Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Picked myself a good 'n'.

I swear, some days I should just hand this blog over to Doug; he's cooked dinner the past 3 nights in a row! And they've all been great. Love, love, love his food (and he's not too shabby either).

I'll start with a couple shots of his plate, because it was prettier than mine:

"Pretty... But what is it?"

Well, he diced up a chicken breast and cooked it with some onions, tomatoes, zucchini, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne, oregano, Famous Dave's Sweet & Zesty BBQ sauce, pineapple tidbits, a little bit of olive oil and "some love" (his words).

While that was all cooking down, I mashed up a small avocado and took out some corn tortillas. The original plan was to make tacos, but I was getting impatient (so hungry today!), so I decided to just tear the tortillas into bits and mix everything together in a bowl.

My not-so-pretty version, sans sour cream and shredded cheese:

It was daaaamn good though! And he added just the right amount of cayenne, so there was a great spicy kick to complement the sweet pineapple.

I'll cook again eventually, haha.

Tomorrow, I'm gonna try a TurboKick class after work. So excited! I've always loved kickboxing since I tried Tae-Bo all those years ago, but haven't had a chance to explore it outside of those particular DVDs (which have gotten progressively worse over the years, in my opinion). The description on the website said the class is designed for medium to advanced fitness levels, so it sounds like it'll be nice and challenging! I can't wait. It'll be refreshing to do a workout without any equipment that's not running. I'm all about variety these days!

I'm also debating on trying their 24Cycle class on Thursday because I'm finally ready to try spinning, but we'll see. I need to work in a rest or light activity day between now and the 24 S.E.T. class on Saturday. So many classes!

Lastly, I'm beyond stoked that tomorrow is pay day. Lots of different foods we've been out of for a while; I need more Greek yogurt to mix with my baby food!

Back to Biggest Loser. Have a good night!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sprouts, pork and more pork.

Awesome dinner tonight!

Oven-roasted brussel sprouts (tossed in olive oil/salt/pepper) mixed with sautéed mushrooms, onions and bacon. Pork chop on the side. Yes, on the side; the brussel sprouts were the headliner for me. First time trying them roasted- I don't think I'll ever go back! Soooo delicious and super-filling.

Doug handled the pork chops and coated them in a little bit of flour and a mix of spices (garlic powder, sage, cayenne, salt, pepper) before pan-cooking them in a little bit of olive oil. They turned out perfect and didn't need any extra sauce or anything.

Excellent, excellent meal. Doug had leftover mashed potatoes with his half, but I was perfectly content with just the meat and veggies. We ate up all of the sprout mix, but we had four servings of pork chops, so I get to play with the leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Can't wait!

Back to my fellow pork lover, Bourdain. He keeps reminding me that I need to try Pho and a good Vietnamese sandwich!

Hope everyone survived Monday.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


And... OMG! I went to my first 24 S.E.T. class at 24 Hour Fitness today and I LOVED it! I must admit, I almost chickened out at the last minute and started to tell myself, "Oh, maybe I'll just do some sprint intervals on the treadmill instead... I'll try the class next week." But another part of me didn't want to wait another day, so I pushed my shy/introverted self to the side and made my way to the class room.

I introduced myself to the instructor, Debbie, and she was really nice and upbeat. She looked at my arms and said I looked like I had been doing fitness classes for a while, but I told her that with the exception of a Jazzercise class I tried with my mom, this was actually my first class ever. (I don't like to count the Jazzercise class because it sucked and I just didn't care for it at all.)

She gave me a quick run-down of what gear to set up, so I got started, basically following what others were doing. We use an aerobic step, a small barbell and dumbbells.

I'm really glad I had done my share of Jari Love DVDs prior, because the set-up of the class was really similar to those workouts; cardio step moves, squats & lunges with weights, push-ups, an ab circuit, etc. There was a good mix of fitness levels in that class, so I didn't feel intimidated at all. It was good to see some more advanced people around me so I can kinda follow their leads as I start to get more familiar with the pace/moves. And the music didn't suck either!

Debbie even complemented on my lunge form, which really surprised me! Having only done lunges by myself with no coaching, I always questioned my form, but apparently I'm on the right track! I struggled with a tricep lifting move though; Debbie really had to coach me on that because my elbows were flaring like crazy. I've always had trouble with that though, even during DVD workouts. It's so hard to keep elbows closed in!

As expected, some intervals were tricky because I didn't really know what kind of weight to use beforehand. Now I have a better idea and will be able to challenge myself a bit more next time. Don't get me wrong; it was DEFINITELY a kick-ass workout that left me dripping (and embarrassingly so), but there were some parts where my choice of weight was way too light. Oh well.

Love, love, love this class. I'm officially hooked and plan on going regularly! Now that I no longer have first-class jitters, I also signed up for a Biggest Loser Boot Camp class that they're offering April 10th. So excited!

I came home to gush about my experience to Doug; I must've sounded like a little kid who was totally stoked about their first day of school, haha.

Anywho, I gotta get going; we're hosting a party tonight and have some major house cleaning to do! Hope everyone enjoys their weekend!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Lovely leftover lunch.

Quick re-cap of lunch:

Leftover roasted veggies (onions, tomatoes and zucchini) over some Spring mix salad greens. I'm totally over salad dressing these days! Well, the crappy dieted versions that I used to buy, anyway. In fact, I threw a bunch of them out this afternoon. I hardly ate salad before and I thought it was because I wasn't a "salad person," but really, it was because I bought dressings that I didn't like, just because they were low in calories and/or fat. Now? I'll gladly throw on roasted veggies (including spaghetti squash!) or hummus & feta. The mix of textures and flavors just can't be beat.

Leftover baked sweet potato fries and my new favorite sandwich (slightly melted reduced-fat Cabot cheddar and triple-berry fruit spread on a slice of flax oatbran bread).

Such an awesome lunch. The fries definitely went better with this sandwich than they did with my BBQ veggie burger concoction last night.

Took the afternoon off from work to get some shopping done before more crappy weather moves in. We're hosting a get-together for some friends tomorrow night, so I'm pretty excited. Tons of junk and booze, but it's gonna be a good time. We know some smart, funny, good-natured peeps. Love 'em!

Swam at 24 Hour Fitness this morning! I've only swam sporadically in the past, usually while on family vacations as a kid or the handful of times at old apartment complexes when the pool was actually open, clean and free of obnoxious peeing children.

Totally whopped my ass, but now I'm excited to make it part of my regular fitness routine. I only did laps for 20 minutes (including catch-my-breath breaks), then I sat in the hot tub and the steam room. My god. I've never felt that relaxed AND refreshed after a workout. I'm gonna try to make that combination a regular Friday morning routine because it just put me in such a good mood!

Still need to try the 24SET class (which I may or may not make tomorrow, weather pending...), but I'm happy to say that I've made up my mind and will indeed switch to 24 Hour Fitness once payday hits next week. The kicker in my decision? Finding out that state employees get a discount! So now, my new 24 membership will only cost $4.99 more a month than what I currently pay at Accolade. Happy day!

I'm pretty stoked. I think a change is what I needed at this point in my life. Between a new gym, new workout DVDs and new magazine routines, I'm so much more excited about and appreciative of physical fitness. What's not to love about challenging your body in new ways and seeing what it's capable of? I think being comfortable and sticking to the things I knew for years finally got to me and all I want to do now is try something different just about every day. I've been so much happier since making such changes.

That's all for me this week. Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

It burns! It buuurns!

Tonight's dinner brought on the tears and the sniffles. I love my spice!

I wanted to start off with a salad, so I took some fresh spinach, heated it up in the micorwave for just 30 seconds and topped it with some fat-free feta:

But of course that wasn't enough... So, on went some oven-roasted veggies!

I sliced up half of a small onion (hello tears! My eyes are still recovering, over half an hour later...), some small tomatoes and a small zucchini. Sprinkled on some kosher salt, pepper and some garlic powder. I made enough for two servings, so hooray for a second roasted veggie salad for lunch tomorrow! This combo reminded me of how awesome spinach and onions are.

Next came the heat. Yeah, this guy knows what I'm talkin' about:

This stuff makes my nose run and my upper lip sweat, but who said love is delicate?

I took a veggie burger (Morning Star, I believe?), chopped it up, threw it in a pan and added a couple tablespoons of the BBQ sauce. And when using spice these days, I gotta add in some sweetness too, so I threw in some pineapple tidbits for good measure.

Served with some baked semi-curried sweet potato fries on the side. I sliced up the potato and tossed it with:
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • pepper
  • dash of cinnamon
  • dash of red curry powder
  • dried parsley flakes
I gotta take a moment to pat my own back here; these were the best sweet potato fries I've ever made. The only *tiny* downside was I think this particular mix of spices kinda clashed with the spices in the BBQ sauce. Oh well. Overall, damn good random meal, thanks to my crazy freestylin' skills. And the potato was big enough to yield 2 servings of fries, so my lunch is going to kick so much ass tomorrow, I can't even talk about it right now.


Too much excitement (and soreness) for one day.

Well, I did Day 2 (a.k.a. 'Slimmer Sunday') of that Fitness Magazine workout.

This routine was sneaky. Day 2 looked a little easier than the previous day's routine, but the soreness quickly progressed and I'm more sore than I've been in weeks! Like the it-hurts-to-sit-down-on-the-toilet kind of sore, but also the wow-my-ass-is-perking-up-as-we-speak! kind of sore. Bittersweet, I suppose.

The fact that my body has clearly been challenged though has left me feeling strong (and simultaneously wussy). I'm good with that.

I was planning on swimming tomorrow morning, but honestly? I think I might just go to sit in the hot tub before work. Although, some medium-paced laps will probably help stretch out my muscles without adding any impact and making things worse. I dunno. We'll see. I've made up my mind to go to the 24SET class on Saturday morning, so I definitely want to be rested and refreshed, not all sore and busted. My excitement to try new [fitness] things is starting to catch up with me!

Also, some new food excitement to share... I'm kicking myself for not taking a picture of my life-changing sandwich that I had for lunch, but since I totally ripped off the idea from KERF, you can view a much more appetizing version on her site.

We have a Great Harvest store nearby, so I was able to snag the Flax Oatbran (which I ended up loving more than I thought I would, btw), but I used slightly different cheese and jam than she did. I bought a small block of Cabot's reduced-fat cheddar and some store-brand (King Soopers) Triple-Berry fruit spread.

HOLY CRAP, PEOPLE! Loved this sandwich! I had previously tried jam on a turkey sandwich before, but with sub-par bread, sugar-free Smucker's and only-ok cheese. This new combo was just fantastic. I put one ounce of cheese on one half of the bread slice and microwaved it for 15 seconds; I wanted the cheese just partially melted so I could experience some different textures. Heaven.

I definitely savored each bite, but I also pretty much inhaled the whole thing between my hunger and the foodgasm-inducing flavor. I'll be having several more of these in the future (tomorrow for lunch again, perhaps?), so I'll set aside my laziness for some pics.

And as if my lunch wasn't enough to get me all giddy about food (and life, for that matter), I also came across more flavors of my favorite Famous Dave's BBQ sauce at the grocery store! At first I could only find the Rich & Sassy and the Sweet & Zesty flavors for a while, but today I squealed when I saw the Devil's Spit and Apricot Bourbon varieties. Granted, I can go to the actual restaurant and buy whatever flavor I want, but it's considerably cheaper to buy them at regular grocery stores (Wal-Mart & King Soopers, specifically).

That said, I think some sort of BBQ veggie burger is in my future for dinner tonight. Might break down and take some pics of that too... Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Insert clever title here.

Quick lil' update...

First off, I've been rockin' Overnight Oats this week, thanks to KERF's suggestion. Quick, convenient and delicious! My favorite combo so far has been mashed banana, diced strawberries, coconut flakes, cinnamon and vanilla extract. All of the natural sugars/flavors from the fruits get so well absorbed in the oats that the taste the next morning is like whoa. In the morning, right before I eat them, I'll add chia seeds, a couple teaspoons of some kind of nut butter and warm it up in the microwave just long enough for the nut butter to melt. Semi-cold, hearty, soggy cereal awesomeness. I've been taking my breakfast to work with me this week since I don't get really get hungry until 8 or 9 am, so this has been a perfect option for me.

Second, I got around to trying the Sleeker Saturday workout from Fitness Magazine this morning (ended up taking Monday off from exercise). HOLY CRAP! So much harder than I thought! I guess it wasn't hard in the sense that the moves were complicated, it was just super tough and left me panting- glad I only had to go through it twice! In the actual magazine version, they provide 3 cardio moves that you're supposed to do in between the strength intervals, so that's what kept my heart rate so high and my face dripping.

I'll try to remember to scan the page with the cardio info later and do a follow-up post; it would be easier than trying to explain it here.

I also did 1/2 mile jogs before and after the workout. My muscles are all tingly now. Love it!

Since the workout was so quick (about 26 minutes for the magazine routine, plus 12 minutes of jogging), I'll probably give the 'Slimmer Sunday' routine a try tomorrow, assuming I'm not all sore and busted.

Lastly, I got a chance to visit 24 Hour Fitness this week. I just did a mixed routine on the treadmill, step mill and bike. I did sprint intervals on the treadmill for the first time in ages and my ass was officially whooped! Need to start doing those more regularly again.

I'm planning on swimming Friday morning and trying out their 24 SET class on Saturday, if there's still room left. It's basically supposed to be based off of Biggest Loser workouts, so there will be a mix of cardio and strength. I used to avoid fitness classes before, but lately my own routine has become so, well, routine, and I'm much more open to trying some new things now. Plus, it would be cool to meet some fitness-minded people in real life. Hope it goes well! I also want to try TURBO-Kick and spinning sometime too.

I'm still on my trial membership, but assuming I dig the classes, I'm pretty certain that I'm gonna make the switch to 24 soon. (Sorry, Accolade!)

Monday, March 22, 2010


Heh, just kidding! So, of course, right after posting my "I'm taking a blogging break" post, I felt the need to, well, post. I guess I should've just left it at "taking a break from food stuff" instead of breaking from posting altogether. ANYWHO.

This post is mostly for me, but I decided to make it public anyway since I do enjoy reader feedback...

The topic? Switching gyms. Well, possibly.

Currently, I'm a member of Accolade Fitness. They started out as a Planet Fitness branch, but after all sorts of ownership nonsense, they became independently owned, broke away from the PF franchise and changed locations. And really, it's primarily the location that has been causing me to contemplate a change.

  • $20/month membership fee, no contract.
  • Nice selection of cardio equipment, including:
  • Incline training treadmills!
  • Nice friendly staff.
  • Sauna.
  • Opens at 5am during the week, so I can exercise before work.
  • Location. The new facility moved further west. Even though there is little traffic at 5 in the morning, there are still a crap-load of stoplights and I usually manage to hit every one, both ways, leaving me with about a 25-30 minute commute, round trip. Not terrible, but I still have to get up that much earlier to work it into my schedule.
  • Fees to take classes. Considering the low monthly membership fee, I shouldn't complain, but the idea of running to the ATM every time I want to try a group fitness class just kinda bugs me. Some class fees can be up to $15 a pop, so even if I did find a class I liked, that would quickly add up, assuming I attended every week.
  • No pool. I love to swim and would like to add it into my exercise routine, but am unable to, currently. 
  • Smaller size. Although there's a decent amount of equipment, the place still manages to get packed (especially the cardio room) at various times of day, including early mornings and weekends.
  • Limited hours. Even though I'm  primarily a morning workout person, I occasionally feel like doing random evening workouts, especially on the weekends. Fridays they close at 8pm, Saturdays at 7pm and Sundays at 6pm. There have been quite a few Sunday nights where I wanted to bust out some serious cardio after 6, but quickly talked myself out of it because I remembered the gym was already closed. 
  • Aside from limited evening hours, there are some days where I flat out have insomnia and really would rather hit the gym at 2 or 3 am, instead of laying in bed awake, doing nothing. Sounds crazy, but it's happened before.
So, with all the talk about hours, that leads me to the new place I'm considering, 24 Hour Fitness. I signed up for a trial membership and plan on checking it out tomorrow morning.

  • Location. MUCH closer to my house and work. And the route I would take to get there would only consist of one stoplight. Estimated early morning commute? Probably 10 minutes or less, round trip.
  • Adjacent to King Soopers and across the street from my bank (not a deal-breaker obviously, but just an added bonus of the location since I tend to frequent those two places before/after the gym).
  • POOL! I've yet to see how busy the place is in the morning, but assuming it doesn't get too crowded, this is definitely a plus.
  • Large wet and dry saunas. Accolade currently has a small dry sauna which is nice, but it gets crowded very quickly.
  • Hot tub. Need I say more?
  • Free classes. Well, not "free," but included in the membership and no additional fees. They have all of the same classes that Accolade offers, but also have a "24LIFT" class that sounds almost identical to the BodyPump class I've been hearing so much about and have been dying to try! Granted, it's only offered during the day, but I'm totally open to taking time off from work, just to see what it's like!
  • More variety in equipment. I think I remember seeing 3 different types of ellipticals and 2 or 3 different stair machines, in addition to tons of treadmills and rowing machines. 
  • Kettle bells! I'm not quite ready (nor can I really afford) to buy my own kettle bells, so it would be nice to try them out at the gym first, just for fun.
  • Hours. I can literally workout anytime of day, whether it be my usual 5 am routine, a random evening or a 2 am insomnia session.
  • Higher rate of $31/month. Still no contract though, which is nice. And after making some money-saving changes to my cell phone and car insurance plans (thanks, Geico!), I can actually justify adding $11 to my monthly fitness budget.
  • Bigger facility = more members = lack of machine availability. Assuming I stick to my 5 am schedule, this probably won't be much of an issue. It's one of those things that's generally expected at any gym, but I'll just have to wait until my trial visit to see whether or not it'll end up being a deal breaker.
  • NO INCLINE TRAINERS! AHHH! Sadly, one of the first things I noticed during my tour today was no incline training treadmill. Not a one (unless I completely missed one hiding in a corner somewhere; please let it be true!). If I decide to join, I'll definitely make that a suggestion, but essentially, no more 15-21% grade inclines for me. This means I would have to rely more on the elliptical and stair machines if I wanted to get any kind of challenging incline workout. Not the worst thing in the world, but still kinda bummed me out. I plan on buying my own incline machine eventually, but since my current gym has them, I figured I could put it off a little longer.
So that's where I'm at. I actually had a 3-month trial membership at 24 yeears ago, but couldn't afford to keep it after the trial ended. I was bummed because I did enjoy working out there. I'm glad to see that since then, they've changed their pricing options and no longer require a contract. I can't be chained down, dawg!

Aside from the location, I still love Accolade too. It's the first place I've achieved "reg" status, where some of the staff actually know my name and we can chat from time to time. I don't know any of the other members too well, but do recognize faces and enjoy the environment overall. At the same time, a change would be nice (as would pool access).

We'll see. I'll enjoy my trial membership at 24 and see how it goes. I'll definitely follow up with a decision post later this week.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Another break.

Lack of pics the past few days, and to be honest, that trend is going to continue for a while. I'm taking another temporary leave of absence. Don't worry, there's no behind-the-scenes drama, I just feel like a good blogging break is in order. As usual, it may be just a few days or a few weeks. Who knows?

I will leave you with some quick fitness notes:

-Today I ran 4 miles in 38:47.
-Tomorrow, I'm planning on trying this 'Slimming Saturday' workout from Fitness Magazine. I'll also try the 'Sunday' routine as well, later in the week.

I must say, I'm starting to find these magazine workouts quite appealing because they're super-fast and effective. And since I'm a morning workout gal, I'll gladly receive shorter workouts with open arms! I think it's a good approach to take during the work week. Then I can 'relax' and save my longer workouts for the weekends.

I personally subscribe to Fitness magazine, SHAPE and Health, all of which include new routines every month. Even if you're not a subscriber, I'd definitely recommend browsing their websites, as they tend to post the same routines online, with helpful video re-enactments.

Don't do what I did and judge the routines as not being challenging enough; since most of them need to be repeated 2-3 times, they're definitely ass-kickers in disguise!

That's all for now. I'll still be checking in regularly Twitter!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fruit of the day.

Long, busy day. My dad's procedure went well. Got to spend some time with him, did a massive grocery shopping trip, squeezed in an afternoon run outside, made dinner and now I'm relaxing on the couch, waiting for the snow to come. Oh, crazy Colorado weather. Kind of in a mixed mood tonight. In between all of the day's errands, I also found out my old babysitter passed away this afternoon. She was in her 80s, but was also recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I'm glad my mom and I got to visit her in the hospital a few weeks ago. She was so happy to see me.

That said, I'm gonna kind of breeze through this post so I can zone out, sleep and return to work tomorrow. Oh, Friday. I'm so glad you're almost here.


Avocado oats! Without even looking, I'm sure this has been done before, but I was still excited that the idea entered my head last night as I was going to bed and trying to figure out how to finish off the avocado I had cut into.

See the chunks? And remember how I said avocado tastes like butta? Well, hello buttery oats. Mmm!

In the mix:
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • about 1.5 oz avocado, mashed
  • 2 tsp. chia seeds
  • vanilla extract
  • cinnamon
  • splenda
Morning snack:

Jazz apple and a mini Luna bar. Took these with me to the waiting room at the hospital. Glad I did- the wait was long and I got super-hungry!

No pics for lunch- I had just enough time to swing by Subway and head back to the hospital. I had a 6" Subway Club on wheat with American cheese, tons of veggies and mustard. The sandwich held me over through the looong grocery trip and my afternoon run.

Afternoon snack:

A small slice of toasted Honey Whole Wheat and a couple teaspoons of cinnamon-vanilla sunflower butter. I only ran outside for 30 minutes, but it kicked my ass so this snack definitely made for good recovery fuel.


Sweet potato fries (tossed in olive oil, kosher salt and baked) and tuna mixed with more mashed avocado and salsa. Quick, simple and filling!

That's all for tonight. I'm beat!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Grilled meat for the soul.

I changed our dinner plans at the last minute (we were gonna have pasta & meat sauce), but the weather was too nice not to grill, so I drove like a mad woman to exchange our propane tank and pick up chicken and potatoes; I knew we still had some asparagus in the fridge as well.

Grilled heaven:

Chicken, asparagus and gold potato spears, all grilled up by my favorite grill master (Doug).

Ketchup for the potatoes and Country Bob's All Purpose sauce on the chicken:

Kind of a slightly less tangy version of Heinz 57. I got it free with a coupon a while back, so I was excited to finally try it. Tasty!

So awesome. Not pictured: Bud Light Wheat beer pre-dinner; 3 strawberries and a Barney Butter packet for dessert.

May or may not make some cocktails tonight since I don't have to work tomorrow... Probably not the best idea if I'm planning an outdoor run in the morning though, haha.

Totally watching Dog the Bounty Hunter and feeling good. I gotta admit, I'm hooked on this show. I can't believe I haven't met him in person yet, seeing as just about every other episode is right here in Colorado Springs! Come meet me, Dog!


Feeling pretty good this morning, but I also feel a major energy crash coming on. Still slooowly adjusting to the time change, I guess.

I went to the gym this morning for 40 minutes of running and incline training. I did intervals of the two until I hit 3 miles and called it a day. I'm trying to get back to my old incline levels. When I was really kicking ass, I was able to do 3+ mph on a 21% grade. I worked my way to 18% this week (going between 3 and 3.2 mph), so I'm getting closer. That shit's hard when you fall out of practice for a few months!

I came home, drank a little Powerade Zero and then downed some cold coffee with 1/2 cup of vanilla almond milk. After shower and grooming nonsense, I was ready for breakfast:

I toasted a Thomas low-cal multi-grain English muffin and mashed 1.8 oz of avocado on top.

Meanwhile, I cooked 1/2 cup of egg beaters and 2 tbsp. of salsa in a pan and threw them on top of the muffin:

Mmmm, mmmm! I swear, avocado makes everything taste like butta. I'll probably repeat this breakfast tomorrow.

I think my body's been craving more protein since I've been strength training more often, so my goal is to add more protein where I can throughout the day. Plus, more protein and less starch does leave me less bloated and during that monthly lady time, less bloat is much appreciated.

I'm probably gonna skip photos until dinner time. My lunch is leftover tuna casserole from last night (so much for less starch, eh?) and my afternoon snack is the same as yesterday's (cottage cheese & sunflower butter) plus baby carrots. My morning snack is slightly different, but not worth a picture (hard boiled egg and a mix of berry-flavored green superfood, Biggest Loser vanilla protein powder and water). I'm sure you can imagine that all pretty easily ;)

I'm debating on making a special trip to Rancho Liborio after work today. We used to shop there all the time when we lived closer to that part of town, but since we moved further north, it's kind of a pain to get to. BUT, they still have their awesome produce/meat deals  and this week they have super cheap Yukon potatoes, which I've actually been wanting to buy the past couple of weeks ($1.50 for a 5 lb bag? Hello?!)  They also have cheap steak too. And Poblano peppers... And tigers and bears, oh my!

Perhaps tomorrow would be a better day though. I joked about taking tomorrow off so I could run outside before the weather turns crappy again, but I actually did end up requesting the day off because my dad is having shoulder surgery and needs transportation. At first he just needed a ride home, but I guess he needs a ride to the hospital as well. Instead of driving from one end of town to the other x4, I figured I'd stay through the procedure, make sure everything goes well and help him with any errands afterward. ANYWHO, that all said, I might be able to squeeze in an outdoor run after all. Woo hoo!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Good ol' favorites.

I'm in the middle of Biggest Loser, so I'm gonna just bust this out as quick as I can!


Leftover sweet/spicy chicken tacos w/ guacamole and strawberries on the side.


Some chocolate stick wafer thing with Irish cream in the middle. My boss gave it to me yesterday, but I saved it for today since I knew my time of the month was around the corner and my sweet tooth would be in full effect. It was alright. Light quick chocolate fix.

Afternoon snack:

Some berry-flavored Amazing Grass Green Superfood mixed with water.

1/4 cup fat-free cottage cheese warmed with 2 tsp. of cinnamon-vanilla sunflower butter. Sounds weird I know, but it was good and definitely hit the spot when I started to hit that afternoon wall. Nice balance of protein and healthy fats, thanks to the added flax and hemp seeds in the sunflower butter.


I've been talking about making an old fashioned tuna casserole for about a month now and tonight, I finally busted it out!

Pretty simple.
  • 4 servings of cooked No Yolks noodles
  • 2 cans of chunk light tuna
  • 1 can of 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 bag of frozen mixed veggies 
I mixed the tuna with the soup in a bowl and added about 1/4 can of water. Seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic & onion powder, grated parmesan cheese and parsley flakes.

In a big glass baking dish, I stirred together the noodles, tuna/soup mixture and mixed veggies (cooked the veggies separately in the microwave).

I then sprinkled on about 2 tbsp. of plain bread crumbs and a little more onion powder. Baked in the oven at about 375 for 10 minutes or so, until I noticed a little crisp on some of the noodles on top.

Cooked some broccoli with a little light butter and served on the side. Dee-lish! Doug was starving by the time it was done and I was definitely in the mood for some warm comfort food, so this hit the spot. Leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

Jello snack with some Reddi-Whip on top. I just wanted something light and sweet.

And not pictured are 2 more teaspoons of sunflower butter. That's all for tonight!
I managed to be super-productive this morning and got caught up on some things, so I figured I'd squeeze in a quick snack post:

Yoplait Greek Yogurt (Honey Vanilla flavor) and some orange bell pepper strips.

I've been hearing mixed reviews about the Yoplait Greek yogurt, so I finally decided to try it for myself. It was on sale at the store and I haven't made it to Costco yet to stock up on my usual Fage, so I figured, eh, why not?

Is it a good Greek yogurt? No, not at all. My favorites are Fage and Chobani and Yoplait totally dropped the ball on achieving that super thick, creamy texture. It's still creamy, but the consistency is still pretty much the same as their regular yogurt (a little on the runny side).

As for the flavor, it was... Ok. Not terrible, but not the best. I didn't read the label close enough, so I was expecting actual honey at the bottom, not just honey flavoring. I added a splenda packet and that definitely helped, but there was still something off about the overall flavor that I couldn't quite put my finger on.

All in all, as a regular yogurt, it wasn't bad. It's still a fat-free option packed with tons of protein (which I still found just as filling as my usual Greek stuff), so in that respect, I'm a happy camper. I still have another container left (I think it's either plain or vanilla flavored?) and will have no qualms about eating it again. But as "Greek" yogurt, I thought it was pretty much a fail.

Before I get back to work, I thought I'd also share the SHAPE Magazine Sexier Body Workout that I did this morning. I really liked it!

And I have a confession to make... I've been subscribed to a few different health/fitness magazine for almost 2 years now and this is the first workout routine that I've actually tried. Silly, I know. I always look at the routines they publish every month and usually to take them with a grain of salt because they're mostly strength-based or "look too easy." Well, now that I'm less of a hater on strength training, I busted this particular routine out 3 times back-to-back and it was an awesome challenge! I jogged 1/2 mile before and after to make for a more balanced workout. I felt so good afterward! And my arms are still throbbing, which I kinda love sometimes, haha.

Anywho, since I loved that one so much, I'm probably going to start going through older issues I've been hoarding and clipping out more routines that I ignored in the past. Variety makes me a happy girl.

I'll be back tonight with lunch/snack/dinner pics. Later!

Monday, March 15, 2010


The past few days have flown by! Too much busy-ness for my liking. And of course the time change didn't help. Ah well. Just a quick dinner post tonight (with not-so-great shots because I was totally rushing). More goodness á la Doug (he's been spoiling me lately- I need to get off my ass and cook this week!):

Quick guacamole.

Taco filling. In the mix:
  • diced chicken 
  • onions
  • pineapple tidbits (used some of the extra juice as well)
  • BBQ sauce
  • Teriyaki sauce
  • minced garlic
  • crushed red pepper
  • ginger
All cooked together with a little bit of oil. I helped a little bit and grilled the corn tortillas. The results:

Fusion taco goodness. Sweet, spicy an savory. Loved it! Dished everything out into 4 servings, so I've got lunch ready to go for tomorrow!

Not pictured are the 2 teaspoons of Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower Butter I sampled after dinner. I ordered this stuff on a great sale over a month ago and due to a backorder, it just arrived today. Luckily it's pretty good (and packed with all sorts of healthiness!), so I guess I won't hold too much of a grudge.

Didn't workout in the morning because I needed an extra day to adjust to the time change. I did however take an early afternoon off and headed to the gym for a mixed routine of running, incline training, step mill and the elliptical. I wish I could have every afternoon off- perfect time to workout!

I'm being such a wuss about this time change that I'm starting to contemplate working out later in the day again. But deep down I know I won't... Having my evenings free is just too worth the early morning insanity. But an occasional change of pace doesn't hurt either!

Tomorrow's shaping up to be busy too, so I probably won't get to pics until dinner again, if that. We'll see. Hope everyone survived Monday!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Blue Bran.

Made it to the gym this morning for 4 miles of running and interval training. Felt good! Came home and made breakfast:

    Found some oat bran on sale at the store yesterday and decided to give it a shot. I used to love Cream of Wheat growing up, so this is a good option because of the extra protein and fiber. Loved the creaminess! In this mix:
    • 1/3 cup oat bran
    • 1/2 cup blueberries
    • 1/4 cup pineapple tidbits
    • 1 scoop Biggest Loser Vanilla Protein Powder
    • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
    • vanilla extract
    • splenda
    This was really good except for the pineapple. Kinda wished I left it out because it threw off the taste a bit. But still super-filling! I definitely see an oat bran phase coming on.

    And on the side:

    Strawberries. I found some big 'n's . So juicy and sweet! I love that a couple of stores have strawberries on sale right now. We can't get enough of 'em!

    That's all for today. I need to shower and run a couple of errands before we head to Denver later. Hope everyone is having a great Saturday!

    Friday, March 12, 2010

    Could it get any better?

    This week has ended on so many good notes, I'm just so happy to be alive. Probably sounds over-the-top, but it's true. Had a great morning workout, ate delicious food all day and even heard back from Dr. May about my book review that I posted this morning! I was really touched by her response. I'm just so grateful for her book and how it helped me, so sharing my feedback just seemed like the right thing to do.

    After all of those warm fuzzies, life only got better at dinner time:

    One of our favorite, easy go-to meals is grilled pork with some kind of veggie (usually zucchini or asparagus), onions and a sauce of some sort, served over couscous.

    Well, tonight Doug took things up a notch. In tonight's mix:
    He basically cooks up all of the above in a pan and pours it over the couscous. Tonight was the first time we tried this particular combination and I think what really pushed this meal into Foodgasm Land was the use of the BBQ sauce with the pineapple. Plus, if there's one combination I LOVE, it's sweet and spicy.

    You could use chicken or tofu, but there's just something about the flavor and texture of the pork that helps me find that happy place.

    Not pictured are the beer and iced tea cocktail I had before dinner. Between those, the Pork-Veggie-Couscous Awesomeness and a new episode of Best Thing I Ever Ate on Food Network, this evening is officially a win.

    Tomorrow, I plan on hitting the gym in the morning, trying out some oat bran for breakfast and seeing Chelsea Handler in Denver. Oh, and eating leftover Pork-Veggie-Couscous Awesomeness, duh.

    Happy Weekend!

    Eat What You Love.

    Since I have no new pics to share, I guess I'll go with an impromptu review of a book I just finished reading:

    Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: How to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle, by Dr. Michelle May.

    Once my binge eating hit in November and continued into January, I was painfully aware (both physically and mentally) that I had a problem and I needed help. Now, yes, seeing a therapist should've been my first move, but as much as I wanted to seek counseling, I simply couldn't (and still can't) afford it. And I'm certainly not ruling it out as an option in the future, but for this particular time in my life, I needed something to guide me through my feelings and help me navigate through the terrible cycle of binging (and sometimes, purging) and into a peaceful, healthy place. I wasn't expecting to be "cured" by a single book either, but I was still desperate for some sort of basic direction. And, eating disorder aside, I also knew I didn't want to count points or calories for the rest of my life. I just wanted to eat like a normal person and not have to constantly freak out over food. I want to, dare I say it, live.

    This book has helped me so much, in so many ways, I'm almost out of words. (Almost... I still managed to think up a few.)

    Within the first couple of chapters, Dr. May quickly identified 3 eating behavior cycles (Overeating, Restrictive and Instinctive) and how, by taking small but meaningful steps, you can eventually move toward mindful, balanced eating. I personally followed the overeating and restrictive cycles for yeeears, even as I started losing weight.

    It was kind of painful to read certain paragraphs sometimes because some of the behaviors she talks about are identical to the ones I've experienced ever since I became aware of my weight as being an issue. While I'm thankful for dieting as a means of helping me shed 90 pounds, in the end, it really fucked up my attitude toward and relationship with food.

    Within this book, you learn why it's important not to assign "good" or "bad" labels to certain foods, how & why obsessively tracking every last calorie or point can actually backfire (which it totally did, in my experience) and why you should never "punish" yourself or earn the right to eat certain foods by exercising (guilty as charged, once again).

    After getting schooled on how dieting screwed up my eating behaviors, Dr. May then walked me through how to eat more instinctively and mindfully. She explains how to reconnect with your natural hunger cues so that you only eat when you're hungry (mind-blowing, eh?) and when you do eat, you eat foods that both bring you pleasure and nourishment so you're left completely satisfied.

    She also talks about fitness and why you should pursue it for the points of bettering your health and feeling good, not out of guilt for eating food.

    I had so many "duh!" moments as I read this book. Everything Dr. May says about how and why you should eat and exercise is pretty simple, but it also made so much sense, which is why I found this book so comforting AND empowering. EWYL makes it perfectly clear that you don't have to struggle with food. You can eat and live a balanced, healthy, fulfilling life, without guilt or self-induced pressure.

    The last few chapters are designed for people who are more or less clueless about what kind of healthy foods to eat and how to start exercising, so I pretty much skimmed through those parts. She then closes the book with a ton of great recipes (her husband is a spa chef, so there ya go).

    Love, love, love this book. And glad I actually purchased it instead of checking it out at the library. There are so many "Mindful Moment" tips throughout the book that I made note of, for future reference. Like I said before, I am in no way "cured" by this book, so I feel good knowing that I can re-read certain paragraphs in the future whenever I start to doubt myself and feel anxious about eating.

    After reading this book, I've no doubt changed my tune about what it means to live a healthy lifestyle. While I preached for years (over 2, literally) about calories this and Weight Watchers Points that, I feel so liberated in giving those concepts the middle finger now, for the most part. Now, I know there are people who read this blog who are in fact tracking calories and/or points in order to meet and manage their weight goals, so please don't take this as a personal attack. I don't mean to offend and I certainly don't intend to dissuade you from your current process of weight-loss/management.

    As long as you feel your current approach to eating and fitness is balanced and healthy (and not stressing you out or causing unhealthy behaviors), by all means, keep it up!

    Am I thankful for Weight Watchers and calorie counting for helping me lose all of that weight? Of course! Doing so changed my life.

    But after reaching that long built-up "goal," I quickly became overwhelmed. "Can I be more 'free' to eat 'bad' foods more often? Do I still need to track this? Do I still have to work out extra hard to eat that? Can I just eat whatever I want?"

    While WW is quick to say that their program is not a diet and is indeed a lifestyle change, I was starting to find that despite what I said 90 pounds ago, I can't (and simply don't want to) count points for the rest of my life. But I still want to be healthy. EWYL showed me that there is indeed a middle-ground.

    "Yeah right, Tam. You're just using this book as an excuse to eat junk and not feel guilty about it." Did I at first? Yeah, maybe a little bit. But as I read on, I realized that that's soooo not the goal of the book at all. And really, it doesn't take long to feel the effects of eating not-so-nutritious food. I don't feel like I have to eat healthier foods. I'm in a place now where I truly enjoy them; eating better leaves me feeling better. But am I going to lash myself, verbally, mentally and physically next time I have a piece of not-so-nutritious cake? Hells to the no! One of my favorite Mindful Moments (out of like, 30):

    When you are free to eat whatever you want, food quickly loses its power over you. You are able to eat anything, without eating everything.

    One of Dr. May's main messages is learning how to be in charge, not simply "in control." It's a message that resonates throughout the whole book and I'm happy to say that I'm finally learning what it means (and feels like).

    So, do I recommend this book? Well, of course I want to say, "YES! YES! YES! EVERYONE READ THIS BOOK!" but I know that it is indeed not for everyone. But if you feel that you might be caught in an eating and/or exercise cycle that is constantly leaving stressed, guilty and/or hungry, I would definitely invite you to at least check out the EWYL Blog and even download the book's first chapter (PDF). If you feel an immediate connection with the material (*raises hand*), either head to the library or make your way to Amazon.

    When I first sought out support for my binge eating, the results were a bit overwhelming. And there are indeed a ton of other books out there on similar subjects, so I'm glad I found this one. Dr. May's tone didn't intimidate or annoy me, which was something I expected for some silly reason. She doesn't get overly preachy or contradictory; she simply speaks from her own experience (as well as the experiences from others) and provides you with simple, truthful knowledge aimed at giving you what you need most: help and support.

    Thank you, Dr. May. If this book helped me, I'm confident that it's helped others and will continue to do so.

    Thursday, March 11, 2010

    We're gonna need a bigger bowl.

    Best. Dinner. Ever. Well, ok... One of the best. I came home on a mission. And that mission (and I chose to accept it) was Operation: Seafood Pasta.

    The goods:

    Minced garlic and Ivar's seafood seasoning.

    Three diced artichoke hearts, one roma tomato and a hefty amount of mushrooms.

    Salmon and shrimp (tossed in the seafood seasoning)

    Veggies, garlic and fish cooked together with salt, pepper and white wine.

    After the wine cooked off, I drizzled on a few drops of some spicy chili pepper olive oil:

    Ronzoni Smart Taste Thin Spaghetti (cooking water "infused" with Italian seasoning).

    Money shot one.

    Money shot two.

    Brussel sprouts (in a light butter sauce), sprinkled with crushed red pepper flakes and grated parmesan.

    And because beer totally goes with pasta and seafood, a cold bottle of Bud Light Golden Wheat, for good measure. I'm not a huge beer drinker, but the idea of a light wheat beer just sounded good, so I picked some up on the way home. I like it!

    So, this meal was amazing. I love it when meals I make up on the fly turn out so damn good. It was one of those meals that reminded me of how awesome food can be and also, how sorry I feel for people who don't like seafood. But if you happen to be one of those poor souls, you could easily use chicken instead, or leave out the protein altogether. Pretty flexible "recipe." So full. I couldn't finish all of the brussel sprouts. Might have room for another beer though ;) We'll see. Time for The Office. Good night!