Monthly archives: July, 2012

Date Night {Mista & Scooters}







1. My lovely date for the night. Not only was it warm out last night but there was also barely a breeze. It was a perfect night to eat on Mista‘s outdoor patio.

2. House salad. Even though we split this, I pretty much dominated it. Whoops.

3. Gluten-free, vegan heart smart pizza. The crust was made with brown rice flour, the “cheese” was daiya, and the toppings included sauce, roasted vegetables (zucchini, eggplant), baby spinach, sea salt, and EVOO. It was awesome. I could have eaten the entire thing but I wanted leftovers so I ate half and saved the rest. I can’t wait for dinner tonight!

4. Ian’s prosciutto pizza. It was topped with sauce, fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, organic argula, roasted plum tomatoes, roasted organic garlic, and EVOO. He loved it.

5. Dessert came a la Scooter’s. I had the strawberry lemonade Italian ice. I’m so glad my favorite custard place can still accomodate me :)

6. Ian’s Boston Shake. It’s basically a shake (he had vanilla malt) with a scoop of vanilla custard on top, with hot fudge and whipped cream. It’s what Scooter’s is best known for ;).

Have a wonderful Sunday!

Foggy Brick Workout

Saturday mornings are reserved for my brick workouts. Bricks are so different from my weekly route that I really look forward to them. I also love how much farther you can go on a bike than by foot in the same amount of time.

I slept in a little bit this morning and then headed out on my bike. I did my favorite 17 mile loop where I head straight to the lake path, cycle south until I reach Hyde Park, cycle back north going a little past my apartment, and then loop through the city. Fellow Chicagoans please do not be afraid to head south on Lake Shore. You are truly missing out. The path is not nearly as crowded as it is up north and the views coming back into the city are spectacular. There are also quite a few hills, a rarity in Chicagoland but valuable for training. Sounds good right? Try it :).

I always turn around at the point near Hyde Park and the views from the tip of the point are amazing. I brought my iPhone with me today so I could snap a picture but unfortunately it was too foggy to see the city.

Bummer. Maybe next Saturday.

I did get to see the end of the sun rise from the point though. I love being close to the water!

As I was biking back into the city I finally started to come across groups of runners. CARA must have started later this morning? Dealing with runners definitely slows me down but I kind of enjoy weaving around people on my bike. It’s helping me improve my steering and general contorl. Plus it keeps me on my toes :P.

After finishing my ride, I secured my bike in our storage unit and headed out for a 3 mile run. My usual goal with brick workouts is to do my run portion pretty fast. However, as I raced a 5k earlier in the week, I figured it would be best to let my body fall into its own natural rhythm. Interestingly enough, that rhythm was about a 7:14 min/mile. Hmm… could have used some of that speed over the last few days.

Lots of errands on the agenda today! Have a great one :)

Edited to add: for those of you who are as obsessed with the Olympics as I am, check out this article on the female athletes to watch!

Chobani Boka Dinner

Last night I had the chance to enjoy a wonderful dinner at Boka courtesy of Chobani. The food was fabulous and the restaurant was gorgeous but the best part of the evening was meeting and connecting with other Chicago bloggers. It was a blast!

Boka has a reputation for outstanding food; however, for last night’s event the chef prepared a 4 course menu inspired by Chobani. How cool is that! I love it when chefs get creative.

When I arrived at 7 p.m. I was greeted with a glass of wine. Not too shabby for a Wednesday night. There were already a few bloggers at the restaurant and it didn’t take long for conversation to start flowing. Appetizers were passed as well. I tried two but I can’t remember what they were (bad blogger!). One was a wheat-free falafel and the other had salmon and a yogurt sauce. Both were incredible.

A little while later we all found seats at the table.

I sat near Marisa and Cate

And Katie and Kelsey. Other bloggers at the event included Carly, Jessica, Molly, Joelen, Torey, Stephanie, and Megan. I wish I’d had a chance to talk to these ladies more but it was so nice to meet them!

Another perk of a dinner full of bloggers, consideration of food allergies. I was shocked but pleasantly surprised when our server went around and asked about dietary needs. The chef was incredibly accommodating!

Before our food came out, we were brought bread. I declined because I don’t eat gluten and was shocked when the chef sent out a flax-seed cracker. It was so delicious!

Katie and I kept trying to share these with the other bloggers but they all declined. It was truly their loss, I need to try to recreate this!

Our first course was hay roasted beets, blueberries, Chobani greek yogurt, fir tree honey, pepper wheat cracker (left off of mine).

This was incredibly tasty. The beets were phenomenal and everything went well together. I didn’t even miss the cracker!

For our second course the chef prepared soft shell crab, grilled prawns, Chobani greek yogurt grits, morel mushrooms, beet braised kohlrabi, mache.

Another great dish. The chef even prepared the gluten-free versions with rice flour. How cool is that? The crab was good but I was a sucker for the sides. Morel mushrooms and beet braised kohlrabi? Yum! The chef also prepared a vegetarian dish for individuals who didn’t eat fish or meat. I could not get over how flexible the restaurant was!

Our third course was lamb rack but as I don’t eat meat I was presented with halibut, rooibos, bulgur wheat, roasted baby vegetables, purple fingerling potatoes, fava beans, roasted eggplant and Chobani yogurt sauce.

The halibut was perfectly cooked and so flavorful. I could not get over this dish. Unfortunately, I could not eat the bulgur wheat so I moved what I could of the other stuff off to the side and dug in. Everything was pretty incredible.

Our fourth and last course was dessert. We were served a Chobani greek yogurt panna cotta with plums and honey.

It also came with a streusal topping although my panna cotta was served with a gluten-free option, almonds. This was fabulous but I was feeling pretty full and only managed a few bites. I’m not used to 4 course meals!

We all hung around for a little bit after dinner but as it was nearing 10 and many of us are early risers, we had to call it a night. We took a group picture (hopefully I can post it later) and then all parted ways.

We were also sent home with these lovely gift bags that included stickers, recipe ideas, a water bottle, and a cute lunch bag (I plan on using it today!).

All in all, I had a wonderful night. I got to eat some delicious and creative food AND connect with some local bloggers. What could be better than that?

I do want to thank Chobani for inviting me and providing an awesome menu as well as the ladies who work for Chobani and put the event together, Emily, Jackie, and Amy. Thanks for a great night :)

2012 Strike Out ALS 5k Race Recap

Yesterday I ran my first 5k in years (besides the Color Run). I can’t believe that it has been 5-6 years since my last one!

The event had race day packet pick-up from 5:30-6:25 (race start was at 6:30), so I booked it home after work, changed into running gear, and had a pre-race snack.

One medjool date with sunflower butter and two piece of Mrs. May’s Natural Crunch that I found at Sport Authority. The bites are  vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, corn-free etc and it taste like a Nature Valley bar. Yum! I also had the last of the protein shake my doctor is still having me drink.

I met Ian at the ‘l’ and we hopped on the red line headed toward U.S. Cellular Field. We arrived around 5:30, I picked up my packet and a race map, and then we sat around for a while. I had waaay overestimated how much time we were going to need. The race was on the smaller side and packet pickup was a cinch. At least I had enough time to drink some water, go to the bathroom twice, and jog around to warm up.

The race environment was awesome. There were so many teams and supported of friends or family members with ALS. It was so inspiring to see all of the signs and decorated t-shirts. There was not a lack of support at U.S. Cellular Field last night!

With about 5 minutes to go, I started stretching and lined up in the start area. There were quite a few walkers/slower runners so I placed myself near the front of the pack. Rather than play the national anthem or other music, an ALS patient stood up and gave the welcome address. She spoke of struggling with her mother’s illness when she was a child and then talked about her diagnosis. Her speech was not sad and depressing but incredibly motivating. She talked about all of the things she is thankful for in life and then asked all of the runners to run for those who cannot. It seriously sent shivers down my spine!

Then it was time to run! I wasn’t quite sure how to handle this race. I knew I didn’t want to train for it or skip my other workouts but I also wanted to see what I had in me post-morning swim workout/biking to and from work/sitting in a desk all day. I crept up close to the start line and shot off when the race began.

The course was primarily a parking lot course meaning we ran along the perimeters of parking lots. However, I have to say this course did an excellent job of marking the route. We were always running between orange cones, there was no way to get off course (this is not always the case with parking lot courses). We also made a lot of sharp turns and wound our way back through parking lots. This definitely helped with variety!

After about 1/4 of the first mile, I looked down at my watch and saw that I was running a sub-6 minute mile. I knew there was no way I could keep that up and immediately slowed myself down. I had no strategy for the race except to go out and run, and it was becoming clear that this might hurt me in the end. I focused on my breathing and made sure my form was okay and felt much better by the time I crossed the first mile marker.

1st mile- 6:24 min/mile

We started crossing over to the parking lots on the other side of the stadium and I saw the lead runner exiting the parking lot as I was entering it. I could not believe how fast the guy was running! It was becoming harder to breathe (it was in the high 70′s) and I started to regret skipping the water stop right after the first mile. I kept telling myself that I was happy just running the first mile at 6:24 and that all I needed to do now is finish.

We reached the end of the parking lot and then zig-zagged back between cones. This might have been my favorite part of the course, the constant change in direction kept me on my toes and was very entertaining. We exited the parking lot and for a few seconds ran next to the runners just reaching the parking lot. One lady yelled at me that she thought I was the first girl. I didn’t believe her. Shortly after we ran past the second mile marker.

2nd mile- 6:46 min/mile

We had a straight shot to the stadium and entered at about 2.5 miles. We ran down a hallway (could see a bar on the right) and entered the concourse. This is where I unraveled. The concourse was stuffy and we were supposed to run one lap around. The lack of air plus pushing myself too hard to start was making me feel a bit nauseous. I didn’t see any volunteers in the concourse and the last thing I wanted to do was throw up and then have to figure out a way to clean it up. I slowed my pace and my Garmin lost signal. One man passed me but I didn’t care. I did not want to get sick!

Finally we ran through a door and out onto the warning track of the field. The finish line was about 3/4 of a lap away from the door. I kept my pace steady and tried not to slow down. When I was about 50 meters from the finish line I saw that the clock was approaching 21 minutes. My new motivation was to finish in under 21 minutes. I gave it all I had left and finished in 20:57.

3rd mile- no clue, Garmin lost signal

I grabbed a bottle of water and looked for Ian in the stands. He was looking at the entrance to the track so I figured he had missed me. I gave Ian a kiss and then headed back down to the field to get my official time.

The race had these little machines that you could enter your bib number and it would spit out your official time and place. I’ve never seen these before but they were pretty cool!

I was quite happy with my time, I beat my goal of 21 minutes and I was the first female finisher! Even though this was a small race, I’ve never been the first female before!

I want to say thank you to the ALS race directors for not only providing me with the chance to run an awesome 5k but also the opportunity to learn from and be inspired by ALS patients. It was truly a memorable experience!

One of the perks of running the race is that the concessions were open and you could sit and watch the all-star baseball game on the jumbo-tron. Ian and I talked about staying but decided we wanted to save our money and loaf around on our sofa instead so we headed home.


I’m off to start another busy day. Happy Wednesday!

Monday Things {07-09-2012}

1. On Friday Ian and I saw Ted. I thought it was just okay but he really enjoyed it. Go figure. It didn’t help that I had a teddy bear named Teddy when I was growing up…

2. Sonic has a girl friend. Her name is Zoey. We received a picture of her in the bottom of his food bag and he seemed to show some interest. We decided to hang it on the fridge (at his level) so he can look at her when he likes. Puppy kitty love <3.

3. On Saturday I did a reverse brick. When I woke up it was already in the 80′s and I was nervous that it would be too hot outside to run after a long ride. I ended up going out for three miles and then following my run with a 17 mile ride out and back to Hyde Park (my favorite route). The reverse brick was the right call. It was warm running but muuuch more comfortable on the bike.

4. On Saturday I made a trip to Kramer’s Health Foods. I was hoping to buy a juice but the cafe is closed on Saturday’s. Bummer. I ended up picking up some new-to-me gluten-free vegan granola bars. I’ll have to wait until I can have soy to enjoy the Heart Thrive but I couldn’t not buy it. I used to buy Heart Thrive’s all the time at a co-op in Ann Arbor and haven’t had one in a few years!

5. I had the privilege to meet up with three other bloggers this weekend. Katie, Elyssa, Molly, and I met at Forever Yogurt to enjoy a late afternoon snack on Saturday.

It was great to chat with these ladies about food, running, and everything in-between. Speaking of meet-ups, Chicago bloggers, check out the Chicago Healthy Living Bloggers facebook page and join up. We’re hoping to have a bunch of small get togethers this summer!

I had key lime and mango sorbets with berries. It was great that Forever Yogurt posted allergens on all of their flavors. It was very easy for me to find vegan and gluten-free options.

6. Sunday morning I ran my first double-digit run since training for the Boston Marathon last winter/spring. It felt awesome… except for the whole not bringing water thing. I’m loving triathlon training but am starting to get excited for the fall running season. Training for a January marathon means I’ll be running a lot of miles during the best running season of the year! I’m psyched :-D.

7. I made a quick trip to Sports Authority this weekend to pick up a handful of things. I walked out with a sports bra (I finally found the under armor one in my size!), a nylon swim cap that won’t pull my hair (so annoying), and new goggles (much-needed).

I wanted to buy water bottles for my fuel belt (I threw my old ones away) and a tri top but I couldn’t find either. I guess I’ll be making a trip to Fleet Feet soon!

8. The lunch hour struck while Ian and I were out running errands on Sunday and I managed to convince him to have Chipotle with me :P. I ordered a burrito bowl with brown rice, lettuce (the one they use for the salad, you get the best of both worlds this way), black beans, fajita veggies, pico, and guac (shared half w/ Ian). It was absolutely delicious, especially topped with Tabasco Chipotle sauce!

9. We were out near the Anti-Cruelty Society and dropped in to visit with the animals. I’m usually all about the kitties and Ian the dogs but yesterday I saw this little female chihuahua pit bull mix named Cookie. I thought she was cute and sweet and then she went and flared her ears out…

I fell in love. I need a dog with bat ears soooo badly! Aren’t they awesome?? Ian asked me if I wanted to take her for a walk but I’ve learned my lesson (similar situation occurred when we adopted Sonic) and forced myself to leave the shelter. I’m half tempted to check back in a few weeks… if she’s still there I can’t make any promises!

10. Ian and I made a major dent in the fifth season of Mad Men this weekend. I think we watched 5 episodes and only have the finale left! When does season 6 start?

How was your weekend? What was the highlight?