Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Workout Recap - Running on July 30th (plus Challenge Day 9)

I had a pretty great run yesterday! I chose an interval workout that was a bit faster than the two previous ones I did. There weren't as many changes in the pace, but the average pace was about 30 seconds/mile faster. I wasn't sure that I would be able to stick with that pace the whole time, but it ended up being just fine, even with the very slight incline. My legs/feet hurt a bit at first, but then I got in a nice groove and honestly felt like I could keep going for a while. I didn't want to be at the gym forever though, and I still had the challenge exercises to do, so I capped it after the 3 miles + cool-down walk.

For the 3 miles of running, I completed it in 30 minutes and burned 361 calories according to the heart rate monitor, 375 calories according to the treadmill. For the total 35 minutes on the treadmill, I did 3.31 miles, and burned 406 calories according to the heart rate monitor and 422 calories according to the treadmill. Again, there is a 5-6lb difference in what the treadmill says for my weight and what I entered in for the heart rate monitor (too lazy to change the default on the treadmill) - this could account for the difference.

I kept the heart rate monitor going for the next 25 minutes, and did my challenge exercises and a bit of stretching. For the total time it was going:
Time: 1:00:42
Calories: 634
Average: 158 bpm
Maximum: 182 bpm
Time "in zone": 0:28:20

The challenge was hard yesterday! My arms were so sore that the pushups were a real struggle. For the crunches - I did 15 traditional abs, 15 V-Ups, 15 Russian Twist and 15 Bicycles. I'm really looking forward to my day off from challenge today!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Workout Recap - Kettle bells + 3 days of challenge

I completely forgot to tell you about challenge day 6! (Remember day 5 was a rest day)
We got back from dinner and a movie Saturday night, and I decided that I had to do my workout right then. I stripped down to my underwear, swapped out a regular bra for a sports bra, and just got going. Here's what I did. (I did 50 standard crunches and then 25 on each side.)

I missed my challenge workout (day 7) on Sunday. But remember workout lesson #3? Be flexible! (That applies to the day 6 workout as well.) I just woke up early on Monday, did it first thing. Then I did Monday's challenge at night as part of my KB workout. Perfect - no harm done. I did 10x2 ab extenders and 15x2 standard crunches.

For my KB workout, I stole one of Joey's workouts again and made a few variations. Luckily most of my challenge was done throughout the workout, so I didn't have much left to do at the end.
I went first through Power, then Century, and finally 10-2 Ladder. I ended with the last few things of the 31-day challenge. For the 4 minute AMAP, I got through it fully once, and only halfway the second time.

I used the heart rate monitor, also!
In a 1:01 KB workout, I burned 650 calories, had an average heart rate of 159, max heart rate of 180, and was "in zone" for 30:13. After I finished, I kept the heart rate monitor going to see how much I continued to burn. Over the next 15 minutes I burned 71 calories, with an average heart rate of 108 and max heart rate of 136. Just interesting to know that I keep burning calories after the workout has finished. And of course working out is supposed to keep your metabolism up, for up to 24 hours after.

Monday, July 29, 2013

What I Made Last Week - 1

I decided I'm going to start yet another weekly post, this time about the things I've made in the past week. This will be a recap of all of my recipe posts. It will also include things I didn't post about, such as dinners that are too simple to require a recipe, or repeats of previous posts.

Monday July 22nd:
Rosemary and Thyme Crusty Bread
Our first try making the easy dutch oven no-knead bread! Turned out pretty well, the herbs were a nice addition. We let it rise for too long (~21 hours), so it didn't rise as much in the oven.

Cauliflower Rice Stir-Fry
We pulsed a whole heat of cauliflower in the food processor until they were in small grain-like pieces, then sauteed it. We used it in place of rice in our normal stir-fry. Tasted pretty good.

Tuesday July 23rd:
Quinoa Salad with Roasted Broccoli, Tomatoes, Mushrooms and Feta
This salad is so easy, and you can make it with whatever you have on hand. I made enough to have for two nights, and topped it with roasted shrimp.

Wednesday, July 24th:
Mediterranean Veggie Burger Bowl
I roasted some zucchini, eggplant, onions and mushrooms, then mixed that with some chopped fresh tomato, crumbled feta, and two veggie burgers cut into pieces. And of course had it with fries on the side, that were seasoned with Old Bay.

Thursday, July 25th
Quinoa Salad Leftovers
As planned, I had the leftovers of the quinoa salad. I added in a bit more feta, microwaved an ear of corn and then cut off the kernels into it, and chopped up half a cucumber. I topped it with roasted shrimp again, as well.

Friday, July 26th
Pizza at Slice - a local pizza place that reheats slices of gourmet pizza for you. It's my favorite style of "reheat"pizza - much better than Christian's. We had ice cream at Sweet Frog for dessert.

Saturday, July 27th
Blueberry and Strawberry Baked Oatmeal
I will make this again and again and again. It tastes like dessert, but is actually a pretty darn healthy breakfast! You can make it with whatever fruit you have on hand, and can add some healthy mix-ins. I used ground flax seed, you could also use wheat germ, bran, etc. We had the oatmeal with some fried eggs on toast.

Orange, Cinnamon and Cardamom Crusty Bread
We made no-knead bread for a second time. This time we added orange zest, cinnamon and cardamom to the recipe, and let it rise for less time (16 hours instead of 21). It turned out really well! Don't mind the grayish color - it's from the spices.

Homemade Applesauce Granola
We make this granola really frequently. Basically as soon as we run out, we make another batch. One batch typically lasts ~2 weeks for us. This time I chopped up dried mango, pineapple and figs for the dried fruit, and we used 1/2 cup raw cashew pieces and 1/2 cup leftover mixed cocktail nuts.

Dinner at El Tepeyac - a newish Mexican and Salvadorian restaurant in Charlottesville. This was our second time there, we used a Living Social deal both times. The first time I got enchiladas poblanas and they were delicious. This time I got shrimp fajitas, also delicious. Everything tastes authentic and homemade. The service wasn't great this time - they got Joey's order wrong, and we were already late for a movie so we didn't say anything about it.

Sunday, July 28th
Crusty Bread French Toast and Turnip Green Scrambled Eggs
We used the orange, cardamom and cinnamon crusty bread for french toast - it was amazing. The bread was sturdy enough to soak up a lot of the egg/milk mixture, and still stay in one piece. For the scrambled eggs - Joey cooked a big bag of turnip greens with a lot of garlic, and then added in some eggs and smoked blue cheese. We usually do 2 eggs for each of us.

Honey Wheat Sandwich Bread
This is the second time I've made this bread now, and I changed it only slightly. I upped the amount of whole wheat flour, so I started off with 1.5 cups whole wheat flour and 1.5 cups bread flour. It wasn't as humid as the first time I made it, so I only need an additional 1/2 cup bread flour. It turned out great with the extra whole wheat flour. It still rose plenty high, and tastes pleasantly of honey and wheat, without being too dense.

Baked Cod, Steamed Broccoli, and Harvest Grain Medley with Sauteed Veggies
I usually get a big bag of individually packed frozen tilapia from Sam's Club, but this time I wanted to get a different kind of fish as well. I got cod, since it's a much firmer, thicker fish, so I could use it for things that I couldn't use the tilapia for. I didn't feel like making anything too involved, so I just cooked it in the oven, and topped it with salt and pepper, a little bit of mayonnaise, and then bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and onion powder. It was pretty good, but I slightly overcooked it! I cooked up two servings of harvest grain medley in homemade vegetable broth, and mixed those with sauteed onions, mushrooms and peppers. I have half of that leftover for another night.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

French Toast with Homemade Crusty Bread

Joey was on a roll this weekend! First he suggested we make baked oatmeal, which was just so delicious. Then he came up with the idea of making a fresh batch of crusty bread, to use for french toast. He bought a big bag of turnip greens at the store the other day, so we also cooked those up with a lot of garlic, some smoked blue cheese, and scrambled eggs. Another fantastic breakfast.

To make this new batch of crusty bread, we followed the same instructions as before. This time when we were mixing the dough, we also added zest from 1 orange, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp cardamom. We should have decreased the salt, but didn't really think about it. It turned out okay still. We let the dough rise for ~16 hours before using it. Also, we shaped the dough on parchment paper and then just put the whole piece of paper right into the Dutch Oven. This batch rose much better than the first batch did. You can really taste the orange zest!

I'm not really going to give you a recipe to make french toast - but here is what we used for the soaking liquid:
3 eggs
~1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
pinch ground cardamom

Tasty tasty food:


Blueberry and Strawberry Baked Oatmeal

Yet again, Joey found a fantastic recipe. He found a recipe linked on Yahoo Shine for baked oatmeal, and suggested that we give it a try. The original recipe called for rhubarb, which we didn't have on hand, so we made a few substitutions. We replaced the rhubarb with chopped strawberries, and used some extra blueberries. To keep with the strawberry flavor, we used some homemade strawberry jam instead of maple syrup. We also added some ground flax for extra nutrition. We forgot to reserve some blueberries to put on top, but I don't think it was all that necessary.

To sum up - this was incredible. Just so delicious. As we were eating it, I kept on saying to Joey - but it tastes like dessert! It really tasted like a fruit crisp. I actually started getting a little nervous that I was eating a 1000 calorie breakfast (with the bread and fried eggs I had in addition). As you can see below, it's not bad for you AT ALL. Please make this. Seriously, please. It's so so good. You can use any fruit you have on hand, but I would always recommend using blueberries. Next time we're going to make it with blueberries and peaches - can't wait!

Recipe: Blueberry and Strawberry Baked Oatmeal
Adapted From: The Daily Meal
Yield: 8 servings

1 3/4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 + 2 tbsp oat flour*, divided
1/4 cup ground flax, divided
1/2 cup pecans
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 heaping cup chopped strawberries
2 cups blueberries (we used some we had picked in June and then froze - don't thaw if using frozen berries)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 cups almond milk (we used unsweetened vanilla)
1 large banana, mashed
2 tbsp strawberry jam
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract

*Put a little less than 1/2 cup rolled oats in a food processor or spice grinder. Process until smooth, measure out 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp for recipe

Heat oven to 375 F and lightly grease an 8x8 or 9x9 glass dish.

In a large bowl, stir together the rolled oats, 1/4 cup oat flour, 3 tbsp ground flax, pecans, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.

Right in the baking dish, stir together the strawberries, blueberries, brown sugar, the remaining 1 tbsp ground flax, and the remaining 2 tbsp of oat flour. Top with the dry mixture.

In a large measuring cup, whisk together the milk, banana, jam, oil and vanilla. Carefully pour over the mixture in the baking dish, trying to cover everything evenly. Poke throughout with a fork, to make sure liquid gets to the bottom. DO NOT STIR OR MIX!

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until lightly browned, bubbling, and set on top. It will still be deliciously gooey underneath. Let cool for a few minutes, then serve warm.

Leftovers can be eaten cold or reheated in the microwave. I plan on topping some warm leftovers with greek yogurt.

266 calories
12.3 g fat
39.5 g carbs
6 g fiber
19.9 g sugar
4.9 g protein

Fresh from the oven

Bubbling around the edges!

Perfect breakfast of baked oatmeal, and fried eggs on leftover crusty bread

Workout Recap - Sparty on July 26th

Thursday was a busy day, so I didn't have time to run. I left the house at 6:15am, and didn't get home until 6:30pm. I actually got home earlier than anticipated, and considered still doing a run. That thought disappeared as soon as I remembered how hungry I was. I decided I was going to cook dinner, let everything settle, then do Day 4 of my Challenge. I bet you can guess what happened - I was exhausted after I finished eating, and just went to bed. But you know what? That's okay. Friday was supposed to be a rest day for the challenge, so I just switched the two days. You can do that!

I planned a spartacus-style workout to do right at home. I also planned it so that most of my challenge exercises were included.

Here's what I did:

I kept track for some of the workouts:
I did 16 IBC first set, 17 second set. I did 26 V-Ups first set, and 30 the second set. I did 41 Air Squats first set, 44 second set. I did 10 Burpees first set, 12 second set. I did 20 Triceps dips each set. I did 13 side lunges per side first set, 14 per side second set.

The guidelines in parentheses are for the challenge - how many you need to do in order to fulfill the challenge there.

If you're doing Day 4 by itself, here it is:

I didn't use the heart rate monitor, because Joey wanted to use it during his run. I did however use it while just sitting around on the couch. This gave me some interesting information. First, my resting heart rate is ~65beats/minute, which is lower than it was originally telling me. I think that by putting it on and then not looking at it constantly, it gave a more reliable readout. In the 20 minutes I had it on, my average heart rate was 68bpm, and I burned 43 calories. I think this is interesting, because it gives me a benchmark for what I'm burning by doing absolutely nothing. If I do a workout and in the course of 20 minutes I've burned 75 calories, I'm probably not working very hard.

After I finished the workout, I just left everything sitting out and pushed the weights to the side. When Joey had left for his run, he wasn't happy to see I was doing my workout barefoot. He warned me that dropped dumbbells = broken toes. I just scoffed at him. I shouldn't have been so smug. I didn't drop one, but as we were leaving to go to a movie I walked right into one of the DBs. It hurt pretty bad, but not anything awful. I noticed in the car that something was throbbing, but by touching my toes I couldn't even tell which one had hit the weight. By the time the movie was over, it was excruciatingly obvious that the second smallest toe was the one in question, and it was pretty swollen and bruised. Two days later, the end towards the nail is a bit purple, and it hurts a bit while in a running shoe, but it's okay besides that. I'm a bit relieved, since I was a little worried it could have been broken. (Side note - we saw Fast and Furious 6 and loved it - so bad it's good)

Workout Lessons Learned:

#3 Be flexible. If you're too rigid (with anything in life actually), slipping once will just make you want to completely quit. For working out - if you miss one workout, that's okay! Just do it the next day, or the next chance you get. Don't freak out about it. Just make sure it's not a frequent thing.

#4 Put away workout equipment when finished working out. Broken toes aren't cool

Garden Update - 7/28/13

To sum up the pictures below: 
I found a praying mantis on my house plant - he's pretty cool looking. 
The swiss chard isn't really doing anything new. We're thinking of just pulling the rest and then tossing the container.
The broccoli plants are still alive, but not doing much. Parsley is doing awesome.
Yay tomatoes are growing!
Sunflower looks almost ready to bloom! You can actually see the yellow petals.
More tomatoes!
Basil is doing pretty darn well.
I hope you enjoy the pictures because I got 9 mosquito bites while taking them.

Weekly Finds: 7/28/13


Homemade Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits
Finally - a copycat recipe for these biscuits that doesn't use Bisquick! These look really simple, and more importantly, really delicious. I love that they are drop biscuits, which not only makes them super easy to make/form, but doesn't waste any scraps from rolling. 


Creamy Zucchini and Rice Soup
While most won't think of humid July as hot soup weather, this soup is a great way to use up all of that zucchini you're getting from the farmers market. Use homemade stock, and whatever rice you have on hand.


Chewy Granola Bars
These granola bars promise to not fall apart, or become crumbly! They are perfectly chewy, and get their chewiness from nut butter and corn syrup. You can use the nut butter of your choice, as well as choose your favorite dried fruit and chopped nuts. I have to give these a try!

Roasted Blueberry and Brie Cornbread Muffin
These muffins sound really unique. You first roast the blueberries, then mix everything together. Everything includes the roasted blueberries, brie cheese, buttermilk and cornmeal.


Polenta Steaks with Multi-Colored Peppers, Red Onions and Smoked Mozzarella
This sounds like a delicious vegetarian main dish. Polenta is cooked, chilled in a pan, cut into squares and then fried - to give it a crispy exterior and creamy interior. It is topped with a colorful salsa of peppers, onions and mozzarella. I probably wouldn't use quite as much oil when frying, but this sounds really good. It's a great make-ahead dish since the polenta can be cooked in advance.

Creamy Cheddar Polenta with Pesto and Oven-Roasted Tomatoes
This is the style of polenta that I'm more accustomed to making. This one sounds incredible - it is super creamy due to whole milk and lots of cheese. I'm sure it would be delicious on its own, but then it is topped with summer's best - pesto and tomatoes.

Lemon Goat Cheese Ravioli
Homemade lemon infused pasta dough is wrapped around a light goat cheese filling, and then simply topped with crushed pink peppercorns, tarragon, and more lemon. This sounds very elegant and delicious.

Asparagus and Goat Cheese Tart
The crust in this tart uses cream cheese, and promises to roll out easily, and bake with flaky layers. The filling combines both goat cheese and ricotta cheese with asparagus. It looks beautiful, especially with the lattice strips across the crust. 


Creamy Herby Summer Salad Dressing
This simple and relatively healthy dressing uses Greek yogurt as a base, sweetens with maple syrup (I'm sure honey could also be used), and is flavored with a number of dried and fresh herbs. I would definitely use parsley as the substitute, since I can't stand cilantro!

Burrata with White Wine and Garlic Sauteed Tomatoes
Everyone is all about burrata these days. Apparently it isn't cool enough to use just regular fresh mozzarella, you need to use one that is filled with cream. When I was checking out restaurant menus for restaurant week at the beginning of the month, about half of them had an appetizer with burrata. Anyway, this looks like a new way to use it besides just replacing mozzarella in caprese salad. It sounds delicious, and I want to make it!


Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream
A basic vanilla ice cream (made with egg yolks, whole milk, heavy cream, and vanilla) with a ton of peanut butter cups thrown in. I love the peanut butter cups that were used - the little minis from Trader Joe's. If I buy them they will be gone in about 3 days. It's kind of gross... Anyway, this ice cream sounds delicious. I think it could be really yummy with a peanut butter ice cream base as well.

Spiced Rum Banana Ice Cream
While this isn't exactly a recipe bursting with summer fresh produce, it sounds like a delicious way to cool off on a hot day. The bananas are blended until very smooth, and added to a typical ice cream base of cream, egg yolks and sugar. The spiced rum should add an interesting flavor, as well as help prevent ice crystals from forming.

Peach and Ginger Crisp Pie
It's the best of both worlds - crisp AND pie! Honestly, pies with crisp toppings are the easiest to make since they only use one crust, and they still look pretty on top. This one is even better due to the addition of ginger, one of my favorite flavors.

Biscoff Gooey Butter Cake
I think I need a new category for this one. It goes beyond the basic dessert category, into the "I want to stuff my face with this, but then I will weigh 5000 pounds" category. I fondly remember butter cake from my time at WashU in St. Louis, and I wonder if this is a similar style. However, if you fill something with biscoff, I really don't care what it's called! (This also was problematic in pinning - I put it on my cake board but somehow that felt wrong.) 

Flourless Fudge Chocolate Chip Cookies
I actually pinned these a while ago, since the post is from 2011, but the recipe just resurfaced. I've made similar recipes, but these just look so beautiful. They look like a cross between a brownie and a meringue. They're also flourless, which means they're gluten free (if the rest of your ingredients are uncontaminated) and okay for Passover!


Peach Jalapeno Margaritas
I'm definitely using my serrano pepper simple syrup for these! I love frozen margaritas, especially flavored ones. This sounds delicious.


Ball Planks with Leg Lifts
This workout tones three parts of your body - your arms, your core, and your glutes. All you need is a stability ball to get started!

Tips for working out in hot weather

Plank Circuit Workout This looks like a really great workout! It takes the basic plank (which is hard on its own!) and adds some simple moves to make it a more dynamic exercise. You'll target your core, as well as other parts of your body, plus get your heart rate up.

Stability Ball Workout
 These six exercises all utilize the stability ball to target most major muscle groups.

Shin Splint Recovery Here are some ways to strengthen your shin muscles, to help prevent shin splints. 


30 Minute Treadmill Interval Workout That's right, another 30 minute interval running workout! This one is a more speedy version of the ones I've been doing, which means I can do it once I've gotten back into running a bit more. During this workout you do exactly 3 miles, at an average pace of 10 min/mile.

Food for Thought:

Article: Is Organic Agriculture "Affluent Narcissism?" Really interesting article that explains what it really means to be considered "organic," and why this designation doesn't mean what most consumers think it means.

Girlfriend vs Cat Pretty funny comparison of an annoying girlfriend and a cat.

Favorite Fashion Staples:

Everyday 5" Khaki Shorts 
While something from Old Navy is definitely not considered "fashion," these are my favorite shorts. I first bought them two years ago in a light khaki green color, and loved the soft fabric, the way they fit, the durability (I'm still wearing them), and the length. I like wearing shorts, but my legs aren't teeny tiny. That means I can't get away with teeny tiny shorts. The 5" shorts are the perfect length to make sure your butt isn't hanging out, while still feeling like you're wearing something youthful. Last summer I bought them in a fun sunny yellow, and this summer I've bought them (so far) in light purple (lighter than the shade pictured) and white. Best part, I just bought the white pair for $12.50, so they're super cheap!

Favorite Workout Gear:

3" Mesh Running Shorts 
Big surprise - another find from Old Navy! For me, they're the best place to find something that is cute, cheap, and will probably need to be replaced in a couple years anyway. I have two pairs of these shorts - the teal ones shown, and the white with orange trim. I bought the white ones first, and loved that the orange trim matches one of my shirts perfectly, but found out the hard way that they become kind of see-through when sweaty. Whoops - guess I can't wear hot pink underwear with them anymore! I shouldn't have that problem with the teal ones. 

Racer Back Cotton Sports Bra 
I'm picky about sports bras. I want something that will support me without binding everything down. I really like this sports bra - I have it in two colors. It's really cheap at Target, and they have a lot of colors to choose from. 

Compression Bike Shorts 
Sometimes I want the freedom of movement that you can get from capri compression pants, without all of the extra fabric. These shorts are perfect for that. They're long enough that I'm not self conscious, but are much better for the summer time. They would also be perfect to wear under a bigger pair of shorts, for more coverage.