As a working mom, there are days when I feel like everything I do is either for my family or for my career. Two things I love, right? So that’s not totally a bad thing. But I realized recently that I need to work on my life balance a bit more and do some things that are just for me so I don’t go crazy. Any of you feel the same way?Which is why I started Tasty Oasis. You already know about my food obsession, but what you might not know is that before starting this project my understanding of all things technical was stuck around 1997. I just hadn’t made the effort to catch up to the 21st century, but that was getting old. It was embarrassing that when I got my new camera I didn’t even know how to transfer the pictures to the computer! I decided I had to get it together and make some changes. So I’ve thrown myself into creating this website. I could easily have asked Brian to set it up (after all, he’s this guy who can just decide to make a podcast and within weeks get a website up and have hundreds of downloads on iTunes.) But instead I’ve done the entire thing on my own. Sure, I probably spend too many hours reinventing the wheel, but I’m learning so much through the process. Widgets and plug-ins, and search engine optimization, oh my! And it’s mine, and that’s something I’m proud of.
The other thing I started recently is running. Whoa… Stop the presses. Those of you who know me are probably thinking you misread that last sentence. Karen and running are not two words that typically go together, unless you count “Karen’s running around like a chicken with her head cut off.” The last time I ran for any significant distance was through Central Park when Christo’s “The Gates” were up, and that was 2005! I ran five miles on a February morning with white glistening snow all around and bright orange flags blowing in the wind, and I felt like I’d conquered the world.
Jump ahead to six weeks ago: thanks to nine years without a consistent exercise routine, two kids and endless batches of chocolate chip cookies, I couldn’t run 60 seconds without being totally winded. So after years of Brian encouraging me to try the Couch to 5k program, I finally accepted the challenge. The idea is that within just nine weeks, anyone can build up to running a 5K, even someone like me who just doesn’t do that sort of thing. It’s not a huge commitment: just 30 minutes, three days a week. I downloaded this really helpful podcast from the National Health Service in the UK, and this lovely lady named Laura has been coaching me through every run. She plays music for me and acts as a cheerleader while I run laps around our local track. And guess what? On Sunday I finished week 6 and I ran 25 minutes without stopping! Me! I did it! I’m kind of amazed. If it hadn’t been for the voice coming through my headphones telling me to keep it up, I absolutely would have given up, because the voice in my head was trying to give me excuses to just take a break. At this rate, I will be ready for our town’s 5K on October 19th. (And now that I’ve put it out there to the world, I know there’s no turning back!)
And you want to know something cool? There is new research out there that says that chocolate milk is an ideal post-run recovery drink! Granted, they’re talking about long distance runners, and even though I don’t qualify in that category, someone else in my house does. So there has been a lot of chocolate milk going on over here. But not just any old store-bought chocolate milk, because that stuff doesn’t really appeal to the grownups here, and the ingredient list on the back of those cartons is just way too long. We’ve been making a rich and frothy healthy homemade chocolate milk that is so easy, and only has three ingredients. Skim milk, unsweetened cocoa powder (we like dark cocoa), and maple syrup. If you count ice as an ingredient, you can up it to four. It tastes decadent, but is only 162 calories. (Which may or may not be important to you.) So even if you aren’t running marathons, this is a treat you can feel good about.
If you’ve done the Couch to 5K program, or are thinking of starting, it would be great to hear about it in the comments below. And as always, if you try the chocolate milk, let me know what you think!
This rich and frothy Healthy Homemade Chocolate Milk is so easy, and only has three ingredients: skim milk, unsweetened cocoa powder, and maple syrup. It tastes decadent, but at only 162 calories it's a treat you can feel good about.
- 1 cup skim milk (or any milk you like such as soy, almond, and rice)
- 1 cup ice
- 2 Tablespoons (heaping) unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably dark
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
*Add more maple syrup to make it sweeter or more ice to dilute if it's too chocolatey. But is anything ever too chocolatey?
**No blender? Just mix the milk, cocoa and maple syrup together, and pour over ice. Start with 1 Tablespoon cocoa and see how dark you want to make it.