Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Keeping Organized with My Erin Condren LifePlanner

I'm not shy about owning the struggle of the work-kid-running-life balance. Every day begins with a 4AM alarm clock and doesn't slow until the last head has hit its pillow. As much as I appreciate my complex iPhone Calendar, I prefer to carry an old-school planner. A few of my co-workers pointed me in the direction of Erin Condren LifePlanners a few years ago, and they have since become a staple in my organization routine. I just received my 2016 - 2017 planner in the mail and dove right in! The packaging itself is so fun, and a true reflection of what's inside - Colorful and inspirational!

Each LifePlanner is completely customizable, from the cover to the daily/weekly/monthly layout. This year, I chose an hourly breakdown for each day so I could easily identify conflicts and map out any needed travel time. I also paid a little extra for a rose gold spiral binding.

Each LifePlanner includes appointment stickers and reminders to highlight the important to-dos, in addition to positive affirmation quotes tucked throughout the planner and between months.

Erin Condren almost always runs a promotional deal for first-timers and has great referral incentives for your friends and family! My LifePlanner has everything I need to keep my head on a little straighter and my chaos a little more organized. :)

* This was not a sponsored post. Just sharing my love of the product!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

RECIPE: Oven-Baked Fajitas

Wait! Before you stop reading, hear me out.

I know what you're thinking... Fajitas belong on a sizzling plate after being prepared on a stovetop. And, sometimes, they do. But, sometimes, a juggling mama needs to be able to stick something in the oven while homework is being finished and another load of laundry is being chucked into the washer. Which is why I present to you these super-yummy, as-good-as-off-the-sizzling-plate fajitas.

I'm not totally sure how I found this recipe, but I'll bet it was a Google search for "Recipes that are yummy and full of flavor that won't break the monetary or time bank on a school night." Consider my wish granted.

Oven-Baked Fajitas
See original recipe here

2 red bell peppers
2 green bell peppers
1 large onion
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lime (optional)

(For seasoning)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon paprika
1/2 tablespoon corn starch
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. While the oven is warming, assemble your fajita seasoning.

Slice red bell pepper, green bell pepper, onion, and chicken breasts into half-inch(ish) strips.

Toss into a 9" x 13" baking dish. Add fajita seasoning and olive oil to the baking dish and toss until your bell peppers, onions, and chicken are evenly coated.

Place baking dish in the oven, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Take dish out and mix ingredients. Place back in the oven, uncovered, for an additional 20 minutes.

Your kitchen should smell delicious and your fajitas bursting with flavor! You can top your fajitas with the juice of half of a lime as soon as they come out of the oven for a fun citrus kick. I also recommend cheese, sour cream, or guacamole for toppings. We eat our fajitas rolled inside of a whole wheat tortilla, over a bed of lettuce, or as a stand-alone entrée.


Sunday, October 9, 2016

Race Recap: City to the Sea Half-Marathon

Hi, friends! Today I completed my first race of the fall season, the City to the Sea Half-Marathon in San Luis Obispo, CA. I had a series of easy(er) workouts throughout the week in preparation for race day, but my muscles were still feeling loose, warm, and ready. The coastal morning was chilly, something that was so welcomed while we ride out what I hope will be our final heat wave in Fresno.

Photo Courtesy of Destination Adventure Racing
There was great representation from my running team. My favorite way to kick off a race is with encouraging words and high-fives from friends. I was given instructions from my coach to stay close to my marathon race pace, but not to push too hard as my official race pace test will take place next week. Taking away the pressure to push hard replaced my anxiety with excitement.

Photo Courtesy of Destination Adventure Racing
City to the Sea is a smaller half-marathon with a course that starts in Downtown San Luis Obispo and trails down to Pismo Beach. We kicked off 10 minutes late to allow for crews to complete road closures, but runners were super-understandable and it didn't seem to rock anyone's boat. The first six miles were relatively flat and we had one lane closure to utilize. Because this is a small race, it was plenty of room for runners along the course. One of our teammates stopped along the course to take photos and offer words of encouragement (and, at one point, take my Gu Energy Gel wrapper so I didn't have to carry it). I was always excited to see him, as demonstrated below.

Photo Courtesy of Destination Adventure Racing
Photo Courtesy of Destination Adventure Racing
Photo Courtesy of Destination Adventure Racing
We hit our first hill around mile seven, and I tried to keep my pace steady knowing that there would be more over the next six miles. The hills definitely affected my pace, but seeing my coach at mile eleven was the boost I needed to push hard through my last couple of miles. I shaved nearly a minute off of my pace for the last two miles and finished strong. 

Photo Courtesy of Destination Adventure Racing
I finished the half-marathon in 2:01:07 with nothing but positive things to report about the course, the race organization, and the volunteers. For the last few miles, we lost any road closures and shared the road with vehicles. Residents and visitors were respectful of runners on the road which was refreshing. Post-race, we enjoyed larger-than-life breakfast burritos and the option to enjoy several food/beverage trucks.

Tonight I'm nursing a sore IT band with ice and Naproxen. I'm sure the inflammation is credited to hugging the side of the road, which is known to be paved at a slight angle. I suffered the same injury last training season, but this pales in comparison to my last go-round with an IT band injury so I'm anticipating a super-quick recovery.

Hope your weekend treated you well! It will be a busy week ahead, but I'm ready!

Monday, October 3, 2016

RECIPE: Cracker Barrel Buttermilk Pancakes

Happy Monday, everyone! We're a big breakfast  family, and last night I had a may-jah craving for maple syrup, so we busted out the flour-sifter and whipped up some Cracker Barrel Buttermilk Pancakes. The recipe is fool-proof, and there's something about a flour-sifter that makes me feel pretty legit in the kitchen. We had all of the ingredients we needed already in the cupboard, and the entire process took no more than 20 minutes, batter to plate. Enjoy!

Cracker Barrel Buttermilk Pancakes
See original recipe here

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Butter (for cooking)

Mix all ingredients together - but do not overmix!

Heat pan or griddle over medium heat and grease with butter. Cook approximately 1/4 cup of batter until golden brown, then flip and continue cooking on opposite side.

Once both sides are evenly golden, remove from pan or griddle and enjoy with butter and real maple syrup.