Thankful Thursday: onward ho edition

I’ve been severely slacking on my postings, but I’m full of thankfulness, love, and cake this lovely Thursday afternoon thanks to my wonderful co-workers’ despedido…Today is my last full day of work with the lovely people at my non-profit property management job, and it’s a bittersweet goodbye as I move onward ho to grad school. Bittersweet goodbye softened by some sweets!

despedido

Seriously the cake was delicioso! Gluten-free? Not so much, but when people buy you cake (and pizza… I confess lunch=pizza+cake) it means they love you… so eat the cake… say your sorry to your digestive system later 🙂

It also means that this WOD needs to happen before spin tonight…

2 rounds as close together as you can of:

1065944_631125314259_1207419326_o

Tonight is also my last cycle class with the lovely spinners at LA Fitness in Arlington, VA. I LOVE teaching spin… seeing my students get (in the ubiquitous words of Kanye) better, strong, faster!

So, I made them a special goodbye playlist…

Sayonara Sara Spin List

  1. Rabiosa- Shakira feat Pitbull (2:50) -warm up fast flat
  2. More (RedOne Jimmy Joker Remix)- Usher (3:40) -warm up alternating 30sec in the saddle then 30 sec out
  3. Que Sera- Wax Tailor (2:44) -stretch
  4. Let’s Go- Calvin Harris feat Ne-Yo (3:46) -Climb <—fave cycle song to date!
  5. Work It Out- Lil Jon feat Pitbull (3:44) -Jump
  6. Work Hard, Play Hard- Wiz Khalifa (3:39) -Hill… mainly because Wiz is from the burgh!
  7. Halo/Walking on Sunshine- Glee Cast Version (2:05) -Sprint
  8. Club Can’t Handle Me- Flo Ride feat David Guetta (3:52) -Climb
  9. Bang Bang- K’naan feat Adam Levine (3:03) -Jumps… fast jumps!
  10. No Hands- Waka Flocka Flame (4:22)- Hill… I shouldn’t love this song, but I DO SO MUCH!
  11. 50 Ways to Say Goodbye- Train (4:08)- Sprint
  12. Blurred Lines- Robin Thicke feat T.I & Pharrell (4:23)- Climb
  13. Sexy and I Know It- LMFAO (3:19)- Jumps
  14. Man in the Box- Alice in Chains (4:49)- Hill
  15. All Jacked Up- Gretchen Wilson (3:32)-Out of the saddle Sprints… I can’t let them get away without playing a little bit of country in there somewhere… Yes, you can workout to it!
  16. Harlem Shake- Baauer (3:16)- Fast flat!
  17. Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye- Steam (4:09) Cool down
  18. Don’t Stop Believin’ -Journey (4:09)… Goodbye music… and the unofficial anthem of Pittsburgh

And of course I’ll play a little Hall and Oates Ode to Sara(h)’s everywhere…

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Thankful Thursday: “Ice Cream” edition

So a few Saturdays ago I got the cooking bug, promptly wrote this post, and then somehow forgot about it in the wake of my work week! Today, I’m thankful that everything happens for a reason and that this post was sitting around.

I’m also thankful that the weather is starting to heat up! Maybe (like me) you’re ready for a frozen treat since it’s hitting 90 degrees in DC this week! I’m so thankful for wonderful concoctions like frozen whipped up bananas that make a great ice cream replacement on hot, humid days! (for those of us dairy-free dudes and dudettes out there)

I wish I had a picture for you, but alas all I have is a recipe for a lovely Frozen Banana CocoNUT Pie!

The crust: I’ve been looking for a good gluten-free, dairy-free crust substitute (this one is sugar-free too). I say substitute because, let’s be honest, nothing tastes like a real pie crust without gluten! And if you beg to differ…send me your recipe PLEASE!

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 C oats
  • 1 C nuts (I used walnuts, but any nut will do)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 TBSP oil/butter (I used coconut oil)…melted
  • 1 TBSP maple syrup or honey OR you could add Stevia/Truvia etc to desired sweetness 🙂
  • 1 TBSP cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350* Put oats, nuts, and salt in a food processor and pulse until chopped. Stir melted oil/butter with sweetener of choice (you could also add some vanilla for good measure), and then add to food processor. Pulse a few more times, transfer to pie plate/tin, and press until evenly distributed. Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until slightly browned.

The filling: So simple it’s mind-blowing…

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 can coconut milk (doesn’t matter the fat content)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 C shredded coconut (unsweetened if you’re going sugar-free)

Put all ingredients in a blender. Pulse until smooth. Pour into completely cooled crust. Place assembled pie in the freezer until set. NOTE: You really need to give the pie some time to thaw before you eat it or it will be a little crystalized. So, I say take it out at least 30min before you want to serve and use a knife heated in some hot water to cut into slices. Top with some caramelized bananas perhaps? Coconut whipped cream (oh yea, that’s a real thing…that’s Oh She Glows recipe) or regular whip with some crushed pecans is what we went for… YUM!

 

Thankful Thursday: I might be a hippie edition

I have loads of things to be thankful for today… the beautiful weather, great friends, the fact that summer movies have started up again here in DC! Went to see Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade al fresco last night…there’s just something about sitting outside in the grass without shoes on that just feels right

nomaAnd, like last Thankful Thursday I’m thankful for my kitchen abilities and adventurousness that might be leading me toward becoming a hippie! Today I got to taste the first batch of home brewed Kombucha my friend Joyce and I have been working on!

kombucha 2

We recycled some GT’s bottles for our own brew

Joyce procured us a very robust SCOBY (we call him Scooby Doo) and we’ve been brewing (or should I say fermenting, which kind of feels like babysitting) for about 2 weeks now. Today was the first day the Kombucha was finally fermented enough to try it out. We made a gingerberry flavor and regular ginger… SWEET SWEET SUCCESS!

Right now you’re either thinking one of two things… Scenario #1: OMG how did you do that I freaking LOVE Kombucha!  Scenario #2: What the heck is Kombucha?

Well, to kill two birds with one stone… Kombucha is simply a fermented tea. A “mother” AKA SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) feeds off of the sugar in a sweet tea base you brew up.

How did we make it? Brew up…

  • 2C hot water
  • 2 TBSP (about 5 tea bags) of any kind of tea
  • 1C Sugar

You take 3/4C of this base and 3 1/4C filtered water (all at room temp) and add it in with your SCOBY (we are doing continuous brewing and it’s super easy!) Save the rest of the base for later in the week. You add on a schedule of 3 days, 3 days, 4 days, until there is enough Kombucha to be bottled. Then, you drain some off into glass containers and add more base/water large mixture. The bottles need to sit for at least a week at room temp to ferment and get fizzy 🙂 which is when you can add your own flavoring…next stop for me is Strawberry!

What the heck is it? Kombucha came from China (altho the word itself most likely comes from the Japanese word for tea), spread to Russia in the early 1900s and then the rest of Western Europe. It’s medicinal properties are highly disputed and WedMD will tell you NOT to home brew because you can brew bacteria, but hey…they’re doctors…they have to say that! Down with the man! <—hippie comment I know!

But the hippies really knew what they were talking about…It’s dang good and (altho it’s disputed) dang good for you and your gut…

kombucha!

What does it do? The claim is that Kombucha has detoxifying properties because of it’s acidity. Our bodies are constantly fighting to maintain homeostasis, which also means maintaining a neutral pH. Since most of the foods we eat are acidic (meat, eggs, dairy, sugar, coffee, most processed foods, fruit, grains, yeast, etc) we should be eating more alkaline based foods (dark leafy greens and veggies) to balance ourselves out.

Kombucha and other forms of probiotics help in this pH neutralization quest because the “good bacteria” in them work with (and not against) the acids in your stomach and react with minerals such as Calcium, Sodium, Potassium and Magnesium in the body tissue and blood, to form alkalies.

Too much acid can be harmful though so 4-8ozs is the RDA (and if you’re supplementing with Apple Cider Vinegar, Kombucha should replace it for the day).

Ok enough science…

Have you ever tried Kombucha? Have another favorite health drink you swig every day? 

Thankful Thursday: #KitchenLoveAffair Edition

Sometimes I take things for granted. Like growing up with a mom who taught me how to cook! Thanks Mom! My dad cooks too, and I can remember the whole family in the kitchen for Thanksgiving hand mixing the stuffing (all three of us)…

fam

The padres spent Christmas with me in DC!

So this Thursday I’m thankful that I learned how to cook!

I was reading a few articles recently about the childhood obesity epidemic and one thing from a US News article by Yoni Freedhoff caught my attention…

“I’d argue that the simple act of cooking—a health-preserving life skill—is a skill that risks extinction. In some families, regular home cooking is a phenomenon not seen for three generations.”

When I was in 8th grade we took home-economics, which included a cooking section and a sewing section. I was surprised to learn that most schools (I think mainly due to budget cuts) just don’t have those types of programs anymore because I’m not that old! (or maybe I am but I won’t admit it 😉

And that’s what I hear from people a lot… “I don’t know how to cook!” Now, there are lots of healthy options that need minimal cooking, but how do you learn how to make this…

Black bean, tomato, & quinoa salad on top of a bed of spinach, with a taco seasoned tilapia filet on top (literally took 20 min to make!)

if you grew up eating this one or twice a week…

McDonalds_Meal

I really hope this was shared between a few people!

Both are tasty… I’ll admit, but if your tastebuds are hooked on the fats in fast foods, the sugars in soft drinks (it’s really called pop, but that’s for another post), and feeling of being overly-full because of the bloating that usually comes along with processed foods…where do you start on the road to health?

Personally, I think it comes down to prioritizing health over convenience and dedicating time and effort to really learn the basics of cooking (including how to season things so that health food doesn’t equal bland food). Sign up for a cooking class, ask a friend for some lessons (I’ll help you if you want!), or talk to your grandma (believe me… she probably did more cooking than a normal family does nowadays)!

Now don’t get me wrong…I’m no Julia Child! But neither is he…

And, there are still things that I’m scared to cook/bake (pie crusts are the bane of my existence!) But knowing how to cook has allowed me to be able to experiment with new flavors, create Cannellini Bean Ranch Dressing, and be confident in the kitchen with delicious results!

Did you take home-ec when you were in school? What’s the one thing that scares you in the kitchen? 

p.s. I started my cross fit classes this past Tuesday and all I can say so far is… I.can’t.feel.my.arms!

I did it! Thankful Thursday: runner’s edition

This past Sunday I ran my 3rd half-marathon in Pittsburgh and set a new PR of 1:58:15, which was a full 12.5 some minutes better than last year’s run (wooohooo)! I’ve run the race 4 years in a row now (3 halves and one full marathon) and each year I’ve been so honored to run for charity and with family and friends!

Me pghmarathon4

So, this #thankfulThursday I’m thankful for the ability to run and run for a reason! I’m thankful for the legs that carried me across the finish line (#heygirl inspired T-shirt and all)…

finish

Every time I go out on a run I think…there are people who literally cannot run! Whether it’s because of an ailment, amputation or lack of health. And remembering that pushes me to keep going, just like during the race so many people chose to #runforBoston

runforBoston

HUGE thank you and virtual hugs to everyone who donated, ran with me, cheered me on, and gave me props for finishing. And all I can say is… I was NEVER a runner! I started off running a 13-14min mile gasping for breath every step, but I kept on running, kept on pushing myself and now I truly believe in mind over matter 🙂

What keeps you motivated to run, swim, bike, hike, whatever you do!?

Thankful Twitterpated Thursday

#twitterpated by #spring

I think Spring may actually be here to stay! This Thursday that’s why I’m thankful. Spring is the reminder of a new beginnings as trees bud and flowers (esp my faves…tulips) bloom. And as I walk by picturesque streets here in DC I’m reminded that “God’s loyal love can’t run out, His merciful love can’t dry up…it’s new every morning” -Lam 3:23

And I’m reminded of Bambi and Twitterpation…

And I’m thankful for new recipes! I adapted a breakfast lentil recipe from godairyfree.com

Lentils

For 4 servings…Ingredients:

  • 1C red lentils (soaked overnight to reduce cooking time and ease digestion)
  • 3C brewed red tea (I used decaf Coconut Thai Chai Tea)
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4tsp nutmeg
  • 1tsp stevia (or leave it out and add honey/maple syrup/etc to each portion)
  • Topping: splash of Almond Breeze coconut almond milk (or any kind of milk), chopped apple, crushed walnuts

Place the tea, spices and lentils over med-high heat and cook 20-30min or until soft. Top with apples and walnuts (maybe a drizzle of honey) and enjoy!

I ate mine hot in a new mug I #fabfound at Marshall’s the other day… LOVE! But I think it would be great cold and the topping choices are ENDLESS! Shredded coconut? Yes! Adding in healthy fats (coconut, coconut oil, walnuts, etc) is always a plus and lentils instead of oats in the morning definitely ups the amount of natural protein you’re taking in in the morning.

mug

Thankful Thursday #prayforBoston edition

On Monday as I got word about the bombings in Boston and tightened security here in DC

AND

On Tuesday when my Yogi SmarTea reminded me to…

SmarTea

AND

On Wednesday when ricin letters and mysterious packages were found just a few hundred feet away from where I live and work resulting in mucho media on our doorstep…

media

And today when I woke up with a heavy heart and breath in my lungs…

I prayed.

It’s something I do regularly, and would encourage you to do! Even if you’ve never done it before…even if it starts when you #prayforboston…even if you’re not quite sure about this whole God thing…even if you’re angry at God or can’t even begin to understand why tragedy exists…pray.

Why? 1. Because I believe God will answer you and 2. If nothing else this week should remind us that “you do not know what tomorrow will bring”(James 4:14) If you could say there is a silver lining to tragedy, I think it would be its galvanizing and sobering effect on how we perceive life…it’s short and it’s up to each os uf to decide if its bitter or sweet.

My life is sweet because I know the higher, bigger and better thing I live for…

do you?