Deconstructing Charleston and a New Breakfast Idea

Let’s start off with a cool new breakfast idea.  Look at this yummy egg and banana pancake.  I found the recipe on an old blog that I just keep reading year after year.  Love KathEats!

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It looks like a huge breakfast but it is really only 2 eggs and 1 banana.  (and some chia seeds, vanilla, and cinnamon)

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All you do is mash the banana up and stir in the eggs and other ingredients.  Then fry it up on a lightly greased pan.


Boy was it delicious!

It is a rainy day here in North Carolina so I’ve got some time to jot down a race recap from last weekend’s Charleston Marathon.  Let me start off by saying Charleston is a wonderful city and the race was very well organized.  We stayed near the convention center and boy was this area hoppin’.  You will find every imaginable chain restaurant and store that you could ever want.  The cool thing is this area is only 3.5 miles from the finish area so it is very convenient.  The finish area is actually the coolest area though.  This is where you’ll find nice restaurants that are not of the chain sort.  We had Italian Friday night and then after the race we went to a seafood restaurant.  I just love visiting new cities and exploring.  The weather was on the warm side and we even dined outside on Friday night.  Dining al fresco is my favorite!

Let me give you all the normal recap stuff and then I’ll go into more detail of what happened in my race.

Expo  –  on the small side but well organized

Shirt – nice!  Long sleeved tech shirt.

Medal – nice as well!

Course – Flat!  Pretty nice scenery.  We got to run by the water and to the end of a dock.  I had heard that the 2nd half would be lonely but that didn’t prove true at all.  I was never alone.  There are plenty of full marathoners and even after the split at mile 10 there were so many other runners to keep me company.

After race party – Very good.  They had shrimp and grits, boiled peanuts, mimosas, and a good craft IPA beer.

Here’s my flat Melissa for the race.  I was being so superstitious and I have no idea why.   I wore my OBX hat to help me remember I can do hard things. One year at OBX there was a monsoon and it was very tough. I wore my Lifetime training shirt to honor coach Kelly and all my running buddies. Also because I hope to run for the rest of my Lifetime. And those gray running shorts are the ones I wore in my very first marathon. (I can’t believe I still have these. LOL)


My race was not what I had hoped for.  My time was 6:04:51.  My second slowest time ever. My slowest was a 6:05 at City of Oaks back in 2012.  How could I have repeated this?  My IT band didn’t hurt this time and Charleston was flat!  City of Oaks was very hilly!  It really doesn’t make any sense to me at all.  All of 2016 I really focused hard on speed and I felt I was prepared for Charleston.  In late 2015 and early 2016 I posted the best half marathon times of my life.  I cross trained and I had lost a little weight.  I ran all my long runs.  Charleston should not have been a 6 hour marathon.

Here are my splits:

Charleston splits

As you can see, I was doing okay up until the half.  This was what was written on my hand and I had such high hopes of really knocking this race out of the park!


I started slowing down a bit but not too much.  At mile 16 I had planned to get my music going.  I hadn’t walked at all up until this point and I was trying to get my music started while I was running.  I have an old iPod and even though I had charged it fully when I turned it on before the race it was dead.  I charged it while we were driving to the start and it was about 50% charged when we lined up for the race.  However at mile 16, it was dead again.  I tried hard to not let this bother me and I really can’t blame what happened next on the music.

I mentioned that it was warm and it was.  The race didn’t start until 8:00am.  I enjoyed not having to get up so early but that late of a start meant I was in full sun for quite some time. I got a little dizzy around this time and I think I started psyching  myself out.  I decided to walk a little.  I saw the 4:45 pace group go by me and my plan was to stick with them like glue.  Well that was a laugh.  They seemed to fly by me!

Then the 5:00 pace group leader passed.  I knew him and he stopped and gave me a hug.  He was all smiles and running effortlessly.  No sticking with him by any means.

Then not long after that the 5:30 group passed.  They were doing intervals and I kept up with them through 2 walk breaks.  They were flying as well.

I started calculating how long it would take me to finish if I continued with 20 minute miles.  Oh my gracious. Was it ever hard.  I wasn’t hurting and after a few Gatorade stops I wasn’t dizzy anymore.  What was going on?  Well I say I wasn’t hurting.  I was a little.  I have a bunion on each foot and they always tend to hurt when I run very long distances. My left bunion was burning but I just chalked it up to the normal hurt that it always does. After the race when I tried to take my sock off I realized it wasn’t the normal hurt.  This time I had a blood blister and my sock was stuck to my skin.  I know, I know, Yuck!  But that’s what happened.  My socks were good ones so I have no earthly idea what the cause could have been.

Here I am with Ron at the finish.  It was a hard race for me but Ron did great!  I was so jealous.  He hardly trains at all and seemed to be out for a walk in the park.  Ron isn’t fast by any means but it amazes me how effortlessly he runs.


The good news is I have another marathon on February 18th.  Maybe this can be my redemption marathon.  It’s at Oak Island so it should be flat as well.  Maybe I’ll try intervals from the beginning.  What I do know is that for the next 4 weeks, I’m going to focus on cross training.  I haven’t been going to Camp Gladiator and this is going to change.  I promise to go 3x a week for the next month.

I’m also going to work on push-ups and planks.  Every single day.  And yoga and my ITB routine.  I’ve got 4 weeks and I’m going to make the best of it.

Tomorrow I’m heading out for 10 miles and then the week after that 14.  On February 11th I shouldn’t be running 20 miles but I’m going to.  I’m an idiot for sure.  I won’t kill me and even though every running coach out there would tell me to taper, I’m not gonna.  If I can eat right, focus on getting a good night’s sleep each night, drink plenty of water, cross train, and run, I think Oak Island is going to be mine!

Let’s get to it!

PS…I put a bandage on my blister area and went out for a slow 5 mile run last night.  I felt good.  My bunion burned a little but there is no new damage.



Fishless Tuna Salad


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Ron and I visited Triangle VegFest on Sunday and had a blast.  We stumbled upon the Loma Linda table and I ended up buying 2 cans of fishless tuna.  They sent me home with a recipe and I followed it as close as I could.  I substituted a yellow onion because I didn’t have any green onions and I only used 1/2 cup of mayo instead of the cup that it called for.

I had this mayo in the fridge already.

And, I served it over these rice cakes.

I haven’t really looked deep into the nutritional content or the calories yet but I wanted to share anyway.  It was so yummy!  If you like tuna salad, you’ll love this.

I’ll pop back in soon for more of a review of VegFest!

Happy Eating!

For the Love of Blueberries

I’ve been making this awesome granola for a while.  It is to die for!  The recipe comes from Heather Crosby’s Yum Universe.  YU is a great source for vegan inspiration.  I love snacking on this granola but just recently I have started putting it in my Coconut Milk yogurt for breakfast.  I get it from Trader Joe’s and I love both the vanilla and the blueberry flavors.

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I got in the habit of eating a pound of greens for breakfast last summer when I was following Chef AJ’s program.  I know that veggies are so important but for some reason a nice bowl of oats or granola topped yogurt is pure heaven to me.

I dove into this bowl after a very hot and humid 6.5 mile tempo run this morning.  Hit the spot!

Go on over to Yum Universe and make up some Easy Blueberry and Cherry Granola.  You won’t be disappointed.  It is super easy and oh so delicious.

Since today is the 31st of December, I was wondering if you have any resolutions or goals?  I do.  I’m shooting to run everyday in 2016.  I’ve signed up for a Run Streak and I just know it is going to be a hoot.  Along with running every day, I’m hoping to hit 1000 miles in 2016.

I also am giving CrossFit a rest and signing up for Tai Chi.  My husband has been after me for a while to join him and he’s finally talked me into it.  I might do Kung Fu too.  You never know!

My big goal for 2016 is to not purchase anything new.  I’ve been intrigued with the whole minimalist movement and this one in particular keeps jumping into my brain.  Last spring I bought 3 new pair of running shoes when they were on sale and I haven’t used one of them yet.  So, I shouldn’t need anything right!?  I’m even paying for our one race for 2016 tonight so I won’t have those expenses in 2016.  Maybe I can even go the whole year without even setting foot in a store?  I could by our fruits and veggies from the farmer’s market and I could make a list of other necessities (dog and cat food, laundry detergent, toiletries, etc.) and get Ron to pick them up for us.  Who knows?  Wouldn’t that be cool if I could make it?

My huge fitness goal is to of course to try and get faster and I am going to work on it.  However, flexibility is what I’m going to really focus on.  I am so  horribly un-flexible it is pathetic.

Happy New Year Everyone!  I pray 2016 is all you are dreaming of and more!






Chopped Salads

I’ve recently gotten hooked on Subway chopped salads.  I bet I ate there at least 5 times in less than a month.  I had to stop it.  It was getting dangerous.

The Subway artist would take a large white plastic bowl and start adding the things that I asked for.  Spinach, a little lettuce, black olives, yellow peppers, cucumbers, bell peppers, and mushrooms were often my choices. Then I’d ask for salt, pepper, and oregano and a small amount of Chipolte Southwest dressing.  Once they had it all in the bowl they take a chopper like pictured below and chop away.  It was delicious and oh so easy to eat.

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When I knew I had to stop going into Subway so much I first thought I try to find a 2 blade chopper.  I did look at Target and Walmart but I couldn’t find one.  Then I got the idea to use my Pampered Chef cucumber slicer.  It worked pretty well but I couldn’t quite capture how Subway did it.

Lastly, I got the idea to try my food processor.  This has proved to be the secret.  I’ve recreated my Subway salads over and over.  Ron is doing it too.  We love it!  It only takes a second and since it is just lettuce it cleans up in a snap.  I love the salads so much I don’t even mind cleaning the food processor.

My food processor has a 11 cup bowl so friends, that is a whole lot of greens!

Here’s some shots of how it all comes together.  Today’s salad has half and half spring mix, carrots, lentils, shitake mushrooms, yellow peppers, salt, pepper, oregano, and salsa.  Other than chopping, the oregano and the low calorie salsa dressing is the secret.











Find a way to go chop up a big ‘ole salad and sprinkle on the oregano.


Ron’s Restaurant Quality Reubens

Ron has been making tempeh Reubens for me for about 4 years and they just keep getting better and better!  I love them!


Tonight’s was extra special because Ron made them with his own, homemade sauerkraut.

Six days ago, he took some red cabbage, green cabbage, carrots, garlic, onions, and salt and mixed it all together.

He kept it in a dark place and “burped” it every morning.

This was how it turned out.


Next he mixed his sauerkraut with some 1000 island dressing and placed it on top of some tempeh that he had marinated in this Thai Peanut Dipping and Marinade Sauce.  The bread is Rye and the cheese was Swiss.  Grill it up and enjoy!


These Reubens are totally restaurant quality and have the most amazing flavor.

We had ours tonight with some tasty sweet potato fries.

Total Win!

This week on the exercise front has been pretty good.  I got in 3 good CrossFit workouts.  I’m still modifying a lot but I’m starting to feel a teeny bit more coordinated and a lot stronger.

I got in one run with my friends before work on Tuesday but Thursday we skipped due to the 12 degree weather.  I did get a 4 mile hill workout on the treadmill and tonight I did 5 miles.

I’ve had some ITB pain and that is so confusing to me because I’ve completed 3 weeks of physical therapy specifically targeting my ITB and hips.  I’m really trying to remain positive and stay the course.

Tomorrow is my track workout and it is only 4 miles with 4 strides.  I’m shooting to get it in BEFORE church!  I love Sunday’s so much more when I have my run in before church and get the have the rest of the day free.



Happy Eating!  Happy Running!  Happy CrossFitting!  🙂

CrossFit Fuel

I’ve been going to CF again and this time around things are so much different.  The classes are small and our coach gives us so much personal attention.  I love it!  Last week I was sooooo sore but I kept at it and by the weekend I was all better.  I got in 3 runs and 3 CF workouts for the week.

Tonight was CF again for me and since Ron was on vacation, he almost had dinner ready when I got in.  I was able to snap these shots as he was putting the finishing touches on the meal.

The star of the show was his homemade tortillas.  He has only been making them for a little while and I think he’s got the technique down.  He gave me one hot of the griddle as soon as I walked in and it was to die for.


He was making Heather Crosby’s Kale, Green Apple and Red Potato Quesadillas with Balsamic Reduction. We have been getting her meal plans lately. The one that he was making was very similar to this one.

Check out her site for the some awesome recipes.

Ron was so funny and he didn’t want to “waste” his balsamic vinegar so he refused to make the balsamic reduction.  We had this glaze on hand and he decided to use it.



Here’s how it looked as he constructed the masterpiece.

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That was Granny Smith apple slices, roasted red potatoes, sautéed onions, and cheese.
We did use actual cheese but Heather’s cashew cheese is awesome. We were just out of cashews and had this cheese on hand.
We shared the first quesadilla. It was really good but something was missing!


The KALE! Ron forgot the kale.
On the 2nd quesadilla, he put it in and it made a big difference. So much more flavorful!

Go make a quesadilla and don’t forget your Kale!  🙂

Hope you are finding time for fitness during the holidays.  As my friend Roni says, its all about WYCWYC (What you can, when you can)

Mason Jar Salads

I’m so totally late to the game on Mason Jar Salads. You know I love Mason jars and I have lots of them. However, I hadn’t heard of this phenomenon until the other week when 2 of my Tuesday – Thursday running group members were talking about them. One search on Pinterest later and I found loads of different recipes.

Mason Jar Salads

What do you think?  Nailed it?  I sure hope so.  🙂


Even though every site I looked at said you didn’t need to worry about sealing them, Ron wouldn’t hear of it.  He ordered this “sucker” and attached it to his hand dandy Food Saver.


I made 6 salads tonight.  2 each for Ron, me, and Lydia.  They are all the same except Lydia’s has an iceberg lettuce blend with no dressing and mine and Ron’s has a 50/50 blend and Better Than Bottled Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing.


I started in the bottom of the jar with 2 TBSP of the dressing, about 9 cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, red and orange bell peppers, chickpeas, matchstick carrots, lettuce, and then some sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

So excited to give them a try tomorrow and Friday for lunch.

Happy Eating Friends!

Fall Eats

Since I’m injured (ITB trouble), I came home tonight and actually cooked.  It felt wonderful!

I’ve been cooking a little here and there but most week nights we just fend for ourselves.  Lydia has a 2nd job and now she works at BoJangles in the mornings and Target in the evenings.  Ron has been working a crazy amount of overtime.  So, fending for ourselves has just been what has worked for us lately.  I still cook one big meal on the weekend when Andie, Mason, and Jonathan come over.

Here’s a shot of some of my Farmer’s Market finds.


That okra over on the right has been outstanding this year.  I’ve gotten many batches over the last few weeks.  All I do is sauté’ it up with a little EVOO.  I’ve learned that the best okras are the small ones.  It’s about gone from the market though.  Sad smile

The apples have been superb!  The golden ones were Ginger Golds and they are right up there with my favorite Honey Crisps  in the middle.

The new squash is a variety I’ve never tried before tonight.  I saw this recipe on Healthy Tipping Point and was excited to have the time to make it tonight.


I was intrigued to learn that you do not have to peel this squash.  Here it is after 35 minutes in the oven.


The recipe called for shredded carrots and spinach but when I reached in the fridge to grab some, somebody had juiced them all!


That’s ok though.  I found some Steamfresh veggies and used those and they worked out very well.


That somebody that puts everything but the kitchen sink in his juice won’t touch squash so I kept it on the side so he would give the main dish a try.

This dish was so delicious.  I ended up cutting my squash up and mixing it in with the quinoa and other veggies.  It didn’t have very much of a taste all by itself.  The mixture was the best and I’m sure the honey mustard, honey, and coconut oil was what made it so good.  The recipe called for 3 tablespoons of the coconut oil put I only put 1.  The only mustard I had was a hot one and by mixing it with the honey it made the dish!  I’ll be getting some more of this mustard for sure!

Here’s one more recipe that is a Fall staple in our house.  Everyone loves it and it is my signature dish now.  My cornbread recipe comes straight from the side of the Tenda Bake bag.  I follow it exactly except I add a little sugar.



TVP Chili (Vegan)





·         1 cup TVP (textured vegetable protein)  You can use TVP from bulk bins at health food stores, Bob’s Red Mill packaged TVP, or Morning Star crumblers found in the frozen food aisle. (Or you can leave this out and substitute a can of chickpeas.  That’s the beauty of chili.  You can do what you’d like.)

·         1 cup of boiling water   (If you use the frozen crumblers, omit the boiling water.)

·         1 medium red onion

·         2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

·         2 – 3 TBSP chili powder or to taste

·         1 TBSP cumin

·         Pinch of dry mustard

·         Dash of cayenne pepper or to taste

·         A few drops of Stevia or a little sugar

·         Black pepper to taste

·         Salt to taste

·         2 garlic cloves, crushed in garlic press

·         2 cans diced tomatoes with juice

·         1 can whole kernel corn with juice

·         2 cans of black beans rinsed

·         6 oz. tomato paste





·         Pour your boiling water over your 1 cup of TVP and set it aside while you are preparing your other ingredients.  Mix it around and fluff it with a fork to make sure all of it is submerged in water.

·         Dice onion and place in pot with the olive oil.  Press in your garlic.  Start sweating the onions and garlic on medium heat.

·         Add your now fully hydrated TVP to the pot and then all of your spices.  Let it cook for a minute or two.

·         Add in your tomatoes, corn, beans, and tomato paste.

·         Cover and let simmer on low-medium for 30-45 minutes.

·         Add more spices at this point if desired.


Have shredded vegan cheeses and hot sauces available for toppings.  Also serve with tortilla chips or cornbread.

Happy Eating Ya’ll!  Happy Fall!


This isn’t Mrs. Pauls

It was just Ron and me for dinner.  I lit a candle and got out the cloth napkins.



On the menu was a Hugh Jass Salad!  Today is day one of me trying to eat more salads like we did back when we were doing the Eat to Live challenge last winter.



The base is a Super Green mix and then I added carrots, raisins, sunflower seeds, scallions, and broccoli.  I made a vegan 1000 island dressing by mixing up relish, ketchup,  and Vegenaise,


The star of the show was Breaded Baked Tofu.  I saw it on this blog and thought I’d give it a try.


The author of the blog that I got it from compared it to chicken fingers but Ron immediately asked if we were having frozen fish fillets.  I followed her recipe exactly except I used panko crumbs instead of the cereal.  I really like the cayanne pepper in the breading.

It was so good.  Might be my favorite way to eat tofu ever.

Everyone get their green leafy veggies today?

Happy Eating!


Energy Balls

The other weekend my sister shared this recipe with me and I loved it so much I had to share it with you.  I made them for our 4th of July party and everyone loved them too.

I’m calling them Energy Balls but they are very similar to this recipe that I found online. 



All you do is take 1/2 cup flax, 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, and 1 cup oats and mix them up in a bowl.  Then take the wet ingredients and add them.  1/2 cup peanut butter, 1/3 cup honey, and a splash of vanilla.

I made 2 batches today and I used the vegan carob chips so some of them would be totally vegan.  Ron is getting very picky about anything dairy and I wanted to make sure he would eat them.

That’s coconut in the container on the left and I rolled some of the balls in that.  I love coconut and this was an awesome addition.


Above are the ones with the carob chips.  I used creamy raw almond butter instead of peanut butter.  They were really easy to ball up due to the creamy nature of the raw almond butter from a brand new jar.


These are the ones with the Nestle chips.  I used some regular almond butter from the fridge on these and they were a little harder to ball up.  If you keep your nut butter in the fridge, I’d recommend that you nuke it a little to help it get to a more creamy consistency.

Lydia tasted one before she left for work and she said she liked the ones from the party better and I used peanut butter in those.  I like these just fine.  It took me quite a while to get used to almond butter but now I prefer it over peanut butter.

I can’t wait to enjoy these all week for that needed afternoon energy.

I think the calories are probably around 100 per ball.

In other news, I got some cute new purple hand weights.  I’m loving the 30 Day Shred!

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Go make some energy balls and have a wonderful week!