Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Run & HIIT Workouts and Grilled Veggie & Tofu Salad

Credit/Debit Card Comments
I must say, I am a little shocked at how many of you have experienced credit or debit card fraud too. It's really scary isn't it? You just never know when it might happen. We were very lucky that our bank apparently monitors all transactions with an eagle eye. Since we have almost completely stopped using that particular card, it probably made the crazy expensive purchases stand out more too. Thank you all for your well wishes with the matter. I'm pretty sure it'll all be resolved. WIth any luck at all, the fraud department with pinpoint the super nice person (or persons) who did this.

Running & HIIT
I slept really soundly last night until about 2 am, then I was up every hour until 4:30 and crashed hard. I didn't even hear Jason leave for swim at 5 am, but I did hear my alarm at 5:26 beckoning me to get up and get my workout done. I knew I wanted to get in 30 minutes this morning, but was totally undecided on what I was going to actually do. I typically have it completely planned out with whatever equipment, attire, DVD ready to go.

It was still too dark to head out for a run, so I thought I'd at least start with the warm up from MMA Kickboxing and take it from there. After a 9-minute warm up, it was light enough to head out for a run, so that's what I did. After the rain yesterday, the humidity levels dropped and so did the temps. It was a nice, dry 74 degrees with a light breeze when I headed out at 5:50. I had a really great run. It wasn't just over the top fast (too early for that), but I averaged an 8:34 pace.

I will admit that I am starting to like my solo runs a little bit more. I am learning to pace myself better rather than relying on Jason to pace us. He has all of the fancy gadgets on his watch/shoe. I...do not. I have been trying to watch my heart rate as one gauge (though I realize that does fluctuate) as well as paying more attention to the time at certain points on my route.

After work I was planning to finish up the MMA Kickboxing workout. Instead, I decided to do Shock Cardio HIIT Pyramid and abs. I haven't done any of Cathe's HIIT workouts in a while, and my endurance has definitely gone downhill! Wow. It was a great workout, and I'm so glad I changed my mined. I also stretched really well. My legs were feeling rather tight, almost as if I'd been lifting (not made better by the HIIT workout mind you). Sometimes I forget how strenuous running truly is. I know that probably sounds silly - how can you forget something like that right?

More Grilling

Since the weather was so pleasant today, grilling was a must. We still had plenty of squash, zucchini, new potatoes, and bell peppers to use. Jason picked up some portobellos from the Argenta Market on his way home. I also marinated some tofu in the Strawberry Marinade (recipe) I made on Monday and grilled that to go on the salad.

I did find out a neat trick if you forget to put the potatoes on the grill. Yes, I totally forgot about them. Cut them up and season as you would for grilling. Microwave for approximately 5-6 minutes then put on the grill with heat on high for about 4-5 minutes until crisp. Voila, fast grilled potatoes. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Running in the Rain & Grilling

Shopping in Spain
Well, last night I waited to check the voice message on our phone until after I had finished my workout. It was a message from the bank. Well, I thought it was because I had been lazy and not activated my new card (it arrived Saturday). So I went to activate and wasn't allowed to do so. I was annoyed because that meant I had to call back the person who had left the message and actually talk to someone rather than punch in numbers.

She started asking me about recent purchases...in Spain. Yep, card had been hacked somehow, and someone was having a great time buying 393 dollar perfumes and such. It's such a helpless feeling. They froze the account, but the bank was already closed for the day. That meant I had to wait...I'm not good at waiting. Luckily, the bank opens at 7:30 am, so we were there promptly at 7:30 am.

Running in the Rain
That story brings me to this morning's workouts. I was hell bent on running. I was determined to run with or without Jason. I headed out at 5:45 sans Jason. I had thought it was supposed to cool down overnight to 74. Um, it was 80 at 5:45??? Really??? I got going and felt a few rain drops. I was actually happy because I knew that would keep me cool.

The drops became more steady, but I kept going. The only annoyance was drops in my eyes - they hurt by the way. I needed goggles. Normally I run with sunglasses, but it was still dark out. The route I take is a bit over 1.5 miles. I was feeling good on the second lap, so I headed for a 3rd. The rain was steady by this point mind you. I kept on going, feeling strong (or stupid). Then the lightening and thunder started. Time to pack it up. I did manage right at or just over 4 miles at least.

Rather than go into work at 7 then turn around and leave for the bank 30 minutes later, I let my boss know I'd be in after the bank. So, I still had time left before I had to get ready for work and the bank. I did the last 3 combos of Cathe's Kick, Punch, and Crunch to round out an hour-long workout. I had two seriously good workouts and felt super energized.

I ended up getting to work right at 8 and was starved. I normally eat my oatmeal around 7:15. I got that going and was sorting through emails and such. Low and behold, I blew up my darn oatmeal. Not good, not good. I get super grumpy when I'm hungry. Thankfully, I keep a stash of lower-sugar oatmeal packets in my drawer, otherwise, someone may have gotten hurt. I doctored the oatmeal up with peanut butter (I keep a small container in the fridge), strawberries, and bananas. Sometimes instant saves the day.

Grilling Out
Jason bought some corn the other day to grill up. He probably got a little purchase happy with it, but I figured I could use it for a Black Bean & Corn Salsa for this weekend. I was really undecided on dinner. I knew I needed to grill the corn, but had no idea how I really wanted to use it with dinner. We also had some squash and zucchini that needed to be used. He suggested stuffing it in some way shape or form. I ended up doing grilled corn, Grilled Quinoa and Lentil Stuffed Squash/Zucchini with Gardein Chick'n Scallopini that I had picked up to try a few weeks back.

Grilled Quinoa and Lentil Stuffed Squash/Zucchini
Ingredients:    
2-4 squash and/or zucchini, cleaned and cut in half
1/4 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 cup cooked lentils
White raisins - to your liking
To taste: salt, pepper, parsley, garlic powder
Daiya Vegan Mozzarella (optional or cheese of your choice)


Directions:
Heat your grill (can use griddle or oven as well). Grill vegetables fleshy side down until just soft. Scrape out most of the flesh and transfer to mixing bowl.

In bowl, add quinoa, lentils, and spices and mix together.

Fill the zucchini/squash shells and top with Daiya Mozzarella (optional). Return to grill until "cheese" is melted.

I also grilled the Gardein Chick'n Scallopini per package directions, brushing with BBQ sauce. To grill the corn, I simply cut off the tips and soaked in water approximately 30 minutes before placing directly on grill for approximately 20 minutes (rotating).

This meal turned out pretty fantastic if I must say so myself. I will definitely be playing around with more stuffed squash/zucchini recipes. Next time I think I will add either almonds or pinenuts as well. This was the first time we had tried this particular flavor of Gardein products. They were good, but I think I like the Quorn product better. Jason, however, really liked them. I'm sure we'll try them again, especially if on sale.

Monday, June 28, 2010

3 B's and Strawberry Tempeh Quesadillas

3 B's: Back, Biceps, Boxing
When Jason got up at 5 am to go swim, I thought very fleetingly about getting my cardio done. Then I promptly fell back to sleep. I wasn't overly concerned, sleep is more important sometimes - especially on a Monday.

I did my weights at lunch. Today was pull muscles for upper body: back and biceps. I did the following as supersets of 3 sets of 8 reps. 

SS#1
Pullovers
Alternating biceps curls

SS#2
Double-arm rows
Cross-body biceps curls

SS#3
Single-arm horizontal rows
Incline biceps curls

Lat pull downs with blue (heaviest) band - 2 X 16
1 set of 21's for biceps

This was a pretty good workout. I was feeling stronger today, and should likely have gone heavier for some of the back exercises. I feel like I'm never able to get the back gains I'd like though. I do not have a pull up bar. We tried to buy one - the kind that fits every door. Apparently as long as the house was not built in 1890. The bar would not fit in any of the doorways in our house, not a one.

After work, I opted for Cathe's MMA Boxing. Love that workout, especially after a leg day. I also stretched for a bit while watching the Food Network.

Strawberries for Mexican Monday
Jason picked up a ton of strawberries on Saturday. So, I decided to make good use of some of them for dinner tonight. Jason was wanting to do something with a fruit salsa. So, I made up a Strawberry Salsa to go with Strawberry Tempeh Quesadillas.

Strawberry Salsa
Ingredients:
Strawberries, diced
2 green onions, diced
1/4 green bell pepper, diced
2-3 jalapenos, minced
1/4 red onion, minced
Splash of OJ
Salt, pepper, agave nectar to taste.

Directions:
Combine all ingredients and allow to refrigerate so that flavors meld together.

Strawberry Tempeh Quesadillas
Ingredients:

Strawberry Marinade 
3-4 tbsp sugar-free strawberry preserves
1/4-1/2 cup OJ
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
To taste: salt, pepper, red pepper, chili powder

Quesadilla
1 package tempeh, cut into 4 slabs
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into stips
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into strips
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 10 oz package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
To taste: salt, pepper, cumin, red pepper, chili powder
Daiya Cheddar (or cheese blend of your choice)
Whole-wheat tortillas (or low carb)

Directions:
In medium saucepan, whisk together preserves, OJ, balsamic vinegar and spices then add in the tempeh. Bring to a low simmer and add in tempeh. Allow to simmer approximately 5 minutes, turn off heat, cover and allow to sit. Once cooled, dice tempeh into strips and return to sauce pan and coat all sides.

In large non-stick skillet, saute onions and bell peppers until soft. Add in spinach, beans, and spices until spinach and beans are heated through. Stir in tempeh and marinade and allow to heat through. Transfer to a large bowl (if using same skilled to cook the quesadillas).

Using a large non-stick skillet or flat griddle, spray with non-stick spray and put down tortilla. Allow to slightly brown, spray and flip. Sprinkle with cheese, spoon on filling to half of tortilla, fold and allow to brown then flip and brown the other side.

Serve with Strawberry Salsa. Optional toppings are sour cream or plain yogurt.

I know that this may sound like a very odd combination, but I can't begin to tell you just how good it was. It was a great contrast of sweet and savory. I will also say that I liked this Strawberry Salsa much better than the tomato version I made here.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Leg Day & Family & Pool Time

Leg Day
This morning I got up and did legs then just 2 of the boxing combos from MMA Boxing and the abs. I had a pretty good leg day. Though, I must admit that I'm not happy with my legs. They just aren't terribly defined, and I can't seem to build any hamstring muscle to save my life. For legs I did the following as supersets, 3 sets of 8 reps:

SS#1
Squats
Plie squats

SS#2
Static lunges
Calf raises (I did 15 reps for these)

SS#3
Step ups
Deadlifts

Slide back rear lunge (using paper plate and dumbbells, 2 sets of 8 reps as straight set)
Weight donkey kicks - 2 sets of 16 reps

It was a good workout over all.

Family Time & Pool Time
Today we went to see my dad and step-mother's new house and celebrate Father's Day. They were busy trying to move last weekend, so we didn't get to get together. We had a great visit, and they are so excited about their new house. They are like kids in a candy store giddy! I must admit a huge jealousy of their storage space. It's sort of funny to be jealous of storage space ;-) But, our house was built in 1890, and we have absolutely zero storage. Apparently they didn't shop quite like I shop back then. Hmmm.

After we got home (around 3), Jason and I headed directly to the pool to finish off the day. After about an hour and a half, we figured we should probably get dinner going. Grilling seemed appropriate, so we made Grilled Tofu & Veggie Sandwiches with grilled sweet and baking potato "fries." There really isn't much of a recipe. I marinated the tofu in a mango ginger habanero sauce I had on hand. The veggies included yellow squash, zucchini, and red and green bell peppers and topped with the Soy Kaas Montery Jack "Cheese." Pretty simple, but so good.

I hope everyone has had a great weekend!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Run + Weights = Another Lazy Saturday

Friday & Baseball Recap
I loved hearing all of your comments and thoughts about blogger food trends!! It's so fun to hear what you guys really think. I don't feel so alone now LOL.

We had a great time at the game last night. One of the couples ended up having to cancel last minute, but our friend Gwynne still joined us. It started off HOT - 96 with 102 heat index. However, as the sun went down, the humidity seemed to drop and we had an awesome cross breeze. It turned out to be a very pleasant evening, perfect for a baseball game. The game was a bit slow, but the conversation and company was the best.

Cardio Before Weights = Bad
This morning I got up and had my typical Saturday PB&J&B Oatmeal. I was wanting to run really badly, but I was also planning on weights. I really don't like to do cardio before weights because I feel like I then have less energy to focus on the weights. But, it was literally getting hotter by the minute. I knew it would just be too hot for me to run after weights, so I went against better judgment and hit the pavement around 8:30. I did 3, hot, sweaty miles. It was a good run despite the heat. Thankfully the humidity felt lower today and there was a nice breeze. The first 2 miles were actually fairly pleasant. It was the last one that started to get to me. When I got in, it was reading 88 degrees. I am just not accustomed to running in the heat and need to build up the endurance.

After downing water, I stretched and relaxed in front of a fan to cool down. I waited about 30-45 minutes before hitting the weights. Today I worked upper body push muscles (chest, shoulders, triceps). I did the workout in tri sets of 3 sets of 8 reps.

TS#1
Flat bench press
Shoulder press
Kickbacks

TS#2
Chest flye
Lateral raise
Lying triceps extensions

TS#3
Incline chest press
Rear delt flye
Overhead triceps extension

I will admit that I felt incredibly weak today. It was not my best weight day, and I know a huge factor was the run zapping my energy. This tri set is similar to one done in Cathe's STS Weights and it was really difficult for me. I feel like I am using shoulders and triceps the whole time...well, because you kind of do use some shoulder and triceps with chest presses I suppose. So the endurance starts to wane for me. Also, my left elbow sometimes wants to just give out - which happened today, thank goodness for my personal spotter (aka The Hubs). Anyway, I'm probably not making much sense other than this was a tough weights day for me. I had hoped to increase weights across the board and that didn't happen. I also hit total failure a few times - but I'm ok with that actually. Anyhoo....moving on.

Another Lazy Saturday
After weights I was soooo shaky. I couldn't even start typing up this post. So I had a protein shake and hit the pool for some major (much-needed) relaxing. Normally I am not a protein shake gal, but I needed the protein and vitamins ASAP.

Jason was super sweet and went to the grocery store for me while I "recovered." We were supposed to go watch the soccer game with some friends at a new bar/restaurant that opened a few weeks back. Apparently they weren't airing the game so our friends decided to move the "party" to some wings joint. I had to back out of that one. I can handle being around people eating meat to an extent, but I can't stomach the smell of places like wing joints or BBQ restaurants. The smell is just overwhelming to me. I felt really bad backing out to be honest. I don't know if meat-eaters can really understand, and I worry that they just thought I was being picky.


Any other vegetarians/vegans out there who notice the smells like that?

I pretty much spent the majority of the day outside reading or lounging in the pool. I did manage to dust and do a few loads of laundry at least. It was the least I could do right? Tonight will be pizza (making up for the lack of pizza last night of course). I have the dough started now, so it'll be a bit before it's ready. Hope you don't mind my posting sans pictures so I can continue to be lazy ;-)

I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fun Facts Friday & Food Suggestions Needed

Soapbox Follow Up & Ideas Needed
Thank you all for your comments and inputs regarding my soapbox moment. I am really glad to hear that even meat-eaters get my point. Now if only the restaurant chefs got it too. I do think that a big issue is location as well. I live in a region that still believes that meat completes a meal. Most people I know don't really understand vegetarian diets let alone a vegan diet. They simply think - omit meat and the person will be happy. Sigh.

Anyway, Jason went to swim this morning and happened to strike up a conversation with the swim coach. She and her husband are apparently opening an Irish Pub downtown (close to our house). He asked about the menu and vegetarian options. She is completely open to suggestions!! This is exciting because it may very well give us a new place to hang out and eat.

I mention this (exciting to me) news, because I have no idea what to suggest in terms of vegetarian and/or vegan Irish dishes. So, I'm looking to all of you amazing bloggers to chime in and help me out. Please send me any vegetarian/vegan Irish food ideas you might have or recipes even (I'll make sure you get full credit of course).

Rest & Baseball
Today is going to be a rest day for me. I almost got up to do some kickboxing this morning, but I decided against it. My next workout on tap will be upper body weights (push muscle group) and short cardio. I knew I wasn't going to have time for the weights today, sooooo.....perfect rest day. And actually, I have some DOMS going on from yesterday's crazy workout. I know I shouldn't be, but I am often surprised when I am sore from using light weights.

Tonight we'll be going to a baseball game with friends. I'm really looking forward to it. It'll be fun - hot but fun. You do know what that really means right? No Pizza Friday. Sigh. I'll likely make up for it tomorrow though ;-)

Fun Facts Friday - Food
Moving right along to fun facts time. As I write this post, I am getting hungry. So, let's go with a food theme. One thing I have discovered since venturing into blogland is food trends. Right now I am seeing almost daily posts for vegan softserve, chia seeds, green monsters, juicing, nut butters, and dolled up oatmeal that will make you want to lick the screen. I've definitely tried out some of these "trends," recipes, and suggestions - hello almond butter. But, there are some I still have not tried. I think I must be the last blogger on the planet to have not tried them as well. So, here's my list.
1. Vegan soft serve. I even have the frozen bananas in the freezer waiting for me. I think I'm afraid I'm going to like this so much that I will quickly over indulge.

2. Green monsters. Smoothies and shakes never seem to fully satisfy me. So these just don't seem terribly appealing.

3. Chia seeds. Just not sure about these suckers. The recipes I see that use them all sound good. I know they are nutritious, but they aren't cheap.
So, am I alone? What have you seen or read a great deal about recently and have yet to try? Got any particular reasons for not trying it?   

Thursday, June 24, 2010

No Purse Wednesday, Run, Weights, Rant & Stir Fry Thursday

Wednesday Night Follow UP
Sigh, I had hoped to have pictures to share of my awesome new purse and/or jeans. I'm sad to report that I came home empty handed (not that that upset the hubs mind you). They didn't have jeans in my size and the tops (burn out tees) aren't my style. There were 2 purses I had my eyes on. But, in the end, I just couldn't decided and figured that was a sign. Neither of them called out to me enough that I just HAD to have them. I still had fun getting out of the house and visiting with my friend for a bit. 


I took the easy way out and replied to everyone's comments as a whole. I apologize, but since I didn't start replying last night, I just couldn't keep up. That makes me happy in a lot of ways because it means I have more friends commenting. The bad part is that it's getting harder for me to reply to everyone separately. I do appreciate everyone's comments. You guys always make me smile!
 

Run & Total Body Circuit Fun
This morning Jason and I got in a 3 mile run. There was a time when I would have been annoyed at running through sprinklers, today, I was praying that every single person would have theirs on and be over spraying onto the sidewalks! It was also one time that I was wishing for gusty winds during a run. But, not to be a Debbie Downer, it was a pretty good run actually. It's definitely more peaceful running at 5:45 am. There's hardly any traffic so it's just a nice calm as the sun is coming up.

It was a good thing the run was pleasant because I just flaked out after. I had one of those "can I start over" mornings the second I left the house. I forgot my oatmeal and the peanut butter I had put in a container to bring along. Thankfully we live so close to our offices and Jason was kind enough to bring my breakfast to me. I was starving after the run mind you. I was also running about 5 minutes late, just couldn't seem to get my act together getting ready. Anyway, thankfully most mornings are not that way.

After work I decided to try something different as a 2nd workout. I did a total body type of workout using compound exercises with higher reps and lower weights. I was just playing around and having fun (I know most wouldn't consider this to be"fun"). I know that this type of workout can get your heart rate up there too. Since I will be lifting heavy with my rotation, I just wanted something that was light weights, but still weights (if that makes any sense as I am officially rambling now). Here's what I did:

Side drop squats off 12" step with overhead triceps extension- 16
Side drop squats off 12" step with leg raise (keeping the weight used for triceps) - 16
Alternating rear lunges with low-end pulse and biceps curls - 16
Squats with shoulder press - 16
Rear lunges off 12" step with lateral raises - 16 with lateral raise, 16 without

Alternating rear lunges with low-end pulse and hammer curls - 16
Side lunge with single arm shoulder press - 16 each side
Plie squats with low end pulse and hammer curls - 16

Push ups - 24
Side drop squats off 12" step with overhead triceps extension- 16

Side drop squats off 12" step with leg raise (keeping the weight used for triceps) - 16

Alternating front lunges with low-end pulse and biceps curls - 16

Squats with shoulder press - 16

Rear lunges off 12" step with lateral raises - 16 with lateral raise, 16 without

Side lunge with single arm shoulder press - 16 each side
Plie squats with low end pulse and hammer curls - 16

Push ups - 24
Donkey kicks with weight - 2 x 18
Firewalkers - 8 (4 steps right, 4 steps left equals 1)
Lying inner thigh lifts with ankle weights - 32
Lat band pull downs - 2 x 16

This took 40 minutes total (not including my stretch after). Normally I do not like high rep/low weight workouts. But this one was, dare I say, fun today. Maybe it was because I was just doing what I wanted, maybe it was because I have not done anything like this in a very long time, who knows. I was a sweaty mess after all was said and done though. I may do this one again next week. 


Soapbox Moment
Ok, bit of a rant. Today we celebrated a co-workers lunch at a new-ish restaurant downtown. It's a tad bit pricey for starters, but the atmosphere is super fun and eclectic. I ordered a Greek salad minus chicken, mozzarella AND parmesan (who puts that on a Greek salad WITH the feta?). Sounds like not much left right? Well, it did have romaine lettuce, black olives, tomatoes, artichokes, and a wee smidge of feta. Knowing what I was going to be getting, I brought a baggy of cannellini beans to add for the protein.

So, my gripe? Typically vegetarians get charged full price for eating a salad sans the expensive ingredient (the meat). Also, a vegetarian salad very rarely ever comes with a protein source (like beans) other than 3 kinds of cheeses globbed on. Unless a salad is truly loaded with fibrous veggies, they typically aren't terribly satisfying. However, vegetarians are expected to accept this and enjoy it??? I used to feel odd about carting in my own proteins for salads, but I certainly don't any longer. I also don't feel bad about asking for a price reduction.

Do you bring your own protein sources (I know this has been mentioned before)? Do you ever ask for price reductions when you ask for the meat to be held?

Stir Fry Kind of Night
Still not in the mood for full out cooking, so I opted for stir fry in our electric wok to keep from heating up the kitchen. I used a variety of frozen and fresh veggies with my homemade Chikn' Seitan (recipe) and served over soba noodles. So, nothing fancy, but it was perfect for a fast, veggie loaded meal.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

More Kickboxing & Heading Out on Week Night

Morning Kickboxing
Jason got up at 5 am to go swim this morning, so I peeled myself out of bed to get in my workout. I did Cathe's Kick, Punch and Crunch with the stability ball abs. It was a great workout and gave me the energy boost I needed to get the day started. In all honesty, even if Jason hadn't gotten up, I was planning on getting up early to get in another morning workout. I have plans this evening so I knew I did need to get it done. Kickboxing, in my opinion, is a great morning workout. Not too complicated, no chance of falling over or off the step...

I'm still in the market for more kickboxing workouts as I'm really enjoying them. Oddly, I used to not. I may end up having to track down a gym that offers classes. No Amy Bento - but has anyone tried Kelly Coffey-Meyer's latest kickboxing workout? Any other instructors??

Out on a Week Night
After work I am going over to a friend's house for a girly party: jeans and purses. I've never been to one of these parties. The last thing I need is shopping temptations! However, I do need a new purse in a bad way, plus I'll get to catch up a bit with a friend. So....why not. I'm really such a homebody during the week that this will be good for me. It's something I need to do more often, get out and enjoy...period. Not just wait until the weekend.

The party starts at 6, so dinner will end up being later than normal tonight. I really prefer to eat well before 7 pm. But, I'm trying to just go with the flow and enjoy the evening rather than stick to my rigid schedule. I so rarely do anything on week nights, so this will be good for me. Jason said he'd take care of dinner. He's going to do sweet potato "fries" with my Black Bean & Quinoa Burgers (recipe here). Simple, but tasty. A good mid-week meal if you ask me.

Since I have made this meal several times, and in order to get the post done before the party, I'm going to reuse a photo - hope you don't mind. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do right ;-)



Have a great evening!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Exercising, Crafting, Cooking + Gazpacho Recipe

Running & Boxing
I was determined to get in a run this week. I have not run since vacation because it's just too hot to run past sun up right now. So, we got up and hit the pavement by 5:45. It was already a steamy 77 degrees humid. I say that  because 77 isn't bad, it's the humidity that's bad. Anyway, we just did 30 minutes at an easy pace. No records being broke, but that's what I wanted that early. I really just wanted to get moving again and to loosen up my legs (still sore from Sunday's workout). It felt great to be outside watching the sun come up too. During lunch I did Cathe's MMA Boxing. It's amazing how high your heart rate can get up there just punching.

Free Time = Craft & Cooking Time
Getting my workouts done early left me with free time after work. It's so nice to have that extra time after work. It makes me feel like I've had some sort of day that wasn't nothing but work. I started a new project last night, so I was able to finish that today along with laundry and other piddly chores. I used to do more crafty projects. Somehow I used to find the time for them, like making curtains or pillows. Where did that time go???? Oh, blogging and cooking perhaps? ;-)

Anyway, the project you ask (even if you don't ask, I'm telling). I have lots of hanging pots around our fence. I just take plain (cheap) terracotta pots, spray with a terracotta sealer inside and out, and paint them white. Then I plant bright flowers in them for a pop of color. I decided I wanted some to put on the corners of our raised garden beds. So, that project was finished up today. I know I could choose other colors, but there is just something about white with bright flowers that seems crisp to me. Now if you want some truly inspiring craft projects, check out Simple Daisy. I'm always in awe when I see her projects!

Do you like to do anything crafty/artsy?

I also had time to make some more Chikn' Seitan (recipe here).

Dinner
Jason went to ride bikes with a friend after work, so I knew he wouldn't be home until later. I'll admit, the thought of having cereal for dinner certainly crossed my mind. He had mentioned stir fry but that didn't sound very appealing to me to be honest. Besides, I'll be able to make it later this week using my homemade Chikn' Seitan. He was talking about gazpacho a few days ago. I've actually never had it. Cold soups don't exactly sound appealing to me. However, it's hot, so I thought I'd give it a shot. If all else failed, I had cereal as a back up. I did some internet browsing for recipes and just piecemealed my own - well call it Heather's Gazpacho. I also decided to serve a Grilled Caprese Style Sandwich on the side.

Heather's Gazpacho
Ingredients:

2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes (no salt)
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 small yellow bell pepper, small dice
1/2 small onion, small dice
2 medium garlic cloves, rough chop
1 small jalapeno pepper, minced
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
To taste: Salt, pepper, cumin, dried parsley
1 can white beans, rinsed, drained

Directions
In food processor or blender, puree 1/2 can of tomatoes, water, oil and garlic. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add remaining 1/2 can with fresh veggies and do quick pulse (not pureed). Add that to the bowl with pureed tomatoes along with the 2nd can of tomatoes, beans, sherry, and spices. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

For the Grilled Caprese Style Sandwiches, I used Soy Kaas Monterey Jack (yes should have been mozz for this I know), fresh basil, fresh spinach, and thinly diced tomatoes.

The gazpacho was better than I had expected. I still don't think I'm sold on cold soups, but this was perfect for a hot summer day. It was much more filling (beans I'm sure) than I had expected. As for the sandwich? You can't go wrong with tomatoes, basil, and "cheeze." How do you feel about cold soups?

Monday, June 21, 2010

KIND Bar Review + Apple Raisin Wheat Berry Salad

Weights & Step
As much as I wanted to run today, I knew there was no getting up early enough to do so. Monday's are hard enough without getting up at 5 am to run. Yawn... So, today I did my weights at lunch then cardio after work. Weights were pull muscles (biceps and back). I did 3 sets of 8 reps of the following:

Biceps:
Alternating curls
Cross-body curls
Zottoman curls

Back:
Single-arm horizontal row
Underhand DB rows
Double arm rows

It was a pretty good workout. I felt pretty strong today for some reason. Love it when that happens. My legs were pretty sore from yesterday's workout, so I opted for a lower intensity cardio: Cathe's Low Impact Circuit - Cardio Only Premix plus abs. It was a great workout and helped to loosen up my legs.

KIND Review
I have been very remiss with my review of the KIND bars that I won from Jill @ My So Called Health LIfe. I won the Nut Delight. I don't know why, but I expected it to be a tad softer than it was. Yes, it's all nuts so of course it's going to be crunchy, but I mean the sweeter binding. Don't get me wrong, being a little crisper was not a bad thing at all. Oh, and if you love nuts, then you will LOVE this bar. It's packed with whole nuts, lots of them! Unlike many granola type bars, this one was not too sweet. It was just right in my opinion. I can't wait to try some with the fruit now.

Simple Supper
Jason requested my Apple Cranberry Wheat Berry Salad (recipe here). I started the wheat berries when I got home and let them cook while I was doing my cardio. When I got ready to mix everything together, I realized I was out of cranberries, but I did have raisins. So, the salad ended up being an Apple Raisin Wheat Berry Salad. We had that along with a green salad using lettuce and tomatoes from the garden with red, yellow, and orange bell peppers and a Quorn Cranberry & Goat Cheese Chik'n Cutlets.
 I just love the textures and flavors that the wheat berry salad has. You get chewy, crunchy, sweet, and savory. What are your favorite flavor and/or texture combinations? 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Legs, Boxing, Lounging, Grilling - Perfect Sunday (edited)

Loving Leg Days
Today was a leg day for me. I used to really dread working legs, but the past two workouts I really was looking forward to. I did 3 sets of 8 of the following (except as marked)

Step ups
Calf raises (3 x 15)
Alternating front lunges
Alternating plie squats
Squats
Slide back lunge (using paper plate for rear leg, weights in hand, slide down, set weights down and stand, then slide down pick up weights and stand - did 2 sets of 8)
Weighted donkey kicks

After the weights, I did just 2 combos from Cathe's MMA Boxing. I just wanted a short bit of cardio and was starting to edge over the time I typically workout for the week. I used to easily hit 8+ hours. Now I try to keep it under 7.

Lazy & Productive
Today was both lazy and productive. After the workout, I had my oatmeal (PB&J&B) but got a little sassy and tossed in strawberries too. I know, craziness. It was SO good. I decided to allow myself some more pool/reading/lounging time before getting to chores. While I lounged, Jason mowed the overgrown weeds...aka yard. After a couple of hours, I headed in and got to the laundry. I have no problem washing laundry. However, I have huge problems folding it and putting it away. So I tackled 2 huge baskets and won. I also scrubbed down the microwave, ran dishes, and cleaned the glass door to the back (the dogs love to nose the door). After all of that, I went back out and read some more.

I had really meant to take some time in the kitchen. But, it is so hot in our kitchen that even boiling water is almost too much. Our house was built in 1890 and the kitchen is an add on. The air return is all the way at the front of the house. To make matters worse, where the kitchen is located is the one side of the house that gets full on, blistering sun. And blistering it was today...7:30 am it was already 83 degrees. By 11 it was reading 100 on our thermostat for outside. Gotta love the good old South for heat.

Anyway, so I didn't make seitan as I had planned. I also didn't make another recipe I was dying to try: Alicia's Vegan Mozzarella. Alas, there's always next weekend right? After lots of debate, we decided to make a 3-Bean Salad and Margherita Style Grilled Portobellos. I grilled portobellos inside down then flipped and filled with fresh basil, spinach, and tomato and topped with Soy Kaas Monterey Jack. I really like this "cheese" as it melts so well. So many of the soy or vegan cheese don't.


3-Bean Salad
Ingredients:
Fresh green beans (cut, steamed, shocked)
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
minced red onion
Cherry tomatoes, halved (finally from our garden)
Red bell pepper, slivered
To taste: fresh oregano, fresh basil, salt, pepper, lemon juice, white pepper, red pepper, parsley, thyme

Directions:
Mix all ingredients and refrigerate to let flavors meld or serve room temperature.

On the side, we also had toasted whole-wheat sandwich rounds and a small dipping dish of my homemade spaghetti sauce.

This really ended up being a great meal. It felt light and summery with the fresh veggies and herbs (so happy the garden is finally starting to produce now). I hope everyone has had a terrific weekend!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Day Outside - Sunning and Grilling

I wanted to thank you all for sharing past jobs. Some of you guys have had some really interesting gigs!

Weights & Kickboxing
This morning I got up and made my typical Saturday breakfast: PB&J&B Oatmeal before hitting the weights. Today was push muscles for upper body:

Chest:
Flat bench dumbbell press
Flat bench flyes
Decline dumbbell press

Shoulders:
Shoulder press
Lateral raise
Lying shoulder press (thanks for the idea Alyson @ Nourished Fitness)

Triceps:
Overhead extension
Weighted dips
Double-arm kickbacks

I followed up the workout with Cathe's Shock Cardio MMA Kickboxing and abs. I'm really digging kickboxing after upper body work. To me it is sort of like burning out the legs with plyo. I know...a little crazy huh?

Day Outside
I had a ton that I should have done today. However, I did nothing more than lounge on the patio and in the pool. I pretty much took the day off. It was almost like vacation. The only things I wore were workout clothes, my bikini, then PJ's. No makeup, no hair styling, no chores. It was a great day and I don't feel the least bit guilty. I do know I'll have to make up for it tomorrow of course.

To continue with the day outside theme, grilling seemed most appropriate. The local market (Argenta Market) that carries local produce had a shipment of sweet corn. Jason picked some up, so we grilled that with veggie kabobs (squash, zucchini, and a variety of bell peppers). I finished off my Chipotle BBQ Sauce by (recipe)  mixing it with my homemade Chikn' Seitan (recipe) and served on sandwich thins. I made a quick slaw to top the Chipotle BBQ Seitan Sandwiches. 
The corn was soooo good. It needed absolutely nothing on it. This was such a summer meal and totally hit the spot for the day. I hope you are all having a great weekend!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fun Facts Friday - Jobs

Friday Rest Day
Not only is today Friday, but it's my rest day. My biceps are still talking to me from Tuesday's workout. Not sure what that's all about. I don't ever remember my biceps being this sore, this long. I didn't think I even went all that heavy - maybe it was the slow rep count. Anyway, I do wish I had it in me to get my Saturday workout in today and Sunday's tomorrow. I really need Sunday off because we are supposed to help my dad and step-mother move, so that means I need to figure out when and how to squeeze in the workout (legs). I'm sure I'll figure it out.

Thank you for the cardio suggestions. I do enjoy running outside, and would prefer to do that, but the heat is just too much right now unless I can manage the run around 5:30 am (and remember, I am not a morning gal). I may have to just start making myself get up though for the summer months if I want to run.

Fun Facts Friday - Jobs

Since there was so much discussion this week on careers, I thought it might be fun to share some jobs we've all had over the years. By the way, I truly appreciate everyone's comments. I was very surprised that the topic would generate so much interest and love it!!

Before going to the fun facts, I did want to quote a terrific idea that Kris @ I Heart Wellness suggested. I thought this was fantastic: 
"A good trick to find out your true passion is to walk into a book store and see what magazine section you naturally go to first? Fashion, Fitness, Food?? This will tell you where your true passions lie."
I go straight to fitness then home decor. Where do you go?

Fun Facts - Past Jobs

1. Worked at a souvenir shop called the Duck Port. The city I grew up in is famous for lakes, natural hot springs, and is a big tourist destination. A friend's father owned a souvenir shop on lake where the "duck" tours would stop. Can I just say tourists can be soooo mean.

2. Worked for Waldenbooks for 5 years to pay for school. I am a HUGE reader so this worked well, except for the random nasty customers.  Don't ever think that a cashier is just some high school kid someone who didn't make it through college. I worked with people with MAs, who spoke 5 languages, etc. I say that because sometimes customers would talk down to us as if we were beneath them. Sorry for that rant.

3. Waited tables at a "Hooters" wanna-be-bar in Auburn, AL. Yep, short shorts and all.

Your turn. 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Need New Cardio Ideas, Maybe Goals Too

Cardio Woes
This was one of those mornings when I felt like I could have easily slept another two hours. Maybe it's because most of the week I've been waking up at 5 am and not being able to go back to sleep. I am really starting to miss being able to run at lunch. I love summer, and I don't mind it being hot. But, it's just too hot to run at noon now. So I'm starting to feel like I'm flailing with cardio. I can only do so much kickboxing (I only have 3 kickboxing and 1 boxing DVD). Step aggravates my plantar fasciitis problem, so I've been trying to avoid step now. I love doing boot camp/HIIT/interval style workouts, but those are typically short.

So what's a girl to do on a cardio-only day? Oh, that was a real question by the way. I have no answer. I don't have any cardio equipment at home. I have gotten to where I simply dread the mere thought of running on the treadmills at the gym. I will say that when we were on vacation and I ran at the condo's gym and was able to watch what I wanted on tv, that helped tremendously. At the gym, however, it' CNN or ESPN period.

I was totally on the fence about my workout because nothing sounded appealing enough to do for 45-50 minutes (let alone an hour). I came very close to just calling it a rest day, but that wouldn't change the fact that I would need cardio for tomorrow. So I sucked it up and chose Cathe's Cardio Fusion. It is comprised of step segments from 2 other DVDs as well as non-step drills/boot camp style cardio from another DVD. I also did stability ball abs after.

I used to LOVE this workout. But I have really gotten used to breaking out my workouts into 2 shorter sessions. So the length seemed daunting. I only did about 45 minutes of it (opted out of some of my least favorite drills). While there was some clock watching, it did go by faster than I was expecting (I had been psyching myself out obviously).

Let's Talk Goals
I read a lot of blogs and hear a lot of people mention setting goals: fitness goals, personal goals, mini-goals, etc. I very rarely set a goal for myself for anything. If I am going to do a race, then I'll set a goal for that perhaps, but other than that...none. I don't set weight lifting goals; I just lift. I don't set cardio goals; I just "cardio."

With my musings about careers, it made me start to wonder if perhaps I shouldn't be setting goals for myself. Jason often asks me my goals with my workouts. He sets goals such as signing up for a race as motivation. Perhaps I need to set some sort of goals to help motivate me career-wise, and maybe even workout-wise. Perhaps I'm losing focus and motivation and haven't truly noticed.

Sorry for that ramble. Do you set goals? Do you think they're important?


Lucky Gal & Easy Dinner

I received another fantastic goody package today. I've apparently been lucky lately winning a couple of giveaways. I don't normally win things - do you? I won a terrific NuNaturals Stevia set from Angela @ Southern Grace Gourmet. My box o' goodies included: Vanilla Stevia (love this stuff), Stevia Powder Packets, and Stevia Baking Blend. If you haven't tried NuNaturals products yet, you really need to. I don't think you will be disappointed.

We decided to take the easy route for dinner. It just wouldn't cook itself no matter how long I procrastinated. I grilled both sweet and russet potato "fries" to go with Black Bean & Quinoa Burgers that I made and froze a few weeks back (recipe here).

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Kickboxing Fail but "Creamy" Pesto Pasta Salad Win

Tuesday's Comments
Wow, thank you all for your comments from yesterday's post regarding work/career. I suppose it's so often to just assume others are happy as larks each and every day. I was rather shocked at how many seem to feel the same way. I do know people who LOVE getting up and going to their jobs though. I want to have that same feeling. I think we all deserve that. Life is too short don't you agree?

Kickboxing Fail
First off - Holy Mother of DOMS. I am still sore in my chest and triceps from Sunday's workout. Inner and outer thighs are screaming at me when I walk and sit from Monday's workout, and biceps...are they supposed to straighten all the way out??? It's all good though. I know I worked myself to the max and can't wait to repeat it starting with upper body push muscles on Saturday.  Now, onto today's workout....

This morning I was very rudely awakened by one of our alarm sensors going out. Not sure how long it was making the strange noise. It seemed to take forever to even recognize that it wasn't normal sound. I really didn't have the energy for step and it was took dark for a run still, so I decided to try Amy Bento's Kickbox Xtreme Workout. I got it via Netflix just before vacation. I tried part of it on vacation and thought (key word) I'd do the whole thing this morning. I've tried several of Amy Bento's workouts before, but I just haven't been totally impressed. It's not that she's not fun, but she just doesn't seem to click for me. And the workouts are never very big calorie burners either.

Anyway, the first 30 minutes flew by actually, but my heart rate was never very high. It only maxed out at 155, and that was during one of the intervals. After the 30-minute mark, it just began to drag on and on and on and...you get it. I was starting to just get plain annoyed after 50 minutes (this was combo/interval 4) and there was still another combo/interval to get through. I started the fifth segment, but just couldn't force myself to continue.

I don't typically post things like calories burned, but my calorie burn for 50 minutes was only 424. Sorry, but if I'm going to put that much effort into 50+ minutes, I expect more than that. If it was supposed to have been low-impact or low intensity, then I'd understand. Oh well, I guess she's just not for me. So, my search for other advanced kickboxing workouts will continue. 

Another Salad Night
Tonight I decided to try something a bit different.  It's super hot again - heat indices of 100 - so something on the lighter, cooler side sounded appealing (no matter how much I might want to grill). I've made a vegan pesto before from Tal Ronnen's The Conscious Cook. I decided to make a slightly creamier version of pesto using silken tofu for a veggie-laden pasta salad.


"Creamy" Vegan Pesto
Ingredients:
1/2 box extra firm silken tofu (I would have used soft or firm if I had that on hand)
Fresh basil (maybe 2 cups, I didn't measure)
1/4 cup pine nuts
juice of 1/2 lemon
Drizzle of olive oil (just enough to loosen sauce)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large clove garlic, rough chop

Directions:
In food processor, blend all ingredients until smooth.

"Creamy" Pesto Pasta Salad
Ingredients:
"Creamy" Vegan Pesto
8 oz whole-wheat penne or rotini
1/2 bag California style frozen veggies (or veg mix of your choice)
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 small yellow squash, diced
1 small or half larger zucchini, diced
1 can red beans, rinsed and drained

Directions:
In large pot, bring water to boil and drop in the pasta. Approximately 1 - 2 minutes before pasta should be done, drop in the frozen veggies and allow to heat through (this should only take 1 - 2 minutes tops).

Drain pasta and veggies and pour and quickly run under cold water to stop the cooking. Once cooled, pour into large mixing bowl. Add in the remaining veggies and beans then stir in the pesto until everything is well coated. Re-season if needed. Let chill or serve at room temperature.

This was a nice, refreshing pasta salad actually. I think it was better cold rather than warm. But, I think the "Creamy" Vegan Pesto would be great on a warm pasta dish as well with a side of veggies and large salad. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

2 on a Trying Tuesday

Upper Body & Kickboxing
Well, my time off has ended. It was back to work today. I was actually up early, wide awake. But I just couldn't fathom getting up and exerting any energy at 5:15 am. So, I didn't. I did get my weights done at lunch. Today was pull muscles: biceps and back. I did 3 sets of 8 reps using the slow 6:2 rep count.

Back
Pullovers
Single-arm row
Underhand dumbbell row

Biceps
Dumbbell curls
Hammer curls
Cross-body curls

My arms were jello after I was done. After work, I really didn't want a super intense cardio. I did Cathe's Kick, Punch and Crunch with the stability ball abs. I also stretched for a bit. The workouts definitely helped my mood today.

Trying Tuesday
Today was a difficult one for me in all honesty. I was in a major funk - the cry-at-the-drop-of-a-hat kind of funk. The weights at lunch helped a little (gotta love those workout endorphins). I know part of it was getting back into the swing of reality after a terrific vacation. However, part of it also stems from the fact that I just am not sure I am doing what I am meant to be doing. Don't get me wrong, I don't hate my job (Kelly, don't freak out). The problem is, I don't just LOVE it either. That probably sounds worse than it is. I don't dread going to work. I'll never let myself get into that situation again. I have so much to be thankful for. I have a fantastic boss, I have great coworkers, great perks, etc. I just don't feel totally satisfied somehow, like there is something missing. Maybe I think too much? Maybe most people feel this way? Maybe it's just post-vacation blues?

The bigger problem is that I really don't know what else I'd prefer to do. I think some of it stems from the day-in-day out routine that starts to weigh me down. I dread being stuck inside all day. Too bad we can't take our computers outside. I often think I'd like to try to do something in fitness. However, I know that it's not exactly a super lucrative field (or that's the vibe I get). I guess I think (key word) I would prefer to not be sitting at a desk all day. I'd love to work from home.

How do you feel about work? Do you look forward to your job? Have you made changes along the way?

I must admit that I was pretty much on strike in the kitchen tonight. Not only was I just not in the mood to cook, it's too hot to cook inside or outside! However, a post by Eunice @ Food 4 Fitness reminded me of a salsa I love to make this time of year - thanks for the reminder girl! It's a black bean and corn salsa. It's great as a salsa served with tortilla chips and also as a filling for quesadillas. I thought it would work perfectly as a salad too. I let Jason do the hard work tonight of can opening and chopping. This was a no-cook meal though, perfect for a hot summer evening. 

Black Bean & Corn Salad
Ingredients:
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
5 oz frozen corn, thawed (fresh is best of course)
2 green onions, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 red onion, minced
1 can no salt diced tomatoes, drained (fresh is best if you have enough, we didn't)
minced garlic (to taste)
Jalapenos (unfortunately we were out of fresh and had to use jarred)
Leaf lettuce
To taste: salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, red pepper, cilantro
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Splash of OJ
Splash of apple cider vinegar
Directions: 
Mix all ingredients, minus lettuce, in large bowl. If you have time, it's best refrigerate and allow the flavors to meld. Serve over lettuce. 

As a garnish, I toasted up a whole wheat tortilla for some crunch. Jason actually made his into a wrap. Sorry, I only took a picture of the salad though.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Leg Day & New BBQ Sauce Recipe

Legs & Boxing
Today was my last day off. I got up and made myself some steel cut oats with peanut butter and cinnamon apples. Then I had to hit the grocery store so I could have something to eat for lunch. I should have gone to Target and Whole Foods too, but that just wasn't going to happen.

When I got home and the food unloaded, I headed up to my little gym for legs. I did 3 sets of 8 reps using the same slow 2:6 rep count that I used yesterday (with the exception of step ups and calves).

Squats
Calves (did 3 sets of 15 reps)
Step ups
Plie squats
Static lunges
Deadlifts
Donkey kicks (with weight)

I followed this up with Shock Cardio MMA Boxing and a stretch. I had planned on doing abs too, but sort of ran out of steam.

My Kind Bars Arrived
After my workout and lunch, I decided to lounge in the pool for a bit. It was HOT out, so I didn't stay out long. Plus, I really did need to finish up with chores. Jason was great and vacuumed the area rugs for me. I had some more clothes to put away; I really take my time unpacking! I did get a super great package today. I love getting goodies in the mail. This package came from Jill @ My So Called Health Life. It was a box of KIND bars! I won them from her recent giveaway and can't wait to dig in to one. I'll be sure to post my review on them. Check out the site for nutritional information.

BBQ Meets Quesadilla
I really wanted to grill out, but I also wanted to honor my Mexican Monday ritual. I decided to try a Grilled Chipotle BBQ Tofu Quesadilla. In the end, I also had to try my hand at making my own BBQ sauce for the first time. Once I got going, I realized I didn't have enough BBQ sauce on hand. Ooops. Note to self: always check the ingredients on hand before starting a meal. I searched online through many BBQ sauce recipes. In the end, I took bits and pieces and made my own: Heather's Chipotle BBQ Sauce.


Heather's Chipotle BBQ Sauce
Ingredients:
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 8 oz can tomato sauce (no salt)
2 chipotle peppers in adobe, minced (also use some of the sauce)
1/4 white onion, minced
1 tbsp garlic minced
Agave nectar (to taste)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (approximate)
1/8 tsp stevia (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
In small sauce pan, saute onions and garlic until onions are completely soft. Add in remaining ingredients and let cook down until flavors begin to meld. Re-season if needed.


Grilled Chipotle BBQ Tofu Quesadillas
Ingrients:
1 package of extra-firm tofu (frozen, thawed, squeezed).
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 red onion diced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
Whole-wheat tortillas
Shredded cheese (I used a 2% Mexican blend. Daiya Cheddar would be perfect though)
Heather's Chipotle BBQ Sauce (or your favorite BBQ sauce)

Directions:
Cut tofu into slabs and marinated with BBQ sauce for approximately 2 hours. Grill tofu until crisp then dice.

In sauce pan saute onions, bell peppers, and garlic until soft. Then stir in the beans and spices. Let cook until beans soften. Lightly mash.

Place tortilla on grill and lightly grill one side then flip. Spread BBQ sauce on tortilla, top with cheese (optional). On one half top with tofu and bean mixture. Fold over the other half and grill both sides until crisp.

These turned out really well. We topped them with more BBQ sauce. I think I may also try this with a BBQ sauce marinated seitan and top with a cabbage and carrot slaw.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Weights, Cardio, Pool, Refrigerator Special

Home Sweet Home
So while I am totally missing the beach, I think I had one of the best night's sleep last night. There is nothing like sleeping in your own bed after being away for a week. It was also nice to be back in my own kitchen where the knives are sharp, the pans are the ones I want, and I have access to all of my spices. There is truly nothing like being home. Now if I could just manage to make my home on the beach, I'd be one perfectly content gal!
Back to the Weights
Today I was eager to hit the weights again. I really missed being able to do a weight workout on vacation. I am undecided on a rotation so I just sort of winged it and have decided to try this split for 2 weeks at least. Today I worked upper body push muscles using a 6:2 count (e.g., chest press: 6 up, 2 down). I did 3 sets of 8 reps of the following:

Chest:
Chest press
Chest flye
Incline chest press

Shoulders:
Shoulder press
Lateral raise
Rear delt flye

Triceps:
Overhead extension
Double-arm kickbacks
Lying dumbbell extensions

I followed the weights with a 30-minute step workout from Step Blast then a stretch. I'll just say once more, it felt so good to hit the weights again. I'll do legs tomorrow then upper body pull on Monday (biceps and back).

Being Lazy Means Slim Pickings for Dinner
After my workouts, I made a quick lunch, swiffer vacuumed the floors (hello doggy dust bunnies), dusted, and changed over laundry. I figured that earned me some pool time. Now, I should have gone to the grocery store or Whole Foods at the very least. But, in the end, I opted for reading and lounging outside. I'm still on vacation after all!

Since I didn't make it to the store, dinner was one of those "use what you have" affairs. I had new potatoes, so those went on the grill as it's way too hot to heat up the kitchen with the oven. I did a very quick steam on the remaining green beans we brought back with us from FL. I diced those along with red onion and red bell pepper and tossed with chickpeas and herbs for a quick Green Bean Salad. I had a few Quorn patties in the freezer that I nuked and topped with a sauce I made from a jar of Artichoke and Piquillo Pepper Bruschetta I had on hand. I just added a bit of white wine to it and heated it on the stove.

I know this doesn't seem like a total refrigerator special, but for me it kind of was. Amazing how that sort of thing changes isn't it. What's your "refrigerator special?"

Saturday, June 12, 2010

So I Lied - A Saturday Post

On the Road
Ok, so I lied about not blogging today. I thought I was going to be too exhausted from the drive (and too depressed not staring at the ocean). This will be brief though. We had a decent drive back. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling like I was going to be sick to my stomach. That lasted until about 11 am today. Not sure what was up, but I felt so queasy. Maybe it was beach sickness (similar to homesickness).

We headed out around 7:20 but had to make a stop first. Some friends have property in Perdido Key that they wanted us to go check on and take pictures of for them. It was a lot with a trailer and they had the trailer raised and moved so they could start building. I am so jealous of the views they'll have of the inter-coastal waterways. So we didn't really get going until a bit closer to 8. We made a gas stop then another lunch stop and that was that. We are all about hitting the road and not stopping until we must.

What kind of traveler are you?

Friday Make Up
Tonight I am making up for Pizza Friday with real pizza. I am making my homemade wheat dough. Jason made a quick trip to the store for a few fresh veggies as the fridge is fairly bare. Speaking of making up for Friday posts, I totally forgot Fun Facts Friday yesterday until I read my good friend Alicia's post. We'll blame it on too much sand and sun.

Since I spent the week on the beach, I'll try to do a few fun facts about the beach:


1. I love the beach and the ocean, but never wade farther out than my calves.
2. I am a sunaholic, but use massive amounts of 50spf and spend the majority of my time under and umbrella.
3. I have red hair, but tend to tan (Italian genes) so most people think I dye my hair. 

Ok, those might not be just super fun...but we'll blame it on sand and sun again. Now, tell me something fun or factual about you and the beach. I'm all ears!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Last Day of Vacation

Last Workout
Last days of vacation can be so depressing to me. We did make the best of it though. I ran 25 minutes then did Cathe's Travel Fit. When you don't have access to weights, this workout is pretty good. It uses resistance bands with cardio blasts thrown in. It's made for those traveling so you don't need much space at all. While it's not one I'd do all the time, it's perfect for vacations or work travel (hence the name of course). I must say that I absolutely cannot wait to get home and get in a weight workout!

Last Day as Beach Bums
After the workouts, we hit the beach for our final day of beach bumming it. We had our toes in the sand for the majority of the day. There was still one place we had not been to yet. It's a place we try to always visit when here. It's just across the street from our condo - The Jelly Fish Bar. They serve sushi and have an extensive martini list. I'm not typically a martini drinker mind you, but some of these concoctions are pretty good. And, I am on vacation after all ;-)

We started with wakame and edamame. I had a Comb Jelly Martini and Jason had a Hendrik's Gin. I ordered some vegetable rolls and Jason got volcano rolls and something else that I can't attempt to spell and am too lazy to look up. Again...on vacation :-) We ordered one more round of drinks: Blue Jelly Martini and Perdido Paradise then called it quits. We wanted to spend the rest of the evening on our balcony. Here are a few pictures from the Jelly Fish Bar including the view.

Last Day is Pizza Friday (of course)
Since it is Pizza Friday, we will manage to make pizzas, make-shift pizzas anyway. I have some Flatout wraps left along with a smidge of spaghetti sauce, some veggies (zucchini, squash, eggplant, spinach), and cheese. So, we had Flatout Pizzas. Not quite the same as homemade wheat crust, but it'll do in a pinch on Pizza Friday. Sorry for the lack of pictures of the pizza, but I am posting early and enjoying the rest of the time left on the balcony. I know you all will completely understand.

Tomorrow I will be MA. We will head out early and it'll be a long day. I promise to be back on Sunday though and will start trying my best to catch up with all of your blog posts (you guys post a lot by the way LOL). Love everyone!