Welcome Weekend!

TGIF!  Anyone have any good plans this weekend? I am meeting up with the Running Club to do my homework tomorrow morning at 8 a.m.  The walk 4/run 2 intervals are really helping me get the correct pacing down and I am so happy about that!  I am running my first race on Mother’s Day (a week from Sunday, EEK!).  It is a 3.5 mile-r which I can definitely do, especially now that I have new kicks and the ability to talk while running!  It makes the time fly by when you can carry on a conversation!  I still can’t help but feel butterflies in my stomach about being part of an organized running event!

Does anyone else get pre-race jitters? What do you do to calm your nerves?  Do they stop when the race starts? My pre-race jitters come from doing something new for sure!  I am sure the jitters will mix with adrenaline and excitement before the race starts, but will dissipate once I get going.  My head always goes back to my initial running fear: people are going to be watching me, haha, and all the other runners of course!

This morning I  v e r y  s l o w l y got out of bed 15 minutes after my alarm went off at 4:15.  It wasn’t as easy to get up today as it was Wednesday and Monday, but that is what a week of school and running and weights will do to ya!  Last night I couldn’t get my act together either.  I was so scatter-brained that I was making my lunch and putting my bathroom back together (it just got painted) and blogging and packing clothes all at once.  It ended up taking me WAY longer than it should have to feel settled because I was doing bits and pieces of everything.

One of the things I did succeed in completing last night was making my Baked Oatmeal I have been dying to try.  I figured if I made it the night before, I could pop it in the oven when I woke up to just heat it up.  My plan worked out perfectly

BAKED OATMEAL

*          ½ rolled oats

*          ½ cup 1% milk

*          1 tblsp chopped almonds

*          1 tblsp dried cherries

*          A pinch of shredded coconut

*          ½ banana thinly sliced

*          1 tsp brown sugar

Mix all ingredients, except brown sugar, and bake at 350 for 25 minutes.  Top with brown sugar and bake for another 5 minutes.

Result?  PURE AMAZINGNESS!  It was so good and the dried cherries added a really nice sweetness with each bite!  I had ¼ cup of it about 45 minutes before the gym and finished the rest when I got to school.  I had a delicious Mocha Iced Coffee with skim milk from D.D. too!

Even though I couldn’t want to get out of bed this morning I did (and felt good knowing my gym buddy had the same trouble as me) because I knew the extra 30 or so minutes of sleep would be worth having to get to the gym this afternoon.  That is motivation enough: knowing the hardest part of my day will be done when my kids are dismissed at 2:40!

Today we did our new Day 4 Biceps and Shoulders with Abs.  I have said it every other weight day, and I do really mean it.  THESE WERE HARD!  First off, my abs still hurt from Wednesday (now I see why Oxygen said to give 48 hours to rest).  Second, my body is sore all over from running and all the other weights from the week.

Day 4 Biceps

  1. Dumbbell Arnold Presses (shoulders)-  3 sets of 12, 10lbs
  2. Bicep Curls with back/arms against wall– 3 sets of 10, 12.5lbs
  3. Barbell Upright Row– 3 sets of 12, 30lbs
  4. Outward Biceps Curls- 3 sets of 10, 12.5lbs

Well I am spending this evening with the ladies, catching up on our weeks, drinking red wine, and eating a home-cooked meal.  I am thoroughly looking forward to being home and IN BED by 10 🙂

I also got a new phone today, a Blackberry Storm (the new one), I can’t figure it out for the life of me.  I am not even sure it came with a wall charger 😉  This is a new feeling because usually I am pretty technologically savvy but this phone has me dumbfounded!  Anyone have any helpful hints to get me used to my new Blackberry???  HELP!

and I’m off…..

Later

~L

Out with the old….

In with the new….

SHOES: Well, let me start by telling you that I went to Marathon Sports today after school and got a new pair of running shoes.  By “new pair” I mean FIRST PAIR EVER!  I was so excited to get the right shoes for me (I’ve been thinking about it since Tuesday).  It was cool getting fitted.  They had me roll my pants to mid calf and watched me strut my stuff so they can see what my feet do when I run.  Apparently, my arch is almost flat and my right foot rolls outward when I walk.

I tried on 5 different pairs, none were super cute (I kept that thought in my head, apparently running shoes are not for making you look good). The problem with my old shoes was that 1) they were a HALF SIZE TOO SMALL!  No wonder my foot sometimes felt numb and my toenails hurt! and 2) they were just basic run of the mill shoes, not specifically meant to give me the support I needed (hence the shin splints).  Having the wrong shoes for your foot type makes you prone to all sort of injury!

Lesson Learned: don't buy running shoes at Marshalls!

For my type of foot there were three brands that worked for me: Saucony, Asics, and Brooks.  I tried on two of each brand.  The goal was to find a shoe that felt like a slipper, like, wide enough and long enough that I didn’t notice it was on!  In the end I got the Asics GT-2150.

See?  Not so cute, but I guess not so ugly either!

In with the new…

Walk then Run:  Today Amy and I did our homework for running club, but we were overachievers.  Before I ran I had a half of a Two Moms in the Raw Gojiberry Granola Bar (I ate the other half after the gym!).  One thing I am glad about is that I know what I can eat and when I can eat it before a workout.  It took a lot of trial and error to figure out that I can have oatmeal or a granola bar about 45 minutes before a short run and have plenty of energy!

Anyway, we started our homework with a little extra credit- a 20 minute run in which we held a convo the while time!  MRC (the Running Club) says that you should always be able to carry on a conversation while running.  We kept pace with each other and left our ipods at home so we had no choice but to talk to each other!

Running in the Asics was amazing!  I couldn’t believe how light and roomy they felt on my foot.  I mean, I didn’t know my old shoes were restricting my feet so much until I ran on the clouds that are my new kicks.  Woop Woop. Now I will definitely be ready for the Race a week from Sunday!

In with the new….

Gym Schedule: In light of the new running program and wanting to continue my four days of weight training while keeping my sanity and leaving me with free time, I have switched up my current schedule to the following:

Monday- Morning Gym, Day 1 Chest

Tuesday- Running Club

Wednesday- Morning Gym, Day 2- legs/Abs

Thursday: Running Homework and Day 3 Back

Friday- Morning Gym, Day 4 Shoulders/Biceps

Saturday: Running Club Homework

Sunday: Free Day/Bonus run day

In with the new:

Day 3 Back: I am a big fan of not trying to reinvent the wheel when it comes to making a new weight routine.  We had planned our new Back day but the discovered an amazing one in Oxygen’s May issue (pgs 128-132).  We did it today for the first time and I will have to admit- it was so hard!  Day 3 used to be my favorite because it was an easy day compared to the others, but not anymore!

  1. Bent-Over Barbell Row– 3 sets, 6-8 reps, 45lbs
  2. Wide-grip lat pulldown– 3 sets, 10-12 reps, 60lbs
  3. Reverse-grip lat pulldown– 3 sets, 10-12 reps, 60-70lbs
  4. Machine Cable Row, neutral grip– 3 sets, 12-15, 70lbs

The examples I give you don’t always use the exact dumbbell or equipment but is very similar.  I am a visual person so hopefully it helps!

In with the new…

Pizza: Haha, this one isn’t new at all!  After completing our running homework and our Day 3 weights we went to Reginas to enjoy some pizza and listen to the live music.  Tonight was a young kid with a keyboard and cello player covering all Dean Martin/Frank Sinatra songs.  I had a diet Pepsi and two slices of cheese pizza.  I really do love pizza a lot!

Some new food I did try today was my Peanut Butter French Toast I had for breakfast.  I have been reading quite a few blogs and talking to some people about what they eat for breakfast.  I do believe it is the most important meal of the day and I can’t want to eat the same thing like I do for other meals!

Peanut Butter French Toast (adapted from several other blogger recipes)

  • 1 tblsp peanut butter (I use Trader Joes organic something-or-other)
  • 1/3 cup egg whites
  • some milk
  • dash or two of cinnamon
  • 2 pieces of “day old” whole wheat bread (or what ever bread you eat)

Melt PB in microwave until melted then add to mix of milk, egg whites, and cinnamon.  Dunk bread on both sides and cook in pan until brown.

I found that fresh bread sops up too much of the batter so I say “day old” because I think if the bread is a little hard it would make the toast better.  ALSO, some of the PB settled on the bottom of the bowl, so as the toast was cooking, I spooned the left over batter onto the toast before flipping.

I cut it up and wrapped the top with tinfoil with holes poked in the top so it wouldn’t get mushy on the way to school.  I also had a few squeezes of sugar-free maple syrup.  It took 5 mins to prep and cook in total and it was a filling breakfast!  I ate it at my desk with a coffee and a banana!

Got a morning gym session tomorrow morning which means I have a 4:15 a.m. wake up call.  Good news is that I have my lunch and breakfast all made, and my work clothes packed.  Tomorrow morning should be effortless!

Night!

~L

My two cents on your Conversation..

Happy Hump Day everyone!  Sometimes I really feel like if I can get through Wednesday I can get through anything.  Some weeks my kids make it easy to get through the week, others not so much 😉

I woke up at 4:15 this morning, a half hour earlier than I did for my Monday morning gym session.  I did this for a few reasons:

  1. It always takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed
  2. I needed to eat more than a banana and decided I would give “real” rolled oats a try (discussion to follow) and I had to cook them.
  3. I needed to eat earlier to give my food time to digest!  It is of no use to me during my workout if it is sitting like a brick in my stomach!

Result of early wake up/oatmeal-an-hour-before combination? SUCCESS!  I was rearing to go!  The sun was also up and shining brightly in the apartment windows adjacent to the gym, talk about motivating!  We started with new abs (a routine totally ripped from the pages of the Oxygen’s May issue) and then did Day 2- Legs.  I love leg days a lot, a REAL lot.  Today’s workout left my legs very flimsy, in a good way!  Check out this post to see my leg routine.

When getting changed this morning I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation between two girls (I’m a tad bit nosy but I am sure I am not the only one!).  And like I said before, the main reason I love morning gym is because of the social aspect and these girls were proving my point!  Anyway, one was explaining that her boyfriend (though running Boston a week ago) feels fat and out-of-shape so he has since stopped eating carbs.  She said when he asked her to jump on his To HELL WITH CARBS bandwagon (those are my words I’ll admit) she said:

“I told him I wouldn’t give up carbs, because when I start eating them again I will gain all the weight back, and then some”

I am sorry, but I feel the need to put in my two cents, and since I would NEVER debate with you in public (yeah I am a chicken, so what?) I will write you a letter.  Here it goes:

Dear Girl I Saw at the Gym this Morning,

It is definitely your prerogative to not give up/give up carbs.  I am a huge fan of doing whatever works best for you.  I do not necessarily agree with you, however, that eating carbs has to be an all-or-nothing endeavor.  Yes, cutting carbs is a very easy way for people to lose weight but it is very restricting and unhealthy! I mean, why do you think so many people end up gaining all their weight back and then some? Just like you I used to believe that to lose weight you must give up bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, and all the other delicious carbohydrates, but restricting your body from carbs does not make you healthy (it will make you skinny temporarily, but not healthy). Doing so ultimately denies your body the essential nutrients needed to supply your body with energy.  I am sure you enjoy not feeling like you are going to pass out when you exercise don’t you? And I know your boyfriend must have enjoyed the benefits of carbs during his Marathon run!  Carbs aren’t all that bad when you think about it are they? I have been doing a lot of reading on the subject of nutrition and what is necessary to live a healthy life style.  While I am no expert allow me to share what I have learned so far.

Not all carbs are created equally and knowing this could make a world of difference.  There are actually two types of carbs found in the foods we eat: simple (bad) and complex (good).

First up are the Simple carbohydrates, such as white flour, white pasta, white rice, and white bread.  These carbs have no real nutritional value.  They have been stripped of all nutrients and are made mostly of sugar, which is why we call them “refined sugars”.  Simple carbs cause the “sugar highs” and “crashes” (crazy mood swings anyone?) and cause you to eat more.  Most of the junk we eat contain simple carbohydrates: cereal, instant oatmeal, muffins, granola to name a few.  Basically anything that has “enriched flour” listed as one of the main ingredients falls into this category.  If you are going to give up any carbs, THESE ARE THE CARBS TO GIVE UP!  They really don’t benefit your waistline at all. If you don’t give them up entirely you should consider dramatically limiting your intake of them! (Skinny Bitch, Chapter 2)

Next up we have our Complex Carbs (CC) which are rich in fiber and starches and are converted by the body into glycogen to provide energy.  Energy is as essential to getting out of bed in the morning and functioning as a normal human being as it is to get you through your morning Spin class.  THESE ARE THE CARBS YOU SHOULD EAT NEED!  CC include potatoes, whole wheat pasta, fruits, veggies, nuts, brown rice, and any other foods made with whole grains (non-refined foods). (Skinny Bitch, Chapter 2)  CC should be eaten with each meal because they give you that full feeling, which leaves me content after a meal.  ISN’T THAT GREAT NEWS?  You can eat carbs after all!

My suggestion, Girl I Saw at the Gym this Morning, is that you and your boyfriend get rid of your all-or-nothing attitudes and come to a compromise.  You both can be fit and healthy AND lose weight by simply changing up what kind of carbs you do/do not eat.  Because while you go on eating all the carbs and gaining all the weight, he will go on eating none (until the night he comes home drunk and falls off the no-carb bandwagon by chowing every simple sugar he can find in your house).  The all-or-nothing diet mentality is obviously setting you both up for failure, and no one likes failing!  So how can you make it a win-win situation?

  1. Go ahead and eat carbs, mainly Complex Carbs, with every meal and snack (about the size of one cupped hand’s worth in each meal).
  2. Start small! Don’t go emptying your cabinets of all the simple carbs!  Start with the “staples” such as whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, and brown rice and go from there.  These suggestions are simple substitutions to incorporate into your diet in place of their refined counterparts.
  3. Never say never! Giving up all simple sugars has got to be very difficult.  For one thing, if you are anything like me you have a sweet tooth, and everyone feels the need to indulge (but remember, indulgences are RARE occurences)!  For another, many restaurants,  bakeries, and other places you will buy/eat food most likely don’t give you a “whole grain option”.  So instead of saying NEVER, say ONLY WHEN NECESSARY!   The major problem with saying NEVER when “dieting” is that one tiny slip up causes you to feel guilty, which causes you to think “I already f-ed up and had one dinner roll, I might as well eat the whole basket”.  While reading, rational you says “One roll is better than 10”, but guilty you (with your hand in the bread basket) says “Waiter, can we have more rolls please!”  MAKE SENSE???

In closing, don’t look at this new beginning as a “diet”, “diets” don’t last.  Look at it as a lifestyle change and don’t be afraid to let anyone and everyone know you are trying to be a healthier and happier version of you! Significantly limiting simple carbs and consistently eating CC will leave you feeling fuller longer, more energetic, and grateful that you are not stuck eating bacon and cheese for three meals a day.

I look forward to hearing your discussion of this post tomorrow morning,

~L

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

🙂 Think she’ll read it??  I’d die!  haha

I have been trying the three steps above for about a week.  For me, the pasta, rice, rolled oats, fruits, and veggies are do-able.  In regards to whole wheat pasta vs white I don’t taste much of a difference.

The bread?  Well that is another story!  Wonder Bread, which I grew up on is soft and tasteless (though delicious), similarly it is also nutrition less (if any bread lists “enriched flour” as an ingredient, consider it junk food!).  I made the switch to whole wheat bread.  It is hard and tastes funky but I am willing to give it a try for a bit to see if I can get used to it!

As I wrote that I actually ate my dinner, homemade ravioli (talk about the pot calling the kettle black) that my coworker Elaine made from scratch for me a while ago.  I’ve kept them in my freezer.  Homemade pasta of any sort is so delicious and these ravioli are no exception.  I had 5 of them (because the others were stuck to the container) with a big spoonful of my sauce.  Mmmmm!  I am hoping she will teach me how to make homemade ravioli so I can switch up the recipe and use whole wheat flour instead.  Like I said above, eating whole grains (as opposed to refined) is healthy, but that isn’t always an option!

I really enjoyed spending my afternoon/evening writing this post.  I think about possible topics all day long during conversations I have, things I read, whatever I do!  Today it hit me in the shower that I NEEDED to write about my thoughts on carbs!  Ha!  I’ll take the inspiration wherever I can get it!

What do you think of the simple carb vs. complex carb argument?  Do you believe in the all-or-nothing approach or my complex carbs with every meal approach? Or neither? Let me know! I am genuinely interested in learning as much as I can about the healthy (or getting healthy) lifestyles of you guys!

I am officially spent and couching it for the rest of the evening!

~L

Cheers to New Beginnings!

Good evening to you my dear friends!  I had a very busy Tuesday and I will tell you, all that energy I had yesterday, all the motivation I had to get up and go, must have been my supply for the week, because I’ve lost steam already! It is 9 and I am just sitting down to write this post (I’ll keep it short and sweet), but I’ve been thinking of what to talk about all day: RUNNING CLUB!

I am enjoying a mock-tail as I type this post (and not a glass of wine) because 1) it is Tuesday (and I am cutting WAAYYYY back on unnecessary week day drinking and 2) I am hitting the gym up tomorrow a.m. for Day 2- Legs.

Lisa’s Mock-Tail

  • 1 Wine glass (makes it feel fancy)
  • Polar Raspberry Lime Seltzer Water
  • Dash of Pom pomegranate/blueberry juice

Oh, and I am also celebrating my official membership in the Running Club.  Yup, that’s right, for $25 I am embarking on a 10 week program to teach me all sorts of running related goodness.  We even got a syllabus!  Each of the weekly meetings starts with a “lecture” about the week’s topic (it is really just a brief info sess).  Topics range from setting personal goals, nutrition and health, stretching, and hill running.  We even get handouts to read on the topic.  Tonight we discussed the format of the weekly runs, safety and eating tips, and then had a shoe clinic!

Think I will stick out like a sore thumb??

What I learned today:

  • Always double lace your shoes
  • Running takes 2 things: commitment and beer (that’s why most races are near bars!) Ha!
  • Make eye contact with drivers so you know they see you
  • Don’t eat anything solid 2 hours before a run
  • If you sound like an elephant when you are running (me!!!) it may be because your shoes are too supportive
  • I get a 10% discount at a local shoe shop if I go there and get my fit fitted for running shoes, which I will definitely do!
  • You should be able to talk through your entire run, and if you can’t, you’re going to fast!

This is a walk to run program which accepts beginners and out-of-practice runners.  It began today with 30 minutes of movement: 4 minutes of walking, 2 minutes of running (repeat 5 times).  I am not a beginner but I know I have a lot to learn.  We ran for 2 minutes but I wanted to keep going so bad!  However, I want to make some running club friends more so I was very conscious of not being “that girl”, we all know what I am talking about.  My main goal in joining the program is to learn how to run properly, and to reach that goal the pacing changes each week.  I know I go too fast because I am usually gasping loudly for air, so this is a good starting point.  For “homework” I have to do tonight’s routine 2 more times before Tuesday.

I will have to admit, today was a little easy for me.  But seeing the actual running club members, who have run many races, marathons and half marathons, put it all in perspective.  They were all sitting where I was at one point, but worked their way to big things, probably by doing something similar.  So I will do my homework, whether easy or hard, because I’ve got to start learning somewhere!

I consider myself to be in pretty good shape and had a really good feeling in the “lecture” when he said that many people do not make/can not make a commitment to running.  They don’t do their “homework” runs or wait until the night before.  Some may not be physically or mentally ready to move to the next level.  I mean, I have been there before, wishing I could dedicate myself to becoming fit and not being able to find motivation, but now I am SUPER motivated.  I will need to spend some time thinking to pinpoint the exact origin of my motivation for running but it definitely has to do with that “runner’s high” I get after a run!

It is such a good feeling to know that on Week 10, when we do our “graduation run” I will be there and it will be a piece of cake!  Then I can become a real member of the Club!

DINNER: When I got in I ate some baked eggplant I made before heading to run.  I cut up 2 Italian eggplants, dipped them in eggs, coated them with breadcrumbs and baked them until crisp in the over at 375 degrees (about 30 min).

I then put them in a glass dish with some sauce and a sprinkle of cheese and, taaa daaaaa, eggplant parm!  MMMMMM

Like I said, morning gym tomorrow, which means early bed tonight!

Do you belong to any weekly fitness groups (softball team, yoga class, running club, etc)?  What motivated you to get involved?  Did you do it “cold turkey” to get your butt in gear or to push your fit-self to a new level? I always belonged to sports teams and cheering squads when I was younger but I never felt dedicated/invested in the sport.  I went through the motions because it was better than sitting on a couch,  I didn’t do it for any health benefits.  This past June I began with two yoga classes a week but needed to get my heart-pumping so I started spinning.  Spinning was the kind of workout my body CRAVED and I did it 2 to 3 times a week for four months!  Being on a stationary bike indoors got very boring.  For me, this running club signifies my growth in living healthier.  I felt so excited to get out there and “do it” tonight!  For me the running club is my next level.

Nighty night

~L


Right Back at it!

Hellloooo all!  All my teacher friends, I hope you had a great first day back.  Unlike most days back from vacation, I didn’t TOTALLY dread today.  I mean I wasn’t jumping for joy that vacation was over, but like I said yesterday- I’ve got lots of things to look forward to!  I think I am on to something with my new “glass half full” outlook on life (let’s hope it lasts!).

Let’s start with this morning:

I woke up at 4:45 a.m., showered, and basically left for the gym.  It was so great having everything all ready to go.  It made my morning a little more low maintainance than usual.  I ate a banana on my way for some pre-workout fuel.

I started with 25 minutes on the Cross Trainer.  The time flew by!  The first reason I like morning gym is because it gives me time to socialize before heading to school.  I mean anyone who knows a girl knows we can talk..a lot 🙂  Sometimes the downside to being a teacher is that you are around kids all day and the little time you get with adults is spent talking about the kids, haha.  Morning gym gives me my convo fix first thing!

Then it was time for some weights.  I did our new routine for Day 1- Chest and Triceps for the first time.  The first time doing new weights is always a little awkward because your muscles aren’t used to the new movement.  Most of your energy is spent getting a smooth motion down and focusing on correct form.

Day 1- Chest and Triceps

  1. Dumbbell Chest Press– 3 sets of 15 reps, with 15lbs.
  2. Incline Push-Up (on bar)– 3 sets of 8-10 with body weight.
  3. “Skull Crusher” for Triceps– Ummmm, with these my banana had officially given me the last of my energy.  I was shaking sooooo bad that I couldn’t even complete one set!  Guess I need more fuel for this kick-ass workout!  I subbed in 3 sets of 15 triceps dip just for this morning.
  4. Triceps Pushdown–  My arms were toast for this!  I did 3 sets f 10 with 60lbs, but I secretly know I could’ve done more….

______________________________________________________________________________

Random TIP:  I lift more weight, resulting in less reps because this builds muscle mass.  I typically aim to complete 8-12 reps per set.  If I can do more than that then I know I need to increase my weight.  Remember, girls can not naturally look like crazy-body-builder-men, so don’t be scared of busting out the heavy weights!

______________________________________________________________________________

During the gym I made sure to drink one full (but small) water bottle (which I did!).  On bad running/weight days a lot of my problems come from being dehydrated.  I get headaches and get dizzy and light headed.  I know that drinking 2 liters of water a day has great health benefits BUT I can’t STAND water.  I could actually go through an entire day with drinking nothing but one coffee in the morning.  This has got to change so I am going to drink one small bottle of water each morning before I can have my coffee.  It is a place to start!

Moving on with my morning….On my way to school I stopped for a D.D Dark Roast with skim milk.  It was soooo dark!  They put next to no milk in it!  I drank it while eating my second breakfast- a cup of Trader Joe’s Twigs-Flakes-& Clusters cereal.  I poured 3 diced strawberries, some cinnamon, and 1% milk on top.  It was an interesting combination to say the least, but I ate the whole thing!

I was way hungrier than usual by 10.  Our usual snack time is 10:30ish so I was scared I was going to get grouchy because I was hungry.  One thing I’ve learned is that I need to listen to my body when it is sending me “I’m hungry signals”.  Old Me would ignore and try to hold out, but now I know better.  I dug right in to my low-fat vanilla yogurt with frozen raspberries and fresh blueberries!

For lunch I had a buffalo chicken salad sandwich with some Trader Joe’s popchips and some grapes.  The sandwich was an idea I got this weekend when I was trying to think of how to get more protein into my diet.  Even though I already get plenty, I am really looking to switch up my lunch options and that was the motivation to create this sandwich.  It was a little drier than I would’ve like (mostly because of the bread I think), but I was trying to keep it as healthy and delicious as possible.

Buffalo Chicken Salad

  • Rotiseree Chicken breast, shredded in food processor
  • chopped celery
  • chopped carrots
  • a bunch of Frank’s Buffalo Sauce
  • Two slice of Trader Joe’s soft whole wheat bread
  • romaine lettuce

and moving to the late afternoon/early evening…

The second reason I love morning gym so much is because it kept my energy up all day! Even during my super long afternoon meeting I stayed pretty with it, which is not usual!  I snacked on an orange while I was at the meeting.

The third reason I LOVE the morning gym- because I don’t have to get to the gym after loooonnnngg days! It was so nice to know that I already got the gym out-of-the-way.  Usually on Monday’s I don’t get home until 7ish.  For that reason I end up crashing on the couch and being very unproductive.  Today I got to make myself dinner!  I made a spaghetti sauce from scratch, mmmmm and ate it with whole wheat pasta.  In my opinion it’s the best sauce in the world!  I don’t make it with any meat so to spice it up (the way hot sausages would) I add crushed red pepper.

let it simmer...

Sauce

  • one green and one red pepper
  • one clove garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/3ish cups EVOO
  • Seasonings to taste: crushed red pepper, salt, black pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, oregano, sweet basil
  • parm. cheese
  • 3 cans Pasteene tomato puree
  • 1 can tomato paste

Finely chop the peppers, garlic, and onion.  Place the seasoning and veggies in the bottom of a sauce pot with the EVOO.  Let simmer 15-20 minutes on low-med heat.

Add 3 cans of puree and paste with 1/2 can of water.  Add parm cheese to taste.  Let sauce simmer (don’t boil) for 30 minutes.

Help me out!  What are some of your favorite Italian dishes I could try making using my sauce? I LOVE making eggplant or zucchini parmesan.  I also enjoy second day stuffed shells, but I need new ideas!

Tonight I am going to watch Intervention and do a little more reading..

Tomorrow starts the running club!  Woop Woop!

~L

Sunday Funday meets Sunday Night Blues

Welcome to Sunday night….the last night of vacation 😦  No Sunday night is harder than the one at the end of vacation and no Monday is worse than the first day back. It’s going to be a pretty rough stretch getting back into the swing of things (I have both lunch duty AND a two-hour meeting after school tomorrow).  As I said before, I love how vacations allow you time to do things at the pace you want to do them, as opposed to around a crazy work schedule.  But there is no use complaining because I have several exciting things coming up:

  1. I start the running club Tuesday!
  2. My first road race is exactly 2 weeks from today.
  3. I got accepted into the Harpoon 5 mile-r at the beginning of June.
  4. I am starting a new set of ass-kicking weights and incorporating some morning gym sessions into my routine.
  5. Getting back into regular and more healthy eating habits, which includes limiting my drinking to just two nights a week!

It is very easy to think negative thoughts (“Vacation is over…) so I came up with the list above to try to stay a bit more positive (“Running club starts Tuesday!”)

Are you a glass half-full or glass half-empty type of person?? I think I tend to lean toward glass half-empty (like spending a Sunday dreading going back to school instead of enjoying the day off), but then try to see how I could see the glass half-full (like I did above, think of what I can look forward to).

I will say, my entire vacation was jam-packed with lots of activity which was nice, and looking back I enjoyed every minute of it (even Vermont….a little 😉 ) Yesterday I lounged around my apartment until about 2, at that time I took a shower and headed to Jack’s to cook some dinner.  Before I got cooking I met up with Mo for some beverages.  I thought it was really important to spend SOME time outside!

For dinner I made balsamic chicken and lemon-smashed potatoes (Giada’s recipe).  The meal was light and summer like.  We started with our typical his and hers salads.  His had romaine lettuce, spinach, pepperoni, and American cheese slices.  Hers had romaine lettuce, spinach, sliced peperoncini, grape tomatoes, and cucumbers.  Both had Newman’s Own Lite Balsamic Vinagerette dressing.

Balsamic Chicken:

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 5 cloves of garlic halved
  • 3-4 chicken breasts (de-goobered_

Mix vinegar, honey, sugar, and garlic in Tupperware container until honey and sugar are dissolved.  Add chicken and marinate 1 hour 40 min in fridge, and 20 min room temperature.  Cook in foil lined pan for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.  Reduce left over marinade in saucepan until kind of thick and glaze on chicken for the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Lemon Smashed Potatoes (Giada’s Recipe)

(This is only half the recipe, check out the link above for the full recipe if you’re interested!)

Potatoes:

  • 2 pounds baby or fingerling potatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra as needed
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and halved

For the potatoes: Put the potatoes in an 8-quart stockpot with enough cold water to cover by at least 2 inches. Bring the water to a boil over medium heat and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Drain the potatoes in a colander and allow to dry for 5 minutes. Using the palm of your hand, gently press the potatoes until lightly smashed.

In a large, nonstick skillet, heat 1/4 cup of oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant and lightly brown, about 1 minute. Remove the garlic and discard. In batches, add the potatoes and cook, without stirring, until the bottoms turn golden brown, about 5 to 8 minutes. Using a spatula, turn the potatoes over and cook, drizzling with oil, if needed, until golden brown on the other side for another 5 to 8 minutes.

This is the Lemon drizzle (see link for recipe)

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Today I got to celebrate my Dad’s 60th Birthday with family and friends (his official birthday is tomorrow)!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!!

My Dad and Me a looong time ago!

and today!

We had a surprise party for him at Kowloon, which is where I went Friday with my mom to order the food!  And yes, two times in one week is more than enough for Chinese food!  About 25 of us got together to celebrate 60 years of Mike and with a lot of food to eat.  My mom definitely did a great job picking our favorites: fingers, wings, ribs, crab rangoon, spring rolls, you get it right!  She also ordered fried rice, lo mein, General Gau’s chicken, broccoli and pea pods, hon su guy….as you can imagine, I almost ate myself into a coma.

lots of left overs!

His cake was Red Sox themed, from Spinellis.  It was a marble cake with thick, sugary frosting.  And did I mention it was delicious?!

After Kowloon we all went back to my parent’s house.  I got home at about 6:30 and started to get everything ready for tomorrow/this week.  First, I continued to ignore the three piles of papers I told myself I’d correct over vacation (even teachers procrastinate).  Then I packed my work clothes for tomorrow (I don’t even know what the weather s going to be).  I am going to the gym in the morning because, as I said before, I have a meeting after school tomorrow.  For this reason I also packed my breakfast and lunch.  Tomorrow morning I will have to shower, grab my food out of the fridge, and be on my way.  I am very excited at the prospect of getting home at 5:30 tomorrow and not having to go back out!  I LOVE EARLY GYM DAYS!!

Do you usually get ready in the morning or the night before work? My normal routine is to do everything in the morning, so it takes a little bit of adjusting getting everything ready the night before!

I am going to spend the rest of the night watching Hills reruns (love them!) and reading…

Night!

~L

Saturday Morning Pancakes and Food Thoughts

Good afternoon friends!  How is everyone’s weekends going so far? I just got in from food shopping and it is soooo nice outside.  You really couldn’t ask for better Saturday weather!

This morning I woke up with a HUGE headache.  I don’t get headaches too too often but when I do it is because I need to eat and drink water.  I decided today was a prefect day to make myself breakfast.  I love pancakes, and sometimes forget how easy it is to make them.  When I was little my dad would always make me chocolate chip pancakes and I’d wash them down with a HUGE glass of ice-cold whole milk (those were the days).  Up until I started cooking on my own I never thought you could put anything else in pancakes but chocolate chips 🙂

One of the blogs I read, Cara’s Cravings, had a recipe for Strawberry Coconut Pancakes.  I really wanted to try her recipe because all her recipes are low-fat and good for you (made with whole grains and such), but her recipe called for a whole bunch of ingredients I didn’t have on hand (I’ll try to make them the REAL way in the future).

Lisa’s Very Lazy strawberry coconut Pancake Knock-offs:

  • Fiber One pancake mix (just put a bunch in a bowl)
  • 3 slices strawberries
  • 3-4 pinches of shredded coconut (mine was sweetened)
  • water

I mixed them all in a bowl and cooked on a griddle with 2 tblsp of butter.  I topped with some fresh blueberries and sugar-free maple syrup!  MMMMMM.

After breakfast I headed up to Trader Joes and Hannaford to do my food shopping.  My head is SWARMING with nutrition facts and ideas from two of the books I am reading so I went to Trader Joes to buy stuff.  By stuff I mean I made a list and was going to go to Joes first to see if I could get any of my stuff there.  I like that they have organic, all natural chicken because one of the books I am reading had currently scared the bejeesus out of me in regards to eating corn-fed animals.  If you are interested in details, email me (wantbelieveachieve@yahoo.com), if not I will spare you!

I picked up some oatmeal, cheese sticks, Twigs Flakes and Clusters cereal (a suggestion I can’t wait to try), Natural Agave Nectar, Whole Wheat bread, and a couple other things.  At Hannaford I got my yogurt, some fresh mozzarella, and a couple of things.  In the end I spent just as much as I would have at one store, but did notice that many of the items I bought at Joes were more expensive at Hannaford.  Wowzas- who knew food shopping could be such a chore?!

Since I didn’t post last night let’s back track a little bit…..

Yesterday, despite having the sorest hamstrings in the world, I decided to go for a run.  I have been keeping my runs to every other day, and do about 3 a week.  This week I ran Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  My legs are officially in resting-mode for the rest of the weekend!  One reason I am taking a break these two days is because I want to start the week well rested.  Monday I need to hit the ground running (pun intended) in my fit life because Amy and I are starting our new weights, getting in some morning gym sessions, and starting the running club!  My first race is in just 15 days, 15!!!  This will be a busy time in school too because the MCAS is just a few weeks away and it is crunch time for math!

My run yesterday was interesting.  It started off sunny as I drove to the Lake but then it got cloudy.  I REALLY DIDN’T WANT TO RUN, and was trying to think of every excuse to not run.  I promised myself if it rained I wouldn’t feel guilty going back home.  Even though I my prayers for rain went unanswered I was OK with running because I knew how great I’d feel after the run.

I stretched my legs and was off.  I used my Nike Running Chip to map my distance, speed, and time.  It is super cool and will keep track of all my runs (or workouts as it calls them) and will keep track of my personal best and stuff.

It’s kind of blurry, so let me translate for you:

Distance: 3.18 miles

Time: 29.23  ( i had to stop twice to tie my shoe, I never have to tie my shoes during a run, WEIRD)

Pace: 9.16 per mile

Calories: 312

After my run I stopped at the farm stand by my apartment to pick up some fresh fruits and veggies for the week.  There are a few things I love about buying my stuff here:

  1. They let you try the fruit before you buy it!  They’ll cut an orange for you to try a slice or give you a grape to taste.  I like that because I bought ranges from Shaws last week and they were flavorless and not juicy!  This ensures you are getting good tasting fruit.
  2. It’s cheaper!  Sometimes their berries are 3 for $5.  Raspberries alone cost $5 at the grocery store so this is a bargain.  I got oranges 4 for $1 and strawberries for $2, same with blueberries.
  3. They have two recipes written on a chalkboard, featuring one of their produce items.  Last time there was a sweet potato recipe that I wrote down (but have yet to try). I love getting new ideas for food.

All my goodies

I then walked to Starbucks to get a skinny iced vanilla latte and bumped into an interesting snack.  As you know I have been exploring “healthy eating” and what it means for me.  One thing I know for sure is that I am would like to cut down on the amount of refined sugar I eat and try to eat more natural foods, meaning that they are in a form close to as they are found in nature.  Well Starbucks is the only local place that sells Two Moms in the Raw granola bars.  I tried one a few weeks ago as my pre run fuel and post run snack and it was very filling.  The bars are chewy and naturally sweet, who knew something so natural could taste so amazing!  I only got two because they are kind of expensive, they are definitely going to be a “treat” as opposed to a diet staple.  I got the blueberry granola bar which I had before and a gojiberry which I can’t wait to try.

Two Moms in the Raw produce these bars that:

  • contain no refined sugars
  • are 100% raw and organic
  • dairy-free, wheat-free, and gluten-free
  • have no added oils

I know what you are thinking, I must be turning into a hippie-tree-hugger (no offense to anyone who is) but I am not!  These bars are actually good and they taste really good.  They both contain organic coconut, apples, blueberries, and agave nectar (a natural sweetener).  Don’t knock it until you try it!

Some pretty flowers to brighten your day!

Yesterday afternoon I went to a coworker’s house with some fellow teachers to drink fruity drinks and nibble on appetizers while trying to forget that vacation is almost over.  The company was great, food and drinks were delicious, but vacation is still almost over (there’s nothing changing that 😦  ) I then took my mom to run a couple of top-secret errands (more details to follow) and grabbed a pizza at Polcari’s for dinner.  It was really good to catch up with her because we haven’t done dinner in forever (HI Mom!)  I HEART pizza a lot! I can’t believe at one point this week I thought I was over it!

Me forgetting to take pictures for the entire afternoon/evening=blogger fail (sorry)!

What food (healthy or not) can’t you live without?  You know the food you try not to eat all the time, but it is the first choice that pops in your head when you are deciding what to eat? For me it is (at the moment) pizza but I can think of plenty of worse foods I have loved in the past:  slim jims, munchos, salsa Doritos, Jalepeno Popper Doritos to name a few!

Until Later

~L