My First Giveaway!

This is a big day in Chicken Nugget Girl land because this is my 100th post! That seems like a lot of posts of incessant ramblings. It seems like just yesterday I was gearing up for the Tough Mudder, and now I’m signed up to run my first half marathon!

So why do a giveaway? Because I can!

All the real bloggers have sweet giveaway after giveaway. I’m not cool enough to have a “real” giveaway yet, but I want to THANK YOU for reading!

That’s the awesome thing about blogging – you can write whatever you feel and do whatever you want with your tiny space on the internet. So however tiny it may be, I want to give back to you for taking the time to visit my internet space.

You are so important to me because you inspire me to run further and faster. You are my motivation to find new healthy recipes to make and explore a healthier lifestyle.

You’ve read about my obsession with BIC Bands, so I am giving one lucky reader (I’ve always wanted to say that) their very own BIC Band.

Before after 13.1

To enter:

  • Leave me a comment below telling me which BIC Band you would like to have from the BIC Bands website!
  • For an extra entry, follow @chickennug_girl on twitter and leave me a comment telling me that you did.

Giveaway ends on Wednesday, January 2nd at 11:59 pm. Winner will be chosen on Thursday, January 3rd.

This giveaway is only available for U.S. readers. The winning BIC Band will be shipped to U.S. addresses only. 

This giveaway is not sponsored by BIC Bands – it’s sponsored by ME! I was not compensated for this giveaway.

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I Have Lots of Exciting Things to Tell You

1. Christmas was awesome.

I spent Christmastime surrounded by family and friends and it was perfect!

It also helped that Santa was overly generous to me – he must be excited that I started running this year or something. I almost felt a little guilty that I got so many sweet goodies. I’m sure they’ll all pop up on CNG at some point, but I’ll highlight a few of my favs because I am so excited to use them that I’m debating squeezing in runs this week at an ungodly hour.

So without further ado, some of my amazing gifts:

    • Foam Roller

And not just any foam roller, but a fancy foam roller from Trigger Point. Thanks, Mom!

I was so eager to start foam rolling that I immediately did on the floor in front of everyone on Christmas morning. Until a little birdie stole it from me!

bfoamroll

I was completely blown away that my dad got me the Garmin Forerunner! I am dying to use it. Saturday long run, here I come. Slash I may just wear it at all times because I am in love.

For once I won’t have to study satellite images of the specific arrangement of foliage on mapmyrun.com to determine how far I need to run/ran.

2. I am officially signed up to race a new distance.

13.1When my friend Mal told me that she was going to run the Anthem Half Marathon in March and asked me if I wanted to run too, I didn’t hesitate to register!

Eeek!

I am slightly terrified but also really excited.

The Anthem Half is on the same day/course of the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach. You can see the beach from the course and it’s supposed to be really flat, which is absolutely necessary. I don’t want a repeat of the Tough Mudder where I sucked it up running-wise on the rolling hills of Crumland Farms.

The Shamrock Marathon weekend is so legit that there is even a race expo! I’m finally going to get to see all the cool booths and gear that real running bloggers talk about.

I never thought sprinter me would even want to run a half marathon – ever. But I do! I’m pumped to have a new race and new distance to train for that will really challenge me.

Did you get or give any cool running gear this Holiday season?

Tell me what race/event you’re signed up for next!

Dark Chocolate Turtles

I hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday!

Here’s a little snack that I brought to my family Christmas party yesterday. These tasty turtle bites are just a little bit of an indulgence before gettin’ serious about healthy eating when the New Year comes.

Between prep and cooking, these babies only take a few minutes until you can shovel them into your mouth by the handful.

pecanturtle2This recipe was adapted from SELF magazine.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 16 mini whole wheat pretzels
  • 16 dark chocolate-covered caramels (like Rolos)
  • 16 pecan halves

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place wax-paper on a baking sheet. Spread pretzels on the baking sheet.

Plop a chocolate caramel on the center of each pretzel.

Cook in the oven for 2 minutes – you want the chocolate caramels to be a little soft, but not too melty!

Remove tray from oven and add pecan halves on the top of each chocolate covered pretzel.

Put the tray in the freezer for 10 minutes to harden.

pecanturtle3Super easy and delicious. Yum!

Thanks as always to Jenn @ Peas and Crayons for hosting What I Ate Wednesday!

Miss Shirley’s Cafe

When I made plans to go to brunch on Sunday with my dear old friend Nancy and some buddies in Baltimore, I secretly hoped we would go to my FAVORITE place in the entire city.

I knew I could count on Nancy to feel the exact same way that I do about Miss Shirley’s Cafe.

missshirley'soutsideSometimes there can be a long wait, but on Sunday we were in luck and snagged a table right away.

Please observe the best bread in the world:

funkymonkeybreadYes, that is bread. A.k.a. the most delicious giant cinnamon bun around.

missshirley's menuNancy kept warning me, “This is not clean eating…this is not clean eating!”

Sometimes you just gotta eat dirty.

Nancy went big and got the house special recognized by Food Network: Shirley’s Affair with Oscar.

The menu lists it as: 5 oz. Beef Tenderloin filet, topped with Asparagus, Jumbo Crab Meat & Hollandaise Sauce, on Fried Green Tomatoes & Savory Grits with Diced Bacon, dusted with Old Bay.

shirley'saffairwithoscar

Nance liked it, but kind of wished she had ordered her usual, chicken and waffles.

chickenandwafflesThanks for letting me annoyingly take pictures of your food, guys. 🙂

southwestomeletsI couldn’t decide what to get! There were so many dishes I wanted to order (and that’s sayin’ something, coming from me.)

I finally settled on the Chesapeake Club.

Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, Shrimp Salad, Bibb Lettuce, Applewood-Smoked Bacon, Red & Yellow Tomatoes, Avocado, Old Bay Remuloude on Sourdough Toast, dusted with Old Bay.

grits

Oh yeah, and grits with bacon on the side.

I am still dreaming about this sandwich. It was love at first sight.

2012-12-16 16.01.45

Thanks as always to Jenn @ Peas and Crayons for hosting What I Ate Wednesday!

P.S. Help! I need healthy holiday party recipes. Do you have any favorites?

Healthy Living Holiday Wish List

I love looking at other bloggers’ Holiday wish lists, so I decided to share mine with you!

Maybe it will give you some ideas for gift giving for your healthy living/run-obsessed friends – or for you to ask for! In my fam, if you don’t provide a list of present options for people to get you, you’re in big trouble.

  • Garmin Forerunner 10 GPS Watch

Ok, so I didn’t quite ask for this specifically, because it has the price tag is a little steep at $130, but this would be my dream watch. My stopwatch unfortunately died in Brazil due to a tragic nail polish explosion.

According to amazon.com, this new Garmin Forerunner has:

  • High sensitivity GPS receiver
  • Records position, speed/pace, distance and calories
  • Easy-to-use, button operated
  • Virtual Pacer compares current pace to target
  • Auto Lap and pause.

Perhaps this one shall have to wait until my birthday. 🙂

  • BIC Bands
Apologies for this odd pic. I was cold on Rockville 10K day.

Apologies for this odd pic, but it’s a good BIC Band shot. I was cold on Rockville 10K day.

I am one of those people that has to have everything feeling PERFECT during a run. If my shoelaces aren’t tied at the right level of tightness I have to stop and re-tie. I know, I’m slightly cray cray, but please tell me you do this too!

Anyway, I’m the same way about my hair during a run. It MUST be out of my face. My friend Mal got me a BIC Band for my birthday last year, and now I can’t run without one! They stay in place so you don’t have to be constantly messing with your ponytail like I am forever messing with my running wedgies. Sorry in advance to anyone ever running behind me on a treadmill.

Not only are BIC Bands cute and relatively inexpensive, a portion of funds are donated to charity.

Speaking of running wedgies these are apparently the solution to them.

Many runners swear by them – the only problem is that they’re about the same price as my monthly electric bill. I guess lights and heat are more important in my life than not having running wedgies (right now.)

  • Magazine subscription to Runner’s World
  • Foam Roller

I have grown tired of using the one at the gym, especially after sweaty people. Gross. I would also like to foam roll with a glass of wine in hand for the entirety of every Real Housewives episode.

  • Chia Seeds

Let’s cut to the chase: chia seeds are damn expensive. Instead of buying a packet of chia seeds from Whole Foods that will last you 10 overnight oat jars for $12.99, order them in bulk here like my Mom does.

Though – I wonder if you could grow chia seeds from the hair on a Chia Pet. That would be both cost effective and beneficial to my apartment decor. Looks like I have some research to do….

What is on YOUR healthy living Holiday wish list?

Le Pain Quotidien

Or as I still call it, “Le Puh puh qwah qwah,” since I cannot pronounce the name of this restaurant if you paid me.

The Saturday we got back from Brazil, I had to immediately brag about our trip to some of my fam.

We went to Le Pain Quotidien for brunch. I had never been there before – and it was good! Basically a fancy pants Panera that is more of a sit-down restaurant with communal tables.

The only downside was their small servings, but it’s all organic and moderately priced.

I started with some apple cider.

appleciderThere weren’t any handles! Guess it’s a French thing.

My mom got a fancy turkey and avocado sandwich.

momsandwichmomsandwich2I stuck with some hangover comfort food, and ordered french toast.

frenchtoastMy lil’ cuz ate half of it, so we ordered a second round! 🙂

Le Pain Quotidien looks a little bit like Beauty and the Beast on the inside with it’s provincial French decor (I need to start taking pictures of things other than my food!)

Tuna got the Spanish omelet and I was jeal. I wish the omelets I make would look like that!

tunaslepain

Thanks as always to Jenn for hosting What I Ate Wednesday!

What is your favorite brunch spot?

Best comfort food. Ready….go.

 

Lessons Learned in Traveling

Lately I’ve been turning to Tuna and pouting. He knows that means I’m missing our Miami/Brazil trip. Our trip was awesome.

In Miami, we went on a boat tour in the Everglades and saw real live alligators!

20121119-110303.jpgAnd in Brazil we did lots of site-seeing and climbed up Corcovado.

Tuna made me do it.

Tuna made me do it.

orchidintree

Orchids grow in the trees! Seriously?

Oh, I also stuffed my face with delicious salty breads, flavorful meat, and stiff drinks.

20121118-141939.jpg

…and potato prepared in every way imaginable

When we got home, I reluctantly weighed myself with one eye closed. I was thinking it would be about +7or 8 lbs. I peeked at the scale, and frowned in disbelief! I only gained half a pound throughout our entire trip. We did walk a lot and – we did sweat a lot.

Lesson learned: you aren’t going to blow up and die if you indulge and eat everything in sight once in a while.

It was also nice to be reminded of certain foods I haven’t utilized in awhile by the restaurants we went to and the meals served by our hosts.

Tuna’s sister whipped up a fruit smoothie for us that I’ve already made a bunch of times since I’ve been home.

tropical smoothieTropical Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1/3 cup blueberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1/3 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 4 ice cubes

Another lesson learned: trying new foods doesn’t have to be scary. If you try something and don’t like it, you don’t have to eat it.

I tried a shit ton of new foods on the trip. And I actually liked…..some of them.

I genuinely liked, would make for myself, and enjoyed eating:

  • green curry
  • fried yucca
  • mango

20121120-185729.jpg20121120-185718.jpg

  • chicken empanadas

20121120-185642.jpg

  • white beans
  • guava paste
  • figs
  • pecan pie

pecan pie

  • farofa
  • päo de queijo
  • pipoca
  • churrascaria
  • cachaça

Ok, not my favorite, but edible:

  • feijoada
  • collard greens

full feijoada2

I did not like; no thanks:

  • goat cheese
  • kielbasa
  • creamed kale
  • airplane food
  • guaraná (soda)
  • mushrooms
  • papaya
  • ham
  • sweet potato soup
  • ground beef empanadas

25 new foods tried, only 1 million to go!

What’s a lesson you learned while traveling?

Yes, I Ate That

We woke up Saturday with a cloud of doom over our heads because it was our last day in Brazil!

Our flight left Saturday night, so we had to cram in lots of fun stuff for the day.

Tuna’s parents took us to a local favorite for lunch called Academia de Cachaça. Let’s back up a hot sec and explain the importance of cachaça.

Cachaça (basically Brazilian rum) is the type of liquor in a caipirinha, the national cocktail of Brazil. As someone who only likes alcoholic drinks that you can’t taste the alcohol in, I wholeheartedly endorse caipirinhas.

Just add ice, sugar, and limes to cachaça and you’ll be good to go. Meaning – one caipirinha will have you tripping down the curb back from Plataforma.

Now you understand that the Academia de Cachaça would naturally have the best caipirinhas in Rio. Which was good because I needed a slight buzz in order to muster enough courage to try, “the one dish you have to try while you’re Brazil.”

When Tuna found out we were having feijoada, the national meal, he immediately turned to me in terror.

feijoadaFeijoada is a stew of beans made of pork and beef.

His parents asked me, “do you like soup (stew)?” No.

Ok….“do you like beans?”

No.

Hmm…well…“do you like pork?”

Noo.

I do like bacon though. I prayed pork translated to a few bacon bits sprinkled on top of the feijoada.

Alas, that was not the case.

feijoadastewYes, I ate that.

Luckily, you get to mix feijoada with cooked greens, orange slices, and farofa. I knew I liked farofa from the night before at the churrascaria. Farofa is manioc (yucca) flour cooked in butter and olive oil. It kind of tastes like nothing. Perfect.

side dishOh, and white rice. The item that my Chinese order for ten years of my life solely consisted of.

rice Tuna’s dad took pity on me and scooped me out a conservative portion of feijoada with just the beef tenderloin.

full feijoadaGuess what?

full feijoada2I ate it all.

I cleaned my plate. And it was even pretty good! It wasn’t my favorite meal I’ve ever eaten, but I did like it and I’d eat it again.

Even I was impressed with me.

After we rolled ourselves home from lunch, it was time to pack up and cry head out to our last vacation activity.

We had the national cocktail, the national dish, and now it was time for “the national passion,” according to our driver, Tomás.

A football game!

Er… as we Americans call it – soccer.

The game was the best rivalry in Rio: Flamengo vs. Vasco.

fieldFlamengo has the largest fan base in Rio and their club is in Tuna’s parents’ neighborhood, so they had our allegiance!

soccergameThe only time I was scared during our stay in Brazil was on our way into the stadium. The fans get really crazy and police with giant shotguns were running towards crowds of people. There was a lot of shouting and shoving going on.

But as soon as we got to our seats, the friendly rivalry resumed with the sound of Brazilian drumming in the Flamengo section.

gameThough we had to leave after the first half to catch our plane, it was a pretty great way to end our amazing Brazilian adventure.

Ciao, Rio!

Thanks as always to Jenn for hosting What I Ate Wednesday!

Dancing Queen

Can we just look at the view from our window in Brazil again? It makes me happy. Slash it will be the background of my phone/computer forever.

view2Friday – the day after Thanksgiving – was our last full day in Brazil. We started our packed day of sightseeing early with a boat tour of Rio on Guanabara Bay.  Isn’t the boat cool looking?

boatWe got there just in time to hop on the boat and elbow people out of the way to get good seats on the uncovered front part on the left. We had tons of cray tourists from different countries sitting near us. The Italians were especially booze-tastic, and sang lots of songs in Italian for us. Loudly.

The first part of the tour approached Sugarloaf. Can you see the cable car lines?

boatrideHere’s a sick view of the city and landmarks! Sugarloaf is on the left and Corcovado is the pointy mountain to the right of the middle of the picture. Hmmm..maybe I should change this picture to my phone/computer background forever…

rioHere you can see a little more of the city. FYI – Rio is massive, if you haven’t figured that out already! The current population is about 6.3 million people. Just to give you an idea – that’s twice as many people as L.A.

landscaperio

meonboat

Hey, fisherman!

fisherman1For some reason, I was obsessed with this quaint little church on the side of a mountain.

church2Let’s be honest, it’s probably because it looked exactly like the church on the mountain at the end of Mamma Mia.

Don’t you think? I think.

church3After our boat tour and a yummy lunch at the French bistro, Guy, we forced Tuna to do some mandatory souvenir shopping.

Then it was time to get ready for dinner at a churrascaria (steakhouse) and Plataforma, a dance show featuring the famous Brazilian mulatas.

beforeplataformaThe churrascaria was right up my alley. We had fire grilled steak, potatoes, and my favorite, päo de queijo (cheese bread). I think I could win a päo de queijo eating contest.

We finished dinner and headed upstairs to the stage.

plataforma1The mulatas were so good! Kind of weird that they were a little scantily clad, but you got used to it after a few dances.

I liked that they weren’t super skinny – they were curvy and healthy looking. Perhaps I shall add the stair climber to my cross training…

plataforma2My favorite act might have been the guy dancers doing an ancient karate type number with lots of flips.

plataforma3plataforma4plataforma5The Carnival act was pretty cool too.

carnivalWhyyy didn’t I get an ab workout from her before we left?!

mulata

If you won a eating contest, what food would it be?