Living Well

So I only set one goal for the month of July, and it was a good one!

Mostly this is because I was so busy prepping for my Israel trip that I couldn’t think too hard about the month ahead.  But also, I really wanted to live well on my trip abroad.  And live well…I did!




This was a super active vacation with walking and hikes almost every day.  Yet, I still attempted to run (two short runs in the crazy heat) and did yoga in the mornings when I could.




Since we were typically on the move, there wasn’t much downtime for snacking.  But there was plenty of fresh and colorful veggies at every meal and I can see why the Mediterranean diet is so popular. 




Mentally, I was able to stay present and journal every day.  This made for a fantastic vacation which started the month off right.  Since then it has been all about marathon training with a little Bikram yoga thrown in for fun!




I have been catching up with my family and friends and the BOY and I hosted a Mediterranean BBQ with some of the best food we’ve ever made!




It’s amazing to me that tomorrow will be August.  How does summer always seem to fly by?!


What was the highlight of your July???




August Goals

My main goal is to support my marathon training so that I can stay healthy and happy as the miles increase! 

The plan is to do this by…

-Finishing Hal’s Book


-Eating Clean

-Sleeping Often

-And Living Well!




My secondary goal is to raise money in support of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as a St. Jude Hero!

Chipotle Turkey Meatloaf with a Side of Running

After a week of talking about it, it was finally time to make Chipotle Turkey Meatloaf for dinner tonight.  It’s a good thing that the turkey was still fresh and ready to go!  Coming back from Wisconsin Sunday night and leaving again Friday, the BOY and I made a quick and easy meal plan this week. 


Monday: Out for Dinner

Tuesday: Chipotle Turkey Meatloaf (recipe below)

Wednesday: Pork Chops on the Grill

Thursday: Leftovers or Carry In


Also planned for this week, a lot of running!  I started Monday with an easy 4 miler.  One of tips that I picked up from Hal’s book is that not every run needs to be at race pace and that many elite and professional marathoners will do training runs much slower (like 12 minute miles) than they are capable.  This information has allowed me to relax a bit about my pace on early week day runs and focus on achieving 9 minute miles on the runs labeled ‘race pace’.  The book also talks about early training weeks stating that even if you can run these short distances fast, that is not the purpose of the runs in your training plan.  Slower runs are necessary to prevent injury.  In all of my years as a runner, I have never read a running book (other than Eat and Run by Scott Jurek earlier in the year), so I am finding it extremely interesting.




This morning I hit the 1 mile mark right at 9 minutes and consciously decided to slow myself down a bit.  Shortly after, I got lost in my thought and let my body pick the pace.  I didn’t run with a fuel belt today so no food or water.  I stated to feel a little sluggish and when I looked at my watch, I saw it was 43 minutes, my usual refuel time.  I rediscovered my stride and finished my 7 mile run at 65:09.  A great morning run!  I  know that these 50 degree temps are helping make these morning runs much more fun.  It reminds me of my favorite season fall and of course junior high and high school cross country season.


When I got home, I had an almond butter and banana as my post race snack and then got to work on making dinner.  My plan was to pull everything together so that the BOY could just pop the meatloaf into the oven.


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We still don’t have onion so I made a few adjustments to the original recipe from Cooking Light, including adding some of my mystery red spice from Israel.




When I walked in the door after work, dinner had just 4 minutes before it was ready to be pulled out of the oven.  The BOY and I are getting the hang of this tag team dinner thing!  And Chipotle Turkey Meatloaf was worth the week wait!




Confession: I had just enough time to make the meatloaf, shower, and eat some eggs before it was time to leave for work, I didn’t stretch this morning.  Man, my legs are feeling it!  I have another 7 miler on Thursday and a long run Friday morning.



Chipotle Turkey Meatloaf

Adapted Slightly From Cooking Light December 2005



Meat loaf:

1 (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce

1/2 cup finely chopped onion (I still don’t have onion in the house so I left this out)

1/4 cup regular oats

1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs

1/4 cup tomato sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon unnamed red seasoning from Israel

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 large egg whites

1.25 pounds ground turkey

Cooking spray



1/4 cup tomato sauce

1 tablespoon ketchup

1/2 teaspoon chipotle hot sauce



    Preheat oven to 350°.

    To prepare meat loaf, remove 1 chipotle chile and 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from can; reserve remaining chiles and sauce for another use. Chop chile. Combine chile, adobo sauce, onion, and next ingredients (through ground turkey breast) in a large bowl, stirring to combine. Place turkey mixture in a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30 minutes.

    To prepare topping, combine 1/4 cup tomato sauce, ketchup, and hot sauce in a small bowl; brush mixture evenly over meat loaf. Cover and bake an additional 30 minutes or until thermometer registers 160°. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

    Dark Clouds, Blue Skies, and More Dark Clouds

    We had our coldest summer weekend in Wisconsin to date!  We drove up to Green Lake, leaving around 1:30pm on Friday in the midst of rain storms, but when we arrived the sun was shining and the sky was blue.




    We able to have Happy Hour on the dock, but needed a few extra layers to stay warm in the wind.




    We had a stunning sunset, despite all of the clouds, just before dinner was ready on the grill.




    The next morning, the guys were up early with fishing poles on the dock.  I was in need of a 14 mile run.  My longest run of the season.  I didn’t know any local distances, nor do I have a GPS watch, so I decided that a two hour run would be sufficient.  With the hills and strong wind, I figured that might be closer to 13 miles.  Since the weather was chilly, I didn’t need to head out early for my run.  I was able to take a morning boat ride and enjoy my breakfast.  Around 10am, my parents and I got into the car.  They volunteered to be my athletic support and help me map out a course.




    When I read about the Pro Compression sale on Brittany and Megan’s website, I immediately bought a pair.  I took some major slack for the bright green color, but I joked that it meant they’d be able to see me from across the lake.




    Yes, my Mom and I have the same awesome purple running shoes!  She was walking while I was running.  We were able to scope out a great place to run, mostly around the lake with a few parts along the local highways.  I’m familiar with the route as I have biked it a few times before.  My parents dropped me off at the bottom of a HUGE hill and off I went.  I ran about 6 miles to the park where they were waiting to cheer me on and refill my water bottles.  In another hour, they came back to scoop me up.  Although my legs were tired and I wasn’t feeling fast, I did feel strong after 2 hours or running.  I’m sure the cool weather and amazing family support helped!


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    I finished right around lunch time and returned back to the house to find everyone gathered around the table.  I dug right into my homemade hummus before making a salad with leftover salmon for lunch.  And sipping on a New Glarus beer.




    It’s the best part of running in Wisconsin!  After lunch we went back down to the docks for fishing round two.  My brother and the BOY (on separate docks below) tried their luck with the fish as dark clouds rolled through.  We sat under layers of towels for moral support and cheered them on.






    Throughout the day, the BOY caught three fish, but only one that I captured on camera!




    Due to the dark skies, we decided to move the day’s Happy Hour to the fire pit which was much warmer than the dock!




    There was no stunning sunset, but the thick clouds and sprinkles of rain rolling in and out throughout the evening caused quite a dramatic effect.


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    We had another fantastic dinner and then made s’mores (with the giant mallows) by the fire.  When we woke up this morning, there was much of the same in terms of weather.  Dark clouds and chilly temps!  I was thrilled that I had not signed up for the triathlon again this year or I would have been fighting choppy water and heavy headwinds.  Should anyone really need this many layers to be outside on a July morning?!


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    Since there wasn’t much interest in water sports, we took a boat ride into town to walk around before coming back and you guessed it, eating again : )




    We left around noon today and when we returned home, it was actually a gorgeous fall feeling day with the sun shining and clear blue skies!

    I always feel unbelievable after a weekend in Wisconsin!  Luckily, the BOY and I are heading back up on Friday!  It was another fun week in marathon training, and I have picked up some tips from reading Hal Higdon’s book.



    Total Weekly Mileage: 28 miles

    I have to give a huge shout out to my BF Kelley and her Dad, for competing in Ironman Lake Placid today!  Way to go guys!!!

    Five For Friday VIII

    1. I went to Bikram yoga again this morning.  I must admit…I still don’t get it!



    2.  I am heading up to Green Lake, Wisconsin today and I seriously just can’t wait!  Although I am not doing the triathlon this weekend, I always have the BEST time when I am there!





    3. Fridays off is my new schedule from  now until the end of the year.  I think I’m starting to get used to it!



    4. Did I tell you that I found Biscoff in Israel?  Not at the Shuk!





    5.  Speaking of Biscoff, do you know what this means???




    If you guessed, Biscoff Puppy Chow then you are CORRECT!




    It would be rude to leave you hanging all weekend without sharing the recipe…




    So here it is…





    Biscoff Puppy Chow



    6 cups corn or rice Chex cereal

    1 cup chocolate chips

    2/3 cup Biscoff

    3 tbsp butter

    2-3 cups powdered sugar



    Place cereal into a huge bowl.

    In a microwave safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips, Biscoff, and butter.

    Microwave for 60 seconds.  Stir well until combined and pour over cereal.

    Stir in powdered sugar, 1 cup of sugar at a time, until all pieces are fully covered.

    Let cool and enjoy!  Or freeze for later!



    Have a great weekend!

    7 miles and Another Weeknight (Crockpot) Dinner

    It’s finally cooling off which makes morning runs so much more enjoyable!  This morning’s run was a 7 mile race pace run along the path.  My race belt and I hit the trail on this gorgeous morning.  Since my runs haven’t been real fast, I wasn’t sure what today would look like.  But I’ve run a 1:50 half marathon, so I should be able to run 7 miles in less than 63 minutes…right?!. 




    Two miles in I found my stride and felt strong, even with the race belt weighing me down.  For fuel, I went with a cappuccino LaraBar (a few bites at 42 minutes and the rest post-run).  I finished 7 miles striding into the driveway at 62:28.  Hooray for a race pace run (and a slight negative split)!




    With the marathon approaching, I have been paying attention to stretching and taking time after each run to lengthen my legs and back.  When it’s not too hot, I can stretch outside but for the most part, I’ve been working the foam roller and using my yoga strap in front of the TV on the floor of my living room.




    After my run, I showered and finally took one of my bikes in for a new tire.  Both of my bikes have flat back tires, which is a total bummer.  Instead of loading two bikes onto my car, I took my hybrid, which I knew I would be using soon.  There was a sign saying that the service department was closed today, but a really nice guy working at the store helped me find a new tire and fixed it up for me.  I was so grateful!




    I had just a few minutes when I got home to heat up some leftovers for lunch and throw dinner into the crockpot.  I’m telling you, this is ONE EASY MEAL to throw together.  I even messed up a few ingredients on my grocery list and made it work. 




    Number one, I only had 1 tablespoon of curry powder left.  Yikes!  So I subbed in a tablespoon of garam masala and crossed my fingers that they’d blend well.




    Number two, upon searching the refrigerator drawers for an onion that I thought I saw recently, I came up with only a red onion.




    Number three, the original recipe is made with sweet potatoes but to save time on chopping potatoes and because the BOY doesn’t like sweet potatoes, I left them out.  I’m sure regular or new potatoes could work but then we’re back to the time issue.  There was just enough time to change into work clothes, press start on the crockpot (10 hours should do), and walk out the door for work (leaving instructions for the BOY on what to do with dinner).




    I got home real late tonight and the BOY had already eaten half of the crockpot.  I guess it gets his seal of approval : )  I poured myself a bowl over a brown rice mixture and dug right in.  Despite a few of my shortcomings on the recipe, this turned out really flavorful and satisfying.




    I always find myself floored with how good of a cook my crockpot is!!!  She is hired for Thursdays the rest of the year!



    Crockpot Chicken Curry

    Recipe adapted from The Lemon Bowl



    1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts

    1 medium onion – thinly sliced

    15 oz can chickpeas – drained and rinsed

    ½ cup light coconut milk

    ½ cup low sodium chicken stock

    15 oz can tomato sauce

    2 tablespoons curry powder

    ½ teaspoon salt

    ½ teaspoon cayenne powder – optional *I used 1/4 teaspoon

    2 tablespoons lemon juice

    cilantro – optional garnish



    In the bottom of the slow cooker, whisk together coconut milk, chicken stock, tomato sauce, curry powder, salt and cayenne.

    Add chicken breasts, onion, and chickpeas. Gently stir ingredients together to ensure that everything is evenly coated.

    Cook on Low for 8 hours or High for 4 hours per crockpot instructions.

    Stir in lemon juice 5 minutes before serving.

    Serve over rice and with cilantro if using.

    Muffin Monday: Banana and Blueberry

    Shh!  Don’t tell the BOY that there is banana in these muffins!




    He has been eating the ‘blueberry muffins’ all weekend, telling me how good they are with NO IDEA that they are banana and blueberry muffins : )




    The motivation for these muffins came from some soft bananas and a huge container of fresh blueberries.




    I found the recipe on a blog while I was searching online and didn’t realize that they were vegan until I pulled them out of the oven.




    I was really just looking for a muffin recipe that didn’t use yogurt (because I don’t have any in the house), and the crumble topping was a huge selling point for me.




    You might have guessed that I didn’t mention that these were vegan to the BOY either…he he!






    Of course I took my first bite of the muffins warm because, really, who can resist?




    I know the hot temps outside aren’t going to encourage you to turn on your oven, but if you find yourself stuck inside in the air conditioning hiding from the heat, whip up a batch of these outstanding muffins!



    Blueberry Banana Streusel Muffins

    From Cake Dutchess



    3/4 cup white sugar

    1/2 cup canola oil

    3 very ripe bananas, mashed well

    2 cups flour

    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

    1/2 teaspoon baking soda

    1/4 cup almond milk, mixed with 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

    1 teaspoon vanilla

    1 teaspoon cinnamon

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1 cup blueberries


    for the topping:

    3 tablespoons brown sugar

    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    1 tablespoon margarine



    Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a muffin tin with non stick cooking spray, or lightly coat with margarine.

    Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and spices.

    In a separate bowl, stir together the oil and sugar. Add bananas, milk and vanilla. Gently fold in the blueberries

    Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Mix well. Spoon batter into the muffin tin. For topping, in a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon; with your fingers, incorporate the margarine to the flour mixture until crumbly. Sprinkle topping over the muffins.

    Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Serve warm.

    The Best Laid Plans

    Saturday night I had big plans (in my head) to hang out on the back porch, drink wine with the BOY, and enjoy the weekend.  Instead, around 7:00pm, the skies got dark and I changed into my comfy clothes just moments before strong thunderstorms rolled in.  My back up plan?  Watching Stage 20 of the Tour De France and making next week’s meal plan.  This is my first post Israel meal plan, and I am still getting used to having Sunday as a laundry and errand day since Monday is a work day (I have had Mondays off for about 4 years).  After speaking with the BOY and searching through Google, I came up with the following game plan…


    Sunday: Chipotle Turkey Meatloaf


    Monday: Dinner Out


    Tuesday: Loaded Baked Potato Bar (an awesome suggestion from the BOY)


    Wednesday: Sausages on the grill


    Thursday: Crockpot Chicken Curry


    I forgot how much sleep your body needs when you increase your running mileage.  I went to bed early last night and slept 10 hours easily.  I woke up a little sore this morning, which I expected based on my hamstring and adductor tightness last night.  I had some odd areas of soreness after my first Bikram class…my hamstrings (that can be expected), my right forearm (random?) and the back of my neck.  Since I did my 9 mile run yesterday, I had a cross training day scheduled for today.  And since both of bikes have flat tires (sooo sad!), I decided to go to another yoga class.  I want to take full advantage of my one month Bikram pass, so I signed up for the 10:30am class at their other location.  Three yoga classes in one week…this is AH MAZE ING!




    My second Bikram class went by much more quickly than the first. I think it’s because I had a better idea of what to expect.  I also got a tip from a few girls in class that one side of the room was hotter than another.  I immediately moved my mat to the less hot side.  At the end of the class, I felt strong and rejuvenated.  After class, I treated myself to Starbucks before heading to the grocery store.


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    Then came back home to watch the last stage of the Tour De France while chowing down on a fresh salad for lunch.




    At which point I noticed a missed call from my brother.  I called him back and he said that he and his girlfriend were in the area and asked what we were doing for dinner.  The BOY was at the library and I hadn’t showered since this morning’s yoga class but I said I’d love for them to stop by.  The BOY came home around 4:30 with my brother arriving shortly there after in the middle of a rain storm.  We all ended up going out for dinner and then coming back to our house to sit out back with a glass of wine and chat.  It was such a fun way to spend a Sunday night!  Everyone laughed at me and my lack of turkey meatloaf and I promised the BOY that chipotle meatloaf was coming soon.  During yoga this morning, I promised myself an early bed time tonight, so I am off to bed.  I’m sure the meal plan will come together later in the week, and I will have recipes to share, but tonight I’m much happier having hung out with my family!

    The Desert(s)

    Taking a break from complaining about the Chicago heat and my lack of marathon training success to go back to Israel and into the desert.  You may want to pop some popcorn and pour yourself a cold drink because there are TONS of photos to see and enjoy in this long post!




    We’re starting with the Negev and a stay at the Bedouin Hospitality tents.




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    I had heard that the Bedouin’s serve an amazing feast and was thrilled to sample dinner seated on rugs in the hot desert air.




    Dinner is eaten with your hands, using the laffa (absolutely incredible bread) to soak up the flavors and seasoning in the chicken, rice, hummus, tahini, and salads.




    I think this was the only time on the trip, I ate until I was beyond full.  And it was totally worth it!  The Bedouin’s are known for their strong coffee and sweet after dinner tea.  But my favorite part of staying at the tents (of note, I actually got to stay in a little cabin and not sleep in the hot, crowded tent) was breakfast.  While we watched people ride along on camels, I dug into a fried egg, smothered in hummus and cucumber salad, and wrapped in laffa.  It was pretty unreal!




    Our next stop in the desert was Makhtesh Ramon, a ginormous crater in the desert which you can read about HERE or on Wikipedia.




    And see plenty of pictures below.








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    After the Makhtesh, we drove north (still in the desert) to Ein Avdat, where former prime minister David Ben Gurion and his wife Paula are buried.  This desert park has glorious views and is also the home to many ibex (goats).








    The desert views took my breath away!  I had no idea there was so much beauty in the sand!  On our way to the next destination, I got my first sighting of the famous Dead Sea.




    We made one more stop to explore some waterfalls and ponds in a newish looking park overlooking the sea before checking into our hotel for dinner.


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    We spent that night at a hotel at the base of Masada tucked between the Dead Sea and the impressive mountain overlooking the country of Jordan (which I attempted to capture in the photo below).




    The next day, most of the group was up WAY before the sun to hike to the top of Masada.  We had the luxury of sleeping in and taking the cable car to the top gliding over the many who were beginning to snake their way down to the base.








    The cloudless blue skies were picture perfect!  Prior to my trip, I didn’t know much about Masada, but this historic site had plenty to see and explore.


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    Plus some magnificent views!






    After spending time around the Dead Sea, I was beyond excited to see and experience it!!!


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    The first step is covering yourself head to toe in mud.  Then you let it dry, rinse it off, and walk right into the sea.


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    Where you really just do float!




    It’s surreal and unlike anything else that I’ve experienced!




    I’m not sure when we left the Negev and entered the Judean Desert, but our last stay was at another kibbutz in the Judean desert where we spent the last few nights in Israel.




    With its desert mountain views, it was much different than the first kibbutz we stayed at.




    And WAY hotter.  I guess that is the desert for you!




    I’m sure it is obvious by my passion and photos that it was tough to leave this incredible and unique country!  I feel so lucky to have been given the chance to visit Israel, and I am really hoping to get back there again soon!


    If you missed it, here are my previous Israel posts…

    Arriving in Israel

    The Holy City of Tzfat

    Tel Aviv


    9 Before 9

    I woke up at 6am with the sun (ok the sun was already out and shining), but it felt REALLY early.  The goal was to get out the door by 6:30am and home by 8am.  My phone said 68 degrees which seemed much more doable than the last few days of 92 degrees.  My pre run breakfast was a Blueberry Dough Boy Smoothie and I packed some fuel for the road.




    I forgot how heavy my fuel belt can feel loaded up with ice and water (and this morning, my cell phone).  The sun was out, but there was a cool breeze and it felt like a beautiful morning to run.  I decided not to track my miles, but hoped they were faster than my 6 mile run earlier in the week.  It took me about 3 miles to find my stride but after that I felt good, saying good morning to the other early runners and riders.  After about 50 minutes, I found some shade and took a fuel break  I got the Powerbar fruit pack in a race goodie back and thought I would give it a try.




    It tasted like applesauce and was easy to eat on the go.  With just a few miles left, I got going on my way.  I was thrilled to see that I passed my 6 mile mark minutes faster than I finished Thursday’s run!  I needed that mental boost!  My 9 mile run was actually 9.3 and I was back home in 86 minutes. It was breezy enough that I could walk a little in the neighborhood and cool down.  Post race, I ate my Larabar.




    I was shocked to walk in the door and see the BOY awake and downstairs.  Oops!  I may have woken him up when I left.  I contemplated heading to bed for a nap myself, but instead decided to stretch my legs and foam roll while watching the Tour De France.




    If you followed my blog last summer, you know that I was slightly obsessed with the Tour De France.  Which was followed by a huge obsession with the Olympics.  I was sad to see that I would be missing some of the Tour during my trip to Israel (the BOY on the other hand was not so sad).  Thanks to modern technology (DVR), I have been able to watch the last week of the race.  I DVR the stages during the week and then watch it non stop over my long weekend off.  This morning, I am captivated by stage 18 in the alps. 




    These young riders are incredible and I am inspired!  After yesterday’s Bikram class and a week of running, my hamstrings are sore, so the foam roll felt wonderful!  So does sitting on my couch watching these bikers climb up and weave down the alps surrounded by crazy fans.




    I finished a strong 9 mile run before 9am.  Woo hoo!  What a happy start to the weekend!



    What do you use to fuel your long runs?

    Do you like the Tour De France?



    Today’s Run: 9.3 miles is 86:02 minutes (just under 9:30 min/miles)

    Weekly Mileage: 23.3 Miles