Iced Pumpkin Cookies

In celebration of the arrival of fall, my Mom and I made our Iced Pumpkin cookies on Sunday. We’ve made them every year in October for the past 7 years and I must say they were quite the confectionery delight. Notice I said “were”…;)

I took home 2 dozen cookie and now they are all gone 😦 I would eat one for breakfast, one after lunch and one right after dinner so they didn’t last very last long around me. I also shared them with with my co-workers so that helped out too. But I know that I did the most damage to that batch at home since my boyfriend isn’t a big fan of pumpkin – too bad for him but good for me! 🙂

I posted the recipe for you below. It is very simple and oh-so-worth it!

Pumpkin Cookies:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar (we replaced 1 cup of sugar with Truvia and you couldn’t tell the difference!)
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extractFrosting:
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (we used orange extract instead for a more citrusy flavor :)Happy Fall!!
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Goals

It’s about that time of year again. Time to break out my personal list of goals, cross out my accomplishments and start setting some new ones for the New Year.  I am a big “list” person and I love writing down my daily, weekly and yearly to-do’s.  I write them on legal pads, notebooks and post-its. I even typed, signed and notarized a personal goal list one year and gave it to my Dad for Father’s Day.

I feel that when I write my goals down on paper, I am making a commitment to myself and the universe to accomplish these tasks.  This not only keeps me motivated but it helps me clarify my ambitions and evaluate my priorities. It helps me focus and realize what’s truly important especially during the times when I feel like I am all over the place.  Plus, I love the satisfaction I get when I finally get to cross something off that list.

I am happy to say that I completed every single one of my goals on my list for this year and some of them were not easy tasks. But I made them happen and I am very proud : )

Below are some of my personal goal lists that I have made to myself over the years:

Here is another list I found in one of my old journals. I wrote this when I was in my 20’s, just graduated from college and was looking for my first job:

Treadmill & Strength Training Circuit Workout

So far this weekend is off to a great start.

First I would just like to say how pleased I am with this beautiful fall weather we are finally having. These past two days have been gorgeous with cool breezes and low humidity. Time to start breaking out the fall and winter clothes! Woo hoo!!

One of the many advantages of not going out and drinking on a Friday night is you get to wake up early feeling refreshed with no hangover. Oscar and I were supposed to go to the Due South Brewery for Oktoberfest last night, but since Oscar’s just getting over the flu, we thought it would be better to forego the booze and went out to dinner with friends instead.

This Morning’s Workout:

I started off with 10 minutes of cardio on the treadmill, followed by an interval of circuit training. Then I did another 10 minute round of cardio on the elliptical at a high resistance level, another strength training circuit workout then finished with another 10 minute round of cardio on the treadmill. I worked up quite a sweat and felt pretty good afterwards.

After my workout I went home, showered, got dressed and made myself a low-fat protein packed pumpkin smoothie.

Pumpkin Smoothie Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 very ripe medium-sized banana
  • 3/4 cup fat-free vanilla yogurt (I used Oikos 0% fat Greek vanilla yogurt)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

The pumpkin smoothie was spicy and delicious and perfect for a nice breezy fall morning. Then I walked down to the greenmarket with Oscar to pick up some veggies and herbs. Unfortunately, it started to rain and we didn’t have much time to linger so we headed home. And now I’m off to the salon to get highlights!!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Sprint Triathlon 3 Month Training Schedule

Sprint Triathlon 12 Week Training Plan:

A sprint triathlon consists of a ¼ mile ocean swim, a 10 mile bike ride, and is followed by a 5K run which is 3.1 miles. Although it’s a much shorter distance than an Ironman Triathlon, it’s still very challenging and will test you physically and mentally. If you are interested in doing one, I highly recommend it. It’s quite an amazing experience and a lot of fun. So give it a TRI : )

Here is my 12 week training program. I broke it down week by week and then recapped and summarized what I learned each month.

Month 1: I began my tri preparations by researching training plans and created an exercise calendar in google for each week. As soon as I registered, I invited my friends and even put together an event page on facebook so we could all share Triathlon information and schedule training meet-ups. I got up early in the mornings and ran on the treadmill and used the stationary bike inside the gym for an easy 20 minutes then added on 5 minutes each week. Then I trained outside during the week and weekends so I could get used to the heat. I continued with my regular fitness classes since they included cardio and strength training which I knew would help me with my endurance. I also incorporated weekly yoga into my training because not only is it good for your mind and body but it also helps to keep you calm and find your breath.

Month 1 – Training Schedule:

Week 1:  (7/2-7/7)
Mon Cardio and strength training class
Tues Bike  20 mins easy
Wed off
Thurs Run 20 mins easy
Fri off
Sat Bike: 60 min spin class
Sun mini indoor tri – bike, run and swim in pool

Week 2: (7/8-7/14)
Mon Cardio and strength training class
Tues Bike 25 min & Yoga 60 mins
Wed Run 25 mins
Thurs Chillengthen class – stretch and strength
Fri off
Sat Brick training: 30 min run & 30 min bike and yoga
Sun off

Week 3: (7/15-7/22)
Mon Cardio and strength training class
Tues yoga
Wed Bike 30 minutes
Thurs Run 30 mins
Fri Off – flew to Atlanta for my girlfriend’s bachelorette party
Sat Off
Sun Off

Week 4: (7/23-7/28)
Mon Cardio and strength training
Tues yoga
Wed Brick: Bike & Run 30 minutes each
Thurs step aerobics
Fri off
Sat spin class
Sun mini indoor tri: bike, run and swim in pool

Month 2 August– Month 2 started my brick training. Brick training is when you combine the Bike and Run training portion of the Tri and your legs feel like bricks afterwards. I also practiced my transitions and purchased my tri gear. I continued my fitness classes and tried to have fun and reward myself.  I got a little off track for a couple of weeks because of traveling and a wedding that I was in. It was a little hard to get back in but I stayed motivated and got my butt back on track. They say it’s better to keep up than to catch up and boy is that true!

Month 2 – Training Schedule:

Week 1: (7/29–8/4):
Mon
 Cardio and strength training class
Tues Yoga
Wed  Bike/Run 30 minutes each
Thurs Step class
Fri off
Sat off  Jaime’s wedding
Sun Swim

Week 2 – (8/6-8/12):
Mon off 
Tues shake – booty beat dance class
Wed off
Thurs Run: 3 mile
Fri off
Sat Bikespin class
Sun Brick work-out: 10 mile bike and ¼ mile swim

Week 3 – (8/13-8/19):
Mon Run 30 minutes on the elliptical
Tues 4 mile run with Alicia with Sprints
Wed off 
Thurs Bike 35 minutes
Fri off
Sat spin
Sun Mini Tri: Bike 20 min/Run 30 min/swim

Week 4 – (8/20-8/26):
Mon Cardio and strength training class
Tues off
Wed Bike and swim 30-45 mins
Thurs run – 30 mins
Fri off
Sat spin class
Sun off – hurricane day – purchased Tri gear

Month 3 – September: I continued with my brick training but focused more on my swimming and biking and the swim to bike transition. I also continued with my cardio and strength training classes. The second and third week before the race, I did mini tri’s on the weekends that followed the course as best as possible. I took it easy on the week leading up to the tri and reverted back to my Month 1/Week 1 work-outs. I also did a light and easy bike/swim brick the day before but didn’t go too hard. By the end of the month I was ready to get this Tri party poppin!!!

Month 3 – Training Schedule:

Week 1 – (8/27-9/2):
Mon
 Cardio and strength training class
Tues off
Wed AM strength workout
Thurs 5k run
Fri off
Sat Spin
Sun Bike and swim

Week 2 – (9/3-9/9):
Mon Strength/cardio training class
Tues off
Wed AM workout
Thurs  off
Fri Barre class
Sat Bike and swim brick
Sun 5K run

Week 3 – (9/10-916):
Mon off
Tues off
Wed Stick Pilates
Thurs Ballengthen
Fri Barre strengthening class
Sat off – FIU vs. UCF game!!
Sun off

Week 4 – (9/17-9/23):
Mon Run 20 minutes
Tues Bike
Wed off
Thurs Barre strengthening class
Fri Run 30 mins
Sat off
Sun mock tri!!!!

Tri Week: (9/24-9/30): Revert back to Month 1 Week 1 light training
Mon off
Tues Run 20 mins
Wed Bike 20 mins
Thurs off
Fri off
Sat 1/4 swim and 8 mile bike ride (light ‘n easy)
Sun Race Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For more information on sprint triathlon training tips, I recommend these websites:
http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/triathlon-training-plan
http://www.livestrong.com/sprint-triathlon-training/
http://www.triathanewbie.com/index.html

Tropical Triathlon 2012

Finally the day has arrived! I’ve been waiting for this day for two years and have been preparing myself for it both physically and mentally ever since the day I first heard about it.

It’s Sunday, September 30, the day of the Tropical Triathlon. The Tropical Tri is a sprint triathlon that consists of a 1/4 mile swim, 11 mile bike ride and a 5K which is 3.1 miles. The idea is to do them all consecutively with no break in between and finish as quick as possible. This competition has been held annually in Lake Worth, FL during the month of September for the past thirty years.

I began my formal training about three months ago. I even got my close friends and my boyfriend to do it with me. The training was challenging and physically demanding.  I had to get up early during the week and on weekends to train for it but I didn’t mind. All I knew was that when the day came, I wanted to be ready! And here it is!!

Oscar and I packed up the car the night before, laid out our clothes and our gear, and prepared a smoothie to drink in the morning for a light pre-tri breakfast. (I read that its good to have a breakfast and fuel up at least 2 hours before a race). We arrived at the beach where the event was being held at 5:45am, checked in and set up our transition area. Then we met up with our friends and made our way down to the beach just as the sun was rising to start the competition!!!


As the sun was starting to rise, we gathered on the beach while the official briefly went over the course and we sang the national anthem to kick-start the tri. All of the participants were divided into waves according to their age group and experience level and then each wave went out in 5 minute increments. The first wave of participants  took off right at 7am since they were the more advanced and experienced triathletes. Since we signed up as newbies, our wave began at 7:20am which was the last wave. So when the 7:20am whistle blew, we were off. The conditions were perfect but the swim was still tough since we were going against the current. Even though my friends and I actually over-trained for the swimming portion months before, I was huffing and puffing the whole time and felt very winded. But I got through it in 11 minutes! As soon as I walked onto the shore, I heard my name being called and when I looked up I saw that it was my friends and their family waving and cheering for me which gave me a much needed boost.

After the swim, I walked over to the transition area, cleaned off quickly and hopped on to my bike for an 11 mile bike ride (which included going over a bridge twice and two long loops through downtown Lake Worth). I loved the bike portion.  I got to see all of my friends as we passed by each other on the ride. Oscar was ahead of me but we rode by each other while we were going in the opposite direction and he gave me a high five and told me someone was waiting for me at the turn around point. And low and behold it was my Dad! I almost cried!

After the bike ride we went for a 3.1 mile run which took us over the bridge again and back and through Bryant Park. By the time, I started the run portion the sun was out in full force so it was HOT!!! My legs felt like jelly but they adjusted quickly and I was able to run most of the way but I had to slow down and walk at some points. I tried not to pay attention to how hot it was or how tired I was or what my time was and just enjoy the scenery around me. I looked at the intercoastal, the boats, the boardwalk, the birds, the shady trees and all the beauty that surrounded me and soon enough I was crossing over that bridge and reaching the end of the Tri.

As I approached the finish line, I saw my best friends waiting for me and cheering me on with signs and holding their cameras to catch me as I finished. It was such a nice surprise and a wonderful feeling to be so supported. Not to mention the feeling of accomplishment that was rushing through me and knowing that it was O-V-E-R!! I finished in an hour and 50 minutes. Not bad for my first tri!

Finish Line!!!

After the Tri, we all went to Howley’s Diner to celebrate our victory over breakfast. Oscar and I ordered pancakes, eggs and sausage and I had a couple of mimosas. Then we went home, showered and relaxed and watched football for the rest of the day. It was GLORIOUS!!!

I really enjoyed the Tropical Triathlon and I look forward to doing it again next year. It was challenging but it was also fun and a great way to show yourself what you’re made of!  If you are interested in doing a sprint triathlon, I highly recommend it. It’s an amazing experience.  If you are a Tri-Newbie, like me and you want to compete in one, you can check out my 3 month – week by week training schedule which I will be posting very soon!

In the meantime, I’ll be resting and recovering. Cheers!!