Tag Archives: health food

Mondays Get a Bad Rap

28 Jan

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t always give Monday the benefit of the doubt.

Waking up to that alarm after two days of waking up naturally is a bummer. Getting out of my warm bed and into the shower, rushing around to get breakfast ready for everyone, pets included, and going out into the cold to head to work for 8 hours after 2 days of doing whatever I want — not fun.

And, also, Mondays are always especially hard at work. Work has built up over the weekend (my workplace is open 7 days a week, so even when I’m not here over the weekend, something ends up on my desk), and there is always a lot of stuff to catch up on.

Here are the 3 things that are making me ready to tackle this Monday, and subsequent week, with a smile:

1. A yummy breakfast: 

breakfast

This weekend wasn’t the best for healthy eating. I tried to stay on track, but I had a few extra beers and a few less-than-perfect meals. Oh well. Loading up on fruit and a bit of whole grains should make up for it. I packed a banana, some yogurt, the bagel and the apple, but I found some leftover fruit in the fridge at work from a program this weekend. Melon isn’t exactly in season, but it was still yummy.

2. A great weekend with friends! 

Zach and I had a great weekend. We got to hang out with friends a lot, and he and I had some great quality time together. It was fabulous 🙂

Zach enjoying a lazy double cat Saturday morning.

Zach enjoying a lazy double cat Saturday morning.

3. A good weekend of fitness! 

Although I was feeling a bit under the weather this weekend, I did manage to get some fitness in. I went to my very first Crossfit class ever! Here was the WOD:

8 minute AMRAP (as many reps as possible):
15 Wall Balls
15 Kettlebell Swings
15 ring pull ups

…8 minutes? That’s it!? Uh, yeah, that was the most intense 8 minutes of my life. The class started out with some intense foam rolling and stretching that my legs definitely needed, then we moved on to learning form with deadlifts. Finally, it was time to do the WOD. My AMRAP? 2. Yep, only 2. But that’s 30 Wall Balls, 30 Kettlebell Swings, and 30 ring pull ups (modified) in 8 minutes. I’m pretty proud of myself, and boy was I sore the next day!

Yesterday, I spent most of the day helping Courtney set up for the Bridal Expo, and attending it myself (I’ll talk more about that in my Wedding Wednesday post this week). Since I didn’t want to spend 7 hours at the Expo, after I helped with set-up, paid my admission and scoped out the vendors, I went home for lunch. When it was about an hour before ending time, I put on my running clothes and went for a run around town, ending at the Civic Center. I helped Courtney and her partner Mark break down their table and then finished my run, ending up at a Yoga for Runner’s class at Studio 8 yoga. I’m not going to go much into that class, because while it was a great class, they were having their one year anniversary and the class was much too packed for my liking. I got there early so I ended up with my mat smack dab in the middle of the studio, packed with other yogis like sardines around me, with no escape route. That really got my anxiety level up, so I didn’t quite enjoy my practice like I usually do.

However, my run put at 14 miles for the week, and 49.62 for the month of January so far. That means I only have to run .4 miles before February 1st to reach my 50 mile goal for the month! Hooray!

This past week's mileage.

This past week’s mileage.

Also, I’m looking forward to my next Crossfit class, tomorrow at 6:15 AM!

There you go! The top 3 reasons I’m not going to let this Monday bring me down!

Question of the Day:
How are you going to avoid letting Monday bring you down? 

 

 

LiveFit Trainer: Week 4

6 Dec

I woke up this morning feeling a bit groggy, but after two rest days in a row, I was eager to get back to the gym. After a cup of coffee, half of an apple and some pistachios, I was ready to go!

week 4 day 22

I can’t help but be very proud of myself today. This is the first time I’ve really stuck with a weight training plan. I’m also on my final week of “no cardio” – I’m excited to start back up, but I haven’t necessarily been missing it. The one thing I do miss is being a sweaty mess after a workout. Although I do huff and puff, sweat and feel shaky muscles after these workouts, I’m not dripping with sweat and I kind of miss that.

The #Elf4Health challenge for today was to lift weights, and do an exercise you’ve never done before. Although I’ve done all of these exercises, I did do something new: I used the Smith Machine rather than just using a free barbell for my squats. I had a discussion with my friend Shane last week about how I used a 50 lb barbell for squats, and even though I knew I could use more weight than that, I was intimidated by the Smith Machine. He said that if he were me, he would be more afraid of using a heavy barbell that he had to lift over his head, and it was a good point, so I went for it. So much better! I was able to really feel the burn on my squats, and it turns out there was no reason to be intimidated.

I’m seeing some great improvements in my body from the LiveFit Trainer — I’ve noticed that my arms are looking more toned, and I definitely think I’ve lost an inch here or there. I haven’t measured myself yet (I was going to re-measure after week 4 is over), but I have lost about a pound and a half. I don’t really put my weight (pun not intended) on the number on the scale though, when you’re trying to build muscle mass and lose fat, the scale can be deceiving.

One really happy thing that happened today was when I walked into the weight room, several people said “Hi!” and greeted me by name. It’s clear you’re becoming a regular at the gym when people remember you. 🙂 Here’s the plan for the rest of the week:

Friday: Back/Biceps
Saturday: Chest/Triceps (and then I’m going to cheat and go to my Bootcamp class, because I love it and miss it)
Sunday: Legs (again!)
Monday: Shoulders/Abs
Tuesday: Rest Day
Wednesday: Rest Day
Thursday: Phase 2 Begins! Cardio + Back

I’ll try to post another update on Wednesday, after I’ve done my measurements. I can say that if you have thought about doing this program, you should give it a try! I know a lot of people shy away from it because of the “No cardio for 4 weeks” thing, but I think it’s a perfect training plan for right after a big race or something, when your body could use a break from all the cardio. I also think people are afraid of ‘losing’ their cardio conditioning, but I don’t think 4 weeks is going to make you slower or take your endurance down! In fact, I really feel like I could run fast and long right now 🙂

After the gym, I prepped my second breakfast, lunch and snacks for the day. I was in the mood for something different for breakfast today, so I decided to break out the old Oatmeal. I haven’t had oatmeal for breakfast in ages, because eggs have more staying power in my opinion. So, I added an egg white to my oatmeal:

oatmeal

This was delicious! I cooked the oats in a cup of almond milk and pumpkin pie spice. I stirred in the egg white and the apples and let it cook a while longer. Then I sprinkled it with some stevia. Yum! Hopefully I won’t get hungry again in an hour 🙂

This is a good opportunity to talk about the nutrition plan that goes along with LiveFit. I’m not following it. I feel like I could give you a better assessment of the plan if I were following the nutrition and supplement guide, but it’s unrealistic for me. First of all, I don’t eat like a fitness model, and I don’t really have any desire to do so. I like carbs, and I feel like you can eat healthy, and build muscle, with a carbohydrate rich diet. Secondly, I don’t have the money to spend on the endless supplements that serious weight trainers use. So, that part of the plan isn’t realistic, but I think it’s important to note that I am seeing the results I desire. I can feel the muscle that I’m building, my clothes are fitting better, and I feel great.

One last note, and I apologize that this post is getting lengthy. Last night, I got my new Oxygen magazine (hooray!) and there was an article about how weight training can help you stave off the common cold. I certainly hope that is true, because Zach has been sick with a bad cold all week and I have managed to stay away from it (so far!). Knock on wood!

Question of the Day:
Have you ever followed a weight training plan? 

WIAW: Healthy Snack Edition

5 Dec

Another rest day. Sigh.

I was actually glad that I had a planned rest day today because Zach and I stayed up late (11:30, haha) last night to watch the season finale of Sons of Anarchy (I spend most of my time “watching” that show with my hand over my eyes — I’m a wuss), so I figured I could sleep in today. I even canceled my usual 5:25 AM alarm and set a new alarm for 7, so of course my eyes flew open at 5:13 AM and I was wide awake.

Oh well, at least I got some cleaning done, including the dreaded task of scooping out the cat boxes — yuck!

Today, I’m focusing on not eating everything in sight. I have been a little out-of-control snacky lately, and it’s sabotaging my efforts to lose those pounds I put on while training for the half. So, I’ve decided to participate in my first  What I Ate Wednesday — sort of.  When bloggers who are good at photographing their food and planning their daily blogs do this, they usually pick a day other than the Wednesday they are posting it so that they can show you a whole day’s worth of food. Since I’m a bad planner, I’m putting up my post  a little later than usual and giving you What-I-Ate-Wednesday-Up-Until-My-Afternoon-Snack: WIAWUUMAS. Yeah, not quite as catchy, but anyway, here we go:

WIAWbutton

In case you don’t know, WIAW is a phenomenon that pops up in Healthy Living Blogs all over and was started by Jenn at Peas and Crayons. If you are new to it, please click here to read more about what WIAW is all about.

I started out my morning with a two-ingredient panacake and some coffee. Of course, as usual I ate half of the pancake at home, and then saved half for when I got to work. I paired my second half with an apple and a big glass of water:

breakfast

Someday I’ll set up pretty food shots like other bloggers, but until then enjoy my plastic containers and desk calendar!

For my post-breakfast snack, I had a piece of Hershey’s dark chocolate with almonds. In case you haven’t gotten the memo, dark chocolate is healthy. So are almonds. So it counts! 😉

Usually for lunch, Zach picks me up and we go home. Since he is at a meeting out of town today, I stuck around the office for lunch. I wrapped a sweet potato in some foil this morning and I popped it into the oven at work around 10:30 so it would be nice and baked by noon. Then I headed out in search for some soup and/or a salad:

lunch and dinner

So much food!

My plan was to get a side-salad and a CUP of soup from Shlotzsky’s to go with my sweet potato, but they have this “Pick 2” promotion, and it ends up being cheaper to get a bowl of soup and a half salad ($5.99), when a cup of soup is $2.49 and a side salad is $3.99 — how crazy is that!? This ended up being a great deal, because the soup and potato was more than enough food for me. I took the croutons off the salad and saved it for dinner. Win! The sweet potato was so good! I put it in the oven around 10:30 at a low temperature, and just let it cook until I got back with my soup and salad — it was perfectly soft and yummy. I poured hot sauce all over it and just ate it like that. I like my lunch time meal to be my largest meal of the day. I tend to get the late-afternoon munchies, so I like to hold that off as long as possible.

As much as I love having lunch at home with Zach, sometimes it’s ok to stay at the library. I grab a magazine from the Reference Department to flip through while I eat, and then I usually have enough time to take a 10-20 minute walk.

The #Elf4Health Challenge for today was to pack a healthy snack, and pack one for a friend. I have a co-worker who always talks to me about making healthy food choices, so I packed myself and her an afternoon snack:

Carrot sticks and almonds! Yum!

Carrot sticks and almonds! Yum!

I was so excited to give it to her, but of course she worked the late shift and didn’t come into work until almost noon today. I took it down to her after lunch and she was very happy! She said on her late day, she doesn’t usually have time to eat so it was perfect timing. Doing good deeds makes me 🙂

So: What constitutes a healthy snack? In my opinion, it’s something tasty that will satiate you for a couple hours until your next meal. I personally like to pair something crunchy and fibrous (a piece of crunchy fruit or some carrot sticks) with a little protein (peanut butter, almonds, cheese) — so yes, my chocolate from this morning counts! Sometimes, I’ll just make myself half of a PB&J and pair it with a piece of fruit. Yum! Snacks are important to me because if I get over-hungry, I will not make healthy food choices. I know I shouldn’t be inhaling three pieces of pizza, but I’m starving, so get out of my way.

…and that’s where we are going to wrap up my first WIAW post! Hopefully next time I can plan ahead a little and give you a full day of eats.

A quick note in the interest of full-disclosure: I have decided that I really hate counting calories, so instead, I’m back on the Weight Watchers train. In case you don’t know, I lost the majority of my weight on Weight Watchers — I’m a huge fan. I can’t afford the weekly fee, so I just use my old knowledge of the program and calculators to count points rather than calories. For some reason it’s easier to wrap my brain around the points system than calories. 

Question of the Day:
What is the one thing that easily sabotages your efforts to make healthy food choices? Which meal of the day is usually your largest? 

Surprise!

4 Dec

Today was a surprise rest day! I woke up to my 5:25 alarm, got out of bed, put on my workout clothes and sat down with my glass of water, first breakfast…

First breakfast

….and Sportscenter, to jot down my LiveFit Trainer lifting plan for the day. Surprise! Rest Day! All of the days of this plan are starting to blend together, so I guess I didn’t have a firm grasp on when my next rest day would be.

I’ve got to be honest, one of my favorite things (next to more sleep) is being awake super early with nothing to do. I enjoyed my breakfast, which was a piece of whole-grain, flaxseed toast, a thin spread of Sunbutter, some apple slices and a few dollops of peach preserves. It really hit the spot! After I ate, I decided to roll out the old yoga mat and get in a good stretch:

yoga

I did a little 20 minute routine that I found on my Comcast OnDemand — Yoga for athletes. My legs feel great right now! I’m ready to run! Oh wait…

I’m still on the self-imposed running moratorium. I am really getting the itch to run, especially because I recently got some very good running related news. I hate to be that girl, but that announcement is going to have to wait until it’s more real. Luckily, I only have 9 more days of no running! I can’t wait!

Question of the Day:
Do you get up early on rest days anyway? Or do you sleep in? 

LiveFit Trainer Update

29 Nov

Good Morning!

I’m pleased to announce that my new push to get back on track after my recent weight gain has been a success for three days now! I have been eating well and my workouts have been on point. I’m treating each successful day like it’s own victory! As long as I don’t try to reward myself with food, haha.

I woke up bright and early this morning and walked to the gym. It was quite a bit colder outside this morning than it has been — there was a thick layer of frost on all the cars and when I got to the gym my ears were already numb. I don’t think I’m quite ready for winter yet!

I finished Day 16 of Jamie Eason’s LiveFit Trainer:

Do you like my illustration for the Incline Dumbbell Curl? Sometimes I like to remind myself how to do an exercise if I think I’ll forget once I’m at the gym, so I draw little pictures. As you can see, I’m not much of an artist 🙂

Let’s talk about a couple of these exercises:

T-bar Rows:

Image courtesy of Bodybuilding.com; This is the exact set-up my gym has, by the way.

This is something I’ve never done before today. It took some trial and error to figure out how much weight to put on the bar. I initially tried with 2-25 lb plates, but that was pretty ambitious, so I took it down to a 35 lb plate. I did one set with the 35 lb plate and it was pretty tough so I took it down to one 25 lb plate, which kept it challenging but I wasn’t sacrificing form. I really liked this exercise! One thing I really like about the LiveFit Trainer is that it’s familiarizing me with the weight room at the gym. Prior to doing this program, I went to the weight room, kept to myself, and stuck to the exercises I know. Now, I’m using new equipment and asking for help from the people who work there. I used to be afraid to do this, but it turns out that they are more than happy to help — that’s why they are there, and otherwise they are just standing around. Plus, usually people who work at the gym are interested in fitness, so they give you pointers and show you new exercises. The same guy is working in the weight room each morning, so now he’s familiar with what I’m doing and he gives me tips on form,  and suggests new ways to do exercises.

Alternating Hammer Curls:

Miss Jamie herself, courtesy of Bodybuilding.com

This exercise was not new to me prior to doing this program, but I was pretty proud of myself this morning for upping my weight on this exercise. I usually top out at 12 lb dumbbells in the weight room, but today I thought I’d try the 15 lb dumbbells for this last exercise. It was tough, but I didn’t sacrifice my form! I know in order to see a change in my body, I need to be pushing the limits with my weights, and hopefully I can keep doing that with this program.

I have to say, I thought it was going to be much tougher to skip out on cardio for 4 weeks. Granted, I’m only on Day 2 of Week 3, but I haven’t missed it much. Like I mentioned before, I  haven’t totally cut out my cardio, but I have drastically reduced it (I think I’ve only done 3 cardio sessions total since I started). I haven’t lost any weight since I started (I did see a reduction on the scale, but it came back a couple days later — do fluctuations like that happen to anyone else?), but I have noticed that my body is looking — tighter. I had noticed some extra flab recently, and in week 3 of this program, I’m feeling tighter and definitely stronger.

I hope someone from Bodybuilding.com is reading this, because I have one request: An app! Look at this jumble of paper that I’ve acquired:

Yes, I could create my own spreadsheet or keep a notebook, but usually I just write down the workout at some point during the day, or print it out at work, so I’m never consistently in one place when I do it. It would be pretty cool to have an app so I could just punch in my weight and reps for each exercise. Plus, since you repeat some exercises but the workouts aren’t ever exactly the same, It would be easier to have an app because it could remind you how much weight you used last time you did each specific exercise. I’m going to try to sit down at some point today and organize this jumble of paper to see how I’ve progressed 🙂

Before I go, I’d like to tell you a bit about my breakfast this morning:

I first heard about this yummy concoction on Tina’s blog (one of my favorites — especially for pictures of her adorable Pug, Murphy). Since then, I’ve seen it quite a bit in the blog-o-sphere. You won’t believe the two ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 banana

Yep! Can you believe that there is no flour in this!? I definitely doesn’t have the ‘cakey’ consistency of a typical pancake, but it’s pretty similar.  I added a little pumpkin pie spice to mine and topped it with half a tablespoon each of Sunflower Butter and Honey. This pancake packs a protein punch: Mine had a whopping 16 grams after I added the sunflower seed butter on top, and it was so good! Like a protein pancake, it takes some maneuvering to flip without making it into a mess, but I was surprised how thick it became. After I took this photo, I cut it in half and put one half in a container to eat at work. I’m loving the idea of eating half of my breakfast at home and half at work. Although I’m eating the same amount of food, I think it keeps me satisfied longer…? That’s probably all in my head, but I’m a firm believer that it still works, even if it is all in your head!

Hopefully I’ll have a second post for you today, in the form of a veggie burger recipe round up!

Question of the Day:
What is your favorite breakfast? 

 

 

I’m an #Elf4Health

28 Nov

Boy, am I loving the #Elf4Health challenge! It has really pushed me to get back on track with my health and fitness.

Yesterday was hard, you guys. As I have mentioned a few times here, I have put on a few pounds since August. Ok, let’s be honest: I’ve gained approximately 7 pounds since August. A little more than 2 lbs a month. Things that I know I can do to combat the weight gain: Track my calories, increase my weight training and decrease my cardio (i.e., running). I know that last one sounds counterintuitive, but when I’m running a lot, I get hungry, and when I’m hungry, I eat. I will not starve myself!

Anywho, yesterday I woke up at 3:00 AM feeling just….terrible about myself. Negative thoughts were racing through my head and I just felt bad about myself. I have no idea why my negative thoughts choose to manifest themselves at 3:00 AM, but it’s quite annoying. I decided that it was time to use the skills that I already have to get rid of the extra weight. Luckily, the #Elf4Health Challenge is in full swing!

 

It’s nice to have people cheering you on, so I’m grateful for this challenge right now. We’ve had a couple of challenges so far:

  • Go Meatless! — I shared my favorite meatless recipe with my (vegan) partner (Mama Pea’s Roasted Chickpea Tacos — yum!), and I made myself a new veggie burger recipe. I used to make myself veggie burgers all the time — homemade are so much better than the frozen store-bought ones — but I’ve fallen out of the habit. Zach and I have burger night at least once a week, and I’ve been lazy and just eating his beef burgers, which I know isn’t good for me. The veggie burgers are so much healthier. So I made a batch of these mushroom veggie burgers and boy, am I glad I did. I can’t wait to have another for lunch! In fact, it has inspired me to do a post on a veggie burger recipe round-up tomorrow.
  • Send a hand-written note — I used the opportunity of yesterday’s challenge to get a jump start on my Christmas cards! Thanks #Elf4Health, I’ve been meaning to get that done 😉
  • Try a new workout — This is today’s challenge. I woke up this morning and I did a 10 minute warm up on the elliptical and today’s LiveFit Trainer workout (legs — and in week three, it’s getting tougher! My legs have been jelly ever since!), so that doesn’t count. Since I work at the library, I think I’ll head downstairs to the fitness DVD section later and see if I can’t find something different to try 🙂

So, to say that this challenge has benefited me would be absolutely correct. I’m “meeting” new people (and finding new blogs to read — my favorite!) and trying new things, and most importantly, getting things done!

Another thing I’ve been inspired to do is to start logging my meals again on My Fitness Pal:

Just a sample of yesterday’s food log.

I have sort of a love/hate relationship with keeping  a food log, so here is my pro/con list:

  • Pros
  •  Logging keeps you accountable for what you eat and it makes you conscious of your food choices.
  • It’s easy to do, especially with the internet and smart phones, but even if you prefer writing everything down, it’s easy enough to keep a notebook on you all the time.
  • It works if you are trying to lose weight — it is the #1 thing you should do if you want to lose weight. It has been proven that if the only thing you do is start writing down everything you eat, you will lose weight.
  • It’s easy to keep track of all your macros (protein, fat, carbs, etc) to see what you’re getting too much of or not enough of.

…and

  • Cons
  • It makes me feel tied down.

Yep, that’s the only con I have, but it’s a big one because it provides this huge mental block for me. I feel tied down to this app, like I can’t just do what I want. I get kind of down on myself, like, “I should be able to eat sensibly without this ball and chain!” I don’t have a fear of commitment until it comes to my diet, it turns out.

Well, yes, I can eat sensibly without it. I did it for over a year. But sometimes you need to re-set. Sometimes you need to be strict with yourself to re-learn lost lessons, and that’s what I’m doing by logging again. I make a lot of promises on this blog — sometimes I keep them, sometimes I don’t, but today I’m pledging to stick with logging my meals for one month — taking a break for my birthday/Christmas (same day). I need to re-learn lost lessons. If I’ve seen progress in that month (which, duh, of course I will!), then I will reassess. Please follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram — whatever! — and get on me to keep it up, please!

Question:
What do you find is your biggest challenge as far as sticking with a healthy lifestyle? 

The Importance of Proper Fueling

22 Oct

Edit: The title of this post makes it seem more informative than it is. This is more about my struggles with eating healthfully on the weekends, especially when I let myself get overly hungry.

On Friday night, I made Zach (and myself) a delicious steak dinner:

Mmm.

With roasted broccoli ala Pinterest (broccoli drizzled with olive oil, roasted in a very hot oven and sprinkled with lemon juice and Parmesan cheese), and roasted red skinned potatoes. It was a yummy meal. I decided at that point that I would share my weekend eats with you today.

On Saturday morning, I had plans to go to Zumba and Weighted Workout classes with my friend Ashley, so I fueled up with a (whole) pumpkin spice bagel and some neufchatel cheese. After this meal, however, things got a little wonky with my eating and I fell off the documentation wagon. We went to our two (hour long) classes and I made the mistake of not bringing anything with calories with me. Ideally, when I’m working out for 2 hours, I should have some sort of snack halfway through, preferably a sports drink or an energy gel, but I didn’t, so by the time I was done with class, I was famished. By famished, I don’t mean just a little bit hungry, I mean, ouch, my stomach is really killing me hungry.

Zach and I had plans to go to Goodwill to look for Halloween costume elements (we’ve thought of a great costume, but you’ll have to wait to see photos), and he asked his sister to go along. It was about 11:30 AM at that point, and he told her we would go at noon. We had planned to grab pitas at a local restaurant, but at that point my hunger was completely out of control. I even kind of snapped at Zach, whining, “Why do we have to wait until nooooooonnn??” before eating another half of a bagel. At that point, Zach had relented to my whining (I get cranky when I’m hungry) and we ended up leaving early, so even though I had grabbed something to eat, I was still starving by the time we got to the pita shop. So I had a huge lunch on top of the half-bagel. Needless to say, my eating was pretty out of control for the rest of the day.

I don’t know about you, but when I let myself get overly hungry, my appetite is ruined for at least a whole day, sometimes two. Zach and I went to his friend Brian (and one of our groomsmen)’s house to watch football, and they had made lots of yummy football food. Of course, after the huge “lunch” I had eaten, I wasn’t hungry until we were almost ready to go and by then I was absolutely starving, so I had a bowl of cereal. Then we got there and I was still starving, so I loaded up on not-so-healthy football food (but oh man was it great). Of course there was lots of beer that night and late-night snacking, so all in all I’d say I failed on the healthy eating front. Boo.

Sunday was another big failure on the food AND fitness front. I didn’t get my long run in, and I ended up going to a bar for wings and beer and football. Ugh. Who am I?

I did make a delicious apple cheddar soup on Sunday evening to go along with a homemade pizza:

I promise it tasted better than it looks!

This soup was great. It’s got chopped up potatoes and apples, sharp cheddar cheese and apple cider — Here’s the recipe. Yum. I actually didn’t use apple cider, because it’s ridiculously expensive and I never drink it, so I couldn’t justify spending $8 on a gallon. Instead, I used put a cut up apple and one cup of apple juice in  my food processor and whirled it around until it had a cider consistency. This was a yummy soup. It’s got a nice, thick consistency and it’s nice and savory with a kick of apple. I love the thyme in the soup, it gives it that special something.

I’m pretty disappointed in my eating this weekend. I know I’ve gained a few pounds since summer, and if I don’t want to gain even more, I’m going to have to stop indulging on the weekends.

Question of the day:
Do you get cranky when you get overly hungry? Does it derail your eating schedule? 

A Fall Getaway

1 Oct

This weekend, Zach and I joined some friends for a trip to Marlinton, WV for their annual Fall Festival and “Roadkill Cook-off” — all of us had seen advertisements for the Festival when we’ve visited Pocahontas County, so our curiosity was peaked. Our friend Mandee’s husband Garrett’s family happens to have a cabin located right along the Greenbrier River and they invited us down to hang out at the cabin and check out the Festival.

See Zach and Garrett?

The cabin was great! All the comforts of home. We arrived on Friday evening and left Sunday morning, so minus our Roadkill Festival fare, we concluded that we would need three meals while we were there — dinner Friday, breakfast Saturday, and dinner on Saturday. So each couple was responsible for one meal. Mandee made us an excellent chili on Friday evening (I threw together a quickie cast-iron skillet cornbread also). I’m sad I didn’t take any photos, but I was ravenous and just inhaled it! I was responsible for breakfast Saturday morning. Since we were right on the Greenbrier River Trail, I wanted to get a run or two in, so I decided on a low-maintenance breakfast: quiche!

Mmmmm….

Quiche is the easiest. You just crack some eggs, add in some cream, cheese and veggies then cook it until it’s not runny anymore. I even used a store-bought crust because I was going for quick and easy. I love easy meals that are delicious and seem labor-intensive. This quiche turned out great. Usually I go the asparagus route with quiche, but this time I threw in some broccoli and peppers. It was very delicious. I made two, and we had plenty of leftovers to heat up and eat while we were packing up on Sunday morning.

Speaking of running (was I?), like I mentioned we were right on the Greenbrier River Trail. It’s a 78 mile trail that goes through the mountains of West Virginia, and it is breathtaking. On Saturday morning, I did a three-mile loop in one direction and then on Sunday I did a six-mile loop in the other direction. It was a really pretty run, and the weather was chilly enough that once I started sweating I was still comfortable.

I must have stopped to take a million photos.

Our cabin was located on mile marker 77, so on my six mile loop I ran until I got to mile marker 74 and then turned around. I love running in the solitude and nature, but do not try to do it without music. When I run in town, there is plenty to keep my interest, but miles and miles of river and trees, while lovely, can get pretty repetitive pretty quickly. The first morning I realized that I forgot my headphones, hence the shorter run, but then on Sunday morning I realized I brought that hat you see on my head up there, which has built in headphones. Luckily it was chilly enough to run in a hat.

Enjoying the view from the cabin porch, post-run.

Let’s talk about the Roadkill Cook-off, shall we? The Pocahontas County Autumn Harvest Festival and Roadkill Cook-off has been happening for 22 years now. The first rule listed in the WV Living Magazine article about it last year reads: The main ingredient must be any animal commonly found dead on the side of the road, including groundhog, possum, deer, rabbit, squirrel, or snake. Pigs, cows, chickens, horses, and goats are also acceptable. The animal need not actually come off the side of the road, and in fact, most of the judges prefer that it didn’t.

I’ll have to admit, I was pretty nervous. I’ve been a vegetarian in the past, so going beyond my usual chicken or fish was a bit of a stretch for me. But, these are once in a lifetime opportunities, people!

After a rainy Friday, we had some fabulous weather for the festival on Saturday. Blue skies, fluffy white clouds, hot sun and cool breeze — perfect fall weather. The Festival itself was pretty standard — crafts, food, etc. But the real fun was located in the town square. For three dollars, you got a wristband that allowed you to sample any of the food that was being judged for the cook-off:

 

The first line we got into was a booth that was serving “Possum Burgoo” I’m pretty sure they were trying to go for a traditional Kentucky Burgoo (which is amazing!), so I figured if nothing else I would like the stew itself.

This possum was incredibly life-like.

The stew itself resembled chili. I got a huge chunk of meat in mine, which I bravely ate. It tasted exactly like chicken. In fact, I swear it actually was chicken because possums are kind of gross and I don’t want to think about eating them. The stew itself, however, was bland. After that I went into it with a new attitude: Food Critic.

After the first booth, we got straight into line to try a squirrel meat rice dish. It was a little better than the Burgoo, but I was still searching for my favorite.

The next line we got into had the best presentation, in my opinion. They were serving “Porcupine Quill” which was basically a skewer of porcupine meat (are porcupines typically roadkill?) with vegetables and a yummy sweet and a little spicy sauce.

 

The boy in the middle said that Native Americans would use this recipe and use the porcupine’s quills as skewers for the meat and veggies. This was by far my favorite of the cook-off. They claimed to use the traditional Native American recipe, but it seemed a lot like teriyaki sauce. It was still delicious.

After that, we tried a bear meatloaf, which I found to be a little mushy, but everyone else seemed to like.

A few of the booths were closed down because judging was happening. This is the one I would have liked to try:

 

In case you can’t read that menu, they had a Teriyaki Venison, a Rabbit and Dandelion salad and Venison fried rice. Yum! I’m really sorry I missed that one.

All in all, we thought the Roadkill Cook-off was just so-so. While the food was interesting and exciting, other than the samples of the food being judged, there wasn’t many food vendors around. There was a stand selling goat meat sandwiches (not my thing) and a stand selling Polish sausage (so my thing). Everyone got a goat meat sandwich, but when I went over to get a sausage they were out of onions and peppers so I passed. We ended up going to a restaurant and having a few bites there before heading back to the cabin for the evening.

 

We got back to the cabin just as the sun was setting. I ran to the river to take some photos of the view, and I got the above gem. Despite the festival being kind of a bust, we had a great time hanging out, enjoying nature and each other’s company so the trip was a success!

Question of the Day:
Did you do anything fun this weekend? 

Recipe: Pumpkin Roll Pancakes

26 Sep

For book club on Sunday, I had to bring something. Since I also went to try on wedding dresses that day and I was running late, I just picked up something at the grocery store. I had to get a pumpkin roll:

Ohh, pumpkin roll. With your moist pumpkiny cake — and that frosting in the middle! I could probably eat my way out of a vat of that frosting. I definitely will be eating my fair share of pumpkin roll this winter. My mom’s recipe is the best (well, I think so, but I’m sure you think your mom’s recipe is the best too!), and she taught me how to make a while back. I really do think that pumpkin roll is the perfect dessert.

This morning, I wasn’t feeling my normal egg/bacon on a whole wheat bagel thin. What I really wanted for breakfast was pumpkin roll! But, as we know, pumpkin roll probably isn’t the healthiest way to start your day. Enter, the pumpkin roll pancake:

Oh my word, these were delicious! They were also filling, and healthy!

Pumpkin Roll Pancakes
by: Kristy
Makes about 12 2″ pancakes (4 servings)

Ingredients:

1 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. rolled oats
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1/2 c. pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 c. almond milk (plus a little more), mixed w/ 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Pour the almond milk and apple cider vinegar in a bowl. Set aside. In a separate (bigger) bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder and pumpkin pie spice. Stir with a fork until combined. Add the pumpkin, vanilla and egg to the bowl with the almond milk and whisk until combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until combined (batter will be lumpy). At this point, I felt that the batter was a little too thick so I added a little more almond milk.

Heat a small pan on the medium heat. Spray with cooking spray (I used my misto) and let the pan heat up a little . Add two heaping spoonfuls of  the batter to the pan (until  you have about a 2″ pancake). Let cook about 2-3 minutes (until the pancake is golden brown on the bottom) and flip. Cook 2-3 minutes on the other side. (you can check the doneness of the pancake in the middle with a fork).  Move the pancake to a plate.

Take about 1/2 tablespoon of neufchatel cheese and spread it on top of the pancake. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon and stevia. Repeat two more times until you have a stack of three pancakes.

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving = 3 2″ pancakes. Calories: 195, Carbs, 34 grams, Fat 5 grams, Protein 8 grams, Fiber 6 grams 

Ok, it doesn’t taste exactly like a pumpkin roll, but it definitely cured my craving! Yum!

 

I know how to do this!

5 Sep

In everyone’s life, there are ups and downs regarding everything. Right now, I’m on a very big upswing in most of my life, but one aspect is struggling: Health and Fitness.

Why is it that sometimes when we get happy and comfortable, we just want to hunker down and eat everything in sight? I know some people do this when they are sad, some when they are happy, I can go either way. When I’m sad, I tend to eat more and exercise more. When I’m happy, I tend to eat more and exercise less — which is very bad! (Please notice how eating never suffers — oh yes, I know how to eat.)

But, you know, I’ve been on this health train for quite some time, and I know how to do it. I know I need to get to bed early, set my alarm, go do something active, eat my fruits and vegetables, drink my water, try not to drink alcohol every single night. I know! But that doesn’t stop me from slipping up.

This morning was rough! I woke up way early, I had slept very well the night before, and I had absolutely no excuse to skip the gym. But I wanted to skip it. Oh so much. My mind was fighting with itself:

“But the house is such a mess. You could get so much cleaning done if you skip the gym!”

“You know you are going to regret it if you don’t go!”

“I could just go for a run after work, and maybe do some strength training after.”

“You know you won’t do that! If you do your strength this morning, you’ll be ahead of the game.”

This went on for quite some time, so much so that I knew if I didn’t leave almost right away, I’d be late for the sculpting class, so I tweeted this:

 

…lo and behold, social networking was the motivation I needed, in this reply:

…SO TRUE! CW is a college friend, and I see him at the gym in the mornings pretty regularly, so this was the motivation I needed. I threw on my clothes and headed out. I was only a few minutes late, I didn’t even miss the whole warm up. In some unsurprising news, I did not at all regret going. It was a really tough workout, and just what I needed.

After that I was pumped to have a healthy and productive day! Breakfast was delicious and filling:

A bowl of fruit: 1/2 a banana, 4 strawberries, five grapes and 1/2 an apple. Then I spooned about half of that greek yogurt on top. A Thomas’ Everything Bagel Thin w/ neufchatel cheese, and of course a big glass of water. Yum! I only finished half the fruit, I’ll save it for a mid-morning snack.

When I weighed myself this morning, I was down a pound from yesterday which makes me think most of my vacation weight gain was just water retention from eating crappy food all week. Hopefully now that I’m getting back to drinking tons of water during the day (vacation was more like tons of mimosas during the day), things will go back to normal.

Today’s training run is supposed to be speed work in the form of 400 repeats. My plan is to do that on the treadmill after work, but we’ll see how that goes. Although I am trying to up the fitness and health, I’m also not trying to push myself too much.

Question of the day:
Do you ever have an inner fight with yourself on whether you will exercise or not?