Marvelous Monday {Florida Edition}

Marvelous is spending the weekend with your happy and healthy grandpa celebrating his 101st Birthday. 




Need I say more?!  Even though #Grandpa Al hasn’t totally taken off, I know that pictures and birthday wishes are abuzz on Facebook between grandpa’s family and friends!  Thank you all SOOO much for all  of your warm wishes!  They made me smile and I know if grandpa understood a blog (or knew how to use a computer), he would appreciate them too!


Here are a few other Marvelous Moments from this weekend in Florida!




Marvelous is….


Waking up in Florida


Running along the Beach




Spending time by the pool catching up with cousins


Eating oysters with my brother and his marvelous gf




Looking through old family photos


Hearing old family stories




Participating in a special Saturday service


Watching grandpa make his own dinner (at 4:30pm)




Having cocktail hour on the lenai


Making Memories!





I hope that you had a marvelous weekend!

What have you been up to???

#Grandpa al

So truth be told, I don’t really understand the whole hashtag thing, but I think my grandpa deserves one!


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Why?  Not just because he is turning 101 years old this weekend!




But because he exercises every day, still drives, has a great sense of humor, surrounds himself with friends young and old, is thoughtful and caring, tells stories of the old country, stays strong and independent, and is somewhat of a legend in these parts with all of the stories that my family tells about him (basically to everyone we meet)!




You can read my Mom’s post about him!  Yes, she has a blog too and you should totally check it out!




Last year’s 100th Birthday celebration was a blast, and I am looking forward to spending the weekend with my family in Florida celebrating this inspiring man once again.  #GrandpaAl!




I’m sure there will be plenty of stories to share when I return!  So while I am gone…

Spend your weekend like Grandpa Al and celebrate each day like it’s your birthday!



If that’s not something to hashtag about, then I don’t know what is : )

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

I was hoping to get out on my bike one more time this morning before heading out of town for the weekend.  The weather looked wet, and I wasn’t feeling motivated to get up and moving.  Instead, I went to the park district for a swim.  Between running Sunday and biking Monday, my body was pretty tired.  However, I continue to be impressed with the fact that I am actually going to the pool.  I’ve been swimming so many times this year that I’ve lost track!




This morning, I started off with freestyle laps.  I did three at my typically slow pace and then sped up for the forth for 15 minutes of intervals.  Then finished off with a little over 10 minutes prone on the kick board.  After 25 minutes, I was beat from head to toe and my heart was pounding from the intervals.  I happily spent the next 10 minutes in the hot tub before dragging myself out to get ready for work.

I know I don’t even need to tell you guys how much I love making banana bread!




So when someone hands me a bunch of nana’s right before I am heading out of town, I just HAVE to make some banana bread (even if the nana’s aren’t that brown).




In search of a new banana bread recipe, I came across a Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread from Lovin’ From the Oven.




Even though I was thinking about a double chocolate swirl type bread, this recipe definitely caught my eye.  I wanted to bring some mini bread loaves to work to share with a few coworkers, so I used three small pans instead of one big one.




The breads baked up beautifully with a crispy top, and I was tempted to tear off a tiny taste of sweet crust.




But I was able to resist!  Barely…my kitchen smelled so wonderful! 




Instead, I packed them up into colorful bags suited for sharing with friends!




The breads still smelled amazing as I drove from the pool to work this morning, and my coworkers were thrilled to have homemade bread waiting for them at work.




This post is filled with more amazing banana bread recipes!



Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

From Lovin’ From the Oven



For the bread:

3 over-ripe bananas, smashed up

1/3 cup melted butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp baking soda

dash of salt

1 1/2 cups flour

For the swirl:

1/3 cup sugar

1 Tbs cinnamon



Preheat oven to 350. Butter and four a loaf pan (or spray with cooking spray).

Mix bananas, butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla together. sprinkle baking soda and salt around on top of the banana mixture. Then gently stir in flour. Be careful not to over-mix!

In a small dish, mix together the sugar and cinnamon.

Add 1/2 of the batter to the loaf pan and then sprinkle half, or a little more than half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture all over the batter in the pan. Add the rest of the batter, and then sprinkle the leftover cinnamon-sugar on top.

Bake for 50-60 minutes.  Let cool 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

Note: If baking muffins or mini loaf pans, adjust baking time to ~35 minutes.

Biking and Burgers

So it’s Monday evening and I just realized that my most recent post is Five for Friday…yikes!  Not my most successful blogging weekend : )  No worries…I will try to make up for that in this post!  Thanks everyone for putting up with all of my complaints about the weather!  I understand that we don’t even have it the worst here in Chicago.  Good news…there are finally signs of spring.




Yesterday, I was on the move from morning to night!  But I did get in a long run.  It’s incredible how hard it is to sit in class all day after being on my feet all week long at work.  If I weren’t meeting a friend to run, I would have cancelled, so that was great planning on my part.  We started running a little before 6pm.  The sun was still shining and the weather warm.  We ran a little over 90 minutes with a few water breaks.  I don’t typically run in the evenings.  One reason is that I get tired and want to cancel, but the other reason is that my tummy often gives me trouble.  I stayed away from all of my usual tummy triggers yesterday in hopes of a strong run.  Sadly, my stomach did not agree with the run and I still had chills and pain 2 hours later.  Boo!  I climbed into bed around 10pm.  Needless to say, I didn’t set an alarm for this morning, figuring I’d be awake and ready for CrossFit or yoga at 9:30am.




When I finally opened my eyes and dragged myself out of bed, it was 10am.  I slept for 11 hours!!!  My stomach was feeling better but not great, so I went with a green purple smoothie for breakfast including everything but the kitchen sink (ie kale, cucumber, Greek yogurt, frozen berries).  The BOY had another pre-finals day at the library planned, but we did head out for a quick and early lunch at Panera.




This is the BOY’s dessert : )  It was so cute that I had to snap a photo!  We swung by the grocery store for ingredients to make turkey burgers tonight on the grill.


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The BOY used his new burger making technique, to create some beautiful Santa Fe Turkey Burgers.




Aren’t these some gorgeous burgers?


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While the BOY finished off his burgers, I prepped my bike for the first ride of the season!  Yes ladies and gentleman, I can finally stop complaining about the weather and get out on my bike!




My first plan was to ride my road bike, but the tires were flat and not filling up well.  My hybrid was the perfect back up.




Can you tell I’m psyched to get out and ride???




The weather was gorgeous and the path alive with walkers, runners, and bikers.  I was so happy to be out on my bike…even as I pedaled hard with tired legs against the headwind.  I made it almost all the way around the path before I was stopped by the flood. 




There was no way to make it through here, so I turned around and went back along the path and then cut across the road to make it home with enough time to change and grab a snack before my eye doctor appointment. 




Talk about packing a lot into the day!  I had to snap a selfie of how ridiculous I looked driving around in the sunshine with dilated eyes.  I took my tired self back home for laundry and other household things that didn’t happen this weekend.  Around 6pm, the BOY returned from the library and heated up the grill.




I am off to Florida at the end of the week, so there’s not much going on in terms of meal planning this week.  Our Santa Fe Turkey Burgers turned out awesome!  The BOY made them so there’s not much of a recipe to share, but I tried my best below!




Told you I could pack A TON into this post!

After a 12 mile bike ride, my legs are ready for some rest.  It’s time to sit back and relax with some tea and a dark chocolate square!

See you tomorrow!




Santa Fe Turkey Burgers

Created by The BOY



1.25 lbs ground turkey meet (we used 93/7%)

Chopped onion and green peppers


Spices (the BOY was in charge of this area but it looked like garlic powder, sea salt, worchester, and soy sauce)

Feta (optional)



Mix all ingredients together.

Form into patties.

Grill or bake in the oven.

Five for Friday II

1. I arrived home to a hail storm tonight.  Seriously?  I am done with this weather!




2. The BOY and I finally started watching Downton Abbey.  We are only a few episodes in, and I LOVE it!



3. Per my training schedule, I’m supposed to run 12 miles this weekend.  Unfortunately, I am in a continuing ed class all day tomorrow and Sunday, so I have no idea when I will get it in.  With this awful weather, it doesn’t seem likely and there is no way that I am running 2 hours around an indoor track.




4.  I am still deeply saddened by  Monday’s marathon, but my heart warms every time I read about the support for Boston runners and residents!   This is my favorite quote…


Real RunnersReal Runners@RunningQuotes

"If you’re trying to defeat the human spirit, marathon runners are the wrong group to target."

-David & Kelvin Bright #runforboston


Are you participating in Chicago Runs For Boston?



5. These cookie dough balls are even more delicious than I remember.  I love having a stash in the freezer!

High Waters

How was your day?  If you answered wet, then I feel your pain!


We got hit BIG TIME with rain and flooding, making for quite the eventful morning!  I had planned on meeting a friend at the track for a run this morning.  When I woke up super early, rain was pouring and our house was shaking with thunder.  I decided I should hit the road anyways because the longer I waited, the worst traffic would be.  All was going well until I got close to the track/work and hit a flooded road.  My detour yielded similar results, but I did get to the track.  I arrived late, but met my friend.  We abandoned the interval idea and chose to run and chat instead.




Ps I did still eat my overnight oats on the go but ultimately decided that I needed two hands on the wheel, so didn’t finish them until I got to work.  About halfway through my run, the skies got REALLY dark, like pitch black dark, and a storm rolled in.  Because there are so many windows, you could definitely sense the strength of the storm.




I finished up my run, showered, and headed off to see my first patient.  However, my car was buried under one of the biggest puddles I’ve ever seen.




I sloshed through the puddle to climb into my car, sadly discovering that my rain boots have hole.  Total bummer!




Despite my best efforts, I hit a few more flooded roads.  I texted this picture to the BOY as I was trying to decide whether or not to forge ahead.




I decided NO…everyone on the radio said not to head into standing water, but the minute I turned around, an 80 year old lady came racing by making it through the flood unharmed.  I had to smile at that!  It was definitely a crazy start to the day…I haven’t seen that much rain and flooding since I lived in Memphis!  I hope that everyone is back in their warm houses safe and sound…rumor has it that sunshine is around the corner!


Edited to Add…

My coworker took the best picture today of people canoeing through a soccer field…yea…there was that much rain!

They’re Back

Overnight oats are back!




Woo Hoo!  It’s been a little while since I’ve had this breakfast, so I whipped up a batch in prep for tomorrow morning’s track workout.  I am meeting a coworker at the indoor track near work, so it was an early morning…perfect for breakfast in the car.  I convinced my coworker to try one of my new favorite interval workouts, so we’ll see how it goes.  With breakfast and a friend waiting, it will be hard to sleep in…even if it is another grey day!


Not yet back…the sun!




It’s been way too long since we’ve seen you!


Also back in the picture…




Banana Soft Serve (with almond butter)!




This stuff is amazing!  But even better with a tiny cookie dough ball.




It’s about as close to a homemade DQ blizzard as you can get!




Although my workouts are going well (I ran 9.5 miles this weekend), my eating has been a bit overboard.  It’s really time to get that BACK on track!



What’s back in your world???



Banana Almond Butter Soft Serve



1 frozen banana

2-3 tbsp almond milk

1-2 tbsp almond butter

Chocolate chips (optional)



Place frozen banana and almond milk in food processor.  Blend until smooth, adding more milk as needed.  Add almond butter and chocolate chips (if using) and blend until well combined.  Eat immediately!

Optional: Stir in more chocolate chips, peanuts, or Vegan Cookie Dough Balls!

Comfort Stew

After a rainy week and a mostly gray weekend, I felt like some soup was in order.




Monday was a busy day in the kitchen…possibly more so since I was gone the week before and was looking forward to planning meals this week.  For week day lunches, I decided on Curried Lentil, Squash, and Apple Stew from Chloe’s Kitchen.




It was quite an arm workout to cut the squash.




I wasn’t much in the mood to take photos along the way, but I had to share the finished product!




Almost on cue as I added the curry, the BOY appeared.  I had to laugh at his predictability!  I poured a bowl to take to work and saved the rest for later in the week.




Dinners this week are going to be simple.  We have plenty of leftovers to get us though the week!




This morning I am still trying to wrap my brain around yesterday’s tragedy.  What is there to say when I have so many questions?  Although I am building my skills as a ‘writer’, I can’t think of the words that will convey my grief and disbelief while capturing the significance of what happened.  In my opinion, runners (and triathletes) are the friendliest and most welcoming group of people.  They are supportive and empathetic…I can’t imagine anyone choosing to target such a group.  And maybe it’s because I know the elated feeling that you are supposed to have when you cross the finish line after running 26.2 miles that I feel even more sad for the runners, volunteers and spectators who will never look at the sport the same.


I know that this stew won’t bring with it real comfort, but there is no doubt in my mind that the blogging community (many of whom are runners) will ban together like it always does to offer support, encouragement, and love to those in Boston and beyond…and that is comforting to know!




Curried Lentil, Squash and Apple Stew

From Chloe’s Kitchen

Makes 6 Servigs



2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 cup dried lentils
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups peeled butternut squash (1/2-inch cubes)
1 large unpeeled apple, diced
5 ounces baby spinach



In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat, and sauté onion and carrot until almost soft. Add garlic, ginger, curry and salt, and let cook a few more minutes until fragrant.

Stir in lentils, broth and tomato paste. Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Add squash and apple, cover and simmer for another 25 minutes (because my squash cubes were so big, this was 50 minutes for me), or until vegetables and lentils are tender. Remove lid and stir in spinach until wilted. Add salt to taste and serve.

No Words

I had planned on posting today about the usual workouts and meal planning, but in light of the Marathon Monday tragedy, it just doesn’t seem to matter.  Instead, I will cuddle up with the BOY enjoying a blog free evening. 




I hope that you, too, are happy and healthy surrounded by the ones you love!

Indoor BRICK

With the launch of running season behind me and a Shamrock Shuffle 8k PR in my pocket, it is time to dive into some more serious training.  Ok, so probably not super serious, but definitely more time consuming!  I took the time to schedule out my workouts leading up to the half marathon on May 5th and sprint triathlon on June 16.  I am behind a bit in long runs, but have a weather dependent 10 miler scheduled for tomorrow with a friend.  On the calendar for today, my first BRICK of the year!


Unfortunately, I had a conference call this AM and missed my new spin class and the weather was not conducive to busting out my bike.  Total bummer because it’s almost May and my bike is still hanging up in the garage.  Since I am new to joining the park district, I sometimes forget about the resources I have access to for training.  When I arrived this morning, I asked if I could use the spin room for my workout.  They said that’d be fine but since the room was locked, it didn’t work out.  They mentioned that there are spin bikes, with clips in the gym that were currently empty.




I walked over to the bikes and discovered this high-tech spin bike.




Have you seen anything like this?

Since It’s been over a year since I had a gym membership, I have not.  I flipped through some of the programs and got started with an endurance ride.  However, the ride was pretty boring and so 10 minutes in, I switched to intervals.  It was much more engaging to have the instructor in the video pushing me along, but the music was pretty lame.  He claimed it was to help me ‘relax my upper body’.  Personally, I prefer something a little more upbeat, so I plugged into my ipod while following the directions written on the screen.  After 45 minute, I was sweating and pleased with my ride.  Not as exiting as a spin class but definitely better than pedaling away alone on a stationary bike!




I changed my shoes, wiped down the bike, and found my way to the track for a 15 minute run.  Ahh…now I remember why this workout is called a BRICK.  It took me about 8 minutes to get into my groove, but the last half of the run left me feeling strong!  It was definitely a solid workout considering I had to stay indoors.  Here’s to hoping the rest of this year’s BRICKS can take place outside!  We had late lunch plans, so I came home to shower and have a quick snack.  I was craving a banana and almond butter, but my banana was super mushy…yuck!  So I mashed it up, stirred in the almond butter and a dash of cinnamon.




I know it probably doesn’t look appetizing, but I dug in with a spoon and it tasted awesome!  The perfect carb/protein combo to tide me over until lunch.



What was your workout today?

Any random post workout snacks that you like?