My Body Teaching My Mind

This is the best title I could think for this post – my body teaching my mind, because that is exactly what happened on Saturday. My body totally put my mind in its place after my run Saturday morning! Let me rewind a little- I’ve been training for my half marathon for about a month now but I’ve only really been training on the treadmill. I realized that wasn’t going to work much longer, I needed to get outside and train on what I’d actually be running on…the good ‘ol ground. The first time I tried running out side, on the path that I always do my long walks on, was awful! I probably picked the worst time of day to try and run outside. It was 5pm, muggy as hell, along with a storm brewing in the clouds which eventually ended up pouring down on me half way through the run. I could barely even run a mile and I felt so worthless like all my hard work I’ve been putting in for a month now meant nothing. Long story short I made it about a mile and a half then it started raining on me so my discouraged self and I turned around and walked back home. The whole time in my head I kept thinking how I’m never going to be able to do this and I’m just not that person who can run for a long period of time.

The rest of the week was pretty crappy because of the weather so I continued to go to the gym and run on the treadmill. Each time I’d run on the treadmill I’d think about that run I had outside and how miserable I felt. I decided that I was not going to allow the first time I run outside define my running capabilities. I was going to continue pushing myself each day and I was going to train more outside because that’s the only way I’ll get better. So this past Saturday I woke up around 10am (Luke Bryan concert the night before so naturally I needed a few extra hours to recover), ate a protein packed breakfast, digested for about an hour, and then laced up my tenny pumps and headed out on a run. When I first started running I felt good, the sun was shining but it wasn’t hot and there was the most tranquillizing breeze that carried me through the first part of my run. And then….a hill! The first of many hills I might add. I was determined to make it up this baby hill though, even if I had to crawl. I’m sure it was not a pretty sight seeing me trying to run that but man did it feel good to know I did it. I knew I wouldn’t be able to run the entire time but I was happy that I was able to push myself into running more than I walked. And that is where my body teaching my mind comes in. Before and during my run my mind is constantly going on about why I won’t be able to accomplish this and how this is an unfit goal for myself. Then I realized the less I concentrate with the negativity in my mind the more energy I have to focus on my run. Before I knew it I had run 2 miles without stopping. Yeah I was sore and my legs felt like 100lbs each but to know my body knew what it was capable of more than my mind did was an amazing feeling. I finally understand what it means now to trust your body.

So my advice to anyone who’s new to running (or starting anything new in general) is to keep on pushing! Don’t quit just because you can’t run 5 straight miles after a month of training. Focus on all that you’ve accomplished this far. I know, I know easier said than done but trust me you’d be surprised what your body is changing on the inside when you’re constantly focused on what’s not happening on the outside.

Xo Jen

Luke Bryan Concert

Some pics from Luke Bryan this weekend (-;

Training Update

So I’m on my 4th week of preparing my body to start training for my first half marathon in September. I chose to follow the 12 week training guide I found here. Right now I still have 5 weeks until I hit the 12 week countdown so I’m currently trying to build up my stamina to run. I’m not going to lie I’m still not at the point yet where I actually look forward to running but I will say the days that I am unable to go for a run I end up feeling really crappy and guilty that I wasn’t able to make time. The biggest thing I’ve learned so far while doing research for beginner runners is not to run every day! That is something I am certainly abiding by. I’m so dedicated to running this race the last thing I want is an injury derailing me.

My “prepping stage” goes a little like this:
Monday – rest, stretch, or yoga
Tuesday – run
Wednesday – run
Thursday – run
Friday – rest, stretch, or yoga
Saturday – run
Sunday – long walk
When I first started running I was barely able to go 1 mile without stopping. Now I’m up to running at least 2 miles before slowing down, which I’m extremely happy about – it’s the small accomplishments that keep me going each day! Last Thursday I was able to run a full 3 miles without stopping! I couldn’t even believe I was doing it; it was as if someone came down and replaced my big stiff legs with super-fast athletic runner legs! Unfortunately I haven’t been able to run 3 straight miles since, but that’s ok because I’ve learned not to over push myself. Pushing myself got me to 3 miles, not overdoing it has kept me from injuring my body.
There are many days where I just don’t feel like going to running, but I push myself because I know this is what I want in the long run (← ha, see what I did there). It’s easy to get discouraged when you aren’t seeing results as quickly as you’d like to but what I’ve learned recently is that every day I get out there and run my body is making positive changes. I’ve learned to trust my body, not rush it. Yes I want to be able to run for longer than 30 minutes but just because I can’t do that this week doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen.

xo Jen

Learning to run…

So I did something I never thought I’d do. I registered for a half freakin’ marathon…wtf! Me? The girl who gets winded walking up 3 flights of stairs every day after work to her car!? Yup that girl just registered for the Run like a Diva half marathon in September! I’m not sure what came over me yesterday when I was on the Diva’s website looking at their races. I mean I could’ve certainly registered for their 5k but nooo something inside of me said to register for the half marathon (only after I paid my dues did I look up how many miles a half marathon actually is, Lord help me!). It could have been the fact that they want you to dress up like a pink diva, or maybe the blinged out diva medal they give you once you complete the race (that’s obviously screaming my name), or could it be that I just wanted to prove myself wrong always thinking I would never be able to accomplish something of this magnitude? I’d say it’s a little of all 3 mixed into 1 but above all I want to do this for myself. I want to train my body to be in the best shape it’s ever been in and I’d love to learn how to love running. When people tell me “I love running 5+ miles a day that’s how I clear my head” I look at them like they’re crazy. Who loves running? My legs start feeling tight, sweat starts coming out of every pore in my body, and the worst part my boobs go crazy like a pair of untamed animals – I mean really what’s to love about any of that?

I have no idea what’s to love about that but I know I want try. I want to try running longer than I ever have at a pace that won’t kill me after 5 minutes. I want to try to look forward to coming home, putting on my sneakers, and heading out for a run to “clear my head”. I want to try and be that person who no one ever thought could push themselves to that level of achievement.

So this is my goal in the next 4 months: To build my endurance so that I’m able to run 13.1 miles under 3 hours. I’ve done research and found a 12 week guide for beginner runners which I’m excited to start using. Having a guide to follow is something that I know will really help me to stay in check with where I should be each week, progress wise.

So if any of you lovers of running out there have any helpful tips for this beginner please do share! I know i’ll need help and motivation throughout this entire process so please HELP!

Xo Jen

 

See I told you cutest medal EVER – I need it in my life!

Diva medal

m4s0n501

Honey Mustard Salmon & a Giveaway!

Honey Mustard Salmon

How many people out there aren’t too fond of fish but love salmon? That’s how I am, with the exception of tilapia. Salmon is one of my favorite meals to order when I go out to dinner, and I used to find myself craving the salmon from Cheesecake Factory (you know the one that sits on top of the massive bed of mashed potatoes & asparagus with butter smothered over everything) on a weekly basis. Well let’s be serious, even though it’s salmon that’s not really the healthiest dish to be craving weekly. So I decided it was time to find a salmon recipe that I’d love just as much (if not more) as the one from Cheesecake Factory. Lo and behold all the way in the back of my binder I’ve had a recipe for salmon that I printed out a year ago and never got around to trying. So that would be the recipe I would use to make my first salmon dinner!

It turned out amazing! A great simple recipe that was perfect for a busy weeknight. The key to making this recipe a success was using fresh salmon, not frozen. Oh yeah and did I mention I found this recipe on Weight Watchers?! I’m not going to lie I think it took me so long to try this recipe because I thought to myself “well it’s a recipe off weight watchers, it’s going to taste to bland” – yeah I was completely wrong. This dish is packed with so much flavor you’ll be craving it for the rest of the week.

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 pounds uncooked wild pink salmon fillet
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cups Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp fresh dill, chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400º, line baking sheet with tinfoil and spray the cooking spray
  2. Season both sides of salmon with salt and pepper; place salmon on the baking sheet
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together Dijon mustard, honey, water, vinegar, dry mustard and garlic powder. Remove 2 tablespoons of mustard sauce and brush over salmon. Stir dill into remaining mustard sauce and set aside.
  4. Roast until salmon is fork-tender, about 15 minutes.
  5. Serve salmon with reserved mustard sauce spooned over top.

Now I’m ubber excited to announce my first giveaway!! First I must give a special thank you to Sarah from Belladi Treats! I hosted a party this past weekend and I ordered mini red velvet cupcakes from Belladi Treats. Not only were the cupcakes moist and the frosting creamy but the sparkle details on top were so adorable (anyone who knows me knows I live for anything that sparkles). The cupcakes were a huge hit at my party, perfect size for a bunch of ladies on “diets”, but I also had a handful left over that I was able to serve again for Easter. I honestly can’t wait to host another party just so I can order more goodies from Belladi Treats!

Belladi Treats

 

To enter this contest, to win an order of cupcakes, comment below and let me know your favorite cupcake flavor! The winner will be picked tomorrow (:

xo Jen

Chocado pudding

Avocado chocolate pudding

Hello sweet tooth! I don’t know what it was about today but I woke up craving chocolate. So instead of driving down to 7-11 for a king size Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup I decided to try making this chocolate avocado pudding I’ve had my eye on for a while. And it’s by one of my all time favorite food bloggers Kelly, at Eat Yourself Skinny. Seriously all of the recipes I remake of hers turn out amazing.

chocolate avocado pudding

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup raw honey
  • 2 Tbsp. plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup Vanilla almond milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Pinch of sea salt

 

Directions

  1. Peel and cut avocado into small chunks
  2. Place all ingredients into your handy dandy blender (I used my Nutribullet) blend until smooth
  3. Serve and enjoy!

 

This was the perfect fix to take away my chocolate craving, and it saved me a few calories (o; Enjoy!

Xo Jen

Grilled Shrimp Tacos & Sour Cream Cilantro Spread

Shrimp Tacos & Sour Cream Cilantro Spread

Finally! Virginia was blessed with gorgeous weather today, which in turn put everyone in a great mood! So when the sun is shining and you have shrimp in your freezer, what does that mean? TIME TO GRILL! My boyfriend grills shrimp all the time, it’s one of our favorite ways to eat it, but I’ve never actually thought to put that shrimp in a taco. Once I had that realization I had to go explore Pinterest for a grilled shrimp recipe. Though I didn’t end up finding one that I wanted to recreate I did find this cilantro lime sour cream that I just had to try (courtesy of Life’s Ambrosia). So my sunny happy attitude and I made our way to the grocery store to pick up what was needed and then back home to fire up the grill. All I can say is have I been living under a rock my whole life?? These shrimp tacos were so delicious and probably the quickest meal I’ve ever made. I give 50% of the credit to the boyfriends’ superior grilling skills and the other 50% goes to the sour cream cilantro spread I made for this!

Shrimp Taco & Sour Cream Cilantro Spread

WOW!

I’m sure we’ve all slapped a glob of sour cream on our tacos before (with the exception of those who are allergenic or who just don’t like that white heavenly goodness) and to us it probably added the right amount of flavor we needed. Well I’m here to tell you don’t settle with basic sour cream!! Take a few more ingredients (5 to be exact) and make this savory sour cream cilantro spread that will leave your taste buds going crazy. After my boyfriend and I were done eating our tacos all we could do was stare at each other in disbelief that we’d never tried making this before. Needless to say we’ve already planned to make this again over the weekend (that is if Mother Nature doesn’t hit us with random snow showers again).

Shrimp Tacos & Sour Cream Cilantro Spread

Ingredients

  • ½ lb. Shrimp
  • Lemon pepper (found mine at Trader Joes)
  • Sea Salt
  • Mrs. Dash salt-free garlic & herb seasoning
  • 1/3cup Sour Cream
  • 1/3 tsp. Ground cumin
  • 2 Tbsp. Fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 Medium sized lime
  • Salt to taste
  • Avocado
  • Lettuce
  • Small flour tortillas

Directions

Sour cream cilantro spread

  1. Place sour cream, cumin, chopped cilantro, juice of the lime, and some salt in a bowl and mix all together – set aside
  2. Shred lettuce and chop up the avocado – set aside

Grilling the shrimp

  1. Let shrimp soak in olive oil for about 30 minutes
  2. Place shrimp on skewers and season with lemon pepper, sea salt, and Mrs. Dash salt-free garlic & herb seasoning
  3. Place shrimp skewers on the grill and cook for about 6 minutes total (after 3 minutes flip skewers over).  You’ll know they’re ready when you see those nice grill marks
  4. If desired heat up your tortillas
  5. In your tortilla place a few shrimp, avocado, lettuce and a spoonful of sour cream cilantro spread
  6. Wrap up the tortilla and enjoy!

Shrimp Tacos & Sour Cream Cilantro Spread

You can add anything you’d like to your tacos, I tried to keep mine minimal so that I could really taste the sour cream cilantro spread! Next time I may try throwing in some chopped up red onions and tomatoes, but honestly I wouldn’t change anything about this recipe. It was so easy to whip together and the flavors from the grilled shrimp mixed with the spread complimented each other perfectly!

Shrimp Tacos & Sour Cream Cilantro Spread

 

Xo Jen

Crispy Zucchini Chips

Crispy Zucchini Chips

This, my friends, is my new favorite healthy snack! I do really love zucchini’s but sometimes, if not cooked the way I like, they can taste a little…awkward. Usually I like them mixed in with my stir-fry (or mixed into a batch of brownies, that my friend Carrie makes). So for me to try and eat them by themselves was a big deal. The flavor of the zucchini mixed with the crunchy Panko crumbs complimented each other perfectly! It only took about 10 minutes to prepare and then 25 minutes to cook, perfect for a mid afternoon snack or a crunchy side dish with dinner.  Of course this was another recipe that stumbled upon on Pinterest, which then led me to Blackjack Bake HouseI just love how quick and easy this was to make, AND how delicious it tastes. I’m sure I will be making this again at some point this week!

Crispy Zucchini Chips

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sized zucchini
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Directions 

  1. Preheat oven to 400º
  2. Line baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with vegetable oil
  3. Slice zucchini’s into 1/4 inch thick rounds, toss in a bowl with the olive oil and coat well
  4. In a separate bowl combine parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, salt & pepper
  5. Place zucchini rounds in your bowl of cheese and breadcrumbs, mix together until both sides of zucchini are coated
  6. Place zucchini’s on baking sheet and sprinkle the remaining breadcrumb mixture on top
  7. Bake for about 25 minutes or until it becomes golden brown

Crispy Zucchini Chips

Let me know if you make these and how you like them. Also if you have any good zucchini recipes you’d recommend!

xo Jen

…..and then there was one

Crispy Zucchini Chips

Candle Jar Makeover

Candle Jar

I have a confession; I’m extremely addicted to Bath and Body Works candles – extremely! I’ve been buying these candles for years so you could say I have a “stock pile”. It might even be big enough to get me on an episode of hoarders. I buy these candles though because they are my favorite and to me nothing compares to them. I’ve tried loving Yankee Candle, and while some do smell really nice, I always come back to my B&BW ones. Well after collecting them for so many years I decided that I didn’t just want to throw them away when I was done, I wanted to reuse them for things throughout the house. Right now I have some holding decorative flowers, makeup brushes, pens, and candy. My first thought when trying to decide what to do with these glass jars was “SPARKLE”! Surprise, surprise I wanted to make something sparkly. So of course I pulled out my trusty 37 count Martha Stewart deluxe glitter set! Honestly it took me longer to decide which color glitter I wanted to use than it did to redo this jar from start to finish.  I’m not sure why I over thought it, I mean I have more jars than I do different colors of glitter so eventually I will get to every color.

Materials:

  • Clean candle jar
  • Mod Podge Matte-Mat-Mate
  • Small brush
  • Glitter
  • Butter knife

 

Supplies

Directions:

Cleaning out the candle jar

  1. Peel the front sticker off
  2. Run hot water over the outside of the jar for a few minutes
  3. If needed run hot water on the wax
  4. Take butter knife and gently dig into wax, start around the outside first – if the wax does not start to pop out try cutting through the center of the wax. Make sure your wax is soft (hence the hot water)
  5. Once the wax & wicks are out use soap, water and a sponge to thoroughly clean the jar – make sure you get all the glue off the bottom of the jar
  6. Let jar dry completely

Cleaning the candle Cleaning

Decorating the candle jar 

  1. Take your Mod Podge and pour a little in the bottom of your jar (don’t worry if your pour too much you can always pour out the extra)
  2. Take your brush and paint, in even strokes, the Mod Podge all over the sides and bottom of the jar, you want a pretty thick coat but make sure it’s evenly distributed
  3. Pour your glitter in the bottom of the jar
  4. Gently shake to make sure the entire bottom of the jar is fully covered in glitter
  5. Slightly tip your jar and turn it so your glitter starts to slip forward, as it slips forward continue to turn your jar so the glitter will cover all the sides (glitter will fall out so make sure something is underneath to cath the excess)
  6. On a piece of paper pour out the extra glitter (if you need to go ahead and repeat steps 3-5 to make sure every bit of your jar is covered). This way you can fold the paper and pour the extra glitter back into it’s container
  7. If your jar looks completely covered with glitter go ahead and set it aside to dry – I usually let it sit over night

Decorating jar

Wala! You now have a beautfil, sparkly glass jar that you can do so much with.

Decorating jar Decorating jar

How adorable is the gold glitter with white flowers (fake of course)?! I love using gold as an accent color to decorate with.

Flower vase

xo Jen

Strawberry Pink Sangria

Strawberry pink sangria

 

I was going to wait and post this recipe on a nice warm day when you could sit outside and enjoy the scenery with your sangria. Lord only knows when that day will come! I’m currently staring out my window as it pours snow onto my car, which by the way I was driving around one day ago with the sunroof opened. I mean really mother nature can you please make up your mind already?! Hot, cold, rainy, snowy…what is it that you are doing to us! OK rant over -

So yes back to this fabulously girly (but men will certainly enjoy) pink sangria. This is my all time favorite sangria that I continue to make when hosting parties or having people over for dinner. I found this sangria on All Recipes when searching for a refreshing drink and man did it deliver.

Ingredients 

  • A 40 oz package of frozen strawberries (or 2 20 oz packages)
  • 2 Cans of frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed (12 fl oz cans each)
  • 1 Bottle of chilled White Zinfandel (1.5 liter bottle)
  • 4 Cups of pineapple juice
  • 2 Liter ginger ale

Directions 

  1. Stir together strawberries, lemonade concentrate, wine, and pineapple juice in a large drink dispenser (or punch bowl).  If you can, put mixture back into the fridge until ready to serve to keep cool.
  2. Just before serving add in your ginger ale

Now the recipe I provided above I doubled from the original recipe online. I used to make this sangria cut in half but it never seemed to be enough. So doubling it definitely is the way to go (;

Enjoy!!

xo Jen

Easy, cheesy, chicken enchiladas

Chicken Enchilada's

Umm…can we say YUM! These white sauce chicken enchiladas are to die for, and they are extremely simple to make – I kid you not. I had chicken in my freezer that needed to be cooked soon so my first thought was “ENCHILADAS”! I hadn’t had an enchilada since the Ravens won their last super bowl (literally, I made these for super bowl XLVII). I found this delicious recipe on Cat’s blog Food Family & Finds.   

When I told the boyfriend that I’d be making him enchiladas, which he could enjoy while watching the Caps game, his eyes got bigger than a balloon from the Macy’s day parade! He was so excited he even offered to take it a step further and grill the chicken for me (since Virginia was finally having a day of decent weather).  Win for this girlfriend!

Ingredients

  • 6-8 flour or corn soft tortillas  (I fit 6 in my 13×9 inch pan)
  • 3 Large chicken breasts – cooked & shredded (using a rotisserie chicken works well also)
  • 1 Cup sweet corn (warmed in microwave)
  • 1 Bag of shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons of butter
  • 3 Tablespoons of all purpose flour
  • 1 & 1/4 Cups chicken broth
  • 1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup (10 oz)
  • 1 Cup of Sour Cream
  • 1 Can chopped green chiles (4 oz)
  • Salt & pepper ( 1/4 tsp. each)

EnchiladasEnchiladas

Directions 

  1. Preheat your oven to 350º F
  2. Take first tortilla and put a handful of chicken and corn down the center, top off with a handful of cheese
  3. Roll tortilla and place, seam side down, into baking pan – do this with as many tortilla’s that will fit in your pan
  4. In a medium sized sauce pan melt your butter over medium heat
  5. Whisk flour into the melted butter
  6. Add the chilies, sour cream, chicken broth, cream of chicken and salt & pepper
  7. Gently whisk ingredients together until smooth and warm (5-10 minutes)
  8. Remove from heat and pour sauce evenly over tortilla’s in the pan
  9. Spread remaining cheese all over the top and sides of your dish (we love cheese so we used it all up)
  10. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the cheese is a dark golden brown

EnchiladasEnchiladas

Now I kept my enchiladas in for an extra 5 minutes because we like our cheese very brown :) Just keep an eye out about 5 minutes before you take these out to make sure the cheese doesn’t get to brown for your liking.

Enchiladas

Ok so this might not be the most flattering picture of this sweet little enchilada but man is it delicious!

xo Jen

Ps – The enchiladas turned out amazing and the Caps one! Score (literally)!