Sunday Night Work Out

        Since Brandon and I ran our 10k yesterday, today was a cross training day. For our cross training days we generally try to walk, do push-up, pull-ups, squats etc.. throughout the day around the house. Now that it is nice out we try to take Sali out and walk her around the neighborhood. On one of our walks we walked passed a little play park area (one that we have always walked passed or swung on the swings). Until recently we did not use the play park to its full potential. It has a pole, monkey bars, pull up bar, steps and climbing ropes. It is awesome!!! Tonight we did a 1 mile walk and then ended at the play park where we spent about 30 minutes working on upper body work outs. 

I am now able to do monkey bars for the first time ever in my entire life. Even as a kid, I was never able to do them because the girls in my family were not blessed with upper body strength. We have leg muscle just no upper body. So I continue to work on my upper body almost daily. I have seen lots of improvement. Tonight I hung on the bar for over a minute. I can jump and pull up on the bar. I can do monkey bars. I can Pull my self up a little bit on the pole (can’t quite climb it yet). I am going to continue to work on my pull/push ups and I will continue to work on climbing the pole. 

My advice to anyone who is trying to tone up and get in shape: Just try! I have learned a lot of things about myself through training for races and working on myself. I thought that I would be able to do some arm workouts for a few weeks and then I would have awesome arm strength but… that is not the case. It has taken a ton of work and I still can’t do a pull up without a little jump up. It takes time and it takes practice. Some people are able to get it right away but if you are like me, you will go through frustrations, soreness and success’. Today Brandon and I were laughing at how far I’ve come, it is a good feeling but I am still disappointed every time I try a pull up and fail. 

Brandon has had great success too. Since he shattered his arm, he wasn’t able to do much upper body. Recently he has been cleared to go live life and use his arm as normal. He is now able to do pull ups, push ups and climb the poly. Because of the motion of the monkey bars, he can’t do them yet but he continues to try. (Really makes me mad that he can do all of these things with no problems and he has a jacked up elbow but I am proud of him!)

Just go out and play and pay attention to where you can take advantage of play times. Play place, around the house and even around the office. During school I play on our play place with the kids and at then end of the day I do kiddo boot camp where I teach the kids how to do ab work outs and squats. Playing is fun and I think adults forget that too often. 

So take this time and reflect on how far you have come on your goals and don’t look at what you can’t do still. Go you!! 


Anyone have any advice or stories they want to share? 

Pull ups on the monkey bars


Climbing the pole


Chin up and hold on the pull up bar


Monkey Bars!!!

Brandon’s First Race

95 Brandon Brown   59:52.23   9:40

96 Kimberly Brown  59:52.58   9:40


Our results from Brandon’s first running race! Go Brandon, I am so proud of you. 

     We weren’t trying to compete or put too much into this race, our goal was to get our training distance in and get Brandon some experience with how running races go before our 10 miler next weekend. We ended up having a great pace and even completed the race in under an hour. We ran the race for adoption and foster care awareness in Loudoun County. It was the 2nd annual run me home race. It runs through old town Leesburg and onto the W&OD trail toward Purcellville. It was a nice, shady, pretty flat course and we found ourselves running and chatting about the giant houses. We watched and commented on other runners and talked about how much we enjoyed training together. It was a great race and we decided that as runners, we would rather enjoy a morning run together than push ourselves and tire ourselves out running for time. Brandon got pretty competitive when we would pass people and when we were coming up on our finish, we had a nice stride and a strong finish across the line hand in hand. We were really surprised at our finish time because the race seemed so easy and we could have kept going for miles at that pace. Hooray!


       This race is proof for me that my running stamina and speed has increased drastically since I have been eating healthier. I remember doing 5k runs and struggling to maintain a 10:30 minute pace without losing my breath. It is incredible to see my growth over these past few months. I credit Brandon for helping me increase my speed. 


       We are really excited about the Broad street 10 Miler next weekend. This race gave Brandon some experience and it gave us both some confidence to compete.


       My knee has been feeling great with my icing it after runs and doing heavy stretching throughout the week. I am hoping that it only continues to improve and I won’t have to look into scheduling physical therapy in May. 


        We are feeling good and looking forward to our next adventures TOGETHER!!!



Tuna Salad with Avocado

We had a big lunch today so I decided to make a light, spring dinner. My sister and her husband were in town visiting and he requested that I make Brandon’s Pizza Bites. For lunch we had pizza bite appetizers, Herb Chicken and Salad. For Dessert I make Blueberry Bread. Mikalanne and Andrew headed home and Brandon went to mow the lawn and clean up the yard. I quickly cleaned up the house and decided to play around with a light recipe for dinner. For lunch, I have found the Tuna is easy and filling but I am tired of always eating it the same way, while it is good, it can be boring day after day. So today I tried using avocado as a moisture instead of mustard. It was really good and I was actually surprised at how moist the avocado made the tuna.  

Sunday Brunch
Ingredients:
1 Can Tuna Fish
1/2 Avocado
1/4 tsp Salt
Pepper to taste
*Red Onion, diced (optional)


Process:
 
Avocado mashing
  1. Mash half avocado in separate bowl until it is nice and creamy. This will make it easier to mix into the tuna.
  2. Mix Tuna, salt, pepper and avocado together in a bowl. 
  3. Add onion and mix well.
  4. Serve with your favorite veggies  
 
Add a little sea salt and mix tuna and avocado.
Enjoy!

True Honey Nut Cereal

This week I had some fun making new recipe’s.  Before I went to Paleo, I was addicted to cereal. I would eat cereal for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack! I loved cinnamon toast crunch and raisin bran. Since oats, sugar, wheat and all things cereal are anti-paleo, I had to make my own. It was pretty tough training myself to avoid my daily treat but I overcame for 6 months! This past week I decided to make my own cereal and now I am not sure why I waited for so long. It is fast, simple and delicious. My one problem, I tend to avoid dairy because I think it might cause some binding up issues. I am going to start adding in full fat milk with my cereal on occasion and see if  I notice a difference. My other option is to eat the cereal with almond milk. 



Honey Nut Cereal
 
Ingredients: 
1/2 C almonds (I used shelled and sliced)
1/2 C walnuts
1/2 C Pecans
1/4 C Hazlenuts
1/2 C sunflower seeds
(You can use any nuts you like-Pumpkin seeds, coconut, macadamia nuts, I just used what I had in my pantry)
1 C pre-soaked raisins (cover in water for about 10-15 min, until they puff up a little)
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
3 Tbsp honey



Process: 
Blend
  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees
  2. In blender or food processor blend the nuts, cinnamon and sea salt. 
  3. In a large bowl melt coconut oil.
  4. Combine Coconut oil, vanilla, honey and raisins and mix until well blended
  5. Combine the liquids and nut mixture in the large bowl and mix well. 
  6. Taste test the before you bake! You may like it a little sweeter or saltier than my taste buds. 
  7. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.
  8. Spread the granola evenly over the sheet. (A thin layer)
  9. Bake 40 minutes for a nice crunchy granola. (The longer you bake, the crunchier it will get. Cooling also makes it crunchier.)
  10. Allow to cool completely.  
  11. Eat with Almond or Coconut Milk
Bake
 
Friday Morning bowl of Cereal. AMEN!
 

 

Primal Pizza Bites

For all you Bar food lovers…Pizza pocket craving? 
Brandon came home today excited to cook…WHAT is wrong with him? I don’t mind but really? I never would have pegged him as someone who sits around and comes up with recipe’s. Before he told me his idea, I assumed it would be like “oh hey, let’s take these rolls and eat them with soup or put some marshmallow and cashew butter on it”. Nope-he invented his very own Primal Pizza Rolls. I must say that even though I am not a huge fan of cheese or pizza, these were delicious. He used left over Brazilian Cheese Bread for his idea.

Gotta love a man in the kitchen!
  1. First Brandon placed 6 Brazilian cheese breads on a baking sheet.
  2. Then he pre-heated the oven to 350 degrees. 
  3. After that he cut an “x” at the top of each roll.
  4. Next he stuffed each roll with two little chunks of raw milk cheddar.  And then he placed two small slices of pepperoni in the roll. 
  5. After this he sprinkled some Oregano in them. 
  6. Bake them in the oven for about 6 min. (until the cheese was melted.)
  7. He let them cool on the counter for a half second and then we devoured them for dinner. *TRUE STORY*
Toasty, melty and delicious.

I told Brandon that I was going to teach him how to make the cheese bread so that any time I don’t feel like cooking, he can make these. 
Girls, make these for your guys and they will love you forever! This is true Primal MAN Food at its best. 
Thanks for dinner Brandon, I Love you and these pizza pockets. 

Brazilian Cheese Bread

Brazilian Cheese Bread

Ingredients:
  • 1 Egg (room temperature)
  • 1/3 C Coconut Oil
  • 2/3 C Almond Milk
  • 1 1/2 C Tapioca Flour
  • 1/2 C  Grated cheese, I used Raw Milk Cheddar
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt 
  • ¼ tsp Garlic for a soup bread or 1/4 cinnamon + 1 tsp Honey for a dessert bread
Process: 
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Grease a mini-muffin pan with coconut oil
  3. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and pulse on medium/high until all is well blended. Scrape blender if needed.
  4. Pour batter into mini muffin pan. Fill it all the way up without over flow. I got about 22 mini muffins out of this batter. 
  5. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes until golden brown. Do not over cook bread should be chewy and light. 
  6. Serve warm! I tried them alone (delicious), with butter and honey (amazing). They would also be outstanding with some fresh jam or with a bowl of chicken soup.
So what do they taste like? They are chewy and light. They are not overwhelmingly cheesy (could be the choice of cheese or the fact that I added just barely a half cup) but I am not a cheese fan. 

These reheat and if you want them for a dinner, you can save the batter in the fridge for about a week. 




Tastes like a warm roll! YUM

Tired of Drinking Water

On a hot summer/ oh it’s only Spring? On a hot Spring day like today, sometimes I get really bored just drinking water. I read around on a few blogs and cookbooks and created this light refreshing beverage. It is kind of a NOjito since it is alcohol free! (except one time I put a little Malibu in it and it was delicious!) 

Flavored Water

Ingredients: 
  1. 45 Oz of Water
  2. 2 Oranges, juice only
  3. 1 Lemon, juice only
  4. 1/4 Pineapple chunks, squeezed and place in the container
  5. 25-30 Mint leaves, crushed and chopped and placed in the container



Process: 
Put 40 Oz of water in a container. Squeeze the juice of the oranges and lemons into the container. Squeeze and place 1/4 pineapple into the container. Add 25-30 fresh mint leaves. (I got some from my own herb garden and grabbed a blend of orange mint, chocolate mint and regular mint) 
Allow this to sit in the fridge for 2-3 hours and stir before serving. 


Nut Butter Candies

Brandon’s loved cold Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for Easter and in order to keep us from Cheating over another junk food filled holiday, I had to come up with a treat for us. Over the break I made these and created one to be similar to a peanut butter cup. 

Nut Butter Candies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Cashew Nut Butter 
  • 1 Tbs Honey
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt 
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
  • 3 Graham Crackers (optional-It makes it a little thicker and a little sweeter) (recipe to follow)
  • 1 bag of Dark Chocolate Chips (I use Enjoy Life)
Process:
  1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside
  2. In a bowl, add all of the ingredients and mix well with a spoon. Taste test the ingredients and make sure the cashew butter isn’t over powering. If you don’t like the taste than add a little bit of the other ingredients to get a taste you like. I play with the ratios a lot. 
  3. Once you have a great taste, roll them into Macadamia nut sized balls and place them on the tray. Once you have the tray filled, place them in the refrigerator while you melt your chocolate. 
  4. In a saucepan: Pour your chips in the pan and turn the pan onto a low heat and allow the chocolate to melt down slowly. (This also works in a microwave safe bowl- put the chips in for about 45seconds but watch carefully and do not let them burn)
  5. Once chocolate is liquid and creamy, pull out the candies and coat them in chocolate using a spoon or a paint brush. You will only be able to coat the top first.
  6. Place the chocolate covered candies in the fridge for about 5-10 min. Then pull them out, flip them over and fill in the rest of the candy with the remaining chocolate. 
  7. Keep refrigerated until you are ready to serve. 
  8. Enjoy! 
 
I made these in a candy mold (not recommended, they look cute but it was hard to get them out!)

 

 

 

These I put  Marshmallow fluff on top and didn’t add the graham cracker to the candy. 

Chicken Skewers and Grilled Papaya and Pineapple

            Today started out with a depressing doctors appointment that now requires me to go to physical therapy 2 times a week for 6 weeks! woohoooo! I guess it is a running injury but I’ve been having some stiffness and pain in my right leg and it is actually waking my up at night now. 
       After that my day got better. I went for a picnic at the park across the street with a good friend and her kids. We ate tuna fish, veggies, fruit and even a little dark chocolate. While the kids played we sat in the sun and had some great conversations about God, life, work, friends and even some Philadelphia sports. We went on a walk on the trails and saw some wildlife, a mini waterfall and some beautiful flowers. 
I cam home, tutored one of the kids in the neighborhood and then completed my evening with some gardening with Brandon and dinner on the grill. 
       Even though I was bummed about my leg, God gave me a fabulous day to take my mind off of that issue. 
My garden box is complete and ready for planting tomorrow. I have the rest of the yard just about completed or at least some good ideas. So thankful for the time I have had this week to do some work, enjoy the outdoors and the company of good friends, family and most importantly my husband. 


For lunch I made this tuna recipe and added some fresh spinich and some diced green peppers. I packed a bag of celery and carrots. A 
container of blueberries and blackberries and a little dark chocolate for snack (since I was walking it off any way!).

Dinner was  Herbed Balsamic chicken and papaya/pineapple skewers on the grill!

Herbed Balsamic Chicken

  • 4 TBS olive oil
  • 2 tsp Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • 1 Tbs McCormick Chicken rub
  • 1 tsp Garlic
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning



Mix all ingredients in a bowl and brush on the chicken. Save extras to brush on the chicken throughout the grilling process. 
Brandon cooked them on a wood fired grill for at 300 degrees for about 10 minutes on each side. 

Pineapple and Papaya Skewers

  • 1/2 Papaya, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 Pineapple, cut into chunks



Place fruit alternately onto a wooden skewer. Place on the wood fired grill at 300 degrees for about 1 minute on each side. 

Brandon ready to chow down after all of that landscaping work I made him do.

Enjoy it on a warm sunny deck with someone you love!

Organic Compost Garden

After months of teaching a nice week at home with little plans is so appreciated! I took my time today to begin planning out my vegetable, herb and flower gardens. Brandon and I have re-done (at least touched) every room in our house and now we want to take the focus to the outside. We’ve done a little to it but mostly just maintenance. With our new eating habits, we use a lot of herbs and eat a ton of fruits and veggies so we decided that we have enough space in our back yard, why not build a garden. This is a huge task but one that we both feel we could accomplish. I have been composting since we moved in, we have nurtured several roses, trees and plants back to life in our previous un-kept yard, we feel like we can handle it.
In order to get have a proper garden, I took some pages from my parents and decided to get Brandon to make me a raised garden beds. While the box is easy to build, filling it is a little bit more difficult when you are on your own. So my day looked like this:

my future meals!
  1. Clearing weeds and leveling the ground in the garden.
  2. Drawing out and researching veggies, herbs and fruits Northern Virginia can grow and the seasons to plant.
  3. Getting a truck load of dirt from the local nursery.
  4. Shoveling out the truck load of dirt by myself (my poor back)! 
  5. Lining the 16ft x 6 ft box with newspaper (on a windy day- eeek)
  6. Piling screened top soil  on top of the newspaper.
  7. Break time for a pedicure with my friend Margaret
  8. Back home to eat some sweet potato chips, drink some water, a couple strawberries and back to work!
  9. Finished leveling the dirt and then I added  a layer or leaves. (This acts as a natural compost layer like hay or straw)
  10. Started adding a layer of compost from my very own compost pile. I have been composting for 3 years and it  paid off today. I have the most beautiful dark soil full of worms! Big fat worms. It is so healthy and I can’t wait to see how my veggies grow in this stuff. I never thought I would be so excited about worms (Gross) but this saves a lot of money and it make me feel good that I was able to make great compost (another wonderful thing my mom and dad taught me!) 
  11. My back was getting sore so I decided to stop working on my garden so I didn’t get rushed and do it improperly. 
  12. I cleaned up all of the supplies in the back yard and finished black paper lining under the maple tree and fixing up the rock barrier. Filled it with dirt and it is finished! 
  13. I weeded my current flower beds and chatted with a neighbor about swapping some plants 🙂                                                                                                           
Brandon built a box
Newspaper layer
Dirt layer and then a leaf layer
Look at that compost!! Wish the worms showed up in pictures

While I was working in the yard I was able to meet some new neighbors, chat with some that I had already known, share my work with some of them and hear a great story about paying it forward. So happy to be where I am and I am thrilled with the progress of my first day on spring break. Now it is time for my hot pink toes to take a rest and eat some dinner!