Monthly archives: December, 2011

All of the Lights

My mom and I just got back from a walk looking at Christmas lights and all I have to say is wow, our neighbors really out-did themselves this year! But more on that later.

This afternoon I met one of my oldest friends, Brian, at the mall to finish up our Christmas shopping. Luckily the mall wasn’t too crowded, and we were able to get in and out with little frustation. The mall near my parents’ house really goes all out for Christmas too which is definitely a plus when you’re spending a lot of time shopping!

They have a huge Santa display.

And lots of decorations hanging from the ceiling, including this boat.

Pretty cool right?

I also spotted this at the mall and had to tie my hands behind my back to prevent myself from buying it.

That is one thing I do not need in my kitchen. Too dangerous!

After walking around the mall all afternoon, I was famished. I stopped at Whole Foods to pick up a few things and went home where I snacked on some veggies and hummus. A little bit later my mom asked me if I wanted to order thai food from my all time favorite thai restaurant in Michigan, Siam Spicy, and of course I obliged ;)

I always struggle with what to order at Siam Spicy. My go-to at the restaurant is pad thai because they have the best pad thai ever, but I also like to try new things. However, when I order anything but the pad thai, I feel like I’m missing out. My solution tonight: order the shrimp pad thai and something new. The best of both worlds!

For my something new I chose Gang Kew Warn.

I figured this way I could squeeze in a few extra nutrients along with my veggie-devoid pad thai.

It worked and the two balanced each other nicely.

Dessert was a smaller version of last nights and served more to cleanse my mouth of spice than to quench my sweet tooth.

After dinner, my mom and I walked over to this house in my neighborhood that goes all out with holiday decorations. In fact, the house is even up for an award!

The decorations span two yards and the house is a destination spot for many families in the area.

It is just so cool!

The fence around the yard was decorated with garland and about every 5 feet or so there was a small ornament that said Merry Christmas in a different language. I loved these and must have looked at every one. I am such a nerd!

I also loved these three singing snowmen.

Every house needs a countdown to Christmas!

I love that I still get a chance to walk around and look at Christmas lights with family. It is such a great tradition :)

Do any houses in your neighborhood decorate like crazy for the holidays?  Do you walk/drive around and look at lights?

Christmas Cookie Sunday

Today was one of those Sundays that just flew by, how is the weekend over already?

I dug into the pantry earlier and pulled out my free Godiva chocolate for the month- a creme brulee truffle.

Seriously, this is one of the greatest promotions. If you sign up with Godiva and get a rewards card, once a month you can go into the store and pick out a free chocolate and all they do is scan your card in return. There is no obligation to purchase any chocolate! Its so worth it and it isn’t too indulgent as you only get one chocolate per month (and its goood chocolate too ;)).

After running errands and calling my grandma (its her birthday today!), Ian and I baked cookies and set them aside to decorate after dinner. We figured this would put the brakes on the snacking before dinner.

Dinner tonight was something really time consuming special, Get Healthy with Heather’s twice baked potatoes. While Ian will eat pretty much anything I put in front of him, he is truly a meat and potatoes type of guy. However, as I don’t eat meat and rarely cook potatoes, he oftens eats vegetarian grain-type dishes at the apartment, and while he says he enjoys them I know he misses his mom’s cooking. So.. sometimes I like to surprise him and cook something a little more up his alley.

I made two types of potateoes- some with bacon for Ian and then some with crispy tofu for myself. I also roasted some brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

I served myself one baked potato and some brussels sprouts and told myself to eat the vegetables first. I knew that it would be better for me to fill up on veggies than the potato that was fairly heavy. It worked and I managed to eat all of the sprouts and about 2/3 of the potato.

Oh, and the potato…amazing, midwestern cooking at its finest!

Finally, after dinner we decorated the cookies.

I was so proud of myself, for the first time ever I didn’t snack on too much dough, icing, or bits of cookies! I have been known to nibble so much while baking that I want nothing to do with the final product, I’m already so sick of it!  As a reward for my good behavior ;), I had a small cookie for dessert with a small drink of almond milk, soy eggnog, and cinnamon. I’ve found this is an easy way to lighten up egg nog while still retaining its taste.

Yum. What a night.,  my stomach is full, my Christmas spirit is flying high, and I have a light breakfast and lunch packed for work tomorrow.

I hope you enjoyed you Sunday as much as I did mine!

Boston Marathon: 12 miler take 2

I had another 12 miler on my schedule this weekend in order to offset the extra mileage during the week. This really wasn’t smart. I totally violated the 10% rule and increased my mileage from 32 miles last week to 42 this week. What can I say, I’m a total idiot. I felt the difference today and my run was not as good as last week.

Live and learn, even marathoners aren’t superheros :P.

I woke up around 7 to get ready to go. Pre-run fuel was a small piece of strada.

This was a bad decision, oregano burps while running are really unpleasant.

I actually really enjoyed my run. I ran over by where I used to live, went for a stretch on the lake shore trail, and then headed through downtown. The streets were pretty empty and the sun was out. It was gorgeous! The only problems were the small patches of ice on the sidewalks and bridges. While yesterdays snow might have melted, the ice stayed around! I managed not to slip (yes!) and finished 12.3 miles in 1:35.

1- 7:30
2- 7:42
3- 7:46
4- 7:54
5- 7:38
6- 7:32
7- 7:55
8- 7:50
9- 8:01
10- 8:22 <– garmin crapped out under the ‘l’
11- 7:18
12- 7:57
.3- 7:34

Overall I’m happy with this run considering the drastic bump up in mileage. I plan to take it easy today by foam rolling and maybe even visiting my gym’s hot tub. We shall see, but today is all about recovery.

Breakfast when I got home was the oats I wanted to make yesterday

I whipped up some banana custard oats with raisins and egg whites and topped them with some granola and Trader Joe’s cookie butter (please buy this now!)

I also had some coffee with soy egg nog and an adora disk. Perfect recovery breakfast!

Last night
The original plan last night was to eat leftovers for dinner and relax, but after hanging around the apartment for a couple of hours, both Ian and I became antsy and decided to go out for dinner. We wanted to go somewhere within walking distance but also wanted to try a new restaurant. After some yelping, we decided on The Scout Waterhouse & Kitchen, a relatively new bar in the area that boasted good food.

The Scout also had an extensive and reasonably priced beer list (win!) so I started the night with a Goose Island Sofie.

I really want this glass! The beer wasn’t so bad either ;)

For my main I ordered the seared scallops. They came with a sweet corn garnish and fried carrots.

I also split some fries with Ian. Ian ordered this amazing looking mac and cheese dish with bacon, asparagus, and mushrooms. He loved it.

I have to say I think we’ll be back here again!

After dinner we watched a movie on Netflix, apparently I didn’t make it through the whole movie because Ian managed to take this picture. Oh well, Sonic was just so comfy and warm!

I really have no plans for the afternoon besides relaxing and reading. There may even be a nap in my future!

What are your plans for the day?



I spent my afternoon curled up on the couch with Ian, Sonic, and my book. It was just what I wanted to do today. After finishing my book (it had a bad ending… don’t you hate it when good books have a bad ending?), Ian and I decided to head out to Christkindlmarket for a light dinner and to catch some Christmas spirit :)

We stopped at Macy’s on the way to see the decorations. I love their window displays. They have a series of about four panels and all of the parts move. It’s pretty cool :)

We couldn’t find the tree in Macy’s (I swear they had a huge one last year!) and the wait to see Santa was over 45 minutes, so Ian had I headed over to the market where we did see a tree!

The market was packed. There were lines going in and out of every store and for each food booth. We walked around a bit but after being bumped and walked into, we picked a food vendor and stood in line.

Ian decided on this bratwurst-like sandwich with sauerkraut and I went for the only vegetarian option available sauerkraut soup. The soup was actually really good. It was spicy and warmed me right up!

We hung around long enough to eat and then left the market. The crowds were just too much!

I need to go and gather my stuff for the morning. I have some hours to make up at work from Thanksgiving so I have to work a full day tomorrow starting nice and early (eek!)

Have a great Sunday evening!

Did anyone else do anything holiday-themed this weekend?

Boston Marathon: 12 miler

I woke up bright and early this morning to get ready for my first long run of training. I wanted to make sure not to forget anything as I was running a point-to-point course and Ian was going to meet me at one of our favorite breakfast places. But more on that later ;).

While I was packing a bag and rechecking my route, I snacked on a half piece of toast with some peanut butter and chia seeds. Hey, it worked for the Tarahumara right?

I generally just eat part of a larabar before going on long runs but we were out of larabars and I’m starting to wonder if that is enough fuel for longer training runs. So, I’m trying some new combinations to see what my sensitive stomach can handle.

The toast seemed to be ok, but I’m not sure I could have stomached too much more. Oh well, baby steps I guess.

My run felt really good. I never felt out of breath or anything, but my hips felt tight and my ankles felt weak. Hopefully this goes away soon. I ended up running 12.15 miles and finishing in 1:33:41.

Mile 1- 7:43
Mile 2- 7:44
Mile 3- 7:51
Mile 4- 7:36
Mile 5- 7:58
Mile 6- 7:26
Mile 7- 7:45
Mile 8- 8:09 <– got lost, stopped to ask for directions
Mile 9- 7:26
Mile 10- 7:44
Mile 11- 7:43
Mile 12- 7:27
Last .15- 7:43

Overall I’m pretty happy although my pacing is all over the place. I’m thinking it will even out though as I adjust back to running more frequently.

I met Ian at Lula Cafe, one of my favorite breakfast places in Chicago. He was even nice enough to bring my bag with him so I could change out of my running clothes. What a guy ;)

I started breakfast with some water and a coffee and then ordered the strada of the day for my main. The strada is Lula’s version of a savory pain de mie bread pudding and they alternate the ingredients each week. Today’s had spinach, apple, goat cheese, celery, and walnuts. This is my absolute go-to breakfast at Lula’s

It was so good and just what my body wanted after a long run. I’m totally going to try to recreate it this week too!

Ian had the brioche bread pudding french toast and loved it. The presentation was awesome too, so I had to take a picture.

We both left happily full but not overstuffed which is another reason why I love this restaurant, portion sizes are reasonable.

After breakfast, Ian and I walked over to Trader Joe’s to do our grocery shopping.  Its not bitter cold out yet so walking is still bearable. We must take advantage of it!

I plan to relax a bit this afternoon and then we’re headed out to the Christkindlmarket. Have a great Sunday!