Speaking of sneakers…

February 14, 2018

Monday I mentioned I wore my sneakers to work because they make me feel good. Well, speaking of sneakers… in order for them to literally make you feel good and have happy feet, you have to make sure you are replacing them as needed. I KNOW this, but still at least once a year tend to slack on replacing them and end up with my feet screaming at me to do so! I replace my sneakers approximately every 400 miles (about 3 pairs a year). I was due for new ones around the beginning of December, but being winter time with yucky roads and often wearing my yaktracks, I decided I would wait a little while.
Well a little while turned into end of January, when I at least put it on my to-do list so it was on my radar to get it done. January turned into beginning of February, when I did shop online for some. I more often than not shop for my sneakers at a specialty athletic shoe shop approximately 2 hours away; their service is unbeatable to say the least, along with their knowledge, experience, and guarantee to fit you to the right shoe!

I have found what shoe brand/make/model works for me for the most part. It’s always ‘iffy’ in the spring when new models come out for the season; they make changes and it’s not a guarantee that they are going to fit you as well as the previous year’s model. (Did I ever mention I hate change; especially when you have a favorite running shoe! Why do they have to go and mess with it.

Anyway, I am in my third pair of the model I’m wearing now and know that I love it so I figured instead of making the 2 hour trip or calling and having them ship a pair, I’d try to find a pair on sale online first. Well I found a pair on Amazon, shipped directly from them (no third party), free shipping about a third less than what I normally pay. Easy, done, on their way! Wore them around home and work for a few days to break them in like I always do, and within 4 days my feet started to hurt. (My feet are a bit temperamental; I have to have good support or they start to hurt.) I felt like when I first put them on, they didn’t quite fit the same; they had less support or something but I wasn’t sure if it was my imagination so I gave them a try. I also had in the back of my mind a past experience from a year or two ago when I thought I’d try to save money and ordered a pair online that was a ‘good deal’ from a site I had never heard of.. big mistake. They arrived and I knew as soon as I put my foot in that they were not the right shoe, they looked identical, but the support that I buy them for was totally missing. They felt flat as a board inside! Thankfully when I called and complained that I believed they were selling ‘knock-offs’ they didn’t deny they were and quickly offered me prepaid return shipping and my money back.

So I understand a no-name site I never heard of trying to sell ‘knock-offs,’ but I expected more from Amazon? Not impressed and now I feel like I can’t trust ordering my running shoes online anymore; or at least if they are less expensive than they should be I guess.

Anyway, live and learn, and remember to replace your running shoes regularly, based on your use. It can really have an affect on your whole body- feet, hips, back, etc.

Lastly, I had a great (extra) early morning run today! Got 6 in on a Wednesday! And it was warmer and the roads were dry! Oh! And the best part, I was joined by my running buddy; sure does make the miles pass quicker!

Ps- not to knock Amazon but I tried to post a review about the shoes I had purchased and I received an email back that stated my review would not be posted due to it’s content. I guess they didn’t like what I had to say; it was just the facts. We might want to keep that in mind next time we are reading reviews before we purchase something. It may be that some of the negative reviews didn’t make the cut. 🙄🤐

What makes you feel good…

February 12, 2018

I had a bad case of the grumps yesterday. For no good reason, just felt super grumpy the second half of the day; its makes me mad at myself when I get like that, which in turn doesn’t make me any less grumpy. Lol. Thankfully today is a new day – even if it is a Monday, lol. No really, I’m ready to start the day off positive. Despite the fact I had to use the treadmill rather than running outside this morning, I was thankful to start the day with some miles …that always makes me feel better for the day!
Do you have an article of clothing or something that just makes you feel good when you wear it… maybe it’s something that makes you look pretty/feel pretty or feel good about yourself. Well I decided to wear a dress today… to look/feel pretty? No, lol! For comfort, because it means I can wear leggings to work, silly! (Ps. I think leggings are to blame for my current waist line, but we won’t go there!) Anyway, despite the fact I’m wearing a dress today, I still chose to wear my sneakers (and I don’t care if it looks dumb!)… 1. Because my feet hurt and could use the extra support, and 2. Because they make me feel good! They almost make me feel more energized, better about myself, and a good reminder that I can do this – whatever ‘this’ is on this Monday ahead of me.

Honestly, I’ve had more grumpy days lately than I’d care to admit, and many for no good reason, like yesterday. I feel miserable with myself sometimes; down, discouraged, like I’m not doing anything right. Almost always, I’ve come to the realization that it’s Satan attacking me – he likes to see me down on myself and discouraged and GRUMPY. Because when I am, I’m not praising God or doing what He has set out for me. It’s easy for me to be hard on myself and then it’s a struggle to love others around me. I read something within the last couple years that has stuck with me… You can’t love others more than you love yourself. Hmm… I’ve always struggled ‘loving myself’ but over the last couple years, my journey of growing closer to God and having a real relationship with God has definitely helped! I feel like that’s the only thing that snaps me out of my ‘grumps’ sometimes – spending some time with God, reflecting on who I am to Him and that, thankfully, He loves me no matter what…
So, to combat my ‘grumps’ and start the day (and week) off right, I often turn on my favorite Christian music and pounded the treadmill to that today. Instead of just a boring old run on the ‘dreadmill,’ I did some interval training with some elevation and speed changes – tried to switch it up a bit with hopes of boosting my calories burned! Packed a healthy salad with chicken for lunch and had a shake and lots of fluids for breakfast. Spent time thanking God for all the awesome people and things I have in my life to be thankful for. Feeling pumped with my sneaks on and ready to start the day with a positive outlook!
What makes you feel good about yourself? What’s your answer to snapping yourself out of the ‘grumps’? Do you love yourself?? Did you know God loves you no matter what? Who do you turn to when life throws the big stuff at you, more than just battling grumps, but real stuff…? Big questions, I know. If I didn’t have God in my life – I wouldn’t have the answer to these questions!

Chilly, beautiful Saturday morning…

February 3, 2018

On the colder mornings I tend to stay within a couple miles of home. It’s hard to get a longer run in when just doing so around our little town. With that being said, there’s not many places I haven’t explored and my solo in-town runs can be less than exciting. (However, I don’t need excitement if it involves skunks like earlier this week!) Today, however, I went somewhere I hadn’t been before ..but it was technically trespassing 🤐😛😊🏃 I really just wanted to check out the view…

(My local friends have probably figured it out 😜.)

Anyway, nothing too exciting this am- 9*, I only got 8 miles in- the cold wears on you. It was a beautiful morning though; and I found a lucky penny heads up in the middle of the sloppy road! All day long have good luck, right?

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Spaghetti squash’s best disguise…

February 2, 2018

Two to three times a month I make spaghetti squash; normally trying to disguise it in some semi-healthy casserole. Up until this week, our favorite has been a pizza like casserole that I came up with myself… 9×9 pan with precooked spaghetti squash, browned ground turkey, pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese and turkey pepperoni, yum! Well, I had intentions of making that this week but then last minute changed my mind. I had some cooked chicken breast to use up and I was hungry for the buffalo chicken pasta dish that I make and my family loves. (You can find that recipe here.) Who doesn’t love buffalo chicken dip? Who wouldn’t want an excuse to eat that for dinner? Well picture chicken wing dip marries penne pasta and ta-da – a dinner everyone loves! (Thankfully my kids like a little spice!) So, you see where I’m headed; it occurred to me, why not use the spaghetti squash in place of the pasta for the chicken wing pasta recipe!?! It was a winner!

My kids, who overhear us watching ‘Chopped’ sometimes, have recently been acting as judges at the dinner table (🙄😗), well my little judges tonight gave it two thumbs up and ‘a million stars.’ 😁 We all agreed this was our favorite spaghetti squash disguise so far!

Sorry there’s no pictures- I didn’t expect to blog about it and there wasn’t much left to photograph! That’s gotta say something, right? 😀

Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti Squash
(Inspired by WhitneyBond.com)

2 cups shredded chicken
8 oz cream cheese (I used reduced fat)
1/3 cup buffalo sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup light ranch (or blue cheese)
1 large or 2 small, pre-cooked\prepared spaghetti squash

Melt the cream cheese along with the buffalo sauce and chicken broth in a large skillet over medium heat. Whisk until melted, creamy, and all incorporated. Add spices and combine to stir. Stir in the ranch dressing, then add chicken. Allow to simmer for about 5-10 minutes. Then add the spaghetti squash and simmer until heated through, approximately another 10 minutes. Enjoy!

How do you cook your spaghetti squash? I know many who cut in half and roast. I’ve found this leaves a lot of unwanted extra moisture; no one wants a soggy casserole. I’ve found my favorite way to roast it is to cut it as shown below (thank you pinterest!), roast on a pan @400* for about an hour. Cool and shred/pull apart from outer rind. Super easy. I usually do this the day before, then my spaghetti squash casserole is a much faster/easier dinner the following night.

Add a little zest to your Oatmeal Cookies…

oatmeal craisin

January 29, 2018

I’ve been meaning to share this recipe since Christmas; I guess it takes a day of being sick on the couch with a nasty sinus cold for me to make time to do so! This is an original recipe of my own, as I wanted to put a holiday twist on the normal oatmeal cookie.  I guess orange zest and craisins wouldn’t have to mean holidays; you could make this cookie anytime your little heart desires!  Enjoy!

oatmeal craisin1

Oatmeal Craisin Cookies with a touch of Orange
1 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
3/ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda dissolved in 1/2 cup milk
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup craisins (dried cranberries)
Zest from 1 large orange
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Cream the shortening and sugars, then add the eggs. Then add the dry ingredients; before completely combined, I then add the baking soda dissolved in milk. Lastly, stir in the craisins, orange zest, and nuts (if desired). Bake at 350* for 10-12 minutes. I remove mine just before they appear done (still moist appearance), to avoid a hard crunchy cookie.

Enjoy!

oatmeal craisin2

More blackberries…

January 28, 2018

I had extra blackberries from the blackberry cobbler I made earlier in the week, so I decided to use them for Sunday morning breakfast.  I had contemplated making blackberry pancakes with a blackberry sauce to go over them, or my blueberry teacake with a substitution of blackberries.  In the end I went with a recipe I found from Elephant Eats for a semi-healthy berry muffin. I love the texture of muffins with oats in them!  These did not disappoint! The original recipe was for blueberries; I used blackberries and I’m sure any berry would be delicious.

blackberry muffins

Berry Oatmeal Muffins
(adapted from Elephant Eat’s recipe)

3/4 cup white flour (+ 2 Tbsp for tossing berries)
3/4 cup wheat flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup plain greek yogurt (I only had non-fat greek VANILLA- worked fine!)
1/2 unsweetened apple sauce
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 and 1/2 cup berries (I used blackberries!!)

Combine the dry ingredients (excluding brown sugar), set aside. Combine yogurt, applesauce, egg, vanilla and brown sugar; add this to the dry ingredients. Mix just until moistened/combined. Toss the berries with extra flour. Gently fold berries into batter. Grease muffin tins or use liners. Bake at 400* for 18-20 minutes.
**This recipe supposedly makes 12 muffins, however I ended up with 12 regular size muffins and 5 jumbo muffins. I filled the muffin cups nearly to the top of the pan.

Enjoy!

blackberry muffins1

A run will do you good…

January 27, 2018

(I admit I’m post-dating this… hindsight…)

So, normally, in most circumstances I’ve found ‘a run will do me good.’ Whether I’m pounding the pavement over stress or in deep thought, or just enjoying a morning run with good conversation, I always benefit from a good run. It starts my day out right, and almost always makes me feel so much better than the days that I don’t run. Often times when I have a slight head cold, going for a run really does make me feel better; whether it’s the air opening things up or the activity breaking things up, I do normally feel better after wards.

I started to feel like I was coming down with a cold Friday night, but took some ibuprofen and started to feel a little better just before crawling into bed. I checked the weather and it looked like a beautiful morning for a run, so despite my husband’s questioning of whether I should go for a run since I was coming down with something, I proceeded to make plans with my favorite running buddy to meet up in the morning. I also had my mind set on getting 10-12 miles in since it was going to be so nice out.

I did have an enjoyable run, with clear roads, 32* weather, good company, and finished with 11 at a pace I was happy with. However, the last mile and a half I was tired and my throat started to hurt… Hindsight… I think if I would have settled for a shorter run or maybe even rested I wouldn’t have been so run down and sick the next two days. However, I’m still thankful to have gotten a nice run in and as stubborn as I am, probably would have still done the same. Moral of the story: Listen to your body and know when you need to rest and when you need to run!

And I’ll share one of my favorite quotes since it’s flu season and all: ‘Wash your hands and say your prayers because Jesus and germs are everywhere.’ 😊

Blackberry goodness…

January 23, 2018

Every good recipe has a story; whether it’s who you received it from, where you first ate it, who made it for you, or who or what special occasion you’re making it for, chances are you’ll associate these things with that recipe..at least I do. I especially love recipes that I’ve received that are in the giver’s own handwriting. I love the memories that accompany or are associated with the recipes. It’s similar, I believe, to the fact that sense of smell and memory are closely related; particular smells often evoke specific memories for people.

Yesterday I took advantage of the fact that blackberries were on sale! My hubby thought I was cleaning out the store, but I had a particular blackberry cobbler in mind I wanted to make. I don’t pick or purchase blackberries often so I knew exactly what I would use them for; they would be put to good use in this cobbler.

The story or memory behind this particular recipe involves one of our sweet new neighbors (neighbor, as in 3 blocks down the street – same thing 😊 ) and family friend who brought us this yummy cobbler to ‘welcome us to the neighborhood’ shortly after we got married and moved in to our new home. It was so sweet, but she is indeed a very sweet lady. Not only is she a neighbor and family friend, but she also happens to be a former coworker and the nurse that oriented me when I was a new RN just starting at the local hospital. (Funny thing is she went on to be a school nurse as well.) A very sweet lady… Who makes a killer cobbler; I was thankful she shared the recipe. (How cute is this recipe card!?)

So, I made this yummy cobbler for a neighbor (friend and coworker) as well! My family and I enjoyed some week night company; my poor kids talked her ear off. I made a new chicken recipe with green chilies and cheese too; but my favorite part by far was dessert! (Big surprise 😛 )

Blackberry Cobbler
(Recipe adapted from Ms. Betty’s)

1 1/4 cup flour
Dash of salt
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup milk

4 cups berries
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp corn starch
1 1/4 cup water

Stir dry ingredients, then cut in shortening. Then add milk, stirring with fork. Set aside.
Prepare berries as follows: In a small saucepan combine 1 cup sugar and 1 1/4 cups boiling water. Bring to a boil, then whisk in corn starch, once boiling again, stir in berries. (May need to add a small amount of corn starch again.)
Pour berries into greased 9×9 pan; drop dollops of biscuit like mixture on top of berries.
Bake at 350* for approximately 20-25 minutes, until cobbler is lightly brown.

Sprinkle with some sanding sugar for some extra goodness! (I forgot to do this tonight!)

blackberry cobbler.jpg

Enjoy with a neighbor!

Leftover candy…

January 21, 2018

Those with kids will probably be able to relate to that bag of hoarded, leftover, 4+ month old Halloween candy that might still be lying around. What do you do with it? Maybe your kids would have eaten it by now… Maybe you’re not as mean of a mom as I am? Maybe your kids don’t bounce off the walls when they eat sugar!?! And drive you bonkers!? 

Well anyway, if by chance you have leftover candy sitting around I have a use for it! I needed a quick dessert to take with us out to a friend’s for a fun day of sledding and a campfire and hotdogs. Totally informal, relaxed, and absolutely perfect! So the dessert didn’t need to be fancy! I was opting for a good ol’ box mix of brownies and thinking how I could spice it up a little. I considered the caramel chips I had in the freezer and then as I walked into the pantry and passed the said bag of leftover candy I had an idea. Maybe not all that original but I was pleased with it. 😛

So the kids and I dumped the bite size chocolate assortment out on the counter and started chopping them up! Surprisingly they didn’t mind one bit and were thankful to be able to use their new safe cutting knives they received for Christmas to help me! 

So simple and yummy and perfect for a perfect day with friends who are like family! ❤ Enjoy the simple things! 

Beautiful morning and my long lost friend…

January 20, 2018

Finally, a beautiful morning without any ‘weather extremes’ to deal with. Clear roads, 32*, a beautiful sunrise, and best of all, first time running with my partner in crime in a whole month! It had been so long and we had lots of catching up to do which made the run go by really fast! The fastest a run has gone by in a while and the fastest pace I’ve had in a while too! And the best company for sure! I’ll take it! 

To think I used to be a loner and  really had no desire to run with anyone… I love the story of how Whitney and I met, about a year and a half ago…I have always said it must have been a God thing, because who makes a friend out at five in the morning! I had actually just started running in the early mornings a couple weeks prior in an attempt to fit my runs in before work. I was quite a scardy cat then and had only a few well lit streets that I would run on; it quickly became pretty boring. Then one morning, when I was almost done with my run I was surprised to see someone else out running. I think I waved and kept running, to then hear from behind me a friendly voice say, ‘Hey! I was just wondering, do you know of any early morning running clubs or groups around here?’ To which I replied something like, ‘umm, not that I know of, sorry…’ and kept running. Well I ran my last few blocks as we each when our separate ways, but then I started to think, ‘well that was stupid/rude Jessica…I should have at least struck up some conversation…what if it’s a God thing that your paths crossed.’ Well, I wasn’t looking to be apart of a running group lol, but it was that last thought that made me think I should try to see if I could find this mystery runner. Boy am I glad I did! Thankful for a small town and the fact that she liked to stick to the safety of street lights too; it wasn’t too hard to fine her!

I’m not only thankful for a running partner I didn’t know I’d appreciate, but thankful for our friendship too! It’s been great getting to know one another through many, many miles of chats! (Who knew we actually chatted while we ran!? Lol 😉) You just never know when God’s going to bring someone into your life… maybe at 5 am while out for a run! 

Cheers to a beautiful sunrise (#nofilter) and hopefully many more miles ahead! 🏃