Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Another Soup Kind of Day

Apologies 
First off, I want to thank everyone for their kind words of support and encouragement regarding my knee. So many of you know first hand what I'm going through. Now, I must apologize for being such a whiny brat. I was being very self-centered yesterday. I know I am not the only person in the world who has ever had a side-lining injury. Some of you have gone through far worse; some of you are still recovering. So I apologize.

Weights & Boxing
Today was a cold one, but at least the sun came out. That helps some. I had wanted to go home at lunch at get biceps and abs done, but I forgot I had a birthday lunch (mine with another co-worker). It was a stressful morning, just the kind of morning that pretty much demands a mid-day workout. Sigh.

Biceps were from Cathe's STS Meso 2 Disc 15 done as drop sets using 70% of my 1RM.

Dumbbell Curls - 12, 10, 8, TF
Seated Alternating Curl - 12, 10, 8
Preacher Curl on Stability Ball Double Arm - 12, 10, TF

I followed the weights with MMA Boxing then abs from Power Hour. After my workout, I did sit and try to do additional stretching for the IT band. I iced my knee and used one of my rolling pins to roll out the muscle ;-) A foam roller is on my Christmas "need" list now.

More Soup
It was really chilly here today. The highs were low 40's, but the wind chill kept it in the 30's. What does that mean? Another soup day for us. Jason was really helpful to get the soup going after I told him my idea on what I had wanted to make - a Moroccan Lentil & Chickpea Stew.

Moroccan Lentil & Chickpea Stew
Ingredients:
1 small white onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 sweet potato, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dried red lentils
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 can no-salt diced tomatoes
1 Not-Chick'n bouillon cube
Approximately 6 cups water
To taste: salt, pepper, curry powder, red pepper, garam masala, parsley, thyme, white pepper, ground ginger, chili powder, corriander


Directions:
In large soup pot, saute onions, garlic, bell pepper, and sweet potatoes with spices until onions begin to soften. Add in bouillon, water, and tomatoes. Let simmer for approximately 20 minutes then add in the lentils and chickpeas. Continue to cook until lentils are tender, approximately 15-20 minutes. 
 

I can't even tell you how good this smelled as it was cooking. You could smell the subtle, warm hints from the garam masala (I think it should be a candle fragrance) combined with all the other spices. It just smelled warm and cozy.

This was perfect for a cold night. I will say that we could have added in more lentils as red lentils don't soak up as much liquid as say brown lentils. Also, tomato paste would help thicken this if you would prefer a thicker stew.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Soup to Cure the Blues?

STS Switch Up
Today I decided to skip Meso 1 of the STS series and go on ahead to Meso 2, which is building. It starts off at 70% of your 1 rep max. The reps go down some too. I was just not able to get excited about Meso 1 like I thought I would or should have. Also, because of my knee, I can't do many of the leg exercises from Meso 1 - lots of drop squats and leg press. Right now I can't walk down stairs normally so that just won't work.

Anyway, today I went with Meso 2, Disc 13 just doing chest and shoulders. Unless marked as TF (to failure), the exercises are done as drop sets from 12 to 8. With this drop set, however, you don't change the weight, just the reps and you use 70% of your 1RM. Next week it will increase to 75%.

Flat Bench Press (barbell)
Flat Bench Press (barbell)
Flat Bench Chest Flys
Incline Press
Incline Flyes
Seated Front Press Alternating Arms (Elbows Forward)
Seated front press - TF
Alternating 1-arm standing lateral raise
Seated lateral raise - TF
Seated rear delts

I had a really good workout and am very happy with my decision to move on into Meso 2.

Reality Check
It's been a rainy, cold, yucky Monday here. I swear I could just go swimming out there right about now it's been raining so much. I spent a big part of my day talking myself through potential cardio workouts that I could do that wouldn't hurt my knee. I know I can't run, I can't do step, kickboxing is really iffy. The only one that would possibly work would be MMA Boxing, which I did Saturday. Jason, of course, was urging me to take a break. He's right, I know. Reality check hit when I was leaving work and couldn't even take the 4 stairs down outside the building without searing pain. In the end, I came home, put on PJs, started bread, and hung garland on the banister.

That being said, I am feeling really upset, angry, down about not having been able to do any cardio. I'm sure this weather, nagging headache, and Monday blues in general aren't helping. I know it sounds obsessive, but I do the workouts I do because I enjoy them. They make me happy, like my day is complete. I'm even more frustrated that I have gone and hurt my knee because time is ticking away on decent weather before winter slams us.

Granted, we don't get the snow and extreme cold, but we have lots of ice, rain, gray days, and freezing temps. It's also frustrating because running is something I actually crave to do now. I mean, it's like staring at that perfect looking cookie but absolutely not being able to have it. And somehow I feel like it's all my fault. I was so proud of my miles, of loving running, of the accomplishments I've made.

My plan is to do weights tomorrow again and the boxing workout. I am hoping that my knee will feel good enough on Wednesday to go to spin class. I can at least get in a workout and I control the tension and the amount of effort. The other option is the elliptical and several magazine...and a kickass play list. Then maybe, just maybe, I can try for another short, easier run on the river trails where it's flat, no road tilt. Yes, I'll admit I'm probably being overly optimistic, but it's all I've got right now to keep me focused and not having a meltdown.

Soup Kind of Weather
As I mentioned, the weather has been crap today. Makes you just want to curl up under a blanket and hibernate. When I asked Jason if he had any dinner ideas, he said, "Something hot." What's something hot and perfect on a dreary day? Why soup of course. We had some pumpkin and roasted kabocha leftover, so I decided to go with the Chipotle Kabocha & Pumpkin Soup I made recently.

So a couple of semi-fails. The soup tasted fine, but it wasn't as creamy as the last time. I added in some extra pumpkin at the end that didn't get blended. The bread, I finally tried to make the French bread recipe I use all wheat by using whole-wheat pastry flour in lieu of any bread flour. It tasted fine, but was really heavy. Of course, the weather probably played a bit of a factor. I guess it was just one of those days.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Vegetarian Thanksgiving, Running, Decorating

Vegetarian Thanksgiving 
So I finally got around to making our vegetarian-friendly Thanksgiving meal last night. I was so looking forward to the menu. We had talked about it all week and finally agreed upon something we both were excited to try:

Apple and Kabocha Kale 
Quorn Turk'y Roast with homemade Chipotle Cranberry Relish
Honey Mustard Roasted New Potatoes
Homemade wheat rolls

Apple and Kabocha Kale
Ingredients:
1/4 cup red quinoa
3/4 cup water
1 small bunch kale, cleaned, rough chop
1/2 honeycrisp apple
1/2 small white onion, thinly sliced
1/2 kabocha squash, cubed and roasted*
OJ
To taste: salt, pepper, agave nectar

Directions:
In saucepan, bring water and quinoa to boil then lower to a simmer, cover, and cook 15 minutes.

In large skillet, saute onions for approximately 3 minutes. Add in kale and orange juice and allow the kale to begin to cook down. Add in apples, quinoa, and seasonings and continue to cook until kale is soft (or to desired texture).

Chipotle Cranberry Relish
Ingredients:
1/2 bag fresh cranberries
1 large chipotle pepper in adobo, finely diced
1 tsp adobo saue
1/8 cup (or less) red onion, minced
Agave nectar to taste
Orange juice (approximately 1/2 cup)
Water (approximately 1/4 cup)
Salt (to taste)

Directions:
In medium sauce pan, add all ingredients and allow to simmer on low until thickened, approximately 1 hour. 

Honey Mustard Roasted New Potatoes
Ingredients:
Approximately 15 new potatoes, halved or quartered depending on size
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3-4 tbsp honey mustard
To taste: sea salt, dried parsley

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Mix all ingredients in a baking dish and bake approximately 25 minutes then flip and bake another 20 minutes or until crisp

*I roasted the kabocha at the same time I cooked the potatoes and the Quorn Turk'y Roast.
 
 
 

Jason could not stop raving about the Chipotle Cranberry Relish. I will warn you that if you don't like spicy, then you should only use the adobo sauce or use a very small chipotle pepper. For us, the heat was spot on and pared very well with the sweet and tart from the cranberries and orange juice. The potatoes had a subtle mustard flavor, but it was a nice change from a typical rosemary, thyme roasted potato dish.

Running...
Today got off to a super lazy start and it felt great. I actually slept until 8 am and didn't rush down and immediately eat breakfast for a change. I stayed in PJs until 11 am and I am not ashamed one bit. It was another gorgeous day out today, a bit windier, but still wonderful. We have a good friend who has gotten into running and has been trying to work up to what he deemed an adequate point to where he could go for a Sunday run with us at the river trails. This past week he mentioned that he wanted to go this Sunday if we were going. Of course I told him yes! This was also before my injury on Friday.

Well, I hate to admit it, but I did go run today. I got new shoes yesterday after Jason just happened to look at the tread on mine, which was completely gone on the right side after only 3 months of running. What we have determined is that all of my neighborhood runs, in the street, are the likely cause of the injury - IT band. The camber of the road has been causing me to roll my knee inward and totally throwing off my form. I was absolutely shocked when I looked at my shoes. I had no idea it was THAT bad. I mean, I felt the tilt and knew it was causing me to run a bit crooked, but I did not have any idea of how bad it was affecting me physically and it all came to a head on Friday.

Anyway, back to today...no scolding please. I already know that I should not have gone. But it was such an incredible day, I had new shoes, and our friend was going with us. I did promise Jason that if it started hurting I would stop and walk. I even brought my iPod if I had to stop. Did it hurt, sort of, but not like Friday. Should I have stopped? Of course. I should have stayed home. But sometimes I'm a stubborn ass. So I have been icing today. As long as I don't go down the stairs, it doesn't hurt.

But, I must brag on my friend. Today he went the farthest he's ever gone - 4.5 miles and it was under 45 minutes. He thought he was so much slower so this was a great day for him. So proud!

Christmas Decorating
After we got home, I stretched and iced and then we decided to indulge in some Vino's pizza and brews before tackling Christmas decorations. We managed to get the tree done, pretty much the pool room. Jason got the lights on the banister, now we have to get the garland up though. The kitchen was started as well, but not completely done.

I pretty much do a gold and burgundy throughout, but our kitchen is blue so I'm going with blue and silver in there. This is the first year to decorate the kitchen actually. I do need to go back and get one package of silver balls and that should do it as I already have blue chargers and white plates - maybe silver napkins would be a nice finish.

I hope to get the banister done tomorrow and I feel like the foyer is missing something exciting so I may dig through all the decorations left and see what I can come up without having to buy something new. Jason's task is to get the outside lights up next weekend.


Do you decorate all in one day or does it take a week (or 2)?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Weights, Boxing, Tailgating on a Gorgeous Saturday

Weights & Boxing
This morning I got up and did Cathe Friedrich's STS Meso 1 Disc 2 - Back and Triceps. I also did her MMA Boxing DVD after the weights. I was very disappointed to not be able to run as it turned out to be a gorgeous day. For the chinups and pullups, I had to use resistance tubing as I do not have a pullup option at home.


Lat pulldowns with band
Dumbbell Rows Both Arms
Dips on chair
Straddle Pushups Chinups
Seated Overhead Extensions One Arm (dumbbell)
One Arm Row (dumbbell)
T-Pull with band
Flat Bench Dumbbell
Triceps Extensions
Dumbbell Rows
Y's with band Kickbacks
One Arm (dumbbell)
One Arm Horizontal Row (dumbbell)
Deadlifts (dumbbell)
Close Grip Bench Press (dumbbell)
One Arm press Down with Band
Chinups
Seated Overhead Extensions Both Arms (dumbbell)
Dumbbell Rows
Double Arm Rows with Band
Side Leaning One Arm Overhead Extensions on Ball (dumbbell)
One Arm Row (dumbbell) Deadlifts (dumbbell)
Kickbacks Double Arm (dumbbell)
One Arm Band Kickbacks
Pullups
Cross Body Kickbacks (dumbbell)
Lat pulldowns with band
Side Lying One Arm Pushups
Superman on Floor Arms and Legs Elevated

Tailgating
After my workout, I got cleaned up and we headed over to War Memorial Stadium to do some tailgating for the Arkansas vs LSU game. I can't even describe what a beautiful day it turned out to be. It started off around 33 degrees, but quickly warmed up to about 60 degrees with not a cloud in the sky.
 
 
 
 
 
 
We had a great time. We didn't have tickets to the game and neither did one other couple. Our friends who have the tailgating spot have a generator and hook up a tv. Big fail today...generator died just as those with tickets were heading to the game. Jason and I stuck around with our friends to keep them company for a bit, but then we ended up heading on home. Jason had the game recording so he was able to still watch from the beginning

Last night we did not get a  chance to make our own Thanksgiving dinner as planned, so while Jason is watching the game, that is what I will be up to (along with laundry and Christmas decorations). 

I hope everyone is having a great Saturday!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Painful Run and Fun Facts Friday - Purses & Drawers

10...Long...Miles
This morning I did not get up early to partake in the Black Friday chaos. In the past, I might get up and head to the mall by 8 am. I have found that most people are still at Walmart, Target, Best Buy, those places. I have also found that I am only buying needlessly for myself when I do this. So, this morning, no mall.

I got up and had my typical oatmeal breakfast, changed over some laundry, and was fairly unproductive. It was freezing out, literally, but sunny at least. Jason and I were planning on a long run today, but wanted to wait until it warmed up a little bit. By 10:30, we realized the wait was futile, it was never going to really warm up. We headed to the river trails with the temps hovering below 40 and the wind steadily picking up (go figure right).

The first 5 miles were windy, but not terrible. The wind, my friends, was mostly at our backs. At the turn around, we were smacked in the face with cold, steady winds. I suddenly regretted having taken off my gloves but was thankful I had not yet peeled off my outer jacket. I had a sudden pain in my right knee about this time. It was bad enough that I told Jason I had to walk for a second. I should have walked longer, but probably only walked maybe 20 seconds. It was fast enough that Jason said, "Oh, you really meant a second."

We kept going, the wind kept going, and my knee started to steadily hurt worse. We managed 10 miles, but just barely. I should probably have stopped around mile 6 to be quite honest. As I type this, I am sitting on ice and have ice on my knee. I can promise I won't be running tomorrow and maybe not even Sunday. So, 10 cold, windy, painful miles down and that's that.

Fun Facts Friday - Purses and Drawers
Now, onto something more enjoyable...Fun Facts Friday. Is it really Friday? It seems like Sunday to me actually. The other day I opened my desk drawer and it struck me how much food I had in there. So I thought it might be fun to admit what all we have in desk drawers and purses.

Desk Drawers
  • Extra bowl.
  • Package of spoons
  • 3 plastic knives
  • 2 forks
  • Packages of lower-sugar instant oatmeal for when I forget homemade or explode homemade
  • Natural (no stir) peanut butter
  • Almonds
  • Stevia
  • Vanilla protein powder
  • Packages of red chili flakes

Purse
  • 2 kashi bars
  • Gum
  • 1 lipstick
  • 2 lip glosses
  • Migraine meds, Advil, and Excedrin
  • Lots of notes
  • Wallet
  • Keys to my dad's house
  • Kleenex 
  • Mirror
  • Coupons 
Your turn. What are some things you keep in your desk drawers or purse? 

    Thursday, November 25, 2010

    Being Thankful

    This morning I woke up just a little after 7 and realized that it wasn't raining out (yet). Even better, it was 70 degrees. Oh yes, this meant I was going to get to run today after all. I waited for Jason to get up and we headed out around 8:45. It was a bit windy out, but no rain. I was happy that I didn't have to bundle up as well. Right at 2 miles into the run (just as we passed our house), it started to sprinkle a bit and Jason had to make a pit stop. I opted to keep running. The rain actually felt pretty good I learned this summer that it can be fun running in the rain.

    The rain would stop and start back up, but it was nothing to deterring, so I decided to take a turn heading one route that would put my mileage close to 6. I actually saw 3 other groups of people walking or running so I didn't feel too terribly nuts for being out in the rain. But then the sky fell out when I was about a mile from the house. Oh yes, downpour to the point where I could barely see. I took an immediate turn to try to get back to the house as quickly as possible. The rain was coming down in buckets and the streets were starting to flood. There was no avoiding running though puddles. At one point I just started laughing out loud because it was just too comical to me. I even had cars honking at me. When I finally got home, I had to pour water fro my shoes and wring out my clothes.

    I am thankful for a sense of humor.

    While I got cleaned up (dried off) Jason made the sauteed green beans side dish. We got everything packed up and out the door just before the true storm hit, and it hit hard. At one point we were only able to do about 30 mph on the interstate because you simply could not see a thing. The wind was completely sideways, gusting up to 60 mph according to the radio broadcast. It definitely took us longer to get to Jason's parents' home than expected.

    I am thankful that we made it safely.

    I didn't eat at the in-laws' house. Jason made himself two small plates. I swear he has hollow legs and could eat all day. We were able to visit with the family for a little over an hour before we had to get re-packed and head to my dad's house.


    I am thankful that our families are centrally located and we were able to all be together.

    Apologies in advance for the missing food photos. I just failed on that today. I was trying to stay out of the way for the most part and busy taking pictures of the family as well. Anyway, Dad made spaghetti, as is typical for our Thanksgiving meals. As I mentioned yesterday, I brought wheat-rolls and a loaf of gluten-free bread for my sister. I forgot to take a picture, but that's for the best. While the bread tasted really good, it was not nearly as pretty as Sarena's bread. I also brought the green beans and a vegan (and gluten-free) crustless pumpkin pie using a fantastic recipe from Happy Herbivore that I slightly altered to make gluten free. I made an easy sweetened cashew cream to top it with (sweetened with maple syrup).
    The pie was really tasty. Not the prettiest picture, but it was a paper plate after all. This is definitely one I want to make again. Anyone who likes to eat the filling out of the pie, this one is for you.

    I am thankful for great food and inspiration from great food bloggers.

    As I mentioned, I tried to get pictures of the family, mostly of shenanigans taking place. That's always par for the course with my sister's kiddos when they're with they're Papa, Grandma (my step-mother) and Mims (my mom).
    Me and my niece
    Sarah and Me (I'm really not taller than her, see next pic for reason)

    Goofing around - Notice boots that I bought yesterday

    Kiddos hanging onto Papa's legs


    I am thankful that my parents can all be together despite divorce.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    Thanksgiving Eve - Lots of Baking

    Rest Day and Baking
    Today is my rest day for the week. It's been weird weather all day. It started out with an incredibly dense fog that made if it feel chilly and damp. Then as the cold front started pushing to the warm front, the wind kicked into high gear. It's been 77 degrees, windy as hell, humid, rain then sun then showers, then sun and more wind. Trust me, this was not a run-inviting kind of day. Glad I went ahead and did legs yesterday. I wasn't tempted to run in the least today.

    It really worked out well again for me, this being my rest day. My boss let me leave early today (thank you Kelly). This allowed me extra time for errands. I have been putting off Target for a while now, so that was my first stop. Jason was nice enough to hit Whole Foods during his lunch break so I snuck over to DSW to try and use a $5 coupon for my bday. I did find some cute black booties, but am still a little unsure of them. I love how they look on other people though...

    Anyway, I usually bring homemade wheat rolls to my family's home for Thanksgiving. Since my sister has had to go gluten-free, I thought I would bring a special treat just for her - a gluten-free bread. I'm such a good sis like that ;-) My sweet friend Sarena sent me her recipe, and I am really excited to try it out. If any of you are looking for unbelievable gluten- and dairy-free recipes, you must check out her blog, that and she's an absolute sweetheart.

    In addition to the gluten-free bread, I am making the wheat rolls and a Vegan Crustless (and gluten-free) Pumpkin Pie courtesy of the Happy Herbivore. I made it gluten-free by substituting rice flour for the whole-wheat flour. Also, instead of corn starch (which Jason's mom cannot have) I used equal amounts of rice flour. I'll be sure to let you know how it turns out - but the "batter" was delish!

    Other than this baking, we don't have too much cooking to do. My dad will be making spaghetti as is traditional for us. I'll be bringing the bread, dessert, and also bring a green bean side dish (sauteed green beans with onions, bell peppers, garlic and almonds). I think my sister might be bringing a big salad as well.

    I will say that Jason and I will make our own vegetarian (possibly vegan) Thanksgiving Meal either Friday or Saturday. This is where we can get really creative with a fancy schmancy meal ;-) Do you ever make a special holiday meal just you and your significant other?

    Tonight feels like it should be Pizza Friday. With the temps steadily going down and all the other goodies in the oven, we decided on tempeh chili. It'll give us leftovers other than Thanksgiving leftovers as well.

    I feel like this is a bit of a rambling post. Hopefully tomorrow's will be more cohesive with lots of pictures. Also, I hope to be reporting that the new recipes were a huge hit!

    Safe travels if you're hitting the road and for those lucky enough to not have to travel, enjoy your day with family and friends!

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    STS Full Force

    STS Shoulders
    I am definitely feeling yesterday's workout. I am actually sore all the way down my sides even from all the pushups. I know I shouldn't be surprised, but I usually am a bit taken aback by how effective pushups really can be. So, after jumping back into Cathe's STS yesterday, I was itching to get the shoulder workout done. I'm even looking forward to the leg workout for a change. During lunch, I did shoulders from Meso 1 Disc 1:

    Alternating Seated Overhead Shoulder Press (dumbbell) - 15
    Seated Rear Delts (dumbbell) - 15
    Bonus Band Pulls - 15 with a 3 count pulse
    Incline Front Raise on Stability Ball (dumbbell) - 15
    Seated Lateral Raise Both Arms High Ends (dumbbell) - 6 with 3 count pulse
    Side Leaning Lateral Raise (dumbbell) - 15
    Seated Overhead Press (dumbbell) - 15
    Seated Front Press Double Arms - 1.5's for 12 reps
    Incline Rear Raise on Stability Ball (dumbbell) - 15

    It's been a long time since I've picked up my lower weights. This type of workout goes to show that you can kill the muscle group even with lower weights just by adding reps and changing up patterns and counts. Though, I will admit that I am already looking forward to Meso 2 where the weights go up and the reps go down. That's the point where I started noticing major gains the last time I did this workout. I need to take before pictures and measurements just to see how much I gain this time around.

    Legs????
    Ok, remember how I mentioned above that I was even looking forward to legs? I literally spend the day debating with myself about what to do after work - run or legs. It shouldn't be so complicated I know, but I was trying to factor in the fact that after this leg workout the next day pretty much needs to be a rest day. However, tomorrow is supposed to be decent weather whereas it's supposed to rain on Thursday. Meaning, I'd want to run tomorrow, but I wouldn't have time after work to do the leg workout. In the end (even hashing it out with my pal Jessica), I went with legs. It was supposed to be Meso 1 Disc 3, but my disc (or the DVD player) was messing up so I ended up going with Dis 6, which should be next week using 65% of my 1 Rep Max. Instead I did it with 60%, which is what this week is supposed to be.

    Front Lunge + Back Lunge
    Alternating 45 Degree Front Lunge
    Leg Press (dumbbell, High Step)
    One Leg Elevated Lunges
    Deadlifts Wide Stance
    One Leg Slide Back Lunges with Paper Plate
    Side Slide Lunges with Paper Plate
    One Leg Sit N Stands
    Squats Narrow Stance
    Calf Raises
    Low Pulse Lunges
    Stiff Legged Deadlift on Platform
    Wall Squats Double Leg (body weight)
    Lateral Step Ups
    45 Degree Lunge
    Squats Narrow Stance
    Static Low End Lunge Same Leg 3:1 Count
    Wall Squat with Ball and Leg Extension
    Leg Press with band on High Step
    Firewalkers
    Calf Raises
    Standing Kickback with band
    Supine Double Leg Outer Thigh Press with band
    Inner Thigh Raise with ankle weights

    Let's just say walking down the stairs was a bit treacherous after this. Shaky shaky legs.

    Fast Dinner
    Now that half the post has been about lifting weights, we'll just jump into dinner. I was starved and had no creative juices flowing. So into the oven with sweet potato "fries" along with my last batch of Red Quinoa and Lentil Burgers
     
     
    I went with my usual veggie burger toppings: spinach, roasted red bell peppers, and Soy Kaas. Sometimes tried and true wins out. What are your favorite burger toppings?

    Monday, November 22, 2010

    STS, Step, and Chipotle Vegetable Enchiladas

    Soup Sunday
    Last night we were pretty lazy. We watched a movie (A Walk to Remember) and ended up heating up leftover Chipotle Kabocha and Pumpkin Soup for dinner. Neither of use wanted anything heavy at all, so this was perfect and involved no cooking.

    STS and Step
    Today I knew I was going to do chest at lunch, but what I ended up decided (last minute) is to restart Cathe's STS (Shock Training System) Series again. This time I will break out the muscle groups though. This will allow me to continue to do weights during lunch. I had been putting off restarting STS because I didn't want to do hour long weight sessions right now.

    Today was Meso 1, Disc 1. It was supposed to be chest, shoulders, biceps, but I did chest and biceps only. Meso 1 is all about endurance (and pushups). I didn't have time to look back at my workout cards from the first round of STS so I definitely miscalculated weights today - as in went way heavier than I probably should have, but only hit failure once. Guess that means I'm much stronger this time around.

    Here is how the workout went for chest and biceps. There were lots of varied rep patterns being used and that's the key here. High reps, changing rep patterns.

    Push Ups - Standard - 1.5's - 8
    Push Up Wide - 1.5's - 8
    Push Ups - Standard  - 30
    Barbell Curl - 21's
    Incline Chest Flyes (dumbbell) - 15
    Incline Curl Alternating & Rotate at Top (dumbbell) - 15
    Decline Pushups - 20
    Standing Quarter Stop Curls Both Arms (dumbbell) - 8
    Prone Pushups on Stability Ball - 4:4 then single counts
    Seated Concentration Curls 1.5's (dumbbell) - 12
    Straddle Pushups - 2:2 then single
    Seated Curls Alternating + Both Arms (dumbbell) - 8 alternating then 8 both arms
    Chest Flyes (Flat Bench) (dumbbell) - 15
    Preacher Curl on Stability Ball One Arm (dumbbell) - 15
    Core Pushups - boot camp style - 16
    Reverse Dumbbell Curl - 8 at 3:1, 8 at 1:3
    Staggered Pushups - 16
    Barbell Curl Wide Grip - 21's

    My arms were trembling after this one. I will say it was a bit odd doing my weights to a DVD again. It's been so long that I don't even remember the last weight DVD I actually did.

    After work I went with Cathe's Low Impact Circuit Cardio Only Premix and abs. I just did 3 out of the 4 step combos though.


    Mexican Monday
    We had some squash and zucchini that needed to be used quickly. Jason suggested fajitas. I ended up playing off that idea and put together Chipotle Vegetable Enchiladas to celebrate Mexican Monday.

    Chipotle Vegetable Enchiladas
    Ingredients:
    Sauce
    1 can no-salt diced tomatoes
    1 8 oz can no-salt tomato sauce
    1-2 tbsp minced onions
    2-3 tbsp adobo salsa (or minced chipotle with adobo sauce)
    To taste: salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, cilantro, agave nectar

    Enchiladas

    1/4 red onion, diced
    1/2 red bell pepper, diced
    1/2 green bell pepper, diced
    1 small zucchini, diced
    1 small yellow squash, diced
    1 package your choice meat sub like seitan, diced
    1/2 cup black beans, heated and lightly mashed
    To taste: salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, cilantro, lemon juice
    Vegan "cheese" of your choice like Daiya
    Whole-grain tortillas

    Directions:
    In medium sauce pan, cook all ingredients for sauce. Allow to cook approximately 20-25 minutes for flavors to meld and thicken.

    In large non-stick skillet, saute onions and bell peppers until begin to soften. Add in remaining ingredients minus the "cheese."

    Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

    Spray a casserole dish with a non-stick spray. Add filling to center of a tortilla and top with small amount of the "cheese" then roll up tortillas and place seem side down. After you have filled the pan, pour the sauce down over the enchiladas and top with remaining "cheese."

    Cover and bake for approximately 10 minutes then uncover and bake an additional 20-25 minutes until golden.
     

    Of course this was far more complicated than just doing the fajitas, but it was worth it!

    Sunday, November 21, 2010

    Birthdays Are Much Different the Older You Get

    Some Kind of Morning
    First off, sorry for the non-creative title. I think when you see how the day started, you'll understand.

    It was a bit of a rough start this morning. I fed the dogs and was working on my breakfast when Maddie peed on one of the area rugs. I was furious of course, what a way to start the morning, and guiltily admit yelling at her and forcing her to go outside. Mind you, I had made them both go out before feeding them.

    Heath eats slowly so he was still finishing his breakfast while Maddie was peeing on the rug. Of course he was all kinds of confused with the yelling and shuffling of Maddie outside, so he came into the living room to check out the situation. In the meantime, Maddie made her way back inside and finished off Heath's breakfast. Seriously??? So frustrating, Anyway, Maddie never pees on rugs and such unless there is a problem. Problem being a UTI. So, back to the vet she'll go tomorrow. 

    Anyway, it was a rough start to the morning, which started late actually. I think I've figured out the cure to insomnia - run 10 + miles! I slept until 9 am this morning!! I almost felt guilty but then realized, who the heck cares. I had no place I just had to be. I wasn't missing out on any plans. My only real plan was to go for a 5.5 mile run.

    Another Windy Run

    It was really foggy again this morning, but not as cool. The fog did burn off much faster today too. The sun came out just before I left to head down to the river trails around 11 am for my birthday run. Jason was too achy from yesterday's long run to join me. It was close to 70 degrees, sunny, and super windy. What is up with all this wind???? I've had just about enough of it thank you very much.

    My plan was to do an easier 5.5 mile run. I think the wind really throws off my sense of pace - well, I don't have a great sense of it to begin with in all honesty. I was trying to keep my heart rate right at 160, but apparently that's not the best gauge for pace after all. I ended up doing 5.5 miles at an average 8:31 pace. I think that was pushing it a bit after the 10.5 mile run yesterday. Maybe not, maybe it's ok. But I feel like I really never get in any "easy" runs. If I go slower, it's because it's a long run. Does anyone else have problems being able to pace themselves?

    Semi-Lazy Sunday
    Jason was kind enough to hit the grocery store. I will totally count that as a birthday present. I was dreading having to go to the grocery store. I did manage to wash and dry more laundry as well as clean my shower. I hate my shower to be honest. It's one of those fiberglass inserts and I can't ever seem to keep it clean. I feel like it makes me look like a super slob, but it seriously never comes clean unless I bleach it. I hate to use bleach now. I used to be the bleach queen but started trying to use more natural cleaning agents and even homemade recipes. But this shower....nothing touches it. Sorry for that little tangent rant.

    So, after he got back and we got the groceries unloaded, we went out for another late lunch. I feel like it's such a big splurge going out to eat more than once this weekend. But, it's my birthday weekend so I'm going to (try) not feel guilty. I'm feel very stuffed at the moment, so dinner may or may not happen. If we have anything, it'll be light. Maybe some leftover soup or a roasted veggie salad.

    For my own birthday present to myself, I'm going to post early and try very hard to disconnect for the rest of the evening (and resist the urge to do more laundry). 

    I hope you all have had a great weekend and I truly appreciate all the wonderful birthday wishes I've received.

    Saturday, November 20, 2010

    Friday Recap, 10.5 Chilly Miles, Shopping Spree

    Friday Recap
    So my birthday weekend started off with a 5.5 mile run. I will say it was a good run despite the fact that the wind chill was 44 degrees and it was WINDY. I felt like I was running through mud. But it was still good, funny how that can happen.

    I got cleaned up quickly then headed to my hometown (about an hour away) to meet my mom and one of my dearest friends for lunch. I have known Kori since preschool, so about 32 years now. She is seriously flesh and blood to me. She's the one friend who I've never ever had a single argument, spat, tiff with. Even if we don't get to see each other often, it's always like we've never missed a beat.

    We had lunch at Ruby Tuesday's. I discovered back in February during my trip to Branson, MO that they had a freaking awesome salad bar. My first trip to the salad bar (oh yes, I went back for more) I just went nuts and pretty much piled any and all veggie items on top of lettuce and spinach. The second trip I was a bit more discriminatory and planned better. 




    After lunch, mom and I went shopping. She has a holiday party to attend soon and needed help finding just the right dress. After several hours at the mall, we ended up leaving empty handed. She was resigned to making her own dress - which she could do and it would have been gorgeous. We made one final top at TJ Maxx though. Neither of us really thought she'd find "the" dress there, but it was a good excuse to stop in and check out the store though. There were only two dresses in her size that were appropriate and both were gorgeous on her. She ended up going with a classic black dress. We even found shoes for her there too. Score!

    I got home just in time to walk out the door again to meet some friends for happy hour. We ended up going to a place called Big Whiskeys. They have nice happy hour specials, and it's not a smoking establishment. Big plus in my book.
     
     
     

    We got home a little after 7. We're just not late-night people anymore. But that's not to say that we didn't have fun of course. I was so happy to spend some time with friends just hanging out and relaxing.

    I had no idea how late we may or may not be out and had not been home to even start pizza dough, so no Pizza Friday. Instead we ended up making Spicy White Chili as I had roasted some poblano peppers earlier in the week.

    10.5 Chilly Miles
    This morning we woke to a foggy, cold, gray looking day. It was supposed to be 70 degrees and sunny, apparently after the fog burned off late in the day. We finally decided that the sun wasn't going to be out and that it was just going to have to be a cold run. We layered up and hit the river trail. Oh, and did I mentioned wind?

    Wind, fog, cold. It was not a pleasant start to the run. Eventually the sun started to show itself, but it didn't seem to matter which direction we were going, the wind was in our faces. We still managed to knock out 10.5 miles though. I will say that my legs definitely felt heavier this week, but I am not nearly as exhausted feeling and had zero issues with feeling sick after the run. So apparently the shock bloks are working. Oh, and we tried having diluted Gatorade this time too.

    Shopping Spree and Late Lunch
    After the run we cleaned up and hit the mall. The Gap had a 40% off everything sale that I could not pass up. I recently discovered a love for their Forever Skinny Jeans. So I got another pair of those and two bras (one ended up only being 2.60). Jason loaded up on shirts today, so it was a successful power shopping spree.

    We were both starved so we stopped by a place that has an outdoor (heated) patio. I had a salad and Jason had a sandwich. We both enjoyed a cold beer too. It is my birthday weekend after all ;-) I will say that the reason I ate a lighter (though very very very late) lunch is because I am planning on making pizza tonight. I think we're going to go with at least half of the pizza as a taco style pizza.

    Friday, November 19, 2010

    Fun Facts Friday - Birthday Edition

    Busy Day
    I'm going to get my post out early today as it's going to be a busy one. Once I head out the door, I really don't know when I'll have a chance to get back to the computer even. Funny how days off can be the busiest days.

    I am about to head out for a run. Though it's not yet 50 degrees so I'm slightly dreading it. I really haven't quite figured out how to dress for these cooler temps. I always seem to wear too much and end up hot or with cold sweats. Maybe I just need to take a shopping trip to find more layers ;-)

    I really need to do chest but my arms are so sore still from the various workouts this week. It's just all seemed to slowly build up and my entire upper body is sore, but not in a bad way. I definitely know that I worked hard this week.


    Fun Facts Friday
    I may have to abandon Fun Facts Friday if I can't start getting more creative or inspired. I feel like I've been less than exciting with my fun facts lately. Since my birthday is this weekend, I thought I might share some fun facts related to my birthday.

    • My birthday is Sunday.
    • I'll be *gasp* 36.
    • I'm usually really depressed on and around my birthday.
    • I took off work today to enjoy a long weekend.
    • Today I'm having an early birthday lunch with my mom.
    • I am meeting friends for happy hour later.
    • I have my camera already packed in my purse to take pics of lunch and happy hour.
    • I am determined to not get down about my birthday this go around.
    • My mom used to let me throw huge sleep over parties for my birthday - themed parties where we all dressed up.
    • I am not a fan of birthday cakes (or any cake really).
    • I was often really sick with asthma on my birthday (thank you Singulair, now I'm not).
    • One of my long-time friends shares my birthday. That was always kind of fun.
    • I'm most definitely a Scorpio, though I don't really believe in signs too much.
    • I pretty much always workout on my birthday. Just another day. 



    Ok - your turn. Birthdays...love 'em or hate 'em? Favorite birthday memories? Do you love birthday cake? Share share share ;-)

    Thursday, November 18, 2010

    TGIT - Start to Birthday Weekend

    Magnesium?
    I did have a better night's rest last night finally. No restless legs, or running legs is what my mom always called them long before it had a name, Restless Leg Syndrome. Averie commented that I might try adding in a magnesium supplement. Interested in the idea, I looked it up and indeed, certain deficiencies such as magnesium. Running most definitely can deplete magnesium levels, and I've definitely been putting in the mileage so that makes sense. Thanks Averie!

    Back and Boxing

    I thought I might do back and chest today during my break, but my shoulders are still sore from that workout so chest work wouldn't have gone so smoothly I'm afraid. So I just went with back and 2 combos from Cathe's MMA Boxing. I ran out of time to do the 3rd combo or to do abs. So I finished it up after work. For the back workout, I went with trisets:

    TS#1 - 3x8
    Pullovers
    Underhand rows
    Single-arm rows

    TS#2
    Lat pulldowns with band - 2x16
    Low back extension on ball - 2x16
    Rear delt flyes - 2x10

    I don't really like the ab work from MMA Boxing, so I went with abs from Kick, Punch and Crunch instead. That's a killer stability ball workout.

    TGIT
    Today is officially the start of my weekend. I took off work tomorrow to go have lunch with my mom for my birthday. She also wants me to help her pick out a dress for a holiday party she has coming up. I'm really looking forward to spending time with her just the two of us. Dinner tonight is easy easy - we're having the Red Quinoa and Lentil Burgers that I made up the other day along with what else? Baked sweet potato fries.

    Red Quinoa and Lentil Burgers
    Ingredients:
    2 cup cooked lentils
    1 cup cooked red quinoa (this is approximate, may have been a bit more)
    2/3 cup oats - grind into a flour
    1/4 cup oats (whole and this is optional for texture)
    2 small carrots grated
    1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp hot water)
    To taste: salt, pepper, red pepper, chili powder, cumin, parsley, liquid smoke

    Directions
    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

    In food processor, blend lentils, quinoa, and carrots to desired consistency (I left some chunks for texture). Transfer to large mixing bowl. Stir in oat flour, flax egg, and seasonings. Mix well adding in whole oat (and additional whole quinoa if desired).

    Form into patties and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes then flip and bake another 30 minutes until firm.

    I'm not going to bore you with another picture of a veggie burger and fries, instead, I'll leave you pictures of the pups post-groom.

     

    Wednesday, November 17, 2010

    Waivering Wednesday - Hill Repeats, Legs, Soup

    Hill Repeats
    I had sort of hoped I might wake up early enough this morning to either do a short step workout or biceps. That did not happen. I had a horrible night's sleep, again. For the past two nights, I've been suffering from restless leg syndrome. I used to have problems with it constantly many year ago, but it seemed to just disappear until Monday night.

    If you've ever experienced it, you understand and know it's not a joke. If you haven't experienced it, it feels like a cross between electricity and bugs going up and down your legs making you feel the need to constantly move or twitch them. Needless to say, this does not bode well for a good night's rest at all.

    Anyway, today was a bit warmer (though super windy) and sunny. It's been a while since I've done any running drills, so today Jason and I did hill repeats. We ran about 2 miles as a (windy) warm up then hit the hill 9 or 10 times. I was counting to 8, but Jason kept telling me a time. So, we kept going and I lost count because I was arguing that I knew we had already hit 8. He was aiming for 15 minutes, and I was only aiming for 8 repeats.

    It was a good workout. Hill repeats are tough, but time flies by so you don't realize just how bad they are until after the fact. My hammies are fried (all caps). I forgot how much I enjoy these types of workouts actually. Do you prefer intervals and drills or steady state?

    Weird Workout Combo
    After work I was really being wishy washy and waivering about which weights to do. It should have been biceps just based on my own made up schedule. But I was thinking I should do legs then no running tomorrow so I could get in a better run on Friday. So many choices and decisions to make.

    In the end, I went with an odd combination of legs and biceps. Hey, it's my crazy little world, I can do what I want right? I did supersets of 3x10 unless noted.

    SS#1
    Dumbbell biceps curls
    Hammer curls

    SS#2
    Squats
    Plie Squats

    SS#3
    Zottman curls
    Cross-body curls

    SS#4
    Static lunges
    Calf raises - 3x25

    Firewalkers - 8
    Battment en avant* - 2x10
    Battement derriere* - 2x10

    *Used ankle weights for these exercises. The key is to keep your inner thigh towards ceiling for front raises and towards floor for rear raise. These are ballet barre exercises.

    This was actually a fun workout that went by really quickly. It's not a super heavy leg workout, but it's perfect when you've already worked your legs hard from something like hill repeats.

    Soup Kind of Evening
    We have a front moving through tonight that is supposed to bring cooler temps for the evening and into tomorrow. I was wavering on what to make. I guess it was a wavering kind of Wednesday for me. I tossed around the idea of fajitas and even Blackened Seitan Salad.

    I ended up going with a soup because I had a few ingredients to use and could also multi-task (again) I made a soup that was partially based on Kabocha and Pumpkin Curry Soup but with a kick inspired by my friend Alicia, Butternut Squash Soup with Chiptole and Lime . I had kabocha to use along with pumpkin puree that I had opened for the Pumpkin Pie Bliss cocktails.

    Chipotle Kabocha & Pumpkin Soup
    Ingredients:
    1/2 roasted Kabocha squash, cubed
    1/2 white onion, diced
    20 oz low-sodium vegetable broth  (I did not use an entire carton)
    1-2 tbsp minced garlic
    1 package extra firm silken tofu
    1 tbsp chipotle adobe sauce (picked up this by accident rather than the chipotles)
    1 can pureed pumpkin
    To taste: salt, pepper, curry powder, garam masala, parsley, splash of lemon juice and liquid smoke
    Optional: splash of agave to balance sweetness 

    Directions:
    In large soup pot, saute onions and garlic until begins to soften (about 5 minutes). Add in vegetable broth, pumpkin puree, kabocha, chipotle and spices and allow to simmer for approximately 15-20 minutes.

    Transfer to a blender with tofu and puree until smooth. Transfer back to pot, add additional broth if too thick. Add in lemon juice, liquid smoke, and agave. Re-season if needed and allow to simmer for approximately 15 minutes.

    I served this with tempeh bacon diced up on top to compliment the smoky flavors of the liquid smoke and chipotle.
     

    This turned out really well with a hint of heat and smoke. Definitely different than the typical curry flavors often used with winter squashes, or the sweetness. Oh and multi-tasking...I was the queen tonight. I roasted poblano peppers to use for a white chili possibly Saturday as well as making a 3 Bean Salad for a pot-luck at work tomorrow. I also have extra kabocha to use for a salad for myself tomorrow as there really won't be veggie friendly options other than what I'm bringing.

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    Two on Tofu Tuesday

    Two on Tuesday 
    Today started off as a rainy, dreary day here. The temps were below 50 and it was windy as well. Makes it hard to get motivated that's for sure. I knew I wouldn't be doing the group run tonight, so that meant either step or some sort of boxing/kickboxing. I obviously did not get up early to work out though.

    At lunch I did shoulders and triceps.

    SS#1 - 3x8
    Overhead press
    Overhead triceps extensions

    SS#2 3x8
    Upright rows
    Lying triceps extensions

    SS#3 - 3x10
    Lateral raises
    Double-arm kickbacks

    Front raise open to side - 10
    Weighted triceps dips - 16

    It was a pretty good workout despite the fact that my heart rate monitor is pissing me off. Sometimes it won't register a heart rate at all. I changed the battery in the transmitter last week and am still having issues. At one point during my run on Sunday it said my HR was 192. Um, no. I've maxed out at 186 before and I know how that feels. So I don't know what's going on.

    After work I had planned on Cathe's Step Blast then the abs from that same disc. But when I left work, the sun was out and it had warmed up a bit (53 degrees). I just couldn't stand the idea of an inside workout today, and I need to get myself slowly acclimated to the lowering temps, rather than just wait until it's all of the sudden 40 (which is what seems to happen here, 60 then bam, 40 and below).

    I decided to push myself a bit for a faster run. I did over 3.5. I deviated from my normal route, so I don't think it was a full 4 miles, but definitely over 3.5. I may have to drive the route just to know for certain. I did do abs from the Step Pump and Jump workout (on same disc with Step Blast) before getting in a stretch while listening to Paula Deen add yet more butter to a recipe.

    Tofu Tuesday
    This morning I had enough time before I left for work to throw together a quick sweet and spicy tofu marinade for stir fry tonight. Love it when I get ahead of the game.

    Sweet & Spicy Tofu Marinade

    Ingredients:
    Soy sauce (tamari would work too)
    Orange juice
    Honey or agave
    Sriracha chili sauce
    Rice vinegar
    1 package extra firm tofu (pressed and cubed)

    Directions:
    Whisk all ingredients together and pour over cubed tofu. Allow to marinate at least 1 hour before baking.

    When I was done with my workouts, all I had to do was start the rice and start baking the tofu for the stir fry. For that, I used a bag of mixed frozen veggies, 1/2 red bell pepper, some fresh sugar snap peas, water chestnuts for crunch and of course the tofu. I used whatever marinade I had left as well as some store-bought stir fry sauce I had on hand.
     

    While this was going, I did throw together some Red Quinoa and Lentil Burgers using leftover lentils and quinoa from last night's dish. I am getting smarter about making extras to use for other dishes. So I have another meal ready to make this week with plenty of extra "burgers" to toss in the freezer for later.

    Monday, November 15, 2010

    Good Reasons for a Rest Day on Monday

    Well today I had planned on doing shoulders and triceps and likely a step workout after work. My sinuses are a mess though and my legs are just heavy from the runs this weekend. So I decided to take today as my rest day. I just wasn't up for anything to be honest.

    I think it was a smart decision for the fact that tomorrow's cardio will likely have to be indoors because of weather. I know that two days of step would be difficult for me to swallow. Also, I needed to hit Target at some point so the rest day lets me run that errand without feeling rushed, so things work out sometimes for the best.

    I've been seeing a few posts for recipes and dishes using delicata squash. I am a huge squash fan, but I had yet to try this one out. So the other day I picked one up just to try it out. I wasn't exactly sure how I was even going to use it to be honest. I figured I could roast it up and serve on a salad if nothing else.

    What I decided to do, since I had the extra time today, was to stuff it and serve it as a side dish to roasted potatoes and Quorn patties with a mushroom sauce.

    Quinoa Stuffed Delicata Squash
    Serves 2
    Ingredients:
    1 delicata squash
    1/2 cup cooked red quinoa
    1/2 cup cooked lentils (maybe a little less)
    1/4 white onion, diced
    1 tbsp minced garlic
    Dried cranberries (soaked in hot water to rehydrate)
    Vegetable broth or white wine
    Baby spinach
    To taste: salt, pepper, parsley

    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 375 degree.

    Cut squash lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Place flesh down on baking sheet and cook approximately 20 minutes, then remove from oven.

    In large non-stick skillet, saute onion, garlic, and cranberries until soft. Add in spinach and seasonings and allow spinach to begin to wilt. Stir in quinoa and lentils. Re-season if needed.

    Fill the squash with the quinoa mixture. Optional topping ideas: bread crumbs, goat cheese, or toasted pumpkin/squash seeds that have been coarsely ground.

    Place back into the oven and cook until squash is completely done, approximately 20 minutes.

    Portobello Mushroom Sauce
    Ingredients:
    1 small or 1/2 a large portobello, thinly sliced
    1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
    2-3 tbsp minced garlic
    To taste: salt, pepper, parsley, thyme, splash of liquid smoke
    White wine or vegetable broth
    Slurry (cornstarch and cold water, approximately 2-3 tbsp)

    Directions:
    In non-stick skillet, saute onions, garlic, and mushrooms in wine or broth. Cook until mushrooms and onions become soft before adding in the seasonings. Slowly stir in the slurry to help thicken the sauce.
     

    I think Jason was happier with this than I was. I think that the squash itself needed something - maybe just a small amount of salt, pepper, and perhaps nutmeg in the initial cooking stage. I also should have cooked the quinoa in broth I believe. Don't get me wrong, this was good, but it just seemed to be lacking a little something. Maybe some acid from apple cider vinegar. 

    Sunday, November 14, 2010

    Pumpkin Pie in a Glass & Lazy Sunday

    Dessert in a Glass
    Before I talk about today, I have to share wit you all the BEST dessert cocktail ever. We had picked up some Silk Nog yesterday for no real reason other than it was there. Well, after dinner, Sarah and I started talking about what you could make with vanilla rum. We came up with Pumpkin Pie Bliss. I will say that the amounts are pretty vague. I used a small blender (think Magic Bullet size) and just eyeballed the ingredients.


    Pumpkin Pie Bliss
    Ingredients:
    Silk nog
    Vanilla rum (approximately 2 shots)
    Pumpkin puree (maybe 3 tbsp)
    Cinnamon
    Freshly grated nutmeg


    Directions:
    In blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.

    I do believe we will be serving this at Thanksgiving in lieu of a pumpkin pie ;-)

    Lazy Sunday
    This morning we were pretty lazy. It was really kind of nice actually. I made oatmeal for the both of us for breakfast. We ate that and watched some Food Network. There was no rushing, no sense of urgency. It was really nice.

    We finally decided to get off our rears to head to the river trails for a run. Today was much sunnier, less windy, and a bit warmer. Perfect. Sarah was going to try for 4 miles, but just wasn't feeling up to it today. She still did over 3 miles, and I'm proud of her for that. I did 5.5 trying to keep my pace a little slower since I did 10 miles yesterday. I figured it'd be in my best interest (and my legs would thank me).

    We got back to the house and cleaned up and had a quick lunch. Sarah needed to get back home. She had Sunday errands to run. I thought I might make a trip to Target, but ended up making some seitan and staying home instead. It was a day of no makeup and no hair styling. Sometimes we need those days!

    Jason got home around 4 pm and had to get unpacked. Since we didn't get to have Pizza Friday, we're having Pizza Sunday. We're also being lazy, sitting on the couch and catching up on DVR'ed shows. Sometimes lazy feels so good.

    Saturday, November 13, 2010

    Girls' Weekend

    Girls' Happy Hour
    Last night I had an absolutely fantastic time with two girlfriends. We met up at a place downtown called Dizzy's Gypsy Bistro. It's a fun, ecclectic place, but I will say they're proud of their food if you know what I mean. The salsa is great, but not 8.99 great. But it's the company that was most important (and yes a couple of drinks too). We chatted, laughed, gabbed for over two hours before calling it a night. My friend Meg also gave me an early birthday present. She is one friend who absolutely gets me. It's like we've known each other forever. Do you have a friend who absolutely gets you?

    Windy 10-Miler
    I didn't want to mention it yesterday because I was going to be alone - but Jason went camping with his dad, brother, nephews, and brother-in-law this weekend. My sister is staying with me tonight though so I don't feel uncomfortable saying he's gone. Anyway, I turned in around 10 pm and had a really good night's sleep actually.

    This morning I woke up to a cold, windy, gray day. But I was determined to get in a long run today. The forecast said it was supposed to reach 63 and the sun come out. Um, not so much. The winds were insane, and really cool, biting. I hit the river trail around 10:30 with new wind jacket I bought last week. Loved it. Though I did end up taking it off as I got pretty warm. However, on the return, um, hello headwinds from HELL. I got super cold and wished I had worn gloves. It was a complete change from the first 4.5 miles out.

    Anyway, I kept going and felt pretty good despite the crazy freaking wind. I checked when I got home and it said 16 mph, but it felt way worse than that. Maybe because it wasn't just gusts, but constant and I was near the water? No matter, I managed another 10-miler today. I think getting a dose of runner's high around mile 6 may have helped. I was all but giggling out loud. It was really comical I have to say. Anyway, I got in 10 miles and it felt really great to accomplish that mileage on my own.

    Oh, I tried the Clif Shot Bloks today. I only managed to eat 2 though. They were a lot bigger than the Gu brand I used last week and I had a really hard time chewing them without choking. I had wanted to try a gel but since I didn't have an extra pair of hands to help me out (never used them) and I didn't know how they'd make me feel, I opted to play it safer. The last thing I needed was to be 4+ miles from my car and get sick.

    Girls' Day at It's Best
    Sarah got here around 1:30 and the skies finally started clearing up, but it never warmed up. We hit the mall for a bit. I love getting to go shopping with my sis. I was really excited to find two pairs of dress pants that fit, not hemming, not being taken, up, down. They just fit. We both found super cute skinny jeans too. It was a very successful shopping day I must say.

    After shopping, we headed over to a friend's house (one of the girls I met last night) for some late afternoon mimosas and girl time. We stayed and chatted for a few hours. It's been a fun girls' day all the way around.

    Right now we're in our PJ's, and I have Chipotle Tempeh Chili simmering on the stove (and smelling delish). I'm going to sign off and enjoy the rest of the night with my sis. I think we're going to try for a run tomorrow. I think she wants to try for 4 miles, and I think she'll really enjoy running by the river.

    I hope everyone is having a great weekend so far!

    Friday, November 12, 2010

    Fun Facts Friday - More Randomness

    Tried and True
    Well today was chest and then a run at lunch. Since I didn't have a spotter handy, I went with my tried and true (and DOMS inducing) superset of flyes into presses with pushups.

    Wide-arm pushups - 24

    Flat bench flyes into bench press - 3x8

    Pushups with toes on bench - 2x8

    Incline flyes into presses - 3x8

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

    This seriously always gives me some major DOMS. It seems like it shouldn't somehow; I never feel completely shaky right after, but the next day...wow.

    Terrific Run
    It was another warm, sunny day here. But a cold (cooler) front is due to move through tonight and into tomorrow morning - bringing rain. I think it's supposed to move through quickly (it better because I'm planning to run tomorrow).

    Jason promised me yesterday that he would run with me today at lunch, so I held him to it. I really and truly wanted just an easy run today. My last 2 runs were on the faster, tougher side. I need to make sure to balance those out. Oh, and my legs are still a bit sore from Wednesday's workout. 

    It was a terrific run for me today. I felt like I could have just run all day. It was a bit warm, but the breeze was nice and the company even better. It's just gorgeous out. Not much beats time spent outside on a gorgeous day with the hubby. We got in 4.25 miles then had to call it quits (aka get our butts back to work). I sure hope tomorrow's longer run goes as smoothly.

    Fun Facts Friday - More Randomness
    I really couldn't come up with a theme for Fun Facts Friday. I just kept thinking of random things/facts here and there. So why not just go with that? That's how most of us think anyway...please tell me you do too. So here are some random facts and how one thought can lead to another:
    • No Pizza Friday today, but hope to get my pizza fix on Sunday.
    • Meeting 2 girlfriends for happy hour  - yay for girl time.
    • My sister is coming to stay with me tomorrow - yay for more girl time!
    • Being proud of my sister after receiving a text that she ran 3.4 miles today.
    • I sometimes get really nervous before I go for a run (not talking races, just out for a run).
    • I woke up around 2 am and was thinking about what I wanted to wear when I ran today and tomorrow.
    • I started obsessing around 2:30 am about which re-fueling option to take with me on my longer run tomorrow. I'll be solo so no spare set of hands or pockets.
    • I actually apologized to the cashier at the LImited for being on the phone with 1-800Contacts while trying to check out. They called right as I got to the register.
    • I think talking on the cell at the register is rude.
    • I think texting while visiting with your friends is rude (probably an age thing for me).
    • My birthday is coming up (speaking of age) and I need to learn to not get down about it. Find the positives right?
    • I think I think too much.

    Ok, how does your mind work?

    Thursday, November 11, 2010

    Another Dog Park Day & Creamy Portobello Pasta

    Dog Park for Lunch
    So today was another absolutely gorgeous and unseasonably warm (80 degrees) day here. Jason and I were planning on either running today at lunch or tomorrow. We ended up agreeing to run tomorrow and taking the dogs to the dog park for lunch instead. I'll admit I was a bit disappointed but in reality, the rest was needed after a leg workout. I believe the run will be better tomorrow because of it, and it's supposed to be a little bit cooler too.

    We quickly packed up the pupsters for a quick trip to the park. I had my lunch ready and Jason picked up a sandwich from a food truck (some friends own one). Heath was definitely a bit more confident at the park today, though they never strayed far from us. I do find that reassuring actually. I think they had a good time. We couldn't stay very long though. It was so hard to get back to the office because it was just so incredibly beautiful out.
     
     
     
    Bath Time
    After work I had an errand to run before heading home. So it worked out nicely that today was a rest day I suppose. The dogs are in desperate need of a grooming, especially after these trips to the dog park, but their groomer can't see them until next Thursday. So that meant torture time (bath time) by me.

    Heath is actually pretty good about being bathed. He just stand there, not happy, but not hating me either. Maddie, not so much. She slips and slides all around the tub and keeps her chin over the edge, which means water goes everywhere. Good times.

    Mushrooms on the Menu
    After bathing the dogs and then myself, I decided to try my hand at a new recipe for dinner. We had 2 really healthy sized portobellos that needed to be used. I had been thinking about trying out a creamy mushroom pasta dish - been mulling this one over all week so I decided I'd give it a shot tonight.

    Creamy Portobello Pasta
    Ingredients:
    1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
    2 tbsp minced garlic
    2 large portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
    1.5 "beef" bullion cube
    2 cup hot water
    Fresh spinach
    5-6 sundried tomatoes reconstituted and diced
    1 box firm silken tofu
    Nutritional yeast flakes
    To taste: salt, pepper, basil, red chili flakes (optional)
    8 oz whole-wheat penne or rotini cooked per package directions
    Pine nuts to toss in (optional)

    Directions:
    Dissolve bullion cube in hot water. In large skillet, saute onions, garlic, and portobellos in about 3/4 of the bullion broth until soft.

    In a food processor or blender, puree tofu seasoned with salt, pepper, basil, nutritional yeast flakes, some of the broth and a few sliced portobellos.

    To the mushroom mixture, add in the sundried tomatoes and tofu mixture. Allow to simmer until heated through. Add in the spinach and chili flakes near the end. If too thick, add in more broth, unflavored soy or almond milk, or white wine. When the spinach is wilted, add in the pasta and toss until coated.
     

    I will be honest, I wasn't sure how this was going to turn out. The verdict? YUM. This was so good. It was creamy, rich, in all the right ways. Remember the canned mushroom soup? This is that same idea only better, healthier. This is a winner for sure. It would be good with the addition of artichokes as well as another option. You will not miss cheese or milk in this dish I promise.