Sunday, December 25, 2016

Gettysburg Marathon Training : Week 3

Happy Holidays everyone!  I'm just stopping by quickly today to share my training last week.  It was another great week of workouts and I'm really happy with how my training is going so far.  I had one little hiccup where my leg started to bother me, but luckily it only hurts when I'm resting and not when I run.  I'll keep an eye on it!  

Otherwise, this was a great week and I'm looking forward to a bit of a cut-back week and relaxing.  I hope you all have a great week!


3 miles / 28:45 / 9:35 pace
I took this run really slowly.  My legs felt a bit heavy and tired, so I didn't push it at all.  I also felt a little twinge in my left quad / inner thigh area so I didn't want to hurt myself.


Rest Day!
My leg was sore in the same spot when I woke up, so I decided to take a rest day and hope that it doesn't get worse.  I still did my core workout and the yoga video for the day!


5 miles / 44:45 / 8:56 pace
I still felt a little soreness in my leg, so I decided to see how my warm-up went and then either stop if it hurt or continue on if it felt fine.  As soon as I started to run, my leg loosened up and felt good as new!  For my workout, I was supposed to do 3 miles at tempo (8:15 pace).  I started a little slow, around 8:25 pace, and each mile sped up a bit to see how my leg felt.  Every time I sped up it felt better and better, and by the end I didn't feel any discomfort at all.


Rest Day!
This is my normal rest day, so I decided to take it and use the day to relax!  I really liked the yoga video for the day, and did my second day of core work.


9 miles / 1:22:51 / 9:12 pace
I had the day off work, so I decided to take my long run on a Friday just like last week.  It was much warmer out (about 34 degrees) and I did a similar route as last week.  I added on another challenging hill to make this a tough,hilly long run.  My pace felt comfortable the entire time, and it felt great to only have to run in a vest and long sleeve!  

I was really happy with my overall pace!  The first half of the run was pretty much all hills, and the second half was all sub 9:00 miles.  Here's a look at my stats for the run:


Rest Day!
My third rest day of the week!  It felt good to take time off, and I was happy to see that today's yoga video was mostly just stretches for the hips.  It felt great after yesterday's long run!  Selma was my yoga buddy today :)


4 miles (un-timed)
For the past few years, I've made it a tradition to run on Christmas Day.  I kept it up this year with an easy 4 miles around my neighborhood.  It was the perfect temperature out and I felt great on this run!

Do you like to run during the holidays?
Any weird injuries/pains lately?  

Friday, December 23, 2016

Top Five Friday #80

Merry Christmas Eve Eve!  I'm excited for this weekend and have some fun plans.  I have a short and sweet post to share today, but I wanted to wish you all happy holidays.  I'll be sharing my training post as usual on Monday, but otherwise I'm taking the week off to relax and refresh.

Reward Program Haul

At the beginning of the year, I made it a goal to not spend any of my reward money so that I could treat myself in December.  I did that, and now I get to treat myself!  With Discover, I used my cashback to get a new pair of running shoes and Bluetooth headphones.  I cashed in some of my Ibotta rewards (I ended up earning $205 this year) for a new gym bag.  Finally, I got a check in the mail from Ebates for $153!  Not bad :)  FYI-I included all of my referral links, so if you haven't signed up I would get on it and earn money next year!!

Play! By Sephora

The gifts just kept coming this week, because I also got my December Play! bag.  Here's what I think about all of the products:
- Elizabeth and James Nirvana Rose - The only perfumes that I own are from this line (Black and Bourbon are my favorite) so I was so excited to try out the only one I don't already have!  Unfortunately, I wasn't a fan of this scent at all, but then again I don't usually like rose scents anyway!

- Urban Decay All Nighter Spray - I already have tried this setting spray in the past and it's definitely my favorite.

- Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo - I'm pretty much a dry shampoo fiend, so I was excited to have a travel size.  This is perfect for the gym, and has a great scent.  I love all Drybar products!

- Make Up For Ever Primer - I tried a sample of this primer before and it's so amazing!  It's really hydrating and smoothing, and makes your skin look perfect.

- Lancome Hypnose Drama Mascara - I always like getting mascara samples, so I was happy to get this one.  It gave me great length and volume without being too over-the-top.

- Sephora Cream Lip Stain - I have another color in this line and it's my favorite formula!  It's really long-lasting (I wore this for 12 hours yesterday and it didn't move or fade at all) and smooth, yet isn't drying at all like most liquid lipsticks.  This is a gorgeous color that goes on fully opaque.  It's great for holiday parties, and isn't something I would buy for myself!  Here's what it looks like on (with only one coat):

Great American Baking Show

One of my favorite shows (especially during the holidays) is the Great British Bake Off!  It always makes me so happy and is such a fun show.  I just noticed that a new season of the American version was on Hulu, so I spent this week catching up.  I love to bake so it would be my dream to be a contestant, mostly just so I can meet Mary Berry!

Friday Funny

But seriously.... this changes my plans!

Happy Holidays everyone!!

linking up with ErikaHeather, and Friday Five

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Training Plans and Goals

Happy Thursday everyone! Today's my last day of work for the year, so I'm excited for today to be over and to relax for the next week.

Last week I talked about my races for the first half of 2017, and today I'm going to be sharing my planning.  As I mentioned, I'll be running 3 races in preparation for a full marathon in April.  This will help me break down the long 20 weeks of training and also test my fitness along the way!  I picked out two plans to follow and made a few changes to them.  Here are some thoughts on each, along with the changes I'll be making:

Training Phase I

Right now, I'm following Kara Goucher's half marathon training plan, with a few modifications:  I'm making my long runs a bit longer and switching a rest day to Thursday (instead of Friday).  Other than that, I'm really liking this plan and think it's doing a great job of building a strong base.

The mileage comes in right at my comfort zone (25-30s) and the "workouts" are different each week.  Speed workouts are always my favorite runs of the week, and I love how challenging Kara's are.  Every week it's a different workout that's difficult but doable, and also makes me feel strong and confident.  Most of the workouts are designed to work on getting comfortable at race pace, so I think these will really help me!

I also like the fact that core workouts are built in to this plan.  Every time that I start a new training plan, I have goals to make core exercises a priority but never follow through.  Since it's written down in this plan, I feel like I have to do it, and it's already making me feel stronger!  The moves aren't difficult but definitely work all of my muscles that I need to run.

Training Phase II

Eventually, I'm going to switch over to the Women's Running Break 4 Hour Marathon Plan (what a name)!  The mileage is really similar to Kara Goucher's plan, so it won't be much of an adjustment.  The long runs will get longer, and the mid-week runs will also get a little longer as well.  I will also adjust this so that my rest days are on Thursday and Saturday, which seem to work well for my body!

Since I really like the speed workouts in Kara Goucher's plan, I'm going to keep doing those even when I switch to the marathon plan.  I might eventually switch over, but for now that's what I'm planning on doing, but add on more mileage in each workout to make it more full-marathon-appropriate.

Cross Training

Besides core work, I'm also going to continue to do yoga.  Right now I'm doing it every day for the 30 Day Yoga Challenge.  After that's over, I want to continue to do yoga at least five days a week.  The videos that I'm doing are usually on the shorter side (30 minutes or less) and are more focused on stretching than doing anything really strenuous.  This has been helping me out SO much with recovery and flexibility, so I want to keep it up!

Another big change that I'm making is no more alcohol during the week.  I usually have a beer or glass of wine with dinner, but I realized it was just making me feel like crap and isn't worth it at all.  I decided to eliminate it during the week and might even stop completely!  Of course, if something comes up and I have a happy hour after work or go out with friends I'll have a drink or two, but otherwise I'm going to up my water game and treat my body better.


To be honest, I didn't want to share my "real" goals on here because they kind of scare me.  They're super ambitious and I'm afraid that everyone's going to laugh at me or tell me I'm being unrealistic.  I know that there's a pretty good chance that I won't get my "A" goal this year, or maybe ever!  That's fine with me.

I was listening to Lindsey Hein's podcast where she interviewed Shalane Flanagan, and Shalane said "If you're achieving all of your goals, you're probably not setting a high enough standard for yourself."  I loved that, because it's so true.  Who cares if you don't reach all of your goals?  We should all have those scary goals that seem impossible, because it forces us to challenge ourselves and push towards being better.  Even if I don't make my goal this year, or next year, or the year after- I'm on the right path and working towards something I care about.

After all that rambling- here are my goals for the year/my life!
  • Break 1:45 in the half marathon - I think that my favorite distance is the half marathon.  Lately I've been training with my "goal pace" being 8:00, so I actually think that this one is do-able.  I'll be running a great course for the Rock n Roll DC Half Marathon, so I'll be interested to see how I do there!

  • Qualify for Boston - This is the scary one!  I haven't done a full marathon in such a long time, and my current PR is 4:38:12 after a less than ideal training schedule during my final semester at college.  For my age group, I'll have to take over an hour off that time just to qualify (and probably an hour and fifteen minutes to actually register).  That sounds just about impossible to me right now, but I know that if I put a lot of effort, dedication, and time in I'll be able to do it.  My first step to getting there is breaking four hours, which I hope to do this year.  Will I achieve my dream of BQ?  Maybe, maybe not.  But why not try?

  • Do a handstand in yoga - Now that I'm practicing yoga regularly, I'm challenging myself to try out new poses and getting stronger and stronger.  I've always dreamed about being able to do a handstand, so I figured I should throw this in with my other goals.  

There you have it!  My training plans and my goals.  As we get closer to race time, I'll go into more specifics about realistic goals and break down my A, B, and C goals.  For now, these three are what I'm dreaming and thinking about and hope to achieve one day.

What are your scary goals?
Do you like to set realistic goals instead of "dream" goals?

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

What's Up December!

I'm so happy today, because I finally remembered to join the What's Up Wednesday linkup!  I always forget to write my post, then see other bloggers sharing, and make a mental note to join next month.  Well- I finally did and have lots of fun stuff to share!  

Let's get to the interesting stuff and talk about what I'm......

Eating - a bunch of leftovers.  I'm trying to cut back on spending this month, which includes grocery shopping!  So far this month I've only spent $45 on groceries, and I'm done for the month.  I've been having lots of lentil soups, curries, and veggie burgers!

Aldi's- I heart you

Reminiscing about - 2016.  I'll probably do a recap blog post about everything that's happened in the last 12 months, because 2016 has definitely been the most meaningful and best year of my life!

love and marriage, go together like horse and carriage

Been up to - Working, running, socializing, repeat!  I've heard that while working in application development December is a slow month, but that definitely hasn't been the case for me.  It's been nuts at work lately but I'm loving every minute of it (plus, having a week of vacation just a few days away helps!).  Marathon training has been keeping me busy in the mornings, and I've been catching up with friends as much as possible in the evenings.  Something about the holidays brings out the social butterfly in me!

Dreading - More snow and ice.  I really don't mind running in the cold (it's not my favorite, but I can handle it).  Ice, on the other hand, scares me so much.  I'm a little better about running in it now that I have Yak Trax, but I hate driving in it.  If it could just stay above 30 and no precipitation, I would be very happy.

Excited about - Traveling and races.  I'm already looking forward to my race schedule in 2017 and some lofty goals that I have.  I'll be talking about them tomorrow but I'm SO excited.  I also can't wait to do more traveling next year and scratch more countries off my list!

Time to add to my collection!

Watching - A few shows:
- America's Next Top Model....I'm liking the new judges and format!  Happy that my guilty pleasure show is back.
- Top Chef Masters....I've had this show on in the background while I cook or work on blog posts.  So addictive!
- Project Runway....I'm so excited to see who wins!  Erin is my spirit animal and has been my favorite since she first popped out in a sunny yellow outfit.  LOVE HER.

Reading - Great Small Things by Jodi Picoult.  Seriously so amazing!  I'm about 3/4 of the way through and it's incredible.  Next in my queue is Good as Gone by Amy Gentry.  I honestly don't remember why I borrowed this or what it's about, so we'll see how it is.

Listening to - Do I even have to answer this?  All Christmas music, all the time!

Wearing - So many layers.  For running, I'm usually wearing 2 pairs of pants and 3 tops (at least).  For work, I'm really casual lately in black jeans and a chunky sweater.  At home, I'm wearing as many cozy clothes as I can find, including this super snuggly snowman onesie:

Jolly Happy Soul

Doing this weekend - Spending time with my family, then going to visit Dan's family.  We're going to have a pretty chill Christmas, but it should be nice.  Hoping for good weather!

What else is new - If you're a Pittsburgher or going to be in town for the holidays, you need to check out Miracle on Liberty!

Does it not look like the Christmas aisle of every Target in town threw up all over?

This is a pop-up bar that's open for Christmas and it's incredible.  Think about the most festive place possible, and multiply that by 1000.  Add in some cute holiday-themed cocktails (that actually taste amazing) and you have Miracle!
My drink- the Christmaspolitan! Vodka, Elderflower liqueur, Spiced cranberry sauce, Fig bitters. YUMM

I've heard of other cities that transform regular bars for the holidays, but this one is so fun since it's only open for a few weeks!  While you're downtown, make sure to check out the holiday lights, go for a skate, and look around the Holiday Markets :)

What are you watching lately? Any Christmas movie recs?
What are your plans for the holidays?
Holiday bars- yay or nay?
linking up with Mel, Sheaffer, and Shay

Monday, December 19, 2016

Gettysburg Marathon Training : Week 2

What a week!  I have to say that this was probably my best week of training...ever.  Every workout that I did was great and I felt really strong.  I'm starting to get into tougher workouts, and I'm handling everything really well so far.  By the laws of running, that means I need to get ready for a few awful weeks now.

We also got some bad weather this week.  Luckily, I was able to move around my workout schedule and didn't have to miss any runs.  Lets hope that this continues and I can stay off the treadmill as long as possible!  Here's a look at my week:


3 miles / 28:55 / 9:38 pace
Never miss a Monday!  I almost did miss because we had an offsite work event, but I still made sure to get in a few miles.  We went bowling which I'm counting as my strength training for the's hard work!

In the evening, I did my core workout and yoga video.

30 days of yoga challenge: Yoga for spinal health


4.25 miles / 39:04 / 9:11 pace
Chilly morning, but it felt great once I got started on my run.  Easy run around the Northside.  There was a snow storm that started around 12:00, so I was happy to have my run over with and not have to deal with bad sidewalks!

30 days of yoga challenge: Endurance and Ease


4.5 miles / 39:40 / 8:48 pace

Speed work day!  1/2 mile warmup, 3x1 mile repeats at 8:10 average.  Each repetition I got a little faster and felt great the entire time.  In between each rep I ran 1/4 mile slowly, and ended with a 1/2 mile cool down.  I felt really good and strong the entire time, and spent some time stretching and foam rolling afterwards. Great start to the day!

30 days of yoga challenge: Mindful Hatha Yoga Workout


Rest Day!
Felt good to take a day off running!  I did another core workout and some yoga.  Including daily yoga has definitely helped my recovery, so I want to keep this up even after the 30 days are done.

30 days of yoga challenge: Half Hour Half Moon Practice


8.25 miles / 1:16:17 / 9:14 pace
I took the day off work and decided to get my long run in. There was a bad ice storm predicted for Saturday, so I didn't want to risk bad conditions and end up missing my long run! It was cold out, but I was super bundled and it didn't bother me.

I wanted to challenge myself, so I did my normal loop of North Park and added on a run up Ridge Drive.  This road has a really hilly first mile that goes straight up to a lodge.  After that, there were some nice rolling hills.  The tough part about that was that the road was closed to traffic after the lodge, so it was completely snow covered.  This made it a little tougher to run, so once I made it back to the dry road I was flying!  This was a hard run, but I kept saying "Be Tough" in my head over and over.

30 days of yoga challenge : Easy Breeze Beautiful Yoga


Rest Day!
The weather was absolutley awful, so I was really happy to stay inside all day.  I don't think I moved more than 1,000 steps all day!  I stayed on the couch with a heating pad on my back and legs, binge-watched Fuller House, and relaxed.  It felt amazing after yesterday's rough workout!

30 days of yoga challenge : Happiness Boost Yoga


2 miles (un-timed)
I had plans to run a few easy miles at North Park, but everything was pretty much an ice skating rink!  Instead, Dan and I took Selma to the dog park, and I ran a few laps around.  The ground wasn't icy so it worked perfectly.  Running on the soft ground was also a nice change of pace for my ankles and knees, and Selma had a blast!  

30 days of yoga challenge : Wonder Yoga!

How is the weather where you are?
Do you ever have these magical weeks?
Have you ever done your workout in an unconventional place?  Whatever works..right?

Friday, December 16, 2016

Top Five Friday : Christmas Decorations

Happy Friday everyone!  Instead of having a regular Top Five post, I wanted to share a virtual house (and cube) tour of my Christmas decorations.  I have to admit that I don't have anything extravagant this year, but I'm happy with what we have.  I didn't buy any new decorations and just used up what we had in our old apartments!  I'm hoping to take advantage of post-Christmas sales to pick up some new decorations for next year.  I hope you enjoy!

First up is the office!  I kept things pretty simple and just hung up a hand-made ornament garland that I made a few years ago and a Merry Christmas sign.

We also have a cardboard deer (named Wilson) that hangs on our wall year-round and is decorated for the seasons.  I'm loving Christmas Wilson!

I kept the dining room table simple, with a tartan runner, a hand-painted tray, fake poinsettias in my fish vase, a white pinecone, and a snowman votive holder.  I love how everything looks together!

When I was growing up, my mom, sister and I always went Black Friday shopping together.  JC Penney's would give out free Mickey Mouse snow globes every year, and I kept them throughout the years.  I have these above the sink, and I love them!

In our basement, we have a decorative fireplace that I filled with empty wine bottles,  I wound some battery-powered fairy lights around the bottles and I think it's beautiful!

I put up a bunch of random stuff in our living room.  I made the paper chain garland and mini wreath, then adding some ornament accents to the garland on the mantle.  I have a fake succulent planter up year round, and just added a "Noel" sign to the front to make it more festive.

Do you go all out with decorations?
What's your favorite room to decorate?
Fake tree or real?  I always grew up with real trees, but I have a tiny fake one now.

linking up with ErikaHeather, and Friday Five

Thursday, December 15, 2016

2017 Racing Plans

Today is the day that I always look forward to- when I have all of my races planned out and my training schedule written down.  Besides lacing up a new pair of shoes for the first time, is there any better feeling for a runner?

If you saw my weekly training recap on Monday, you might have noticed that I have "Gettysburg Marathon" as the title of my training.  I decided to have a redemption race for the marathon that I never ran last year.  There was a lot going on in my life at the time, and it just wasn't the right year for a marathon.  2017 is going to be that year and I will complete (at least) one marathon!

The Gettysburg Marathon is on April 23rd, which gives me a 20-week training period.  Since this is a pretty long training schedule, I'm going to be breaking it up into different chunks with a tune-up race after each chunk.

First up will be the Chilly Cheeks 10 Miler in January.  I've never done this race before, but it seems like a smaller race (last year there were 74 finishers).  It looks like the race course is four laps of a 2.5 mile course, so it should be a great way to test my pacing!

In February, I'll be doing the Spring Thaw race at North Park.  I did this race last year and finished the 15 miler.  One thing that I really like about this race is that it has different distances available- 10, 15, and 20 miles- which you can decide on race day.  This race is around the time I should be doing my first 20 miler, so if I'm feeling good on race day I'll do all 20 miles.  If I'm having a bad day, I like the option of being able to stop after 10.  Right now I'm planning on doing 15, but we'll see what happens!  There are also pacers in this race, and I run on the race course pretty much weekly, so it will be another great opportunity to practice race pace and fueling.

Next up in March I'll be running a half marathon.  I set my PR last year at the Shamrock Shuffle Half Marathon, and I'm trying to decide between that race again or another one in DC.  I registered for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler lottery but wasn't picked, so I'm hoping to do a different race in that area.  Either way, if training goes as planned, I should be able to set a new PR with no problems.

Edit- this morning I registered for the Rock 'n' Roll DC Half Marathon!  There's a HUGE sale today for all RNR Races in 2017..I was able to register for this race for almost half off!  If you're thinking of running one of these races next year I would register today.

Finally, these all lead up to the Gettysburg Marathon!  The course is completely different this year to run around the battlefields, so I'm looking forward to it.  Looking at the route profile, it's a relatively flat course with some rolling hills throughout.  It seems like a perfect marathon course! 

There you have it- my race schedule for the first half of the year!  I'm excited to be training for a full marathon, and these races fit in perfectly with my training to keep me on track.  I'll be talking more about what training plans I'll be using along with some goals next week, but my number one priority is to get to the starting line of Gettysburg healthy and still loving running.  I have time goals as well, but if that happens I'll consider this a success!

Have you figured out your race schedule yet?
What is your big goal for 2017?  
Have you ever entered a race lottery?  Were you successful?

linking up with Amanda

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

WIAW : Marathon Training

Happy Wednesday!  Today I'll be joining in the What I Ate Wednesday linkup with a look at a day in my life.  My days have pretty much looked the same for the past few weeks and I'm in a really good routine.

I thought it would be interesting (or maybe even helpful) to show what my day of food looks like now that I'm starting to train for a marathon and keeping up a vegan lifestyle.  I feel like I'm eating constantly (or thinking about my next meal), so here's a look at what I ate yesterday:

5:30 - Wake up, take out Selma, get ready for work.  I already have my running clothes laying out along with my bag and lunch packed for work.  I drink some espresso and have a fruit pouch before leaving.

6:15 - Go out for my run.  I have an easy 3-6 miles on my training plan and I end up doing 4.25.  It was a bit cool out but it felt great!

7:15 - Get to work after showering and changing at the gym.  I'm starving on my (very short) walk to the office and start to feel a bit sick.  I'll have to make sure I'm eating more in the morning before leaving.  I make some tea, fill up my water bottle with water, and smear half of an avocado on a piece of bread.  I know I'll be hungry later, so I save the other half.

8:00 - I get some flow diagrams done for a meeting later in the day and get ready for a full day full of meetings!  Around 10:00 I have the other half of my avocado and another piece of bread.  I also fill up my water bottle a few times in the morning to stay hydrated.

12:00 - No yoga for me today, but I grab my lunch in between meetings.  Luckily the majority of my meetings are over Skype so I can eat when I'm not presenting!

2:30 - It's my one and only break of the day, so a few of my coworkers and I head out in a blizzard to Dunkin Donuts.  The Pittsburgh area locations have a promotion going on where you can get 50 cent coffees after the Penguins won.  On Monday night, the Pens won 7-0, which means vanilla coffee for me!  As we walked over, I silently thanked myself for running earlier in the day because it was nasty out!

5:00 - Leave to catch my bus.  It was snowing like crazy, so I'm really happy that I don't have to drive in this weather!  The snow sure is pretty though...

6:00 - Get home and run around in the snow with Selma.  I swear, she used to be a husky in another life because she absolutely LOVES the snow and always goes crazy in it!  I start to make dinner- pasta with sauce (I mixed in the leftover meatless meatballs that I had in the freezer to get in some protein) and a kale salad with cherry tomatoes and nutritional yeast.  Dan and I watch Dexter while we eat.

7:00 - Sit down to write this post!  Luckily all of my pictures have time stamps in my phone so I can remember when everything happened.  I eat some vegan gingerbread cookies which taste AMAZING.

7:30 - Do my 30 Day Yoga Challenge video- Endurance and Ease.  The practice has been getting more challenging this week with some added balancing in, which is my favorite.  Dan joined me, and I got him to do his first wheel!

7:55 - Make some tea and practice on the piano.  Dan and I got an electric keyboard a few months ago and I've been trying to teach myself how to play.  I love learning new instruments so this has been a lot of fun!  I try to play for about 15 minutes a day, and it's a great way to take my mind of work and running and everything else going on in my life.

8:15 - Finish up my tea while I pack up my lunch and bag for the morning.  I have to finish up a presentation, so I log in to work for a bit and end up spending about an hour answering emails and finishing up some slides.

9:30 - Get ready for bed, and read a few chapters of my current book- Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult.  I heard a lot of hype about this book and so far I'm absolutely loving it.  Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite authors and her books always suck me right in.

10:15 - Take Selma out one last time, take a Sleep Well gummy and go to sleep!

Does your eating change when you're training for a race?
Did it snow like crazy where you are?
Morning or night runner?  I used to only run in the evening, but I love the feeling of having it over with before 7:00!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Tasty Tuesday : Green Chef

Hi everyone!  For today's Tasty Tuesday, I'm excited to talk about a new meal service that I tried out called Green Chef.  So far, I've tried out Hello Fresh and Blue Apron, and this one is by far my favorite so far.

Like all of the other meal services, I was able to select the week that I wanted to get a delivery, pick a day, and see the menu ahead of time.  Instead of only having two selections- vegetarian and omnivore- Green Chef has tons of options.  They have meals for vegans, vegetarians, omnivores, carnivores, gluten-free, and paleo.  They all range in price, and the vegan meal is $11.99 per meal.  This is a bit more expensive than the other services, but I think well worth it.

All of the ingredients that are used are organic, and everything in the box is recycleable.  The packing material is compostable as well, which is a nice touch.

Now that we went over the service, let's get into the meals!  I got three meals and each served two people.  These were all on the vegan meal plan.

Side note- This post isn't sponsored at all.  I bought the box with my own money and wanted to share my thoughts!  If you would like to try the box, you can use my referral code to get 4 free meals in your first delivery!)

The first meal that I got was Black Lentils and Veggies with Artichoke tapenade, crostini, rutabaga and leeks.  (By the way- all of the recipes and ingredients are color coded so it's easy to find all of the ingredients!  In the top right corner of the recipe you can see how long the recipe will take, which was also great for planning).

There were things that I loved and didn't like so much about this meal.  The lentils were just ok, but all of the vegetables in it were delicious.  It seemed to be a bit too watery for my taste!  I absolutely loved the artichoke tapenade and crostini.  I'll definitely be making this again!  One thing that I really like about Green Chef is that the recipe for everything is available online- so I can make the tapenade from scratch in the future.  This would be a great appetizer for a holiday party!

My second meal was Veggie Seitan Tacos with Roasted sweet potatoes and corn, slaw, bean salsa

This meal was definitely my favorite and was absolutely delicious.  There were so many different components to the dish, but it came together in no time.  Most of the ingredients came pre-chopped, and some things like the beans and salsa) came pre made which is a huge time saver!  Seitan is my favorite vegan meat substitute, and I loved the flavor of this.  It was perfect for tacos and I'll be trying it again!  The only thing that I didn't like were the corn tortillas, which were really brittle and made the entire dish kind of a mess.

The final meal was Maple Berbere Tempeh with Roasted carrots, quinoa, orange and spinach salad

This meal was really delicious.  I've never used a maple glaze on tempeh before, and haven't really worked with fennel in the past.  The salad was a bit sweet and tangy, which went perfectly with the tempeh.  It was a great, light meal to have, and made fantastic leftovers!  This was definitely the easiest meal to make and came together in no time.

Overall, I was really impressed with Green Chef. Even though it's more expensive than most meal services, I think it's worth it for the large variety and high-quality ingredients.  It was fun to try new techniques and flavors, and I'll be trying them out again!

If you're interested in trying, I would appreciate if you used my referral code, which will give you four free meals!