Day 753: My Love/Hate Relationship with Fitness

It’s funny how time can utterly turn the tables on what one consider’s “stressful” vs a “retreat”. Once upon a time, this blog and the fitness requirements that went along with it hung over my head as I went about my day (especially in the early months when I posted daily), “Don’t forget to post on the blog; you have to go work-out; go the gym; remember to log your foods…” Two years later, I find the opposite has happened. On my run this morning, I was utterly at peace. I sighed with happiness as I put in my headphones because for the next thirty minutes I had a legitimate excuse to stop worrying about work, graduate school applications, travel plans (going stateside for my sister’s wedding!), and relationships. I could just be, just run, and that is exactly what I wanted to be doing. I didn’t even mind the rain; it was empowering to keep going despite the weather. Similarly, I sat down at my laptop as I ate my egg-white burrito dinner (235 calories and I even managed a slice of Colby Jack in there!), I had every intention of working…. but I found myself typing “turtleinpeanutbutter” into the URL bar and I felt my shoulders relax as the familiar screen popped up.

I guess I am on the “love” side of ‘My Love/Hate Relationship with Fitness’ now.


My Oatmeal Muse

No matter the season, a bowl of hot oatmeal makes me want to write. Usually, I’ll curl up with a journal (yes, I still keep a real one) or settle down for devotions, but this morning I decided to blog because I want to tell you about this oatmeal.

Oatmeal is a pretty healthy food, but- I’ll be honest – it is really quite boring and tasteless sometimes. Growing up, I had delicious oatmeal with butter, milk, and sugar… those were the days. This morning I went for a run (it started raining and I kept going- yay me) before breakfast, but had a glass of milk with some strawberry Gold Standard protein powder to keep me going. When I got back, damp, tired, and chilly, I was ready for a hot meal. The recipe below is just over 200 calories (full Nutrition Information courtesy of MyFitnessPal’s “Create a Recipe” tool) and quite delicious, despite the fact that it only has 4 grams of sugar (3 from the skim milk and 1 from the oats themselves). Ladies and gents, enjoy.

Vanilla Almond Oatmeal


  • Quaker Oats (Quick Oats) – 40 grams (1/2 cup)
  • Skim Milk – 60 ml (1/8 cup)
  • Cinnamon – 1 tsp
  • Vanilla Extract – 1/4 tsp
  • Water- just a touch, maybe 2 ounces, depending on how thick you want it*
  • Sliced Almonds – 1 tbsp (I add cinnamon to my bag of sliced almonds and shake it to add a little flavor, so technically these were cinnamon almonds)

*You could omit the water and add more milk, but that adds calories, or omit the milk (saves 21 calories, but also takes away 3 g sugar and 2 g protein)

Begin:Turtle In Peanut Butter Blog

  1. Add oats, milk, water, and cinnamon to a microwave safe bowl
  2. Microwave for 90 seconds
  3. Remove from microwave, stir (if oatmeal seems too thin, add more oats; thick, add water)
  4. Stir in sliced almonds and vanilla extract
  5. Voila!

Vanilla Almond Oatmeal- Turtle in Peanut Butter Blog

I would add a picture of the finished product, but it smelled so good I ate it all before I could snap one…

                Next time maybe….

P.s. This recipe is also 12% of your daily calcium, 15% of your needed iron, but only 1% of your vitamin C so eat an orange or something.

*Drum-roll Please* My New Ninja Professional Blender (BL660)

Look what came in the mail! I am psyched. I have been wanted a “proper” blender for ages and I finally decided on a Ninja (thank you Christmas giftcard from the in-laws!) We weren’t quite ready for Vitamix level – though I am a huge fan – but the Ninja Pro series was a nice in-between. Last night I made banana pancakes (4 eggs + two bananas + 1/2 apple + 2 tbs whole wheat flour) and it was ridiculously easy. This morning I was running late for a doctors appointment (my derned back again- they referred me to a “pain management” doctor…oh joy), but I hadn’t had breakfast and am not one to skip meals. I emptied a bag of chopped, frozen fruit (oranges and peaches) and frozen fat-free yogurt cubes into the blender with 8 oz of ‘Healthy Balance Apple Juice’. Turned it on while I put on my sneakers, and 30 seconds later dumped the finished smoothie into a to-go cup (included- see photo). Breakfast on the go and it was delicious.

Perfect timing too: I have two weeks off before my new job starts and the weather is gorgeous in England (strange, huh?). I plan on spending my time learning summer-y recipes in my new blender… as well as preparing some CrockPot meals for once the 9-5 starts. More on that later.

Now I am debating making another smoothie, just for the fun of it, but I’d better not. Snacks add up, you ken (oh, I’ve been reading <3 Scottish novels <3 : you ken= you know). In any case, I think I’ll talk myself into a run today. It is 59* and sunny- shorts and a tshirt for this girl!

Return of the Wanderer

Hello my dears, I am back! Did you miss me? I am tan (or will be once the burn goes away), tired, and have added a few more stamps to my passport.

Going on this trip, I was determined to find a balance between eating right and trying new foods. I wasn’t as successful on that account as I could have been, but the damage wasn’t so bad. The first stop was Disneyland Paris. Of course, there are no healthy foods at Disney, or not many anyway. I did have DISNEYLAND PARISeggs for breakfast that Sunday, but my snacks weren’t as admirable….like this giant cotton candy my husband and I demolished in under five minutes. But come on, people, this is DISNEY.

The next stop on our journey was the main attraction: ITALY. We flew to Rome on Monday morning after a somewhat hellish taxi experience in which Parisian traffic and our French taxi driver seem to have conspired together to turn a 70 euro, 30 minute trip into a 100 euro, 75 minute trip. We skipped breakfast that day and shared a pack of peanut butter crackers on our way.


Our days in Rome were filled with walking, amazing history, paninis, white wine, water from running springs, photographs, and quite a bit of gelato. I packed some protein powder and a shaker bottle, but only had it one ROME 3morning; all the rest I slept too late for breakfast. The one morning, I walked down the street to a little fruit stall and got a banana and had that with a protein shake. The rest of the trip I just used the shaker bottle for water. ;)  I don’t feel too bad about it though; I think all the walking helped to even it out. My feet were sore and muscles aching at the end of each day, but it was worth it, I think: we hit all the highlights in between Monday afternoon and Thursday morning.


rome 3I will admit I wasn’t much looking forward to our third city – mostly I just wanted to sleep after Rome! But Thursday afternoon we flew to Barcelona, Spain. I don’t know what I thought Barcelona would be like, but it certainly exceeding any expectations I had!


First, the language. I’m not fluent, but I did study Spanish, and it was a relief to be able to communicate better than I had in Italy. There was, however, some difference between my intent when I said, “Sí, hablo español, pero solo barcelonaun poco.” and their translation of what “I only speak a little” meant. (*Note: Although Spanish is their official language, Catalan is the more common tongue. The best way to describe it is like a French-Spanish hybrid – hopefully that isn’t an offensive description to anyone.) We rented bikes and cycled along the beaches. Ahhh it was so nice. Admittedly, I was not ready for a bikini. But I will be. Soon! :)


New Beginnings

Happy Easter! This may be the first Easter holiday in memory that I have not celebrated by gorging out on Cadbury eggs and Starburst jelly beans. Would you believe I didn’t buy a single piece of Easter candy this year. Not one piece.

In a way, it has been really nice. Instead of focusing on the sweets this Sunday morning, the focus is on the meaning of the day. As Easter is about the Resurrection and new beginnings in Christ, so this week has been a new beginning of sorts in my life.

My husband and I decided the best way to thank God for health and youth was to take care of our bodies as He would have us. In other words, my better half decided to join my in my campaign to eat right and sweat daily. Here’s how I sweat this week:

Monday: Jillian Michaels kickboxing
Tuesday: Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown
Wednesday: Jillian Michaels Killer Abs
Thursday: Rest day (bad day for my back)
Friday: walked ~3 miles with the hubby (pseudo rest day)
Saturday: met up with some coworkers at the gym for circuit training * (1 hr +)

*We worked just everything; my shoulders, arms, and thighs are so deliciously sore this morning.

In a bit. I’m off to an ancient, local cathedral to celebrate the wonderful significance of this day. For the most part, I have tracked all my macros and calories this week but – disclaimer- I am going out to brunch after church and, while I will try to be healthy, no promises.


P.S. Italy plans are coming together. Looks like Paris & Prague may be added to the mix too. Man, living in Europe is cool.