Pretty darned yummy (and healthy) cookies!

One of my very favorite Weight Watchers-friendly recipe sites is Skinnytaste.  I check it a couple times a week and she never fails to come through with some of the best low-point recipes I’ve ever had.

I was browsing the other day and came across this recipe for Chewy Low Fat Banana Nut Oatmeal cookies.  And guess what? I just so happened to have some old bananas lying around!  How lucky!

So I gave them a whirl (substituting some choco chips for the walnuts)…

ImageThe verdict?  Yummmmmm!!!
This recipe is a keeper for sure!

Definitely click over to her site and give these a try.  They’re totally worth the points!

Confessions of a Fat Runner

Thanks to a post by my fellow blogger, Beth, from Running With Mickey, I spent last weekend reading a hilarious and touching book called “Honey, Do You Need A Ride?  Confessions of a Fat Runner.” by Jennifer Graham.

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It only took a few pages for me to get sucked in to this book.  Graham’s writing style is easy to read and her sense of humor is fabulous. I had read a few reviews before I bought it and several people described the book as “laugh out loud,” but I was skeptical.  It’s rare I actually laugh out loud at a book.  But I truly did laugh out loud during parts of this one — mostly because I could identify with it so much!

Most of the first half is her description of the “tribe” she belongs to, which is made up of those of us who run but don’t look like runners.  My tribe!!!  We’re the kind of people that run in our baggy t-shirts and make people wonder if we’re being chased by a pack of wild dogs, because certainly we wouldn’t be running for any other reason except impending death.

I loved her description of her running gear — how she lined up at one of her first races clad in her “Hanes Beefy T” while surrounded by spandex-clad “gazelles.” Oh that is so me.  I just finally bought some real running clothes this weekend and I feel SO out of place putting it on.

The second half of the book delved more into Graham’s personal life.  A lot of it had to do with her divorce and the struggles that came with it. I admire Graham for being so open and honest about her many insecurities — not only about being a “larger” person who runs, but also about being a mom, a wife and divorcee and a woman in general.

I couldn’t decide if I was inspired or saddened by her challenge of running for 25 years, being in great physical shape health-wise, but still never being able to be “thin.”  It felt good to know I’m not the only one who works out hard and eats healthy, yet doesn’t see the results of it on the scale.  But on the other hand it was slightly sad to know this might just be my lot in life.  How frustrating that some people barely have to work at all to lose weight, or even more frustrating is that some people don’t have to do anything, but are just naturally thin.  *sigh*  Ah, that will never be my life.  But at least I know I’m not alone, right?

Anyway, if you’re a runner — especially if you’re not the typical stick-thin runner — you definitely need to check this book out.   And even if you’re not a runner, I think you’d enjoy the humor anyway, and more than likely you’ll find something you can relate to.

Give it a read and let me know what you think!

Opal — My New Favorite Apple!

I eat apples all the time, but I must say… it’s sure hard to find a good one nowadays.  I have tried just about every variety I can find at the grocery store and lately I seem to only have good luck with Fuji and Pink Lady.  Even my old favorite — the Gala — has started to become bland and mealy.  So sad.

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Last week my produce co-op gave me a bag of these yellow apples and I thought they were Golden Delicious (which I think are some of the worst apples ever), so all week I’ve been trying to think of what I was going to cook them in. There was no way I was going to just eat one as a snack!

Then this morning I took a closer look at the label and was surprised to see these were actually “Opal” apples.  Opal?  Hmm… never heard of it, but hey I’ll give it a try.

Well, what a nice surprise! So crispy and sweet and deeeelicious!  I don’t think I’ve ever seen them in our grocery store (or maybe I just overlooked them thinking they were golden delicious?) but I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for them now.  So glad I have 5 or 6 more to enjoy while I look!

Have you ever tried an Opal apple?  What’s your favorite?

I Wonder if I’ll Ever Get a Hang of This ‘Running’ Thing…

Here’s what I don’t get about running…
There are some days (like today) that I go into a run thinking “this is going to be my best run yet!”

I have slept well, the weather is beautiful — not too hot, not too cold, not windy. I’ve had a day of rest since my last run and I’m not feeling too sore or tired.  I have lots of energy and have been mentally prepared for this morning’s run since last night.  I might even say I’m looking forward to it! *gasp*   I ate a healthy, balanced and light breakfast an hour ahead of time. I’m not too full, not hungry, and best of all…I don’t have to pee.  This is going to be great!

Wrong.

Despite the beautiful weather and what I thought was the perfect storm of physical preparation, it took me 45 minutes to run 3.33 miles today.  And trust me there was a lot of walking involved in that ‘run’.  I just couldn’t get into a good grove.  My lungs were burning the whole time and I never felt like I could get enough air.  It felt like concrete blocks were strapped to my feet.

I don’t get it.  Is this normal?  Because it seems to happen with me a lot.  Sometimes runs seem easy and sometimes they seem like 100% pure torture.

On the bright side… I got outside and enjoyed some fresh spring-like air and got my heart rate up for a good 40 minutes.  My muscles got worked, and maybe that’ll make a difference in some future run.

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Best of all, I got to spend time with my kid, who is off school today for President’s Day.  She followed me around the trails on her bike (that’s her in the photo) and we had a good time being with each other.  So it wasn’t a total waste.
I’m just so perplexed.

Running Skirts – 2 Reviews

I really like the idea of a running skirt.  Actually I like the idea of anything that covers my large rear end … especially when I’m running.  So I’ve been on a crusade to find a running skirt that will work for me… and so far NOT so good.

First I tried the Nike Skapri.

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I wear a size 14 on the bottom (sometimes even a 16 if the sizing runs small), so I ordered an XL.
What I liked:  The waist sits pretty high, which is great for those of us with a muffin top (yes i admit I have a muffin top).  The material was nice and slippery, but not too thin.  I also liked that the length of the capris was pretty short.  I live in a very warm climate, so I don’t need my legs to be covered very much.
What I didn’t like:  The zippered pocket (located in the back) is super tiny.  I assume it’s made to hold a small iPod and maybe one key, and that’s about it.  It also had two pockets on the sides, but they were extremely small and shallow. I use my phone for my running app and music, and I have a very large android phone, so I would love to find something that has a pocket large enough to hold my phone.  Not only were all the pockets too small to hold my phone, but the ones on the sides don’t lay completely flat… so they end up bulging up a little.  Not flattering. Also, these must run very large because the XL was too big for me.  The waist wasn’t snug at all.

So next I tried the Skirt Sports Lotta Breeze Capri.  I had read a lot of good reviews of this particular running skirt, so I had my hopes up that this would be a winner.  Again, I ordered an XL.

ImageWhat I liked:  The material is very comfortable and “breathable.”  I could tell when the weather gets warmer, it would work very well.  I think it’s genius that the pockets are located on the capri legs, up under the skirt, and they are very large — big enough to  hold my phone. They also had this really nice hole up in the waistband that you can run your headphone wire through so you don’t have a wire dangling/flying all over the place while you run.  LOVE that.
What I didn’t like:  The waist was way too low-rise.  I had read some reviews that said the waist sat higher, so I was surprised to find that wasn’t the case for me at all.  These sat right on my hips, which gave my muffin top plenty of room to spill out all over the place.  YUCK.  Not what I want to have going on while I’m running.  Sadly, for this reason they are not going to work out for me and I’m back on the search for a running skirt.

I’m truly bummed because in all my research  these are the two brands that come most recommended… and honestly there just aren’t that many choices out there.

Do any of you wear running skirts?  If so, what brand do you like?  Any recommendations?

Experimental Beet Cupcakes

In my never ending quest to find yummy Weight Watchers-friendly sweets, I came across a recipe for cupcakes made with canned beets the other day.  The pink color just screamed “Valentine’s Day” to me, so I thought I’d experiment and bake some up tonight to bring in to work tomorrow.

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Here’s the recipe (each cupcake is 5 WW Points+):
1 8oz can beets with liquid
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 box white cake mix

1.  Preheat oven to 350 and line cupcake pan with 15 cupcake liners.
2.  Puree the beets and applesauce in blender.
3.  Pour cake mix into a large mixing bowl and add beet puree.  Beat with electric mixer for 2 minutes.
4.  Separate the batter into cupcake liners and bake for 20 minutes.

The verdict?
Well, I hate to say it but…… yuck, not a fan!!
They’re not inedible, but they’re definitely not my thing!  Unlike cupcakes made the same way, but using pumpkin instead of beets (which are DELICIOUS, and you really can’t taste the pumpkin)… you can really taste the beets in these.  And apparently I’m not a big beet fan.

So chalk that one up to experimentation.
I’m still going to bring them in to work tomorrow, though.  I’ll see if anyone else likes them and let you know.  Maybe it’s just me!

Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Fat Free Brownies

I really try to stay away from baking anything at all, because I have no self-control when it comes to baked goods.  But when I do give in to the desire, or when I need to bring a treat to a party or something, this is my go-to brownie mix.

The directions say you just combine the mix with a small container of fat free yogurt, but I’ve found it needs a little water, too.  I usually refill the yogurt container with water and that amount seems to work perfectly.

Oh and I’ve tried all different kinds of yogurt, including greek, and they all have tasted great.  Try it!  You’ll never believe they’re fat free and only 3 Weight Watchers Points+ per serving!

Wow every time I write one of these, I feel like a spokesperson or something.  Hey Trader Joe’s if you’re reading this, I’m available! 😉