Monday, August 30, 2010

No photos...

No photos today...just a short post to let you know I'm still here! My computer is still on the fritz...but no worries, there may be a new one in my near future!

Today I felt sucky! If there was ever a reason to eat is to keep ourselves healthy (duh!) But sometimes the obvious isn't always easy. Yesterday at a very fun pool party I stuffed my face with all sorts of vegan junk food. Some people are easily confused that vegans are all healthy and health freaks. And while for the most part that is true...don't be misled. You can eat vegan junk just like you can eat non-vegan junk. Yesterday's junk surely left me with a food-hangover.

While non of these food items are necessarily large quantities, it just can't sustain my poor body. I knew from the get-go that I would not make it home for dinner and decided to stuff my face with all the snacks instead:

Trader Joe's Banana Chips- these were ones with added sugar, which aren't that bad for you, but I ate a bunch! They were so tasty and fun. I've never had banana chips like these before. They were long slices of bananas rolled up and dehydrated. Yummy!

Trader Joe's Pineapple slices- again not that bad for you...but I ate a bunch and that is a lot of sugar!

Chips and Salsa- I ate enough chips and salsa for an entire month! Yummy salsa though...just couldn't stop!

BBQ chips- yes after I had my fill of the decently healthy snacks, I had my fill of Lay's BBQ chips, quite possibly one of my favorite chips eva!

Wine- love the wine! I didn't even drink that much, but the combination of all the food and wine made me feel not very good.

Well, I don't regret my unhealthful day...we all need to splurge and break out from the norm occasionally. However, no bad deed goes unpunished. And this morning I was punished. I woke up with Mr. Kummerow and felt very "off". I started the day with a cup of Kukicha tea (twig tea). I think the tea is supposed to help with "balance" alkalizing an acidic body...and while I'm no scientist and I don't know if that is what my problem was today and even if the tea can cure it for sure felt like it did. I would have described my body as acidic this morning, and the tea certainly helped to balance me.

Then I headed for the Bible. (Man cannot live by bread alone you know!) And after some reflection and prayer I had a bowl of oats that further balanced my very unbalanced body. And of course, nothing cures a food hangover better than some good sweaty cardio. So at 8:15 I drug my lazy body to a cycle class and pushed the last "acid" out of my blood!

Finally I was feeling normal and enjoyed a cup of decaf with my friend over GOTR registration discussions and spent the rest of my day catching up on emails.

Hope your Monday was a little more balanced than mine...hopefully there will be photos soon!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Lentil Rice Casserole Recipe

One of my new goals is to always post my own blog before reading others. Sometimes I get so carried away reading all the other great blogs out there, that I never find the time to post my in yesterday-guilty! And even today, I just spent 15 minutes on others' blogs and now only have about 15 minutes to write my own!

That is fine...because I just realized my camera is not working well with my computer, and I can't seem to download my photos. And somehow, writing a blog just isn't as much fun without photos.

So I'll be short and sweet here...just a little recipe for you today:

Lentil Rice Casserole
adapted from Oh She Glows


  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup lentils, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup brown rice, uncooked
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 1 tbsp crushed basil
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1/2-1 tsp sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions: Rinse & drain lentils and rice. Mix all ingredients in a casserole dish. Bake covered for 1½ hours at 300F. It doesn’t get any easier!!!!

So the above ingredients are altered but the directions are copied verbatim from Oh She Glows...however: my casserole took two and a half hours to cook! And the last 1/2 hour I left it uncovered and turned the heat up to 350*. Not sure why it took so long in comparison to Angela's but I would cook your casserole at at least 350* and maybe cook uncovered for at least 30 minutes as well. I plan to make this casserole many times because it is oh so easy and oh so good and oh so good for you! So I will fine tune the recipe and let you know how it goes! Even though it took so long, we loved it and served the casserole with more organic corn on the cob! It was so yummy! I believe I already posted this photo for you once, but as it is the only one I can post at the you go! The photo is so dark because it was really late when we finally got to eat!

Ggggrrrrr! I really need a new computer...this one is on its last leg! Time to start budgeting and saving!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Tempeh Oatmeal Loaf Recipe and weekly meal plan

TGIF! It has been a crazy week! It's already Friday and I haven't even shared my Absolute Organics box and meal plan for the week yet! So here goes possibly a very long post...starting with the Tempeh-Oatmeal Loaf recipe I promised.

Ok, so I should preface this with it wasn't quite my favorite. The flavor was spot-on, the texture needed a little more work. But I'm going to keep working with this recipe because I loved the flavor, and I love meatloaf. So check my notes at the bottom and hopefully in a few weeks I will have an update on a new adaptation.

Tempeh Oatmeal Loaf
Adapted from Vegetarian Times


2 cups Old Fashioned Oats
2 cloves garlic minced
1 bay leaf
1 small onion chopped
2 celery stalks chopped
1 tomato chopped
1 8oz. package tempeh
3/4 tsp. vinegar
3/4 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 cups tomato-tahini sauce (just mix 1 tbsp tahini with tomato sauce and italian spices)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat large loaf pan with olive oil cooking spray. Bring 1/2 cup oats, 1 clove garlic, bay leaf, and 1 cup water to a boil in saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook 10 minutes, or until oatmeal is thick, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, remove bay leaf, and set aside.
2. In a large skillet saute onion and celery in water 3 to 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add your choice seasonings (I used basil and oregano) and remaining clove garlic, and sauté 1 minute more. Add diced tomatoes. Crumble tempeh into mixture, and stir in vinegar and sugar. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
3. Transfer tempeh mixture to food processor, add cooked oatmeal, and blend until combined. Add remaining 1 1/2 cups oats and baking powder, and pulse until combined.
4. Spread oat mixture in prepared loaf pan. Spray top with olive oil cooking spray, and pour marinara sauce over top. Bake 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until top begins to brown and marinara sauce is hot and bubbly.

Notes: We added more sauce on top after it cooked. Maybe next time I won't cook part of the oatmeal...the texture of the loaf was very soft, I will also process the mixture less to leave bigger pieces so it isn't mush like. I will also omit the sugar. Why does everyone have to put sugar in everything?

This morning's breakfast was D-E-licious! I haven't had banana soft serve and vegan overnight oats parfait in a while. I added a little peanut butter to the soft serve and topped with a little peanut butter, frozen grapes and cinnamon. This was a great start to my day!

Wednesday we received another box from Absolute Organics. The cool thing about this company is they send you a list of produce on Monday and you can choose if there is anything you don't want. I try to limit the fruit we get, and stick with the this week I eliminated the kiwi and apples and pluots and here is what we got.

6 ears of corn (amazingly, awesome, delicious organic sweet corn! oh yeah!)
green leaf lettuce
2 bunches celery
2 bunches carrots
2 bunches bananas (1 bunch is already frozen in the freezer waiting to be made into soft serve!)
2 bunches broccoli
a whole bunch of potatoes

We did lower the box to $40 this time, because some of our produce went bad before we could eat it last time. The only criticism I have of the service is that it isn't really a creative group of veggies. No kale, no daikon, no beets, no fennel, no turnips. Those are the veggies I would love to get and have the opportunity to experiment with. I'm going to give it a few more weeks before I make up my mind about the service.

Well I took inventory of our cabinets and freezer, and tried to find recipes to use what we had in house. I am only planning this time for about a week and a half because Mr. Kummerow and I will be going out of town soon. So here is the meal plan and shopping list:

Wednesday (past): out to dinner- it was Mr. Kummerow's first day back to school and opening day for GOTR registration so we decided to treat ourselves. Unfortunately we didn't enjoy our meal out as much as we thought we would...which just solidifies my efforts to eat at home more often!
Thursday (past): lentil and rice casserole borrowed from Oh She Glows (recipe coming soon)
Friday (today): Ginger Baked Tofu with roasted veggies (delicious...I just ate that!)
Saturday: Chickpea burgers (I didn't get to make this one last week, so I am moving it forward to this week) with corn on the cob and steak fries
Sunday: Chorizo tacos (again, I didn't get to make the chorizo stuffed zucchini last week, so we are using the chorizo here)
Monday: leftovers (I have dinner out with my ladies! I'm so excited, we haven't gotten together in so long!)
Tuesday: potato soup (if I have any potatoes left)
Wednesday: Dolma (from the Kind Diet)
Thursday: leftovers

My grocery list was short and sweet:
Vegetable Broth
Almond Milk
Taco shells
coconut oil
(I skipped the cashews, garlic and salsa)

I only spent $20 at the store...go me!

So today was my rest day from working out...and oh thank goodness. It felt so good! And then this afternoon I realized my training plan calls for 6 miles tomorrow and not 9. AWESOME! So I'm having a really good day! Now off to the football game with Mr. Kummerow. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wednesday and Thursday in photos:

It has been a very busy two days. Here is a quick re-cap:
6:30am: 5 mile run
8:30am: yoga class
10:00am: breakfast
11:00-1:00: answer the million emails regarding GOTR registration (craziness)
2:15-6pm: pick up Bob and Toby the girl from their first day of school-homework-swimming at the Y- and then dinner for them (very unhealthy, more on that later).
6:00pm: GOTR registration begins...let the madness begin
On the phone pretty much the rest of the evening, checking emails, returning phone calls, returning emails...and I managed to squeeze in a dinner out with the hubby at some point

6:30am: bible time
7:30am: breakfast (do not eat peanut butter before a run...lesson learned today)
9:30am: run 3 miles
10:30am: swim 750 yards
11:30: lunch and email and meal planning
12:30: light grocery shopping trip
1:30: preparations for tonight's dinner
2:15: pick up Bob and Toby the girl from school- homework- swim outside- cook dinner for them ( a little healthier today)
7:00pm: just made it home and writing this blog post before my very healthy dinner.

Can anything in the world beat this lunch?

A wonderful breakfast after my 5 mile run yesterday.

Breakfast was enjoyed while watching Regis and Kelly :)

Another awesome lunch: quick and easy taco salad- green leaf lettuce, tomatoes, onions, carrots, celery, soy cheese, Trader Joe's soy chorizo, organic corn chips, and Tofutti better than sour cream avocado dip.

Dinner on Tuesday: Tempeh-Oatmeal loaf (recipe coming soon) and baked sweet potato

Today's lunch: leftover tempeh-oatmeal loaf sandwich (there is bread under all that) and leftover stuffed apples

Tennis with the hubby

Meal planning today

Sorry this is so scattered and uninformative...I promise more on all of this later

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Self-portrait of a believer

Boy am I glad I didn't miss church again on Sunday for my long run. Doug and the whole Mwandi team were welcomed back from their mission trip and Doug's message this week hit home. Breaking away from Romans (he's been teaching in Roman's since January!) his message this week solidified the truth in my recent thoughts and prayers. He taught in the first chapter of Nehemiah. I read Nehemiah several months ago...but interestingly did not see this in Chapter 1. Follow me here: (Nehemiah 1:3-11)
(Nehemiah speaking to his brothers) I asked them about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. They said to me, "Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire."
When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. Then I said, "...Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man."
I was cupbearer to the king.

My Translation:
I asked them about the survivors of the earthquake in Haiti and they said to me, "Those who survived are not well. They have little water and food and shelter. The cities and homes are destroyed."
When I heard these things I cried out loud and tears ran down my face. I mourned and fasted and prayed. Then I said, "Lord, I am your servant and I want to help. Show me what I can do.
I had money so I gave it to those in need.

Did that make sense? After listening to Doug speak on this, it amazed me how I could not see through this passage before and in the end how much sense it made to me. So broken down further it goes like this:
  • Step 1- ask the question, find out the need, listen to people and their cries for help
  • Step 2- empathize with the people, feel something, let their pain stir inside of you, emotionally attach yourself to the need. Don't just listen, letting it go in one ear and out the other, instead take ownership of the problem and care for the people. Weep and mourn and pray and fast.
  • Step 3- do something about it. Pray that God will show you how you can help and how he can use you.
  • Step 4- take stock of your abilities, positions, opportunities and strengths that may give you an advantage or show you how to Nehemiah's situation, he was cupbearer to the king. What does that mean you ask...well, the cupbearer was a trusted servant of the king. He was responsible for ensuring the king's food was not poisoned. Because he was trusted, that strategically positioned Nehemiah to approach the king and ask him to send Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem.
So what questions are we asking and are we listening for the answers. What is going on around us that we need to open our eyes to and find a way to help. And where am I strategically placed to help? I used Haiti as one example...but there are so many ways to help the world around our backyard, at our neighbor's, down the street, or across the world.

In one of my recent posts I started talking about how I wanted to get out and serve more. That I needed to "love in action". I am excited to seek out new opportunities to serve. I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and God has strategically placed me that I will be able to help others. I just need to reflect on those things to find where he is calling me to serve.

I am assured that I am right where God wants me to be. I can feel it in my body, mind and spirit. I have had some really cool opportunities to meet some amazing people this week (at coaches training) and I even got to spend some time today with some amazing girls at a pep rally for Girls on the Run. Being at those events and meeting such passionate women and such true and inspiring girls reassures that my hard work is not wasted. That what I am doing is making a difference in people's lives. My relationships these past weeks are thriving, and my confidence is building, and my spirit is soaring. I think the closest I've been to heaven was just this morning in the car. I was just driving down the road reflecting upon how lucky and truly blessed I am, and maybe it was the David Crowder song in the background, or the cool breeze through the windows...but right there in the car I worshipped the Lord in a way I am not sure I have ever felt before. I just felt open, and free and happy. If just for a minute, it felt like heaven.

The feeling inspired these photos. I felt like such a dork taking them, but I wanted to capture that moment in time. I remembered the video to the David Crowder song I was listening to, and how he just stopped in the middle of the streets, and got on his knees and raised his arms to the Lord. And in that moment he worshipped. How free that must feel. Even in church I have a difficult time just raising my voice and my arms. I worry about how I will be judged. But today I realize that when we feel free to worship, we can stand right next to God and he will be pleased. Today I feel like I'm standing next to Him and that my path is straight and that he has plans for me and he will show me the way. "Use me God. Give your servant success today."

Monday, August 23, 2010

Superwoman runs 8 miles this weekend!

Wow! I am superwoman! I had another fantastic long run this weekend! 8+ miles. I can't know for sure, but I think we averaged 9.5 minute miles. I am really thinking hard about investing in a Garmin watch so I can actually know how far and fast I run.

So here's the re-cap:

Friday morning it dawned on me that I couldn't run my scheduled 8 miles on Saturday. I have this habit of double-booking my time. Well of course I couldn't fit my run in if I have coaches training at 8am- a training that has been on the calendar for almost 6 months! So I grumbled at the thought of pushing it to Sunday, but knew I had no choice. It is difficult to squeeze in a long run on Sundays before church, but I refuse to do it in the heat of the afternoon. And I just couldn't skip church again! Thankfully my friend Tim was available to run with me on Sunday morning and we pulled out of his driveway at 6:40am!

Oh, yeah! I'm hot!

Now the plan was to run at Lake Norman State Park (same trails I did my 6 miles on last weekend). However, I missed the memo about the park not opening until 8! So at quarter till 7, we were locked out of our trails. So we did what any dedicated runner would do...we broke the law. (oooohhhhhh!)

About a mile down the road we parked the car in a sketchy sort of place and prayed it would still be there when we returned almost two hours later and pounded the pavement to the trails. Because of the bit on the road, we didn't plan the trails accurately and ended up running almost 9 miles on the trail and then still had to walk another mile to get back to the road. Then we still had another mile and a half to get back to the car and ended up running much of that just to be finished!

What was supposed to be an 8 mile run turned into much more...but what I realized is that I rock! I can push it out! I can take it! I am strong! And I love running! Pretty darn cool! I am still losing sleep over running a marathon, however, even though it is months away!

All finished!

There are many other weekend long runs that are making me nervous:
  • I have an 8 miler the weekend I'm in Vegas for a wedding
  • And then there is the 12 miler the day of Emy's wedding that I'm in
  • The following weekend I will be at the beach for a Women of Worship retreat and I somehow have to squeeze in 9 miles
  • Of course there is the 20 miler on Christmas Day
  • And the dreaded 12 miler on New Year's Day in NYC
I am glad I am experiencing these great runs now that give me the confidence to know I can achieve this gruesome training schedule! When you set your mind to something, you can do anything. I can reflect on all of my other accomplishments to help inspire me to get through this.

Check out pics from my first 1/2 marathon in 2008. This was just one month before my wedding. This was the longest run ever! in my opinion! And I did it just months after I started running. Angie has been my running partner ever since we embarked on this adventure together. We don't always train for the same things anymore, but I can always count on her to run with me in a pinch!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Date Night

Did I tell you I was trying not to eat out this month? Well if you follow the blog, you probably already know that I didn't succeed 100% in this quest. But I have made a great effort! So last night when we realized we had no plans and it was just me and the hubby...well it had to be a date night! But did you know that date night can be just as fun at home as it can be out on the town?

So obviously going out to dinner was out of the question but we did begin looking into several other "out" options: movies, baseball game, disc golf...

But finally we decided to just enjoy our evening without over-crowding it with plans. Just a quick trip to the store for some wine (what is date night without wine?) and bread and a nice home-cooked meal. My father-in-law suggested years ago to us that a happy marriage is cooked up in the kitchen. All it takes is a bottle of wine and some pots and pans. He loves to cook, and Mr. Kummerow inherited that gene. So we spend quite a few romantic evenings holed up in...well the kitchen! Last night's date night was cheap and fun!

Eggplant Parmesan Stacks (Vegan)

1 medium sized eggplant
olive oil
1/4 cup vegan parmesan cheese
1/2 cup whole grain bread crumbs
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 block firm tofu
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp Italian seasoning
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup tomato sauce

Slice eggplant into rounds. Combine bread crumbs and half of the vegan parmesan cheese in small bowl. Drizzle olive oil (you can also use plain water or an oil/water combo) on both sides of eggplant slices and coat in bread crumb mixture. Place on greased or lined baking tray in a 350* oven for 30 minutes. Flip slices half way through.

In food processor combine drained tofu with lemon juice, seasoning and water just until it becomes the texture of ricotta cheese.

To assemble stacks spread a tablespoon of tomato sauce in bottom of a small casserole dish. Place a layer of eggplant rounds on bottom of casserole. Spread a spoonful of ricotta mixture on each eggplant slice and top with a spoonful of tomato sauce. Top with another eggplant slice, spoonful of ricotta mixture and tomato sauce until you run out of eggplant slices or until the stacks become too tall leaving an eggplant slice as the top.

Note: ours made 4 stacks of 3 layers.

Bake in 350* oven for 30 minutes. Serve with whole grain spaghetti and a glass of wine and enjoy!

Happy date night!

What are your favorite date night activities? Do you prefer going out or staying in?

Leftovers and Ladies...and man!

How can someone really dislike leftovers? I get so excited when I know I have leftovers in the fridge. For me, that means I get a really yummy lunch without all of the hard work! I am not sure I have always enjoyed eating leftovers. Maybe it comes when you are the one who must put forth the effort to cook the food in the first place. Maybe only then do you realize how glorious leftovers really are. Check out my leftover lunches this week. Delicious!

I had one more coaches training this weekend. Fabulous women...and man! Oh my...a guy! This is our first GOTR-Iredell male coach! And he is k-o-o-l-cool! I am very excited for him and his team this season! Coaches training is so inspiring to me. We practice teaching some of the lessons that the coaches will do with the girls during the season...and it amazes me how relevant these messages are to people my age as well as these pre-adolescent girls. Take for example: body image. A whole day is devoted to discussing what it means to have a healthy body image. We ask the girls questions like:
"Why don't we all look alike?" and "What are some things/ideas/qualities and values we have on the inside?" and "How does it feel when you have positive thoughts about beauty in your head?"

We all have unique bodies and while we can work out and eat healthy, there isn't a whole lot we can do to change the basic way we look. What we can do is change the way we look on the inside. What are the things inside us that make us beautiful?

These are our new coaches!

Check us out!

I was just chatting with my good friend (and unofficial life coach) Brandy about a bible study group we used to attend together, and whether or not she was planning to do it with me this Fall. When I was looking at all the studies they offered, I was overwhelmed. There are so many different things I could work on. One of the coolest study options they have isn't a study at all. It is an opportunity to get out and serve in the community- Love in Action. While I was reading the descriptions, I realized that since I have started "working" for GOTR, I don't have many volunteer commitments in my life any longer. I think this may be the missing key for me right now. I need to get out of my own head, my own needs, my own worries- and I need to help others. I'm not sure what the group will be doing, but I love the idea of serving with a wonderful group of women and having the motivation and accountability to get out each week.

What things inside you make you feel beautiful?
In what ways do you serve your community and how does that make you feel?

Friday, August 20, 2010

The women who inspire me!

Lunch yesterday was a show-stopper! On Wednesday with "the Kids" (aka Bob and Toby the girl) I stopped by Luna's Living Kitchen in South Charlotte. I grabbed mine to-go so I could feed their faces with not-so-healthy pizza, and then I never found the opportunity to eat it. Finally on Thursday, I enjoyed it for lunch. Now bare with me, because it obviously looks less than fantastic being that it is a whole day old. The guacamole topping is just a little browned and the burger itself is a little crumbly...but do not let that sway your judgment of this masterpiece.

The veggie burger (Sprouted Quinoa-Kamut Veggie Burger) came highly recommended by a colleague at Girls on the Run International. Initially I thought what a drab! I eat veggie burgers all the time. Alas, I went with the recommendation...and was not disappointed! Delicious. Luna's Living Kitchen is all raw and vegan fare with an edge on creativity. Many vegan restaurants I visit try very hard to replicate "real" food (cheese, meat, etc.) I love this place because it is just wholesome, local and fresh ingredients. They don't try to hide the greens, the veggies, the whole grains. They embrace them! They make no excuses for their health food. It is what it is. No fake chicken nuggets here (although I do have a soft spot for ZiZi's chicken nuggets).

And of course, what lunch is complete without grapes?

So I have I mentioned lately how awesome my job is? No, not the nanny job...that one is very awesome. But my "real" job. Girls on the Run. Last night I got to hang out with about 20 of the coolest women I know. Why are they cool? Because they are volunteering their time this season to help young girls become strong, secure and self-aware! To help them get to know themselves and their ideals and what it means to live outside the "Girl Box". Last night was the first of two trainings I will be hosting this week. And each time I get to gather with like-minded adults and reflect on the difficulties of being a girl today (and when I was a girl), I am just awed and amazed that a program exists to help these girls find their true selves. And even more awed and amazed that I get to be a part of this important organization. Watching the video of Molly Barker at coach's training and hearing her story, and why she started Girls on the Run always drives me to tears. Experiencing emotion like this is so good and healthy for me. The coolest part was that I wasn't the only one choking back tears and stifling sniffs. These women surrounding me were as touched and honored to be there as I was. All morning I have been receiving emails from these ladies thanking me for hosting this training. All I can think is seriously? Why are these women thanking me? I should be the one at their knees thanking them for their precious time that they are committing. How wonderful this program is! That women (and men) will give so freely of their time and energy...and then thank me for the opportunity to do so! Check out last night's recruitment of new coaches:

Strike a pose ladies!

And then this morning...another successful bowl of Vegan Overnight Oats. This is the Oatmeal Cookie version that I just can't get enough of. But I need to switch it up soon!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

No Regrets Pizza

The terrible downpour this morning led to a loooong 3 miles on the treadmill. By long, I actually mean quick...because I was dying to get off the machine. Not as quick as Tuesday's run, however, I did run the last 1/2 mile at an 8 minute pace!

So when I am running sometimes, I begin writing my blog in my head. And here is what was going on in my head this morning: "Wow, this is great! I must be in the best shape of my life. Running is coming so much easier to me this year, than past training years. Of course, this is the first all vegan training season. I really think that my healthy, wholesome diet is to thank. I feel strong, I feel good, and I want to run! I'm positive and I don't dread long weekend runs anymore! Certainly I fear them and sometimes lose sleep, but in an excitement, anxious way. Running is good this year! My positive self-image is returning slowly and surely to me as well. I am feeling good about myself. I am walking with my head up and wearing my cute clothes and feeling...well, cute! I am really working on not comparing my body to other women's but being excited and proud of the body God gave me. Look how I move, look how I run, look how strong I am. That is where I am right now. Right now. Right now, on this treadmill, pushing an 8 minute mile (only for 4 minutes) out and huffing and puffing and feeling good. Don't get me wrong, I'm still struggling. I have this eat, regret cycle I play in my head. Mornings are the hardest part. When I'm first waking up. Before I have gathered my senses, the devil attacks me with...can you believe you ate 3 1/2 pieces of pizza last night (vegan, whole grain and full of vegetables) and what about that Rita's Italian Ice. Oh and I can't believe you had a granola bar in the afternoon. Do you know how many calories are in that. The eat, regret, eat, regret, eat, regret. That is my life for the past 6 months. And I'm on the upswing. But it attacks. And I have to shake it off. I read my Operation Beautiful stickie note on my mirror and I pray to God. I thank him for this wonderfully, fearfully made body that allows me to run, play, live and have fun! And each day gets easier and easier. And that is where I am."

Wow, how about that for a treadmill run!? Ok, so then I get off the treadmill, and I make the same mistake I make every time I actually go into the gym...I weigh myself. Partially to just make sure I am not over-eating with the new running schedule. But also to see if the new running schedule is causing me to lose any weight (insert crossed fingers here). So I step on, suck in a deep breath, and push on. And I wait, wait, wait...and then weight. Hmmm...not bad, not good. It is what it is. And this is what I do to myself..."That's it. How can that be. But I feel so good. I've been wearing my "cute" clothes, and my skinny jeans and I've been strutting around...and that is all. Oh, what have I been thinking? Where do I get off being so confident and strong. Nothing has changed. Nothing is better. Why, oh why?"

Sick, right? Ugly, right? Disturbing, right? And I have stepped right back into the "girl box." (My GOTR buddies know what that means, if you don't check out Girls on the Run for more info on the "girl box"). So I prayed, God, do not let me slip back into the girl box. Do not let me forget who I am- a fearfully, wonderfully made child of God. Lord, lift me up. Remind me of how strong and beautiful I am. Remind me that I have health, happiness and a wonderful life. And my worth is not measured in pounds. Lord, I pray that I will not fall backwards, and today I step forward. I will not allow this to set me back. Father, thank you for the strength you give me to change, even when it is the most difficult thing in the world. Amen.

No Regret Pizza
Mr. Kummerow and I must make pizza once or twice a month to stay sane on a vegan diet. Here is this month's creation.

1 whole grain Rustic Crust pizza crust
1 sweet potato
1 apple
1 red onion
1/2 eggplant sliced thin
1/2 zucchini sliced thin
tomato sauce
Veggie Shreds Mozzarella flavor
drizzle of olive oil
Spices and herbs of your choice

This is a 1/2 and 1/2 pizza

Peel and dice sweet potato. Boil until soft and mash in a small bowl (or the pot). Spread sweet potato on 1/2 of pizza. Top with thin apple slices, sliced red onion and mozzarella cheese.
On other 1/2, spread 2 tbsp tomato sauce, layer with eggplant, zucchini and onion slices. Top with mozzarella cheese and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle both sides with seasonings of your choice. (we used basil, oregano and red pepper and salt and pepper.)

We have a pizza oven that we cook the pizza in for 15 minutes. You can use the oven at 350* for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is melted and veggies are warm.

Feel free to eat 1/2 the pizza-- or the whole pizza all yourself! No regrets!

By the way...the sweet potato idea came to me in my sleep. Literally. The night before, I sat up in bed and told Mr. K I wanted to put sweet potatoes on my pizza. "Ok, "he said groggily...thus the sweet potato pizza is born!

And one more Vegan Overnight Oats turned out fabulous this morning! Finally!