Tuesday Fun: 11 Random Things

The lovely Sara from Words to Run By, tagged me in her “11 Random Things” post, so I thought today would be a good day to have a little fun.  Here are rules:

The Rules

  1. Post these rules.
  2. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
  3. Answer the questions set for you in their post.
  4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
  5. Go to their blog and tell them you’ve tagged them.
  6. No stuff in the tagging section about you are tagged if you are reading this. You legitimately have to tag 11 people!
11 Random Things

1.  Pink is my favorite color, though it didn’t use to be.  I used to hate the color pink.

2.  The first meal I learned to make was fried chicken and mashed potatoes.  I was around 10 or 11 at the time.  Oddly enough, I don’t think I have ever made fried chicken again. 

3.  I used to think runners were crazy and would only consider running if chased.  Funny how things change.

4.  I would never have though that someone as wired as me would enjoy yoga so much.  I have a hard time sitting still, yet that 60-75 minutes of yoga really grounds me.

5.  My favorite pair off jeans is a pair I bought on Ebay several years back.  They are Gap Long & Lean.  I bought them on Ebay because Gap changed them and they didn’t fit the same, so I searched high & low for my beloved jeans.   The hem is frayed and 2 of the belt loops have come off. 

6.  I eat jelly beans daily a lot. 

7.  I have been known to rock out to High School Musical tunes on my iPhone while running.

8.  My 2nd toe is longer than my big toe.

9.  When growing up I would choose mashed potatoes over French fries in restaurants.  I specifically remember a waitress commenting that she hadn’t seen many kids choose mashed potatoes over fries before. 

10.  Back to music – I am a big fan of 80s ballads – Sister Christian, Human, Right Here Waiting, Amanda, High Enough…  I’ll stop now before I embarrass myself anymore.

11.  My first car was a Honda CRX.  It had no real backseat, but that didn’t stop us from putting people back there.  Boy, we were stupid.

My answers to Sara’s questions:

  1. What is your favorite thing to cook?
  2. What is your favorite book? The Help
  3. What is your favorite distance to run? Half marathon
  4. What is your favorite season of the year? Autumn
  5. What is your favorite holiday? Thanksgiving
  6. Do you like to make lists? Yes, I love lists. 
  7. How many states (places) have you lived in? States: 4  Places: 6
  8. How long have you been blogging? Since August 2008
  9. Who is your biggest inspiration? My children
  10. What is your favorite animal? Penguin
  11. What is your favorite (non-running) outdoor activity? Hanging out on our deck/patio with a glass of wine & friends

You are IT!

**You can choose not to participate, but I am choosing people that I would love to learn more about.

1.  Laurie – I Can Walk as Fast as You Can Run

2.  Karen – Random Thoughts of a Suburban Mom

3.  Heather – Mile 26 and More

5.  Marlow – Gluten Hates Me

6.  Jessica – Jessica’s Training Blog

7.  Melanie – Marathon Melanie

**I broke rule #6, but I realize a lot of people have already done this, so there you have it.  I would love to see anyone who wants to participate, do so in the comments or on your blog.  Please link back so I don’t miss it!  Smile

Questions for those tagged to answer:

1.  Where were you born?

2.  Siblings?

3.  Pets?

4.  Sweet, salty or both?

5.  What would your last meal be?

6.  Chocolate or vanilla?

7.  Do you still have a home phone?

8.  Favorite age growing up?

9.  What kind of car do you drive?

10. Least favorite chore.

11.  What kind of toothpaste do you use?


Have a great day!


Menu Plan–January 30, 2012

The first month of 2012 is almost over.  I can’t believe how fast it went by.  I am sure it seemed to go fast because we weren’t locked indoors with snow & horrible weather like we normally are, or have been for the past few years.  There has been a lot of rain, but I’ll take that over ridiculous amounts of snow or ice.  Are you ready for February?  That means Valentine’s Day is right around the corner!


2012 is going to be an exciting year!  Changes are being made and drivers are getting licensed.  When did my son become old enough to get behind the wheel of a car and how can I change that?

Meals this week…

Sunday – Rotisserie chicken, brown rice, roasted green beans & salad

Monday – Baked Ziti and salad

Tuesday – Gluten-free burritos, black beans and salad

Wednesday – Bison burgers, baked steak fries and salad

Thursday – Perfect Pork Tenderloin, red beans & rice, steamed broccoli & salad

Friday – Make your own pizza and salad.

Saturday – Leftovers or breakfast for dinner


Chai scones

Spice cookies


Week in Review:

Don’t forget to enter to win my Nuts.com giveaway – ends tonight!

Kettle Cuisine review

Help out the NFCA by participating in this study on gluten in medications.

Review: Simply Organic Cocoa Brownies

Enjoy Life introduces Plentils

Still time to celebrate the Chinese New Year at Molly Woo’s

Amy’s Kitchen sandwich rounds now in Raisin Rack

My review of the new Chobani flavors

Have a great week!


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Soul Searching

I have been doing a lot of soul searching recently.  I have been thinking about what I will do when the kids are older and don’t need me at home as much as they do now.  I used to be in property management and while I liked what I did, I want something a little more flexible, so I can be available if the kids need me.  Family first, right? 

I have blogging and writing for Celiac-Diease.com, Gluten Freely and the Examiner, but I am thinking about something in addition to those things.  I write because I feel like the things I write about are things that I need to share with you all.  If I can help just one person, I feel like what I have done is worth it. 

That line of thinking led me to ask myself what I like to do – what is my passion?  I like to run.  I like to exercise.  Fitness is my passion.  So, what better goal to pursue, than to be a personal trainer? 


I enrolled last week with the NASM to get my CPT certification!  I have already started studying and hope to be certified by summer.  I haven’t decided exactly how I am going to use this certification yet.  The possibilities are really endless. What I do know is this: I am passionate about my training and can’t wait to help others feel the same way about their training. 

Wish me luck! 


Chobani For Refueling

I heard it through the grapevine that Chobani had several new flavors out, so I made it my mission to locate the new flavors & give them a try.  Apparently the mango has been around for a short while, but it has somehow escaped my radar.


I was so excited with my purchases, I couldn’t decide which flavor to try first!  I finally decided on the blood orange.  After my strength training on Monday, I grabbed the yogurt right after I get out of the shower.  I have a bad habit of drinking coffee, checking email and keeping my butt firmly planted in my chair and not eating breakfast as soon as I should after my workout.  The first 60 minutes after your workout is the best time to get protein & carbs in to refuel those muscles.  I was wasting that hour screwing around on my computer.  It is easy to remedy that by grabbing a small cup of yogurt that packs 14 grams of protein in it!  The blood orange flavor was amazing!  What a unique fruit to use in yogurt.  I can see buying this again in the very near future. 

Next up was the apple cinnamon yogurt.  I ate this before heading to yoga one night and it did a great job of holding me over between lunch & dinner.  The yogurt contained small chunks of apples and just enough cinnamon.  It was a nice refreshing treat!

I was a little intimidated by the passion fruit yogurt.  I didn’t realize there would be decent size seeds in the yogurt, but I got over my hesitation and took a bite.  WOW!  I love this stuff!  I have never tried passion fruit, but think that I need to see if I can find one and try it (in season, of course).  I definitely have a passion for this passion fruit yogurt!  I know that was cheesy, sorry!

Last, but certainly not least, was the mango yogurt.  It was every bit as good as the others and I love it!  Little chunks of mango nestled in the thick, creamy yogurt were such a treat! This variety, along with the passion fruit is low-fat (2%), not non-fat.  The 2% varieties only have 20 more calories and are much creamier.  Now I need to head to the store to get more Chobani ASAP! 

Chobani Greek yogurt can be found in most mainstream grocery stores across the US.  Do you have a favorite Chobani flavor?  Have you tried the new flavors yet? 

Review & Giveaway: Nuts.com

Nuts.com has over 700 products that are certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization.  How is that for a huge selection?  More about Nuts.com:

· If you thought your baking days were limited, never fear, it’s time to fire up the oven and make some delectable dishes using flour made from coconut, almonds or chickpeas, just to name a few.  Or, find mixes for all your favorite baked goods: brownies and cookies and cakes, oh my!   You can also search for gluten-free recipes here.


· Start the morning off right with grains like rolled oats, quinoa or millet topped with sweet dried fruit or make pancakes or bread and top with nut butter.


· Don’t forget to indulge your sweet tooth every now and then: old time candy brings back memories, or you can search by your favorite confectionary flavor.


· And for those days that are just plain nuts… of course, there are plenty of those to feed your craving too.

Nuts.com was formerly Nutsonline.com.  They can be found on Facebook and Twitter.  My favorite things to order from Nuts.com are walnuts (I may have a slight obsession) and amaranth.  I am just learning how to cook with amaranth by using with quinoa or other grains or alone as a hot breakfast cereal.  It makes a great base for fresh berries or cooked cinnamon apples & almond butter.


The products are always fresh & come in a bag with a zipper lock to help keep them that way.  I love the selections of gluten-free flours – they are reasonably priced with the all-purpose baking flour is just $2.99/pound!  Nuts.com has offered to give one lucky reader a free gluten-free product of their choice!  Please follow the directions below to enter to win!

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Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut…

Sometimes you don’t.

Okay, now that I got that out of my system…  Just try and get that song out of your head – go ahead, I dare ya!

I had some very ripe bananas, one request for banana bread with chocolate chips and one for banana bread with walnuts.  The walnut dude didn’t want chocolate chips and the chocolate chip dude didn’t want walnuts (or so I thought).  What is a girl to do?  Well, I gave you a hint yesterday on my “Wordless Wednesday” post.


I had  a new gluten-free all purpose flour mix to try out, so I decide to use that as my flour.  The flour, made by Toosie’s, contains a blend of gluten-free flours and xanthan gum, but no leavening agents.  I modified my Chocolate Chip Banana Bread recipe and got one of the best versions I have ever tried!

Banana Bread (picky style)

1 3/4 cups Toosie’s gluten-free all purpose flour (or any gluten-free flour blend without leavening agents)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
5 TBSP butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
2 egg whites
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips sprinkled on top (I thought these would sink, as they did another time.  Clearly, they didn’t)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat 9×5 inch loaf pan with Pam, set aside

2. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder in medium bowl; stir to mix well.

3. Place butter in large bowl; beat at medium speed until fluffy. Gradually beat in sugars; beat in egg
and egg whites. Reduce speed to low; beat in bananas. Beat in vanilla. Beat in flour mixture in 2
additions alternately with heavy cream.

4. Spoon batter into prepared pan; sprinkle with chocolate chips and walnuts.  Bake 55 to 60 minutes
or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes on wire rack; remove
from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

When Jon got home from school, he came into the kitchen and immediately wanted to dig into the bread.  He asked about the reason for the chocolate chip/walnut division and I explained that he wanted chocolate chips, but Aaron wanted walnuts and no chocolate chips.  Jon says “I love walnuts!”, to which I replied “Since when?”.  Sigh.  Whatever doesn’t get hoovered by the boys will be mine.  Jon even had the guts to ask for Aaron’s part of the bread.  No dice, honey.

Gluten Freely Ask-A-Doc Answers

Earlier this month I shared the news that Gluten Freely was introducing the new “Ask-a-Doc” series.  Questions were taken up until January 20, 2012 and now the answers  to many of the questions have be posted here.


A little more about Dr. Guandalini:

Dr. Guandalini, a world-renowned pediatric gastroenterologist and celiac disease expert. He is the Founder and Medical Director of The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, who works to raise awareness and diagnosis rates in the quest for a cure.

The questions that were answered are:

Could a gluten-free diet lead to other health conditions?

Are there varying degrees of gluten sensitivity?

Is there a correlation between celiac disease and lactose intolerance?

When do you recommend introducing gluten to a baby?

Can skin contact with gluten-containing flour cause harm?

Will my child get celiac if I have it?

How do you feel about the FDA’s proposed regulation of 20ppm for gluten-free?

What if I cheat and eat gluten?

What can I do about DH (dermatitis herpetiformis)?

What on-going tests do you recommend after diagnosis?

Can harmful effects exist without external symptoms?

What triggers Celiac Disease?

What’s being done to find a cure?

What if the Celiac blood test was negative?

Can anything be done to alleviate my symptoms?

While I have not had time to watch all of these, I think that these are all great questions and should help a lot of people get some much-needed answers.  I hope that Gluten Freely continues this series so that follow-up questions can be asked and then answered.


***Make sure to check to see if you were the lucky winner of the Katz $30 gift certificate here.

Weekly Menu Plan–January 22, 2012

So, who is ready for spring?  I am!  We got some ice this week that ended up causing a bunch of cancellations and driving many runners to the dreadmill.  I don’t think MIT has ever cancelled since I have been a member (1 year), but they did Saturday in the best interests of the runners.  I respect that – I am sure the trails were in no shape for a safe run with the combination of ice and snow.  Snow is one thing, ice can ruin you.  I thought about running in my neighborhood, as we didn’t get as much ice here, but opted to meet a friend at the gym and run our miles together on the dreadmill, which made for a super-fun way to get our miles in!



Girl Scout cookie selling is in full swing here in our house.  I am so bummed that they haven’t added a gluten-free version yet.  I did find a drool-worthy recipe for Samoas that I hope to make this coming week.  Are they not just gorgeous? 

This week I am working on going through the freezer.  We have frozen chicken, pork, ground turkey, bison burgers and more that needs to be eaten, so my menu will hopefully incorporate it all. 

Sunday – Rotisserie chicken or Chipotle

Monday – Baked chicken fingers, sweet potato puffs, broccoli & salad

Tuesday – Jon’s turkey tacos on soft corn tortillas, refried beans and corn

Wednesday – Italian pork stuffed baked potatoes, roasted asparagus and salad (kids will probably eat the pork on the side as they don’t like their food to touch)

Thursday – Burgers on Udi’s gluten-free buns, steak fries, roasted zucchini and salad

Friday – Make your own pizza and salad

Saturday – Grilled chicken dinner salads

Week in Review

Win a $30 gift certificate to Katz Gluten free

Staying Balanced & Healthy

NFCA Webinar: Gluten-free Heart & Health

Udi’s debuting new products soon – be on the lookout!

Are Keurig K-Cups gluten-free?

Review: Bold Organics Pizzas

Red Robin’s gluten-free buns 


Stay safe & warm!  Have a great week!


Review: The New Rules of Lifting for Women

Strength training is an important part of my workout regimen.  It should be a part of your life, too, especially if you are a woman.  Why?  It helps keep our bones strong as we grow older.  My biggest struggle with strength training has always been not knowing what to do, when to do it or how to go about it.  Last spring I had seen many bloggers mention the The New Rules of Lifting for Women, so I decided to check it out.


More about the book:

In The New Rules of Lifting for Women, authors Lou Schuler, Cassandra Forsythe, and Alwyn Cosgrove present a comprehensive strength, conditioning, and nutrition plan destined to revolutionize the way women work out. All the latest studies prove that strength training, not aerobics, provides the key to losing fat and building a fit, strong body.

This book refutes the misconception that women will “bulk up” if they lift heavy weights. Nonsense! It’s tough enough for men to pack on muscle, and they have much more of the hormone necessary to build muscle: natural testosterone. Muscles need to be strengthened to achieve a lean, healthy look. Properly conditioned muscles increase metabolism and promote weight loss—it’s that simple.

The program demands that women put down the “Barbie” weights, step away from the treadmill, and begin a strength and conditioning regime for the natural athlete in every woman.

I have to admit that I was very intimidated by some of the exercises in this book.  I am not sure if that was due to my being afraid that I wouldn’t be able to do them, or not wanting to call attention to myself in the gym.  Whatever the reason, I got past it and made a plan.  I made copies of the pages where the exercises for the stage I was in were demonstrated.  I had my workout log printed & labeled.  I really had no excuse.

There are 7 stages in this book that will take the better part of 6-8 months, depending on how many times per week you do the workouts.  I chose to do them twice a week, as that fit best in my training program, but you can do them up to three times per week, but not on consecutive days.

I have now completed 5 stages of the 7.  The 6th is optional and the 7th stage I opted out of because I am starting The New Rules of Lifting for Abs this week (more on that later).  As much as I complained about some of the exercises in some of the stages, I can see and feel a definite increase in the strength & tone of my body.  After adding this plan to my repertoire, I was finally able to PR the half marathon on my 5th attempt, smashing my previous best time by almost 4 minutes.  I truly believe that increased leg strength is the reason behind this.  A couple of the stages, I believe 3 & 5 (I leant my book to a friend), call for a “body weight matrix” at the end of the workout, that is brutal.  It consists of doing the following twice:

25 squats
12 lunges each side
25 jumping squats (I omitted jumping in the best interests of my IT band)
12 lunge jumps each leg (again, no jumping, just walking lunges)

I did incorporate the jumping part of the last 2 exercises last fall and those are no joke. Prepare to cry.  LOL!  Complain as much as you like, but there is just no better workout, in my opinion, for your glutes, hips, and legs than squats & lunges.  When I was sentenced to physical therapy in the past for hip flexor & IT band injuries, these were some of the exercises I was given to strengthen those areas.  Runners, women in particular, tend to have weak hips and glutes, so this is a great compliment to running.

The best part about this plan is that you can cater it to your needs.  If you don’t have some of the equipment available, there are alternative exercises listed. I did not follow the nutrition plan in this book because I feel that my diet is adequate to fuel my body.  The New Rules of Lifting for Women can be purchased on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, etc for $12.00 – $18.00 in hardcover, paperback or digital versions.

Now, onto my next adventure in training.  A friend recommended the newest book in the “New Rules” series – “The New Rules of Lifting for Abs”.  In lieu of completing stage 7 in The New Rules of Lifting for Women, I have opted to start the new program.  The program is structured a little differently and focus on crunch-free workouts, which are best for avoiding back pain, which I have been suffering from lately.  I will make sure to share my thoughts on this book once I get through it.

***Don’t forget to enter the Katz Gluten Free giveaway here!

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