February 29, 2012

Delivery for Miss. Tippenhauer

Today has been a busy day for me, but fun, nevertheless.  My day started off by going to an elementary school.  An assignment I am working on requires us to analyze a student's reading .  It is really challenging, but it's really important to know how to do it because I know I will have to do it in the future! And...I may or may not find it really fun, which is a bonus ;)

After I left the school this afternoon I stopped at Peninsula Runners to try on new running shoes.  I have had my last pair of shoes since June and they have a lot of kilometres on them.  It was time for a new pair, especially since my knees were starting to bother me (as soon as this happens, I know it is time for a new pair).

So now I am going to write my first even running post! I knew it would happen sooner or later but wasn't sure when.  Today seems to be a great day to start, since I have something to talk about.  New shoes.  As I'm sure those of you who have read my blog before have realized that I absolutely love running.  I have been a runner since I was about 16 years old.  I was always pretty active with sports growing up, playing volleyball, basketball, softball and karate but I was never a runner.  My mom was the reason I started running and she didn't even realize it.  She was training for a half marathon at the time and I became very interested in it.  I started running little by little and before I knew it I had signed up for a half marathon training program.  I trained for about 3 months before my first half marathon in March of 2004/5? and the rest is history....

I have been running ever since, on and off of course... because it is nearly impossible to keep up an intensive training schedule during your off season.  That's because you have to keep up running around 22 km for your long runs (for half marathon training). During training this doesn't seem THAT far (even though it really is...).  The last half marathon I ran was in October 2011 in Victoria.  I kept up my half marathon training until the following May because I was training for another half marathon at that time, however, I was just starting a new job and didn't really have the time run the actual race.  Now that I think back to this, I think this was just an excuse.  I know I was more than ready to run the race and would probably have made a PB (personal best) but maybe I was just too nervous.  I definitely get nervous when it comes to racing...not so much about racing against other people but more so about racing against and beating myself.  You have one day to prove all of your hard work has paid off.  After you put in so much work, the last person you want to let down is yourself.  This is can a lot of pressure, for me anyways.

Back to the shoes...I have been wearing Mizuno and Asics shoes since I started running...and it wasn't until TODAY that I switched the brand and style of shoe.

In comes the Soucony Progrid Mirage 2. And no, I am definitely not one of those girls who hides their shoe size...because...well...I really don't care ;) They are just feet!

I'm not one to be totally drawn to really nice looking running shoes...but these ones are quite nice, which is always a bonus ;)  These shoes are completely different from every shoe I have worn in the past.
They are a neutral, minimalist shoe, which means they don't have a lot of cushioning or arch support and they fit snuggly to your foot, which I love.

You will notice on the Saucony shoe that the sole between the forefoot and heal is a lot lower than my older shoe, which you can see below.  Also, on the heel, there isn't as much cushioning.

No, that is not poop. It's mud :)
The Asics gel 1150's have more room for the forefoot and toes, which is one thing that I really loved about them.

Besides the obvious difference (one looks new the other...well...not so much) you can now see what I mean about the forefoot area being smaller on the saucony.

And here you can see that there is a lot more cushioning on the Asics shoe, especially in the heel and the arch.  It's funny that I've been wearing a mild stability shoe even though I don't really need it.  I don't have an overly high arch and I don't overpronate, which is what a stability shoe is intended for.

It is going to be interesting to see how the neutral shoe works for me.  This shoe is intended as a training shoe but I am going to use it for all purpose running aka road, trail and treadmill running.  We'll see how that goes.  It is light weight, as I have already mentioned, which makes it feel more like you are running the way you would barefoot.  This is actually a transition shoe for those who are looking to more into barefoot running.  I'm not trying to do this, but I have been interested in trying a more light weight shoe for a while.  I went on a short 6 km run today in the trails (which is why they are already dirty :( ) to test them out.  They felt a little different, which I expected, but it was a good different.  I'm excited to try them on the pavement and the treadmill (bleh) to see how they work out.  I have high hopes for these babies!  I will keep you all posted!

I also bought a pair of running socks.  These are extremely soft and comfortable, which most running socks are.  

I got a black pair, but I just thought you could really see what they look like in pink.  You probably notice the heel flap.  This is a really nice feature because they will never slip down your foot, which means you won't get a blister! SCORE!

Okay, so enough of my blabbing about running and shoes...now onto the next best thing that happened to me today! I went to pick up a package! I wasn't sure who it was from because I am expecting a few different packages...but I was hoping that it was one from my friend, fellow foodie, Britta!

IT WAS!!!!!!

I actually picked it up on the way to my run and didn't open it until I got home!! Talk about will power.

I ripped open the box as soon as I made my way through the door.  I didn't even take off my running clothes.  TOO EXCITED! I opened it to find this lovely card, which was totally unexpected. SO SWEET!

She included these Ginger Chews, which I have been dying to try.  And O.M.G. They are SOOOOO GOOOOOOOOOOOOD! Seriously amazing....They are spicy, not to sweet, chewy and just plain delicious. The best part? I don't think Francis will like them...which means, I get them allllll to myself! Which could be quite dangerous actually.

She also included this adorable magnet....

and last, but definitely not least, milk and white chocolate chips.  I saw these on her blog last week and I asked if she wouldn't mind sending them to me because I have never seen them here.  She was sweet enough to do so and I couldn't be happier.  I can't wait to make something with these this weekend! Stay tuned...

Thanks again, Britta for such wonderful treats! Okay, now it's time for me to finish watching American Idol and have a few more ginger chews ;) These will be gone in no time...

February 25, 2012

Chai It!

I spent the majority of my day with 3 of my awesome classmates, Nicole, Charissa and Kyle! Charissa was sweet enough to invite us over to her apartment to work on a group presentation that we have next week.  And get this...she made us an absolutely delicious breakfast! How awesome is she?

Such a nice spread! We were all very excited and more than ready to dig in.

She made us homemade cornbread muffins, hashbrowns, poached eggs, and oranges! OJ and coffee (hand delivered to us by the lovely Nicole) on the side.  She also made turkey bacon for my meat loving friends!

I haven't had anyone make me breakfast in quite some time so this such a treat! Thanks again, Charissa! Great food, great friends...great way to spend my Saturday! 

After we were finished working on our assignment I headed home for quite a late lunch/snack.  I spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and watching some TV.  Felt nice to relax after a busy week! 

Later on this evening I wanted something warm and delicious to drink but wasn't sure what.  I started to think about chai tea, which I love! Unfortunately I didn't have any left (boo)...So what do I do when a situation like this happens? Why, make my own blend of course!

I used 3/4 cup work of english breakfast tea (the dark mix) which I took from about 15 or so tea bags,  2 tsp organic cinnamon (seriously so much better than regular), 2 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, 1 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper.

Mix all ingredients together.  To make the perfect cup of chai, add 1 tbsp of the mix into an empty tea bag, add about 1/2-3/4 cup of boiling water (depending on your preference).  Let sit for 5-7 minutes.  Add milk of choice (I used soy) and sweetener, such as honey, agave, sugar (I used one drop of liquid stevia - don't like things very sweet).

I was quite happy with the result of this chai, however, I would have preferred a spicier drink.  Perhaps some extra ginger and pepper? I'll have to play around with it to find my perfect mix.  I still really enjoyed this drink though.  Warm and comforting.

I'm now making Francis some chocolate chip cookies...so I better get going before they burn ;)

Have a wonderful Saturday night!

February 23, 2012

Granola Anyone?

A couple days ago I decided I wanted to restock my granola stash.  I wanted something crunchy and delicious to sprinkle on my morning bowl of yogurt and fruit.  In came Peanut Butter granola.  Now, this may sound kind of gross...but let me tell you...it is absolutely AMAZING! You can only just taste the peanut butter and it is crunchy and just slightly sweet.  Just he way I like it!

Peanut Butter Granola 
(Makes eight 1/4 c. servings)
adapted from www.pbfinger.com Almond Granola recipe

  • 4 tbsp. peanut butter (or nut butter of your choice)
  • 4 tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 2 cups oats

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees and spray cookie sheet with cooking spray.
  • Combine peanut butter and honey in a bowl and microwave until almond butter is slightly melted (about 30 seconds).
  • Stir peanut butter and honey together.
  • Add cinnamon and vanilla to almond butter mixture.
  • Stir oats and chia seeds into almond butter mixture, completely coating oats in the mixture.
  • Spread oats onto cookie sheet and bake for eight minutes before tossing oats and baking for another four minutes until granola is slightly brown.
  • Let cool until granola is crunchy!

Fresh out of the oven...

Serve on top of yogurt and fruit...or however way you prefer! I just happen to be madly in love with greek yogurt so any way I can eat it...I will :)

Tonight I had one thing and one thing only on my mind. SOUP!  I remembered that I had seen a picture of a delicious looking soup on my friends blog (foodallyeats.tumblr.com).  It not only looked delicious but I saw that it was a Jamie Oliver recipe...so it obviously had to be delicious. He is such a great chef.  Plus, Ally knows good food and I trust her taste buds completely (well...almost ;))! To say I was excited to make this is an understatement.

This soup turned out absolutely fantastic.  With high hopes of this recipe being super yummy I doubled the recipe and I am so thrilled that I did.  It is light yet hearty and spicy with the ginger! Probably one of the best soups I have made in a very long time. Thanks Ally :)

Lentil and Spinach Soup:

Adapted from Jamie Oliver: Ministry of Food

Serves approx. 10-12 (trust me you are going to want leftovers...)

  • 4-6 carrots, peeled and roughly sliced
  • 4-6 sticks celery, sliced
  • 2 large onions, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Olive oil 
  • 2, 900 ml containers of vegetable stock)
  • 2 1/2 cups red lentils 
  • 2 thumb-sized piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and sliced
  • ½-1 red chilli, deseeded, to taste (I didn't add this...didn't have it)
  • 20 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 3/4 cups spinach leaves (chopped)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • greek yogurt to top (optional but recommended!)

1) Put the carrots, celery, onion and garlic together in a pan over medium heat with the lid open a crack. Cook for 10 minutes until the carrots have softened and the onion is lightly golden.

2) Add stock, lentils, tomatoes, ginger, and chilli to the carrot-celery-onion-garlic mix.  Stir the soup and bring to the boil.

(Look at that beautiful ginger)

3) Once the soup has reached boiling point, reduce the heat to a simmer. Put the lid on and leave it for 10 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked. Add the spinach and cook for 30 seconds.

4) Season well with salt and pepper. The soup can be served as is (the way I prefer it), or use a hand blender to pulse until smooth. Serve with a dollop of yogurt or leftover grape tomatoes :)

Served in my new soup bowl from Anthropologie!

Absolutely delicious....

I think I liked it. What do you think?

O.K. now get going to make this soup!

Have a wonderful night everyone :)

Reading Break Fun!

Last week was reading week for many of us University students....however, I wouldn't say I did a lot of reading!  Francis and I went to visit his parents in Cali and had such a great time.  It was a short trip, but we had a lot of fun!

When we got to his parents house, after a longggg day of travelling, we cracked open a bottle of wine, cheers'd and then I was told a surprise, which I had been told about a couple weeks before.  No, not what the surprise was, but that they had one for me.  Man was I curious...and they told it to me in french, which confused me even more! All I heard was "Vegas" and "David Copperfield"....so I put 2 and 2 together!
WE ARE GOING TO VEGAS TO SEE DAVID COPPERFIELD!!!!! How fun! I was very surprised, and honestly I don't think I would have ever made plans to go to Vegas on a vacation (I don't drink very much and do not gamble at all) but the fact that they planned it for us was so nice!

Before Vegas came Valentine's Day! Francis and I spent most of the day doing homework...but we did take out a little time for ourselves.

We started the day with a yummy breakfast.

Plain yogurt, blueberries, strawberries, banana and bran flakes! Coffee by the pool...I could seriously do this every.single.day! Such an amazing way to start off your day :)

After breakfast we did some homework...did a little shopping and then hung out with his parents.  It was a nice, relaxing day.

Early Wednesday morning we made our way to Vegas.  Three quick hours later we arrived, checked in, put our bags up in our room and went down to the buffet for some lunch!  It was surprisingly delicious!

They had a bit of everything...but I stayed mainly in the Mediterranean area. a-duh. Some of my fav. things.  I filled my plate with tabbouleh, cous cous salad, roasted veggie salad, lettuce, hummus and some fruit! They had an amazing dessert spread where we tried cheesecake, frozen yogurt and tiramisu...I was seriously STUFFED after this and was more than ready to see the sights!

We walked around for about four hours, checking out the hotels, which included us going up the Eiffel Tower.  Kinda funny to see it considering I've been to Paris and have been up the Eiffel Tower...but it was nice to be able to have such a great view of Vegas.

After our little adventure we decided to stop at the Sugar Factory for a warm drink.  I ordered the espresso hot chocolate (also known as a mocha here - of course) and Francis ordered the raspberry hot chocolate.

We both didn't like them at all...too sweet and too thick.  Like soup.

Can you tell we didn't like it? Oh well...it was fun to try the restaurant out at least!  After we spent the afternoon gallivanting and shopping downtown we had a quick bite to eat and went to David Copperfield...who was pretty amazing by the way! Francis even got up on stage with him! So much fun!

After a quick breaky we headed back to Corona!

Quick pit stop on the way back.  When we got back the next afternoon...I was excited to go to a few grocery stores I have always wanted to visit! Trader Joes, Sprouts and a new store I haven't heard of before called World Market.  Here is the loot....

These are all different grinders! I am most excited about the two on the left....for obvious reasons ;)

The coconut coffee is AMAZING!! It is smooth with a hint of coconut...I tried it first thing this morning and I am super excited about it.  The Texas Turtle is also delish.  Just a hint of caramelly goodness!  I also tried Justin's Maple Almond Butter, which I have been wanting to try since seeing it on a blog about a year ago!  It probably the best nut butter I have ever tasted! I haven't tried the fig or mango butter...so when I do I will review them on here of course!

A few more goodies....don't even get me started on the chocolate hazelnut butter...

Friday and Saturday involved having delicious breakfasts in the sun, such as this one....

Fresh mango and pineapple...

and testing out different foods you can't find in Canada...such as this one.  Siggi's yogurt.  Been dying to try this after seeing it on numerous blogs.  I now understand the rave reviews it has been getting...it is thick, tart with just a hint of sweetness.  And don't even get me started on the ingredient list...it is sweetened with pomegranate and passion fruit puree and agave! So sad we don't have this in Canada.  Oh well...I guess that means there is yet ANOTHER thing to look forward to when I go to visit!

After a wonderful week in Cali it was time to say out goodbyes...after a nice cruise in this beaut of course....ummmm can I have a car like this please? As always we had such a great time and can't wait to go back!!!

Hope everyone else had just as great a week as Francis and I did!