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Friday, April 30, 2010

Happy Friday!!!!

I could not be any happier that Friday is (finally) here!  It's been a long draining week and i'm just ready for the weekend and (attempting) to relax.

Some random stuff:
Day one of the 1/2 gallon milk challenge went well, probably drank between 6-10oz.  Day two, not so much, but that's ok.  The protein powder with the milk was DELICIOUS and i'm looking forward to it for tomorrow.  Only 10 days to finish the rest of the carton.
I leave for Costa Rica in 19 days, psyched!
My sister's bday is Sunday, can't believe she's going to be 28.

So I haven't done a "Food Friday" post in a while so I figured I'd talk about something I saw a commercial for on TV.  I wondered who in the world could eat this meal and not feel insanely guilty afterwards.

It's the new "Pancake Stackers" from IHOP.  What is it you ask?  Well, it just happens to be a cheesecake filling surrounded by two buttermilk pancakes then topped with a strawberry, blueberry or cinnamon apple compote, and topped with whipped cream.

This diet nightmare can be ordered alone or with a combo meal (eggs, hashbrowns, and choice of meat).  The IHOP site doesn't include the nutrition information for this add-on.  Imagine that!

As soon as I saw the commercial for this tasty (???) menu item I wondered who in their right mind would order this.

Now we all know that I love food and am definitely known to indulge, but even to me and my admittedly intense sweet tooth, this seems a bit overboard.

And don't even get me started on KFC's newest sandwich without the bread.  Have you seen that one?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wednesday Eats

I started my day (post gym) with a protein shake made with my MILK and I must say, it was quite delicious.  It tasted alot like chocolate milk.  Yum.

Since i'm home all day and had gone to the supermarket yesterday I was feeling somewhat motivated...and hungry.

For lunch I threw together a salad consisting of mixed greens and carrots, then added some sliced strawberries, a few raisins and a bit of shredded low fat mozarella cheese.  I figured since I had the protein shake that I didn't need to make myself crazy about adding a protein.  I used a newly purchased low fat balsamic vinaigrette from Kraft.  Quite tasty!

I like to have a snack before I head to my evening Spin class, but I've found that my stomach is very picky and if I eat the wrong thing I pay the price on the drive down and during class.

Today I decided to make a smoothie.  My parents bought me an immersion blender which to date had only been used for soup.  Part of the hassle of making a smoothie was having to clean out the blender.  Woo hoo for the immerision blender.  I had frozen mixed berries from TJ's and then added milk.  Wow, two times in one day.  I've probably drank more milk today than I have in years and years.

So there's a shot of my smoothie.  Notice the Yankees cup.  Go Yanks!  It was good.  Not great, but good.  It wasn't overly sweet and the seeds from the berries drove me crazy.  But, it's a good start and now I can make changes and improve my "recipe".  Any recommendations?

I used to make a peanut butter banana smoothie using sugar free frozen yogurt.  Delicious, but not terribly healthy.  But maybe a version of that can be my "treat" smoothie.

On that note, time to finish up the smoothie, change, and head out to teach.  Happy hump day!

(as a side note, this is not all that I ate all day, in case you were concerned, these are just the highlights)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What is that in my fridge??

Look, it's my fridge!  And while it probably looks perfectly normal to you, it's an odd sight to me.  Why's that you ask?

Because I actually have a half gallon of MILK in my refrigerator.  This is extremely unlike me!

I'm definitely not vegan but have never been a milk drinker.  Yes, I put some milk in my coffee but aside from that, I never use milk, unless a recipe calls for it.  I normally buy a quart of milk and end up throwing away at least half of it.  So here I am buying a half gallon.  WTF?

First of all, it was on sale (control the laughter).  Second, I keep reading about how great milk is for you.  Third, I finally went and bought my protein powder (mentioned in an earlier post) and am pretty sure it will taste better and be more filling if made with milk.  I also have some frozen fruit, that combined with milk, should make a pretty tasty smoothie.  So, I'm giving it a go.

The expiration date is 5/10 and I'm hoping to consume the whole thing by then.  That gives me just under two weeks.  Wish me luck, I'll keep you posted.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Death of my HRM

It finally happened.  After a few years of use, the battery on my heart rate monitor (HRM) chest strap has died.  Sad, but fix-able.

That said, I've had a great run of about 2-3 years with this product.  No complaints here.  I have a Timex HRM, a very basic model, with a chest-strap and wrist watch.  No calorie burn, predominantly heart rate and time.  It has fit the bill for me and I've had zero complaints.  I bought it at a Time Zone outlet store and spent maybe $40 (maybe).

I've been toying with purchasing a new HRM because I'm VERY curious about calories burned during a spin class.  I had really wanted it for my six hour Spin Odyssey ride, but alas ran out of time and never made the purchase.  I did a bunch of research and learned some interesting things.  Most notable is the fact that it seems that Polar monitors require you to send the strap back for a new battery (or at least purchase it from them).  I don't like that.  If I have a problem, I want to be able to fix it myself, not rely on a third party.

Do you have a Polar monitor and if so, is this true?

So the other limiting factor is that I'm cheap.  Simply put.  I don't want to drop $100 on a new HRM when my current one is just fine.  Do you have a brand/model you'd recommend?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Oh yeah....

Happy Earth Day!

I love the earth and everything it has to offer.  I think nature is amazing and not at all to be taken for-granted.  On this day and every day, please treat the earth with the respect it deserves.

Did you see the gorgeous Google logo on their homepage today?  If not, here it is.  It brought a smile to my face immediately.



While I love to cook, I rarely have time to make a nice dinner during the week.  Add to that the fact that I live alone and cooking for one is not very fun, or results in eating the same thing for the week.

My plan yesterday was to cook up some pasta during the day, so I could just reheat it at the end of the night.  Well, those plans fell by the wayside.  Big surprise.

So today I ended up with a little time on my hands (woo hoo!) and whipped up some yummy dinner for tonight.

While it looks impressive (at least to me) it was very easy and consists only of whole wheat pasta, frozen spinach, Trader Joe's meatless meatballs, sliced cherry tomatoes,some red pepper flakes, and a little olive oil.  Voila!

A side note on the meatless meatballs...I've been a fan of these for years and years.  Somewhere along the line I decided to mash them, which when used with tomato sauce ends up more the consistency of a bolognese, which I love.  As a meat eater, I find that the consistency and taste of them is pretty close to the real deal.  Give them a try if you haven't already.

Now I know that after my weekly boot-camp a$$ kicking I will at least have something tasty to eat for dinner.

Happy Thursday to all!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spin Ride

Happy Tuesday!  The sun is shining and aside from the non-stop allergy headache i've been dealing with, things are good.

So I figured today would be a good day to share a Spinning ride with y'all.  This one is quite a few months old but i've been using it lately and really enjoying it.  It's a bit heavy on the jumping so I do offer  modifications if desired.  Enjoy!

Into the Groove - Madonna - 4:10
Warm up, alternating flat in the saddle with a jog with slight resistance
Telephone - Beyonce and Gaga - 3:41
Jumps - 6 count jumps at moderate resistance, get those legs working
All For You - Janet Jackson - 4:23
Seated climb, heading up our first hill, adding every minute or so
Seperate Ways - Journey - 5:26
Heavy climbing, some time in the saddle most of it out in three
Bang Bang - K'naan and Adam Levine - 3:07
Jumps - 6 count, slightly more resistance than the last round of jumps
Rehab - Rihanna - 4:55
Seated climb, focusing on form (pushing down and pulling up), doing some leg isolations
Maneater - Nelly Furtado - 4:19
Heavy climbing, finishing up the hill, ending out of the saddle
Move Your Feat - Junior Senior - 3:02
Final jumping song, 2 minutes, first minute 6 counts, second minute 4 counts, moderate resistance
Billie Jean - Michael Jackson - 4:54
Climbing, half in the saddle, half out
Pump It - Black Eyed Peas - 3:37
Speed-work, sprints, 20second, 30 second, 40 second to end, quick recovery between each
You Give Love A Bad Name - Bon Jovi - 3:44
Let's finish up this ride, hill gets heavy FAST, finish up out of the saddle
Cool down

Friday, April 16, 2010

Busy (but good) weekend!

TGIF!  I'm so glad it's Friday!!!  Happy almost weekend!

Started this morning off with my 6:30am class.  That class always seems like a good idea until the alarm goes off at 5:15 and I'm all comfy cozy in my bed and don't want to get out, but I do.  As the instructor I can't exactly decide not to show up.  Or rather, I can, but would lose my job. :)

I'm dragging a bit now, but have a busy weekend ahead of me.

After my 10am class tomorrow i'm off to Boston to visit with some of my best friends from college.  We've been really lucky in that everyone seemed to get married at good intervals, which kept us seeing each other somewhat regularly over the past couple of years.  That is, except for me.  No marriage here.  But so this is the first get together where everyone is together, since usually one of them was off doing bride things.  It should be great!  Can't wait to just catch up and laugh.  Good times on tap.

What stinks is that I have to be back in town for a 4pm meeting on Sunday.  Ugh.  Then I have dinner plans at 6.  I'm looking forward to the dinner plans just not the fact that I have to rush out of Boston to make it to a meeting that is going to last less than an hour.  This is when my excellent work ethic and morals leave me conflicted.  I'd love to blow off the meeting but I know it's just not right.  Oh well.

I'm rambling.  So yeah, busy and fun weekend.  Now just need to make it through today.

TGIF and have a FABULOUS weekend!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I'm going on vacation!

No, not yet, but in a little over a month I'm going on a much needed vacation.  I can't wait!

After being laid off last year, I toyed with the idea of taking a nice vacation.  I wanted to take advantage of the free time I had and go away for two weeks or so.  However I'm a very rational-thinking person, so that side of my brain won out and I took the responsible road and stayed put, applying for jobs non-stop.

A year later my situation isn't all that different than where I was at this time last year.  I had a full time job, it wasn't a good fit, and now it's my part time job (one of a few).  So while $ isn't really on my side, flexibility still is.

So after going back and forth for a year, I've decided to just go for it.  I booked my trip at the end of last week, so it's a done deal.  I'm headed to Costa Rica mid-May for 9 days.  I wanted to go somewhere farther but airfare is astronomical so I quickly bumped up against my self-imposed budget.  Costa Rica seems to be a great option for someone like me.  First, I'm able to travel solo, thanks to an adventure tour group that I signed on with.  Second, I'm able to have a nice mix of active and relaxing time.  I can't wait to go kayaking, white water rafting, horseback riding, etc..

Of course I'll give a full review when I return, but since this is exciting to me, I just wanted to share it with you.

Monday, April 12, 2010

So now I'm eating choice

For the past two days, I've done something I haven't done in ages.  Which, when you read what it is, seems really trivial, but to me is kind of a big deal.

Thing is, I've been making my oatmeal with sugar.  Yeah, actual sugar.  Brown sugar to be precise.

I eat a half a cup of oatmeal for breakfast most mornings during the week.  As is, we're looking at 150 calories for half a cup, made with water.  Sometimes I add fruit, sometimes raisins.  But until recently I always added Splenda.

I had a big old bag of Splenda that I thought would last me forever.  Well, it finally ran out sometime last week.  What to do?

So I went with the brown sugar.  With about 15 calories (some say 17) in a teaspoon, in moderation it's really not so bad.  So I add 2 teaspoons to my oats for a grand total of 180 calories, which is not too shabby.  And let me just say, it tastes delicious!

I also attempted real sugar in my coffee.  1 tablespoon was too much, but 1 teaspoon was too little, so I'm still working on refining that.

So tell me, what's your take on artificial sweeteners?  Do you use them or do you use the real stuff?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Do you shake?

And by "shake", I mean Protein Shake.      

Do you drink them?  Have you ever?

I was decidedly undecided about them, their purpose, validity and necessity seemed vague to me.  Some people claim they're amazing and others say that unless you are working out VERY intensely, they're not necessary.

I guess I now fall in the middle of the road.  I had been thinking of incorporating them in to my diet as I probably don't always get the protein I need and depending on the day, can spend hours at the gym.

A friend recommended the brand Myofusion and gave me a few samples.  I have to say, they're not half bad.  The taste is decent and the calorie content is relatively low.  That was one of my biggest shocks when I started looking in to Protein powders, the high calorie content.  Especially given that many of them taste like crap and need to be mixed with milk and other additives which only up the calorie count further.  For this one, I just add water and find that it's almost enjoyable to consume.  Who knew?

As for whether or not this will enhance my performance or recovery, I can't yet say.  But I am going to give them a try and will keep you posted.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

So much for the sugar plan

Isn't it interesting how we manage to forget things conveniently.

I'm pretty sure that I did a post a while back about how I was planning to cut out sugar again.  Seeing as I haven't done that, it's funny to me that I can't really recall whether or not I did a post.

So after a few weeks of eating anything (and everything) i'm back on track with at least being more conscientious of what is going in my mouth.  I'm realizing again that banning any one food just doesn't make sense.  Like most people, tell me I can't have something and that's of course all I want.

So right now I'm trying to keep a food journal, just to get an idea of what I'm eating as well as try to be accountable for it.

I had a friend do a body fat percentage measurement for me last week, so now I have a number (which I'm not sharing right now) and am going to try to get it down.  My current number is totally acceptable but I'd like to strive to make it better.  I like things that are quantifiable so I'm hoping this will be good motivation.

I'm really excited about the fresh produce season that is just right around the corner.  Can't wait to do up the fresh fruit and veggies!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Let's Take the Stairs!

Looking for a new cardio machine or just want to mix up your existing routine?

I'd recommend this one.
The literal, stair master.

This guy has been around for ages.  I remember it at a gym I belonged to about 9 years ago.  Don't think I ever used it, but I do remember seeing it there.

Fast forward about 8 years and I had my first run in.

This machine kicks serious ass! (pardon the language)

You can't cheat yourself on this one because if you do, you'll likely fall off, creating quite a scene at the gym.  You also need to be focused on what you're doing because if you step too far in your toes get squished.  I speak from experience.

I can do about 20 minutes.  Within the first five i'm sweating and out of breath and doubtful about whether or not I can finish my 20.  But I do.  My heart rate is way up, my breathing is labored and boy am I sweating.  This to me my friends, is the mark of a tough workout.

While looking for an image to use I came across a few blogs who talked about this equipment.  Some called it the stairway to hell, others the escalator to hell.  You get the idea.

But aside from the negative "press" it's a great workout and I encourage you to give it a try.  Obviously start slow and then build up.  I usually start around level 7 (out of 20) and then raise it as I go, or not.

Let me know your thoughts on this one.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Happy April!

Don't have a ton to share today but wanted to wish everyone a happy April!

I can only speak for lower CT, but the sun in shining and the sky is blue!  This is a huge improvement over the past few days and I think everyone is very ready for the spring.

Spring means we can do outdoor activities without freezing our butts off, or seeing our breath.  Can't wait!

Here are a couple of pictures I took at the Philadelphia Flower Show in 2008.  Very spring-y!