Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Foodie Heaven!

So I was just surfing the net one night through twitter of all things. I came across a blog someone had written about a Foodie Penpal. Well I thought 'are you kidding there is such a thing as someone basically being your penpal but sends you food, I think this is going to be amazing.' I looked into the program and found out that anyone can be a part of this. but get this I found it on February 4th and they give out the pairings on the 5th but lucky for me I slipped in just in time. (If you are interested in the program all the info is at the end)

We got our pairings on Sunday February 5th. I was paired with Kelly from NY (Ironic since the Superbowl was that day and we were playing the NY Giants). The person who got me was Alexandria from Illinois. I was super excited and couldn't wait to get started. After a day or two I got an email from Alexandria asking for my address of course and if I had any dietary restrictions and if there was anything that I really liked or really didn't like. For those of you who know me know the list of things I like is probably shorter than what I don't like so I had to be methodical about this. I said I had no dietary restrictions but that I really didn't like anything with nuts or anything spicy, as in I don't even like to use pepper on my food. I sent my email off and now started the waiting game of receiving my package!

Now just a little side note about Kelly (who I was sending food to). We were both first time Foodie Penpals so it was fun to go through the experience together. We actually hit it off and have become email penpals in a sense! :-) She is actually a blog reader so I offered to post a guest post for her which will be included a little later on.

So I was very excited to have received my package yesterday! It didn't give me a lot of time to try it but hey I think I did pretty good for 24 hours.

One of the things I was most excited about in doing this whole foodie penpals program is that I really wanted to expose myself to new foods and figured what better way to do it than to have someone send you food items that you most likely have not had before. I am happy to say that there was nothing in my package that I had tried before so I very happy about that!!

I do better with lists so I am go to list what was in my package.
1.) Double chocolate chunk organic granola
2,) Chai Spice organic hot cereal
3.) Chocolate chip cliff bar
4.) Oven-Dried Mango
5.) Feng Shui organic rice crackers
6.) Chai green tea
7.) Dark chocolate candy bar with freeze dried raspberries
8.) Gluten-Free organic chocolate chip cookies

So of all this amazing stuff I have gotten to try everything except that chai spice hot cereal, chai green tea, candy bar and cliff bar. I have plans for them all in the comings days though.

Everything else has been tried and enjoyed. I discovered that the double chocolate granola is delicious in my yogurt, YUM! The dried mango was better than I expected. I am not a big fan of mango in general but dried mango is a little sweeter and was a nice add to my trail mix as a snack. The rice crackers were just something I tried tonight because I found them interesting. The flavor is mild and I think they would be better if I treated them as an actual cracker and ate them with something else like cheese or something of that nature. The thing that I was most excited about was the gluten-free chocolate chip cookies and I promise it wasn't for the obvious reason of them being cookies.

I am a pre-kindergarten teacher and one of the children in my class has been having a lot of issues as far as determining her allergies and her mom decided to take matters into her own hands and started trying different things and as it turns out she seems to have a reaction to gluten as well as milk & eggs. All of which these cookies did not contain. I was able to bring them to school today and she got to share them with me and have a little treat. It was so great to be able to share something with her when recently she hasn't been able to have much at school because of her new diet. Her mother was also very happy that she really like the cookies and took all the info on the brand. I though that was an amazing extention of the Foodie Penpals program!!

I also can't thank Alexandria enough for taking my dislikes into account and of course her lovely hand written card that she included. Everything was just great!

 In the end it was a great expierence, so much fun shopping for someone else as well and getting to hear their feedback! I can't wait to do it again next month!
Post from Kelly!

I am ecstatic about my first Foodie Pen Pal experience. I was lucky enough to have Aly send me a fantastic package of goodies which included the following: 

- Trader Joe's Smoky and Spicy Peach Salsa-which I am loving with my homemade quesadillas, and on the multigrain chips that came in my package as well.
 - Single Serve Freeze Dried Apples-My first experience with freeze dried fruit and I am a fan!
- Aly's Homemade Trail Mix with Various Kashi cereals and dried fruit (which she makes in her dehydrator!)
- Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Orange Sticks-Such a good sweet treat, my hubby loved these too
- 2 different types of Granola bars which I still have yet to try. 
- Last but not least some of her homemade fruit leather.
And of course a lovely handwritten note on Vera Bradley (squee, my fav!) stationary.
I am not too picky but I did mention that I follow the WW plan and like to eat healthy and clean and Aly took that, ran with it and sent me an incredibly enjoyable package of food!
I am glad to have started participating in the program and am so excited about next month!
I am even happier to have found a new buddy that I can swap food/fitness and life ideas with.
Thanks Aly!!!!

If you would like to join us in all this fun here is a little more info!

And now it's time for some details about Foodie Penpals. Here’s what the program is all about:
-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! (Only if you are a blogger)
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We've determined things might get too slow and backed up if we're trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. So, I'm going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!
If you’re interested in participating for March, please send  an email to Lindsay at theleangreenbean@gmail.com and include the following information:
-Your full name
-Your email address
-Your blog name/address
-Your twitter handle (if applicable)
-WHETHER YOU ARE A US RESIDENT OR CANADIAN RESIDENT. - this is SUPER important so you get on the right list!
You must submit your information by March 4th as pairings will be emailed on March 5th!
***PLEASE NOTE: if you send an email, you WILL GET A RESPONSE within 48 hours. If you don''t....please re-send your email or contact Lindsay via Twitter (@LeanGrnBeanBlog). Last month we had a few emails get lost as spam so we're trying to avoid that!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Birthday Surprise!

So my husband told me that we would be going away for the weekend to celebrate my birthday which was on Sunday. He would not tell me where we were going so I was in for a surprise. We left Friday morning and stopped at the Wrentham Outlets to do some shopping. It was nice to be able to walk around, look in the stores and just spend some leisurely time together. We left there and headed to our final destination!

We ended up in Brewster, Ma which is what some refer to as the heart of Cape Cod.

We stayed at a little bed and breakfast called Ole Manse Inn!

When we got there they were having a wine and cheese social for some of the guests. So we brought our things in, changed and headed out to partake in the festivities with everyone. The other couples were old than us, most of them had children that were only a few years younger than us but it was still nice to get to know who we would be sharing the B&B with for the next couple of days.

After the wine and cheese we relaxed for a little while in our room and then decided we wanted to go find something for dinner. However to our dismay we discovered that everything around Brewster closes up around 8:30 so finding food proved to be quite difficult. We ended up finding a Chinese restaurant called the double dragon. We ordered some food and went back to the B&B to eat and watch Despicable Me!

The next morning we were up bright and early so that we could be ready to be at breakfast for 9am.

This is the menu board as we walked into the dining room.

Everything was delicious! Me one of the pickiest people I know even ate the Greek Fritatta (minus the mushrooms of course). 

After breakfast we decided we would head down to Provincetown and walk along the strip and go to all the little shops. We spent about 4 hours there and it was really nice because it wasn't too cold outside and because it is the off season it wasn't overly crowded so it was a nice way to spend the day. We did come across some rather fun things though. 

 It isn't everyday you come across a pink bear!

We then went back and had lunch at place called The Lost Dog. We had a really good Surf and Turf pizza which had a white sauce with cheese, scallops and bacon...Delicious!!

Then we returned to our room to rest/nap/watch another movie. By the time we decided it was time to get up and go find something for dinner it was once again close to 10pm but this time we thought we were prepared. I had found a pub that was open until 1am and we were able to get a gift certificate through restaurant.com for it as well. We get there only to find out that they are infact open until til 1am but their kitchen closed at 9pm...apparently we are just not meant to have dinner so we go back to our room.

The next day was a little better. We again got up early to make sure we don't miss breakfast, this time we were getting blueberry stuffed french toast!

It was very good but could have stood to be a little sweeter!

We decided that since it was such a nice day outside and we were so close that we couldn't leave without walking down to the beach. So we packed our stuff, checked out, packed the car and headed out on our walk. I however miss understood what the inn keeper told us and took the wrong street, we did however realize this and was able to take a little detour to get ourselves back on track.

We walked down a little side road to get back on track and it just so happened to be next to this cemetery.

We did finally make it to the beach and had to walk about a mile along the shore to get to where we should have been to begin with. 

But with a view like this who wouldn't want to walk along the beach?

We enjoyed our walk and did make it back to where we should have started. We also made it back to the B&B, to the car and headed for home.

We decided to stop in Framingham and walk around Shoppers World just to go in the stores and it was actually nice out so we figured why not. 

We ended our weekend at Not Your Average Joe's restaurant in Westborough because they have an amazing birthday offer of a free entree and dessert so who can pass that up? All the food was delicious and it was a great way to end an amazing weekend! I think everyone should take the time to get away every now and then, it is something we all need!

Thank you to Lewis for making my birthday so special, I hope you had as much fun as I did!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Achivement Is The Best Motivation!

So I have been on my "health kick" for quite sometime and even with a few weeks that were lacking I have been able to keep on my path for the most part. But every little bit of motivation helps even the slightest thing helps even something as small as feeling a new muscle!

But I had what I consider to be a huge achievement this weekend and it is a huge motivator for me. I have been able to wear smaller clothes but nothing significant until now. I decided I really needed a couple of pairs of new pants so I went shopping. I decided to try on a pair that I figured it was pretty slim (pun intended) that they would fit. I was SHOCKED that not only did they fit but they fit great!! 100% comfortable and moveable. I am so excited that I have managed to keep myself on the straight and narrow long enough to start to really see some drastic results. I am now wearing pants that are 5 sizes smaller than they were 8 months ago!!

This is my new jeans on top of an old pair of pants...look at that difference!

It had been such a huge source of motivation for me to keep doing what I'm doing. If you had asked me at any other part of my life if I would ever wear clothes this size I would have said it would never happen. Now I have managed to do it which means I can keep going and make even greater accomplishments!!

I can't wait to see what my next adventure will bring!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

New Year, New ME!

Wow I just realized it has been a really long time since I posted anything. So figured an update is in order!! 

Shortly after my last post I did the Jingle Bell Run 5K in Somerville and it was losts of fun and a huge success for me. It was the first 5k I had done since I started my whole new workout out look on life and given that I have a terrible cold and was coughing the whole time I was able to complete the 5k with a time of 50:32 which for me was a new personal record! I was very excited!!
(Even with my eyes closed.)

Then it was the new year. Since last year I have started something that I can now consider a tradition. Instead of making new year resolutions I started making a bucket list (I am still trying to come up with a better name) for the year. I know the general concept is the do things you have always wanted to do before you die but my take on it is to make a list of things you would like to do within that year. Last years was a great success (even though I only completed half) and it was lots of fun too!

So here is my list for 2012:

1.) Go to visit Orlando, Fl (seems odd but hey I would like to do it)
2.) See a show in NYC (funny enough it is easier said than done).
3.) Take a cooking class of some kind (preferably something new to me).
4.) Force myself to try something new once a month. It can be food, activity, etc (but it could be more than once a month that is the minimum).
5.) Reach the 100lb weight loss goal (almost half way there so it is doable).
6.) Get more involved in volunteer work related to cancer (ie, MGH, LLS, ACS,LIVEstrong, etc).
7.) Some how get Lewis to join in my quest to lead a healthier life.
8.) Travel out of the country.
9.) Make a budget and stick to it!
10.) Be able to run for a whole mile!
11.) Read 12 books, so it averages a book a month but as long as I have read 12 by the end of the year I will be happy!

That's good to start with. I will hopefully be able to add more on to it as the year goes on and I am able to complete things.  Hopefully my list will inspire others to do things they have always wanted to do! I think it is more fun than coming with resolutions of things you will no longer do, try to focus on the positive people!! :-)

As for my quest for a better me there are a few things coming up that I am very excited about.

I couldn't find the logo for 2012 yet

My friend Sara convinced me to do a duathlon the end of July. It will be in New Hampshire and it is a 1/2 mile swim and then a 5k. The best part of all of this is the name it's called The Chunky Dunk Duathlon how fantastic is that. So in light of this she has also been kind enough to help me not only setup a swim plan to start working on my endurance for that part of the race but is basically my own personal swim instructor and I can't thank her enough!!

One of the other things that I have coming up that I am SUPER excited about is

I officially start the program on February 16th, 2012. However I have already had my intake interview, which is basically just getting your background info and medical info. I just had my fitness assessment on Friday so that I have a baseline of where I am starting and then I can see where I end up at the end of the program. I am so excited because I think this will be great motivation for me to keep going on my exercise path as well as teach me new things and develop so new thing to throw into my routine. If you or anyone you know is a cancer survivor this program is something they should definitely check out! I will keep you updated on how the program goes as well as what I learn during my 12 weeks!

Another great thing is that right when I started training for the duathlon I got into the LiveSTRONG at the Y program and got a membership to the Y til mid May that will allow me to be able to have a pool to start swimming which is amazing!

The last thing I want to share is a 5K I am doing with a friend of mine in March right here in Worcester to celebrate St. Patrick's Day! It's the Guiness Celtic 5k in Worcester and it is on the actual parade route (which will be motivating because the race starts at 11am and the parade starts at 12pm). So feel free to join me on Sunday March 11th, 2012 for a fun filled race!

I think that is pretty good for an update. I will do my best to post more than once every two months but in the mean time I hope something I wrote inspired you!