Saturday, June 25, 2011

Farm, Chickens, Kittens & More!

I was really trying to think of a good title. Haha. Anyway! This weekend has been going well so far! Very relaxing! I really need to clean and do laundry at some point though. Perhaps tomorrow :)

Last night, Rob and I just wanted to hang out together so we headed over to Bonefish Grill (chain restaurant) for a glass of wine and appetizers. We ended up eating dinner too but had a really nice time just sitting at the bar together!

I woke up this morning and headed out to run with Lauren. Its been too long since I ran with her! Our run was hit and miss. My Garmin didn't turn on right away, Lauren's leg was hurting, and then my calves were killing. Considering all the walking, we didn't do too bad, 3.6 miles in 44 minutes. 

I headed home and decided to check on my garden. It is looking great! These planters boxes are doing wonders!

I also checked in on the chickens. What is wrong with this picture?  Hint: There is a rooster in this picture and roosters don't lay eggs...
 I decided I wanted to head out to the Mays Landing Hometown festival for a bit to walk around. I knew there wouldn't be much I wanted there but I really just wanted to walk around outside. Rob agreed to go with the promise of subs or pizza for dinner. Haha! It is in historic Mays Landing with some pretty buildings

The food choices were pretty slim at the festival (I count at least 6 instances of the word "fried" in this picture!) 

I wasn't really looking for anything to eat but we had met up with my sister (who lives right on the street the festival was on) and she said these empenadas were amazing so I got one. She was right!

We also stopped at the bakery in town, B2 which specializes in brownies. Yum! I got a peanut butter cake pop. It was like peanut butter cup filling on a stick. Delicious! 

I didn't get much else, just some Tupperware (a lady was selling "cash and carry" so they were discounted and I needed an ice tea container! Perfect!)

We headed home and stopped for subs (didn't get a good picture). On the way into the house, Rob noticed a butterfly! I took a couple more pictures of my mom's flowers too.

 And finally, some kitty pictures! Rob says the cats don't like him but I beg to differ...
 Spooky is still not happy about these kitten things. I have caught her actually playing with them though! Oh, and the peeing thing? She is in heat again!!!! Its been like a month and she's been in heat at least 3 out of 4 weeks. Ugh!
 That is Cupcake
 And that is Otto.  Otto has adopted me. He seriously loves licking my nose and will take naps on my belly. He ignores Rob most of the time. Haha! (Actually, he just fell asleep in my lap!) 

More excitement to come tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

FS: Energy Gels

If you are a distance runner like me, you have probably toyed with the idea of energy gels before. When running, you can't exactly ingest solid foods so you need an alternate source. The most popular brand is Gu so that's probably where you would start. I have a whole box and they are delicious but then I started thinking about the ingredients (I know, I'm so predictable) and got concerned. I found a couple packs at a local bike shop yesterday made by Clif and got excited and decided to do this blog! You see, I always like to try a few before purchasing online in bulk (usually at because its cheap!). I decided I would compare a few brand here instead of just 2. Here we go!

Gu Energy Gels
Ingredients: Maltodextrin (glucose polymers), filtered water, fructose, unsweetened Belgian chocolate, GU amino blend (leucine, valine, histidine, isoleucine), GU antioxidant blend (natural vitamin E and vitamin C),potassium and sodium citrate, calcium carbonate, sea salt, citric acid, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, fumeric acid, GU herbal blend (chamomile, cola nut [has caffeine], ginger), malic acid, calcium chloride, pectin.

PowerBar Energy Gels
Ingredients: Other Ingredients: C2 MAX Carbohydrate Blend (maltodextrin, fructose), filtered water, chocolate (contains milk), glycerin, PowerBar Electrolyte Blend (sodium chloride, sodium citrate, potassium chloride), phosphoric acid, natural flavor (contains soy lecithin), PowerBar Booster Blend (caffeine, ginseng, kola nut extract), sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate (to retard spoilage). Contains Milk and Soy.

Clif Shots Energy Gels
Ingredients: Organic Maltodextrin, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Water, Organic Unsweetened Chocolate, Potassium Citrate, Sea Salt, Natural Flavor. Contains 90% organic ingredients.

Honey Stinger Energy
Ingredients: Honey, Cocoa Processed With Alkali, Pure Water, Potassium Citrate, Natural Flavors, Niacinamide, (Vitamin B3), Calcium Panthothenate (Vitamin B5), Maltodextrin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12)

Overall, looking at the ingredients, none of them are very bad! Honestly, most of the things in the Gu and PowerBar are nothing but vitamins and minerals. Even the "extra" ingredients I had to look up were all plant based. I didn't find anything bad! Of course, I like the look of the last two ingredients lists the best. Especially the honey since it is packed with natural nutrients. Even if they have the same nutrients, you will probably absorb it better from the honey verses the man made stuff simply because its meant to be eaten that way. Make sense? Its like the milk thing how vitmain D needs to be bound to a fat to be absorbed. I believe the same thing about vitamins, you probably need it in a certain combination to absorb it. But in a natural way, not just two things together. Its confusing and I don't know if its 100% true. Anyway!

Looking at the calories, they are all pretty much the same too. They can be sneaky because I don't know how big a packet is. For example, is the Gu 1 ounce while the PowerBar is 1.2 ounces? That would mean that they are equal calories per ounce. But I don't have that information. Notice that the honey has no fat. I wonder if the fat would help with runs? Maybe keep you fuller longer? Also, the honey is packed with potassium which will help with soreness! It is moderate on the sodium end which you need to refuel electrolytes. Its got the most sugar though for a quick energy boost. The PowerBar has the most sodium so if you sweat a lot, maybe that would be your best choice. The Clif Shots seem to lay somewhere in the middle of everything.

I have tried both Gu and PowerBar and have to say I prefer the texture of the Gu. The PowerBar gels are more liquidy/runny. And the taste of the Gu is better (for chocolate anyway). The chocolate Gu tastes like straight brownie batter. The vanilla flavor tastes like vanilla pudding. There is something seriously wrong about eating a brownie batter type food after running 10 miles! Love it! I have yet to try the Clif Shots I bought but will let you know when I get around to it. Has anyone tried the Honey Stinger? I heard they are delicious. They also make these vanilla waffle things that I am curious about (from my google searches). Maybe they would be good for long bike rides??

emoticon Do you use energy gels? What is you favorite kind? Would you consider using them now for long endurance workouts? emoticon
I only use these for long runs and rides. They are pure energy (aka carbs). Its definitely smart to refuel with some protein after that long hard workout though! Oh, and there are also these nifty little guys

Which DO contain a little big of protein (4g). I've heard that they are a much better option compared to GU and such because they keep you fuller longer, even while performing endurance events. Stats: 90 calories, 0 fat, 90 sodium, 70 potassium, 16 carb, 7 sugar, 4 protein. A little low on the carb side of things. I have a packet that I've never tried yet. Maybe soon! I would assume it would help muscle recovery better with the protein too? Hm, but can your body digest the protein while all its energy is being diverted? I'll get back to you on that one!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sunday Fun Ride: Hamilton Mall to Harley Dawn

Sunday, I went for a long bike ride with Rob. If you recall from a previous blog, my first ride was pretty rough. We rode about 27 miles that day and I pushed way too hard. Lesson learned after crying myself to sleep in pain! Luckily, I was just a little sore the next day. This time, I just kept reminding myself slow and steady! It was a much more adventurous ride though.

We were meeting Brian at the Harley Dawn Diner for breakfast around 9 (ended up being 9:30)
We parked at the mall to cut some distance and headed out. It was a straight shot up a major road but it has a huge shoudler so we weren't worried. Everything was going pretty well and steady. It would be 13.3 miles one way (hey! good route for a half marathon!)We noticed the loooooong flat section (we're talking MILES) which is just so not fun on the legs but at least it was flat and not uphill.

At some point, I had to suddenly brake and luckily Rob knew exactly what for! We saved the poor little turtle that was trying to cross the 4 lane road. He hissed at Rob but quickly tucked in his shell and accepted the ride back into the woods.

Again cruising along, enjoying the view when we got evidence of New Jersey's lovely nickname. He saw a used syringe on the side of the road. Lovely!

Back to enjoying our ride, getting rather close to the endpoint now, chugging up a huge hill (for South Jersey it was a huge) and what do we see? A HUGE DOG charging at us!!! Barking, growling, big black giant thing with teeth.
Luckily I hauled butt faster than Rob so the dog was closer to him. Oh that's not what I meant! Luckily the owner came out and screamed for the dog to come back and it ran off, only after getting within 5 feet of Rob's back tire. (Rob is defending himself saying he was "taking one for the team" because I would have killed him if he had wooshed past me! LoL) Well, that was really scary!!

So finally, we rolled up on the diner and were so happy! And what did we find? Brian standing in regular clothes, his car in the parking lot... Turned out he got a flat! He was 3 miles from home, got a flat and change the tube on the spot but couldn't find the source. Well, at 5 miles, the second tire went flat. He turned back home and drove to breakfast. Later he found the evil staple! It wasn't his day!

Breakfast was delicious. One thing I really like about biking verses running is that you can eat real food when biking! You don't need weird toothpaste like energy gels to fuel you, you can eat pancakes! Or a sandwich! Or a banana! And not get sick. Awesome. After breakfast, we headed back. Luckily, we had no major issues. Just cars trying to run us off the road
We were riding in a right turning lane due to no shoulder and the fact that we were going straight. Therefore, we were right where we should be. We were approaching the end of the lane when 2 cars came ripping around us at 60 miles per hour to make the right turn. UGH! Patience people. There was a truck behind us and as he drove by when we cleared, he yelled "some people just don't care!" and we yelled back thanks. Honestly, I don't see why people can't take an extra few seconds to be safe around bikes. Its not like they are everywhere, it won't drastically affect anyone's commute. Anyway! Enough venting about that!

So we made it safely back to the mall and I still felt good! I was tired but I could have easily done another 10 miles if you asked me to. Even taking it a little slower, our average speed was still 12 miles per hour which I'm happy with!
Click for my Garmin Forerunner Report
It was a great ride with Rob despite the excitement.  Can't wait for next week!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Local Eats: Cheese Board

Today's stop was my favorite lunch place ever!  I don't go here nearly enough honestly.  It is just never near where I am so I have to make an effort to go.  Anyway, I was really craving an fancy sandwich so we decided to head over.  Rob wasn't hungry so he didn't care where I wanted to eat!

You order at the deli counter when you walk in.  I forgot to take a picture of the menu.  I was already embarrassed because the flash went off when I took this picture!  Oops!  Anyway, I didn't feel like thinking about my order and the special sounded good so that is what I went with.
There is indoor and outdoor seating.  After you order, you can just go sit and they will bring your food out to you.  This used to be half the size but they expanded after they became more popular.  You can also see some shelving on the left side of this picture.  They sell some fancy food items, usually all natural and/or local.  I grabbed some Kashi crackers while I was there since I needed some and it is also the first place I ever saw the blue potato chips (yum!).

The special consisted of chicken with roasted red peppers, red onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, and greens with dill feta dressing on a wrap.  The dressing tasted more like blue cheese than feta but it was still delicious.  Also, they don't put very much dressing at all so its subtle and not swimming.  I got the spinach wrap.  Overall, I was happy with it!  But I knew I would be because everything they serve is amazing.  There salads are HUGE too.  This sandwich was $7.50 so a little pricey (it is in a nicer neighborhood too) but so worth it.  I only ate half and was satisfied.  Can't wait to have the rest tomorrow!  I definitely think I need to make an effort to stop here more often too!  Oh, they also do party trays and such just in case you need something like that!

Cheese Board
199 New Rd # 23
Linwood, NJ 08221-2025
(609) 653-8088

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Local Eats: Rama Thai

This week, a friend and I headed to Rama Thai for some delicious food for my birthday!  I often go to this restaurant for lunch with coworkers since its close, quick, and rather cheap.  The atmosphere is nice but not stuffy inside.  The staff is extremely friendly and always warm and welcoming!

I ordered the Thai Tea this time to give it a go.  I felt like splurging a little.  According to Wikipedia, it is tea with spices, milk, and sugar.  According to me, its delicious!  Also, look at the cool way they wrap the straw wrappers around the straw.  I wonder how they do that, how long it takes, and if they have a full time person just sitting in the back wrapping straws!  LoL.

For dinner, Jess ordered the Pineapple fried rice with chicken and shrimp.  There is something I love about warm pineapple!  I definitely stole a bit or two.  Also, that is one huge mound of rice!  We both had leftovers for the next day :-)

I ordered the Red Curry for dinner which has bamboo shoots, peppers, green beans, carrots, and spinach in it.  I ordered mine with chicken and it also came with rice on the side.  I ordered it "medium" heat.  Oh how I love the red curry!  Its my usual.  I also like the green and haven't ordered the yellow here.

 I absolutely love going to Rama Thai.  They really do have a great atmosphere and the food is amazing.  It is always so fresh and healthy.  Also, its not expensive at all.  For lunch, it is $7.99 for the red curry with chicken.  For dinner (bigger portion) it is $12.99.  Can't beat that!  Definitely a must go in the area!

Rama Thai
3003 English Creek Ave # A5
Egg Harbor Twp, NJ 08234-4800
(609) 677-1004

Thursday, June 9, 2011

FS: Milk (Nonfat verses 1%)

This isn't your usual FS blog. Normally I just look simply at ingredients and nutrition but this one is a little more tricky. I don't have to worry about the ingredients since milk is basically all natural. Let's begin. I'm going to assume you are drinking nonfat milk since

1) Its the lowest in calories.
2) That is the typical "diet friendly" choice for milk.

I'm going to make the short argument for drinking milk with some fat so I will look at 1% milk. Let's compare the nutrition (this time from

Simply looking at that chart, the two milks really aren't that different. 20 calories is not a huge difference and neither is 2g of fat. Also, for this blog, I decided to choose milk fortified with Vitamin A. I know a lot of milk has Vitamin D added too but I didn't want to assume that. Anyway! What's so special about the vitamins?

Both Vitamins A and D (along with E and K) are fat soluble. Basically, that means that they can dissolve in fat (verses water). Unless these vitamins are dissolved in a fatty liquid, they won't be absorbed properly by the intestines. What does that mean for you? Even though both 1% and nonfat milk contain 10% Vitamin A, you will absorb significantly less (or possibly none at all) by drinking the nonfat milk.

That is my plane and simple argument for drinking "milk with some fat". I buy 1% or 2%, whichever is convenient. The few extra calories aren't going to kill my daily calorie intake!

Some references (I know some are just websites but I tried to find ones that seemed reputable)
emoticon What kind of milk do you drink? Will you consider changing your choice now? emoticon
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