Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Homemade Energy Bars

Good Morning Everyone! I apologize for not posting for a while, but as promised here is the recipe for the energy bars I made and trialed last week.
It can be difficult to go for long distance runs at anytime, and then we have to find food that our body's are able to process along the way. For the past couple of years I have been using Honey Stinger Energy Chews, but over the past 8 months something was not agreeing with my body when running over 20K. I thought it might be the energy chews, so on Thursday I thought I would make my own energy bars to eat. They were fantastic!
I ran 21miles eating chocolate energy bars (that I made the night before), along with some Hammer Endurolyte pills and I felt amazing! My legs were starting to get tired by the end, yes. But I felt great otherwise!
The recipe I found is simple and basic, and you can substitute something of your choice for any of the ingredients. Following is the basic recipe, with some example ingredients, and then the 2 recipes that I have tried so far.


1lb can of beans (Adzuki, chick peas, white beans, black beans, pinto beans, your choice)
1/2 cup binder (Almond butter, Peanut butter, pureed pumpkin, mashed avocado, your choice)
1/4 cup sweetener (Maple syrup, agave nectar, honey, your choice)
1/4 cup soft fruit of choice (apple sauce, mashed bananas, chopped dates (pits removed), crushed pineapple, your choice)
1 tsp extract (vanilla, almond, coconut, lemon, coffee, your choice)
1 tsp dry spice (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, instant coffee, your choice)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cup oats
1 cup dry base ingredients (protein powder, rice four, spelt flour, buckwheat flour, cocoa, whole-wheat flour, your choice)
1 cup add ins (shredded coconut, dried cranberries, raisins, dry cereal, crushed pretzels, chopped nuts, chocolate chips, your choice)

In a food processor combine beans, binder, sweetener, soft fruit, extract, spice and salt and process until smooth. Add the oats and dry base and pulse to combine. Add stir-ins and pulse again to combine. If it seems too thick or if it is difficult to blend add water (I did from the start). If it seems too runny then add some dry base.

Grease 13x 9 pan with spray or oil (I used coconut oil) and spread mixture in pan. Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes.

Chocolate Black Bean Energy Bars
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup almond butter
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup mashed bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup cocoa + 1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup shredded coconut + 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Maple Pumpkin Energy Bars
1 can chick peas (though I will use different ones next time)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup maple syrup (use more if you like the bars a little sweeter)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cups oats
1 cup buckwheat flour (though next time I will try spelt or rice)
1 cup crushed pretzels (crushed bran flakes would also be good)

I would like to thank the No Meat Athlete for the recipe and also for saving my running life :)

Please share any recipes that you come up with on your own! I would love to hear about them and try them :)

Monday, 31 March 2014

Yoga Party

Every month we ladies meet for our dress club and the hostess gets to pick the theme. March was my month and when my husband suggested a yoga theme, I thought he was brilliant!
First I decided that I would hire a yoga instructor to come into my home to teach some yoga. After asking just one person for a suggestion, I had an instructor that would provide the music and the poses.
Once I had found Erin to guide us through some yoga, I found a site on Etsy that would provide me with decorations...

Next step was to plan the menu. It seemed like a no brainer to have Indian food, Organic wine and clean eats at a yoga party. So I decided that I would make Clean Chicken Masala and Coconut rice while providing the organic wine. (Costco has a decent selection of organic wines). The other ladies brought salads, salad rolls, Indian ice cream and avocado chocolate pudding. It all came together nicely.
I started the night serving a fruit and veggie infused water. And after yoga I opened the wine. The water was a big hit.
 And was ready with yoga tea from Steeped Tea.
The night was a lot of fun and big hit. I had really great feedback! I will definitely plan another night like this one :)

Oh! And what is a party without party favours!? I had leg warmers for each lady to take home with them. Instead of getting to choose a colour, I taped words to each pair and asked them to pick the word that they were most attracted to.
Our awesome playlist provided by Erin was as follows...

In for the kill- la roux
Finally moving James brown remix- pretty lights
Her brother- avicii
Elegy- tycho
Hey now- London grammar
Fly away- wafefoker
My love is your love- Whitney Houston
Where's the love- Trevor hall
All wash out- Edward sharp and the magnetic zeros
Frog- carbon based lifeforms
Somewhere over the rainbow

Thanks everyone for reading!


Sunday, 16 March 2014

Reasons to Join A Run Club

Today I had my usual Sunday morning run (23K) with my marathon training group. Every Sunday morning I look forward to seeing my group and chatting with them. I have not run with a group since my Learn to Run Clinic in 2007, and I am really enjoying it!
I found an article from the Running Room that I think gives all of the perfect reasons why everyone would benefit from joining a run club/group.

1. Be mentored by someone who is more experienced than you.
Last week I ran with a woman that will be running Western States (100miles in California) and she is filled with knowledge, advice and experience. Our group pacer is also an experienced ultra runner which is all very helpful for my training.
Every week I am able to ask any one of these group members for some advice and they are always more than happy to help!
2. Mentor a new runner.
As I am gaining more experience myself I am also able to now pass along advice to beginner runners or people that may just have questions.
3. Expand your social network.
What a great way to meet other people that enjoy running. (Or don't, but do it for the exercise ;)
Also a great way to meet new people and make new friends.
4. Deepen your commitment to running
Studies have shown that people that join run clubs have an increased commitment and also have improved their race times.
5. Stay motivated
My run club gives me the motivation to get out there on cold days, wet days, or just those days that I don't feel like running. My group also helps me to run those hills that I might normally slow down on or even walk up.
6. Stave off boredom
One of the troubles with long distance running is that it can be lonely and boring. Running with a group helps to distract one's attention from the "long" distance.
7. Learn new routes
Almost every week we run a new route. I am learning more about my area and I gaining an appreciation for the country that I didn't even know existed in my city.
8. Share accomplishments
When your non-running friends are tired of hearing about your running life, your run club/group is the perfect outlet to chat about everything to do with running. They love to talk about and hear about running!
9. Save money
It's almost a guarantee that a few of your fellow group members will be running the same races as you. This allows you to car pool and/or split the cost of accommodation. It also eats up my time for shopping and spending money in other ways I probably don't need to.
10. Stay in the loop
The running group will almost always send out information on upcoming events, races and more. It is a great way to stay informed.

I used to think that I was a person that liked to run alone, but after joining my training group, I realize that I was completely wrong. I hope to continue to run with this group and others that may join in the future. I am learning a lot and it keeps me honest to my running.
Happy Running Everyone!

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Vegan Sweet Potato and Black bean Enchiladas with Avocado-cilantro Cream Sauce

After an amazing 26K run in the warmer temperatures today this was a perfect dinner to end my day. Even my husband loved this meal, and he usually doesn't enjoy my "Vegan dishes". :)
(This recipe is taken from my new favourite recipe book. The Oh She Glows Cookbook is written by Angela Liddon and the recipe is from page 147.)

Sweet Potato and Black bean Enchiladas with Avocado-cilantro Cream Sauce

For the Enchiladas:
2 Cups sweet potato (peeled and chopped small)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 red onion
2 large cloves garlic
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1 bell pepper
1 (15oz) can black beans
2 large handfuls spinach, roughly chopped
1 1/2-2 cups enchilada sauce (I chose to use Epicure as it is all natural with no added ingredients.)
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
5-6 gluten free corn tortillas
For the Avocado-Cilantro Sauce
1/2 cup Fresh cilantro
2Tbsp lime juice
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a large rectangular baking dish.
2. Make the Enchiladas. Place sweet potato in a medium saucepan and add enough water to just cover. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5-7 minutes, or until fork tender. Drain and set aside.

3. In a large skillet, heat the oil and add the onion and garlic, sauté for about 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent.

4. Add the bell pepper, cooked sweet potato, black beans, and spinach. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook until the spinach is wilted.
5. Remove from the heat and add 1/4 cup of prepared enchilada sauce, the lime juice, chill powder, cumin and salt.
6. Spread 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce evenly over the baking dish. Scoop sweet potato filling on each tortilla and roll, placing it seam side down. Spread remaining enchilada sauce over tortillas. If you have left over mixture, top on the tortillas as well.
Make as a casserole and layer the corn tortillas with the mixture (which is what I chose to do). Spread the enchilada sauce on top.
7. Bake the enchiladas uncovered for 20-25 minutes.
8. Meanwhile, make the avocado cilantro sauce. In a food processor, process the cilantro until minced. Add the avocado, lime juice, se salt, garlic powder and 3-5 Tbsp water and process until creamy.
9. When the enchiladas are ready to serve, plate them individually and drizzle or spread some of the Avocado-Cilanto Cream Sauce on top of each. Garnish with cilantro.

Of course we had wine with dinner :)
Our choice of Road 13, Honest John's Red was a fabulous pairing with the enchiladas. This wine from the Okanagan in British Columbia (and one of our favourites). It is a blended wine and is pretty easy to drink.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Preparing to run in freezing temperatures

Well, I was going to do it, then not. Then I will, No, Am I crazy!?!?
Did you all stay nice and warm this past weekend? I sure hope so! With the windchill here in Red Deer, AB it was -42C! Sunday was the day scheduled for the Hypothermic Half Marathon, and I had only half convinced myself to run it. When I woke up Sunday morning I figured the worst case scenario would be that I start running and freeze my toes off, so I turn around and go to the gym instead.
The first step to running in temperatures like this is to be prepared! I had never dressed in so many layers! I started with 2 toques, a tech tube over my face and neck, then on my top half had my sports bra, my skeleton short sleeve, my long sleeve sugar skull, my dragon fly pullover and a double layer jacket on top of that. On my my bottom half I had a pair of compression socks, then thick running tights with my my INKnBURN denim on top of that and put one more pair of socks on top of that!
The one that I truly believed saved me was putting Aquaphor on my face! It is like Vaseline and it absolutely protected my face from the wind and other elements.

The second step to running in freezing weather is to run fast!!! Seriously! I found that my toes did not even have a chance to get cold as my blood was circulating so quickly. I arrived late to the race start, so I had to run like crazy to catch up to the rest of the runners.
Overall, running in these crazy temperatures is not my favourite thing to do, but I didn't mind it as much I thought I would dislike it. Being prepared for the severe windchill and cold temperatures really helped. I started coughing around KM 13, but it was only periodic and it wasn't anything that bothered me too much.
It takes a very special person to volunteer in this cold weather. A special thank you to all that came out to freeze your bums off. Especially to the ones with water, and the lady at the finish line that was able to tell me I was the first girl across the line and that was also happy to take a picture of my frozen face :)
I feel as if I was very well prepared and I was not over, nor underdressed for this crazy occasion! I am happy and fortunate to have survived, and maybe one day, if put in front of me, I might do it again ;)

Friday, 28 February 2014

Review of INKnBURN Denim Pants

The denim pants from INKnBURN are just one more reason I am so fortunate to be an ambassador for them! The pants feel like silk when you put them on. I have had more than a few friends try mine on in the couple of weeks that I have had these pants and all of the girls do not want to take them off.

I have worn them for yoga and also just as pants to wear around the town. The great thing about these pants is that they look and feel so much nicer than jeans! I paired them with a pair of my Miz Mooz boots and they looked amazing! They don't stretch out like regular denim and there is no need to rip them off and change into "comfy pants" when you get home, as you are already wearing them.
They are priced at $99.00, but with my discount they would be less than $85.00. They are also more likely to last than most jeans. They are made right here in North America (in California), so you can feel even better about wearing them.
I give these pants a 10/10! I am in LOVE with them and want to wear them all of the time!
I am planning on wearing my denim pants as my second layer this weekend for my extremely chilly run. I will write about both after Sunday. They are calling for -35 overnight without the windchill. Hypothermic Half Marathon it will be indeed!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Running in the Mountains

What a wonderful Long weekend away at my parents in the beautiful mountains of British Columbia! My hometown of Sparwood is home to the World's Largest Dumptruck.

I had made a run across the border to pick up my new gym gear which included running shoes, an armband, a new gym bag and of course all of my new INKnBURN!
I have to say that I am seriously IN love with my new denim pants and denim dragonfly capri pants from INKnBURN! I enjoy all of their gear, but these are by far my new faves! The denim pants look exactly like jeans, but so much more comfortable :) And the capri pants are just beautiful. I am definitely happy that I ordered a size smaller than my others as they seem to fit just a little better all over. I can't wait to wear them tomorrow.
There is so many beautiful photo opportunities here, but I chose a few from my running adventures while I was home.

The temperatures were perfect for running. There was a slight windchill at -6C, but the sun tried to come out once or twice. Mother nature could not make up her mind on my 21KM run as it would snow, then stop, then snow. By the end however, it was miserably windy and I could not see even 2 feet in front of me. Good thing I was only about 2 1/2 km from home completing my first unofficial half marathon of 2014.
I had so much fun at home in the mountains. I am very fortunate that my Mom and Dad are very supportive and were ably to hang out with my boys while I went running all weekend. I was lucky to have squeezed in a 5 mile run on Saturday and 13.1 miles on Sunday.
I also did something I usually don't do, I dared to try a "small-town spin class". I am so happy that I did.  Monday night I went to the local rec centre and participated in a 60 minute spin class. The workout was great. It was just what my legs needed to loosen up.
Myself and the boys are already looking forward to our next trip back to BC in July when we will be running in Sinister 7.