Foodie Friday!

Happy Black Friday!! I hope everyone got the deals and steals you were hoping for today! Bringing you a fun, foodie post (sensing a theme lately?) again today!! I hope you gobble this one up too 😉

What could possibly be better than having a pen pal?! Having one that sends you food!
Oh yeah. It’s great! Lindsay over at The Lean Green Bean started the program back in 2011 “from a random idea” where bloggers and readers are matched with other bloggers and readers to send foodie care packages to one another – sweet!
November was my first month and I got paired with Erin from I Am Getting It Together and without further ado here’s what she sent me. Well kinda…Foodie Pen Pals 1
I couldn’t help but love the washi tape she used! Super cute!!
Inside she had stuffed the box with yummy yummy goodies:
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Tea, dried fruit, and my absolute favorite – honey bunnies!First up? The tea! Now, I have never had more than a sip of tea in life and didn’t really know how well it was going to go. Luckily my husband is a tea connoisseur so I had helping hand along the way!
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I flipped on the Kuerig, slipped in the bag, and let’r steep. So I might have gotten impatient or maybe I truly don’t like tea but whatever the case it just wasn’t my cup of tea (ha, that was an accident!). Hubby still hasn’t tried it but we have friends who love tea so it’ll stay around for sure!
Next? Quaker Real Medleys bars – uh YUM! Now these aren’t vegan (they contain honey) but are really good! Erin sent me the Cherry  Pistachio bars and they’re just the perfect mixture of sweet and savory. As good as these are they’re up in the cabinet for the hubby!
photo 4One thing he doesn’t get to cash in on are what I like to call honey bunnies. These aren’t vegan either but the box was empty before I even knew what had gotten into me. Oops. Annie’s Bunny Grahams. They’re that good.
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Last but not least she included dried fruit! Pineapples and strawberry strips! Yum!

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That concludes this month’s Foodie Friday post 🙂
I haven’t decided if I will participate again, food shopping for a vegan isn’t easy! If you’re interested in joining click the button below and sign up already!! Packages won’t be sent out in December but it’ll resume in January so hop on board and who knows we might get paired!! Scary thought, huh? 😉

The Lean Green Bean

 

What looks yummy to you? What would you send your partner?

Marathon Monday: Headed into the Holidays

Eeek! It’s almost here! With Thanksgiving only three days away and Christmas sneaking around the corner at twenty-nine days I’m starting to panic! I have never trained 110% through the winter and I cannot mess up this one! Thankfully I have a coach and two races this Spring to keep me moving.

The “dreadmill” and I are spending lots of time together lately, I truthfully don’t mind it – at all.

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Runfession: I like the treadmill. Yes, I drive the 3.5 miles to the gym in below freezing weather to run on the treadmill, if that didn’t give you a heart attack get this – I like it.

Alright, enough taunting trail runners everywhere, you’re much tougher than I.

Last Monday: ended up being prescribed six miles so that’s what happened

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 4 treadmill miles (loved it).

Thursday: 30 mins CT, Yoga. Did that on the treadmill too – skill. Kidding, that would…interesting.

Friday: 4 treadmill miles, easy enough. I used this as a bit of a speed workout since the treadmill really makes me/you go at the actual belt pace.

Saturday: The training plan said rest so I did.

Sunday: 30 mins on the stationary bike and 7 mile long run on the treadmill. It sounded fun pre-workout, I was wobbly getting off the treadmill, ha. It was fun.

(Sunday is NOT a recommended workout, I was only suppose to do one or the other but I did both because I’m overzealous – oh well.)

Monday: Just got an email from Coach inviting me to spin. Hm. Probably going to happen!

 

I love love love this:

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Happy Monday! Go move!

Do you guys have a tough time getting through the winter? How do you combat it?

21 Life Lessons

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Happy birthday to me! I’m typically not big on birthdays and today really isn’t any different but I had the urge to blog about it anyway. What better way to celebrate than to share what I’ve learned in these 7,665 days of existence? Keep in mind none of this is earth shattering or new, just a few of my favorite observances.

21. Do the little things right.

“Don’t sweat the small things,” just pay enough attention to do them flawlessly, people will notice. I recently lost an internship because one word was misspelled in an email. It matters.

20. Remember why.

That is, remember why you love your spouse. Remember why you’re passionate about your purpose in life. Remember why you get up every day. Savor the whys.

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19. Work hard.

You may not be smarter, faster, or stronger than someone but if you have more heart and put in more effort no one can beat you.

18. Keep things in perspective.

Always ask yourself “what’s the worst thing that can happen?” Typically it’s not that bad. I will admit I’ve not always been great at this and the little things still get to me sometimes but I’ve certainly been better since moving from home.

17. Experts aren’t nearly as intimidating as you think they are.

People are typically super nice and will help in any way they can. This includes but not limited to CEOs in your desired field, professors, parents of friends (yes, they’re experts too),and your own parents!

16. Listen.

Most often people who come to you just want you to listen. If they want your advice they’ll ask.

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15. Limits are lies.

World records are beat everyday and some people are unaware of handicaps until someone else tells them. Life is about defying what you think you can’t do – you CAN do anything!! (Just seek proper medical advice, please.)

14. Pay attention to negative feedback.

Most of the time it’s well-intended and it will always make you better.

13. Be positive.

It makes the best and worst parts of life better – really.

12. Accept unconditionally, at least your kids.

You can unconditionally love someone and still not accept them, don’t forget to remind those who matter they’re accepted. Kuddos to my parents for reminding me I am loved and accepted no matter what. There are things that people do to you that should not stand for but you can still accept, just walk away too.

11. Invest time in people.

They matter most and time is the best way to show them. Some of my favorite memories are sitting down at dinner with my mom, no-tech dates, and holidays surrounded by family. Savor the time you’re given.

10. Get to know the stranger in line.

Notice I did not say on the bus or in an alley. You should probably keep to yourself if you’re in those situations! Getting to know other people’s stories is an amazing way to travel the world by staying right next home, we all come to our place in life via the path we take. You will always gain perspective.

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09. Be kind.

Along the lines of #10, don’t forget everyone has his or her own path. Be respectful of that and be kind to everyone regardless of your bad day.

08. Don’t forget to live.

Build your career and make your mark but don’t forget to do the things that truly make you feel alive. Skydiving anyone?

07. Never stop learning.

I have a professor who constantly reminds his students that “the day you stop learning you start dying.” A little morbid maybe there’s truth in it too, you will never know anything but you might as well die trying learn as much as you can. Always seek out new experiences.

06. Spend time in the ocean.

It will remind you how small you really are. Now take that feeling and multiply that by infinity, infinity works like zero. Anything multiplied by zero equals zero, anything multiplied by infinity equals infinity. The first time I realized this was in 7th grade general science – it was mind blowing (and still is).

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05. Allow yourself to be curious.

Most often this is how your passion starts. I wonder if there is more land than England…turns out there is.

04. Spend time with the elderly.

They’ve made all the mistakes you are about to, they can probably give you a few pointers.

03. Be honest.

Life is hard enough without keeping up with lies. Keep it simple by keeping it honest. When you do lie, fess up.

02. You are beautiful.

Just the way you are. Your flaws make you intrinsically beautiful. Men, you are beautiful too.

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01. God is on your side.

No matter the battle He will always be pulling for you and therefore you cannot lose.

Yes, I know I’m just a baby myself but I love to learn what I haven’t already (which just so happens to be a whole lot) so leave a comment.

What’s your advice? Your favorite life lesson?

Journey to Iron: The Beginning

Good morning lovelies and gents, today I am bringing you a post with a person, a passion, and a purpose. This is a deeply personal journey but please do enjoy and feel free to join me, it can be yours too.

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I can’t pinpoint the moment of truth or exactly what put it in my mind in the very beginning but it quickly kindled itself into a burning fire that only everyone with insatiable passion can possibly understand.

I remember last fall (2012) thinking that I’d do a 5k. Great, but if I could a 5k what was stopping me from doing a 10k? Nothing. Perfect, I’ll do it. But wait, what was another 6.9 miles? Ok, I’ll do a half marathon. Hang on, if I could run 13.1 miles what was I thinking not going for the full? FINE. I’ll do a full marathon. Perfect. A full marathon it is. 26.2 miles and I’ll be finished.

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But this dog was mocking me, grreat.

A marathon wasn’t good enough. Not for this sled dog. Not for me.

I wanted to go beyond the humdrum of “just” running a marathon. A marathon is not for whimps and whatever you do do not go out there and think you’re going to be ok running on a whim, you won’t be. Please do go run one though – what you learn about yourself during the training alone is incredible. You can accomplish anything.

I really wanted to get out there, I wanted to make a difference and push myself to the edge of where I could be…and then I wanted to go further. So that’s it, I decided my “thing” would be a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run (PS that’s an “ultra” distance/Ironman triathlon). No big deal, right?

Ha, right! I know I can do it. I know I can do it because I’m not afraid of blood, I’m not afraid of sweat, and if life has taught me anything, I am not afraid of tears. At that point I was mentally committed, that was Winter 2012. It took another nine/ten months of research and what some might call stupidity to commit to a race.

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Ironman Wisconsin 2015, here I come. No, I don’t know that I’ll get into this race and truthfully, the training just might kill me (kidding Coach, kidding) but I am willing to give it all I’ve got.

Why Wisconsin? First, I’m pretty sure they (we) cycle by dairy cows and if they don’t they (we) should. Second, and far more weighty this tweet, this mission:

Michelle is the Development Director of Riding on Insulin, has had a child with T1, and has continued to advocate. This on top of not seeming to mind my already persistent questioning. I promise Michelle, I’m not trying to bug you!

Riding On Insulin is a classified 501(c)3 with this mission “Riding On Insulin empowers, activates and connects the global diabetes community through shared experience and action sports. In addition to establishing a comfortable environment, we strive to help families explore new passions, challenge the illness, and celebrate each other’s successes.” Riding On Insulin is also open to “T3” siblings and parents. T3s are family members and friends without diabetes but with the desire to be a part of the diabetic fight. T3s are a way to be included, a way to suit up for battle if you will.

I’m not diabetic which makes me a T3 and I don’t know anyone in this group (yet). What I do know is that I want this journey to mean more and serve more than me. I’m one person, we are one group, and this is one world. If I’m going to do something this “ridiculous” I’m going to do it for a higher purpose. That higher purpose just so happens to have come to me by tweet.

Allow me to introduce to you “a person” and a support system of people:

I know that I love an amazing someone unconditionally who has inspired me to go further, try harder, and push more than I ever thought I could. She has had T1 diabetes since she was 4, has beaten breast cancer and has done both of these thing while brightening my life and many others every single day.

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August 2009

Kathy is my step mom. She is one for the record books. Always claiming to be “the evil stepmother” she has never shown any true sign of this! She keeps my dad out of trouble (trust me – he needs all the help he can get ;)) and is always there if I need a shoulder to cry on, a friend to listen, some no-nonsense advice or any combination thereof. There is nothing this woman can’t do. She feeds those in hospice when she’s not doing dialysis. She sounds like a saint, huh? To put up with all the shenanigans of the family, she dang near has to be.

Sure, she’s not perfect. God knew what He was doing though. She’s never lost sight of Him either, quite possibly more than anyone else she has served as my foundation of faith. She has never once wavered. Of course, why has entered everyone’s mind. It’s entered my mind certainly. Why would God ever put anyone through this? Is this path of pain and suffering really what life is? Her life training plan sucks, cancer, diabetes, crazy in-laws, and quite possibly crazier family. She always assures of the opposite though, she has an amazing life, God gave her obstacles to clear gracefully and a group of people who, albeit bizarre, have their own way of loving her. God has a purpose and at the end of every day He’s the one helping her dust off the day to start the next.

To help dust me off the ring side seats are packed with friends, families, and strangers alike. To say I am blessed is an understatement and I am so grateful for each and every one of my supporters and her supporters. Allow me to introduce to you a few.

First, on the technical side of things: I hired a coach. He’s nuts, absolutely bonkers but I love it. He will be a part of many, many posts over these next 22 months I’m sure. I could have printed off a training plan and followed it meticulously, I could have found a friend who would help me get reacquainted with the pool, etc but I decided hiring a coach was the best step for me to get the most out of this experience. He will also be instrumental in getting me in proper gear, figuring out proper nutrition, and most importantly, pushing me harder than I ever have been. Sure, hiring a coach is selfish but I know he is my best first move. Less than two weeks in and he’s already proving his worth in gold (more on that Monday).

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We have a lot of fun together.

Next to be introduced is my husband. Thankfully he supports me in all things. He also just so happens to be the best Athletic Trainer on the earth (in my very humble opinion). He has to gets to listen to me gripe and whine of early/hard/easy/rest days, make sure my body is sound enough (for which I cannot thank him enough), and of course, hopefully, be there at the finish line 600 + days away.

This may literally be the only picture of all of them…together.

This may literally be the only picture of all of them…together.

My parents should not go unmentioned either, each has taught me invaluable lessons. My stepmom, the person behind this, just keep kicking. My mom, someone who I am proud to say is my best friend, she thinks I’m nuts for doing a marathon…we’ll hold a session on what she thinks after Ironman! She has taught me so many things but I suppose my favorite life lesson is to always be kind. Always.  My dad, there is nothing quite like the father/daughter connection and I know he’s going to be cheering me on the whole way; lesson: “you do whatcha gotta do, it’s that easy”. My stepdad, last but not least, who taught me that I can do anything, it’s just a matter how many tears I cry first (I know he remembers teaching me how to drive)!

Twitter. Can’t leave social media out of this fight. It may sound 21st century and it is  but I have the opportunity to connect with so many incredible people from all walks of life with all different goals, all of whom inspire me and I will hopefully have the chance to be that inspiration for someone else. Besides, if Twitter is good for nothing else it’s perfect for shouting to the abyss!

So in my corner how many people is that? Oh, yeah, millions 🙂 I have fantastic support system!

“A passion”:

Let’s go through the motions.

The swim. I grew up in a pool, I haven’t been in any pool for about seven years though and for any consistency even longer than that. Coach says I’ll get my form back no problem. Advantage? I think so! Thanks Mom!

The bike. <insert groan> I can literally count on one hand how many time I have sat on a bicycle. You read that correctly -sat not ridden – and this next sentence might even make you cry a little. I am 20 years old with absolutely no knowledge of the fundamentals or mechanics of riding a bike, much less riding for 112 miles. What could possibly be in my favor? I rode horses for what seems like forever. Win for awesome parents again! The plan? To start out on a stationary and an indoor trainer, get me comfortable by Spring and…let’er go! Yes, I promise to video the first ride for you! Coach will be instrumental in making sure I succeed in this one. I have faith in my abilities and he has faith in mine – we’re all set!

The run. When I first began I hated running or at least I thought I did. Then I started down this road to 26.2 (marathon) and I’ve found it therapeutic, energizing, enlightening, so many amazing things. Needless to say, I don’t hate it any more! Really I am looking forward to crossing that finish line on my own two feet.

My passion is to move and for others to move. I have an insatiable desire to keep moving, to live my life with others and not for myself alone. It’s fueled by finding my stride, in all aspects of life. I believe that if you’re unwilling to lend a hand you haven’t started living yet.

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“A purpose”:

Decide to Ironman: Check. Pick a race: Check. Find an amazing group of people do it with completely by accident: Done. Hire a coach who’s just as crazy as you (he’s a multiple IM himself): Done. Write your story: Doing. Finish thousands of miles later: Will do.

Now to get down to business. Ironman is about me, Ironman is about Kathy, Ironman is about you and embodies every single goal you set for yourself. It is the pinnacle of existence. My thing is Ironman, yours might be buying groceries from farmer’s markets (buy local guys, you’ll love it) or quitting your stable job to pursue your purpose. Whatever it might be, go do it. Go do it with passion. Go do it with zest. Go do it with everything you have. You cannot lose.

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Please join me in my journey, share with me yours.

There is a fundraising effort being put together and I will be soliciting donations for Riding On Insulin if you would like to be notified when my fundraising page goes up simply email me at thesaltypretzelblog@gmail.com.

If you’d like to send an encouraging word or share your story I’d love love love to hear from you – email me at the same address as above!

Thanks for reading! Here’s your weekly question guys: Have you ever done or thought about doing a triathlon? What’s your passion and purpose?

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It’s a Vegan Thanksgiving: Dessert

Happy Monday Tuesday y’all!

Oy, it has been a looooong day guys! I hope it has been shorter for you! Here are a few of my favorite Thanksgiving dessert recipes!

Don’t forget to check the rest of this series! Vegan main dishes and vegan sides and substitutes! Next week will be vegan appetizers and leftovers – yeahhh!

Best meal of the day. Done.

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Forks over Knives’ Blackberry-Peach Cobbler

Oh She Glows’ Vegan Pumpkin Pie, Three Ways: Classic, Rustic, & Gluten-Free

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Chloe Coscarelli’s Cinnamon Mocha Cupcakes

For all of my “breakfast after dark” foodie fans I have a little something something for you too!

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Minimalist Baker’s Vegan Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

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Minimalist Baker’s Gluten-Free, Vegan Apple Crisp 

(disregard the ice cream that is NOT vegan, pretty please!)

And my absolute favorite food in the whole wide world ever to be made!!!!

This was a contingency on veganism for me – yeah, it’s that serious.

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Maratha Stewart’s Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Wait…is chocolate vegan? Sometimes, here are the deets.

What are some of your favorite holiday desserts? And no, they don’t have to be vegan!