Sunrise and sunset in the country is something else. The golden hour lighting hits the barns and fields and ponds so perfectly, that I don’t think it will ever get old. This morning, my running buddy and I ran 8 miles around a golf course during a pink and purple sunrise. Waking up at 5am is rough BUT we got to see swans in the lake, ponies, and quail. It really beats the clunky treadmill with a view of myself in the mirror that I am used to.
Adjusting to life here is starting to get easier. For a few weeks, there was so many random errands and appointments and events. I really started to miss routine. When I had granola bars and trail mix for dinner multiple times a week, I started to crave simple nights with a home-cooked meal. Which is exactly what I did on Monday. But then I was back to the crazy jam-packed schedule the rest of the week and it’s taken me four days to finish this blog post.
Hence, why I’m bringing you a new clean recipe today!
It has a ton of flavor from seasonings, but it’s also made with clean whole ingredients.
This recipe is fairly quick to throw together, especially if you have a dad who knows how raw chicken repulses you and volunteers to prep the protein while you chop the veggies ;)
I tried out a tri-color quinoa from my friends at BetterBody Foods which makes the dish extra beautiful.
Quinoa Chicken Veggie Bake (<– real creative title, no?)
- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1″ cubes
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 heads of broccoli, chopped
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 1 cup baby carrots, chopped
- 1 cup low-fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- black pepper
- Mrs. Dash no-sodium seasoning
- optional: chicken broth to cook the quinoa in
(Everything is better with cheeeeeese.)
1.) In a non-stick skillet, cook the chicken over medium heat until they are cooked through.
2.) Add the broccoli, onion, carrot, garlic, and seasonings to the skillet. Heat on low for 10 minutes.
3.) Cook the quinoa in a separate saucepan; bring 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups of water or chicken broth to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
4.) Remove both pans from the stove top and combine in a baking dish. Stir in cheddar cheese.
5.) Bake for 25 minutes at 375 degrees. **Optional: add panko bread crumbs and additional cheese for a crispy topping**
It felt good to get some nutritious whole ingredients back on my dinner plate!
Then the next night I totally cancelled it out with some zinfandel and flatbread….A couple girls that I’ve met in Idaho got together for “Wine Down Wednesday.”
When we sat down at an outdoor sushi bar for happy hour, the bartender informed us that it was half-off bottles of wine. Since we like the sweeter fruity wines, we went with white zinfandel. I love the color :)
We ended up hanging out at the restaurant for 3 hours, eventually ordering sushi and flatbreads. Then we saw the movie Bad Moms…oh my gosh. I wouldn’t quite put it on the same level as Bridesmaids but it was pretty hysterical and Kristin Bell is too much. It’s especially fun to watch after a couple glasses of wine in a theater full of giggly girls.
The late night out made the next morning’s run a little more difficult. I decided that my plan to do sprint intervals was overly optimistic and I hung out on the treadmill while watching the news instead. I still got in a solid 6 miles before I ran to Wal Mart – I was “snack lady” for my office meeting that day. (It still kills me to go to Wal Mart. I am a Target girl through-and-through and this is the first time I’ve ever lived more than 2 miles from a Target.) Any other day, I would’ve found a cutesy Pinterest crafty recipe. You know I’m busy when I have to resort to a store-bought bag of trail mix.
And that about catches us up. :) Let me know if you try the recipe!
Have you ever watched the series finale of an epic show like Friends or Sex & the City? When we sit down to watch that final episode, we all know it’s the end. We want clarity and appreciate the writers’ care in tying up loose ends. Especially when they allude to the fact that all of our characters are living happily ever after. Charlotte gets her baby. Carrie gets Mr. Big. Joey gets his own spinoff….
Well last night felt like a series finale. Little moments came in at just the right time and loose ends are beginning to tie off. Kerri has been in all of my big college moments because we have been best friends for four years. I mean, the biggest biggest fight we’ve ever had was over the fact that I didn’t like her Birkenstock shoes. (The Birks are a serious matter in Flagstaff.) Last night, we were sitting at our favorite frozen yogurt shop up in the loft during sunset and talking. Even though we didn’t say it during the time, we knew it was the very last time we would ever hang out together here in Flagstaff. Once we graduate, we are both moving to different cities (and states) and our hangouts would involve planning and travel.
Just like a movie moment, during the stress of finals week and graduation and packing up my apartment and moving out…..an amazing opportunity presented itself. A company and brand that I am very loyal to offered me the opportunity to write for their blog, with content aimed at college students. I don’t want to put any details because it’s still being worked out, but the opportunity gave me such excitement and even more validation. Graduating seniors need that little message that “someone will want you” and this was that for me. I shared my news with Kerri and she was equally excited.
Then she began talking about her travel plans. She has a fabulous trip abroad this summer all by herself. She was talking about the future with her boyfriend and eventually applying for medical school. It just seemed like everything was wrapping up so neatly when a few weeks ago they seemed to be barely hanging by a thread. Obviously once left the restaurant, we had to acknowledge the fact that we don’t know when we’ll see each other so there was a tearful goodbye hug. Cue the credits, aaaaand scene.
But I’ve digressed and now I’ll get back to the final installment of my favorite college memories. Junior year honestly doesn’t feel like that long ago, so it seems silly to “look back” on these memories as if they are in the distant past. Junior year, like any year, had ups and downs, highs and lows, but it began and ended with pure happiness.
On the first day of economics class, I picked the second row window seat. I sat there every day for the rest of the semester and the same guy sat in the seat next to me for the entire semester. We did our economics homework together, started dating not long after, visited each others’ families for winter break. Then he was arrested, I broke up with him, and I’m not even kidding. (All of this managed to escape the blog at the time but it sure is funny to think about now!) I’d like to say my standards are a litttttle higher now. ;)
In September I competed in my first cross country race during monsoon season in Flagstaff with my parents and my roommates cheering me on. The runner’s high is real.
During move-in weekend, The Maine performed an outdoor concert on campus (my third time seeing them live!) and my new roommates and I excitedly went shopping to decorate our new apartment together. This was the first time in college that I had my own room, something I will never take for granted again :)
This year was a whirlwind for sure, but one of the most significant decisions was to not compete in track and begin training for my first marathon. It was exciting to follow my own training plan after being coached for seven years. Racing my first marathon was the most rewarding experience, and I even surprised myself. I have incredible friends and family who all came to Phoenix to support me, and I finished with a Boston-qualifying time of 3 hours and 27 minutes. At that moment I knew that I made the right decision, mostly because accomplishing this huge goal of mine brought more joy than track ever did.
One of the most memorable classes will be Rap, Hip Hop & Criminal Justice. My roommate told me about the course and suggested we take it together, but then she dropped it and I was stuck by myself! The first thing the “professor” said when she walked in the class…. “I know what you all are thinking: Who is this white lady and what the hell is she going to teach us about hip hop?” The homework for the class involved watching music videos and reading lyrics. In class we watched Ice T’s documentary and blasted F#%& The Police…in the Criminology department. For educational purposes, of course. And yes, we wrote our own rap. Mine was called Afraid to be Average. Watch out, Nicki.
Speaking of gangsta….my roommates and I also threw our own ugly sweater party this year! It didn’t include a sweater contest but I’ll just go ahead and give myself the win on that one…. #homemade ;)
An academic highlight of this year was the opportunity to travel to Omaha, NE, representing my university’s business college to meet Mr. Warren Buffett and tour three of his companies. One of the strict guidelines was absolutely no alcohol on the trip. Our provost came to talk to us before we departed and said, “If you can’t go three days without a drink, you have a problem.”All twenty students laughed and nodded.
The first thing the group I was with said as we departed the charter bus unchaperoned: “Margarita Bar!” Cheers to Warren Buffett. ;)
After my marathon, I struggled a little bit about what to do next with my fitness goals…I tried the LiveFit trainer but the lack of running didn’t work for me. Mostly I found friends to go on many many hiking adventures with me. I hiked Devil’s bridge for the first time (and second, and third). I had TWO very memorable trips to the Grand Canyon and several Sedona adventures, alone and with friends.
This year I drastically cut my hair, finally brought my car up to Flagstaff, and turned 21. My friends and I went to Dustin Lynch, Kip Moore, and Ellie Goulding concerts on-campus (plus Eli Young Band in the summer if that counts!). I raced a charity 5k hosted by our school’s ROTC, and after I finished behind the top 10 ROTC boys the sergeant asked if I had ever considered joining the ROTC program. HA! Do your fatigues come in pink? Flattered but also laughing on the inside ;) I respect everyone who is in the program, it’s just probably not for me.
Junior year was the first time that I started to feel really independent. I absolutely loved my business courses (though a few less group projects would’ve been cool too). I met incredible people and even though some of my friends grew apart after I left the track team, others grew stronger and closer. I ended the year feeling really happy. I loved the people in my life and I was looking forward to a few more summer trips to New York to continue the medical procedures. And ready to be a SENIOR! :)That’s the jist of it. A thousand memories didn’t quite make it in these past three recap posts, but I gotta keep some things personal!
Today I graduate with honors from Northern Arizona University with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and a certificate in Promotions and Marketing Communications. In my time here, I was a D1 cross country and track athlete, sports marketing intern, and Student Health Advisory Committee member. I’m so proud to be a Lumberjack, forever grateful for my parents and thrilled to close this chapter on a wonderful four years in Flagstaff.
Good morning! Throwback Thursday means we are less than 24 hours away from THE LAST WEEKEND OF COLLEGE. And remember that little post/question I put up last week? Well, I found something to do. And you’ll just have to wait and read all about it next week. :)
Yesterday, I completed another cardio workout in the comfort of my apartment’s fitness room which involved hopping from treadmill to elliptical to treadmill. Nothing unusual.
Except the temperature.
The thermostat is protected by a locked plastic case, and the heater was on as I entered the little gym. It was already hot and I hadn’t even started working yet! The heater remained on during my entire stay and when I left, the thermostat read 75 degrees. Take that and add one intense stationary work out (6 miles plus elliptical time, some core work afterwards) and you have some prettttttty sweaty clothes.
So in lieu of my sauna-esque workout, I found this little scientific breakdown post to bring back to life as today’s throwback. (How so many people rave about “hot yoga” classes, I do not know.)
P.S. This is about as “scientific” as it gets on Strong Like My Coffee ;)
Originally Posted on June 11, 2014
“Did you have a nice swim?”
Actually I just ran.
“Oh, so you just got out of the shower?”
Nope, this is pure perspiration right here.
“How long were you running???”
Oh you know, 30 minutes.
The amount I sweat looks completely disproportional to the intensity and effort I exert during a run. It seems logical that, after nearly 8 years of running, my body should be well-adapted to cardio activity and sweat less right?
I will be forever envious of fellow female runners who can shake out a pony-tail after a solid treadmill session with nothing more than a slight mist on their hairline. Meanwhile I’m towelling off my soaked face, my hair dripping as I sprint to the shower and avoid chit chat in my sweaty state.
I took to the world wide web to answer my eternal question of why the heck do I sweat so much if I am “in shape”?
***I can rule out “hyperhidrosis” or an actual diagnosis of excessive sweating because this only happens during exercise, thank goodness.***
SOME SWEET SWEAT FACTS:
- The autonomic nervous system controls the sweat function, a natural response to the rise in body temperature.
- Sweat is 99% water, 1% sodium and other compounds (on average). Some people have “saltier” sweat than others.
- The odor accompanying the release of sweat is not the actual sweat itself; it is the bacteria that lives on our skin around the sweat glands that becomes “activated” with the sudden moisture.
Sweat Factors:the amount a person sweats is related to the number of sweat glands, their gender, some genetic factors, source or reason for sweating (stress, spicy food, exercise, etc.) and overall body mass.
Other Interesting findings:
- Several sources report that more cardiovascularly-fit people sweat earlier into their exercise session because their bodies have learned to expect the rise in body temperature and attempt to cool off sooner into the workout.
- Because fat and body mass act as insulators, heavier people require more sweat to bring down their body temperature. This is why larger bodies sweat more.
- A red light for me: “CAFFEINE CAN INCREASE PERSPIRATION.” :(
What it boils down to:
The body contains between 2 and 5 million sweat glands. More glands = more sweat. I.e. Sweat volume is not a sign of fitness.
If you are a light sweater, I’m a jealous jellyfish. If you are a faucet, include extra hydration into your pre and post-workout routine. Drink up, buttercup!