Confessions of a self-proclaimed Kitchen Disaster: Making Bagels!

So you already know that I run for cupcakes. And cake. Pie, too. Heck, if it’s a baked good that begins with flour, butter and sugar, I’m not turning it down.

Unfortunately, I am also a long-time Weight Watchers attendee. Almost 100% due to the above-mentioned addiction to baked goods. It’s been a big struggle for the last several years because they really penalize you for eating carbs. It’s less than ideal if you are an endurance runner, and I’ve usually just rolled my eyes and eaten the bread anyway. But I’ve also put back on a touch more than ten of the 70 pounds I lost. And with me running shorter distances, I have to figure out how to make it all work.

Grasping at straws, I went back to to see what weird concoction she was whipping together for dinner. Then I saw it. Easy Bagels. What the heck, let’s see what the recipe looked like. Well, it was promising – only five ingredients. I usually lose interest after three or four ingredients, which is how my kitchen disasters begin. There are only a few steps, too, which is even better, because I quit reading after a bit.

Have I told you all that I am married to a chef?

Seriously, I don’t cook and don’t have to cook. I’ve always said that if I’m in charge of dinner, it’s coming from a waitress or a window.

OK, back to the recipe. I love the sesame bagels from Einstein’s, but they are 8 points, or 290 calories. This promises 3 points, or 150 calories, and a higher protein bang! Bigger bonus: they are fast and my daughter can help in the kitchen…

img_1043Easy Bagels!

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  1. img_1044In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt and whisk it about for a moment. Add the yogurt and mix until combined. (I wish I had used my KitchenAid Mixer with a dough hook).
  2. Dust the work surface (and your hands!) with flour and knead the dough until it looks like dough and isn’t sticky.
  3. img_1045Divide the dough into four balls. Roll into thick ropes (about 3/4″ thick) and then join them into the shape of a bagel. Place them onto a Silpat (or you could use parchment paper, but be sure to spray it or these babies will stick!) with plenty of room to expand a bit.
  4. Top with the egg wash and sprinkle your favorite bagel topping. I used sesame seeds.
  5. Bake at 375ºF on the top rack for 25 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Oh my goodness – I baked!

Ok, seriously, these things were easy enough that even I couldn’t screw them up and my daughter and I made them all while husband put away groceries! Yep, it really was a img_1050“less than 10 minutes of work” kind of recipe. And when they came out of the oven, they smelled and looked delicious!


Final verdict? I had one toasted with a little bit of butter and I am in heaven. It’s a little tangy because of the yogurt, but I was really stunned at how stinking good these things are! Hallelujah – carbs are on the plan again!

*Recipe is from
All images and text for this post are mine

Simple Kale and Quinoa Salad

I adapted this recipe from one I found online at The original recipe was delicious, but I found it a little one dimensional and needed something. What it needed was meat and a higher fat content. 😉

Also, this recipe was converted to make a really enormous amount of salad because I was meal prepping.

Mix all of this in a large bowl:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 4 cups broccoli kale salad (I bought bagged salad from Super Target!)
  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup avocado, diced


  • 1 lemon, freshly squeezed
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Toss the salad with the dressing. Top with 3 ounces of grilled chicken or tuna fish and a handful of sliced almonds.

This literally took only a few minutes to prepare once the quinoa had been made the night before.

Medal Monday: Cane Field Classic 2017

OK, it’s not exactly Monday, but it’s close enough, right? So, let’s jump right in.

I had a planned trip this past weekend to sherpa for my son at Ironman 70.3 New Orleans, so when I saw that the Cane Field Classic was the day before his race, I kind of jumped on the registration. You see, last year my friends, Susan, Erika and Kim, did this race and had such a great time, they insisted that I put this on my list for consideration in the future.

I believe it was kismet that the races were on the same weekend.

So what is the Cane Field Classic? It’s actually three races. The first is called the Sugar Mile and it’s a one mile race on a dirt path. The second race is a four mile race on trail, a little more technical and really pretty through tall sugar cane stalks. A little more technical, but nothing bad. The third, and final, race is called the Rows of Hell and is two miles through very tight, shoulder-high sugar canes. The sugar cane stalks are sharp and the dirt between the rows are rutted out and only wide enough to put one foot directly in front of the other, otherwise, your ankles are rolling in the whole time. When you complete all three races, you earn a machete!img_6906-1

Packet pickup was pretty standard. A bib and a shirt. The shirt was a super soft cotton that came in a variety of colors. I chose the blue shirt and Sean chose a red one. The car dealership gave out reusable water bottles and made sure there was plenty of water for all of the runners each time we went through the start/finish line.

img_6834Because they are three back-to-back races, I was worried about maintaining a pace that would allow me to finish in time to start the next race. I was assured it wouldn’t be a problem. Come to find out, the group didn’t start the next race until the last finisher came in from the previous race! It was such a great experience to see all of the runners, including the fasties, cheering on every single finisher. This was truly more of party than a competitive race, which was evidenced by the fact that the kegs were tapped before the first race began. LOL We received a dog tag at the finish line of the last race, and then turned in our wristband for the customized machete.

img_6830The post-race party was a blast! They had jambalaya being made while we ran, so there was delicious food to be washed down by the beer. The weather was actually really good Saturday morning and didn’t rain, as had been predicted a few days earlier. I understood why they recommend a pair of long pants for the last race. My legs were torn up a little bit and stung like crazy. Note to self: seriously, wear pants. On the plus side, I did put on a pair of knee-high compression socks that morning. Despite the fact that I thought I looked a little dorky, they were a godsend out there because the tall grass squick me out. 

Verdict: I had a great time! The Rows of Hell was truly the hardest 15 minute miles I have ever run, but it’s hard not to laugh and sing the whole way with the rest of the runners. I would totally do this race again if I find myself in Baton Rouge on race weekend. I met some great people out there and decided that I *might* need to buy a pair of trail shoes soon. Uh oh! I hear some dirt calling!img_6844




What’s Cooking: Cookie Balls

It’s no surprise that I love food, specially snacks and sweets, I mean, even the ol’ Instagram name is “erinrunsforcake.” LOL

So I have spent the last year or so testing out all sorts of recipes that would be nutritious and help me fuel for long training sessions, but also satisfy the sweet tooth and watch my calories. This has been my go-to snack.img_6237

Cookie Balls

  • 1 c. raw oats
  • 1/2 c. oat flour (I use raw oats and grind them up)
  • 1/2 c. ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1/2 c. natural peanut butter
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 c. mini chocolate chips

I seriously just dump all of the ingredients in a big mixing bowl, and with clean hands, mix it up and then make little 1″ balls. No baking, no cooking, nothing for me to screw up. Easy-peasy! They sit in an airtight container for several days, although truth be told, they don’t last that long because everyone in the house will walk by and grab one to snack on.

I usually pack two of them in a small container for my after lunch snack and that keeps me away from the candy machine at 3pm. They will seriously fill you up!

If you give this recipe a try, let me know how you like them!


Planning Ahead: Staying fed while training

imageCoaches will tell you that a big factor to success in marathon and half-marathon training is fuel. While the fuel we consume during the run is important, the more important fuel is what we eat when we aren’t running. It can certainly be daunting to plan out all of your meals, but the alternative is grabbing something from a drive-thru or skipping your run because your kids are screaming that they are hungry and you have to run to the grocery store. I was asked recently how I make training work with my full-time job and kids and all of the other crazy I have going on in my life, so I am outlining my meal-planning process for you.

Meal planning begins every Sunday afternoon when we have the most down-time. My favorite tool is this weekly planning calendar from Post-It that I got from the local office supply store and includes post-it notes that fit in the box and stick completely on the page.

imageThe process begins with writing out any events for the family that might be a factor in meals, such as run nights or school events, down on the bottom of the calendar. Next, I make up post-its for meals I won’t have to cook, including Sunday dinners with parents or eating out at our favorite taco joint for post-run tacos with our running groups. From there, I begin planning out breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks. For the most part, we have a handful of recipes that are fast, easy and family favorites, so we stick with those and add in new recipes to try. Most of the process is just using the stickers I had on the previous week’s menu. My lunches usually are left overs of dinner the previous evening and I always include two or three different small snacks because I love to graze literally all day long.

There are a handful of benefits to planning out an entire week at a time:

  1. I can make sure I eat enough protein or increase my calorie intake on days in which I have a hard workout planned.
  2. I can look at an entire week and make sure I have a varied diet that includes different proteins and carbohydrates to keep me interested.
  3. It’s an opportunity to see if I am including lots of different colors in my menu on a daily basis, rather than just relying on green beans!

imageI love that this process lets us go to the grocery store once a week, which saves at least a few hours every week by staying out of the store throughout the week. It also saves a significant amount of money on a weekly basis (can we say “race fees”???) and, most important, I’m not feeling the pressure at 6pm when the kids are asking what is for dinner.


My Weekly Focus: Eat More Color!

I feel like it’s been a million years since I last posted, but life sometimes happens. Spring semester for the kids hit with a vengeance on the calendar and it has been everything I could do to keep running and fueling my body as it should be rather than hitting a drive-thru. I can happily report, though, that I’m tackling it well. I finally got into the habit of fruit-infused water (for real! No more crystal light packets or Nuun tablets to make it all more palatable! LOL). My next challenge to myself (and you as well!) is to bring more color into my food. It’s not just about making sure you get a side of broccoli on your plate at dinner, either. I hate taking pills, including vitamins, and know that I can achieve quite a bit just by being more mindful of the food I eat. This is about eating from the entire color spectrum!

  • imageReds – This can include beets, cherries, cranberries, red cabbage, red bell peppers and tomatoes. I plan to add frozen cherries to the chocolate oatmeal I eat some mornings to bring in the red family. I really have to be in the mood for tomatoes, but I like the little grape tomatoes and will also include those and some red bell peppers on an arugula salad that I adore!
  • Oranges – This includes sweet potatoes, carrots, peaches and butternut squash. I actually love orange vegetables. Sweet potatoes are so good in place of regular potatoes and carrots are a great snack in the afternoon when I need that crunch factor that sometimes leads me to eat a bag of chips.
  • Yellows – Pineapple is the first that comes to mind for me when I think of yellow foods. In Dallas, I can usually find a pineapple at the store for under $3, so I get it home and cut it up immediately into chunks. It is a fantastic afternoon snack because of the sweetness. Other foods you could incorporate include lemons, yellow squash (mmmm… roasted yellow squash) and pears.
  • imageGreens – Broccoli, kiwi, spinach, green beans. These are all the old standbys. There are a zillion green veggies to incorporate into a diet. But have you tried arugula is you like your salad a little spicier? How about sugar snap peas? These are fantastic with a mix of colorful bell peppers lightly sautéed so they are still very crisp.
  • Blues/Purples – This was easy for me as well because I love blueberries and eat them on yogurt, with whipped cream as a dessert with other mixed berries, etc. You could also try plums and eggplant, purple cabbage, and even purple asparagus!
  • Whites – You have the standard white veggies including cauliflower, garlic and onions, but have you tried parsnips or turnips? My husband makes a really tasty mashed potato mixing half potatoes and half parsnips. This gives it a little more depth in the flavor and the kids love it!

So, my big goal is to make up my menu plan for next week and then challenge myself to add one additional color to each of my meals. I’m thinking my first order of business is to add a bowl of mixed berries with a little whipped cream (fresh of course!) as an afternoon snack in lieu of hitting my co-worker’s candy dish a few doors down… Wish me luck!


My Weekly Focus – More Water!

Some of my favorite fruitI know that a handful of my in-person friends are making a renewed commitment to shedding some pounds, so I wanted to start a weekly check-in with some tidbits to take away. Weight Watchers helped me so much, but the biggest helper of all was the in-person meetings. The lessons I learned from many on the path stay with me to this day. I know that for various reasons, some people don’t do in-person meetings, so I am attempting to bring those tidbits virtually! The added benefit is it will help me reinforce some healthy behaviors for myself.

This week my focus is increasing my water intake. On Sundays, we have a tradition in which my family and my sister’s family all meet at my parents house for dinner. Yep, we still have a big traditional Sunday dinner. It’s pretty casual and can be pretty raucous at times. The conversation turned to all the things you could use a can of Coke for, like reducing the corrosion on a car battery and cleaning a penny. I immediately turned to my sister (she was drinking her soda from the can) and exclaimed, “Why are you still drinking that? You are willingly putting a chemical in you that takes corrosion off of a car battery terminal!!” It was a good laugh, because that’s the kind of overbearing big-sister I am (ha ha ha!), but there was a bit of concern as well.

Truth be told, I drank Cokes back in the day. A LOT. My modus operandi was to drink the fully-leaded one because I believed that the diet soda was terrible for you. That went on for most of my life. When I first started Weight Watchers, I calculated the points for one Coke and nearly stroked out. I only got 26 points and I decided I wanted to use those for food. I went cold turkey. No sodas at all. No diet, no regular, no zero, no nothing. It was hard the first week, but one of my “rewards” that first week was a big Starbuck’s cup that I could fill with water or iced tea. I won’t lie – the second week is worse than the first, but if you can just get it out of your system, it’s worth it. More than three years later, I can still be seen with that cup in my hands almost every waking moment. The cup is 20 oz, so I am in the habit of refilling at least four times a day for 100 oz.

image“But water tastes awful…” I get it. I thought so too. There’s only so much water you can drink before you want to tear your hair out. It’s both tasteless and has a funny taste all at the same time. What to do? Infuse it! There are so many options that you can find on the internet like at, but I have my simple favorites:

  • Orange slices – they lend a tasty sweetness to the water when you are having a sweets craving
  • Lime wedge – I ask for limes instead of lemons at restaurants because they have them in the bar and they are something different
  • Lemon wedge – they are ok, but they tend to make the water bitter if you add to many
  • Mint leaves – I love to grab a handful and muddle some of the to really give it a strong infused flavor; the best way to do it is to put them in a small amount of hot water to steep for a bit, then add cold water and ice
  • Cucumber slices – this is the most refreshing way to drink water and is so very tasty on a hot summer day
  • Strawberries – these impart just a hint of flavor and is a great way to get that lightly

So, my challenge to you is to get a cup that you want to carry around everywhere and give this a try. It’s your choice if you want to give up sodas or wean off of them slowly, although I am a big fan of getting it over with quickly. Have I told you that I have an insane amount of energy, even in the mornings, now that I don’t drink sodas???