Friday, December 31, 2010

Last Run for 2010 and Living Fuller

This morning I had really hoped to sleep in late, I was aiming for 9 am actually. Maddie decided to start barking around 6:30 though so that foiled my plans. I did stay in bed and doze until 8:30 though. It felt so nice to be back in my own bed.

We had a front moving through today that brought in warm temps, high humidity, and deadly tornadoes. Thankfully, the storms weren't as bad for us, but sadly people were killed in the storms today. Whenever it's 70+ degrees in December or January, you know to expect tornadoes.

My sinuses were feeling less packed in today, but this crud is starting to move into my chest unfortunately. I had to use my inhaler twice today when I rarely even use it once a month. However, with the temps being so much warmer, I couldn't pass up a run. I really wasn't sure how far I was going to make it. I was hoping for at least 3 miles. Since I wasn't convinced I would be able to go very far, I didn't think to bring my small water bottle that I can carry with me. Big mistake because I was dehydrated feeling from the sinus meds then my sinuses started draining so I felt like I was choking on snot (attractive I know). At one point I actually started thinking about grabbing a leaf to blow my nose on.

I will say that I ended up having a pretty good 5.5 mile run with zero IT band pain. However, the sinus meds, congestion, and humidity made for a more difficult run. But I am happy to end 2010 with a pain-free run at least.

I got home and immediately started to roll my IT band as well as use the new Triggerpoint balls to roll out my lower back. While finishing up stretching, I called Jason to ask about plans tonight - we were invited last minute to have dinner with friends. My friend Karla sent me a text that for her hubby's (Troy) birthday they wanted to go out. Jason then tells me that Troy had also asked him/us to lunch (that part I didn't know about). So I had to get ready really quickly so we could make it across town. It was at a new wing joint but I figured I could at least get a side salad (trying to be flexible). They ended up having a veggie burger on the menu to my surprise. Sometimes it pays to be more flexible.

This brings me to my resolution for 2011. I don't normally do resolutions. Last year was the first time I actually set out some specific goals. What I realized is that it's really more about positive personal growth than just set goals like running a half marathon or writing a book - for me anyway. So this year, my goal is to live fuller. For me, this means being more flexible, being willing to change, taking risks, basically living life to its fullest.

For Fun Facts Friday, I thought it would be fun to hear what some of your resolutions are if you make them. Or why you don't make them perhaps. Or you can just tell me what you're up to this evening. Jason and I will be having Pizza and Pool Friday staying in out of the madness.

I hope that whatever you do, you have a safe and wonderful New Year's Eve!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Mt. Magazine Wedding: Part 2

Wednesday Wedding Recap  
So Wednesday was the wedding day. It was again rainy and foggy. I will say that the rain and fog were beginning to be a bit oppressive feeling, but the wedding made up for that feeling. It was beautiful. The decorations were fitting for winter including three croque en bouche as the bride's cake and a bouche noel as the groom's cake. The guest gifts were either a snowflake cookie cutter or a snowflake wine stopper (we came home with one of each of course).

I figured that the best way to do the recap of the wedding was to do it mostly as photos:

Fog

 
Wedding








Thursday
This morning we woke up to more fog, rain, and howling (literally) wind. We made it home around 1 pm and unloaded the car. The dogs were worn out thanks to my sister's kiddos. My dear friend Lindsey was in town and wanted to try to get together. She stopped by the house and we all headed out for a couple of drinks just to sit back, relax, and catch up. Lindsey is my friend who's husband recently passed after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer. I say that, but only so my readers can know who I'm referring to not as something that defines her.

Our afternoon together was very special, tons of laughter, lots of remembering. Lindsey is like another sister to me. I must say, Jason was such a trooper and stuck it out listening to us gab and giggle. And trust me, we can be loud and totally obnoxious!
So the past few days have been great despite being sick, fog, rain, whatever. A dear friend married his best friend and I also got to visit with one of my dearest friends. I think the year is ending on a good note.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mt. Magazine Wedding: Part 1

Well, I managed to get my errands run and make it to spin class yesterday. I thought that perhaps sweating out the, whatever, would help me feel better. Really all I was trying to do was not have snot dripping on my towel more than the sweat. I actually ended up feeling worse after spin. Usually a workout, even with a cold, makes me feel better. Not so yesterday.

Jason ended up stopping by Kroger on our way to Mt. Magazine to pick up more meds. I have been taking Zyrtec D (which usually helps). He wasn't sure what to get so he grabbed a myriad of things like Zicam, Ricola, even Airborne for himself as he was starting to get worried he was going to catch something from me. I've never tried Zicam, but though, what the hell....got nothing to lose at this point. Not sure if it did anything to be honest, but it didn't make me feel worse at least.

I dozed in the car for about 20 minutes or so, then he needed help with some directions. We made it safely in 2 hours. It was starting to get super foggy here though - but at least not cold enough to freeze. The evening started off in one of the cabins rented by a family member. They're calling it the hospitality cabin as we all have 24 hour access and it's stocked with wine, beer, liquor, sandwich makings, snacks, etc. We're staying in a room in the lodge itself. It's nice and cozy, and I mean that in a good way not an it's so small kind of way. Because of the fog, we had no idea what the views were like upon arrival. But, here's a picture of Brian (groom-to-be) and Jason in the hospitality cabin.


I brought a cooler of food, including my recent Crockpot Tempeh Chili. For the wedding eve dinner, they were serving chili, so this way I fit in. Jason took it and heated it up for me in one of the serving bowls so no one even noticed or made a big deal out of it. It was so nice for a change - I was expecting to eat it out of the avocado green Tupperware bowl (circa early 1970's). The theme of the night was game night as Brian, his father, and brother are huge card fans. So there were card games going on, a Wii was hooked up for the kids, and even a Baggo set up (I think some may call it corn in the hole?).

It really was a nice evening, everyone having fun. But I was just not feeling swell at all and ended up heading back to the room around 8:30. I felt bad for feeling bad. I so rarely get sick like this that it's really annoying. Usually I start feeling a bit ick, but then take something and recover just as fast as it came on. So I'm not used to this to say the least.

I got back to the room, took more medicine, crawled into my PJs and tried to relax. Then the fire alarms started going off, and going, and going....I had to leave the room in PJs, sans makeup, in the cold wet night alone. I couldn't get Jason on his cell either (it apparently died). Not a happy camper. I couldn't grasp how he wouldn't be trying to call me or find me with fire alarms going off. Apparently they were only going off on the guest room side and not the conference room half where the reception was. I was steaming mad of course not being able to find him and he was completely clueless. Ahhhh, good times.

This morning we woke up to more rain, more fog, still no views. I think we have a great view from our room...maybe tomorrow morning it'll be visible. I had oatmeal and then hit the gym. I got in a good 4 miles on the treadmill watching tv. Though, I must rant for a moment. A man came in with his 2 kids (boy probably 5, girl about 9) and let them play on the freaking equipment. I can understand bringing your kids down with you if you're trying to get in a workout. But this man just stood there watching the entire freaking time while his kids hopped from one piece of equipment to the other then even both on one of the treadmills. Seriously? They even started playing with the weight machines. Very distracting for one, but also dangerous for another. There is an indoor pool and a game room. So why take your kids to the fitness room to "play?"

Anyway, they wedding rehearsal was from 9:30-10:00 this morning. Jason went to the restaurant with everyone for breakfast while I was running and getting cleaned up. I went down to visit for a bit before we headed back to the room briefly. Internet was out, nothing on tv, I was getting hungry, so we went back to the restaurant. I got a side salad and dumped some blackened seitan on it that I had brought with me. Next on tap is to just kill a couple of hours before the wedding.

So with that, I'm signing off. I promise to take lots of pictures tonight. I charged the camera so it's ready to go.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Short One

Today's post is going to be a brief one as I am not completely sure of the internet access at the lodge we'll be staying at, nor of how busy I'll be. Right now I feel like I'm fighting off a cold and I'm completely exhausted feeling. I didn't sleep well at all for two reasons: 1) cold medicine and 2) Jason getting home after 11:30 pm.

He went out with the guys from the wedding party last night. Actually, I pretty much saw Jason all of 10 minutes yesterday. Anyway, I have a really hard time falling asleep without him being home. I also knew that when he got home, he'd wake/startle the dogs so I was semi-anticipating that. Plus, the medicine I took kept me awake as well. I probably didn't finally fall asleep until sometime around 1 am.

I am planning (key word) on trying to hit up Group Ride at my gym at noon. I do have to go by Whole Foods though to pick up a few things to take with me and to leave for my sis and the kids who will be watching the dogs for us. I also took more sinus medicine, so we'll see how excited I am about a workout when the time rolls around. There is supposedly a gym at the place where we are staying, so I can always get in cardio tomorrow if not today.

The wedding festivities are taking place at Mount Magazine. It's supposed to be a 2-hour drive, not too terrible. Oh, and everyone raves about how gorgeous it is there as well. I'm mostly packed, but Jason is not so who knows what time we'll actually pull out of the driveway this afternoon. I have no idea what time the rehearsal is this evening. I am fairly certain Jason doesn't know either ;-) I'm trying to not stress out about schedules and eats and all that jazz. Maybe I'll just curl up with some vino in my room if worse comes to worse - thought it'd taste like crap right now after the sinus medicine.

I will take pictures and hope to be able to post normally tomorrow. I'm sure I'll have plenty of down time as the wedding isn't until 5pm.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Crockpot Chili, New Workout & a Rant

Crockpot Fail
Ok, so it wasn't the crockpot's fault that the crockpot chili failed. It was my fault for not starting it sooner. Really there was no reason to cook the chili in the crockpot other than to play with my new toy. But after 2 hours, I was beyond ready to eat and the chili was nowhere near being ready. I did the only rational thing I could think of...transfer to a soup pot and finish it up quickly. I did add barley to the chili for a change. I always see others adding it and never seem to remember myself.

Anyway, this is a recipe I'll try again when I can program it to start about 4 hours ahead of time.

Crockpot Tempeh Chili
Ingredients:
1 package tempeh, crumbled and browned
1/4 cup pearled barley
1 15 oz can no-salt diced tomatoes
1 can red beans, rinsed and drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
16 oz no-salt vegetable broth
1 not-beef bouillon cube
32 oz water
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 white onion, diced
1/2 poblano pepper, diced
2 tbsp garlic, minced
3 oz tomato paste
To taste: salt, pepper, cumin, cilantro, chipotle flakes (or chipotle in adobo), red pepper, chili powder

Directions:
Add all ingredients into your crockpot and cook for approximately 4 hours on high or longer on lower setting.

New Workout & Step
Man was it hard getting up and going to work this morning. I've not slept any later than 8 the whole time I was off work, but I guess I was getting used to 7:30 and 8 am rather than 6:20 am. Yawn. It was a very brisk 21 degrees this morning as well. Definitely makes you walk faster!

This week is technically supposed to be an active recovery week from weights. However, I have been itching to try a new Cathe DVD called STS Total Body. I went with the upper body only premix as it's only 24 minutes long. You're supposed to do the workout at 65% of your 1RM. It's done as trisets that are done first at 16 reps, then 12 reps followed by a burn out exercise such as pushups or band work.

Flat Bench Press 16
Chest Flys 16
Dips 16
Flat Bench Press 12
Chest Flys 12
Dips 12
Close Grip Push Ups 8
Push Ups Standard 16
Barbell Rows 16
One Arm Row 16
Standing Dumbbell Curl 16
Barbell Rows 12
One Arm Row 12
Standing Dumbbell Curl 12
T-Pull with band
Seated Band Curls
Standing Overhead Press Both Arms 16
Standing Upright Rows 16
Standing Lateral Raise 16
Standing Overhead Press Both Arms 12
Standing Upright Rows 12
Standing Lateral Raise 12
Band Rear Delt Row

When I got home, I went with 3 step combos plus abs from Cathe's Low Impact Circuit. I stretched and used some of the TriggerPoint Therapy Kit equipment to roll out my IT band and calves. Loving this set!

Leftovers and a Rant
Tonight, Jason is having dinner with a friend who's wedding he's in on Wednesday. So, dinner was just leftovers for me. We've got plenty that need to be used up. We're going to be leaving mid-day tomorrow for a resort/lodge where our friend's wedding will be. The rehearsal is tomorrow, then wedding Wednesday afternoon. We won't be home until Thursday.

My sister and her kids are going to come up and doggy sit so there are a few things I can leave in the fridge. But, since Sarah is now gluten-free, there are several things that will just go to waste if not eaten before we leave.

I'm a little frustrated about what I am going to do about eating starting Tuesday evening. I've seen the menu for the events and there's nothing on there for me, Our room has a fridge, but no microwave. Jason is going to call the lodge and find out if it's possible for me to bring in something to the events so that I don't have to just sit and watch people eat or go eat alone in our room - like cold cereal. Sigh. Maybe I need a portable microwave ;-)

Anyway, I know I've harped on this issue before, so I'm going to try my best just to move along. But it can be so frustrating sometimes. It's really not fun to not be able to eat. And then people assume the reason I'm thin is because I don't eat. But I'm not eating because there is nothing for me to eat, not because I'm trying to starve myself. And of course I know that there are those who say, "Well, you're the one who chooses to eat that way." Kind of a you made your bed deal. I guess they're partially right. But why should people who choose not to eat meat, or who choose to eat healthier (either by choice or dietary necessity like allergies) somehow be made to feel like outcasts?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Recap & Running Woes

Christmas Day
Yesterday was a long one, but a good one that even included some snow flurries (closest thing to a white Christmas we'll ever get). It started off with more time in the kitchen getting food ready to take with us to our hometown where we started off with lunch at my sister's house.

But...before going there, I must talk about my gifts of course. We got the food started before opening our own Christmas presents. It was a Victoria's Secret Christmas for me. I can never have too many PJs and was in need of new undies and house shoes. I got Jason a down vest, some new PJs, a much-needed new robe and some other goodies. Heath and Maddie (via Jason) got a gift for Jason and me. This was something we both needed in a BIG way. It's a Triggerpoint set complete with 2 different rollers and 2 balls and DVDs to help you roll out all the muscles - ideal for runners (sorry for the ugly picture below).



So, after opening our own gifts, getting ready and packed up, we hit my sister's house first. We had to leave our house at 10:45 to get to Sarah's on time. We ate lunch before opening gifts. Jason and I brought roasted potatoes and the Red Quinoa & Acorn Squash I mentioned yesterday. Mom brought a couple of sides and some chicken and Sarah had some gluten-free bread. It was definitely more than enough food for lunch.

And the gifts...When we got there I had asked my niece and nephew if they had gotten everything they had asked for from Santa Clause. With a big sigh, I was told they hadn't gotten their pet pillow, but that was ok. Little did they know, that's what we got them. A got her unicorn and C got his puppy. They carried them around the rest of the day.

Jason was quick to get in the floor to help open and play with gifts.
Then there were the obligatory pictures of mom, Sarah, and me.
Me and Sarah
Then  with the kiddos.
Then Sarah and me showing off our new jewelry that my niece made us. This was just the start. Sarah ended up with a necklace like mine and I eventually got a bracelet like hers.
Jason went by his mom and dad's house, and I rode with Sarah to our dad's house, where dinner was eventually had...along with more pictures, more family fun, and more gifts.
We made it home a little after 9 pm. The dogs were NOT happy. It was about 3 hours passed their dinner time for starters. We had to clean up an accident as well. Can't really blame them as we had been gone so long. We ended up all piling up on the couch watching TV.


Day After
This morning we were super slow going. It was another cold, windy day. We had planned on getting in a run, but did our best to wait until it warmed up as much as it was going to warm up. We stayed in our PJs doing absolutely nothing until about 11:15 before deciding we needed to go ahead and get on with the run. It was 33 degrees with wind chill of 25 and winds gusting to 17 mph when we headed out. I have officially declared myself insane.

All I wanted to do was hit 4 miles today. Thankfully, I did indeed make it for 4 pain-free miles. I never had any IT band issues at all. However, mentally, it was a crappy run again for me. It was cold, windy, I was having problems with my asthma, sinuses, etc. I felt like I was choking on snot the majority of the run. I felt like I never hit a groove at all. We we did 4 miles in right at 32 minutes. That says a lot considering the 2nd half was into the wind - lots of cursing going on from me.

I must say, I'm worried now about running. My last 2 runs have been mentally off for me. I feel like I've totally lost the groove, the enjoyment. While my IT band was fine (which I am sooo happy about) I feel like I'm not there, not in the run now. I think I'm so focused on my form, on just waiting for the first twinge from my IT band that I am not enjoying the running like I was before.

Anyway, after we got home, we both tried out the new Triggerpoint equipment. I rolled out my IT band and my calves, which were killing me and that's never happened before. Oh, on gift I forgot to mention was a programmable crock pot from my dad and step-mom. You know what that means in terms of dinner tonight right? It must be used. So I'm thinking I'll try out out with a Tempeh Chili recipe. Recipe and review will come tomorrow.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Eve Dinner

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of my readers!

Kitchen Day
Yesterday I spent about 7 hours in the kitchen. I made and jarred spaghetti sauce, cooked lentils then made a lentil loaf for dinner, roasted up acorn squash, baked bread, and put together treat bags (to get rid of leftover treats made for the brunch party). It was worth it of course, but man my feet were tired. Oh and my walls were covered with spaghetti sauce along with stove, counter, floor, me... You know you're Italian when...


Christmas Eve Dinner
Since Jason and I won't be home until late tomorrow and would definitely be too stuffed to eat a Christmas dinner at home, I made a Christmas Eve meal for us instead. I made a Chipotle Lentil Loaf topped with my Chipotle Cranberry Relish, roasted sweet potatoes seasoned with rosemary, thyme, salt & pepper, and sauteed kale with cranberries.

Chipotle Lentil Loaf
Ingredients:
2 cups dried lentils
6 cups water
1 not-beef bouillon cube
Dehydrated white onions (a few tablespoons)
To taste: parsley, salt, pepper, garlic powder, chipotle flakes (or use chipotle in adobo)
1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp hot water)
Oatmeal flour (just grind oats in coffee grinder, approximately 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped
Chipotle Cranberry Relish

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In large pot, cook lentils in water with bouillon cube until lentils are soft and water is gone. Turn off heat but leave on stove to absorb any extra moisture. Add in remaining ingredients (minus relish), adding additional flour if needed for thickness.

Prepare a loaf pan and transfer mixture into pan and press it down. Bake for approximately 30 minutes then spread on the Chipotle Cranberry Relish and bake another 20-30 minutes.
 
 
 
 

Christmas Day
Today we will be in our home town pretty much the entire day. We're having lunch at my sister's house with my mom. That meant more time in the kitchen this morning. I made Red Quinoa and Acorn Squash and roasted new potatoes to take over there. Then we're making a stop by Jason's parents' house to drop off gifts before heading to my dad's for dinner. Thanksgiving is always spaghetti and Christmas is manicotti. I brought along the same dish I made for Thanksgiving though: green beans sauteed with red bell peppers, garlic, and almonds.

Red Quinoa and Acorn Squash
Ingredients:
1 medium acorn squash, cubed
1 cup red quinoa cooked per package directions
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp garlic
White wine (just enough to help steam the kale)
Small bunch of kale, chopped
Handful dried cranberries, (optional)
To taste: salt, pepper, parsley, agave (optional)

Directions:
Roast squash for approximately 20 minutes at 375 degrees.

In large skillet, saute onion, garlic, cranberries, and kale in the white wine until soft. Add in the quinoa, and acorn squash. Re-season if needed.

I will be sure to post pictures tomorrow as we'll be in late tonight. I'm sure there will be loads of fun pictures of my niece and nephew. I truly hope that everyone has a wonderful day whether you are celebrating Christmas or not.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Party Recap and Fun Facts Friday - Christmas Memories

Party Recap
Last night's Christmas Eve Eve Brunch was a success. Everyone seemed to enjoy the food, even the Vegan Veggie Frittata. I was sort of thinking I'd be the only one eating that one, but to my surprise, everyone wanted to try it and actually liked it. Seal of approval has been given to this one. The next time I make it, I will likely add in a bit more color with red bell peppers and maybe green onions.

Vegan Veggie Frittata
Ingredients:
1 package extra firm silken tofu
1-2 tbsp spicy mustard
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Splash of soy or almond milk
To taste: salt, pepper, garlic powder, nutritional yeast flakes (approximately 3 tbsp)
1/4 orange bell pepper, diced
1/4 white onion, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 small yellow squash, diced
To taste: salt, pepper, parsley, basil
Vegan cheese (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In food processor, puree tofu, mustard, vinegar, milk, and first set of spices until thick and creamy - almost like a mousse.

In non-stick skillet, saute remaining ingredients until soft.

Prepare a small springform pan or glass baking dish with a non-stick spray (baking spray suggested). Poor the veggies into the bottom and spread around then pour in the tofu mixture and smooth out evenly. Top with the vegan cheese. Bake approximately 30 minutes or until begins to brown.

So, here are some pictures of the spread. Not super pretty because I have to put everything on the counter out of the reach of nosy, sneaky dogs.
Vegan Coffee Cake
White Chocolate Almond Cranberry Bark (aka crack)

Free No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookies

Greek & Mexican Style Fritattas

Vegan Veggie Frittata

Veggie Sausages

Part of The Spread

Fruit Salad

 And of course a few people pictures. I sort of failed on that this time.
 

Leg Day
This morning I went with legs from STS Meso 2, Week 4. I wasn't super motivate to do a leg workout, in fact, I opted to pluck my eyebrows first ;-) In the end, I had a good leg workout and time flew by once I got started. The workout is done with 3 sets of trisets done 3x10 at 80% of my 1RM.

TS#1
Step ups
Rear leg slide back lunges
Wall squats

TS#2
Deadlifts on step
Side sliding lunges
Narrow stance squats

TS#3
Front lunges (supposed to be 45-degree angle but too hard on IT band)
Alternating plie squats
Low-plane lunges (start low and do 10 counts of low-end pulses)

Single-leg calf raises on step

I added in 2x18 of weighted donkey kicks and roll-ins/hip lifts on stability ball.

After legs, I decided to go with MMA Boxing for some cardio. Then it was stretching, rolling, stretching, and rolling.

Fun Facts Friday - Christmas Memories 
I got cleaned up, but stayed in yoga pants and warm fleece shirt for the day. I had a lot to do in the kitchen today and that always demands comfort. I had to finally make and jar my spaghetti sauce as well as bake bread. The sauce is literally an all-day affair. From start to finish it is about 7 hours. But, the sauce is just part of Christmas for me. It would almost feel wrong not giving it to friends and family now.

That brings me to Christmas memories. Most of my Christmas memories are great, they make me smile and are what I think of when I think of Christmas. Not all of our Christmases were ideal of course, but I try to remember all the great smiles, memories, and family time... and some gifts of course.
  • I Dream of Genie PJs - they were red with chiffon. We would stand and strike "Genie" poses in them.
  • A pair of cowgirl boots. My shoe fetish started very early.
  • Baking cookies with my sister.
  • Icing cookies with mom and sister. 
  • Waiting up for my cousins to get to my grandmother's house - I would guess the time of arrival based on what time they were leaving Missouri. 
  • Enjoying the traditional manicotti dinner. 
  • Sitting in the floor in PJs opening presents with Jason. 
  • Watching my niece and nephew open their gifts.
  • Spending the day with family.

What are some of your favorite or most special Christmas memories?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lifting, Running, Baking & Non-Baking

Working it Out
This morning I thought I'd sleep in a bit as an indulgence on my first day off of my 4-day holiday weekend. Well, I was awake around 6, but stayed in bed at least until about 7:40 before giving up. Hey, it's start ;-) I got started on some of the cooking and prep for this evening's party. I made some cookies and a coffee cake before starting in on my workout.

Today was Shoulders and Triceps. As I've mentioned, I missed Week 2 of STS Meso 2, so I did that for today's workout but as a pyramid style increasing my weights as the reps dropped.

Standing shoulder press - 12,10,8,TF
Standing lateral raises - 12,10,8,TF
Seated rear delt flyes - 12,10,8,TF
Lying dumbbell triceps extensions - 12,10,8,TF
Side lying single-arm extensions on ball - 12,10,8
Seated double-arm overhead dumbbell extension on ball - TF
Double-arm kick backs - 12,10,8,TF

After the weights, I headed out for a chilly 3.5 mile run. Tuesday I was clad in sports bra and shorts, today I had on long tights, compression top, wind jacket, gloves, and ear band (headband over ears). BRRR. It was under 40 degrees and windy. I had zero problems with my IT band, but it was mentally a crappy run for me. The head band kept causing my ear buds to hurt my ears or fall out (kept adjusting) and it also kept making my glasses either smash into my nose or bounce. I was downright pissed by the end of the run. So much of my focus was on trying to fix the head situation.

Anyway, I rolled my IT band and stretched for about 20 minutes.

Kitchen Time
So, now for the baking and non-baking...
Jason had requested a coffee cake for the brunch theme. I did lots of internet searching to see if I could find a slightly healthier recipe. I ended up going with a Vegan Coffee Cake courtesy of The Clean Eating Mama. The only change I made is that she called for 3/4 cup can sugar. I used 1/4 cup of the NuNaturals Stevia Baking Blend and then the rest the called-for sugar.

Sarah and I usually do a cookie-baking day. But this year we opted for an easier treat option. Neither of us have as many people to pass the cookies off to this year since we didn't make them before our time off.

I went with a no-bake cookie. Not necessary Christmassy, but good nonetheless. After making Jessica @ How Sweet It Is No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookies, I knew I had to figure out a way to make them gluten-free for my sister. I decided to go all out and make a totally free cookie: gluten-, dairy-, sugar-free. Sounds horrible right? Not at all. They are fantastic.

Free No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookies
(Adapted from How Sweet It Is)
Ingredients
1 1/4 cups rice flour
1/8 cup NuNaturals Stevia Baking Blend
Pinch of ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
2/3 cup natural crunchy peanut butter (no sugar)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup NuNatruals Stevia Baking Blend
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions:
Combing the rice flour, 1/8 cup stevia, ginger and cinnamon in a large bowl. Once it's combined, add in the remaining ingredients and mix well. If the mixture is too dry, add in additional syrup.

Roll into balls and place on baking sheet and press flat. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

We also made some dolled up popcorn. Just popped a couple of bags and tossed with M&Ms and melted chocolate.
The other day, I saw a yummy looking treat posted by Kristy @ The Casual Dish for some Cherry Almond Chocolate Clusters. I thought the tart of the cherries, plus the texture of the cherries would be just fantastic with the almonds and paired with the chocolate. So instead of baking, I suggested to Sarah that we make something similar: White Chocolate Almond Cranberry Bark. This is definitely a major indulgence type of treat for me. Nothing I would normally ever make or eat.

Other than the treats, the menu tonight will be:
Mimosas (of course)
Bloody Marys
Vegan Coffee Cake
Greek Style Frittata
Mexican Style Frittata
Vegan Veggie Frittata
Gimme Lean "Sausage" Patties
Bagels with Cream Cheese
Fruit Salad

I'll be sure to post pictures of the spread along with the vegan frittata recipe and a review on taste. And of course I'll do a full recap of the party with pictures.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

TGIW

Gym Day
Well, today the temps were back closer to the normal range - as in 51 not 73. Today was like my Friday as we are off Thursday and Friday for the holidays. Even better, I got to leave at 12:30 pm. Now that's a Christmas gift for sure!

I had packed my gym bag this morning because I knew I wanted to work back today. I wasn't sure if I would be hitting up spin class or just the elliptical. Since I got off work early (though not early enough for the noon spin class), I just hit the elliptical for my cardio.

Since I missed Week 2 of STS Meso 2, I went with that for my Week 4 workout. I decided to start at 70% and work up to 80% of my 1RM with each set so that I was hitting the 80% as I was supposed to this week.

Warm up on elliptical for 10 minutes
Pullups
Medium grip chinups
Chinups
Barbell rows - 12,10,8,TF
1-arm rows - 12,10,8,TF
Pullovers - 12,10,8,TF
Low back extensions on ball

Again, I left out the band work and deadlifts and substituted with pullovers and low back extensions on the stability ball. I did some ab work, both weighted and using the stability ball. I finished off the workout with about 20 minutes on the elliptical before calling it quits.

What's funny is how different the crowds can be at the gym depending on what time you go. Usually just after 4 pm it's fairly empty with the exception of a few men, typically in their late 30's or early 40's. Today, around 1 pm, it was younger men, and total meat heads at that. More grunting and flexing than at a muscle and fitness show. 

Protein Fail
I went home and got cleaned up and decided to try out a new Jay Robb protein shake. I don't usually drink protein shakes, but I had picked up this single-serving packet because it sounded delish - Pina Colada.

I typically like the Jay Robb brand. So I was excited to try it. First off, I couldn't seem to get it to mix up properly. Then I ended up spilling half (or more) all over the floor, splashing the cabinets of course. Even worse? It tasted horrible. It was sickly, fake sweet. Horrible.

Getting Ready for Tomorrow
Anyway, after that fiasco I had to heat the mean holiday streets for a few errands for tomorrow's party, baking with my sis, and meals on Christmas Day. I realized, however, that I was on empty so I only made it to Kroger. That was enough though. I was ready to be home and done. I had what I needed for the party at least, so that was what counted the most.

We're doing a brunch theme so there will be frittatas. I found a recipe for a vegan/tofu frittata that I am also going to try out (for myself at the very least). Jason requested a coffee cake, so I found a vegan version to test. Hope he likes it ;-) I've never made one period. I'll also do a mixed fruit salad, we'll have some bagels and some faux sausages. I know what all you meat-eaters are thinking...gross. But these have actually made meat-eater approval. Oh, and brunch is not complete without mimosas!

Do you have any brunch favorites? Got any tips for the vegan frittata? I think for the real frittatas one will be a Greek style and the other maybe a Mexican flavored.

And last but not least, dinner: Since today is technically my Friday, and it feels like Friday, and we won't be having Pizza Friday...It's Pizza Wednesday! 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Warm Winter Day

Thank You
I really wanted to thank everyone for your kind words from yesterday's post. I know that most of my replies were simply "thank you" but your words and support really do mean a lot. I've had 14 years to reflect on what happened to my friend. I've written about it (would love to publish one day), I even sat through most of the trial.

So while I think about what has happened, I am now able to talk about it more freely. Sometimes I wonder if that might startle people a bit...in terms of how to react. I know it's also hard to know what to say to someone when talking about something so tragic, so sad, and so serious. So thank you all.

Cardio Only Day
This morning I wide awake shortly after 5 am. I thought about trying to stay in bed for another hour, but knew I wouldn't really fall back asleep. So I did myself a favor and got up to get my cardio done. I was not planning on step aerobics at all today. But weights are just not in the cards for me that early, and I did boxing yesterday.

So, I went with a fun, tried and true step workout - Step Blast. I did one of the premixes for a fun, sweaty 35-minute workout. This is the first time I've done step in well over a month. I've been worried it wouldn't bode well for my IT band. But I went with it, and it didn't seem to bother it.

I had planned on doing shoulders and triceps today after work. However, the weather was just too perfect to pass up a run - albeit a short one. We hit 73 degrees today! Seriously? This is nuts even for us. There was a nice, cooler breeze though so that kept me at a pretty comfortable temperature. Of course, I only did 2 miles, much more and I would have been pretty warm.

So with shorts and a short sports bra on, I hit the pavement for a short, quick run. I only allowed myself 2 miles tops. Absolutely no more. So that's exactly what I did. I did the 2 in just under 16 minutes, so it was a pretty decent pace. Apparently short, fast runs are my threshold right now. Anything over 3.5 miles and that's when my IT band seems to start to act up. I am starting to learn to accept 2 miles as a positive thing rather than a negative. 2-3 miles that are pain-free are a good sign.  Now to figure out how to successfully build back up the mileage.

As has become my normal routine, I rolled the crap out of my IT band post-run. I've even started rolling the left side just to be safe.

No Time for Messy Dinner 
Dinner tonight ended up being Red Bean & Quinoa Burgers and sweet potato "fries." I really wasn't much in the mood for making a big mess in the kitchen as I'm trying my best to get the house clean and ready for a party we're having on Thursday for friends: Christmas Eve Eve Brunch. Also, I had to brave horrid traffic trying to get one last gift. After battling traffic, they didn't even have what i had gone for. What is it about this time of year and people forgetting how to drive and what traffic laws are? Just curious because all common sense and courtesy seems gone.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Working Out to Take Mind Off a Sad Day

Sad Day
Today is a sad day for me. It marks 14 years since one of my dearest friends was murdered. It's something I've only mentioned briefly, but it's something that most definitely affected my entire life. Any loss does though of course. Juli had just finished up with her dance degree at OU (Norman, OK). She was only 21 years old. She had so much life ahead of her and such a zest for life as well. She was one of those people who lived to the fullest. 

So while I have so much to be thankful for right now (including still being close to her parents), I can't help but remember this day and be saddened by what took place 14 years ago. As the years add up, it's those number of years that also make me sad. How can it have been 14 years since Juli was killed? The one solace? Her killer sits in prison and isn't free to harm anyone else. I did do my best not to dwell on the past though and don't want to make this post all about that tragic day. But it couldn't go unmentioned.

Working Out to Forget
What better way to take my mind off of the memories? Trying to make it a normal day for workouts along with work, cleaning house after work, cooking, and all that good stuff.

Today I decided to go with biceps during my lunch break. The work out is from the 4th week of STS Meso 2 (last week of Meso 2 actually). Weights are done at 80% of my 1RM.

Dumbbell curls - 10, 10, TF
Incline curls - 3x10
Concentration curls - 10, 10, TF

I also went with abs from Cathe's High Reps workout using 1# weighted gloves.

I really wasn't sure what cardio I wanted to go with today. The elliptical most certainly wasn't calling my name. My IT band is a bit achy today, so while Spin doesn't really make it worse, I was fairly certain it wouldn't make it any better. I ended up going with MMA Boxing as it is relatively low impact, but still packs a punch of a workout (pun intended). Plus, it's great for getting out aggression.

Mexican Monday
Well, I decided to reinstate Mexican Monday today. The other day Jason mentioned a recipe I used to make, but haven't made in ages - Black Bean Flautas. It's been so long that I can't remember the original recipe, so I just winged it and came up with Black Bean and Tempeh Flautas.


Black Bean and Tempeh Flautas
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1-2 tbsp minced garlic
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped and divided
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/4 red onion, diced 
4 oz tempeh
2 green onions, chopped
To taste: salt, pepper, chili powder, ground cumin, red pepper
4 whole-wheat flour tortillas
Daiya Vegan Cheddar (or cheddar substitute of your choice)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a non-stick skillet, crumble and brown the tempeh.

In a medium saucepan, saute onions, bell pepper, and garlic until begins to soften. Add in the beans, 1/2 of the tomatoes, and spices. Let cook approximately 5-10 minutes and the juices from the tomatoes will make a very light sauce. Lightly mash the beans then stir in the tempeh. 

Prepare a glass baking dish. Spoon the bean mixture onto the tortilla, top with green onions and small amount of the cheeze then roll up and place seam-side down and repeat.


Fill tortillas with 2 tablespoons of bean mixture and top with green onions, tomatoes, and cheese. Top all with remaining tomatoes, green onions, and more cheeze. Bake approximately 20 minutes to desired crispness.

 


I, of course, topped mine with jalapenos. I should probably just add them into the mix itself. This would be great with a cashew or tofu sour cream, Greek yogurt also works. I think a great option would also be a vegan queso.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

And...A Painful Run

Chili Night 
So last night we donned the PJs early and just sat around and relaxed. I made the Chipotle Tempeh Chili while Jason flipped around the TV: between Iron Man Kona and Miracle on 34th Street. Once the chili was done, we opted for a funny, light-hearted move, The Tooth Fairy. I have to say that I was really skeptical, but it was really a cute movie. Bed time came fairly early.

More Shopping and a Painful Run
This morning Sarah and I both started out with some oatmeal, then a trip to Kohl's and back to the mall. We had an expired coupon printed for New York and Company for an extra $40 off. There was a new one that I hadn't printed, but they said we could bring that in with the merchandise to get the difference. Um, for $40, totally worth it.

When we got home, Sarah decided she wanted to try one of my new Cathe DVDs - High Reps. She did the leg workout along with abs and said it was totally kick butt. Shaky legs (her words)! She cleaned up, packed up, and headed out after she was done (which made me very sad of course).

Jason and I headed to the river trails for a run when Sarah stared her workout. It was sunny and about 45 degrees. I was so excited to be down at the river for the run. Probably too excited. At the 2 mile mark, I told Jason I was feeling great and wanted to do the full 5.5 route. I have GOT to retrain my thinking. I felt great at 2 miles, but at 3 miles, the twinge, the slight pull of the IT band. I did the only think I knew to do, stop and stretch then walk for a couple of minutes.

We got going again and all was well, then another twinge, only worse. Yes. I'll totally admit that I pushed harder than I should have. But I stopped again to stretch and walk. I did this 2 more times before finishing the run. I know that I should be proud of myself for recognizing that it's ok to stop running, but at the same time, I'm still struggling with that. I am frustrated with myself, with my body, with everything. But I also know that healing takes time (deep down I know this). I also know that this is a learning curve for me. I mean, cardiovascular, I am spot on. It's recognizing the disconnect between body and cardio. I am also struggling with whether or not I'm pushing too hard (quite possibly), but then recognizing that you do, at some point, have to test your limits. Right? I can't be afraid. I just have to know when to stop.

So, after the run, lots of stretching and rolling for the IT band. Then came icing. Jason and I ended up going to Vino's for pizza and had a long discussion about recovery. About pushing hard enough or too hard and knowing the difference. He is going through physical therapy for a shoulder injury and now I am thinking that I may need to go to PT just to get smart about this type of injury. I know what I've read. I have been following the advice. But maybe I need a set therapy plan.

Anyway, sorry for the ramble. Just trying to figure this whole thing out. You would think it would be easy, intuitive. But somehow it's the opposite. I promise that I won't continue to harp on the injury. I know so many of you have gone through this and more. I appreciate the advice, however, more than you can know.

Dinner tonight will likely be something light like a salad or soup. I have some baking to do - got an order for 3 bags of doggie treats. I had so much planned today. Did manage the run, more Chipotle Cranberry Relish (jarred thanks to Jason) and next the dog treats. The spaghetti sauce...will have to wait. It takes a full day to make and jar. Spending more time with my sis and then Jason outweighed everything else I had "planned." Sometimes time with family is more important than anything else.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Good Days

Gluten-Free Pizza Hit
Pizza Friday was a big success. Sarah has officially declared that Bob's Red Meal Gluten-Free Pizza mix trumps the Bisquick hands down. I made it using the flax egg option so it was loaded with omega goodness too. This mix does make a lot of crust, so we split it into two smaller pizzas baking it and freezing one so she can use later. Thanks so much to my readers who suggested this mix!!
We had a great night. We listened to music, played some pool, chit chatted and just had a nice evening. All the dogs got along great too - Sarah brought her ex's dog with her. Heath was so happy to have another playmate. Maddie, could have cared less.
 

Good Day
This morning we got up and just piddled around for a bit before deciding that it'd be wise to head out to the mall earlier rather than later. Sarah wanted to hit up New York and Company. Who am I to deny her this? We behaved ourselves actually and only made two stops: New York and Company and The Limited. Scored great deals at both stores. Mind you, you only shopped for ourselves, no Christmas gifts being bought. I had a rewards certificate at The Limited and ended up with a turtleneck sweater for $3.21!!! Love scoring sweet deals like that.

We also made our way to Whole Foods so she could pick up a few things she can't get in her city. Then it was back home.

I thought we were going to try to head to the river trails for a run, but she decided she wanted to take today as a rest day. I decided to head out for a lap (or 2) around my neighborhood. It was about 45 degrees, but sunny. I got geared up and had a fantastic, pain-free 3.5 mile run. I made sure to roll the IT band and stretch extra since this was the longest run I've been able to do. I also iced my knee just to be safe. I am feeling much more positive now about signing up for the Little Rock Half Marathon in March.

Tonight I'll make Chipotle Tempeh Chili for everyone to enjoy. I hope everyone is having a great day!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fun Facts Friday - Stylish Blogger Award

Thankful Friday
TGIF my friends. Today is my rest day. I am happy to say that my IT band is not sore at all from my run or the weights yesterday. Definitely something to be super thankful about on this Friday. As I mentioned, my sis is coming up, so that's another reason to be thankful.

Tonight will be Pizza Friday. I picked up Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Pizza mix for my sister based on recommendations from a few GF blogger friends. I'll be sure to let you guys know how it ranks compared to the Bisquick mix we used the last time.

Fun Facts Friday - Stylish Blogger Award

This morning I found out that I received a blogger award. Thank you so much Meghan @ Cooking. In. College! You're always such a sweetheart. The timing is perfect for Fun Facts Friday.

To accept this award there are 4 rules:
  1. Thank the person who gave it to you.
  2. Share 7 things about yourself.
  3. Pass the award onto 2 bloggers you have recently discovered and think are fantastic.
  4.  Contact the bloggers you picked and let them know they won!

7 things about me
  1. I'm fairly short - 5'2".
  2. My thumbs have weird joints that pop in and out, meaning I can't bend them back like most people.
  3. While I no longer bite my nails, I have a horrible habit of picking at my cuticles, especially when nervous or anxious.
  4. When I was a kid, I hated having red hair.
  5. I think I'm a shopaholic.
  6. I hoard hard back books.
  7. As a side venture, I'd love to have a doggy bakery.

So here are 2 new(ish) blogs that I follow:
Joslyn @ Miss Fit Bliss
Erica @ Itzy's Kitchen

So, while I'm passing this on to two fabulous bloggers that I have recently discovered, I would love to hear a few fun facts about you. Anything fun you care to share???? Any new blogs you've recently discovered?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Successful Run & New Kitchen Toy

Running Like (and In) the Wind
I checked the weather just before setting out for the run. Sunny, 50 degrees with no wind chill, but winds at 17mph and gusting up to 22mph. My first thought - I am bat-ass crazy. I hate running in the wind. My next thought - I'm scared I'm going to hate every second of running now.

In reality, it was an awesome run, despite the wind. It felt sooooo good to be out there in the sunshine, feet pounding the pavement next to Jason. We did a super fast 1.9 mile run in 14:20. I will admit to being annoyed that it wasn't a full 2 miles. Is that nuts? Yes, probably so.

Now this is the cardio I've been missing desperately. My endorphin rush was so high that I seriously was thinking, "Oh, maybe I could get in another 2 miles after work." I know, I know, had to talk myself back down to reality.

If I want to be able to run consistently again, I cannot do crazy things like that. I have to take it slow and be happy with 2 miles, then 3 miles, etc. Especially if I do go ahead and turn in my registration for the Little Rock Half Marathon in March. I have my form, I have it filled out, my company will pay, now to take the plunge and submit to HR. *gasp*


Easier Legs
After work I ended up going for a very basic leg workout rather than following the STS rotation. I did one giant set of 3x10 with the exception of calves, which were done 3x15. I then did some floor work and abs from Cathe's High Reps DVD.

Squats
Plie Squats
Alternating lunges
Deadlifts
Calf raises (turned out, parallel, turned out)

Firewalkers - 8
Weighted donkey kicks - 2x18
Roll ins/Hip lifts on Stability ball - 12 combined, 12 hip lifts
Inner thigh squeezes with stability ball - 3x24

I stretched and rolled my IT band again.

Happy It's Thursday
I must say that I am more happy than usual that tomorrow is Friday. Not only will next week be a short week, but my sister is coming up tomorrow to stay the whole weekend. This makes me one happy girl. We don't have anything big planned. She's requested pizza (bought a gluten-free mix for her) and chili. I think I can happily grant those two requests for her.

We usually bake cookies just before Christmas. Not sure if we'll do that or not as well. Maybe just pick out two recipes (including gluten-free recipes) to make this year instead of going over board like we typically do - see last year's post for an example.

New Toy = More Soup
Speaking of happy day, I finally got an immersion blender! Many moons ago, I won a $40 certificate to CSN Stores from the super sweet Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete. I had my blender all picked out, but I simply kept forgetting to order. I know, soooo not like me. I always remember when I was making creamy soups and having to ladle the soup into the blender, making a huge mess every single time.

Anyway, since I got my new toy, that means soup night! I had some leftover roasted kabocha from last night's salad and some pumpkin puree. The two were begging to be used, so I made a Red Curry Kabocha & Pumpkin Soup. It's similar to my recipe for Curried Kabocha Soup with a few changes.

Red Curry Kabocha & Pumpkin Soup
Ingredients:
1/2 roasted kabocha squash, cubed
1/2 can pumpkin puree
1-2 carrots, diced
1 small (or 1/2 larger) white onion, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 package firm or extra firm silken tofu
1 can lite coconut milk
20 oz. low-sodium vegetable broth
2 tbsp red curry paste
To taste: sea salt, black pepper, curry powder, ground coriander, red pepper, turmeric, garam masala, agave nectar

Directions:

In large pot, saute onions, carrots, and garlic until onions are translucent. Add in kabocha, pumpkin, tofu, broth, coconut milk, and spices. Bring to a simmer and let cook until carrots are soft.

Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth or transfer to blender in small batches and puree until smooth. Add in additional broth if needed. Bring to a simmer again and re-season if necessary. Let reduce to desired consistency.
I guess it pretty much looks like all of my pumpkin-style soups. They do all have different flavors at least. This had a nice heat to it because of the red curry. I'm going to have to practice with my new hand blender to get soups to puree smoother. But it was so much easier (and cleaner) than using the regular blender. Do you have a favorite kitchen gadget?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sometimes You Just Gotta Get Started

Gym Day
Today was a gym day for me, though I was really debating a rest day. While not enjoying the elliptical, I've been enjoying getting my back workouts in at the gym where I can do assisted pullups/chinups. I can already feel the strength gains from working on those.

Today was STS Meso 2, Disc 21. I did omit the band work and deadlifts and added in pullovers and low back extensions on the stability ball. I did warm up for 10 minutes on the elliptical first.

Pull Ups Overhand - 12
Chinups Medium Grip - 12
Chinups - 12
Barbell rows - 12,10,8
1-arm Row - 12,10,8,12,10,8 (double dropset)
Pullovers (in lieu of deadlifts) 12,10,8
Low back extension on stability ball - 2x16

After the back workout, I headed back to the elliptical for about 25 minutes. I have been less than enthusiastic about  working out lately and I contribute that to the weather and also not being able to get in the cardio I really would love to be doing. When you aren't doing what you enjoy, it makes working out feel so much more like work. Once I am done, though, I do feel good. It's just getting psyched up to get started.

Oh, and I just realized that somewhere along the way I skipped one of the weeks for chest, triceps, and shoulders (I think it was week 2) meaning that this week I did week 4 at 80% of my 1RM when I should have been at week 3 and 75% for those exercises. Oops. So next week will be a repeat I suppose or I could go back and do the missed workouts at a higher weight. I feel like I've screwed up with this rotation and should just start over.

Salad Day & Holiday Stress
We had some veggies that needed to be used pretty soon. Rather than taking the easy way out with veggie burgers, I got my salad - a Roasted Tofu & Veggies Salad. I marinated some tofu in balsamic vinegar with a bit of honey then baked until browned. I roasted up some kabocha squash, yellow squash, zucchini, bell peppers, and red onions. It's really a simple meal but so tasty and surprisingly filling. 
 

I did have some leftover roasted red bell pepper hummus that I added on the side along with some toasted up homemade whole-grain French bread. I think roasted veggie salads may be my favorite salads (other than grilling the veggies). I love the flavors that roasting or grilling impart and the textures of the various veggies.

So now the stress part: So I have to ask, anyone else behind on Christmas shopping? Please let me know I'm not alone. I have never waited this late before and am starting to get a little stressed when I think about how much I have yet to do. It means traffic, crowds, more traffic, lots of jerks in the stores. I used to be the one who was finished in October. Do you like to shop early or do wait until the last minute?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Taco Soup Tuesday

Two on Tuesday
I had a much better (stronger feeling) weight workout at lunch today. Maybe I was just more focused today. I did shoulders and triceps from STS Meso 2, Disc 22. Unless noted, exercises were done as dropsets of 3x10 decreasing the weight with each set. .

Seated Overhead Press (elbows forward)
Incline Front Raise
Seated Lateral Raise
Seated Rear Delt flyes
Flat Bench Triceps Extensions
Close Grip Push Ups (triceps pushups) - 10, 10, TF
Kickbacks Double Arm

I had debated on going to the gym for some elliptical time after work. Instead, I ended up opting for a home workout. I went with MMA Boxing then abs and a nice long stretch then some foam rolling. I must say the foam rolling must be doing something good as it's not longer curse-inducingly painful to do.

Taco Tuesday
I had thought about doing Taco Salad Bowls tonight for Taco Tuesday. When I ran that idea by Jason, he said salads just didn't sound warm enough. He did have a point. So I asked if we needed to be having soup from now until spring. He said, "Yes."

So, I decided to stick with my Taco theme as a way to narrow down options. We had half a package of the Quorn Beef-Style Grounds left in the freezer. I was ready to use those up. Quite frankly, I was less than impressed with them. They don't have much flavor, unlike the other Quorn products we've tried and enjoyed. In the end, I came up with a Spicy Taco Soup.

Spicy Taco Soup
Ingredients:
1/2 yellow onion
2 fresh jalapenos, finely diced (optional)
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 poblano pepper, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 package of Quorn Beef-Style Crumbles (crumbled tempeh would work just as well)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can no-salt diced tomatoes
5 oz frozen corn
2 cups of water
1 Not-beef bullion cube
To taste: salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, cilantro

Directions:
In large soup pot, saute onions, garlic, jalapenos, poblano pepper, bell peppers, and your faux beef crumbles until crumbles are browned and onions soft.

Add in remaining ingredients and allow to simmer and start to thicken.
 

I served the soup with some Daiya Vegan Cheddar and some baked tortilla strips on the side. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Lifting, Spinning, Crockpot Cooking

Lifting and Spinning 
It seems like just about everyone is experiencing super cold weather. Our average this time of year is supposed to be low 50's. On my walk into the office this morning, the wind chill was 12 degrees. Let's just say I dropped quite a few f-bombs while walking as quickly as humanly possible for the 3 block walk! I actually wore tights under my pants and my Under Armour compression running top under my turtleneck.

I think cold temps not only zap heat, they zap motivation. It's hard to want to change into not-as-warm workout clothes for starters. I think it takes longer to warm up even. That'll be my excuse for how weak I was feeling with my biceps workout I did at lunch. I guess when I look at the number of reps done though, that should be the true indicator of why I thought I was struggling. Today was STS Meso 2, Disc 21.

Dumbbell curls - 12,10,8,12,10,8 (starting at 70% of 1RM and increasing by 5% for 10, another 5% for 8 then start over)
Incline curls with rotation at top of move - 12,10,TF
Reverse curls - 12,10,TF

When I went to grab my water glass, I had doubts of being able to safely hold it ;-)

After work I ran home to get dinner started before changing and meeting Jason at the gym for spin class. My legs were actually still rather sore from Saturday's leg workout. I was really thinking I would never make it through class. But after about 10 minutes in, my legs started to cooperate and I pushed on through. I was a sweaty mess. 

Crockpot Night
As I mentioned, I ran home to get dinner started before the gym. Because it is so darn cold, soup was the only thing that sounded good. I had really though I was going to make Taco Salad Bowls, but that just doesn't sound good right about now. So, I decided to try an easy Crockpot Vegetable Soup.

I don't use the crockpot very often. Ours is ancient and tends to work on two heat settings: off and hot as hell. So I figured the hot as hell setting would cook everything in about a 2-hour time frame. I used frozen veggies instead of raw so I knew that would help speed up the cooking time as well.

I hate to even call this a recipe because I pretty much just tossed in no-sodium vegetable stock, diced tomatoes, frozen veggies, beans, leftover roasted potatoes, and spices into the crockpot, turned it on, and walked away. When I got in from the gym, I added in about 2-3 tbsp of tomato paste and let it continue to cook while we both got cleaned up.
 

This worked out perfectly. There was barely any mess, it was pretty much ready when we walked in the door, and it hit the spot on a cold night.