Tag Archives: Chocolate

(F-F-F-Frozen) Hot Chocolate Race

Wow!!!  Yesterday was frigid to say the least!!  All I really wanted to do when my alarm went off at 5:00 am was hit the dang thing off, roll over and curl up snug as a bug next to my hubby for some much-needed snuggle time…but instead I got up, dressed in three layers and headed downtown to run in the Hot Chocolate 15K/5K!

This is what I woke up to Saturday morning...Yikes!!!

This is what I woke up to Saturday morning…Yikes!!!

First let me tell you a little bit about the Hot Chocolate 15K/5K!  It has been coined as America’s Sweetest Race, was established in 2008 in Chicago, Illinois and has had over 200,000 participants since then!  Each race features a 15K (9.3 miles) and a 5K (3.1 miles) distance to choose from and all participants receive an amazing goodie bag that you pick up at the Expo along with your bib number!  This year I received an awesome bag and an even awesome-er (that’s a word right?!) jacket!!  Check this thing out!!  It’s awesome and proved very useful the day of the race!!


Here are all my goodies from the Expo along with my at the Expo!  Loved the race swag 🙂


After the race, there is usually a huge Post Race Party where runners can enjoy music, a family friendly kid-zone complete with bounce houses/games (they had to cancel the kid-zone due to the temperatures but they did have them at the Expo and my son had a blast) and an awesome Finisher’s Mug filled with hot chocolate, chocolate fondue and tasty treats to dip!!


The Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) is the official charity partner for the Hot Chocolate 15/5k race. This program provides a “home-away-from-home” for families and children facing a serious medical crisis so they can stay close by their hospital at little or no cost.  Check out their page for my information on this great program!!

Now back to the actual race….due to the extreme weather (snow, ice, frigid temps) that came through our area on Friday & Saturday…many people were deciding to not go at all due to the extreme cold (it was about 15F at race start) and I easily could have done the same but there was just one problem…you see…I had won this entry from Ashley over at Downsizing Ashley so there was no way I was going to throw away an entry that someone else would have loved to have won!  I was excited to win at the time and I was going to follow through cold or not 🙂  Here is me before the race with my AmAzInG IR4 Riley signage.


I did, however, switch from the 15K down to the 5K.  I did this for a few reasons, namely that I have just not been running as much lately due to some issues with my one leg (which is better now) and also some deaths in the family.  I just did not feel like I was prepared at all to run the 15K and really did not want to hurt myself.  I’m getting ready to start training for a Half-Marathon in March and really didn’t want to start out injured.  I battled myself with switching for a few days…even right up until the turn off for the 5K’ers to take as the 15K’ers went another route…Why?!  I really kept feeling like a fraud because here I was veering to the right with my 15K Bib showing for all the world to see…I was a little disappointed but  for just a second and then I pulled forward and finished that 5K STRONG!!!  I just have to remember that it’s always better to listen to your body and finish something strong rather than pushing your body too far and not finishing at all.

I also KILLED that Finisher’s Mug of Chocolate-y goodness!!!


Foodie Pen Pal: April Reveal!

The Lean Green Bean

Last week, I posted a picture of my box of goodies that I received from my Foodie Pen Pal Lindsay at Live. Love. Nutrition blog!  As you could tell, it was filled to the brim with some yummy treats for me to try.  Here it is again so you can see 🙂  This was my first month participating and I can tell already that I loved it and can’t wait till next month!  Such a fun concept!


What IS Foodie Pen Pal?  Well…it’s just about the coolest idea ever!  I’ll tell you a little more about it after I show you the goods first.

First, I got these two amazing products from Mitica.  They are actually imported by a company called Forever Cheese.  One is called Spanish Cocktail and is a snack mix of dried corn kernel, fava beans, chickpeas & Largueta Almonds.  It also has vegetable oil, rice flour & sea salt for seasoning.  Oh man!!  Talk about the perfect salty snack!  Super crunchy and NOT too salty….just perfect 🙂  The other container has Carmelized Walnuts.  Lindsay warned me of their addictive nature and boy was she right.  They really are good all by themselves but they were also extremely good on a spinach salad that I threw together last week.  Check them out!


The next thing I received was some Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Chips.  According to the package, they are gluten-free and free of the 8 most common allergens; including dairy, nuts & soy.  I love that the ingredient list is short and sweet!  Very simple!  It has evaporated cane juice, natural chocolate liquor (non-alcoholic) and non-dairy cocoa butter.  They are also made without casein, potato, sesame and sulfites.  That is some awesome stuff!!!  I haven’t used them yet but just might have to whip up some cookies soon….or I could sprinkle them on some chia pudding….oh decisions decisions!!


Lindsay also sent me a bag of Nut Harvest Natural Lightly Roasted Almonds.  These are great for snacking at work which I do a lot of 😉  And that is exactly what I’m using them for.  There are bowls of chocolate and candy at my work so snacking on these helps me stay away from the front desk and the chocolate stash.  I am a total almond lover and these are sooo good!  I might even say that almonds are my favorite nut…well besides the nuts in my family…LOL  I liked these because they are just lightly salted.  Nothing overpowering which makes them great for eating by themselves but also amazing on a salad.


My final goodies are one of my all-time favorite snacks right now!!  I even mentioned them last week in my blog.  It’s KIND bars!!!  I ended up receiving three different kinds, all of which I have never tried.  Woo HOO!!  I got Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Pecan, Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt, & Nut Delight.  I’ve only tried the Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Pecan so far and I must say that it was pretty dang good!  The pecans were great.  I do not normally like dark chocolate but there was the perfect amount on this bar.  Not too much that it overpowered all the other flavors.  And the cinnamon was a nice compliment to the bar overall.  I will definitely be trying the other two very soon.


So that’s my goodies!  Yummy huh?  So how can you get involved in all this fun?  Well let me tell you…..

  • First, go to The Lean Green Bean and fill out the form to join in.  You must submit the form by 9pm EST on the 4th of the month to be guaranteed a spot.
  • On the 5th of the month, you will receive your pen pal pairing via email.
  • 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 pen pal!

It is such a great way to try new things that you may not even have available where you live and also a way to try products that you just hadn’t thought about buying!  The fun part is that you do not know what you are getting until you open that box up 🙂  SURPRISE!!  So come on….go and fill out that form and join in the fun with us!

Do you already participate in Foodie Pen Pals? What was your favorite thing you received?

What is the best thing you have ever gotten by mail?