Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in review and a few goals for 2013


It's hard to believe that in a couple of hours this year will be over. This was a great running year for me and I was able to accomplish a few of the goals I set during the beginning of the year.

1. Complete a half marathon. Check! Race the Runways in April and Kennebec River Rail Trail in June
    a. Finish in under two hours. Check! PR of 1:52:03
2. Complete a marathon. Check! Maine Marathon in September. Automatic PR of 4:24:00
3. Run a sub-50 10K. Nope. I only ran two 10Ks, the L.L. Bean on the 4th of July when I was horribly sick the night before and the Beach to Beacon in August in 1,000,000 degree heat. 
4. Run a sub-23 5K. Nope. I only ran two 5Ks, one in May with no speed training and the other... see #5.
5. Run a race with my husband. Check! Sea Dogs Father's Day 5k pushing the boys in a double stroller, one of my favorites of the year.
6. Rediscover my abs. Kind-of. I started planking last month, but haven't made it a habit. I am the smallest I've been in 10 years, though.
7. Cross-train/weight lift on a regular basis. Huge fail. I think I used the row machine once.
8. Eat better. Another fail. I still love cheese, beer and sweets.
9. Sleep more. A little better than the previous year, but I've got to get myself to bed earlier.
10. Be better organized. Moving to a new house is like having a blank slate. I'm getting there.

I usually do not set mileage goals as it's hard to know what the year will bring. I did run a total of 730.1 miles, up from 423 in 2011. I'd like this year to be somewhere between 750 and 1000 miles. I stayed relatively injury-free with the exception of dealing with plantar fasciitis, though it wasn't debilitating. 

Since I've now run 13.1 and 26.2, I hope to improve on those times. I'd love to go sub-1:50 in the half and go sub-4 in the full. Taking it easy the last quarter of the year has left me recharged and ready to get back into it. While I'd like to meet my 5K and 10K goals, I think I'll be focusing on the longer distances (which totally surprises me). If I happen to bust out some super fast times, that would be great, but I don't even have any on the schedule. My main focus this month is building my mileage back up because training for the Sugarloaf Marathon starts the end of January, though I'm still not 100% on a training plan. I'm starting out on the right foot and meeting up with Jen tomorrow morning for a six-miler.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy new year! See you in 2013!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I had a nice long run with the girls on the Rail Trail yesterday morning. It was quite cold and the wind made it feel even colder. I had originally planned on wearing my base-layer long sleeve, a tech tee and my Brooks vest, but after checking the temps in Gardiner (9 Fahrenheit with the windchill) I opted to wear my cold-weather Brooks jacket. I was glad for my choice in the beginning, but was pretty hot mid-way through...one reason I can only wear it on the coldest of runs. I did pick up some super cute holiday socks at Target and knowing that this would probably be my last run before Christmas, I had to wear them.


The run overall was good (the best part was the company, of course), but again my lack of mileage these last few weeks made it a lot harder. My left calf was a tight ball of knots the entire run and it probably didn't help that I was wearing my zero-drop Mizuno EVO Cursoris for my first double-digit run in three weeks. I stunned them all when I was the one to suggest we walk up the hill out of Hallowell. I just didn't want to push it since I feel like I'm starting out from square one. *sigh* 

Anyway, no more excuses. Fellow Rail Trail regular, Mizuno fanatic, and running junkie, Seth Hasty, recently wrote a post about making excuses. You can read that here. I feel like he could have written it for me. I have mostly been fine with the fact that I haven't been running much and why. Any time during the day when I would usually be able to jump on the treadmill, I've been working on the new house. Instead of going to bed early to be able to get up and run before everyone wakes up, I've been spending that time with my husband. I feel that this was the right choice for me and for my family during the crazy end of the year whirlwind we've been in. 

This afternoon we're baking cookies for Santa and getting ready to spend our first night in the new house. The boys are super excited! 


I hope everyone has a safe, happy, and very merry Christmas. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Lost My Fitness . . . But My Life Is Full

Yesterday my oldest son, Zeke, turned five. It seems like just yesterday he was an itty-bitty baby.

The car ride home from the hospital
And now he is this big, happy, smart, handsome boy full of love and smiles. 


I better not blink because he will be be all grown up.

We had his party on Sunday at the new house with family. Given the lack of time to do a time-consuming cake, I asked Zeke (an expert baker, I might add), if he'd like to help with his cake this year. This is what we created.

White cake with rainbow sprinkles for the Autobot side and Devil's Food cake for the Decepticons

I loved the look on his face as he opened his gifts. Such joy and excitement.


It's always a great time when cousins come to visit.

Getting all gangsta in here . . . while Finn stuffs his face.


I wanted to run five miles for his first five years of life, but what do you know, we had our first major snow of the year. (Note: it has snowed on Zeke's birthday 5 out of the last 6 years, including the day of his birth when we had a huge Nor'easter come through in 2007.) I got dressed in my running clothes, determined to venture out in the new city. I didn't even get 100 meters down the road before slipping and sliding in the mess of snow. About half a mile done and I decided there was no way I was going to make it up and down the hills on my route and at that very instant, I went down. Not hard and I caught myself and luckily there was no one around to see my acrobatic trick. But I looped back around, calculated my distance - a measly .92 miles. Ugh...and I was breathing like I was running a 7:30 pace when it actuality it came to a 9:30-something. That was tough. I did another 4.08 when we got back to the old house (we still are sleeping there), to make 5 miles for 5 years. Again...it was tough. One, it was seven at night and I had recently eaten Pad Thai and one or two beers. Oh, and the fact that it's been over two weeks since I ran and over three since I did a long run. I just had to remind myself that it wasn't as tough as the workout I did when Zeke was born (almost 22 hours of labor with zero drugs). 

My brother-in-law also got married on Saturday and I got to dress the boys up in matching outfits that they picked out. Other than Zeke's weird face, there might not be a cuter picture.


We also set up the tree and Zeke was very excited to hang up the stockings on the (non-working) fireplace.


Life is good.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Where I've Been.

Sorry about dropping of the face of the bloggy earth, but I've taken a mini-hiatus from running. Not necessarily by choice, but I've been busy (that is an understatement). Yes, we are all busy this time of year, but have you also bought a house during the holiday season and have a son with a birthday the week before Christmas? Wait, what? Yes, (after what seemed like months of waiting), we finally closed on a house. I've been keeping it top secret so I wouldn't jinx the deal. Here she is...


We got a super sweet deal on it...really quite a steal for this amount of house. It's not huge by any means, but still. Anyway, that also means it needs some work. Of course, it was in pretty much move in condition...operative word "was." Just picture orange shag rug throughout and faux wood paneling on every.single.wall. The most beautiful interior you have ever seen. (Note the sarcasm?) Within ten minutes of walking through the door after signing the papers, I ripped up the carpet on the stairs. 

Not finished yet, but a definite improvement.
And we figured it would be easier to at least get the bedrooms renovated before moving in full time, so I've spent every minute that I haven't been at work or sleeping working on the house...no time to run. Of course there is time, though. I just need to start getting back in the swing of waking up before the crack of dawn to get some running in. It's still not too late to reach my goal of 750 miles by the end of the year! And we hope to be in here by the end of the year. I really could use at least another four hours in the day.

I have been creating a home improvement blog where I'll be sharing our house renovations since this is my running blog. Once I get it up and running I'll share the link with you in case your interested in checking it out.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Runner's Christmas Letter

Dear Santa,

I've been a pretty good runner this year. I completed my first and second half marathon and my first full marathon. I'm sure you know that already. I was thinking of what I would like in my stocking and under the tree and I've come up with a few things that would make me very happy.

1. Anything from Oiselle. If you want some options to choose from...

Silver "Wings Out" PR Necklace 
Big Marathon Long Sleeve Tee

Stripey Long Sleeve Scoop Neck
Trials Hoodie



































2. Mizuno Wave Musha 5 ... okay so these don't come out until after your big day, but maybe you can work some of your Santa magic. Raincheck?



3. Garmin Forerunner 10. Finally, an affordable GPS from Garmin!

4. L.L. Bean Polartec Power Dry Base Layer Pants. Because it's getting cold here quick...I'm sure you understand the need for these.

5. Zensah Calf Sleeves. I'm loving the Tie-dye Violet...though the Neon Green are nice and bright.

6. Maine Running Company gift certificate. This is pretty easy for you and I can use it whenever for whatever!



Of course there is a bunch more, but I don't want to sound greedy. Thanks Santa. Have a Merry Christmas!

Love,

Carrie

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Random Running Recap

The last couple of months have been a nice break from hard running. I only ran 22.6 miles in October and 34.1 thus far in November. Without a race to train for it's been great to sleep in and get short treadmill runs (2-3 miles) in during the day while the boys are awake. I'm glad that they are finally to the age when the can occupy themselves for 15-20 minutes so I can get a run in. When scheduling allows, the girls and I have still been going on our long runs on Sundays...thank goodness. I do need to run so I don't turn into a cranky monster. And with December and a month of craziness (Zeke's birthday, Christmas, and something else I can not bring myself to tell you about due to risking jinxing it), I need to run more than ever to keep stress at bay. 

My last long run of 11 miles this past weekend brought my yearly total over 700 miles. Of course this is nothing compared to Jen who put this number to shame when she mentioned she has run over 1400 miles. Holy crap! But no comparing here. ;-) The training programs I've done focus on low mileage and with my foot issues I don't think higher mileage would have done me any good. Speaking of those foot issues, my plantar fasciitis has gone away with this period of rest. Thank goodness!

I did just register for the 2013 Mid-Winter Classic 10-Miler in February. This was my first double-digit race last year and pretty much my last "fast" race. 

Mid-Winter Classic 2012
You can read my recap here. It seems like I started running a lot slower after that. I think this comes with the high-mile training runs for the halves and full that I did at an easy pace. I have gotten used to running comfortably for longer distances and so now my mental toughness to break through the pain of faster runs is lacking. So of course, with any repeat of a race, I hope to post a faster time. I'm hoping to go sub-1:20, so I'll have to run anything less than an 8-minute pace (last year was 1:21:28/8:08 pace). I can do this! I still have over two months to start upping my training again. I do want to hit 750 miles for the year!

What do you prefer, fast running and it's over quick or long, slow distance?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Oiselle Lesley Knicker {product review}

The great thing about running is that it makes you leaner. After going through a marathon training cycle this past summer, I found that all the pants I wore last fall are way too big. Yes, I can wear a belt, but there is only so much you can cinch the waistband until it looks ridiculous! And given that I can't wear a belt with workout tights and capris, I had to get something new for running.

Enter the . . .

I've been eyeing the Oiselle product line for quite some time, but this poor runner most often gets her running wear off the sale rack at the "bullseye" store. The line of running wear they offer is great on the budget, but I have had issues with how they hold up over time through run after run, wash after wash. When it comes to Oiselle products, the better quality fabric, construction, and performance far outweigh the (slightly) higher price tag.

Oiselle was founded by Sally Bergeson after she became frustrated at the selection of available running wear for women. There is something about how she, and others at Oiselle, view the sport of running that resonates with me. From Oiselle.com:

At various times it's our therapy, escape, religion, and girl time. 
But perhaps simply enough, it's been our sense of freedom . . . 
Oiselle . . . A French word for bird, it alludes to that 
feeling of weightlessness that most runners know and love. 
That sense of flight - when the legs go fast and the heart goes free.
                               
I squealed with delight when my package came in the mail.


And of course I immediately put them on.


And then took them for a run!

I busted out a 6:40 pace for the last half mile!
They rock going fast!

The Lesley Knicker is made with a 90% polyester/10% spandex compression fabric that really holds you in and feels great on. Some compression wear I've tried is pretty thin and can't really be considered compression, but the Lesley Knicker uses a heavier weight fabric yet it doesn't leave you sweating. There is mesh behind the knees that helps with ventilation.

I also wore them for a twelve miler with the girls and could not be more happy with them. My legs felt great even though my mileage has taken a nosedive since the marathon in September. I had no problem finishing 12 miles strong. 

I was concerned at first glance that all the stitching might cause chafing, but I didn't have any problems. They utilize a flatlock stitching that leave the seams smooth. There is a zippered pocket at the right back that is surprisingly roomy and accessible and the waistband and drawstring are very comfortable that required no adjustment during the run. There is also some darting at the knees that takes into consideration the fact a runner's knees are constantly bending and flexing. It's this attention to detail, down to the understated, yet noticable location of the Oiselle logo, that sets the Lesley Knicker apart.


The fit is great, too. I ordered a Medium, which according to their size chart equates to a size 6-8. Even though my waist is now down to a size 4 in regular pants (YAY!), I'm pretty hippy and larger in the quads. The Medium holds me in just enough without feeling like a sausage.


Oiselle has created an incredible piece of running clothing that looks classy, performs at a high level, and would be a great addition to any wardrobe. And the surprise gift in the package looks great on the car with my runME sticker!


For more on Oiselle and their full product line, visit their website at oiselle [dot] com.

Disclosure: I was not compensated by Oiselle for this product review. I am just so impressed by the company and product that I felt compelled to share my experiences. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Bond Brook Tread Fest 5-Miler {Race Recap}

Nothing like taking my sweet time to write up my latest race recap...from a race that was several weeks ago.

I joined up with my awesome Rail Trail Chicks for my first trail run in, ahem, 17 years. It was a great day for a run. The air was crisp and the sun was shining, a welcome change to the all the rain we had in October. We met up with plenty of time to get ready, but soon enough it was time to line up. I wasn't nervous at all, this was meant to be a fun run and was my first race since the marathon. Jen, Jill, and Stacy were all running as a pack and "made" me run up ahead to drop our team time (team placing was based on the top three finishing times). After some quick announcements on how to follow the trail and to be cautious about the mud on the course, we were off. I didn't feel like I was running too hard, but the first part is up and I was trying to keep Jess, who sometimes runs with us and is very fast, in my sights. After a quarter mile I was having second thoughts on going out fast. I was already breathing heavy and wondering if I'd be able to make it five miles.

The trail was very well maintained, but very technical. I don't remember running on that difficult of a trail back in high school. There were some surprise muddy spots and a lot of roots, rocks, and drop-offs, and I had to keep my eyes on the ground at all times. A few people fell, but I managed to stay on my feet the whole way. A good portion is on a single track, so there wasn't a lot of passing, but I did end up walking toward the end on the hills and let people pass me. My limited training in the weeks since the marathon and lack of trail running for nearly 20 years became apparent. 

My goal was to finish in less than 50 minutes and with my walking, I knew it would be close. Finally, the end was in sight and I saw the clock read 49:50 and ran as fast as I could through the mud and last hairpin turn to the finish. 

Stats - 
49:57, 10:00 m/m
25th out of 61 overall
15th out of 43 women
8th out of 18 in AG (30-39)

And some pictures from the day -

Me, Stacy, Jen, and Jill (photo courtesy Chuck Maletich)

Photo courtesy Chuck Maletich

Trying not to slip in the mud at the finish (photo courtesy Chuck Maletich)
Muddy Mizunos
5-Mile Team Winners...minus Stacy - we won a pie! (photo courtesy Augusta Trails)

We were quite the winning group! This is what our little group, including husbands, won: 

Running friend, Jess, won the individual women's 5-mile race (won a pie)
Joe, Jess's husband, came in second in the men's 10-mile race (won a gallon of cider)
Ward, Jen's husband, came in third in the men's 10-mile race (won a 1/2 gallon of cider
Wade, Jill's husband, came in 1st in his age group in the 10-mile race (4th overall and won a pint glass)
Their team, The Old Goats, came in first in 10-mile race (won a pie)

Another cool thing is this marked the year anniversary of running with these ladies. I am so blessed to have such great friends and look forward to many more years with them!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sesame Street Live!

I do a lot of blogging about running, but not a lot of posts are about being a mom...so I am going to change that today.

I love Sesame Street and have as long as I can remember. My parents tell me of how I used to dance on one foot to the opening song. I learned how to count to ten in Spanish amongst many other things watching that show. It is one of the only shows I remember from my childhood (that, and Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood), mostly because we only had four television channels in those days. The Christmas Eve special is one that we now own on DVD and watch every year...even before Ian and I had kids. One of my earliest memories was going to the "big city" Portland to see Sesame Street Live, parking in a parking garage (a big impression on a little girl from small-town Maine), and getting a huge button with all the characters on it. Even with the endless list of children's shows available to our kids now, Sesame Street is one that we watch on a regular basis. It has stood the test of time for over forty years and has changed with the times, but the lessons and messages that it promotes are those that I agree with.


Sesame Street Live
“Can’t Stop Singing”
Bangor, ME; Bangor Auditorium
Tuesday, October 30: 6:30 PM
Wednesday, October 31: 10:30 AM & 6:30 PM

About the performance:
When Elmo gets his furry fingers on Abby Cadabby’s magic wand, there’s something in the air - and Sesame Street becomes a nonstop, all-singing, all-dancing musical montage! Grover and Baby Bear sing their highs and lows, Cookie Monster sings fast and slow, Bert and Ernie converse in song and Murray makes mouth music for all to sing along! Learn why it feels good to sing a song, but why it feels good to stop, too! What will Elmo learn about the power of musical magic? Join the conga line of fun to find out!


How would you like to join me to go see Sesame Street Live? The folks at Sesame Street Live are offering a family pack of four tickets to one lucky Maine Mom on the Run reader. 


Entering is easy - just leave me a comment using the Rafflecopter widget below telling me who your favorite Sesame Street character is and why. Please include which showtime you would like, as well. This contest will run from October 25th to Sunday, October 28th at midnight EST. A winner will be chosen at random and notified by the morning of the 29th. 

If you don't win this contest, don't fret. You can still get discounted tickets!


$3 OFF EACH TICKET!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sesame Street Live "Can't Stop Singing" is playing at the Bangor Auditorium, October 30 &31!
Use the passcode ERNIE at ticketmaster.com to receive this special offer.
(Offer excludes Gold Circle & Sunny Seats. Not valid on previously purchased tickets. 
Cannot be combined with any other offer.)

Disclaimer: Sesame Street Live and VEE Corporation provided the tickets free of charge for this giveaway. All opinions are my own.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Well-Together Challenge: Conclusion

Week four of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care's Well-Together Challenge is now complete. Did you miss my previous posts? You can link to them here:


Last week, I chose to make Elle's Lazy Girl's Cordon Bleu

It was very easy to make and took very little time and preparation. First I sliced the chicken and stuffed a piece of honey maple ham and extra sharp cheddar inside each breast. I then coated each in plain bread crumbs and layered another piece of ham, roasted red peppers and more cheddar on top. Pop into the oven and wait! That's it! I served the chicken with rice and three-cheese focaccia, though it would have been good with a green veggie or small salad, but it was delicious all the same!


The boys liked it too!


This marks the official conclusion of the Well-Together Challenge, however it has inspired me to incorporate new meals into our family dining plan throughout the year. I hope it has inspired you as well. 

I want to thank Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Digital Influence Group for inviting me to participate in this challenge. I thoroughly enjoyed trying something healthy and new with the opportunity to share with all of you. Head over to see how Elle of Elle's New England Kitchen did with her getting back into the practice of yoga challenge.


I’ve partnered with Harvard Pilgrim on this sponsored post but the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. You can find more ways to be well at HarvardPilgrim.org/CountUsIn. You can also follow Harvard Pilgrim on Facebook and Twitter - use the hashtag #welltogetherchallenge for more tips on how to live well.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Hitting the Trails

I can't think of a better way to spend my birthday weekend than running a race. Technically, my birthday was yesterday, but the festivities continue this weekend with dinner with the girls tomorrow night and then we are running the Bond Brook Tread Fest 5-Miler on Sunday as Team Rail Trail Chicks.

Let's back up just a little bit. I first want to show you what I got for my birthday. 


And yes, I fired that baby up at 10:50 PM. And technically (geez, this post is full of technicalities), I won the Keurig in a drawing, but I'm counting it as the best birthday present because I didn't have to spend any of my own money to buy it...it was free!

Mmmm...chai latte

So back to this coming weekend. The Tread Fest is taking place at the Bond Brook Recreational Area on the trails through the woods of Augusta, ME.

I haven't run on trails since high school cross-country when I looked like this -

Circa 1994
When I had skinny legs and no butt.

Yikes - and no boobs either.
I might have had more speed back then, but I am certain I could beat my younger self endurance-wise. Needless to say, I am stoked about hitting the trails on Sunday with my girls for my first race post-marathon. See you at the finish line!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Well-Together Challenge: Week 3

I am now three weeks into the Well-Together Challenge with food blogger, Elle, from Elle's New England Kitchen. I have to say that I have really enjoyed trying out new recipes and so far we are two for two! You can read about my introduction to the Well-Together Challenge here and my week two recap here.

I decided to go with Elle's Tortilla Wrapped Burger recipe for week three's challenge to try adding new, quick, and easy meals that the whole family will enjoy. 

It's been a rainy October here in Maine, but that doesn't deter us from grilling up some great food. Luckily, the rain held off while I was outside preparing this fun and delicious meal!

I decided to make our burgers out of lean ground turkey to save some on the fat. I make some mean turkey burgers with ginger and spinach on a regular basis (I'll share that sometime), and I wanted to see how the turkey would translate into this recipe.

I first mixed in a packet of taco seasoning with the turkey and formed it into sausage shapes. Then, I tossed them on the grill. You can't get much easier than that!


After the turkey links cooked, I warmed up the tortillas, giving them a little bit of char...not too much, because I'm sure the boys would have complained about them being "burned." I used a store-bought whole-grain 12" tortilla.

Then comes the fun part of putting them together with whatever taco ingredients you like. We used spring mix, roma tomatoes, green chilis, and extra sharp cheddar. I added a little hot sauce to mine to give it a little kick. I did slice the turkey links in half (the longway) per Elle's suggestion, but if you wanted a meatier taco, going with a whole link would work out fine. And the size of the tortilla I used made it easy to create a burrito out of them to keep all the ingredients together while eating.


These were a hit with the boys! They basically deconstructed them to eat them, but they both cleared their plates and ate the leftovers for dinner that night!


Week Three Challenge - 

This week I will be making Lazy Girl's Cordon Bleu. I figure it's got to be easy with the word "lazy" in the title. 

Photo courtesy Elle's New England Kitchen
We do eat chicken a lot (because it's fairly cheap) and the boys love ham and cheese. How can I go wrong? You can find out next week in the conclusion of the Well-Together Challenge! Meanwhile, I invite you to go visit Elle and see how she's doing in my "Get Back to Yoga" challenge.



I’ve partnered with Harvard Pilgrim on this sponsored post but the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. You can find more ways to be well at HarvardPilgrim.org/CountUsIn.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Taking a Rest

It's now been eleven days since the marathon and I still haven't gone for a run. It's not that I haven't wanted to or that I haven't felt like I am physically able. I'm motivated to go, but it's been nice for the first time since I started running again in early 2011 that I am not training for anything. 

That's not entirely true. 

I am running in the Bond Brook Tread Fest 5-Miler on the 21st with my Rail Trail Chicks. I'm also planning on training for the Sugarloaf Marathon, but that's not until May and official training won't start for that until the last week of January. And I'm pretty sure there will be other races in between.

I have enjoyed staying up a little later and getting an extra hour of sleep in the morning. I've enjoyed not waking up to the aches and pains of plantar fasciitis now that I've taken a break from running.

I do think that when I start running again (next week, I promise), I need to follow a training program. I'm a list person and am better at getting things done if I have it down on paper. I have been really happy with the Run Less, Run Faster program and have used it throughout from the 5K all the way to the marathon. It works so well with my schedule and I think has helped keep me relatively injury free. I want to keep my mileage up through the winter months, but not as high as the marathon training, so I plan on following the half marathon program until the end of January. That sounds right, right?

I think I will be ready next week to start back up. I'm finding that I've got a shorter fuse since I haven't gotten my run in and the marathon high has worn off. I did watch Spirit of the Marathon on Netflix this morning for a little motivation and I've lived vicariously through my running friends in real life and in bloggyland through this little hiatus.

Have you ever taken a voluntary break from running or working out?


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Well-Together Challenge: Week 2

Last week, I began the Well-Together Challenge with food blogger Elle, from Elle's New England Kitchen. The Well-Together Challenge is sponsored by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and matches up two bloggers with the premise that they will challenge each other to try something new in health and wellness. I have challenged Elle to re-introduce yoga into her life through short sessions 3-4 times a week. She has challenged me to try new meals that are easy to prepare and the whole family will enjoy. For my post from week one, click here. You can find Elle's here

The recipe I wanted to try for the first challenge was her Supreme Pizza Soup. I'll cut to the chase...SO DELICIOUS!

I followed her recipe fairly closely, though I cut the amount of stock in half because my pot wasn't big enough. It still tasted fine and had a brothy consistency, but I had to add more liquid when we had it for leftovers.


It took me about an hour from start to finish, so it is a great meal to make on the weekend when you have a little more time to prepare a meal and then you have plenty of soup for the rest of the week. You could save a little time by not making the breadsticks from scratch, but we are used to making our own pizza dough. 


The best thing (and most importantly), is that the boys loved it! Using alphabet pasta is a great idea to get kids interested eating something new. They had the best time taking a spoonful and calling out the letters as they ate them. It was very cute to watch!


I highly recommend trying this recipe, we will definitely be making it again! The great thing is that you can alter it and put in any pizza ingredients you like. 

Week Two Challenge -

This week is a busy one (honestly, what week isn't?), so I wanted to choose something that would be easy to throw together. 

Introducing Elle's Tortilla Wrapped Burgers

Photo courtesy Elle's New England Kitchen
Even though I live in Maine and the days and nights have gotten cold, we grill year-round...even in the snow. Nuts, I know. What intrigues me about this meal is that the boys can put it together themselves, choosing what and how much to put in their tortillas. A twist on tacos and burgers! It is a very versatile recipe that can be adapted to individual tastes.

Check back next Tuesday to see how these came out and what is in store for week three of the Well-Together Challenge. In the meantime, visit Elle's New England Kitchen and see how she's been doing in her yoga challenge and for more recipe ideas for your own family!




I’ve partnered with Harvard Pilgrim on this sponsored post but the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. You can find more ways to be well at HarvardPilgrim.org/CountUsIn.