Why the blog?

I write as the Spirit moves me. I have prayed about what I'm supposed to do with my life a lot. A lot. Writing. Writing is what I believe God is leading me to do. Whether or not He wants me to write for anyone to read is His business. Much of my writing has been therapy for me so maybe I'm the only one who is supposed to read it. So, why the Blog? As a sounding board, a note pad, a place to keep my ideas and thoughts. A place to share and promote my books, and photography. Written prayers, a place to vent. Possibly, even a place for the unknown reader to learn about the love of Jesus.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Goji Berry Muffin

Do you know what a Goji Berry is?  I had never heard of it until recently.  According to Wikipedia:  
Gojigoji berry or wolfberry is the fruit of Lycium barbarum (simplified Chinese宁夏枸杞traditional Chinese寧夏枸杞pinyinNíngxiàgǒuqǐ) and Lycium chinense (pinyingǒuqǐ), two closely related species of boxthorn in the Nightshade familySolanaceae. The family also includes the potatotomatoeggplantbelladonnachili pepper, and tobacco. The two species are native to Asia.[1]

I've only eaten them dried. They have a mild flavor somewhere between a raisin and a dried cherry.  They are quite chewy all by themselves.  I've started incorporating the berry into my granola, #Runergy bars, pancakes, and muffins.  They are brightly colored, and mixed with pistachios or pumpkin seeds remind me of Christmas.  

Below is my Goji Berry muffin recipe.  Enjoy!!

1/2 c all-natural applesauce
1/2 c raw, local honey
1/2 c canned coconut milk
1 ripe banana
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c whole wheat flour
1-1/4 c rolled oats (I use Quaker old fashioned)
1/2 c raw cacao beans
1 c dried Goji berry

Put all of the wet ingredients in a large bowl.  Grind the oats and cacao beans.  Chop half of the Goji berries (optional).  Add all the dry to the wet.  Spray muffin tin with non-stick spray.  

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Enjoy!

Options:  Use chocolate chips instead of cacao beans.  Add 1 to 2 tsp Espresso powder.  Leave out the chocolate/cacao and add another fruit like blueberries or apples.  Go vegan by using Agave, add chopped raw nuts such as almonds, pistachios, or pumpkin seeds.  

Goji Berry Muffin

Goji Berry Muffin hot out of the oven.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Road to Deseret doesn't end at the Finish Line

It is hard for me to fathom that it has been ten days since my 6th marathon.  Six!  I still remember my first and the vow to NEVER ever run a marathon again.  Today, after six I cannot wait until the next and am daily searching for where and when.  Who's the lucky city? State? Country?  Lucky for me, that is.  On the calendar now is the Disney Glass Slipper, a 10k on Saturday followed by the half marathon on Sunday.  I will have to be satisfied with that and focus on getting faster in the half...for now....

We left off on my last post, The Road to Deseret, on workout day June 3rd.  I kept a loose log after that as follows:

6/5 8.5 mile run.  Had some ankle pain.  Walked 6.5 miles.
6/6 stadium circuit x8, total 4752 steps (stair steps)
6/8 run, didn't log the distance
6/9 to 6/15  trip to Panama.  I went on two mountain hikes.  No run. Lots of walking.
6/17 Core, treadmill with the back end hiked up on cement blocks
6/18 20 miles on the West Orange trail.  It was hot!
6/19 walked to the high school track for stadiums.  It was locked up.  Walked home and did treadmill, strength for hip and core.
6/20 treadmill walk with negative incline (because my race is downhill)
6/21 9 miles.  Sprint intervals then 1.5 miles on treadmill.
6/22 9 miles then 2.5 miles on treadmill
6/23 core and strength
6/26  24.3 miles HOT!  Can you tell I'm preparing for a heat wave?
6/27 ITB routine from StrengthRunning.com
6/28 - Guess what I did?  Kicked a plastic stool in the kitchen and broke right 4th toe. Gimme a break!!
6/29 6 mile sprints, squats.  I'm so used to broken toes, it doesn't slow me down.
6/30 Core workout.  Treadmill neg and positive inclines
7/1 Sprints to prepare for 4-mile race
7/2 walk
7/3 2-mile job with my husband 
7/4  Race!  4-miler  32:43.  2nd in age group.
      Okay, there's a story here that goes like this.  During the race I see a lady whom I've seen run in my neighborhood many times.  She's frail-looking and has an awkward gait.  Around mile 3 she catches up to me and we run together until the last turn to the finish line.  I think to myself, "she's not in my age group, there's no one else around and I'm well below my goal time.  I'll coast."  Joke is on me.  She IS in my age group, younger than me by 4 years. So I'm at the top of the category and she's at the bottom.  I could kick myself!!!  

After the race, I noticed a vendor, looked like a sports therapist, trainer, or masseuse.  The race director had never allowed vendors before (I know him personally) so, curious, I talked to the guy.  His name is David Petersen.  See the link for full info.  He tested my core strength, which I think is good.  I was wrong. I made an appointment to see him because I had been having left foot and ankle pain along with right hip pain.  I had been thinking about seeing a sports physician.  Knowing Jerry Pegram and gut instinct, I made an appointment.  David is unconventional and his methods work!   He uses acupressure and posture training. (See his link for further information).  Long story short, after five sessions I had no more stiffness, much, much less pain, and I was taller (yes taller) and running faster.  

My training continued with runs 3-4 days a week with the long runs generally on Friday.  The Florida heat and humidity kept me from running as far or as fast as I would have liked, However, after my sessions with David I was feeling much healthier.  That gave me confidence.  

The hubby and I left for Salt Lake City in the wee hours of July 18.  Arrival was hours earlier than hotel check in time so we decided to head over to Antelope Island.  My mother told me about it a while back.  I like islands, animals, and hiking.  Perfect place to stretch my legs after our flight.  See my YouTube videos #1 and #2 for video and stills of the island and stills of the rest of my trip, except the race.  I video the course from the car, however, I didn't like they way it turned out. Too much car in the video.  I should have placed the GoPro on the dash instead of holding it out the window.

Tuesday and Wednesday I ran on and near the race course to get accustomed to the altitude.  So pretty! And so difficult!  Going uphill at altitude gets you winded quick! Thursday was my 50th birthday.  We spent it doing as little as possible gearing up for the big day.

The race itself was awesome!!  We took a bus from the university stadium to the start line at the top of the mountain.  At 3:30 am.  AM!  I planned ahead and kept my clock set to Florida time.  My body felt like it was 5:30 am.  My meals and sleep were also kept to Florida time.  Bed at 7 pm (Utah time), awake at 3 am, breakfast at 3:30, lunch at 9 am, etc.  This kept my internal and externals right where I needed them to be. (Runners know what I mean). 

I joined the 4-hour pace group hoping to qualify for Boston.  Realistically, I knew it was not likely since my prior fastest time was 4:36.  I stayed right with them until just past mile five when we hit the uphill.  I had never run uphill at over 6,000 feet.  I slowed and never caught back up.  

My pace group was within site until we got into the city.  They were my rabbits and I was chasing them down!  It worked, too, because I finished with a time of 4:10:35!  Blasted 26 minutes off my time.  Hu Ya!!! as they say in the Marines.  Great race.  I expected heat, only got up to about 80 and almost no humidity.  The lack of humidity was a hindrance for the last half hour.  Made it difficult to swallow.   

The event itself was well organized.  The route was clearly marked with plenty of volunteers and police to keep us on course.  I didn't see many port-o-potties but then again, I didn't need them so I wasn't really looking.  Water stops were stocked with volunteers and with water and sports drink.  At on point, near mile 20 or 22 a mom and her little boy handed out ice water!  Ice water!  I grabbed a glass and stuffed my mouth with ice.  The crowd at the finish line was loud, cheering me on.  The last corner I was out of breath and walking until a woman yelled, "only 800 yards to go!"  I yelled back, "seriously?"  She confirmed and I ran to the finish.  My husband said the DJ announced my name and wished me a belated birthday.  That was cool.  I didn't hear it, but it was cool just the same.  I was handed a water bottle, a finisher medal and grabbed a banana after crossing the finish line.  Then, here's a really neat aspect that I didn't expect.  At the results tent, a monitor listed the top three in every age category.  I saw my name and nearly fainted.  Inside the tent I went to a computer and typed in my bib number.  A little machine printed up my time and placement immediately.  I then showed that paper to a woman at the next tent and she gave me my 3rd place award.  Super high tech!  Buses shuttled us back to our car at the stadium.  Overall, I was impressed with the race.  My strength training and downhill running paid off.
Finisher award and Garmin time

I was in shock when I saw this!


What to do after accomplishing a huge goal?  Why go to a ropes course in Park City, Utah at the Olympic training facility of course!

It's been a trip, a journey, an adventure, and a birthday celebration that I will never forget.  My husband has been my support team and my cheerleader the entire time.  Oh, I have to give him props, too, for signing up for the 5K.  He said he needed something to do while I ran.  Go Mark!  I love that man.

What should I do next?  I'm up for suggestions.

I also have to give all the glory to my God without whom I would not be breathing much less running down mountains.  

Hebrews 12:Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

1 Corinthians 9: 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Crossing the finish line, see video below

Monday, July 13, 2015

Cookie Please...

I have been doing a lot of baking lately.  Perfecting older recipes, trying out new ones.  I'm getting ready for my 6th marathon and I want to make sure my energy bars are 'just right'.  I also want to see how they travel.  On my recent mission trip to Panama I took several of my Fruit and Nut granola bars and they were delicious from home, to airplane, to El Valle, and back on the plane.  I'm sure my recipes aren't 'new' or 'revolutionary', however, I do know they are delicious! 

My newest endeavors have included spaghetti squash, a pineapple and coconut desert that's not quite ice cream, not quite pie filling - but YUM, and cherries.  Have you ever tried to pit a half-dehydrated cherry?  Still working on figuring that out.  Long story short, I didn't want to buy pre-dehydrated cherries because they are coated with sugar and other junk I don't want.  The grocery store I use featured cherries one day so I bought a big bag.  They were not pitted.  I've dehydrated frozen and they seep juice everywhere.  To prevent loosing any goodness I dehydrated them with the pits in, for 10 hours, then cut them in half, dehydrated another 2 hours, then removed the pit.  There's got to be an easier way!! 

Below are pictures and a few of my newest recipes. The explanations are pretty quick because I've gone into greater detail on similar blog posts.  If you'd like more details message me and I'll be glad to do a step-by-step how to.  If you want a cook-booklet, send $6.00 to my Paypal account (freedspirit05@me.com).  It's not fancy, but all the recipes are in one place.  

Spaghetti Squash

First up - Spaghetti Squash.  I've always wanted to make it but was a little afraid. I'm not a huge...okay so normally I dislike squash.  Avoid it at all costs.  However, in the attempts to broaden my horizons I tried it.  Simply cut the squash down the middle, drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, maybe a little garlic, turn upside down (opposite of this picture) and bake at 350F for an hour.  Turn over and scrape the flesh with a fork and it looks like spaghetti.  It does have a bit of a crunch and needs salt.  I like to put my favorite red sauce on top, just like regular spaghetti.  It's good! Filling, too.  

Flat bread
Whole wheat flat bread
I bought a handy, dandy tortilla press to help me make flat bread.  You can make with any type of flour, white or wheat, with our without yeast. (the one on the left has yeast).  Simply mix together 1 coup flour, 1/4 to 1/2 cold water, 1 tsp olive oil, and a pinch salt.  Knead, roll into 1/2 inch sized balls, cover the press with plastic wrap and press.  Not too hard, you don't want it paper thin.  For a cracker bake at 225F for 45 minutes.  For a softer bread bake at 350 for 5-10 minutes.  If  you use yeast, use my whole wheat bread recipe and let proof twice. Once in ball form, and once after pressing.  It will rise a bit and get a big air bubble in the center.  Make a pita type pocket bread. 


These are my post-run smoothies.  I do a wide variety, depending on my mood.  First take a dozen or so ripe bananas, peel, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze.  Use one banana, and fruit of choice, add a handful of raw nuts.  Optional - a handful of raw spinach, 1/4 cup cacao powder, 1 Tbs natural peanut butter.  For the liquid add about a half cup of unsweetened regular almond milk.  About to the middle of the blueberries in the picture, enough to get the blender moving but not so much the smoothie is runny.  

 Apple muffin.  I had an apple and wondered what to do with it.  Did I want pancakes? No.  So, I took whole wheat pancake mix, added a cup of ground oats, an egg, some almond milk.  Then I took an apple, chopped it up fine.  Put some in the grinder and made apple sauce.  Ground up some almonds, threw that in.  Yummy!  Don't be afraid to get creative with your food.

Coconut delite
Coconut delite

I don't remember where I got the base recipe for this one.  I had a whole coconut and wanted ice cream.  Since I'm allergic to dairy I decided to make something yummy and cold.  Not quite a smoothie, not exactly ice cream.  Take a whole pineapple and cut it in circles.  With a paring knife cut just inside the rind to get rid of all the hard stuff.  Keep the center.  Put half the pineapple in a blender with 1/2 cup canned coconut milk, 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut flakes, and 1 tsp vanilla.  Puree until relatively smooth. The coconut flakes will remain chunky.  Pour into two bowls and chill/freeze until the edges are frozen but the center is firm but not hard.  So delicious! If you have them available, add some fresh coconut flesh.

#Runergy bars
#Runergy Bars

These are my new favorite #Runergy bars.  It's a similar recipe as before but I put them in a silicone chocolate mold.  They are raw, not cooked, not even dehydrated.  I don't give this recipe away.  If you're in Florida (or Utah week of 7/19) message me and I'll sell you some! I eat them before and during my long runs (greater than 10 miles).

Pumpkin chip cookie

This is my son's favorite cookie.  It's on the blog. Type it in the search bar to find the recipe.  It's pumpkin and chocolate chip, dairy-free.

Fruit and Nut and Everything granola bars

These are the granola bars I travel with.  Fruit and nut and 'Everything' or Fruit and Nut plus cacao.  I don't give this recipe away either.  I sell them for $5.00 for the F&N, $7 for the 'Everything'.   I will say the Everything has espresso powder and is so good, I could eat nothing else all day every day for the rest of my life!

Cookies please!!  I love cookies.  On this blog I have a lot of cookie recipes.  I mix and match all kinds of ingredients.  That's the fun thing about food and baking.  Take a little of this, a little of that, start with a base dough and have fun.  I mentioned earlier that I wanted to make something with cherries.  I also had some avocados I needed to do something with.  The lighter cookie on the left is made with the 2-ingredient base - 2 ripe mashed bananas and a cup of oats, ground.  I then added my dehydrated cherries, chopped up, and chocolate chips.  Baked at 350F for about 10 minutes.

The darker cookie, doesn't it look red?  Well, it's the cherries.  
1 mashed avocado
1 egg
1/4 cup cacao powder
1/3 cup honey (or agave if you want it vegan)
1 TBs (or a little more) ground oats
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup dried cherries

My cherries weren't completely dried because I plan on making more granola bars.  The original recipe that I found called for apple juice.  Since my cherries were juicy, I didn't add it.  

Put all the ingredients, except the cherries in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Add the cherries and blend another 30 seconds or so.  Now, here's the tricky part.  I put the first batch on silicone baking pad.  Nope. They stuck.  Use a non-stick pan and spray with cooking spray - liberally!  Bake at 350F 10 minutes, cool, the put in the fridge.  I also added 1/8 cup of ground cacao beans for a little crunch.   You could add chocolate chips, espresso powder, nuts, coconut, etc.

All of these recipes need to be refrigerated.  The granola bars will keep longer if they are dehydrated until crunchy.  I like them a little softer.  To be quite honest, they are so good they won't last long enough to worry about spoiling!  I tend to make a huge batch of everything then freeze.  I hope you enjoy making fun, delicious, and healthy recipes.  Message me with any questions.  If you try a recipe and you loved it, tell me.  If it didn't work for you, message me and we'll figure out what to do to make it yummy.  

Happy Eating.  Be sure to check out my book sale on Amazon!  

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Kindle Countdown Deals

New Kindle Countdown deals begin on 7/10 and runs through 7/17.  Prices begin as low as $0.99!
Kindle Countdown Deals

Colleen Wait Edits

Colleen Wait Edits

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This YouTube channel was created to add video to my blog.  Read it here:  www.colleenwaitwrites.blogspot.com.  I write about my life, my books, my family, my cats and kids, and of course travel.