Sunday, June 25, 2017

It Isn't Just to Look Good

My husband is super into pork tenderloin at the moment. It seems like they have been less expensive lately, so we have been enjoying the other white meat at least once a week.  I will be sad when asparagus is gone from the more playing flamingo in the jungle.
I knew there was a splurge looming Saturday night so I kept the rest of the day pretty simple. Some quick and trusty Corn Flakes with bananas and a sprinkle of pecans.  Lunch was the last of my stuffed poblanos.
I noticed this guy hard at work in the garden. I have never really gotten a good look at a bee's pollen sacs. I have to be honest they gross me out just a bit...not sure why.

Apparently his work is paying off....we have tons of little green tomatoes.  I hope that means we will see plenty of yellow and red tomatoes in the coming weeks.
Saturday evening we went to a local restaurant to celebrate my oldest niece's college graduation. I ordered the crab cakes from the appetizer menu...this does not look like an appetizer portion to me (there is a second crab cake under this one). It was very tasty and I did not regret ordering it. I did regret ordering a side of fries, but I am happy to say I only ate a few and didn't feel too bad about "wasting" the rest. I also ordered fried pickles to share with the table. I liked them, but you can't eat too many of them. We ended up not finishing them either. I didn't mean to get all fried things (I didn't expect the crab cake to be this "fried" from the menu description). Gold thing I had kept the rest of the day light.
The cool evening were so nice this weekend. I relaxed in the hammock.
Sunday morning I copied a breakfast a friend had posted the other day. She actually posted that she was inspired by me to add a side of apples. I guess I didn't realize how often I have apples. They are just a yummy no brainer side dish. I might have bought too much fruit for this upcoming week. In addition to apples, we got pears, peaches and cherries.
After breakfast, it was time to face a task I have been dreading...yard work. It is super easy to take pictures that make your yard/garden look spectacular. Let me demonstrate.  When we were dating my husband gave me this nice little hydrangea bush with delicate white flowers.
Remember the movie How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and the "love fern" she makes into a barometer of their relationship?  Well, this is our "relationship bush" - looks pretty good, right?
When in truth you have this going on. The weeds have been on fire this year and these crazy grow-a-foot-a-day trees have invaded. With the heat I have been staying indoors, resulting in a landscaping nightmare. When I heard the forecast for this weekend, I knew I was going to have to suck it up and the yard some attention. Notice the wild and craziness of the "relationship bush." :)
As you might have noticed, there are no workout pictures in this post....because I didn't not workout. Though not a "workout" per se, yard work is exactly I anticipate some aching muscles tomorrow, but perhaps not quite as much since I have been building my strength. There is practical value to being stronger and in better shape - it isn't just to look good.
I looked over at these tools and had a random flashback...las herramientas.  After college, I joined the Peace Corps and was sent to Honduras to work in Hillside Agriculture. Since then much of the farming vocabulary has been permanently stuck in my head and pops up randomly  I will share more about my Peace Corp experience in a future post.
This is embarrassing to share - my muscles and I cleared out those whole pile from the yard. I think my husband is going to claim some of it as his work ;)  Either way 2.5 hours of yard work is a legit workout in my book.
After a long shower and a trip to the grocery store, it was time for me to play. :) I found a new recipe on Skinnytaste that I have been eager to try - Cajun Shrimp in Foil. The shrimp got a good dose of Cajun seasoning and extra pepper.
 The recipe made four packets. You lay out the foil and just pile up the ingredients.
 Anything that has a sprinkle of fresh basil has my attention.
The recipe was intended to cook in the oven. but who wants to heat up their kitchen with a 425 degree oven in the summer? I decided to try them on the grill since I had some other grilling to do anyway. The other two packets I kept to put in the freezer for another day.
I was happy with the recipe and will definitely make it again. However, I will make a couple tweaks next time. First more veggies - it was a little bit short of a good portion in my opinion. I think I could easily double the zucchini and peppers. I want to take a closer looks at the recipe because the calories (310) were a little more than I expected for shrimp and veggies. I used half the olive oil that was recommended, so there a few 25 calories saved per serving - next time I won't use any. I was also a little short on shrimp - recipe called for a pound and I had a 12 oz. package. I think this would be delicious on a some spaghetti noodles or rice. EDIT: I forgot to mention although everything gets seasoned I think next time I could put all the seasoning on the shrimp - they are a little intense. I think next time I will toss the veggies in the seasoning too.
While I had the grill going I made a basket of veggies and chicken legs for lunches this week.
Sunday night was the culinary crown on the weekend. As I mentioned, my husband was celebrating the end of the three month workout program he completed this week. He chose to reward himself with homemade pizza. We each made our own pizza. His creation was covered in green olives, cilantro, pepperoni, jalapenos, peppers, onions and pineapple - not something you pick up at your local pizzeria. With that many toppings it is usually best to cook it in the oven. I, however, went lighter on toppings and cooked it on the grill . First, I grill the dough on one side, flip it over and top the grilled side.

Then it goes back on the grill to cook the other side and all the yummy toppings. I went with thinly sliced zucchini, onions, mushrooms, basil, peppers and a couple slice of pepperoni. It looked prettier before there was a bit of a slip getting it back on the grill and the toppings on top of the cheese slid a bit.

It can be a little tricky getting the toppings cooked without over cooking the bottom of the crust. This time was a bit more color than I would have liked. However, it was still delicious!!
I definitely had some treats this weekend, but I am hopeful I kept a good balance. (Full disclosure there was some ice cream too this weekend). Monday it is back to regularly scheduled workouts. I have restocked our fridge and have some delicious prepped food for this week.

This week I will be putting in extra effort to eat healthy and move this body. Next weekend is my birthday, then 4th of July - I see the splurges coming and I am going to be ready to enjoy them guilt-free.

How was your weekend?  How did you balance work and relaxation? Treats and healthy eating?  What are your goals for this week?

Friday, June 23, 2017

Fun and Not So Much Fun

Whenever I ask my husband if he wants the good news or the bad news, he ALWAYS chooses bad news first.  So, let's start with the "not so much fun" first. 

Yesterday was "Jacked Up Thursday."  My cardio/HIIT workout was as follows:

30 seconds jumping jacks
15 seconds plank jacks
30 seconds jumping jacks
30 seconds rest

Repeat 5 times

It is during the cardio workouts that I really feel what poor physical shape I am in. This workout didn't sound like much, but it wrecked me. To be fair, maybe it wasn't all on this particular workout. Wednesday, I did an intense ab workout, by Thursday afternoon my ab muscles really began to complain about the prior day's treatment. You know the is uncomfortable, but it does feel a bit like a badge of honor for the workout you did. However, when your abs are already sore the extra (I don't know how to put this delicately) let's call it ."flab" flopping around creates a much more painful jumping jack situation. I was probably 15 seconds in when I realized I was in serious trouble.
There was no way in my mind I could endure it for the full workout. Thankfully, my trainer agreed after the first set to let me do a line hopping move I'd done previously. Sadly, it was still quite difficult from a cardio standpoint, but not as painful. Thirty seconds seemed like an eternity every single set. 

Sorry there are no pictures of the "plank jacks" - there was a wardrobe malfunction and no one needs to see my hiney peeking out. Anyway, plank jacks are done in the plank position. Then hop your feet out to the sides and back in (like horizontal jumping jacks). They were hard and my toes kept slipping on the wood floor. Maybe it would have been better on carpet. I did my best, but it was not pretty. 

It turns out sometimes I get mad when I am working out and I vent. My poor trainer might need earplugs. Full disclosure - there was a post workout pity party complete with tears. Strength training makes me feel more empowered and cardio makes me feel like a failure because I am so out of shape. Gasping for breath and feeling every part of me jiggle seriously makes me feel bad about myself. I know it is a phase that I am going to have to power through and I will, but this is where I am with it at the moment.

What I really need is a way to improve my cardio without really doing cardio....let's see what my trainer has to say about that. Ha!

This morning was one of those fun workouts. A couple ladies from my fitness friends group decided to "meet" for an early (5a!) walk.  My walking buddies were fellow bloggers Desiree and Meg. Louisiana, Michigan and Illinois represented.  Heat and humidity represented. We started up a group text and away we went. My husband got me set up to voice text which definitely helped.

First a pre-workout selfie. Ninety percent of selfies I take have a glasses and no glasses version. With glasses or without?  

It was a bit surreal to be "walking" with friends hundreds of miles away. Not quite the same as actually walking together but close.
I think these blue lights are to show support of police officers. It is a nice idea, but for some reason I have always found blue lights to be a bit creepy. I don't know why, I just am weirded out by them.
Speaking of creepy, there is a little stretch of the loop with no houses because of a bit of a ravine. I am always on alert that someone could jump out of the bushes/woods there. And where does this "sidewalk" lead?  I think I will never know...not getting any closer. 
About 2/3 of the way through the walk my husband called to say he was finished at the gym and was walking to meet us.  Millie was so happy with my husband because I was a big ol' meanie and left her home. (too hard to walk, text, take pics and mind her.)  She was not happy with him, however, when they turned back for home and I went around another block or two.
Now I remember why I like morning walks so much.

Bunnies and squirrels were everywhere. Some even hanging out together.
  Look who is waiting in the window.  She forgave me pretty quickly :)
2.3 miles done. Here is a a little perspective on the humidity and the power of getting your sweat on.... (notice my "who-hair" in the before pic - in the second pic it flattened by sweat).
I can't wait to walk with these ladies again!  

I almost ended a blog post without any food pictures...gasp!  These two pics pretty much sum it up - repeats. For some reason the kale I bought this week does not wilt down much. Basically looks like I am having a breakfast salad...not necessarily a bad thing.
Lasagna again. I still like it, but I am a variety girl. The veggies this time were odds and ends - beans, asparagus, cucumbers and peppers. This particular meal was eaten instead of me ordering pizza with the work group. I felt good about that decision because this weekend we have a couple celebrations  (a birthday and a graduation) and I am not sure exactly what I will be eating for those. This gives me a little more wiggle room and less stressing.
On a final note:  I am SUPER proud of my husband. He just finished a 3 month exercise program - it is some seriously intense HIIT and strength training workouts. This morning he did the "final exam."  He had to do the following in less than 25 minutes to pass:  10 push-up burpees, 10 dumbbell squats, 10 inverted rows and 10 Russian v-up twists - repeated 12 times!!! He finished in 18 minutes 46 seconds!! I can't even begin to fathom that. I am ridiculously proud of that guy. For his celebration dinner he has requested homemade pizza. Let the pizza grilling begin :)

I am so ready for the weekend...what do you have planned?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Week 6 Already?

Hurray for meal prep!!!  I am loving my lasagna this week. Okay, I admit it is a bit dry, so if you are looking for saucy it might be a good idea to save some extra sauce to add when you reheat. Personally, I don't mind. My biggest issue is that the mozzarella on top hardened up that top layer, so it is a bit difficult to cut into pretty bites - layers sliding everywhere. Maybe next time I will put a bit more sauce on top and put the cheese inside one of the layers...or I could probably leave the mozzarella out completely...gasp!!  Despite all that, it is tasty and definitely a make again recipe. I am going to freeze a couple of the portions,so I can have them next week. So many delicious healthy meals, so little time in one week to eat them.
Week 6 of Double Light - is that even possible??  My trainer got a bit creative with naming each day's workout. "Jacked-up Thursday"made me laugh...let's see if I am laughing tomorrow :)
There was a bit of twist for Monday. My trainer introduced super sets. Instead of completing all six exercises in a circuit, he paired two exercises. I had to do a set of the first one and then straight into the second exercise. Then right back to the first, then second, etc. with no rest until after the third circuit. Then we moved on to the second pair of exercises. It was a good change of pace.

Of course, there were squats. I am not sure I will ever be happy with them, but I better just suck it up since they don't seem to be going anywhere.
 Tricep kick backs - I have done them before, but I feel like I was getting better extension this time.
 Bent Rows - Goal is to lift elbows higher than your shoulders.
 I am going to say this even though my trainer is reading this...I like these.
Leg Scissors - Feet up and crisscrossing back and forth until your legs fall off.. Okay, perhaps I am exaggerating, but it feels like it.
 A post workout selfie from the floor...I takes me a minute to recoup.
Dinner was super easy. I put leftovers on my plate and warmed them up. I am definitely going to make another basket of those grilled veggies. Such a delicious simple side dish.
When you don't share with your puppy....she starves to death right there in your lap...or so she would have you believe.
Tuesday morning, the awesome Meg at Running Just As Fast As She Can was starting her organized swim practice and I offered to do an "empathy swim" that morning, which meant I had to go with my husband at his normal time.  See how dark it is?  See they aren't even open yet?? Time check - 4:20 a.m.!!!
By 4:35 a.m. I was on the pool deck taking proof-of-swim selfies. I didn't realize I was getting mirrored goggles when I ordered them. I was not happy when they came because I wanted clear. I thought the mirrored would be too dark. However, I love them. They aren't dark. They are super comfortable on my big head. And I look awesome with bug eyes, right?
I swam, I walked, I ran and generally worked to keep my heart rate up for 40 minutes. I felt really good about pushing myself even though my trainer was no where to be seen. He was doing his workout in another part of they gym. Obviously, I was much happier after the workout.  On a side note, my husband was concerned this picture didn't show I was smiling. Apparently, he is not familiar with "smizing".
The last of my farmer's market blueberries went on my Tuesday oatmeal. I am pretty sure they will have them next week and some will come home with me again.
 Remember how I said I have been gaining confidence in my abilities. This box arrived at our office.
It came to the lower level door which meant it had to go up these stairs to my office. These stairs are the worst steps known to mankind - narrow, steep.
I did have to empty the box because it was falling apart, but I carried the whole stack of books at once up the stairs to my desk!  I did not wait for my boss to come to the office to carry them.  I did it! Truth is even though I can do it,  I do like getting guys to do the heavy lifting cause I also enjoy being a delicate flower. Surely I can have it both ways, right?
Since I did the pool workout in the morning we skipped my cardio Double Light Tuesday. All day I had intended to do it, but for some reason my neck started hurting the last hour of work and I got a headache. When my trainer suggested my cardio was good for the day, I quickly agreed.

Tuesday night was tough. I just wanted to snack. Yet again, I was saved to a degree by the fact we don't have "goodies" in the house. I could have dashed to Farm Fresh to get something, but I felt too guilty. Truth is I have slipped out for a snack (or more) a time or two after my husband has gone to bed. And now he knows.

Wednesday it was nice to sleep later, but I did get up in time to do a little dinner prep. I was grilling these at 6:30 a.m. Yes, it was already time for another batch of the stuffed peppers I made last week. I got the whole dish prepared and ready for the oven. Then into the fridge it went.
I got so involved in making the peppers I didn't leave time to make my breakfast. I grabbed a piece of my veggie lasagna and called it good. I am not super particular about eating traditional "breakfast foods." I knew I'd be eating out at lunch, so I just wanted to stay on track. The lasagna is right about 300 calories. That meant no muffin or donut when I stopped to pick up a couple items for work from Walmart.

We ended up eating lunch at St. Louis Bread Company (known by most of you as Panera).  The company was started in St. Louis and when it became Panera, they kept the St. Louis "Bread Co." branding in this area. Now I know I am about to get controversial....don't mess with Panera. I rarely go there because in my opinion it is a bit pricey and the place is always packed at lunch time. But I am a go with the flow girl, so Bread Co. it was. I know people rave about the Strawberry Poppyseed salad so I tried a Pick 2 with that and the Turkey, Avocado BLT. For my taste, there was too much fruit and dressing in/on the salad. It was simply too sweet for my salad tastes..I should have thought to get the dressing on the side. The sandwich, despite having all the things I love, was bland. The meal was $12, which is more than I want to spend for lunch. On the upside, I've been taking my lunch for the last few weeks, so  the splurge didn't make me feel too guilty. Caloriewise it was was good - 540 according to the Panera website. For the record, I can eat my weight in their Cinnamon Crunch (430 calories) and Asiago cheese (330 calories) bagels
 I know it is silly, but I do love their clear cups.
This morning when I stopped at Walmart for work stuff, I noticed some tank tops. I got this one to troll my trainer a bit.  He actually really liked it and didn't tease me too much about my impulse buying issues.
Even though it is more snug than I would like, I decided to wear it for my workout. According to the schedule it was Washboard Wednesday...the dreaded ab workout.

Dumbbell Russian Twists - Dumbbell I get, twist I get, not sure where the Russian comes in.  Despite the somewhat confusing name this was my favorite exercise of the workout. Feet and shoulders off the ground - twist side to side lowering the dumbbell to your hip while using your legs to counter balance. Hello, obliques and lower stomach muscles. I am going to say it...I kinda love this picture.

Bent Windshield Wipers - Twisting body from side to side with feet up and knees bent. As you twist, don't let legs touch the ground. Trust me, there is a point when you definitely want to let them fall to the side.
 Alligator Planks - WHAT??  I will let my trainer demonstrate.
The idea is to walk along on your hands dragging your feet behind you. I got into position. Was able to move each hand forward one "step", but couldn't drag my feet -- I needed them to stay put to keep from collapsing. I tried a couple times and then we moved on to a modification.
Instead of the Alligator Plank I did a normal plank with knees down.
 I had to hold it until....
Ironically, in most of the pictures while I was working out, you couldn't see "just kidding, I take naps" - those words got sucked into my rolls. Good thing I work out. I am eager to see how the tank will look in the future.

While I was doing my workout,the peppers I prepped in the morning were in the oven. By the time, I was ready for dinner it was ready for me :)

Just in case this post is not long enough, let me squeeze in a quick garden update. The tomato plants are out of control. Even though they are crowded, I think they are happy in their box. However, they aren't staying in the cages as well as I had planned. I am hoping the tomatoes get enough sun to ripen despite being crowded.
I now have tons of green tomatoes. I know I need to be patient because it will probably be 2-3 weeks before I can hope for anything to be ripe.  However, if these tomatoes ripen without getting stolen by birds or squirrels we will be in the tomato business :)
Yellow cherry tomatoes. 
Red grape tomatoes
The tomatillos are looking good too. Inside those green husks a fruit that looks like the green tomatoes is growing.  It will gradually fill the husk and cause the husk to split open. Then it is salsa verde time!!
 My dill has gone to seed. The flowers are so pretty and delicate.
 The jalapeno plants don't seem to be getting very big, but at least I see baby jalapenos!!
I just took Millie out to go potty. For once, I didn't mind that she had to examine our entire yard. I just hung out in the hammock enjoying the breeze and this sunset.

Thanks for sticking with me through this long post. However, after you have seen that face, what else is there to say.... good night!