2016 Resolutions & Looking Forward to the New Year

Melissa Lopez from Cook Slow Run Fast jumping for joy in anticipation of the new year 2016.

Resolutions are a funny thing. Some people wait until January 1st of each year, and in one grandiose gesture, try to change EVERYTHING about themselves, only to realize by January 15th that they really hate running like a hamster on a treadmill and that cleaning out a juicer every morning is one of the worst tasks in the world. On the other hand, some people are vehemently against anything resembling a resolution and roll their eyes at anyone who buys the January 1st gym membership.

 

I suppose I stand somewhere in the middle. I believe that we should always keep learning and growing, that to not intentionally want anything new from the upcoming 12 months is like turning your nose up to lots of awesome self-discovery, good stories, and knowledge.

 

However, I have also learned that tons of unrealistic resolutions set at the same time won’t work either, and can overshadow other important aspects of your life.

 

For me, having a successful year is about identifying how I want to feel overall and being flexible enough to let life happen and guide me where I’m supposed to be.

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Holiday Exercise Tips | How to Stay in Shape While Traveling

Whether you’re going home for the holidays, or evading the end-of-year craziness by taking off on a December getaway trip, you don’t have to give up exercising just because you’re traveling.

Cook Slow Run Fast Running Around Washington DC and standing in front of the Washington Memorial
Exploring the National Mall in Washington D.C. last winter
If you’re like me, you love to be in new places and/or visit family, but you still want to keep your fitness routine going while not near your home gym. I’m one of those people who after missing more than three two days of working out finds it extremely hard to hop back on the gym train. So fitting in workouts when I’m traveling is a must-do, especially because my travel planslike any good food loveralways include partaking in the many delicious eats and drinks of a new place and/or home.

 

Here are some of my favorite ways to workout and stay active while traveling:

 

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How to Have a Healthy Thanksgiving

Eat pie and give thanks Thanksgiving illustration

Gluten-free stuffing recipes aside, Thanksgiving is a day to celebrate and (as the name implies) give thanks. One of my favorite ways to show gratitude is by honoring my body, savoring what’s on my plate (literally and figuratively), and making happy, healthy decisions.

Below are a few great ways to savor this fall holiday and enjoy a guilt-free, feel-good Thanksgiving.

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Tinker Bell 10K Race Recap

Tinkerbell 10K Jumping Photo

On Saturday, my sister and I ran our first Disney race in Anaheim, the Tinker Bell 10K. Can you tell from the picture above that we were pretty happy about it?

It was Mother’s Day weekend, so the two of us drove down from the Bay Area and picked up my mom from LAX on Friday night so that the three of us could enjoy the park together after the race.

Tinker Bell 10K starting line

The race started at 5:30 am, which is the earliest race start time I’ve ever had. Fortunately, my mom dropped us off at the starting line at 5 am to warm up and get into our corral.

FullSizeRender (10)

My sister and I started in Corral B together with the plan to stay together the entire race. The only race she had ever completed was a Color Run 5K, and she had never run 6 miles before, so she was a little nervous about finishing. Fortunately, I knew this wasn’t a race to speed through, understanding that there would be tons of people on the course and lots of photo opps, so we planned beforehand to just take it easy and stick together the whole time.Tinker Bell 10K in Front of the Castle

I have to tell you, it was surprisingly easy to run in a tutu. If you run a Disney race, my #1 advice is to wear a running costume. That, and stop for the pictures. No PRs in the happiest place on Earth!

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Half Marathon Training: See Jane Run Edition

girl running with dog drawing
Does drawing yourself running count as beginning to train for a race?

Do you know what I love more than running?

Chocolate and champagne.

Yes, dark, decadent chocolate and fizzy bubbles are a match made in heaven and always delicious, but they taste EVEN BETTER after running 13.1 miles. (I’m pretty sure this is like a scientific law or something.)

Fortunately, the folks at the See Jane Run series understand the amazingness of this trio and host an annual women’s half marathon in the Bay Area with chocolate and champagne at the finish line—the See Jane Run Half Marathon San Francisco.

The 13.1 mile course runs through Alameda, California with beautiful views of the San Francisco skyline, and while I’ve never run it myself, I’ve heard great things about it from others.

I signed up for the race last night and am putting in my first official half marathon training mileage after work today. EXCITEMENT!

The race is on June 21st, so that gives me 8 weeks to train harrrrrd. In the past, I’ve stuck to a 12-week training plan, so with only 2 months on the calendar, I definitely can’t let myself slip or skip too many runs.

Do you have a good 8-week half marathon training plan? Shout out if you’re also training for an upcoming race!

xoxo,

Melissa

P.S. Learn more about the See Jane Run Bay Area race; there’s also a 5k!

Slow Cooker Kalua Pork

slow cooker kalua pork

Today’s message is: “fake it ’til you make it.”

I’ve never been to a Hawaiian luau, and I’ve never seen nor enjoyed any bit of a whole pig smoked in a sand pit, but I made this kalua pork in my slow cooker yesterday and shamelessly admit to having firsts, seconds, and an extra bite or two as I wrapped up leftovers. Is this recipe authentic? No. Is it tasty. YES.

slow cooker kalua pork

Kalua pork is traditionally smoked in a sand pit with sea salt, banana leaves, and koa wood. When you don’t have the luxury of a sand pit, a slow cooker and a little natural liquid smoke can be a girl’s best friend. Simply toss three ingredients in a slow cooker before work (pork roast, Hawaiian sea salt, and liquid smoke), and by evening you’ll be saying mahalo to yourself for making such a smart, delicious decision.

slow cooker kalua pork

I was way lazy with this dinner, so I just paired the pork with sautéed bell peppers, a little quinoa, and some gluten-free soy sauce, which was perfect. Next time I make it (which will probably be sooner than I’d like to admit) I’d like to be more ambitious and try my hand at a pineapple quinoa “fried rice” to go along with it.

You can always slow cook the pork overnight too. In fact, the longer you cook it, the juicier and better it’ll taste. I’m going to use my leftovers by scrambling the shredded meat with eggs and veggies for weekend brunch.

Now go make this!

Slow Cooker Kalua Pork Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2-3 lb pork shoulder or butt roast, fat removed
  • 1 tbsp liquid smoke, hickory flavored
  • 2 tsp Hawaiian Sea salt

Directions

FYI, I just kinda eyeballed it with measurements. Wash and pat dry the pork, and place it in the slow cooker. Pierce the pork with a fork (that’s a funny thing to say), sprinkle with salt, and pour the liquid smoke evenly over the roast.

Close your slow cooker, and set the time for anywhere from 8-12 hours on low. When done cooking, shred with a fork and ENJOY!

(This entry was originally posted by me on my original blog What She Makes.)


Green Juice Recipe

green juice ingredients - kale, celery, apple, ginger, lemon, cucumber

I’ve been massively craving greens lately—kale, broccoli, and asparagus have been my favorites—but spending quality time in my kitchen has been on the back burner the last two weeks.

To balance out lots of evenings spent away from home (when satisfying greens aren’t always the most convenient), I’ve been trying especially hard to get my fair share of vegetables in before dinner.

Green juice to the rescue!

green apple

While I don’t like missing out on the fiber I’d get by eating my veggies whole, I personally feel invigorated after gulping a glass of green juice and find it to be a suitable substitute for healthy eating (errr sipping) on the go.

This juice recipe doesn’t taste “green.” In fact, it has a sweet, spicy, citrusy taste because of the apple, lemon, and ginger (an always winning combo).

I try to drink my juice within 12 hours of juicing, but it should stay good for up to a full day if stored properly. Also note, this recipe makes two servings, because I always make enough juice for myself and Michel. Feel free to half it for a solo serving, or just make two and have one for breakfast and one for an afternoon pick me up.

How do you balance out busy evenings away from home when cooking a veggie-loaded dinner isn’t an option? Do you make your own juice too? Have any favorite recipes?

healthy green juice in a mason jar

My Favorite Green Juice Recipe (Serves 2)
Ingredients:

2 apples (I prefer any green variety)

6-8 big kale leaves

1 small cucumber

4 celery stalks

I lemon, peeled

2″ piece of ginger, peeled

Directions:

JUICE! (Hint: put the apples through last for best results.) Pour into a glass and serve.

Feel like something a little thicker? Try my favorite green smoothie recipe instead!

baker cat sleeping

I hope you enjoy this recipe just as much as this sweet cat is enjoying her nap.

xoxo,

Melissa

Friday Favorites: Treat Yo Self Style

kind bar and coffee at starbucs

It’s a treat yo self while trying to accomplish as much as possible from a coffee shop kinda Friday.

What are you doing to make yourself happy today? Besides enjoying some of my Friday favorites below, of course …

  1.  Strong is the new pretty: This mom takes fierce and empowering photos of her daughters, and they’re amazing.
  2. Put an egg on it: Hands down the best life advice ever.
  3. Spring citrus kale salad recipe: Helloooo, lunch!
  4. Yoga poses to relieve stress: Enjoy some relaxing me-time with these gentle, restorative poses.
  5. The Bay Area’s best staircases: Incorporate these bad boys into your next outdoor run!
  6.  Shelter dogs in a photo booth: Get ready to squeeee your way through this article.
  7. 27 inspirational Ron Swanson-isms: Because, Friday.