Easy Energy Bites

Today is a recipe/guest post from Lesley. Please enjoy while I am prepping for the Tower of Terror 10 miler that is tonight!

A while back, my friend shared with me a recipe that I really love to make, and my husband and I snack on these often. I call them Easy Energy Bites, and they are a great little “pick-me up” if you need a boost on a rough day or right before a run/workout.

You can easily swap out some of the ingredients in this recipe for others that you might like. Or feel free to add additional ingredients. I often add peanut butter or chopped nuts, although neither one are in the original recipe. Don’t like coconut? Leave it out! It really is a simple, versatile recipe.

ingredients

 

1 cup oatmeal

½ cup honey

1 cup shredded coconut

½ cup ground flax seed

½ cup chocolate chips

1 tsp. vanilla extract (only use real-not imitation)

Measure each ingredient and pour into mixing bowl. I measure the dry ingredients first, otherwise the honey will cause your dry ingredients to stick to your measuring cup if you measure the honey first.

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Mix all of the ingredients together. The mixture may seem a little dry but this is ok.

mix

 

Once the ingredients are mixed thoroughly, refrigerate the mixture for at least 30 minutes. This will help the ingredients combine and stick together.

After the mixture has refrigerated for at least 30 minutes, pinch off some of the mixture, and roll it in the palm of your hand, creating a 1 inch ball.

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This is essentially a pre-exercise superfood. The flaxseed provides a strong dose of dietary fiber, the honey and chocolate gives you some readily bioavailable sugars, and the oatmeal provides complex carbohydrates that increase energy without spiking your blood sugar levels.

Oh, and they are DELICIOUS.

Looking for other yummy recipes, exercise tips, and race reviews? Follow my blog at greaterfitness.wordpress.com. You can find me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram-username @greaterfitness.

QOTD: What do you eat for energy?

Spice Up Your Life


Hello Through Heather’s Looking Glass readers! I’m a fellow Heather who blogs at HeatherRunsFast.com and am lucky enough to share a post with you guys while THE Heather is away at Disneyland… lucky lady!

A great way to give flavor to your food without the additional calories and WITH disease fighting compounds is to use spices! I think a lot of people overlook not only the flavor of spices but the benefits of them. Here are a few I use on a regular basis and the health perks that come along with them 🙂 It’s pretty much a win win.

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My most favorite herb/spice is Rosemary! Rosemary contains compounds that stimulates the immune system, increases circulation, and improves digestion. It has also been shown to increase the blood flow to the head and brain, improving concentration. I think we all know my favorite way to use Rosemary, but you can also use it in marinades for chicken/pork/steak/fish, on veggies, in pasta sauces… the options are endless!

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Actually, cinnamon is probably tied for my most favorite. I use cinnamon the most (in my oatmeal, coffee, on sweet potatoes/butternut squash, even on rice reheated with a touch of almond milk for a sweet treat!) The antioxidant compounds in cinnamon help prevent blood sugar spikes and dips. And research has shown that eating half a teaspoons worth of cinnamon a day can reduce the risk factors for diabetes and heart disease!

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To me, nutmeg is cinnamon’s partner in crime and I use it in the same ways as I listed above. I also like to add it when making dark greens like kale and on the rare occasion when I make a cream sauce. Nutmeg may prevent cavities. The antibacterial compound macelignan can reduce plaque formation by 50 % and block out  cavity producing microbes. Nutmeg also has anti-inflammatory compounds, which is always a plus!

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Next up… Cumin! Like most spices, cumin comes in both a seed and powder. I usually use the powder on chicken, in salad dressings, on roasted/grilled veggies or mixed in rice. ONE tablespoon has 22% of your daily recommended iron and it may also boost your memory!

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The capsaicin (the compound that creates the burn) in Cayenne Pepper, heats your body up, which in turn revs up your metabolism. It also helps curb your fatty and salty food cravings. I like to add a dash to my popcorn, use it in marinades and on top of roasted veggies. Most peppers contain capsaicin, but the degree of spiciness varies drastically, so be careful! If your mouth feels on fire, grab a glass of milk and NOT a glass of water. The water will only disperse the capsaicin while the fat in milk will bind to the capsaicin and carry it away (down your throat.) Also be sure not to touch your eyes after handling the spice as it will make them burn. Ouch!

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Oregano. I don’t use this spice enough, considering all the benefits it has. One teaspoon has has 6 micrograms of Vitamin K (helps build your bones) AND the same amount of antioxidants in 3 cups of spinach. What what?! I am all about adding spinach to every smoothie I make, but what an easy way to sneak in even MORE antioxidants 🙂 It works great in salad dressing or even just sprinkled on top of a salad. I often add it to pasta sauce and of course on my beloved roasted veggies.

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And last but not least, ginger! This is commonly known to help settle an upset stomach, but it does more! The chemical gingerol, found in ginger, can help reduce inflammation and block the pathways that process pain. This could help reduce exercise related muscle soreness. Nice. I use ginger the most in stir-fries… they are one of my favorite pre-long run dinners. It is also good on pork and chicken and in baked goods like ginger snaps!

QOTD: Do you prefer fresh or dried spices? What is your favorite spice?

Meal Preparation: A Key Element of a Healthy Lifestyle

Hey yall! Aint gonna lie, I am one exhausted little blogger. My flight was delayed and I didn’t get back to NOLA until 8:00 last night, and now I have to drive home this morning and start to get “back to normal”. Never fear, I plan to tell you ALL about my Under Armour experience. I am waiting on some awesome professional pics to share with my posts so it will be worth the wait! For today please show some love for this guest post from http://www.tapaslifestyle.com/.

An important key element to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is meal preparation. In other words, it just doesn’t happen by chance. In our journey to be healthier, the concept of “What should we eat on a regular basis?” came up. We wanted to use Sunday as our meal prep day, which we would cook and prepare food for the both of us for the week ahead.

We started to research ideas and noticed a big trend with quinoa, pronounced “keen-wah”. As Wikipedia states, “quinoa is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. Quinoa seeds contain essential amino acids like lysine and good quantities of calcium, phosphorus and iron.”

We already had Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook, It’s All Good, and as I was thumbing through it, I saw that she used quinoa in a lot of her recipes. She states in her cookbook that quinoa is, “A must for all healthy contemporary diets, quinoa is a protein-packed grain that cooks quickly and is a wonderful canvas for all sorts of add-ins and dressings.”

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I was interested in Gwyneth’s statement. We started out with the below recipe as a base. Then as the weeks continued we started adding different ingredients such as different kinds of beans and vegetables. We love adding lightly steamed broccoli. We try to ensure that all the ingredients we use in the recipe are organic – the quinoa, beans and vegetables.

Zesty Quinoa Salad recipe was adapted from allrecipes.com

3 cups of Perfectly Cooked Quinoa* (recipe below)

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 limes, juiced

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)

1½ cups halved cherry tomatoes

1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed

5 green onions, finely chopped ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Salt & ground black pepper to taste

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Gwyneth instructs the best way to prepare quinoa on page 178 in It’s All Good, as stated below.

*Perfectly Cooked Quinoa

Makes 3 cups –

1 cup quinoa

1¾ cups water

Coarse sea salt

Rinse the quinoa thoroughly in a fine-mesh strainer (although this may sound like an unnecessary step, it really makes a huge difference in flavor; since quinoa’s natural coating tastes like soap.)

Place it in a pot set over high heat with the water and a big pinch of salt. Bring the quinoa to a boil, lower the heat, cover the pot and cook until all the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa’s germs look like lots of little spirals, 12 to 15 minutes. Turn the heat off, place a dry paper towel between the pot and the lid, and let the quinoa sit for at least 5 minutes before giving it a fluff with a fork.

In addition to the Zesty Quinoa Salad, we also prepare a crock pot full of organic chicken breasts. We purchase the organic chicken breasts and sauces at Costco. We cut the chicken into cubes and add it to the crock pot. We then add Robert Rothschild Farm’s All Natural and Gluten Free Roasted Pineapple & Habanero Sauce and All Natural Jack’s Cantina Style Salsa to the crock pot until all the chicken is covered. We stir all the ingredients together and cook on low heat for about 4 hours and it comes out delicious.

The Zesty Quinoa Salad and the crock pot chicken make up our main meal during the day while we are at work. I also bring fresh fruit, vegetables and Kind bars for snacks throughout the day. When we get home, we’ll have a lighter meal such as a salad or a light snack. We have restructured our eating habits since we met with the nutritionist at our gym. She said to eat our larger meals during the day and then taper off as the day progresses. We’ve been following the nutritionist’s suggestions and we have been very happy with the balance it has created within our lives.

It takes planning and discipline to prepare our meals every Sunday; however, we know how important it is to take care of ourselves through proper nutrition. It’s a great feeling to know that in just a few hours on Sunday, most of your meals for the week are already taken care of and all you have to do is pack it up and take it with you.

QOTD: Do you eat Quinoa? How do you prepare it?

Sugar Detox

It’s no secret I am addicted to sugar. I have always loved candy and chocolate, ice cream and brownies…and sweet tea.

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I workout a lot, yes, but I am also well aware that my eating habits are not always as they should be. I am STILL having issues getting rid of a couple of pesky pounds from the cruise and vacation, so I know exercise is just not enough for me right now.

I am taking drastic (for me) measures….I am laying off the sugar for a whole week to see if it helps me. YIKES! I know some of you are probably going “geez Heather, that’s super easy, what’s the big deal?” Oh, friends. If only you knew how bad the addiction is….

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I know when some people sugar detox they get rid of ALL forms of any kind of sugar. Well folks, that would be a surefire way to see my head start spinning, followed by lots of crying and name calling.

I started on Monday, and decided to not completely shock my system I would still eat things like fruit, etc, but steer clear of snacks like candy with sugar, cookies, and the like. I also allowed myself to put my flavored creamer in my coffee, but that’s it. I was doing ok on Monday until after dinner when I usually have a sweet dessert…I got really cranky and tried to distract myself so I wouldn’t think about it. I am crossing my fingers I can make it through the whole week without a slip up!

What are your secrets for dealing with a sugar detox? I would love to hear!

QOTD: Any sugar detox tips? Do you struggle with this like I do?

Grilled Drunken Barbeque Shrimp

There are times when I crave something that doesn’t exist. Sometimes a version of it exists but it’s still not exactly what I have a taste for. Then I have no choice but to try to develop a recipe for it. That’s exactly how my Grilled Drunken Barbeque Shrimp came into being. While Heather’s off enjoying some major fun in the sun, I wanted to share this with you just in time for grilling season. I’ll have the complete recipe at the end.

There are really only two tricks to this recipe. Number one, use good, quality shrimp.

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I live in Tennessee, about as far from an ocean as possible so I don’t have access to fresh shrimp. I did get the best thing I could find, and these guys are colossal!

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Next, the thing that really makes these shrimp fab is the sauce. You’ll want to make it an hour or so before you add the shrimp. Otherwise, if you add the shrimp to the heated sauce, you’ll end up boiling them, and grilled is what we are going for here, not boiled.

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About the sauce, as you are heating it, be careful not to let it boil over. I really just heat it until the butter is melted and the beer is incorporated well.

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Don’t be squeamish about the whole stick of butter! Remember, this is more of a marinade and most of it will end up getting tossed anyway. The same holds true for the beer. Even though you won’t cook the sauce long enough for the beer to evaporate, once you grill the shrimp, there will be no alcohol left. Even the little ones can eat them. You will also notice I have cayenne pepper in the recipe. It’s not really enough to make them too spicy, but it does add a slight kick. It can be omitted if you want zero heat. If you want more, add more. I’ve also used Tobasco sauce before so whatever heat source you like will be just fine. You will also notice that this sauce recipe works for 1-4 pounds of shrimp. It works for 4 pounds, and it’s just easier for me to make the whole thing even for just 1 pound.

I also sprinkle my shrimp with salt and pepper and let them sit in the fridge for about 20 minutes before adding the sauce. If you add the sauce right after seasoning, the salt and pepper will just sort of wash off of the shrimp and become a part of the sauce. Once I add the sauce, I let them bathe in it for anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. Any more than that will completely overwhelm the shrimp, and sauce is all you’ll taste. Since there’s lemon juice in the sauce, you also run the risk of making the shrimp mushy if you let them sit too long.

Once you are ready to grill, make sure your grill is at the right temp. They are going to go FAST! About the time you have them all on there, it’s going to be time to turn them.

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What you are looking for is for them to start curling (yes, I know they are already curled, but they will curl even tighter once they start cooking) and for the edges to start turning opaque. About 1-3 minutes is all this is going to take. Then you just flip and repeat.

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These are best served hot right off the grill. I don’t anticipate that being a problem because every time I’ve made them, they’ve been eaten about as quickly as I can get them off. Enjoy!

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Grilled Drunken Barbeque Shrimp

Ingredients

1-4 pounds of shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 17.5 oz. bottle of your favorite barbeque sauce

1 12 oz. bottle of beer

1 stick of butter

Juice of 1 lemon

½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

To make the sauce, heat the barbeque sauce, beer, and butter just until the butter is melted and the beer is incorporated. Add the cayenne pepper and lemon juice and let the sauce come to room temperature.

Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and let it rest in the fridge for 20 minutes. Then add the cooled sauce and let it marinate for another 20 minutes to 1 hour.

Heat your grill to 300-350 degrees and grill the shrimp for 1-3 minutes per side.

You can also reserve some of the sauce before you add the shrimp, reduce it by half (just keep cooking it in the pot until you have half the liquid you started with), and use it as a dipping sauce or drizzle over the cooked shrimp if you want even more sauciness on your shrimp.

So pull up a lounge chair, crack open your favorite beverage, throw these shrimp on the grill, and maybe you, too, can at least feel like you’re on vacation!

Be sure to stop by my blog at http://www.myglasssneaker.com/

QOTD: What is your favorite way to eat shrimp?

Friday Favorites: Food Edition

 

Good morning! Another weekend is upon us! We have some fun plans including a wedding to go to so I am stoked! What are you doing this weekend? I haven’t done Friday Favorites in awhile so I thought it would be fun to bring it back with a bang, vlog style! Enjoy my rambling!

 

In case you are curious about any of the products I mentioned in the video, here are the links:

Wild Harvest <—— Healthy Living Summit sponsors, you won’t want to miss them, so get a ticket while you still can!

WH

Cascadian Farm: Great company, sweet people, yummy food.

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Archer Farms: I love Target. Enough said.

Swanson Health Products*: The prices on this website are amazing yall, on everything! They also have so so many different products. Go check it out.

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Fit Frappe: easy and convenient and packed with protein!

*I was provided free product in exchange for my thoughts and opinions expressed on my blog, however, they are my own.

QOTD: What foods are you loving this summer?

RWS Features #9

 

Good morning! Bobby and I are having fun at the beach. We really needed to get away and I am so glad we did. While we are busy hanging out on the beach. I leave you with some awesome awesome FitFluential ambassadors to read about. These folks are amazing, so please be sure to check out their blog and say hi!

Today meet Caitlin from Cait Plus Ate!

Caitlin has a fun blog, which I don’t know HOW she has time for since she is currently getting her MBA! She is quite the foodie and also is fashionable and friendly. Be sure to check out Cait Plus Ate!

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1.) How/Why did you start blogging?

I have been reading blogs for about three years now, and always thought it would be fun to do my own. I was always so nervous though! After I graduated college and started my full-time job, I decided to take the plunge and begin Cait Plus Ate to get my career plans moving. I consider it my walking/talking resume, but I also started the blog because I wanted to connect with the amazing people of the blogging community and have an outlet for my passions and also my frustrations that I sometimes struggle with when it comes to living less “rigidly” regarding food/fitness.

2.) Sum up your blog in a couple sentences

Cait Plus Ate is a place where I write about food, fitness, and all the fun it brings me each and every day!

3.)What do you wish to accomplish/achieve by blogging?

I hope to achieve a career in marketing/branding for the restaurant or fitness industry! I want to share my passions with as many people as possible and also experience as much as I can. Finally, I want to find the balance I have been seeking and learn that indulgence is OK.

4.)What is your biggest healthy living accomplishment?

Probably finally running an 8 minute mile, which I spent several years off-and-on trying to accomplish!

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QOTD: How do you balance healthy eating when there are things like parties, weekends, and special occasions?

Christmas Eve Recap 2011

 

As I mentioned last year, today is one of the most sad days of the year for me. I am obsessed with the Christmas season, so the end of it is just so depressing. We usually leave our decorations up until New Years, but honestly, I am just ready to put everything away because it makes me so sad how far away next year is from now. I had a great weekend with my family and it went by SO FAST and I don’t want it to end. January and February are my least favorite months of the year. Christmas is over, and It’s just cold outside! Ok now that I have bummed everyone out, here is what we did on Christmas eve.

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I woke up early to get into the kitchen. I had a LOT of baking to do. I always give our relatives (aunts, uncles, cousins) a bunch of baked goods for Christmas. I made the Snickers cookies I make every year, fudge, reindeer food, and pretzel candy. My mom was baking as well, so it was fun to just hang out in the kitchen all day listening to Christmas music. The boys could come in and out from playing the Wii and watching TV. (They also had to make a quick trip to the grocery store for me for pretzels!)

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My dad cooked some prime rib that we were going to eat for dinner, so we had to smell it all day as it cooked. Delicious!

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I took a couple breaks to take pictures and watch the boys for a few minutes.

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she wouldn’t look at the camera!

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neither would she!

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We had pizza for lunch, then that afternoon we headed into New Orleans to visit my grandmother and my uncle. Unfortunately, the only picture I took was of Bobby holding my grandmother’s obese dog. You can’t tell from the picture, but this dog is massive.

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We ate an early dinner over there before heading to church.

Side note…anyone ever heard of Jessee Duplantis, the televangelist? Well, he just built his “new house” down the street from my grandmother….it’s over 31k square feet and has a bowling alley. He “preaches” on TV and begs people to send him money in the name of God…and then he lives in this. Makes. me. sick. DO NOT SEND HIM MONEY! HE IS A FRAUD! here is his house:

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I wish I was kidding. Ok, back to happy thoughts! So we headed to church at First Baptist New Orleans (my parents church), which is where I got married almost 5 years ago.

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It was a great service. We were all given candles, and at the end, we all lit our candles by passing the flame from person to person all around the church. Then we stood up, raising our candles with all the lights off in the sanctuary, and sang silent night. It was absolutely beautiful and such a great moment. My favorite part was when we sang this verse, all holding out candles:

“Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth “

It was just one of those moments you would love to just freeze in time. So very cool. After church, we came home and had a delicious supper.

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I used those new stick on nails strips. So far they are holding up well and look cool!

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We made a fire and chatted for awhile.

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Then, my sister and her husband came over and my dad read the Christmas story from Luke 2 and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.

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He has been reading out of that book since I was a little girl. Smile

We were all pretty exhausted, so it was off to bed so Santa could come!

QOTD: What did you do on Christmas eve?

My Thanksgiving 2011

 

Happy Black Friday! We did all of our shopping late last night so we are sleeping in today (I types this post Thursday night.) I hope you ate lots of turkey and made lots of memories with your family and friends. My Thanksgiving was a bit different than years past, but Bobby and I had a fun time making new memories.

We started the day off bright and early with a 6:00 am wake up call for our Turkey Trot. I SERIOUSLY considered turning off the alarm, but I knew the hardest part would be getting out of the bed so I got up anyway and am glad that I did! I will post more about the Turkey Trot in it’s own race recap, but here is a picture from the morning:

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We got home about 10:00, and I immediately started getting busy cooking in the kitchen. I had DVRed the parade, so I watched it while I cooked.

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Intently watching the parade.

Since it was just going to be the two of us, we didn’t want to cook a whole turkey, so when we saw Honey Baked Ham had a special little meal you could buy where you could get ham, turkey, and two sides, (they threw in some rolls, too) we jumped on it. All I had to make was twice baked potatoes, green beans, almond iced tea, and a pumpkin pie.

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We still had to cook the sides in the oven along with all the other things I had made, and this was one of those days I wished I had two ovens. It took a lot longer than I anticipated to get everything ready so we were starving by time it was all ready at 1:00.

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Food, why aren’t you done!

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Captain Mickey entertained us while we waited.

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Getting delirious from hunger.

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Bobby insisted on holding the can upside down since the “bottom” said “open other side.”

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The girls may or may not have gotten a good bit of people food today…

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My first pumpkin pie!

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A lot of food for two people.

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Notice Bella sitting in my chair, like a person, ready to eat.

We sat, we ate, we tried not to go into food comas, so we took the girls on a long walk. It was the most gorgeous day, sunny, about 73 degrees. Perfect. Then it was football, naps, and late night shopping. More on that later, too.

I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving and remembered all the things you have to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving from the Montgomery’s!

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QOTD: What was your favorite food you ate yesterday?

*Last day to enter my Gymboss interval timer giveaway!

Happy Thanksgiving 2011

 

Happy Thanksgiving! We kicked the holiday off with a bang last night by…eeerr…Staying home and doing absolutely nothing! Today we are rocking it out at a 5k turkey trot then will be cooking and eating ourselves into a food coma.

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Don’t worry, I will be back tomorrow with pictures of food and fun and will have a race recap up soon as well. I hope you get off the computer some today and have a fabulous day with your family and friends! Go make some memories. Stay safe, eat until you have to unbutton your pants, and watch some football. Don’t forget all of the blessings in your life and all the things you have to be thankful for. I know my list is many, many pages long. I love you all, have a great holiday!

And now, for your enjoyment (ok, you know you are going to get on the computer for a LITTLE while today!) the first installment of my “RWS features!” In case you missed it, I will be featuring a blog probably every week that you need to go, right now, and put in your Google reader.

So be sure to go over to their blogs as they are posted and say hi, and that you came from RWS. New readers are always appreciated and new blogs are always fun to find. You never know, you may find a new favorite!

Meet Kelsey from http://fitnessfanatic007.blogspot.com

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How/Why did you start blogging? I started blogging as a way to keep my family up to date with my life as I grew independent while starting college. I started reading other healthy living and food blogs, so eventually mine shifted into a healthy living blog because fitness and healthy eating is a HUGE part of my life and I was blogging about it so much already. I just decided to add my recipes into the mix! I saw that a lot of bloggers did product reviews, so I was fortunate enough to do a few by asking companies. Now, I have done over 40 reviews!

Sum up your blog in a couple of sentences: The Secret Life of Kelsey is … about my fun life, new recipes I’ve tried, my babysitting and teaching adventures, product reviews and more!

 

What do you wish to accomplish/achieve by blogging? My goal with my blog is just to have fun and inspire some creativity in the kitchen! I love experimenting and posting new recipes and recipes I have tweaked to my own desire that I have seen on other blogs. I would love to have more readers!

What is your biggest healthy living accomplishment? My biggest healthy living accomplishment is definitely completing a half-marathon! I am NOT a natural runner and I actually hate running. But, I really wanted to accomplish a goal that I had to work hard at, and I did! Full post here: http://fitnessfanatic007.blogspot.com/2010/09/half-marathon-success.html and more pics here: http://fitnessfanatic007.blogspot.com/2010/09/more-pics-from-race.html  I have no desire to run another half-marathon, but I can PROUDLY say I did one in my life!

Thanks so much Kelsey! You can also find Kelsey on twitter: @Christianqt07 So go check out her blog and twitter and make a new friend.

QOTD: What is a new (to you) blog you have “discovered” lately you want to share with the group that you love?