March DegustaBox

March DegustaBox

How is March ALREADY AT ITS END?! How is my visit to see my cousin an event that occurred a little over a month ago, and did I really just run a sub-4:00 hour marathon only this past Sunday

Well, I guess we truly are approaching the end of March, seeing as I’m writing up another DegustaBox review! My box for March came packed with a bunch of goodies!

DegustaBox for March '17
DegustaBox for March ’17

There was a a good balance of sweet snacks and savory staples. Of course, I went for the sweet-flavored stuff first! This time, I went straight for the Loacker biscuits—“Gran Pasticceria Tortina Dark”

tortinadark-noir
A “Hazelnut Tartlet?”

This wafer-based biscuit is described as a “hazelnut tartlet” and has a smooth, creamy dark chocolate shell over a melt-in-your-mouth wafer cookie.

The chocolate is so smooth, you can read the lettering on the shell!
The chocolate is so smooth, you can read the lettering on the shell!

The other cookie-based snack was this bag of Mrs. Thinster’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Thins. Apparently more exotic flavors like Key Lime Pie and Cake Batter are available, but these chocolate chip crispy cookies irresistible.

cookie-thins
Mrs. Thinster’s Chhocolate Chip Cookie Thins

The chocolate in these cookies had a mild, sweet flavor, and a buttery, crisp cookie base.

cookiethins
Mrs. Thinster’s Chhocolate Chip Cookie Thins Close-Up

I was pleasantly surprised to find a full-sized, peanut butter and jelly-filled croissant among this month’s mix of items! The bread itself was sweet and soft, and reminded me of a cake you’d find in an Asian bakery.

7-days
7 Days Croissant Peanut Butter and Jelly

The filling on the inside didn’t look like a lot, but it was just enough.

croissant
A PB&J Croissant?? Which master genius came up with this idea 💡?!

I remember having the Sweet Oat & Flax Good Thins crisps as part of my December DegustaBox, and so I was elated to see that the sweet potato flavored ones were included in this month’s box.

sweet__potato
Nabisco Good Thins The Potato One ~ Sweet Potato

The sweet potato chips were light, crispy, sweet, and extremely light in density.

Boboli Pizza Crust was also included, and at first I was like, what am I going to do with this? Since I share a kitchen with an elderly couple (my landlords), I don’t do much heavy cooking. Plus, I wanted to see if I could utilize this large, dense disc of bread for a meal besides pizza…

boboli_crust
It’s hard to tell but there’s about half of a 12″ Boboli pizza crust at the bottom of this (what seems like) a veggie-dense bowl!

As a result, I added it to my usual veggie-dense crockpot dinner bowl, as well as into some split pea soup that also had tofu cubes thrown in.

soupand veg
Boboli crust in soup and with veggies (topped with mustard)

The crust was soft, chewy, not super cheesy (even though cheese strands were clearly visible), and I even had portions of this 12″ crust on its own when not thrown into the dinners seen above.

One item I didn’t particularly favor was this Lemoncocco drink:

lemoncocco
Lemoncocco

It has Italian origins, but the drink itself has a “milky” appearance. It is essentially coconut water with a hint of lemon, but I thought the citrus flavor was overwhelming and made the drink taste slightly bitter.

Another product I had an adverse reaction to were these Energems. At least I did at a previous time. With this in mind, I decided not to give these a try. I brought and left them in lab, and my co-workers made use of them—I think some of them benefited from the caffeine boost!

energems_
Energems, eh no thanks!

These quinoa bars were a favorite of mine!

barssss
Such pretty packaging colors & font!

They were lightly sweetened, and had a mix of textures, but they were still easy to eat. Not only were they easy to consume, but they were also colorful and the box had the most gorgeous packaging!

quinoabar
This Paul’s Finest Quinoa bar dazzles like a gem. And the fact that it’s sweetened with honey 🍯🍯🍯 ??? Aw man, so good!

The small box of Goya Quinoa Blend that contained black beans, bell peppers, and spices mixed with white quinoa and brown rice held enough grains to make four weekday lunches.

quinoablend
Goya Quinoa Blend

It was very simple to prepare with the microwave. I simply added a serving of the mix into a bowl, filled it to the level of the grains with water, and simply microwaved it from 7-12 minutes. I added a small, sliced Yukon gold potato that was also microwaved ~2 minutes. I cooled off the mix in the fridge in lab, took it out around lunch time, and any excess water that was there right after microwaving had been absorbed by the rice.

quinoa-and-potato
Taking some days off from running has helped me in regards to gaining some free time for meal prep! Vegetarian quinoa by Goya, mixed with a boiled potato has been working as a satisfying lunch 😋 helping me power through the rest of my work day 💪🏽

The potatoes did a good job of absorbing the flavors, and overall made for a nourishing lunch!

The last product in this month’s box I have yet to try is this chickpea pasta:

chickpea-pasta
Tolerant Foods Organic Chickpea Pasta

I plan to soak a serving in water overnight before I plan to use it for lunch, so that it can respond well to a spin in the microwave. I’ll have to add my own spices and toppings, but I think this pasta will be a new favorite of mine since I expect it to have a naturally nutty, rich flavor thanks to those baby chickpeas 🙂 !

Which would you rather try from the following: the quinoa snack bars or the quinoa-rice mix?

Being a SuperJane

Being a SuperJane

Firstly, I just wanted to say thanks for everyone’s support about the 10 miler. It had some good and bad moments to it, but I’ll delve into that later in this post :)!

Seeing that my first half marathon will be one of the See Jane Run races, I was incredibly excited when I learned I was accepted to be one of ten “SuperJane” Ambassadors. I first learned about this opportunity when the site was conducting a search for online bloggers, and I thought, why not give it a go?

SJR_Ambassador

I first learned about the See Jane Run races from browsing a few blogs about a year and a 1/2 ago, and after looking at their website, I was elated to find they had a popular Bay Area race. At the time, I wasn’t a runner (more of a jogger who was concerned about the calorie burn vs. the actual enjoyment of running), but I did sign-up to volunteer.

I was assigned for post-race clean-up so when I arrived at the race, everything was already in full-swing. I think the 5kers had just about finished, and were then just soaking up the sun and enjoying the post-race festivities. I remember seeing a stage where finishers could take post-race pictures, many vendor booths (Luna, FRS, and Pop Chips to name a few…), and even post-race massages (which I totally plan on taking advantage after my half marathon!).

Even though I wasn’t a serious runner at the time, I knew that I wanted to be a runner at this race, and I made the decision a few months later to sign-up for the following year’s half marathon…even before I had run my first 10k!! I figured that 6+ months to get ready would be enough time, and it was something I really wanted to challenge myself with.

So four 10ks later (five after this Saturday), I am nearing my first half marathon and I couldn’t be more excited (and I would be lying if I didn’t say nervous!!). I can’t believe that just eight months ago, I made huge changes in my outlook on running, and 13.1 miles doesn’t seem as impossible as I thought!

So how is my half marathon training going?

I am now in my 7th week of half marathon training, and overall, I would say I’m happy with my training so far. My weekly mileage has been lower than what I’ve been aiming for (I was looking at consistently running in the mid-to- upper 20s), often only getting to 18-20 miles per week. A lot of that has been outside fatigue from school stress, or lack of motivation to get a run in when I just want to be lazy on the couch for the rest of the evening. But I am willing to accept this, because not everything has to go according to plan in order to be successful.

What has been going according to plan are my scheduled long distance runs. I have successfully attempted and completed all of my scheduled LSD runs to date, and I feel accomplished for being able to push myself to tack on an extra mile each week…and not chickening out.

There was one thing I didn’t expect from this training however, and that was speed. I had one week during my training where I felt faster than ever before, and ran my fastest 5k in 27 minutes and something seconds! And I have been consistenly hitting a 9:30-9:50/mi pace with my shorter runs, so hopefully this is an indication that I’m doing something right with the LSD runs, and that my aerobic capacity and speed are benefiting because of them.

Even though my pace dwindles during my LSD runs, I see them as successes because I am able to complete them. Yesterday’s 10 miler, for example, seemed intimidating at first, but I had to keep that “one step at a time” thought in my head, and maintain focus.

I left the house around 7:15am in order to avoid the hot 90 degree temps that were forecasted for the day. I had my Garmin and MP3 charged and ready to go, and I ended up running loops on what is my usually 3 mi course. There was a nice, cooling breeze for about the first five miles, but then the weather started to get warmer so I backed off on my pace. The sides of my knees were also feeling tight, so I included some backwards and sideways running to give my quads a break.

By the time I came home, I chugged down some water and treated myself to some flavored coconut water. The electrolytes were seriously necessary.

O.N.E. Coconut Water Pink Guava - This was incredibly sweet...so sweet in fact that I couldn't even taste the coconut. I guess that could be a good or bad thing depending on your preference for coconut...
O.N.E. Coconut Water Pink Guava – This was incredibly sweet…so sweet in fact that I couldn’t even taste the coconut. I guess that could be a good or bad thing depending on your preference for coconut…

Even though the simple task of climbing stairs after my run yesterday felt so arduous, nothing beats the accomplishment of achieving a challenging goal.

Running 3.1 miles more than what I ran yesterday is much easier to visualize now. After reading this cute poem on the SJR website, one line really stuck with me:

If you can run a mile, you can run a [half] marathon.

While I did participate in athletics in high school, I never saw myself as ever enjoying it. But now, I’m running because I want to, love to, and because I seek challenges. I love the magic of morning runs and being able to take in the fresh air as the sun comes up. I love lacing up my shoes when I think I am most tired, and then busting out 3.5 miles in the evening just as the sun is setting. I love treating myself to naps, thumbing through running magazines while understanding the jargon, and dreaming about destination races. I also love the camaraderie and support runners have for one another, especially women runners.

I’m grateful for being able to represent See Jane Run, and having the opportunity to share my relatively nascent, but growing love for running.

The next few weeks will require some serious focus, dedication, and motivation, but it will all be worth it for the celebration :)!

If you’d like to learn more about See Jane Run and their races, you can read Jane’s story here.

When did you first realize your love for running?

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