Protein (Recipe: No-Churn S’mores Ice-Cream)

Protein is what our muscles are made of. If your protein intake is inadequate, over time your body will “find it” in another place and cannibalize itself looking for more. And the first thing it does is to strip it from your muscles.


Beyond keeping your muscles intact, protein offers some big pluses: a strong sense of satiety, long digestion time, and it doesn’t cause dangerous spikes of blood sugar. It also plays an important role in the body’s signaling system. Finally, in a pinch, proteins can be broken down into amino acids in the body and these amino acids can be turned into glucose when our diets are carb-deficient.

So how much do you need? The fact is that most of us get plenty of protein simply by eating a balanced diet. Adding in extra in the form of shakes and pills or large portions of animal protein does no good. The excess is simply wasted because it’s converted and stored as fat; the same is true for excess carbs and fat.

Make your daily protein goal around 25% of caloric intake.

Speaking of eating, A and I went on a double date the other night to a delicious tapas place called Vinos Finos. We got flights of wine and ate lots of tasty food. If you live near Raleigh, I definitely recommend it!

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And because I posted pictures of Envy yesterday, here are some cute pictures of Callie:

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Quote of the Day:

“I’m working on a new me not because the old me is bad but because the old me can improve.” -Anonymous

So, A and I went to a potluck this weekend. We have those a lot around here and I like them! So much fun! One of the things I decided to try was this No-Churn S’mores Ice-Cream. I know! No churn! I had never tried anything like it. The ice-cream is definitely much softer than regular ice-cream. And it is definitely faster to make than ice-cream you have to churn. Definitely a good experiment. And you can’t go wrong with s’mores!

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No-Churn S’mores Ice-Cream


  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 20 regular marshmallows
  • 4 finely crushed graham crackers
  • 2 chopped graham crackers
  • 2 (1.55-ounce) finely chopped milk chocolate candy bars


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, whip the cream until it holds stiff peaks, about 4 minutes.
  2. Turn the mixer to low and gradually stream in the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. Mix on low until combined, about 1 minute.
  3. Place the marshmallows into a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high in 30 second intervals until marshmallows are puffed and melty. Watch them carefully as to avoid any spills. Stir until smooth and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  4. Spoon marshmallows into the whipped cream mixture and gently fold the mixture to combine.
  5. Fold in graham crackers and finely chopped candy bars until evenly distributed.
  6. Spoon ice cream into a freezer-safe container and freeze overnight.

Courtesy of My Baking Addiction

Posted in Callie!, Envy, Nutrition, Recipes | Leave a comment

Quick Book Review: Mayday by Thomas Block and Nelson DeMille (Recipe: Chicken, Spinach, and Mushroom Omelette)

Mayday by Thomas Block and Nelson DeMille.

This book was good. Very good.

Twelve miles above the Pacific Ocean, a missile strikes a jumbo passenger jet. But it doesn’t go down. The flight crew is crippled or dead. Three passengers survive. None of them are pilots of jets. Yet, they have to fly the jet if they want to make it home alive. Not to mention that some people who know what happened don’t want them to make it home alive. Mayday is a classic bestseller that is terrifyingly realistic. It is also your worst nightmare.

One of the authors Captain Thomas Block retired from US Airways in April 2000, as a senior Trans-Atlantic pilot flying wide-body jets to Europe. Block has been a pilot since 1959. His knowledge of aircraft makes the book very real.

I highly recommend this book. It was a page turner for sure. Read it.

Remember how I volunteered at that Stop Hunger event at RTI? Here are some pictures! It was a fun event!

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And did I tell you that A surprised me with flowers a week and a half ago? They are still beautiful and sitting on my kitchen table!


I will say that the girls are going a little stir crazy with all of the rain we have been getting. I hope it lets up soon so they can get some running in before CanAm! I don’t want them out of shape! And because she is just so darn cute:

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Quote of the Day:

“Love is the emblem of eternity. It confounds all notion of time: effaces all memory of a beginning, all fear of an end.” -Madame de Stael

So, I didn’t cook much last week. But I made this Chicken, Spinach, and Mushroom Omelette for dinner one night. I can always do breakfast for dinner. Always.

Chicken and Spinach Omlette

Chicken, Spinach, and Mushroom Omelette


  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • black pepper
  • 1/4 cup shredded chicken
  • 1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
  • handful of spinach


  • Whisk 3 eggs, milk, and black pepper together.
  • Saute spinach and mushrooms in frying pan until lightly browned. Pour whisked eggs over the chicken, spinach and mushrooms.
  • Flip the concoction after the eggs have set on the bottom.
  • I didn’t add cheese, but you can!
Posted in Book Review, Envy, Recipes | Leave a comment

Is a Calorie a Calorie? (Recipe: Peanut Butter Cup Cookies)

According to the laws of thermodymanics, yes, all calories are created equal (at least on paper).

However, the way the body breaks down carbohydrates, protein and fat, the three main sources of calories in our diet (four if you count alcohol), and the effect they have on our bodies differ greatly.

Let’s start with fats. Fats slow digestion, deliver important fat-soluble vitamins to the body, and provide important building blocks for every one of our cells. All dietary fats provide about 9 calories per gram but, as you likely already know, some fats are better for our health than others. For example, polyunsaturated omega-3 fats, found in foods like wild salmon and flaxseed, have protective, anti-inflammatory properties, whereas artificial trans fats have been linked to increased inflammation and heart disease.

Protein. Protein also keeps us feeling fuller for longer by slowing digestion, but its primary role in the body is to maintain and build new cells. All proteins provide about 4 calories per gram but there are higher quality proteins, which may reduce appetite and optimize muscle repair and recovery (think: fish or eggs), and lower quality proteins (think: hamburger meat) that are loaded with branched-chain amino acids, which have been linked to metabolic disease and insulin resistance.

Carbs. Carbohydrates are by far the most complex mostly because our bodies use the different types of carbohydrates (such as fiber, starch and sugar) in very different ways. Carbohydrates are used by the body as a quick source of energy, particularly for the brain, liver and muscles. All carbohydrates (with the exception of fiber, which our body can’t digest) provide 4 calories per gram. Though not a source of calories, fiber is considered a high-quality carbohydrate since it slows digestion (thus making you feel fuller, longer) and can moderate the absorption of other nutrients, like sugar. These include fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.

As you can see, a calorie of carbohydrate is not the same as a calorie from fat or protein, nor are all carbohydrate calories created equal. As a general rule of thumb, it is recommended that you consume the majority of your calories from minimally or unprocessed whole foods. The recipe I’m sharing in this post does not fit into that category.

In other news, I know you want to see the last of my SF pictures! The last of my pictures are from Point Lobos. We went here with A’s aunt and uncle for part of our day trip. The walk was a lot of fun and it even got fairly toasty! We got to see a whale out in the ocean along with a lot of sea lions! It is a really neat place!

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Oh, and I failed to mention that the Oatmeal Raisin Spice Cookies from Boudin are simply amazing. Some of the best I have ever had.

1 year ago: Why All Runners Should Indulge in Carbs (Recipe: Ultimate Fudgy Brownies)

Quote of the Day:

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our sense to grow sharper.” -W. B. Yeats

So, we had a flyball tournament last weekend. I was sick for most of it which was a bummer. And then Callie got sick Saturday which was an even bigger bummer. However, we have three vets on our team who were fantastic! They took care of Callie like she was one of their own. So, while it rained all weekend (which often makes flyball miserable), we still managed to have a good time. Envy got a title (FdCH-gold)! Woohoo! She ran a 3.8 on Saturday, too! I will give you the official stats once I get them from Geoff; however, these cookies were a hit and were devoured right away. I made them because I was trying not to snack over the weekend and we all know I don’t like peanut butter.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies


  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • about 30-40 miniature Reese’s butter cups, unwrapped


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.
  • Cream together the butter, sugar, peanut butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla and milk. Add the flour mixture; mix well. Shape into 1 inch balls and place each into an ungreased mini muffin pan (I sprayed mine because I was paranoid).
  • Bake at 375 degrees for about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately press a mini peanut butter cup into each ball. Cool and carefully remove from pan.

Courtesy of The Girl Who Ate Everything

Posted in Nutrition, Recipes | Leave a comment

Talking Heads: Listening to Your Inner Voice (Recipe: Blueberry and Peach Coffee Cake)

A’s mom sent me this article titled “Talking Heads: What happens when scientists try to eavesdrop on the inner voice?” from Discover Magazine by Cassandra Willyard. It was really interesting. This is how it started (I’m sure you’ll be able to tell from the first 5 words why I was hooked):


Halfway into my first marathon, a nagging ache begins to seep from my feet into my ankles. “The wheels are falling off the bus,” I yell as I pass my husband on the sidelines. I’m half-joking, but by the time I hit mile 20, the ache becomes a searing pain. Each time my sneakers strike the trail, the blisters on my toes threaten to rupture. I am in agony. The sound of Billy Joel blasting through my earphones isn’t loud enough to drown out the inner voice that says, “You can’t do this. You’ve failed.” My jog slows to a trot, and soon, I’m hobbling.

After the race, I start to wonder whether it was my body or my mind that gave up first. Could I have kept running if the voice had shut up? And what is this voice, anyway? Where does it come from, and why do we have it?”


I have asked myself many times whether it was my mind or my body that gave up first during a race, and I can never decide. A lot of research will tell you that your mind gives up first. But sometimes your body feels so horrible that I beg to differ.

The article goes on to talk about Willyard’s research into the subject of one’s inner voice. Lev Vygotsky, a Russian psychologist, proposed that our inner voice evolves when we are still children. We first learn speech to communicate with others, but then we start speaking to ourselves, too (we have all heard children talking to themselves). Eventually those private conversations begin to take place silently inside our heads.

Charles Fernyhough, a psychologist at Durham University in Britain, says, “Inner speech is just private speech that has been fully internalized. The stuff that you do in your head as you’re running the marathon is basically a version of the stuff you used to do out loud as a kid.”

Interesting, right?

Russell Hurlburt, a psychologist at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, says that because people tend to assess their inner voices by reflecting on events after they occur (a process prone to bias), he doubts that our inner voices are as negative as we say they are during things like marathons.

Sports psychologist James Hardy at Bangor University in Wales says that typically in the realm of sports, negative self-talk doesn’t necessarily have much of a detrimental impact on performance. In fact, he says that a little negativity can sometimes “act as a bit of a kick in the backside.” Hmm…interesting.

The area of psychology always tends to amaze me.

In random news, I earned my Fitbit Russian Railway badge the other day. This badge represents a lifetime distance of 5,772 miles—the same length as the Trans-Siberian Railway in Russia! Holy mackerel! That’s a lot of steps and a lot of miles!

1 year ago: Food in Italy! And I Saw an Orthopaedic!

2 years ago: Spending Quality Time with Your Pooch(es) (Recipe: Baked Spaghetti)

Quote of the Day:

“Mind is everything; muscle, mere pieces of rubber. All that I am, I am because of my mind.” -Paavo Nurmi

So, a couple of weeks ago, A promised his coworkers I would bake them something. We chose for me to make this Blueberry and Peach Coffee Cake. It was a hit. Little did I know that one of his coworkers had brought in a homemade coffee cake the day before. She jokingly asked A if I was competing with her. Oops! Although, I don’t think most of his coworkers would mind if we had a bake-off! Haha. I better stay on top of my game! 🙂

Blueberry and Peach Coffee Cake

Blueberry and Peach Coffee Cake


For the Topping:
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened, cut into 8 pieces

For the Cake:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
⅔ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 cups (10 ounces) fresh blueberries
2 cups chopped fresh peaches (about 2 medium peaches, peeled)


1. Make the Topping: With an electric mixer, combine the flour, sugars, cinnamon, and salt on low speed until well combined, about 45 seconds. Add the butter and continue to mix on low speed until the mixture resembles wet sand and no large butter pieces remain, about 2½ minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

2. Make the Cake: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a round 9-inch cake pan, line the bottom of the pan with parchment, grease the parchment, then flour the inside of the pan.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder; set aside. Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and salt at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and beat until combined, about 30 seconds. Reduce the mixer speed to medium, then add eggs one at a time; beat for 5 to 10 seconds, then scrape down bowl and continue to beat until fully incorporated (mixture will appear broken). Reduce the mixer speed to low, then gradually add the flour mixture and beat until the flour is almost fully incorporated, about 20 seconds. Use a rubber spatula to finish mixing until no flour pockets remain (the batter will be very heavy and thick). Using the rubber spatula, gently fold blueberries and peaches into the batter until evenly distributed.

4. Transfer batter to prepared pan; use an offset spatula to gently spread the batter evenly to the pan edges and smooth the surface. Squeeze a handful of the streusel in your hand to form a large cohesive clump; break up the clump with your fingers and sprinkle evenly over batter. Repeat with remaining streusel.

5. Bake until the top is deep golden brown and a thin knife inserted into center of the cake comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Place on a wire rack for 20 minutes (the cake will fall slightly as it cools).

6. Run a thin knife around the sides of cake. Invert the cake, then peel off the parchment from the bottom of the cake and discard. Turn the cake right-side-up onto a cooling rack or serving dish. Allow to cool for at least 1 hour. Serve warm or at room temperature. Leftovers can be stored at room temperature, in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 2 days.

Courtesy of Brown-Eyed Baker

Posted in Overall Health and News, Recipes | Leave a comment

Give Your Brain a Workout (Recipe: Ina’s Blondies)

Moving your body is one of the best things you can do for your brain.

When you exercise, your heart pumps oxygen and nutrients to your brain cells, and your body produces chemicals that stimulate the brain cells to sprout branches and communicate more effectively. The effects can be both instantaneous and long-term.

A study analysis published in 2013 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that 10 to 40 minutes of exercise among preteens, teens, and young adults was associated with better cognitive function immediately afterward, which researchers attribute in part to the increased blood flow to the brain.

Another study at the University of British Columbia in 2013 found that women between 70 and 80 years old with mild cognitive decline showed a 4% increase in their hippocampal volume after six months of walking briskly for 40 minutes twice a week.

Get exercising!

So, after our amazing trip to Yosemite, A and I drove back to San Francisco for some more of the touristy stuff he has done a million times. We were one of the first people at the Muir Woods. I’m so glad we got there when we did because everything was so serene and peaceful. By the time we left, there were children running around everywhere screaming and crying. The size of the redwoods are just amazing!

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We then drove to the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge to take pictures! It was crazy windy out! But it was really neat to be able to see the bridge from both sides!

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After seeing the bridge we drove to Point Reyes! We had a picnic lunch on the beach and then walked down over 300 stairs to the lighthouse which was tiring but worth it! (I love lighthouses!)

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After that we drove back to A’s aunt and uncle’s house where they were throwing a family party for us! I got to meet a lot of A’s aunts, uncles, and cousins who live in the SF area. It was a really fun get-together. 🙂

1 year ago: A New PR and 3rd in My Age Group at the Triad 10-Miler! (Recipe: St. James Coffee Cake)

Quote of the Day:

“No matter how slow you’re going, you are still lapping everyone on the couch!”                             -Anonymous

So, when Sam came to visit I wanted to have a surprise dessert waiting for her. She loves banana bread so that was the plan. We bought extra bananas at the grocery store. We let them ripen all week. Then it was time to make the bread. Being the multi-tasker that I am, I was doing a million things at once–making the bread, cleaning, blogging, etc. I put the bread in the oven and went on about my business. Well, I came back down to check on it and thought to myself, “It’s not browning all that well. Interesting.” Now, this is a recipe I have made several times, so I knew it should be browning. I was on my way back upstairs to fold laundry when it hit me–I didn’t put in any leavening agents! Ugh! Amateur move! How could I forget leavening agents!? But I did. Needless to say, the bread went into the garbage. The next night I made these blondies for her. I must say…they were delicious.

Ina Blondies

Ina’s Blondies


  • ½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1½ cups chopped walnuts
  • 1¼ pounds semisweet chocolate chunks


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour an 8 ½ x 12 x 2-inch baking pan.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar on high speed for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  • With the mixer on low, add the vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well, scraping down the bowl after each addition. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Fold in the walnuts and chocolate chunks with a rubber spatula.
  • Spread the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Don’t overbake! The toothpick may have melted chocolate on it but it shouldn’t have wet batter. Cool completely in the pan and cut into 12 bars.

Courtesy of Ina Garten

Posted in Overall Health and News, Recipes | Leave a comment

11 Things Every Type A Person Wants You to Know

I read this article on the 11 things every Type A person wants you to know. I consider myself Type A, so here goes:

  1. We’re not impatient, just efficient. I completely agree. Although, A swears he is going to make me more patient the longer we are together.
  2. Arriving late to anything is agonizing. Um. OMG, yes. A and I have had many discussions about this. Even one last night!
  3. We live by to-do lists. I have about 12 to-do lists written down and another 12 in my head!
  4. Each task we’re assigned is urgent. Wasting time is our ultimate enemy.
  5. We’re extremely goal-oriented. Ya think? PhD? Marathon training? Dog sports? New Years Resolutions?
  6. It’s hard for us to relax. I don’t sit on my sofa. My pups go ecstatic when someone sits on the sofa because I never do and it didn’t occur to me to teach them to respect the space of others when others sit on the sofa. Oops.
  7. We get stressed out easily. A can definitely vouch for this one.
  8. We have nervous habits. I play with my hair or my badge at work.
  9. We’re emotional. The reason we behave the way that we do is because we care (some could even argue that we care just a little too much). Researchers suggest that Type A people are highly conscientious — so while it may seem like we’re uptight when we’re organizing our friend’s birthday party, it’s really just because we want it to be spectacular.
  10. We’re constantly ruminating over something. Conversations, marathons, work presentations, you name it.
  11. We have a competitive side. Yup.

Food for Thought: Pancake versus waffle. Opt for the pancake. It has slightly more protein than an equal size waffle.

Fun Fact: How little body fat can we live with? At 12% body fat, a woman usually stops menstruating which is not a good sign. Men start to have serious health problems at 6% body fat.

2 years ago: Hip Weaknesses and Compliments (Recipe: Blueberry-Peach Crumble)

Quote of the Day:

Obsessed is what the lazy call the dedicated.” -Anonymous

Posted in Nutrition, Overall Health and News | Leave a comment

23 of 25 States with Highest Rates of Obesity are in the South and Midwest (Recipe: Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Spinach Quesadilla)

You’re probably thinking, “I could have guessed that.”

The report is The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America from the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) (formerly known as the F as in Fat report series).

The 12th annual report found that rates of obesity now exceed 35% in three states (Arkansas, West Virginia and Mississippi). Just for comparison, in 1980, no state had a rate above 15%, and in 1991, no state had a rate above 20%.

22 states have adult obesity rates of at least 30%.

45 states have adult obesity rates of at least 25%.

Arkansas has the highest rate of adult obesity at 35.9%.

Colorado has the lowest rate of adult obesity at 21.3%. (It’s interesting that the state with the lowest rates of obesity was also the first state to legalize recreational use of marijuana.)

North Carolina tied for 24th (with Alaska) in this year’s ranking.

Now, nationally, more than 30% of adults, nearly 17% of 2 to 19 year olds and more than 8% of children ages 2 to 5 are obese. Obesity puts some 78 million Americans at an increased risk for a range of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

The report also found that obesity rates differ by region, age and race/ethnicity. No surprise there. Seven of the 10 states with the highest rates are in the South and 23 of the 25 states with the highest rates of obesity are in the South and Midwest. Nine of the 10 states with the highest rates of diabetes are in the South.

American Indian/Alaska Natives have the highest adult obesity rate, 54%, of any racial or ethnic group.

Nationally, obesity rates are 38% higher among Blacks than Whites; and more than 26% higher among Latinos than Whites. (Obesity rates for Blacks: 47.8%; Latinos: 42.5%; and Whites: 32.6%.)

Obesity rates are 26% higher among middle-age adults than among younger adults—rates rise from 30% of 20- to 39-year-olds to nearly 40% of 40- to 59-year-olds. People are getting heavier as they get older.

Prevention among children is key. It is easier and more effective to prevent overweight and obesity in children by helping every child maintain a healthy weight than it is to reverse trends later.

In case you’re interested in your state, based on an analysis of new state-by-state data from the CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey, adult obesity rates by state from highest to lowest were:

1. Arkansas (35.9%);
2. West Virginia (35.7%);
3. Mississippi (35.5%);
4. Louisiana (34.9%);
5. Alabama (33.5%);
6. Oklahoma (33.0%);
7. Indiana (32.7%);
8. Ohio (32.6)%;
9. North Dakota (32.2%);
10. South Carolina (32.1%);
11. Texas (31.9%);
12. Kentucky (31.6%);
13. Kansas (31.3%);
14. (tie) Tennessee (31.2%) and Wisconsin (31.2%);
16. Iowa (30.9%);
17. (tie) Delaware (30.7%) and Michigan (30.7%);
19. Georgia (30.5%);
20. (tie) Missouri (30.2%) and Nebraska (30.2%) and Pennsylvania (30.2%);
23. South Dakota (29.8%);
24. (tie) Alaska (29.7%) and North Carolina (29.7%);
26. Maryland (29.6%);
27. Wyoming (29.5%);
28. Illinois (29.3%);
29. (tie) Arizona (28.9%) and Idaho (28.9%);
31. Virginia (28.5%);
32. New Mexico (28.4%);
33. Maine (28.2%);
34. Oregon (27.9%);
35. Nevada (27.7%);
36. Minnesota (27.6%);
37. New Hampshire (27.4%);
38. Washington (27.3%);
39. (tie) New York (27.0%) and Rhode Island (27.0%);
41. New Jersey (26.9%);
42. Montana (26.4%);
43. Connecticut (26.3%);
44. Florida (26.2%);
45. Utah (25.7%);
46. Vermont (24.8%);
47. California (24.7%);
48. Massachusetts (23.3%);
49. Hawaii (22.1%);
50. District of Columbia (21.7%);
51. Colorado (21.3%).

People need to eat less and exercise more it seems!

So, I still have not posted all the awesome pictures from my trip to San Francisco and Yosemite! After A and I hiked to Sentinel Dome we continued to Taft Point which has an amazing view of El Capitan. This hike was one less traveled so there were no crying children or older/slower individuals. We ran into a dad and his daughter who offered to take pictures of us at one of the lookout points. We did the same for them. It was like a mini photo shoot! The day was just gorgeous for this hike! I recommend it!

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When we got to Taft Point, there were crazy people slacklining across the cliffs! Ummm…no thanks. I know they were attached but I have no desire. None at all.

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So, those are all of my Yosemite pictures! I can’t wait to go back with A again! Hopefully, soon!

1 year ago: MRI Results. #bringitNYC (Recipe: Congo Bars)

2 years ago: Running with Music (Recipe: Pasta with Sun Gold Tomatoes)

Quote of the Day:

“To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” -Buddha

This combination of flavors was surprisingly good! I really enjoyed this dish! It also seems like a good way to celebrate the arrival of autumn. Yay! I’m so excited for autumn! Cool, crisp runs. Changing leaves. Pumpkin recipes. Get ready for some pumpkin recipes! I have a backlog of them from last year that I never made!

Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Spinach Quesadilla

Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Spinach Quesadilla


12 ounces of sweet potatoes (about 2), halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 ounce 15- can black beans, rinsed
1 bunch spinach leaves
4 medium tortillas
6 ounces monterey jack cheese


– Heat broiler. Line a large broiler-proof baking sheet with foil. Place the sweet potatoes on a plate, cut-side down, and microwave on high until tender, 5 to 7 minutes.

– Heat the oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat until the garlic just starts to sizzle. Stir in the cumin, cinnamon and cayenne, and cook for 30 seconds.

– Add the beans and 1/3 cup water and cook, tossing occasionally, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach and cook, tossing until just beginning to wilt, about 1 minute; remove from heat.

– Place the tortillas on a prepared baking sheet. Scoop the sweet potato from the skins and spread on one half of each tortilla. Top with the bean mixture and cheese, then fold over the tortillas to cover the filling (they will look overstuffed). Broil until the top is golden brown and the cheese has melted, about 2 minutes.

Courtesy of Women’s Day

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Three Baths for Envy (Recipe: Carrot Cake Cupcakes)

So, my bestie Sam visited me from Houston this weekend! (And to visit A and the girls.) It was so wonderful to see her. We had the best time. But I don’t think she was ready for our excitement Friday night.

A and I picked up Sam from the airport around 11pm (first of all, we were “late” because her flight got in early and I wasn’t counting on it landing 25 minutes early!). We drove home and we decided to let the girls out the front door to say hi. (I think I have mentioned before that Callie has ‘excited pee’, and since she hadn’t seen Sam since we were in Blacksburg I thought she might be a bit excited to see her.)

Well, the girls ran out to greet all of us, and then Callie headed straight for some of the long grasses in our front yard (not long grass because we haven’t mowed, but the long grass landscapers put in that I am not a huge fan of) and proceeded to roll. I called her to me, and she came right away (wagging butt and all). But then Envy, seeing where her sister had been, headed for the same spot. She did NOT come when I called her, but continued to roll until I was able to get to her.

As soon as we let them in the house, Sam very nicely said that the girls smelled. Bad.

Yup. They surely did.

So, after giving Sam the tour of the house, I took Callie upstairs for a bath. She was a rock star. She just stands there and lets me soap her up and rinse her down. No issues. Smell gone. (Also dirty bathtub as the girls haven’t been to the groomer since June…)

Envy was next. She is also docile but she kept turning her head away from me. I scrubbed as best as I could and rinsed. After she was toweled off, Sam said, “She still smells.” Yep. Her neck.

I washed her again. focusing on the back of her neck this time. She kept turning her head away from me. I rinsed and toweled her dry. She STILL smelled.

I put her in the bath for the third time. No wonder she was turning away from me…when she turned her head in that direction she was hiding just a little bit of the cat or raccoon poop (or whatever it was). Sneaky pup. I washed her good that time. Smell free!

And that was how poor Sam’s trip started in Raleigh.

But I hope we made up for it the rest of the weekend!

We slept in on Saturday and took her to brunch at Beasley’s Chicken + Honey in downtown Raleigh.


SparkCon was going on where there was a sidewalk chalking contest and lots of local vendors selling their wares that we meandered around for awhile.

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We took her to Moore Square to show her the giant acorn.

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And then found her some pennants (Duke, NC State, Chapel Hill) for her classroom. (Sam is an elementary school teacher and she puts pennants on her wall from different schools she has been to–her kids love it!)

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Sunday we got in a run around Shelley Lake.

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A had breakfast waiting for us upon our return and then Sam and I went into Durham to see a fellow Chi O sister who happened to be in Durham that weekend.

Then we were lazy the rest of the afternoon. Sam and Callie got some good snuggle time in, though.

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It was so wonderful to see her. A and I are going to try to get down to Houston for a visit in February or March!

1 year ago: The Expanding American Waistline & Xtreme Eating 2014 (Recipe: Apple and Pecan Stuffed Sweet Potatoes)

2 years ago: A 5K with the Bestie on my DE Trip! (Recipe: Pumpkin Scones with Spiced Glaze)

Quote of the Day:

“Man needs difficulties; they are necessary for health.” – Carl Jung

So, I am kind of the birthday treat provider. If it is your birthday, I try to provide some sort of birthday treat. It doesn’t always work out, but I do the best that I can. Well, T had her birthday a couple of weeks ago and she loves carrot cake, so I made these Carrot Cake Cupcakes. They weren’t my best, but they were airy and had good flavor to them.

Carrot Cake Cupcake

Carrot Cake Cupcakes


  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 5 tablespoons hot water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple, undrained


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, combine sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla and water. Beat until well mixed.
  3. Stir in baking soda, powder, salt and spices.
  4. Add flour and mix well.
  5. Stir in carrots, pecans, and crushed pineapple.
  6. Fill prepared muffin cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake for 23-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.
  7. Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. I made cream cheese frosting.
  8. Once the cupcakes are completely cool, frost away!

Courtesy of Let’s Dish

Posted in Callie!, Envy, Recipes | Leave a comment

Quick Book Review: Hot, Flat, and Crowded by Thomas Friedman (Recipe: Copycat Olive Garden Salad Dressing)

Hot, Flat, and Crowded by Thomas Friedman.

I just finished reading this book. I’m a little bit of a dork, I know. This book explains the crises of destabilizing climate change and rising competition for energy. Friedman calls for all of us to put aside our differences and act together to save the world for our children and future generations.

He uses recent events to explain the energy-climate area that we are currently in and what needs to change. He shows how 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the car industry, and the Internet have combined to bring climate and energy issues to the forefront. Friedman talks about how we all say we are in a Green Revolution making green buildings and green cars, but he said we aren’t really in a Green Revolution until we stop giving it that title.

While some parts of the book were a little dry, I learned a lot and he made some very interesting points. For instance, he says while it may seem really hard now to make big “green” changes, none of America’s big changes have been easy–look at Civil Rights. That was really hard on America, but we endured and we are a better country for it. But in order to make progress, we have to act collectively and push for this green change as a nation.

Quote of the Day:

“You got this…you can shift your perception any time.” -Millie Mestril

I am on a salad kick this week so I made this copycat recipe for the Olive Garden salad dressing. It’s pretty good. Not quite as good as the actual Olive Garden salad dressing, but I’ll take it!

Copycat Olive Garden Salad Dressing


1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons miracle whip
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning


– Food process all ingredients and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water until smooth.

Posted in Book Review, Recipes | Leave a comment

Porta-Potties: Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know (Recipe: Parmesan Herb Baked Turbot)

We have all used one. Some of us more than others.

Runners use them a lot. And there is usually a long line.

How long, on average, does it take people to use a porta-potty?

  • 1:15 – 1:30 is the average time it takes runners to get in and out
  • 1:30 is the average time it takes men (nonrunners) to get in and out
  • 3:00 is the average time it takes women (nonrunners) to get in and out
  • 10:00 is the suppliers’ suggested max length of the queue to the potty, in minutes, or else the trees start getting watered

Another fun fact? If there is alcohol at an event, there is a 10% increase in toilets being needed.

So, what does that blue stuff in there consist of?

  • 5 gallons water
  • 7 ounces liquid deodorizer (designed to last 7 days)
  • 1 part fragrance (client’s choice: baby powder, mountain breeze, fresh mulberry, etc.)
  • 1 part biocide (to prevent bacteria)
  • 1 part surfactant, like soap (helps keep everything in solution)
  • Dashes of blue dye (masking agent; limits the view)

There you have it.

Want more numbers?

  • 6 ounces is the average deposit
  • 60 gallons is the capacity of the tank
  • 70% of a used portable toilet is made up of urine
  • 250 is the number of uses a porta-potty can handle before sanitary conditions start going south
  • 1,280 is the number of uses, based on the average deposit, that will fill a tank to the brim (you don’t want to be that last person!!)

How do events determine the user-to-potty ratio? Well, at a concert there is often one toilet per 60 people, according to the vice president of sales and marketing at Satellite Industries (a porta-potty manufacturer). However, at a race there is a toilet for every 10 people because races tend to have a lot of hydrated runners that create heavy traffic over a condensed time period. One study found that 80% of race participants use the bathroom in the hour before the start of the race. (Duh, I thought that was a no brainer!)

Lots of information about porta-potties that you probably never knew!

Food for Thought: Starting this summer, Nestle will roll out favorites like Butterfinger and Baby Ruth made without artificial flavors or colors. The orange Butterfinger center will come from annatto seeds instead of Red 40 and Yellow 5.

Last weekend, my college roommate and her now husband had a going away party that A and I went to! This girl stays insanely busy, so it was wonderful to catch up with her before they begin their next life adventure!


1 year ago: Gotta Even Out the Legs #NYCMarathon #6weekstogo (Recipe: Strawberry Chicken Salad)

Quote of the Day:

“At some point, “winning” becomes more about the journey than the destination and you find yourself delighted over the smallest accomplishments.” –Eat to Perform blog

A couple weeks ago I made this Parmesan Herb Baked Turbot recipe and thought it was super tasty. Turbot by itself does not have much flavor, so the flavor is all in what you season it with! We will definitely be making this recipe again!

Parmesan Herb Baked Flounder

Parmesan Herb Baked Turbot


  • 4 (6 ounce) turbot (or flounder) fillets
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


– Preheat oven to 400*.

– Place fish on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray.

– Combine the cheese and mayonnaise; spread evenly over fish.

– Combine breadcrumbs and remaining ingredients; sprinkle evenly over fish. Lightly coat fish with cooking spray.

– Bake at 400* for 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Courtesy of Cooking Light

Posted in Nutrition, Overall Health and News, Recipes | 2 Comments