Inside a new year!

Welcome to 2012!  I’m finally free of my virus!  I spent most of yesterday either working out or cooking food.  That typically means I’m better :).  I knew that I wanted to get outside for my workout, so I went to the West Orange Trail.  Its part of the “recycle” program across the US in which they are transforming old train tracks into walking/running/biking trails.  I *love* this concept and know of at least two within an hour from me.  The West Orange Trail is the most convenient and it is great for short runs, long runs, or a nice bike ride.  Since I was getting back into the swing of things, I decided that I would run at a comfortable pace for 1.5 miles and reevaluate at that point, since the furthest I would go would be 3 miles and this would be my turn around point.  I was glad that I was able to make it to 1.5 miles without a lot of trouble.  I walked for 1/4 mile before picking it back up again.  I ended up covering about 3.2 miles.  It was so nice to be outside and experiencing new surroundings.  I also *love* the wildlife of FL.  I conveniently went to the farmer’s market after my run and was able to get a few things.  The first strawberries are starting to show up!!!  I also got some delicious honey tangerines.  Citrus is definitely a perk of living in FL.

So for my food making extravaganza, I made a fantastic soup, Mama Pea’s Green and Red Lentil Enchiladas from her cookbook, and Angela’s Chilled Double Chocolate Torte.

Seriously, if you need a vegan dessert that is also raw and sophisticated, you need to make the chocolate torte.  Plus it is so unbelieveably easy.  And if you aren’t convinced yet, you can keep it in the freezer and nibble on it when you need a little chocolate fix.

The enchiladas were amazing!  I couldn’t get red lentils, so mine was a green on green version with whole wheat tortillas.  Super easy and also really delicious.  If I haven’t already convinced you already, get this cookbook.

Fantastic Soup recipe:

1 sweet onion, chopped

2 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and then sliced into crescents

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

5 to 6 c. veggie broth (determine how thick or thin you want the soup)

1 can diced tomatoes, drained

1 can either black beans or black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained

1 c. cooked brown rice

Saute onions in olive oil for about 2 minutes until tender.  Add carrots, zucchini, and garlic and continue to saute until all veggies are tender, about 8 more minutes.  Add remaining ingredients except rice and simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Add rice and continue cooking for an additional 5-10 minutes.

*Notes* This soup is really comforting.  It also packs a nutritional punch!  Add some fresh spinach the last 5 minutes as well, if you want some additional greens.  This soup would make a great accompaniment to a spinich salad too.  You can also make this soup and freeze it.  If you are going to freeze the soup, don’t add the rice.  Wait until you reheat the soup and add as much rice as you like.  Enjoy!

I ended the night with a little Ugi ball workout and BodyRock abs.  Thus employing both of the gifts that I received.  My dip station is awesome.  I just have to figure out how to put together a space to workout in.

Tonight I was able to get in a nice workout after work.  As I’m continuing to ease into distance running after being ill, I did a split workout.  This is sort of like a drawn out interval workout.  Basically, I will run for 10 minutes and then do a leg workout.  I repeated this 4 times for a nice workout that was about 50 minutes.  I’m still full from lunch, but I see an enchilada in my future for dinner :).

Has everyone made their resolutions?  What are they?

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100 foods

In efforts to add more posts about food, and also because I’m getting ready for bed, because I’m 80 years old…I’m posting a list of 100 foods to eat before you die.  This list circulated around the blogs a while back, so I’m a little late to the game.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on these.  The ones that I have tried are listed with their descriptions…no description = never tried.  Also remember that I haven’t been veggie/vegan for my entire life.  On a related side note, January marks my 6 year mark of being vegan!  I am going to try and do special posts for that month related to my vegan lifestyle, so it should be fun.

Hope that you all have a happy, healthy, and safe new year!

1. Venison – Yes, I have eaten deer.  Being from SC, there were several families that hunted deer for the meat and would literally have freezers full of processed deer meat.  The only way I have really had it is in a deer meat stew.  It wasn’t terrible, but even if I went back to eating meat this would not be a top choice.
2. Nettle tea – I have actually tried this too.  Not really that big of a fan.
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile – I’ve had alligator and I’m guessing that the flavors would not be that much different.  Chewy and really not exciting.
6. Black pudding  
7. Cheese fondue – Back in the day I loved cheese fondue.  It is so retro and my mom used to break out her fondue set when we were kids.  I love the options of dippers and the opportunity to cook the meat.  I’ve also been to melting pot a few times.
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush – Yes!  The eggplant alternative to hummus.  I love this stuff and if the eggplant is roasted the flavors are so much stronger.
11. Calamari
12. Pho – I love Vietnamese food and this is a staple.  Anytime someone brings me a gigantic bowl of soup with various fresh herbs to toss in, I’m game.  If you are ever in Tampa, you must go to Trang’s Viet Cuisine.  It is not in the best part of town, but that place is the best Vietnamese I have ever had.  They also have a gigantic menu of vegan and veggie options and have been voted best vegetarian restaurant in Tampa for several years.
13.  PB&J Sandwich – I love these.  My favorite way to eat these is to take the PB and the strawberry jam and mix them together prior to spreading them on the sandwich.  This is the way that my grandmother made them and I find that the even distribution of the PB and J is quite nice.
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses de Bourgogne
17. Black truffle – Yes.  Personally, I think they are a little over rated, but added to a dish correctly, it can really bring out some delicious flavors.
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes – Yes, I have actually had strawberry wine, plum wine, as well as a peach wine.  And muscadines are in the grape family, but I have had muscadine wine as well.
19. Steamed pork buns – I have had a vegan version and it was ok.  I’m not a fan of the texture and would much prefer a steamed spring roll.
20. Pistachio ice cream – I love pistachios and the ice cream is really delicious, but the electric green color often scares me.
21. Heirloom tomatoes – YUM!  Yes, I have grown some before.  I am always a fan of different types of tomatoes.
22. Fresh wild berries- Yes.  I’ve been strawberry picking and I’ve picked blackberries before.  When I was a child, I used to sample as I went along J
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans- There was another restaurant in Tampa (its no longer there) that had awesome Cuban vegetarian rice and beans.  For some reason, adding chopped red onions to the top really puts the dish over the top.  Columbia’s Restaurant also has some great rice and beans.
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche – Yes, but I am not a fan.
28. Oysters-
29. Baklava- Yummy, this is one sweet dessert.  If you have ever made this before, you really appreciate the work that goes into creating this dish with the large amount of phylo sheets that goes into this.
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut – I think it would be criminal to live in Germany and not try sauerkraut.  Some markets sell it straight out of the barrel that they pickle it in.  That is the good stuff.
35. Root beer float – Yes and I hate it.
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O shot – Of course!
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Single malt whisky – Yes…I could take it or leave it.  Not a big whisky fan.
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut – Uh, again being from SC, we did not have Dunkin Doughnuts, so this is it.  Whenever the “hot now” sign lights up, I feel like it is the equivalent of the bat signal to some people.  They have been ruined for me though, because a) I’ve seen them being made and want to hurl as they float down the hot oil river b) I know the nutritional stats and let’s just say it isn’t pretty.  This should not be your first food choice after a heart attack.
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle – Hooray for spaetzle!  Again a typical German side-dish that is really yummy.
57. Dirty gin martini – Why, yes, yes I have J
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips – A nice vegan alternative to chocolate chips.
61. S’mores – Some vegans miss cheese, I miss S’mores.  I final got some vegan marshmallows and have been waiting for just the right time to make some vegan s’mores.  The combination of the melty chocolate, gooey marshmallow, and crunchy graham cracker is just an awesome flavor combination.
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake – I’ve had all of these before.  You can’t really go wrong with fried dough tossed with powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar.  However, these have also been ruined for me due to nutritional stats.  Yikes!
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain- You can’t have Cuban food without a good fried plantain.
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho– This is a favorite of mine during the hot summer months.  The cool cucumber and tomato combo is really nice.
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini- It was ok.  Not always a fan.
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky – Yep…not sure what my thoughts are on it though.
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash – Yes, I’ve had it in many forms.  I make a really awesome version that is vegan J.
88. Flowers – I have had eatable flowers before.  I really liked them actually.
89. Horse
90. Criollo
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta – I love polenta.  Its like a Spanish version of grits.  I have an awesome recipe that uses polenta cakes with a delicious black bean sauce.  Out of this world!
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee
100. Snake

So now I want to know, what you have you tried? What do you want to try? What will you never try!

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still sick

Oy vey.  This virus is kicking my tail.  If you know me at all, you know that I am not the type of person that can sit around all day and be lazy.  My ADD helps take care of that too.  But today has been a lot of alternating between the bed and the couch.  The doc said that it would get worse before it got better…welcome to worse!  I haven’t had much of an appetite, so the day has been filled with German blood orange tea with honey, water, fresh grapefruit juice, and soup.  C was sweet enough to bring over sushi for dinner.  I am weird enough to enjoy sushi as comfort food.  Don’t ask me why, it just works this way.

Here are some things that I discovered today:

1.  I’m not missing out on much by not watching TV.  Not only is my immune system taking a hit, but I’m pretty sure my brain cells are also suffering.  If it weren’t for Food Network I probably would have ripped my hair out.

2.  I got some reading done.  I am so excited to make some recipes out of Mama Pea’s cookbook.  Go out and buy it now!

3.  Bosley is insane.  For Christmas he received a plush puzzle type thing.  There is a center plush item with squirrels in it that the dog can pull out and play with.  Well we lost squirrels number 1 and number 2 today.

4.  The juicer is really coming in handy.  I am thankful that I had 10 lbs of grapefruits stashed away for just an occasion.  Hooray for natural vitamin C.  My immune system needs all the help it can get.

5.  I’m missing step class tonight and I’m super sad :(.  Although I would feel like dog poo and winter has finally made it to FL, so it wouldn’t have been fun.  I just hate not being active.

To top things off, there is the potential for frost tonight so C was kind enough to help bring in the plants.  Oh the one positive from the TV today was seeing a movie preview for The Vow.  Ironically the IMDB site says that the movie’s release date hasn’t been determined, but according to the preview, it will be out 2/10 for Valentine’s weekend.  I have a soft spot for Rachael McAdams and I think that she is phenomenally gorgeous.

I am hoping that this whole sick situation ends soon.  I’m putting all my money on the grapefruit juice!

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The worst gift ever and resolutions

So I am officially sick.  The worst Christmas gift ever…I went to the doctor today and of course, it is viral.  Which means, that I have to wait it out with tylenol and fluids.  Boo.  But why lament my illness when I can recap the awesomeness that was the past few days!

My mom is totally awesome and got me basically all fitness related gifts :).  I got an Ugi ball, a dip station, some Thorlo socks, and calf compression sleeves, the Peas and Thank You Cookbook.  I also got a bunch of stuff from Germany, so all in all it was awesome.  Additionally, I received an emerald ring from C (which is beautiful), some clothes, and lotion.  I must have been good this year :).

I am really excited to use the Ugi ball and the dip station, but I was excited to see that the Ugi ball comes with a video and a flip book of exercises.  Each block has 30 exercises and you can either do 1 min of each with no rest or 45 sec/15 sec rounds.  I’m taking it easy right now and may get in the ab/leg workout for BodyRock.  I’m kind of sore all over and not really feeling like doing much though.

Depending on how I feel next week I am planning on starting my 3 day a week half marathon training plan.  I really need to get my head into it though, because that is really holding me back.  That is an awesome segue into my 2012 resolution list:

* as a side note, I’m all about Caitlin’s idea to start any resolutions on 1/7 instead of the first day of January…this way its easier to keep your motivation up and not fall into false motivation.

– Complete two long running events:  So I’m planning on training for the Gasparilla half marathon in March.  Other than that, my other race is up in the air.  I’m thinking Army 10 miler, but I may forego that for something closer, like the Marine Corps Half Marathon in October.  There is also the inaugural Tower of Terror 10 miler at the end of September, but that is the same weekend that I will be coming back from Germany, so that is sketchy.

– Recenter my Yoga practice:  I have really dropped the ball with yoga.  That makes me really upset.  I have two passes for a month of unlimited yoga at a local studio, so I’m hoping that it will jump start my practice again.  Hello 20 minute yoga podcasts!

– Focus on school:  I really have to batten down the hatches so that I can finish a certain amount of classes prior to the end of the year.  If all goes as planned, I will submit my application for the Dietetics program in January 2013.

– House repairs:  My house is in great condition but there are things that I would like to do to spruce up the place and keep it in good working condition.

– Unassisted pull-up 🙂  I’m not going to put a number on it, but 1 will suffice.

I think that about does it.  When I’m feeling better, I will post some actual food, since my blog has taken a turn towards exercise more so than food and recipes. I plan to change that up as well.

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Fire!

Woooo…my legs are on fire!  Today was one of those jam packed days where everything is systematically planned out and if anything goes awry the entire day could go downhill.  Part of the issue is that Bosley, my dog, has to eat prescription food.  Before you make a comment about posh dog owners, lets just say that he has issues with bladder stones and in order to prevent numerous bladder surgeries he has to eat this food.  Believe me, I’m not happy about it either.  Anyway, I have to make sure that he has plenty of this food, because he can’t eat anything else.  Therefore, with the holidays coming up, I wanted to make sure that the vet had his food.  Luckily they will be open on Friday and I can run by and pick up the bag of food that I reserved.  So I was able to cross that off my list and avoid an out of the way drive.  I also needed to get a few more ingredients for my holiday treat gifts.

I’m all about holiday treat gifts. It provides me with the opportunity to share food with people, and that is something that I really enjoy.  However, it would be really bad for me to give out tons of treats that are terribly unhealthy.  Enter Mama Pea’s No Bake Snowball Cookies and some maple roasted pecans and walnuts.  For the nuts, I mixed about four cups of walnuts and three cups of pecans with 6 tbsp maple syrup, 4 tsp cinnamon, and 4 tbsp sugar.  I roasted the nuts at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring every ten minutes.  Once they are out of the oven, let them rest for about 10 minutes before breaking them up and enjoying.

So not only are my two treat options healthier (ok, let’s not replace our spinach with roasted nuts and snowball cookies 😉 but they are also wonderfully vegan.  I am also portioning the treats appropriately, so people aren’t receiving huge portions of foods.  Its called praticing what you preach people :).

The evening was spent putting those packages together and realizing that instead of 40 treat bags, I purchased 16. #planning fail

Ah well.  Prior to all the errand running I went running haha.  I really wasn’t interested in tracking my distance, so I decided to do an interval run and work on my speed a little bit.  Speed is something that I ignore…a lot.  Ever since I tore my hip flexor, I realized that I may have been pushing myself past my breaking point to reach time goals.  Not good.  So, I have relaxed on the whole time portion.  That is mostly why you will not see me posting any times for my runs.  Perhaps at some point I’ll start training for time again, but for now, I’m good with working on my distance.  Anyway, I started out running a relaxed pace for 5 minutes to warm up, then I ran .2 mph faster every minute.  Once I reached sprinting pace, I slowed back down to a comfortable pace and started over again.  Nice 30 minutes worth of speed work on the treadmill.

After my errands, I checked out the latest BodyRock workouts (which are awesome!) and then incorporated some of the leg work into my lower body strengthening.  I set my timer for 50/10 second intervals and completed the following exercises:

– hip bridge with in and out squeeze (watch this video and she gives an example of this workout and the next two…you have to wait until the end because she does three ab exercises first)

– hip bridge with knees together squeeze

– hip bridge with squeeze up

– body weight squats

– one leg deadlift on each side

– curtsey squats

– sumo squats

Yeah…I’m going to be in pain tomorrow.  Also, if you don’t have your own interval timer, I use this one in a pinch

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Running on Empty

So my plans for running today were squashed by the soreness that still exists in my legs.  This, folks, is a prime example of listening to your body.  Not only were my legs still super sore, but my knee was twinging a little bit and in the essence of staying injury free I listened – I took a rest day.  From cardio…

Tuesdays are usually my swing day, meaning that there is the potential for rest or adding it as a 6th day of exercise.  Today the rest won out.  Listen to your body kids!

We are having a potluck at work tomorrow and being the overachiever that I am, I signed up for two dishes.  I’m being sarcastic about the overachiever part, but I did this more so because I rarely get to cook for large groups, so I always double my efforts when the opportunity presents itself.  Tomorrow morning, I will finish off an old recipe for cranberry casserole and tonight I fixed a twist on what is known as “German potato salad” by adding sauteed asparagus to a dressed hot potato salad.  There was no mayonaise used in the production of this potato salad.  As a side note, I’m completely convinced that mayo is complete evil.  No nutritional value whatsoever.  Stay far, far away.  Anyway, for the dressing, I combined some dijon mustard, fresh dill, nutritional yeast (good source of B12 for vegetarians/vegans), water, maple syrup, the juice and zest of a whole lemon, and some minced garlic.  I roasted the potatoes with some additional minced garlic and a little olive oil.  Asparagus was trimmed and sauteed in a little olive oil.  When everything is finished, mix it all.  Done

The cranberry casserole is an old favorite.  Combine 4 c. fresh cranberries, 2 c. chopped apples, about 1 c. sugar (I usually cut this back to 1/2 c. and it still works, you are basically just trying to mascerate the cranberries and draw the juice out).  You then mix in a separate bowl…1 1/2 c. oats, 1/2 c. brown sugar, 1/3 c. flour, 1/2 c. chopped nuts (I typically go with walnuts or pecans, stay away from regular peanuts) and 1 stick melted vegan butter.  Mix all of these and pour on top of cranberry mixture.  Place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour, checking at 45 minutes.  The mix will thicken as it sits.

Other than that, eats again were really not spectacular.  I had lunch with a friend at Qdoba and while it was enjoyable, I think I am out of my Qdoba/Chipotle phase.  My normal go to is a veggie bowl with minimal rice, extra mild salsa, guacamole, and black beans.  I’m just over it now.  I resisted the lemonade, which was a health win for the day.  I had a Fuji apple for a snack and breakfast was a repeat from yesterday.

Tomorrow morning, I plan on having a green monster smoothie for breakfast to break up the monotomy.  Step class is tomorrow night and it is the highlight of my exercise week.  If you like step class, take a BodyStep class and see what you think.  As a step instructor, I have some issues with Les Mills, but I have enjoyed pretty much every BodyStep class I have taken.  Except party step, because I feel like it brings my endurance level down a few notches.  Also, completely unrelated, I am entertaining the idea of signing up for the Gasparilla Half Marathon in Tampa.  I have the running itch.

My pull up bar is staring at me from across the room, so I’m going to make some attempts and check back in tomorrow.

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hello leg muscles!

Two days in a row…this is a new record.  I told you I have turned over a new leaf.  Anyway, onto the details….

Tonight I BodyRocked since I’m trying not to run two days in a row to keep the hip flexor injury free.  Also, my legs are on fire from yesterday’s workout.  Good to know for future reference when I need a tough lower body workout.

I did the It Will Rain Sweat WO.  I completed only 8 rounds, instead of the 10 recommended rounds, but I was done!  The point with the BodyRock workouts is not that you do everything perfectly, but more that you DO it.  Don’t be intimidated by the reps, it will go by quickly.  Also, make sure you watch the video for modifications for beginners and injured participants.  After my 8 rounds, I also completed 8 assisted pull ups on a pull up bar along with 15 seconds of just hanging.  I’m trying to get myself in shape to do an unassisted pull up.  I am improving and I get really excited everytime I move a quarter inch.  I don’t need much to motivate me clearly.  I also threw in a few planks and some ab exercises for good measure, since the workout doesn’t necessarily target that muscle group.

Eats today included a delicious bowl of pumpkin butter oatmeal this morning.  I love pumpkin.  I make my own pumpkin butter (something else you should probably know about me….I don’t really like processed food, so I cook a lot of my own stuff, from scratch).  I start by making my oatmeal and when the almond milk is heating up, I add a spoonful to the mix.  MMMMM…it is amazing.  Lunch was a fantastic soup that I made last week.  With soups, I tend to toss stuff together and it either works or doesn’t work.  This one worked :).  I sauteed an onion, carrots, chopped mushroom, and garlic.  Once they were soft I added about 7 c. of veggie broth along with oregano and basil (I used fresh, but dried will work as well).  When everything is heated through, I added a cup of cooked brown rice along with a cup of cooked lentils.  A tip about beans and rice, on the weekends, I will cook a ton of rice and beans and then freeze a majority of it.  That way you have some on hand whenever you want it.

Tomorrow I’m planning on running again and depending on how my legs feel, I may sneak in another lower body workout.  I have to keep in mind that I have Step class on Wednesday nights, so I don’t want to over work my legs.

What are you doing today to work along your path towards health?

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hiatus…

After an over year long hiatus, I am back.  I’m not making any promises, but I’m really motivated to write now.  I’m in a much different place than I was a year ago….much different.  In ways happier, in ways more confident, and also somewhat more driven.  I’m working on pre-requisites in the hopes that I will earn entrance to a MS program in dietetics.  Its going well and definitely keeping me busy.

Me and workouts have been on a rocky road.  In the past year I have been in and out of workout regimes.  Sometimes not caring, sometimes working out twice a day.  Such is life.  But I am now back on the straight and narrow.  A lot of that came from fear.  So when I tore my hip flexor during my half marathon training last year, I got really scared.  I was scared of distance running, scared of training, scared of injuring myself.  Inevitably, that led to me fluctuating in and out of running.  I have done several 5Ks this year and one 10K, but I really haven’t stuck to training like I should.  Ironically, I found a necklace with a leaf charm and the box said “turn over a new leaf” and I took this as a sign and a symbol of motivation.

So I have decided to not worry about something that hasn’t happened.  I’m continuing to strengthen my hip flexors by using targeted exercises and stretches.  I’m also continuing to challenge my body with different workouts.  Part of my motivation to start writing again is for accountability and to provide others with insight into my path to continued and better health.  I’ll be posting my workouts and some meals, so be prepared :).

Today’s workout was really tough.  I really wasn’t motivated to do a distance run, so I broke it up with some lower body training.  A great tip is when you are not feeling a workout, it is 90% mental.  So to combat that you have to challenge your mind.  I ran over 4 miles today and didn’t even think about it.  However, if I tried to do it all at once, Brutus (those little voices in your head that are negative and tell you to stop or you can’t do something) would have chimed in and I wouldn’t make it.

Lower Body Love Workout:

1 mile run at race pace (I’m a bit slower right now, so I fluctuated between 6.0 and 6.5 mph; you can also subsitute 10 minutes of cardio of choice…walking, eliptical, etc)

50 alternating lunges

50 crunches

1 mile run (basically repeat above except I worked with a little incline)

30 alternating lateral lunges

30 alternating backward stepping lunges

30 prisoner squats (basically a squat with your hands on the back of your head; you will be surprised at the difference that it makes!)

Repeat 2-3x.  You can also add weights to make it more challenging.

My meals were nothing spectacular today.  I did make a yummy provencal bean soup which I’m looking forward to eating this week :).

You will also note that I will be doing a lot of BodyRock workouts.  If you are looking for some excellent at home workouts, these are incredible.  And I love Zuzanna, she has a great story and is so incredibly positive.  Plus I totally appreciate the fact that she became completely shredded without supplements, on a clean diet, and without spending hours upon hours at a gym working out.

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life gets in the way….

These past few weeks have been filled with some interesting adventures.  I have bonded with new people, reconnected with people from the past, met some interesting people, had wine with good gossip and trivia, and studied some anatomy. 

In between all of this, I have actually been cooking, but nothing that is really worth posting that already hasn’t been posted :).  So let’s talk about workouts. 

Since I am not “training” for anything I have gotten back to my other boyfriend, cycling.  See running is my first “boyfriend.”  The go-to, reliable, can be found anywhere boyfriend.  Cycling is the interesting, hard to find, exotic “boy” that you know will not last forever.  I really miss teaching it.  So, instead I have been doing my “random mix” solo classes.  Random mix is when I take my cycling class mix and just put it on random and whatever comes up is the exercise that you do.  It is awesome and won’t leave you bored.  Also a great cross-training option.

Back to running, because it is old-reliable remember ;).  I am super pleased with my pace right now.  I have backed off to three-four days a week and had a one mile pace of 6:15.  My endurance space is down to about 8:30 which I am super happy about.  I am integrating some agility drills as well to keep my hip flexor happy.  Its been doing well lately, so I’m not going to test it out. 

I also did a full yoga workout a few days ago for the first time in a while.  Crane didn’t happen which makes me angry and just means that I will obsess about doing it until its done.  Lots of sweaty vinyasas makes me a happy girl.  I still have the mastery of plow and shoulder stands.  I must get back to handstands and handstand pushups.  Maybe one of these days…

But here is an upper body workout for you to enjoy:

On the cable machine (look for the one that has arms that you can move with the cables on the end), set a weight that you can perform 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps (I was at 25lbs) = Chest press in a lunge stance.  Superset these with pull ups on the cable machine (place the weight all the way up, heels on the ground so you are performing assisted pull ups).  No rest between sets kids.

Move to dumbbells and other machines:

3 sets of 8-10 chest flys (remember here that you can put your feet up on the bench and take some of the pressure off of your lower back)

3 sets of 8-10 reverse flys (remember to pinch your shoulder blades together)

3 sets of pushups to failure (you choose what failure means, either dropping to the knees or being done after on the knees)

3 sets of 8-10 lat pull-downs (I’m rocking 75 lbs now 😉 which you can make these harder by not sitting on the bench and putting yourself in a squat position…this totally rules

Onto the smaller upper body muscles…

3 sets of 8-10 bicep curls (push yourself here and change to reverse grip if you can handle it);  superset with overhead triceps extension 3 sets of 8-10

3 sets of 10-15 clean and press your choice of single dumbells or bar (abs tight, don’t arch your back and don’t sacrifice your form; drop your weight if your form starts to fail)

3 sets of 8-10 dips (either on the bench or assisted/unassisted on the gravitron)

Shoulders, what!

3 sets of 10-12 front raises, superset with lateral raises and military press (burning them out here!); if you are using heavier weight for the front raises change your stance to a lunge position to avoid poor form; change weights if you need to towards the last set because this will smoke your shoulders

Abs and lower back…

Regular crunches to warm up = 1 set of 25

cross over crunches = 2 sets of 20 on each side

forearm plank aka popeye plank = 3 sets of 1 min. (or go for failure if you can go longer than 1 min)

crunches on Swiss ball = 3 sets of 25

plank ups = 3 sets of 15 (start in either a pushup position or forearm plank; bring yourself up one hand at a time and then back down…I’ve said this before, but a little piece of me dies each time I do this)

2 min of situps for time – you can do these on the decline bench or having something holding your feet down, just make sure your back hits the ground and you are coming all the way up)

Roman chair – everyone does this incorrectly; this is the piece of equipment that is basically only meant for lower back work; you lean all the way forward and then only come up to the point where your back is level…do not arch your back because then you are engaging too much of your hamstrings and glutes.  3 sets of 15; if you want to be a stud you can grab a weight plate for the last two sets but always warm up first and don’t grab too much weight. 

Superman = 3 sets of 15

Done…

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actual food!

So, I actually have a post about food!  No pictures though, because I cannot find my camera USB :(.  That means you just have to make the recipes and decide for yourself. 

First up we have:

Black Eyed Pea Basmati Salad

1/2 c. dry black eyed peas

1/2 c. basmati rice

1 tsp garlic

1/4 c. thinly sliced red onion

1/3 c. green olives, halved

2 tbsp coarse grain dijon mustard

4 tbsp apple cider vinegar

3 tbsp oil

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Rinse peas and place in a saucepan with 3 c. water and 1/2 tsp salt.  Bring to a boil and cook 4 minutes.  Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for one hour.  Drain and return to heat with 1 c. fresh water.  Bring to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until al dente, about 10 minutes.  Let cool in the liquid.  Cook rice with 1 1/2 c. water and garlic.  Simmer, cover and cook 16 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Whisk mustard through cilantro and adjust seasonings.  Drain peas and toss with rice.  Add remaining ingredients and stir.

*Notes*  I replaced the basmati with brown rice and adjusted the cooking time accordingly.  I’m just trying to keep myself in the whole grain category.  I also used veggie stock to cook the rice to give it a little more umph.  I let the salad hang out in the fridge and it tasted pretty amazing.  Definitely a keeper.

Marinara Sauce by Barefoot Contessa

1 tbsp oil

1 onion chopped

1 1/2 tsp minced garlic

1/2 c. red wine, preferrably Chianti or at least something Italian

28 oz can crushed tomatoes

1 tbsp fresh parsley

1 1/2 tsp salt

Heat oil and saut onion 5-10 minutes.  Add garlic and cook one minute.  Add wine and cook until almost all liquid has evaporated, about three minutes.  Stir in remaining ingredients, cover and simmer 15 minutes.

*Notes* I believe that I have made it to the mountain top of marinara sauce outside of Italy.  I didn’t have any chianti (shocking, I know!) so I used Centine (pronounced Chen-tineay) by Banfi.  Always remember that you never cook with something that you wouldn’t drink.  Which is why I had a glass while I was cooking ;).  The flavor was really strong and I’m not sure if this is due to the Centine or the recipe.  Also, there are differing opinions on Ina Garten, but I tend to enjoy her stuff.  It is upscale, but every recipe I have made by her has been fantastic.

Vegan Snickerdoodles

1 3/4 c. flour

1/4 c. cornstarch

1 tsp baking powder

4 oz non-vegan, non-hydrolyzed margarine

3/4 c. sugar

1/4 c. non-dairy milk

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 c. sugar

3 tbsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Whisk flour, cornstarch, and baking powder.  Beat margarine and sugar.  Beat in non-dairy milk and vanilla.  Add flour mix and beat until smooth.  Combine cinnamon and sugar on a plate.  Shape dough into balls and roll each in cinnamon sugar.  Place on baking sheet and bake 10-12 minutes.  Transfer to wire rack to cool.

*Notes* So, I did not have any baking spray, so I painted olive oil onto the dish to keep them from sticking.  Also, I was more in the mood for bars so I poured the batter into an 8×8 pan.  They baked for about 20 minutes, but still came out quite gooey.  I loved it though :).  I would definitely recommend going the cookie route with this one if you want to have more firm cookies/bars.  Also the 1/2 c. sugar is way too much!  I had a ton left over.  I would cut it back to 1/4 cup and 1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon.

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