd love to have your recipes. One good thing for me is that JJ will eat anything, so that's great to have someone who's up to trying new things. I am the one with the less than adventuresome taste buds, but I am trying to expand my palate and have done so in the past few years. I feel this challenge will help push me beyond my comfort zone when it comes to food. Just this weekend we enjoyed a night out at some friends house and I tried some chili with beans, so that was a big step for me. I didn't eat all the beans, but a few snuck in and it wasn't too bad!

So, suggestions and thoughts on this topic are welcomed. Let me know what types of meals you & your families are eating this year!

January 12, 2011

Flying Pig Relay Run

It's time to commit to some running events to kick off this year. Signing up for events helps me stay focused on training and also helps motivate me to get off the couch & get moving! So far, the "big" race I've committed to is the Cincinnati Flying Pig relay run. By doing the relay version of the Flying Pig, you create a team of 4 people and the course is broken up into 4 zones, so the longest distance anyone runs is just under 8 miles. Here's the break out on each leg:

Leg 1 - Start line to Eden Park at Mirror Lake = 6.84 miles
Leg 2 - Eden Park at Mirror Lake to Wasson Ave = 5.16 miles
Leg 3 - Wasson Ave to Eastern at Linwood = 7.67 miles
Leg 4 - Eastern at Linwood to Finish Line = 6.55 miles

JJ has already laid claim on the shortest distance - leg 2 - but what he may not be aware of this that particular leg is pretty hilly. The "upside" (pun intended) to choosing this leg is that it goes through the Hyde Park neighborhood, which is well known for being a place where tons of people are out cheering on race runners. After talking with him the other day, he now says he really doesn't care which leg he gets and that he was just joking about wanting the shortest leg.

I think I'm going to run leg 1 - 6.83 miles - this way I can kick off our team run and my team mates, who are probably all faster than I am, can make up some time on the other legs of the run. I'm also excited about running the first leg of the race because I'll be able to meet up with my running group gals! They are all running the half marathon, so I know it will be fun to be with them for the first half of their run. The girls have joined the half marathon training group with the Running Spot, so they're out there in this January cold weather already pounding the pavement. I'm very tempted to join the group also, even though I'll be running 7 miles and not the full 13.2. Being part of the group motivates me to show up at the group runs and push myself when I'm out running. I'll keep you posted if I decide to join.

What's not motivating me right now are the cold temperatures in Cincy - it's snowy, windy and icy and that just doesn't sound like a fun way to get back into running. But I've stocked up on some cold weather running gear, so I just need to bite the bullet, lace up my shoes and hit the ground running (again, pun intended).

I'll be using Cincyspin to track my progress with my running this year. I also plan to load up the Dolce more often once Spring rolls around and hit the bike trails. So, cheers to making the commitment - I hope it's a fun & healthy year filled with bike rides, running events and maybe even some yoga!

January 02, 2011

Cheers to a new year - 2011 is here!

This time of year can really be inspiring. The obvious is making the New Year's resolution, which some people say they don't make because they don't want to set them selves up to fail on the first day of the year. Many people set up goals around this time of the year and succeed in accomplishing them - so when ever the time of year - I say go for it and make it happen.

Cheers to a great start for 2011 - I hope this year brings you many days filled with laughter, love, adventure and happiness. Best Wishes for an awesome year ahead from CincySpin!