Friday, December 30, 2011

Goodbye Trashy, Hello Classy!

Last trashy eating and drinking while lack of exercising of 2011! 

2012: New Leaf (again).  I am excited to be getting back into bootcamp and full of fear at the same time.  Gym beatdowns are the best worst things ever!  Excited for new food, new routine, and just the overall sense of near accomplishment! 

So far on the schedule:
January begins with 3 days of primitive camping with the oh-so-amazing and motivated boyfriend.  We'll have to hike and bike to and from our camp site with all of our supplies and survive on cliff bars and granola.  Boot camp begins just after my return to society. 
Come February, it's time to get rugged once again! 
March shows the possibility of the Gate River Run (assuming I've bought new shoes before then)
Should I survive 'til April, we'll be savages!

Needless to say, I cannot wait!  I'm hoping that the monthly goals will help keep me on track and bring back the six-pack! 

Alas, at the present, it is the end of 2011 and I must celebrate one more family Christmas function.  This means egg nog and yummy food.  It's my last pass of the year before kickin' my ass in gear!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Vegan Out on Christmas Cookies!

Delayed post to show off my wonderfully delicious vegan Christmas cookies!  I'm the furthest thing from vegan (no self control here, folks), but decided to try my hand at it for my friend Crystal's cookie exchange.  I heard there would be a real, live vegan there!  Unfortunately, she was a no show.  But my cookies were delicious and I will bake them again and again and again!






Vegan Chocolate Spice Cookies
1 1/2 cups flour + 1 tbsp
1 1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup vegetable shortening (or vegan margarine--of which I had none, hence shortening)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup dark agave nectar
1 tsp baking soda dissolved in 1 1/2 tsp boiling water
1/4 cup sugar

Preparation:
Whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and cocoa in a small bowl and set aside.
Beat together the shortening (or vegan margarine) and brown sugar. Add the agave nectar and mix well. Add half of the flour mixture and the baking soda mixture and combine well. Add the rest of the flour mixture.
Chill, covered for at least one hour. Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.
Spoon dough into 1 1/2 inch balls, then roll each ball in the sugar.  Place on baking sheet 2 inches apart, pressing down lightly in the center of cookie with a fork or spoon.
Bake 13-15 minutes, until surfaces start to crack slightly

Straight from the oven they tasted amazing--like a ginger snap with a little more oomf.  Super easy, super recommended (even if you aren't a real, live vegan)!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Yummy Yummy In My Tummy!


First things first: Last week I was healthy about two days.  One of those days I ran a 5k with my sister (wearing 20 feet of Christmas lights).  The second day, I made THIS:

My oh-so-amazing boyfriend introduced me to the sauce, which was originally an allrecipes.com gem.  However, being the overachiever that he is, he decided to spruce it up with all of the veggies we had on hand to make it even more delicious.  It worked, and I refuse to make it any other way now!  Rather than my normal go-to of whole grain pasta, I decided to use spaghetti squash instead (2 cups has only 40 calories HULLO!).  It's not every day I get excited for a dinner of only veggies, but heck, just writing about it has me drooling for more.  See below for instructions on how to recreate this goodness for your belly:

Spaghetti Squash: Cut spaghetti squash in half, remove seeds.  Place into a large pot of boiling water and let boil for 10-15 minutes.  Scrape out spaghetti strands with a fork.


Basil Pesto Pomodoro Sauce & Veggies: Spray pan with nonstick cooking spray or olive oil. Over medium heat, cook 1/2 cup chopped red onion, 1/2 cup sliced & quartered zucchini, 1/4 cup sliced mushrooms, 1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper, and 3 minced garlic cloves for about 5 minutes (until onion is tender).  Add a 14.5oz can of diced tomatoes undrained. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in 2 tbsp pesto just before serving.

HECK YES!  Don't even try to act like it's not amazing.  It's amazing.

As for the other five days that I'd rather not delve too much into, well...yup.  I ate and drank like a chubbo.  I worked out like one, too. Curling the remote when I needed to change the channel.  Jogging to the fridge when my plate was empty.  Really engaging and contracting my ab muscles while trying to button my pants.  Alas, every day is a new chance to start over, and so I shall!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

New Week = New Chances for Success!

I'll give myself a C for effort last week.  As of yesterday, I was right at my 2 hour minimum exercise goal that I'd set.  Up until say, Thursday around 11:30PM, I'd eaten fairly healthy.  But then I split an order of fries with a girlfriend.  Luckily, I'd gone light on the calories earlier in the day to offset the 2 glasses of Malbec (and the fries I wasn't planning on) so it still technically wasn't overboard.  Friday was a whole 'nother ballgame with 6 glasses of red wine and 1/2 a calzone.  And that is why I decided to restrict my drinking to just two days a week, max.  To make up for it, I hit the pavement for a four mile run yesterday.  I didn't intend to run that far, but found I suddenly had very good motivation to just keep going. 

So here we are at Sunday.  The end of week one or the start of week two (I'm not really sure).  I was craving a yummy breakfast and with the help of a quick Google search, came out with this little number:


At first glance we aren't looking healthy.  BUT I LOVE Eggs Benedict!  Probably because it's not healthy.  Google took me to Eating Well's healthed-up version of the creamy, buttery sauce.  I healthed it up even more by using unsweetened almond milk mixed with lemon juice instead of buttermilk.  I'll be making this again, slashing the salt measurement in half to cut down on sodium--it really doesn't need the amount called for.  

I didn't have any english muffins on hand so I subbed 1/2 of a whole wheat pita, topped with 2 slices of tomato and baby spinach.  Even including the bacon, we're only looking at around 350 calories, 14g fat, and 20g protein.  Not 100% ideal on the fat front, but with all that protein, I don't think I'll be in the mood for a big, big meal for a few hours.  And heck, there's always the ability to sub with Turkey Bacon or forgo the yummy stuff altogether (if you wanna be crazy like that).

Now that breakfast is over, I'm looking ahead to what else is in store for this week: Spaghetti Squash with Basil Pesto Pomodoro sauce for a healthy belly, Park Plyometrics and Hardcore Yoga for a healthy bod, and a bit of Reading, Writing, and Painting for a healthy mind. Ready, Set, GO!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Back on Track...Day Two

Yup.  Here we are.  Day Two. 

But first a recap of Day One:
Hitting the road to Actionville from Waynesvegas at 3:30 AM set my diet up for failure.  At the same time, that Chick-Fil-A chicken biscuit tasted SO FREAKING GOOD!  I arrived home in time to slurp down ramen at lunch.  Clearly, not grocery shopping before leaving town for a week is a "damned if ya do, damned if ya don't." ordeal.  Had I gone, I likely would've come home to some stale food.  By not coming, I came home to, well...ramen!

Running on only a couple hours sleep, a 6 hour drive, and a half day in the office working on an IT crisis (did I mention I'm not in IT?) put me too zonked to do the yoga podcast I originally planned on.  However, I did manage a stroll around the grocery store for some healthy fixins and wound up with this little ditty for dinner and it was deeeelish!

In case you cannot tell, this is a pita pizza: an 8" whole wheat pita topped with a tbsp of veggie medley spaghetti sauce, sliced mushroom, sliced green bell pepper, sliced red onion, and a tbsp of Italian cheeses.  The Italian greens on the side were spritzed twice each with olive oil and lemon juice and coated with a 1/2 tbsp of pesto, topped with a 1/2 tbsp of Italian cheeses.  Definitely a much healthier (and equally as yummy) take on the real deal.

And as for Day Two:
After 8 hours of wonderful and much needed sleep, I spent 30 minutes convincing myself to go for a 3 mile run.  My shins and ankles are still hating me for it.  I believe that means it's time for new shoes.  Hoping I can hold out for a couple more weeks without killing my stems!  

Breakfast consisted of half of a whole wheat pita stuffed with 2 egg whites, cheese, sliced bell pepper, sliced tomato, sliced onion, and 2 pieces of bacon.  Pretty yummy stuff, I won't lie. Taco Tuesday at lunch was a mostly a win with two soft tacos on wheat tortillas filled with beans, light cheese and sour cream, and onions.  Of course I am sure the chips and sweet tea cancelled out much healthiness (as pointed out by the gent who too my order).  Dinner was a half can of orange tomato harvest soup and a grilled cheese and tomato on whole wheat extra fiber bread.  

After dinner, I was sure I was done for the night...but then Rudolph came on--you know, that irresistible claymation Christmas Classic?  Immediately, I was craving cookies.  I threw a batch in the oven to bake and had two, washed down with a glass of unsweetened almond milk.  In my opinion, this is not terrible.  However, I've e-mailed my food log to my super fit and clean eating guru friends who will likely tell me just how wrong I am.  Perhaps the lack of vino for the past three days will cancel it out?  Maybe? Hopefully?

Either way, it only gives me something else to work off tomorrow AM.  Currently, I'm debating between the park plyometrics routine I worked up or the yoga podcast I missed yesterday.  Both are all over body killers and I just cannot decide which sort of torture I'd prefer the most for Day 3.  Decisions, decisions...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fancy Mabel? More Like Lazy Mabel!

What is UP with me these days?  I am pretty down on myself and my lack of sincere motivation.  It's getting to the point where I am finding it worrisome.  Of course, "worry" may as well be my middle name since it's more or less my #1 habit in life.

Needless to say, the PBA mentioned in the prior post has been the victor over me throughout the past few months.  I will give credit (definitely not all or even half) to a fairly hectic fall work schedule.  I will also give credit (again, not all or not even half) to boot camp being off the table these days due to an ever-thinning wallet.  I cancelled my cable in an effort to spend less time on my couch, but it doesn't seem to help much.  I run and bike once or twice a week, but the constant stops at the drive-through window before and during work seem to be slowing me down, while also defeating the purpose of saving that $100/month from the cable bill I no longer have.  My energy is pretty zapped, as is my desire to go out and have a genuine good time.  This isn't who I am, nor who I want to be.  I want to get back to kicking ass like this.  I felt so physically great at that time and was pretty on top of the world mentally as well. I miss that girl.

Presently, I am out of town visiting my oh-so-amazing boyfriend aka Mr. On-the-Go Motivational Man.  He's worked to beat my rut with a bit of hiking, dancing, and hoofing it around this extremely hilly town.  Tomorrow, he promises a scenic bike ride or run.  It all helps clear my head and it is in these moments (among several others) that I realize just how wonderful he is to me and why I love him so.  I really do feel he helps bring out the best in me.

Alas, in 48 hours I will be back to reality of the now common solo time that this long-distance relationship has bestowed upon me.  What am I going to do to keep myself accountable and sane and in the direction to get back on the track to healthy, happy, Fancy Mabel?  After all, I know as well as anyone that at the end of the day, the only person who can help me be my best is the girl typing this blog entry. I suppose it is best to start with public goals.  If I write it, and you read it, I certainly must follow through right?
  1. Food Log--write down everything that goes into this purty little mouth of mine!
  2. Exercise--two hours a week (four mornings/evenings) minimum
  3. Tame the Drinking Habit--two days of beverage privileges per week.
  4. Bedtime Ritual--reading writing nightly prior to falling asleep IN BED (not on the couch with the Netflix)!
  5. Blog it Out--two entries per week, for accountability's sake. 
Workout buddies, cooking partners, and motivational cheerleaders always welcome!  Fingers crossed I figure out some method to the madness and FOR REAL hop to it this time!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Motivation - Where You At?!


As you can see, this blog has been all sorts of not active over the past several months, much like myself.  It's not that there weren't things to share.  Yummy food has been made, physical activity has (sometimes) occurred.  But for whatever reason, come quittin' time, all I've wanted to do is just that: quit.  The thing is, it's not like I've got much better going on in my spare time.  So what is this magnetic force that seems to be pulling my ass to the couch and zapping me into a TV coma for hours on end rather than pushing me outside to just do something with my life?!

It's almost as if the goddesses over at SELF (aka my other Bible) were reading my mind.  An article in this month's issue: "Do You Need a Five-Year Plan?" really made me sit down and think about where I am now (on the couch) and where I want to be sooner rather than later (off the couch).  A chat with the amazingly-always-motivated boyfriend only turned my wheels some more.  Why am I letting the things that have always made me happy sit on the back burner and giving the one really large, decent-heating front burner (I have a crappy stove) to endless hours of Law and Order: SVU reruns?!

And it's not just working out or eating healthy.  It's my job that I love and fought hard to get.  It's getting out of bed and going outside on a Sunday because the weather's nice.  It's putting away the 15 pairs of shoes in the living room because every day is an obstacle course when I'm tired of cheating death.  It's picking up the gorgeous guitar that I bought and doing more than just re-tune the strings or opening up a Word Doc and writing with a purpose for once.  All of these things make me feel so accomplished by the time I lay my head on the pillow at night.  Forget following through.  Why can't I even begin?!

Simple answer: Paralysis by Analysis (PBA).  It's my worst enemy.  I have all of these dreams and goals I love to think and speak about.  But all this thinking is preventing me from doing.  Between the SELF goddesses and my boyfriend, I realized I cannot keep this up if I ever want to be happy with my life.  So yesterday, I decided to give PBA the finger and dove headfirst into a work project that's been taunting me for weeks. Opposite of what I feared, I actually made all sorts of headway.  Yes, I wound up in the office until nearly 9:00 (a huge deal for someone who leaves by 5:30 at the latest), but I felt so accomplished that I didn't even notice the time flying.  And when I got home, I had my 15 minutes of TV time before switching off the set for a nice writing session before bed.  The cheesy high it's left me with has me ready to take it all on again today.  Has the PBA been defeated? Not by a long shot.  But I'm a huge fan of baby steps.

The hardest part is actually starting.  If I can just get past the starting line and keep truckin' I'll eventually reach the finish. Aaaand GO!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Frabtastic Fanciness on a Plate!

I've never been a huge fan of crab cakes.  I've maybe had three ever and if I never ate another one, my life would not be incomplete.  However, due to my stepmother's allergy to shellfish, I've recently been introduced to what I like to call the Frab Cake.  I admit I am now absolutely obsessed with these delicious, delicious patties.  Packed full of veggies, thankfully lacking in fake crab meat, and at only 140 calories apiece, what's not to love?


Zucchini Crab Cakes (aka Frab Cakes):
3 cups coarsely grated zucchini
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (panko breadcrumbs work just as well)
1 egg
3 sliced scallions
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
3 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp plain yogurt (mayo or sour cream work just as well)
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp butter
Olive Oil cooking spray

1: Place grated zucchini in a colander, sprinkle lightly with salt and let it stand for 30 minutes.  Press with paper towels to remove as much liquid as possible.  Once it's fairly dry, you should have about 2 cups.  Place zucchini and remaining ingredients (except oil and butter) into a bowl and mix.  Form into 8 patties.
2. Over medium heat, coat skillet with cooking spray and add butter.  Add patties to the skillet and cook on both sides until browned.  Drain on paper towels.

Looks and sounds amazing right?!  Well tonight I decided to take it one step further and make Frab Cake sammies topped with Cool Cumber Sauce!  I'm still full from dinner, but as I write, my mouth is definitely watering for more.

Cool Cucumber Sauce
1 cup of nonfat Greek yogurt
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 large cucumber, seeded and diced
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
Salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Chill.

 

Did I mention I could eat the sauce with a spoon?!  When making the sandwiches, you will only divide the frab cake mixture into 4 patties rather than 8.  On a whole grain sandwich thin bun, spread the bottom half with Dijon.  Top with Frab Cake and Cool Cumber Sauce and CHOW THE HECK DOWN!


Sunday, May 29, 2011

When the World Slows You Down...


If you’re me, you scream and cry and embarrass your mother by shouting at everyone to “F**K OFF” while your doctor is thanking God that at this Catholic hospital, the nuns are on another floor that day.  The priest isn’t though, and he could come douse you in holy water any second because absolutely NO ONE acts this way who isn’t possessed.

Rewind.  March was a hellaciously busy month, the one time of year where I was required to work long hours and forget I had a life.  ‘Stressful’ doesn’t begin to define it.  Just as the end was in sight, I ended up rounding out the month with emergency gall bladder surgery.  This is when I discovered anesthesia makes me go all Regan MacNeil on the entire third floor.  So now I shall offer a public apology to my parents and my doctors: Sorry for the bad language.  The drugs made me do it.  Thank you for not enacting an Exorcism.

We’re almost into June now and I admit I don’t miss my gall bladder at all.  However, recovery time made me realize I do miss having my butt kicked in bootcamp on a regular basis.  I miss getting sweaty.  I miss feeling like jello on the gym floor saying, “SAVE YOURSELVES, GO ON WITHOUT ME!” I miss looking like the woman on the billboard advertising lipo—only I’ve never had lipo, just four days a week of torture that I can’t seem to say no to.

To compensate, I tried to sneak in workouts by vacuuming, lifting my laundry bags, scrubbing the tile floors.  Let’s face it though, I despise domesticity and these things were all on the doc’s To-Don’t list anyway so it didn’t last long.  With no reason to properly fuel for fitness, I only thought it logical to divert back to the Wine & Krystals diet (also on the doc’s To-Don’t list) in search of happiness.

Luckily, I have an amazing boyfriend who counted down the days until I could get physical again and out of my slump.  Not so much to prevent the weight gain, more to preserve the sanity of us both.  Six weeks to the minute, he carried my bike downstairs and we set out on a short AM trek through the ‘hood.  At seven weeks, he corked the wine, deemed Krystals unacceptable (except in cases of extreme emergency), and filled the crisper with veggie goodness.  We went on my first run since February.  It was painfully slow, but he stayed with me and was my biggest cheerleader.  After a mile, we stopped for step-ups on a ledge near the sidewalk and a few sets of lunges, followed by more running and walking.  I don’t remember the last time a two mile trek made me feel so accomplished.  The following day, I wept tears of joy over my sore glutes. 

Over the past year, exercise has been the best medicine, keeping me both physically and emotionally healthy.  Occasionally, I’d want to take breaks if it got too hard.  Two months off because I had to made me a basket case and was definitely harder than the most torturous days in the gym.  Now when I set out, I have a whole new respect and appreciation for the burn and if I can help it, I’m not going to give it up again!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Absolute Rugged Mania! Just Sayin'!

Ever since running my first 5k back in June, I've been absolutely dying to do an obstacle race.  My original plan was to trek seven hours to Mountain City, Georgia in May for Warrior Dash until my lovely friend Sarah decided on the same date for her impending nuptials.  I'd still like to run this race, but it looks like I'll have to wait until next year!  But once I realized that these amazing races existed, I knew I had to get in on the action as soon as possible, so waiting a year was out of the question.  I asked my sister to join me for the Rugged Maniac instead.  The race is extremely similar and about six hours closer to home!  Her Bootcamp trainer decided to get in on the action with us, so we set out bright and early this morning to what I can only describe as the middle of flipping NOWHERE to find out just how rugged we were.

My first sight of the steep hills sent my nerves in a tailspin.  I'm a slow runner and my stamina is pretty lame.  Would I really be able to make it through the course?  Just in case, I told my sister I'd (hopefully) see her at the finish line if we were to get separated and prayed I could at least keep up enough to not be last.  In the event I did end up collapsing of weenie-ness, I'd want someone to see me and know to get help. 

At 11:00 sharp, the horn sounded and we took off running up and down numerous steep and muddy hills and around sharp curves.  It wasn't long before we came to our first obstacle: a not-so-slippery slide meant to propel us fast to the next: a 4 foot deep mud pit lined with booey barricades that we had to pull ourselves over or swim under to complete.  The cold water definitely woke us up to prepare for the 7-Foot Tall Hurdles!  Being able to pull myself up and over without needing assistance made me feel pretty awesome (thanks, Bootcamp & Chris DeRoo)!  I was also glad to see that the next three hurdles were all shorter (6-Feet, 5-Feet, 4-Feet).  I would've welcomed a break at this point, but steep hills and sugar sand didn't exactly allow for it!

As I predicted, a pre-race Redbull gave my sister and her trainer wings so they were definitely long gone by this point.  I continued the trek, crawling under and leaping over various hurdles, climbing a 12 foot tall cargo net, leaping from log to log in an attempt to stay out of water, and running through a wall of hanging tires before a nice two-mile trot through the forest, entirely on sugar sand.  Talk about a butt workout!

Just when I was starting to get over it, I heard music and cheering and then a "YOU'RE ALMOST THERE!" Of course, we couldn't be expected to cross the finish line without first walking a balance beam 15 feet over water and crawling on our bellies through the mud under barbed wire! Though my sister finished a good seven minutes before me, she met me at the end of the mud pit to take the Prometheus Leap over fire before hitting the finish line! I never had access to a mirror, but something tells me I gave a whole new definition to the term "hot mess".





This was by far the most fun fitness adventure I've had to date!  The past couple of weeks have been rough on my fitness and I've been getting a bit down about it. Today reminded me that, yes, I am strong and all the work I put in at the gym has paid off. Mud Run is coming to Actionville on March 26th and I'm pretty sure I'm going to take it on and make it my biatch while supporting the MS society!

Don't know if an obstacle race is your thing?  Check out this article for a rundown.  Interested in running a race in your area?  A quick google search of "Obstacle Races 2011" will pull up all sorts of options for you to get out, get dirty, and show your tough side!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Wagon--

--I more or less fell off of it.  Not all the way, more like hanging off the side with my feet dragging the ground, holding onto the edge for dear life before falling into the dust and getting left.  That's where I'm at!

Let me first state that as of January 31st, I had AMAZING "Back on Track" results at boot camp, losing nine pounds and seven inches.  The entire month was full of new challenges for me, changing both my eating and drinking habits, as well as getting back into the swing of waking up before the sun to get my ass kicked four days a week.  I went from having two "dry" days a week to five days of being alcohol-free.  I ate more fruit and veggies and worked harder physically in one month than I probably did in the six months prior.

I almost wish I hadn't seen the results.  It led me to believe I could take a bit of a break and relax.  A cheat day every now and then is a must in an effort to keep sane and feel like I'm not depriving myself.  However, I pretty much had a cheat week...or two.  More than once, after downing roughly a bottle of wine over four hours, I decided to shove 1,000 more calories worth of Krystals into my face (the amount of Krystal Burgers for the amount of calories is sad, people!).  There were the slices of pizza that I justified because they were topped with veggies (washed down with more wine--for the healthy antioxidants, of course).  Ice cream, cup cakes, soft drinks, Superbowl Sunday (aka who-knows-what I ate), the list goes on and on.  How did I choose to burn those extra calories, you ask?  Why, by laying on the couch watching Law & Order reruns all day each day on the weekends and several nights after work!

On the one hand, I know how terrible of a thing it was to do to my body.  It helped me feel better in the moment, but a few hours or even just minutes later and I wasn't so sure.  I was tired, sluggish, and my digestive system hated me.  On a postive side, I was able to recognize the correlation between how I feel emotionally when eating healthy (stable, at peace) verses after 3 nights in a row of drinking and vegging out (anxious, irritable).  I don't think I would've noticed this as drastically before.  I also realized that I tend to get more out of my workouts when I've given myself the proper fuel to push through them.  Lastly, I discovered that my metabolism is beyond forgiving!  If I keep up the hijinks of the last couple weeks it will begin to show some wear, but for now the scale hasn't budged more than a pound. 

I'm not going to be perfect.  It's going to be a long while before eating healthy is 100% second nature and I quit debating on whether or not to get out of bed in the AM to face the gym.  Maybe I did F- up the past couple of weeks, but it didn't come without a few lessons learned and motivation to do better.  New days were invented for a reason and I'll take them as an opportunity to put down the cheeseburger, brush off the crumbs, and start fresh!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Feel Like Chicken Tonight!

I realize I haven't showcased a meat-friendly meal yet.  Believe it or not, I'm quite omnivorous!  It wasn't until the past five years or so that I gave more attention to veggies and the last year that I've considered throwing fruit into my diet.  Since the meat industry seems to be so sketch, I've begun to monitor how much meat I eat and get my protein from other sources several days of the week.  Alas, I can't completely cut out the good stuff.  Instead, I pay a little more for meat that was raised cage free by farmers who receive fair wages, animals who eat the diet they were born to consume, and are free of unnecessary hormones and antibiotics.  Interested in find locally grown, organic meat in your area?  Visit LocalHarvest.org to find a farm near you!

That being said, my bootcamp buddy Margaret recently shared this kickass recipe with me that I shall now share with you!



Food & Wine's Curried-Chicken & Vegetable Pan Roast


Aside from cutting this recipe into a third (the original serves 12!) and adding chopped carrots, I followed the instructions to a T.  The dish is so simple to make, with the most work being cutting up a butternut squash.  I'm not a huge fan of brussel sprouts and have fought with my parents since my beginning that I will. not. eat. them.  My boyfriend (aka guinea pig) shares my opinions on the green farty-tasting veggie, yet we both totally dug them in this dish!  Not the slightest fart taste!  Four servings was enough for both of us to have lunch (and then some) the next day and I won't lie--knowing I got to enjoy this meal again had me super excited for lunchtime! 

Go ahead and cut up the veggies ahead of time.  When you come home and know you don't want to spend all evening in the kitchen yet you want a delicious meal, you just have to put everything in the pan and into the oven for a low-maintenance, yummy, good-for-your-tummy dinner!

Coming up this month: a little sugar, posers and spinners, Back on Track results, Healthy Hearty food and Rugged Racing!  Don't act like you can't feel the suspense!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Scramblin' in Actionville, Florida

This past weekend, my friend Becky and I decided to try a race unlike any we had done before.  The City Scramble takes a cue from The Amazing Race on a smaller scale. Contestants race around the city to destinations based on clues given at the beginning of the race.  Some destinations require contestants to stop and complete a challenge that can involve brawn or brains (or both).  Some just require a bit of extra effort and knowledge to find.  The course is open and there's no set order of which to complete tasks.  The two major rules are that you must complete each task to win and that you can only travel by foot.  The first team to make it back with all tasks complete wins $500.  The top three winning teams win medals.

Becky and I did not win $500.  Nor did we win medals.  However, if there was a prize for most kickass outfit, Team Gettin' Physical would've taken the cake times infinity!



Despite being robbed of a prize that does not yet exist (but soooo should), we had a blast!  We ran/walked/jogged 5.58 miles around the stellar neighborhood we live in (it's one of the top 10 in the country!!) searching for landmarks we didn't know existed, attempting to fly paper airplanes against the wind, circling a pond on buddy boards, solving crazy math problems (THAT'S what Algebra class was for!) and constantly asking store clerks and passers by to please, please, please take our picture!



In the end, we came in 6th place out of 18 (reminder! 1st place in fashion!).  I admit, my gimp shins couldn't take it like I'd hoped and I was out of commission the rest of the weekend, but it was so worth it!  It was a good reason to get up and enjoy a pretty day while taking in a somewhat unlikely workout with the coolest partner I could've asked for.  The best part?  Post-Race tequila cocktails!

Floridians!  The race is coming to a location near you this year!  To get in on the fun, visit City Scramble's website to see how you can get in on the action!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Boot Camp



Personal Fitness was a class requirement in high school.  For a grade, the coach made everyone bench press.  I flashed him my weenie arms to show they were useless at lifting, so he removed the weights from the bar and I laid down on the bench as he promised to spot.  Together, we removed the bar from its stand, lifted it above my chest and then it happened...Coach let go, sending the bar crashing down on top of me.  I was powerless to lift it up and lay squirming underneath until he came to my rescue.  All 25 pounds of it.  And yes, this was in front of the entire class.

A few years later, my friend Lucia challenged me to a foot race across the warehouse where we worked.  It may have been 30 yards.  I pulled a hamstring and limped for the next 3 days.

Last year, I tried to share the common interest of running with a friend.  I couldn't even huff and puff it a mile.  I was not an obese person.  I didn't look out of shape and the scale had always been kind to me.  So why was it that I had the strength and stamina of a vegetable?!

Determined to change it up, I did some research and discovered Chris DeRoo's Get Fit Bootcamp: a four week, Monday through Thursday high intensity exercise program designed to shock the body into getting fit.  I signed up, paid my dues, and prepared to have my ass kicked.  If an ass-kicking was my goal, I definitely got my money's worth!

Boot Camp training is a group fitness program that combines cardiovascular and interval training and many other exercises using weights and/or body weight to lose body fat, increase stamina and strength, and help people get into a routine of regular exercise.  Each day is an efficient, hardcore full-body workout and no day is like the next.  It's been ten months since I began and I'm still not used to it!  One day we may be doing traditional weight lifting, the next we're swinging sledge hammers and flipping truck tires, the next we're running around a baseball diamond doing different body weight exercises at each base until we drop...and then there's likely something else still waiting for us!

I've done body sculpting classes and personal training in the past.  The work was tough, but it was never engaging enough to keep me going back.  Landing in bootcamp gave me the motivation to strive to get better and stronger.  I've made friends who cheer me on when I'm doing great and pull me back in when I'm falling off track.  To top it off, I have a trainer who I know genuinely wants to see me do well and expects nothing but my best (and let's me know when I'm not giving it).

I've come to accept the constant sore feeling of muscles I didn't know I had.  Some days I might sit down on the gym floor after a workout and know I'll be there at least 15 minutes before being able to get back up.  In exchange, I've also discovered that I can run way more than one mile without pulling a hamstring or losing my breath, and lift 40lbs without worrying if my spotter gets distracted.  The disappearing act that my cellulite's been doing isn't so bad either! 

If you're looking for a new take on fitness that won't bore you and will give you the results you want, search for boot camps in your area and get ready to break a sweat!  Your body will thank you.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I'm Keen on Quinoa!




I found this amazing dish at Epicurious and adapted it slightly based on what I had (or didn't have) in the fridge.  I must say that this is a new favorite comfort dinner!  Earlier this week, I researched which veggies were in season at the moment (winter squash!) which then led me to this recipe.  It's definitely warm goodness on a chilly night!

Tonight was my first attempt at quinoa and I must say, I totally dig it!  For those who don't know, quinoa is the seed of a leafy plant (not a grain) but it can be subbed for nearly any grain.  It's full of protein, fiber, potassium, and iron and digests easily.  Mix cooked quinoa with veggies and spices to eat as a side at lunch or dinner.  Mix it with honey, nuts, or berries for a filling breakfast.  Gotta love the versatility!

As for the recipe: Quinoa with Moroccan Squash & Carrot Stew
Want to see what's in season in your region right now?  Click Here for Epicurious' Peak Season Map!

That's all for now.  Fancy bootcamp tales later this week!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Fridge Remodel and a Happy Breakfast

I finally did it. I finally rid the fridge of all things crap! It's been no easy task and come Wednesday, I'll no doubt find myself rocking back and forth in the fetal position on the kitchen floor screaming, "WHY? WHY? WHY?" but for the moment, I'm feeling accomplished!

I owe many thanks to my good friend The Farmer's Market. I made the trek Saturday and for $14, scored a butternut squash, 2 grapefruit, 5 bananas, 3 apples, 1 red onion, 1 giant avocado, 2lbs of mushrooms, 2 lemons, 3 limes, 2 ginger roots, a bunch of cilantro, and 2 tomatoes. Not only did I get the exact quantities I wanted, but I also saved myself $20 in the process. No way the grocery store would've been that generous!

So now, I have given myself the task of eating it all before the week's up! It will be a bit of a challenge, but I'm up to it. I started by banning items from the crisper and placing all veggies on the main fridge shelf and all fruits in a bowl on the dining room table. Here we go day one! Taking a cue from SELF Magazine's Jump Start Diet, I had quite the fancy breakfast this morning. How's this for a Happy Meal?!



One grapefruit sliced in half and each half drizzled with honey. I stuck them both under the broiler about 5 minutes (until the honey started to bubble and the grapefruit began to brown). I had a leftover half of a whole grain pita so I topped it with crunchy almond butter and WAH-LAH! How can you not smile at that?!

I admit, this morning was my first attempt at eating a grapefruit.  It was definitely a struggle and if anyone can tell me how to eat one in less than an hour without dousing the dining room in juice, you will win the prize of being my best friend! 

And now, to ready myself for bootcamp.  Old Navy had a sale on workout gear recently and I took advantage of it.  No doubt the new threads will make me a badass champ in the weight room today!  Or the usual could happen and I'll be shouting "UNCLE!!!!" as soon as we've completed warm-up.  Either way, time to get movin'!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Today's Fancy Scoop: Fancy Hula Hoops!

My friends Elise, Valerie, and I took advantage of this past Saturday's delightful weather and retreated to the park to play like kids while getting a bit of a workout.  What better activity than to hula hoop?  Oh yes, you know you spent hours with your hula hoop when you were eight, seeing what tricks you could make up or how long you could keep it spinning.

Or perhaps you were like Valerie and never hula hooped as a kid.  But Valerie wasn't shy about trying to learn and neither should you be!  It's pretty much impossible to take yourself seriously while hooping...unless you happen to be at a hippie music festival in which case EVERYONE seems serious while hooping and I for one get very intimidated by their skills.**   





The Dealio with Hooping:
  • Aside from being fun, hula hooping also helps shrink your waist by engaging the muscles along your torso to keep the hoop in motion.  Just 30 minutes of hula hooping burns 200 calories!
  • The hoop is important!  Ideally, it should be 35-40 inches in diameter and between 1 and 3 lbs. Anything heavier may be potentially harmful to internal organs.  This in turn could make for awkward conversation with your doctor.
  • To start the hoop spinning, simply place it around your natural waist (belly button!), perhaps standing with one foot slightly in front of the other, and move your hips in a subtle (but quick) circular motion clockwise and give the hoop a spin to get it going.  Keep up the motion to keep the hoop raised.  If this doesn't feel right, switch direction to counterclockwise.
  • Already an expert at plain 'hooping?  Add a bit of a twist with these moves!
    • One Legged: While pumping the hoop around your waist, shift all your weight to your right foot and lift your left off the ground, while still hooping.  After 30 seconds, put your left leg down and shift your weight to that leg while lifting the right leg and keeping the hoop in motion.
    • Walk like an Egyptian: After you get the hoop spinning, take a step.  Pause to ensure you've still got control of the hoop and take another step.
    • Skip-It: With the hoop around your right ankle, give it a spin and jump over it with your left foot.  After a minute, switch the hoop to the opposite ankle and repeat.
    • Jumping through Hoops:  Hold the hoop in front of you parallel to your body in both hands.  Swing it under your body, like a jump rope and jump through the hoop.
    • Really want to work your middle? Then DON'T FORGET TO LAUGH! This exercise is supposed to be fun--don't take yourself too seriously.
The links below will help you get started:
Looking to purchase a hoop? Check out Hoopnotica
Looking for a great hoop workout? Click here for Health Magazine's Hoop Yourself Slim
Wanna find out more on hooping? Visit Hooping.org for everything you need to know!

That's all for now!  Stay tuned this week for the lowdown on bootcamp and fancy eats!

**Hippies, please don't take offense.  I love hippies.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Bellissima Cena!

I had quite the busy afternoon and as I write I've just finished dinner and it's almost bedtime already!  Before I hit the hay, I wanted to make sure to share my goodies.

I know I can't be the only one who walks in the door after a long day absolutely famished, just wanting something quick and easy (insert 'your-mom' joke here) for dinner.  I had veggie stirfry on the schedule, but I just wasn't feeling it.  Aside from that, I was craving a huge gooey pizza that I know is completely off-limits at the moment.  While pouting about that, I looked in the fridge for Plan B in the form of Italian cuisine, pulled out a few things, and WAH-LAH!  One Bellissima Burger!  Me, pouting?  Surely not!






It's yummy in my tummy and won't add jiggle to my middle!

Ingredients:
1 portabella mushroom cap (stem & inside ridges removed)
1/2 tbsp olive oil
A few drops of low sodium soy
A few drops of worcestershire sauce (No, I cannot pronounce that.)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 roasted red pepper
1 tbsp pesto
1 Sandwich Thin bun
1 slice cheese, onion slices, slice tomato (all optional)

1: Heat skillet to medium and add olive oil.  Mix the soy sauce and worcestershire together and brush onto the bella cap.
2: Add minced garlic to skillet and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add bella cap to skillet, empty side down and cook for 3 minutes, pressing down lightly with a spatula to flatten(especially if it's a smaller, but thicker mushroom).
3:  Flip bella cap and add cheese until melted.  During the last minute, place the roasted red pepper into the pan to heat through.
4: Remove from heat.  Spread bun with pesto.  Place bella cap and any garlic onto bun.  Top with  roasted red pepper, onion, tomatoes, and other half of bun.
5: Eat the heck out of it!!

From fridge to stove to belly took a total of approximately 20 minutes.  Normally, I wash it down with an awesome red, but I made this crazy "No drinking except on weekends" plan (insane, I know).  Thus, I just enjoyed regular ol' water!  Quick, simple, and healthy!

For an equally quick, simple, and healthy dessert check out this fancy treat from Sweet on Veg.  I tried it earlier this week and must say, I'm in love!






That's all for now!  I hope everyone had a fantastic and fancy hump day!  More to come soon!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

And so it Begins...

'sup 2011?!  After ringing in the New Year Friday night / Saturday morning, I didn't feel like doing too much yesterday aside from chow down on some black eyed peas and greens.  I need all the luck I can get! 

Except for a bike ride this morning, I've spent the first two days of the new year taking it easy.  But tomorrow I hit the ground running!  Back to boot camp first thing in the AM and training for a 15k in the PM.  I even invested in some new gymwear to help motivate me!  A girl's always gotta look her best.  Oh yeah, I got this.




Coming up this week: Yummy Food & Hula Hoops.  Stay fancy and stay tuned!