Monday, May 31, 2010

Pancake Truffles Recipe

In the spirit of a long weekend, after getting in my six miles this morning, I made this delicious recipe for Pancake Truffles created by Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point. I live for mornings like this, where I can workout in the beautiful sunshine, then come bum around in my kitchen with recipes I've been longing to try.

Because of my disgust for bananas, I used fresh strawberries instead of the recommended fruit, halfing the strawberries before rolling them in the dough. I ate a few, and put the rest in the fridge for easy breakfasts this week during work. As you can see from the picture, they turned out wonderful!
I should have sliced them open for a picture, so you all could see the piping good warm strawberries and how tasty they were fresh from the oven. Caitlin recommends serving with syrup, but really, I don't think it's necessary, the fruit added enough sweetness.

I hope you all had wonderful Memorial Day weekends. I am sufficiently sun kissed (i.e. a little burned) after an afternoon by the lake and an early evening cookout that turned into me having a water gun fight with four kids under age six.

This week, I'm planning to do a good yoga class, get on my rollerblades, and of course get a sufficient rest day in before the half-marathon on Sunday. I'm getting nervous for it already!

Also, the spirit of Memorial Day, here is an amazing and touching video of soldiers surprising their loved ones coming home. The scene with the dog yelping in delight made me laugh and cry all at the same time.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

I hope you are all enjoying a long weekend off--and for those of you not, thank you for working for us! ;) I love long weekends. I feel like I have time to get so much more accomplished, plus have fun, and then don't have to hurry back to work on Monday morning.

Next Sunday is the Minneapolis Half Marathon I've been prepping for, so yesterday I did an easy four mile run with Meghan, as not to over do it, and some strength training as well. From what I know about race weeks, I never strength training the week of a race, so I'm not sore or recovering come race day. Tomorrow I'll be doing six miles, and Thursday an easy two miles to keep my momentum up for the race, I can't wait!

Last night, fellow blogger Jen had a party at her new house and Ben and I were lucky enough to attend. Jen accomplished quite a feat by getting me to participate in Scattergories, as I am notoriously NOT a game person. But, I had a great time playing, as there was great company to be had, including Mary.
What a wonderful summer night to spend with wonderful friends!

I know people say it over and over again come Memorial Day, but seriously, take a moment tomorrow and remember why we have this day off to celebrate those who serve our country. Memorial Day was always a special holiday in our family growing up because my Grandpa Cal, my mom's dad, served as a Marine in World War II and was very proud of his service. Each year he would march in our city's Memorial Day Parade and then go to cemeteries to place flags on the graves of deceased veterans. Each year we would watch him march in the parade, I can't ever hear taps without thinking of him and how much he loved Memorial Day.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Even squirrels hate A Rod

If you haven't noticed, I'm a pretty big Twins fan. Yes, a Wisconsin girl at heart, but our family was all into the Packers, so when I moved to this MLB town, I fell in love with the Twins on my first Dollar Dome Dog night after taking the #16 bus downtown from Territorial Hall.

Anyway, there is a Kestrel that has become infamous at the new Target Field, lovingly coined Kirby, for devouring a moth on camera.

Now check out this squirrel!

He's running around the field while Alex Rodriguez is at bat, and I think it's a sign, even mother nature hates A Rod!! Maybe he shouldn't go against nature and use performance enhancing drugs!

FYI: Not Actual Picture of Herbie ;)

Also, this squirrel, as of today called Herbie, now has his own Twitter account too! Give Herbie and Kirby both a follow.

If there's something you must really know about me, to really know me, and I mean like really know me, it's that I hate bananas. I may have mentioned this on the blog before, but seriously, I LOATH them. I cannot stand the smell, or even an inkling of the taste. I hate hearing the goosh of other people noshing away on them, because it reminds me of their gross texture.
I send smoothies back at Jamba Juice if they forget to exclude bananas like I asked, I can easily give up any sort of pastry if someone tells me a banana went into it, I've thrown out a whole bottle of Naked Juice (and that stuff ain't cheap) when I took a swig only to taste banana that was not revealed in the flavor description.

My co-workers who know of my disdain for bananas love to pull little pranks on me with them. Banana peels on my chair or replacing the head set of my phone with a banana. Last time I went out of town I came back to work to find my fiancee replaced by me embracing a banana in our engagement picture; I have to admit it, that was creative and funny!

I'm not sure why I hate them so much. My mom said she craved them throughout her whole pregnancy with me and ate them everyday, maybe I ODed as a fetus??

Anyway, this can be a challenge with all the healthy recipes I'm recommended, when they suggest bananas in every other recipe. I know how good they are for you, but I can't bring myself to eat them. I have only met one other person in my life who felt this way, and then she told me she could still eat banana bread, and I knew she still didn't despise bananas with the same reverence I do. Anyone else have a trigger food like this that they can't attempt to eat, or even smell? Anyone else not a banana fan?? If so, we should start a club, we're few and far between!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sweaty Times and Tasty Recipes

Hi Friends, what a steamy, steamy couple of days in the Twin Cities. You could feel the humidity everywhere you went today, inside or outside, it was one of those days where you feel like there's a damp blanket on top of you at all times.

I was out running early this morning (before 6AM, YIKES!) with Mary, Jen and Meghan, and it was already 70 degrees before I left the house, seriously?!

My poor dog is not happy in this humidity. We're constantly making sure he has fresh ice cold water, and we're getting him a hair cut a bit premature later this week so that he won't have so much black hair weighing him down and attracting that hot sunlight. Remember, pets can suffer so much in this weather. If you see an animal left alone in a car, even with the window cracked when it's this hot, or outdoors for an extended period of time do not be afraid to call authorities. You could be saving that animals life.

I cooked a great recipe last week from my pal (yeah, I wish Ree was my pal) The Pioneer Woman that I had to share. It's a Pasta with Tomato Blue Cheese Sauce, YUM! I love me some blue cheese. I tried to make it healthier, with less cream and blue cheese than called for, and huge handfuls for spinach. It made great leftovers for lunch the next day too. Here's a pic of my creation, it was so tasty, I started to eat it before I remembered to take the picture.
In other news, I never heard from winner Kristine from the Larabar giveaway, so I picked a new winner, that winner is
Jody Powell!
Jody Powell said...

"I want to try Peanut Butter, I LOVE my peanut butter....do they have a peanut butter flavor??"

The answer is yes Jody, they have a Peanut Butter Cookie flavor. =) Happy Snacking!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Perseverance to Keep Going

This weekend I ran the Northern Lakes 10 Mile Race with my pal Meghan, as I mentioned before. It was a smaller race than I thought it would be, and a place I had never run before. I was excited for the race, as I figured it was a great prep for the Minneapolis Half-Marathon in two weeks, plus it was only $25 and included a dry fit t-shirt, sold!

The race started out in a weird fashion, they said it was "chipped time" but I saw no sign of where my chip would be activated. So, I asked, "where is the starting line?" the response I got was that I should start my watch when the gun goes off, because your chip was only registered at the end of the race. Ummmmm, OK. Folks, that is NOT chipped timing. Chipped time gives accurate time from the second you cross the starting line, to the second you cross the finish. Therefore, I ignored the race officials instructions, and actually told them I thought it was very disorganized that we were just finding this out now, and started my watch when I crossed their "starting line" in order to get a true time.

As the race began, I loved the opportunity to run in a new area I had never seen before, I was going nice and steady, keeping my 11:45-12:15 minute pace. People were passing me, and passing me, and passing me. As we rounded the mile two marker I noticed it,

I WAS LAST

That's right, of all the Ten Mile Racers, I was running in last place, there was no one in sight. I was all alone, running a course I had never even stepped foot on before. For those of you mulling running a race for the first time, or who think you can't do long mileage races after your first 5K, here I was LIVING YOUR NIGHTMARE. I was dead last, no one was around me, I was running a 12:00 minute mile at this point, and I was left behind. Race officials were no where, it was just me, my i-pod and my Garmin to lead the way back to the finish-- I was a bit freaked out.

I was freaked out, because the roads weren't closed for this course, so randomly I would have to dodge a car. I was freaked out, because although in a beautiful neighborhood, I was on my headphones to keep my lonely self entertained, but there were huge fields and a huge lake, and at anytime, someone could have jumped out and grabbed me and no one would have known. I guess, after running Team Ortho and Twin Cities in Motion races that are put on so well, I expect so much out of a race, that I never thought I would end up in this position.

Luckily, the course was well marked, so I knew where to keep going, and I did, I just kept running, occasionally busting out in song when I got to a great "Glee" tune on my ipod, but I kept running, and I felt good doing it.

Someone told me a few weeks when I told them about my running times, "wow, that's slow." There it was again, that rejection that we non-elite runners fear when we first start. Someone had finally said it, they had told me I was slow. I didn't think twice about the comment though, just looked straight back at them at send, "God didn't give me fast legs, but he gave me the perseverance to keep going."

I had never even thought about this statement before it automatically came out of my mouth in response to that person. But it was true, how many people would give up in my shoes? How many people would say, "I just can't keep up, so I just better not." Not me, not Alexa, I'm runner. That's right, you heard me,

I'M A RUNNER!

Soon, I came up to mile six, and I saw her, another runner, not just any runner, but one from this ten mile race. "A small victory," I thought, there is someone else huffing and puffing it out on their own too, we can do this. A few minutes later we both got shewed to run on the other side of the road by the Ramsey County Sheriff, apparently the course was on the other side, how were we to know? We were last.

Then at mile seven, it happened, I passed her, easily too.

Then, around mile eight, I saw a bunch of people who had blown past me earlier in the race, they were struggling, a few steps running, a few steps walking, a few steps running, more steps walking, their pace was blown, but I was feeling great. A passed them and just kept running while they stopped to gasp for air at a water stop.

Then mile nine, the end was so close, as I ran that last mile at a pace I had never done before (9:55-10:30 mile) I felt great. Blowing by people who were could barely keep it together now, and that last half mile I gave it everything I had, sure, this was just a prep for the Minneapolis Half-Marathon, but now it was a pride thing, I wanted to to PR, I had to, PR. Because not only was I not going to be last, not by a long shot anymore, but I wanted to feel I had given it my all.

As I blew through the finish line I clicked my watch (remember, I wanted my real time, not their "chip time"). 1:55:59. I did it, I PRed. And it felt great.

I had Meghan waiting for me at the finish line with encouraging words as I gasped for air, and thought of how good and exhausted I felt at the same time.

What a great race, what a great day.

Meghan and I in our post race glow

Friday, May 21, 2010

Bar La Grassa Review + TC Area Dining Deals

Happy Friday!

As most of you know, I LOVE trying new restaurants out around the Twin Cities, and I have some favorite local places that I could go to again and again. Tonight was no exception. With plans to run the Northern Lakes 10 Mile Race tomorrow with Meghan, I wanted to eat a little bit of pasta tonight. I have been wanting to try out the new hot spot Bar La Grassa I've been hearing about in the North Loop area of Minneapolis.

Ben and I went there tonight, and shared four small dishes: Spaghetti Carbonara, Gnocchi with Cauliflower and Orange, 'Nduja Egg Ravioli and Fettuccine Alfredo.
Ben dishing up the goods

The four small plates were just about perfect for the two of us, we had a small amount of leftovers.

My plate with Spaghetti Carbonara and Fettuccine Alfredo (and Gnocchi in the rear bowl yet to be devoured!)

For dessert, we split a couple of Caramel Crepes with Vanilla Ice Cream, Delicious and not too heavy!

This place is great, just like I had heard, reservations for weekend evenings fill up fast, so plan your date here well in advance, but it's worth it. Another plus, there service was so quick! We were in and out in less than an hour. Also. their prices are also really reasonable for portion sizes.

Speaking of prices, the problem with eating out, is that it can get really pricey if you don't watch it. Therefore, I have to plan the nights I'm eating out, to keep it limited, and plan the meals I cook to stay on track budget wise. I love finding deal nights, using points cards, or using systems like Open Table to gain points towards future meals.

So, I collected a few specials I've heard about and/or tried around the Twin Cities and some area restaurants and wanted to share them. Some of them are great ways to try restaurants you may not normally be able to afford.

Most of the deals are at off peak days and times, but going out to eat during the week can be a real nice break from the cooking routine after a long days work and a trip (hopefully) to the gym. Also, a lot of these restaurants offer great, healthy options as well--double win!

Check it out, this list is very short compared to all the great local restaurants we have in our area, so feel free to add any deals you know about in the comments, everyone will thank you!

Kafe 421: Date night Special Two people eat for $25 on Sunday and Tuesday Nights
Rinata: Sunday nights $20 Four Course Meals
Broders Pasta Bar: After 8 Special, After 8:00 p.m. Monday-Thursday Two people eat for $28
Fusion Restaurant and Bar: Late Night Happy Hour, $4 Martini's and BOGO Apps
Dixies on Grand: 1/2 Price Wine Nights, Wednesdays Starting at 6:00 p.m.
Axel's Bonfire: Dinner and Movie for Two, $55, Wednesday Nights
Il Gatto: Different Nightly Specials each night
McCoys Public House: After work and late night Happy Hour with $6 pizzas and $3.00 16oz domestic drafts
Burger Jones: Happy Hour Daily from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM & 9:00 PM to Close, Appletinis and Cosmos $3.00, House Wines $4.00, Buffalo Wings $.50
Burrito Loco: Different Specials Each Night for Food and Drinks based on the theme

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Athletic Clothing for Women: Do you get what you pay for??

First things first, we have TWO winners for the Larabar Giveaway, the winners are...

Kristine and Luther Liz!

Kristine said,
"I've never tried them, but I'm VERY interested in the lemon bar! I love all things lemon!"

Luther Liz said,
"And while I've never tried them I'm intrigued by Cashew Cookie and Ginger Snap"

Congratulations you two!! Remember, who ever contacts me first gets first dips on what six pack of Larabar's they want.

Here is my question today: what is difference between more expensive work out clothes, and cheaper ones?

I like to use dry fit material since it helps not take so much out of you and weigh you down when you sweat. But is there a difference between buying your clothes at a large retailer, or a specialty shop that handles just athletic clothing??

I buy a lot of my workout clothes from the C9 brand at Target. They seem to work well, but I don't know much different. As I stated in a former entry, I bought some Running Skort Capris from Skirt Sports from Gear running store in South Minneapolis. I am in LOVE with these skorts, they're comfortable, I never chafe, and they never ride up, perfect!


Lately, I've been hearing people sing a lot of praises for national brands Lululemon and Lucy for their running and workout gear. Both are opening new stores in the Twin Cities, and already have established locations around here as well. I've never tried either of their gear, I'd like to, but I don't want to make the investment without knowing, is it worth it?? I want to make sure I'm wearing the best gear possible as I train for the San Francisco Nike Womens Marathon, and have the best gear to get me through that hilly course.

So, is there an advantage to brands like these??? Isn't dry fit gear all the same? Have any of you tried out both high end, and value brand work out clothes? What is the difference? I'd love to hear from readers about their favorite brands, and what they think of brands like Lululemon and Lucy in comparison.

If you're a Biggest Loser fan, check this out, O'Neal Hampton (who is from the Twin Cities!!) was on our local NBC affiliate this morning to talk about his progress. He is looking GREAT! He can't say exactly how much weight he's lost because of the final show next week, but wow is he looking better than ever.
These before pictures of he and his daughter Sunshine are a testament to how far he's come! He and his daughter have such a great attitude, I'm happy with the way they represented our community.

I hit up a FIT class at Lifetime Fitness tonight with my pal Sarah who I went to college with. It was like our own episode of the Biggest Loser, holy crap did we get our butts kicked!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Restaurant Reviews: Buona Sera and Good Earth

Mondays can be tough, this morning started off slow, and I mean sloooooooooooow. I wasn't moving fast enough, I pulled myself out of bed, and apparently I didn't move fast enough for Cooper, because on our way down for his walk he couldn't hold it anymore, and let his little pee go on the elevator of our condo, so there I was 6:45 in the morning mopping up pee with paper towels in the elevator, hoping no other residents tried to use it, and saw me, and scoffed at me or my dog. When I finally got Cooper outside, someone was using a weed whacker, and he flipped out, and basically pulled me around in attempts to get back inside the building.

Anyway, I missed the bus because of said morning incidents, and had to drive, but decided if I was driving, I was treating myself to Monday Morning Starbucks, so I enjoyed this Light Carmel Frappucino that was oh so delicious.
(I forgot it in the car, and half way through the skyways had to turn around and run back to get it, oy).

Thanks to the Starbucks and the bright sunshine though, the rest of the morning when off without a hitch, and I was able to have a really productive day, yay!

I promised restaurant reviews, and here they are:
Saturday night we went to Buona Sera in Champlin, it's a little Italian place on West River Road, that I thought sounded interesteing. As soon as we got there, it turned out I realized I'd drove by it a bunch of times, but never been in there. The food was delcious (I forgot to take pictures!) I had the Penne del Villaggio which is: Penne noodles tossed with garlic, olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, broccoli, onions and fresh goat cheese in a light pomodoro sauce blended with fresh basil. I also added grilled shrimp, yum!

The wine list left something to be desired, because half the wines they listed they didn't have, I had a miscato di asti though (my favorite sparlking wine) and was quite happy.

Sunday night I met a few friends at Good Earth in Edina, I've been wanting to try this place for awhile, so I was pumped. It specializes in organic, natural and vegan food, but isn't totally out there on the menu. For an appetizer, we split these delicious nachos:
For dinner I had the Southwest Chicken Caesar Salad, and it was so big I took home leftovers.
The food was very good, not out of this world, but good. The service was not great. We were not given napkins or silverware with our meals, we were left asking for them and were rudely given unfolded napkins. Maybe because we had just come from our walk and weren't in "dining attire" we were treated this way, I'm not sure, but it was a turn off. Either way, it was nice to sit on their beautiful patio and enjoy such a wonderful night.

One last reminder that you have just a few hours to enter the Larabar giveaway!!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Weekend Recap, Ole!

WHAT a weekend, let me tell you folks. Friday started out awesome, when my pal, Jen invited a Meghan, Mary, Cindy and I over for dinner to see her new house-- or so I thought. Upon arriving at Jen's come to find out, they were throwing me a surprise Wedding Shower!! Here I am walking in the door to a festively decorated surprise (with a very concerned Cooper, who was there to play with Jen's dog, Iggy).
As I walked in, the gals shouted surprise and I found out they had planned a Mexican fiesta to celebrate my impending nuptials. I was so humbled and surprised that these women who I've known for just a few months through our healthiness journeys together would be so kind and thoughtful to throw me this shower, it meant so much!!
No Mexican Fiesta is complete without a Pinata, and here I am as Mary and Meghan give me a spin before I took a few good whacks at it.

The pinata was full of healthy treats, yum! (Do you like my socks???!)
I could not have asked for a better night, you ladies are awesome, thank you so much!!

After such an exciting Friday night, how could the rest of the weekend top it?? Well, it was equally amazing, I ran 11 miles with my pal Wendy (and Meghan joined us for a few), in preps for the Minneapolis Half Marathon in a few weeks.

I also had my first facial this weekend thanks to a gift card to the Aveda Institute in Minneapolis, I thought I would try it out before the wedding, and let me tell you, it was awesome! I didn't take any pictures, but I found it better than a massage. Lately, I've been using massages to help me with sports injuries, so I'm grimacing a lot through them as my muscles get worked, a facial was just like having someone scratch your back for an hour (I love having my back scratched after a long day, or even a short one for that matter,, so that's my comparison on relaxation), so relaxing and just puts you in a half sleep that feels so nice. Plus, my face felt amazing afterward! I highly recommend trying one.

I attended to great area restaurants this weekend, that I will give you a review of later this week, so check back if you're looking for a new, fun local place to try (best part: one in the north metro, one in the south, something for everyone!)

Also, don't forget the LaraBar giveaway that runs until tomorrow, enter now to try some of their yummy bars.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Walking Club Preview and Great Giveaway!

Walking Group meets again this Sunday, this time in Edina at Centennial Lakes, which is a 1.43 Mile walk around. We'll do the Lake once, meeting at 6:00 and then leave for the walk at 6:10 p.m. sharp. The address for Centennial Lakes is: 7499 France Avenue South, Edina, MN 55435. Look for me in my white fleece again, and Cindy and I will both tweet the exact meeting spot where we're at, as we usually arrive a little before 6:00 p.m.
Also, some of us who are walking will be going to a local organic eatery after the walk for dinner that night, they offer lots of great healthy options. If you're interested in joining for dinner as well, let me or Cindy know and we'll let you know the location! Also, if you can't make the walk and want to meet up for dinner, let me or Cindy know and we will hook you up with info. It should be a great time and here's hoping for beautiful weather!! If there is rain, we will not be walking, but will still meet for dinner at 7:00 p.m.

I promised a giveaway, and I'm here to deliver! The nice people at LÄRABAR donated a variety of flavors of their fruit and nut bars for you all to try. Their website describes the bars as, "delicious blend of unsweetened fruits, nuts and spices. Pure and simple, just as nature intended." These bars are all natural, you won't find funky, hard to pronounce items on their ingredients list, it's great! And best of all, they don't taste like cardboard, they're really delicious and satisfying.

I'm giving away TWO sets of six different LÄRABAR Varieties. Check 'em out:
Because there are two different variety sets to choose from, there will be two different winners. Whomever is the first random winner to contact me after the winners are announced will have dibs on choosing with six-pack they prefer.

There are a few ways you can win:
1. Follow me on Twitter, "@AlexaTC is sponsoring a great @Larabar giveaway, with two chances to win! Check it out: http://tinyurl.com/29rp935 " then, leave me a comment with a link to your tweet.
2. Post a link to this give away on YOUR blog and leave a comment with a link to your blog
3. Leave a comment with what your favorite flavor of LÄRABAR, whether you've tried them, or what flavor you want to try.
4.SPECIAL WAY TO TRY AND WIN: This is a little biased towards Twin Cities area readers, but come to walking club this Sunday and then leave a comment that you came, and there's another chance to win!

So, there are four separate ways you can win!

Here is the fine print:
This give away is open U.S. Residents only. Entries must be received by Monday, May 17, 2010 at 12:00 a.m. Central. Random Winners will be announced on Tuesday, May 18, 2010 and the winners have until Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 6:00 p.m. Central to contact me, otherwise a new winner(s) will be chosen. The winners will be picked at random.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mastering Yo Yo's, Workouts and Summer Dresses

If you haven't seen this, you need to, this guy duped a bunch of TV stations in Wisconsin into letting him onto their morning shows claiming to be a "Yo Yo Master"

This is hilarious, I used to be a morning show producer, so I can commiserate with the random story pitch e-mails you get. When you produce that two hour (sometimes more) show, you need to find stuff to fill air time, but here's what I always did to fill time, I used REAL NEWS, so I never responded to the crazy e-mail offers like this that could get you in trouble. Anyway, watch the two clips, and get a laugh at this guys yo yo "skills." It's really funny how the anchors just go right along with it too.

Here's an article I came across today on common workout mistakes, and I think the one I related to most is thinking that 10 minutes isn't enough. For instance, yesterday morning, I HAD to get in my workout before work if it was going to happen. I knew I wouldn't have a ton of time, but I did the stair climber (which kicks my butt, as I've noted before) for 20 minutes and then really stretched well, because I need it from this half marathon training. Sure, it may not have been a lot, but it's better than nothing!

So, as the wedding gets closer, I'm pinching more and more pennies and trying to save money by not eating out as much, or finding cheaper ways of entertainment (like watching Fake Yo Yo Masters on the internet). However, I'm in love with a particular clothing item that's come out for this upcoming spring/summer: one shouldered dresses. SWOOOOOOOOOON. I want one soooooo bad, but I can't find an affordable one that doesn't look trashy. Check out this Green Yumi Kim one I saw in the May Issue of People Style Watch, isn't it perfect??
Yeah, it's $200 big ones, I wouldn't even pay that if I wasn't planning a wedding, I mean, it's cotton?? Anybody have good recommendations on getting one that's under $40 anywhere?? I checked the Len Outlet today in the City Center to no avail, maybe Heartbreaker in Uptown?? Anyone see one at any chain stores? Nordstrom and Macy's websites have me coming up empty.

Summer in Minnesota is short lived, so I don't like to spend a lot on summer clothes, but I also usually wear them for at least three or four summers because of that (going on my fourth summer with some handy H&M Cropped Cargo Pants thank you very much). I mean really, you're only wearing summer clothes on weekends, during the week it's either standard business casual for me, or workout clothes or PJ's after work.

Anyway, if you know of any good summer deals for clothes, comment about them! Who doesn't love to hear about deals?!?! We'll keep each other looking good with out lightening our wallets!

Annnnnd speaking of ways to save, tomorrow is another give away, so check back. But for now, Check out Cindy's Funky Monkey Give Away, I LOVE this stuff!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Hard Core Runners!

Tonight, despite the wind and the rain, Meghan, Jen and I hit the Greenway for some speed work. So, we're not hardcore really, but we felt that way!! Meghan is doing the San Diego Half-Marathon in three weeks, I'm doing the Minneapolis Half-Marathon in three weeks, and Jen is working on her endurance so we can get her to do a Ten Mile Race with us soon!

Anyway, I don't have a ton to blog about today, but I had to post this picture of us after our run, because we felt hardcore getting out and facing the elements, because if we weren't together, we all would have been home on the couch eating ice cream (we all admitted that too).
Who is your workout buddy? How do they motivate you?? I know that I would have never been able to run the races of I've completed without my running group that keeps me motivated and accountable.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Gardy vs. TC and White Strips vs. My Teeth

I went to a Twins game yesterday, my third this year. We sat in a suite through Ben's work, it was awesome since the weather wasn't the greatest. But, I've been thinking this all season, each year Gardy and TC the Mascot look more alike, don't you agree?? Please compare:

Ron Gardenhire, Minnesota Twins Manager

TC The Bear, Minnesota Twins Mascot


I think it's the chin and the nose, maybe the blue eyes, or the round facial structure. I don't know, but they look more alike every season, and I'm not saying this after a few ballpark beers either.

I bought Crest White Strips today for the first time.
I've tried samples of them before, but never used them consistently to know if they'll really work, my dentist said they were safe, and I trust him, plus I had a coupon, every purchase can be justified with a coupon, right?!?! (hello, I'm turning into my mother) Has anyone else used them? I've heard they make your teeth more sensitive. I bought ten days worth, so we'll see, oh the things you'll do that you never thought you would (like using a tanning bed) as you prep for a wedding...

And, since I haven't done it in awhile, and so many of you great readers shared your recipes for the last give away, a fabulous recipe to share from Rachael Ray. Don't go thinking I'm Rachael Ray fan either here, from the weird way she insists on spelling a usually normal name, to her phony, "yum-o!" I can't stand the woman. But, I love her recipes. So here it is, Eggplant Parmesan Rigatoni (or whatever pasta you have in the house besides spaghetti), you will LOVE it!

Friday, May 7, 2010

A good read and a Vita Top Winner!

A friend sent me this article this week, she's a mid-twenty something like me, she's made a huge career shift (from news anchor, to now in school to be a Certified Nurse Practitioner, holy leap of faith and awesome)

Nearly all the women I know are stressing themselves sick over the pathological fear that they simply aren't doing enough with their lives.

When I saw that as the first line of this article, I was like, "um, hello, have we met?" It seems like all of my female friends seem to be asking themselves, "Am I doing what I should be doing with my life? Why don't I feel inspired? Is this really it?" And I'm no different, we're the generation where our parents told us we could be anything we wanted to be, and were always lifting us up, so when reality smacks you in the face post college, it can be a rude awakening. Sure, you can follow your dreams, but you have to eat and pay your bills too, and sometimes your dreams don't fill your bank account and you have to learn to balance them with real life.

This article is a bit hoaky, (it's by Oprah), because these "jobs" that the "women" in here have don't seem realistic to what most women I know are actually going through, i.e. they're not cube jobs, but give it a read and remember how awesome you are.

We have a winner for the big Vita Top give away is...
Sam!


Thanks for the great recipe!! Leave me a comment and I'll grab your mailing address so the good people at Vita Tops can get the 20 piece sampler your way!

I'll have another great, healthy, give away in the next couple of weeks, so keep your eyes peeled!

Also, there is an awesome give away for runners, coffee drinkers and movie lovers (so pretty much everyone!) over at Julies blog that I just HAD to share, check it out.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Case FOR the Vikings

I grew up in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Yes, a stones throw away from Minnesota, but through and through I'm a Packer fan. Sure, the drive to Minneapolis was a lot closer, and more convenient, than a trek up the back road mid-state Highways to Green Bay, but it didn't matter, we grew up Packer fans.
Being that I'm a Packer fan, it's hard to say who I despise more, the Bears, or the Vikings. However, as a resident of the Twin Cities I'm here today to let the state legislature know, we need the Vikings here, I want them to stay, and we need your help to do it.

Now, before I go any further, I have to tell you all, I'm marrying a Vikings fan. Oh yes, a true Vikings fan. He bleeds purple and gold the same way I bleed green and gold. We've spent nights watching Packer/Viking games on separate TV's after a pass interference call didn't go one of our ways, or a the challenge flag reverses a call one of us disagrees with. I'll give him the silent treatment if he says the refs are favoring the Packers, right after I scream at him for being so ignorant.

Some of my friends and family back home may be gasping right now, "What?? siding with the Vikings?? That man finally got to you!!" No, I'll never trade my allegiance as a Packer Backer, however, I'm siding with the state of Minnesota, and the Twin Cities metropolitan area. We need a new stadium, we need it now, or Zygi and Co. are going to drag this team out of town and have them surfing out west. The Wilfs have NO allegiance to Minnesota, none, and they'll go where there's a new stadium, hungry fans and where the money is lookin' hot.
Besides, you think Mrs. Wilf would rather fly in on the private jet every home game to snowy Minnesota in November, or mild weathered L.A.? Hey, I love Minnesota too, but I'd pick an L.A. get away in the winter over Minnesota.

To the legislatures who don't want to give money to a new Vikings stadium, how are you going to make up for the lost jobs in hospitality and tourism in the area, how?? I'd love to hear your answers. We need those jobs, especially in today's economy, look at what Target Field has done for the warehouse district, a new Viking stadium, could do that and more. It could be a fixture of the NFL team and be a great place to hold NCAA Basketball Tournaments or other big events, just like the Metrodome used to be known for.

And why not put an extra 2.5% tax on hotels as currently proposed?? It's luxury tax, it's not like we're throwing the tax on gas (quiet down Pawlenty, we know, you didn't want that gas tax increase in the first place), milk, or as a true Wisconsinite, God forbid Cheese!! No, we're charging the people who want to visit this great area take advantage of our resources and tourism, and a lot of them want to attend Minnesota Viking games.

I'll step off my soap box right now, but think about it folks, close your eyes and think about Minnesota without professional football. Think about never seeing Packer fans reeling at Favre in Purple, or Randy Moss paying fines with, "straight cash homey," or that last minute pass in the 49ers game last season that brought the Twin Cities to it's feet.

Do not think about that horrible song Prince put out last year before the Vikings vs. Saints NFC Championship game, man that was bad, bad, bad.
Let's give the Vikings a chance here people, and give our hospitality industry a chance in the mid winter months (cause we know Timberwolves aren't bringing in a crowd). Contact your legislature by looking them up here and let them know you want the Vikings to stay in Minnesota, after all, as a Packer fan, it's just so much fun to watch them choke year after year!! ;)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Walking Club Recap and Vita Top Give Away

Last night was the kick off to walking club! We had a sunny and windy night at Lake Como in St. Paul, and it was a great time.
Cindy, Sam, Erin, Kelly and I all walked around the lake (1.65 miles officially) and enjoyed the nice Sunday night. Afterward, Cindy brought some refreshing Popsicles for all of us to enjoy, thanks Cindy!!

On May 16th, we'll be meeting for our second meet up at Centennial Lakes in Edina. We're also going to go enjoy dinner at Good Earth in the Galleria afterward if anyone would like to join. They offer great healthy and organic options, and I've been meaning to get there to sit down to eat, here's a great excuse!

Today's Give Away is huge, I'm so, so SO excited about it!! The good people at Vita Tops have donated a 20 piece Gift of Health Super Sampler like the one below for ONE lucky reader! The basket includes two of the following of each of these delicious flavors:
Deep Chocolate, Chocolate Mint, Dark Chocolate Pomegranate, Fudgy Peanut Butter, Triple Chocolate Chunk, Golden Corn, Cran Bran, Blue Bran, Raisin Bran, Banana Nut

I'm a big fan of Vita Tops, they're all 100 calories and generally have around six grams of fiber and four grams of protein. They taste delicious, and the chocolate kind make me feel like I'm having HUGE treat. The corn muffin ones are perfect with chili or soup, and when you compare them to a Famous Dave's corn muffin, you'll feel a lot better about yourself eating these.

There are a few ways you can win:
1. Follow me on Twitter, @AlexaTC, and retweet this message, "@AlexaTC is sponsoring a @VitaMuffin 20 piece Sampler Give Away, check it out! http://tinyurl.com/29f27k9" then, leave me a comment with a link to your tweet.
2. This is a *new* way to win, I like to spice things up! Leave a comment with a link, or written out, with your favorite healthy and affordable recipe. Doesn't matter if it's for muffins or hot dish, let's see it!
3. Post a link to this give away on YOUR blog and leave a comment with a link to your blog
4. Leave a comment with what your favorite flavor of Vita Tops (or any of their creations, muffins, brownies, etc) is, or what kind you want to try.

So, there are four separate ways you can win!

Here is the fine print (there always is):
This give away is open U.S. Residents only. Entries must be received by Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 12:00 a.m. Central. A Winner will be announced on Friday, May 7, 2010 and the winner has until Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 6:00 p.m.Central to contact me, otherwise a new winner will be picked. The winner will be picked at random.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Brinner

What a nice weekend this has been, it's currently a lazy Sunday afternoon, and I love it. The man is watching the Twins, I just potted a beautiful plant and put it out on our deck and the grocery shopping it done, awesome.

I had my third and final wedding shower yesterday with Ben's side of the family hosted by his Aunt Amy and Cousin Annie, it was so much fun! Ben's mom flew out from Idaho and my mom came up from Wisconsin, it was so nice to have everyone together and for my mom to be able to meet the people I talk so much about before the wedding.

This morning, the half marathon training picked up again, and I did a nine mile run with my gal Wendy. I owe her big time, normally we run Saturdays, but because of the shower I couldn't, so she agreed to hold off and run with me today. I couldn't have done it without her, it's amazing how a little gabbing can help your run fly by!

Lately, I've been all about the breakfast foods, that's right brinner:
What's brinner you ask?? Well, this Scrubs episode could fill you in, or I could just tell you, it's breakfast for dinner.

I've been trying to keep my brinner healthier than Turk's bacon ice cream combination though. Like last Tuesday, I came home craaaaaving eggs after work, so I made up this little brinner number:
That's a whole wheat bagel thin (my new love), a reduced fat Philly Cream Cheese mini (so nice that these are portioned out for you), four egg whites with black beans and some reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese, YUM! This kept me full and satisfied my egg craving to the max.

Anybody else on a brinner kick right now? Or have any good breakfast food ideas that won't pack on the pounds??

Tonight the walking club kicks off at Lake Como, can't wait to see you all there!!

Also, tomorrow there will be fantastic give away coming to the blog, the best ever. Plus, it's something that can be for brinner, brunch, breakfast, snack, dessert, or anything! So check back. =)