Carrot Pear Muffins

Hi Friends! Happy Monday!

I don’t know about you, but all of the sweets hanging around the office are really starting to catch up with me. That being said, Farmer Ben and I had a day off together yesterday and decided to do… a lot of baking.  Typical

After making some boozey cookies, I wanted to make something quasi-healthy. We had some yogurt and a pear in the fridge that we had forgotten about, so I perused the internet to find a recipe that I wouldn’t feel guilty while baking eating.

I ended up using this recipe… kind of (I am really bad at following directions). I am also super lazy and put all of the ingredients into one bowl. Yes, ONE bowl.  

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Note: These are NOT sweet muffins. They have some sweetness, but I would classify them as more of a breakfast on the run OR a snack, especially if you add a dollop of nut butter.

 If you’d like them sweet, I would up the amount of maple syrup to 1/2 or 3/4 of a cup.

The siggi’s website has a lot of really great recipes, if you’re looking for something different, check them out!

Carrot-Pear Muffins with Skyr

What you’ll need:

About 2 Cups grated carrots (I threw mine in the ninja)

1/3 cup maple syrup (the REAL stuff, please!)

1/3 cup olive oil

1 splash vanilla extract

2 eggs

½ cup plain yogurt (I love siggis plain skyr)

1 cup Whole Wheat Flour

1/3 cup All-Purpose Flour

2 Tbs Flax seed meal

2 Tbs Hemp Seeds

1 tsp. cinnamon

¾ tsp. ground ginger

1 pinch sea salt

1 pear, chopped (an apple would also work well)

What to do:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners or grease really well.

In a large bowl, mix all of your wet ingredients (including carrots, excluding pear).  Fold in your dry ingredients until well combined.  

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One bowl mixing

Mix in chopped pear (Note: the batter is going to be pretty thick, don’t worry).

Pour into prepared muffin tin.

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Bake for about 20-25 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean).
Let cool and enjoy!

What are you baking these days?

Disclaimer: I am a siggi’s Culture Club Ambassador, but all opinions, per usual, are my own.

Interested in being a siggi’s ambassador? Send me an email for some info.


#Elf4Health and #holidaysweat-Week 1 Recap

Hi friends! Hope you’re having a great week!  Here’s a  look at two challenges I’m participating in at the moment (Click respective links for more info!) So far I am doing pretty well…and am loving the extra motivation!

I took some time off from running after my October Half as I had a pain in my foot that just wouldn’t quit, along with some other reasons, so these challenges came at the perfect time to help me ease back into a routine!

Lets start with #elf4health:

Day 1: Meatless Monday-I started out my day with a smoothie, then had a big-ass salad for lunch and topped off the evening with sushi, margaritas and friends! YUM!

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Day 2: Unsubscribe challenge… fail. I DO need to do this.

Day 3: A New Workout: I went for a walk… I realize this isn’t a “new workout,” but it’s different for me.

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Day 4: Recommend a good book/blog/podcast: I recommended three: The Best Yes, Sacred Marriage and The Lipstick Gospel.

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Day 5: Veggie Smoothie-I didn’t do this. But I recommend Kale or Spinach.

Day 6: Treat Yourself-I headed to the library and picked up some reading material. Easy on the wallet and great for the mind!

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Day 7: Meal Prep-Farmer Ben had to work on Thanksgiving so we ended up celebrating on Friday with his fam…. Needless to say, my fridge is still full… so I half did this?

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Holiday Sweat:

Water Goal: hit daily
Freggie Goal(5-9 servings over fruits and veggies daily): 5 days out of 7… Cant win ’em all!

Monday-2 mile walk at lunch, 1 mile walk with hubby after work and 2 mile run.

Tuesday: Fail

Wednesday: 2 mile walk

Thursday-5 mile run because I slept in instead of turkey trotting.

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Friday-Rest day/Turkey day

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Turkey smoking in progress

Saturday-2 mile run at night (I’m such a chicken!)… It was freezing!

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Sunday-kind of a rest day. Hubby and I did some mall walking when we had an hour or so to kill… I didn’t count this in my points.

That’s all… What are you doing to stay active this month?


Bagel Breakfast Pudding

Hi Friends!

Can we talk about food today? It feels like AGES since I’ve posted about …well anything, but specifically food!

So today, how about a recipe? This is great for company because you can make it ahead of time. And it involves bagels… So you really can’t go wrong, in my opinion.

I know Thanksgiving is tomorrow… But this is more of a Black Friday/Small Business Saturday recipe….

Farmer Ben and I were shopping last week and our grocery store was having an insane sale for a random ten minutes… 6 bagels for $1!!!!! It was such a good sale that we bought a dozen. Is there even a question on whether or not one should buy bagels when they are less than 17 cents each? I didn’t think so.

Anyway, we ended up giving ½ dozen to Ben’s dad and step-mom who are in town visiting and had bagels for breakfast one morning… and then I had people over on Saturday and needed counter space, so I moved them to the top of the fridge and promptly forgot about them until yesterday. Needless to say, they were starting to get a little hard.

Now, if you know me, I HATE wasting food. So I perused our cookbook collection to see if I could find a way to use them up. Farmer Ben said he would use them in stuffing, but I had a better idea.

Bagel Pudding. I love traditional bread pudding…but I also love breakfast. Savory breakfast…I’ve been eating a lot of sweet stuff lately and we had all of these delicious garlic/onion/sesame bagels to use up.  I’ve also been on a major casserole kick lately, so this was a perfect way to keep that rolling…not to mention, it is stupid easy to make!

This is slightly adapted from the Pioneer Woman’s Breakfast Bread Pudding (from her cookbook).

Everything Bagel Breakfast Pudding

Ingredients:

4 savory/salty bagels that are a couple of days old.

2 + TB butter

1 medium onion, chopped

1 pound veal chorizo (but breakfast sausage will also work!)

10 eggs

1 cup of half and half or whole milk

Salt/Pepper/Smoky paprika to taste

1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese

Optional: add your favorite veggies (peppers, spinach, beans, etc)

What to do:

*If you’re using fresh bagels, lightly toast them and let them sit out for a few hours to dry out…

Cut bagels into chunks (I cut mine 4 ways both directions, no need to slice) and set aside.

Place 2 tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add in your onions. Cook until nice and soft (I caramelized mine because Ben’s a weirdo and only likes disintegrated onions, but as long as they are pretty well cooked, that will also work).

Remove onions from skillet, placing into a small bowl, and set aside.

Put sausage into the same pan, breaking up as you cook it. Let brown. Remove from heat. If you have a lot of grease, drain it (this will depend on your sausage).

While your sausage is cooking, whisk together your eggs, cream and spices in a large bowl. I went very light on salt as the chorizo and bagels I used were pretty well flavored, but again, this is to your taste.

Grease a 2 ½ qt casserole dish with remaining butter.

Layer half of your bagel pieces in the dish.

Add half of your sausage and onions.

Top with half of your cheese.

Repeat bagel, sausage, onion and cheese layers.

Pour your egg mixture over dry ingredients. This part is a little scary, but it will fit!

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It should look like this

Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight/for a few hours.

The next day… pre-heat oven to 350 (you’ll want to take your casserole out of the fridge so it warms up as well). Once pre-heated , place casserole in the oven, still  covered. Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove foil and bake another 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted, and casserole is firm and crispy.

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What carb-filled dreams are made of

Eat immediately. This will also reheat well.

Happy Thanksgiving, Shopping and Long Weekend, Friends! Cheers!


Real Talk: Skoop B-Strong Review

Hi Friends!

As promised, I am back to tell you a little bit about Skoop.

I was contacted about three weeks ago to see if I’d be interested in trying this product. After checking out their website and ingredient list, I decided to give it a shot.

Full Disclosure: I was sent a bag of Skoop B Strong in exchange for a review. Per usual, all opinions are my own. I was not compensated for my time.

Let me start off by saying, I prefer to get all of my vitamins and minerals from real food. I’ve never been one to take multi-vitamins or a pill or, for that matter, drink a protein shake. I know that there are people out there who need that something extra, but I personally prefer to eat my nutrients and typically am able to do so without any troubles (and to be honest, I’m not good at REMEMBERING to take a daily vitamin).

But…there are times I can’t eat as well or as much I want to…. Like when my husband opens a restaurant.

Confession: Since the restaurant opened, I’ve been struggling to eat enough high quality food. Most of my meals are eaten in a hurry, either while I’m driving to work in the morning, hovering over a counter while trying to do six other things at once, or scarfed down on my lunch hour while trying to take care of other items on my to-do list that I no longer have time for after work.

I’ve eaten more late night slices of pizza in the last four months than I care to admit… and my body has not been happy about it.

Don’t get me wrong, pizza is delicious and portable…but it’s not something I like to eat every day…or even every week for that matter.

I’d prefer to eat a salad every day… but when you’re running on 4 or 5 hours of sleep and trying to do everything in a hurry, salads are a lot of work. And take a lot of concentration to eat.

If you know me personally, you know that I am not someone who can go without eating. If I do, I become an absolutely miserable you-know-what. I’m also not someone who likes to drink their calories…because that never actually keeps you full.

Naturally, when I was contacted to check out this product, I was skeptical… but I figured it would be worth it to at least see what they had to offer.

So what is Skoop (From their website)?

B-STRONG is a plant-based protein blend. It contains prebiotics, mediterranean fruits, fatty acids, and higher carbs to make sure your body is properly using all the nutrients it can. Plant-based protein is more easily broken down and absorbed than protein from a steak, so your body can direct more energy toward healing and extra energy.”

Another plus? They use ingredients I can pronounce. It’s protein powder, but made from REAL foods.

“B-STRONG contains a well-rounded profile of nutrients, which every meal requires. Single plants generally don’t contain all the essential amino acids necessary to create a complete protein, so we used plants that complement each other. B-STRONG gives you all the essential amino acids your body needs to prevent muscle breakdown and loss. Use B-STRONG to help build muscle, recover faster, or just as a strength-building snack during the day.”

I also really like their business model and that they give back to the community. From the Skoop Website:

“That’s why we partnered with The Chef Ann Foundation, a non-profit that provides real, fresh fruits and veggies to public school lunch programs all over the country – programs that currently need to classify french fries, tomato sauce, and ketchup as vegetables in order to meet FDA standards.

For every serving of Skoop sold, we donate one serving of free, fresh fruits and veggies to a school lunch program. You buy a serving, you give a serving. And everyone can feel good about that. Literally”

So I decided to give it a shot.  What did I have to lose? If I hated it, I wouldn’t have wasted any money trying it out.

First things first, can I just say, I was absolutely floored when I got the package from Skoop? I was expecting a couple of sample packs … they sent me a whole bag!!! They also sent me five days’ worth of their A-game and a cute little shaker bottle! Wow!

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I immediately tried the powder with some water to see how it blended. The result? Minimal clumping, no weird chalky aftertaste and a lightly sweet vanilla flavor. I liked the flavor but I could tell right away that it would taste even better with milk.

Since then, I’ve been mixing it up with milk (cow, almond or coconut) and if I’m feeling fancy, some cold coffee. I’ve also added it to smoothies (with almond butter, almond milk, banana, spinach or kale and some cacao).

My favorite way to drink Skoop is with coconut water, almond milk, cacoa and maca powders. The cacoa gives it a nice chocolate flavor and the maca adds some nuttiness. I also really loved adding the A-Game to my morning smoothie for a double-whammy of nutrients.

My next plan is to make some energy bites or some peanut butter cookies with it.

So is this worth buying?

After having it almost daily for the last few weeks, I would say yes! Definitely!

I’ve been drinking Skoop for a quick breakfast or as a snack before going in to work at the bistro and I’ve been full. I feel energized and haven’t had any stomach issues (This is HUGE because, if you’re waiting tables, you don’t have time to run to the bathroom).

For a plant based protein, it doesn’t have any weird after-tastes and doesn’t cause any digestion/gas issues (I know you know what I’m talking about).

I also love the ingredient list and all of the micro-nutrients. Seriously, look at this!

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HealthySkoop.com

For all of that, a 30 serving bag is $67.

Skoop was generous enough to give me a discount code to share with you. Use the code “NOTEBOOK10” at checkout for 10% off your entire purchase.

Sidenote: My husband purchased a raw protein/meal replacement around the same time with an equally impressive ingredient list and though I like that one as well, I do notice, I wasn’t as full and had some of the previously mentioned protein farts (sorry, TMI).

Huge thank you to Skoop for sending me this product!

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Happy Wednesday, friends!

 


Real Talk: Vega Sport Hydrator Review

Happy Saturday Friends!

Just popping in to share my thoughts on this fun little product! Vega Sport Hydrator.

Full Disclosure: I was provided this product by Vega and Fit Approach, for the “Fuel Your Better” Campaign, in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

As you know, I run…and I sweat… a lot. As I’ve started running longer distances over the last couple of years, I’ve learned that my body does not do well with just water… I’ve also learned that my stomach doesn’t like a lot of the energy gus and gels on the market (hence my obsession with ENERGYbits). And Gatorade? not my favorite. So, when Fit Approach sent out information on their campaign with Vega, I was excited to try it! Fuel Your Better? Heck yes!

I’ve been reading a lot about Vega and following them on Social Media. I like that they offer a plant-based and natural alternative to the mainstream endurance and nutrition products on the market. Not gonna lie, I am a little obsessed with the Fuel Your Better campaign. Check it out for some serious motivation.

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Anyway, I was sent the Berry Sport Hydrator. I liked that it came in single serve packets. Super easy (just add to 16 oz of water, stir and drink!). I also loved the fun pink color! Not your standard lemon-lime or blue raspberry!

mason jar drink

 

Here is a look at the nutrition label on the hydrator I received.

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Notice the lack of scary ingredients!

So what exactly is the Electrolyte Hydrator?

From their website: “A natural, alkaline-forming drink mix, free from sugar and artificial sweeteners, Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator is formulated with all the essential electrolytes your body needs to stay hydrated during workouts.

With zero calories per serving, Electrolyte Hydrator tastes great, so you can sip it not just during your workout, but throughout the day to:

  • Replenish electrolytes and minerals
  • Enhance metabolism and alkalinity
  • Provide antioxidant protection”

Sounds promising, right?

How did it taste?

I LOVED that it wasn’t as sweet as your standard sports drink… It also didn’t stain my lips/clothes and it didn’t have that weird aftertaste.

That being said, it was still a little too sweet for me, but this was easily remedied by adding a little more water than the 16 oz per packet. Honestly, I think I would have preferred the lemon-lime flavor over the berry, but this was still pretty good.

Did it work?

I definitely noticed that I didn’t feel as depleted/drained after a hard workout when I drank this before/during (Also, here is where I tell you that I’ve had this product for a little while, and it took me forever to test it out because life seriously cut into my workout time. No big deal.).

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I also drank it while I was running around doing errands or at my regular job and it definitely helped me to feel more hydrated.

Would I buy this?

Definitely. I love that there aren’t crazy ingredients and will definitely be adding this to my water for long runs with CamelBak.

Thank you to Vega and Fit Approach for the sample! I would definitely recommend it to my fellow runners looking for a better alternative! #fuelyourbetter

Let’s Chat: Favorite Hydration Product? Flavors?

 


Real Talk: Pure LYFT Review

Hi Friends! Long time no see! Remember when I used to blog a few times a week? Sigh… soon, we will be back to that!

Farmer Ben and I have been crazy busy getting ready for the bistro opening…it’s crazy to think that in just two days (AH!) we will be open for business!

In other news, I was recently sent a sample of LYFT to try and review.

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Not gonna lie, I typically don’t try stuff like this, but with all the late nights at the bistro, I thought it may be nice to try an alternative to my standard coffee with cream… thank you to LYFT for the sample!

Full Disclosure: I was provided LYFT in exchange for a review through Fit Approach. All opinions are my own.

So, what the heck is Pure LYFT?

From their website: “LYFT Energy Stir Sticks are an innovative “clean caffeine”™ energy product infused with all natural caffeine and vitamins that provide a sophisticated energy experience.”

They also boast “a clean taste,” compatible with many different drinks, the caffeine equivalent of a small coffee, zero calories and “no artificial sweeteners, flavors or preservatives.”  The energy comes from green coffee bean extract and vitamins B & A.

So, I figured it couldn’t hurt to give it a try.

I was pretty impressed at how quickly my sample came…it was literally in my mail box two days later.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, I’ve read about green coffee bean extract but had never tried it.

So what did I think?
Well… the packaging was pretty neat.

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And it is pretty self explanatory to use…

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This looks like something else

You peel off the label and stir the stick into your drink…. easy enough.

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The taste was …detectable. It wasn’t super sweet, but I could still taste… something and that threw me off. I must admit, I only mixed with water, the average person probably wouldn’t have noticed it, especially if mixed with tea or juice. 

I will also admit that I am kind of a weirdo with taste, sweet especially, and most people probably wouldn’t notice any taste.

Did I notice a boost in energy?

A little.

I used mine on particularly long days at work when I hit my 3 pm slump. Mid-afternoon has been especially rough as I have been up late most nights, so I’ve been  hitting the coffee pretty hard. I tried the LYFT on days when I just wanted water.

I’d agree with the statement that it is similar to a cup of coffee.

Anything not to like?

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Ugh. Maltodextrin. I do NOT like this ingredient. And I do NOT consider it clean.

I’ll let you do your own research but … it’s (usually) corn. Highly processed corn. There has got to a better way!

I’m also not a fan of “natural flavors,” I get the reasoning behind it but you don’t know what that means.

Would I buy this?

If it didn’t have maltodextrin… maybe. Again, I was pretty disappointed when I saw the ingredient list… if LYFT found a better alternative, I’d consider it… but  I am pretty committed to coffee.

Happy Memorial Day, Friends!


Siggi’s Culture Club & a giveaway{closed}!

Update: because I am late, I chose two winners! Inspired Spoons and Jennie J, you each are getting some siggi’s certificates! Email me at NoellesNotebook @gmail.com and let me know where to send!

You may or may not know this about me…but I am kind of a weirdo when it comes to yogurt. Plain yogurt is my jam. 

I do NOT like flavored yogurt. I can eat plain with fruit mixed into it, but I can’t eat the fruit-flavored stuff. It doesn’t make any sense.

Flavored yogurt makes me gag.

My stomach just doesn’t do well with pre-flavored yogurt. For my taste, there is usually WAY too much sugar/sweetener in it and I usually end up with an upset stomach and a headache.

But one day, this changed for me…on a whim, I tried siggi’s vanilla skyr (Icelandic-style, strained yogurt) . And then siggi’s orange ginger…and it didn’t make me gag! I actually liked it…And the ingredients were REAL and all things I could pronounce/possibly have in my kitchen (like real vanilla bean!)!

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The flavor that rocked my world

To be honest, I didn’t really know how to react to this earth-shattering revelation. I had identified myself as a flavored-yogurt hater for so long, I was having a crisis of epic proportions! What was I supposed to do now?! What would Farmer Ben think?!

Obviously, after this yogurt turned my world upside down, I had to find out more about the company behind the goodness. And I was very pleased with what I found.

siggi’s is a truly great brand! Their motto is “simple ingredients, not a lot of sugar.” If you check out the nutrition/ingredient label, you can see that they stick to this motto.

 I also love that the company was started by one man in his own kitchen, and has expanded. Talk about motivation!

They  are a NY company and use NY dairy. Their yogurt is made with dairy from cows that are grass-fed, and hormone-free and there are no artificial ingredients!

I realized that this was a company I could get behind.  So I did what any former flavored-yogurt hater would do… I applied to be a part of their Culture Club! I did it on a whim and honestly, I didn’t know if I’d be accepted or not (I actually told them I wasn’t big on flavored yogurt… over share!)…but 4-5 weeks later I received a magical email.

I was in the club!

A couple weeks later I received my culture club welcome kit.

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siggi's hookup

I’ve been using the bag every day.

As a long overdue way to celebrate my initiation into the culture club, I’m going to give away 5 coupons for free siggi’s yogurt to one lucky reader in the US!

The only requirement: leave a comment telling me what your favorite flavor of yogurt is.  

 I’ll announce the winner on Tuesday, May 6.

Full disclaimer: As a siggi’s brand ambassador, I received coupons (and may get product on occasion) in exchange for spreading their message of “simple ingredients, not a lot of sugar,” however all opinions are my own.

Happy Friday!


Scenes from a weekend: Breakfast, Beer & Cigar Box Guitars

Happy Tuesday!

Hope you all had a great weekend, I certainly did!

I snuck away to visit the family in Horseheads, NY and let me say, it was so fun (even though Farmer Ben was missing)!

Anyway, here is a brief peek inside my trip… I was a terrible blogger and didn’t take as many pictures as I should have.
I did manage to remember to take pictures at the Horseheads Brewing Co., great beers, great staff. If you are in the area, try the ” hot chocolate,” a mix of their jalapeño ale and chocolate porter!

That’s all for today! Enjoy!

Photos:
Dinner and dessert, my brother-in-law’s latest craft-cigar box guitars!, Horseheads brewing company randoms and more eats.

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A Day Off in Vermont: Run to Chocolate

Happy Monday Friends!

How was your weekend? Mine was pretty spectacular. Not only did I get to spend some quality time with the hubby, but we also knocked off two races this weekend!

Friday night was spent hanging out with the teens in our youth group. P.S.: I’m starting to feel really old when I make movie/music references and they have zero idea what I am talking about….sigh… but other than that, we had a good time.

Run to Chocolate (2 Miles):

On Saturday, Farmer Ben and I got up early, layered up, packed a bag with extra clothes and headed across the lake.

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It was frozen

After we got off the ferry, we stopped at Wally’s Bagels for breakfast and coffee. If you’ve never been, check them out. Best. Bagels. Ever. I went with egg and spicy cheddar on a rosemary olive oil bagel.

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Farmer Ben is not impressed

Once we had our bagels, we jumped on the highway and headed north to Fairfax, Vermont. It actually wasn’t too long of a trip. Even better, I can finally say that I have driven on a covered bridge…unfortunately, I forgot to document this with a photo.

The hubby and I got to the school where the race was held about 40 minutes before starting time. Luckily, it was a pretty low-key event, so we had plenty of time to register, stretch and stay in the warm gym.

We lucked out with the weather, it was a beautiful, sunny day… but the course was snow-covered and slippery. It was an out and back on a dead end road, complete with a nice uphill toward the end… coming back through the school parking lot for the finish was a little tricky, so I didn’t have my usual kick.  Farmer Ben ran the race in 17:34 and I finished at 18:44, not too shabby for the conditions.

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Finish photo

After the race, we walked back into the gym to find tables of chocolate. There were chocolate bars, truffles, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, hot chocolate and a chocolate fountain. The chocolate bars, truffles and fountain were all local. Heck yes! We even scored a few Fleet Feet $10 certificates… not too shabby for a $10 registration fee!

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Terrible photo of the chocolate fountain

Farmer Ben and I got some hot chocolate and brownies and grabbed some of the other chocolate goodness for later. We ended up chatting with two women from Hardwick, VT and even talked them in to coming across the lake for Strides for James!

After the race, we headed to Fleet Feet so I could pick up a new pair of running shoes. The staff sized me, did a gait analysis and then had me try on a few pairs of shoes and watched me run on the treadmill. I ended up getting the Mizuno Wave Inspire 10….with $35 off.

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Cannot wait to break these in

Then, we went to Chipotle. And we had a gift card.

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Happy Hubs

After Chipotle we headed to downtown Burlington and meandered around Church Street.

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Ice sculptures in Church Street

We ended up going to the Saratoga Olive Oil Company and came out with 4 bottles…1 was free!

I guess you could say Saturday was the day of the discount!

Overall it was a great day off and it was so fun to race with the hubby!

How was your weekend? Did you race? Would you run for chocolate?!


Love and Meatballs

Hi friends!

I don’t know about you, but I am getting sick of this snow! Getting to work was a bit rough this morning (luckily Farmer Ben drove me).

Life has been crazy and I’ve been a bad blogger-my apologies!

In other news, Happy Valentine’s Day!

Doing anything special? We don’t normally do much, but I couldn’t resist doing something cheesy….So, I sent the hubby a meatball pizza at work….meatballs in a heart shape.

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He loved it! I’m so glad, because he’s pretty great… and he got to share the love with his coworkers!

That’s all for today… Have a great weekend!

Best Valentine you’ve given? Received?!