Pick a pick a pumpkin!

This week I have had a craving for pumpkin in everything! Pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin protein shakes, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin spice cheesecake….I decided to draw the line when I came across a pumpkin lasagna recipe. That didn’t quite cut it for me. I have a lot on my plate for this week as far as school and interviews for the paper so I decided to take a visit to two of the places that help me relax no matter what.

I bet you can guess the first place I visited to help relieve a little stress. A morning workout at the gym to do everyone’s favorite, leg day! I figured I would get that one out of the way since I probably wouldn’t have the energy to do it later in the week. I started with a treadmill speed interval work out to get my heart rate up and get a little sweat going.

I caught my breath and then did a quick ab workout to give my legs a little break and stretch them before my leg workout. I try to work my abs almost everyday to keep a tight core. Every couple days I will do an intense ab workout session since you can strain your abdominals by working them out hard everyday. Keep in mind, just because you work your abs out like crazy doesn’t mean you’re going to have a six-pack. I’m a firm believer in the fact that abs are developed in the kitchen and whether you are capable of having a six pack deals partially with genetics. Just like muscles, they need the right proteins and carbs to keep them looking firm, tight, and toned.

The first 4 workouts I did on the cable pulley machine. Make sure to move the clip you attached to your ankle strap all the way to the bottom of the cable. For the first workout, turn your back to the machine and slowly move your leg in front of you and parallel to the ground, then bring back slowly. Repeat 13 times, and then turn to face the machine. Now kick leg backwards slowly and slowly back  in and repeat 13 times. Turn your body 90 degrees so your shoulder to shoulder with machine and kick leg away from body and bring back in slowly, repeat 13 times. Now turn your body so the other shoulder is to the machine. Kick your leg inwards and towards the opposite shoulder, repeat 13 times. Now do this with the other leg. It can be a little awkward at first but your body will adjust.

The weight and repetitions are just what I have been using, use whatever fits your personal goals. (If you are trying to tone or build muscle). I didn’t put a weight down for the leg press because it depends on which machine I use. I chose to do 3 sets of this workout.

On days where I want a little more of a challenge, I will take some of the machines and do levels of 3. This means I will complete 15 regular, then I will do increments where I do little pulses of 5 but not complete the entire extension. Then, I’ll go a little further into the extension and do 5 more pulses. On the 3rd level I go all the way into the extension and do 5 more and hold the last one to the count of 10. This will leave my body incredibly sore the next day but I’ve found it’s a great way to isolate the muscles.

For the calf raises, I like to use a stair and place my toes on the edge of it so my feet are parallel to one another. Then I lift onto my toes and extend up and down 13 times while holding weights in each hand (for days when I feel like a challenge!) Next I will point my toes outwards, calf raises duck style! I might stretch my calves at this point if they start to feel tight before moving to the 3rd angle which is pointing my toes inwards.

I stretched out again after this and walked on the treadmill for 5 minutes for a cool down. I love using a foam roller and definitely use it to stretch after leg day workouts.

After my workout, and barely being able to walk out of the gym, I hit up my other favorite place to relieve a little stress. The bulk section at Winco! I don’t know what it is but there’s something about being able to have the freedom to purchase whatever amount of whatever item I want in bulk and not have to pay the full price for a package of flour that may take me forever to use up. I feel like George Banks in Father of the Bride when he is trying to buy hot dogs and buns but doesn’t want to buy a package of 12 buns for 8 hot dogs, it just doesn’t make any sense!

I purchased the ingredients I would need to make a pumpkiny recipe. In addition to my intense desire for pumpkin, I have been craving dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and…chocolate chips! Luke and I changed our sugar/fast food bet to having one day a week where we could cheat which seemed much more reasonable. I decided I would make a batch of Pumpkin Spice Protein Energy Bites!

I used Skip To My Lou to make a recipe card for it since it ended up having much more ingredients than I thought it would. I absolutely loved her layout and how quick and easy of a process it was to make the recipe. The recipe itself takes less than 15 minutes to make and most of the ingredients you probably already have in your house. For the oat flour, I used my Magic Blender to grind regular oats until they turned to flour so you don’t have to go out and buy oat flour. Very easy! You can also use whatever milk you would like, I prefer almond or soy milk.

I made half a batch with no brown sugar and the other half with brown sugar. The second batch was definitely a little tastier, but I wanted something that didn’t have as much sugar in it. (Excuse the flashes in the pictures, for some reason I couldn’t get my flash to work with me today!)

I’m definitely starting to fulfill my pumpkin craving! I took the extra pumpkin seeds I had and put them into a trail mix with almonds and dried cranberries to carry around with me since I knew I would be rushing around this week and would need a little energy booster.

Random Fact of the Day

Did you know that pumpkins offer many health benefits including

Boosting your mood (I knew there was a reason I’d been in such a great mood after my Pumpkin Spice Protein Energy Bites!), pumpkin is also rich in fiber which can help to weight loss, helps keep your skin looking young, has more potassium in one cup than a banana (which means it’s a great post-workout snack to help restore electrolytes), and can boost your immune system. Looks like my craving was actually pretty beneficial, who knew!

Tomorrow I’m going to try a pumpkin spice protein shake. Keep your fingers crossed all goes well and I’m not overdoing it on the pumpkin! f you have any good recipes that have pumpkin in them (I have 3/4 of a can of pumpkin left to use!), please let me know so I can give them a try, I need to get rid of all this pumpkin!

I’ve tasted the rainbow, and it tastes like blue raspberry

 

I could hardly sleep last night, you’d have thought I was 8-years-old and today was Christmas. But no, today was the day I have waited YEARS for. The Color Run officially came to Boise! I’ve been signed up for a little over a month and have spent the last couple weeks putting together my crazy attire to take part in the most colorific run in the nation.

Sunni wanted to run with us in the Color Run! He wasn’t too happy when he found out dogs couldn’t partake.

I decided to rock my Color Run t-shirt with my lime green Newtons, neon pink and green high socks layered over pink cheetah print tights and white shorts that read “Color This”, and topped off my look with a little “Do It Yourself” orange and pink tutu. I wasn’t the only one decked out from head to toe. Other people had worn Red Solo Cup tutu’s, brightly colored afro’s and wigs, wild sunglasses, white tuxedos, and even the Mad Hatter made an appearance.

My team “Hot Potatoes” joined with my mom’s team “Disco” to have the wildest team made up of neon afro wigs, colored socks, bright tutus, and incredibly high energy! Luke’s leg prevented him from joining in on the color fiasco so instead his friend Alex took his place and we all had one fantastic time together.

 

I’m typically one who is ready to take off at the starting line and beat as many people around me as possible, but I realized within 30 seconds of running, this was not your typical competitive race. Instead the goal was to finish looking like you just stepped out of a “Taste the Rainbow” commercial. And I literally looked like I had just tasted the rainbow and found it was made of blue raspberry as my teeth turned a deep shade of blue from screaming and smiling as I ran through the Color Kilometer Zones.   

The Girl Scouts were one of the sponsors and had volunteers at the stations to throw colored corn starch at the runners and walkers. Here’s a tip, run on the outside and spin in circles when you pass the Color Zones. You’ll get much more color and after all, that’s the intent of wearing a white tee anyways! Also try to close your mouth and not breath in as you pass through the Color Zones (don’t pass out though!) otherwise you’ll have one “hack” of an experience during the rest of the run as you cough up colored mucus. I was the super classy lady spitting up blue and yellow all morning. Note to self, wear a bandana next time!

The finish line led to the wildest post-race dance party I have seen. Those crazy color runners were showing Boise how to party and get down “Gangnam Style” on a Saturday morning as they piled upon one another’s shoulders, exploded bursts of color in the air, and mobbed the stage. Okay, confession, I was one of them and walked out looking like Rainbow Brite threw up all over me. It was insane though! A huge mosh pit with dance offs, the Thriller, Cupid Shuffle, and various color throws where everyone would take a packet of color and burst it open in the air, creating colorful clouds which made it a little difficult to breathe but that could also have been from the constant laughter and dancing.

After a couple of hours of intense dancing and jumping up and down (I told you, mosh pit at it’s finest) it was time to head home and wash off the remnants of the post-party. I debated not showering and being a “Color Runner” for Halloween that evening when I realized the color had seeped through my clothes and my body was all green. My potato sack costume looked like it was going to be a moldy potato sack! It took an hour of intense loofah scrubbing as well as actually following the “rinse and repeat” instructions on my shampoo bottle. I took the liberty of repeating several times when I realized each time the water was still blue and green with every wash.  By the time I finished, the bathroom was covered in blue from where the corn starch had mixed with the humidity of the shower. So the bathroom got a deep cleaning as well! I’ll probably still be finding remnants of debris from the Color Run, I already am finding it in my ears and on my semi-permanent blue scalp. But it was by far the BEST run I’ve ever done. And I’ve participated in some awesome races (Remember the Dirty Dash anyone?)

If you’re thinking of participating in the Color Run, here is the advice I would give.

1. ABSOLUTELY sign up and do the Color Run! Make sure to sign up as soon as registration opens, in some locations registration will fill up immediately.

2. Have fun! That shouldn’t be too difficult, right? The race isn’t timed so there is no need to rush past people and sprint through the Color Zones.

3. Get a team together (signing up as a team will give you a decreased rate when you sign up and it’s much more fun to run with friends!) and get all decked out! Don’t wear your nicest running shoes and attire and don’t spend a lot of money because even though the color will wash out of most material, it still leaves a little residue on others. I bought a tutu for $10, cut it up, and put more tull in it to make it more puffy and more colorful. Then I added my pink tights that I got at the fabric store for $2. It was a huge successful and I didn’t feel bad that they were completely trashed at the end from all the color.

4. Wear a sweat band (you get one in your bag!) to keep sweaty chalk out of your eyes. Ouch!

5. Put oil in your hair before the run to make the washing process easier, my scalp is still blue!

6. Make sure to have your excess color blown off you at the end of the after party. They have people who will do this for you there. Otherwise you will get corn starch everywhere!

7. Don’t run with your phone and iPod unless you are going to place it in a plastic bag.

Definitely sign up and have a blast! Stay for the after party where they throw out extra bags of color and swag. My legs are still sore from all the dancing!

After showering and cleaning the bathroom, I realized I was running on empty and was starvin marvin after all that dancing! So I made some delicious french toast and eggs with grapefruit as I worked on my article for the Boise State Arbiter about my Color Run experience.

French Toast, Sunny Side Up

1 Sandwich Thin- I prefer Oroweat Honey Wheat. It’s only 100 calories and has 5 g fiber and 4 g protein with 22 g carbs

4 Egg Whites, with one yolk

Cinnamon

Sugar

1/2 Grapefruit

I mixed the eggs in a bowl and poured half of the eggs into a pan I sprayed with canola oil from Winco. I then took a pinch of sugar and sprinkled both sides of the sandwich thins with sugar and a few dashes of cinnamon. Cinnamon boosts your metabolism and can help your memory so feel free to use more cinnamon if you like!

Once the eggs start to lose their transparency, flip over for another minute or two on the other side. I prefer very eggs very well done, almost burnt, so I like to keep it longer. It’s texture thing, otherwise I can’t eat my eggs!

Remove from the pan and repeat with other slice.

Top off with a little syrup of your choice and enjoy! I love fresh grapefruit to finish off the meal. This meal sits light and still has a little over 20 g of protein. It isn’t super filling so on the days I want something a little heavier I replace with thicker bread like Dave’s Killer Blues Bread.

After I spent the afternoon finishing my article about the Color Run (look for it in this week’s edition), it was time to celebrate Halloween! I was going to wear my bedazzled Marilyn Monroe potato sack costume but decided I didn’t want to be in burlap all night. That meant I had 10 minutes to find a costume in under $10. Challenge accepted.  There I was, 10:00 pm on a Saturday night rummaging around the sparse Halloween accessories attempting to find anything that I could put together for a costume. I finally found some items and debated between a spider witch and a clown. I felt being a clown would be a little more appropriate for my personality and grabbed an oversized polka dot tie, big red nose, and popped the lens out of little kids sunglasses I found in the party favors aisle.

The result?

 It was a hit! Despite the fact that my nose kept falling off all evening, Judge Luke and I had a fun time clowning around with our friends and seeing what everyone else chose to dress up as. My favorite costumes were Max from Where the Wild Things Are and an amazing Audrey Hepburn costume. And of course my friend Kirky’s farmer costume!

I work on Halloween this year so I’ll miss dressing up and handing out candy to the trick-or-treaters, though Luke did ask me if it would be creepy if he took pictures of the trick-or-treaters instead. That wouldn’t freak out the neighbors at all! Maybe we’ll have some come by my work so I can still enjoy one of my favorite parts of Halloween, getting to see all the cute little costumes.

Have a safe and fun Halloween everyone!

Random Fact: Did you know that leftover corn starch in your hair makes for an amazing volumizer? Okay, so I don’t know if that’s been beautician approved but I just have to say after that race I had some crazy volume in my hair. I may have to start adding this to my daily routine!