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Monarch Diner (Glassboro)

Monarch Diner (Glassboro)

Recently I was at the newly opened Monarch Diner. The Monarch Diner was updated from PB’s Diner and Taproom.  Both the Monarch Diner and the Red Lion Diner are now under a new ownership and brand new look.  It’s still in Gloucester Township on Delsea Drive in South Jersey.

Typically I’m confused about whether an updated or new ownership diner should be considered, “new,” but I’ve come to terms with if it has a new name and new owner, it’s new. The Red Lion Diner has new ownership as well, but still the same name. Should I go back and rereview it? TBD.

Atmosphere: A
I arrived at the Monarch Diner (Glassboro) on a Friday for dinner, and it was busy. There was already a wait. The outside is a cobblestone building with a touch of modern flair, while the inside has plenty of booths, tables, and a full-length bar.

There is a bright diner counter, bar area, high top tables, a diner area too. The Monarch Diner is much brighter than PB’s Diner and Taproom, and it’s much more “diner.”

Coffee: B
The Monarch Diner serve local Lacas coffee which was excellent. I could have used more refills, but other than that, it was good. It also has it’s liquor license.

monarch diner glassboro

Food: B
The menu at the Monarch Diner is vast. It’s also one of the most unique diner menus I’ve ever seen. It includes menu choices that are both vegan or vegetarian. The Monarch Diner also has the ability to sub regular bread for cauliflower bread. I’ve never seen that a restaurant, let alone diner, so I had to try it.

For my appetizer at the Monarch Diner, I decided to order the grilled Meditteranean platter. It came with grilled squash, eggplant, cauliflower pita points, hummus, and tzatziki sauce. It was good. The vegetables were cooked perfectly. I didn’t know what to expect from the cauliflower pita but it was delicious, and I have no complaints.

monarch diner glassboro

For my entree, I ordered the BLT on cauliflower bread.  It was a $3 upcharge, but I was so fascinated by it, that I decided I had too. The BLT was stuffed with plenty of bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, and even avocado. The cauliflower bread was good, and truthfully I couldn’t taste much of a difference.

monarch diner glassboro

I asked to substitute the fries for a side salad, but they said that wasn’t an option, so I just chose one of the side vegetables. I was surprised I couldn’t but not the end of the world.

monarch diner glassboro

Dessert: A
I chose a chocolate pie to go. The chocolate pie was delicious. It had plenty of whipped cream and pudding, and I have no complaints.  While not cake, and not usually something I would order, the whipped cream called my name. We all know if it has whipped cream, I will probably like it.

Service: A
The waitress at the Monarch Diner was nice, and our food came out quickly. In all, it was a great diner. I always appreciate it when the manager (or maybe owner) walks around to see how the meal was.

Cost: $$
For the appetizer, meal, coffee, and dessert, it was $40. This isn’t an inexpensive diner, but the food is good.

Overall Thoughts/Would I Come Back to the Monarch Diner?
I liked the Monarch Diner (Glassboro, NJ), dare I say it, better than PB’s? I would go back, and it’s one of my favorite in the area.

Atmosphere: A
Coffee: B
Food: B
Service: A
Dessert: A
Cost: $15-30
Overall: A

You Can See All 237 Diner Reviews Here.

Close by diners: The Lamp Post Diner,The Metro Diner

Questions for you:
What is your favorite dessert?

Have you tried cauliflower crust? I don’t love or hate cauliflower crust. To me, it’s not a substitution for bread (and I don’t need it), but I do like the flavor and having it once in a while.

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Saving Time with Sweet Earth

Saving Time with Sweet Earth

Recently I was given the opportunity to try Sweet Earth burritos and bowls.  Between life and work, there are some days I’m out of my house for 12+ hours a day.  Am I the busiest person? No. But do I find myself stopping somewhere and spending 20+ dollars for a meal if I don’t pack enough food? Always.

When Sweet Earth gave me the opportunity to try their Sweat Earth burritos and Sweet Earth bowls, I jumped at it.  Storage for Sweet Earth is easy, and they sit in my freezer until I pack one.  The Sweet Earth burritos take about 2 minutes to cook in the microwave, and the bowls take about 3-4. It’s not like you’re taking time to cook. Plus must Sweet Earth products contain foods like sweet potatoes or brown rice.

Curry Tiger Sweet Earth

About Sweet Earth:

  • All foods are vegan/vegetarian and packed with plant-based protein.  I’m not vegan or vegetarian, but it’s nice to occasionally have a meatless meal.
  • Sweet Earth is environmentally friendly. They only choose ingredients that sustain and protect our coast. Along with good tasting products, the food is also sustainable.
  • Sweet Earth also listens to customer feedback. They’ve grown and adapted with new flavors, vibrant colors, and complex textures. That’s how the Sweet Earth Tiger Bowl was created!

So Anyway a Few Products I’ve Tried from Sweet Earth:

Sweet Earth Curry Tiger:

My favorite is the Sweet Earth Curry Tiger which contains lentils, curried seitan, red peppers, and potatoes.  Lentils are one of my favorite foods, so I enjoyed it. It keeps me full for a while thanks to the potatoes as well. I’ve heard the Sweet Earth Tiger Curry Bowl is very good too.

Sweet Earth Chana Marsala:

My favorite Sweet Earth bowl so far has been the Marsala which has turmeric rice with chickpeas, curry seitan, potatoes, and peas all in an Indian Marsala Sauce. I had never had seitan before this, and it was good! I’ve heard the Sweet Earth Curry Seiten is equally as good. I found myself full for most the day.Sweet Earth food

They have dozens of more products to try, and all are vegan and vegetarian, made from sustainable and healthy good. Fast doesn’t mean unhealthy, and that is something I appreciate.

Saving Time Other Ways:

When I have a full plate of things to do during the day, saving minutes even hours, has helped me.

  • Eliminate all distractions for a set time:  If I’m working on important information or even writing, I turn off distractions. I put my cell phone in another area and turn off any notifications.  I’ve found I can get work done 50% faster and save minutes or even hours just by putting my cell phone somewhere else. Thank goodness, I went to college in a time cell phones weren’t “a big thing.”
  • Plan each day: Every morning before I go for a run or leave, I write down what I want to accomplish for the day. It takes 5 minutes but my mind is clear, and it’s much easier to get things done when I have a plan.
  • Small Tasks First: Anything I can do within 5 minutes, I do first. I might cross ten things in 20 minutes and then spend 2 hours doing the next.
  • Stop Multitasking: It seems counterintuitive, but for me, if I focus on one thing at a time I get it done much faster. Focusing on multiple things at once, means I slowly finish things.
  • Set a Timeline for Research: Often I don’t know the answer to something, so I need to research. That can lead to mindless internet browsing…how did I get on this cat webpage? Something I recently started was setting a timeline. Once my set limit is done, I go back to doing what I was doing. It’s amazing how you can somehow complete a task in less time when you give yourself less time.

Thanks to Sweet Earth Enlightened Foods for sponsoring this post!  You can find Sweet Earth at your local Kroger (my favorite grocery store LOL), Harris Teeter, Fred Meyer, Ralphs, Frys, King Scoopers, Marianos and more.  Plus nationwide.

Questions for you:

How do you eat healthy while out?

How do you save time during the day? 

Blah Blah Blah: Run Easy

Blah Blah Blah: Run Easy

It seems every year, I post about running easy.  I’ve been blogging for 8 years, so it’s about 8 posts saying about the same thing.

Never the less, it’s still an important and relevant topic.

Racing your easy runs won’t get you a PR.

It won’t make you an Instagram hero either.

It will, however, get you burned out, or injured.

Don’t think I haven’t been subjected to this and learned the lesson of injury the hard way.  Long term readers know my first tibial stress fracture (7 years ago now) was caused by overtraining.  In short, I ran my easy runs too fast.  My last burn out wasn’t necessarily caused by running too fast, but more life stress, trying to run high mileage, and just doing too much.

Every week I post a running log and mileage recap.  Every month I do something similar.  Every week on Instagram, I get a few messages about “how fast do you run your easy runs,” and I will always respond the same way: honestly I don’t know or care.  Typically I use my Garmin Vivosport.  It’s not fancy, and that’s why I like it.  It will tell me mile splits if I want but for the most part, I just do timer mode.

I have a few ways I do an easy run

  • I run a route I know to be X amount of miles and don’t time it. I could finish 5 miles in 45 minutes or an hour…I will only have a good idea by the kitchen clock.
  • I just run for an hour and if it’s 6 miles or 10…that’s how it goes.  JK, it would never be anything close to 10.

Both work for me and keep me healthy both mentally and physically.

For training, I usually have a rough outline of the runs and workouts I want to do for the week, but I never have an exact plan.  For instance, last week I planned to take a rest day on Thursday, but my body was hurting on Tuesday…so I rested then too.  Some days I have more time in the morning, and some days I have less.  I ask myself: will I miss this mile next week.  No…I won’t remember.

Does Not Caring about Pace Really Help Me?

I have actually found that it does and it does a lot.  First of all, I’m not obsessed with pace.  I don’t care. I could run 10 miles at 10-minute pace or 10 miles at 8-minute pace.  It’s still 10 base miles.  I’ll run with anyone that wants to run, whether you run a 10 minute or 8-minute mile.  That’s why I rarely post paces online, Instagram, or anywhere.  Because I don’t know and honestly, for training runs…I don’t really care.

As I mentioned earlier, it hasn’t always been that way for me. I used to be obsessed with pace and numbers.  Seven years ago as a new runner, I would run in the same 10-second pace range for every run of the week.  That pace was between 7-7:10.  Do you know what I gave myself?  The glorious gift of a tibial stress fracture on my 21st birthday.

Not to mention, during that period of trying to PR every run, I never got faster for races and was miserable the entire time.   I was so antsy in training if my overall pace was 7:11+ and thought I had lost my all endurance.  It sounds silly now, but that is what the newer runner in me thought.

I Thought: Train fast to go fastRace myself and try and get faster every day.

Here are Some Interesting Stats from that Time in My Training:

During that time of my running career, my 5k PR was 20:10.  I ran about 50 miles a week between 7-7:15 pace.

Now it’s 18:13 (and I had to look LOL).  During that time in training, I was running 60 miles a week with about 50 above 8:30 or even 10-minute pace.

Then my half marathon PR was 1:36.56…now it’s 1:22.03

Now, I’m able to do workouts more efficiently and better.  Running an 88 second 400 doesn’t feel as challenging. My body couldn’t handle that when I was sprinting every training run.  I was also exhausted all of the time.  Even though I was running fewer miles, I was more tired.

But the most crucial piece is I enjoy going out to run without worrying about it.

For me, running is a hobby, and it’s something I want to do lifelong without stress. Not caring about pace has turned into continuing to improve on running.

My point is to relax during your easy runs.  Make your easy runs easy, and work hard during your workouts and races.  Honestly, without being injured or burnout, I don’t think I would have gotten to this phase in my life.  No one wants to be hurt but from injury, I quickly learned my body doesn’t respond well to fast runs every day.

I think I should have renamed my blog CasualLOLZ or something.

Questions for you:

What are your thoughts?

Do you schedule workouts every day or fly by the seat of your pants?

Runners World Festivities Recap

The Runners World Festival is one of my favorite weekends of the year.  I was lucky enough to participate in both 2015 and 2016 too.  Every year as I leave, I drive up the steep hill out of Bethlehem thinking: “Could this have been any more fun?” and it’s surprised me each time.

The short version recap is: I had, even more, fun in 2017, how that is possible, I’m not sure.

I was able to participate again as an influencer.  As an influencer, we arrived in Bethlehem the Thursday before, and receive a tour of Runners World and dinner with the editors.

The Runner’s World Organic Café has delicious food and to be honest if I worked there, I don’t know if I would ever come home with a paycheck because I would eat there all of the time.

Runners World Festival

We made salad bowls with grilled chicken, green goddess dressing, and roasted vegetables.

Friday was jam-packed, and we were out of the hotel at 6:45 am.  Typically, I’m running at home by then.  We did a shakeout run with a good friend Suzanne and Ryan Hall.  It was about 30 minutes, relaxed and I didn’t even bring a watch.  We stopped and took a photo with the sun.

Runners World Festival

Photo Credit Marty D.

After that, we met at the Steelstacks and the Altra founder: Golden Harper gave us a briefing on how Altra came to be.  He described creating the first Altra shoes in his toaster oven and how the term “zero drop” came about.  It’s a fascinating seminar, and if you ever get the chance to hear from him personally, I highly recommend it.

Runners World Festival Altra Clinic

As someone who works in a running store, I nerd out to it anyway, but Altra shoes are unique in many different ways.  They are foot shaped and allow the toes to spread out as feet naturally do and are balanced front to back with the same amount of cushion in the front of the shoe as well as the back.  You can read my recent review of the Altra Escalante here.

After that, Golden gave us a clinic on form and running more efficiently.  It’s always a useful clinic and a few of his tips such as a higher arm swing has helped me throughout racing.

After that, we had lunch and listened to the Mayor Running, himself, Bart Yasso discussed his new book Race Everything.

Bart is retiring after 30 years, and it is always such a treat to have him talk to us and listen to his stories.  He gave a powerful speech about various times he has connected with people and it made me tear up.  You never know how you are influencing someone.

Finally, we checked out the expo and picked up our bibs.  I always appreciate the unique and smaller companies at Runners World.  This year anyone doing the hat trick 5k/10k/13.1 received a hat, and anyone doing the Grand Slam 3.8 trail race/5k/10k/13.1 received a nice backpack.

Influencers were also given a tote bag filled with goodies such as socks and fun gear.  They even gave us a free one to give to readers.  All you have to do is comment with someone that has influenced or inspired you and why.  Winner will be chosen over the weekend and announced Monday.

After that, we prepared for the weekend of races. I left Friday feeling inspired by meeting so many different bloggers and Runners World Editors.

I’ll recap both the 5k and the 13.1 in the following days.

Training: Marathons and Dragons

Last week was an interesting week for me.  As many people know, I’m entertaining the idea of a winter marathon.  I haven’t run a marathon since the Phoenix Full in February of 2015, and I’ve only run full marathons.  Neither marathon has been great or made me love the distance. I’m also not entirely sure I’m ready, but I’m putting in a few longer runs in the next two weeks to see how I feel.img_1686

Putting in long runs means extra rest days, and for the next couple of weeks, I’ll probably run five days versus 6.

Monday: Easy Run  
Tuesday: OFF PT/ART
Wednesday: Long Run (17.75 miles)  
Thursday: OFF PT/ART
Friday: Easy Run with a friend  
Saturday: Dragon Run 5k (18:58)  
Sunday: Jakes Place 5k (2.8 miles) 17:11  
 

I never have much to say about my easy runs.  I think that’s natural.  I had a great time running with a friend on Friday though!Thoughts:

Long Run:

The only goal of this run was to finish injury free.  I had no time or pace goal, and in fact, it was my longest run in almost 18 months.  Nothing hurt or ached during the run, and I finished feeling satisfied.  I’m not confident in running any further right now, but I’m sure I’ll build confidence by running longer again.

Dragon Run 5k (18:58)

A few kids came into work discussing the race and told me last week to do it. Since it was a 5-minute drive to work afterwords, I had too.  Long story short, my legs were sore after my 17+ miler, but they didn’t feel terrible.  I was outkicked by five boys in the final .05 (who probably didn’t want to get chicked), and they pulled me right under 19.

Jakes Play 5k (2.8 miles) 17:11

This was supposed to be an actual 5k, but it wasn’t.  I would love to tell you I randomly PRed by a minute but the course was about .25-.3 short.  I wasn’t in the mood to run, but two of my very good friends were running so I decided to go anyways.  Plus, the race fundraised for “Jakes Place,” a local playground/park for special needs children.  I have used that bathroom several times on runs, and I wanted to support the cause.

I ran the first mile in 6:16 and the second in 5:58.  My average pace for the entire race was 6:06 so my guess is I would have run between 19-19:10 for a full 5k.  While I’m disappointed in the race, it happens.  I race so many 5ks, some being long (like last week), some being short so it all balances out.

Thoughts:  

Training wise, my week was great.  As I mentioned, I’m at a cross roads of deciding what I want to do.  Train for a marathon?  Continue working on speed?   The next two weeks will definitely play a decision in that.

This was definitely a defining week for me.  While I’m still not 100% sure about marathoning again, I am entertaining the idea more than I have in a very long time.  My goal for my third marathon would be too make it to the start and finish line healthy.  I’m still not entirely comfortable with the distance, and I don’t think adding a time goal would be appropriate.  My goal for the marathon would be to both start and finish injury free.

Questions for you:

Do you consider yourself to have a good finish line kick?

Do you love or hate the marathon?  Or are you indifferent?

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