Monday, October 13, 2014

Yoga and living in the moment

I try (most of the time) to live a healthy lifestyle.  I try to eat more greens less carbs.  I try to stay away from processed and anything pre packaged.  I support local farmers at the farmers market every weekend and head to the grocery store for the few ingredients I can’t find at the farmers market. I try to get out and run, walk, bike or do something active with my dog every day.

But what we often forget to enrich is our mental health.  Sometimes we just need to “detox” to find something that lets us purge all the negativity, the days stresses, and freshen up our minds if you will.

I used to really hate the idea of yoga.  This whole zen “koom by ya” hold a pose for an hour get in the moment mentality was never my thing.  When I found went to a hot power yoga class in Old Saybrook back in CT because a friend was teaching it, my opinions were changed on yoga.  Great instructors, music, and faced paced workouts that leave you sweating in that hot (but not too hot) room. 

I was really excited to find a very similar studio one mile away from my apartment here in Salt Lake City.  I was a little hesitant to spend money on a gym membership, but when I saw the price of this studio (introductory price) of $39 for one month unlimited, I couldn’t say no.   The entire wall is windows looking over the city and the mountains.  If those mountains aren’t a reminder to relax and let go, I don’t know what is (well, except the ocean- you guys know I miss the ocean).
Yoga has been such a nice mental and physical treat.  Put in these poses you can really focus on you and your body and leave your troubles at the door.  Probably my favorite thing about yoga is the introductory statement from the yoga teachers at the beginning of each class.  Sometimes they read from a book, sometimes they just recite their favorite passage, sometimes they just speak of some kind of motivational sayings. 

This week, the instructor’s mantra really stuck with me.  One instructor said something along the lines of “imagine how wonderful life could be if we covered ourselves in sweat and laughter every day”.  I really loved that idea of mental and physical health check being a daily requirement  Another instructor was talking about being present, about living in the present.  SO often we are living in the past, or in the future.  She challenged us to let go of the past, stop worrying about the future, and live in the present appreciating life moment to moment.

This really stuck with me.  How much time do we spend taking pictures of our dinner to re live it later, or on social media sites looking into what every else is doing.  Or worrying about getting older, or stressing that our friends are getting married and having babies and we aren’t.  The news stories this week really drove the point home even further and reinforced this “live in the moment” notion.  Stories of a young woman, Brittany Maynard who was told she had 6-10 years to live which was quickly changed to 6 months, due to terminal brain cancer.  To stories of expecting mothers delivering their babies knowing they would only live a few hours post birth.  Brittany said she was going to spend the rest of the time she had left doing the things that are really important to her, and disregarding all of the things that have no real value to her.  Isn’t this something we should all strive to do all the time?  Isn’t this “you only have one life so make it worth it” mentality the reason I packed my life and moved across the country? To experience something new, to enjoy everything this life has to offer.  
To this day, some of the best advice I have ever gotten was in an employee break room.  It was a Tuesday and I was just wishing and waiting for the weekend when someone turned around and said to me “Stop wishing your life away”.  A well heard statement but it hit me so hard in this context.  Don’t just live for the weekends, enjoy each and every day.   So with yoga and life around me as a reminder, I want to try to be more present.  To enjoy the days, heck to enjoy the moments.   Savor all the little experiences, the sunsets, the glasses of wine and time with family and friends.
So this week I am starting with unplugging.  No social media, no blog updates, and no Instagram for the week in an attempt to be more present.  I challenge you all to try something like this or at least try to live your life in the moment.   Maybe it’s time we stopped taking a picture of our entrees and savor each delicious bite.  No Iphones allowed.

See you all next week. 
Katie @ Running A Ragnar

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Pig and a jelly jar- Breakfast Review

I think the best part about moving to a new city is all of the new restaurants.  
Well, it is for me anyways. 

One of the downfalls to home is I was getting really tired of going to the same restaurants with the same food (except for River Tavern- duh).  I mean yes I could have driven an hour and gone to one of the "cities" I know West Hartford has some good restaurants, but who wants to drive an hour each way for dinner after work. 

Part of my promise to Salt Lake was giving all these restaurants a shot and trying out as many as I can (limited to going out 1-2 x a week for the sake of my waist line and wallet).  So you will notice some restauarnt review on the blog.  Ultimately, I would love to have a little SLC travel guide with posts on where to eat where to hike what to do. 


So now, let me introduce you to Pig and a Jelly Jar.
voted Best Comfort Food at Salt Lake Magazines 2013 dining award.
I love me some comfort food, especially on a rainy Sunday. 

I have passed this little place en route to Liberty Park and heard about its Chicken and Waffles through the running meet up (of course the runners planned their runs around food... there is a donut run coming up... only problem is its 12 miles and even donuts aren't worth 12 miles in my books).

Thatcher and I went on a rainy Sunday and were excited for some home style comfort food.  Well, I was excited for chicken and waffles.  We started off with some coffee and enjoyed the vibe of the place while the rain fell outside. 

Of course I went with the chicken and waffles.
  It was good, but I wouldn't say great.  
The waffle was just a plain waffle and the chicken was not crispy- it more resembled a baked chicken.  At the Red House in Deep River, their waffle was a jalapeno cheddar waffle with this amazing piece of fried chicken and a great syrup.  Compared to Red House, this was one was just okay. 

Thatcher got the kale white bean hash which was simply delicious.  A sunny side up egg with this garlic aoili all over the place.  If you love potatoes and if you love sauce... you will love this.  Simply put. 

We were really excited to order a PBR drink. 

That is until we found out Utah's stupid liquor laws prevented the sale of alcohol before 11:30am. What is the point of going to brunch (or breakfast) if you cant get a dang bloody mary?

We will be back for the PBR Mary.  
Oh and lunch didn't look so bad either ;) 

If you are looking for a homey comfort food type of breakfast, then make a stop here.  After your delicious and unhealthy breakfast you can go for a walk around Liberty Park.
Make sure you go after 11:30 so you can try one of these PBR Cocktails!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Squaw peak Hike, Provo, Utah

A Hike to Squaw Peak, Provo, Utah. 

Saturday, Thatcher and I had planned a trip to Moab to do some sight seeing and hiking at a national park.  After a late start and the realization of a long drive (four hours each way) we decided to detour and do a closer hike.  We were driving through Provo, Utah (mostly known for its BYU campus) when I decided to do some research on where to hike that day.

I stumbled upon some mention of Squaw Peak and decided that was going to be our Saturday adventure.  The trail head for this hike is about 50 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City.  The Squaw Peak trail is accessed through the Rock Canyon trail located at E 2300 N in Provo, Utah.  You will see a nice parking area with bathrooms at the end of 2300.  Google map link to the trail head here

We had packed lunch snacks and water for the hike and Olive is starting to learn to carry her own water and snacks.  Her pack also slows her down and prevents any runaways-  so dual purpose with this pack. It takes her a few minutes to get used to it and then finally the tail starts wagging again :) Click here to buy a similar pack for your dog

The hike starts on a semi paved road out of Rock Canyon.  It then leads to a gravel and then dirt trail.  You will pass about 10 bridges on the way to the Squaw Peak trail.  You will also pass a lot of rock climbers as this Rock Canyon is a very popular rock climbing area. 

About 1.5 miles into the Rock Canyon trail, you will see a trail heading lead with a rock labeled SQUAW PEAK TRAIL. Make sure you take this left.  

Little video clip of Thatcher and the Squaw Peak trail marker.

I brought my GoPro which took a majority of the pictures on this post, 
and the little video at the end.

What I loved most about this trail was the variety of scenery.  Some of the trail was woodsy with adorable bridges and a babbling brook.  

Some of the trail was beautiful views of the neighboring mountains. As you get closer to the top the trail opens up for a bit for a beautiful view of Utah Lake and Provo.  

The trail even opens up to the quaint little meadow up on the mountain which felt so out of place for the surroundings.

The trail is pretty moderate but does get steep in a few places, especially nearing the summit. We reached the summit after about 2 hours and fifteen minutes (leisurely pace stopping to take lots of pictures obviously), and at about 3.8 miles from the parking lot.  

We were a little speechless at first for the amazing 360 views of Provo, Y mountain to the left, and Mount Timpanogos (often called Mt Timp) to the right.

(Y mountain- there is a large block Y on the mountain - BYU's insignia)  Mount Timp (one of the hikes on our bucket list) is to the right of Squaw Mountain. 

We spent about an hour at the summit, Taking in the view, relaxing and enjoying lunch. 
Olive definitely took a nap.

Lunch was Taralynns recipe--- over at Simply Taralynn, road trip roll ups.  These were perfect for easy eating on top of the mountain and we brought a spicy mustard for dipping. Tupperware container made sure nothing was smooshed on the way up. 

Dessert was watermelon with a view!

After about 30 minutes at the peak we ran into a nice group of hikers who educated us on the sites, the mountains, and about the town of Provo. 


Our "tour guides" at the top of Squaw Peak. 

Finally we decided it was time to trek back down and head for fro yo home.  While the trail is just an out and back and you repeat the same route, the views are much different heading down and again, beautiful. 

We made it up the mountain in 2:15 and were back down by 3:40 of straight hiking time.  If you don't stop for a break at the top you can do the trip in 3-4 hours easily.  We did it in about 5 hours with our long break at the summit.  And a lot of time to take pictures and pull burrs out of a curious dog's fur.

According to my garmin, we started at 4,974' and reached the peak at 7,882', roughly 3,000' of elevation gain.  (My glutes are still sore).  The weather was absolutely perfect and this was my favorite hike to date.  The scenery on the way up is varied and stunning, and then you get to the summit and take in the outstanding views of Provo, Utah Lake, Mount Timp, and Y mountain.  We even watched a hawk/eagle (some large bird) flying around the peak, dipping in between the canyons and soaring around.  (Thatcher claims the eagle (?) was attracted to the american flag at the summit).

If you are in the area, add this hike to your list and feel free to ask any questions!

Enjoy this little video montage I put together with the GoPro editing software!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Bonnevile Shoreline Trail "Run"

If you know me, you know I am a road runner.  

Give me my Newtons and a nice paved road,
 that is relatively flat, a few rolling hills and I am a happy runner.

But put me at 4,586 ft with a pair of trail running solomans on a winding dirt road with some serious incline and suicidial mountain bikers and well.. 

I am way out of my element. 

But none the less, I am in "trail running capital of the world" so I figured when in Utah.  

Running stop light to stop light can be quite annoying, and while I love Liberty Park's flat paved trail, I needed some variety and incline in my life.

I did some quick research and decided the 5 minute drive to the Bonneville Shoreline Trail was going to be today's workout. 

The following information was taken from

Trail Description

City Creek Trailhead (.85 Miles -dirt)

The BST crosses City Creek Canyon Road at its intersection with Bonneville Drive. The trail heads up canyon on the south side of the pond, where there are a few parking spaces. The trail goes up canyon and then turns right and quickly begins to climb. The trail climbs over 1,250 feet out of the canyon 


City Creek Trailhead- From South Temple St take B St north up the hill. At the intersection of B St and 11th Ave. Bonneville Blvd decends into City Creek Canyon. Stay to the right of the one way street, bikers and joggers occupy the left side. At the bottom of the canyon park in the small pullout on the right side of the road. The trailhead for the main BST trail heading east to the Morris Meadows trailhead (1.1 miles) is on the right (southest) side of the canyon where Bonneville Boulevard intersects the City Creek Canyon Road at the U-turn.  There are a few informal parking places at this trailhead but you may have to park in the main parking lot just beyond the City Creek gate. Restrooms and a water fountain are also located at the gate. The second trailhead for the main BST heading north-northeast up City Creek and around the North Cove development is on the left (north) side of the City Creek Canyon Road, approx. 250 yards past the main gate.

I headed up B avenue and found the one way road that winds around.  Finally I saw the big curve in the road (at the top of Memory Grove) and saw the parking area on the right.  I parked the car, stashed my keys, laced up my sneakers, grabbed Olive and hit the trials. 

Let's be honest. 
I am not a trail runner, so the way up was a lot of run walk walk walk run walk walk.  A very narrow winding trail that went straight up hill.  Throw in a few mountain bikers plunging down the trails and you really need to be paying attention (leave your music at home folks).  

Of course I took a few pictures breaks because
 I was huffing and puffing and come on... look at the view?
I will admit, while this was tough, the scenery was beautiful and quite distracting.  You are paying so much attention to your footing and surroundings you have less time to think how painful running can be.

Finally we reached a nice flat section of the trails.  Here we were able to do some more consistent running while still enjoying the beautiful scenery.  The sight, flat nice trail made me so happy.   

And then this made me not so happy
Being verrrrry careful to avoid any rattle snakes and keeping Olive on a VERY short leash. 
I have a serious new fear of rattle snakes out here.

After enjoing the scenery and this lovely flat part of the trail, we turned around at about 1.5 miles and headed down back to the car.  The downhill was a little intense and again, took a lot of focus to not go tumbling down the hill with the lose rocks.  

And oh those mountain bikers.  It is a little scary to share a trail with mountain bikers. 

All in all, it was a 3 mile workout, with some more walking on the way up, and ran the top parts and on the way down.  This is a whole new world for me so I really wanted to take it low and slow.  Maybe each week I can throw in a trail run that tries a little harder, pushes a little farther.

But for now, its going to be once a week!  
Be right back while I go lace up my Newtons and find a track ;) 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Bison Chili Recipes- a Whole Foods Recipe

The weather out here in Salt Lake City is bizarre.   

After a week of 90 degree hot sunny days (at the end of September) the weekend came with a vengeance.  The scariest thunderstorm's Friday night and non stop rain all the way through Sunday.  

Like non stop rain from Friday evening until mid-day Sunday.  There was something about the rain, and being away from family and friends in this foreign city that really made me homesick.  And it took me a little bit to get out of this pity party (a run wine and champagne helped!)  It took reminding myself that my family and friends (and the ocean and horses) will always be there, just waiting to come back.  
Suck it up buttercup,
and enjoy this opportunity. 

Well, it was a little harder to enjoy in the rain as Saturday was a complete wash.  
So what is a homesick girl to do? 


Earlier in the week, Thatcher and I went to Whole Foods for a few things.  Olive got to hang out in the "Barking Lot" while I grabbed a few random things (pumpkin beer and ground bison included).  

(Another reason to love Whole Foods)

I saw the bison and immediately thought Chili. A friend had made chili earlier that week that started the craving.  Pair that with rainy weather and fall and I was sold on bison chili.  Saturday evening I googled "Bison Chili" and found this wholefoods recipe.  I mainly followed the recipe but made a few modifications. 

 Wholefoods Bison Chili Recipe Original recipe in this link

Here is my modified recipe- 
I added more cumin, black beans, salt pepper and hot sauce
 and used the full 1 lb package of ground bison.

If you follow the Whole Foods recipe exactly it is 4-6 servings and:
Per Serving:250 calories (25 from fat)2.5g total fat0g saturated fat35mg cholesterol180mg sodium36g carbohydrate (13g dietary fiber12g sugar)24g protein

If you follow mine there are more servings and more calories.  
But it is still a delicious lighter chili with a lean meat.  

  • 1 pound ground bison
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, stemmed and cut into small florets (about 3 cups)
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons no-salt-added chili powder
  • 1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • 1 (28-ounce) can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Hot sauce 
  • Sour cream and shredded cheese to garnish!
So I looked at my package and read... wait a minute. 
 I remember hearing when I went to Jackson Hole
 that there are no buffalo in North America.  

Only Bison. 
 So I googled Bison vs. Buffalo did a little "research".

Tomato "Tomahto", Bison Buffalo... 
we just throw the names around a bit here.  
It is "Bison"
 Now moving on!

Heat a large Dutch oven or pot over high heat. When the pot is very hot, add bison and brown it, stirring often for 5 minutes. Add onion and carrot, and cook, until both begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water to deglaze the pan, scraping brown bits from the bottom of the pan as the water evaporates. 

Add cauliflower, bell pepper and garlic and cook until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add cumin, chili powder, vinegar, tomatoes and beans along with 1 cup water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are fork tender, about 45 minutes. 
Serve garnished with chopped cilantro.

Look cool and enjoy!

I had a bowl of chili, Thatcher had two bowls, and we still had a lot of chili leftover.

Two containers went in the fridge (for leftover chili and chili dogs) while one went in the freezer for a cold winter night.  Labeling the containers with the name and date also ensure leftovers are used and in time!

I really enjoyed this chili. It was tasty filling and a little different which I loved. 
 If you can't find bison, feel free to throw in ground beef. 
 If you want to keep it lean, try ground chicken or turkey.

Happy Fall Friends!

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