May Foodie Penpal Reveal!

Let’s just pretend it is May 31st and I am revealing my Foodie Penpal for the first time shall we?

In case you missed my first post about it, check it out here.

You can also check out more information about Foodie Penpals at Lindsay’s website at the Lean Green Bean.

As I mentioned before, my Foodie Penpal for May was Mariell from HealthyPantz!  There were some issues in getting the package to me but she was diligent about making sure I got something.

So after all this time I finally got a slip in my mailbox that I had received a package…giddy with excitement I went immediately to the post office for my goodies.  It felt like Christmas.

Trust me, good things are worth waiting for!

In her note, Marielle said she got most of the goodies at one of her favorite stores in NYC…Organic Avenue.

I love the bag she included from there…it is the perfect lunch bag!

She included a ton of gluten-free/raw/vegan products for my dieting adventures.

In the box:

Brad’s Raw Chips in Red Bell Pepper – these are vegan, gluten-free, AND raw – so whats in these bad boys?!  carrots, red bell pepper, flax seeds, sprouted buckwheat groats, jalapeno peppers (they are spicy!), scallions, paprika, evoo, garlic, and a touch of Himalayan sea salt

        These are so good!  They would be perfect for my upcoming raw diet adventure….but I might have already eaten them all!  I guess since they contain buckwheat groats they aren’t paleo, oops!

Up next some chocolate! Antidote Ginger and Gooseberry raw + roasted organic cocoa bar (vegan and gluten-free) …. I love the ginger and gooseberries in the bar…delicious!

And Fearless Super Seeds Crunch Hemp Chia Flax 70% Cacao good!  I love the subtle crunch from the chia, flax, and hemp seeds.

A new-to-me-flavor KIND bar…Almond Cashew with Flax … and a new-to-me-peanut butter…Justin’s Classic Peanut Butter

I also got a plethora of new tea!  All of them are by Mighty Leaf.  We have…

     Chamomile Citrus

     Ginger Twist

     Organic Hojicha Green Tea

     Organic Earl Grey

They all sound delicious and I can’t wait to try them!

Thanks again Mariell for all the wonderful foods! 


I’ve already gotten my new foodie penpal for June… I can’t wait to go shopping….






Oh the Paleo diet.  It’s quite the trend for many weight lifters and crossfitters.  I feel hip just saying that “I am eating Paleo.” But what is it all about?

Well the Paleolithic way of eating is based on eating like our ‘ancestors’ who did not have access to modern food conveniences.  There are optimal foods to eat and non-optimal foods.

Optimal Foods:



-lean animal protein


-nuts and seeds

Non-optimal Foods:




-anything packaged/processed

Yeah, take a look at that ‘non-optimal’ food list again…pretty much my current diet there.

Here is a good visual of the “Paleo Food Pyramid”


But this month long adventure in eating is all about trying new things so here goes nothing!  I’ll be trying my darndest to eat Paleo this week.

Do I believe in the theory behind the Paleo diet?  No.  Do I think it is the optimal way to eat long-term?  No.  Am I trying to keep an open mind when I eat Paleo this week?  Yes.

There are a TON of websites, blogs, and books out there about the Paleo diet.  A few I’ve found helpful already…

Fit Bomb featuring a great article about what Paleo is all about

His wife blogs more about food and recipes over at Nom Nom Paleo

Multiply Delicious with a ton of recipes, info about Paleo, and links to other websites

Going into eating Paleo, I am fairly confident in finding meals for lunch and dinner.  Lots of lean meats and veggies, sounds delicious.  I am worried about what to eat for breakfast.  They recommend you limit eggs and of course I can’t have a bowl of oatmeal or cereal.  Time to do some research and get creative.  As far as getting carbs, I’m not too concerned as they are in a lot of vegetables and sweet potatoes are “allowed” after endurance activities.

Meal Ideas for the Week



-Fruit and almond butter

Paleo apple cinnamon breakfast cookies

Almond Flour Pancakes


-Veggies, veggies, and lots of veggies

-Salad with veggies

-Lean chicken, beef, shrimp, etc

-Stir-fry…with veggies




-Almond butter

-Lara bars

So Paleo eating started bright and early this morning.  I decided to go the easy route and sautéed up some mushrooms and frozen spinach with 2 fried eggs.  I also ate some microwaved frozen broccoli on the side.  Random but I felt like I needed some extra oomph to my breakfast.

I, of course, also had some coffee with unsweetened almond breeze.  Is this Paleo?  I mean it is made from almonds (Paleo approved) so I hope so!

I met up with my friend Elizabeth and we went hiking at Massanutten.  Since I am doing the paleolithic diet I figured I should act like a cave man and crawl around in the woods.

Kidding.  Paleo joke.

beautiful views

beautiful friend.

It was a great hike and as we encountered Bambi I had second thoughts about my paleo meat eating.

Hello pretty, would you like to be lunch?

Kidding.  Bad paleo joke again.

But seriously.

One of my favorite local restaurants Clementine’s has a sister-restaurant close to Massanutten, Thunderbird Cafe.  I scooped out the menu ahead of time (like I said, always good when you are eating restricted).  The menu looked amazing and they served breakfast all day. I got a little depressed ordering a cobb salad without blue cheese with a side of Italian dressing (paleo dressing? idk!). I had to pass on the pancakes, burritos, and other specialty dishes.

I cheered up when I got my salad!  The chicken was grilled to perfection, vegetables were all fresh, lettuce was crisp, bacon was crispy but not overly greasy, and the dressing was delicious


I love Paleo.

Okay and then 20 minutes later I was hungry again.

I hate Paleo.

I ate an apple.

I got my Foodie Penpal package (more on this later!!!) and ate some of that.

I hate Paleo.

I went grocery shopping and ate half a bag of baby carrots.

I came home and went for a run.

Dinner time.  Finally. Time to get creative.


Coconut Almond Paleo Chicken

serves 2


-1 egg white

-1/8 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

-1/4 cup almond meal

-2 T crushed slivered almonds

-2 chicken breasts


1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray a pan with non-stick spray.

2. Prepare a small dish with the egg white and a second small dish with the coconut, almond meal, and slivered almonds.

3. Dip the chicken in the egg white and then coat with the coconut/almond meal mix.  Place on your baking sheet.

4.  Bake for 20-25 minutes (until chicken breasts are cooked through).


I served this with some steamed broccoli which I coated with coconut oil and some more shredded coconut.

Mm I wish you had smell-a-screen…the coconut smelled so good!  And tasted delicious too, obvi.  Maybe Paleo isn’t all that bad?!

By the way, beer is not Paleo approved either so meeting Rachel and Elizabeth for drinks tonight turned into me drinking water.  The company made it for it though!

Quite a first day on the Paleo diet.  I don’t know if this will even be lasting all week.  I know that those who love the Paleo diet say the first few weeks can be the hardest as your body adjusts, but I just don’t think I am willing to give myself that time and effort into something I don’t truly believe in. I love the idea of whole foods and lots of vegetables and no added sugars but I also really love whole grains.  Like a lot.


Have you ever gone Paleo?  Thoughts?  Advice?!


Race Recap: Salem Sprint Triathlon

It was a whirl-wind weekend and I am just not getting a chance to sit down and collect my thoughts…I can’t believe it is Tuesday already!  Sandwiched between working Friday night and last night, I spent the rest of the weekend at home spending QT (quality time) with my Dad before competing in the Salem Sprint Tri Sunday and then driving to Richmond Sunday.

The main event of the weekend was the second annual Salem Sprint Triathlon on Sunday morning.  It’s on home turf for me and I enjoyed participating last year solo. It’s a short sprint with a 300m pool swim, 15K bike, and 5K run.

This year, my Dad was free for the weekend so we signed up and came out to support the local YMCA.  It was a gorgeous morning, perfect for a tri.  We had picked up our packets the day before so all we had to do was set up our transition area (bib number, sneakers, helmet, socks, sunglasses…check!) and got our timing chip and body marking.  One of my favorite parts of a triathlon is getting body marked…it makes me feel like an athlete.  You get your bib number on both arms and legs and on your back calf they mark your age group or tri category.  They use the age you’ll be at the end of the year so I was marked 26 (gah, I don’t want to be 26 yet!).

I normally don’t warm up too much before the event starts because by the time you actually start the race, you’ll be cool again.  However, last year I got panicky in the tight pool swim so I decided to do a few laps to calm my nerves.  It helped! but then I was freezing as I had to go back outside for the pre-race overview and national anthem. You win some, you lose some.

Back to the pool the athletes went for an 8 AM start.  In open-water triathlons you start in ‘waves’ according to division, age group, and gender.  So big groups of swimmers start every 4 minutes.  In a pool swim, swimmers start every 10 seconds according to a swim time you give during registration.  Since last year I freaked a bit and had to stop at the end of the pool to let people pass, I entered a slower time.  I was glad I did.

The race started promptly at 8AM with the first swimmer in the pool.  I can’t imagine being first, so much pressure!  I was 94 (per my bib number) and didn’t start swimming till 8:19 and 30 seconds.  The 19 minutes passed quickly and gave me time to calm my nerves a bit.  In the pool I went and the 300m flew by.  Thankfully no swimmers passed me during the swim and I had a decent distance from the others swimmers before and after me so I felt comfortable the whole time.  Overall swim time 6 minutes 07 seconds.

Racing out from the pool to the transition area is always a relief.  I like the swim but it makes me the most anxious!  I put on my socks/sneaks, shirt, sunglasses, helmet, and was on the bike!  It was the same course as last year and my Dad and I had ridden it Saturday so I felt confident during the race.  Most sprint triathlons have a bike of 20K (about 15 miles) but this was only 15K (12 miles) so it went quickly. Overall bike time 31 minutes 05 seconds.

Back in the transition area for the last bit, my favorite and somehow least favorite part, the run!  The run is where I am most comfortable and strongest but it also requires that one last push and can seem grueling.  Thankfully the race directors redid the run route from last year, which was unnecessarily hilly to the extreme, and made it a nice 2 loop course. Overall run time 23 minutes 39 seconds.

Per usual, it was a rush crossing that finish line!

I finished the race in 1 hr 2 minutes 56 seconds, about 3 minutes quicker than last year.

My Dad had one heck of a race between a slow swim time (way slower than he should have entered) and a flat tire which he had to change before the bike ride!  He also hasn’t really run in about 4 years due to multiple knee surgeries but his doctor gave him the go ahead to start running a few weeks ago.  Nothing like a 5K at the end of a tri to test out your running abilities.  Due to his later swim start, I got to go out and cheer him on as he finished his run and crossed the finish line!

We stuck around to talk with friends and wait for the awards ceremony.  I met up with local triathlete and blogger Cortney…she finished first out of all women with a time of 51 minutes 46 seconds!


My Dad and I also snapped some post-race pics.

I ended up finishing 7th in overall women and first in my age group.  I finished first in my age group last year and I’ll admit there was a (big) part of me wanting to hold onto the title!

A great part of the event is how well-organized it was with great volunteers.  There were lots of younger athletes out so there is a huge family crowd to cheer you on the whole way.

Thanks again Salem Sprint, I’ll be back next year!


Unfortunately the race festivities ended early as I showered and headed out to Richmond for the night to stay with friends Amanda and Ryan.  Good news…I think I have an apartment for my dietetic internship!  Hoorah!

In the meantime, it’s back to waitressing, blogging, exercising, and all that jazz. I’ll be back sooner than later!

What did you do this weekend?!  I feel so out of touch!


storytime: budget tostado

Have a seat.  Pull up a chair.  It’s time for a story here at AAH.


Once upon a time there was a girl named Anna who loved to eat.  She was not always very creative in the kitchen, but tried to branch out on occasion.  She also had a bad habit of spending too much money on food but was doing her best to be thrifty in the tough economy.  Knowing she was going to be out-of-town for the weekend, she set out to use up foods in her pantry and fridge to create lunch.

She scavenged the cupboards and found some long-lost ingredients she could use…

A can of seasoned kidney beans she bought on sale months ago!  Mexican?

Oh and tortillas!  Her favorite kind.  La Tortilla Factory Fiber & Flax corn tortillas.  Only 2 left, plenty for 1 though.

What does this Mexican meal need?  Cheese.  Yes cheese. But not just any cheese…leftover Pepper Jack Veggie Slices vegan cheese.

Not quite the real thing but not so bad for a vegan cheese substitute.  It would add the perfect kick of flavor.

So she begin to assemble her lunch.  First, toasting the tortillas in the oven on Broil.

Then adding the canned beans, some frozen chopped spinach, and some slices of pepper jack veggie cheese.

Back in the broiler to melt.

    Mmm.  This could be pretty decent!

Yes, she thought, taking them out of the oven.  Let’s go take a picture of this budget lunch out on the patio.

FAILDisaster strikes.  The beans have jumped the plate!  Lunch is ruined!!!

Trying to be a good food blogger, she leaps for her camera snapping evidence.  Then, what am I thinking?!  SAVE the BEANS!

A split second decision and Anna swipes the tortillas off the porch.  Some of the beans and cheese did not make it and were covered in dirt but the tortillas come away unharmed.  5 second rule wins the day.

Thankfully there were leftover beans and some slices of cheese left.  Onto the tortilla and into the microwave for a quick melt.

Shew.  All is not lost.

What could make this budget lunch even better?  A budget ad hoc salad.  Some lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, and quinoa does the trick.

Much prettier than the tortillas.  Anna sat down and enjoyed her Budget Tostado and side salad. Another semi-lunch success.

Moral of the story: the 5 second rule always wins!

The end.


I hope you enjoyed this story.  What was your last kitchen flop?!


Foodie Penpal Reveal!

This past month I had the pleasure of participating in Foodie Penpals!

The program is run by Lindsay over at The Lean Green Bean.  She started out with about 30 participants but now has like over 800…both bloggers and readers!  You can read more details about the program at her website but basically each month you get matched with another foodie and have until the middle of the month to ship them a box full of food goods (only spending up to $15).  Then at the end of the month, you reveal your Penpal and the goodies they sent you.

So who was my wonderful Penpal?!…

Mariell at HealthyPantz!

She is a talent developer, semi-vegan, New Yorker who “loves a good barre class”!  She is newer to the blog world and her blog covers all sorts of topics from restaurants, workout reviews, and more!  Reading all her restaurant and fitness class reviews always makes me want to pack my bags and move to NY!

Mariell was the BEST Foodie Penpal.  Why?  Because she tried SO hard to get my package to me but the forces of the mail system are against us.  After a week or so, her package turned up back on HER doorstep so she sent it out again (after so sweetly offering to send me another one!) but I still have not gotten it.  I’m not sure why the post office hates us but this is definitely one occasion where it IS the thought that counts!

So sorry I don’t have any goodies to reveal to you but you can check out what I sent to Melissa over at Eat and Live in a way that Nourishes.

I have already signed up to participate in June…you can too!  You have until the 5th so head over the Lindsay’s site to sign up!


3 workouts for your weekend

I told you I could be bad about sticking to a workout schedule.  Thankfully I still end up working out most of the time, things just get rearranged.

So far this is how the week is panning out…

Monday: ran 7 miles (felt like 27), ab work

Tuesday: back/biceps, swim … did biceps and triceps instead!

Wednesday: chest/triceps, trail run? did back/abs in the morning and trail run at night

Thursday: shoulders/abs, swim  …  will be chest/shoulders and a bike ride this morning

Friday: short bike ride or low-key swim

Saturday: off

Sunday: TRI.

Works for me!

Last night I joined the local trail running group Ridge Runners for their weekly Wednesday night run.  We met at 5:30 and drove out to Hone’s Quarry in the George Washington National Park for a 5ish mile trail run.  The lead guy warned that it was a bit of a climb and he was not messing around (afterwards he said he didn’t remember it being that intense…never trust a trail runner).  Talk about walk breaks!  Trail running turned into bush-whacking as the grass was overgrown on a decent portion of the trail.  I’ve got some scraps and scratches but I managed to conquer the trail.  I will definitely be joining them again!

I tend to share a lot of my leg workouts (you can check them out here) so here are the upper body workouts I have done so far this week and one I’ll do today!  Be sure to warm up for 5-10 minutes before starting.  You can do some walking, dynamic moves, or elliptical like I do.

Big Guns Arm Workout

Repeat each exercise for a total of 3 times, resting briefly between each one

For the supersets, complete the first exercise then the second without resting for a total of 3 times


Overhead tricep extension x15

Hammer curls x15 superset with Triceps Cable Pushdown x15

Incline dumbbell curls x12 superset with Triceps kickbacks x12

My arms were burning after this and my biceps were definitely sore yesterday!

Yesterday I found a back workout on (but I can’t remember where on the site I got the workout) but I modified it to add in ab moves.

Blingin’ Back and Awesome ABs

Complete each duo of exercises 4 times before moving onto the next

1a. One Arm Back Row x10/each arm

1b. Reverse crunch on bench x15

2a. Lat pull down x15

2b. Side plank x30 seconds/side

3a.One leg deadliftx10/side (I used a dumbbell)

3b. Dumbbell side bend x15

4a. Hyperextension x15 using medicine ball

4b. Oblique twist with medicine ball x15/side

5a. Reverse grip pull down x15

5b. Plank hold x30-45 seconds

And on today’s agenda…

Chest/Shoulders Workout

Repeat each move or set of moves for a total of 3 times before moving onto the next

1. “warm-up” Push-ups x15 3

2a. Dumbbell chest press x15

2b. Arnold press x15

3a. Dumbbell chest fly x15

3b. Upright row x15

4a. Dumbbell front raise x15

4b. Dumbbell lateral raise x15

5a. Seated bent-over rear delt raise x15

5b. Overhead press x15

If this doesn’t wear your shoulders out, I don’t know what will!

…weight lifting won’t make you bulky!…

I think a lot of women tend to focus on certain body parts when they lift weights (like lots of crunches, some bicep curls, and maybe some triceps extensions) but don’t forget that you should be working out your whole body!  I love doing circuit work and supersets when I lift because it keeps the intensity up and helps the workout move quicker.  Weight lifting is awesome because it will leave you toned, stronger, and revs your metabolism long after the workout is done.  do it now.


Do you tend to work harder on a particular body part?  Or less on another?  I know shoulders are important but I tend to put them towards the end of the week so sometimes it doesn’t happen or a slack on them!


One Lovely Blog Award

What a nice surprise to be nominated for the one lovely blog award by Heidi! She blogs over at Idlehide (a nickname from her childhood) about health and fitness.  She is a runner, wife, and just graduated from school to be a dental hygienist…amazing!

I was so honored that she nominated me; I still feel like a newbie in this whole blogging business.  She commented that I was an inspiration to her.  Me?  As much as I claim to be encouraging healthy lifestyles by my blog, it’s still overwhelming to hear that I really could be inspiring others to live healthier.  Thanks again Heidi!

The rules for the award are to:

  1. Link back to the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Paste the award image on your blog, anywhere.
  3. Share 7 facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate some other blogs you like for this award.
  5. Post a comment on each of your nominees’ blogs telling them about the nomination.

So it looks like I have to share 7 fun-facts about myself.  Here goes nothing.

1. I was one out of about five kids in elementary school that did NOT receive the Presidential Physical Fitness Award.  I hated running the mile in school (it was the only time I ever ran) and was never on a sports team (unless cheerleading for one year in second grade counts).  Moral of the story: just because you aren’t “athletic” growing up …doesn’t mean you can’t be now!  Just find your passion.

2. Some people say I look like Uma Thurman.  My favorite Halloween costumes have been her as “The Bride” in Kill Bill and then as Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction.

3. I am a PK.

PK? … Pastor’s Kid!

I don’t talk much about my faith on this blog but it is very important to me (and my  health so maybe I should!).  None the less, I grew up in the church and it remains an important part of my life.

4. I have a huge bucket list of things that I still can’t believe I’ve never done like: ride a horse, ski, and visit a ton of cities like Austin, Chicago, and Portland.

Things I have done on my bucket list: white-water rafting, visiting Seattle and Denver, and starting a blog!

5. As I kid, I hated breakfast foods...minus Toaster Strudels (which thankfully my mom would not let me eat as a breakfast).  I always seemed to eat something in the morning though, usually leftovers from the night before (think pizza, lasagna, you name it, I ate it!)  Quite ironic considering how much I love breakfast foods now but I am also not against a good slice of leftover pizza at 7 am!

6. I danced off and on throughout my life.  My favorite types of dance are modern and African dance.  In high school I got to participate in Bluegrass Ballet, Mary Poppins, and the Little Mermaid among others.  In college I was in our Performing Arts Club which put on performances twice a year.  I was never the best dancer but always had a blast!

…some pictures from UMW Performing Arts Club…

7. I was never cool in high school so I was really surprised to be on prom court my senior year.  I think it’s because senior year I finally decided to stop caring what everyone thought about me, stop trying to be cool and fit in, and just be myself.

…high school friends! (I’m second from the left)…

So now onto nominating other bloggers for this award!  There are too many wonderful blogs out there, it gets overwhelming but there are a few that I have found recently that I really love….

Nourish and Flourish

The New Healthy

meals & moves

Live and Love To Eat


So tell me 1 fact about you?!

And your favorite blog?!


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