Posts Tagged by giveaway

Making a Gluten-Lover into a Quinoa Pasta Believer: review and giveaway

[Giveaway closed. Thank you to all who entered!!]

As a carbo-loving, Italian, vegetarian runner, it will surprise no one to hear that pasta is my absolute favorite meal. I try to keep it balanced, but truthfully I’d eat pasta every day if I could, particularly when paired with cheese. (Side note: Is it still appropriate to carbo-load when growing a baby?)

Most of the time I try to make my meals healthier by eating the whole wheat variety. If I’m going to eat pasta, I figure I might as well try to pack it with as many nutrients (and extra protein) as I can. But the truth is –when it comes to taste, nothing quite compares to homemade white pasta and marinara sauce. So when I was first given the opportunity to try Selina Naturally’s Quinoa Pasta, I was more than a little doubtful. First of all, because I love gluten and the idea of a gluten-free pasta was less than appetizing. And secondly, because I’ve tried quinoa pastas in the past and have honestly been disappointed. In my limited experience, quinoa pastas might look like pasta, but they still taste like (you guessed it!) quinoa. A good alternative if you want to add variety to your meal or avoid gluten, but not a true replacement.

selina naturally quinoa penne

So when I say that Selina Naturally blew away all my expectations with their gluten-free pasta, I am not exaggerating. They’ve somehow created a pasta alternative that made this gluten-loving, carbo-holic fall in love. I would choose to eat their quinoa pasta over regular store-bought pasta any day of the week, and here’s why:

It doesn’t taste like quinoa

Don’t get me wrong…I love quinoa and make meals with it on a regular basis. But when I make a pasta dish, I want something that tastes like pasta. Quinoa has a very distinctive flavor that doesn’t always go well with pasta dishes. I think it may be the combination of rice and quinoa in the ingredients that lessens some of that strong flavor you find with other quinoa pastas.

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It’s versatile

This pasta is the perfect vehicle for any type of sauce — marinara, pesto, alfredo, olive oil + Celtic Sea Salt® – you name it, the pasta will soak it up. Sometimes, especially with the whole wheat variety, the flavor of the pasta can overpower the taste of your sauce. I love how the quinoa pasta is a chameleon – taking on any flavor.

Selina Naturally quinoa penne

It’s absorbent

Incredibly so! I tried making soup with it and this was the result:

black bean soup_quinoa pasta.jpgObjects in pot are more delicious than they appear

Black bean soup turned into a super flavorful black bean pasta dish. Not complaining, though next time I’d use more broth and less pasta if I actually wanted a soup.

It’s packed with protein

selina naturally quinoa pasta nutrition

6 grams per serving and I easily eat more than one serving at a time. The bag claims to contain 8, but I beg to differ (each 1 pound bag seems to get us 4 – 5 servings…feel free to make judgements about our eating habits based on that statement).

It’s organic and made with non-GMO ingredients

So you can feel good about eating it!

selina naturally quinoa pasta marinara

And it has the EC-seal of approval!

Evan will eat quinoa when I make it, but it’s not even close to being on his Top 10 List of Favorite Foods. However, the other night when we were eating a bowl of the Selina Naturally pasta, he turned to me and said, “I never want to go back to normal pasta again!” I was just as surprised to hear this statement as you might be to read it.

In short: Selina Naturally’s Quinoa Pasta is a delicious alternative whether you’re gluten-free or just looking to add variety to your meals.

I would say the only downside to this pasta is that it does take longer to cook. You can boil it for 8 – 10 minutes if you like an al dente taste, but I prefer to cook it closer to 20 minutes (the bag says 16-18 for softer pasta). Cooking longer makes the pasta softer, more absorbent, and much tastier all around….although it also makes the pasta more likely to fall apart. I don’t mind this, but something to be aware of in case that bothers you.

Still having doubts? Well it’s your lucky day. Because it’s the holiday season and (more importantly) BABY MONTH, I’m offering one HOTR reader the chance to try some pasta yourself! Just leave a comment below with your favorite pasta dish (I need some new ideas).

And just for fun, I will give an extra entry to anyone who enters the Unofficial Cheese Baby Birthdate/Weight pool! Leave a separate comment with your prediction about when she will be born and how much she’ll weigh. Background info: My official due date is 12/21, but Cheese Baby seems to be on the larger side (maybe all that pasta has something to do with it). She’s been measuring ahead at each one of our ultrasounds, with the latest prediction putting her two weeks ahead (which means if I carry to term, she’s going to be a BIG girl). However, Evan and I both were 8 pounds 1 oz at birth, and I was born a couple of days late. What all that information means, I have no idea. But there you go.

*You must leave a separate comment for each entry in order for it to count. Winners will be selected one week from today (12/10).

Disclaimer: Selina Naturally provided me with two types of quinoa pasta to review (penne and elbows), but did not pay me for this post. All opinions are my own. I don’t do reviews and/or giveaways very often on the blog, so when I do choose to feature something, it’s because I really love the product. (And seriously – I can’t pay off my husband!).

 

A Few Things You Should Know

1.) About yesterday’s postThank you all for weighing in. I realize that not everyone agrees with me, but I hope I never make you feel as though you can’t express your opinion in the comments section of my blog. I know part of the point of even having a blog is discussion, so you are always welcome to disagree. I may write back and explain more about why I feel the way I do (it is my blog, after all), but I in no way mean to invalidate anyone’s opinion.

Related to that – a few of you mentioned education and other school programs that help students access healthy foods and encourage them to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. I don’t mean to take away from the great things that schools around the country (including in my own tiny state of RI) are doing. And I think that important work should continue. However, I also think it’s only part of the solution. We can’t have a government that on one hand says they are committed to solving America’s weight problem and then on the other hand are making policy decisions based on the highest bidder. Corporations have way too much sway over the policies in this country. A fact that I find so incredibly frustrating.

Okay, I’m off my soapbox now. I promise. Moving on…

 

2.) About work: I didn’t get home from work until midnight last night. And today I am the only person from my team who is actually in the office. Which means that it’s a large coffee kind of day.

Even a huge coffee from one of the best coffee shops in Providence isn’t enough to get me through this day

Now before you go thinking I’m some sort of super star employee, let me qualify that above statement with two facts.

a.)  I wasn’t actually in an office until midnight last night. That would have been awful. I have to admit that fact alone was enough to make working so late not all that bad. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it was one of my best days at work in a long time…especially since it ended with chocolate lava cake. At the risk of sounding cliché, it doesn’t really feel like work when you love what you’re doing.

b.)  The only reason that I’m actually at work today (while everyone else is starting the holiday celebrations early) is because I don’t have the vacation time not to be. Not because I love this place so much. I guess I’ve been taking a little bit too much time off lately to run races.

 

3.) About Thanksgiving: I haven’t been able to go home for Thanksgiving in long time, which always makes me just a little sad around this time of year. But then I remember how lucky I am to have another family to take me in. And not to have to drive through a torrential downpour to get home. Or sit in awful Thanksgiving traffic. It’s the little things…

 

4.) About Turkey Trots: I have never in all my life participated in one. There really is no excuse for this, seeing as I usually run on Thanksgiving morning anyway. I was determined to finally break the streak this year, and sign up for the first ever family Turkey Trot in Providence. But then I found out that the Thanksgiving “dinner” I’ve been invited to is at noon. And it’s a couple of hours away. The turkey trot starts at 10. Something tells me I’m not going to make it.

So, instead EC and I are planning our own. I love this kid, but it’s not everyday that I can actually get him to agree to run with me. So you better believe I’ll be making the most of this opportunity. I’m already working on mapping out a route, and have considered making him dress up for the occasion.

(Source)

I think this will do.

 

5.) About contest winners: Last but definitely not least - it’s been over two weeks, and the winner of my Team Sparkle Skirt giveaway never claimed her prize. I feel really bad about the whole thing, especially because I know I’ve entered giveaways before and then completely forgotten to go back and check on them. But if you enter a contest on a blog, it’s not the blogger’s responsibility to track you down. I’m sorry, but it’s not. There were so many people who entered that I wish I could give a Team Sparkle skirt to all of you.

That said, it’s time to pick a new winner. And that person is…

Meggie!

You have a week to claim your prize, so email me! (please!!)

 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Team Sparkle Skirt Giveaway Winner

Thank you to all of you who entered my Team Sparkle Skirt Giveaway! I got so many great responses about why you want one of these awesome skirts and where you would wear them – so many that I really wish I could give one of these everyone who entered. I’ve only done a couple of giveaways on my blog, but I’ve quickly realized that the worst part about them is having to pick only one winner. It doesn’t seem fair to disappoint so many of you.

But…I know I’ve made you wait long enough. So without further ado, the lucky winner of a Team Sparkle Skirt in the color of their choosing is….

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Comment #33, which Brigid won with her Tweet about the giveaway.

sparkle skirt winner.png

Congrats Brigid! Please send me an email with your information and we will get that out to you ASAP.

 

Thanks again to everyone who entered!! I’m sorry I can’t spread the Team Sparkle love to every single one of you.

 

Team Sparkle Skirt Giveaway

After a long, hot summer of many training ups and downs, marathon week is finally here! I’m trying to stay relaxed, rest a lot, and focus on positive thinking to help me run strong next Sunday.

If that fails, I’m adopting the following strategy:

keepcalm_eatacupcake.jpg(Source)

To get my mind off the race and celebrate the end of another training cycle, I figured we should do something fun. And what’s more fun than a sparkly giveaway?

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I know you’ve seen them – those flashy, sequined skirts that powered Team After-nuun Delight 200 miles across the state of Oregon. And if you’ve been thinking about buying a Team Sparkle skirt of your very own, today is your lucky day. The girls at Team Sparkle have generously agreed to provide one Health on the Run reader with a Sparkle Skirt in the color/size of their choosing.

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Now I know what you might be thinking: Running skirts are not for me. I’ll stick to my less girly articles of clothing, thankyouverymuch.

If that’s the case, I wouldn’t really blame you. I’m not really a skirt person either. In fact, when I tried a running skirt for the first time last spring, I was less than impressed. So I’ll admit that I some doubts about running in a skirt for the entire Hood to Coast relay.

But then I tried it on. I loved the way it fit over any running bottoms that I wanted to wear, spandex or not. And I loved the way it moved when I ran.

My first run in the skirt was through the hottest temperatures I had raced in all summer. Yet suddenly it didn’t matter. For over 6 miles on black unshaded asphalt, my fellow relay runners and I battled the heat. And the skirt that I thought would annoy me for the entire run ended up being the best thing about it. There’s nothing like tearing down a long stretch of road wearing a flashy racing outfit. When I started passing people in that flashy green skirt, I was hooked.

HTC_Leg1_finish

The girls who were wearing the sparkle skirts soon became recognizable on the relay course. Which only fueled my determination to run faster. Running fast when you’re dressed the part and people sort of expect it is one thing. But when you’re decked out in a sparkling skirt and matching from head to toe?

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Something else, altogether.

And if you think the skirts are only for females, think again. There have been some super fast male runners who have been known to rock a sparkle skirt.

mason_sparkle skirt

Have I convinced you yet? If you’d like to win a skirt from Team Sparkle, here’s all you need to do:

Like Team Sparkle on Faceboook and leave a comment (here) that you did.

I typically don’t love giveaways that make things complicated for readers to win something, but then again, it’s nice to have a few extra chances to win, right? So if you want extra entries, you can*:

  • Leave a comment telling me why you want a Team Sparkle skirt and/or where you’d wear it
  • Follow @runTeamSparkle on Twitter
  • Like Health{ontherun} Blog on Facebook
  • Blog/tweet/share this giveaway somehow, with someone. For example: I want to win the @runTeamSparkle giveaway from @HealthontheRun

*Please leave a separate comment for each entry

Edited to add: Contest will run through Tuesday, November 1st. (Sorry I left out that very important detail!)

Team Sparkle has provided me with one skirt to give to a reader. Although the company also provided my team with sparkle skirts to wear during the Hood to Coast relay last August, I did not receive anything else in exchange for this giveaway. I truly love the product and would like to spread that love to a reader.

Winner will receive one Team Sparkle skirt in the color/size of their choosing and will have a week to claim their prize before a backup winner is chosen.

 

 

One Week {and a giveaway!}

One week from today, I will be boarding a plane to Seattle to join the nuun team for 24 hours of running, peanut butter eating, coffee chugging, van sleeping fun on Mount Hood and along the Oregon coast. As cheesy as it sounds, this is the opportunity of a lifetime!

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When I first applied to be on the team, most of my excitement was just about the relay itself. For whatever reason, I didn’t think much about the other bloggers who would be on the team, and the fact that this experience would connect me with women I never would have even heard of otherwise (which is dumb, since I always babble on and on about how much I love the team aspect of relays).

Since being selected, however, it’s been all about the other ladies running. This group is easily the most excited team I’ve ever run a relay with. We’ve come up with a team logo, team uniforms and warm-ups, amazing van decoration ideas, and more. This has taken the team camaraderie that I love so much to a whole new level. Now I’m just as excited to fly out west to meet my teammates as I am to actually run.

Anyway, since we’re so close to the event that has consumed {almost} every waking thought for the past couple of months, I thought I’d take some time to answer all those questions people didn’t actually ask me (I’m sure you all were thinking them though, right?)

Frequently Never Asked Questions

How in the world did you get chosen for this thing?

In case you’ve started reading Health on the Run recently, here’s a link to the application that started it all – I Wanna Run Hood to Coast!

I head HTC is hilly. How exactly have you been preparing to run through mountains at elevation?

Umm….well Providence is sort of hilly too. And I run up those hills on every run. So that counts, right? (Let’s forget about the whole “sea level” thing for now)

Have you done double/triple runs to prepare for the fact that you’ll be running 3 legs in 24 hours?

Sometimes I do a workout in the evening and then get up in the morning to run. But I’ll admit that’s more because of the way my schedule works out than because I’m trying to be intentional about practicing. Plus, in those situations I have about 12 hours between workouts – which is double the amount of time I’d have on the relay.

So…no.

Okay, it sounds like you haven’t really trained for this at all? Is this true??

Yes and no. Honestly the only thing I’ve done is just continue to marathon train. I’ve been trying keep up with lifting regularly and I’ve mixed in some tempo runs/speed work/races, but those are things I’d be doing anyway. I don’t mean to make light of this whole race, but I ran 17 miles last week – which is about the total distance I’ll be running through the course of the weekend. Yes, I’ll be doing those runs on much hillier roads, but I’m hoping my marathon training will have given me enough strength to make it through this relay.

What are these team uniforms you speak of?

Sorry, but that’s top secret, classified information. Okay, so not really but I’m still going to make you wait until the relay to find out. Just think lots of color – people are definitely going to see us coming!

What is your favorite relay snack?

Nuun will be providing most of the food for our vans, which works out great because I’m flying across the country. But I might try to sneak in a few of my favorite things. Like Justin’s nut butter packets (so much easier than bringing an entire jar!) and my new favorite relay treat, peanut-butter filled pretzels. Seriously – I couldn’t get enough of the saltiness after running.

Becky_pb pretzelsBecky modeling the crack snack she brought for us on the Cape Relay

Will your awesome Bondi Bands be making an appearance?

Why yes, of course – because I swear this thing makes me run faster. As does my I <3 26.2 shirt, of course.

DSCN2314.JPG“In my dreams I am a Kenyan” and “Will run for ice cream” – both so true

This sounds like so much fun! How can I track your every move next weekend?

I’m so glad you asked! I won’t be blogging through the relay, but we have created plenty of opportunities for you all to follow along on the adventure. Ready to be overloaded by social media?

  • Follow me on Twitter (if you don’t already). I promise my sleep-deprived tweets will be mildly entertaining
  • Follow our team AfterNUUN Delight on Twitter (@afternuundelite) – seriously, we need more followers
  • Follow the other {almost as cool} team Nuun Platuun on Twitter (@NuunPlatuun) – I know it’s not a competition, but Nuun Platuun already has twice as many followers as we do. I know they’re all cool and intense and everything, but we’re all about the love, so follow @afternuundelite, okay??
  • For you non-Twitter users, we have created a Facebook page! “Like” Bloggers Spreading the Nuun Love” on Facebook to see updates from both teams in one place. Plus, I heard all the cool kids are doing it.
  • And finally, I will also try to post occasional updates, photos, etc to the Health{ontherun} Facebook page, in case the other options aren’t enough for you.

Phew, I know that’s a lot! But I just want you all to be involved in the fun.

And now, because I want everyone who reads this blog to be just as excited by the Hood to Coast relay as I am, I have a fun surprise for you all!

Hood to Coast DVD Giveaway

As you may {not} know, the Hood to Coast movie recently came out on DVD. Not just any DVD, either. A 2-Disc special that includes over 95 minutes of extras. Hours of Hood to Coast fun in one little package?? Try not to get too excited.

hood to coast.jpg

In the small chance you haven’t ordered it already (because I know most of you pre-ordered the movie months ago, you were so excited, right?), I have decided to give away one copy of the DVD to one lucky HOTR reader. I might also throw in a few tubes of Nuun…if you’re lucky.

To enter -

Simply comment on this post and tell me your best relay experience OR one reason why you don’t think you’d ever run one (because I know we’re not all so crazy – though if you hate relays, I’m going to sort of wonder why the heck you want the movie…). Or you could ask me a question that you might actually have about the relay/nuun team/etc, give me some last minute tip or even leave some nice encouraging words (is the elevation really going to kill me??). Basically, if you comment on this post and say anything related to relays, I will consider you entered (unless, of course, you don’t want to be. Which is fine!!).

I’m not going to ask you to do a bunch of other things, but I will give you ONE bonus entry for following the Nuun Teams on Twitter, liking our Facebook page, or liking the Health{ontherun} page (all listed above). Sorry, but following me on Twitter doesn’t count. Just leave a separate comment telling me what you did so I can count it as an entry.

And even if you don’t want the bonus entry, you should follow all our team pages anyway!

Edited to add: I guess I should specify when this thing ends. I want to order the movie before I head out west, so the giveaway will run through midnight on Monday, August 22nd. I’ll choose a winner that Tuesday – so enter before then!

*This giveaway is sponsored and funded purely by me. The only connection I have with the relay is the fact that I’m running it next week. I just want to spread the Hood to Coast love to all my readers!

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