4 Ingredient Chia Seed Pudding


I really love desserts as I’m sure any long time reader has deduced.  However, on Sunday’s when Andie, Jonathan, and Mason come over for dinner, I have to be really careful about what dessert I serve.  They let him have sweets an all but they really are much more strict than I ever remember being.

That’s a good thing though.  Mason is a great eater and it is important that he eats his veggies before he fills up on sweets.

Today I’ve come up with a winner I think.

4 ingredient Chia Seed Pudding!  I got the inspiration from Daily Garnish and from Oh She Glows.  Hop on over to their great blogs for the exact proportions.  I followed Daily Garnish pretty closely but I took Oh She Glow’s advice and stirred in a little cacao powder.

Here are the 4 healthy ingredients:

Almond milk, chia seeds, maple syrup, and cacao powder


Here is is all whisked up.


I plan to serve it tonight with fresh fruit, maybe some sliced bananas, and some coconut.


I cannot wait!  I hope Mason likes it.

I’ll post some more pictures tonight and let you know Mason’s verdict.

I’m very happy to report that I got my run in BEFORE church again this week.  I love getting it in early so I can have the whole day wide open.  I also love that I only have to take one shower.

My workout today was a 1.0 mile easy run to the track, 4 repeats of .5 mile fast followed by .25 mile easy, and then the 1.0 mile easy run home.  These repeats are called Yasso’s and I’ve got to do it religiously to help me get faster.  My fastest Yasso was 4:20 today!  I was thrilled because if you can do a Yasso in 4:20 you can supposedly do a marathon in 4:20:00.

4:30 Thunder Road Here I Come!

Oh, and I’ve got to give a shout out to the book I’m listening to right now.  A Prayer for Owen Meany is sooooooo good!  I love Owen!  I’ll try to do a good review of it when I finish but don’t wait on me.  You just have to read it. (or listen Smile)

Happy Running Friends!  Happy Eating!  Happy Week Ahead!

Banana Birthday Bonanza

I got up early and got my motivation on at the Jeff Galloway Marathon Training kickoff meeting.  This was my second time hearing him speak and wow!  Best running motivational speaker ever!  I’m already signed up for the Thunder Road Marathon in November but after today, I’ve got my sights set on a 50k as well.  Look out Google.  I’ll be searching you soon and seeing if I can find a 50K race to coincide with my training schedule.

Why a 50k you ask?  Well, Jeff says that one of the best things that can help you get faster is to run longer.  Jeff already has a 26 mile training run in his marathon training schedule.  And he says veteran runners shooting for time goals will benefit greatly by running even longer.  29-30 miles or more!  Jeff mentioned one person took over a half hour off his marathon time by running longer training distances.  Oh, no!  Has the ultra bug just nibbled at my toe?  I sure hope not!

My friends, I’ve just looked it up and 50k = 31.0686 miles

If you’ve been a reader here at A Handful of Spinach for long, you know that I am obsessed about getting faster.  I want to qualify for Boston and to do that, I’ve got to drop over 47 minutes off my best marathon time.  Hey, if Matt can do it, I can too right?!  I’m not really trying to hack my way in to Boston, but I am looking at doing all I can to get there.  So here we go.  This is my plan.  This year at Thunder Road, I need to run a 4:30!  There.  I’ve said it.  It’s out there.  Now to put in the work and get it done.  4:30 won’t get me to Boston this year but it will move me in the right direction.  Next year I can shoot for 4:15 and then before you know it, I can sneak in under 4:00 and qualify.  Jeff Galloway is almost 69 and he just ran a 4:09 and qualified again and ran Boston last month.  And, he did it by running insanely short intervals.

My plan is as follows:

Can you tell I’m motivated?  It might have been the Galloway meeting.  It might be because it’s my birthday and I feel better at 49 than I did at 29.  Or it might have a little something to do with this awesome Banana, Peanut Butter, Chia Seed Smoothie.  Wowzer!  Who needs Cook-Out?  I tell you this is it.  Probably the best smoothie I’ve ever made!


Start with one cup of un-sweetened almond milk.  Add one frozen banana, 1 TBSP PB2, 1 TBSP chia seeds, 1/3 cup Old Fashioned raw oats, and a few ice cubes.  Whirl it up and enjoy!

Here’s to a great day everyone!  In just a little while Ron, Andie, Jonathan, Mason, and Lydia are taking me to Fiction Kitchen for my birthday dinner.  I hope I don’t jump out of my seat and embarrass everyone with the ultimate natural high I’m on.

I’m going to have to check out that PB2 and make sure Ron didn’t add any secret ingredients to that powder.  LOL

Happy Running Friends!

Raw Tacos

Ron and I have tried a lot of different “foodie” things recently but tonight was our first taste of Raw.

I’ve heard about the raw food craze but I really didn’t think much about it.  In Scott Jurek’s book, Eat and Run, he mentioned that he was raw for a while but that he really found it took too long to chew all that raw food so he switched back to vegan.  So, that’s always been my outlook.  If Scott says no, then I wasn’t interested.

I was so shocked to come home to raw tacos a la’ Ron.


Boy were they delicious! 

All Ron did was put some nuts (walnuts and pecans), spices, and sun dried tomatoes in the food processor.  Then more nuts (cashews), lemon juice, salt, and water in the blender for the “sour cream”.  He used this video for the inspiration on the taco meat and this site for the “sour cream”.

I asked Ron how he got the idea of making these and he told me that he saw some raw tacos at Whole Foods and that sparked his interest.

These are keepers.  So delicious!

I’m very excited that we have leftovers for lunch for tomorrow.

12 days until my next half marathon and I’m already getting lazy again.  I haven’t run since last Thursday.  Bad, bad, bad.  I know Rock-n-Roll Raleigh is going to be super crowded and I’ve decided that I’m just going to relax and enjoy the run and stick with Ron the whole way.  However, I don’t want to lose any of that miracle swiftness I found the other week in Wilmington.  Gotta keep working.  I might check out Cross Fit again this summer.  My friend has been talking about it and it really has been calling my name.  Core Strength is what I have to get to run faster!  Nothing is going to change drastically unless I  make some drastic changes and keep at it.  

Happy Running!  Happy Eating!

Mushrooms in place of Meat

Just a quick picture of my lunch today.

We had beautiful weather in North Carolina today and I spent almost every single moment out working in the yard.

Hunger made me stop and come inside.  I whipped up this super easy and fast lunch.



All I did was wash a portabella mushroom and roast it for 14 minutes at 350 degrees.  (Roast it with the bottom of the mushroom facing up.  You will know when it is done when some liquid starts bubbling up on the top.)  Then I plopped it on a slice of whole grain toast and topped it with some Daiya cheese.   While the mushroom was in the oven, I zapped  a can of Veggie Baked Beans and sliced up an orange.

I should have had something green but I wanted to get back outside quick.  I promise, I had a Hugh Jass Salad tonight.

Happy Eating Friends!

Quickie Dinner Alone

Tonight was an extremely rare moment lately.  I dined alone. 

Andie, Mason, and Lydia were all out and Ron was working late. 

The menu for this evening called for Eggplant Rollups and to be honest, I did print the recipe out and begin to gather the ingredients.  However, I noticed another recipe right there.  Veggie Pizza.  That was more up my ally. 

I made some quick pasta sauce by sautéing some onions, garlic, and diced tomatoes.  Then when I reached for the pitas, they were moldy.  (note….things that are healthy go bad quickly)  I ended up using some whole wheat bread instead. 

All I did was add the sauce, a diced up Portobello mushroom, red peppers, broccoli, and Daiya cheese.





I think the cheese would have melted more but I was really anxious to dig in and couldn’t wait any longer.

It was out of this world delicious.  I haven’t had any added salt all week and I can’t say that I’ve really been craving it but this pizza was salty.  Very satisfying.  I didn’t want my salad and I thought about putting the greens in the blender with my smoothie.  In the end, I decided to eat it anyway.

Here’s my dessert.

A pumpkin smoothie with some unsweetened almond milk and a cup of tropical frozen fruit.  (pineapple, strawberry, mango, and papaya)


Not the best ever but pretty good.  Smile

I have just figured out that the 100 days of miles challenge wasn’t really 100 days of straight running.  You just had to commit to running 100 miles this year.  Be that as it may, I decided to go ahead and keep the streak going and see if I can run for 100 days.  Tonight’s run was an interval workout on the treadmill.

Happy Weekend Friends!

Eating to Live

It’s been well over a year and a half ago that I first read Eat to Live, by Dr. Joel Fuhrman.  Even so, I find myself returning to his philosophy again and again.  I really like everything about Eat to Live.  And now that the new year is just around the corner, it was quite natural for me to think of  trying to drop a few pounds.  Thinking of dieting and then thinking of Eat to Live made me decide to take the plunge.

I’m vegan again.


When I think of my friend Robin and her beautiful hens and all her wonderful eggs I really love omelets.

When I think of my sister Rosa and her husband William and their awesome salmon salads, I am perfectly ok with having salmon once and a while.

When I think of my dad and brothers and deer meat, I’m all about some venison chili.

When I think of my brother in law, Willis’ fish fries, I think I’ve died and gone to heaven.

You see, I’m fine with occasionally consuming animals.  The problem I run in to in my daily life is that if I’m walking around labeling myself a carnivore, it won’t be long before my car might veer into Cookout for a cheeseburger and milkshake.  It won’t be long before I’ll grab a Filet-o-Fish at McDonalds when one of my daughter’s ask me to stop by for them.  Heck, I might even get a Cajun Fillet Biscuit at Bo Jangles after work one night.

Even if I label myself a vegetarian, I’ll start to grab the Pumpkin Spice coffee creamer before you know it.

Vegan is the only label that keeps me safe.  If I say I’m vegan, I keep on the straight and narrow a lot better.  Does that make sense at all?  I hope so because I really am at a loss as to how to explain my food philosophy.  Embarrassed smile

Ok so now that the disclaimer is out of the way, let me get on to my first day of the 6 week Rapid Weight Loss Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat to Live plan.

Ron and I stocked up at Whole Foods last night.  Here’s a shot of some of our loot.


This morning I had 1/2 cup of some awesome granola.  I put some frozen blueberries and almond milk in it.  I also had a small banana and half a cup of black coffee.

For lunch, it was a gorgeous salad.  Much prettier than this picture shows.


I used a raspberry balsamic vinegar as a dressing and it was perfect.

I also had a bowl of a GBombs soup that Ron made last night.

GBombs stands for Greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries, and seeds.  This is the backbone of how to eat according to Dr. Fuhrman.



Ron took some kale, sprouted beans, onions, mushrooms, cashews, and goodness knows what else and created a delicious masterpiece.  He can’t tell me exactly what he did but I’m sure his recipe was similar to  this recipe.

I also had some grapes at lunch.  I was a little full but I ate them because even though fruits and veggies are unlimited, you are not supposed to eat between meals.

To be honest, I was pretty hungry when I got home from work.  I’ve learned a trick though and what I did was drink a cup of hot green tea.  I didn’t sweeten it with anything and I thought I wasn’t going to enjoy it.  Thankfully, it was delicious and just what I needed to get me through until dinner.

Dinner was another huge salad but we also had some roasted zucchini and carrots.  Ron and I dined on those while this awesome soup simmered.


After it simmered for 15 minutes, Ron took out 2/3 of the veggies and put them in the Vitamix with 1 cup of raw cashews.




Here’s the finished product.


It’s crazy how creamy and delicious it was and not a drop of milk was used.

Ron had 2 huge bowls but those salads fill me up so much I only had one.

A little while later I whirled up some frozen mangos and bananas with some unsweetened almond milk for this scrumptious sorbet.


I guess it looks a little like mashed potatoes however, I promise you, it was cold and sweet and just the right ending to my first day Eating to Live.

I’m excited to see how it goes for the next six weeks.

I’m also very excited that my friend Robin has invited me to do a 100 day running challenge beginning on January 1.  I’ve seen a lot of people doing this sort of thing and I’ve always been intrigued.  I guess I better rest up tomorrow and get ready to Run Run Run!

Happy Eating Friends!

Happy Running!


It’s my lucky day every day when I get to have a green smoothie in my Green Man Brewery glass!


And tonight was extra special lucky because after a lovely 8 mile run, I used Ron’s very own Homemade Protein Powder mix in a glass of green sludges of goodness.

In the glass was 1 cup of almond milk, 1 orange, 1 scoop of protein powder, 2 handfuls of spinach, 1 packet of Truvia, and a handful of ice cubes.  Blended to a perfect icy treat in our handy dandy Vitamix.

But let me get back to the Homemade Protein Powder.

I’ve been reading healthy living blogs for a few years and one of my favorites is Daily Garnish.  I read this post ages ago and have wanted to make our own mix ever since.

Ron finally went for it and went NUTS!


Look at all this stuff he ordered!



Everything from dates to quinoa to hemp powder and chia seeds!

I just love this little company.  Such cute packaging!


Ron mixed all the powders up just like Emily did in the post I linked to except he left out the stevia and the PB2 powder.

It is really good and for only about 53 cents per day it is very economical.

IMG_0310  IMG_0311

Have a Lucky Day!

Eat and Run

This morning it was 20 degrees outside.

I’d say a perfect time for a run.  Smile

Good ole Garmin and Runmeter recorded my stats.  (both very close again today)


I was very, very happy with the results.  I did start to lose steam on the last few miles but overall it was a great run.

Here’s my splits:


You guys know that I spent all summer with my Galloway group, but did you know that I’ve spent 14 weeks this fall and winter with a small group from church?

Pastor Carley from Mt. Zion (my church) and her husband Pastor Eric from Sunrise and I are co-leaders for a wonderful running and fellowship group.


Here Carley and Eric are with Keith, aka the tall one.  Smile  Keith and Eric have both run marathons and Carley got hooked last year when she ran a half marathon.

We get together at 8:00am each Saturday morning and have a time of devotion and then we go over a running topic.  We’ve covered things like cross training, nutrition, how to prevent injuries, and the like.  After we close in prayer, we head off on our run.  We’ve run at many different locations but today’s was my very favorite.

It was an 11 miler on the American Tobacco Trail.  I was concentrating so hard on my run I forgot to snap a picture of the trail.

Click here to see how pretty it is.

Here are some more shots of our awesome group.


Sarah, Robin, Jill, Jason, and Jodi


April and me  Smile


LeAnn and Blair


Alisa and another shot of Eric

We have some more members but not everyone could make it today.  (We missed you guys!)  I hope to get a group shot of us in 2 weeks when we run the Myrtle Beach Half.  (Keith is running the full.)

It has been such a blessing to me to have this group.  Running with friends Rocks!

My husband, Ron, is in our group too but he was on call today and wasn’t able to travel too far away from his work phone and work truck.

Instead, he cranked out some treadmill miles and then whipped up another scrumptious vegan meal.

Here it is.  Quiche made without eggs or cheese.


Click here for the full recipe.

Dairy-Free Red Quinoa & Broccoli Quiche.  YummO!


The ingredients were broccoli, red peppers, quinoa, onions, garlic, cashews, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and the secret ingredient that held everything together, agar.


The recipe actually called for agar flakes or powder but we couldn’t find those.  I found this whole agar at the Grand Asian Market.

Here is what it looks like out of the wrapper.


You ask what agar is?  Well let me tell you.  It’s seaweed.  Smile

Or rather:

agar (gär, ägär)

A gelatinous material obtained from marine algae, especially seaweed, used as a medium for growing bacterial cultures in the laboratory and as a thickener and stabilizer in food products.


After that 11 miler today I ate almost half that quiche.

Ron made another quiche tonight but this time he put in mushrooms and some red pepper flakes.  Wowzer.  That one was very good too.

For our evening entertainment, Ron and I watched Vegucated on Netflix.  Very enlightening.

When I first started trying to get healthier back in 2009 I began enjoying so many different foods.  Everything I did was aimed at health.

Then I went through 10 months a a strict vegetarian.  Next came flexitarian.  Then vegan for 3 weeks. Now I’m back to mostly vegan but I did have Tilapia last night for dinner.

I really think my main focus is on health but I can’t deny my strong feelings for the horrors of how animals are treated.  And tonight what they showed about how fish are harvested made my skin crawl.

Don’t watch Vegucated if you are squeamish about a slaughter house.  It didn’t show that much at all and I still had my eyes buried in my knees and my fingers in my ears.

Oh well,  enough of that.  Let me close with a list of some items I never knew were vegan:

Teddy Grahams


Duncan Hines Creamy Home-Style Frosting

and my favorite peanut butter:  Peanut Butter & Co. White Chocolate Wonderful

Hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday and a great week ahead.

Night Friends!


One word.  Delicious!

104_6105 (2)

Ron worked late so it was my turn to cook.  I’ve been anticipating  these all week.  These Black Quinoa & Sweet Potato Kale Cakes looked so yummy in the pictures from YumUniverse.  (Be sure to check out the complete recipe by clicking on the highlighted words.)

It did take quite a long time for me to cook tonight.  Next time I plan these for a week night meal I will have my sweet potatoes already roasted and my quinoa already cooked.  If I had done that it would have been a snap to put together.

These potato cakes were just a bit crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside.  Something about all those spices and the mashed sweet potatoes really hit a homerun tonight.  Very, very yummy!

And…..I’m still enjoying the ginormous salad from 2 nights ago.  I have one more salad ready for lunch for tomorrow and then that will be it.


I have to admit one funny thing that happened as I was preparing everything.  I went over to get the black quinoa and measured them out and then I realized I had chia seeds instead.  Then I hesitated again.  Were they chia seeds?  Or were they black quinoa?  Did we even get black quinoa last weekend?


I decided I better not chance it and I put them back.  I grabbed the red quinoa that was still in the box and safely labeled.

So, my Black Quinoa & Sweet Potato Kale Cakes were actually made with red quinoa.

When Ron got home, he verified that these were indeed chia seeds.


Thanks goodness I didn’t put them in.  Smile

I’ve really got to do my Sudoku puzzles or my memory games on my phone.  Sometimes my memory scares me.

No run tonight.  Took too long in the kitchen.

Will I get up in the morning and run before work?  Who knows?!  Miracles could happen.

Night Friends!

Jerk’s a Bust

I have been so busy all day with work stuff that I haven’t had a minute to do anything else.  Ron was very kind to prepare tonight’s recipe:  Buckwheat, Chickpea & Sweet Potato Jamaican Jerk Wrap (or Salad.)


I know it is very healthy, but this one my friends, was not my favorite.


Even with last night’s yummy dressing, I didn’t really love it.  The brown rice tortilla doesn’t wrap up well and it has a taste that is going to take some getting used to.

I think the reason I didn’t like tonight’s meal was because of this fellow.


Nothing against this brand.  I think I’m not of fan of Jamaican Jerk at all.

I tried putting some Bone Suckin’ Sauce on it but that didn’t help very much.  I do hope Ron can somehow eat that whole bowl up for lunch tomorrow.

Even though I didn’t want to, I did manage to get in a 20 minute Kettlebell Workout.  Why do I hate cross training so much?

Night Friends.  Stay safe in this treacherous weather.