Foodie Pen Pals

Wow, I feel like I’ll never get back to my normal day-to-day life posts…

Last month for the 1st time I participated in Foodie Pen Pals, sponsored by Lindsay over at The Lean Green Bean, and I wanted to make sure I posted about it before the month was over (side note – can you believe tomorrow is June?)

What is a Foodie Pen Pal?  Here’s the info from Lindsay:

  • On the 5th of every month, you receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
  • You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
  • The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
  • You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
  • Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.

If you’re interested in participating for June, head over to The Lean Green Bean, and CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.You must submit your information by June 4th as pairings will be emailed on June 5th!

My foodie pen pal was Victoria, over at Raw Vegan in College and she sent me an amazing box of goodies.  I’m currently plowing through the jar of peanut butter, already polished off the cinnamon & sugar walnuts (I’m going to try and figure out how to make my own) and devoured the cookies in a day.

I could not believe that something wheat-free, dairy-free and gluten-free could be this good.  I seriously think these may have been some of the best store bought cookies I’d ever eaten.

I haven’t tried the blueberry jam yet but I’m thinking it would be great in some oatmeal or maybe on waffles?  And I’m trying to figure out a good way to use the almonds…maybe on a salad?

Overall, this was a fun little thing to try for a month but I don’t think I’ll be participating again (you can participate as much as you want).  While I loved what I received in the mail I didn’t have the best experience with who I mailed things to (you’re not necessarily matched with the same person you receive from).  My original pen pal never emailed me back so after about 2 weeks I got matched up with another person which left very little time to shop and send before the deadline.  Not to mention shipping out my box of goodies ( I send all local Oregon products – Bob’s Red Mill steel cut oats, Cougar Mountain Oregon Hazelnut cookies and a few made in Oregon protein bars) cost as much as the treats in my package. So for now, I’m going to hold off on doing any more pen pal exchanges but I love reading about them so I’d definitely encourage you guys to try it for a month or so.

What are your thoughts?  Have you ever done something like this?

 

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Getting back into the swing of things

Hola!  After a couple of flight delays we made it home around midnight last night and I’ve spent the day trying to get back into a normal routine.  Smoothie and coffee for breakfast, quinoa salad for lunch and a Papa Murf’s Perfect currently cooking up in the oven…I mean, come on, I said normal routine right?  Which of course had to include pizza.

My clothes are unpacked and in the process of being washed.  Meals have been planned & prepped, groceries have been bought and over 400 photos have been downloaded.  I meant to hop on the spin bike this afternoon but that didn’t happen.  I mean, besides walking (which we did a lot of) I hadn’t worked out in 7 days so what’s one more right?  Tomorrow however will be all about cardio.  And going back to work…sadly.  But luckily we get to leave at noon on Friday’s in the summer so I’m really only looking at a 1.5 day work week.  Could be worse, right?

The oven just dinged which means it’s dinner time.  I’ll be posting more a more detailed recap of the trip soon but for now, here are a few pics to get you dreaming of Mexico.

 

Hey Pretty Girl

Because we have a 2 hour flight delay at the airport…

This was our friends’ first dance song. It’s by Kip Moore who sings one of my current favorites, something about a truck and I was so surprised that I’d never heard it. When this song came on a Kea and Lorrin started dancing it was absolutely perfect. The song fit them, the moment…I can’t even do it justice. Still chokes me up even when I’m just reading the lyrics. Can’t wait to share all the pics from this trip. Probably the most amazing wedding event I will ever get the chance to attend.

“Hey Pretty Girl”

Hey pretty girl, won’t you look my way
Love’s in the air tonight
You can bet you make this ol’ boy’s day
Hey pretty girl, won’t you look my way

Hey pretty girl, can I have this dance
And the next one after that
Gonna make you mine there’s a real good chance
Hey pretty girl, can I have this dance

Hey pretty girl, it feels so right
Just like it’s meant to be
All wrapped up in my arms so tight
Hey pretty girl, it feels so right

Life’s a long and winding ride
Better have the right one by your side
And happiness don’t drag its feet
Time moves faster than you think

Hey pretty girl, wanna take you home
My momma’s gonna love you
She’ll make me sleep on the couch, I know
Hey pretty girl, wanna take you home

Hey pretty girl, let’s build some dreams
And a house on a piece of land
We’ll plant some roots and some apple trees
Hey pretty girl, let’s build some dreams

Life’s a long and winding ride
Better have the right one by your side
Happiness don’t drag its feet
And time moves faster than you think

Hey pretty girl, you did so good
Our baby’s got your eyes
And a fighter’s heart like I knew she wou
Hey pretty girl, you did so good

Hey pretty girl, when I see the light
And it’s my time to go
I’m gonna thank the Lord for a real good life
A pretty little girl and a beautiful wife

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Home

I’m writing this on Monday, our almost last day of vacation.  We fly home tomorrow and both of us are so ready to be home.  This trip has been great.  The wedding was beautiful, the weather has been amazing and the scenery has been incredible.  But I want my life back.  I want to cook my healthy foods in my own kitchen, sleep in my own bed and workout in my gym or on my spin bike.  I think Chris wants to leave even more than me.  I walked out of our bedroom this morning to find him nearly comatose on the condo couch…complaining about some construction down the beach and the clicking clock above the fridge.  When you’re sitting somewhere overlooking the waves crash on the beach and you complain about a clock I’m pretty sure it’s a sign that your vacation quota has expired. 

We are definitely creatures of habit and have what we feel to be an amazing life and it’s always nice to go away to get some perspective.  Mexico has been incredible but it’s nice to be excited to go home.  It’s a great feeling to know that we’ve built a life that we want to leave our vacation for :) 

 

Bikini Friendly Beers

Like I mentioned here, I’ve been imbibing a bit too much and haven’t been doing the best job of getting all my calories from food.  Well, scratch that.  I’ve been doing a pretty good job getting my calories from healthy food but I’ve been getting too many of my calories in liquid form.

Bob Haper’s 2nd skinny rule is “Don’t drink your calories.”  And when I was watching The Weight of The Nation they also talked about drinking your calories.  In the documentary, they focused more on not drinking super sugary sodas but overall, the message is the same.  A calorie, is a calorie, is a calorie whether is comes from food or alcohol, it all adds up.  One of the women they interviewed on WOTN started her weight loss journey with one small step – she simply cut down on her high caloric drinks.  That 1st step helped her to start making other choices, healthier meals, more physical activity.  She still has a long way to go to get to her goal weight but she’s trying.  And it made me realize, if this lady started by cutting back on her liquid calories, then so can I.  And since my biggest weakness is alcohol, I thought I’d pass along an article I read on Shape.  The 15 Bikini-Friendly beers.   

  • Bud Select 55
  • MGD  64
  • Busch Light
  • Natural Light
  • Michelob Ultra
  • Miller Light
  • Coors Light
  • Corona Light
  • Bud Light
  • Bud Light Lime
  • Sam Adams Light
  • Guinness Draught
  • Fat Tire Amber Ale
  • Sierra Nevada Summerfest Beer
  • Blue Moon Summer Honey Wheat

Except I think those beers are kind of lame.  I know I’m suppose to write about fitness and I should be drinking low calorie beers but nearly all of those listed above are gross.  Basically water.  Busch Light?  Are you kidding me?  I drank that in college because it was super cheap.  I honestly can’t believe Shape would recommend it. I don’t know if I’d ever want to be skinny enough to drink that.  Corona and Bud Light are decent – like if you’re on a beach or a a country concert.  And the Blue Moon would be ok if there wasn’t coriander in that (living in Portland, I’ll admit that I’ve become a bit of a beer snob).  But my thought is that if I’m going to only get one drink, I’d like to it have it be something I enjoy.

Like some Rose :)   My current favorite sunny weather beverage.  Which has approximately 100 calories per glass or about 500 calories a bottle.

Or a really good microbrew.  Like a Double Mountain Vaporizer which has approximately 180 calories per glass.

So what really is the point of this post?  If you like light beers then you should drink from the bikini friendly ones listed above.  But if you think those beers are gross, then you can drink something more delicious but you have to drink less of them. Choices people.  Choices.

Do you like any of those low calorie beers?  What’s your current favorite summer drink?

Snacking on Strawberries

I bought Bob Harper’s, The Skinny Rules over the weekend and while I’ll admit that I haven’t really read it yet, I did skim the table of contents to see what all the rules were.  Overall, there was nothing super surprising in the book.  Just good common sense with helpful ways to actually do them.  I’ll try and talk about all the variety of rules as I get further along in the book but here are a couple that I’ll talk about today:

  • Eat apples and berries every single day
  • Eat 30-50 grams of fiber every day
  • Eat protein with every single meal

I actually try to do these 3 things every day anyway.  I have blueberries every morning in my smoothie, make sure I eat things high in fiber (whole wheat pasta, apples) and thanks to Chris, never eat a meal without protein (he’s a firm believer in eating protein to keep you full).  However, as I was looking at Bob’s list of high-fiber foods, I was surprised that strawberries are at the top of the list.  He says that 1/2 cup of strawberries have 9 grams of fiber!  That’s a lot!  And so I was thinking, “hmmm, how could I combine those 3 rules into 1 healthy snack?”  Oh wait, I know.  Strawberries and greek yogurt for my mid-morning snack.  So I chopped up a bunch of strawberries and plan on taking them to work and mixing them in with non-fat, plain greek yogurt.  An under 200 calorie snack with 15+ grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber.  Pretty good, don’t you think?

Oh and this has nothing to do with strawberries but more to do with fiber…Bob included this protein/fiber/meal replacement drink. I haven’t made it yet but definitely will be trying it out. You know how I love my smoothies.

Bob Harper’s Mean, Green Drink Meal Replacement

  • 2 tablespoons protein powder
  • 1 cup chopped fresh kale
  • 1 cup frozen spinach
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 small banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
  • 20 ounces water

Directions: Blend everything up in a blender.  Enjoy
14g fiber, 340 calories.

Thoughts on Bob’s rules?  Makes total sense.  Good antioxidants and fiber in the fruit plus protein to keep you full.  No brainier if you ask me.  Sometimes it just has to be spelled out in plain English to make you actually do it.

Has anyone else read The Skinny Rules?

Working out on vacation

I think I seriously have summer on the brain.  “Summer” in the Pacific Northwest really doesn’t start until the 4th of July and the calendar says it doesn’t start until June 21st, but my brain will always associate it with June 1.  June = Summer.  And with summer, comes vacations.  And with vacations come less working out.  It’s not always intentional.  Anytime I’ve ever gone on vacation I pack workout clothes and I tell myself that I will be doing something active every day…that I’ll run or hit the hotel gym or something.  But no matter what, even with my best intentions, there are days on my vacations where the only thing active I do is walking from my hotel room to the beach.  Eh, what can you do right? But I thought it wouldn’t hurt to be a little pro-active and throw out a couple of easy vacation-friendly workout ideas.  No gym required.

Hiking
On every vacation Chris and I have taken, we’ve hiked or walked somewhere.  He is huge into exploring.  To see how the locals experience whatever place we happen to be.  Sometimes this drives me nuts because all I want to do is lay down on a beach towel with a book. But I admit, I’m always glad we check things out.  Plus, you get a great workout.   Make sure to pack a good pair of sneakers because even if it’s just walking to the store to grab some snacks, your feet will like them better than flip flops.

Hiking – Maui 2012

Swimming
I love to swim.  My grandma lived on lakes my whole life so I grew up in the water but somehow I’ve never managed to figure out how to swim the freestyle.  I think it’s the hand-eye-breathing coordination that does me in… But I can swim a mean breaststroke (as long as no one expects me to put my head in the water).  Did you know swimming for an hour burns about 600 calories?  And it’s a total body workout – every muscle is firing to keep you moving.  I’ve also found that swimming doesn’t feel like a workout to me.  It’s just having fun in the water.  We’ve swam in oceans, rivers, lakes and pools.  Even if we’re just somewhere with a small hotel pool I’ll crank out some laps to get some cardio in.

Swimming – Bora Bora 2010

Paddle Boarding
If you’ve never paddle boarded, you must!  It’s so fun.  And a much harder workout than I initially anticipated.  You really have to have strong core muscles to keep yourself up on that board and you can burn around 300 calories in an hour (more if you’re battling serious currents).  Here’s a little background if you’re not sure what it is. We wanted to go when we were in Maui but the surf was too rough from storms so I’m hoping to try it next time we’re in Mexico or even Bend this summer.

Paddle Boarding – Sayulita 2011

Hotel room workouts
I’ve been doing a lot of these types of workouts lately.  No gym or equipment needed interval circuits that get your heart racing and tone your muscles.  A couple recent examples include my 200 push-ups and rainy day workouts.  Really, you just need to mix in short cardio intervals – think 30 sec to a minute with some toning exercise (squats, push-ups etc).  Pick about 5 that you like and do them 5 times through.  Here are a few options to pick from:

Cardio bursts:

  • Jumping jacks
  • High knees
  • Jump rope
  • Double jump rope
  • Butt kicks
  • Skaters
  • Moguls
  • Single leg hops
  • Burpees
  • Mountain climbers
  • Plank jacks

Toning:

  • Sit-ups
  • Crunches
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Push-ups
  • Planks
  • Leg lifts

So there you go.  A couple of ideas to help you keep moving on your next vacation.  Make sure you pack some sneakers, a pair of shorts and a sports bra (for the ladies).  Don’t get me wrong, vacations are meant to be a time to relax and you can certainly find me with my nose in a book but I do try to do something active every day.  Even if it is just walking down to grab a coffee at the local cafe.

What about you guys?  Do you have any sneaky travel workout ideas for me?

 

 

Quick and Easy Salads

Now that summer is getting closer I usually want to eat lighter meals.  Cozy evenings where I sit on the couch and eat chili are being replaced by nights I want to be out on the deck with a huge salad and maybe a popsicle :)  So I thought I’d share some of my favorite salad recipes.  Not that I’m lazy or anything but I was going to write out a bunch of recipes but then I figured Pinterest could help me tell a better story.  So I created a board and pinned a bunch of ideas on it.  Go check it out and let me know what you think:

Whit Likes Fit Summer Salads

Some of my all time favorite combinations are beets and goat cheese, or strawberries with Gorgonzola.  There’s something about the salty & sweet combo that totally hits the spot.  I’ve also been reading a lot about watermelon and feta so I’ll be testing out some of those recipes later on this year too.  You can never go wrong with a southwestern version with corn, black beans or a citrus version with oranges and grapefruit.  Really the possibilities are endless.  Go experiment with new combos and see what you can come up with.

Oh, I also pinned some homemade dressing ideas.  We’ve really been trying to eliminate store-bought dressings especially now that I’ve learned how easy it is to make my own.  My favorite will always be honey mustard (mustard, honey, rice wine vinegar) but I’ve also done a champagne vinaigrette and have plans to try a cilantro-lime.

Do you have any favorite salads?  Any great recipes that I need to try?  Is there anything else you crave when the weather heats up?

David Gray, moments, & healthy margaritas

Do you follow me on Twitter? If you don’t, you should – @whitlikesfit :) Plus, you’d know that I’m currently in Todos Santos (Baja peninsula) Mexico. One of our good friends is getting married on Saturday and we’re so excited to be part of her big day. We got into Cabo around 3 yesterday and then drove the 1.5 hours (yes, Chris drove around Mexico, he is a champion) to Todos.

After the gorgeous drive and a tad bit of exploring we settled into our hotel and enjoyed a delicious dinner of fresh Guac and chips along with a shrimp quesadilla and a large marge. Ps have I ever mentioned how much I love Manchego Cheese? Seriously my fave.

After a brief foray into the hot tub we wound up sitting up on the rooftop deck (we had it all to ourselves) drinking marges/beers while listening to David Gray raft through the speakers and cheersing to Chris’ bday :) Kind of an amazing night if you ask me. It got even better when Chris whipped out his phone and started playing Then by Brad Paisley (our wedding song) and we enjoyed a private dance on the roof. Swoon.

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I watched The Vow on the flight down (watch it, it’s great) and it talks about life moments. Here’s a quote that explains it better than I ever could:

“My theory is about moments, moments of impact. My theory is that these moments of impact, these flashes of high intensity that completely turn our lives upside down actually end up defining who we are. The thing is each one of us is the sum total of every moment that we’ve ever experienced with all the people we’ve ever known. And it’s these moments that become our history. Like our own personal greatest hits of memories that we play and replay in our minds over and over again.”

— The Vow

Last night was definitely one of my greatest hits. So perfect. I’ll be remembering it for the rest of my life :)

Today I believe we’re going to enjoy some breakfast, explore the town and attempt to get me to try surfing. Chris is a pro but I’ve never done it. We’ll see if it happens. Later tonight we’re meeting up with other wedding guests at Hotel California (yes, as in THE one in the song).

Hope everyone is having a great Thursday. I may or may not pop in with vacation related posts but I did crank out some other thoughts on things before I left so you’ll see those come through.

Oh and for your drinking enjoyment I thought I’d pass along the margarita recipe Chris concocted yesterday. We were slightly limited on ingredients but it turned out to be quite tasty and low in calories.

Healthy Margarita:

2 shots water
1 shot tequila
1 shot “controy” (Mexio version on Cointreau. You could also use the juice of an orange)
Juice of one lime
Ice

Mix. Drink. Pretend your in Mexico.

Hasta Luego :)

Yams vs Sweet Potatoes. Is there a difference?

Did you know that anytime I talk about how I had a sweet potato I really had a yam?  At the grocery store, yams are always cheaper than sweet potatoes so that’s what I buy.  My roasted veggies, fries, chili… all yams.  They taste exactly the same to me, plus I kind of like that yams have more of that orange color.  Makes me feel like I’m eating something healthier than the more whitish color of the sweet potatoes.  But I decided I should probably look them up to see if there’s any sort of difference.

Turns out, all those things labeled “yams” at the grocery store, are actually sweet potatoes!  In fact, yams and sweet potatoes aren’t even related!  They are two different species of root vegetable with very different backgrounds and uses.  Turns out the government is the main culprit behind the confusion.  Since there are two types of sweet potatoes, one with pale flesh (white & creamy with a more crumbly texture) and one with orange (sweeter and soft), the USDA labeled the orange ones yams to distinguish them from the white varieties.  True yams are actually starchy tubers with black bark skin and white/purple/red flesh and are typically peeled, boiled and dried into a powder that can be cooked into a porridge.

Good thing I cleared this up because I have definitely not been getting true yams.  No purple flesh for me.

If you go here, you can read about the nutritional difference between yams and sweet potatoes.  The cliff notes – sweet potatoes have more protein, fiber and a heck of a lot more vitamin A.

Here’s where I got most of my info although I cross-referenced this info on a variety of sites and everything said the same thing.  You and also visit the North Carolina Sweet Potato commission to learn more. Including a ton of sweet potato recipes.
And in case you hadn’t picked up on it before, my favorite way to eat a sweet potato is in fry form.  Slice them up, spray with a little olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt, garlic, cayenne pepper and paprika.  Bake @400F for about 30-40 min (depending on how many fries you have) and then broil them @500F for about 10 min to get them extra crispy.  Dip them in homemade honey mustard which you can make by mixing Dijon mustard, sweet/spicy mustard, honey and rice wine vinegar.