Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 in Photos

2010 was overall a very good year. I kind of wanted to take some time to just reflect on it; mostly for my own personal reasons. A lot went on this year and I just wanted to remember it all. Good and bad.

We started off the year with a trip to Los Angeles for the Rose Bowl.

I completed my 4th half marathon. My (now fiancé) took a trip to New York City to celebrate a belated 4 year anniversary. He surprised me with a proposal and a beautiful ring! I, of course, said 'yes'.

A good friend had her baby. I was introduced to Jonas who his mom now refers to me as "Auntie Jen".

This is us with his Christmas present from us (in December)

Fiancé found a job in a law firm in Austin! We went back home for a Suns playoff game.

My fiancé graduated from Law School!

I turned 1/4 century and started my freelancing graphic design career.

My fiancé took the Texas Bar. We celebrated with a trip to Los Angeles!

We flew back to Arizona to have our engagement photos taken. Our families hosted an engagement party for us. A week later we lost a dear member of our family.

College football season started. I also started seeing my nutritionist.

We headed back to Arizona for the Suns home opener.

We found out that fiancé passed the Texas Bar! I voted for the first time as a Texas citizen (all other times were as an Arizona citizen). We hosted Thanksgiving in our home for the second year in a row. I become a Warrior.

We went back home to Arizona. Two dear friends became husband & wife. And we found out two of our friends were expecting! We lost a dear friend and mentor.

This has been an amazing year. There have been some hiccups and heart ache. While I will not forget the heartache, I choose to celebrate the wonderful things in my life. I'm very grateful for 2010 and look forward to 2011!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Warrior Paint

This past weekend we got 3 girls together to do the Central Texas Warrior Dash. Ever heard of it? I hadn't, but it's crazy!

This is how it's described on their website:

Warrior Dash is the ultimate event for thrill-seeking athletes. This running series is held on some of the nation's most demanding and unique terrain. Participants will conquer extreme obstacles and celebrate their feat with music, beer, warrior helmets and muddy shorts.
Of course, being the person that I am, I thought "why not do it in costumes?!" After all, I did complete a half marathon with my bff in matching pink/green get-up including tutus!

Not thinking the other two girls would be into dressing up, I mentioned it to one of my friends. To which she responded "Let's do it! Come up with a fun costume and we'll do it!" After thinking long and hard, this is what I came up with...the Candy Cane Girls!

Yes, those are red/white striped thigh highs and candy cane headbands!

Everyone loved our costumes. We had random people coming up taking our photos. We even had a little girl about 7 ask her mom if she could take her photo with us...I'm sure that's going in a scrap book somewhere! Later I had someone I didn't even know tweet me that he saw us and loved our costumes!

I must say the obstacles added to the 5k make it much more difficult than I was expecting. I'm sad to admit that I was sore the next day, really sore. Amazing how adding walls, rusty cars, planks, rivers, tires, fire, and a mud pit will make you tired after only 3.2 miles!

We can see the finish line!

Getting closer...

Just past the mud pit was the finish!

We are now Warriors!

At the end, we could donate our shoes. Warrior Dash cleans and recycles old shoes. As always, it was a little bitter sweet giving these up. My shoes have so much history, but it's nice knowing they went to a good cause!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I Will Not Forget

World War 1, World War 2, The Korean War, Vietnam War, Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom…These are wars that were fought and are being fought by Americans. In each of these wars, American Soldiers stepped up to fight and help keep this Nation free along with helping to give others freedom.

I hope my generation doesn’t forget about our Veterans. They are our husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, best friends, and classmates. To both past and present Veterans, thank you for giving so much of yourselves for our Nation.

I will not forget.

And as a daughter of two Marines, happy belated birthday to the United States Marine Corps. Semper fidelis

Monday, November 1, 2010


Hey guys! I hope everyone is doing well. I know I've changed the feel of the blog a bit...going from a running blog to a health food blog, but I assure you, that's not the case. I just haven't had much time lately to blog about running and recipes are just really easy!

The feel of the blog will change tho. In the past I mostly blogged about running, well, I cannot run anymore. I haven't been able to run for a few months now. My knees have reached the point of no return with tendinitis in both knees. More on the knees later.

The blog will be a healthy lifestyle blog. Will include my gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free recipes; posts about boxing; and overall my journey toward a healthier me.

I started this journey 2 years ago. Boxing and I started dating in May 2008 and we added running to the mix October 2008 as I prepared for the Austin Half Marathon in February 2009. In the past 2+ years I've been on a pretty stead lose weight, maintain weight, lose weight, maintain, etc. This is also when I started being more mindful of the food I was eating.

Now that I've been seeing a nutritionist, I've had to put running aside, and I've picked up boxing again, it only makes sense to turn the blog into more of a "healthy living" blog.

A friend from high school reads this and asked me how much it costs to eat the way I do. I let her know that it isn't cheap, but with the proper planning, doesn't have to be super expensive either. I've started adding "budget meal" to the meals that can be made for $15 or less for 4 servings or more.

I hope that you're all ok with the transition of the blog!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Chicken Tomatillo Enchiladas

This is the first time I've attempted enchiladas. They really aren't as difficult as I thought. I made these dairy-free (added cheese to my fiancé's after I put them on his plate). Let me tell you...they aren't missing the cheese, that's for sure! Next time, I will make my own tomatillo sauce. This is the first time in over 5 years that I've used a store bought sauce. It wasn't bad, but the ego in me thinks I can make it better. Plus, homemade is always healthier! Feel free to use store-bough sauce or make your own. When I do make my own, I'll post the recipe on the blog and link it here!

Chicken Tomatillo Enchiladas (GF, DF)

  • 14 organic corn tortillas
  • 16 oz tomatillo sauce
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1/2 c diced onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 can organic black beans - drained, rinsed, and dried
  • 1 teaspoon organic coconut oil
  • few pinches of shredded fresh cilantro
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • chili powder
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sauté onions and garlic until onions are translucent. Add beans, cilantro, and chicken. Mix on low heat for about 5 minutes. Add a sea salt, pepper, and about 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder. Cook until the chicken is cooked all the way through. Place tortillas on a paper plate and microwave for 90 seconds. Once filling is cooked throughly, place about 3 tablespoons of filling in each tortilla and roll tightly (without tearing the tortilla). Note: if the tortillas tear, put the tortillas in the microwave longer. Place the rolled enchilada seem-side down in a baking pan. Fill pan tightly with enchiladas. Pour tomatillo over the enchiladas liberally. Place in oven for approximately 15 min. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Per request by my fiancé, we had picadillo tonight! This is a traditional Mexican dish that I hoped I didn't butcher. I always get leery when we asks me to cook a childhood favorite that his mom has mastered, but turned out pretty well!

This recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free by nature.

  • 1 1/2 pounds of grass-fed ground beef
  • 3 organic roma tomatoes
  • 1 organic yellow onion
  • 1 roasted poblano pepper (I roasted my own - see below for instructions)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium sized russet potato
  • coconut oil
  • chili powder
  • sea salt
  • pepper
Roasted Poblano Pepper Directions
Of course you can buy roasted poblano peppers, but if you want to do it yourself, it's actually quite easy... Take your pepper and hold it by the tip with a pair of tongs. Place over an open fire (or gas stove) until your start to hear crackles and pops. Rotate the pepper making sure that every part of the pepper is burned by the flame. Once the entire pepper is covered in burn marks, place in a plastic back and tie shut. Let it sit for 30+ minutes. Remove pepper from bag and gently remove the skin from the pepper.

Pepper over an open flame

Pepper after the flame

Pepper "sweating" in the enclosed plastic bag

Picadillo Directions
Chop onion, garlic, tomato, pepper, and potato. Set tomato and potato aside. In a large pan with coconut oil, place onions, pepper, and garlic. Let simmer on the lowest heat for about 5 minutes. Add about 1/2 teaspoon of chili pepper, salt, and pepper. Mix and let simmer for another 5 minutes. Add potato, tomatoes, and ground meat. Mix well. Cover and let simmer on the lowest heat for about 30-40 minutes. Serve in a bowl once potatoes are soft.

The verdict? The fiancé loved it! Guess I can master some traditional dishes! :)

Fruity Pancakes

I had been craving pancakes. Not really sure why, probably because I knew that I'd just about never be able to have pancakes while eating out ever again, so I decided to search for good gluten-free AND dairy-free pancakes. The dairy-free made me get a little creative. Creative, but tasty!

Fruity Pancakes (GF, DF, Vegan)

  • Your favorite GF pancake mix (I chose GF Pantry)
  • Fresh, organic orange juice
  • 5-6 Fresh, organic strawberries
  • 1/2 c Frozen, organic blueberries
  • 1 egg (or 1/2 mashed banana for a vegan version)
  • Ghee (clarified butter aka dairy-free butter) OR your fav vegan butter
  • Olive oil
  • Organic coconut oil

Organic Coconut Oil


GF pancake mix

Finely chop strawberries and set aside. Follow the directions of your GF pancake mix except for the milk. Use the orange juice oz-for-oz instead of the milk. (So if your mix calls for 1c of milk, use 1c of orange juice instead). If you are opting for the vegan route, use 1/2 mashed banana for each egg the recipe calls for. (So if your mix calls for 2 eggs, use 1 whole banana and mash it instead). Mix all your ingredients in a bowl. Add chopped strawberries and blueberries to pancake mix. Mix well. Add coconut oil to pan. Use 1/2c measuring cup to scoop pancakes. Put desirable amount of Ghee on pancake immediately after the pancake is removed from the pan. Makes 6 very delicious pancakes.

I used a minimal amount sugar-free syrup. I probably won't use syrup at all next time, they really didn't need it.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Stuffed Bell Peppers (gluten & dairy free)

  • 4 large bell peppers (I used red)
  • 1lb ground turkey
  • 1c cooked brown rice
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 c onion
  • 1 tomato
  • 1tbsp green onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • salt & pepper to taste
Preheat the oven at 400 degrees. Chop off tops of peppers. Remove guts and seeds. Set aside. Chop onions and garlic. Sauté until onion are translucent. Remove and add to large bowl with cooked brown rice. Brown ground turkey with slices of bacon until fully cooked. Remove and place in bowl. Chop tomato and add to bowl. Mix all ingredients in bowl adding salt & pepper to taste. Stuff peppers as full as you can make them! Place peppers on a cooking sheet or cake pan. Cover. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes!

If you have left over stuffing, place in a baking dish, cover with foil, and bake along with the peppers. Serve extra serving with the finished stuffed peppers.

PS - sorry no photo. I forgot to take a photo of the finished product. They're REALLY good though.

Goin' to the chapel, and we're gonna get married...

Ok, we aren't getting married in a chapel, but for some reason I just started singing that song!

I have some exciting news on the wedding front, it's been a while since I've updated you all on that!

The moment you've all been waiting for...will come AFTER the wedding day in case my fiancé looks at the blog, I don't want to show a photo of my dress! That's right, this modern, unconventional bride, is keeping a few "traditions" alive, we will not see each other until I'm walking down the isle (awwww!).

I will say tho, since my last wedding update, I have found a dress! YAY! I went shopping with my mom and maid of honor back in July and found THE ONE! I was excited to go dress shopping, but never ever would I think that I would care that much about this dress. I went thinking "this will be fun!" but it turned into "OMG, I never thought I'd FALL IN LOVE WITH A DRESS!"

They always say "When you know, you know." Kind of like when you find the one you want to grow old with, but I didn't think I'd ever "know" with a dress. It's a dress for crying out loud. Fabric sewn together...right?! was the 4th dress I tried on and I fell in love with it. For some reason when I tried it on, I just knew that it was the dress that I would say "I DO" in. The dress that I would become a Mrs. in. The dress that I would wear as I walk down the isle to meet the man of my dreams in! I can't wait to show you guys photos!

What I can show you photos of is our save-the-date post cards! I just received the proof from my printer today! I designed these myself, so they hold a very special place in my heart. I wanted a more hip, fun feel to the cards, and this is what I came up with! Wedding logo (seen on the front) was also designed by me.

Here is the front. Yes, we are inviting Mack Brown (coach of the Texas Longhorns Football team) and Alvin Gentry for that matter (coach of the Phoenix Suns)

Here is the back of the cards.

I'll leave you with of our engagement photos (one of my favorites!)

Aren't we super cute?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Coconut Milk Goodness

In searching for gluten-free, casein-free, sugar-free recipes*, I came across this blog/cookbook called The Spunky Coconut. Actually...what I was really searching for was a casserole recipe using coconut milk instead of sour cream, cheese, or other dairy.

*If you're new here or missed the post...catch up here on why I'm gluten-free, casein-free (dairy-free), and sugar-free.

I came across a recipe on the blog that fit the mold. However; if you've ever read my posts on cooking, you know that I refuse to follow a recipe. Typically I will read something just to make sure it's possible and to figure out how long to cook it for. (I wasn't even sure I could make a casserole with coconut milk). it is. I'll call it St. Patty's Day Casserole - the spinach gives it a green hue (gluten/casein free!)

  • 2c cooked organic brown rice
  • 1c raw/defrosted chopped spinach
  • 1c organic, whole fat, un-sweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2c chopped white onion
  • 1/4c chopped green onion
  • 1 chopped garlic clove
  • 1c raw, organic broccoli (chopped into small florets)
  • 10oz boneless, skinless salmon
  • 1tbsp Chia Seeds
  • organic coconut oil
  • sea salt to taste
Sauté white and green onions with garlic in coconut oil until tender. Remove ingredients and place in bowl. Chop salmon into 1/2"-1" chunks. Place salmon chunks into same pan that sautéd the onions and garlic. Cook on medium heat for roughly 5 minutes (or until "medium"). Remove salmon. Place all ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly. Place in a rectangular casserole dish. Bake 1t 350 degrees (uncovered) for 40 minutes.

Mmmm, enjoy!

Friday, October 8, 2010

What's been going on lately

Hey guys, wow has life been busy! It's funny how when life starts to take control of time, the things you once used to really enjoy are put on the back burner...such as blogging!

I wanted to drop in and say 'hi' and let you know what I've been up to...

One of the reasons that I've been so busy is because I finally decided to start my own freelance graphic design business! It has been very exciting and busy. If you or anyone you know needs graphic design services (logo design, wedding logo design, print design, etc) keep me in mind! You can view my website and portfolio here:

There it is...short and sweet. I'll be around more often these days!

Hope you all are well!

PS - like the logo I designed for the blog?

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Verdict


I had my third appointment with the most awesome nutritionist ever! If you're in Austin and want one, leave me a comment and I'll send you her info. She's awesome! Seriously...awesome!

10 Day Detox
Good news... I lost 10 lbs on my detox

Bad news... 8 lbs of it was muscle

Reason... I wasn't eating enough. Hear that? I wasn't eating enough! I've never heard that before, but it makes since. My body type* requires a combination diet that is heavier on protein. I wasn't eating enough protein. With the amount of muscle I have, I burn just over 1600 calories a day just doing nothing. That doesn't include working out, walking around, etc. 1600 calories of healthy food is A LOT of food. So I need to tweak my portions a bit by adding more protein to my diet. Easy enough...I think!

Obviously this is the next step and what will probably be the most challenging. You can get through a detox because you know it's 10 days. The next step is maintaining it for life. I am now officially on a dairy free, gluten free, sugar free diet. Luckily, she is giving me 2 freebies a week. This means that 2 times a week (not 2 days a week) I get to eat/drink whatever I want. It can be a bowl of cheerios, cupcake, 5 beers, bowl of queso, whatever. (She's fairly confident that I'll learn my lesson quickly and stick to the healthier freebie options instead of the bowl of queso).

This will be interesting at first. It really means that I'm going to have to be careful what I eat and plan ahead. I have a feeling after the first few weeks I'll get a really good hang of it and it will start to become second nature.

No caffeine (unless it's a freebie) and only 1 glass of alcohol every other day (unless it's a freebie).

The idea is so that I don't feel like I'm dieting. Since this is something that is for life, she believes that I do need to be allowed to have the occasional cupcake or fries. Also, this will limit from the picking (2 chips here, chocolate kiss there, cookie here, you get the picture...)

For the next two weeks, her goal for me is to put 4 lbs of muscle back on (which she says will happen easily if I eat the proper amount of protein) and lose 1.5 more lbs of fat.

Baby Steps
I'm going to achieve these goals by following the eating habits I'm supposed to and mixing up my work out. I haven't worked out much since my last run, but I'm starting back up next week. I'll run 3 days a week and lift weights 2 days a week.

Solicited Help
Since this dairy free, gluten free, sugar free diet will be for life, I'd like to find some good tips, recipes, or resources. Anyone out there have anything they'd like to share with me?

* Please don't listen to what I say as advice for everyone. My nutritionist is a professional who ran several tests on me to determine what is best for me. What's best for me probably isn't what's best for you. Seriously!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Almost there!

Today is day 9 of my 10 day detox from my nutritionist. I mentioned that I needed professional help because I’ve plateaued (big time) in my weight loss. I have teeter-tottered with about 10 pounds for a few months and it was DRIVING ME CRAZY!

The nutritionist appointment went really well. She was so cool and easy to relate to. Overall she seemed impressed by my efforts and wants to help me lose the rest of this weight.

We did a body comp analysis. This was pretty cool. It gave me some happy information and some not so happy information – which helped determine what weight my nutritionist wants me to be at. Good news is…I didn’t tell her my goal weight and she came up with the same goal weight for me that I had for myself.

She told me one thing that I already knew and was hoping she wouldn’t say: women can’t loose weight long term by running long distance alone. I know, I know…ugh! (I’ve since started weight lifting, especially since my running is at a slow.)

Good news: I have above average pounds of muscle on my body for my height and weight. Yes, this means I’m ripped!

Not so good news: I have an (on the higher side) average amount of fat for my height and weight.

Our goal is to put me below average (or on the low end of average) for pounds of fat.

The detox actually isn’t what you’d think. She doesn’t believe in starving yourself or filling your body with processed foods. My detox was simply lots of lean protein, lots of veggies, some fruit, detox drinks, and supplements.

The idea is to stay away from grain, processed foods, caffeine, alcohol, dairy, sugar, etc.

Not too bad right? Right! Well, until I traveled to Houston with the fiancé and some friends for the Texas football game. That was so much harder than I thought. Not only could I not drink beer or eat just about anything at the tailgate or game, but eating out was difficult! But, I stayed strong and didn’t cheat once! Not even when the Double Tree gave up warm chocolate chip cookies when we checked into the hotel!

Tomorrow is the last day. After that, I’m not quite sure what my plan will consist of. I have another appointment with the nutritionist Thursday, so I’m anxious to find out.

PS – thanks for all your encouraging words on my post about the Chicago Marathon. As I mentioned, it was a really tough decision, but one I knew I needed to face. It was either deal with it now and save myself from serious injury, or deal with it later after it’s possibly too late.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rub Some Dirt on It

Growing up with Marines as parents, I was taught to be tough! If I fell down (at it was clear that I wasn't actually hurt) my parents would say "You're ok, just rub some dirt on it!" Because they didn't make a big deal about it, I often times would hold the water works after I fell. This sort of mentality was something I carried throughout adulthood. Being tough is something I take pride in. I will often soldier on, ignore the discomfort, suck it get the picture.

Some things however should not be ignored.

Last week I set out for my long run. I was scheduled to complete 16 miles. Due to some planned and un-planned life/family events, I was unable to get a long run in since my 10 miler 4 weeks prior. "It's ok", I thought, "I'm tough, I'll be able to do it. Once I get this 16 miles in, I will feel great!"

After about mile 6 I was much more tired than I was expecting. Looking at my Garmin, I also noticed that my heart rate was a bit higher than normal. "Hmmmm, that's odd...oh well, suck it up! Marathons don't run themselves."

Mile 9 rolled around and I was unable to run. Physically my legs refused to move in a forward motion at anything faster than a 14 min/mi pace. With every step my knees screamed in agony (think hammer on both sides of your knee cap with a vice press on the front part of your knee cap).

I've experience knee pain before, but NEVER has it been so agonizing. And, it's not like distance is new to me, I've completed 4 half marathons in the past 16 months.

Mile 11 came and I couldn't move. Even walking was pure torture. "$h!t, I have to do 5 more miles today? If this were the race, I'd have to do 15 MORE miles?!" I was in such misery that I actually called my fiancé to pick me up because I couldn't even walk the 3 miles to my car.

I have never felt more defeated in my entire life.

That Saturday I made a decision. I decided to stop ignoring the pain. The reality is that I have never run pain free. I've tried the traditional cures: ice, new shoes, old shoes, new terrain, knee brace, stretch, weight lifting, you name it.

It was a difficult, painful, tear-filled decision, but I decided to step out of the Chicago Marathon.

You hear of runners who drop dead at mile 22 of a marathon, who mess their muscles up so badly they can't walk, who die of heart attacks... Want to know how that happens? It's because so often we forget what a strain we put on our body. We ignore the fact that we're asking it to perform over and over again. We completely stop listening to what our bodies are telling us. In this runner's case, I'm going to listen.

I feel that there are some underlying problems that I may need to deal with. Mainly I need to focus on my heart (find out what my healthy and dangerous bpm are) and focus on my knees. It's not normal to sit down for 15 minutes and not be able to stand back up because you're knees stop working (especially at my age!)

I'll still be here. I'll still be exercising , but I'll be doing it because I want to.

I mentioned that I've never run pain free, well I've never run just to run either. Every single time I've ever put on my running shoes, it was a training run.

I can't wait to go out and run...




I am sad that I won't be doing the marathon, but once I finally made the decision, I felt like a huge burden was lifted off of my shoulders, which assured me that I did make the right choice for me. Running shouldn't be a burden. One day, 26.2 miles will be totally doable, but that day is not now, and that's ok.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I’m seeking professional help...

…and it’s about time!

I’ve blogged several times about my weight loss. I’ve had some success, I’ve also been a little stuck (plateau effect). I lost tons of weight right away and then sort of stopped. I will occasionally lose 5 lbs, but will usually put it back on in a few months. Just back and forth.

Here’s the deal…

I’m always training. Meaning, I’m consistently logging at least 20 miles a week. Usually more like 25+ miles a week (especially when I bumped up from half marathon training to full marathon training).

obviously not me training, but I thought it was a cute photo

I eat healthy. I don’t diet and I don’t restrict myself but I do eat very well. My food philosophy is: eat when I’m hungry. Eat veggies, fruits, and lean meats. I eat red meat 1-2 times a week. I don’t crave red meat more than that (I believe that cravings are a sign that your body needs something).

I’m tired of burning thousands of calories a month, eating healthy, and not losing any more weight. I honestly feel like I have 30 more pounds that I could lose, so it’s not like I’m complaining about 5 pounds here.

I have a feeling that while I think I’m eating healthy, I’m probably not eating healthy for my body. Each person needs some foods and really shouldn't have other foods. They are going to be different for everyone…I hope I can find out what’s right for me.


I’ve found a nutritionist and I’m visiting her today for my first appointment.

I am so excited! Today she will take a full body composition (which probably won’t be so exciting – I’ve heard that they are worse than you expect). I’ve filled out a bunch of surveys and questionnaires from her office. This is to help her determine what diet works best for me. (Diet meaning: eating habits).

After researching her and reading some testimonials it sounds like she is pretty awesome. It sounds like her philosophy is about finding foods that are good for you without making restrictions on food you love (but may not be the best for you). She’s all about living a happy, healthy life.

I’m excited to start the next chapter to a leaner, meaner, fightin’ machine!