Thursday, September 30, 2010

Long Thursday

Running & Stepping Therapy 
I almost have no words to describe how beat I am. I was at work by 6:45 am (yep you read that right) and going non-stop. I did step out for my break at 10:45 though. I just had to get away. I decided to get in a run. It was much needed and turned out to be a really great run actually.

It was a bit warmer than I had hoped for (closer to 80 degrees), but the humidity was fairly low and there was a breeze when I started (it did start to become more of a head wind by the end though). My legs fully cooperated today. My hamstring and hip flexors never felt tight. If I had not had to get back to work, I would have kept going. But, I was only able to squeeze in a little over 30 minutes.

It was just the release I needed to get me back on track for the rest of the insane day. There really isn't much that tops a great workout to release some energy or stress.

I really had hoped to do another short 20-25 minute workout when I got home. I ended up working late again (10 hours today). I was really worn out mentally and physically. But I decided to go ahead and get in the short workout. I figured it would either make me feel better, or if it sucked after 10 minutes, I'd quit. I opted for a Cathe workout I haven't done in ages. It used to be one that I often did twice a week - Imax 3. I just did the first 5 combos and it was a major sweat fest, but lots of fun. I actually found myself grinning like a loon (maybe the exhaustion had gotten the best of me).

Tried & True on Thursday
I had planned on making something more elaborate for dinner tonight - Baked Creamy Pumpkin Pasta. But Jason was riding his bike after work and after my workout, it was getting late and I was ready for something faster, easier. Besides, the other was a new recipe and I wasn't sure how well it was going to turn out. So I just went with an tried and true meal: Red Bean & Lentil Burgers with baked sweet potato fries.

Hopefully I will make the pumpkin pasta dish this weekend and post the recipe. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Weights, No Cardio - Crazy Busy Day

Back & Chest (no cardio)
Today has been beyond hectic for me at work. I have a mandated deadline for a site to be updated and live Friday morning. Tons of last minute changes and corrections. I didn't get a break until 1 pm (got to work at 7 am).

I went home and hit the weights to sort of decompress. I did back and biceps today using the pyramid method for a super set of of back and super set of biceps then a super set of 3x8 for back and biceps. For the pyramids you start with your lightest weight at 12 reps, increase weight and decrease reps to 10, increase weight, decrease reps to 8, then move back up by decreasing weight and increasing reps to 10, decrease weight and increase reps to 12.

Pyramid SS#1
Pullovers into Double-arm rows

Pyramid SS#2
Biceps curls into Hammer curls

SS#3
Underhand rows
Alternating biceps curls

SS#4 2x16
Lat band pull downs
Lower back extensions on stability ball

Happy For Fast Dinner
I had thought we would be going to spin class this evening per our regular Wednesday routine. So last night (rest day) I ended up making a triple batch of rice to use for tonight with stir fry and to freeze. I think making rice still counts as relaxing right? I didn't do any cleaning or intensive cooking or baking. Well, I ended up having to work late, so no spin, no running, no anything else. But, at least dinner was already in the works and would be super easy to finish up.

This morning I threw together a super easy Orange Honey Miso Marinade for some tofu to go with the stir fry. I did not measure, so the following "recipe" is approximates.

Orange Honey Miso Marinade
Ingredients:
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tbsp miso
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup honey (maybe a little more)
Sriracha chili (to taste)
1 tbsp tahini paste

Directions:
Whisk all ingredients together in medium bowl. Add in cubed tofu and coat evenly then allow to marinade at least one hour.

For the stir fry itself, I seared the tofu then removed and sat it aside. I used a package of frozen veggies along with purple cabbage tossing with the extra marinade and some store-bought stir-fry sauce. Once the veggies were heated through, I added the tofu back in to re-heat along with chopped cashews and then served over the rice.

I will say that the tofu was not as flavorful as I expected it would be. I think I will try the marinade again, but bake it before adding to the stir fry.
 


Not fancy, but fast, simple and perfect after an extremely long (9.5 hour) work day. I will admit that I feel a little stressed out that I didn't get in the spin or run today. Tomorrow I hope to make up for it, mostly because I need to have a stress release.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Taking it Easy Tuesday - Can I Actually Relax?

Festively Fall Win
So, I had wanted to share this yesterday, but internet issues prevented that. Yesterday I came home to a super fantastic giveaway package waiting for me. I recently won a set of Festively Fall note cards from Lisa @ I'm an Okie. I tried to take a picture, but it doesn't do the cards justice, so I'm not even going to post it. But they're gorgeous fall-inspired pictures.


Her mom sells these amazing note card sets, and I finally won! I already know who will get the first one. You really should check out the cards at Card Talk if you have a chance.

This morning started off super chilly again at only 53 degrees. I know that's not cold for some, but for me...brrrrr. I pretty much don't like anything below 75 degrees. I am a total wimp. I am usually one of the first people to start wearing a coat, not even a light jacket mind you. I cannot stand to be cold except for when I sleep.


How are you with the weather? Do you prefer warm or cold climates?

Taking it Easy Tuesday
I guess it's a good thing that yesterday's post didn't go out until today. This one is going to be on the shorter side. I really don't have a ton to report. I am calling it a rest day (begrudgingly). My left hamstring is really hurting me.

Self diagnosing - I think I suffer from Piriformis syndrome. I've done a lot of research on it and tried to follow the prescribed regimen for recovery like tons of stretching and building up the hamstring muscle. Nothing seems to work though. While I'm not nearly as flexible as when I danced, I am still flexible enough to touch my nose to my knees in pike position. I stretch after every workout session out of habit. I have tried rolling out the kinks, icing (it's hard to ice your butt by the way), hamstring exercises (this explains all the rear end focused exercises) all to no avail. Long, rambling story - I'm whining because I physically can't do anything other than upper body weights today. So, taking the day off.

So, no workout for me. But, Jason had planned to bike after work. He won't get home until a little bit later, so I'm going to do something I rarely do, take the night off from cooking and eat leftover Vegetable and Chikn' Setian Soup. In all honesty, this is making me feel so incredibly lazy. I know that sounds crazy, but when I don't have a workout planned and I'm not cooking, cleaning, running errands, etc. I feel downright lazy. I have such a hard time sitting still and just relaxing.

Are you able to relax or do you feel like you must be doing something all the time? 

This is going to be a huge test of my willpower tonight. I have a feeling I may be reporting back tomorrow with a list of things that got accomplished because I was "bored."

Monday's Post Delayed - Blame it on Comcast

Sorry for the delayed Monday post. Comcast went down right before I was ready to submit. Our internet has been really effing up a lot lately, but this was the really annoying and ill timed. It was still out before I went to sleep around 9:15. Gotta love technology right?

 Soup on Sunday
Well, yesterday the temps just steadily continued to inch down. We ended up having soup for dinner while watching The Book of Eli, which I thought was really pretty good. Though, I will admit to taking several breaks to get the soup started and check on it. I have such a hard time sitting all the way through a movie. We weren't just starved because of our late pizza lunch, so I thought I'd make a lighter type of soup (as in more broth). I opted for a Vegetable and Chikn' Seitan Soup.

Vegetable and Chikn' Seitan Soup
Ingredients:
1/2 white onion, diced
3-4 carrots, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 small zucchini, diced
1 small to medium yellow squash, diced
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 can no-salt, diced tomatoes
1 large box low-sodium vegetable broth
Chikn' Seitan, diced
To taste: salt, pepper, basil, parsley, oregano

Directions:
In large pot, saute onions, carrots, and garlic until onions begin to soften. Add in remaining ingredients and allow to cook until carrots are cooked through, approximately 45 minutes.
 

This was so incredibly easy to make, yet so tasty. I can't believe there was a time when I wouldn't even consider soup for dinner.

Shoulders & a Run
This morning it was only 53 degrees on my way in to work. One would think that would mean the A/C wouldn't be cranking right? Wrong. It was hovering around 67 degrees in the office. My toes were completely numb by lunchtime. I pretty much worked out just to warm up! I did shoulders as super sets of 3 sets of 10 reps:

Warmup set of 8 reps
Shoulder press
Upright rows

SS#1
Shoulder press
Upright rows

SS#2
Lateral raise
Rear delt press

Front/Side raise (front raise, open to side, return to front = 1 rep) 2x8

I had a good, strong workout actually. I need to drop the reps and try increasing the weights now, or I need to do a couple of weeks of something entirely different like muscle endurance or perhaps pyramids. I feel like I have been stuck at the 8 to 10 reps for too long and haven't been increasing my weights like I really should.

I had asked Jason if he might want to run with me after work. He sounded less than enthusiastic about the idea, so I went ahead and headed out solo right after I got home. It was about 78 degrees, low humidity, with a light breeze. It felt so incredibly pleasant compared to what the temps have typically been around 4:30 pm. In fact, the weather man just said that this time last week it was 97 degrees (it's just after 6:15 pm) and only 75 now.

I got in a solid 35 minutes before calling it quits. My hamstrings were getting so tight that I just physically couldn't continue running. I did stretch and tried to roll out the kinks with my handy dandy tennis ball.

The temps are heading downward again. While soup again sounds appealing, we're roasting veggies and tempeh for a Roasted Tempeh & Veggie Salad. I was being a bad blogger and eating rather than taking pictures as this is a definite repeat.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Chili, Legs, Pizza - Good Weekend

First Chili of the Season
Yesterday Jason had his heart set on chili for dinner. Even though it was still around 80 degrees by 6:30, I did indeed make chili. It was the first chili of the season, and it was sooooo good. I have really missed chili over the hot summer. Jason picked up some locally made dried chipotle peppers - um, hot hot hot, but oh so good. I decided to make a Chipotle Chili. Rather than using chipotle in adobe like I have previously, I used the dried chipotles.
 

This is definitely not for those who can't take the heat. We topped it with Daiya Vegan Cheddar. Another option would be sour cream or Greek yogurt.

Leg Day
This morning I took my time getting around to my workouts. It's so rare that I allow myself to just sit and relax. I typically hit the ground running (almost literally). After my typical oatmeal breakfast, I sat and watched a bit of Food Network. It's been ages since I have sat and watched it. I've gotten rather annoyed with all the challenges. Anyway, after easing into the day, I got to my workouts. Leg Day. I had such an awesome workout last Sunday, that I repeated it with just a couple of minor changes.

SS#1 - 3x8
Squats with kick
Alternating lunges

SS#2 - 3x8
Squats with low-end pulse
Plie squats with low-end pulse

SS#3
Static lunges with low-end pulse - 3x8
Calf raises - 3x15 (feet turned out, feet parallel, feet turned out)

SS#4 3x8
Rear leg sliding back lunges
Stiff-legged deadlifts


SS#5
Plie hops/jumps with weight - 2x24
Firewalkers -2x6

Donkey kicks with weight - 2x18
Roll-ins/hip lifts on ball - 16 lifts, 16 roll ins, 8 combo

I followed it up with 3 combos and the abs workout from Cathe's Kick, Punch, and Crunch. That ab workout is no joke.

Just Enjoying the Day (and Pizza)
The sun was in and out today. For a bit, it was more out than not. I took advantage and sat on the patio with my recent book. I kept the laundry rotating while I was outside, so I was still being productive and lazy. Love it when I can multi-task like that ;-) Jason did a ton of much overdue yard work. I felt a little guilty not helping out like I should have. There is plenty to be done in the flower beds. I did help weed one of the smaller beds. But it wasn't enough to really say that I helped.

The past 2 Sundays we ended up going to Vino's for pizza and to get out of the house. Today I decided to make pizza for a late lunch (and to make up for missing Pizza Friday) to enjoy outside. It's almost hard to grasp, but the temps were below 75 degrees. Anyway, it was a very pleasant way to enjoy lunch: at home, on our patio, and with a healthier pizza option.
Notice all the gooey, melty Daiya Vegan Mozzarella.Yum yum yum. Since we did have such a late, heavy lunch, dinner will likely be a salad of some sort or maybe soup with these dropping temps.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Revisting Friday's Post, Hiking, Getting Chores Done

Friday Revisited 
So I want to make sure you're seated before you continue reading. Yes, I know you're likely on your computer and are already sitting, but play along for dramatics please. Ok, here it goes, there was no Pizza Friday. Gasp. Don't worry, I'm not ill. I just wanted a change. Our pantry is still low (yes, very lazy and not going to the grocery store), so the pizza was going to be a bit skimpy. Also, I was recently inspired by Dawn @ Florida Coastal Cooking when she made Eggplant with Caramelized Balsamic Reduction and White Wine. So, last night we had Red Bean & Lentil Burgers with Balsamic Eggplant and Onions with baked sweet potato fries.

Balsamic Eggplant & Onions
Ingredients:
1/4-1/2 red onion, thinly sliced (white would have been preferable)
1/2 Japanese eggplant, thinly sliced (or 1 small)
Balsamic vinegar
To taste: salt, black pepper, parsley

Directions:
In skillet, lightly saute onions then add in eggplant and enough balsamic vinegar to cover (approximately 1/2 a cup, maybe a bit less). Let cook and begin to reduce then add in seasonings. As a caution, this will reduce and intesify in flavor, so go very light on the salt. Allow to cook until balsamic vinegar thickens and veggies caramelize (approximately 25-30 mins).

I topped the "burgers" with baby spinach, the onion/eggplant and Soy Kaas Monterey Jack (love how it melts).
One word: YUM

Weights and Cardio Clarification
Still on Friday's post...

I wanted to address my comment about cardio before weights/weights before cardio. I had several comments asking why weights first. From what I have read and from personal experience (trial and error) if your focus is weights, then do the weights first. You expend your most energy with the workout you do first. So if you do a pretty vigorous cardio workout before weights, you're going to have less energy reserves for the weights.

Personally, I can tell a huge difference when I do cardio before my weights. I feel weaker with my weights. Now, that's not to say that is a hard and fast rule (no rules really are, are they?). For example, first thing in the morning, I am not awake enough to safely lift. So, I might do a moderate cardio workout, no more than 30 minutes as well. Another thing to think about is how heavy you're lifting or maybe you're doing more endurance rather than strength. I don't know if that helps clear up any confusion at all. Again, I'm not expert and don't claim to be. I know what I've read, and I know what seems to work best for me. I'm just sharing is all.


Hiking & Chest
Last night we actually had a cool front move through. I woke up to temps just below 70 degrees. It's been ages since that's happened. It actually felt like fall. Jason and I are going to visit some friends in Seattle at the end of October and are planning a hike. Hiking there is going to be different than our hikes here. Instead of running this morning, we decided to go to Pinnacle Mountain and hike up twice to see how our endurance for hiking was.

We made it up in 20 minutes the first trip and 18 on the second. I can power up the mountain fairly easily, it's the decent that gets me. I have a serious fear of going down that almost paralyzes me. I did good today on the second trip down though - meaning I wasn't sitting on my butt scooting down the rocks half the time ;-)

When we got home, I went ahead and did my chest workout that was on tap. I plan on legs tomorrow and didn't want to miss chest this week. I did a similar chest workout as last week in that I included more push ups and few weighted work.

Wide-arm push ups - 24

SS#1
Chest flye - 3x8
Chest press - 3x8

SS#2
Decline push ups with feet on step - 2-16
Staggered press - 2x10 (start at top, pause 1/2 down, pause all the way down, pause 1/2 up, then all the way up equals 1 rep)

Push ups with a 2:2 count - 2x8

Success with Chores
I am proud to report that we finally made it to the grocery store! No more excuses or grumbling about not having anything to make. Not sure what we'll be doing for dinner. If it cools down again this evening, we may do chili. Though, pizza sounds pretty good too ;-) Jason is watching the Razorbacks play Alabama. I am about to get off my rear and get some chores done for a change on a Saturday.

One last thing before I leave you today, I am so excited to be able to share the link to my first guest post. The ever sweet Candice @ ChiaSeedMe asked me to do a post for her on the basics of lifting weights. I really was so honored that she thought of me and asked me to do this post for her. If you have time, please check out her site. She really is inspiring to me. She is living her life, following her dreams and passions, and her recipes are drool-worthy!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fun Facts Friday - Guilty Pleasures Edition

Working out After Sleepless Night 
Ugh, last night I slept terribly for multiple reasons. I woke up around 12-ish and didn't fall asleep again until close to 3, then up at 4:50. I seriously have to find a new pillow this weekend. I keep trying to find one around the house that will work, but I'm spending my nights fighting with the stupid pillows and being uncomfortable. Also, dear sweet Madeline decide to eat her bed in her kennel. That dog will eat anything - no lie. So for whatever reason last night, she decided to treat the bed as a giant stuffy chew toy. And of course I could hear this commotion. GRRRRR.

Anyway, I did reset the alarm, but since I wasn't sleeping, I just when ahead and got up to get my workout done. I started off with Cathe Friedrich's Cardio Fusion. I only did about 30 minutes of it before moving on to weights and abs.

I know I've said it a million times, so before I get called out - yes, I recommend doing weights before cardio. However, at 5:30 am, I am not awake enough to safely lift anything heavier than say 5 lb. So, I used the cardio to wake myself up. I actually was debating with myself about doing cardio only then doing the weights at lunch. In the end, I decided I really just wanted to get it all done and over with for the day. It is Friday after all. So for triceps I did 2 sets of supersets of 3x8 (I know, I know, must change things up next week).

SS#1
Overhead triceps extension
Double-arm kickbacks

SS#2
Lying dumbbell triceps extensions
Weighted triceps dips

I finished off the workout with abs from and oldie but goody, Power Hour. I was running short on time, so I needed a shorter ab workout. This one fit the bill, and it's one I've always liked for some reason. It's pretty straight forward, just short, sweet, to the point.

The workouts actually gave me a nice energy boost - for a while. All that energy plummeted around 10 am though, and the workouts seemed a distant memory. Thank goodness I was busy or I might have been snoozing on my keyboard.

Fun Facts Friday - Guilty Pleasures 

While wide awake in bed, I started thinking about what I wanted to do for Fun Facts Friday. That definitely didn't help me go to sleep by the way. For no rhyme or reason, I settle upon Guilty Pleasures. Well, it may have been because I was freaking hungry (also doesn't help with sleeping) and was thinking of food. So, for Fun Facts Friday let's discuss Guilty Pleasures:
  • Turning up the music and dancing with abandon.
  • Watching Big Brother (though this season kind of sucked).
  • Cookies, need I say more.
  • Pizza, again, no words needed.
  • Being in my PJs by 4:30 pm (and 6:30 on a Friday night, wild and crazy).
  • Laying out during the summer. Yep, it's bad, I know. I wear sunblock at least , no lectures please.
  • Shopping. I would like to shop for a living. I'd be really good at it.
  • Shoes. I am a total shoe whore.

Your turn - tell me your guilty pleasure(s)!

One last thing - I must give a huge shout out to my good pals Jessica and Jolene as they take on their first 1/2 marathon (The Wicked Half) tomorrow. I'm seriously proud of you girls! You guys are "wicked" awesome and haahhhhd core (hope I used that right LOL).

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Giveaway Package & Thai Veggies

Not Friday Huh?
I know I sound like a broken record, but I've been super busy at work. It does make the time go by quickly that's for sure. I actually don't mind busy. I prefer that to having nothing to do at all. But right now I have everything to do all at once. I don't feel like I have enough time in the day to get everything done.

I try really hard not to bring work home with me - not just physically but the emotional parts too. I have some extremely tight (mandated) deadlines, so it is hard not to bring a bit of that stress home with me though. While I'm not sitting at home thinking about the projects, I feel like the stress is still on me somehow - does that make sense?

Are you good at completely leaving work at the office? How do you shake off the stress?

Thursday Rest Day & Fun Gift Package
Today I decided to take a rest day. My legs, surprisingly enough, feel fine today. I thought that I would be crippled after that spin class. It must have been what I needed to work out the lingering soreness though. Either that or I'm simply numb. Rather than pushing myself, I thought I'd let the legs rest so that I would be 100% tomorrow. Plus, my biceps and back muscles are a bit fatigued from yesterday. My next workout will be triceps and some sort of cardio. I'm hoping I can get that done in the morning or perhaps take a longer lunch and stay later (not like I don't have plenty to do to keep me occupied late).

I had an awesome giveaway prize waiting for me when I go home. I recently won a giveaway from Amie @ The Healthy Apple for Palm Leaf Plates from Marxfoods.com. I'm so excited about these plates. They are "made from a natural, renewable, and biodegradable raw material." Even better, no trees were actually cut down to make these disposable plates. I can't wait to use these at a gathering. The look fairly rustic, so I'm thinking a Mexican Fiesta would be perfect. So, if you're looking for eco-friendly disposable plates, go check these out. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Plating it Up
Of course, plates leads us right into dinner. I'm so clever sometimes ;-) After much debate, we ended up going for Thai Veggies & Rice for dinner. It's such an easy recipe and really pretty versatile in terms of the protein you choose to add. It's also good over other grains or even rice noodles.

So, there was a tiny snafu in the plan - we didn't have enough curry paste. But, we improvised by adding the spices normally found in the curry paste. So, all was ok.

 Happy Thursday friends!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hitting the Gym & Wrapping It Up

Hitting the Gym on Hump Day
Wow, so today was another super busy and hectic day for me at work. I did at least leave for a lunch break. Jason and I had some errands to run. It was nice to get out of the building and see sunshine. We've been enjoying going to the Wednesday night Group Ride (spin) class together, so that was the plan for today.

After work, I walked over to the gym and did about 10 minutes on the treadmill to warm up then I did biceps and back. I was excited to do back at the gym because I could do chin ups for a change. They lie when they say those pull up bars fit all doorways. Anyway, I supersetted the workout doing 3 sets of 8 reps.

SS#1
Hammer curls
Single-arm rows

SS#2
Alternating curls
Pullovers

SS#3
Cross-body curls - 3x10
Wide-grip chin ups (assisted) - 5,4,5

1 set of 21's for biceps curls
1 set of 12 reps for double-arm rows

My back and biceps workout felt really good. It was a nice change adding in the chin ups. After the weight workout, it was time for spin. I seriously can't believe it, but my legs and butt are still sore from Sunday's workout. Holy cow I must have seriously hit it harder than I realized. So, I was worried spin was going to kill me. And, it kicked my ass to be quite honest. It was a good workout, but I seriously had to dig deep to stay on that bike tonight. I may or may not be able to walk tomorrow.

Wrap It Up Wednesday
Dinner needed to be super fast. We were both starving and it was getting close to 7 by the time we got home, and we still needed to get cleaned up. I ended up making Fajita-Style Burritos.

Fajita Style Burritos
Ingredients:
Litelife Smart Strips® Chick'n (or seitan or other meat sub)
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 red onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 small yellow squash, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
1 jalapeno, minced
To taste: salt, pepper, cumin, cilantro, chili powder, red pepper, lemon juice, splash liquid smoke
Whole-wheat flour tortillas
Daiya Vegan Cheddar

Directions:
Saute onions and peppers until soft. Add in remaining veggies, "chicken" and seasonings until soft. Add "cheese" to wrap then top with the veggies and wrap. You can top with Greek yogurt or sour cream and/or salsa if desired.

I must apologize for the picture - the batteries died in my good camera. I always forget to check the batteries. This burrito turned out really good. I loved the slightly creamy texture from the pinto beans, which I always forget about for some reason.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Trying New Things on Tuesday

Trying New Workout = Fail
Today was super busy at work. I have some seriously tight deadlines - as in MUST go live effective 10/1/10. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. I ended up working through lunch and leaving around 3. I was really on the fence about working out. I had no idea what I wanted to do. My legs are still talking to me, so I knew it couldn't be anything over the top.

I good friend had been doing P90X, and I have heard so much about the cardio, including the Kenpo workout. He let me borrow it to see if I would like it. I thought I might try that one today rather than a step or plyo type workout. Ok, seriously, the intensity level on that is just nil. I was really terribly unimpressed. Even with weighted gloves on, my heart rate hovered at 120-ish. I finally got pretty fed up and stopped after about 15 minutes. It felt like such a waste of time.

So, moving on, I ended up doing 3 combos and blasts from Cathe's Low Impact Circuit then 1 combo from her Step Blast DVD then the abs also on that DVD. It's been a while since I've done that ab workout and it's a goody I must say.

Trying New Recipe = Win
Last night Jason picked up a spaghetti squash. I've been wanting spaghetti squash for a while and just never think to pick one up. So even though it might be Taco Tuesday, I had to go with the spaghetti squash. I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to do, but I decided to get creative with a Creamy Tofu Tomato Sauce. For the squash, I sauteed it with chickpeas and spinach for Chickpeas & Spinach Spaghetti Squash with Creamy Tofu Tomato Sauce.

Chickpeas & Spinach Spaghetti Squash with
Creamy Tofu Tomato Sauce
Ingredients:
Sauce
1 package firm silken tofu
1 can no-salt diced tomatoes, mostly drained
2 cloves garlic (1 if you're not a big garlic fan)
5-6 sundried tomatoes, rehydrated
1 tbsp capers
To taste: salt, pepper, parsley, oregano

Squash

1 spaghetti squash
1 1/2 cups chickpeas
Baby spinach
To taste: salt, pepper, oregano, parsley

Directions:
For the sauce: combine all ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth.


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Microwave squash for 5 minutes to soften - this makes it easier to cut. Cut in half and scoop out seeds (save to roast for another recipe). Place insides down on prepared baking sheet. Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes, until soft.

With a fork, scrape out the flesh of the squash.

In a large skillet, saute squash, chickpeas, and spices for approximately 10 minutes then add in spinach. Stir in the Creamy Tofu Tomato Sauce and re-season if needed. If sauce is too thick, add in a splash of white wine or unflavored soy or almond milk.
This turned out really well. I didn't use all of the squash, saved about a cup for lunch. So, I ended up with extra sauce. I will say that this sauce would work well with pasta and also for a baked pasta dish.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Major DOMS and Manic Dinner Monday

Major DOMS
Man Monday came around far too quickly in my opinion. I doubt many will disagree. Jason's alarm went off at 5 am for swim. I was snoozing so good too. Did I get up? Oh heck no, rolled over and crashed hard until my alarm went off at 6:23.

I have some serious DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) going on from my leg workout yesterday. It was not fun getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Made me think long and hard about how badly I really needed to go ;-) I wasn't sure if today was going to end up being a rest day for me actually. Just couldn't think of anything I could do that wouldn't kill my legs any more. But, I do know that sometimes it's really helpful to get them moving and loosened up.

I ended up doing shoulders and MMA Boxing at lunch. I seriously didn't think I could handle a step workout safely, and running was out of the question as the temps were due to hit close to 100 again today. Who said summer was over? It sure isn't here.

I did supersets for shoulders adding on reps: 3x10 rather than the 3x8 I've been doing. I did maintain the same weights though for the extra reps so that made me feel good. I actually had a really strong weight workout.

SS#1
Shoulder press
Upright rows

SS#2
Lateral raise
Rear delt press

Alternating shoulder press with elbows forward - 10 each side
Front raises - 12 reps

I had hoped to get in abs today, but that just didn't happen. I'll count the boxing as abs if you all are ok with that ;-) As for the legs? Um, still major ouch. I was glad that I did the workout. It wasn't leg intensive, but I was moving. But sitting most of the day at a desk does not help sore legs. I may be smelling like an old lady with my muscle creams tonight.

Manic Dinner Monday

I'll admit that I was super lazy this weekend in terms of getting errands and chores done. I don't regret foregoing chores, but am not regretting not hitting the grocery store. It seems like we have one piece of any meal, but not all the ingredients to complete anything. We only have frozen peas and corn, half a yellow squash and some Japanese eggplants. Jason finally made the executive decision to run over to the store close to us. Usually we do not go there because it's really really crappy, so that sheds light on the situation.

Anyway, after much debate, lots of back and forths and combing recipe ideas, we ended up making Roasted Sweet & Baking Potatoes, Crispy Baked Chikn' Seitan Patties (my recipe just made into patties) with a Portobello Sauce, and Garlicky Squash & Zucchini.

For the squash and zucchini, I simply sauteed the with white onion, lots of garlic, parsley, oregano, salt, and black pepper. For the potatoes, we spiced with rosemary, thyme, red pepper, black pepper, garlic, parsley, salt and baked for approximately 30 minutes at 400 degrees.

Portobello Sauce
Ingredients:
1 portobello mushroom, diced
1/4 yellow onion, fine dice
1 Not-Beef bouillon cube
1 cup water
1 cup red wine
Rosemary (to taste)
To taste: minced garlic, salt, black pepper

Directions:
In saucepan, simmer bouillon, rosemary, wine, and water until begins to reduce (approximately 40-45 minutes).


In large skillet, saute onions, spices, mushroom, and onions until soft. Add in the wine reduction to the onions and mushrooms and let continue to cook. If not thickening, make a slurry using cornstarch and cold water mixing together making sure there are no lumps then adding in to the skillet.

Since we had the oven on, we decided to use panko breadcrumbs (seasoned with garlic powder, salt, oregano, parsley, red pepper) to coat the sietan patties with and bake to crisp.

As a note on the sauce - if you don't have time to let it really simmer and thicken, I would advise using 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup of wine with 1 bouillon cube. Also, if the sauce is too salty, add in some honey. We got hungry and impatient. But, the sauce turned out really well overall.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Mexican Birthday Dinner & Super Sunny Sunday

Mexican Birthday Dinner
Well, last night Jason was wanting some sort of Mexican meal for his birthday dinner. Originally, I was going to make quesadillas. But then I decided I did not want to stand over the stove browning them up and all that. We had some leftover Spicy Black Bean Hummus, so I thought about burritos perhaps. My friend Alicia's hubby had requested enchiladas (you must check out her recipe), so I piggy-backed off of her dinner plans. I thought about calling the dish "The Whole Enchilada" but then figured I'd never remember what was in it. So we'll go with Chipotle Black Bean, Chikn' & Veggies Enchiladas.

Chipotle Black Bean, Chikn' & Veggies Enchiladas
Ingredients:
Filling
1/2 recipe for Spicy Black Bean Hummus (or 1 can black beans spiced as you like)
1/4 red onion
1/2 green bell pepper, small dice
1/4 red bell pepper, small dice
1/2 squash, small dice
1/2 zucchini, small dice
1-2 tbsp minced garlic
Chikn' seitan, small dice (optional and amount is your choice)
To tastes: salt, pepper, cumin, cilantro, chili powder
5-6 whole-wheat tortilla wraps
Daiya Vegan Cheddar Cheese
Roma tomato, diced
3-4 green onions, diced


Sauce
1 can diced tomatoes (with juice, no salt preferably)
4-6 oz tomato sauce
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 dried chipotle pepper (or fresh in adobo sauce)
To taste for sauce: salt, pepper, cumin, agave nectar, cilantro


Directions:
Preheat oven to 375-400 degrees

In large skillet, saute onion, bell peppers and garlic until soften, then add in squash, zucchini, seitan and spices. Saute until squash and zucchini are done.

In sauce pan, cook tomatoes, sauce, garlic, and spices until starts to reduce and thicken.

Spread hummus on tortilla, top with Daiya, and veggie mixture then roll tightly and place seam-side down in prepared large rectangle casserole dish. Top with the sauce, Daiya, tomatoes, and green onions. Bake approximately 25-30 minutes until edges are crisp and "cheese" is melted.

These turned out so good. Huge hit for the evening. The Daiya is just so creamy when melted.

We pretty much spent the afternoon playing pool and listening to music. Heath was worn out from the day's events, but Maddie never stops and was still trying to get the last drops of peanut butter out of her Kong toy right up until bedtime.


Shaky Legs Sunday
This morning I got up thinking that Jason and I might go run together. He really wanted to ride his bike instead, and I was feeling less than enthusiastic about running to be honest. Sunday's are usually my leg days. Last Sunday I ran before legs, so the focus wasn't as much on the weights as I would have liked. Today was all about the legs though.

SS#1 - 3x8
Squats with kick
Alternating lunges

SS#2 - 3x8
Squats with low-end pulse
Plie squats with low-end pulse

SS#3
Static lunges with low-end pulse - 3x8
Calf raises - 3x15 (feet turned out, feet parallel, feet turned out)

SS#4 3x8
Rear leg sliding back lunges
Stiff-legged deadlifts

Plie hops/jumps with weight - 2x24
Firewalkers - 8
Donkey kicks with weight - 16 right & left, 8 knee cross over, 8 regular right and left
Roll-ins/hip lifts on ball - 8 roll-ins, 8 hip lifts, 8 roll-ins with hip lifts, 8 hip lifts, 8 roll ins

I then did half of Cathe's HIIT Pyramid. The first exercise is plie jacks and I thought my legs were going to just crumple. Since I didn't have it in my to do the whole HIIT workout, I did 2 combos from MMA Boxing as well. Let's just say that going up and down the stairs today has been tricky.

Sunny Salad Sunday
While I worked out, then lounged and read on the patio, Jason went for a long bike ride. As I did yesterday, he underestimated how hot it was going to be today. We had a week of cooler weather with lower humidity, but it's right back to summer now with temps in the upper 90's and humidity. It was a gorgeous day despite the surprising temps. There wasn't a cloud in the sky. Love blue sky days. It made for super relaxing lounging. I really had hoped to make some dog treats and get some more chores done. We really should have gone grocery shopping too. But sometimes relaxing trumps productivity in my opinion.

Tonight we'll have a Grilled Tempeh and Veggies Salad. We had a super late lunch, so dinner will be a bit later. I hope everyone is having a great Sunday.  

Saturday, September 18, 2010

New Kicks and Game Day Saturday

Pizza Surprise
Ok, so you already know that last night was Pizza & Pool Friday. But I did something different with the crust that I am really happy about. I randomly decided to add in 2 tsp of nutritional yeast flakes. I was thinking of adding only for taste. What I failed to think about was that it's yeast (duh) so it made the dough rise even more - but this was perfect. The crust turned out super soft. While we liked the recipe as it was just fine, I think adding the nutritional yeast flakes gives me a second option for the crust. Now I have one slightly thinner, firmer and one thicker, fluffier. YUM.

Running in My New Kicks
Yesterday Jason and I went to one of the running stores so I could get some new shoes. Mine previous shoes were 5 months old, but already causing serious feet and knee pain. I was starting to have IT band problems even, and that's an injury I've never dealt with. I had them check my running gait again in case I was starting to pronate (another store suggested I was). They emphatically said, "no." I'm still very much neutral. They didn't have the shoes I previously bought (Brooks Ravenna), so I tried on a few other brands. I fell in love with the Saucony Ride 3. I've never tried Saucony, but am soooo happy that I am not tied to a brand was open to trying these. I was so excited that I wanted to go running right after I got them (but this was during lunch break).

So, this morning I could hardly wait to get out and test the new shoes out. I thought Jason and I would go run together down at the river trails. But he was super stuffy this morning and in no mood for a run. So I set out just a bit later than I had hoped for - meaning the temps were inching higher. But I was so excited to try my new shoes, I didn't care. I was expecting a flying-high kind of run to be totally honest. However, this is not how it went down for me. I underestimated the temperatures and got hot right away. While my shoes and feet felt awesome, I just couldn't seem to hit a stride, a comfortable pace. I felt like I was just totally out of whack. Also, traffic seemed very heavy for some reason, and I had to keep stopping and waiting - definitely throws you off. I almost stopped at 1.5 miles to be honest, but I pushed on. I seriously never felt like I totally hit a groove until 30 minutes into the run. I ended up managing 4.5 miles. The last 15 minutes was definitely the best 15 minutes of the run.

So, while not the best, it certainly wasn't the worst run I've ever had. I'm glad I pushed through. I am super stoked about my shoes too. My feet didn't hurt, my calves and knees didn't hurt. Awesome.

After my run, I did do chest and abs. I really don't recommend doing weights after a run, but sometimes scheduling just doesn't work as you would like (or should I say temperatures don't work as you'd like). For chest I actually tried to use more pushups rather than weighted exercises, just for a change:

Wide stance pushups - 24
Chest flye into chest press: 3x8 and 1x6
Pushups with toes on ball - 24
Staggered chest press: 12 (start at top, half down & pause, all the way down & pause, half up & pause, all the way up & pause equals 1 rep)
Pushups with a slow 2:2 count: 2x8
Pushups with leg lifted: 8 each side

I finished with a variety of abs using the stability ball and weights. I was surprisingly shaky after the chest workout. I forgot how effective pushups can be.

Oh, and I must give a shout out to Jessica and Jolene for getting in a 12+ mile run today in preparation for their upcoming first half marathon. You girls rock!


Watching the Hogs
After the workouts, I got myself cleaned up and started making a few things to have out for people to snack on while we watch the game (Razorbacks aka Hogs) - and celebrate Jason's birthday. I made a Spicy Black Bean Hummus, Greek Tofu Dip, and one less than healthy cheese dip.

Spicy Black Bean Hummus
Ingredients
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 fresh jalapenos, rough chop
Juice of 1 lemon or lime (or combination)
2 tbsp Greek yogurt (optional, used in lieu of oil)
To taste: salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, cilantro, garlic powder, Agave nectar (optional if too spicy)

Directions:
Add all ingredients into food processor and blend until smooth.

The Greek Tofu Dip came from a spice package we purchased somewhere or other (we like to buy things like that). Instead of mixing with mayo and sour cream, I blended with firm silken tofu and kalamata olives. I served the dip with toasted Flatout triangles.

We DVR'd the game and waited until our friends arrived to start watching. That can always be tricky because people like to tweet, post on Facebook, text, and even call with the plays and scores. We managed to finish watching without anyone finding out the final score - not easily done. And...we wonn(sorry Tina). It was close, so there was lots of jumping up and down and F-bombs being dropped before celebratory dancing ;-) I didn't take very many pictures. But I did get the birthday boy and "Dad's with their kids".
Proudly sporting his Arkansas shirt
Jason with "son" Heath, and Thad with daughter

Jason has been wanting Mexican food lately. Since it's his birthday, I told him I'd make quesadillas. However, I think we may do something more along the lines of burritos using the leftover Spicy Black Bean Hummus. I'll be sure to post that tomorrow. As for now, signing off. I hope everyone has had a great Saturday!

And Jason wants to thank you all for the birthday wishes from yesterday - and he's also very flattered that everyone thinks he needs to start a blog.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fun Facts Friday - Returning Home

Friday Kickboxing
This morning I managed to get up and get in a workout. It was too dark to head out for a run (and I'm too lazy to drive to the gym at 5:30 am), so I opted for Cathe's MMA Kickboxing DVD. I followed it up with a few glute exercises like weighted donkey kicks, roll-ins and froggy lifts (technical term) on the ball. I had wanted to do chest today, but just didn't have it in me that early. I can just put that off until tomorrow.

Friday Ramblings
Speaking of tomorrow, it's Jason's birthday. There's also an Arkansas game on tv, so you know that's what tomorrow will revolve around: The Game. It's an earlier game, so we're going to DVR it and watch it a little bit later, hopefully with friends over.

Of course, that does mean I need to finish cleaning the house - which I have been trying to do since I got home. I feel like I'm the Laundry Queen. Where does it all come from? Oh...workout clothes for one. We go through a massive amount of workout clothes in our household. Anyway, laundry, swiffering, dusting...it never ends does it? One year Jason set out with unbelievably kind intentions of hiring a house keeper to clean before a huge party. Gotta give the man credit! Unfortunately, they did such a horrible job that I had to re-clean. I swore I'd never use another house keeping service, but man is that starting to sound appealing. Do you ever use a house keeper? Or do you prefer to just do it yourself?

Fun Facts Friday - Returning Home
Speaking of cleaning, I think that's the only good thing about being away from home - well, not having to clean I should say. Other than that, being away makes me really appreciate the little things about my daily life. I do think being away can be good in giving us a better appreciation for the things we take for granted, and being away can teach us to be more flexible (or at least attempt to be more flexible). So for Fun Facts Friday, I thought it'd be fun to list the things I find I miss most about being home (other than the hubs) and the things I learned while away (at least with this last trip). I especially look forward to hearing what you guys miss about home.

Things I miss:
  • My toilet
  • My shower
  • My toilet paper
  • The luxury of paper towels at hand
  • My tissues (Kleenex)
  • My lighting in the bathroom - I always feel like I probably cake on makeup like a 2 bit tramp in the terrible hotel lighting.
  • Workout DVDs
  • My towels - the hotel towels are always so scratchy
  • Ceiling fans (and box fans, I like the noise and air movement)
Things I learned:
  • Hotel gyms suck (ok, not something new perhaps)
  • It's ok to not be home in PJs at 4:30 pm
  • Coworkers can surprise you
  • It can be fun to leave your makeup and toiletries strewn about the counter
  • The coffee maker is ideal for making oatmeal
  • You can eat fairly healthy while traveling even without a full kitchen
  • Bring your own wine glass - it's kind of fun and better than wine in the hotel glasses or plastic cups
  • If you pack food, make sure you pack utensils and napkins 
  • Keeping up with blogging is harder than I thought
So you already know how this works - your turn!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Home, Home Workout, Home Cooking

Made it Home
Well, we made it back safe and sound last night. It was a pretty good trip home actually. We talked pretty much the entire time, so that made time go by fairly quickly (or for me anyway). It was definitely nice to sleep in my own bed and shower in my own shower. It's amazing how much little things like that matter and you can miss them when away.

Home Workout
This morning my boss let us go in a little later, so I got up and got in my workouts around 7 am. In other words, I actually got to sleep in an extra 45 minutes AND get in my workouts before work. It was so nice to work out at home.

I did back today as a tri set of 3x10 then a superset of 2x16:

TS
Pullovers
Underhand rows
Single-arm rows

SS
Lat band pulldowns
Lower back extension on stability ball

I followed up the workout with Cathe's Low Impact Circuit and abs. It was a nice change of pace doing the step workout as opposed to running or one of the kickboxing/boxing DVDs. It was only about 72 degrees this morning, so I definitely contemplated a run, but I think my shoes are fairly shot and they're starting to hurt my calves and feet (and my calves never hurt from running). Definitely have to make it to the running store this weekend for some new kicks.

Back in My Kitchen
After work, I had time to make some Chikn' Seitan. I made some in larger patties again to either grill or to use with a gravy recipe that my friend Sarena @ The Non-Dairy Queen sent me. The rest of it, I cut into much thinner strips, that seemed to work out really well. Dinner tonight was just some veggie burgers I had made and stashed in the freezer with sweet potato "fries." I topped with a vegan "cheese," spinach, and red bell peppers.


I must share a really great story with you all; it includes pictures too (finally). It's a "You know you're the husband of a blogger" tale. While I was in Dallas for training, Jason was of course left to fend for himself. However, having worked in an upscale French restaurant, he's not inept at all in the kitchen. However, the first night he did indulge in a gluten- and dairy-free vegan Mac N' Cheese he picked up (and spruced up with veggies and such). But he actually pulled out a cookbook (The 30-Minute Vegan) and made a healthier Ramen Noodle recipe. He used the recipe in the book as a start and then added in extras. Even better, he took a picture! How awesome is that????



Commenting
I've gotten a few emails or direct messages on Twitter from friends saying that they are unable to comment. Please let me know if you're still having issues with commenting as well. I am not sure if it's a Blogger issue or Intense Debate (or both). I hope to find some time over the weekend (Sunday maybe) to try to get it fixed. Technology can be so frustrating can't it? But I'm working on it I promise (just slowly LOL). I know you guys understand and I appreciate that!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dallas Day 4 - Goodbye Hotel Gym

First off - I want to acknowledge and apologize for the way the site is looking. I have no idea what happened to the image at the top. It just totally went wonky and I made no changes. This weekend I may be changing templates....

This morning I got up and made it to the hotel gym. I did 20 minutes on the treadmill then did biceps (with some abs thrown in between weights). When I had to go lighter than I normally would, I upped the reps. I was feeling pretty weak today though for some reason (maybe it was the early hour).

Alternating curls - 3x8
Hammer curls - 3x10
Dumbbell bicep curls - 3x10
Zottman curls - 3x8

I finished with 10 minutes on the elliptical. I am so glad I was on the elliptical rather than the treadmill as the power went out. Yikes right?! That could have been a major disaster. I got back to my room, cleaned up, made my oatmeal, and finished packing. I will be sooo happy to be back home to my own shower, toilet, and bed.

The rest of the day was spent in class. Not much exciting to report there as you an imagine. Again, learning useful information, but it really makes for a very long day. I brought my last Amy's frozen meal with me for lunch. I am out of tofu to put on salads and none of the salad bars have beans to add for protein. So, frozen meal it is. We will be leaving for home right after class, so I won't be home until close to 10 tonight. Very long day for me. I'm sure we'll be stopping on the road to eat at some point. I know I can't wait until 10 to eat dinner.

So, another short post for me. I'm posting this during my lunch break and certainly won't have internet access after class. Hope everyone is having a great Hump Day!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dallas Day 3

This morning I just couldn't force myself into the hotel gym. I plan on getting there tomorrow morning though. I'll just do 15 minutes on the dreadmill and 15 on the elliptical to split up the torture. I plan on doing biceps and abs as well.

There's really not much exciting to talk about in terms of the class. It was what it was. Don't get me wrong, it's definitely useful information. But, I doubt it'll be that exciting to most readers. The course we're taking is user-centered analysis. So, unless you're in the web or software world, it probably sounds even worse LOL. I will say that it is fun to get to know your coworkers in a different setting though, if you don't already hang out with them I should say. I am very lucky to work with some fun people now.


Do you hang out with your coworkers outside of work ever?

After class, we did make it to Sam Moon (where I found a bad ass bracelet). One coworker's wife sent him on a mission to find her a red necklace (for Arkansas games). The other was along for the ride so to speak. We also stopped into their home decor store. I found a gift for a friend, one coworker found something for his wife, but the surprise of the afternoon was another coworker buying home decor items - and they were really great too (and I'm talking about a male). Apparently he does most of the home decor. See, you learn something new every day ;-)

The coworker who bought the home decor opted to eat in his room, while my other coworker and I headed to The Galleria Mall. I ended up not eating there, he ate at Genghis Grill. I stopped into two stores, but found nothing different than I would at home (Jason, you should be proud). I ended up eating one of my Amy's frozen entrees - Tofu Vegetable Lasagna. I think I prefer the Roasted Vegetable Lasagna that I had on Sunday actually.

I feel like this has to be the most boring post ever. Please stick with me - I'll be back to regularly scheduled programming on Thursday!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dallas Days 1 and 2

Safe & Sound in Dallas
Well, we had a fairly easy, uneventful trip to Dallas. Typically uneventful when driving is good. Oh, well I guess there was a vehicle just in front of us that had a blow out. So, maybe marginally eventful.
We made pretty good time with only a minor detour.

It was getting close to 8pm by the time we checked in and got to our rooms. I decided to just heat up one of the Amy's frozen dinners I brought with me. The restaurant in the hotel didn't really have too much to offer. I almost never have frozen dinners. I'll say I was pleasantly surprised with the lasagna entree - Roasted Vegetable Lasagna. This one wasn't vegan, but they say that it's made from hormone-free milk and does not contain animal enzymes or rennet. There is another one I brought that is vegan. I am kind of looking forward to trying it now. I was honestly skeptical about how well these would taste and how filling they'd be. They're not something I'd buy regularly, but in a pinch and for trips like this, it is great.

A Hotel Gym Workout
This morning I got up and made use of the hotel's gym. As seems fairly typical of hotel gyms, 2 of the 3 treadmills were broken and the one that wasn't, was ancient. Why oh why can they not keep up with the maintenance. I sometimes think that if they won't keep up with the equipment, then they really shouldn't even bother having it. It can be dangerous even, especially when the tread is lumpy and off track. Not really sure I am going to be able to force myself on that thing 2 more times. I did 15 mins as a warm up then the weights then ended up hitting the elliptical for 10 mins at the end.

I love that they have free weights though. However, they were missing 12 lb weights so that sort of threw me off for my workout - shoulders and triceps. I did supersets and increased reps when I had to drop weight.

SS#1
Shoulder press 3x8
Overhead triceps extension 3-8

SS#2
Lateral raise - 8 regular, 4 2:2 x 3
Triceps kickbacks - 3x12

SS#3
Upright rows
Lying dumbbell triceps extensions

SS#4
Front raise/side raise - 2x8
Weighted dips - 2x8

Long Day in Class
Class went well enough, a bit tiring just sitting all day though. I felt totally drained. I typically don't ever have trouble keeping my eyes open, but today, the thought of coffee was sounding mighty good. Luckily, they did have a nice restaurant on site that had a pretty good salad bar. I brought along a cooler with some baked tofu and added that to my salad for the protein. I imagine I'll do the same tomorrow or bring one of my frozen meals as they do have a microwave in the break room.

Tonight one of my coworkers and I ended up going to eat at an Italian restaurant nearby called Two Guys From Italy. I completely forgot to take pictures of my dish. It was veggies sauteed in wine over pasta. I will admit that I was really a bit uneasy about eating out like that as most Italian dishes here are cheese laden dishes over white pasta. I mostly picked the veggies (broccoli, zucchini, red bell peppers & onions) off the pasta, but they were really flavorful - lots of garlic...ahhhh just the way I like it ;-)

I wanted to go by Sam Moons, and one of my coworkers wive's wanted him to go by there as well. It's less than a mile from our hotel. We tried going after dinner, but it was already closed. We plan on making it there tomorrow though. They have purses, shoes, jewelry (a girly girl's dream). My coworker's wife asked him to pick up a red necklace for Arkansas games. I have to make sure he picks out the right thing of course. Though, he swears she has at least 2 red necklaces already. He just doesn't get it. You need different lengths, styles, and shades of red too.

I made myself dessert when I got back to my room: caramel rice cake with natural peanut butter (should have brought more almond butter packets). Then I had to call my sis and catch up with her. And of course I had to talk to my hubby. I really hate being away from him like this. I know some people don't mind, even enjoy, being apart sometimes. But, I really don't.


How do you feel about being away from your significant other?

I feel terribly behind on blog reading. I do apologize. That's what happens when you get off routine I swear. I hope everyone had a good Monday! I also appreciate the well wishes for the trip. You guys are the best - seriously.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Short & Sweet on Sunday

This morning I woke to much cooler temps with very low humidity. I had planned on legs only today, but couldn't pass up a run. So I headed out for a 4-mile run enjoying temps below 70 degrees, of course, they had inched up by the time I was done.

I will admit that the last half mile was rough. My legs just felt heavier and heavier until I just stopped period. Legs were done running. I did go ahead with a modified leg workout going lighter with the weights since I had just run. I did tri sets today of 3x10.

TS#1
Squats with low-end pulse
Plie squats with low-end pulse
Stiff-legged dead lifts

TS#2
Static lunge with low-end pulse
Rear leg slide back lunge
Donkey kicks with weight

It was definitely more than I had anticipated doing, but sometimes those things happen. 

After weights and breakfast, Jason and I sat out on the patio for a few hours. It's such a gorgeous day that I really wanted to enjoy it. Also, it was nice to spend some time with him before having to finish packing for the Dallas trip. I am pretty much done with that, except for the frozen foods, which I'll pack last minute. I'm going to go make this a short one so that I can spend the last hour and a half with Jason rather than online.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Lifting, Running, Tailgating - Go Hogs Go

Friday Follow Up
In case anyone was curious, yes, we did indeed enjoy another Pizza and Pool Friday. We're so predictable. It's fun though, so why change that? We also watched The Lost Boys. Believe it or not, I had never seen the movie. That came up in conversation last weekend, so Jason quickly added it to Netflix. I really wish I had seen it back in the day, because now it's a bit cheesy. But back then? I'm sure it rocked.

Chest and Wet Run
This morning it was dark and rainy again. What is up with this rain all of the sudden? Jason and I were planning to run today on the river trails. I decided to go ahead and get my chest work done and hope that the rain cleared out in the meantime. I did a set of pushups followed by a superset of 3x8.

Pushups with toes on stability ball - 24

SS#1
Chest flye
Chest press

Wide-arm pushups - 24

SS#2
Incline chest flye
Incline chest press

Pushups: 4 2:2, 4 1:3, 4 3:1, 4 2:2

I also did some standing ab work.

The rain did let up, so we headed down to the Big Dam Bridge as our starting point. We just couldn't stand the thought of running our usual neighborhood route today. I knew it wasn't going to be a long run today. I just wanted to do do 4 miles. The first 1.5 felt pretty good (light drizzle didn't hurt), and we kept up a pretty fast pace. But once we turned around, bam, head wind. I swear it felt like running in mud it was so strong. Jason was really hurting (hip and heel) so he dropped off at 3 miles and I continued so I could finish out the 4 miles. It was a fairly painful run today, but mostly because of the steady 12 mph head wind. I'll call it resistance training and move along.


Errands and Tailgating
After we got back, we both ate lunch then headed out for a few errands. I wanted to hit up Barnes & Noble for a book and some magazines to take with me on my work trip to Dallas. I also wanted to stop and find a new insulated lunch "box" for the trip. We ended up not making it anywhere for the lunch box, but we did hit Whole Foods to grab some food to take with us for tailgating. We got an Edamame Succotash, a Mock Blackened "Chicken" and some Sundried Tomato Chipotle Hummus with Whole-Wheat Flax and Onion Pita Chips

Then it was time to head over to War Memorial to do some tailgating. I am not a big football fan at all. But, tailgating I can do. We have some friends who pay for a nice spot (same spot) each season and they get there early and set up camp, so to speak. It's really sort of complicated, the Arkansas Razorbacks belong to the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. They used to always play their home games in Little Rock (the capital city) until the UofA built an incredible new stadium. However, there was so much flack from fans to keep some games in Little Rock, that two games a season are still played here, where there is no football team. So, needless to say, when the game is here, the tailgating parties are HUGE. Rain, sleet, snow, 100+ degree temps, nothing will deter Arkansas fans. Tailgating takes place on the public golf course just outside the stadium. Here are some pictures I took today.
Lunch
Jason & Troy (has the spot)
Me & Karla (wife of Troy)
Shot of the tent city from where we were.

We had a great time catching up with friends, and running into several friends who were out and about as well. The rain completely cleared up and the sun came out in full force - HUMID. Karla decided that we were all glowing not sweating ;-) Sounds so much better doesn't it?

Do you enjoy football or do you just enjoy the parties like me?

Right now Jason is watching the game (we didn't have tickets to the game). I must say I am really glad to be home, showered, in PJs and with A/C going. I have no idea what we'll do for dinner tonight. I need to start packing for my Dallas trip, so I wanted to go ahead and get the post out. I hope everyone has had a great Saturday! And if you're watching football, I hope your team is winning!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Fun Facts Friday - Pet Peeves

Friday Rambling
Oh we finally have some sunshine today. Sun + Friday + Rest Day = Great Day. Now if only I had been off work, oh the possibilities. Oh well, can't have it all right?

It always feels a bit odd to post on Fridays when I don't have a workout or recipe to share. I know that's not the only reason you all read of course, but you do get used to a format. I really don't feel like I have any spectacular insights today either. I'm sort of trying to talk myself off the proverbial ledge. I have to go to Dallas Sunday-Wednesday for work. Thankfully no flying is involved, but I just get stressed about my meals and not knowing if there will be any decent vegetarian options for me. Plus, plain and simple, I don't like to be away from home without the hubs. 

I don't know if the facility where we are attending the training has a break room or cafeteria (the contact has yet to reply back dang it). Anyway, the guys I'm going with are full-on meat eaters. Not thinking I can get them to hit up a vegetarian's dream like Spiral Diner (thanks Jenny for the suggestion).

I do plan on taking a cooler of food though. The guys let me pick the hotel, so I opted for one that had rooms with a fridge and microwave. Oh, and of course it has a gym. I'm really excited that this hotel actually has a fitness center with free weights - usually it's a machine or nothing at all. So, workouts will be on track if nothing else. We're staying near the Galleria Mall - so if any of you know of any great places to eat in that area, please please please share.

I know the advice from everyone will be to just relax and try to enjoy the trip. That's what I am going to try to do. I mean, who knows, maybe I'll stumble upon a great place to eat, plus we are close to a mall. So, maybe some shopping?

Fun Facts Friday - Pet Peeves
Some of you have noticed that I haven't been quite myself. I think we all go through lulls and rough patches though. We can't be sunshine and rainbows all the time right? Today's Fun Facts Friday was inspired by a recent post by Shannon @ The Daily Balance. It might sound a bit down - but it was a list of things she hates. Oh come on, we ALL have pet peeves and things that just get under our skins. So let's get real and vent a bit today with the Fun Facts Friday - Pet Peeves Addition.

1. Tailgaters - get off my freaking bumper. You make me want to slow down, not speed up. Besides, I am typically speeding myself so back the eff off. Especially if there is a car in front of me. Am I supposed to drive over them?

2. Office Manicures - coworkers, please stop trimming your nails at work. It's ok to repair a snagged or torn nail, but to sit and cut each and every nail once or twice a week???

3. Elevator Abusers
- folks, it's ok to exert some energy and take the stairs for a few flights. Please stop hogging the elevator to ride only one floor up or down (directed solely towards able-body individuals of course) when some of us have to get to the 10th floor. It really sucks to stop 9 times. 

4. Text Addicts
- please don't text while we're supposed to be having a conversation. To me, it's rude. It makes me feel like our conversation is unimportant. I think this is more of a generational thing. I see this more from my younger friends. I honestly don't think they see it as being rude at all. But I always try to give my full attention to the other persons or people I'm with.

Ok, I'm done. You're turn. What totally peeves you? Let it out.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

2 Workouts and Tofu Thursday

Ta-ta Early Morning Workouts
So apparently my streak of getting up early and getting my workouts done for the day has passed. I think maybe it's because it's staying dark so much longer. It's still dark out around 6:30 am now. That certainly makes 5:15 seem like midnight. While I hate the time change for the fact of it being dark early in the evenings, it'll be nice to have it light early in the mornings again.

I wasn't sure if today would be a rest day or not. I was feeling a bit low on the energy reserves, but decided to do a back and abs workout at lunch. It was totally what I needed to give me a jolt of energy. I did supersets of 3x10 (unless noted) and then followed up with a variety of ab exercises using the stability ball and an 8# weight.

SS#1
Alternating flat-back rows
Pullovers

SS#2
Horizontal rows
Underhand rows

SS#3
Lat band pull downs - 2x16
Lower back extensions on ball - 2x10

After work I opted for Cathe Friedrich's MMA Boxing. It turned out to be a great, sweaty workout. Of course it was like 94% humidity out, but that's beside the point ;-)

Tofu Thursday
I bought some cherry tomatoes this past weekend to use in a garlicky sauce I like to make. Problem? No white wine. So I moved on to plan B. I decided to roast them with garlic along with chickpeas and tofu to top pasta. We actually debated about a salad or pasta. Jason voted pasta. Me, being the super nice wife I am, went along with it. Besides, that ensures a salad for lunch.


Garlicky Tomato, Tofu, Chickpea Pasta
Ingredients:
Extra-firm tofu, cubed
Balsamic vinaigrette
Cherry tomoatoes, halved
2-3 tbsp minced garlic

1/2 white onion, diced
1 zucchini, half lengthwise, then sliced
1 cup chickpeas
To taste: sea salt, black pepper, basil, parsley, oregano
8 oz whole-wheat rotini (or penne) cooked per directions
Feta to top (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Toss tofu in vinaigrette then bake for approximately 30 minutes in casserole dish or baking sheet.

Next, add remaining ingredients drizzle with just enough olive oil to barely coat, toss to cover, and bake approximately 20 minutes until tomatoes and onions are soft.

This actually turned out even better than I had expected. Gotta love it when that happens. It would also be fantastic over a bed of lettuce and spinach. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Wet Wok Wednesday

Wet Wednesday = Indoor Workouts
It was another dreary day here. Where was this rain when we really needed it most? It's kind of hard to be chipper when it's gray out. It certainly makes for a bad hair day too, which most certainly does not help with the mood (right ladies?).

I decided I would actually do my biceps workout at the gym for a change. Jason and I had planned on Group Ride after work. I needed to make up a bit of time from leaving early yesterday, so I thought I'd just take my gym bag with me, stay a little bit later, and walk over to the gym with time to get weights done before spin, which starts at 5:30.

I feel like I've been in a bit of a rut with biceps, doing the low reps, higher weights. I decided to change it up just a bit and do a mix that included changing up rep patterns. I started with 10 minutes on the treadmill to warm up before hitting the weights.

Alternating biceps curls - 3x8
Cross-body curls - 3x12 (didn't have weighted gloves, so had to lower weight so increased reps)
Biceps dumbbell curls* - 8 at 2:2 count, 4 at 3:1, 4 at 1:3 count, 8 at 2:2
Assisted pullups - 2x5
Concentration curls - 2x6

* 3:1 = 3 counts up and 1 count down
  1:3 = 1 count up and 3 counts down

I must say that I am enjoying the spin classes with Jason again. We went to them fairly consistently for a while, then I started a new weight rotation (as did he) and it seemed like my legs were always too sore for spin. Just bad timing. It's also nice to be doing a different cardio as well. I adore my DVDs, but you can burn out fast on them. Anyway, while we don't really say a word to each other the whole time (kind of hard to talk when you can't breathe), it's really nice having Jason beside me.

Do you get to work out with your significant other? If so, do you enjoy working out together?


Wok Wednesday
Ok, so stir-fry Wednesday isn't exactly catchy so I went with Wok Wednesday because I really do use a wok? Because of spin and getting home later than normal, dinner tonight needed to be fast. I made plenty of brown rice over the weekend, some to freeze and some just for tonight for a Tofu, Veggies & Arame Stir-Fry.

We've had this package of arame that we bought for a soup recipe. I never thought to use it in my stir fry (thank you Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg for that inspiration). I just used a store-bought stir-fry sauce (convenience folks, convenience) along with a smidge of vegan Tom Yum sauce and tahini. For the tofu, I mixed together the stir-fry sauce, Tom Yum, soy sauce, and hoisin then seared it in the wok and sat it aside. Once the veggies were cooked (frozen mixed bag) I tossed the tofu back and let it reheat. Tres facile (sorry, don't know how to say "very easy" in Chinese).  

Simple, fast, filling.

Winner Winner
When we got back from spin, I found this awesome package waiting for me. I recently won a Trader Joe's goody package from Courtney @ Ice Cream & Wine. What makes this package even better is that we don't have a Trader Joe's nearby, and I've never been to one. So I am really looking forward to trying out these goodies. Thanks again Courtney!!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Off Kilter Tuesday = Kitchen Time

This morning I woke up to a gray drizzle. That sort of describes my mood for the day. My sinuses are draining, and I wasn't feeling super today. I ended up leaving work around 11:30. I never was able to get any sleep, but I did manage to get some things done in the kitchen. I made some more Red Bean & Lentil Burgers. This time I used walnuts instead of sunflower seeds, and I also added in a few splashes of liquid smoke.

I also made some bread. This French Bread recipe originally came from allrecipes.com. I have been slowly converting it into a whole-wheat recipe. Sometimes messing with the flours can completely ruin breads/baking. So far so good. Here is my updated version for Wheat Bread Machine French Bread.


Wheat Bread Machine French Bread
Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups water (70 to 80 degrees F)
2 tsp agave nectar
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup bread flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
2 tsp ground flax seeds
Sunflower seeds (just eyeball - maybe a bit more than an 1/8 cup)
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

Directions:
Place all ingredients in bread machine with the yeast going in last. Set machine to the "dough" setting and start.

When cycle is complete, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half. Roll each portion into rectangles and roll up jelly-roll style. As an option, you can cut into smaller loafs or into roll sizes.

Place onto prepared baking sheet (I use a Silpat) seam-side down. Cover and let rise in a warm place approximately 20 minutes or until doubles.


Brush with plain soy milk or an egg wash. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire racks.



Anytime we have fresh bread, soup or large dinner salad pops into mind. Something about bread on the side of either of those always sounds appealing. While it's not quite soup weather, I went with it anyway. I'm a rebel as you can tell. I had 2 ears of grilled corn on the cob from yesterday, so I decided on a Black Bean, "Chicken" & Corn Soup (sort of along the lines of Taco Soup Tuesday).


Black Bean, "Chicken" & Corn Soup
Ingredients:
1/4-1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 jalapenos, minced
Minced garlic (to taste)
2 ears grilled corn, kernels cut from cob
1 can no-salt diced tomatoes (with liquid)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained (or cooked equivalent)
To taste: salt, black pepper, cumin, cilantro
low-sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup cashews (soaked at least 30 minutes)
1/4 cup water
MorningStar Farms® Meal Starters™ (homemade Chikn' Seitan would be preferable), diced


Directions:
In large pot, saute onions, peppers, garlic until begins to soften. Add in corn, tomatoes, beans, broth, and spices. Allow to simmer for approximately 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, add water and cashews to blender and puree until smooth. Stir into soup and add in the "chicken" and allow soup to continue to thicken to desired consistency. 

This turned out really well and would go well with baked tortilla strips or a jalapeno cornbread (if you like spicy). I'll definitely be making this one again, especially when it cools down.