Friday, February 4, 2011

Friday love: Pop up edition

Workout: 45 minutes (or half) of P90X yoga

Holy heck, Natalie Portman has popped!

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And I have, a little bit more … I guess.

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I’m 16 weeks on the left and 17 weeks on the right. I took the most recent one at work - ignore the ugly bathroom – right after lunch so I have a real baby and a food baby!

My belly is definitely much smaller in the morning and I seem to get more pregnant as the day goes by. Heck, I didn’t even really notice that much this morning when I was doing 501 chaturangas with the P90X yoga. I had wanted to do Jackie Warner this morning but seeing as this was the first morning since Tuesday that I could sit on the toilet without plopping, I thought I’d wait a day.

As far as forgoing both and going for a run, it was 3 degrees at 7:30 a.m. I’m getting a weekly pass to the college next week because one week of not running is about all I can handle.

But let’s not worry about that right now. It’s time for Friday love!

Food. I am about to make myself sound like a giant nerd but I’m not a big fan of sushi. Well, I’m not a big fan of the idea of eating raw fish. I am, however, a fan of California rolls – the wimp version of sushi. And for lunch next week, I’m going to make myself California roll-inspired wraps. I use this recipe as a base but swap out imitation crab for the lump crab meat – partly for economical reasons and, partly, because I’m weird and like the flavor. These usually make it in my lunch every two months, and I love them!

Fitness. It hasn’t been a great week for exercise. You know, the blizzard and all. It actually shut down many of the fitness centers so even if I had a membership, it would have done me no good. Thank goodness for shoveling! I actually don’t mind shoveling snow (as long as my hands are warm), and it’s great exercise. You burn upwards of 400 calories an hour and I swear I feel Wednesday’s effort in my abs.

Life. I’m not gonna lie – there’s been some disappointment this week. My grandma and fave uncle were going to come visit tomorrow. We were going to hang out, eat at the Irish pub and I was going to make rice pudding. But life comes at you, throws things in your way, and my uncle is no longer able to make the trip. I’m a big girl and understand but it still sucks. I haven’t seen them since Thanksgiving! However, we dp have a big Sunday to keep me occupied: yoga, more houses and Super Bowl with my in-laws, including my seester (OK, Mark’s sister) who will be in from Boulder. And … and I’m making Chubby Hubby Cupcakes for the celebration.

What are you doing this weekend that has you excited?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Three Things Thursday: Food Week edition

There was "Top Chef" this morning. And there was an over-medium egg on grits this morning. And there was some cleaning. But there was no workout and definitely no run. We were a blustery 7 degrees here and, uncertain what walks were clear, I wasn't about to brave the streets. I'll save my workout for tonight's yoga class.

But anyways ... I have been reading some blogs, and something I've noticed lately is that people are looking for ways to bump up fruit and veggie intake. I might not be the Queen of the Garden but I do always get in my 5 to 9 servings.

So here are a few tips for you:

1. Incorporate fruits and veggies into breakfast. If I'm making oatmeal, I always add a sliced banana to the pot for texture. Boom one serving there. Add some peaches as a topper, like my parfait, and you got two already. If you are not really an oaty person, try egg whites. I will saute add spinach, mushrooms and green peppers to egg whites for a sandwich or fill an egg white omelet with them. When in season, I like to serve sliced tomatoes as a side to eggs. Hate tomatoes? Try 1 cup pumpkin puree with Truvia, pumpkin pie spice and a splash of almond milk, topped with some granola for crunch, to supplement your eggs.

2. No, you don't have to eat a salad. Veggie-hummus wraps are one of my favorite lunches ever. You can throw in whatever you have on hand into a tortilla with some roasted red pepper hummus, and you'll get a good two servings there. Serve it with veggie soup and you got a serve. Looking for something different? Try topping a baked potato with sauteed spinach, tomato, mushrooms and mozzarella for a Florentine style or sauteed green peppers, onions, mushrooms and provolone for a Philly style.

3. Snack, snack, snack. My afternoon snacks - which are many - are often plant based. A cup of grapes, which is 2 servings, or cut vegetables with salsa. At night, make yourself some kale chips or have a dessert of pineapple with coconut cream. And, along that note, don't let yourself have a treat unless you've eaten your fruits and veggies!

What are your tips for getting in the good stuff?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Food Week: Cold night, hot dinner

Buffalo chicken tacos and oven roasted potatoes for dinner. Go ahead. Propose to me.


Buffalo Chicken Tacos

12 ounces shredded chicken breast

3 tablespoons Franks Wing Sauce

2 ounces blue cheese

3 tablespoons reduced fat mayonnaise

2 tablespoons water

4 light tortillas

Shredded carrots

Finely sliced celery

Diced tomatoes

In a small saucepan, warm chicken breast and wing sauce. I used a chicken breast I poached earlier in the week when I was making my enchiladas. Meanwhile, process blue cheese, mayonnaise and water in a food processor. When the chicken is hot (temperature wise – HA), fill a warm tortilla with chicken, assorted vegetables and blue cheese sauce. Enjoy!

And when you’re finished, make yourself some dessert. Like this easy-peasy microwave bread pudding.


Easy Peasy Bread Pudding for Two

1/2 cup unsweeted vanilla almond milk

1 teaspoon butter

2 egg whites

1/2 teaspoon truvia

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch salt

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1 Cinnamon raisin English muffin, cut into pieces

In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave milk and butter for 1 minute, 30 seconds. Whisk in egg whites, sweetener, salt and vanilla. Add muffin pieces and allow to soak for a minute or so. Divide the mixture equally between two ramekins. Microwave for 2 minutes to 2 minutes, 30 seconds. Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup and ice cream.

By the way, I prefer vintage looking rings and princess-cut diamonds :)

Snowmanpalooza, 2011 tour

Workout: 1+ hours of shoveling snow

Damn you, Jackie Warner. Damn you, blizzard.

My butt, my legs, my arms – they hurt from yesterday’s workout. A yoga class would really do me some good. But the snow, the sleet – it came last night. Level 1 snow emergency, shutting down most of the city. Including yoga.

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So, Mark and I decided to get our “workout” on and try to dig out my car in the hope that I could make it to work. Mine is the pretty blue Mazda. Zoom, zoom!

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It took us at least 1.5 hours to get my car out of the snow. It seemed that the wind blew all of the snow around my car and not our upstairs neighbor’s. Figures. By the way, Denali did not help shovel snow. He mostly sat around and barked although he occasionally laid down and hid his head under my car.

Part of the problem with the shoveling was that this snow was HEAVY. I bet it was that “heart attack” snow. Another part of the problem was that we had nowhere to put the snow. We already had piles from a snow weeks ago, which was added to yesterday and then today.


It was nearly up to the top of the fence in some places and almost as tall as me. Talk about bending and lifting.

I was so pooped after all of that work that I came in and had a PB&J waffle (low-fat Nutrigrain waffle with warmed PB and raspberry jam) and decided that I could get my work accomplished at home today.

Now if I could only get the dogs upstairs to shut the fig up so I could concentrate.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The sprinkles made me do it


Today’s lunch:

Chicken and White Bean Enchilada with Creamy Salasa Verde – made Monday morning  so that I’d have something to take for lunch this week.

Southwest salad (from the hospital) – Lettuce, spinach, broccoli, pinto and black beans, diced tomatoes, onion and a smidge of cheese with salsa for the dressing plus guacamole and sour cream for fun. I usually go to the hospital once a week for a salad to complement my lunch. Greens = good for baby.

Pudding (from the hospital) – I usually bypass dessert at the hospital but I love pudding … and sprinkles. And it was good.

What did you have for lunch?

I was foiled!

Pre-workout eats: Instant Apple Chai Oats
Workout: Jackie Warner OnDemand selection

I thought I was being so clever. Knowing that snowmaggedon was upon us, I took the chance to sign up for a free 7-day pass to Anytime Fitness so I could steal their treadmills try out the gym. This week, of all weeks, was the one to pick.

Hello, low of 1 degree on Thursday! I could totally fall in love with the treadmill on that day.

Well, I could. You see, the director called me after I signed up online to give me the 411 and it was this: Even though the gym is open all day, every day, temporary members can only come when it's staffed. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Anyone, anyone want to guess my work hours? Yep, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. So much for "trying out" the treadmills.

So this morning, with our "2 inches" of snow (it was more like 3), I decided to stay in with Jackie Warner. I squatted, lunged, dipped, pumped some iron. It felt good.

And then I shoveled snow for, like, forever. Even with Mark's help (schools closed), it took us 30 minutes to clear our part of the drive. (Our upstairs neighbor can do her side, for reals.) It didn't feel good. At least I burned a good 200 calories - the equivalent of a 2-mile run.

More snow is expected today but I forget what the meteorologist said. Too many numbers make my head hurt.

Are you snowed in? What's your favorite thing to do in the snow?

Monday, January 31, 2011

Food Week: Monday dinner

Something about a southern girl/ Make me feel right/ In a Mississippi morning/ She's an angel in flight/ In a blink of an eye/ She'll be out of your sight/ Something about a southern girl

I might live in northern Indiana and I might have been raised in Cincinnati but I was born in New Orleans and a part of me will always belong to the south.

Tonight, I decided to bring her out.

LEMON_SHRIMP_GRITS_24.tifObviously, this photo is not from my kitchen. I forgot the fresh parsley and lemon wedges. And, I was hungry and didn’t want to take the time to get the camera and take a picture. Forgive me.

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp and Grits – YEE-HAW!

Y’all, let me tell you these were good. Mark even liked this dish (it “grew” on him, he said).The garlic-lemon sauce with the shrimp was amazing and I loved the Parmesan in the grits. And this meal clocks in at 370 calories. Can I get another yee-haw? YEE-HAW!

The only thing that would have made it better would be a smidge more salt in the grits and a smidge lot more cayenne on the shrimp. This southern gal likes her food spicy!

Have you ever had grits? Do you like them?

It's hot inside

Storm the supermarket. Pillage the shelves. For God's sake, hide the women and children.

Snowmaggedon is upon us!

Or not. At least not yet.

The meteorologists are predicting 1 to 3 inches of snow tonight, more tomorrow and maybe a foot by Wednesday. While this storm is nothing compared to what the northeast has seen, it's sending everyone in a tizzy. Seriously, my boss is surveying the office to see who has 4WD vehicles so we can caravan to work (we don't have the option of staying home).

I said I had a 4LD - four-leg drive, as in Denali could pull me to work. After all, he knows the commands "right," "left," "stop" and "let's go"!

But, my friends, I don't think I'll have to board the Denali express. We never seem to get the worst of it (thank God) and I'm not the least bit worried about the snow. I am worried about the frigid temperatures and how nasty this will make my runs. I'm almost contemplating a running sabbatical for the week and spending some time with Jackie Warner. Then again, we could get a dusting and all this hub-bub would be for naught.

Do you plan alternate workouts in light of the weather?

Oatta here

Workout: 2.4 mile-walk with Denali

Sit down. I want to talk to you about a topic near and dear to my heart.


More specifically, this morning, let's talk about oatmeal.

I like oatmeal just as much as the next gal ... unless that gal doesn't care for it. I eat it as a pre-run snack, as a side dish to an egg white sandwich. Heck, I might even put a scoop of ice cream on it and eat it for dessert. More often than not, though, that's as far as we go. Why? Oatmeal doesn't really fill me up. And to get a bowl big enough to do so, doesn't seem worth the calories. I'd rather spend 500 calories on an egg white omelet, toast and hashbrowns.

But this morning, I might have met my oatmeal match. It was a Peaches 'n' Cream Oatmeal Parfait, inspired by Hungry Girl.

Peaches 'n' Cream Oatmeal Parfait

1/3 cup oats
1/4 teaspoon Truvia
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or sweetened if you picked up the wrong carton like I did)
3/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sliced peaches, packed in juice, drained and diced

1 (6-ounce) container non-fat Greek yogurt - plain, vanilla or honey
1/2 cup sliced peaches, packed in juice, drained and diced
2 tablespoons Cool Whip (optional)

To make the oatmeal, combine oats, sweetener, cinnamon, and salt in a small nonstick pot on the stove. Add almond milk peaches, vanilla extract and cup water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 9 minutes, stirring often, until thick and creamy.

Allow to cool slightly. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1.5 hours.

To make the parfait, stir oatmeal thoroughly until uniform in texture. Spoon half of the oatmeal into a tall glass, and top with half of the yogurt and half of the peaches. Repeat with remaining oatmeal, yogurt and peaches. Top with Cool Whip and dig in!

Let me tell you, this was good ... and filling. I ate this at 7 a.m. and didn't want for a snack till 10 a.m. (Three hours between meals/snacks is pretty good for me.)

I hope you enjoy the recipe and the many other recipes I plan to present to you this week. Wanna know why? I have declared this week Healthy Strides Food Week! Yay! I'll be sharing with you more of my meals, more of the recipes I fall back on and some planning tips.

Say it with me ... YUM-YUM!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The girl who kicked the hornet’s butt

I am just going to put it out there.

I can be lazy. Especially in the winter.

Mark and I planned to go see “127 Hours” this afternoon but the thought of putting on pants besides leggings and walking from the car to the theater seemed unattractive. After all, I could stay home, in my leggings, eat cereal and work on a writing project for work.

So I nixed the movie, much to Mark’s disappointment. But I made him a deal: He could go to the video store and rent “The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest,” torturing me with a slow-moving film. Seriously, I have the attention span of a 2-year-old when it comes to a movie.

But even though the series makes me want to play Spider Solitaire on my laptop, it has a good story. And Lisbeth Salander is a total badass.


There’s a scene when she’s in prison and she’s doing what everyone does in prison: working out like a mad person. Jogging in places, bicycle crunches and these crazy push-ups where she brings her knee to her elbow when she’s hovering just centimeters off the ground.

So, of course, I ask Mark if he thinks he could do the push-ups. And, of course, he said yes. P90X or some crap like that. He didn’t do any,though. Probably didn’t want to show off.

It couldn’t help but wonder, though, if I could do them, too. I do lots of chaturangas at yoga. I got some muscles. So while Mark took out Denali for his nightly beeswax, I tried. And when Mark came back in, I tried again.

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I did it, I did it! Even with Denali all up in my business. By the way, he says hi.


Off to finish the movie and hopefully catch some of the SAG Awards. I love me some ugly dress watching!

The good, the bad and the straight up hideous

Workout: 75-minute Restorative Flow Yoga class

Six houses, two hunters and one Realtor made for quite an interesting day.

We had the house that was even too old lady for my grandma.

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Do you like the blue tub and sinks? And, yes in case you were wondering, the toilet was also blue. But check out the treadmill in front of the fireplace! And the owners also had a stair stepper blocking the front door (we used a side entrance). I wonder if we could have negotiated the equipment with the house …

I will give the old lady house some brownie points for the best kitchen of the day and a big, fenced in yard.

More brownie points go to the house for not being the worst of the day. That honor went to a four-bedroom that overwhelmed me with the smell of smoke and pure nastiness that the Realtor assured us that we didn’t even have to walk through. And we didn’t.

The best house of the day was also a bit of a surprise. The house doesn’t have some of our main criteria – a big kitchen, a fenced yard or a basement. But it was in one of our top neighborhoods, and was the only one besides the old lady house that wouldn’t need cabinets replaced in the next two years. Plus, there was just something about it.

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It had built-ins in the living room and the second bedroom, and the dining room/family room had a wood-burning stove and beadboard on the wall. The appliances weren’t brand new but new enough and we liked the hardware on the cabinets. The yard also had a swing set, which would be nice for the sea monkey in a couple years.

There was another home that we liked but didn’t put on the list. Sure, it was updated with (some) stainless-steel appliances and new tile in the bathroom. It had a living room and a family room, which had a fireplace. It had a fenced yard, separate dog run and a pool!

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But it was missing a fridge,washer and dryer. There was also no dishwasher and no place to hook one up. The kitchen was small, and we were sure we couldn’t work with it. Plus, it was on the top end of our price range. It was hard not to be tempted by the new paint and pretty stove but Mark knows he doesn’t want to wash dishes every day – especially when he has to add bottles into the mix.

So, in conclusion, day one of house hunting was good. Informative. And we’re left with one possibility and four houses on our slate for next weekend.

What features in a home could you not live without?