Basic 5 ingredient overnight oats

I eat a lot of oats.  And I get a lot of questions about them.  I’ve had friends text me while they were in WalMart looking for rolled oats.  I’ve had questions as to if I eat them cold.  And….do I really put beans in them now? 

Well here you go.  This is my go to recipe for what I eat most every morning.  Let me preface this by letting you know that I have been eating these for about 6 years and my taste buds have changed a lot.  If you’re not into oats yet, start out with them warm and make them the whipped banana oatmeal way.  These are the bomb!  Put a little shredded coconut on top and a little White Chocolate Wonderful Peanut Butter.  Oh man!  Delish!

But if you are ready to go hard core, follow these simple directions.

Get out a 4 cup glass bowl.  Slice up one ripe banana into the bowl.  Add in 1/4 cup of Cannellini beans well rinsed.  Now take out a potato masher and mash the banana and the beans together.  Add 1/3 cup of old fashioned oats and 1/2-3/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk.  (depending on how thick or thin you want your oats)  Drop in a few drops of vanilla extract.  Stir well, cover, and refrigerate overnight.  If you don’t mind the banana getting brown, it can last in the fridge for one week as long as you put them in glass containers.

I make 5 of these at a time almost every Sunday.  (The other 5 glass bowls are my chopped salads.)

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Enjoy!

Fishless Tuna Salad

 

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Ron and I visited Triangle VegFest on Sunday and had a blast.  We stumbled upon the Loma Linda table and I ended up buying 2 cans of fishless tuna.  They sent me home with a recipe and I followed it as close as I could.  I substituted a yellow onion because I didn’t have any green onions and I only used 1/2 cup of mayo instead of the cup that it called for.

I had this mayo in the fridge already.

And, I served it over these rice cakes.

I haven’t really looked deep into the nutritional content or the calories yet but I wanted to share anyway.  It was so yummy!  If you like tuna salad, you’ll love this.

I’ll pop back in soon for more of a review of VegFest!

Happy Eating!

Resolve

The end of August!  How in the world is it almost fall already?

Time go so much faster than it used to!

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I thought I’d pop in and give an update to my New Year’s Resolutions.

  • First up was the Run Streak.  I ran every day for 65 days.  Most days I ran at least 3 miles but there were some of the days that I only ran 1 mile.  Two times I ran in place for 10 minutes.  I know, Crazy!  I really wanted the sweatshirt and I was so hoping I could make it all year but it wasn’t in the cards.  On the day before the Chattanooga Half Marathon, I “forgot to run.”  I didn’t realize it until the next day and I was so bummed.  I truly just forgot.  After that, I didn’t have the heart for it anymore.  I may try it again next year and see if I can get farther.  Maybe not though.  A runner I met on Facebook that  is much faster than me told me her secret to going fast is scheduling in a LOT of rest days.

 

  • Next was the Tai Chi and Kung Fu experiment.  I was a student for 3 months and made it to Blue Belt and boy was it fun but very, very, hard.  I passed the Tai Chi test too. This proved to be the most mentally challenging thing I’ve done in my adult life. I really loved it but after the Blue Belt test we had to purchase mouth guards and then we had to start sparring.  Like in real fighting.  Ummm, No thank you.  I respectfully withdrew from class and wished Ron the very best.  I secretly think he’s happy I’m not a student anymore.  He was excited to share it with me but in the end, it was his thing and not for me.

 

  • When I gave up Kung Fu, I knew I needed something for cross training.  I had huge success last year with Cross Fit and I really enjoyed it.  However, I really wanted to work out in the mornings before work to help use my time more efficiently.  My coach’s box had a 5:30am class and I did try it a couple of times.  I’d leave the box as close to 6:30am as I could but more times than not, I’d still end up in bad traffic.  Sometimes I wouldn’t get to work until 7:30 and I’d have just barely enough time to shower and get to my desk by 8:00.  It wasn’t working.  And, even though the 5:30am coach was awesome, I missed Liz, the owner and head coach.  I was very close to giving up on my goal of morning workouts and just sucking it up and trying to make it to after work sessions.  However, my good friend and running buddy, Amelia, had been talking about Camp Gladiator.  It just so happened that they were running a huge promotion.  I tried it out in March and was hooked.

Let me give you all a review of Camp Gladiator.  Each time you go to camp you “check-in.”  I’ve checked in 41 times so far since March 16th.  That’s an average of 2 times a week.  That’s pretty much what I was doing last year with CrossFit.  My goal is 3x week so I’m hoping to up my game for the rest of this year.

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Camp Gladiator has outdoor camps just about everywhere.  I think there is something like 75 different locations and times in the Raleigh area.  It’s a group fitness class with a personal trainer.  Most of the camps are in the mornings but they do have camps after work and even a new one coming up during the lunch hour.  They have a couple of locations that offer Saturday camps.  You have to bring your own mat and dumbbells but CG provides all the other equipment.  A couple of the camps have indoor locations at area churches and such but some just have parking decks and awnings to get under if it rains.  It really isn’t a problem at all.  I think it has only been raining 2 times that I wanted to go to camp.  1 time I went to the camp at the United Methodist Church in Garner since they have a gym and the other time I went to my regular camp at Cameron Village.  I run all the time in all kinds of weather.  Cross Training outdoors is no biggie at all.  In fact I love it!  This is going to sound cheesy but near the end of the workout when we are stretching and on our mats, I love to stare off into the sky.   I look at the moon and stars and the clouds.  I notice the rising sun.  It really is a great source of inspiration.  Think about it.  How many chances do you get to lay on your back and look into the heavens on a regular work day?  Sure you can when your at the beach on vacation but how often do you do it during a normal week?

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The way CG works is they have 4 weeks at a time for camps.  Each week is different:  Endurance, Strength and Agility, High Intensity Interval Training, and lastly Peak or Metabolic Conditioning week.  The 5th week is what they call Bold Week and that’s when you can choose to take a break or try a different kind of workout.  During these Bold weeks they have things like Zumba, Cardio Dance, Yoga, Run clubs, etc.

Camp Gladiator has helped me a lot with strength.  I’m doing so much better on push-ups.  I can do 10 now on my toes but I don’t go very low.  One of my coaches told me she wants me to stay on my knees for a while longer until I can get stronger.  Not gonna lie here, it hurt my feelings but I know it is the  truth.  Form over speed and number of reps!  I’ve still got a lot of work to do in the flexibility area also.

The best things about CG is all the amazing people.  Everyone is so nice and supportive.  All the coaches are very motivating.

  • My last resolution for 2016 was to try and not buy anything.  I’ll do a separate post on this.  I haven’t been perfect but I haven’t given up either.

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Best wishes to all as we strive to make the most of our time and push forward in our goals.

Good Vibrations

Last Thursday my good friend and co-worker, Susan, called me and invited Ron and me to go see Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys with her.  She had 3 tickets and her daughter and daughter’s boyfriend had to cancel on her unexpectedly.  For a split second when she invited me, I thought about my long run that was scheduled for Saturday.  I knew if I stayed out late there would be no way that I could make it up in time to get my run in.  I had promised my coach and other running friends that I wasn’t going to miss any more long runs and I was so close to thanking Susan but giving her my regrets.

For some reason though, I didn’t.  I told her I’d ask Ron and get back to her.  I gave Ron a call and within minutes we had plans to go the the award winning, Pet Sounds tour.

Susan’s gracious gift of the tickets was amazing.  We were honored to treat her to dinner.  And, what restaurant is right across from the Duke Energy Center for Performing Arts?  You guessed it!  My favorite…….Living Kitchen!

Susan is an omnivore but she was sweet and seemed to enjoy the raw veggie creations.  We had so much fun at dinner!

We got an appetizer but they were so fast with our choices we barely touched it.  It was yummy though.

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The tri color hummus was so delicious and that bread there is my very favorite too!  It is Great Harvest bread and they make is especially for Living Kitchen.

My choice was the Fire and Brimstone Burger with the Broccoli Waldorf .

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Words cannot express how much I loved this!  It isn’t too hot in the beginning but then after a few bites, it hits you.  I love spicy so I was in heaven!

Ron got the Rawco Taco Salad.

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Ron liked it a lot.  He wasn’t very hungry and it was a perfect light choice.  He gave me a bite and man was it good!

Susan got the Avocado and Basil Sandwich with the beet salad as a side.  She made me smile when she got the beets.  Smile

A fellow beet lover!

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Susan wasn’t a fan of hummus so she got it on the side just in case.  She said this hummus was good though.

You know I’m a sweet-a-holic so I tried a different dessert from our first visit.

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It was called the Turtle Cake but in my opinion, it was exactly like German Chocolate Cake!   Wowzer!  The very best ever!

Susan got the cheesecake.  I can’t remember if it was the Lemon Berry like I got last time or if it was the Passion Fruit.  She liked it!

If you are in the area, please give Living Kitchen a try.  I promise you.  You will not believe that it is raw and vegan!

Next up was the concert.  I was born in 1965 so The Beach Boys were a little before my time.  I do love them though.  I think it’s because my sisters are 7 and 11 years older than me.  I was able to sing along to almost every one of the songs.

My favorites of course were Sloop John B, Good Vibrations, and Help Me Rhonda.  But now after the concert, my new favorite is God Only Knows.  Susan, Ron and I had a blast singing along with all the other old folks that were in the audience.  (Ha!)

As predicted, I missed my long run last Saturday.  Ron didn’t miss Kung Fu though and he was up and out of the house by 9:00am.  I had the whole day to myself and I Googled and YouTubed all things Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys for hours.  I’m a true expert on them now.

The coolest thing was when Ron got home from Kung Fu he found the movie for us and we watched, Love and Mercy.  I ‘m so happy that Brian happened upon Melinda in that car dealership.  Saved his life for sure!

Moral of the story is, eat some plants, stick around those that give you Good Vibrations, and don’t be afraid to skip a run or two every now and then.

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Here’s hoping you have,

“Love and mercy, that’s what you need tonight
So love and mercy to you and your friends tonight”

I DO need pizza!

Of all animal based food items, dairy  is one that I try to stay away from most!  I think it is the most un-healthy and the most cruel of all farming.  Click here for the health reasons why I try to stay away from dairy.  But look at this single comment on this blog that haunts me to my core.

However, the taste of cheese is such a comfort and one that I still crave.  Next to Mexican cuisine, pizza is one of my favorite foods.  I love the vegan pizza that you can get at Whole Foods and I have made some awesome homemade pizzas with Daiya cheese.  But to be able to walk into a restaurant and order a vegan pizza freshly made to order.  Total Win!

Let me introduce you to Blaze Pizza!  I’ve know about Blaze for a while and was so happy to finally try it out.

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The concept is super easy and very much like Subway.  You walk in and place your order and can choose one of their signature pizzas or design your own.  You just follow it down the line and let them know what toppings you want.

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Ron chose the veggie pizza with regular cheese but I got the make your own and the non-dairy cheese.

Here’s some pizzas waiting to go in the oven.

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And here’s a shot of the fast fire oven.

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You have to wait a very short time.  Just long enough to pay and then get your drink.  And look at these awesome drinks you can choose from!

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They have the normal sodas too but both Ron and I got the waters.  I tasted the key lime one but ended up with the blood orange lemonade.  Yummo!

Take a look at this beauty!

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If I can remember it all I think there is pineapple, black olives, red pepper, red onions. zucchini, mushrooms, and spinach on mine.

Here’s Ron’s:

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So very yummy!  They had small to go boxes ready for you to grab and I brought 2 slices home with me.  Ron and I will be going back to Blaze often.  If Blaze is in your area, be sure to give it a try.  Be brave and try the non-dairy cheese.  It’s delicious.

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Living Kitchen Love

Yesterday I went on an 8 mile run with my good friend Connie and then after that I did an hour long Camp Gladiator endurance workout.  I did take a short nap and then my daughter Andie and I took all 3 dogs to the vet at Petco.  Since we have 3 dogs, this low cost vaccination clinic really makes a lot of sense for us.  Some years we have had to wait in a long line but this year, we got there 30 minutes early and walked right up to the check-in assistants.  We filled out our paperwork and were ready to see the vet in minutes flat.  The whole process took only 1 hour and now Fred, Lucky, and Lily are all good to go for another year.

Fred Lucky and Lily

During the run earlier that morning, Connie told me about a new restaurant that has just opened up in downtown Raleigh.  When she started talking about it I realized it must be the same restaurant that I saw on Facebook.  The No Meat Athlete group in Raleigh was having a social run and dinner at someplace new.   Then Ron came home from Kung Fu and said Sifu Mo had told him about this new place that was 100% plant based and organic.

After such a busy day when I finally settled down it was almost 6:00pm and I was very tired.  I had a smoothie after the workout and before the vet I had a veggie burger and now I was getting quite hungry.  I started to think about what I could come up with for dinner and then it hit me.  Let’s go out!  Ron was sitting right beside me and I looked to him and asked him if he wanted to try the new place that Sifu had told him about.  I told him Connie’s recommendations and within seconds he said, “Let’s Go!”

Living Kitchen is on the corner of Fayetteville Street and Lenoir.  I loved it from the moment we stepped inside.

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The space is very modern and open.   We were greeted quickly and were seated in minutes.

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Connie had recommended the ginger-ale so I had to get it.  Ron was happy with a great IPA.

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That brewery is in Charlotte and what we were finding out was that this is the 2nd Living Kitchen Restaurant with the original one having been in business in Charlotte since 2010.

I loved the ginger-ale.  You could taste the fresh ginger but it wasn’t so strong that it knocked you down.

Our appetizer was the sushi.  Oh man!  Yummo!

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It was just sweet potatoes and veggies but the nori it was wrapped in gave it the fish taste.  The dipping sauce was amazing.

Next came our entrée’s.  I got the Living Burrito and Ron got the Pad Thai

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Ron is online right now researching spiralizers.  He loved it so much he just has to try and recreate it.

That is beet salad for my side and you know I adore beets.  Wowzer!  So yummy.  My sauce for the burrito was their signature hot sauce.  To.die.for.

I saved half of my burrito and half of the beet salad and brought that home so I could try a dessert.

Here’s my selection!  The Lemon-Berry Cheesecake!  I don’t know how they do it but the cashews, coconut, and berries somehow come together and you’d swear you are eating real cheesecake.  Out of this world delicious.

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Living Kitchen serves cold pressed juices and before we left, Ron got these 2 beauties for today and tomorrow.

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I was so excited to find another plant based dining option in Raleigh.  You know I love Remedy Diner and Fiction Kitchen but Living Kitchen is way healthier.

If you’ve been interested in plant based eating, give LK a try.  You will love it!

 

Chattanooga Half Marathon

Back on March 6th, Ron and I ran in the Inaugural Chattanooga Marathon.  Ron’s really good friend from his Coast Guard days lives near Chattanooga and we had planned a vacation out there to visit.  You know us.  We can’t go on vacation without signing up for a half marathon.

Here we are at the start with our traditional selfie.  It was a gorgeous day.  Just a little chilly at the start with all sunshine and no wind.  I shed that sweatshirt right as we started and left it for the volunteers to collect and give to Goodwill.

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I had been training since before Thanksgiving with Lifetime Fitness Run Club so I wanted to give it my all.  I kissed Ron goodbye and wished him a great race.

I didn’t carry any water or fuel and planned to just take what they gave out on the course.  My stomach has really settled down and I can handle just about what ever they give out.  I’d drink water at one stop and then the next I’d sip Gatorade.  I was ready for a GU a little before the race gave them out but no worries.  I accepted 2 Twizzlers from a nice spectator just past the UT-Chattanooga campus.

The course was gorgeous.  Chattanooga is a very pretty city.  It sits down in what they call the “Fishbowl” and there are mountains all around.  We ran down by the river during the first 5k and then headed up a few pretty good hills.  I loved every thing about the course.

Here’s my splits:

Chatt splits

I was feeling really good and kept most miles under 10:00 even with the hills!  I was doing so good, I started praying for a PR.  Now you know I just got a PR back in November in the flat, flat, flat, race at OBX.  Who was I to think I could get one here too?  I did train like I said with Lifetime and I felt like I was pretty prepared.  I just wasn’t very confident.  I’m not sure why.

That first 10:18 mile was when I stopped to take a GU.  I don’t understand why that last mile was also over 10:00.  I was praying very hard and really giving it my all and it was flat at that section.

It just wasn’t in the stars.  My official time was 2:07:18.  I missed a PR by a mere 30 seconds.  But you know, considering racing in Chattanooga vs OBX, I really must admit I did better.

I was very happy!

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Ron had a blast too and came in very close to where he predicted, 3:00:11.

The expo the day before was sweet.  It was small but this was the inaugural race for this city.  I’m sure it will get bigger as they grow.  The after party was really rockin’!  Notice I have Beet juice in my hands!  Score!  And they even had a vegan burger option for the after race food.

Chattanooga is a beautiful area.  After the expo we hiked to this gorgeous waterfall just about a half our outside the city.  (Lula Falls, Georgia)

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And then after the race, we hiked to this waterfall in the Cherokee National Forest.

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I would highly recommend this race if you need to check off Tennessee.

Happy Running Friends!