10 day Sugar Free Challenge

Run to the Finish and Spoonful of Sugar Free are hosting a Sugar Free Challenge from June 1-10. 

The hardest part for me, will be when I drink ice tea and lattes.  I don’t drink them often, but I do like them sweetened with something.  I should drink more water anyhow.  Trying to get Dan to finish off the Chobani yogurt we have in the fridge.

I’m ready, bring it! 🙂  I’ll be chronicling my 10 days on my blog, wish me luck!


Things I like Thursday: Farm Fresh

One of the reasons I was MIA since last week, is that I went home to see my parents Friday-Saturday afternoon.  Mom was having a garage sale and needed help.  And then we were busy with a Ryan Bingham show Saturday night, then Dan’s work had the suite at the RR Express game Sunday.  Good times, but exhausting. 

Oh and I may have put all of our dishes in mom’s garage sale….and never found ones I wanted to replace them.  Paper plates until I can find dishes I like, haha!

While I was home, apparently mom and dad also needed help picking their AWESOME garden.  I brought home 3 different kinds of tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, black-eyed peas, zucchini, jalapeno, red and yellow onions.   There was much more, but because I knew I was going out Saturday and Sunday and then leaving town Monday-Tuesday, I didn’t want to take too much.

I roasted the zucchini for lunch on Saturday during mom’s garage sale.  Paired it with turkey, hummus, and swiss on FRESH pumpernickel bread from Haby’s Bakery in Castroville.  SO good.

I didn’t know what to do with the peas.  So I made Cowboy Caviar, although I’d never tasted it before.  Everything in the dish came from their garden (minus the spices and dressing).

Cowboy Caviar

All produce was fresh from the garden.  Combined cooked black-eyed peas (I steamed mine), about 6 diced tomatoes, diced onion, diced jalapeno.  Then added some cayenne, coriander, pepper, and italian dressing.  Let sit for at least 2 hours.  I didn’t really measure anything except the dressing, I used a half cup.

It was great and I was shocked that Dan liked it too.  It was also good as a leftover.  Once I had it over salad.  Another lunch I had it with diced turkey, cheese, and avocado added. 

Simple and YUM!  Very P+ friendly too.  My servings were 2P+ each.

To use more of the fresh produce, I made Shrimp Fra Diavlo with steamed green beans.

Also put all fresh ingredients from the garden in this one.  The shrimp wasn’t fresh, it was from the boat I bought off of in Port Aransas.

Shrimp Fra Diavlo

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups fresh tomato (or canned)
1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon salt
Italian spices and crushed red pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4-1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat the oil in an oven proof skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and Italian spices and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for about 5 minutes, until the tomato juices thicken.
Remove from the heat. Stir in shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the feta over the top. Bake until the shrimp are cooked through and cheese melts, about 12 minutes.

Now screening applications

I’ve decided from now on, I think I need to screen travel buddies, especially for work trips.    I traveled with two people, both men on this trip.  I’ve had my share of bad women as well, just not in a while.

I went up to the Dallas/Fort Worth area for two days.  First day in Arlington, second day in McKinney.  I’m shocked I made it through two days without losing my mind.  At least one person was good company.

Here are some of the criteria I think I am going to look at, based on my 2 most recent work trips, but this applies to anyone I guess:

  • Being on time.  We were late leaving both days, late to our meeting the 2nd day.  Even though Dan is late everywhere, I HATE being late. 


  • Preparedness.  The maps printed were not what they were supposed to be for.  The presentation was only 1 hour, it needed to be 3.  Guess who had to save the day and do a impromptu presentation? (I wasn’t even supposed to be there!)


  • Driving.  Be at least a decent driver and don’t kill me, that’s all I ask.  That and maybe having some sense of direction.  Knowing left from right can go a long way.


  • Be thoughtful.  I’m just going to say that I didn’t get lunch until 3:30 pm on Tuesday and never got one on Monday.  Luckily on Monday I found a mini-Starbucks and was able to get a cup of fruit and a latte at 2 pm.  That was my lunch.  Yes, I am still mad. 


  • Someone who doesn’t want to eat every meal at McDonalds.  Yes this happened.  I don’t want to eat ANY meal at McDonald’s.  Sorry.  I know it’s cheap, but I don’t care.  There are other options that don’t suck so bad. A grown man threw a hissy fit both days about eating at McDonalds.  Really?  My other coworker was scared the whole time I think.


  • Someone who appreciates decent food.  Really, is that too much to ask?  We are traveling on expenses, you will get paid back.  It doesn’t have to be fancy, but I want at LEAST what i’d make for myself if I was at home or better. 


  • Speaking of tips…if you aren’t going to tip, then don’t eat with me.  It’s not the server’s fault we don’t get reimbursed for tips or that you are a cheap skate.  If this really bothers you, hit the drive-thru after I eat.


  • Accessibility.  If you wont give your coworkers your cell phone number, I am not traveling with you.  I have to be able to communicate with you, especially if you have the car keys.


  • Flexibility.  You just have to be.  Especially when you are not alone.


  • Manners.  Please control your bodily functions.


  • Common Sense.  (ok, that’s where I am probably asking too much)

Granted, I didn’t take my “emergency food”, which I never forget, but I shouldn’t have to!  On Tuesday I walked in the rain to Starbucks to get my breakfast.  I enjoyed the rain and the walk, but I was just happy there were places to eat near our hotel that I could walk to (which is what I did for Monday’s dinner).  I am glad I bought a Kind bar and a banana when I got breakfast, anticipating my coworker would be a brat.

Unfortunately both days during lunch, I was at his mercy and that did not pan out well.  On Tuesday, while I was enjoying an iced tea for lunch and watching my coworker down a supersize fry and a triple cheeseburger, I plotted how I was going to hitch-hike back to Austin.

Down and Out

Out of town for work, down with the GI stuff.

Currently in the Dallas area for work, planning on a very early bedtime.  LAME.  I don’t usually have pain, but I do, and lots of it.  No idea what brought it on.

I am ready to be back home and back to normal.  I’d like to resume workouts, normal eating, and blogging 🙂

Wednesday Wellness Update

 Finally after over 3 months of waiting, I got to see my new Primary Care Doctor on Wednesday.  He was nice, he listened, he wrote stuff down.  Already an improvement from any other PCP i’ve ever had. EVER.

Sounds like he treats a broad array of patients too, so he knows about many illnesses and ailments. (my other PCPs didn’t ever really seem as bright as this guy).  And he was chill.  Chill is the only word I can think of to describe his personality.  Easy to talk to, for sure.

So we talked, he gave me a physical.  I have strong calves 😉   That would have made my day on a normal day, but the fact that I liked him was EVER BETTER.  We discussed my issues at length.  He ordered bloodwork, lots of tests (including thyroid and celiac).  I go back and see him June 20.  We go from there.  I am pretty sure he will not tell me I have IBS-C and to “live with it” like the GI specialist I saw. 

I walked over to the lab wing of the medical center and confirmed it’s “first come, first serve.”  They open at 7, so I can go on my way to work.  (this is crucial, because I may rip someone’s head off if I have to fast longer than that). 

One problem.  I’d only tried to have gluten a handful of times since Easter.  It’s not really back into my system.  So for the next 2 weeks, I have to eat it daily.  Then I’ll get the labs done on June 6.  Even then, most people who have celiac/gluten intolerance get false negatives.  So that avenue may not be exhausted even after this, but it’s worth the shot.   So we test and go from there.

He said as soon as I have the tests, to cut the gluten back out.  And apparently gluten intolerance/sensitivity also usually comes with soy/lactose/casein intolerance, which makes me very anxious.  I love my cheese, cottage cheese, and yogurt!  I know, I know, I shouldn’t think about anything right now, but it’s hard.  I am not the Dr 😉 


Someone always knows how to make me feel better.  Although, she’s usually laying on top of me instead of just “healing touch”.The last time I took her to the vet, him and I had a long conversation about animals and illness.  He told me about research he’s read, some of his patients, etc.  Stories of dogs detecting breast cancer, tumors, and in our local area, a seizure predicting dog. 

I am a real believer in this.  I think she knows when I don’t feel good and where.  Dan thinks I am nuts and it’s just her being nosy and needy.  I think it’s just an instinct they have.

Even if it’s not real, it helps me 🙂

Things I like Thursday: Trigger Point

If you like foam rolling, you will LOVE Trigger Point Therapy

AK has actually had a kit for years.  I never bought one, because it wasn’t cheap (and I am for things like this).  Then the sports chiropractor I started seeing said get one.  Not just for my rotator cuff, but for everything.

He had me do one side of my body with foam roller, other side with Trigger Point.  HOLY HECK!  There is no comparison!  If you are looking to work on deep tissue, get a kit.

I got the “ultimate 6” kit.  Yes, it was pricey, but SO worth it.  Wondering how I could have lived without this before.  The guide is really informative too, just in case you are a do-do like me and forget what you are supposed to do for certain areas.

I got it 2 weeks ago and have used it for my rotator cuff daily.  I’ve been using it on my pinformis for the last week.  And a few times a week on the legs (any more and I think i’d have trouble walking, lol!).  Rogue equipment happened to have them on sale for Mother’s Day, so I bought one then, hehe.

Check it out 🙂  It’s something that “hurts so good!”


It’s official, my Weight Watchers at Work meeting is done.  Not enough paying members to continue.  I’d been attending that meeting weekly since January 2007.

I need the accountibility of weighing in at least monthly (which is required to maintain free Lifetime status, if you are at or under goal or not more than 2 lbs over).  I’d been attending weekly, although it’s only required monthly.  I don’t want to slide backwards down a slippery slope.  I need structure and accountability.

So the search begins for a new meeting.  There are none on Mondays during lunch, which was SUPER convenient to me. 

I guess i’ll start “test driving” meetings next week.  There isn’t a single meeting that works well.  I’m going to have to make one work though.  It’s the seeing which one I can make work best.  Doesn’t help that none of the meetings are convenient to work or home.  There is 1 meeting in the town I live, on Thursdays, which is the busiest day of the week for Dan and I usually (and i’d be pressing my luck to get there on time).

I know it’s a silly thing to be upset about, but I had an emotional attachment to my meeting, even if in the last couple of years, it wasn’t successful.  I WAS SUCCESSFUL FROM THAT MEETING!

Blood, sweat, and beers

So apparently I have a weird definition of fun and what I do while Dan is out of town, lol!


There was the sister date that I blogged about in the PM.  But in the AM, I woke up at 4 am to drive to Temple for a race.  I wasn’t sure for the last 2 weeks if I was actually going to do it.  I really wasn’t feeling strong and didn’t get to finish that run last Saturday.  I felt alright when I woke up, so I got dressed and drove North.  I’ve never actually traveled that far for a race on the same day, so that was interesting.

Not much to report.  I ran just to run.  I didn’t want to push myself too much.  Change of scenery for sure.  Country roads with cows, ponds, farms, etc.  Although it smelled like cow poop and burning brush the whole time.   I decided to run the first half (it was 2 loops) at a certain pace.  I still wasn’t sure how I felt, so I ran up until mile 10 at that same pace and then picked it up a little.  When I crossed the finish line I felt like i’d run 3 miles, not 13.1.  Didn’t really like that feeling, but I told myself it was probably the smart thing to do.  Although, knowing I left A LOT of gas in the tank and was just over a minute off of a PR, that was annoying.  But I respected the fact I hadn’t been feeling well and I ran with my head.

I was 5th woman overall.  3 of the 4 people in front of me, including the winner, were in my age group.  Nice.  I need to be faster or a different age, lol.

Before I headed home, I hit up KMart in Killeen, because there are only a few left in Texas and I only go twice a year usually.  I got some cool stuff.  Call me a dork, I miss Kmart.  Yes, I drove 20 miles out of the way in another direction to go to KMart.


Another 4 am wake up call.  Volunteered at the Rogue Trail Series at Reveille Ranch in Burnet all morning.  So much fun!  I’d never been to a trail race before.  Very hardcore!  And the ranch was gorgeous.  I want to go back.

Race started at 7, (10K and 30K options).  I had to be there at 6 am and it was about an hour from the house.  I was assigned to Aid Station #1.

This was the view as the sun came up at our station.  The weather was PERFECT and the views were amazing.

We got to work on putting the station together.  Made Poweraid and water cups, and then set out the spread…gummy bears, cokes, oreos, trail mix, bananas, oranges, pb and jelly sandwiches, granola bars, chips, etc.  I can’t imagine eating any of that stuff DURING a run, but people did.

Trail runners are a different breed.  I can’t imagine running either of those races (I had 1 friend running each of the races).  The terrain was tough.  Lots of falls and blood, no broken bones though.  And tons of people got lost and off the correct route.  I don’t like falling OR getting lost.

Here is my friend Chris doing the 30K.  He’s hardcore.  He’s a road racer too, did TIR and Silicon Labs relay on my teams.

The finishers got burgers, beer, and awards. At the end, we just kept yelling that it was just 1 more mile to the beer!   We ended up being on course way longer than planned, because several people got really really lost.  Most of those people though, crossed into areas that were clearly marked as “off limits”.

I’d definitely volunteer again.  Met tons of cool people.  Maybe 1 day i’ll do a short trail race.  The course at Diva Dash was an actual trail like that and I was very paranoid the whole entire time that I was going to break my neck.

After the race, I got groceries on the way home, ate a very late lunch, mowed the lawn, and did laundry.  By time Dan got home from NOLA, I was wiped out. 

Very exhausting weekend, but I had a ton of fun 🙂

Super Sister Saturday

After I fooled around in Temple and Killeen Saturday morning, I rushed back to Austin for a sister date in the fabulous mild weather (THIS IS WHAT SPRING IS SUPPOSED TO BE!)  Dan is in NOLA playing.  So I am too (except my idea of playing is eating and running, not playing golf and getting drunk).

Whole Foods Culinary Center-Sidewalk Social.  Food tastings, demos, goodies, etc.

The first station we got to was gourmet popcorn.  I wasn’t interested in that…so we hit up the DIY fruit lemonaid bar.  I forgot to take photos.  Mine had blackberries, cherries, and raspberries in it.  Refreshing!

My sister makes the best goofy faces and always looks cute doing it.  Reminds me of Janae

Then DIY lettuce wraps with orange marinated grilled tofu, peanuts, veggies, and chile sauce.  Also very refreshing.  I wanted to eat more than the one I built!

My sister got a piece of cilantro in hers, I couldn’t quit laughing, she hates it with a fiery passion.

Street Tacos!

She had some sort of saucey pork.  I had carnitas.  I ate mine before I saw the sauces.  DARN IT! 

Went back outside and sister tried the sandwich table.  I wanted to cry.  It looked SO good.  Beef and swiss on pretzel bread, bruchetta with a slice of filet mignon on top.  *sigh*

At least I could drown my sorrows in the gelato.  Although I REALLY wanted the lemon one, it had graham crackers on top 😦  So sister got coffee and I got vanilla.  The vanilla was actually very good.  Not Amy’s Ice Cream Mexican Vanilla good, but good.

When I got home, I dumped out my reusable goodie bag to explore…

Besides the bag, there were coupons, chocolate (not pictured because I ate it in the car), granola, pretzel crisps, a natural soda, 2 types of raw and GF snacks, a protein bar, and some sweetener.  Fun stuff.

Upon closer inspection, one of the raw and GF snacks was chocolate macaroons.  Uh, chocolate and coconut?  Yes.  I die.

Hail Merry  chocolate macaroons (based in Dallas).  I don’t care what they look like, they are SO good.  It’s a good thing only 4 came in the bag, or I may have gotten myself into some big trouble! (they are 4P+ per serving if you are wondering)  Worth it in my opinion.

Ended it all with some shopping at local boutiques.  Fun stuff.

Fun new food

This one is new to me, anyhow.  It’s  been marked with a star in my reader forever.  It’s a recipe that  Megan posted that is one of her mom’s specialties.

I honestly hadn’t tried it yet because tomatoes have looked/tasted crummy and been pricey.  This week Sprouts had big gorgeous tomatoes on sale.  Best part was, they tasted as awesome as they looked 🙂   I don’t usually use butter, but it’s a small amount and I figured it was much needed since it is “scampi” afterall.

Chicken Scampi

6-8 servings

1/8-1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 T minced garlic
the juice from one lemon
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup fresh minced parsley
3-6 fresh chopped tomatoes
Pasta of choice boiled and drained (bowtie or penne)

In a skillet heat together butter, olive oil, green onions and garlic. Add lemon juice, chicken, salt, pepper and parsley. Continue cooking and stirring until chicken is done. Add tomatoes, cook and heat through.
Serve over pasta.

*Halved the recipe because there are only 2 of us (just the chicken, butter, and EVOO). I marinated my chicken first in italian dressing.  First night served it over pasta (wheat for Dan, GF for me).  2nd night served it over baked potatoes (Alton Brown method).

I think it would be great with shrimp, tofu, or no meat at all.  The sauce really is fresh and tasty.

My re-purposed leftovers..


And then there was the discovery of gluten free tuna burgers at Super Target.  Can’t say i’ve ever had a tuna burger, but I love tuna steaks, tuna sushi, and canned tuna.   I snatched them up for a try.

I dreamed of an awesome piece of tuna on a grilled/roasted salad…

Yeah, that’s pretty much how I dreamt it.  Field greens, tomatoes, mushrooms. Then roasted zucchini, onions, and eggplant.  Dressed with balsamic vinaigrette and some swiss cheese.  I even made croutons out of GF bread that I pan toasted which were great until the dressing touched them 😦

The taste and look were great…except for the tuna.  I didn’t like it.  It wasn’t anything special, could have made my own that would have probably tasted better.  Oh well, the salad part was good and I made enough roasted veggies for later on.  I’m thinking roasted veggie pasta 😉