Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween! {Mooresville Pumpkin Run 8k}

Happy Halloween! Mr. Kummerow and I celebrated the holiday in a little bit of an non-traditional way. The cool thing about Halloween on a Sunday, means you technically get to celebrate all weekend long.  So on Friday evening we cooked up Butternut Squash soup- perfect for the harvest season!  And then we had friends over to play cards.  It was my first Phase 10 loss since we bought the deck.  Boo.

Our Halloween festivities didn't end there.  Saturday morning we woke early to run the Mooresville Pumpkin Run 8k.  I had a vendor booth for Girls on the Run so we left the house early to set up.
I love working races because I get an opportunity to meet all the runners and hear their story.  This was a really fun day because there were so many people I knew!  Four or five of the GOTR coaches were running, and even some of the girls!  It is a small community race with great t-shirts and swag! We had such a wonderful morning!
The 8k distance is Mr. Kummerow's longest run ever!  I was so happy he agreed to run it with me and so proud of him!

We ran all 5 miles without any walking breaks!  And we maintained a 10 minute mile, finishing right at 50 minutes!  Our time was good enough to secure a second place finish for Mr. K in his age group!  That's right- he got a trophy!

I was so proud of my hubby!  The run was beautiful!  Through a wonderful neighborhood in downtown Mooresville.  The weather was a little chilly, but perfect for race day!  We had so much fun and the miles just ticked by.  I think the last mile was a little difficult for Mr. Kummerow, but he persevered and we really pushed our pace.  I am so in love with this race, I think it will be a new Kummerow family tradition!

We rounded out our Saturday fun with some errands (for me) and working at the brewery (for him) and then spent the evening baking Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies!  I know, your drooling already, just hearing the name.  I promise the recipe will be up soon!

Sunday we started our day at church, then I tackled a 14 mile run (and yes there will be more on that soon as well).  We rounded out our holiday weekend with dinner at home and walk through the neighborhood checking out all the trick-or-treaters and Halloween decorations.

Ok, so maybe we aren't the most exciting celebrators ever.  But I sure enjoyed our weekend!  What did you do for the holiday?  Did you dress up?  I never even considered wearing a costume.  But Mr. K did dress up as a priest for his job at the brewery on Saturday.  I'm sad to say I have no photos!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Vegan Butternut Squash Recipe

I felt inspired by the cooler weather and changing colors last night, that and the remaining 3 butternut squashes hanging out on my counter!
What is easier in the whole word to make than Butternut Squash Soup, honestly? So it was an obvious choice when the weather tipped in the 30s last night and the squash is begging to be eaten!  I was busy working all day yesterday, so I called home and asked Mr. Kummerow to toss the squash in the oven to roast.  When I finally arrived home last night, we were ready to assemble the soup.

Butternut Squash Soup (for two)...with some yummy add-ins!
1 small butternut squash
1 apple, peeled and diced
1 cup Almond Milk
1/4 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups collard greens, cut 

Cut squash in half (long way) and scoop out gooey middle.  Place cut side down in baking pan with 1 tsp olive oil and roast for 45 minutes at 400* Remove from oven cool 10 minutes.

While squash is cooling, saute diced onion, celery, apple and garlic in pan with 1 tbsp water.  When soft, remove from pan and place in food processor.  Process briefly and scoop cooked squash into processor (removing the outer peel).  Process on high adding equal amounts water and Almond milk until it reaches desired consistency.  Add in spices.

Replace soup back in large pan to reheat.  Add collards to pan until just wilted. Serve with croutons.
 To make croutons: dice three pieces whole grain bread and lay on baking sheet.  Spray with cooking spray, flip croutons and spray again.  Place under broiler for 2-3 minutes, flipping half way through.
Voila! Yummy, harvest meal with little prep work.  I just love making soups in the fall.  All the great flavors and combinations!  What is your favorite meal to make right now?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Date Morning

What to do when you must go to your most favorite restaurant for a meeting but its the end of the month and your budget is blown until November?
Cook up your second favorite meal in the whole wide world!  Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana sandwich!  Nothing better...except of course substituting Trader Joe's Sunflower Seed Butter!  Mmmm!

Last night I had a Solemates Social at Joel's, my favorite sushi place!  And I love veggie sushi!  And veggie tempura! And miso! And many many other treats at Joel's.  Of course I planned the social at Joel's purposely as an excuse to go and enjoy!  But when the date finally rolled around, my budget was blown for the month.  I had to eat something delish for dinner to keep me from temptation. 

Enter the Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich!

2 slices of bread
1/2 banana, sliced length wise
2 tbsp nut butter

Spread nut butter on one slice of bread and place banana on other slice.  Place slices on nonstick grill pan (I don't use any butter on the outside of the sandwich!)  After bread slices are toasty and brown smoosh the sandwich together and slice.  Enjoy!

P.S. there really is no reason to ever eat a cold PB&B ever again!

Mr. Kummerow and I enjoyed date night morning today!  The alarm went off at 5am and we were out of bed and on our way to our favorite bagel place: NY Bagel! 

One pumpernickel toasted with peanut butter, one marble rye toasted with peanut butter and two cups of coffee and we were on our way home with the goods!

Movie choice: Fantastic Mr. Fox
Our goods were spread out and shared.
We only made it half way through the was too scary for me.  So then we switched over to my new favorite: Cake Boss.  Low and behold the episode we chose was an hour-long special in Charlotte, NC- my backyard!  They made a life size replica race car out of cake! 

Best date night morning ever!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fuel {green monster, stuffed apples}

Mr. Kummerow cooked us dinner! He is such a wonderful cook. When he's in the kitchen, he still likes me to show him what things go together and give some ideas of what to cook. But he did inform me that he made this without any recipe!

These stuffed apples were mimicked after my recipe we made several weeks ago.  We had so many apples we had to start using them!  Mr. Kummerow changed a few things in the recipe.  He included lentils with the millet for some added protein.  They turned out wonderful!

We created this salad on the side and topped with a little hummus mixed with shoyu sauce.  You will notice the salad is also topped with pickles.  I have been addicted to these homemade bread and butter pickles and I insist on topping everything with them!
This week we have been surviving off of our Absolute Organics box, staples that were already in the house and leftovers from the Beach Retreat.  We haven't had to do any shopping!  Which makes me a little sad because I love grocery shopping, but I've been so busy this week it has been a blessing!

Here are some of the lunches I have enjoyed this week:
Leftover Butternut Squash pasta with a salad of cherry tomatoes and pickles!
Leftover stuffed apples, fresh veggies with hummus and sauteed collards topped with chickpea salad. Yummy!

And I made this wonderful treat after my 7 mile run yesterday:
My very first actual Green Monster!  Usually they are purple!  This is my new tumbler from Girls on the Run!  You can purchase your own at their store and use code 264: part of the proceeds will be donated to Iredell County Council!

In the monster:
2 cups fresh collards
1/2 banana
1 frozen banana
1/3 cup instant oats
2 heaping tablespoons Trader Joe's Peanut Flour
1 tbsp chia seeds

I threw it all in the food processor...I do not have a blender or you could use that!  I combined all ingredients and then threw in 4 ice cubes to make it nice and cold.  I poured into my new GOTR cup and enjoyed!  This was full of protein from the peanut flour, I do believe it could substitute as a peanut butter flavored protein powder. 

A post work-out snack or meal should contain healthy proteins, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats.  Carbohydrates are essential for building glycogen stores, and proteins provide the amino acids needed to rebuild muscle tissue that is damaged during intense, prolonged workouts including cardio and strength training.  source Green monsters seem to have a nice balance of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats and are a good choice for after workout meals.  Careful not to overload it with too many calories if this is going to be in addition to your meals for the day.  This green monster has between 400-500 calories.  Great for a meal, not for a snack! To make a snack, just half the recipe!

How do you fuel after a long run? What is your favorite post-workout meal/snack?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Beach Photo Montage

Beach Photo Montage
Photos borrowed from Denise Dumford

Our beautiful beach house! I feel so blessed to be a part of this experience!
View from the house!
I've never worshiped like this before!
And of course there was a dance party!
Everyone included!
After a long weekend of worshiping the Lord, singing His praises and dancing our booties off, this is how we all felt:
Amazing! Blessed! Lifted High! Refreshed!

Ice Pain

Oh this hurts! It hurts it hurts it hurts!  Oh boy, oh boy! 

Ok my foot is out of the ice...aaaahhh.  Much better! 

Oh wait, back in....ow, ow, ow, ow...oh man oh man oh man oh man.

And out....oh my!

And in...oooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!

And out!

That has been the last 15 minutes.

I'm sitting here trying to accomplish some emails all the while icing my painful foot and somehow, the emails are just not getting read/written.  Weird!  Ok, maybe I will try to write a blog instead.

How did this happen, you ask? I'm not sure, but all I know is that the $50 insoles I purchased yesterday didn't help this morning's run.  Ok maybe they did help, its hard to tell when you are already injured...but it is also easy to snark at a large purchase that doesn't fix all your problems.  Blah!

So that is the area of my foot that is HURTING! When I run it feels like a really bad cramp, and even when I'm not running it is still cramped.  I cannot recall when the pain first started, but I know that since this weekend at the beach it has been extremely painful.

Like many runners tend to do...instead of visit a doc I decided to visit a running store.  I do not think it is anything major at this point so I opted for some insoles to help correct my imbalanced feet.  I do not pronate when I run, but my foot tends to linger on the front and collapse toward the middle halfway through my stride.  These things could be causing the cramping. 

(ow ow ow ow foot is back in the water!)

They suggested icing my entire foot after I run in ice cold water...even if I'm not experiencing pain, for the next two weeks.  They also mentioned that after I begin running if the pain continues after the first mile or worsens I need to stop running.  Uggghhh...are you kidding me?!  Didn't I mention I'm training for a marathon.  I don't have time to STOP running. 

Today I had a 7 mile run on the docket.  Everything this morning was discouraging me from running.  Mr. Kummerow had an hour delay for school, which made me want to hang out with him longer.  My watch was dead...seriously after just two weeks I am very dependent on my Garmin.  There were threats of large thunderstorms and even tornadoes!  And my foot was still sore.  Naturally I did what any person in their right mind would do...I ran 7 miles!  It was slow (my quick 4 miler had me whooped yesterday) and slightly painful.  And just writing this, I know you runners out there will curse me for continuing my run.  But I just didn't want to stop. 

I have resigned to taking Thursday and Friday completely off to fully recover for this weekend.  I am running an 8k with Mr. Kummerow on Saturday, and Sunday is my longest run EVER- 14 miles!  Oh I pray the 2 day recovery and insoles will stop this pain and allow me to continue running.  I pray that it isn't more serious than I think!  It is funny how some days it is everything I can do to drag myself through a run...but once I am faced with having to quit, all I want to do is run! 

Have you ever had a running injury?  What did you do?  Or have you had any injury that has kept you from something you really wanted to do?  How did you cope? I have already struggled with several minor setbacks this training season.  Remember when I fell off the scooter...or even the time I stubbed my toe and cut off the top of it?  Both incidents I was out for a week or more!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday Topics- Sitting v. Standing

Wow! Is it really already Tuesday?!  Well I have been holding on to this article for several weeks now and have been really wanting to chat on this topic for a while.

Are you sitting right now, reading this blog? I'm sitting as a type.  And as I sit the natural S curve in my spine has been reduced to a C.  When you sit, the lower lumbar curve in your spine collapses, hampering the muscles in your back and abs, the muscles that help support your body.  It is next to impossible not to slouch while sitting, despite your parent's best attempts to make you sit up straight, and all that slouching leads to decreased muscle strength which further hampers them to support your body.

Furthermore, sitting versus standing puts all your weight on your pelvis and spine, increasing the pressure on your lower back discs...back ache anyone?  Instead, standing delivers the weight to your feet, knees, hips and ankles.  So "take a load off" actually tacks on the weight and leaves you feeling sluggish, tired, achy, and maybe even numb. 

The consequences to sitting cannot be countered by increased exercise either, studies show.  Sitting too much is not the same as exercising too little.  They do completely different things to the body, according to the article "Your Office Chair is Killing You" linked above. 

I used to work at the YMCA in which we stood behind desks all day long.  Those 8 hour days used to drag on and on.  We complained about our aching feet, tired backs and I always felt so worn out at the end of the day.  So reading this article came as a surprise to me, that sitting was that terrible for the body.  Certainly we know the dangers of an inactive lifestyle and how those who sit all day can become overweight more easily than others.  But I didn't know the risks of cholesterol, hypertension and back pain were connected to sitting.

In contrast, I researched risks of standing all day and found these:
  • swollen or painful feet or legs;
  • bunions;
  • plantar fasciitis (inflamed connective tissue that goes from heel to toe, supporting the arch);
  • stretched Achilles tendon (tendinitis);
  • varicose veins;
  • knee problems;
  • low back pain;
  • neck and shoulder stiffness;
  • poor posture (and its effects);
  • restricted blood flow;
  • increased chance of knee or hip arthritis; and
  • muscle soreness and fatigue.
I am sure I could research all day long and continue to discover countless convincing arguments on either side.  But perhaps the best answer is everything in moderation.  My friend is considering this as a solution:
This height-adjustable work desk can easily be moved up and down to change your position during the day.  Sit some, stand some.  "Take a load off" when you need to!

Sound off: standing v. sitting, what do you prefer and why?

Beautiful {Mercy Me video, Garmin watch, butternut squash recipe}

While at the beach I managed to squeeze a 4 mile run into a very full schedule. I had every intention of completing my long run as well, but I just not in training mode. Here is my very fast 4 mile run:
4 miles in 36 minutes!  And that included a walk break right in mile 3, so that just shows how I booked it!

The beach retreat was a rejuvenation for my spirit, and despite a 5 hour break on Saturday afternoon, beautiful weather and a flat course, my mind wasn't in the running game.  Instead I relaxed by the pool with new and old friends and enjoyed a leisurely stroll down the beach.

That walk on the beach was a turning point for me this weekend.  I had a wonderful conversation with 3 beautiful women about coping with anger, loving our husbands and finding ourselves beautiful inside and outside.  Upon returning to the beach house another woman felt led to bring this to me.

This song has a powerful message and it really struck a chord deep down in my heart.  The message I learned at the retreat is this: we don't have the strength to do this ourselves.  There is nothing in the earthly me that can fight these battles.  It is the Holy Spirit who dwells in me that gives me the strength.  I must surrender my own control and give it to Him.  Finally, I must count all these trials as joy (James 1:2).  For it is through the trials that the Lord shapes me and molds me into the woman I am meant to be.  When faced with troubles, I curl back, I hide, I run...and I get angry.  But I can use joy as a tool to fight.  It is my shield and sword.  God also tells us that we will undoubtedly face trials (Isaiah 43:2- he doesn't say if, but when!).  It isn't going to be easy, being a Christian doesn't mean we get to be happy all the time.  We will struggle.  It might be hard to thank God for that promise...but isn't it reassuring to know that we will undoubtedly face trials of many kinds?  If we know the high waters are coming, can't we be better equipped to handle them?  I will count it as joy and prepare myself for the battles that are to come.

On a slightly unrelated note: I faced this battle last night:
My weekend long run finally was a accomplished last night!  And no I did not run a 29 minute mile!  I was in a meeting...yes in a meeting!  Mr. K and I started out with the first 4 miles a little after 5:30.  For some reason I really thought I had time to finish 9 before my 7pm meeting at Panera.  When I realized I did not have enough time to finish...I was 2 miles from Panera, but 3 miles from the car.  So I ran to Panera, wiped off my sweaty brow in the restroom and filed in for my meeting.  Luckily the meeting was for Race City Runners, so I think they understood.  I did forget to turn my watch off until we were about half way through the meeting. 

After, it was dark and cold, and I ran one of my quickest paces yet to get back to the car.  I had nothing left in me to finish the last .44 miles so I just headed home.  It was almost 9pm when we finally ate dinner. 
My wonderful husband cooked for us.  No surprises on the menu here- collards and butternut squash made an appearance over a bed of whole grain spaghetti.  He made a wonderful sauce of hummus, shoyu and a little water to make it thinner.  He also included seasonings but I couldn't tell you the exact measurements or kinds.  This is one of the easiest and yummiest sauces we make and you can't go wrong!  So try it out sometime.  Perhaps the next time we make it I will take measurements to post on the blog. 
Sorry the photos are so dark...I did mention it was 9 pm didn't I?

Alright, off to work! Have a great day!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Too much of a good thing?

Too much of a good thing? I think not!

Check out all the Collards from our Absolute Organics delivery. I guess when you say "bring on the Collards" they really take it literally!
That is 4 bags of Collards!

How about the Butternut Squash?  Look for some recipes coming soon...
And I just seem to be blessed with an abundance of apples!
The shopping bag is full of apples from the mountains that my boss brought home for me from their cabin.  The Mott's are leftovers from the beach retreat weekend.  The one on the counter is the last of 4 that came with our Absolute Organics delivery.  I can already smell the apple butter and Angela's apple chips in my near future!

Here is lunch today:
I have a feeling apples and Collards will be making a repeat appearance this week, maybe more than once three times!  Here I sauteed greens in a pan with just a little shoyu sauce, topped with a chickpea salad from BJ's (a Sam's-like store) and a sliced apple.

It is almost 5pm, and I am getting ready to run 9 miles.  This is my weekend long run that I just didn't squeeze into the weekend.  I am not a fan of running in the evening.  Luckily for me, Mr. Kummerow is joining me for the first couple miles!  Running with company is always good! I fueled up with peanut butter on toasted sandwich thins.  I have never done a long run in the afternoon before, so I'm quite nervous.  Wish me luck!

I'm back!

Ah, what a wonderful weekend.  I hope you enjoyed Emily's (aka Sweet Pea) and Mr. K's guest posts!  I certainly enjoyed my time off! I am relaxed and rejuvenated and happy to be home and back to work with a new sense of purpose and deliverance.  But all that might come in a different post.  Today will be a short and sweet welcome back for me.

I want you to check out a first look at wedding photos from Travis and Emily's special day!  Crystal is such a talented photographer! I just love these photos!

Also, check out our new Girls on the Run of Iredell County website!  From there you can sign up to race in our New Balance Girls on the Run 5k in December, volunteer or donate! 

Now I am off to tackle the 70+ emails in my inbox! Have a great Monday!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Guest Post: Confessions of a (former) Carnivore

I tend to get a lot of questions when my wife talks about being a vegan. Mainly, "what about you?" I can honestly say that in the beginning it was kinda tough. I enjoyed being a "part-time" vegan (veggies galore at home and meat when we went out) but then I started to notice how tired and/or sick I felt when we would go out to eat. Blaming it on a weak stomach only gets you so far.

I did get some words of wisdom one night from a very lovely woman (guess who?!) who asked why would I want to put myself, and therefore her, through that just to eat some chicken?! Since then, I have been a pretty straight and narrow...vegan! I have never felt better about my health in the past 2 years!!

I also get asked if I miss meat. It is such a weird question. It's not like the cows, chickens, and pigs I would eat once a week held a place in my heart where I felt pain if they didn't call on my birthday. I don't miss meat. And if you know me at all, I DO NOT miss the dairy either!

Life as a vegan has been quite a learning curve but hey, you only live once right?!

Like I said, I have been on the straight and narrow...until tonight.  I went to Charlotte tonight to meet up with long lost friends and was "forced" to choose between an iceberg salad, pizza, or wings. What is a hungry man to do?! I wish I could say salad but Fuel's wings are really, really, really good! Life is sooo hard! hahaha! I am glad that I am a vegan and nights like these remind me of that. Variety is the spice of life right (are we keeping track of the "old man" remarks)?!

This has been fun! Thanks for listening to a rambling man.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Guest Post: School Food

I asked my good friend Emily Piper to write a post to share with you this weekend.  I always look to Emily for a fresh perspective on the world around us and I respect her opinion very much about all things related to food in our society.  A little background: Emily graduated with a degree in journalism form UNC Chapel Hill...yes she is a very beautiful, classy Southern girl at heart! After graduating, she has lived and worked all over the US including Norfolk, Boston, Tucson and now New York City where she is studying Food Systems at NYU (I'm so jealous!).  She is a wonderful author/journalist and I trust that she will bring us a fresh and educated look at school food.  Thank you Emily for working so diligently on this post (and with not very much forewarning!) 

After a year of working with kids to learn about gardening and community food security in Tucson, Ariz., I enrolled in New York University’s Food Systems master’s program to learn about the governmental policies, international relations issues and economic drivers behind why so many Americans do not have access to fresh, healthy food.

Last week I went to a few events about School Food and got really angry about how we are feeding kids in schools. I learned about a lot of resources for fighting against this dangerous problem and wanted to share the information with everyone.

Let me start off by borrowing from School Food expert Kate Adamick’s frightening description of added sugars from her review of Jamie Oliver’s television show Food Revolution:

“Generally speaking, there are 22 to 24 grams of sugar in a typical eight-ounce serving of flavored milk—10 to 12 more grams of added sugars than in a comparable serving of unflavored milk (of equal fat content). There are four grams of sugar per teaspoon, and approximately 115 teaspoons of sugar per pound. Thus, a child who drinks flavored milk every day for lunch consumes 1800 to 2160 more grams of sugar per 180-day school year than a child who drinks an equal amount of unflavored milk. That's 3.9 to 4.7 pounds of added sugars. And, of course, children who drink flavored milk for both breakfast and lunch consume twice that amount.”

Kids in schools are fed sugar, fat and salt by the pounds every year, and food companies that take free commodities like unflavored milk and raw chicken and process them into chocolate milk and chicken nuggets get rich off of this. We are teaching kids that it is ok for them to think of food this way—that it should be consumed as entertainment, that the only way food can taste good is if it is overly processed, colorful, advertised by a cartoon, and high in sugar.

This very blog, and my own experiences cooking and eating with my roommates in my little Brooklyn apartment, show us that there is a lot more to enjoy about food. We know chicken grilled with rosemary (I know we weren’t always vegans) is even better than a dinosaur-shaped nugget. None of us buy into the idea that adding sugar/salt/fat is the only way to make food tasty, and we need to show kids that this is true as well—or else there are going to be a lot of diet-related problems for our younger generations.

I was lucky enough to buy school lunch only a handful of times growing up. Mostly I packed my own lunch every day, or my mom packed it when I was young. I would still buy soda or french fries to supplement what I brought by the time I was in high school, but I had a bagel and some fruit to fill me up. For students on free or reduced lunch, or any other low-income students, there is no nutritional safety net. Cakes and donuts are served for breakfast, chicken nuggets and pizza for lunch, and if there is a salad bar it usually has iceberg lettuce and ranch dressing. For one of the school food events I attended, we picked a number out of a hat that dictated what we could eat for breakfast. I got donuts and cocoa puffs. I ate donuts for the first time in years, and felt sick all day long because of that.

Two New York public school students made a film about their relationship to food, and the accessibility of fresh, healthy food in their neighborhood and at their school. You can see a trailer for the film here, and if you have resources to purchase and show the film I encourage you to do so—it’s inspiring and really fun. How wonderful that students want to advocate for their own bellies and learn about what it takes to grow healthful food!

Do you think it is necessary to revamp school food so that it can nourish young minds and bodies? I do not have kids, but I really like kids, and I like kids that are full of curiosity, joy and energy.  I think all kids should have a right to live life this way, and I think eating habits are the most basic improvements that can be made to promote quality of life. So that’s why I care. But what if your kids were like me, and had yummy food put in a lunch box every day? The accessibility of junk food undermines kids’ practices or preferences of eating nutritious food. Even if they do not eat the donuts for sale in the lunch line, they might still be influenced by the kids that eat them and talk about how sweet they are.  To me—and this is biased because it is currently my life’s work—the cafeteria is the most important educational facility in a school. How can we make it a healthy place to learn?

School gardens, farm-to-school programs and cooking programs are just a few options, and these are great ways to get involved in your local community (and get access to yummy food to sweeten the deal!). Most successful school gardens I’ve seen resulted from PTA funding or involvement, and farm-to-school programs are beneficial to everyone in the community. Here are some wonderful resources to learn more:

(I have endless resources about school gardening, e-mail me -Emily-if you want more help!)

Thank you for listening to my tirade on what kids eat, and please let me know what your comments and questions are! 

 Thank you Emily for sharing your thoughts on school food with me and my community of readers.  Like she mentioned...if you have any questions feel free to contact Emily or comment below.  We would both love to hear from you!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Beach Retreat

Good morning!  I have quite a busy day today...starting with packing for the weekend trip that starts tonight.  Boy I am a procrastinator lately!  It may have something to do with my hesitancy about this trip.  When I signed up I was so excited.  Nearly in tears when I thought I wouldn't be able to go, and then definitely in tears when I realized I could.  This weekend is the Women of Worship beach retreat and I have been looking forward to going for years!  Every year I have something holding me back.  And this year, I finally had a free weekend!

Skip ahead when I picked up this babysitting job and realized it wasn't feasible to take off both Thursday and Friday and realized I therefore had to drive by myself on Thursday night (late) to the beach.  Enter my hesitancy.  I do not like to drive and now I would have to come up with extra gas money.

Skip ahead to our best friends deciding to visit NC this weekend to participate in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer and I really didn't want to go to the beach.  Skip even further ahead (last week) when they called and told us they were just engaged...and now my interest in going to the beach has completely waned.

Given, I should be able to see our friends on Sunday when I return, Haley will be walking the entire weekend in the race, and who really wants to hang out with Eric and Mr. Kummerow as they catch up and likely spend the entire weekend playing Madden?  Not this girl.  So I should be excited to "get away!"

Alas, I have decided to go regardless.  But it may take all of today, and maybe even waking up to a sunrise over the ocean to regain my interest in this retreat.  Despite my best efforts to sabotage this weekend for myself, I know that God has a better plan.  He is probably just sitting upstairs with his arms folded waiting for me to drop the act, drop the planning and the stressing and just relax and put it all in his hands.  That's how I picture him, patient, sincere, and trusting.  I know that this weekend is a must for me.  I have been so distracted lately.  I can't focus on any one task, and the task that is most at stake is my relationships with people.  I feel that I am always zoned out, thinking about work or the blog or about the kids, and I never really listen.  I am not doing any one task 100%, everything is getting about 60%, and my husband is probably only getting around 45%.  I don't feel present.  I don't feel committed.

This weekend for me will be all about finding balance and strengthening my relationship with Christ.  My passion has waned, and I feel lost.  And if I can just make it through today and the drive tonight, I am hoping that I will find some peace.

With that said, I will not be taking you with me on this journey.  I am officially unplugging.  I need some me time!

I do have a few guest posts lined up for you, and my wonderful husband (although he doesn't yet know it) will be helping me get those up for you.  So just because I'm gone, doesn't mean the blog is!  Also notice my new badge: I am a featured publisher for Foodbuzz!  Foodbuzz is a network of bloggers and foodies and I feel so privileged to be included in that network.

Ok, my official out-of-office sign is going up now.  Have a great weekend and keep me in your prayers for a weekend of peace and rejuvenation.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Rainy Wednesday morning...

I was very unmotivated this morning.  Even as I was finishing this very slow, laborious run I was still amazed that I even made it out the door!  Thankfully I did, and I did it early, because it is now raining, and there is no way I could have been motivated to trudge through 6 miles in the rain this morning.

Despite my legs of lead and a mental block, I managed to keep the pace right at a 10 minute mile.  That included 2 walking breaks up very tough hills!  Some days when I have really icky runs, the rest of the day I feel icky about it.  This morning I decided that just couldn't happen.  It is 9:30am, I have already ran 6 miles today, and now it is raining which is a great excuse to curl up at the computer in my sweats and enjoy a workday indoors! 
I also realize these numbers are nothing to shake a stick at.  Earlier "icky" runs would be in the 11-minute range.  I am surprised I managed such a good pace considering my lack of motivation!

However, compare today's run to yesterday's 4 mile sprint!
Now that's what I call a killer work out! Thank you Kristin for the motivation and push to get me through sub-9 minute miles!

Ok, so enough bragging!  Let me just catch you up on the week...
Sunday involved my couch, football, and snacks!  Despite the Bears game not being on tv, we just couldn't drag ourselves out of the house.  Mr. Kummerow kept the play by play up on the computer screen, and we zoned out to various other football games.  Black bean salsa has been a football tradition of ours since we first started dating. We used to purchase it in the deli at Pick-N-Save in Milwaukee and go through several pounds on Sunday!  I'm pretty sure we matched that this week!  Pumpkin beer and guacamole was also consumed.

Dinner on Sunday was left over Black Bean burgers, recipe from Emily over at the Front Burner.  We also tried roasting cauliflower and it turned out fantastic.  We battered and breaded it and it sorta turned out like popcorn chicken!  It was easy to make and was fun and easy to eat on the couch watching more football of course!

Cauliflower Poppers
adapted from VegWeb
1 large head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp dried dill
1 tbsp ume vinegar
1 cup bread crumbs

In small bowl whisk together all ingredients except cauliflower and bread crumbs.  Mix cauliflower florets in mixture.  Add bread crumbs and roll cauliflower until covered well.  (Our bread crumbs didn't stick to cauliflower well, but I still like the texture it added to the dish.)

Spread on baking sheet and bake in preheated oven at 400* for 30-40 minutes, until florets are tender.  Serve alone or with ketchup (my favorite!)

Meals the rest of the week have centered on convenience.  We haven't been shopping in several weeks and I have the kids at their dad's this week which means I am cooking their dinners and don't have much energy for cooking and cleaning when I get home at 7pm!  With daylight ending so early, I don't have much patience for eating after 7pm either!

With that said, lunch on Monday was leftover Stuffed Squash (pictured above).  Dinner was one of our treats we picked up at Trader Joe's.
This was a pre-made Indian dish that just needed to be heated.  We added brown rice and carrot "fries" to the meal.  The carrot fries were super easy!

Carrot Fries
Inspired by Caitlin's Parsnip Fries

2 carrots sliced into matchstick pieces
1 tsp olive oil
black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400*.  Swirl carrot matchsticks in olive oil and black pepper.  Lay flat on a baking sheet and bake in oven for 35-40 minutes until browned and soft.

Today we will receive our Absolute Organics box.  And then tonight we are finally going grocery shopping.  On the upside of cleaning out the cabinets of all of our food...I found Steel Cut Oats and cooked them for breakfast this morning.  They take a long time to cook which is why I have quit making them, but they are so tasty! Much better than quick oats!  They have a rich, nutty quality!  I always cook large batches, so I will have enough to enjoy the rest of the week!