Wednesday, October 23, 2013

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Trying to Simplify & More Pumpkin

Life is busy, busy, busy. I'm struggling with finding the balance lately and am fighting against feeling overwhelmed more often than I'd like. The past few weeks have really left me in awe of all the working moms out there; how do you do it? With my internship and school I'm feeling a little stretched thin and I feel so guilty that the girls aren't doing anything fun outside of school. I can't wait for school to be over with so that my evenings can open up again and so that I can stop feeling like a gypsy, driving around Miami, all the time. So I've been trying to think of ways to simplify my life and focus on doing things I enjoy. It's a work in progress because everything feels so necessary right now, but I need to learn to build better boundaries. I'm getting there!

Because I don't like to post without giving you something to enjoy, here's this recipe for a Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal that my friend shared with me. I made a few changes to the original recipe because it tasted too much like pumpkin puree to me and I think I did the right thing. The pickiest eater in the house as of late is Elina and she loved this oatmeal. I will definitely be making this again and maybe next time I'll throw in some chocolate chips. 

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
Adapted from a post on Finding Fitness and Health with Becca
Serves 2

1 1/4 cup water
1/2 cup steel-cut oats
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 to 1 tsp cinnamon depending on your preference
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp brown sugar (more, if you want sweeter)
2 Tbsp chopped walnuts
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

Bring water to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add oats and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, for 20 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat.

Mix in the rest of ingredients. Serve and enjoy!

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

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Fun & Fit: The Summer Months

For some reason I thought I had only skipped out on the month of September with my fitness, but nope.  I have actually missed July, August, and September. Oops. To be honest, the months of July and August didn't have much going on fitness-wise, other than me starting T25, the newest Shaun T workout program. I did finish Insanity (go me!) and the second month of that program was incredibly intense. T25, on the other hand, has been a great workout made even better by the fact that the workouts are 25 minutes long. I finish up the program this week and I like that I have T25 to add to my budding at-home workouts collection.

Aside from that, July and August were spent working on conditioning and getting back into training mode. My first half marathon is coming up on the 26th so the summer was spent training for that run. Thankfully, my IT band has been under control and I haven't had any pain  or discomfort while running (love you foam roller!). I also tried to train for my duathlon, but "tried" means I only rode a bike twice so I'm hoping I'll be able to get on and off the bike without falling on my face.

Now, September was the fun month. It was the one-year anniversary of my first running event and I also set a person record for the 5K! I did the ZooRun 5K and had my Jeff Galloway group organizer/leader pacing me the whole time and she helped me finish in 27:57. I couldn't believe it! I was so happy and I couldn't believe I could actually run that fast, especially after my IT band issues. This time is almost two minutes faster than my previous fastest time from March, so I'm proud of this bit of improvement in my pace. To top off the experience, Cati participated in the kids' dash and had a great time. I love that she loves running and gets excited about her own races.

I also participated in a mud run, Highlander V. I drove up to Orlando for this one and, oh my goodness, was this a hard mud run. I did the 5k route and there were easily over 30 obstacles. There was so much climbing, swimming, crawling, lifting, and, even more climbing. My body hurt for days after this run. Apparently, there were complaints about this event, but I had a good time, met fun people along the way, and pushed myself physically in ways that I didn't think possible. I don't take these events too seriously and am proud of myself just for going out there alone and doing something new. 

And so, here we are in October. This weekend is a 10-mile long run, The Color Run with the family, and a duathlon on Sunday. I'm thinking I need to schedule a massage for my sore muscles soon!
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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

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Pumpkin Week: Pumpkin Bars, Revisited

Last day of Pumpkin Week and it went out with a bang. I made these pumpkin bars and shared them with my fellow classmates. I first made them close to two years ago after my friend made them for me and I fell in love. These bars are just as good and I got so many compliments at school.

Day 1: Pumpkin Bread
Day 2: Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Day 3: Healthy Oatmeal Pumpkin Pancakes
Day 4: Pumpkin Muffins
Day 5: Pumpkin Smoothie
Day 6: Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Pumpkin Bars
Source: Paula Deen

4 eggs
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
15-ounce can pumpkin
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the bars: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth. Spread the batter into a greased 13 by 10-inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting. Cut into bars.

To make the icing: Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and mix again. Spread on cooled pumpkin bars.
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The Color Run Anniversary & Promo Code

It's October! Most people are saying, "How can it be October already?" Most people are wondering how it's possible for the year to have passed so quickly. You know what I'm saying? "Heck yeah, October!" October means I'm one month closer to graduating, Alex is one month closer to finishing up his residency, we're one month closer to Chicago, and the girls are one month closer to 2 and 4. Bring it on, time!

What also makes October great is that it feels like the real beginning of the running season. My first half marathon is coming up and I am so ready for it. October is also special for me because it's the month where I did my first fun run: The Color Run. To this day, Cati will ask when we are doing another "carrera de colores" (run of colors); that's how much she enjoyed participating in that run with me. Running The Color Run was one of the best experiences (minus the scared child at the end) and it made me fall more in love with running. Running is my freedom and runs like this one make me feel like I'm flying.

The Color Run is coming back to Miami on Oct. 12 and to celebrate its return they are offering $5 off the race with the promo code COLOR5OFF. The best parts are that the code is good for any of their races that aren't sold out and you can use that code on top of the discount you get if you join a team (so $10 off). To check locations or register for the race go HERE.

So October, thank you for getting here on time. I have the Happiest 5K on the Planet, a duathlon, and a half marathon filling up my weekends with joy.
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