Monday, April 30, 2012

April Foodie Penpals!

The Lean Green Bean

This was the second month that I participated in the #foodiepenpals program and I've got to tell you, it's so ah-mazing! I was paired up with Brooke Zigler. You can find her on Twitter here @brookezigler. She's from the DC area and she sent me some fun things!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Recipe: Homemade Pulled Pork

A coworker of mine (hey Elizabeth!) told me about this pulled pork recipe. It's so easy you have no excuse not to make it. There are three ingredients. Yes, you read that correctly, three. Here's what you need:
  • a crockpot 
  • a pork loin
  • root beer
  • bbq sauce
 I know that bulleted list has four items, but the crock pot isn't an ingredient.  What you do is unwrap the pork and place it in the bottom of the crock pot. Like so:
It looks, um, interesting...
And then you crack open your favorite root beer and pour it in until the pork is mostly covered. Don't forget to save a root beer for yourself!
Then you put the crock pot lid on and let it cook on high for 3 - 4 hours depending on the size of your loin(s) (hehe) or on low for 6 - 8 hours. Once it's done, you remove the pork loin from crock pot. It's not going to look like the most appetizing piece of meat you've ever seen, but trust me - it's going to be tender and delicious!
See - it's not pretty.
That's a little bit better.
Then you get two forks (or whatever you want to use, really) and start tearing that little, moist, tender piece of meat up. You want it to look something like this:
Try not to eat too much of the shredded pork. It's hard to resist. I know.
Once you've got the whole pork loin shredded your plate will be quite covered. It makes enough for the two of us to have 3 or 4 meals.
A plate full of pork!
Then you'll squirt on your BBQ sauce. The first time I made this I used homemade BBQ sauce. Tonight, however, I used Sweet Baby Ray's Honey BBQ Sauce. I think that the homemade will be better, but I didn't feel like making a new batch! Mix it all up, store it in an airtight container and now you have dinner and/or lunches for the next few days.
Mix it up and use more if you need to. I did.
Serving suggestions:
  • Open face BBQ sandwich on toast with a slice of Havarti cheese cooked under the brolier.
  • Pulled pork nachos.
  • Wrap the pork up with some burrito fixin's and freeze those bad boys. Like this.
However you eat them, I hope you enjoy this super simple recipe. Do you have any other simple crock pot recipes that you would share with me?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Wet and Wild Challenge Race

This morning was the Blount Memorial/Mountain Challenge Wet and Wild Challenge Race. It was a race designed as a team event for 2-person or 4-person coworker teams. I partnered up with my coworker Kari, who is in much better shape than me. There wasn't really a lot of information provided up front for the race, so we didn't know what to expect.

The Turtle and The Rabbit
Kari met us at the house at 7:15 this morning so that we could carpool since the race location was about 30 minutes away. Our team name was the Turtle and the Rabbit. Can you guess which one of us was which animal?! Our team colors were neon. Neon is a color, right? We arrived at Maryville College and saw the other people at the make-shift registration table. We signed in, got our shirts, and decided to go on a bathroom hunt.

At 8:30 the team captains (that was me) gathered around to get the rules and basic plan for the day. See, as I mentioned above it was a team race so all the events were geared around team building. We had 6 events to complete during the race. We were told that we were allowed to strategize and complete the course and events in any order that we wanted. The events that we needed to complete were: three 1-mile run/walks, wet t-shirt contest, wheelbarrow, canoe carry, 100-second dead hang, and a tower climb.

After our 8:30 captains meeting we had 5 minutes to confer with our teammate(s) to decide how we wanted to complete the challenge. We decided to do it in this order: wheel barrow, wet t-shirt contest, canoe carry, dead hang, walk/run, and tower climb. We were lucky that this was a do what you want kind of thing because David was along to take photos of all our efforts and in most other race environments spectators aren't allowed on the course. Below is a shot of each of our events!

We started with the wheelbarrow. You remember this field day activity from elementary school, right? Let me tell you, it's a lot easier to do when you are a kid (and when you don't weigh over 200 pounds). 
Kari "wheeling" me around.
Me "wheeling" Kari around.
Next, we have the "wet" t-shirt contest. See, this one was a bit lost on us. The t-shirts were frozen and the guy handing them out kept saying, "here's a hint, water melts ice." Well, I kept thinking that you were supposed to run through the water after we got the frozen shirt on. Suffice it to say, I'm an idiot. What they wanted you to do was to go soak the shirt in the sprinkler and then put it on, but I didn't do that. No, we didn't do that. We pulled the damn frozen thing apart and then I put it on and we ran off... No wet t-shirts for this girl on a 55 degree morning! No great shots of us pulling the shirt apart, but you can kinda see Kari grinning from my reaction to the cold.
You can't tell, but it's cold...

See the sleeve standing up straight - that's cause it's frozen!
Then we have the canoe carry. You had to dress out-which means put on your PFD and grab a paddle. Then you had to carry the canoe across a field and back. 
Dressed out - with my paddle in the PFD so I didn't have to carry it, too.

Hefting the canoe.

Almost done! 
Then we have the dead hang. On the registration form for the race they said that it was 120-seconds. Last weekend Kari and I decided we would practice hanging. It was a good idea, too, because we needed to practice. The bad thing about this hang, even though it was 20-seconds less than we had anticipated was that it wasn't on a pullup bar. It was on climbing pegs (is that what they are called?). No thumb holds. Terrible for your grip. But, we were smart, and Kari is tough, and we rubbed our hands in the dirt and hung on (pun intended) for the duration. When Kari couldn't go I jumped on. When I couldn't hang on any longer (5-10 seconds?) Kari would jump on. We got it done pretty quickly. Thank God. 
Hanging in there!

Rocking it out on the hang.
After this we decided to run a little. The loop was just under 1 mile. We ran two of the loops (well, walked and ran because I was concerned about my ankle since it was on grass) and came back to the tower to see if it was open, but all 5 belayers were working with people so we finished our run. It wasn't terrible and my hip flexor held up much better than I anticipated.
This picture makes us look like we are running, but we're not. It was a bitch of a hill.
Then came the tower. Luckily for us, Kari had climbed this tower at her freshman orientation (or something like that), and knew what to expect! I'm so thankful that she did it, too, because I don't know how I would have been able to do it. Here's just a few of the most flattering shots we've got. She did an amazing job. 

Finding footholds


Coming down (and almost landing on someone climbing the tower) after successfully reaching the summit.
We completed the course in one hour and 8 minutes. Kari wanted to finish in under an hour, and I bet we could have if we hadn't had to get Kari into a harness, but finishing 8 minutes over the goal was worth it for her to be safe. All in all it was a great morning. We had a blast and determined that we'd like to do it again next year!

I was chewing, but this is us post-race!
After we got our snacks we headed back to Knoxville and grabbed a pint at our favorite watering hole. Yes, it was before 11:00, but when you've walked more than 8,000 steps before that time in the morning, you deserve a cold one! And - I wanna say thanks to Kari. It was a great experience and I'm glad that we went through it together.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Frozen Burritos

Earlier this week or sometime last weekend, I can't quite recall when, I set up my Google Reader with a bunch of blogs that I follow on a regular basis. Now I don't have to click through to each person's blog, I can just read them from my Reader. I follow Lindsey over at and she posted this about eating healthy during the week. She makes beans and freezes them, prepares hard boiled eggs, slices vegetables, and makes frozen burritos.

When I read her post I made David read it as well. Then I said, "I'm making these burritos." Yesterday was busy with the March of Dimes March for Babies and then the gym and shopping, so today I took the morning to cook. I made homefries, eggs, bacon, and from scratch cheddar biscuits (yum!). Then we went outside and enjoyed our coffee. Then I decided to tackle the burritos! The dinner burrito combination, which is different than Lindsey's, is in the crock pot so those will get put together later tonight.

For the breakfast burritos I decided to use our leftover homefries, mushrooms, orange bell pepper (green gives me heart burn), and some sauteed spinach. Of course there are eggs and cheese in them, too! I scrambled up the eggs and mixed all the veggies together before I got started.

I needed to take a close up shot of the veggies because they looked so good and the picture above doesn't do them any justice! A combo of all the yummy veggies going into the burrito.

I laid the wraps out on the counter to have space to place all of my ingredients in them. See the crock pot there? It's got dinner burrito fixin's in it: a bag of frozen corn on the bottom, 4 chicken breasts, a bag of black beans, a jar of salsa mixed with taco seasoning, and a bit of water. I'll shred the chicken and then put it, some Mexican rice, and the vegetables in the dinner burritos.  

 I started with the eggs.
 A closeup! Yummy.
 Then I piled on the veggies...
 Mmmm.... veggies! And I added just a bit of shredded cheese. It's actually Fancy Mexican Cheese. I don't know what makes it fancy, but it's good!
 Then, like Lindsey, I wrapped them up individually in Saran Wrap and loaded them into a gallon ziplock freezer bag.
A closeup of the label. It says: Breakfast Burritos: Egg, potato, mushrooms, pepper, spinach. 
David wants to eat them this week. I said no. These are for mornings where we get a late start or where I don't feel like cooking. Besides, there are only 6 of them and I don't want to go through them too quickly! They didn't take too long to make so I don't imagine that it will be too difficult to make another batch some Sunday morning.

I am starting to smell the salsa in the crock pot. Our dinner tonight is going to be the mixture detailed above on top of tortilla chips. Once it cools down a bit I'll make up the burritos. I probably won't have pictures of that process. I do have to thank David for taking my photos. He did a great job. And, I didn't have to worry about getting food all over our nice camera!

BJ - Evil, Puppy Chow eating cat.
Check out Lindsey's recipe section. This is the second recipe of hers that I've fixed. The other was her Puppy Chow Almonds. Yum! These went to Easter dinner and my brother liked them so much he stole them from me. The cats also enjoyed them... BJ stole a sandwich baggy off the table and tore into it.

What's your favorite way to spend a Sunday morning when the house is clean and the laundry is done? Whatever it is, I hope you got to do it today!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Feeling good

I hope that everyone had a lovely Easter weekend. We had a great time. I made a great meal for my family and in-laws. We had ham, vinaigrette leeks with shallots, potatoes gratin, buttered sugar snap peas and carrots, and homemade (from scratch) Gruyere and chive biscuits. Oh so yummy! My mom made (from scratch) strawberry rhubarb pie. It was a great Easter lunch! Anyway - on to the real reason for this post.
I am feeling really good these days. A lot of people have been telling me that I look like I'm losing weight again. That really boosts my ego. Tonight, after we were leaving the gym, on the way to the greenway we decided to walk, my husband told me that I looked svelte(!) when I was doing my exercises. It was great to hear that. It's not that he doesn't hand out compliments to me, but he doesn't comment on my workout form or my body very frequently. I do a lot of things to try to impress him; isn't that what wives are supposed to do? I want him to love me and appreciate my body. Tonight, for the first time in a long time, he made me feel that he does appreciate my body and I didn't have to prompt him for how he thought I looked or if he was proud of me.
CalNatural Svelte Protein Shakes

I also noticed recently that my belly seems to be getting smaller (that could be the reason why DH said I was looking svelte(!)). I'm down 3 pounds and I'm really excited about that. I know that it's only 3 pounds, but that puts me at a total of 30 pounds lost from the time I started this journey in August of 2010. My clothes fit better, my attitude is different and one of the reasons that I think this is all happening is because of that fitbit I got. There's a lot of enlightenment in awareness. I thought I was walking 8,000 steps on a regular basis. Boy - was I wrong. Not only has the display on the fitbit helped me with my awareness, but I've also been keeping a food journal. It's also made me more aware. I think that is why I'm losing weight. I'm not eating as much, I'm eating better, and I'm getting more steps in during my day.

All in all things in the Alcorn homestead are looking up! Maybe I can still lose another 5 pounds before our trip next month. I'll be down to my lowest weight since 2007 if I can lose 5 more pounds. The next goal after that is going to be to get down to what I weighed in college. I have no idea what that weight is, but I'm hoping that I'll know it when I hit it! My question for you is this: How do you handle feeling good about yourself? Does it happen as rarely for you as it does for me?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Hot for Doctor

When I got to work yesterday morning after writing about my hip flexor, I decided I would schedule an appointment with my orthopedic doctor. It's not every person that can say they have an orthopedic doctor without getting a referral from the PCP, right? Well, I'm kind of special. No, not really, but two years ago when I tore a tendon in my ankle playing tennis (can you say klutz?) I had to get an orthopedic doctor.

Can I just preface the rest of this post by saying one thing: "I love my husband."

Dr. Scott, my ortho doc, is one fine specimen of a man. David, my husband, was asked to attend this appointment next Tuesday morning with me in case the doctor asks me any questions that I can't quite think of the answers to because I can't get my tongue back in my mouth and stop drooling all over myself. When we went to lunch we were talking about my appointment (next Tuesday at 8:00 a.m.) and David said, "so you're going to see Dr. McHotPants, right?"

Not, these two guys:

McDreamy and McSteamy

But, McHotPants. Now - I'm sure that Dr. Scott (who is married, btw) has some great legs and would look great in some hot pants, but when your husband refers to your doctor (and those big blue eyes like Frank Sinatra's *sigh*) without a hint of jealousy in his voice, you realize what a great man you have. I did ask David to come to the doctor with me for the reason above, but there's two other reasons: I want him to be along in case I have to hear any bad news, and, well, the hip flexor is in an area that is, you know, near my hip...

Anyway - I'm going to see the doctor on Tuesday and I'm going to have to be ready to hear anything. I'll post when I know something. My question for you is: Do you have a hot doctor and does it make it difficult for you to remember all the things that are wrong when you are face to face with him/her?

Oh yeah - here's a proof of me running across the finish line at the race on Sunday! 
Soooo, serious.
Here's to you, King Dick the Lionheart, for understanding that a woman that might look at another man and get a little dribble on her chin, but still pines for you and your noisy morning antics.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Aches and Pains

I ran my first ever 5k on Sunday morning! My goal time was 45 minutes and I completed it in 44:10. I wasn't sure that I was going to be able to run or not because of my hip flexor problems that I've been having, but I loaded up with Ibuprofin and Bio-Freeze before I left the house that morning and was pumped up with adrenaline, so I didn't really have any pain. Plus, I stretched as much as I could beforehand.

I didn't have any pain when I was running, but when I crossed the finish line (!) my eyes felt like they were running circles around in my sockets. It was very weird. The race was a truly emotional experience for me. I'll admit it, I cried when I finished. I don't know if it was from exhaustion or relief, but I was a touch embarrassed since I was with a bunch of coworkers. We went to the post race party and got some assistance with our stretches which felt really good.

I took Monday off from exercise because I was still recovering. 3.1 miles may not be a lot to a lot of people, but running 90% of the race combined with forgetting to foam roll my calves and I was a tad sore on Monday. I think that my fitbit only tracked 3,000 steps. Tuesday I went to the gym like a good girl and stretched and foam rolled and stretched some more. At the packet pick up before the 5k I (stupidly?) signed up for a half-marathon. I must have been high. So I wanted to get this first post-race run in to start my training for the half. I warmed up for 5 minutes at a decent pace and then bumped it up to a jog. Pain. Excruciating, searing pain emanating from my hip flexor/groin area. Had to put a stop to the madness immediately. What the hell? How am I going to train for a half-marathon (granted, it's in September) with this kind of pain every time my foot hits the treadmill/ground??
For me, it's the right one.
Needless to say, I finished my cardio on the arc trainer. No pain there. I guess I better go see the doctor.  I always seem to injure myself when I'm attempting to get back in shape. I'm going to heal and complete my goal of running the half in September in Nashville.

Question for you - when you first started running, did you get injured? If you did, how did you not let it demotivate you?