Kelly the Culinarian: January 2013

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Three Things Thursday

1. Bowie and Jenny both are feeling better. Thanks to everyone who sent their positive thoughts.  Jenny did not, in fact, have a blood clot, but now we know for sure. Bowie has a pancreas issue and has to be on a special diet, but he's back to his spunky little self.
Bowie on his birthday
2. I feel like I'm in a bit of a funk exercise wise.  I'm building a base for Ironman 70.3 Racine, but I kind of lack direction. And I feel tired. And it's really cold outside. And I haven't raced since December, and it did not feel good. It's getting hard to get up at 5 a.m. just to pal around and work out. I'm looking forward to starting a training plan.
I feel you, lazy puppy
3. I have a series of very special guest posts written by my very favorite Naperville photographer, Kate. Come back tomorrow and learn about how she's feeding her family of four using a freezer to crock pot strategy. And ya'll know I pink puffy heart my crock pot.
Kate looking all cute

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Training Tuesday: Crazy Running Apparel

Today I had a very important mission at lunch: running over to JC Penney to pick up the clearance running gear I ordered online. I'm channeling my inner Steve Stenzel here. It's my experience that the crazier you dress, the more people will cheer for you. This is especially useful if you're traveling for a race and won't have a cheering squad. It's a strategy that worked well for Jenny and I during the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. MacKenna and I also made a splash with our get ups at Venus de Miles.
So here are my new crazy capris.

Additionally, I have these booty shorts in pixel from

And these black and white swirl tights (which my sister says makes me look like a Who from Whoville).

Do you ever wear crazy outfits at races?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Happy Thoughts All Around

I was planning on running. Really, I was. But I got home and felt kind of worn down. Then my garmin was dead. Then I couldn't find my headphones. The universe was telling me it was time to take a rest day.  I tried a new recipe. Here's my four-point dinner. Impressive, no? It's shaved zucchini with 3/4 marinara sauce (3 points) and 1 Tablespoon of Parmesan cheese (1 point). I had a salad with zero-point honey dijon on the side and will be enjoying some red wine and dark chocolate momentarily.

In the meantime, I'd like to encourage you to send positive thoughts to a few people.  Guest blogger extraordinaire Jenny headed back to the hospital tonight to investigate a possible blood clot. I'm waiting to hear more.
It's easy to look happy before the marathon starts ...
Napoleon will not humor you.

I has it.
Also, my fur nephew, Bowie, is really quite ill with a mysterious ailment. My sister e-mailed me Friday saying that Bowie started limping when he was outside, but then was fine when they went inside. It was bitter cold last week, and I told her Napoleon sometimes gets so cold he just stops walking.  I win for worst advice ever.

Bowie continued this, so my sister took him to the vet today. They still don't know what the problem is. I guess he'll be fine and prancing around, then he'll shriek in pain. The vet thinks he may have eaten something he wasn't supposed to, as they've ruled out a pancreas problem. My sister's boyfriend is taking the day off to take Bowie back to the animal hospital for more tests. In the meantime, he's on a special diet and pain meds.

I'll be thinking of these guys tonight, and I hope you will, too.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Iced In

While we have had a bit of snow this winter, tonight, we are officially iced in at home. We're in the midst of a super nasty ice storm that promises to be quite nasty.  It's beautiful to see the trees ... from my position on the couch. I slipped and fell on our front porch taking this photo:
Because our porch currently looks like this:
You're welcome, Internet. I put considerable pain into this blog, especially tonight.

Before we got iced over, Tim and I started the day with a trip to the gym. I'm working on some of my favorite CrossFit moves and  did a few miles on the treadmill. And by a few, I mean two. I really need to get my act together. When we got home, I wanted waffles. With Weight Watchers, I can eat anything I want, just not everything, so I adjusted my remaining points accordingly. Snazzy Gourmet sent me this sweet potato waffle mix and I wasn't about to pass them up.

They were totally worth it.  I busted out the Bugs Bunny Waffle Maker and enjoyed these cinnamon-y, delicious waffles. They were everything I hoped for.
Since we're stuck inside, I spent my evening prepping my meals for the week.  I've been eating the same lunch pretty much every day, so now I'm set for the week. It's just as easy for me to make and measure out one lunch as it is to prepare five, so I just get it all together at the same time. Lunch this week will be quinoa, veggies and turkey Polish sausage, which I'm kind of obsessed with lately.  It's a five-point lunch, so I usually pair it with a salad, yogurt and an apple. I also chopped up veggies and portioned hummus for snacks, measured out a large container of Greek yogurt and added strawberries and portioned out some snacks for the week. It makes following points pretty easy and foolproof.
Now I'm off to enjoy the rest of my book with Napoleon. He seems to have a bit of a static problem this winter.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Why I Chose Laser Hair Removal

Welcome to a whole big post about hair removal.  You're welcome, world.  If you don't want to hear about hair removal, stop reading now. If you do want to know all the gory details about laser hair removal, I'm your gal.

I have very pale skin and very dark hair, which has made me self conscious since grade school. I have tried, in order: shaving, dipilatory creams, Nads, sugaring and waxing, all with varying levels of pain and annoyance. Shaving always caused irritation, creams left the root intact and Nads bruised my skin. Sugaring and waxing worked the best for me, but it's expensive and painful. Plus, the hair has to grow to a certain level before it can be removed entirely. This is a problem when you're training for a triathlon and wearing a swimsuit several times per week.

Plus, you know it's bad when your waxing lady asks if you've ever considered laser hair removal. And I did, but it seemed like an expensive and frivolous thing to do. But, each visit to the waxing salon ran me roughly $65. That means it was taking several hundred bucks per year to stay fuzz free.

I had a friend get laser hair removal using a Groupon deal and she had great things to say about it, which made me consider it again. She got a three-session package, but said it really takes more like six sessions for it to be effective.

When I saw a Groupon for six laser hair removal sessions  for $319 at a medspa near my house, I jumped on it after I read the positive Yelp reviews of the place.

I'm four sessions in and it has made a huge difference. Each session is scheduled about six weeks apart, so this isn't a quick fix. But, it should be a permanent one. The hair I have left is very fine and easy to shave with minimal irritation. With any luck, it will be gone in another two sessions.

In terms of pain, it is more painful than waxing, but not by much. It's over faster than waxing, though, and gets less painful as the sessions continue.

Here are a few things to keep in mind about laser hair removal:

  • Always, always use a Groupon or LivingSocial deal. There are deals for laser hair removal on there every day. There's no need to pay full price.
  • Check the reviews for any place you're considering. Some are shady, and I've heard complaints online from people who bought Groupon deals but then can't schedule their sessions.
  • Regardless of where the hair is, you'll probably need six sessions to catch the hair at different stages of growth.
  • Shave before your first session, but skip the body lotion. This makes it less painful.
  • You cannot wax the hair once you start treatments. You can only shave.
  • You have to avoid sun exposure when you're undergoing treatments, so you'll want to consider starting in the off season.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Three Things Thursday

1. I got a reply from Ironman Triathlon on Twitter! Now I'm feeling quite legit.

2. In addition to a fun yoga date with Alissa, I'm going to an event Saturday at Vision Quest Coaching in Highland Park. It's put on by Venus de Miles, which I recently learned made MacKenna and I stars in its promotional video.  If you want to partake in a free coaching session in Highland Park this Saturday, e-mail me for the details!
Venus de Miles Illinois 2012 from WendyCity Productions on Vimeo.
3. I won a bra from Handful by commenting on Zooma's blog. I'm excited because this looks comfy and flattering. And I really love free. Rumor has it that Zooma is making an announcement about the 2013 race soon, and I'm frankly really excited. I had such a great time at our Chicago Running Bloggers getaway last year that I really hope we can do it again!
The running blogger crew (and friends) 2011

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What I ate (on Weight Watchers) Wednesday

Weight Watchers is going really well for me! I'm not losing weight fast by any means, but I feel far more in control of my eating patterns. This is great since I'm currently developing a base to train for the Ironman 70.3 Racine triathlon (and they replied to one of my tweets today! Swoon). I'm loving that I can eat all the fruits and veggies that I want. I'm eating far more vegetables than I was a month ago, and I really love the convenience of steamable frozen veggies.  Here's a selection of my daily consumption from the past week.

Reminder: I get 26 points plus per day, 49 flex points per week and a ton of activity points from working out, which I don't really use. The points might not add up to exactly 26 because I don't photograph my coffee or fruits.

From top left: Turkey burger with green beans (5 points); Wasa multigrain cracker with Laughing Cow cheese, hummus with veggies (4 points);  oatmeal with banana and peanut butter, egg whites with salsa (8 points); turkey Polish sausage with quinoa and veggies (5 points).
From top left clockwise: egg whites, baked zucchini boats, veggies and salad (3 points); Wasa cracker with Laughing Cow cheese, hummus, veggies and apple (4 points); leftover hamburger (5 points); pear; banana and peanut butter on half of a Flatout wrap (5 points).

From top clockwise: Zucchini boats, turkey Polish sausage and veggies (4 points); coffee, oatmeal topped with fruit (4 points); hamburger with pear (5 points).

Clockwise from top left: hamburger (5 points); Wasa cracker with egg whites (2 points); Protein Bar southwestern salad without cheese, apple and diet root beer (9 points); hummus with veggies (2 points); banana and peanut butter on a mission carb smart tortilla (5 points).
Clockwise from top left: Veggies with egg whites and hummus (3 points); Tilapia with veggies, Fage with strawberries (5 points); turkey burger (5 points); banana and peanut butter on tortilla (5 points); Wasa cracker with Laughing Cow cheese (2 points).

Clockwise from top left: Hummus with egg whites and veggies (3 points); tilapia with veggies and a sugar-free pudding cup (6 points); chicken with salsa and salad, broccoli and an apple (4 points); Protein Bar Denver Scramble with Comiskey Cocoa protein shake, Wasa cracker and banana (8 points); air-popped popcorn with a side of creeping Yorkie looking for a snack (3 points).

Favorite new snack: Wasa crackers are awesome. They're filling and fulfill that "crunchy food" food craving for 1 point.
Biggest disappointment: Laughing Cow sundried tomato mozarella is not what I thought it would be. I'm still going to eat it because I do not waste money ever, but it's not what I was hoping for. Anyone have any suggestions for what flavor I should buy next? Also, I wish I would have gotten the Millennium Perk instead of the Comiskey Cocoa at Protein Bar. They're the same point value and I liked the perk a lot more.
Favorite meal: This is not pictured, but I went to the Chicago Healthy Living Blogger book club Saturday at Kelsey's apartment and they had some seriously amazing food. I used my flex points that day without regret. Someone made this awesome roasted sweet potato and beet kale salad that rocked, but my favorite were these dark chocolate oat energy bite things. So. good. And we read a book and something or other, too.
Biggest revelation: Oatmeal is a lot more enjoyable and attractive when you put the fruit on top instead of stirring it in. Also, I am a huge snacker. I eat all day, just small amounts. Hope that's OK ....

If you have any questions about my noms, please let me know!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Training Tuesday: The Upside to Peer Pressure

At first, I was all like, "I don't know if I can do the 70.3 this year." Then I blogged about it. Then, this happened:
And then this happened:
And today, this happened:

So now, I'm all signed up for the Ironman 70.3 Racine triathlon on July 21, almost exactly six months from now. That should be plenty of time to get lean, fast, ripped and ready, right?


Thanks to my friends for pushing encouraging me into this new challenge. The truth is, knowing how much money I put into this race registration will deter me from slacking off. Knowing that start line is waiting for me, my bib number is reserved and there's a spot for my bike waiting will fuel me when I'm feeling lazy. Registering for a race that required me to enter my health insurance information is just the spark I need to get moving.

Ironman 70.3 Racine, I'm coming for you. For the next six months, I will eat, sleep and train to conquer.

See you July 21.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Art of the Makeover

I get a haircut about once a year. I had my last haircut in November, but I found a student on Craigslist looking for a model. Free haircut at a super expensive salon? I'm game. Worst case scenario, I end up with super short hair that the instructor has to fix. But hair grows back, so I'm happy to let a student learn on my scraggly locks.  So I started looking like this:

Three hours and all this later ...

I look like this:

I'm really pleased with how it turned out. The student who worked on my mess of hair did a fantastic job of giving me a new style.  Here's to a more streamlined look!

Have you ever had your hair done by a student? How did it turn out?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Getting Organized with GrooveBook

I take a ton of photos for this blog and in life. I like to snap all sorts of things, including my meals, Napoleon and our vacations. I usually use my phone for these photos.

I heard about Groovebook a few weeks ago and wanted to give it a try. The app is free and available for Androids and iPhones. Once you download the app, you fill in all your personal details and add your credit card. The first time you open it, the app asks you to add 100 of your photos to an album. It then sends you a Groovebook filled with your printed photos. Thirty days later, you repeat the process with another set of photos. Your first book has to be 100 photos, but every book after that can be up to 100 photos, depending on how many you select.

The grand cost is $2.99 per month for the photo album. You don't pay for shipping, it's all included.  Since I can never remember to print my photos and most of my memories are trapped on my phone, this is a pretty good deal in my books.

I think this app would be ideal if you have kids, too. I know most of my mommy friends are constantly snapping pics that never see the light of day.

The album turned out to be hilarious. There were photos from our vacation.

Some of my panoramic photos from the cruise.

And a ton of photos of Napoleon.

And some classic photos from older trips, like my trip to Washington, D.C.

Pretty telling, I would say ... Can't wait to see what February brings!

If you want to try a book free, enter code JANOWSKI1 when you sign in for the first time.

I got a free Groovebook for my review, but believe me, the opinions are my own. I'm super psyched about this app and intend to use it for the rest of the year to have a ready-made year in review set of scrapbooks. You can read my disclosures page if you have any questions.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Jenny's #runDisney Experience: Diary Of A Disney Marathoner (Part 3 of 3)

Hi friends! Jenny is recovering from an intense foot reconstruction surgery, but has agreed to share her tales of running the Walt Disney World Marathon. If you're just catching up, make sure to read part 1, which covers the Pasta in the Park Party, and part 2, which outlines her experience volunteering at the expo. And now, for the piece de resistance, her race report!

As I set my alarm for 2: 15 a.m. and lay my head down I hoped and prayed that I would be able to sleep. I love traveling to races but I dread the lack of sleep hotels often offer and this was no exception.
My good friend and running wife Barbara Dutton and I were school-girl-giddy to dress as Minnie Mouse and head to run the Disney Marathon. Bucket list item number two for Barbara and my third attempt at completing 26.2 miles, we decided to just finish the course and not PR. The heat forecast was for around 82 and thankfully with our 4: 30 a.m. start time a lot of the running would be before the sun had risen.

The course ran through all 4 Disney Parks so we had to get ourselves to the start line at the EPCOT theme park, easy right? WRONG. It was my decision to book our hotel and I made the same mistake Barbara did last year. I booked the Hilton LakeBuena Vista, which makes no provisions for the Disney marathon runners. The hotel DID NOT offer a shuttle to the theme park and we had to leave our hotel at 3:15 a.m. at the latest. Barbara in her best “Dutton Law” voice had a WORD with the management, who we seriously uninterested in helping us. They promised to get back to us and never did and it was the very kind Bell Hops who eventually arranged us a shuttle.

The traffic had started to get busy as we arrived at EPCOT so we quickly headed to gear check and then onto the port-a-potties. Barbara noticed that an aid station was offering water, Tylenol and sunscreen and she headed over to cover her self before we started the two-mile walk to our start corral.
25,000 runners were expected to cover the 26.2 miles with us and I have to say I’ve never seen such a mix of all shapes and sizes in runners. They were “average” shaped sisters, brothers and friends running together. They were there to commemorate anniversaries and memorials and not to be elite. This race was about having fun and being together. Fireworks signaled the start of each corral and we headed off with Corral G and down the service roads towards the Magic Kingdom.

The first few miles passed quickly and we arrived at the Magic Kingdom entrance at mile 5. The course was full of plenty of aid stations, water/powerade stops, entertainment, character photos, sections of the parade floats, music from DJs and live bands, there was never a dull moment. The sun had finally fully risen when we reached Cinderella’s castle and the temperatures were starting to warm up. I had made us Minnie Mouse tulle skirts and Barbara decided she was just too warm to run in hers any longer. One of the places where marathonfoto are guaranteed to be is where you run through the entrance to the castle. Don’t miss your opportunity for a great pic.

After the Magic Kingdom and when we hit Mile 8 we entered Disney Speedway and this is when my problems started. Having an existing foot problem and being on my feet too much the days running up to the marathon, I was struggling with terrible pain and nausea from the pain which was made horribly worse by running at a gradient around the Speedway. I tried to distract myself by eating some Gu and enjoying the classic cars and cars from movies, which were lined up on either side of the track, but that didn’t help. It wasn’t long before I was walking slowly and wanting to stop. 

By now Barbara was getting concerned about being swept and I encouraged her to leave me and finish her race. I was going to do what I could but I was not convinced I would reach half way let alone finish. So I watched Barbara run off into the distance and headed towards the Animal Kingdom. At Mile 12 a cheer squad holding reptiles and cute furry animals, greeted me. I’m not a big bearded lizard fan, but I couldn’t resist saying hi to the handlers and admiring their reptiles albeit from a far. The terrain through Animal Kingdom irritated my feet further and I had to drag myself past the numerous benches along the route. This made me very upset, as it’s my favorite park and probably one of the few places where there was some shade. The temperature at this point had risen and my face was definitely feeling some sunburn L 

13 miles and every step is agony. My stomach is nauseous from the pain and my head hurts. Considering stopping made me very upset and I battle on through mile 14 and eventually to mile 15. At 15 and half miles I decide no more. My feet do not have another mile in them let alone 11 and I find a race official and ask to finish and leave the course.  The lady who helped me was amazing and quickly arranged for a car to collect me and take me to the finish line at EPCOT. I get in the car and I am beside myself upset. Another official takes my details and we head home. L We collected two more people along the way and they were ecstatic about being picked up and I later heard someone had been picked up at Mile 1. We arrived at the finish line and were met by 6 doctors and race officials who kindly gave us our medals. One of the doctors quickly wrapped me in a space blanket and took me inside a shaded tent. After wrapping my feet in ice I was given snacks and water and was constantly checked to make sure I was feeling good. They were all amazing. 

I left the tent and headed to the finish line to wait for Barbara to come in. I wanted to ensure she was ok and to share her finish line joy with her J. When the runners crossed the finish line they were given their marathon medal or extra Goofy medal, taken for a finish line picture and given a bag of snacks, bananas and water. The end corral took you straight to gear check up and then to meet up with your family and friends.

Self aid, first aid and more photo opportunities were available beyond gear check but we chose to head near the runner’s retreat tent with friends. As we watched the crowd and were inundated with congratulations and smiles from other runners and their friends and families, all I could think of was my DNF. I was very lucky to receive a medal regardless and I was amazed at later finding out the winner crossed the finish line in 2 hours 21 minutes. Whoa. I realize now my long miles have now ended and I am good with that and I will never forget my Disney trip. If you have a race bucket list add Disney to it, even if it’s not a marathon distance. The weekend includes a Family Fun 5k, half marathon and full marathon. Disney has fondly nicknamed their half and full marathons, Goofy and the runner receives an extra medal for completing both races. Do I have a Goofy in me? Probably not but I-d love to go and be official Chear Squad for someone else. J