Friday, April 30, 2010

I can dig it.

Saw this ad linked from another site:

(click the image for original post.)

Definitely needed to see this today. I forgot to mention in my last post that I plan on running more throughout the week, even if it's just a mile a day. My speed was a bit sluggish this morning and trying to tackle 3-5 mile runs 1 or 2 times a week isn't the best approach. It's not terrible of course, but I think smaller, more frequent runs will get me back to speed (pun intended) and make future longer runs less grueling. I can't wait for the mornings to start warming up so I can hit my favorite trail!

Cat Scratch Fev-uh.

Ok, dumbest thing I've read so far today? "Gwenyth Paltrow's Secret to Weight Gain!" I try not to waste too much time sippin' the Haterade (well, most of the time), but y'know what? Gag me with a friggin' spoon. And dip the spoon in chocolate and peanut butter while you're at it. "Secret" solved! Buh.

Skipped Zumba last night. (Gasp!) I had to. I ended up doing the Jackie Warner DVD Wednesday morning, JM's Yoga Meltdown DVD Wednesday night (along with some failed hula-hooping attempts) and then ran 2 miles Thursday morning. By Thursday afternoon, I was just too sore and busted to shake my boo-tay. Oh well. Next week.

This morning, I headed to the gym at the usual dark 'n' early hour. Ran/jogged 3 miles, followed by 15 minutes of intervals on the step mill. Nice burn, good sweat, feelin' good.

Re-cap of last night's dinner:

I needed to use up an avocado and came across an idea (from the official California Avocado site or something?) to make an avocado chipotle quesadilla. Well, wouldn't you know it, I actually HAD a few cans of chipotle peppers, so I was all over that idea.

Mashed 1/2 small avocado on a wrap, topped with 3 chopped chipotle peppers, shredded cheddar, and, wait for it... Tuna. Yeah, yeah. I was out of canned chicken, too lazy to defrost an actual chicken breast and not really in the mood for black beans, so tuna it was. Doug was slightly repulsed when I told him about it (he had dinner with his parents/brother earlier), but y'know what? It wasn't bad at all. To me, anyway. I was craving some extra protein and it hit the spot.

Grilled, crispy goodness.

A [bad] close-up. As I've mentioned before, I like-uh the spiiice and this baby was indeed spicy. It was my first time trying chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, but I wasn't skeered. Loved the smokey taste and the runny nose/sweaty upper lip that later ensued. Win.

But when the spicy sensation continued to linger longer than I anticipated, drastic measures needed to be taken.

*Bites knuckle*

I followed Doug's lead from the other night and paired a slice of orange crush cake (white cake mix + can of diet orange crush + shredded coconut) with, yes, cake-flavored ice cream. I gave him shit for it the other night, but now I realize I was just jealous that I didn't think of it first. Cake & cake-flavored ice cream. Like, duh. And of course it took care of the chipotle burn.

Since I had a second half of the avocado, I ended up making a second quesadilla which will be today's lunch. Breakfast was a peanut butter/banana/cinnamon/honey wrap made with my new vanilla cranberry PB that I got at Super Target. Also had some coffee, soymilk and an apple as well. It's been a while since I've had soymilk. I'm ready to go back to almond, ha.

And for a snack later?

A spinach-fruit salad. Instead of making my usual Green Monster, I used the last couple handfuls of spinach in salad form. Topped with papaya chunks, strawberries, blueberries, chia seeds, 2 crushed pecan halves and a drizzle of honey. Never tried this combo before, but um hello? Pretty sure this is gonna be the shiz.

That's all for today. After work, we need to figure out dinner, head to my mom's to try and fix her computer and finish the evening off with a big grocery trip. Happy Friday, kids!

Thursday, April 29, 2010


I've been trying to come up with a cohesive (and coherent) post today, but my thoughts on eats and body-movin' just ain't jivin' right now. I have however, felt the need to do a blogger shout-out, which will hopefully make for a better post than my ramblings on avocados, yoga and soreness.
Some I've been following for a few months, weeks or mere hours! Between their posts, tweets and comments, these chicks have been rockin' my world lately. The world of health/food/fitness blogs is indeed overwhelming these days, so I'm really glad to have found some women who get it and are pretty awesome/hilarious/smart/strong at the same time. I know this probably reads as a typical ass-kissing post, but I can't deny that I've been motivated and inspired by all of them. They make me want to keep moving, cooking and smiling. And that's pretty much what I've been doing all week.

Forming this type of bond with, well, to be quite frank, complete strangers scattered all over the world, not only makes me thankful that such a community exists, but also just amazed at how human social progression has formed this insanely elaborate bond with technology that makes blogging possible and incredibly beneficial. Pret-tay kick-ass, if I say so myself. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Adventures in Papaya-ing.

My only previous memories of papaya are those of dried, sugar infused chunks in various trail mixes over the years. So, whilst dickin' around at Costco over the weekend, I noticed some fresh ones on sale and thought, "Yeah, I'd hit that."

After not-so-patiently waiting for it to ripen (and I think it could've used another day or two...), I watched a quick YouTube video on how to prepare the damn thing and went at it this evening. (I figured since this thing was gigantic, I should probably get some basic instructions first. Good call.)

The Big 'N':

His innards:

Caviar's doppelganger:


I survived the whole process sans injuries! Woo! (Not sure if I've mentioned this before, but I'm not all that careful around knives or burners, it would seem. Or windshield wiper blades, apparently.)

My first fresh papaya. The taste was pretty good, but not mind-blowing. It just made me want some cantaloupe. And again, this may be because it wasn't at that perfect level of ripeness. But it is indeed still sweet. Either way, I've got 3 big ol' plastic tubs of the stuff now though, so I better put my game face on.

Workin' those gams.

Alright, before I get into visual food stuff, let me just say, that for the first time (ever?), I'm noticing some kick-ass legs! Especially my thighs. The culprit? Pretty sure it's the 24Cycle class. I'm sure running, zumba and general strength training are helping too, but I think all of those speed intervals and hill climbs on the bike are really making a difference. Still lovin' that class, even though it damn near kills me every time. I'm even, dare I say it, thinking of taking it on twice a week! That's gonna take some balls though, so we'll see if I follow through, heh.

Quick Fitness Side Note: Did Jackie Warner's Power Circuit Training DVD this morning and seriously, am I the only one who STILL struggles with those damn Tummy Tucks (see: Lower Abs segment)?! I was relatively comfortable with my lower ab strength until this move came along. I CANNOT do more than 3 in a row and even then, I'm usually letting my heels tap the ground. Ugh. Sorry. Just needed to bitch. Still totally in love with that DVD though. I increased my weight on some of the moves today and it definitely made a difference.


Last night's dinner and today's lunch were the results of some freestylin' (why do I always wanna say "free-ballin"? Oh wait, because I'm a total perv). I had some ricotta cheese sitting in the fridge that I had been wanting to use for a while, but I didn't want to do traditional lasagna or stuffed shells...

I also wanted to incorporate a decent amount of veggies and some ground turkey, but wanted to leave out starchy noodles to keep it from feeling too heavy...So I went with lasagna, but with veggie "noodles."


No recipe, but I had a general idea of how to go about assembling this dish. Within the above mess is some roasted zucchini (x3) and roasted yellow squash, which I tossed in olive oil, salt/pepper and Italian seasoning. Thinly grated and roasted in the oven for, I dunno, 20-30 minutes?

Then there's the cheese/meat mixture: Took some lean ground turkey and cooked it with a small chopped onion and minced garlic. While that cooled, I mixed 1 and 1/4 cups of ricotta, couple tablespoons of grated parmesan, 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella and garlic powder in a bowl. I then added the meat mixture, a large handful of cooked [frozen] spinach, 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of bread crumbs. (Just call me Ol' Cheesy Meat Hands. Or don't. Too scandalous, I reckon.)

I removed the roasted veggies from the oven and began layering everything, including some sauce:

Ended with sauce on top and sprinkled on a bit more cheese:

Baked at a little over 400 degrees for about 10-15 minutes. Doug turned on the broiler during the last few minutes to rush the browning of the cheese.

Doug made some garlic toast on the side:

Friggin' yum, dude. It was one of those meals that got kinda stressful as I went along and ended up taking a bit more time since I wasn't following a recipe, so I was worried that it would end up being only kinda "meh." But it wasn't meh at all. It was damn tasty! Doug enjoyed it as well and agreed that next time, we can add in mushrooms and eggplant, which I've seen done quite a bit on other blogs/recipes.

This of course yielded leftovers, to which I added some crushed red pepper and promptly inhaled for lunch. Such a filling, flavorful dish. And you easily leave out the turkey, should you prefer a meatless version (which I may do next time, and just replace the turkey with the aforementioned mushrooms and eggplant).

That's all for food stuff. Still debating on going to quiz tonight. I have the urge to buy a hula-hoop and just wreck that shit all evening. And maybe play some Wii Boxing, for old time's sake (used to have Wii Fit & the balance board, but gave it to my mom). And maybe some yoga... And maybe some baking... (Seriously? I usually HATE baking, but have totally done it like 4 times in the last week. Weird.) Love geeking it out every week with friends, but I'd also thoroughly enjoy some solo time tonight, shaking and baking it, if you will.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New favorite reads.

So, by way of a tweet from Amanda @ Two Boos Who Eat, I came across a new favorite blog, Hollaback Health. The post in particular that got me scrolling down the page more and more was "Don't Feel Guilty If... You Aren't White."

I found it to be an interesting read, followed by some personal thoughts on my own blog, my ethnic background (which resembles a good trail mix, if you will), my social class, my level of education and how it all affects (or doesn't?) my current healthy-minded food and fitness pursuits.

The post didn't necessarily change how I feel about myself or some of the other bloggers I follow, but it was a breath of fresh air to see someone else writing out some of the exact same thoughts I've had since I started following healthy-living blogs. Why yes, I rock a Joy Division T-shirt & Chucks on the weekends (at age 27, which still drives my mom insane). Yes, I kinda like love adding chia seeds to things now. I run. But hell no, I will not spend $23 on a jar of peanut butter (unless there's some sort of rad 10 second, full-on orgasm guarantee. Doubt it!).

That said though, I have looked at some of the more popular health blogs out there and will not even try to pretend that some of those posts had absolutely zero influence on my blog (or even my life, when trying new products, recipes or workouts). How could they not? And there have been times, no lie, where I've completely censored myself in a post or wrote certain paragraphs with very specific audiences in mind. It's all part of the process, I guess. As I continue to recover from binge eating and try to step with a healthy foot forward though, I do think I need to laugh more and censor less. And why not? I'm actually damn hilarious. Well, some of the time.

So where am I going with all of this? I don't friggin' know, haha. I guess my main points were to tell you to start reading some of the posts on Hollaback Health (if you aren't already) and to tell myself that it's ok to let my hair down a bit more when posting, letting things flow naturally and not be afraid to make with the jokes from time to time. Something, something "part of the journey" or something or other.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Grilled to perfect-shon.

Another happenin' meal, by Grill Master Doug. Kinda want to start calling him Doug-y Flay now.

Hubba, hubba! Grilled pork loin chops with Famous Dave's Rich & Sassy sauce, grilled zucchini, GRILLED CORN! (first of the season, hence the excitement) and baked beans on the side. Loooooove! Side note: Chili powder & grilled corn FTW.

I must say, I'm glad I've finally come to appreciate baked beans. I tried them once when I was a kid (before I liked ANY kind of bean, baked or otherwise) and of course didn't like them and let that memory keep me from trying them again for yeeears. Well, now I love them. Like, a lot. And Busch's vegetarian variety is pretty much going to be a regular staple in my pantry now. So perfect with grilled awesomeness! And to think all of the years I've wasted wrinkling my nose at the sight of them. Dumb. Oh well.

Be it baked beans or anything else, try or re-try things every few years. Challenge and change that palate, son!

Speaking of which, I'm still waiting for my first papaya to ripen like a kid waiting for Santa. Can't wait to cut into that sucker!

Alright. Think I've done my share of posting for the day, heh. Back to "Diners, Drive-ins & Dives," then prep for tomorrow. 24Cycle awaits me at buttcrack of dawn. Speaking of butts, mine still hasn't fully recovered from yesterday's 3 hour/40 minute hike, so we'll see how I do tomorrow, haha. 'Night all!

ATTN: Trader Joe's peeps.

So I have kind of a sad story to tell (a story I'm sure my local readers can relate to)... I live in Colorado. And because Colorado has really ancient/backwards liquor laws, we can not haz Trader Joe's. (I'm pretty sure it's liquor-related, but someone correct me if I'm wrong... Either way, SUCK-orado is more like it.)

I have had the joy of actually shopping in TJ's in the past, thanks to trips to California and New Mexico. In fact, I'm 99% sure I will be going to New Mexico in June, so a trip to TJ's is in the works...

That said, I'd like to get a good shopping list going of some of YOUR TJ's must-haves! I'm familiar (of course!) with good ol' Two-Buck Chuck and Doug loves their chocolate covered cranberries, but I'd like to make the trip more worthwhile and try some of your favorite products, so comment away!

My only criteria is that it be something suitable for a 6-hourish drive... Although, if it's something that's OMG-Amazing (and requires refrigeration), I suppose I could make some exceptions and bring along a good cooler.

So fire away, kids! Thanks!

Marvelously Mushy.

Just a quick lunch post with a little experiment of mine...

Bear with me here... Santa Fe Tortilla Wrap + smashed avocado + smashed mini-banana + cinnamon + drizzle of honey = pretty damn awesome!

I bought some avocados over the weekend without any particular use in mind, and this is what I made up in my head last night as I was going to sleep.

Served with some carrots on the side:

Couple of things I'll do differently next time:

-Don't mash the banana (I'm not weird about most textures when it comes to food, but when it comes to the overall experience of eating this wrap, I think leaving the banana as-is would've been more enjoyable).

-Serve at room temperature, if possible. I took this with me to work and had to leave it in the fridge for a while, so I lost some of the flavor of the avocado and the banana. I could've heated it up in the microwave I suppose, but I didn't want the tortilla to get too soft either... Probably easier to make and serve at home.

I'm trying to experiment with avocado in sweeter applications, so this was definitely a win! The honey and cinnamon added such nice touches too.

That's all for now. May/may not post dinner pics later tonight...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pumped Up Pumpkin Pancakes

While [still] waiting for Doug to get out of bed and [hopefully] follow up on his hiking suggestion from last night, I decided to get going with some coffee and experiment with a filling, balanced breakfast to pump me up and hold me over during our excursion. The result? A Pumped Up Pumpkin Pancake.

I used:
  • 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 tsp. all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. granulated splenda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 cup egg substitute
  • 2 tbsp. canned pumpkin
  • 2 tbsp. no-sugar-added applesauce
  • 4 pecan halves, chopped
  • small splash of vanilla extract
  • cinnamon to taste
  • 1/2 small banana, cut into slices
  • 1/2 tbsp. whipped peanut butter (by Peter Pan)
  • 2 tbsp. sugar-free maple syrup (by Maple Grove Farms)

Directions: Combine all ingredients (except peanut butter, banana and syrup) in a bowl. Pour batter onto a hot skillet/griddle sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Flip as you would when preparing regular pancakes. When pancake is done, spread on the peanut butter, top with banana slices and drizzle with syrup.


And the nutritional stats (including toppings):

This was a great breakfast EXCEPT for the damn egg substitute I used (the Kirkland brand from Costco). I should've known better; every time I try to use this brand in a sweet recipe, it leaves a weird aftertaste. It tastes perfectly fine when I use it with savory ingredients, but that's about it. I should've used egg whites, but I only have a little bit left and am saving them for a different recipe later today. Oh well. Lesson learned!

Definitely filling, with a good mix of fiber, protein and fat. And hey, who doesn't like one giant pancake all to themselves?!

Well, that's all for now. I shall continue to wait for Doug to get his ass outta bed. My early bird self was awake at 6, so I am indeed getting impatient, seeing as it's going on 9... *Shakes fist in the air* Young, lazy whipper-snappers! After the coffee and that pancake, mama's ready to do some hikin'! Enjoy your Sunday, kids.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Costco happiness.

Ah, Costco. So many samples and so many food choices that I want, whether or not I need them (or need them in bulk for that matter).

We browsed around and some things I was excited to see (but didn't necessarily buy):
  • Larabars! Much cheaper than buying them individually, of course.
  • Butternut Squash pasta sauce (definitely going back after pay day to snag this!)
  • Santa Fe Tortilla Wraps! Thought only Sam's Club had these, but now Costco is carrying them too!
  • Organic Oat-bran/Flax bread; I can get two loaves of this for the price of what I pay for one at Great Harvest. Costco's version is a little less in calories too. Going back for that as well!
I did end up buying a few things; my first papaya (only ever had it dried in trail mixes previously, never bought a fresh one), some soy nut trail mix (has almonds & cranberries- totally adding this to yogurt and oatmeal!) and two big bottles of this stuff:

Panda Express Orange Sauce. I've seen it the last few times I've been to Costco and kept resisting. Well today, I finally gave in. I'm a sucker for pre-made Asian sauces, what can I say?

I added it to some shrimp and mushrooms:

At first I was disappointed that the sauce was 35 calories for only 1 tablespoon, but once I poured it, I saw that it was really thick and ended up spreading well over the shrimp and mushrooms. One serving was plenty! Also in the mix was some minced garlic, a bit of sesame oil and some onion flakes.

My plan was to serve this concoction over my new favorite thing ever, roasted broccoli:

Tossed in olive oil, ground ginger, salt, pepper & red pepper flakes.

All together now:

Mmm. This was a quick, light, filling meal. Doug had a Chipotle burrito earlier and didn't want a regular dinner, so I was on my own tonight. I was quite pleased with the results! My original plan was to serve everything with brown rice, but since I had Costco samples and some of the new soy nut mix, I left the rice out to keep things light. Glad I did because it was plenty of food on its own!

Debating on what to do for fitness tomorrow. I ditched 24 S.E.T. this morning and opted for JM's Yoga Meltdown instead. I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't touched this DVD since I first got it in early March, haha. But man, it seemed like I got such a better workout this time around; I was dripping after it was over! I guess since I knew what the pace was gonna be like this time around, I was able to put more effort into the moves. Love, love that workout (especially how fast that 30 minutes goes by).

So tomorrow, I dunno... Five mile run? Shorter run with sprints and add on the step mill and elliptical? We'll see what I'm in the mood for. I'd like to get some good cardio in tomorrow and then do some strength stuff on Monday. Anywho. Goodnight!

Friday, April 23, 2010

That's a spicy... chicken.

Since my half-assed "visual" post a couple of days ago, I decided it was time to redeem myself and post some proper food pics. I figured tonight's dinner was worth sharing:

BBQ Chicken Pasta with Broccoli!

Since I had kind of a long, rough day, my man took over dinner. We had been talking about playing around with a BBQ pasta dish and tonight it finally came to life. For the sauce:
  • Diced chicken
  • carrots
  • onion
  • minced garlic
  • oregano
  • red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper
  • small can of tomato sauce
  • Famous Dave's Rich & Zesty BBQ sauce
  • splash of Famous Dave's Devil's Spit, for extra heat

After all of the above were simmering, Doug dropped some Ronzoni Smart Taste thin spaghetti and I chopped up/steamed some fresh broccoli.

Although you can't see it, I also threw in some Cabot reduced fat cheddar to melt in with everything.

This. Was. So. GOOD! Nice & spicy and ridiculously filling; the bottom of the bowl took forever to get to, but that was probably my favorite part. BBQ sauce and pasta. Do it, if you haven't already.

On the side, I mixed a quick cocktail:

A shot of Bacardi Limon and some sugar-free Strawberry/Banana/Orange drink mix. Light, sweet, refreshing and just enough to take the edge off.

Later, I plan on knocking out this bad boy:

Hershey Bliss Dark Chocolate bar. I usually don't care for Hershey's chocolate, but I've been catching this particular variety on sale lately and it's actually really good.

So that was Friday night dinner. As always, Doug's cooking totally hit the spot and put me in a happy place.

May/may not go to 24 S.E.T. class tomorrow morning. Since I've missed the past two weeks (practice 5K run, actual 5K race), I'm having a hard time getting motivated to go back. But I did fall short on strength training this week, so I should probably suck it up and go. We'll see. 'Night ladies & gents- have a great weekend!

At least I'll always have The Smiths.

Head's up- this post is slightly more personal in nature and less food/fitness/health related. Well... Sorta, ha.

Earlier today, I got an e-mail indicating that the wages of state employees (me) would be decreasing in the coming months and will remain decreased for a year (who wants to bet a shiny new penny that it'll be much longer than that?).

Though the amount to be deducted from future paychecks isn't devastating, it was enough to make me close my office door and cry at my desk for a few minutes. I cried because I've been a financial mess for a couple of years now already, thanks to paying off a ridiculous amount of credit card debt (still have a couple more years to go on that, at least). The whole experience has totally changed my shopping habits (for the most part) and made me learn a tough lesson about credit and personal responsibility. While I try to remain optimistic most days, it's sometimes tough to swallow the idea of not being able to go on a trip of any sort any time soon or having to constantly refrain from fun [frivolous] purchases because said purchase may mean no gas money next week.

Before I go any further, let me say: I fully realize that things could be much worse and that I'm lucky to still have a job. I know others are not as fortunate right now. But, for the sake of my sanity, I just needed to take a moment to bitch and put things into perspective.

First, the bitching: Just when I was becoming accustomed to and content with living a frugal, mostly unexciting life, The Man has to come around and knock me down a peg (and today, seriously? while I was feeling good about running 5 miles this morning and watching hilarious crap on YouTube? on a Friday? what gives?). I recognize that I have plenty to be thankful for (health, housing, food, car, Doug, family), but on those days when I contemplate my finances and future goals (furthering my education, moving to Oregon, buying a house, etc.), it just seems like all of that is further away than it should be. And it makes me want to go back in time and kick my own ass for making such poor decisions. That said, that email was just a punch in the gut.

But now, some perspective: Part of why I accrued so much debt in the first place was because I was unhappy with my overweight self and literally tried to buy happiness. It's no coincidence that I accrued the most debt at my highest weight. So knowing that I committed to losing weight and finally confronted my debt around the same time keeps me from being too hard on myself. I'm the healthiest I've ever been (and happier too, duh), so I know that my financial situation will eventually resolve. I will pay off every last cent on my own, just like I lost every extra pound on my own.

After wiping my tears and slowly backing out of panic mode, I did what really needed to be done and started revising my budget. And hey, guess what? I'll be fine. The downside is even less entertainment and I won't really be able to give gifts during holidays or birthdays. I already reduced those costs last year, but now I just need to cut them out altogether. I'm sure my family will understand; they were already aware of my current situation, so not a big deal. Just makes me feel kinda shitty, from a daughter/sister perspective.

During panic-mode, I immediately started thinking of things I would have to cut, starting with my gym membership. But after the rational budgeting session, canceling doesn't need to be an option. And y'know what? I don't think that will ever be an option, unless I'm on the verge of becoming homeless or something. Fitness keeps me sane. I look forward to it now a hell of a lot more than I used to. Sure, I could just rely on working out at home, but I know for a fact that I would eventually burn out and get bored. I don't go out to a lot of places during the week to begin with, so the gym has become my escape; my retreat. I just love it so damn much. And now that I'm taking group fitness classes and socializing a bit more, I'm even more enamored. Cue Rick Astley 24 Hour Fitness, 'cause I'm never gonna give you up.

So that's the state of things. Getting a second job would be the next best move, in terms of getting my debt paid off faster and building up my savings, but we'll see. It's something that's always been on my mind, but it's also something that would cause me more stress. I'm already disgusted by the fact that I was born in a country where 40 hour work weeks are the norm (where are my extended weekends or European-style afternoon siestas?), so I need to keep my happiness in mind. I like being able to see friends and family, in between work and working out, so I really don't want to decrease that time any more than I have to. But as I discovered today, things do indeed change when you least expect (and not always for the better), so additional employment always needs to be option worth considering.

In the meantime, business as usual. One thing that Doug has told me (many, many times, ha) is not to worry about things I can't control. So damn true. I try to live by it these days because it makes life so much easier and happiness so much more attainable. I've spent most of my life worrying about one thing or another and the majority of those things were not in my control. It takes too much energy to live like that; I need that energy to run.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things.

Since I haven't been posting food pics these days, I figured I should at least put together a semi-visual post of my current favorite products and recipes. So I present to you, in no particular order, some Stretch Jean Incident world-rockers:

1. Naturally More Peanut Butter.

My relationship with peanut butter hasn't always been the best. It's definitely proven to be binge trigger food for me, but it's also a perfectly healthy source of protein, fat and fiber, so I've been determined to repair said relationship so I can enjoy it in moderation and still reap the benefits.

Well, I think Naturally More is helping me do just that. It has flax seeds and egg whites added in, thus boosting it's fiber, protein and omega-3 content. In fact, it has the most protein per serving (10g) I've seen out of all the nut butters I've tried so far. Impressive!

Aside from the natural flavor, it's got a thick and seedy/slightly crunchy texture and somehow, that seems to keep me from wanting to binge on it. I'm not sure how to explain it... I genuinely enjoy this peanut butter, but I'm not obsessed with it to the point where I want to just start eating it out of the jar uncontrollably. I still get my PB fix, but feel satisfied afterward, not frazzled or anxious.

My favorite way to consume? In a wrap with cinnamon, mashed banana and maybe a little drizzle of honey or light maple syrup. (Totally had that for dinner last night and might have to repeat for lunch; definitely my version of a Happy Meal these days!)

2. Naturally Nutty Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower Butter.

While we're on the subject of butta, another favorite is this variety by Naturally Nutty. It's another one that's been repairing my relationship with nut butter. It also has flax seeds added, as well as hemp seeds, so that means more protein and fiber! Although I love this product, I probably won't buy it too much in the future because of the price. I only tried it through a super-awesome online promo a few months back and was able to snag 2 jars for really cheap.

If you browse their store, you'll notice a crapload of awesome flavor combinations though, so who knows, I might have to break down and try some more when I have the disposable income.

Favorite way to consume? Also in a wrap or with a banana, carrot sticks or an apple. It's not super-sweet, so it goes well with sweeter fruits/veggies.

3. Chocolate-Banana Protein Muffins.

Namaste Mari is a new favorite blog of mine and yesterday I tried her recipe for these muffins. (You can view my adapted version of the recipe, along with nutritional stats here.)

These became an instant favorite. With chocolate chips and banana though, how could they not?! I made my version into a loaf though, not muffins. They turned out ok, but I think next time, I need to add more flour and increase the baking time (ah, the joy of baking at higher altitudes). Some spots were just too soggy, but the flavor can't be beat. Just like a piece of hearty chocolate cake.

Favorite way to consume? As is, with a hefty teaspoon of Peter Pan's Whipped Peanut Butter on top. That was my breakfast this morning and it was pretty much heaven. (And although I'm not giving it an official spot on the list, you can check out more info about the whipped peanut butter here. For the Colorado Springs peeps, the only place in town that carries it is Big Lots.)


I've been buying the shit out of these lately, ever since I discovered the act of freezing them. Yes, this practice is probably old news to many of you, but I finally caught on and it's made a world of difference. They're so cheap and make most things better (oatmeal, PB wraps, Green Monsters, etc.), so I'm all about keeping a regular stock these days. And of course, they're great on their own, too.

5. Santa Fe Tortilla Wraps.

Apparently these are the official wrap for the South Beach Diet, so that's the site I linked to; the company's website is pretty much empty...

Anywho, new favorite healthy tortilla option right now. I buy them in bulk at Sam's Club and haven't seen them in any other grocery stores, so best of luck in your search for these babies...

They're the perfect size for big wraps or burritos, are only 100 calories and loaded with a good amount of protein and fiber. And though they're wheat-based, their texture is more like that of a white flour tortilla, which gives them mega bonus points in my book. I've tried lots of different tortilla products over the past couple of years and it's been a challenge finding one that is the right size, texture, not loaded with fat/calories and contains respectable amounts of fiber & protein. Santa Fe Tortilla Company has pretty much nailed it with these wraps.

So there ya have it, my current Top 5. I'll try to make an effort to do more posts like these in the future, since I'm always going out of my way to try new things (or at least re-visit some old favorites).

Monday, April 19, 2010

These things take time.

Lots of thoughts went on over the weekend. Some highs, some lows and some in-betweeners.

Feelings and Overeating

Finishing my first 5K was a high, obviously. The lows resulted from my same ol' patterned weekend overeating. The good news is each weekend, I'm overeating less and less. This weekend in particular felt the least destructive one in a long time. I was able to let go of the "all-or-nothing" mentality, stop myself and end the day making healthier choices. Sorta. Haha. The in-betweener was finally getting some things off of my chest to a certain person. A lot of thoughts about this person had been building up in my head for a while (months?), so a proverbial weight was lifted yesterday. Even though those particular thoughts weren't on my mind every single hour of every day, I wonder if just holding them in and letting them build up was causing some underlying stress that was possibly manifesting itself through bad eating? A bit of stretch, but certainly a possibility. After confronting this person, our relationship is in limbo at the moment, but I at least feel a great deal better. (Ah, don't you just love cryptic posts?)

Over the past few weeks, I've been going back and forth on writing down what I eat, tracking calories and tracking points. But the main thing that keeps fucking me up is my weekend overeating pattern. I finally realized that I'm going to be inclined to make these same mistakes regardless of whether or not I'm tracking my food in detail (and I know this because I've done it so many times already).

I've gotten to a point where I'm perfectly capable of making the best possible choices for my body during the week, almost without thinking. I like eating healthy, reasonable amounts of food and I like staying active because my body responds so positively. So why do I get lazy and eat destructively on the weekends?

It really does feel like I turn into a totally different person when 5 o' clock on Friday rolls around. And I don't like that person. She's super-rebellious, unforgiving and reckless.

Moderation. Balance. Blah, blah, blah. I just need to buckle down and plan my meals/snacks as I would any other day during the week instead of just "wingin' it." That's not to say I want to pre-plan every meal and snack for the rest of my life, but my weekends clearly need more structure, at least for a little while. I know it's possible to eat healthily and balanced while still enjoying treats here and there, I just need to re-visit the old determined, disciplined, level-headed Tam. Perhaps a re-read of some of my old LiveJournal entries is in order? I think so. I'm currently about 12 pounds above my previous goal weight. I'm not devastated by it because I've been staying pretty fit, but I'm not gonna lie; I would feel more comfortable with myself if I could take off at least 5-8 pounds. It's less of a numbers/vanity thing and more of a "I just feel heavy" kind of thing.


Even though I toyed with the idea of a rest day yesterday, I ended up working out in the evening. But y'know what? I just felt so damn better afterward that I have no regrets. I kept it simple though; 1 mile jog/run on the treadmill and Jackie Warner's Power Circuit Training DVD. Broke out a nice sweat, felt a good burn and felt somewhat redeemed from sitting on the couch most of the day.

This morning, I headed to the gym for a mixed routine. Did 2 miles of jogging/sprints/walking/running, 15 minutes on the Step Mill (which I'm starting to fall in love with again, as sick as that may seem) and then topped things off with 1 mile on the elliptical. I actually tried a different elliptical this time; it's an older Life Fitness model with the handles. The last time I used this model was probably 2 years ago, when I joined one of my old gyms (Planet Fitness). I used to love that machine and used it every chance I got, until I got distracted with learning to run. After switching gyms again (to Accolade Fitness), I used a Precor elliptical, sans handles. Now that I'm at 24 Hour Fitness, they have a crapload of the ol' Life Fitness ones, so I decided to give it a go, for old time's sake. And I must say, I totally fell in love with it all over again. I cranked up the resistance and pumped my arms like crazy. It felt good.

Tomorrow, I may/may not get into the 24Cycle class. I tried to sign up this morning, but all of the reserved spots were filled, so I basically need to show up early and see if I can snag any of the non-reserved spots. Worst case scenario, I won't get in and will just end up riding on my own on one of the regular stationary bikes. I've learned enough in that class so far that I think I can freestyle my own routine. But whether or not I'll push myself as hard as Vanessa (instructor) is yet unknown. I'm starting to dig riding in general, so either way, I don't want to skip it altogether.

Lastly, the high from my 5K this past weekend has caused me to seek out some other races in the future. I came across a Classic 10K race that looks like it'll be up my alley. I'm hoping that new challenges like this will keep me a bit more focused with both eating and regular running. It seems like I ran my ass off around this time last year and I miss that feeling. Plus, more runs definitely won't hurt in helping me take off those aforementioned 5-8 pounds. As always, we'll see how it goes.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

5k pics

Got the 5k pics from my mom. I look pretty terrible, but that was to be expected, haha.

Just after the race started.

Heading toward the finish line...

Crossed the finish line...


It's 4:30 and I've done nothing productive today except laundry. I've literally been on the couch the majority of the day, eating and watching Kids in the Hall. Sigh. And of course I feel bad about it. I really wish I could enjoy/appreciate days off from working out, but I just feel guilty, lazy and depressed. I might still go for a walk though. I just need to not push myself... When I can't remember the last time I took a day off from exercise, I know that it's been far too long and that my body is probably tired. Buh. Why are Sundays always so lame?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Race day!

Ok, before I get to the details of my first official 5k, lemme just get this out of the way:


Are you shitting me? I'm still in awe right now. Despite the weather (foggy, cold, drizzly) and all of those damn hills, I (me!), managed to finish in under 30 minutes. Absolutely incredible.

I had my alarm set for 7, but was out of bed a little before 6:30. I wanted to eat a little something as soon as I could so I had plenty of time to digest. Had a scoop of Chocolate Superfood with water, half a banana and half a slice of Great Harvest Cinnamon Chip, toasted.

Started getting ready and got increasingly nervous and excited. Took a pic of myself (or my number, rather):

That's all the hot picture action I have for now, sorry! My mom took some shots about a minute into the race and then a couple of post-race shots. As soon as I get them from her, I'll post 'em here.

SO. I got off to a pretty good start. But after about the first 5 minutes, I started having all of those nonsense thoughts: "Shit, I wanna walk already but we just started! Who am I kidding- I can't keep up with these people! Ugh, I'm going so slow. Fuck, hill coming up. Should I walk?"

But I didn't walk. And I finished another hill. And another. And another. And I kept up with those around me which made me feel really good. They all seemed to be going at a reasonable pace (especially one guy in particular who remained my unofficial running buddy most of the time), so I stopped all of the nonsense talk and just did my best to keep up with them. Ended up being a good plan of action.

No real cramps. Had to be careful clearing the spit out of my throat a few times though. And, even though I thought it would suck, having a light drizzle actually made breathing easier and kept me from feeling dehydrated. Blessing in disguise, I suppose.

The best part about races? People cheering for you along the way! I wish I had people cheering me on all the time, haha.

Making it to the half-way mark was bittersweet because immediately after that was just one long, never-ending hill. I thought I would give myself a walking break, but then I remembered how I tackled the same hill the week before during my practice run without walking. I pushed through, kept looking down and before I knew it, the top was there. A few small hills followed, but the worst was over and I was in the home stretch, more or less.

I approached the finish line and saw my mom and Doug, cheering me on. The director guy was rooting for me as well, and said "That a girl!" when I started sprinting toward the last cone. I was a bit frazzled and happy and then Doug signaled to me to look at my time. When I saw a 2 in front, I couldn't believe it. I remember looking at my watch at 9:24 and figured it would take me another 10 minutes from where I was, but I overestimated, apparently.

Such a great first race experience! It really exposed me to a deeper psychological aspect of running; despite what I thought earlier this week, my body was totally capable of running that course in the time that it did. Running with a group of people just brought out a natural competitive edge. It wasn't so much that I was trying to compete with everyone around me, but their presence made me want to compete with myself, more so than I ever had on previous solo/treadmill runs.

I placed #48 out of an estimated 150 people, so I'm pretty pleased. My final time is what's really making me smile though. I'm genuinely proud of myself.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Another week down.

A check-in post, of sorts. Nothing too exciting to report these days. Unless my new Green Monster addiction counts as exciting. I've been whippin' these babies up every morning before heading to work. My mix of choice:

- 3/4 cup almond milk (I reserve the remaining 1/4 cup for coffee)
- 1/2 frozen banana
- 4 or 5 strawberries
- 1 scoop Chocolate Green Superfood
- 2 whoppin' handfuls (or more) of fresh spinach

I started out using just the plain Superfood powder, but the chocolate flavored one took the taste to a whole new level of awesomeness (bananas and chocolate? Hellooo?!). I've also tried adding blueberries, peaches and/or chia seeds and they've all turned out great. I can't wait until my friggin' PB2 shipment finally gets delivered (it's been backordered since early February!) so I can start experimenting with some PB-flavored goodness. I suppose I can use the regular PB I have now, but I think the powdered version would just mix a lot better.

I wasn't a huge smoothie person before (mostly because I was too lazy to use/clean the blender), but these babies taste so good and just leave me feeling so great that I can't stop making them! I'm getting a good chunk of veggies, fruit & calcium all at once. And because they turn out sweet and creamy, it's like having a milkshake in the morning. Plus, it's the perfect vehicle for the crapload of Superfood powder I bought a couple of months back. Love them so much!


In fitness news, things have been chuggin' along, but this week was a struggle at times, thanks to SMLT (Stupid Monthly Lady Time). Yesterday was probably my most bloated and miserable day all week, and of course it had to be the day we learned new stuff at Zumba. I just couldn't get into it at all because all I could think about was how miserable and fat I was feeling. I almost left at a couple of different points, but I was determined to see the new moves. I know exercise is supposed to help, but last night? Not so much.

I ran 3.5 miles this morning and feel a little better. Trying to get psyched for the 5k tomorrow, but the weather is supposed to be cold and rainy. Great. Cold I can handle (sorta), but rain? Buh. I have zero rain/waterproof gear, so it'll be interesting. I don't necessarily want it to get canceled either because I've been working pretty hard this week to keep my endurance and speed up, despite feeling like a hot, bloated, crampy mess most of the time. Whatevs.

I suppose that's all for now. I'll post some follow up notes about the 5k tomorrow. Happy weekend!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Fish burritos!

Man, I'm posting way more than I intended to this weekend! Oh well.

After roasting green chiles, we moved on to making some fish burritos. I bought a bunch of cod fillets on sale a few weeks ago, so we used some of those. Doug seasoned the fish (garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper) dusted it in flour (well, technically I did the flouring, heh) and then pan-fried it with a wee bit of oil. Then burritos were assembled:

Santa Fe Tortilla Company wheat tortilla with f.f. cheddar, one roasted anaheim chile, the last of my black bean/salsa mix, fish and topped with guacamole and light sour cream.

Deeee-lish! It was the first time either of us tried fish with green chile, but it worked pretty well. Looking forward to trying that combo with other types of seafood in the future.

Ok. I think I'm done posting for the rest of the night- promise.

The best things in life are green.

One of my favorite things in whole world: Green Chile. And more specifically, roasted Anaheim Green Chiles. It's pretty easy to find for sale in the fall 'round these parts... People roast it and sell it either at local farmer's markets or random parking lots. It's a flavor and smell that I've grown up with, thanks to my mom's New Mexican heritage.

Aside from fall, it can be tricky to find. It's available frozen year round, but the price and flavor isn't always that great. And the prices on fresh chiles in the supermarkets vary depending on the year. Well, this week, Rancho Liborio has a rockin' sale on these babies for $0.67/pound. We picked up 6 pounds and Doug is roasting the last of it as we speak. Some visuals for ya:

After roasting the chiles, we toss 'em in a plastic bag, let them rest in their own moisture and from there either freeze them or peel & chop them for immediate use. We're making fish burritos tonight for dinner, so we'll be sure to sneak some of this roasted awesomeness in somewhere. Don't ask me what else you can do with it. So many delicious options. Google if you must. Or just take a trip to New Mexico for a few days. (The latter is most recommended.)

Oh, and to make this officially "Green Chile Day," I totally found Green Chile hummus at Whole Foods earlier today. Be still, my heart.

I enjoy a lot of different foods. But there are few foods that I can say I've grown up with that not only taste awesome, but also play an important role in my family's culture and lifestyle. Green chile is one of those foods. Let's take a moment silence, yeah? .....................


[bites knuckle]


Ok. Thank you. Now I must depart and refuel my soul with one of the best variety of peppers of all time. Good night!