Weekly Menu Plan–April 30, 2012

Busy week ahead!  Celiac Disease Awareness Month kicks off tomorrow, so be sure to check back for an exciting gluten-free giveaway!  I think the weather here is finally stabilizing.  We had an abnormally warm winter, then it got chilly in April, which was quite the shock to the system after 80s in March.  Lots of studying on the agenda – hoping to take my NASM CPT certification test in the next two weeks!

Saturday is my next half marathon –  The Cap City Half Marathon.  I ran this race last year and can’t wait to do it again!  I will be pacing a friend, so there is no pressure for me at all – one of the best ways to run a race!!


I had lots of fails with my menu plan last week (out of taco seasoning, forgetting to defrost meat), so I hope to adhere to the plan a bit better this week. 

Monday – Bourbon chicken, brown rice, snow peas & salad

Tuesday – Roast chicken, garlic rosemary potatoes, steamed broccoli & salad

Wednesday – Mexican pizzas, black beans, corn and salad

Thursday – BBQ pulled pork tacos, sweet potato hash, roasted zucchini and salad

Friday – Dinner out

Saturday – Breakfast for dinner

Week in Review:

Earth Fare opens Columbus location

Review: Udi’s Gluten-Free Margherita Pizza

Review: Against the Grain Cinnamon Raisin Bagels

BJ’s Brewhouse hits a home run with their pizookie!

Recipe: Spicy Thai Chicken Stir-Fry with Coconut Creamy Grits

Bravo & Brio now offering “gluten-friendly” menus

It’s National Grilled Cheese Month! 

NuGo bars adds chocolate pretzel bar to gluten-free line-up

How I got faster by slowing down.

National Grilled Cheese Month Challenge

April is National Grilled Cheese Month!  I remember eating grilled cheese sandwiches as a young child (maybe 4 or 5 years old) on a regular basis.  Nothing warms you up quicker than a hot sandwich on a chilly day.  My mom used to make our sandwiches with grilled onions on them.  There was nothing like biting into a gooey cheese sandwich with the slight crunch of the perfectly grilled onion on it.  Sadly I can’t eat onions these days, but I can still eat grilled cheese sandwiches.  I knew I would have fun with this challenge to come up with a fun grilled cheese sandwich using Udi’s gluten-free bread and Horizon Organic cheese.


I chose to design my grilled cheese with the Millet-Chia bread.  I love the texture of this bread and it has great nutritional stats, too!  Then I set out to combine some of my favorite ingredients – sundried tomatoes, cheddar cheese and goat cheese.


Grown Up Grilled Cheese

1.  Heat frying pan on the stove over medium heat.

2.  Spread bread with coconut spread or butter and place one slice in pan.

3.  Pile cheddar cheese, sundried tomatoes and goat cheese on top of bread and finally top with second slice of bread.

4.  Flip sandwich over to evenly brown on the other side.

5.  Slice & enjoy!

This sandwich is the perfect pairing for a hot bowl of tomato soup!  I need to keep in mind that just because I am all grown up doesn’t mean I still can’t relive parts of my childhood for a meal or two, even if it is sort of in a grown up way.


I would like to send out a “Thank you” to Udi’s gluten-free and Horizon Organic dairy for the complimentary samples to create my Grown Up Grilled Cheese experience! 

Exciting Info From NuGo Bars

I have been a fan of NuGo Bars for a while now.  I love the NuGo Free dark chocolate crunch – it is a fabulous gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free emergency bar to keep on hand in my purse or gym bag.  In addition to the NuGo Free line, the NuGo Slim bars are also a nice treat with a little more protein per bar and no sugar alcohols to upset the stomach.

Just the other day NuGo released some exciting information about the NuGo Dark chocolate pretzel bar – it is now certified gluten-free!!

More about the chocolate pretzel bar:

Can’t decide if you want something salty or sweet? What’s better than a chocolate pretzel to satisfy those cravings? The crisp combination of delicious Real Dark Chocolate and crunchy pretzels sprinkled with sea salt will please your senses. Each NuGO Dark bar has 10g protein and contains all natural dairy free ingredients.

  • REAL Dark Chocolate
  • High Protein
  • Low Fat
  • Certified Gluten Free
  • Vegan/Dairy Free
  • Pareve
  • Certified Kosher
  • Antioxidant Rich
  • Healthy for the Whole Family


Since the bar didn’t actually contain pretzels, there was nothing to change with the recipe for these bars.  Read below to find out how the bar was certified gluten-free:

We are excited to announce that Chocolate Pretzel with Sea Salt is certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certifiecation Organization. Now those who need gluten-free products and dairy-free, vegan, or Kosher pareve, can indulge in NuGo Dark Chocolate Pretzel on National Pretzel Day or any day of the year!

Since NuGo Dark Chocolate Pretzel doesn’t actually contain pretzels and we already test to below 10ppm (parts per million), it was easy to keep all the same ingredients and add the certified gluten-free label. 

You can try NuGo Dark Chocolate Pretzel certified gluten-free bars by purchasing at stores nationwide or ordering a box on our website.  Use code NO4GLUTEN  at nugonutrition.com to save 10% on NuGo Dark until May 4, 2012. 

Please note that while the NuGo Free bars are also free of soy, the NuGo Dark chocolate pretzel bar is not.

Have you tried the NuGo Dark chocolate pretzel bar?  I can’t wait to get my hands on one!!

Were you one of the lucky winners in the Topricin giveaway?  Check here to see!

Slow Down, You Move Too Fast

If you would have told me 2 years ago that I needed to slow down in order to become a faster runner, I would have laughed.  Why would I do that?  I was of the mindset that each run in my training plan should be run at a fairly fast pace, including my long runs.  Speed work, what is that?  Aren’t you supposed to run fast all of the time? That plan didn’t work out so well for me, as evidenced by this gorgeous footwear that I sported for several weeks.


Once I was permitted to run again, I asked my sports med doctor about training smarter.  He suggested I join MIT and that is when I found out about heart rate training.  Being the crazy OCD, Type-A personality woman that I am, I follow directions, plans, etc pretty much to the letter.  If the plan calls for a 4 mile recovery run, then I will run as slow as I have to to keep my HR in Zone 1.  The HR training was frustrating at first, because I felt like I was crawling, but this year I have really started to see some positive results.

My Zone 2 runs have been faster.  My speed workouts have been done as prescribed, despite my bitching and complaining about Yassos.  My recovery runs are completed, though I feel like a turtle at times.  I toss in strength training, yoga and lately PT for my lower back (a non-running injury) and there you have my training plan.

Yesterday was the Earth Day Challenge Half Marathon – the first of 2 spring half marathons I had signed up for.  I had planned on running it as a training run, but a few friends suggested it was a great course to try to run a PR (personal record) on.  Cap City Half Marathon is a crowded race and I want to try focus more on fun and friends for that one in a couple of weeks.  So, I had a couple of goals in mind for Earth Day:

1.  Run faster than my previous PR last October 2011 – 1:57:31

2.  Run a 1:55 half marathon.

3.  Break 1:55 (pipe dream)

Met up with my Run DMC friends before the race – we all create quite the supportive community at races – it is truly amazing!


It was cold – like 38 degrees and overcast at the start.  Better than the 87 degrees that Boston had for their marathon last Monday, though.  I did appreciate that we were able to stay in the athletic complex until almost the last minute to avoid freezing our tails off.

Just after 8 AM we were off!


Look how small the race was!  I am used to running huge races, so this was a nice treat.  There was no weaving in and out of people – it was a great set-up!

The first four miles were hilly, to say the least.  Check out the elevation profile below.


Talk about waking up in a hurry!  I tried to take the big hill conservatively, but it took me a little while to recover.  First mile was run at a 9:16 pace.  A little discouraging since I knew I had to average a 8:47 to hit 1:55.  I told myself to relax, there would be plenty of time (and flatter course) to make that up.  I was told the rest of the course was flat, which I don’t completely agree with, but certainly better than the first 4 miles.

Once we hit the Kokosing Gap Trail, things got a little boring, but it was perfect for me to find my zone, listen to my music and settle into my goal pace.  Things started to get interesting when the leaders were passing us on their way back and then when we turned around and were passing the others on their way out.  This picture was taken by a fellow Run DMC runner on my way back down the trail.


Miles 4-13 were run between 8:23 and 8:48/mile.  The race finished on the track of the Kenyon College Athletic Center and I had no idea coming in what my time was, but I knew I was under 2 hours.  I was tired of running at the pace I was running.  It was weird, it wasn’t like I couldn’t continue to run it, I just was ready to be done!  This picture was taken by a fellow MIT friend in the last mile.  I had no idea she was there!


I picked it up in the last mile (8:23) and as I came around the corner of the track and saw 1:53 on the clock, I knew I had to make it in before it hit 1:54.  I did it!  1:53:52 was my official time!  I came in 2nd in my age group!  I cut almost 4 minutes off of my fall half marathon!

Since I began religiously following the heart rate training program laid out for me, I have only gotten faster.  I had to slow down to do it, but it has paid off.  This is not the kind of thing that happens right away, or even in a few months.  I began HR training in February of 2011 and I didn’t PR a race until October 2011 despite trying twice before that race.  However, since then, I have PR’d every race that I have run – 2 half marathons and a 5K.  I truly believe that HR training has taught me how to listen to my body.  I am able to get my required training in at the appropriate intensities, while allowing my body to recover so that I don’t overtrain.

So, what is my next goal?  A friend mentioned a sub 1:50 fall half marathon.  We shall see – it is “only” 4 minutes faster than I ran yesterday.  Winking smile

Earth Day Menu Plan

Today is Earth Day.  I checked in on my post and pledges from Earth Day 2011 to review how I did.  I think that we did pretty well, but there are definitely places were we can improve. 


Also today, I am running the Earth Day Challenge Half Marathon.  I am carpooling with a friend or two so that we are not all driving to the race, which is about an hour away.  I am excited to be running my 6th half marathon and first half marathon of 2012.  Wish me luck!!  I’ll make sure to update with a recap tomorrow!

Sunday – Dinner out with family for a belated birthday celebration for Jon

Monday – Baked Ziti, broccoli and salad

Tuesday – Mexican pizzas, corn and salad

Wednesday – Perfect pork tenderloin, garlic mashed potatoes, asparagus & salad

Thursday –Leftovers

Friday – Make your own pizza and salad

Saturday – Breakfast for dinner

Weekly Recap:

Review: Schar Sandwich Crème Cookies

Hidden Valley Ranch Adds Gluten-Free to Labels

Katz Gluten Free Adds English Muffins (egg-free) to Line Up

Celiac Camp for Kids – The Great Gluten Escape

Bob’s Red Mill helps Autistic Families Celebrate Birthdays

Topricin Giveaway – Don’t forget to enter!!

Chipotle Rave

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Topricin Giveaway!


About a month ago I wrote a review on Topricin and raved about how much better my feet were feeling this round of training compared with past seasons.  As my mileage creeps up, my plantar fasciitis starts to act up.  This was not the case this season, as I had started using Topricin Foot Therapy Cream on my feet.  Coincidentally I saw in Runner’s World Magazine that it was rated as the top choice for sore feet!  Yes, I have had another foot issue going on, but plantar fasciitis has not been part of the problem for the first time!  Another great benefit of Topricin is that it is gluten-free for those who suffer from dermatitis herpetiformis or other skin rashes related to gluten.



I am pleased to share that Topricin has graciously offered to give a tri-pack (will have one of each – original, kids and foot cream) of their products to 3 lucky blog readers!  How cool is that?  All you have to do to enter is follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter box below.

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Chipotle Rave

We had a busy day yesterday!  I was up at 5 AM to get my miles in, had a CPR/AED class at 9 AM, picked up Jon from school early to take him to lunch and then to get take his driver’s license test, and then took Hannah to a doctor appointment.  I figured I would treat Jon to Chipotle for lunch since it is his favorite place to eat and there was one on the way to the exam station.

Chipotle locations are not hard to find in Central Ohio.  There are 3 locations that I frequent on a regular basis and they are all about the same distance from my house, it just depends on where else I have to go.  The location we went to yesterday was new to us, located on US 23/Columbus Pike in Delaware, Ohio. 


I began my order as I always do, by asking the employee taking orders to change her gloves.  Then I saw something I had never seen before – the entire line stopped what they were doing, they changed gloves and washed their hands.  Then, they removed all of the spoons and tongs from the food on the line & wiped down the line.  I asked if they do this every time someone asks for gluten-free and was informed that this standard operating procedure anytime someone comes in with any kind of food allergy (though we all know that Celiac Disease is not an allergy).  I was uber impressed!  I have had many great experiences at Chipotle restaurants in the past, but most times the person making my food will change gloves and wash their hands and then be the only person to handle my order. 

Though restaurant was not overly busy at the time – there were 2 people in line ahead of us – and those people had to wait while the staff performed the safety procedures.  I thanked them for their patience and the staff gave them their drinks and chips “on the house”. 

I love to sing the praises about experiences like the one I had yesterday!  I love to educate others on Celiac Disease how to keep us safe – a few employees were asking about the gluten-free diet and Celiac Disease and what it entailed.  I would love to see the other Chipotle locations adopt these practices as an effort to minimize cross-contamination risks.

Thanks to all who entered my Sharkies giveaway!  Please check here to see if you are the lucky winner! 

Review: Funky Monkey Snacks

I had the opportunity to review some pretty cool snacks recently.  Funky Monkey Snacks (love the name!) are real fruit snacks made using a proprietary freeze-drying process that creates “Fruit that Crunches” while retaining close to all of fruit’s natural goodness.  It is no secret that I love fruit, so I couldn’t wait to dig in!


I loved all of the flavors that I sampled, but I think the JiveAlime was my favorite!  I loved the crisp pineapple with the lime!  Here is a list of the whole line of flavor options:

  • Applemon
  • Bananamon
  • Carnaval Mix
  • JiveALime
  • MangOJ
  • Pink Pineapple
  • Purple Funk

Funky Monkey Snacks are not only gluten-free, but dairy-, peanut- and tree nut-free as well.  I love that they don’t have any added sugar or preservatives and they are non-GMO verified.  For those who follow a raw or vegan diet, these snacks are both!  Each 1 ounce serving contains 3 servings of fruit!!  What a fun way to get kids to eat fruit! 

Funky Monkey Snacks can be found in many stores across the US or purchased onlineHave you tried Funky Monkey Snacks?  Which one is your favorite?

***These snacks were sent to me free of charge for review purposes.  The opinions shared here are mine and have not been influenced by anyone or anything. 

Today is the last day to enter my Sharkies Giveaway!  You have until midnight EST!

Happy 16th Birthday, Jon!

I said it the other day and I’ll say it again – where did my baby go?

All grown up!


I am making him a surprise for when he gets home from school today!  I can say it here because I am pretty sure he isn’t reading my blog.  If he is, I am impressed!

If you missed the review of the ice cream cake we got from Cold Stone Creamery for his party the other day, check it out – it was amazing!


Don’t forget to enter the Sharkies giveaway – ends Wednesday at midnight EST!

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