Orange Juice

Today I can’t wait to wear this shirt (under my layers of black…down vest, rain jacket etc – 48 degrees at kickoff).

I’m so proud of my husband for helping to bring this to market :)  Go here for some info on the whole Beaver juice  story.

In other orange juice news, I used the freshly squeezed variety to make a super tasty dinner earlier this week.

Orange Paleo Chicken (adapted from original recipe here)

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 3 T coconut oil
  • juice of 2 oranges
  • zest from 1 orange
  • 1 t fresh ginger
  • 3 T reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 T sriracha

Directions
In a medium size sauce pot, add the orange juice, zest, ginger, soy sauce and sriracha. Set over medium heat and let simmer to reduce and thicken while the chicken cooks.  For the chicken – heat coconut oil over medium high heat in a separate pan. Add the chopped chicken and cook until a nice brown crust has developed on the chicken pieces, about 6 minutes). Add the chicken to the sauce pot and stir to coat with the orange sauce. These were the directions from the original recipe which I followed.  However, to cut down on pans I think you would be fine to cook the chicken until almost done and then just add all the sauce mix to the chicken and let everything thicken that way.

Serve over quinoa with a side of spicy green beans (olive oil, red pepper flakes, garlic, cooked over medium heat).

And unrelated to orange juice but more related to my overall health – I finished week two of the new job and am still alive (but tired).  I also managed to get in a workout every day this week even though some of it had to happen before and after work.  Here’s how they shook out:

  • Monday – Lunchtime pilates (with new work friends) + 30 minute incline treadmill walk after work
  • Tuesday: 45 minute run on the treadmill before work
  • Wednesday: 30 min cardio + lunchtime pilates (leaving a few minutes early)
  • Thursday: Quick 2.5 mile run after work on a new to me trail while waiting for Chris to get out of a meeting
  • Friday: 30 minutes of elliptical intervals + 30 minute butts & Guts class with my new workout pal Laura.

And finally, I wrapped up the week with half a high school football game (sideline view was nice).

Followed by dinner and a delicious sour beer at the Racoon.

And a cider at Journey’s.

And that brings me to now.  Off to pull myself together for game day.  Hope you all have great Saturdays.

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Efficient workouts + shrimp pasta

Week one of the new job is one the books.  Done and done.

I also tried out my new lunchtime workout schedule for the 1st time and I feel like it’s going to be doable.  Honestly the only negative thing that was going through my mind when I was dealing with all this job stuff was the fact that the building was off campus which meant I could no longer walk to the gym at lunch and will have to drive.  Huge bummer since that’s a massive part of my day but in the end I realized I can’t base my career on gym access.  So I’ve vowed to make it work.

The commute definitely adds some time into the equation so I’m realizing I’m going to have to get a lot smarter about my workouts.  Gone are the leisurely hour and a half sessions + locker room time.  From now on, it’s 60 min or less in the gym with 15 minutes to get ready, giving me 15 minutes for commuting.  Here’s how things shook out for day one:

30 minutes of intervals on the elliptical.  Varying between resistance levels 7 -12, I alternated 30 sec to 1 minutes bursts to really get my heart rate going.  After that I did a quick dumbbell weight circuit 3 times through:

  • Front Raises 8lbs x 10
  • Lateral Raises 8lbs x 10
  • Single Arm Tricep extensions 8lbs x 12
  • Bent over rows 8lbs x 10
  • Squats 25 (varied between regular, side and sumo)
  • Side ab bends 16lbs x 25 per side
  • Step Ups on the weight bench 8lbs x 10

I did all of that in under an hour.  Nice.

And you know where else I was efficient this week?  With our Thursday night dinner.  I was still tired from my trip and Chris had firewood delivered and had to deal with stacking that.  We were going to go out or get pizza but I really wanted something healthy so I raided the kitchen and this is what I came up with.  It was delish.

Spicy shrimp Parmesan Pasta

  • 20 shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 crown broccoli
  • Whole Wheat spaghetti noodles
  • olive oil
  • red pepper flakes
  • sea salt
  • shredded parmesan cheese
  • garlic powder

But because I was being so efficient I didn’t measure anything.  Here’s my best guess at directions to recreate:

Spray some olive oil on the shrimp, and toss with red pepper flakes, garlic and sea salt.  Steam the broccoli on the stove in a steamer basket while your noodles are cookie.  Cook your shrimp on a pan over medium heat.  Add the shrimp and broccoli to the noodles. Toss in a bit of olive oil to prevent the noodles from sticking and top with parmesan cheese.  I probably added about a 1/4 – 1/2 cup?

And of course, I topped it with sriracha.  So good.

Things I am jazzed about

Can you tell I’ve been busy at night enjoying our glorious weather that seems to be never-ending?  Instead of trying new recipes, taking pictures or talking about my workouts we’ve been celebrating our anniversary, meeting friends downtown for dinner, going on long walks and eating Chipotle.  Ahhh the life.  And the best part, it looks like the sun is going to stick around at least for another week which is even better because I’ll be able to lay out all day and enjoy it.

“How?”  You ask?

Because this gal is taking a vacation.  Except not really.  I just have tons of time off saved up. So much that if I don’t use it I’ll lose it so I took all of next week off.  Chris and I might go to the beach for a couple of days or we might not.  And on the days he has to go to work and I don’t, I’ll be laying out on the deck.  Soaking up those fleeting summer rays.  Can’t wait.

You know what else I can’t wait for?  The rodeo!  Tomorrow AM we’re heading to Pendleton, OR to catch the finals of the Pendleton Round Up.  We’ve never been to this rodeo and I’m super excited.  As long as I can find a cute dress to wear…that’s my after-work mission.

To match these boots.

But first I have to get through the rest of today.  A couple of meetings, a workout, the Coug game.

And while we’re on the topic of workouts, it has been a pretty good week on that front.  Pilates + cardio Monday and Wednesday, circuit workout + cardio Tuesday, and yesterday I went for a 4 mile run outside.  The best part – my knees didn’t hurt on the run, after it or this morning.

Alright, I feel like this post has been random enough so I better get a move on.  But, I will leave you with one of my favorite photos from Tuesday’s 2 year anniversary photo session (and by photo session I mean me strategically setting the camera on the deck and running back and forth between auto-timed shots).  Chance dog was so excited for me to be in the pic that he full-on licked my face.  That guy.

Hope you all have good weekends.

2 favorite weight circuits

Lately I’ve been loving myself some free-weight circuits.  Now that my knees are finally feeling better (clearly they are glad I didn’t run Hood to Coast even though I was not) I’ve been doing some sort of circuit at least two times a week…on a non pilates reformer day.  I have yet to do a circuit and then pilates back-to-back so we’ll see how sore I am.  Tomorrow will be the big test.

On circuit days I usually go straight to the weights area and grab a bench.  Typically these take me about a half an hour and then I follow-up with 30 minutes of cardio.  Last week I did 30 minutes of cardio intervals where today I just did 15 minutes on the rowing machine followed by a leisurely 15 minute bike-ride while reading a magazine.

Side note – my fave lady Jillian used to say you could never read a magazine while on a cardio machine at the gym but in the newest issue of Shape (or Self…) she changed her tune.  She said now that she’s a mom, she’s had to become all about multi-tasking and can often be found returning emails while getting her cardio in.  And while we’re on the topic of Jillian.  How excited are you that she’s coming back to the Biggest Loser?  I seriously can’t wait.

Ok and now onto the circuits.  Both get your legs where the 1st one focuses a little more on back and biceps where the 2nd focused a little more on chest.  When using the Bosu, I stood and did my push-ups with the dome-side down.  These are also great at-home workouts even if you don’t have a bosu or bench :)

Any questions?  Thoughts on these?  Do you guys like doing circuits with free-weights?  I could spend hours in the gym doing them.  I am a gym dork.

Home-grown tomatoes & bike rides + Indian Summer

We have had something crazy like 58 straight days without rain.  That is unheard of in the Pacific Northwest.  It’s been amazing.  Nothing but day after day of gorgeous weather.  I’m hoping it continues and we get a full on Indian Summer.  Cross your fingers.

And because this is it – the last time we get to taste summer for another year – I’m trying to take advantage of it and enjoy things like grilled corn on the cob, chilled white wine, salmon burgers, BBQ chicken, sleeping with the window open, and evening bike rides.

Like this one tonight.  Neither Chris or I had time to work-out today (work is crazy for both of us) so we jumped on our bikes and rode around through the village.  It’s so nice to still be feeling warm, summer air on your face as you coast down hills.

And before the bike ride we enjoyed another summer treat – home-grown tomatoes!  I had no luck with my tomatoes last year but this time is a whole different story.  I’ve been getting legitimate edibles from my plants.  Very exciting.

Tonight’s entire shrimp pasta was made with tomatoes from my yard.

And speaking of my yard, tomorrow we’re going to try to spend a little quality time with it before we have to pack away the lawn furniture and fire pit.  We’re thinking drinks and s’mores around the fire and maybe if we’re feeling really crazy we’ll spend the night outside on our air bed.  Wild side I tell ya.

And with that, I’m out.  Chris has just turned on the Pac 12 Network and I need to go negotiate alternate TV programming.  There’s only so much football I can handle around here.

Question for you – what are you going to miss most about summer?

The anti Hood to Coast weekend

So this weekend I was supposed to run Hood To Coast but if you recall from here, I decided to listen to my body, particularly my knees, and sit this year out.  And guess what?  It sucked.   No matter how much I tried to tell myself that it was for the best, that I got to have a nice relaxing weekend at home, that I didn’t have to share stinky port-o-potties with thousands of strangers, that I got to sleep in my own bed instead of the hard ground in Mist, it didn’t matter.  I didn’t feel better for staying home. I felt sad. Every time I opened up Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, there it was.  My husband and my friends…out there running 197 miles from Mt. Hood to downtown Portland to St. Helen’s, to Mist, to Astoria, to Seaside.

That girl on the left, that was my spot.  And when they all stopped over at the house Friday night after their first leg to shower I pretended I was ok.  Told everyone I was loving having a nice night in.  That I wasn’t envious of their next leg because your second leg was always the worst.  Lies.  I so desperately wanted to be out there because no matter how much that middle of the night run sucked, the 3rd leg made up for it.  That last leg that you run on autopilot and fumes because you know when you’re done with it, it’s over.  You did it.  And that incredible sense of accomplishment and teamwork at the end, at the beach, more than make up for whatever pain/stress/lack of sleep/stomach ailments and blisters that preceded it.

I missed Hood to Coast.

But instead, this is what I did:

Made jam.

Came up with a new smoothie recipe.

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Blackberry Banana Smoothie

  • 1/4 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen blackberries
  • 2 tablespoons white chocolate peanut butter
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 & 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Tried a new breakfast.

Spicy eggs & veggies

  • 2 eggs + 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup chopped red, orange & yellow peppers

Microwave for 3 minutes.  Top with Frank’s Hot Sauce

Read books.

Watched my favorite movie.

And worked out.

  • Saturday: levels 3, 2, & 1 of Jillian’s Ripped in 30
  • Sunday: 45 minute slow jog on the treadmill

All in all, certainly not a bad weekend.  And if it was on any other weekend I would have been stoked.  Almost 2 full days all to myself.  To do absolutely nothing.  But the fact that it had to happen on a weekend where I really wanted to be doing something else somewhere else was tough.

Chris and I talked about it when he got home and he suggested I try running it one more time next year.  That I take leg 4 (which is the only leg I think I could do because it has the longest run 1st), that I listen to my body and that I fully decide at the end of next year if I really am done for good. But it’s not even that I need to try one more time to see if I can do it. I know I could do it.  It’s me, having to decide if one year from now it will really be worth it to have to start all over. Again.  To have to go back to physical therapy, to quit running for months, be in pain when I walk up and down stairs. To spend every “cardio” day on the bike.  Instead of where I am this year.  Where I will actually be able to enjoy a couple runs in the fall.  To only have to go to acupuncture once a month instead of once a week.  To be able to do lunges.

Who am I kidding.  Watching the leaves change color while you run is overrated.  The bike’s not that bad.  And side leg series in pilates tones your butt just as good as any lunge could.  Now that I know what it’s like not running Hood To Coast, you can be sure that if we get a team for 2013 I’ll be on it :)

Cutting back on carbs

Not sure if my body has finally adjusted or what but this morning I got up at 5am to work out and I don’t feel like a tired zombie yet…Technically the night is still early so who knows, I may wind up in bed by 9… we shall see.  Let’s just hope my body’s not too used to early AM alarms because I’m really looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow.  At least until 8:30 or so.

Instead of going to the gym like I planned, I opted for 45 minutes of my friend Jillian :)  I did levels 1 and 2 of 30 Day Shred and felt great.  So great that I decided to add in yet another double day and went to Zumba this afternoon.  Someone will be feeling sore tomorrow.

On the food front, also a good day – breakfast was a tasty little number I whipped up involving watermelon and bananas.  I swear, frozen watermelon is so good in smoothies.

Watermelon Banana Protein Smoothie:

  • 1/2 cup frozen watermelon
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/4 cup protein plus peanut flour
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Lunch involved a Larabar after the gym plus leftover chicken from last night’s fajitas mixed with some goat cheese.  Not my best effort but it got the job done.  Dinner however, was fantastic.  A random little salad beast with my new favorite dressing.

Turkey Spinach Salad

  • 1 giant bowl of spinach
  • 1 chopped organic tomato
  • Goat cheese crumbles
  • 4 slices of deli turkey meat torn into pieces
  • Honey balsamic vinaigrette (1/2 c olive oil, 1/4 c honey, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar)

That dressing makes for more than just one salad FYI.

And then washed that down with a little popcorn – air popped with a tablespoon of melted butter, cheese sprinkles and nutritional yeast.

Pretty nice little Friday I tell ya.

But let’s be honest, all that stuff above was nice but I’m sure you really want to know why the title of this post is cutting back on carbs, right?  So I had my annual physical today – not like my lady physical – I share my life but some stuff doesn’t need sharing.  This was just my physical where they do your blood work and test all your cholesterol and such.  Technically my dr said I only need to come in every couple of years but my insurance covers a full work-up every year so of course I’m going to take them up on it.

Excluding your lady physical, how many of you go in for regular, yearly physicals?  How many of you actually know what your cholesterol is?

Everything came back awesome.  The first thing my doctor asked me before he even told me my results was if I exercised :)  He said my labs were fantastic and it was very evident that I’m in shape and physically active.  Yes!  Apparently my good, bad and combined ratio of cholesterol is phenomenal.  My iron levels are good, my liver functions are good, lipids are good… basically if this was a test in school I would have gotten an A+.  Except when it came to my glucose.

I should mention that I have a family history of diabetes.  Not like my mom or dad, more like on my mom’s dad’s side (which is a side I don’t know so I can’t ask them for more details)  so my doctor has always watched my glucose numbers because unfortunately a family history of diabetes can kick your butt even if you are super healthy and follow an amazing diet.  Now, my glucose levels are not out of the “normal” range, but they did happen to fall on the absolute highest level of normal…basically I’m 10 points (?) away from being pre-diabetic.  That is no good.

And again, he was not overly concerned with this but brought it up as something to watch.  Especially because at some point Chris and I would like kids and having a family history of diabetes can sometimes make a woman more susceptible to gestational diabetes which while temporary in some women, could push my levels over the edge and turn me diabetic which is really, really scary.

So we chatted and his best advice was to “stay slim.”  He said that’s actually a “prescription” they give to patients who become pre-diabetic.  He said the best thing I could do was to keep exercising and cut back on carbs – bread, pasta, rice.  And I admit, while I’m not a big bread eater we do eat a lot of pasta in this house.  A lot.  I would say that 75% of our weekly dinners involve some type of noodle.  It’s actually super interesting to me that this is the first time my levels have been this high and this past year I’ve been eating pasta a lot more than I had in the past.  Coincidence?  I’ve been trying to cut back on the noods anyway so it’s kind of nice to have a medical reason to take it easy.  Might make it easier to actually follow through.

Wow, ok this post is super long.  I need to get out of here before I write a novel.  Hope everyone has a great Friday and has some fun weekend stuff planned.  Tomorrow my mom and I are going berry picking and then we’re going to can things.  Can’t wait.

My camera is sad

Why you ask? Because it has a bunch of cool pictures on it that it hasn’t been able to share with you. For example, last nights spicy corn on the cob, BBQ chicken and Annie’s. Or tonight’s pork loin stuffed with sun dried tomatoes, goat cheese and spinach (Chris liked it, verdict is still out for me)

If you follow me on twitter then you probably know I’m back in all-day work/training meetings which kind of drain the life out of me. Interesting subject but I think having to be totally “on” for 8 hours wears me out and all I want to do when I get home is chill on the couch.

And while I’ve managed to keep things pretty healthy for dinner I’ve kind of fallen off the wagon during the day. Catered food is tough. There’s always so many good things. And today was over the top. We had to do an exercise with M&Ms and at one point we had 36 containers of them sitting at our table. Luckily I didn’t eat that many but I still had way too much. Good thing I’ve been getting up at 5:30 to get some cardio out.

45 min on the bike yesterday. 50 min on the treadmill today.

So until I get a little more free time, here’s a summary of what’s been going on around here in picture form.

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How do you guys handle crazy work days? Are you more likely to want to come home and veg or do you want to get after it?

Ps because I apparently did not have enough sugar today, that last pic was homemade “ice cream” using 1/2 frozen banana, 2-3 tablespoons chocolate PB2 and a little almond milk. It was amazing.

The time I ate cereal for dinner

I’ve tried not to complain very much about the heat around here.  But tonight it was hot.  92 degrees during the car ride home.  Dinner was a struggle-fest.  Even though I’d planned on making pork loin Chris said he wasn’t feeling it and wanted BBQ chicken with Annie’s.  Which sounded great except that I hadn’t thawed and marinated the chicken so that was out.  After going through many other choices we landed on Chris’ favorite chicken penne pasta with sun-dried tomatoes because we could thaw the chicken but didn’t need to marinate it.  Not my fave but what can I say, I’m a good wife :)

Except then Chris worked in the yard until after 8.  And I got hungry.  So I had some frozen grapes (which might be the best hot weather snack ever).

Along with some chips and hummus. And then I decided it was just too hot in the kitchen and I was not in the mood to cook anything.   So I had some cereal (at least I added a few freshly-picked-from-the-backyard blackberries) and Chris had leftover pizza.

To be honest, it was kind of refreshing not to have to cook.  I love cooking and I love making healthy foods for Chris and I but sometimes it’s exhausting.  Sometimes I want a night off (and let me clarify, Chris cooks but lately it’s been almost 100% me.  He tends to come up with more cold-weather meals). And it was nice.

Especially since I kicked my butt on the workout front.  I got up this morning and ran 5 miles and then I did a pilates reformer class at lunch.  It felt just like Hood To Coast training days.  I love/hated it.  It sucked to get up in the morning but I felt so good when it was over.  I just need to be careful about not pushing it too much.  My knees are doing pretty good right now and I’d like to keep it that way.

Do you guys ever have nights where you don’t want to cook? What’s your go-to auto pilot dinner?

PS – Shameless plug alert – I’m up for an award over at Around The Plate.  If you feel like voting, I’d love a little vote for me :) I’m in the healthy eating champion category.

Watermelon infused water + our dinners for the week

If there is such a thing as “hot spinning,”  I’m pretty sure I did it.  I hopped on our spin bike around 5pm and rode for 45 minutes in what felt nearly identical to a sauna.  Sweat-y.  It was in the 90’s today and we don’t have air conditioning so the ceiling fan and an open window was all I had.  Glad to be done with that :)

I also got sweaty when I helped Chris for a bit in the yard, shoveling river rock into the backyard for our latest project.  I’m super excited, it’s looking awesome!  I’m particularly pumped for this one because it involves a new home for my garden.  Instead of having all my beds and various containers on the backside of the house, he’s creating a new area and new beds right outside the kitchen.  Much more accessible for my “farm to fork” dinners.  Which we enjoyed the last of tonight (sad).

I’m officially out of greens.  They’ve all bolted so from now on, any strawberry salads will have to be made using store-bought greens.  Such a travesty.

And while we’re on the topic of store-bought, here’s a glimpse into what I got at the store today.

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I meal plan and then grocery shop once a week and we try as hard as we can not to go back until the following week.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

Here’s what dinners those groceries are going to turn into:

As you can see from the list above watermelon was not included in any of those dinners.  While not originally on my list, when I saw it at the store I had to have it and immediately cut it up when I got home.  I put some in the fridge for snacking, froze some for some delicious PB watermelon smoothies, and then decided to make some watermelon infused soda water with the rest.  It just felt like the right thing to do on a hot day like this.

Watermelon infused soda water:

  • 6-8 cans club soda
  • 2-3 cubs cubed watermelon
  • Ice

Pour everything into a big jar and enjoy.  Note – mint would be awesome with this but when I went to grab some out of the garden I realized I forgot to water it and now it’s dead.  Whoops.

And now I’m off watch some TV and waste some time on Pinterest and try not to melt :)

Question for you – how do you handle your grocery shopping?  Are you like me and go once a week with your planned out meals?  Or do you wing it?  Go whenever you need stuff?