Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Rosemary and Lemon White Bean Dip

When I saw this recipe I KNEW I had to make it. Immediately. There was just something about it that seemed so wonderfully delicious! I was not disappointed. It's great on crackers or pita chips (or by itself on a spoon). I'm so glad I bought enough supplies to make two batches because I ate the first all by myself (minus ONE bite I "generously" gave the hubs). I do think it tasted a little bit better after it had been refrigerated, the flavors seemed a little bit deeper, but that certainly didn't stop me from eating half of it IMMEDIATELY! 
  • 1 (15.5oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice and 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced fresh rosemary
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Place beans, garlic and lemon juice in food processor. Pulse until beans are roughly chopped.
  2. With motor running, slowly pour 1/4 cup of oil through feed tube. Process until mixture is smooth.
  3. Transfer bean mixture to a small bowl. Stir in rosemary, lemon zest, and remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste (I also added in more lemon juice 'cuz that's how I roll). Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refridgerator for up to 3 days (As if it's going to last that long!)
  4. Grab a spoon and ENJOY!

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Long Run Diaries-Week 6

Oh do I L-O-V-E,  LOVE a taper week!!! Our long run this week was only 9 miles. It's so nice to have an easier week every once in a while. Not only does it help your body adjust and become stronger, but I think it helps you mentally too. Next week the mileage increases quite a bit, not just on the long run, but the mid-week runs too. I'm getting myself prepared, it's really going to start getting serious real soon!

Week 5
9.2 miles
10:43 pace

It was a pretty cold morning and very windy. At one point I couldn't feel the left side of my face and I was very happy that I wore two pairs of pants! Overall I felt strong and it was a good run. I did make a few changes after a few recommendations from a friend and fellow runner. She had experienced some of the same issues that I had been having on my runs such the gut rot and exhaustion/recovery issues. She recommended two thing that had helped her during her trainings. Big thank you Maureen!!! (If anyone ever has any suggestions or recommendations send them my way! I'm a newbie at this whole marathon thing and I welcome your help!)

The first was *Hammer Electrolytes. They are electrolyte pills. (They do NOT have any stimulants, they are just electrolytes.) I love that they are pills and I don't have to guzzle a big Gatorade. You take them before, during, and after exercising. I tried them yesterday and my recovery was much better. Of course my run was shorter so that could have effected my recovery too, but my belly didn't get that sick-to-my-stomach feeling that I sometimes get after drinking too much of the sweet Gatorade. For those who prefer a drink they also come in powder form.

She also recommended *Honey Stinger Waffle bars instead of Gu. These were DELICIOUS! They taste just like waffle cones. They come in different flavors and are the same price as a Gu. As she suggested, before my run I broke it into pieces and put them in a zip-lock bag. This made it much easier to eat while on the run. They are very light and sat well in my stomach. I'm so glad I bought a few of these because they have become one of my running staples!

(*I found both at REI and they are also available at Amazon.) 

Another thing I am SO happy I found is my Camelbak Insulated Tubing. I've been having a few issues with the water freezing in the tubing during runs on super cold days. There's noting worse than being thirsty with a huge pack of water on your back and not being able to use it! I purchased the Camelbak Insulated Tubing (Note this only works if your Camelbak bladder has the "Quick Link" system.) from Amazon and it worked great! It will also come in handy this summer when the weather gets warm. Not only does it keep the water from freezing, but it also keeps it from getting warm.

I will say that my diet was AWFUL this week (...should you take your electrolyte pills with Diet Coke?!?!) so I was very thankful for a taper week. I will not survive this week eating what I did last week! As with most people, I find when our week is crazy I'm eating on the go. It's hard to be a mindful eater when your mind is running a mile a minute trying to remember everything that has to get done. My goal for this week is to really think about what I'm eating and how it will effect my training. I'm pretty good the days before a long run, but with the mid-week mileage increasing too it needs to be something I think about every day!

Have a wonderful Monday! It's unseasonably warm and rainy today so it's definitely a cozy-on-the-couch Jammie Day for us!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

I Vant To Suck Your Blood (please read using a Count Dracula voice)

Apparently GG is a vampire...which is kinda weird because I'm on Team Jacob and totally run with the wolves...apparently I need to reevaluate my life...
Have a happy (and silly) Sunday!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Family Movie Night

Last night NoJo's school had a Family Movie Night. The hubs was on his way home from a business trip so I took the kids and we had a lot of fun. The theme was the circus which is always a kid favorite. They had carnival games, face painting, popcorn and cotton candy and then they showed the movie Dumbo ( of my least favorites...I have a aversion to any movie about animals and Dumbo may be one of the worst ones. Lucky for me it's a short movie so I survived, but it was REALLY hard!). The line for face painting was pretty long and the girls didn't want to wait so they spent most of their time running around and playing the games. They were exhausted when we got home which was an added bonus, everyone was so ready for bed and fell quickly asleep! GG was there too and is getting much harder to contain. He did NOT want to be in his stroller and I spent most to the movie bouncing him and keeping him entertained. It was a super fun evening and the perfect way to end a pretty hectic week!

 Noa couldn't wait to show us the clown her class made together.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Flying Photo School-Week 2

After my first week of Flying Photo School under my belt I was very excited to start Week 2. I'm loving that I am learning so much about my camera. In two weeks I have learned enough to no longer need auto mode. Woo hoo! Such a great feeling! 

I also love that we can look at our "classmates" pictures and make comments/ask questions and see what the instructor has to say. It helps to hear that other people are having similar struggles and how they fixed them. It's also helpful to look at their settings too and see how they created their amazing shots.

Week 2 was all about shutter speed. This was a very helpful week because my kids are always on the move and most of their pictures are blurred! You can also take some pretty creative pictures too by adjusting the shutter speed.

The lessons this week were a combination of videos and worksheets. The "instructor" is VERY good at explaining terms and techniques in a way that makes sense and relates well to photography. Each week is broken down in smaller sections so I can either watch the whole week at once or in small increments. Perfect for a mom with a crazy schedule!

Our assignment this week was to take a picture in shutter speed priority mode. Some people got very creative. I just wanted to learn how to take an "action" shot that wasn't completely blurry. Even with what I learned this week, I found the assignment difficult. It was very hard to find a balance between speed and light. Basically the faster your shutter speed, the less light you get. It's all about balance.

My first attempts were at Logan's horse-backing riding lessons. The arena was WAY too dark for a fast shutter speed (needed to catch a small girl on a horse). The flash would spook the horses, so that wasn't an option. In order to have some light in the pictures I had to decease the shutter-speed and increase the ISO which lead to some pretty grainy pictures BUT to me, it's better than no pictures of Lo riding.

My second attempt was Noa swinging. This is one of her most favorite activities and I was hoping to catch her in action! Again, lots of difficulty. Some times she wouldn't be in the picture or I'd get her but the quality wouldn't be that great. 

Part of my problem is lack of experience & practice, and the other part is that it was sunny out but she was partially in the shade. As with most things in life, it's just going to take lots of practice and patience! 

In the end I went with this picture to submit to my instructor:
I picked it because Noa is in focus, it captures movement and the coloring is pretty good. I also liked that there was plenty of room for improvement, giving my instructor something to actually critique and give advice on. Clearly it's going to take some practice, but I am very happy that not only do I know how to adjust the shutter speed, but I understand what and when adjustments are needed. Lucky for me, I have lots of fast moving targets to practice on!

I also received my feedback from last week's assignment on white balance and ISO. Just to remind you, this is the picture I submitted:
This is what my instructor said: This is excellent work - both your color and light look excellent here. Well done! Yay me!

Week 3 is all about Aperture and I'm really excited to learn more about it. I've read lots of blog posts about it, but I still finding it confusing and I'm not sure what it really means. I'm hoping by the end of the week I'll have a better understanding of what it is and when to use it!

As always, I'm open for any suggestions, ideas or resources you use for your photography so please don't be shy! I LOVE getting comments so shout 'em out!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

GG is 8 Months

Our little Bubby is growing up WAY too fast! He's getting so big and already has 4 teeth!
He loves chewing on his toes, jumping in his exersaucer, EATING (he recently had pancakes and L-O-V-E, loved them!), his crazy sisters, watching TV (any time it's on he twist and contorts his body to get a better look), babbling to himself, tickles on his belly and toes, when Mommy sings to him and thankfully, riding in the jogging stroller.

I call this one "GG Does Down-Dog"
It's his attempt at crawling. He's got the feet down, but he's not sure what to do with his hands. He either lands flat on his face or ends up in his favorite yoga pose. It's so much fun watching him try, he is so determined. He's really good at moving backwards so most of the time we find him in a corner of the room.

He's still a Mama's Boy. He doesn't like it when I go too far, but that's okay. I'll take as many GG snuggles and cuddles as I can.

He's starting to sit up better which makes grocery shopping SO MUCH EASIER! This was from his first ride in the cart and he was all smiles! He was so proud of himself it was so adorable! It didn't hurt that his BFF Noa was close by too. He sees her and instantly is full of smiles and giggles. I think it's because she is so crazy and unpredicatable. He's never sure what she's going to do next! She loves it because she has finally found the audience she's been looking for. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Snow and Ice Cream On a Monday

This is the view of my front yard today...
I knew it was going to be FREEZING cold the next few days, but the snow was a pleasant surprise! I love how beautiful and clean everything looks when snow is falling. There is just a wonderful peacefulness about it.

Lo didn't have school today so I took everyone out to breakfast as a special treat. I was thinking bagels, but the girls wanted their favorite breakfast place, Sunrise Cafe. As a HUGE fan of breakfast how could I say no?
The girls have been getting along so amazingly well lately. Playing together so nicely and at breakfast they were so polite to each other. "Noa may I please have a bite of your pancakes?" and "Would you like to try my cinnamon toast?" were some of the wonderful phrases I heard this morning.
GG was in a great mood too! He had pancakes for the first time and it's no surprise that he loved them so much!
Since Lo is a super-star reader she saw right away that they had chocolate ice cream on the menu. She asked VERY politely if they could share a bowl. Initially I said no, it's 9:30am and 4 degrees outside there's no need for ice cream, but then I realized that these special moments where the 3 of us are together are very few these days. Between school, work and activities we're often in the "divide and conquer mode" so I changed my mind! I wish I could have gotten a picture of the servers face when Noa politely asked for a bowl of chocolate ice cream-it was priceless!
We had such a fun morning and I love that we could spend some quality Girl (and GG) Time together!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Long Run Diaries-Week 5

Today is it almost 40 degrees colder than it was yesterday. I am so glad Traci and I decided to do our long run yesterday afternoon!!! Not only did we not have to run in freezing cold wind, but I got to sleep-in on a Sunday for the first time in many, many months! The girls were so good. I asked them not to come out of their rooms until 8 and they actually listened! Even GG slept in past 8 today. Lucky me!

The stats:
10:21 pace

I work Saturday mornings so we had to run later in the day. This is not something I like to do or do very often. I feel like I perform better first thing in the morning and have less problems. Since there was no way to avoid the afternoon run I thought a lot about my diet. For breakfast I went to Subway and had a flatbread egg sandwich. As a "treat" I even got the "real" eggs and added bacon-so good! For lunch I had a bowl of Muesli and about 30 minutes before we left I had a Gatorade Prime. I thought I was good to go. Unfortunately for most of our run my stomach felt heavy and crampy. While it didn't seem to slow my down, it did make for an unpleasant run. I'm still not sure what the problem was exactly, but hopefully we won't have too many late day runs.

The run itself went pretty well. It was VERY windy and our first 6 miles were against the wind so it felt like we were going very S-L-O-W and it was cold. They way home was much more pleasant and we even picked up the pace a bit. I didn't feel as good after as I did last week, but I still felt pretty strong and didn't have too many aches or pains.

My recovery is still an issue. I felt extremely exhausted after. I made sure I ate a good recovery meal right when I got home and avoided a heavy dinner and even skipped the wine. My stomach felt better than last week, but I think the tiredness was worse. I barely made it to 8:30! The hubby thinks I'm not eating enough, but I suspect it has nothing to do with running more to do with my other responsibilities and trying to juggle being a mommy, a wife and a marathon runner. I just hoping the eventually my body adapts and I don't feel so awful afterwards. 
Just keep running. Just keep running. Just keep running, running, running!

Have a wonderful Sunday!