I love this soup! :-) I think I could live on it morning, noon, and night it’s so yummy! Potato, kale, cayenne pepper, coconut milk

I dont usually measure anything because I like to cook like a scientist.  I like to think about what properties certain foods have and then consider what I want my food to do, then I apply it to my cooking and baking.  But if I had to guess at the recipe, I would say start with some extra virgin olive oil in a large soup pot and add approx. 1/4 cup pureed onion, cook on med to low while you are getting the kale and potato ready to go in (slice thinly all to cook same rate).  I use about equal amounts of each and leave the skins on (wash thoroughly) approx. 2/3 bag potatoes, approx. 2/3 bag kale, approx. tbsp. cayenne pepper, and cover with approx. 2 cups coconut milk (either unsweetened or whatever you like, I like the unsweetened) and enough water to just about cover veggies but not too much because kale will cook down, and bouillon of your choice per its instructions for as much liquid you are using (I have done this with more and less bouillon and either way it still tastes good, so use as little or as much as you like, the bouillon is not the deal breaker for taste in this recipe, because it is everything else that comes together to make a wonderfully rich, and very satisfying flavor.  I cook mostly by smell, taste, sight, and science of how things work and what they can and cannot do for me in a recipe.  I’ll try to measure next time, but have found many times when I try to measure, it doesn’t seem to come out as good as if I don’t. 🙂potato kale soup

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23 Races, 213 miles and counting, on a lifetime of races

I have competed in 23 races to date, in my life so far.  I love racing and don’t get to race as much as I would like to.  I first raced in Aug. 2010.  I completed 213 miles in those 23 races to date, including 6 triathlons, 3 half marathons, one of which was my 1st trail race that also happened to be my 3rd half marathon, 1 full marathon and a few age group places in some smaller distance races.  It was so thrilling when I placed 2nd age group, in my very first race ever, in Aug 2010 !  I knew from that very moment, early on in my running and racing, that placing in a race sure feels great, but doesnt always mean anything, and should be taken with a grain of salt, because it depends on who you raced against if you place.  It’s really that simple and time has confirmed this truth for me.  Still, it sure is nice for the recongnition and achievement of an age group place.  But I always like to remind myself of this truth, for the many more times that I do not place, because what matters most to me, is how I did against myself, and if I did my best and if I had a PR (personal best).  I had a great start in running and racing until about a year after I started.  In Aug 2011, I had a major medical issue, massive blood clotting, that required 5 surgeries in 6 days at Columbia Hospital in NYC.  These surgeries are so very specialized that they are only offered at a few hospitals in the country and not any local to me.  I am very thankful for the awesome team of doctors that worked hard to save my life and I now have a much richer life experience every day since I went through such a huge life threatening ordeal.  I am so much more mindful every second of every day and know that time should never be wasted because it can end suddenly and without warning.  It has taken years for me to fully recover from these surgeries and since then I have also had to deal with other medical issues and injuries, but I approach these with determination and belief that I can and will endure, heal and thrive.  I also know that it takes time, sometimes more time than we ever thought it would.  I have a very strong faith in God and put all my trust in God always, now, but didnt always know how to do this even though I have always believed in God and had strong faith, it wasn’t until this happened to me that it gave me unyielding faith.  Complete total trust in God, no matter what happens. This is something that I learned that is invaluable.  Patience is so important in all worthwile pursuits and what is more worthwile than your health?  I never raced before Aug. 2010 and had a sedantary life and was over weight for much of my life.  I would go up in down in my weight over the years, although many times I was thin too, I still wasn’t active, only occassionally.  I changed my mindset in Jan 2010. In Jan. 2010, I weighed over 200 lbs., I stopped weighing myself in disgust, and my body hurt from this weight. It hurt to walk, to move, to do anything and I had no energy. I needed to push myself constantly to move and try to eat healthier because I wanted it that bad, to be able to feel good and look good.  It sure has been a huge improvement to where I am now, from where I started.   I knew I had to do something different, something better, something that would work and keep working for my whole life.  I did it all on my own and have kept the weight off years later.  I did it by getting to know as much as I can about food and nutrition and health and fitness.  I am still learning and growing in my health and fitness journey, but I love the journey and embrace it with much love.  It is my life passion. I am counting on a lifetime of races won in my time, which is always the Lord’s time in actuality. No matter what we think or what we want, its always done in God’s time, not our own.  If in the future, I happen to place in my age group at a race, then that would be a great bonus! 🙂 But what I do is just go out there, in this world every day, and always do my best and always work to improve myself in every way I can think of.  Mind, body and soul.  I know that it will take time, esp. since I lived almost half  a century not making good health choices, my body needs the respect of ample time to benefit from the work it takes to improve my health and fitness dramatically and permanently.  I recently learned, I have weak ankles. I have ankle injuries, likely due to my sedentary life for all those years before, and even though I was able to accomplish all those many miles and races (for me it was many, although I know for some its not much), my body wasn’t fully prepared to take on such activity.  I love to run and miss it very much!  I am very thankful that I am able to have the opportunity to address my weak ankles and run again someday, hopefully soon.  I am working hard to improve my strength and it is very humbling doing these exercises.  I am already very healthy, fit and strong in many parts of my body, but these exercises that focus on my weaknesses are very challenging to say the least.  Finally finding out what is wrong and how to treat it is priceless.  It is so very humbling and liberating in my both my fitness journey and my walk with God.  God is always showing us ways to improve ourselves and I love that.  It is in learning how to listen to God’s whisper that we can find out what we need to improve on and work on in our life.  How do you listen to God’s voice?  What does it sound like?  You must first quiet your mind. When your mind is not busy with other thoughts, God’s thought can jump into your head and that is how you listen to God.  Now that I am active and fit, I cannot imagine life any other way and I feel like I dont even know that person I used to be.  But I am still the same sweet, smart person who “gives her all” in all she does.  I just give my all to myself now too, instead of just to everyone else.  I learned it is not selfish to take good care of yourself, its actually selfish to not take time to care for yourself because if you are not healthy and fit, how can you care for those you love?  Love them enough, to love yourself first 🙂   Happy racing everyone.  We all race towards something in life.  Make it a good one! Make it your best race ever 🙂

Cross Training

Cross training is so very important for everyone no matter what your fitness level or goals because it can help you stay safe and injury free even in your daily life functions.  But if you are an athlete, cross training can be your ticket to injury free success and new PR’s.  Cross training builds strength and can correct imbalances.  Cross training can build stamina and improve lactate threshold when done with intensity.  Cross training can be done in so many different ways that specifically address your personal needs.  It is always important to figure out what your personal needs are and start from there before you enter into any kind of an exercise program.  Most everyone has some weaknesses and imbalances and can always benefit from cross training.  The best part of cross training is that it can be lots of fun.  As with anything in life, it’s what you make of it that matters.  Make everything you do fun and then you will want to do it more.  I am not in this life for mediocre.  I want the best of everything including my health.  I am in this life for fun, happiness and good health.  Why not make everything fun?  Who says you can’t be a grown up and have fun?  I am very responsible, dedicated and focused yet also have the ability to make fun where fun may not have been.  You have to laugh in life and smile as much as possible.  I don’t agree with those who say someone may smile too much.  Who made them judge and jury?  I say they are losing out on all the fun and smiles and that is their choice.  My choice is to see the good and seek the good.  For instance, if you find yourself standing in a long grocery line and you are pressed for time, why not turn it into some fun and exercise?  This is an excellent time when it’s actually good to multi-task.  You can entertain yourself by trying to stand on one leg for as long as you can and then switch legs, all while observing your surroundings and seeing just who notices if anyone.  If you do notice someone who sees you standing on one leg, you will likely exchange smiles, which is always a good thing.  And if you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours 🙂 Cross training can be just about anything, from something as simple as standing on one leg on line at the grocery store to something much more complex and specific to athletic training goals.  But there is not one single person who would not benefit from some type of cross training.  Everyone should rethink how they move in their daily lives and address any ongoing or recurring health issues or injuries and find the exercises that will help strengthen and heal you.  Even my Mom, who will be 95 years old in April, has found renewed strength and vigor in utilizing specific exercises.  So there is no excuse for anyone, but the first step is always the hardest.  Knowing that the first step is the hardest should motivate you in that it just gets easier in time.  So get up and cross train for better health and performance.

How to “Buy” Happiness

We have all heard the saying that money cannot buy happiness.  But I think I know what does “buy” happiness. It’s a feeling of being in control and power of ourselves in all we personally do.  And for many this can be accomplished in weight loss and management.  We know how exercise produces feelings of happiness, but it is temporary.  That’s why we always need more of it.  I am all for exercise and believe in exercising every single day.  But did you know that losing just a few pounds can make you feel happier, a happiness that lasts?  It’s true.  Losing just a few pounds can produce a huge feeling of happiness because it boosts confidence in all you do.  Losing just a a few pounds has huge benefits because it gives you a feeling of power.  This power gives you the power to go forward and do whatever you want to do with more vigor and energy.  Whether you want to lose 100 pounds or 10 pounds, its in the first few pounds that you can start to actually feel the power weight has on you. Power in you can be either negative or positive.  Imagine having to carry your heavy pocketbook (or backpack if youre a man) with you everywhere you went and never being able to put it down.  That is what it is like to lose just those first few pounds.  It is very liberating to lose weight.  Losing the first few pounds also builds confidence that you can continue to lose weight because it proves that you can do it.  And if you can do that, you can do more.  You can do whatever you set your mind to.  But it always starts with your mindset.  Your mindset must be perfect and unyielding.  Set your mind and keep it set.  Decide what you want, then make it your every thought and focus on it.  Health is a mindset, good or bad.  A constant mindset.  And no matter what, you need to remain constaint in your thinking.  No matter what around you changes, because change is constant.  Change in our lives and in our environment is constant.  We must be never changing in our thoughts to gain success in our goals.  You should exercise every day for those happy endorphins and for strength and fitness, but remember that weight management is a very powerful tool in long term happiness and goes hand in hand with exercise and proper nutrition.  It’s not just what the scale says, its how your clothes fit and how your body feels.  If you feed it junk and still fits in a size 0, you may not feel as good as you would if you ate healthier choices.  And many times it takes a long time, even years, for people to actually feel the effects of a poor diet.  I know a beautiful woman, tall and thin all her life, who lived on coffee and chocolate daily and only ate real food once in a while.  She said she felt good for years, but it did eventually take its toll on her.  Let’s all try to use common sense when chosing foods and treat ourselves as good as we treat those we love with all our heart.  I know I have made many mistakes in my eating over years past, before I lost weight and kept it off.  Now that I have been able to learn so much about good health, nutrition and fitness, I am happy to share it here.  If you dont know better, you cant do better.  But if you know better, you need to focus and do better.  It doesnt make it easier, just possible.  Go do your possible today and every day because you deserve it.  Good health is not easy at first, but it is worth it.  You are worth it.  You need to keep at good health because you can loose it quicker than you may think.  It is not something you get and then its yours forever.  You must earn it and keep earning it every day.  Be well my friends and be good to yourselves.