Tag Archives: spring

Spring Renewal & Poor Man’s Caprese


What a beautiful weekend!

We’ve had a mild winter here in Minnesota this year. In fact, I don’t ever remember a winter as mild in the Midwest in my entire life. However, after 90 inches of snow during last year’s what-seemed-to-be-never-ending winter, I feel mother nature owed us to be gentle this year. Still, I’ve lived in Minnesota for ten years now and I don’t ever remember such gorgeous weather in mid-March as what we had this weekend:

60s and sunny

Spring brings with it a sense of renewal. Rob opened up the house to let the fresh air in and we began our spring cleaning. While not 100% complete, there is something to be said about the feeling of so many things being clean, fresh, and organized! I feel as if I’m turning over a new leaf by tossing all the paper I’ve been hoarding for far too long.

I began running outside this past week to start preparing myself for my 5k in April. It was difficult. I’m not used to the inclines. {And by no means is our neighborhood hilly!} On one “hill”, I felt like my speed was near walking pace with how slow I was going, but I looked down at my heart rate monitor and found I was still in a Zone 5.

On Saturday, I finished a mile at “race pace” in 11:21. From what I’ve recorded, I believe this is my fastest! I’m trying to keep track of my times so that I can get an idea where I’m at and can compete with myself.

Sunday was a cross-train day, but I still wanted to take advantage of the beautiful weather. So, I decided to take little Sophie Jean on an hour-long walk. {I didn’t bring Benny Bear because he’s an old man dog with arthritis.}

Benny Bear loves walks, but wouldn't make it an hour... 😦

I strapped on my heart-rate monitor because I wanted to see if I could get my heart rate up walking a little shih poo who likes to stop about every five seconds. {There’s nothing wrong with stopping to smell the roses, right?! We could learn a thing or two from dogs.}. I did get to a Zone 3 about half the time. To compare, I’m usually in Zone 4 or Zone 5 when I’m running.

I have a confession to make.

While I’ve stated that I’ll be running my first 5k in April, I have actually participated in a 5k before: The Dog Day 5k in 2010. But I didn’t run it. Some friends invited me a couple weekends before and I decided to go and bring Sophie.

Sophie Jean pre-race at the Dog Day 5k - 2010

Some people were going to run; others were going to walk. Somehow, Sophie and I split off from the others. That year, I had been running intervals on the treadmill, so I decided to give it a try since I was on my own. Sophie and I finished the 5k in a little over 48 minutes. Sophie wasn’t feeling so hot at the end. I knew this because she wouldn’t drink any water nor take any treats. She ended up fine, though. She could have just been nervous with all of the other pooches around. I am hoping to do it again this year; but I’m not sure if I’ll bring Sophie or not. She’ll have to go through a bit of “training”, too, if I do. 😉

Since it’s fun to compare… here are my 5k times:

  • June 2010 – Dog Day 5k with Sophie: 48 min & some-odd seconds (run-walk)
  • Jan 2012 – Treadmilll: 40:30 (first time running a complete 5k)
  • March 11, 2012 – 5k walk with Sophie: 55:34 (walk)

Spring also has me thinking about salads.

One of my favorites is a traditional Caprese Salad:

Caprese Salad: fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, olive oil and/or balsamic vinegar

While tomatoes aren’t in season here in Minnesota, I still picked up some great ones at Costo and have been munching on them all week:

In fact, I created my own version of a Caprese Salad that I call a “Poor Man’s Caprese”:

Carrie's Poor Man's Caprese

Here are the simple ingredients:

  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

It’s only between 175 – 250 calories depending on the type of cottage cheese you use and size of your tomato!

Optional ingredients {in case you want to season it up a bit more!}:

  • drizzle good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh basil
  • or my favorite: the Pampered Chef Rosemary & Herb Seasoning {I almost always add this!}

I love tomatoes and cottage cheese, so I just can’t get enough of this!

What do you do to prepare for spring? Do you have a favorite salad or spring dish?