Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pursuit of Happiness on Taco (Salad) Tuesday

Pursuit of Happiness
I must say that you all are the most fantastic readers and friends a girl could hope for. As most of you can probably tell, I realize that I am too hard on myself and the post was definitely a way to just try to sort through feelings/thoughts/emotions and to show you all that I am honest. I try not to sugar-coat things and pretend that I'm just a happy little lark 24/7. Not all workouts are great; I have days when I don't want to do anything at all; I have days when my eats are less than stellar; I also have issues with accepting myself for me - those flaws that make me so unique from any other person.

I think (from your comments and other blogs I read) this is notion of perfection is something so many of us struggle with. We feel we must be perfect somehow, no flaws, no missteps, just perfection all the time. That's impossible. We (especially me) need to learn that our flaws, those moles, crooked noses, even pesky little wrinkles make us who we are - totally unique. Is beauty really looking like So-and-so model, just like a clone or is beauty that quirky hair line, that subtle dimple, that mole or freckle? So instead of seeking perfection, maybe we need to be seeking happiness.

I want to be a positive person. I want to find joy in the little things, and this will be a work in progress I know. So, bare with me on those down days. I do think it's important to admit them though and not put on a facade - because I really could just pretend.

Another Wishy Washy Workout Day
So, with that being said, this morning I had my alarm set thinking I might get up and do something. I wasn't sure if it'd be biceps or a step workout. Well, 4:30 rolled around and I rolled over and reset the alarm and was out cold. I knew I could at least get biceps done at lunch, so I wasn't really worried about scheduling and missing a workout. It was really the cardio that I was more worried about. Nothing sounded "fun." My legs are still a bit tight. But as it got closer to lunch, Jason decided he wanted to run at lunch, so I decided to join him and put off weights until after work. See, I can be flexible ;-)

We got in decent 3.5 mile run despite the air being wet enough to swim in. When we first set out, I didn't know how far I was going to make it, but my legs really loosened up and I got into a pretty good groove until the second lap when we had to stop for a car. That was probably about 2 miles in and for some reason I just couldn't seem to get that same smooth groove back. But I finished strong and got it done. I will admit that I felt totally zapped the rest of the day though - as if I'd run 10 miles not only 3.5. I guess it was the humidity?

I did manage to get biceps, triceps and abs done after work. I just walked in and went straight to it rather than think about it. I did supersets of 3x8 unless noted.

SS#1
Alternating bicep curles
Overhead triceps extension (feeling like I may need to increase this weight finally)

SS#2
Cross-body curls
Double-arm kickbacks

SS#3
Incline curls
Lying dumbbell triceps extensions

SS#4
Zottman curls - 2x8
Weighted dips - 2x10

I did abs from an oldie but goody - Cathe Friedrich's Power Hour. I don't know why, but I have always loved the abs work on that one.

Taco Tuesday
I ended up making Red Bean & Seitan Taco Salad Bowls for dinner tonight in attempt to try to use up as much of the crumbly seitan as possible. I sauteed red onion, red, green, and yellow bell peppers, fresh jalapenos with the seitan and red beans and seasoned with salt, pepper, red pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, and cumin.

For the taco bowl, I simply sprayed a small, round casserole dish with non-stick spray and inserted a whole-wheat flour tortilla shell inside and baked until crispy. I filled with lettuce, topped with the seitan mixture, fresh tomatoes, and Daiya Vegan Cheddar Cheese (and pickled jalapenos as I'm a spicy kinda girl).

New Commenting Tool
I have had a couple of people let me know that they've had trouble either seen the comment section or commenting and getting a reply. I should have done a bit of testing. I thought that if I replied you should receive a notice of that reply. Let me know how it's working for you if you don't mind. I want to make commenting easier for everyone.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Making it Happen Monday

Making it Happen
Oh was it ever hard to get up this morning. It was overcast, threatening rain, so it was still dark when I got up. That always makes it so much more difficult I think. My legs are talking to me today after yesterday's workout. I got my quads and inner thighs good (or bad depending on your line of thought).

I was totally wishy washy about a weight workout today (any workout to be honest). Shoulders? Biceps? What to do, what to do. I ended up doing shoulders at lunch. I went with a triset that I repeated 4 times plus two additional exercises:

Triset:
Shoulder press
Upright rows
Lateral raise

Front to side raise - 10
Rear delt press - 3x12

Seeing as how my legs felt like dead weight, I knew I wouldn't be running, spinning, or stepping for my cardio. I went with MMA Boxing because it's not very leg intensive. There are some drills, but no squatting, jumping, or kicking involved. It was just enough to get the legs warm and loosened up a bit. This ended up being a really good cardio session.

Confession Time
So, yesterday I posted early and mentioned that we'd likely have a grilled salad for dinner. Instead, we went to Vino's for pizza for a super late or super early lunch (3:30) however you look at it. Needless to say, when dinner time rolled around, neither of us was hungry in the slightest bit. Instead, we watched Thursday's Big Brother (double eviction, love those) and then War of the Worlds. We ended up having a bowl of popcorn with raisins, cranberries, and some white chocolate chips tossed in. So, I guess that was dinner.

So, I spent the better part of today beating myself up for such a crappy day of eating. Pizza again (and not my healthier version) then popcorn for dinner? So I had the devil and angel situation going on. No it wasn't the best way to eat, but the pizza was loaded with veggies and we request light on the cheese. Also, it's not like that is a typical eating habit for us. I don't eat nachos piled with cheese, no burgers and fries (real burger and real fried fries), no fried chicken, nothing like that. So how bad is that one day of eating out for pizza - not by whole-wheat crust with vegan cheese and all veggies? Why is it hard to just enjoy a day of indulgence like that? Why do I beat myself up? These are all rhetorical questions of course. I know I shouldn't be kicking myself or feeling super guilty. We had fun sitting back and relaxing and people watching.

But, it doesn't stop there. I set out to make some "Beef" Seitan yesterday afternoon too. One batch I made had a slightly different texture. I ran just shy on the wheat gluten flour that day, but Jason really liked that one. So, I had it in my head to try 2 things: add extra water to try to replicate the texture of the one goof batch that Jason like and to add in ground quinoa flour (long story). Ok, so it all fell apart while cooking. I was so pissed that I refused to even finish cooking it or put it away. I said several times something along the lines of, "I just freaking suck and can't even cook right." Probably some cursing too. Jason got really mad at me and told me to stop putting myself down for no reason. Well...humph.....I stomped off.

But again, why do we (or me in this case) feel the need to be perfect. Perfect eaters, perfect cooks, perfect at each and every workout, perfect wives, friends, sisters, mothers, etc. What is perfect? Who sets that standard? Oddly enough, there were two posts that I happened to read today from Jessica and Tina  that really struck home for me. You need to go check them out. They're definitely on target for learning to love and accept ourselves for who we are, just as we are. I don't know if it is better or worse that I am not alone in this. Worse I think because it shows how many of us treat ourselves unkindly.

I know that was a bit of a ramble. I really have been thinking about this so much lately. I think it's been a factor in my recent blue days too. Rather than enjoying life to its fullest, I spend countless hours bashing myself for not being what I think I should be and not realizing that there are others (like my husband) who think I am great the way I am. They love me for me, quirks and all. Though, sometimes I think those quirks, like rigid schedules, are a hindrance to happiness too. I mean, why can't I go out on a school night? Why must I be in PJs at 5 pm and eat dinner absolutely no later than 7 pm (and that's late)? How much am I missing by trying to perfect my routine even? I think that's part of Monday Blues for me because I'm back to an uber restrictive schedule of being in bed by X time, being up at X time, eating at X time, no variations please.

Ok, I promise no more rambling for today.

Monday Mission
I was thinking about doing either a Taco Salad Bowl or Grilled Veggies & Tofu Salad for dinner. Jason, however, was wanting to use my seitan disaster for BBQ Seitan Sandwiches. But then he decided sloppy joes sounded better. I've never made sloppy joes friends. So, I had a new mission for Monday: Sloppy Seitan Joes.

Sloppy Seitan Joes
Ingredients:
Seitan, small dice/crumble size 
1/2 white onion, finely diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 carrot, diced
Minced garlic (to taste)

1 15oz can no-salt tomato sauce
1 tbsp (or to taste) agave nectar (or honey)
1 tbsp (or to taste) molasses
To taste: salt, pepper, red pepper, thyme, cumin, celery seed, oregano


Directions:
In large skillet, saute onions, carrots, peppers, garlic, and seitan until veggies are soft and seitan is browned. Add in remaining ingredients and allow to simmer. You can add extra water if it gets too thick.

I couldn't tell you the last time I had a sloppy joe, so I really am not sure how they compare. But, either way, these turned out really well. It's definitely going to be a keeper of a recipe. 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Leg Day on a Sunless Sunday

Sunday Leg Day
This morning I got up sort of dreading my workout - leg day. I almost always dread leg workouts. But typically, once I get going, they fly by. Today I did supersets of 3x8 for most exercises:

SS#1
Step ups
Deadlifts

SS#2
Narrow-stance squats
Alternating plie squats

SS#3
Static lunges - 3x10
Calf raises - 3x25

SS#4
Wide-stance squats with low-end pulse
Plie squats with low-end pulse


Rear leg slide back lunges
Firewalkers - 8
Donkey kicks with weight - 2x18
Outer thigh raises with ankle weights - 24 single, 16 pulse, 24 single
Inner thigh raises with ankle weights - 24 single, 16 pulse, 24 single
Glute roll-ins on stability ball - 8 roll-ins, 8 hip lifts, 8 roll-ins, 8 lifts with one leg, 8 with other leg, 8 both legs (heel is pressing into the ball)

I followed up with just one combo from Cathe Friedrich's Kick, Punch, and Crunch (just for fun) and then the ab work. I love the ab work from this DVD. It's stability ball abs and ends with roll-ins and pikes on the ball. Killer.

Do you dread leg days? What weights do you dread the most?

Sunless Sunday
Unfortunately it wasn't a sunny day here. We even had a short rain shower. I have gotten so used to my Sunday lounging and reading time that I didn't know what to do with the day. I actually sat and watched a bit of TV for a change. I haven't sat and watched the Food Network in eons. So I indulged in a few shows and also watched about half of In Her Shoes, which I've seen before and read the book. I very rarely re-watch a movie. There are seriously only a few movies that I will watch multiple times: Pretty Woman, The Pirates of the Caribbean Series, Reality Bites, and a few Audrey Hepburn movies.

Are you a repeat movie watcher? What are your favorite movies?

I also finally changed over my commenting to Intense Debate. We'll see how that goes. Please let me know if you have any problems commenting. I just had to get away from Bloggers horrible commenting system that won't allow me to reply individually to each comment. It was getting to be extremely time consuming trying to reply, and I think you all deserve replies ;-)

I am not sure what we'll be doing for dinner tonight. Maybe a grilled veggie salad (or roasted if it rains again). It likely won't be any new recipe. I may make some more seitan at some point so we can have some for this week. Other than that, I am going to go ahead and post early and enjoy the remainder of my lazy, sunless Sunday. I'll leave you with another review for Amazing Grass though...

Another Amazing Grass Review
Don't know if you remember my post mentioning that I had received a package from the folks at Amazing Grass to try or not. I've been slow to sample the products I admit. I don't drink a lot of shakes so that is why I haven't tried some of the powders yet. That, and I kind of forget to add them until after the fact. But today Jason and I decided to try another one of the bars yesterday. We shared the Berry Whole Food Energy Bar.

Again, I had no idea what to expect. The one thing I will say is that if you are looking for an energy or protein bar that tastes like a candy bar, these are not going to be for you. Yes, they taste healthy, in a good way. They are not sickly sweet, which is one thing I think I enjoy about them. You know you are eating something that is not some over processed concoction that has to be enriched with vitamins and minerals. Just read the ingredients list on these bars and you know where the nutrition comes from. So, the energy bar...thumbs up. It's not something I would eat daily, but it would be perfect to take on trips for a snack, to carry along on hikes or to keep in your purse for emergency snack purposes. 

Disclaimer:
  • I received these products as free samples from Amazing Grass.
  • My reviews are (and will always be) my honest opinion of the product.
  • I will only choose to review products that I believe are healthy and fit into my lifestyle for healthy living.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Awesome Anniversary and Redeeming Run

Anniversary Follow Up
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all for you kind words from yesterday's post. Big cyber hug to you all!

I was really excited about eating out last night. We really don't go out to dinner often, and we rarely go all out and splurge on a high-end meal dolled up in our best duds. Last night (well, 6pm) we went all out. I knew what I was going to wear and was planning on wearing the pearls and pearl earrings I had worn on our wedding day, which Jason had actually bought for me. But to my surprise, Jason bought me diamond earrings and a diamond pendant necklace!!!!

I cannot even describe how surprised I was and then the thought he put into it....amazing. He was planning on an anniversary ring - 3 diamonds for past, present, future. Plus, my engagement ring is very very simple. We had it made, and he has always thought I should have something more. But I am not a big bling bling ring girl at all. I love that it's simple, and I never have to take it off. It doesn't get in the way. So he thought the earrings (1 diamond for each ear equals 2) then the necklace (1 more diamond for 3 total) would signify the past, present, and future.

I felt like such a heel when I handed him his gift - silver cuff links with a black diamond in the center. He has never had any really nice cufflinks, so I thought these would be a great gift. Apparently I should have gotten diamond button covers too! But he loved the cuff links.

After taking some pictures of ourselves, the dogs aren't good at such things, we headed over to a restaurant we enjoy called Lulav. It's only a few blocks from our house too, gotta love convenience. They have these unbelievable fruit infused martinis. I am not typically a martini drinker at all, but you simply cannot pass up a strawberry pineapple infused martini friends.

I started with the Verdures Farcides, which was a plate of mushroom caps stuffed with Spanish vegetables and fresh mozzarella. It was really really good, with a slight spicy kick from peperoncinis. I will admit to removing the mozzarella because it was just a bit thick. I never thought I'd ever be one to take the cheese off of something because there was too much. It sort of overpowered the mushrooms and veggies though. Jason had *gasp* the foie gras. He hasn't had anything like that since he worked at a French restaurant about 8 years ago. He had already started to dig in before I got a picture so excuse the mess and fork. He's still learning how to be the husband of a blogger apparently.

My salad was one of my favorites, the Montalcino salad, which is mixed greens, toasted Almonds crumbled feta and mission figs and a red wine vinaigrette. Jason's salad was called Strawberry Crunch and had avocado, pears, strawberries and candied pecans with a red wine vinaigrette.


Dinner was roasted vegetables over angel hair pasta for me. Jason had veal chops with smashed potatoes and squash and zucchini as sides.
Oh, and we had an awesome wine: Anne Amie Cuvee A Pinot Noir. We had the sommelier come out and let us sample a few wines. The man knew his stuff (he better right?). We sampled in one glass and he made us keep some of the wine in that glass then poured in a different glass. Wow, it really is amazing the difference a glass can make in the taste of a wine. He then let us try the same wine in a 3rd, basic wine glass. If I had tasted the wine in that glass, I would not have drank it. Seriously made that much of a difference.

We skipped dessert. Nothing really just jumped out at me, probably a good thing. I had actually planned on doing white chocolate covered strawberries but didn't have time to make it by the store to pick up the strawberries. But, we decided to stop on the way home and pick some up. I will admit that we ate most of the strawberries and didn't wait for the chocolate to even dry! So, this is a picture of how they looked today after the chocolate set.

Redeeming Run
This morning I really thought I would sleep in. Didn't happen. I ended up getting up around 7:45. I wasn't sure what workout I was going to do. I typically have been doing chest and back on Saturdays, but I did that on Thursday. I decided to head out for a run around 9:20. It was about 75 degrees, but low humidity. There was a slight breeze too, so it really felt fairly nice. I wasn't sure how long I was going to run. I just thought I'd at least shoot for 3 miles.

I ended up taking slightly different routes with each lap (thanks Jessica) and ended up running for 50 minutes. It was a fantastic, redeeming run for me. My past few runs have been kind of crappy. I felt great today and just kept going and going. I did make a couple of dashes through some sprinklers though. 75 didn't seem warm when I started, but 30 minutes later, the temps had gone up (it was 81 when I finished) and my body temp was definitely going up. But, I did a lot of thinking on this run today and here's what I learned:
  1. It's ok to change up your route sometimes, in running and in life. It can do you some good.
  2. Sometimes you need some heavy, fast music to amp you up again (thank you Nine Inch Nails and Crazy Town).
  3. Mazzy Star and Jack Johnson are great musicians, but do not make good running music.
  4. Playing air drums with your pink mace and not giving a care who's watching is indeed fun, especially after 47 minutes of running (again, thank you Crazy Town).
  5. It can be fun to have a random stranger cheer you on when they've seen you running for 50 minutes.
  6. That I am appreciated more than I have ever realized.
  7. That it's ok to think I'm pretty.
  8. That running 5 miles can be liberating.
Enjoying the Day
I really need to hit the grocery store, but plan on enjoying the day by lounging on the patio with a new book. Errands may or may not get run, chores may or may not get done. Frankly, I don't care. I plan on enjoying the day for what it is - a gorgeous day, a day off, a day of relaxing, and another day to enjoy with my awesome, unbelievable husband. 

Have a great day friends!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fun Facts Friday - 10 Years Ago

10 Years Ago Today...

1.  My father walked me down the aisle.

2.  I married this man.

3.  It was a record high of 105 degrees and the wedding was outdoors on my mother's property.
 

4.  We threw the whole wedding for under $1200 (that also included dinner, wine, champagne, and beer).

5.  Jason and I catered the sit-down dinner for 78+ guests making homemade manicotti (and sauce), side salad, baguettes (those were frozen & heated).

6.  I have not made manicotti since.

7.  I decorated my own cakes: I bought four Italian Cream Cakes for $13 each from an awesome bakery then decorated with silk flowers, lace, and faux pearls.

8.  My mother made my dress, veil, and bouquet (she also made my sister's who was married in June of the same year, hence only having $1200 for the wedding).

9.  There was lots of dancing.

10. There was lots of drinking (and more dancing).

11.  We had friends (who happened to be photographers) photograph the wedding. The only cost to us was film. There were no digital cameras being used so all pictures are scanned in, hence the poor quality. Sigh.

12.  It was not a lavish affair, but it was "us." The idea was simply to celebrate. 

Happy Anniversary Jason!

So, what were you doing 10 years ago? OR tell me some fun facts about your wedding.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Rant, Run, Lift & Out on a School Night

Ranting, Running & Lifting
Last night Jason and I talked about going for a run during lunch. With that in mind, I didn't get up early to workout. I would have been doing weights (chest and back) and I just don't always feel like my weight workouts are very good super early. Just not awake enough, strong enough, or properly fueled.

I am so glad we went for the run at lunch. It was about 84 degrees and very very low humidity. Plus, I needed to thaw out. So here it comes...

The Ranting
Yes, it's August in Arkansas and that usually means 100 degree days. However, this week we have had a cool down. It was only 66 this morning. When I got to the office, I knew immediately I should have dressed as if 66 was the high for the day. Friends, the thermostats were reading 60 degrees. Now, they were set on 70-ish and that would have felt like a heat wave compared to 60. Why oh why do companies/or building managers waste so much money and energy keeping the temps so low?

At my house, if my thermostat is set on a certain temperature, then that's roughly the temperature and not 10 degrees colder. This means that the thermostats do not work. They are pumping cold air regardless of what the thermostats are set at. WASTEFUL. It actually pisses me off. First off, I hate to be so cold I can't type and can't feel my toes and have to keep wiping my freaking nose because it's dripping. Second (and third, fourth) off, waste, waste, waste. It's very sad how wasteful it is. Especially in a time when the economy is sucking, when we do know the effects of pollution and wasting energy.

The Running
Ok, I'll stop with the ranting right now because my blood pressure just shot up. So, Jason and I ran at lunch. It was so incredibly nice to run at lunch again. I have really been missing those lunchtime runs that we did most of the spring. Not only is it an energy boost, but the dose of sunshine really gives my mood a jolt in the right direction too after sitting in a windowless space all morning. Ahhhh, fresh air.

I had high hopes for the run. Perhaps I was over-glorifying it a bit in my head too. It was definitely cooler than it has been, and 84-85 with low humidity felt like 70 degrees when we first got going. But, reality set in. It was warm and sunny. We actually were going at a pretty good clip, so that I'm proud of. I did end up with terrible side stitch under my right rib cage though after about 1.5 miles. I tried exhaling on that side (which usually works) but was never able to get rid of it. I felt bad, but I had to call it quits after about 24 mins. Not exactly sure of the pace or distance as Jason's watch data blanked out. I won't complain too much though. I know every run isn't perfect, there are always glitches, and it was nice to be outside and to run with Jason.

The Lifting
After work, I did my weight workout for chest and back. Not having a spotter and going lighter with weights, I opted for trisets mostly 3x8. Going straight from a chest fly to a chest press really gets me good - almost more DOMS than when I just go heavy. I did increase the weights this week for everything except the pullovers.

TS#1
Flat bench chest flye
Flat bench chest press
Double-arm row - 3x10

TS#2
Incline bench chest flye
Incline bench chest press
Underhand row

TS#3
Staggered bench press (start at top, half way down & stop, all the way down & stop, half up & stop, then all the way up) - 3x10
Pullovers 3x8

Lat band pull downs - 2x16

I finished with some weighted and non-weighted ab work and a stretch. I must admit that I came very very close to putting off the weights entirely. It wasn't my best lift, but I got it done and that felt good.

Out on a "School" Night
I am normally not one to go out on a "school" night. I have my routine and I stick to it. I am in PJs by 5:30 at the latest and in bed with my book around 8 or 8:30 and asleep between 9 and 9:30. But, I know I really must get out of this routine sometimes and enjoy life a bit more rather than just relegating "fun" time to the weekends. So, tonight we are going to hit up the baseball game and take full advantage of the cooler, more pleasant temperatures.

That being said, I'm posting earlier than I normally would and won't be including dinner or recipes and such. In all honesty, we'll either scrounge for leftovers or have a quick veggie burger with sweet potato "fries' (that's sort of baseball-ish I think).

Hyping Tomorrow's Post
Just for fun, I am going to tease tomorrow's post. It will be a special post. No declarations of rest days, no posting of workouts, no reminders that it's Pizza Friday. Tomorrow will be a very special edition of Fun Facts Friday that I hope you will enjoy (or at least humor me on).

Good night friends!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Spinning & Stir Fry

Spinning on Wednesday
This morning Jason was getting up at 5 am to go to his swim class. I thought I was going to get up and do Step Blast and abs. Thought is the key word friends. I rolled over and went right back to sleep. I was not going to force the workout this morning. I was even prepared to proclaim today my rest day if need be.

The weather is cooling down nicely finally. So I thought I'd be up and out for morning runs, but I just haven't felt up for a run the past few days. I think the temps are supposed to remain just at 90 through the weekend (into the upper 60's at night) so maybe we can get in a longer run this weekend finally.

Before I went up to bed last night, Jason had mentioned wanting to go to spin again today. So instead of step or running or weights after work (or a rest day), I decided to go with Jason and try out the the new spin class at our gym: Group Ride. He's been twice and enjoyed it. Since I've been doing legs twice a week, they've been more sore than not, and sore legs are not conducive to a "fun" spin class. But, this week I'm only doing legs once, so I thought it might be fun to do something I haven't done in ages (besides just setting foot in my gym).

I must say that I did enjoy this new spin format so much more than what was previously being done. I think the only downfall is that it is the same class and same music for a certain number of weeks. 

Super Simple & Super Fast

I will say that I was feeling a tiny bit more like myself today. Still not 100%, but getting there. I just keep staring at the gorgeous flowers on my desk and reminding myself of the many many good things in my life.

One good thing is a fast dinner after a later workout. The spin class is 5:30 - 6:30 pm. I know that's not really and truly late, but when I do an afternoon workout it's usually 4:15 - 5:15-ish. So 6:30 is late for me, especially for starting dinner. I knew I was going to be one hungry lady. A hungry Heather is not a happy Heather either. So, I knew dinner had to be super fast and super simple. I had plenty of rice leftover from Monday's dinner, so what's super fast to make and goes best on rice? Stir fry of course.

This was nothing fancy. I used an (ahem) pre-made stir fry sauce that I jazzed up with a teeny bit of tahini and hoisin (sorry, sometimes I go the semi-homemade route), bag of mixed frozen veggies, added some frozen green beans, and the last of my homemade Chikn' Seitan. I added in tofu that I had cubed and tossed with the stir fry sauce, tahini, soy sauce, and hoisin then did a quick sear on it tossing in a handful of raw cashews at the end for some crunch (thank you Anna for reminding me to use cashews and Eden for the tahini).
Hope you all had a great Hump Day!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Still Lagging Mojo & Protein Power Pasta

Eked Out Morning Workouts
This morning I had my alarm set for a little after 5. I slept fairly well, only waking up twice, but the second time (around 4) I started to rethink getting up for a morning workout. I knew that I could easily fall back asleep for another two hours if I let myself. I think that it's also getting harder to get up early since it's starting to stay dark so much longer. I probably should have slept in, but ended up dragging myself out of the bed for weights and cardio.

I did 3 supersets for shoulders and triceps (odd combination) for 3 sets of 8 reps then finished off with 2 exercises done to failure (just for funzies).

SS#1
Shoulder press
Overhead triceps extension

SS#2
Lateral raise
Double-arm kickbacks

SS#3
Upright rows
Lying triceps extensions (on stability ball)

Front/Side raise - 10 reps
Weighted triceps dips - 16 reps (probably could have hit 18)

I was feeling a bit weak again today. Of course, lifting in the morning always seems harder for me. I did end up having to drop down 1# for the last set of lying triceps extensions, but it's better to drop the weight than lose the form like I was doing.

After weights, I opted for Cathe Friedrich's MMA Boxing. It was a great way to finish shoulders that's for certain. I was thinking about a run as the temps were only 70 degrees this morning. But, I really didn't feel like a run at all. I was doing good to get the weights done this morning, so I wanted a lower intensity cardio or it wasn't going to happen at all. I do feel just a bit guilty for not taking advantage of this sudden cool down with a run, but the thought of getting out there and running that same route sounded more like torture this morning. Guess my mojo is still on break, but I'm trying to remain positive.

Relaxing Lunch

I will say that I was glad to have the workouts done. I got to actually just sit on the couch and relax during lunch today. We watched Samantha Brown on the Travel Channel. I think she can make almost any location seem appealing. I say almost because I'm still not completely sold on Uruguay, but I did learn some interesting facts at least.

The temps were only about 90 degrees when we went home. Sure made it that much harder to get back to work. It was almost like the first warm day of the year feeling when you're itching for it to be warm enough to shed the sweater and just park it outside. We're supposed to have low temps the rest of the week actually. Perhaps a noon run might actually be able to happen?

Pasta Night
Jason has been wanting me to make my "Creamy" Lemon sauce for a pasta dish recently, so I finally decided to make it tonight making the Creamy Spinach & Asparagus Pasta version. Basically, the lemon sauce is just the base and whatever veggies you add is your call. I think that both spinach and asparagus go really well with the lemon flavor. I also added in some of my homemade Chikn' Seitan as well.

This is a nice protein packed, veggie laden, vegan dish.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Missing My Mojo on Monday

Summer Salad
Dinner last night ended up being a Grilled Tempeh & Veggie Salad. I grilled sweet potatoes, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, and tempeh (which was marinated in a balsamic vinaigrette). We piled everything on top of a mix of red leaf lettuce and baby spinach. This has become one of my favorite summer meals I do believe.


Missing My Mojo
So this morning I slept in rather than get up for my workouts. I was planning on either biceps or shoulders at lunch and knew I could get in cardio after work. I decided to change up my splits this week. I've been doing biceps and triceps together for too many weeks now. Change is good. So I went with biceps and abs at lunch:

Dumbbell bicep curls 3x8
Hammer curls 3x7 (just couldn't manage 8 reps with the weight I used)
Concentration curls 3x8
Dumbbell biceps curls - 21's

I did abs from Cathe Friedrich's Cardio & Weights DVD. After work I did a cardio only premix from Low Impact Circuit.

I must admit that today was a mojo-less day for me. I guess it was the Monday blues perhaps. But in all honesty, I didn't want to do a single workout. I really wanted to leave work early and go hole up in my bed for the duration of the day. Doing the biceps and abs at lunch did help improve my mood a little bit at least. But the cardio workout felt like some huge ominous cloud for me today.

I do think that sometimes my mood swings are also a result of being in a window-less office. I typically have no idea what the weather is like until I get up to go to the restroom and pass a window or leave for lunch. To me, it always looks dark out. I even tried getting special light bulb for desk lamps. Anyone else work in a similar environment? Do you feel like your mood is often affected by seeing or not seeing the light of day?

I did receive a very special gift today that helped my mood (and my desk). I got a strange call from someone trying to find my office. They said they had a delivery. Then the guard called from the guard station saying I had a gift. To my surprise, Jason had sent me flowers! I wasn't sure whether to cry or smile or both. Neither of us are terribly mushy gushy (he is more than me), but today these flowers were the perfect gift at the perfect time.

Dinner
I guess tonight is a semi-Mexican Monday meal. There are Mexican or Tex-Mex undertones at least. Jason has been wanting to do a pineapple salsa over Quorn Chikn' Patties with brown rice and black beans that I call Colorful Black Beans. We topped the beans with Daiya Vegan Cheddar Cheese. For the rice, I added in diced green chilies, tomatoes, salt, pepper, cumin and garlic powder.

Kind of looks a bit messy, but sometimes messy is good right?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Saturday Follow Up & Another Summer Sunday

Fun Evening, Bad Blogger
Let me first say that I was a very very bad blogger and failed to remember to whip out the camera until there were only 2 lone pieces of sushi left...

So, that means we did indeed have sushi. We ended up having sushi rolls, wakame salad, sauteed spinach, and edamame at a local restaurant as an appetizer. Jason and Sarah split a couple of non-vegetarian rolls. I had (well not all by myself of course) 1 maki roll with Japanese eggplant and another with wakame. We figured this was safer than attempting to make sushi for the first time, having it fail, and be left starved and grumpy.

After we got back to the house, I started pizza dough for later in the evening. We did half with squash, zucchini, onion, and olives and the other half was a Margherita pizza with fresh basil (about the only thing growing my my garden), Roma tomatoes and some smoke mozzarella that Sarah had brought over.

While the dough was in the bread machine and I was catching up on a bit of blogging (thought blogland seems super slow this weekend) Jason took Sarah over to the Argenta Market at her request. She really wanted to pick up a few things there to take home with her, and Jason wanted to get some whole-grain bread they sell for breakfast. He promised to make Sarah an egg, tempeh bacon breakfast sandwich that apparently required this bread and this bread only. Men...



All in all, it was a great evening. I always enjoy spending time with my sister.

Another Summer Sunday
This morning I got up just before 8 am and headed out for a run. It was so hot and I probably should not have gone out. I was only able to mange 20 minutes before having to call it quits. It was just too miserable. I came in and made myself oatmeal with bananas, blueberries, and peanut butter (crunchy that I bought by mistake). Jason made the breakfast sandwiches for Sarah and himself. She ended up leaving a little after 10 am.

I headed up to get my leg workout done. I am still not seeing any results with my hamstrings, though my booty seems to be getting higher and firmer at least. I decided not to break out the legs into two workouts (front focus and rear focus). Today I did supersets for most of the exercises and most were done as 3 sets of 10 reps unless noted:

SS#1
Squats
Plie Squats

SS#2
Static lunge
Calf raises - 3x20

SS#3
Step ups
Deadlifts

Rear leg slide back lunges
Wide stance squats with pulses - 8 single, 4 3-count pulse, 2 7-count pulse, 8 single
Plie squats with pulses - 8 single, 4 3-count pulse, 2 7-count pulse, 8 single
Static lunge with pulses - 8 single, 4 3-count pulse, 2 7-count pulse, 8 single
Firewalkers - 8
Donkey kicks with weight
Outer thigh lifts with ankle weights - 24 single, 16 pulse, 24 single
Inner thigh lifts with ankle weights - 24 single, 16 pulse, 24 single
Glute roll-ins and lifts on ball - 8 roll-ins, 8 lifts, 8 roll-ins with lift, 8 lifts, 8 roll-ins

I finished with a long stretch then protein shake.

Post workout, I hit the pool and patio as has become fairly typical for my Summer Sundays. I know there are a million things that I should have been doing, but sometimes it's nice to reward yourself with a day of pure laziness. Well, I suppose working out counts as something so it's not completely lazy, but you get the point. We spend all week running, going, working so it's nice to finally just do nothing for a change. I think we all deserve that.

It seems super slow in the blog world. Maybe it's the back to school  hubbub? I do think I am going to take advantage of it though and get my post out early, pre-dinner. I have no idea what we'll end up having tonight. We haven't even starting the whole, "what sounds good?" game yet. So it might be a while ;-)

I hope everyone has had a great weekend!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Busy Saturday: Chores, Workouts, Pool Time, Sister Time

Friday Follow Up
Thanks for sharing your stories on how you met your significant other. I really enjoyed them. It's so fun for me to learn more about you all.

Jason and I had a pretty relaxing Pizza & Pool Friday. While the dough was in the bread machine we played some pool, ate, then played more pool. I really enjoy simple evenings like that. We just listen to music and catch up.

Working Hard on Saturday
This morning I was hoping to sleep in but was wide awake at 7:33. I briefly thought about a run, but the heat index was already 88 and the air was sopping wet. Ick. So I just piddled around, cleaning the kitchen and messing around with my blog layout. I finally got around to my workouts around 9:30. It was kind of nice not jumping feet first into the day.

I did chest and back today as supersets of 3x8 unless otherwise noted:

SS#1
Chest flye
Chest press (dumbbells)

SS#2
Incline chest flye
Incline chest press (dumbbells)

SS#3
Pullovers
Single-arm row (3x10)

SS#4
Underhand rows
Single-arm horizontal row

Weighted pushups - 16
Lat pulldowns with band - 2x16

I finished up with Cathe Friedrich's HIIT Pyramid and then abs from Muscle Max and a long stretch. It was a really good workout today, and I know I'm going to be feeling my pecs tomorrow ;-)

Chores, Pool Time & Sister Time
After my workout, I ate then did some more house chores. I don't want my sis to think I'm a total slacker when it comes to keeping my house clean. We bought some shades for "her" room that needed to be hung so she could actually sleep past 6 am. That particular room gets light from a street lamp then early morning sun. I aim to please when it comes to making sure she's comfy when she stays here.

I am not sure what we'll be doing for dinner this evening. She was really wanting pizza, so it might be another pizza night. I did buy stuff to try my hand at sushi, but Jason doesn't think we should be trying something new on Sarah without testing it ourselves first. If we do end up making pizza again, we'll try to do some totally different combos that we don't normally try.

What are your favorite pizza toppings or styles?

I hope everyone has had a great Saturday!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fun Facts Friday: How Jason & I Met

Much Needed Rest
So three mornings of waking up close to 5 am and getting in my workouts totally caught up with me. I was exhausted yesterday. I did not set my alarm early this morning. However, in the back of my delusional brain, I thought that if I automatically woke up early enough, I would at least get in my chest and back workout. Instead, I slept soundly, only waking up once during the night (which may as well be like sleeping for 8 straight hours for me). Apparently I needed the rest.

So, today will be my rest day, and I'll get back to it tomorrow feeling refreshed and ready to go (or that's the plan).

Fun Facts Friday - How Jason and I Met
I always feel like my Friday posts are super short since I typically don't post workouts or dinner. You already know that it'll likely be Pizza Friday unless my sister requests that for dinner tomorrow (she's supposed to be coming and staying the night). I don't really have any exciting plans to talk about other than some more pool time (hopefully with sis as I just mentioned.

Anyway, sometimes short posts are ok though right? Certainly beats inane rambling just to fill space. Like I told Averie, sometimes my posts might be boring and lame because sometimes I'm kinda boring and lame ;-) But that's endearing right?

I usually have all sorts of ideas for Fun Facts Friday posts. Today, I was stumped. But, I finally figured it out. In one week Jason and I will be celebrating our 10-year wedding anniversary. I thought it might be fun to share how we met (in facts form of course).

How it all started:
  • We both grew up in the same town but attended different schools (same year though) and didn't know each other.
  • I knew and partied with his sister though.
  • Jason took Akido from my ex-boyfriend's father (frightening).
  • We met in our current town in February 1995 because my sister needed a navigator to take her to a party where her then-boyfriend would be (it was me, Sarah, and another friend).
  • It was not love at first sight. 
  • Our friend actually decided she liked Jason and told me, "You can get whoever you want so stay away from him." Me: all attitude, "Fine, I don't ever want to date another Jason again."
  • We ended up back at that same apartment over the next several weeks during which time Jason and I talked more and more - mostly because I was the last girl standing.
  • We ended up on spring break together in Panama City Beach, FL where we partied too hard but somehow ended up leaving more like a couple than friends (and no, nothing happened more than a kiss).
...and have been together ever since.

So, how did you meet your significant other? Love at first sight? Blind date? Do tell!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

3rd Morning Workout & 3rd Free Evening

More Furbaby Talk
I guess I should talk about my furbabies more often and let you all in on my wild and crazy kids. I love that so many of you are major animal lovers and are also into the adoption/rescue route. It's something that I feel very strongly about actually. There are so many precious animals dumped off because they aren't 100% perfect and the breeder can't get full price or they come from puppy mills or are simply dumped when they become too much "trouble."

It's true, you don't always know what health problems might be lurking with rescues. Our girl Erin had kidney failure. Heath has an over bite, 3-toes on one foot, and urinary issues that require a special diet. Maddie, well, we think that she knocked her noggin' when she was dumped off at 4 months old in a drop bin. Yep, drop bin folks. But then there was my first girl, not a rescue, who ended up with juvenile cataracts. So you never know. You can pay top-dollar and still have no guarantees. Plus, I think rescues somehow appreciate you just a bit more.

Disclaimer - I do not judge you if you paid full price from a reputable breeder for your pet. If all breeders were truly reputable and truly cared about the pets they are breeding, then there would be fewer pets in need of rescue.

3rd Early Morning Workout
I feel like I'm on a roll with these early morning workouts. Though, I must admit that I was a little sluggish and could easily have reset the alarm and dozed right back off.

But I didn't. We got up at 5:12 am so we could get in a run. I did MMA Kickboxing as a warm up while Jason drank his coffee to wake up. Unfortunately, it's getting light enough to safely run later and later. I am so accident prone that I do not need to be running in the dark. Since we didn't head out until right at 6 am, I was only able to get in a little over 2 miles. I was disappointed actually because it was a good run and I could have kept going. I would have loved to have gotten in another 4 miles.

The humidity, however, is most definitely back in full force. It was 81 degrees with index of 85 when we headed out. It shouldn't be that warm when it's still dark out should it? We both ran through sprinklers like giddy children when we saw some.

Another Free Evening Means Grocery Shopping
I had a really busy day at work with several meetings fairly close together. So, I opted to just work through lunch and leave early. It's amazing how different leaving one hour early can feel. The Limited supposedly had all these fantastic markdowns so I thought I'd head over to the mall and check them out. Apparently I went to the wrong store. This one apparently missed out on the memo for markdowns. Total waste of time. I ended up hitting up the grocery store at least. But seriously, why does each Kroger stock different items? The one I went to does not sell the Le Tortilla Factory tortillas or the whole-wheat hamburger buns I like, nor does it (apparently) sell local produce like one of the other stores. Lesson learned, sometimes convenience is not worth it, because now I'll be making another trip. Humph.

Tonight easy was the name of the game for dinner. I just heated up the Red Bean & Lentil Burgers I made the other day and baked sweet potato "fries." Burgers were topped with spinach, roasted red bell peppers and the Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet "Cheese" that I'm trying to use up.  

These "burgers" held together very well. Lately some of them have been a little soft. I'm not sure if it was the addition of red beans (they tend to be drier) or the sesame seeds, or both. Do you have a go-to veggie burger recipe or do you just sort of wing it each time? I wing it.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Another Early Workout and Grilling

The Furbabies
So, of course I must thank everyone for telling me how cute and adorable my furbabies are. Of course, I won't show them all the comments because they already have big enough egos ;-)

I don't talk about them often, but they are most definitely our children. They have completely different personalities too. Both were rescue dogs, and we adopted them from different breed specific rescue groups. We got Maddie in February of 2006 just after my first Cocker Spaniel passed away from a group in Dallas, TX. Maddie was approximately 4 months old and a total bundle of spastic energy. When we met her, she was playing alone tossing a ping pong ball. We should have know then and there we were in for something big.

After our second Cocker Spaniel (another rescue) passed away after many many months of suffering from kidney failure, we ended up adopting Heath from a group in Oklahoma. He was about 10 months old and the calmest, sweetest little boy you could ever ask for. All he wants is love, love, a lap, and more love.

Madeline rules the roost and is still a total spaz. She goes by many names such as Maddie, Madness the Badness, Maddie Mad Mad, and a few names I won't mention. Heath is Heath Man, Heathy Boy, Bubbers, Bubby Man.

So, that's just a bit of info on the pups. I could write a whole post on Maddie's antics that would have you all shaking your heads, laughing, and praying for me. As for Heath, his post would be all about chasing bubbles.

Another Early Workout
This morning Jason's alarm went off at 5:03 am for him to get up and get to swim. I had already planned on getting up to get my workouts done. Though I must admit I was finally sleeping soundly at that time.

This morning I did legs with hamstring/glute/calf focus. I opted for super sets doing 3 sets of 10 reps unless noted.

SS#1
Step ups with rear leg lift
Deadlifts with dumbbells

SS#2
Plie squats with pulse
Calf raises - 3x25

SS#3
Alternating front lunges
Single leg dead lifts

SS#4
Slide back lunges
Single leg calf raises on step

Weighted plie hops - 3x16
Donkey kicks (with weight) - 2x18
Glute roll-ins/hip lifts - 8 roll-ins, 8 hip lift, 8 roll-in/hip lift combo, 8 roll-ins, 8 hip lifts

I followed up the weights with 3 combos and abs from Kick, Punch, and Crunch. I usually dread weights in the morning as I just don't feel quite awake and strong enough yet. However, this turned out to be a good workout for me.

Do you prefer weights early or later or does it seem to matter?

Dinner
Tonight I ended up using the Chikn' Seitan I made yesterday. I had made some in larger "steaks" or patties not really sure how they were going to turn out. I decided to use those as you might use chicken breasts for a Grilled BBQ Chikn' Seitan Patties with grilled squash, zucchini, and onions and smashed cauliflower.
 
 

These turned out really well. I will definitely make larger patties out of the seitan again.