Saturday, April 30, 2011

Seattle Bound: Getting Off the Ground & Day 1

Delayed Ghetto Plane & Long Flight
So after the gym on Thursday, I was feeling much calmer about the flight to Seattle. I took half an Ativan to start. We got to the airport on time (one hour early like they say). Then we find that the flight is more than an hour delayed. We should have had an hour and a half layover in Houston. Instead, we had 15 minutes to get from one concourse to the other, which in included a train ride. Thank goodness I'm in shape and don't mind running full speed with two carry-ons!

While the Ativan had me fairly calm, the waiting on the first flight started nagging at my nerves. And then the plane arrived...the tiny thing it was. We had to walk out on the tarmac to board. And then the ghetto-ness of the interior just about undid what the Ativan had so successfully done for me. So I took a whole one at that point.
Rough looking plane enterior
During take-off, Jason looked at me and said, "At least you're not as white as a ghost though." Thank sweetie ;-)

The first flight was just over an hour, the second flight, a terribly long 4+ hour flight. It was a much larger plane, that was filled to capacity. The only children were aptly seated in front of us. The mom used her chair as a rocker. Made watching my tv so much fun.

I ended up starting to get terribly air sick after about 2 hours into the flight. Most of the flights we take are on the shorter side. This was the longest one for me ever. I do get car sick easily, and often get a hint of air sickness. But after more than two hours, no air flow (couldn't get the stupid air things to work for once), and a lady rocking her chair/my tv, I seriously thought I might have to use the vomit bag(s).

I did manage to doze a a little bit (thank you again Ativan). Since we missed our opportunity for food in Houston, we took advantage of snacks I brought, but that almost made me feel worse so we ended up getting a couple of the snack boxes with crackers. The crackers seemed to help my tummy. Oh, got some wine to calm my nerves too ;-)

Feet on the Ground
We landed in Seattle a bit late, really bedraggled looking, but safe and sound. We had thought we were having veggie lasagna, but Terron and Denise had a hectic day of their own. So, we went out instead.  They took us to Elliot Bay Brewhouse and Pub. At first it was the last thing I wanted to do, but it ended up perking me up and it was a great way to end a long day of travel.

Denise & Terron trying to avoid blogger Heather

Sweet Potato "Chips" (aka waffle fries)

Spinach artichoke dip

My veggie salad with hummus on the side that I used as dressing
Friday Morning
We pretty much fell asleep the minute we hit our pillows. I thought we might sleep all day today, but we didn't. Too much excitement of course. Plus, you don't want to miss this sort of morning view.
View from their living room

We didn't just rush into Friday. And it was really nice to just take things as they came. Denise had to work, so Terron carted us around. We made a stop at Trader Joe's - my first trip into one ever. I picked up a few bars for snacks, some tofu, and some mango butter.

We ended up having lunch on the water at Salty's on Alki. The views were gorgeous. You could see across into downtown Seattle. I had a salad that I topped with my tofu. Jason had some shrimp salad and Terron had smoked salmon. They started us off with some incredible seeded bread. It was hard to not eat all of it and skip the meal.
 
 
 
 


After Salty's we hit Pike Place Market to pick up a few things for dinner.
The plan was to grill out. Denise had a homemade veggie burger for me. The guys had a surf and turf and Denise had some fish. (sorry, no pictures of dinner). All in all, it was a really great day.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Fun Facts Friday - Follow Friday Style

Since I am out of town and planning on enjoying Seattle rather than being tied to the computer (sorry guys, I would hope you would do the same of course!) this post will be a bit different. No chatting it up about weather (crappy or otherwise), no workouts, no recipes. But, I still wanted to keep up with Fun Facts Friday.

Lately I've been really inspired by some of you all. I thought for Fun Facts Friday, it might be fun to do a sort of Follow Friday "thing" and share some of your fave blogs or some blogs/bloggers who've inspired you recently.

Please know that this list is NOT extensive, it's not indicative of everyone I follow, nor am I playing favorites (well, kind of). Many of you probably already know these bloggers, but I am always really inspired by them for various reasons, mostly because of their zest for life that is truly infectious. 

Lindsay @ Cotter Crunch

Dorry @ Living with Healthy Hunger

Sarena @ The Non-Dairy Queen

Jessica @ EatDrinkBreatheSweat

Jolene @ Determined to Be

Dawn @ Florida Coastal Cooking

Madeline @ Greens and Jeans

Alison @ Physically Philosophical 

Crissie @ Run Crissie Run

Tracy @ Commit to Fit

Kris @ I Heart Wellness

Kristina @ Spabettie

Averie @ Loves Veggies and Yoga

So, please share, who's inspired you recently? 

If you guys play along today, I promise to be back tomorrow with a flight, first night, first day recap. And the most gorgeous living room views ever!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Lifting Weights to Calm the Nerves - Seattle Bound

Last Workout
It was so nice to walk into work this morning with sunshine. It was really chilly (especially compared to the temps we've been having), but I'll take that over storms right about now. I managed to get everything mostly packed for our trip. I had to leave some things out - hitting the gym and will need to get cleaned up so those things go in last.

I must admit something, it's been 10 days since my last rest day. I know that's bad (no scolding). I know I preach the importance of rest days. I try to never go more than 6 days without one. However, in Seattle, I'm not sure I'll be able to get in any workout. I'm hoping to con someone to go for a run with me at least one day (our friends live near the water, so I would love to run that route), but other than that, probably nothing more than walking around the city.

For those concerned, I really have listened to my body though and honestly would not have pushed through 10 days if I truly felt the need for the rest day. I have learned the hard way to listen and take the rest when needed, planned or unplanned. I've tried to schedule in a mix of workouts that weren't always over-the-top on intensity as well.

Today's workout (while I desperately was itching for a run) was elliptical and weights. It was under an hour, and much needed to shake off some of the nerves due to the impending flight. I hate flying!

So, I did 10 minutes on the elliptical as a warm up then one exercise per upper body muscle group done as supersets of 3x8.

SS#1
Incline chest press
Incline curls

SS#2
Lying triceps extensions
Front raises

SS#3
Pullovers
Rear delt flyes

I did some ab exercises as well before packing it up. It was a stronger workout than I was expecting. Even better, it really did help calm me down. Maybe they need gyms in airports.

Airports and Airplanes
Ativan has been taken...Our flight leaves around 2:30 and we hit Seattle at about 9 (their time). So it'll be a long day of airports and airplanes for us. I've got lots of snacks packed so hopefully we can avoid airport food. My friend, Denise, is a fantastic cook and has already promised a veggie lasagna waiting for me for dinner. Though, it'll feel like 10 pm for me....yikes.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sunshing & Spin Class

Sunshine and Spin Class
Thankfully last night's round of storms seemed to skirt mostly around us. And today, finally some sunshine! I really would have loved to have gone for a run, but the wind was crazy gusting. I like to run, and I'm often a glutton for punishment, but even I have my limits.

So, instead of killing myself with a run, I killed myself with a spin class. Thankfully it was finally a different Group Ride track. It wasn't the best track ever, but it was a great class, and I was a sweaty mess after.

Too Much to Do
Tomorrow we leave for Seattle around 2:30 (CST). That means I have to get my rear into gear and finish packing tonight. It's hard to pack for major temperature differences though. It's supposed to be 50 there. I thought I was mostly done with sweaters and boots. Guess I will have to pull some back out. I'm trying to stick with one color theme for the trip as well so I can take fewer shoes. I am terrible at over-packing.

My sister is going to doggy sit, but we have to take the dogs to her this evening (she lives an hour away). So work, pack, eat, drive, drive back, finish packing....means no time to post dinner pictures or nighttime blogging. I know you all understand. I do apologize for this insanely brief, spastic post.

I still have a few fresh veggies to use up, so I will likely be throwing together taco salad bowls for a quick dinner before we're out the door. Sometimes getting ready for vacation warrants a vacation!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Making Lemonade...Lemony Quinoa & Roasted Green Veggies

Being Thankful
I don't know how many of you read about the deadly storms that rolled through (again) last night. But sadly, 10 lives were lost. I count myself so lucky. My family is all safe, and none of us had any damage to our homes or vehicles last night. We have another round of severe weather heading our way again tonight.

The ground is saturated at this point (flooding in lower lying areas). So it's highly likely to see even more large trees topple. On my way to work this morning, I saw two trees down and tons of debris strewn everywhere. We weren't even hit hard compared to many areas.

Seeing some of the photos of the destruction definitely made me so very thankful that the most damage we've had so far is hail damage on our vehicles. So minor in comparison. Here are a couple of awesome photos I saw (definitely not taken by me, my butt was inside).

Wall cloud photo from KARK (source)

Funnel cloud in my hometown close to Jason's parent's home (source)

And if you want to see a video taken in my city (I hope it works):


Spinning 
Thankfully it wasn't rainy all day today, just dark and dreary with extreme humidity. Definitely thankful for the bit of reprieve from the rain for a bit. We needed to try to dry out a bit before tonight's storms move in. I almost went for a run, but was worried about trees down and flooding on the river trails.

My legs are seriously killing me from Sunday's leg workout. I haven't hurt this bad since I started STS for the first time 3 years ago. So what do I do? I go to spin class, because that's a smart option.... I really thought I might breakdown in class.

But I got through it darn it. I certainly felt like a badass after making it to the end today ;-) I was one sweaty mess too. The humidity (even indoors) is killer. I don't care if I had my own personal fan on me, today everyone was drenched - even those who spent more time chatting than spinning (insert annoyed look).

Making Lemonade Out of Lemons (sort of)
Still trying to use up veggies before our trip. I apparently had mostly green veggies to use up. I started trying to think about the best way to use them (asparagus, zucchini, broccoli). They just screamed spring and most of them go very well with lemon. So, I ended up coming up with Lemony Quinoa and Roasted Green Veggies. With all the storms and such, it seemed sort of like the whole making lemonade adage.

Lemony Quinoa and Roasted Green Veggies
Ingredients:
1/2 bunch asparagus, chopped
Small bunch broccoli, chopped
1 small or 1/2 larger zucchini, chopped
1 1/2 cups chickpeas
To taste: lemon pepper spice blend, sea salt
1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth (or water)
1-2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
To taste: sea salt, parsley, lemon juice
Handful baby spinach (optional)


Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cook quinoa in liquid per package directions. At the end, stir in nutritional yeast flakes, parsley, salt, lemon pepper spice blend, and lemon juice.

In the meantime, place veggies on baking sheet and lightly sprinkle with extra-virgin olive oil then sprinkle on the lemon pepper spice blend and sea salt. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, tossing halfway.

On another small baking sheet, spread out the chickpeas and sprinkle with olive oil and same seasonings for veggies. Bake approximately 40 minutes or until toasty and crispy.

In a large bowl, combine quinoa, veggies, and chickpeas. Stir in the spinach and re-season if needed. The heat from the quinoa and veggies will wilt the spinach.
 
 

I was really happy with how this turned out. I think that if you wanted a bit of a salty hit to it, sundried tomatoes or kalamata olives would be fantastic. Or, if you wanted to keep with the green theme, go with capers. I think this would be great warm or room temperature - so a great summer salad as well.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Socca Pizza Sunday & Sandwiches for Stormy Monday

Socca Sunday
I finally got around to making socca last night. We didn't make it to the grocery store, and really need to be using up stuff since we'll be heading out of town mid-week. I had made chickpea flour then proceeded to let it go bad, then bought some. So, I finally decided that it was time to try my hand at socca.

Mexican-Style Socca Pizza
Ingredients:
Socca:
1 cup chickpea flour
3/4 cups + 1-2 tbsp water
2 tbsp olive oil
To taste: salt, pepper, chipotle flakes, garlic powder

Mexican-style Marinara

1 can Rotel
2-3 tbsp tomato paste

Mexican-style Socca Toppings:
1/2 soy chorizo
1/4 red onion, diced
1/4 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup black beans
1/4 cup frozen corn, thawed
To taste: salt, pepper, red pepper, cumin, garlic powder
Daiya Vegan Cheddar Cheese


Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and put in pizza stone (if using one).


For the Socca: Whisk ingredients well making sure there are no lumps. Pour batter into non-stick skillet and cook approximately 3 - 3.5 minutes. Set aside and allow the batter to set for at least 20 minutes.


For the Mexican-style Marinara: Mix ingredients in small sauce pan and cook approximately 5 minutes, lightly mashing the tomatoes.

For the topping: In a large, non-stick skillet, saute all ingredients (minus Daiya) until the soy chorizo is browned and veggies soft.

To Assemble Pizzas: If using pizza stone, pull out and add just a sprinkling of corn flour to prevent sticking. Place the socca top side down on the stone. Add toppings and bake approximately 20 minutes.
 
 

I think the next time I will make the crusts slightly thinner or maybe cook them on the stones just a bit before adding the toppings just for a slightly crispier crust. The edges were nice and crisp though. And we were both really happy with how these turned out and tasted. We will be making socca frequently I do believe!

Plan B Workout: Upper Weights & Kickboxing
I was planning on the gym today. But when I got there, I realized I didn't have my HR Monitor. Yes, crazy me...could NOT workout without it. I decided that maybe that was a true sign that I needed a rest day. I was debating that on and off because I just felt worn out from lack of sleep and major DOMS in my legs from yesterday's workout.

Anyway, I got home and decided to get it done. So I changed it up a bit, but it was still based on the recent workouts I've been doing using 2 exercises for the upper body muscle groups done as supersets of 3x6.

SS#1
Alternating curls
Hammer curls

SS#2
Single-arm rows
Pullovers

SS#3
Upright rows
Lateral raises

SS#4
Chest press on stability ball

SS#5
Double-arm overhead triceps extension
Double-arm kickbacks

I also did a workout I haven't done in a while, Cathe's MMA Boxing. I used that as my ab workout for the day.

Sandwiches for Stormy Monday
This seems to become the norm lately, but we had more severe thunderstorms start rolling through around 1:30 am. This means another sleepless night for us and the poor Heath Man. My rose bushes are all sagging to the ground, and I'm worried about one that looks like it may be starting to uproot and fall completely over.

We have severe weather in our forecast through Wednesday unfortunately. So no drying out. I just can't take one more hail storm at this point. Jason and I had our vehicles for 10 years with zero hail damage. I get a newer car and within two months, we now both have hail damage.

Right now there are tornado warnings in our home town and the storms are heading our direction. It's 6:25 and almost pitch black out. Because there's a chance we'll be losing power or having to take shelter, I am posting now before dinner so no pictures of the meal. But here's what we're having...

...Since we're going to be heading out of town for several days, we need to clear out the fridge. This can make dinners and meal planning a bit more tricky though. Gotta be rather strategic about it all and include the fact that we make our own lunches. We had two sweet potatoes and a package of tofu. I decided to go with tofu sandwiches for an easy dinner.

I just used a block of tofu that had been frozen and thawed. I added some marinade (Mango Ginger Habanero) and baked until firms and slightly crisp. I topped our sandwiches with the last bit of almond cheese (that needed to be used up of course), spinach, and roasted red bell peppers.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Lifting Legs and Hunting Eggs

Leg Day
Last night we had a lot of fun with our friends. I never did do the dance off game, but got plenty of laughs just kicking back and watching. I really enjoyed getting to just relax and chit chat with friends. We started off sitting outside on the deck until the mosquitoes forced us indoors.

This morning I woke up a little before 8. I needed to get my side dish made for today's family lunch. I also wanted to hit the gym for legs. I missed legs last week, so I was determined to get them done today. I did the exercises as supersets of 3x8 unless noted starting with 10 minutes on the elliptical.

Squats - 10 reps as warmup

SS#1
Squats
Stiff-legged deadlifts

SS#2
Plie squats
Deadlifts - 3x6

SS#3
Single-leg squats
Alternating side lunges

SS#4
Walking lunges
Calf raises - 3x15

My legs were fried and wobbly almost immediately. Good thing I could take the elevator down and not have to walk stairs.

Easter Egg Hunts
After getting cleaned up in lightning speed time, we hit the road to get to my sister's house. After lunch, the kids HAD to hunt eggs of course. Eventually they wanted to hide the eggs and make my sister and I hunt them. Picture overload to commence:
A On the Hunt

A proudly showing her find with mom

A finds another one

A putting an egg back together

A and C spotting a hard one

A and C photo time

C going for it

C spots another one

C is doing good

C snags another one

Mom helping A and C

Mom and Sister

The Ladies

The Ladies (again)

Sister and kiddos

Let the games begin

Sis and Me on the hunt

Me and sis counting our eggs

Mom, me and sis (and A supervising)

Neck and Neck

Sis on the lookout
Did you hunt eggs today? This was the first time I've hunted eggs in more years than I care to count!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Finally...A Run with the Hubby

Today I really wanted to get in another run. We have more stormy weather in our forecast for Monday and Tuesday. We're heading to my sister's tomorrow for a family lunch, so it was either today or not again until Wednesday.

Jason agreed to go with me for 6 miles (it ended up being about 6.4). I had wanted to get started earlier than we did. It was getting hot and extremely humid out. It was also super windy, but the wind actually ended up being a blessing for the most part (other than running headlong into it and feeling like you were running in place).

I am fairly certain Jason thought I was trying to kill him today. Of course, he's the one who hasn't ran in several weeks. I enjoyed the run, mostly because we finally got to run together. I was one sweaty mess by the end though. My calves were really tight too. But, overall, I'll rank it as a B+ run.

When we got home, I took about 30 minutes to stretch and roll on my TriggerPoint Therapy Kit . It helped pull out some of the kinks, but calves are still really sore and my piriformis is achy.

While we should have hit up Target and the grocery store, we ended up on a patio with friends for a late lunch. No regrets though. We had a nice, relaxing afternoon. Funny story, you know how girls often worry about showing up wearing the same outfit, Jason and our friend's hubby had on the same shorts. It was sort of cute ;-) (sorry Jason, had to share)

We have plans to go over to our friends' house, along with another couple. They want to play one of those dance "games" on the kinect. Obviously I'm clueless. I am not certain there's enough alcohol to get me to do this, but I'm trying to be a good sport and at least go over there. I am planning on taking some hummus, maybe come up with another snack as well. What's funny is that I used to be that girl that was always up and dancing at the hint of a good song. Gettin' old.....

So, are you one to play along with the dance off games or do you just sit back and watch?


(and I apologize for the short post and lack of blog commenting. I'm trying to do myself and hubby a favor and slightly disconnect this weekend.)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Fun Facts Friday - Running Randomness

Riding the Runner's High Wave
Well, we all finally got some sleep at last. No more storms last night. I don't know that any of us moved from the time we hit the sack at 9:30 until at least 6 am. It was fantastic!

I think the sleep helped with my run today too. It was about 70 degrees when I headed out, but the wind was steady (not gusting terribly just yet). However, the humidity was through the roof. The clouds were pretty heavy, kind of dreary. At one mile in, I thought to myself, "Gonna wrap this one up and make it a short 6-miler."

But shortly after that, I hit my groove and I hit it big time. I didn't worry about speed, and only checked my watch to make sure my heart rate wasn't out of control. It was one of those runs that reminds you why you love it so much. I ended up with a very solid, very awesome 9-mile run.

I think I may still be riding that runner's high to be honest. I haven't exactly had bad runs lately, but nothing like this one. In fact, when I was stretching, I came so close to tossing my stuff back in the car and hitting the pavement for another mile. Crazy much? (Don't answer that.)

I behaved and went on home to recover. I rolled out my yoga mat and stretched for about 20 minutes before hitting my TriggerPoint Therapy Kit . I tried to really take my time with the stretching and rolling today. I was having some piriformis pain, but no IT band at least.


Running Errands Freely
After cleaning up and eating lunch, I headed out to run a couple of errands and just piddle about. The sun finally came out in full force along with the wind. I was just glad the sun held off until after my run. Gasp I know. But man it was already humid and when the sun came out and started drying up everything....sauna!

Usually I have an agenda all planned out on which store to hit, the direct route, etc. Not today. It was kind of nice to just go wherever, whenever. I hit up Old Navy for their Stuff and Save sale. Jason needed some jeans and I found two cute summer dresses (one on clearance and one on sale for $15). I stopped by Kirklands and found some home decor goodies. My last stop was the Drug Emporium for some goodies like cheap clif bars, all natural oatmeal for Jason, and some other treats.

We're meeting some friends for a patio happy hour. Really looking forward to that. Should be nice to sit back and catch up outside!

Fun Facts Friday - Running Randomness
I can't forget about Fun Facts Friday can I? Since I had such a great run today, I thought I'd share some of the random thoughts and sights along the way.

  • It's amazing how much more a 20 oz water bottle weighs vs a 10 oz bottle.
  • Shoulder work the day before a run sucks.
  • Thank God for the clouds today.
  • Loving this wind, never complain about wind again.
  • Yay, love seeing older people out running (a group of 3 ladies probably into their 60's)
  • Runners are so much friendlier than walkers (an unofficial 2-week experiment, runners wave back, walkers about 50% only).
  • Big smiles when a car of older folks (not just all old men mind you) slowed down to wave at me. Kind of felt like I was being cheered on. 
  • I really hate it when assholes won't ease over when they can for a runner. What if I tripped and fell?
  • Why do people still drive and talk on their cell phones? Those are the ones worst at not paying attention to the runners and cyclist (this is all observation from my route mind you).
  • Oh crap, the sun is coming out (mile 7).
  • Oh thank goodness, clouds again.
  • Blueberry Pomegranate Gu sucks ass, never ever buy that again. 
  • Ugh, here's that mountain, I can do this - there is a small incline near the end of the route. At 9 miles, it may as well be a freaking mountain.
  • Note to self, use more Body Glide next time I wear these shorts...ouch...ouch....ouch.
So, there you have it, total random running thoughts. What are some of your craziest thoughts or sights you've seen? 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Gym Day & Shirataki Tofu Stir Fry

Another Gym Day (thanks weather)
Seriously, if we don't get one storm-free night soon, we're going to need three padded cells: 1 for me, 1 for Jason, and 1 for the Heath Man. Around 3:30 am, Jason ended up sleeping on the couch with Heath downstairs.

When I got up, I turned off both alarms, just not thinking. Jason went up when I came downstairs and he crashed out. Thankfully, I remembered what I had done at 8 and called to wake him up. I think he probably needed the uninterrupted sleep though. Tomorrow I can catch up as I'm off work for Good Friday (TGIT).

So, it was rainy this morning and rain chances all day. This meant gym workout. I really would have liked one more day between the upper body weights, but sometimes you just go with it. Today was short, it was just one exercise per muscle group. I did the exercises as supersets of 3x8 starting with 10 minutes on the treadmill.

SS#1
Cross-body curls
Rear-delt flye

SS#2
Lying triceps extensions
Standing lateral raise

SS#3

Decline pushups (chest way too sore still to do weights)
Single-arm rows

I did some ab exercises then 10 minutes on the elliptical.

Meal Planning Rocks
Last night I thought ahead, again, to get some tofu pressing for tonight's dinner (tofu & veggie stir fry). This morning, I threw together a quick marinade and started the tofu marinating so it wold have all day to soak up the flavors. I just used a pre-made (aka jarred) stir fry sauce, added in some OJ, soy sauce, and sriracha chili sauce. When I got home from work (early thanks to an awesome boss), I baked the tofu until firm, approximately 40 minutes.

When it came time for dinner, I pulled out the broccoli I chopped last night, carrots, onions, red bell pepper, mushrooms, frozen peas, and Shirataki Noodles for the stir fry. I actually added the noodles first, then tossed in the veggies and tofu along with the stir fry sauce and a splash of sriracha (love spice). Easy Peasy.
 

I'm really loving all this pre-planning. It has really made dinners so much easier this week. I have done really well and stuck to the meals I planned out on Monday. Each day I have taken the time, while already cooking dinner, to prep for the next day's meal. I hope I can keep this up. It'll certainly make my life easier.

Since I'm off work tomorrow, I think I can get a few things done for next week. Though, it'll be a short week of cook as we leave for Seattle next Thursday (woohoo). Do you prep your meals or do any meal planning?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

S Day: Storms, Spin, Spaghetti Squash & Seitan

Storms & Spin
Last night was another long one. We had three storm cells move through, bringing in hail, high winds, and more tornadoes. We ended up giving Heath a prescription drug that was supposed to knock him out. But his fear of storms is so bad, that even that didn't help. He still woke up during the last round (somewhere around 2 am) freaking out.

So it didn't work, and then the poor little guy was so groggy when we got up, I had to carry him down the stairs. We've given him that medicine only a couple of times before, halving it. We thought the odd grogginess and continued anxiety was because of it only being half the dose. Nope, not the case. I don't think we'll mess with that again. It's not worth it, and I can't stand seeing him so out of it.

I had thought about getting in a run today after work. I was kind of itching to run. But we had more rain and thunderstorms in the forecast, so I ended up decided to go to spin and not chance a rainy (or stormy) run.

While it was a great spin class, I do still sort of regret not having gone for a run. Though, I know getting caught in a thunderstorm isn't exactly ideal and that's what would have happened. And we have more rain tomorrow, so I may not get in a run until Friday or Saturday this week. :-(
Here's our weather map at 3:35. Yep, not exactly outdoor running weather.


More Spaghetti Squash
I had spaghetti squash leftover from last night's dinner. I actually made this last night so it was already done and on and for a quick side tonight. Gotta love pre-planning. I paired this with some roasted broccoli and homemade Seitan Cutlets.

Since I keep mentioning homemade seitan, I thought now might be a good time to post my updated recipe. It's based off of this "Beef" Seitan recipe, but I have tweaked it a bit for better consistency.

Italian Spiced Spaghetti Squash
Ingredients:
1/2 spaghetti squash, baked and "shredded"
Cherry tomatoes, halved (I used a little over half a bag, maybe 16)
Balsamic vinegar (a few splashes)
Olive oil (maybe a tsp)
To taste: sea salt, black pepper, basil, parsley, oregano

Directions:
In medium bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, oil, and seasonings. Stir in the spaghetti squash and tomatoes. Allow to marinate at least 2 hours or over night.


Where's the Beach Seitan
Ingredients:
For the seitan:
2 cups vital wheat gluten
1 cup spelt flour (I have also made with whole-wheat pastry flour)
1 1/2 cups hot water
Seasonings*: parsley, thyme, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, chili powder, red pepper powder
1 Not-Beef Bouillon cube
Liquid smoke - a few splashes

For the cooking liquid:
2 Not-Beef Bouillon cubes
6 cups water (may need to add just a little more if cooks out too quickly)
Liquid smoke (heavy handed splashes)

Directions:
In medium mixing bowl, add in the flours and seasonings and mix. Dissolve one bouillon cube in the hot water then slowly add to the flour. Combine quickly then roll out onto a prepared surface. Kneed the dough for a few minutes. If it is too wet, you can add additional flour. Let sit for about 10 minutes, then kneed a few more times.

In a large pot, bring to boil water, 2 bouillon cubes, and liquid smoke.

You can cut the seitan into strips or form "cutlets." The seitan will expand while cooking, so cut thinner strips than you think you want and make slightly smaller cutlets as well. As a tip, I try to stretch the cutlets into shape just before dropping them in the boiling liquid.

Place your seitan strips and/or cutlets into the cooking liquid. Allow to cook at medium heat for 45-55 minutes. Watch closely and stir often. If the liquid cooks out too quickly, add in a small amount. Any additional liquid can be saved for a gravy/sauce.

* For the seasonings, the key is to really season the flour. Be heavy handed with spices other than salt.

Back to dinner...For the cutlets tonight, I simply coated them in some panko that I seasoned with a lemon pepper blend, parsley, basil, oregano, and nutritional yeast. I baked them at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes, flipping halfway through.

 
 
I think this dinner turned out really well. I love roasted broccoli for starters. I thought that the spaghetti squash turned out really nicely. It's great, light side dish. You could easily make it a complete meal by adding in a protein like cannellini beans or even baked tofu. If you like cheese, I think feta would work really well with this.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Weights & Kale & Asparagus Spaghetti Squash with Creamy Lemon Sauce

Tired Tuesday
So, the plan was that Jason and I were going to get up around 5:30 this morning and hit the gym. I had everything ready to go. I had even let my boss know I'd be doing 8-5 instead of 7-4.

Here's where we went wrong...we both took a Zyrtec for allergies. Of course, we needed it. But it always messes with my sleep in a big way. I was up every two hours throughout the night. At 4:50 am, I made the executive decision to switch the alarm back to normal time and get in some more sleep.

My workout ended up being done after work in the end. I would have loved to have run today, but it was gusting 30+ mph winds today. We have another major storm front moving through, possible tornadoes already predicted.

Since I am not always a glutton for total punishment, I went with upper body weights today over a run. I did two exercises per muscle group as supersets of 3x6. I did 10 minutes on the treadmill as a warm up.

Decline pushups as warm up - 24

Assisted chinups
Pullovers

Flat bench flye to press

Hammer curls
Alternating curls

Shoulder press
Front raise

Double-arm overhead triceps extension
Double-arm kickbacks

I did some ab work as well then 10 minutes on the elliptical. I must say, as unenthusiastic as I was about working out (because I really was), it was a really good, really strong workout for me today.

Green on Green Dinner
Jason is having to work later again this week. I decided to do myself a huge favor to take the pressure off of myself regarding getting dinner done. I actually wrote out what I was going to make each night of the week. Done. No guessing, no fretting, no over-analyzing, no new recipes either (well sort of). I thought about the ingredients on hand - if I don't have it, then I won't attempt to make it and run any extra errand. Total light bulb moment huh? ;-)

I decided to make a version of my Spinach & Asparagus Pasta with Creamy Lemon Sauce tonight. I had kale that needed to be used, so I used that in place of the spinach. I also had some spaghetti squash that I wanted to use, knowing I could use half tonight and half for tomorrow night. So, I came up with a Kale and Asparagus Spaghetti Squash with Creamy Lemon Sauce.

Kale and Asparagus Spaghetti Squash with Creamy Lemon Sauce
Ingredients: 
1/2 spaghetti squash baked and "shredded"
1/2 white onion, minced
Small bunch of kale, washed, de-veined, chopped
1/2 bunch asparagus, chopped
Vegetable broth or white wine (maybe 1/4 cup) 
Optional additions: Quorn nuggets (not vegan), seitan, chickpeas, or cannellini beans
1 package extra-firm silken tofu
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
juice of one whole lemon
Almond or soy milk (to desired consistency)
To taste: lemon pepper spice blend, red chili flakes, to taste (optional), sea salt, fresh black pepper, dried parsley
3 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes

Directions:
In large non-stick skillet, saute onions in small amount of olive oil for just a minute or two. Add in the kale and some vegetable broth or wine. Cover with a lid and cook until the kale is wilted then add in the asparagus. If adding in any additional protein, add in now.

Meanwhile, in a food processor puree the remaining ingredients, adding in the "milk" to desired consistency.

Add the spaghetti squash and tofu mixture to the onions, kale, and asparagus. Re-season if needed and allow to cook until tofu heats through. Add additional "milk" if needed.




I served with some toasted Ezekial bread. It honestly turned out even better than I had expected. I mean, I had a general idea as the sauce is the same I've used over pasta. But it worked so well with the spaghetti squash, and I loved the texture the kale added to this dish. I think some toasted pine nuts would have been a nice garnish.