Archive for November, 2011

November Foodie Penpal

Posted: November 30, 2011 in penpal

Remember those awesome foodie penpal boxes I have been getting each month?  Well I got another one…and this one was colossal!  It was epic!  It was legendary…but I’ll get to that.

My penpal this month was Holly from “Yup, I Ate That.”
The first question she asked me was, “What do you think of when you think of Texas?”
My reply…can you guess…The Dallas Cowboys!  

Well Holly…you did not disappoint…check this baby out!

I don’t think Kyle will ever actually let me cook with it!  He had a “Superbowl Burger” when we were at Cowboys Stadium which was a BBQ, onion ring, double cheeseburger.  If I ever was allowed to touch the bottle that’s what I’d make.

Kyle and the actual Superbowl Burger

I also got a delicious bottle of Herdez green salsa, Cranberry jam, and tiny, individual organic nut butter packets that I have been giddy about.  

Yes, they’re cute but they come in a variety of flavors from pecan to coconut butter.  I plan on googling the maker and ordering more.

Thank you Holly! You made my husband very happy!

If you want to check out what we sent take a look at Running & Cupcake’s post.

Check out past foodie penpals goodies from October and September.
Want your own penpal? Here’s how:
 -On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact each other and get mailing addresses and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.

-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! 
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. *US Residents only please at this time- hopefully we can expand soon!*
If you’re interested in participating for December, please send me an email at and include the following information:
-Your full name
-Your email address
-Your blog name/address
-Your twitter handle (if applicable)

Love and how bout them Cowboys?
Carissa & Kyle


As soon as I type this post I’m putting up Christmas decorations! I’m so excited!!!
But first I couldn’t miss my favorite blogging day of the week – What I Ate Wednesday!
This week in honor of Thanksgiving and in honor of me missing Thanksgiving in lieu of supporting my bank account – I created a quick, nod to Thanksgiving that can be enjoyed all year long – THANKSGIVING MEATBALLS!

Yup, all the fun of hours of cooking in about 50 minutes.  With some semi-homemade help too! If Sandra Lee can then so can I!Our mini turkey day meal consisted of turkey Thanksgiving meatballs, gravy, instant (yup, you read that right) red mashed potatoes, homemade cranberry sauce, roasted brussel sprouts, asparagus, and No-bake yogurt pumpkin pie.  Oh and a little white wine for good measure!

No Bake Pumpkin Protein Pie

The meatballs are a healthy, easy way to incorporate the great flavors of the holiday. Give them a try for a quick holiday meal or whenever you need a lower-calorie, comfort food fix.

Thanksgiving Turkey MeatballsIngredients:

  • 1 package Jenny-O extra lean ground turkey
  • 3/4 lower sodium Stove Top stuffing mix
  • 1/2 cup organic milk
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 small diced yellow onion
  • 1-2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
  • Rosemary, thyme, sage….to your liking
  • salt 
  • pepper
  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Mix stuffing mix and milk in a large bowl.  Allow to sit for 90 seconds or until the stuffing softens.  Try to mash up the larger pieces of stuffing.
  • Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
  • Use an ice cream scoop, transfer meatball mixture to a well greased cookie sheet.
  • Bake 25 minutes or until internal temperature equals 160.
  • Top with gravy or cranberry sauce and enjoy!
Since this was a new recipe that I just made up on the fly, I was very happy with the way it turned out.
The only thing I regret is that I used sugar substitute for the cranberry sauce and you can tell.  Major aftertaste! Bummer!
I hope all of you enjoy your Thanksgiving tomorrow!
Try to get in some cardio in the am…it will boost your metabolic rate all day.  Also watch “mindless” eating.  If you’re going to eat, then put the food on a plate and sit down.  Your pants will thank you!

Love and family ties,
Carissa & Kyle

Of possible interest: What I’m Thankful For, calorie torching interval sprints, Greek turkey meatballs.

Happy Thanksgiving!  

I’ll be thankful when these 2 get along!

Well for me it is a mini version.  I am working a double on Thanksgiving so I am cooking a Thanksgiving inspired meal for Kyle and I tonight.  Christmas music is blaring, my cranberry sauce is cooling, and my pie is cooking in the fridge.  
Cooking in the fridge?  Yup! I found a delicious, healthy no-bake pumpkin pie.  That’s why I love the blog world.  I found this pie on Meghann’s blog who found it on Monica’s blog.  Healthy, quick, easy, festive.  I’m sold. Like I said, “cooking” in the fridge.
No-Bake Pumpkin Yogurt Pie

  • Pie crust – I used reduced fat graham cracker
  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 1 cup greek yogurt – I used only one 6oz container. A little less but cheaper.
  • 1 package s/f butterscotch pudding mix
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
Mix pumpkin, yogurt, pudding mix and pie spice. Carefully spread into the pie shell. (Careful the mix will be very thick and might crack pie crust.) Refrigerate for 1 hour. Eat.
I said it was easy??

Before I could do my limited baking I had school this am and worked out.  Here’s what the gym trip looked like:
– .75 mile warm up jog
– 12 warm up prone leg curls
SuperSet #1:
– 15 leg extensions with a 5 second negative every 5th one
– Walking lunges with weighted barbell
– 8 jump squats onto box.  Squat, jump up, squat, jump down.
– Repeat
Superset #2:
– Reverse lunges with shoulder press and wide squat x12.  It’s a little complicated, but start feet together with the db at your shoulders.  Step back on your right leg to a lunge and do a shoulder press as you do.  Step together.  Repeat with left leg back. Then step apart and do a wide squat.  Bring legs back together and start again.
– Wide squats with DB to failure
– Barbell reverse grip bent over row x 12
– Repeat
SuperSet #3:
– 6 machine chest press each arm, 6 both arms
– 45 second run at 6.0, 15 incline
– repeat chest machine
– 30 second run at 6.5, 15 incline
– 10 pushups
– 25 second run at 7.0, 15 incline

Finish with abs.  I did reverse leg curls and reverse leg lifts.  As always try to rest as little as possible between sets.
Post-workout I fueled up with a black cherry, vanilla smoothie.  I have read several times that cherries after a workout help with soreness.  We shall see.

I’m off to start on the rest of my Mock-giving dinner.  Look for full details on WIAW tomorrow! Also check out my post on what I’m thankful for.

What are your Thanksgiving plans?

Love and eay peezy pies,
Carissa & Kyle

Half Marathon Training Begins

Posted: November 21, 2011 in cardio, race training

First of all…there’s a lizard in my house.  Under my fridge.  I am not amused.
I came back from my run and I had let my cat onto the screened porch.  Came home and there was a new, black, eeewwwweeeie friend in my kitchen.  Again…not amused.  Hopefully it will stay behind my state of the art trap until Kyle gets home.

Today I began my half-marathon training officially.  I had been upping my mileage slowly, however because I actually have a goal for this race I decided to put a little more focus into my training. I am running the Clearwater Half Marathon in January and I really, really, really, really want to finish with a “1” in front of my time. 
According to the Clearwater Half’s website it is, “the most challenging half marathon in Florida with 4 bridge climbs.” Oh joy.  

But I knew that.  I ran the race in 2008 in 2:14 and at one point I remember running up a windy bridge and not moving.

Pre “lived” in 2008

Not one to balk at an impossible goal here I am again.  Bridge climbs and all. 
After doing some research and having one awful training run where I decided to try to increase my mileage, in the sun, at my race pace…I have a training plan. It’s modeled loosely after Marathon Madman’s blog.  You can read his plan here.
I say “loosely” because I am only doing 2 runs a week.  Yes, that’s bad, but I have a crooked spine and neck and that is what I know my body can give me.  I’m also stubborn and won’t give up my butt-whooping’s with Kyle in the gym.
Each week I’m doing one long run and one either tempo or interval run.  This week it’s 6 x 1:50 400’s and 7-10 miles with an over 10min pace.

After the Holiday Halfathon 2010

I just finished the 400’s and they went very well. 
I did a 1 mile warm-up at a 10 minute pace.  Then I did 6 400’s and I basically went as fast as I could.  The workout was supposed to be done on a treadmill, but I was already home.  So I just figured “as fast as I could go” would do.  After each 400, I walked for 1:50.  That was great to get my energy back up.
On Saturday morning I’ll do my long run and I need everyone to collectively tweet, facebook, and call me to make sure I do it!  I’m notorious for not wanting to get out of bed…bad, bad runner!
This will be my 5th half marathon and the only one I’ve ever planned out my training for.  Let’s do this!

How do you plan out your race training?

Love and inclines,
Carissa & Kyle

Faith, Fitness, Fun – guest post

Posted: November 20, 2011 in guest post

Happy Sunday!  Happy almost time to really bring out that holiday spirit!

Today I wanted to welcome all of you to check out my guest post on Tina’s blog Faith, Fitness, Fun

She does a weekly “self, love, reflection” guest post and I am the guest writer today.  I talked about having the courage to change your path and follow your passions.  Also about “the road less traveled.”  Check it out and follow Tina’s always inspiring blog.

I’d also like to welcome any readers who linked here from Tina’s blog. Hi there!

Fit2Flex is about living a healthy, active life.  We share workouts, recipes, cardio tips, and couponing strategies.  I love couponing! And yes, I’m a nerd!

Here are some links to our favorite blogs of ours: 

  • Fitness- High Intensity Interval Training
  • Fitness – A Kick in the Pants– finding workout motivation
  • Fitness- Get Your Goal On – why goals work
  • Fitness/Cardio- Galloway Running Programs
  • Fitness/Food- Travel Fit Tips – stay fit on your holiday vacation
  • Food- Clean Eating Diet
  • Food – Junk Food Wars – fighting “bad” food cravings
  • Recipes- Keen on Qunioa
  • Frugal Fun- Crazy Coupon Lady
  • Fun- Shingle Creek Staycation

    Thanks again for stopping by and a big hug to our loyal readers!  
    I’m off to work a long auto show day and my sweet Kyle has his fingers crossed for a Cowboy win!

    Make it a great one!
    Love and new friends,

    Carissa & Kyle

    I AM a personal trainer

    Posted: November 19, 2011 in workouts

    My husband is, as you all know, the BEST, TOUGHEST, most CREATIVE personal trainer ever to grace the milky way galaxy.  He’s amazing and I rely on him 3 times a week to make me cry and question why I set foot in the gym…
    BUT…..I AM a personal trainer too.  But why use my brain when he is so much better for training?
    Today I actually did use my brain.  I had to workout in my hotel and while Kyle writes me plenty of hotel workouts we didn’t know what equipment the gym had here.  I forgot to go look last night, so I said I’d just figure it out myself.
    Here’s what went down.  80’s headphones and all.  How did I do?

    80’s headphones and wearing my towel like a bib. The hotness*

     Warm-up: 800m jog, 15 squats with 40lb
    Superset #1: 12 deadlifts with 50lb, 12 lat pulldown @75lb – repeat
    Superset #2: 15 Hamstring curl, 10 20lb chest press followed by 5 single arm – repeat
    Superset #3: 10 single leg leg extesion each leg followed by 10 leg extensions with both legs, 10 15lb shoulder press on medicine ball followed by a 10 second hold and 5 more reps – repeat
    Superset #4: Hammer bicep curls to failure 15lb, walking lunges with 30lb, 12 reverse lunges each leg – repeat
    Superset #5: 12 DB tricep kickbacks each arm, 1 minute plank hold with 15 knee bends, 20 double crunches

    I tried to remember 3 things when doing this workout.
    1. Hit every muscle group starting with the biggest first.
    2. Don’t rest between sets. Keep that heart rate up.
    3. As Kyle says, “I don’t care about the first 10 reps.  It’s the ones that hurt I want.”  I think that traces back to something Muhammed Ali said.  They asked him how many sit-ups he does and it said, “I go until it starts to hurt.  Then I start counting.”

    After my workout I went downstairs to enjoy my free breakfast.  Staying in healthy mode I ordered the egg white omelet with peppers, mushrooms, and roasted tomatoes.

    It needed ketchup!

    Have you ever worked out so hard that your arms are shaking as you try to eat? That was totally me today! At least I took off the 80’s headphones!

    Love and hypertrophy, 
    Carissa & Kyle

    View all of our WORKOUT blogs here.

    Plenty to be thankful for

    Posted: November 17, 2011 in coupons

    In the spirit of the season I wanted to take a moment tonight and give a little thanks. One serious and one not so serious.

    Be thankful for ME!

    First of all I am thankful for coupons! I’m thankful for the manufacturers who give them, my ability to find them, the people who give me theirs, and the internet for all its wonderful couponing resources! I’m a coupon nerd!
    I had a great couponing trip to Publix today.  I am stocked up on pasta, pasta sauce, Chex, v8 fusion, and cake mix.
    For the pasta/sauce combo I had a coupon for a free pasta when you buy 2 Ragu sauces. Both the sauce and the pasta were BOGO at Publix, so for the price of 1 jar of sauce I got 2 jars AND 2 boxes of pasta.  I usually make my own sauce since it has less sugar that way, but in a pinch jarred sauce is great.  And good through 2013.

    The Chex was another mega score! I have a small chex addiction and I’m infatuated with homemade chex mix at Christmas.  The Chex, which is usually $3.49 was BOGO.  I had three $1 off 2 coupons and $2 off 5 from Target. For $20.50 of cereal I paid $4.50! Winner, winner!

    I also made money on a great holiday party item- Rondele Cheese.  They have a $2.50 coupon you can get on their website.  They cost $4.59, they were BOGO, so I made 41 cents after 2 coupons!

    And the bragging continues…I got 4 free boxes of Duncan Hines cake and brownie mix.  Those were BOGO this week AND I had a coupon for a free box of Duncan Hines that I got from the FoodBuzz featured publisher program.  They were all totally free!  I need to find a recipe to make something using Duncan Hines and Comstock fruit.  Ideas? I’m leaning towards something cherries and chocolate.

    With all my couponing success I felt a little treat was in order.  Santa’s White Christmas? Don’t mind if I do!  Oh I LOVE the holidays!

    I am thankful for coupons.
    I am thankful for so much more though.  I’m thankful for every aspect of my life.  Sometimes it seems the mundane and the little struggles can get me down.  A mess on the floor or a late night at work.  But it’s really the mundane to be thankful for.  That’s life.  And I love mine.
    I’m really thankful for this guy.

    He’s amazing and I don’t know what I’d do without him.  I’m thankful for the little fur ball too…even when said mess usually traces back to her.
    Kyle made dinner tonight and it was delicious.  It’s an omelet, but first he sauteed diced red potatoes, onions, and mushrooms.  They get real crispy and makes the omelet more like a hash. If you ever come over ask Kyle to make it.  It’s delish!

    I’m thankful for the little things…..

    What are you thankful for?

    Love and pilgrims,
    Carissa & Kyle

    What I Ate Wednesday – Off Day

    Posted: November 16, 2011 in cat pictures, wiaw

    Last week I had a beautiful, glorious entire day off!  A miracle right! I didn’t work, I didn’t go to school, I didn’t clean anything…it was awesome!

    Can I have this mom?

    Now I can’t say for sure what mischief Minnie got into while I was gone…but here’s a little What I Ate Wednesday “off day” version for ya!

    The morning started off pretty usual.  1 cup of Kashi Go Lean with almond milk.  Then I took off for a long run and fueled up after with a banana and protein shake made with water.  Now here’s where it gets a little interesting!

    My mom, our friend Leslie, and I headed out to see an 1145am showing of The Help.  It’s at a place called the “Cinema ‘n Draft” house.  Basically you can eat, drink, order food all while watching the movie. And our movie was only $1!

    Mom & Leslie

    We snuck a few snacks in as us frugal women do!  I enjoyed wheat thins, apple, pear, and a dark chocolate orange bar.We also felt a mid-day celebration was in order so my mom ordered a bottle of the joint’s finest white zinfandel! 🙂  It was after 12…I think! 🙂

    You stay classy Virginia.

    We enjoyed the wine, some jalapeno poppers, and a pretty good movie.  I read the book and I felt like it stayed pretty true to the original story.  I didn’t like the ending in the book, so I still didn’t like it in the movie.  I wanted something more uplifting!After the movie we did a little shopping and then went home to relax and cook up dinner.

    I enjoy home-cooked meals when I’m visiting mom.  I know they’ll be healthy and full of veggies!She made lemon pepper chicken and I roasted up some butternut squash.  She also made a fresh waldorf salad and brussel sprouts.  See – I told you lots of veggies!

    My mom is like Sandra-Lee…she excels at semi-homemade cooking that doesn’t take forever and she has beautiful table settings! Isn’t it pretty?

    What a great day off! Can I get another one of those soon?  Survey says….NO! 

    Cass hoping for chicken scraps.

    Did you see The Help?  What did you think?
    Love and happy hour, Carissa and Kyle 

    Welcome back Workout

    Posted: November 15, 2011 in salads, workouts

    “Welcome Back.” 

    Hi Mom.

    That’s what Kyle kept saying to me during my workout yesterday.  
    “Welcome back.” Although his had a much more menacing tone to it.  

    I missed a weekly full body workout last week with my travel.  I opted to get in my long run over my workout and then spent time with family instead of the gym.  
    I don’t feel guilty about it one bit…I just didn’t appreciate his taunting as I sweated and wheezed.  “Welcome back.”  Don’t worry – I took a couple of swings at him! 
    My quads are still feeling his warm welcome today, so here’s a look at how he brought the pain.

    Warm-up: 1.5 mile treadmill run at 6.7
    Superset #1:
    – Warm up 12 each leg back lunge split squat with barbell.  Stand with feet together.  Step back to lunge with left leg.  Stand up to split position, squat down with feet still in split position, then return your feet back together.  Step back with right leg and repeat the squat.
    – 12 each leg back lunge split squat with barbell. Heavier now.  
    – Once you reach 12 put your feet 12 inches apart and do 10 close leg squats.
    – Sitting DB alternating shoulder press.  Hold both DB over head.  With your right arm above your head, do 1 rep with your left arm.  Then keep your left arm up and rep with your right arm.  Then do a normal shoulder press.  So it’s like, “right arm, left arm, both.” Go to failure.
    – Without rest use the same dumbells for bicep curls to failure.
    – Repeat the circuit.  The second time around I did progressive split squats.  So I would step back, do 5 split squats, switch legs, 5 split squats, switch legs 4…and so on. Still finishing with close squats.

    Split squat position. Except in this workout my back foot was flat and I had a weighted barbell on my back.

    Superset #2:
    – 8 heavy leg press
    – 10 standing broad jumps outside down a hill
    – Sprint up hill
    – 12 lat pulldowns
    – 8 push-ups with feet on the lat pulldown bench
    – Repeat the circuit
    Superset #3:
    – I’m pretty dead here!
    – Cable tricep extensions – 10
    – Hanging leg raises – 15
    – Reverse crunch – 15

    I headed home to study for a Community Health final that’s Thursday and to whip up our signature Monday salad.  Greek? Nope! Today I went for the Cobb.

    Cobb salad:
    – Rotisserie chicken
    – Organic spring mix
    – Cucumber
    – Roma tomato
    – Asparagus
    – Turkey bacon
    – Avocado
    – Blue cheese
    – Raspberry vinaigrette
    I also had some Paula Dean broccoli in garlic herb sauce on the side.  Yeah – a little heavy on the dressing.  Thanks Paula! But I had a coupon and it was 45 cents so I couldn’t pass it up!

    Shew- what a workout!  I’m tired all over again just reading it.  I didn’t mind the beating.  I’m pushing hard to achieve my sub-2 half marathon in January.

    What’s the last “really tough” workout you had?

    Love and giving it your all,
    Carissa & Kyle

    Norfolk Freedom Half Marathon

    Posted: November 14, 2011 in races, travel

    Ready, set, go!
    That’s how most races start? Wrong!  The preferred method of race start is two commands: “Runners set” and “Go” or an air horn.  How do I know? Because I say it!

    This weekend I said those magic words for 1500 half marathoners and 500 5k runners in the inaugural Norfolk Freedom Half marathon

    Freedom Marathon, INC is a fantastic organization to work for with a focus on celebrating and supporting our nation’s military through endurance events.  I announced their Memorial Day 8k in Green Cove Springs, FL.

    The weekend started off at the health and fitness expo.  Boy did we have some celebs in the house! Bart Yasso, chief running officer of Runner’s World Magazine, was there to speak along with and Annie Audain, 6-time Olympian and former world record holder in the 5000M. We also had some local Virginia pageant queens.
    Miss United States
    Miss Virginia’s Outstanding Teen
    It was wonderful talking and interacting with Annie and Bart.  They are a wealth of running info and I picked their brains about how to conquer my first sub-2 half marathon. 

    How to run faster? Bart recommends running slower as well as faster during the week to allow my legs to rest.  Annie is a fan of running 50m repeats on hills.  This she says helps you in races of all length.
    My favorite booth of the weekend was the Cabot Creamery Cooperative booth.  Free cheese samples? Yes please! I limited myself to 2 a day, however they were thoroughly enjoyed.  They even gave me coupons to take home!!  Cabot has a tasty line of reduced fat cheeses, which I always go for.
    The race was in a stunning location right on the water in downtown Norfolk. As the runners took off I enjoyed seeing the pride in the faces of many people who made this event possible.  As I said before, this race supports the military and as a Navy brat I am all for that.   This particular event raised money for the Wounded Warrior Project and the Norfolk Office to End Homelessness. 

    The Freedom Marathon will be back in Norfolk next Veterans Day so please consider adding it to your race schedule.  It was a cool, flat course for a great cause.
    I’ll be there!  Runners’ set…

    Love and magic miles,

    Carissa & Kyle