What To Do With Zucchini

One of my favorite things about summer is the insanely cheap, delicious produce you can get...or grow yourself.  This is the first year ever that we haven't done a huge garden.  We just finally accepted that we are too busy right now.  I have missed it a little bit...but honestly not that much.  It's been one less thing for me to stress about, plus, people have been giving us extras from their gardens right and left.  Even if it weren't for that, there is a farmer's market in just about every town this time of year.

Anyway, when we did do a garden, one of the things we always had an over-abundance of was zucchini.  There are LOTS of different ways you can cook zucchini, but today I want to share with you one of my favorites.

You will need:

Bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, a zucchini, a couple of eggs, and salt and pepper.  The amounts depend on how much zucchini you're using.  This is not an exact recipe in any way.  Yes, I do need to think about getting some grown-up salt and pepper shakers...I used to have some but they got broken by kids :)

You are going to cut up the zucchini into pieces that are easy to handle, then grate it.

It should look like this when you are done, I leave the skin on but you could peel it first if you really wanted to.

Then you are going to add in all the rest of the ingredients from above, until it looks "right" to you to scoop with a spoon into a pan.  It should be wet but not runny.

Again, nothing has to be exact.  If you are worried about the carbs in the bread crumbs you could always leave those out and do more parmesan.  My bread crumbs say 19 carbs for 1/4 cup.  That's about what I used, and this makes a huge batch...carbs in a serving will be minimal.

It should look like this all mixed together.

Heat a pan with olive oil on medium/medium high heat, and scoop the mixture into the pan to make small patties.  It's time to flip them when they get crispy, and they are done when they look crisp on both sides.  The smaller you scoop these into the pan, the better, the thinner they are, the easier it will be for them to get crispy.  

I'm more worried about carbs than anything right now,  so cooking things in oil doesn't bother me, but for those of you who don't want to do that, I tried something else - I cooked several of these on my electric griddle with just cooking spray.  They were still good, but they didn't turn out crispy.  So you could do this either way, just depending on your preference.

If you're interested, I also have a Pinterest board titled "What to do with zucchini" found here.  

Half Marathon Training, Part Four

It seems nuts to say out loud that I'm training for my fourth half marathon.  But, here I am, training for the Air Force Half Marathon this fall.  If you're interested, my previous half marathons can be found herehere, and here.  

I started doing half marathons in the first place on a whim.  When my son was a baby I used to go visit him at daycare on my lunch break every daily.  When he got to be about 11 months old, he would cry and freak out when I left.  Instead of putting us through that twice a day, in the morning and at lunchtime, I decided to dust off my very infrequently-used gym membership and start walking on my lunch break instead to take my mind off of missing my baby.  At some point I decided to try running (more like walking and very slow jogging), and decided to do a 5k.  Someone mistakenly said something to me at some point about a half marathon, and I was laughing with a friend about the ridiculousness of the notion of me running or walking a half marathon.  The friend was like "but why can't you do it?"  So in a moment of insanity, I signed up.

Long story short, I had no idea what I was doing, was undertrained, and chose a super hilly course.  I hated myself and running by the end, and was just done with running for awhile.  Of course that wasn't the end of it as I've done two more halfs since then, but it sucked at the time.  

This time, I'm doing a course that I've done before, so I'm not worried about that, but I know that I need to not slack on my training or I will be crying at mile 11.  I am using the Hal Higdon Novice 1 Training Plan for the fourth time.  

Something I have been struggling with is foot pain...I finally got a grip and decided to try out some new running shoes.  So far, the pain is much better and the shoes have helped tremendously.  I will post more about that in a couple weeks when I've had more of a chance to break the shoes in.  Fingers crossed that the pain doesn't come back.

I went with Saucony this time, I have wide, giant feet so I went with men's...size 11.

So far, so good, this was me after 3 miles on Friday, sad face because I was enjoying running so much I didn't want to stop.  I got 5 miles in on Sunday and with the exception of a run-in with a couple of very large dogs, it was great.

I want to be clear that I will definitely be WALK/running this half marathon.  I would like to finish in under 3 hours this time.  We shall see.  I haven't been running much in the last few months because, pain.  I do feel like I am more prepared than ever before going into this half though - I have the benefit of experience this time and I know I'm in better shape now than any of the previous races.

Anyone else training for a half marathon this fall?  How's it going?

Amusement Park Fun

On Monday I took the day off to go to King's Island with my family.  If you're not from around these parts, King's Island is a huge amusement park with a water park...we usually try to make it there once a year at least.  This year, my sister had ended up with some extra free tickets that she generously shared with us, so when my other sister was here visiting from out of state, we planned a family fun day.  Out of my little family it was just me, my youngest two sons, and my 14 year old's friend - my husband had to work and so did my oldest son.  The only thing I would have changed about the day would have been for them to be there!  It was my 3-year-old's first trip to KI, and he loved it.  

When I got up that morning, I was worried because it was rainy...sure we could use the tickets another day, but I had taken the day off and we had all had this planned for a long time.  After checking the forecast we decided to try it and see what happened.  When we got there, there was hardly anyone there.  Like we got the very first parking spot, which is unheard of.  It turned out to be the best day ever, because there were NO lines.

At first my little guy was scared to go down any water slides but I knew he would love it, so I finally convinced him - I was right, he loved it!  By the way, having a swimsuit that I actually feel comfortable in is worth way more than the $35 I paid for it.

It can be hard to stay on track with healthy eating at amusement parks, food and drinks are really expensive and it's hard to find healthy options.  I actually ate breakfast before we left the house, and ran through McDonald's drive though for the boys on the way, and then I packed a cooler for our lunch.  For the boys I packed what they asked for - white bread, lunch meat, Doritos, Go-gurts, etc.   But for myself I just packed an assortment of low-carb options - chicken salad for my lunch, grape tomatoes, string cheese, Atkins shakes, tons of bottled water.  It worked out REALLY well and I stuck to my low carb/no sugar plan.

Eating lunch in the parking lot...so many tears about having to leave the waterpark to go eat...the only thing that would convince him was sitting in his chair!  Being 3 is hard.  Ha.  

Instead of buying drinks I just bought a cup and re-filled it at the water fountain.  Honestly...you aren't supposed to bring in food or drinks, and I had never taken a stroller or any kind of bag to KI before...so it didn't occur to me that snacks or drinks *might* make their way into the beach bag in the bottom of the stroller.  I had to buy a ticket for my 14 year old, which I did through AAA and it came with a wristband for unlimited drinks for an extra $5 - worth it, but he lost the wristband at the water park.  Womp womp.  So...when we went out for lunch several bottles of water and sodas for the older boys just fell into my beach bag...which is the way to do it, because I ended up not spending any money the rest of the day.  We stayed late and ended up eating a light dinner at the car too.

Like I said, we have been to King's Island a lot, but the past few years it's been harder for me to enjoy it.  It's strenuous to walk around when you are obese, and the fear of fitting into rides is a real thing.  I've never actually not been able to fit into a ride, but the fear has definitely been there.  This year, I didn't worry about any of that.  I was able to climb to the top of every water slide without getting winded, and ride every single ride I wanted to without fear, even the kiddy rides with my son.  I also noticed that it was much easier to get on and off the inner tubes at the waterpark...and really, I just felt comfortable and relaxed all day.  It was seriously the best day ever.  No crowds and not having to wait in lines was just icing on the cake...even the teenagers said it was one of the most fun days they've had at King's Island - they were able to ride every roller coaster over and over until they were almost sick of it.

Taking my son on his first roller coaster ride and seeing the look on his face is something I will never forget!

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