Writing A Better Recipe

 

Good morning! First of all, I loved the discussion/comments on yesterday’s blog post about blog negativity. I am so glad so many of you haven’t had to deal with negative comments yet, but, it’s always good to be prepared, and know in your head ahead of time HOW you will deal with them if the time comes!

Last night I went to the gym even though I very much so didn’t feel like it, and I am so glad I did! Funny how that works? All it takes is a little will power! Bobby and I lifted weights, it was my off day from running. Back at it today though!

230403_570152787698_61700476_31939537_7563477_n

Anyway, one of the HLS sessions I went to (and learned a lot from) was the writing a better recipe session. I will be honest, I was a little skeptical because 1.) I don’t write a lot of recipes on RWS, and 2.) I thought really, how can you mess up a recipe? just write out the directions and there you have it!

2011-05-08190949

bake cobbler.

2011-05-08195230

eat cobbler. No? I need to be more specific?

hhhmm….apparently I am a major FAIL at recipe writing! I am so ashamed! Here are some of the things I learned. The basic steps for recipe writing are:

1. Title- Pretty self explanatory, make sure to put the title in the body of the post and not just as your post title, wow that sounds more confusing than I actually meant it to be, but you got it, right?

2. Headnote and tips for the recipe- one to two sentences after the title where you should offer tips, give credits, or offer substitutions for certain ingredients.

3. yield/serving size- well, that one is easy enough.

4. prep AND cook time- most people (myself included) leave out the prep time and just include the cook/bake time, but prep time is just as important so readers can plan accordingly!

5. ingredient list- use the whole name of items in ingredient list, and write out words like “tablespoon” for clarity.  Also, be sure to put the ingredients in the order in which they will be used in the recipe. Also, don’t sue brand names like “Campbell’s cream of chicken soup” if at all possible.

6. instructions-be descriptive, start with a verb when describing how wonderful your recipe is! Also, it’s ok to use articles, a lot of people put thinks like “melt butter” instead of “melt THE butter”.” Also, BE SPECIFIC! Don’t assume your readers know what you are talking about, don’t leave anything out!

I guess I had just never really thought about some of these things before and I do a lot of assuming in my recipes. As I get time, I will go in and correct mine!….A few other tips I got were: don’t post pictures in between steps, it makes it too easy to miss something. Also, choose your words wisely, and don’t use random capitalization’s of words. example: Chicken Breast is not a proper noun!

2011-05-03124208

Use all 5 senses when describing a food….This cupcake is fluffy, decadent, rich….etc. etc. (ok ya I can’t think of anything else right now…)

Now I challenge you, to go take a look at your recipes and see if you make any of these common errors!

QOTD: Do you make any of these common errors? (Come on, you know it was coming!)

Avoiding (Runner’s) Burnout

 

Hi all! I’m Courtney from Run, Courtney, Run. Lately I’ve been feeling a little burnt out and I thought it would be a great topic to write about and share with all of you. The following are just a few tips I try to follow when I’m feeling like I’m out of juice.

 

1. Don’t be so hard on yourself. I think this is the most important point to remember. It is always good to have goals and to push yourself to be your best BUT its not the end of the world if you don’t always get a PR or first in your age group.

2. Remember to change things up. Sometimes its good to do something different. Are you a runner? Maybe its time to go out for a bike ride or hit the pool. In my case, I love going to spin class.

3. Sign up for a race that is just for fun. Make sure you have one race on the schedule that is just for you to go out and have fun. Maybe you’ll wear a costume or run with a bunch of your friends but either way its a good way to remember why you love running so much.

 

4. Take a break every once in a while. Its ok to take a day or two off or even a week. You’ll come back refreshed and ready to rock again!

5. Remember to stay inspired. I think this really helps me the most. When I’m starting to feel burnt out and not feeling very motivated anymore, I turn to blogs for inspiration. There are so many inspiring people out there that can really get you out of your funk.

6. Have workout buddies! Intense, solitary workouts are great for your training but a little time getting your sweat on with a friend is good for your soul.

7. Don’t sign up for too many races. Maybe this isn’t true for everyone but I think if you do too many races, it becomes too much work and you don’t enjoy yourself as much as your could if you only had a select few!

8. Have a goal.  You still need to remember my first point but having a goal does really help to keep you motivated and something to look forward to.

9. Listen to your body. If you’re sick (GI symptoms or a chest cold) or injured, call it a rest day, recharge and try again tomorrow.

10. Try a different route.  If you usually hit the treadmill, take it outside. If you’re tired of looking at the houses in your neighborhood, hop to a different ‘hood or try a new park or running path.  On vacation in a new city?  Check it out while you log your miles!

When Things Don’t Go as Planned

 

Handling adversity is something I have really been trying to work on. (Along with patience.) Adversity is one of those things in life we will all face. ALL. No matter how rich, skinny, pretty, smart, or hardcore you are, it will come into your life in some fashion. The key is not to figure out how to avoid it because well…you can’t. Instead, the key is how you HANDLE it.

DSC_0502

Lately, I have been in a “when things don’t go as planned” funk. I am a very planned out person, and I get extremely bend out of shape when there is a change of plans. I know, it sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. Even the smallest change can send me into a tailspin. I recently learned I get this from my mother (thanks mom!) Who apparently flipped out in Disneyworld recently when there was no parking in the hotel parking lot they were going to look at Christmas decorations in, and instead had to park at a neighboring hotel. I thought to myself… hhmm…”wow mom, that’s a bit much, just park somewhere else.” But I am sure people have thought the things I flip out about were no biggie.

The past few months I have had a LOT of my “plans” get changed, and I have not been handling the adversity as I should. I have had things happen (or not happen) in my life, as well as in my running/healthy living plans that have not made me very happy. For instance, I have yet to run a half marathon injury free. I was hoping Sunday would have been the day, but no dice. I had my heart set on a PR, and when I missed it by seven minutes due to injury, I got REALLY bent out of shape. Yes, yes, there will be other races, you can’t PR every time, blah blah blah. I did NOT want to hear it. At that moment, if you would have asked me to sign up for a race I would have said I am never running a half marathon again. GASP. I know, how awful of me to think it, but it was true. I don’t feel that way now, but I still am feeling a little burnt out.

We were supposed to close on our new home this Friday, but it is not going to happen until next week. I was so excited about being in my new house and living with my husband again after being apart since October. (I am really getting sick of living without him by the way.)

We had an offer on our house we are trying to sell last week. They made an offer, a very low offer, and we countered, with a VERY generous offer. I got excited thinking it was a done deal. They came back wanting even more (it was ridiculous all of the demands they were making) and we made the decision to say no thanks unless they took our counter offer.

DSC_0546

There are some other things going on I am not really at liberty to talk about right now, but just trust me on this one. There is a LOT going on, and a LOT of things are not going my way. My first instinct when dealing with adversity is to pout. I get the whole woe is me attitude, it’s not a pretty sight. I got into one of those moods this morning, and I decided instead of dwelling on the adversity in my life right now, I would think of ways to get out of my funk.

1.) Talk it out. Keeping things bottled up inside is a surefire way to explode one day when you least expect it. Try to talk to someone outside the situation, who will listen attentively and be a shoulder to lean on. Make sure you tell them up front if you are looking for advice/feedback or just someone to listen.

2.) Think about the positive things in your life. I know it seems cheesy, but it really helps me. Instead of dwelling on the negative, think of the positive. I’m healthy, I have a loving family, and sweet puppies. We have food on the table every night, and a house to live in. When I start to shift my thinking, I realize how truly blessed I really am!

3.) Realize that YOU have control over your attitude. You have a choice in how you feel. I try to remind myself to not let me emotions get the best of me. When something does not go according to plan, I do NOT have to freak out. I can choose not to stress about things! Just make the choice (I know, easier said than done.)

4.) Realize that life is a journey. Barring getting hit by a bus tomorrow, life is going to have its valleys and mountains. It is highly unlikely that my current problems are going to last forever. Try and see the light at the end of the tunnel, and try not to look at your problem as a never ending cycle.

5.) Plan something fun. Even when my life is crazy and not going my way, if I have something to look forward to, a “bright spot,” then it helps me get through the problems I am facing. A weekend getaway or a girls night may be just what you need to snap you out of your funk.

6.) Don’t give up. If there is some goal you are trying to reach, like say a race PR, or to get out of debt, do not give up! Even if you face adversity, it can make you stronger if you have the right attitude. Will I run another half marathon? Of course. I will keep training and trying to reach my goal. Take THAT adversity!

Some things may not be going as planned, and I may not be able to control the situations, but I CAN control how I react to them!

**Side note: These are some practical ways to handle adversity. As a Christian, I also have some other tips for dealing with my problems. If you are interested in hearing about them, feel free to e mail me at runningwithsass@gmail.com and I would love to share!

Every Little Bit…

 

Good morning! Exciting news, I found out yesterday we close on our new home February 18!!! OMG! Less than two weeks! We are working out the logistics now with the bank, movers, etc. So many phone calls! I can’t wait to get in there and decorate and share pictures!

When I was interviewed for the article in Fit magazine (that hasn’t come out yet, don’t worry I will let you know!) One of the questions I was asked was along the lines of: “do you have any tips for someone working in a sedentary job to help keep them healthy and active.” I will admit, it caught me off guard. I thought this article was on my running journey, and my recent marathon accomplishment. Wanting to be truthful, it took me a minute. I ended up coming up with a few ways on the spot, and thought I would share them here. I used to work at a desk job (well, I do now but have a lot of flexibility) but my old job didn’t. I literally sat at a desk from 7:30-4:30 everyday except to go into the copy room to make copies, do the mail, fax something, etc. It is frustrating and boring, but there are ways you can still manage to get some exercise in during and after work in a time crunch.

1.) You don’t have to do it all at once.

I found a great article on Runners World that talked about just that. Basically, it said that if all you have is ten minutes at a time, it will still do some good, especially for novice runners. (I am assuming here this can apply to any type of cardio, not just running.) Of course, the longer you can workout the better, but just doing ten minutes at a time fifteen times a week has helped people lose weight and get more fit. So next time you get home from work and only have ten minutes of daylight left, don’t say “aw man I may as well not even run.” Go anyway! It will still do your body good.

DSC_0635

2.) Look around where you work for ways to sneak in workouts during the day.

What do I mean by this? Walk to work. Park at the back of the parking lot everyday and walk briskly to your building. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Go to the bathroom on a different floor so you have to take the stairs more during the day. Can you do squats or lunges while you make copies at the copy machine? (You may want to make sure other people can’t see you do this. They may think you have serious psychological issues.)

DSC_0675

3.) Use your lunch break wisely.

I have known people who really knew how to maximize their lunch hour by going for a run. You might be thinking ew, that’s gross you would get all nasty, but not if you do it right. Bring an extra pair of underwear, a towel or two, baby wipes, some makeup to touch up if you choose, and of course deodorant. You can fit in 30-45 minutes of working out this way and still not cause your coworkers to want to pitch in and buy you some hygiene products that will be anonymously left on your desk.

5dd82db4

4.) Use your at home time wisely.

Yes, you are exhausted from a long day at work. You have fixed and eaten dinner and you just want to watch some tv. Ok, that’s understandable, but why not lift some hand weights while you watch tv, or do crunches during commercial breaks? I used to jump rope the entirety of commercial breaks and then rest while I watched my favorite shows. Or if you are lucky enough to have a treadmill or elliptical at home in front of a tv, then you really have no excuse. Smile 

47ad491f

5.)  Keep Moving!

It seems so simple but yet so many Americans don’t do it. Just keep moving! Go for a walk with your kids while they ride their bikes next to you. Play the Wii with your family. (I can kick some serious butt in bowling!) Go to the park and bring a Frisbee or a football. Dance while you mop the floors (just don’t slip!) The point is, every little bit helps, and I know I feel happier and more energized on a day where I moved a lot as opposed to a day where I sat on my butt. Funny how that works!  Don’t make sorry excuses for yourself anymore! It’s only February, there is still time to have a GREAT 2011!

Don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back for how awesome you are. Once you start feeling better and having more energy, there is a good possibility you will want to do even more moving! So whether you have 10 minutes or 60 minutes, don’t let a sedentary job keep you down, as in in your chair!

QOTD: What is your best “fitting it in” tip?

Grocery Shopping on a Budget

 

A big thanks to those of you that gave input on other ideas to help you to be physically healthy on a budget! Seems like I have a lot of lurkey lurkers these days. Come on out and say hi people! I don’t bite…unless I’m REALLY hungry! (This post will make you REALLY hungry!)

So, yesterday’s post was all about being fit on a budget. Today, as another follow up to the Fit Blog chat, I thought we would talk about food. I am going to start by being totally honest with you. In case you haven’t noticed…I am not a foodie. *gasp* I know, I know. There is a reason I don’t blog about my food (aside from an occasional recipe.) While I like to think I maintain a healthy balance and eat well, some probably wouldn’t agree. For starters, I eat meat. YES you heard me, RED MEAT. Not all the time, but I do. and it’s good. and I am ok with that. and I know you aren’t supposed to start a sentence with and, and you are supposed to start one with a capital letter. It’s ok, it’s my blog and I shall do as I please. I also have sweets everyday, mainly chocolate. I love my sweet tea, too (on the weekends.)

Now that the grammar police are after me, let me get to my point. What kind of fun would life me without chocolate, or cupcakes, or pasta in alfredo sauce every now and then? Not so much in this girl’s opinion. So, When I discuss healthy eating on a budget, it may look a little different than some people’s version of healthy eating on a budget. But, stay with me. These principles can help you even if you don’t eat just like me. If you don’t eat like me, that’s cool, too. Your choice! Not saying it’s good/bad/awesome/stupid. I admire food bloggers because I could never do it.  I just want to be clear that I never claimed to be a food blogger.

 DSC_0134

1.) Make a list

Sounds so simple, but is so complicated in real life. It’s so tempting to see the newest thing, or something that looks so yummy because you are hungry (my next point.) Unless it’s something you truly forgot to put on your list and need to get for a recipe, etc. stick to the list. It will stop you from impulse buying!

DSC_0701

2.) Don’t grocery shop on an empty stomach

This is a pitfall for me. When I shop hungry, EVERYTHING looks good and I buy way more food than planned or necessary. This leads to going over budget, food going bad in the refrigerator because I simply cannot consume it all before it goes bad, etc.

DSC_0363

3.) COUPONS and sale papers!

There is a coupon craze happening right now, and I like it! I always clip coupons. Yes, a lot of them are for processed foods, but not all. I can usually find coupons on things like yogurt, butter, cheese, cereal, etc. Also, check manufacturers websites for coupons of mailing lists for coupons. Be sure to get the most bang for your buck with coupons. If you have a coupon for something AND wait until it’s on sale then you can save a lot. Also, stock up a little bit if you can, but not like the creepy people who turn their basements into a panty. weird.

DSC_0612

4.) Make things from scratch

Yes, it takes more time and effort. This one is a judgment call if your time is more valuable to you, or if you are a bad cook. Pre made or packaged things are generally more expensive, but also more convenient.

DSC_0578

5.) Buy in Bulk

This ties in with the coupon one a little bit. Be sure not to be wasteful though! If you have something like a Sams club, etc. near you then take advantage! My family gets great steals from there all the time in bulk and for a great price. You just have to do a little research and math. (Once again, judgment call. If you got a D in math, you may want to skip this on.)

Bottom line in my book is plan ahead. if you make a plan, have a list and coupons, know what is on sale, and shop after eating, I think you are headed in the right direction! Like I stated before, I am by no means an expert in the food department, these are just a few simple tricks that have helped me stay within my budget and shop for food the smart way.

QOTD: What do you do to save money on food while still maintaining a healthy lifestyle?

DSC_0260_01

*all of the above pictures are from dining in Disneyworld Smile

The Dangers of Running

Most of you are probably going “huh? running is good for you? how is it dangerous?” Well, if you don’t run, I am here to tell you, be careful, it can be hazardous to your health! Let me give you some examples:
Dogs. yes dogs. We have a leash law in our neighborhood, but does that stop people from letting their dogs run amuck like crazy kids in a toy store? Of course not! Who follows the rules anyway!!! I am here to tell you, I am very observant when I run, and am always on the lookout, and searching for the closest car that I can potentially jump on the roof of. What is even more scary is when there are dogs inside of electric fences that you don’t know exist (the fence not the dog.) There is one particular house with such a fence, and a very large, scary, dog. One day, I was minding my own business, running on the sidewalk, and said dog comes sprinting out of nowhere, right towards me. As I went flying into the street, nearing peeing my pants, the dog suddenly stops dead in his tracks. This is when notice…the collar…UG. So i totally just freaked out for nothing. I was NOT amused.
Next danger is signs. I have the story of my best friend for this one. She was running one day, no one else was home, and she somehow managed to trip on a yard sign that was sticking out. She fell and cut up her hands and legs and broke a bone in her foot and had to hobble a long way back home on her poor broken foot since no one was home to come get her. Isn’t that sad? I am now very careful of stop signs, yard signs, and the like. I kind of like my feet and do not want to break them.
Third danger is the road itself. This story did not happen to my same friend but to someone she knows. A lady was out walking in the dark one morning, tripped on a part of the road, face planted, and had to get stitches in her face! WOW! I would not only feel stupid but ouch!!! Poor woman.
The dark reminds me of my next danger, well…the dark. This is hazardous for me more mentally than anything. I ama chicken. I do not like the dark. Therefore, I do not run alone in the dark. Creepy things live in the dark/woods! Talk about giving me nightmares! The physical dangers of dark are also very scary because if you are running on the road, in the dark, NOT wearing reflective gear (shame shame) you could very easily be hit by a not so fun thing, yes, a car.
The last thing I want to discuss is regional scary things. For instance, I was home for Christmas in Louisiana, running with my mom next to a swamp.Let me tell you, the entire run I kept my eyes on that watery mess just waiting for an alligator to jump out and eat me! Or a snake. Obviously a snake couldn’t eat me, but, you get the idea. I kept looking for things I could climb on if necessary. I have watched animal planet. I know how fast those things move! With that being said, what are some regional things that are dangers of running near you? I can think of some from other regions, but first want to see what others come up with before I list the ones I thought of.
On a side note, I think running is great, and the benefits largely outweigh the hazards, but I like to file things like this under the cabinet in my brain labeled “good to know” just in case that dog’s electric fence isn’t turned on….

SO running. I only ran 2 miles today. The wind was horrid and my nose was running so badly and I couldn’t breathe. awesome.
look at this pretty picture I took on my way to work. It was a gorgeous day, high of 61 and sunny!