Archives for October 2013

Mana Bars Product Review

When I first joined Instagram, I wasn’t really an avid user… now I absolutely LOVE it! I started to realize how I could use it as a tool to connect with other people with similar interests. One day, I came across this gal – how could I not want to follow her posted pics??

susie_snow_2She seemed both fun-spirited and a laid back yogi.

It also appeared as though she lived in Arizona like me – in one of my favorite AZ towns – Flagstaff. It is a gorgeous mountain town and if I wasn’t such a city girl, I would move there in a heartbeat. As I was following her, I noticed that she took a “vacation” to Hawai’i and was keeping up with her yoga practice! I loved her passion for yoga and following her posts made me want to make it part of my regular routine again. I don’t do it as often as I should and Susie had become my inspiration! I truly admire her for being so disciplined.


Then something incredible happened. I saw that she was NOW in the UK running the Brighton Marathon!! I thought to myself, “This girl travels!” After a bit of stalker-like research (oh come on, in today’s social media infested world, it’s not that hard to dig) I found out she was merely visiting AZ, lived in Hawai’i and is native to the UK. At least as far as I can tell… 🙂


Love this picture.


So, why am I showing pics of a gal I’ve been following on Instagram for about 7 months now? Well, the beauty of social media is how it allows you to connect with people you otherwise would never have crossed paths with. The more I utilize social media, the more I realize there is TRULY only 6 degrees of separation. Either that, or the running community is pretty small. The story of Susie from the UK/Hawai’i/Flagstaff would never be told by me, and you never would have heard of her (unless you follow us both of course) if I didn’t also connect with her on Instagram.

I’ve made some really great friends through social media and I’m happy for its existence, despite it’s stalker-like capabilities.

It’s pretty awesome when I stop to think about it. Anyway, that brings me to my looooooong overdue Mana Bar Review. I’ll give you ONE guess as to who sent me these bars.


If you guessed Susie from Hawai’i, you would be correct! Look at the awesome packaging! You can really tell they are handmade. 🙂


I was given instructions to put them in the fridge as soon as they arrived in case they got a little soft during travel. (I’m embarrassed to say just how long overdue this post is, but, let’s just say I received them Sept. 13th, when Phoenix was still reaching temps in the 100’s.) It was a Friday and I had a run the following morning, so I was going to wait until then to enjoy my first one!

Let me step back for a second and let you know HOW I even received these in the first place! One night as I was doing my daily browsing on Instagram, I noticed Susie posted this pic… beautiful latte, one of my favorite books and a Mac… things just keep getting better and better. Then, I read the caption…


“Working on a post about Eat&Run with a delicious almond milk mocha!”

Wait, what?! She has a blog too!? AWESOME. I quickly became a follower of her blog, and she started following me as well! Shortly after we connected via email and the rest is history folks. One day, we might even meet in person. 🙂

I was honored when she asked me to do a review of her Mana Bars. I received 6 bars in the mail and got to personally enjoy 4. Mr. Zucchini Runner enjoyed 2. 😉

I was SO EXCITED to open them up the following morning after my run! They looked delicious and I was starving!


I didn’t want to eat my first bar BEFORE a run until I had the opportunity to try one and see how it sat in the ole tummy. IMG_5815

Filled with pineapple, coconut, macadamia nuts, taro and honey, these bars tasted like Hawai’i. I especially love pineapple and coconut, which was a nice compliment to the somewhat earthy taro.


As I stood in my kitchen munching on my first Mana Bar, I couldn’t help but reflect on the fact that these were made by a gal who I connected with via social media. What an odd set of circumstances… or was it? Maybe this is just the new normal.

The Mana Bar sat very well in my stomach, so I had another one BEFORE my evening run that same day. I was training for Ragnar Trail Relay AZ, which I just completed this weekend (recap coming soon!)! The 4.44 miles were to honor RunEMZ on completing her 100+ mile treadmill run the night before. Oh, by the way, Susie and RunEMZ know each other too – 6°!!


It was AMAZING. Not a single burp of Mana Bar. (I can’t say the same for some of my other favorite foods – I’m talkin’ to you peanut butter.) It fueled my run – IN THE HEAT – tasted great, is a whole food bar and sits well. Total win for this runner.

For my remaining 2 bars I had one for breakfast on my way out the door before work and another one before a morning, weekday run. Another characteristic I like about these, is that they don’t sit like a brick in your stomach like some food bars.

I’m so excited for Susie and her food bar endeavor. If you’d like to try them out for yourself, or just read the full story behind Mana Bars, head over to Susie’s blog, Longrunergy. The photography on her blog is amazing and her posts are smart and filled with great informative yogi-runner inspiration.

Great, now I want a Mana Bar. 🙂

Pad Thai with Peanut Sauce

Hi Zucchini Runner faithful! It’s me, Mr. Zucchini Runner. I’ve been asked to do a guest post on this dish to help out Mrs. Zucchini Runner. She has close to 1.4 million other things she’s working on right now but she always wants to make sure she feeds your appetites for new recipes so here I am!IMG_6061

We were at the store awhile back and Mrs. Zucchini Runner saw a box of Pad Thai noodles on the shelf and decided to throw them in the cart. We didn’t have a specific recipe in mind, she just wanted to have them just in case.

Well just in case happened a few weeks later. We put this dish together on a whim, I can’t remember exactly how we decided we needed to have Pad Thai but once the decision was made we had to figure out what we wanted to put on the noodles. After a quick discussion we decided to go with a peanut sauce and made ours by combining recipes from 3 different books and using what we had in our kitchen. It turned out incredible and didn’t take that long to prepare!

We always try and have lots of colors on our plate. Even though we added carrots and mushrooms to the Pad Thai we decided to add a nutritional power house side dish of Swiss chard and onions. Always remember people, the more colorful your food is the better it is for you. And that’s natural color, not red dye #40!!

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  • 1/4 c. coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp. creamy peanut butter (make sure it doesn’t have added sugars)
  • 2 dates
  • 2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 very small jalapeno pepper diced (more or less depending on how spicy you like your sauce)


  • 1/8 c. chopped toasted peanuts
  • 1 bunch of fresh green onions sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 fresh lime


  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 large carrots, sliced
  • 6 baby portobella mushrooms, diced


  • 1 pkg stir fry brown rice noodles, prepared according to package instructions (we used Thai Kitchen’s)


A few tips on the order to makes things easier; start sautéing the carrots, mushrooms etc. first since this step takes the longest. Once that is going do the sauce, and cook the noodles last since they only take a few minutes and are best served right out of the water.

Sauté olive oil, garlic, carrots and mushrooms in a large skillet until the carrots are cooked to your desired tenderness.

For the sauce, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. (This is to soften the peanut butter.) Then using an immersion blender, blend everything until no solids are left. Set aside.

While the carrots and mushrooms are sautéing and the sauce is set aside you can start the brown rice noodles, which cook quickly.

While the noodles are cooking combine the peanut sauce with the sautéed vegetables in the pan you cooked them in. The peanut sauce should still be warm so all you need to do is heat it up and let the flavors mesh.

When the noodles are done add them to the pan with the peanut sauce and vegetables give it a nice mix around and slap it on your plates. Make it pretty by adding the crushed peanuts and green onions on top (don’t tell Mrs. Zucchini Runner but I pulled the onions off of mine after she took the picture, they look pretty but I’m not a fan of raw onions), put whatever super healthy colorful side dish you decided to whip up on the side, wipe off any salivation coming out of your mouth and enjoy!