Tag Archives: chili

Snapshots from the Weekend

10 Jun

Sometimes I feel like the weekend is over before I can blink, but when I go back and look at the photos on my phone, I am surprised at how much I did. So, let’s recap, shall we?

I stayed home from work on Friday to be with little Frank. He was neutered on Tuesday, so Zach and I took turns staying home with him to keep an eye on his incision. He can’t play with other dogs or do a lot of jumping, so needless to say I had a very bored puppy on my hands:

Can we please go for a walk?

Can we please go for a walk?

I did take him for a few walks, but a mere walk is not enough for this pup. I can’t wait until he can play with his puppy cousins and get back to the dog park! When Zach got home from work, I hit the treadmill to do a quick run to keep up with the Runner’s World Run Streak, then went to Crossfit, where we did a fun and quick WOD followed by a partner ab workout:

friday wod

 

…and then on Saturday I got to attend my first 2 hour Boot Camp Class of the season! This is something that is put together by two of my favorite group fitness instructors at the gym, they do it a few times in the early and late summer, and it’s so fun! We start at 8:00 AM on Saturday, and we run from the gym to the park, where we go through a bunch of exercises, then we run to another location to do some exercises, and we repeat that cycle in a big two mile loop that ends up back at the gym for hour two, which is indoors. It’s a super intense and fun workout that I get excited for each time we do it. Unfortunately I didn’t get any photos of it, but trust me, it’s a blast!

Later on Saturday, Zach and I decided to take the pup for a nice long walk to get out some of his puppy energy:

Photo Jun 08, 8 20 30 PMHe had a blast, and so did I. There isn’t much I like more than taking long walks with my two favorite guys ūüôā

Sunday was a pretty lazy day. Despite trying to stick to the Runner’s World run streak, I felt like my body desperately needed a rest day after two pretty intense workouts on Friday and Saturday, so I took one! No shame in that. Zach and I did some cleaning and I whipped up some chili.

Photo Jun 09, 5 43 51 PM

 

I guess most people don’t see chili as a summer food, but I’m very into a nice veggie chili in the warm weather, especially on dreary and rainy Sundays!

Despite all of my seemingly healthy choices this weekend, I still overdid it a bit in the eating department. I fear this month’s Diet Bet won’t turn out as well as the last one did, but I’m back on track today!

Question of the Day:
Do you have trouble making healthy choices when the weekend rolls around?

 

WIAW: Healthy Snack Edition

5 Dec

Another rest day. Sigh.

I was actually glad that I had a planned rest day today because Zach and I stayed up late (11:30, haha) last night to watch the season finale of Sons of Anarchy (I spend most of my time “watching” that show with my hand over my eyes — I’m a wuss), so I figured I could sleep in today. I even canceled my usual 5:25 AM alarm and set a new alarm for 7, so of course my eyes flew open at 5:13 AM and I was wide awake.

Oh well, at least I got some cleaning done, including the dreaded task of scooping out the cat boxes — yuck!

Today, I’m focusing on¬†not¬†eating everything in sight. I have been a little out-of-control snacky lately, and it’s sabotaging my efforts to lose those pounds I put on while training for the half. So, I’ve decided to participate in my first ¬†What I Ate Wednesday — sort of. ¬†When bloggers who are good at photographing their food and planning their daily blogs do this, they usually pick a day other than¬†the Wednesday they are posting it so that they can show you a whole day’s worth of food. Since I’m a bad planner,¬†I’m putting up my post ¬†a little later than usual and giving you What-I-Ate-Wednesday-Up-Until-My-Afternoon-Snack: WIAWUUMAS. Yeah, not quite as catchy, but anyway, here we go:

WIAWbutton

In case you don’t know, WIAW is a phenomenon that pops up in Healthy Living Blogs all over and was started by Jenn at Peas and Crayons. If you are new to it, please click here to read more about what WIAW is all about.

I started out my morning with a two-ingredient panacake and some coffee. Of course, as usual I ate half of the pancake at home, and then saved half for when I got to work. I paired my second half with an apple and a big glass of water:

breakfast

Someday I’ll set up pretty food shots like other bloggers, but until then enjoy my plastic containers and desk calendar!

For my post-breakfast snack, I had a piece of Hershey’s dark chocolate with almonds. In case you haven’t gotten the memo, dark chocolate is healthy. So are almonds. So it counts! ūüėČ

Usually for lunch, Zach picks me up and we go home. Since he is at a meeting out of town today, I stuck around the office for lunch. I wrapped a sweet potato in some foil this morning and I popped it into the oven at work around 10:30 so it would be nice and baked by noon. Then I headed out in search for some soup and/or a salad:

lunch and dinner

So much food!

My plan was to get a side-salad and a CUP of soup from Shlotzsky’s to go with my sweet potato, but they have this “Pick 2” promotion, and it ends up being cheaper to get a bowl of soup and a half salad ($5.99), when a cup of soup is $2.49 and a side salad is $3.99 — how crazy is that!? This ended up being a great deal, because the soup and potato was¬†more¬†than enough food for me. I took the croutons off the salad and saved it for dinner. Win! The sweet potato was so good! I put it in the oven around 10:30 at a low temperature, and just let it cook until I got back with my soup and salad — it was perfectly soft and yummy. I poured hot sauce all over it and just ate it like that. I like my lunch time meal to be my largest meal of the day. I tend to get the late-afternoon munchies, so I like to hold that off as long as possible.

As much as I love having lunch at home with Zach, sometimes it’s ok to stay at the library. I grab a magazine from the Reference Department to flip through while I eat, and then I usually have enough time to take a 10-20 minute walk.

The #Elf4Health Challenge for today was to pack a healthy snack, and pack one for a friend. I have a co-worker who always talks to me about making healthy food choices, so I packed myself and her an afternoon snack:

Carrot sticks and almonds! Yum!

Carrot sticks and almonds! Yum!

I was so excited to give it to her, but of course she worked the late shift and didn’t come into work until almost noon today. I took it down to her after lunch and she was very happy! She said on her late day, she doesn’t usually have time to eat so it was perfect timing. Doing good deeds makes me ūüôā

So: What constitutes a healthy snack? In my opinion, it’s something tasty that will satiate you for a couple hours until your next meal. I personally like to pair something crunchy and¬†fibrous¬†(a piece of crunchy fruit or some carrot sticks) with a little protein (peanut butter, almonds, cheese) — so yes, my chocolate from this morning counts! Sometimes, I’ll just make myself half of a PB&J and pair it with a piece of fruit. Yum!¬†Snacks are important to me because if I get over-hungry, I will not make healthy food choices. I¬†know¬†I shouldn’t be inhaling three pieces of pizza, but I’m¬†starving, so get out of my way.

…and that’s where we are going to wrap up my first WIAW post! Hopefully next time I can plan ahead a little and give you a full day of eats.

A quick note in the interest of full-disclosure: I have decided that I really hate counting calories, so instead, I’m back on the Weight Watchers train. In case you don’t know, I lost the majority of my weight on Weight Watchers — I’m a huge fan. I can’t afford the weekly fee, so I just use my old knowledge of the program and calculators to count points rather than calories. For some reason it’s easier to wrap my brain around the points system than calories.¬†

Question of the Day:
What is the one thing that easily sabotages your efforts to make healthy food choices? Which meal of the day is usually your largest? 

Wild Wednesday

31 Oct

Today I have some random things to share with you:

Because the weather is frightful due to Sandy, I’ve been doing treadmill runs every day this week. Because I get bored easily, I did a little round up of treadmill workouts that I could find online yesterday:

Fit Sugar’s Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced intervals + a hills workout.¬†

 

I ended up doing the Fartlek workout from the 4-for-Fall after work last night and it was a killer. I was definitely pouring sweat and huffing and puffing. I ran a fast 2.5 miles and it took just under 20 minutes. That was perfect for after work. I packed my gym clothes with me to work, walked to the gym, pounded out a workout and was home by 6:00 PM. Perfect.

This morning, I did that Pyramid Interval workout. It felt easy at first, but I was definitely feeling it by the end.

I had a relapse of my bad stretching habits.¬†Remember when I told you that you should¬†always stretch after a workout¬†so you don’t end up with sciatica issues like me!? Well, I didn’t heed my own advice and I’m feeling it this morning. After my run this morning, I hobbled home and spent at least 10 minutes stretching it out. I feel a lot better, so I just need to keep reminding myself that if I don’t stretch, I¬†will¬†be in pain.

I had one of the best lunches ever this week. Leftover chili is the best, no? Also, to me there is nothing better than a slice of buttered bread with chili.

 

Also, if you are planning on roasting some pumpkin seeds soon, I highly suggest Mama Pea’s Salt & Vinegar style roasted seeds. Last year, I tried a variety of spice mixtures on my seeds. This year, I didn’t mess with anything other than the winner, they are SO GOOD.

I can’t wait to try this recipe.¬†Tina, at Carrots n Cake, has made it a couple of times with Swiss Chard, and this morning I was about to ask if she thought it would be good with Kale, when I decided to just click on the recipe link instead — turns out it is originally made with Kale! Doh! I’ll be making it this evening for dinner. Yum:

And, finally,¬†Do you think I can get through my half-marathon?¬†As of now, the half-marathon is just under 12 days away. I’m a little nervous that I can get through the 13.265 (I thought half-marathons were 13.1, but ours is 13.265. I’m¬†so¬†annoyed about it, too) mile run, as the last time I’ve run that distance was….well, two years ago when I ran this race! Since my post-vacation training hasn’t gone as planned, the furthest long run I have done is 9 miles, and though I’m a better and faster runner than I was 2 years ago, I’m also having some pain. I’m just really nervous!

Question of the Day:
Do you get nervous before a big race? 

Chili-Cheese Omelet

30 Oct

I know that we are all health-freaks over here, but who’s with me when I say, Chili Cheese fries are good, right? I avoid them most all of the time, but I can’t deny their deliciousness factor. I mean, what’s not to love? Yummy golden fries, smothered with spicy, salty chili and a thick layer of cheddar cheese!?

Ok, there is a lot not to love. Like the fact that the potatoes are fried in oil, the chili is just fatty meat covered in sodium-laced sauce and the cheese is most likely as processed as it gets.

This morning, I had an idea. I have some leftover (healthy) chili in my fridge from this weekend, and I thought, “I bet that chili would be good with eggs.” — and my newest creation was ¬†born:

 

The chili was great: Carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, peppers, onion, ground turkey and beans in a spicy chili sauce. Super healthy and delicious. Basically, I just beat up some eggs, poured them into the bottom of my non-stick skillet, then poured a little chili on top and sprinkled just the tiniest bit of cheddar cheese on top. Then I just cooked it up like a normal omelet, flipping it once. Yum!

I don’t know if this sounds weird to you, but let me assure you, it is DELICIOUS! You must try it next time you have leftover chili in your fridge. It was the perfect breakfast, paired with half a slice of the whole-wheat (vegan style) pumpkin bread I made this weekend and a cup of Costa Rican coffee, courtesy of my friend/neighbor, Ashley, who just spent a month in Costa Rica getting certified to teach yoga (you really must read about her experience, here.)

In other news, I am just sick about the damage to the Northern East Coast from Sandy, however, the hurricane’s effect on us was pretty desirable in my opinion:

It’s snowing! In October!

We didn’t get nearly as much snow as Western W.V. did (in the mountains, there is apparently over a foot and still falling!), but I must say I’m pretty pleased about it. Especially knowing that it is going to be 60 degrees and sunny this weekend, it’s kind of fun to have a taste of winter early. I hope everyone that reads this is safe and didn’t get too much damage. I know I’ll be spending most of my day reading the news to see what happened where.

Question of the Day:
Did you get any wacky weather from Sandy?

A Fall Getaway

1 Oct

This weekend, Zach and I joined some friends for a trip to Marlinton, WV for their annual Fall Festival and “Roadkill Cook-off” — all of us had seen advertisements for the Festival when we’ve visited Pocahontas County, so our¬†curiosity¬†was peaked. Our friend Mandee’s husband Garrett’s family happens to have a cabin located right along the Greenbrier River and they invited us down to hang out at the cabin and check out the Festival.

See Zach and Garrett?

The cabin was great! All the comforts of home. We arrived on Friday evening and left Sunday morning, so minus our Roadkill Festival fare, we concluded that we would need three meals while we were there — dinner Friday, breakfast Saturday, and dinner on Saturday. So each couple was responsible for one meal. Mandee made us an excellent chili on Friday evening (I threw together a quickie cast-iron skillet cornbread also). I’m sad I didn’t take any photos, but I was ravenous and just inhaled it! I was responsible for breakfast Saturday morning. Since we were right on the Greenbrier River Trail, I wanted to get a run or two in, so I decided on a low-maintenance breakfast: quiche!

Mmmmm….

Quiche is the easiest. You just crack some eggs, add in some cream, cheese and veggies then cook it until it’s not runny anymore. I even used a store-bought crust because I was going for quick and easy. I love easy meals that are delicious and seem labor-intensive. This quiche turned out great. Usually I go the asparagus route with quiche, but this time I threw in some broccoli and peppers. It was very delicious. I made two, and we had plenty of leftovers to heat up and eat while we were packing up on Sunday morning.

Speaking of running (was I?), like I mentioned we were right on the Greenbrier River Trail. It’s a 78 mile trail that goes through the mountains of West Virginia, and it is breathtaking. On Saturday morning, I did a three-mile loop in one direction and then on Sunday I did a six-mile loop in the other direction. It was a really pretty run, and the weather was chilly enough that once I started sweating I was still comfortable.

I must have stopped to take a million photos.

Our cabin was located on mile marker 77, so on my six mile loop I ran until I got to mile marker 74 and then turned around. I love running in the solitude and nature, but do not try to do it without music. When I run in town, there is plenty to keep my interest, but miles and miles of river and trees, while lovely, can get pretty repetitive pretty quickly. The first morning I realized that I forgot my headphones, hence the shorter run, but then on Sunday morning I realized I brought that hat you see on my head up there, which has built in headphones. Luckily it was chilly enough to run in a hat.

Enjoying the view from the cabin porch, post-run.

Let’s talk about the Roadkill Cook-off, shall we? The Pocahontas County Autumn Harvest Festival and Roadkill Cook-off has been happening for 22 years now. The first rule listed in the WV Living Magazine article about it last year reads:¬†The main ingredient must be any animal commonly found dead on the side of the road, including groundhog, possum, deer, rabbit, squirrel, or snake. Pigs, cows, chickens, horses, and goats are also acceptable. The animal need not actually come off the side of the road, and in fact,¬†most of the judges prefer that¬†it didn‚Äôt.

I’ll have to admit, I was pretty nervous. I’ve been a vegetarian in the past, so going beyond my usual chicken or fish was a bit of a stretch for me. But, these are once in a lifetime opportunities, people!

After a rainy Friday, we had some fabulous weather for the festival on Saturday. Blue skies, fluffy white clouds, hot sun and cool breeze — perfect fall weather. The Festival itself was pretty standard — crafts, food, etc. But the real fun was located in the town square. For three dollars, you got a wristband that allowed you to sample any of the food that was being judged for the cook-off:

 

The first line we got into was a booth that was serving “Possum Burgoo” I’m pretty sure they were trying to go for a traditional Kentucky Burgoo (which is amazing!), so I figured if nothing else I would like the stew itself.

This possum was incredibly life-like.

The stew itself resembled chili. I got a huge chunk of meat in mine, which I bravely ate. It tasted exactly like chicken. In fact, I swear it actually was chicken because possums are kind of gross and I don’t want to think about eating them. The stew itself, however, was bland. After that I went into it with a new attitude: Food Critic.

After the first booth, we got straight into line to try a squirrel meat rice dish. It was a little better than the Burgoo, but I was still searching for my favorite.

The next line we got into had the best presentation, in my opinion. They were serving “Porcupine Quill” which was basically a skewer of porcupine meat (are porcupines typically roadkill?) with vegetables and a yummy sweet and a little spicy sauce.

 

The boy in the middle said that Native Americans would use this recipe and use the porcupine’s quills as skewers for the meat and veggies. This was by far my favorite of the cook-off. They claimed to use the traditional Native American recipe, but it seemed a lot like teriyaki sauce. It was still delicious.

After that, we tried a bear meatloaf, which I found to be a little mushy, but everyone else seemed to like.

A few of the booths were closed down because judging was happening. This is the one I would have liked to try:

 

In case you can’t read that menu, they had a Teriyaki Venison, a Rabbit and Dandelion salad and Venison fried rice. Yum! I’m really sorry I missed that one.

All in all, we thought the Roadkill Cook-off was just so-so. While the food was interesting and exciting, other than the samples of the food being judged, there wasn’t many food vendors around. There was a stand selling goat meat sandwiches (not my thing) and a stand selling Polish sausage (so my thing). Everyone got a goat meat sandwich, but when I went over to get a sausage they were out of onions and peppers so I passed. We ended up going to a restaurant and having a few bites there before heading back to the cabin for the evening.

 

We got back to the cabin just as the sun was setting. I ran to the river to take some photos of the view, and I got the above gem. Despite the festival being kind of a bust, we had a great time hanging out, enjoying nature and each other’s company so the trip was a success!

Question of the Day:
Did you do anything fun this weekend? 

Half-Marathon Training Series #2: The long run

17 Sep

On Saturday, two things were going on in my town:

One, it was the day for the annual Chilifest! I look forward to this day every year, because I love chili.

It’s tough to find a chili that is both spicy enough and has enough flavor. I went to one booth and they said that they had a ghost pepper chili that was¬†very¬†spicy. Since I’m a lover of spice, I told them to bring it on. They acted as if it would blow my socks off. It was basically cold tomato sauce with some ghost peppers thrown in. Yeah, there was some heat, but there was absolutely no other flavor at all. I almost thought it was a joke. That photo in the middle of Zach is as he is eating the only true spicy chili that we found, and that was only after the addition of the “hottest sauce in the universe” — it was incredibly spicy! It burned the back of my throat, and it also had a good flavor. I think that people are afraid to make things too spicy because not everyone is a fan.

After Chilifest, we went to a Marshall University Football game. Zach and I both graduated from Marshall, so we are big Herd fans!

It was a perfect day for football. Early fall heat in the afternoon with a nice chill once the sun set.

I took the first photo and Zach said, “Wait, my eyes weren’t open!” So that is what happened when I took another. haha.

Our team ended up losing  a really close game! We were pretty bummed about that, but we were impressed with how they played.

Somehow on Sunday morning, I felt fine when I woke up so I immediately got ready to go out for my long run of the week. I haven’t had a long run since before we went to the beach, so I was kind of nervous on how I’d handle the 7 miles I had on my training schedule. Which brings me to the point of today’s post.

Half-Marathon Training: The  Long Run

A ‘long run’ when you are training for a distance race is basically the longest run you’ve done on your schedule thus far, plus one mile. Ideally, you do one long run a week during your training. If you’re a beginner and you are training for a half-marathon, most likely the longest run on your schedule will be 10 miles. The first time I trained for a half-marathon, I did 10 miles exactly one week before my race (no tapering). I wouldn’t suggest doing that, but I didn’t really follow a training program per se. I just knew that I was supposed to get my mileage up to 10 miles and, according to the sources I’d read, the adrenaline would carry me through the last three.

Well, that is true, but after 11 miles, I was pretty spent. I’m glad that this time around I’ll be up to at least 12 before the race:

The Long Run can be a bit daunting. I usually have to really psych myself up for them, and (this is a personal preference) do them first thing in the morning or they just don’t work out.

First, let’s talk about the logistics of the long run, starting with why they are important. The point of the long run is to build your endurance for running distance races. You shouldn’t focus on speed on your long runs, in fact, you should try to run them slower than any other training race. The reason for this is that while you will get the same endurance benefits, but you will recover much more quickly so you can continue your training the next week (or even the next day) without taking too much time off.

If you find yourself huffing and puffing (where you wouldn’t be able to carry on a conversation) during your long run, you are going too fast. It’s even important to take water, stretch or walk breaks during your longest runs of the week. The point is to take it easy, but keep running for a sustained amount of time.

Despite the fact that I sort of dread getting started on a long run, I never, ever, ever regret completing one. Sure, there have been times that I’ve not completed my mileage because I just wasn’t feeling it, but I always try to get at least a few miles in. Also, a good tip is that even if you split up your mileage (do half in the morning and half in the evening), it still counts as a long run on your training schedule, but remember that on race day, you won’t be able to take a several hour break at the halfway point.

One point that Jeff Galloway makes when talking about long runs (and one that is often overlooked), is the mental benefit of the long run. There is something about finishing the longest run of your training schedule that really builds you up for the rest of the day. Also, I love ending my week with a long run in the morning, because when you’ve completed 1+ hour of running, you get to be completely lazy for the rest of the day ūüôā

What about entertainment on long runs? Well, for me, music is fine for a run that is less than 5 miles, but once I get into higher mileage, music gets a little old. Two things that have really gotten me through longer runs are the NPR  This American Life app (a great radio show about remarkable things in everyday life), and audiobooks. If you have a smart phone or an iPod touch, these two things are right at your fingertips.

While we were at the beach, I read about half of a book that was at our beach house. Of course, I had to leave it behind when I got home, so I picked up the audiobook from the library and I’ve been listening on my longer runs. It’s the perfect way to get in some “reading” while running!

Question of the day:
What is the longest distance you’ve ever run?¬†

Turning that Frown Upside-Down

14 Sep

Well. This week has been, interesting to say the least. Let’s start at the very beginning:

Monday was a crazy hectic day, as Mondays tend to be. We both slept in after not getting a lot of sleep the previous evening (due to Zach’s birthday celebration), so we were running late getting to work. I took my running clothes with me to work, and instead of going home after work, I went for a 3 mile run and then met Zach out for trivia. We didn’t get home until late and pretty much went straight to bed.

Tuesday morning I got up and went to the gym, and got quite the great workout in. I did a true tempo run for 30 minutes:

It’s hard to get a non-blurry treadmill photo.

I kept half marathon pace the entire time! I was very proud of myself. I even hit the weights pretty hard after this run. When I got home, I made some breakfast and noticed that I couldn’t see one of my three cats, Posey.

Isn’t she pretty?

I didn’t think much of it, because she is a great hider and almost never comes when you call her name. So, I started getting ready for work. When Zach came out of our bedroom, he said, “Where’s Posey?” to which I replied, “You know, I don’t know. I haven’t seen her all morning. I think she’s probably hiding somewhere.” So, we started searching for her. After I looked in all her normal hiding spots, I started to get concerned, so I pulled out the big guns: the wet food. If you ever can’t find Posey, a surefire way to get her out of hiding is to pull out the dishes I use to feed them wet food (very rarely), and clink them together. She will come running from afar. When she didn’t come out after that, I knew we were in trouble. Zach and I went outside and called and called her, but nothing. I called into work and told them I’d be in after lunch and started my search.

To make a long story short, I didn’t find her. I ended up going into work and just being a teary eyed freak the whole time. My neighbor and friend, Ashley, made me some fliers to hang up around the neighborhood, and I shared photos of her on all the social networking sites to get the word out that I was looking for her.

After work, Zach, my friend Mandee and I walked around our neighborhood endlessly looking for her, and banging those damn dishes together….nothing. I hated going to bed that night without her in the house. I left some food outside for her, along with my sweaty gym clothes (so she could find my scent, haha) and her litter box. The next day, I woke up very early (it was still dark), so I went to the gym and then searched with Zach before going to work. We told all the neighbors about her and just did all we could. I was texting with my neighbor Ashley and she said, “By the way, just in case you thought it was Posey, there was a raccoon on our porch eating that food last night. I had a friend over and he looked out the window and said, ‘Uh, why are you feeding the raccoons?'” — Which caused me to laugh for a very long time.

Zach’s sister (and my friend, and my bridesmaid) Courtney made me more fliers to hang up around the neighborhood. I wish I had photographed one, because this photo was prominently displayed at the top:

Photo courtesy of Courtney Bell Photography

!! She said, “I hope you don’t mind, but I figured the way to catch people’s attention is to put a picture of a pretty girl in red lipstick at the top of the flier.” I didn’t mind, but I did think it was funny. After work that day (Wednesday?), we met up with Courtney and exhaustively went around putting up fliers some more. I’ll admit at this point I was starting to lose hope. Although I think Posey is a unique flower, her coloring is actually very common, and there are a LOT of stray cats in our neighborhood. The chances of someone finding her, in my eyes, were slim. I knew that she would have to either make her way home on her own, or someone would pick her up and take her home — or the unthinkable would happen. I’m not going to talk about that option.

After flier-ing the neighborhood, I told Zach, “I just want to relax this evening. I’ve been stressed out about this for days, and I just want to change into my pajamas, drink some wine and watch a movie.” — So that is what we did. I was on my second glass of wine when the doorbell rang. Zach and I both jumped up, and I ran as fast as I could (in my inappropriate-for-outdoors pajamas) to the door. Our neighbors across the street were out there and he said, “I think your cat just ran under those cars!!”

Sure enough, I went to where he said and heard a scared little “Mew!” come from under the car. I called Posey and eventually she crawled out. I can’t even tell you how happy I was, as I grabbed her and ran indoors. She was obviously completely freaked out (I neglected to mention that I’ve had Posey for six years, and she’s only ever been outside in a carrier on her way to the vet), and the other cats were hissing at her, probably because she smelled like other animals, but she was healthy! After a minute of pure joy, I ran outside again to say thank you to the neighbors for looking out for her. I really can’t tell you how grateful I am to them. Sure, she may have made her way up to the door and let me know she was out there, but what if she got scared and ran off again? The kindness of strangers never ceases to amaze me.

What a little stinker! Photo courtesy of my dear friend, Jenni.

With Posey found, I was ready to get things back to normal, but Thursday was a nightmare workday. I got some disconcerting news regarding a family member’s health, work was just crazy, and I had a little financial hiccup. None of these things I can or care to go into too much detail about (mainly because this post is getting so lengthy), but it all lent to having quite a stressful day.

When I got home from work, I walked in the door and immediately smelled the Chicken Taco Chili (recipe from Gina at Skinnytaste here) I had put in the crockpot earlier, and was greeted by Zach. Both of these things made my day brighten quite a bit. Food and Fiance do wonders for my mood! I threw together a quick recipe of Isa Chandra’s cornbread (recipe here) and put on my running clothes. I told Zach (and I quote): “I’ve decided to cheer up. I figured out all my work stuff, I talked to my family member and the prognosis is better than I thought, and the financial hiccup has been taken care of. Now I’m going to go for a run and when I get back, I’ll be in a great mood”

So, that’s what I did. I went for a run. I decided that I would run around my neighborhood and take down the Missing Posey signs. I really can’t tell you how liberating that was. I only ran about 1.5 miles, but I broke a little sweat and had a big smile on my face when I got home. So, we dug into our delicious dinner:

Of course I can’t ever show you a photo of food that hasn’t been half-eaten already.

That chili is sooo good, but let me tell you about this cornbread. Whenever I make baked goods that typically call for buttermilk, I usually try to find a vegan recipe. Have you ever used the vegan buttermilk trick? Basically, you take one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and mix it with one cup of soy or almond milk. You will see it curdle right up, and it acts just like buttermilk in a baked goods recipe, and it is much¬†healthier!¬†This cornbread is out of this world. Moist and tasty! All of Isa’s recipes (Isa Chandra is the genius behind many Vegan staple cookbooks, like Veganomicon, which is basically the Vegan recipe bible) are incredible, but this cornbread is one of my favorites. I always cook it in my perfectly seasoned cast iron skillet to give it that rustic feel. I much prefer triangular pieces of cornbread to squares.

This must be my very longest post to date, but I promise I’m almost done!

After a nice evening of chili, cornbread, beer, football and friends, I’m ready to tackle the weekend with a smile. This weekend, Zach and I are attending a football game for our Alma Mater (Go Herd!) and I’ll get to see some friends I haven’t seen in quite some time. I hope you have a great weekend!

Question of the Day:
What do you do to unwind after a rough week?