New Coffee & It’s So Good

Ok, so I went to a coffee festival a few weeks ago in San Francisco… Yeah, I know. It sounds maybe silly, maybe pretentious, maybe a bit overzealous in my love of coffee. BUT, and there is a but, it was totally worth it. So many local coffee roasters in one place. I would never know about half of these coffee roasters, and I walked away with some new delicious coffee beans. That was a win in my book!

The first new coffee I have tried is Proyecto Diaz Coffee El Carmen. El Carmen is a light-roast Oaxacan coffee and I find it aromatic and delightful.

This weekend, I was able to spend some quality time with my Chemex and enjoy a few cups of Proyecto Diaz coffee. In addition to fine tasting coffee, the company seems pretty darn amazing. They source coffee exclusively from small-scale producers and co-ops. They are working toward sustainable farm infrastructure and farming practices. Props to these guys. I’ll definitely be buying more.

Exercise · Food

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. Things have been busy and I’ve been distracted. 

This morning, my husband and I did our first ever Turkey Trot. We are visiting family in Maryland and we did the run in downtown Annapolis, near the US Naval Acadamy. 

It was so cool to be near so much history. The start of the race was near the site of the Marquis de LaFayette’s encampment, on the way to Yorktown – a turning point in the American Revolution. 

The academy was quiet this morning, but we walked the campus earlier this week. 

After the run, we spent the day with family. Mostly my family. It was a lot of fun. I’ve eaten too much and am ready to sleep it off. We had turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, succotash, and mulled wine. 

I hope everyone is spending the holiday in a way that makes you happy. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! And remember to be good to each other.

Stay healthy!


Step Away From the Chips, Ma’am

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I struggle to reign in my calorie intake. I purposely don’t buy chips anymore because 3 chips have something like a gazillion calories… Unfortunately, my husband bought chips recently so there has been a fair amount of temptation in my house. This afternoon, I found a half bag of chips… and I was hungry. My willpower lost the battle. Uh oh!

I ate some horrible number of these chips:


And, they were delicious. I had to throw out the remaining chips so I wouldn’t keep eating them. Seriously, I put them in the trash. The bag says 1 oz is 150 calories. It could be worse, I suppose. AND, I am fairly certain that a splurge here and there won’t kill you or do major damage. 🙂

Confession: I love crunchy snacks!

Do you have a favorite snack/guilty pleasure? What is it? And, is it crunchy and can I try it, too? 😉

The grocery near us has had a wonderful selection of nectarines lately. I have been buying those (plus apples, oranges, and bananas) and leaving them on the counter. Having them easily accessible has made it easier for me to snack on healthier items than chips, but it’s not always easy. How do you curb your “unhealthy” snacks? Suggestions welcome.

Stay healthy!


Post-Run Coffee

I’ve read a lot about the benefits of coffee before running. For me, that’s not really feasible. I run early and I am not so keen on the idea of getting up any earlier. 

I recently read that coffee can be beneficial after running as well. Yay for me! 🙂 Caffeine increases how quickly carbs are absorbed, which can help glycogen replenishment. Especially if you drink your coffee with carbs that are quickly digested. Some options include bananas, grapes, watermelon, dates, peaches, some cereals. Caffeine can also decrease muscle pain – the theory is that caffeine blocks a biochemical that plays a role in the pain cycle, so you wont feel achy or sore after a tough workout. 

So, with all of this good news, here is a photo of my recently-mastered caramel latte. Mmm, mmm, good! 🙂

Caramel latte made by me!
Food · Life

Day 5 of Invisalign (aka, I’m Hangry)

This! (can be bought here)

I started with Invisalign on Monday… And, it is safe to say that my transition has been rocky. Taking the trays in and out has put a stop to my evening snackage. Yay? Stopping the snackage has led to me waking up hungy. That’s new – usually I have to get moving before I feel like I could use a bite of breakfast. That can quickly lead to hangry, especially when I run or cycle… Which is most days.

New world order is me trying to figure out the best morning process for eating and brushing my teeth, and avoiding more than one tray removal. Because that alone takes me a couple of long, painful minutes. Bleh – I hope I get more efficient soon. I feel like a bumbling fool at the moment. Aaannnnnddddddd, I may have already knocked off one of the many nubs my dentist put on my teeth. Sigh! I decided I will deal with that next week – I just can’t handle another round of that this week. They put a torture device on you to hold your mouth open, then they put some kind of cement stuff on your teeth to form the nub, then they bake the shape into your tray.

At work, my favorite lunch is a salad… which is now hard to eat. 😦 I manage, though… Because I love that stupid salad. It has mixed greens, blue cheese, dried cranberries, sliced pears, walnuts, and chicken. It’s sooooo good. Ok, enough about the salad. It’s bad enough that the cashier laughs at me because I get the same thing EVERY time. She does. Every now and then I threaten to change it up, but she knows it’s an empty threat! Hahaha!

Onward, though… Right? Because at this point, I’ve paid for it and they’ve filed my teeth (to make room to move some on the top) so I suppose I’m committed. Things I’ve observed so far:

  • At some point, you realize you don’t feel comfortable with the trays in or out
  • You can’t talk properly either way anymore
  • They seem less obtrusive than regular braces, but they don’t feel less obtrusive
  • By Wednesday, I had people noticing my “invisible” aligners, so not so invisible
  • I’m a total weenie, and am worried that I will do nothing but whine until I’m done
  • I need this shirt:


Have a wonderful weekend, friends. And, if you are in the US, I hope you have a 3-day weekend full of fun and fireworks! Stay healthy!




Food · Life

I guess I solved my snacking problem…

Over the last several years, my teeth have shifted. Not terribly, but enough to bother me. I mentioned it to my dentist and he recommended Invisalign. Ok, yeah. Let’s get my teeth back to where the should be.

I had molds of my teeth taken and then waited for my trays to arrive. Yesterday, I went to the dentist for my first set. They filed various teeth to make room between them so they can push them back to solve for some overcrowding. That was the top. On both top and bottom, they put a LOT of little nubs on my teeth to move them around. All of those little nubs sit inside of the trays. And it all hurt like hell.

Day 2 of this and I’m already over it. It hurts to take the trays out, it hurts to put them back in, and I’d rather not touch them at all… So. Snacking problem solved. In the worst way possible. And one of those little nubs is in such a bad position with the trays out that I can’t chew properly. For real?!? I mean, I don’t want to be on granny’s soft food diet for close to a year.

Or, this may be the biggest test of my patience ever and I’ll come out of this a bitter… Er, I mean, better person. 😉


Me in my Invisalign

Perplexing Peanut Butter

Ok, so peanut butter isn’t really perplexing, but…

It’s hard to determine which peanut butter to buy. I’ve been buying Jiff Natural, which is “low sodium” and seems healthier than “regular” peanut butters. However, I recently read that the sugar added to peanut butter is “bad” and you should only go with peanut butter made with “natural” ingredients. So many quotation marks!

So! What did I do? I bought some natural peanut butter – only peanuts and salt. Well! It was more like peanut soup. I had to stir for at least 5 minutes to get it to a decent consistency. And, let’s face it… It wasn’t all that exciting. Yes, it tasted like peanuts, but the soupiness didn’t make for good PB&Js. Just ask my toddler. 🙂

Then, I took a gander at the nutrition information on both peanut butters and, while the ingredients were indeed different, the overall nutritional benefits/detriments/whatever seemed about the same.

Choosing a peanut butter
Choosing a peanut butter

Jif Natural ingredients: Peanuts, Sugar, Palm Oil, Salt, Molasses

Nutrition information for a 2 tbsp serving:

  • Calories: 190
  • Fat calories: 130
  • Total fat: 24%
    • Saturated fat: 15%
  • Cholesterol: 0%
  • Sodium: 3%
  • Total carbs: 3%
    • Dietary fiber: 10%
  • Protein: 7g

Open Nature ingredients: Peanuts, Salt

Nutrition information for a 2 tbsp serving:

  • Calories: 200
  • Fat calories: 140
  • Total fat: 25%
    • Saturated fat: 15%
  • Cholesterol: 0%
  • Sodium: 5%
  • Total carbs: 2%
    • Dietary fiber: 8%
  • Protein: 7g

Given the above, I’m going back to the Jif Natural with the sugar. It tastes better and appears to be on par with the natural stuff from a bottom-line nutritional perspective. And, one more plus? I don’t have to stir it for more than a few seconds. It does have some separation, but nothing like the natural stuff.

What do you think? Do you have a favorite peanut butter? What do you think about natural vs. more processed? Let me know in the comments.

Stay healthy!

Exercise · Food

It’s Been a Blah 2 Weeks

For the last two weeks, I’ve been nursing my right knee. It is still a little tender, but much better. I am still working out, but trying to keep it low impact. I’ve been doing indoor cycling and treadmill runs. Then there was this week… Work got busy so I missed one of my cycling classes. Skipping that one day made me feel completely lethargic. Or, I was already there and skipping that one day made me realize it.

My knee all wrapped up
My knee all wrapped up

Last night, I fell asleep a little after 10pm. My husband let me veg out on the sofa until I woke up around midnight. And, honestly, I usually jump out of bed at 6am. It was tough this morning. I have to figure out how to get out of this rut. The good news is that I did my treadmill run, though. I’m planning a road run (short one) tomorrow so make sure the knee feels good enough to handle it. I’m really looking forward to getting outside. I do so much better outdoors.

I’ve found that I get super hot in the gym. I wear shorts and tank tops, but I still feel like I am about to pass out. I get hot much sooner than when I run in the crisp, cool morning air. I have really missed my regular running schedule. And, now that the sun is out earlier, it’s even easier. I just have to dodge the cyclists who think they own the trail. 😉 Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all of them. But, it is a lot of them. And, they ride really fast. I’m surprised there aren’t more accidents.

Less exercise also means I can’t keep eating the same amount of stuff I’ve been eating. I’ve been good about salads and eating less this week… mostly. I’ve had to dip into the chocolate stash a couple of times because chocolate at the end of a bad day makes everything feel better. Then again, I also don’t believe you should completely deprive yourself of something. I find that the cravings are worse and the splurge is bigger when I try to completely avoid something I really want. The trick is to only consume small amounts. Easier said than done, I know. Believe me, I know!!

From the Beat the Blerch run in Sacramento

It’s a good thing that my next half marathon isn’t until October. That one is a trail run and I have new trail shoes. Yay! That I haven’t been able to try out yet. Boo! I am hoping to do my first official trail training run next weekend. I am definitely chomping at the bit, but I’m trying to be good. Can’t wait to post about my experience… And, with a new brand of shoe, too. I went with Saucony Peregrines instead of sticking with my go-to Brooks. I was really close to getting my third pair of Brooks, but wanted to mix it up a little bit.


Weekday Morning Coffee

I’ve posted previously about my weekend coffee ritual. I love making coffee on the weekends because I can grind my beans, do a pour-over drip, and enjoy the process. Weekday mornings are a different beast altogether. I don’t have much time, so I have to go quickly… Enter the Nespresso machine.

Foam on my espresso

On weekdays, I warm my latte milk while getting my coffee pod into the machine and ready to go. Once it’s done, I add the milk and a little sugar… Voila! A few minutes yields a decent latte and gives me time to do all of those morning things that stop me from enjoying my coffee zen style. 😉

It’s a fine latte

Because I enjoy coffee so much, I do appreciate having a quick alternative. I do have a little guilt about the coffee pods, though. That’s a lot of waste. Nespresso recycles the pods – they give you a bag to collect the used pods and they then recycle both the container and the grounds. It’s still probably on the wasteful side, but less than if I just toss them in the trash bin. I’ll pretend my trash is offset by not using disposable coffee cups… Maybe. It does help me make it through my mornings, though… Still prefer my weekend mornings when I can enjoy Illy and Dillanos freshly ground and brewed. 🙂

Food · Life

My Morning Coffee

Tonight, I am nursing a sore quad and glad this morning’s run was only 6 miles. Next weekend is the Oakland Running Festival and I am running the half marathon. Gotta get this quad feeling better! But, that’s not what I want to write about… I want to write about my morning coffee ritual.

Coffee, you complete me!
Coffee, you complete me!

I have been working hard to perfect my home brewing technique and I am rather pleased with how things have been going. I’ve played around with several different coffees and my two favorites are Illy and Dillanos. Illy is an Italian coffee roasting company that specializes in espresso. Dillanos is a Washington-based coffee roasting company that focuses on speciality coffees. They are both DEELISH!

Getting ready for my Dillanos!

Weekend mornings, I get to make pour-over coffee and I delight in the process. I love making a great cup of coffee. I grind the beans that morning, and then use a Chemex brewer. My coffee experience starts with putting the water on the stove. Then, I grind my beans at a French press level – somewhat course. When the water is warm, I pour a little through the filter to eliminate any papery taste and to preheat my brewer. After dumping out the excess water, I put the beans into the filter and wait for the water to get just right. You want to get it just after the boil.

Waiting for the water to boil
Waiting for the water to boil

My brew process includes 3 pours – the first is a small pour that lets the coffee beans expand, sometimes called a “bloom.” This takes about 45 seconds or so. A good bloom will give you even water dispersion and your coffee will taste fabulous. The other 2 pours are to get the volume right… When I’m all done, a little cream and sugar and I am one happy camper. I like to make proper lattes, too. My husband thinks I am crazy, but look at this! Mmmmmm…

This coffee is ready to drink
This coffee is ready to drink

Hope there are a few other caffeine and/or coffee addicts out there that can appreciate a good cup of home-brewed heaven. 🙂 I really do love the whole process. There is something calming about it… It’s a strange love affair, but it works for me. Have a great Sunday!!