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? 

 

 

Peanut Butter kind of day

My new shipment of PB2 was on the porch when we got home from work today.  I had been in out peanut flour for a while and it was horrible.  I was so sad.  I’d been using real peanut butter in our smoothies (oooh the horror!) and even Chris noticed.  The other day he asked what had happened to our peanut butter smoothies?  Thank goodness my stock is replenished.  I wasn’t thinking but I should have taken a pic of box – 2 jars of regular, 2 jars of chocolate and a bag of regular.  I don’t mess around I tell you.

And of course, I wanted some immediately so I whipped Chris and I up a pre-dinner protein shake.  I read somewhere that a protein shake made just with the powder and water/milk is a great way to fill up and help you avoid overeating at dinner.  I’ve tried it a couple of times and it seems to work.  Anyway, I got sidetracked.  Back to my smoothie. It was amazing!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

  • 4 tablespoons chocolate PB2 powder
  • 3/4 scoop protein powder ( I used Designer Whey French Vanilla)
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • A handful of ice
  • 1 banana

Even though I’m super stuffed from dinner I wish I was drinking one right now.  I think I need to start stocking up on bananas because I feel like this would be great as a dessert.  Plus it served its purpose.  After we had these, Chris went out and mowed the yard while I got back on to the computer to follow-up on some work stuff.  Not only has work continued to be super busy but I found out today I’m going to be in a workshop all-day-long for the next 3 days.  Sheesh.  Looks like it’s morning workouts for this lady this week :)

Speaking of workouts I was hoping to get to my normal 12:15 pilates reformer class but I had to go to a lunch meeting.  Some people might like lunch meetings but I do not.  The noon hour is my time – my WORKOUT time.  A free sandwich does not make up for that.  But thankfully I found a little free time in my calendar and made it to the gym for some cardio.

  • 25 min slow run – we’re talking 5.6 pace.  I wanted to see how my knee felt going slow.  Surprise, surprise it still hurt.
  • 15 min on the rowing machine
  • 25 min on the bike at a decent resistance with the last 10 being 1 minute seated/out of the saddle intervals.

I ended it with some stretching and abs.  All the foam rollers, even the crummy ones, were mysteriously missing from the stretching room so that was a bummer.  I actually should be rolling out right now.

But before I head out, I have to tell you about my dinner.  Which also in a pleasant coincidence, included peanut butter.  Last week I was trying to come up with something that would allow me to use some leftover broccoli and I found this recipe. Because we didn’t end up getting to it last week I slated it for tonight’s dinner when I was meal planning yesterday.  I almost followed the recipe exactly.  My only changes? I used yakisoba noodles and added in chicken.  Seriously good.  We both loved it.  The only complaint is that it made A LOT of sauce.  I only used half of it and am going to attempt to re-use it tomorrow with red peppers instead of broccoli. If you don’t plan on re-using it I’d recommend halving what the recipe calls for – I’m pretty sure you’d get the same consistency.

Peanut Sauce with Linguini and Broccoli
Recipe from Will Cook For Friends


And now I’m off to foam roll and drink some water.  How are you all doing with the #hydrateinjuly challenge?  Slowly but surely I’m drinking more water in the morning.

 

The jam plan

Do you remember the Friend’s episode where Monica breaks up with Richard and in order to feel better she makes tons and tons of jam?  I think eventually she gives up the jam plan and then decides to just have babies or something along those lines…I miss Friends.  Such a great show.

Anyway, back to the point of my story.  Jam.  I love jam.  And lately I’ve been seeing tons of recipes for chia seed jam and it’s been intriguing me. First, a little review of what chia seeds are…they look like this:

And sometimes come in a package that looks like this.  I typically buy Bob’s Red Mill brand but I couldn’t find them this time.

The benefits of chia seeds are awesome.  They have omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, iron and protein.  I’ve put them in my overnight oats, on peanut butter toast for a little crunch, and in my smoothies (beware they do get in your teeth).  And now I’ve made jam with them. See, once you soak the seeds in liquid they expand and turn sort of jelly like and I’m assuming that quality is what led people to start making jam with them.

I’d seen a couple different recipes floating around but I decided to try out this one from Brittany at Eating Bird Food (mostly because her pics looked amazing). The original recipe is here but I had a few more strawberries than she did so I modified it just a little.

Strawberry Chia Jam (courtesy of Eating Bird Food)

  • 1.5 cup fresh strawberries
  • 1.5 Tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • Agave nectar to taste (you could also use stevia or honey)

Directions:  Mash up the strawberries (I tried using a fork but that took too long so eventually I just tossed them into the blender).  Add chia seeds, water and agave. Cover and store in the fridge for at least an hour.

I poured the jam from the bowl into a mason jar before storing in the fridge.  I mean, jam just belongs in a mason jar.  I really had no choice.

And then later I broke it out for a taste test.  I topped a plain rice cake with Justin’s Honey PB and then added the jam.  Verdict?  Winner!  Honestly it tasted like regular strawberry jam and I felt really good knowing there was nothing funky or artificial in it.

In fact, the jam was so good even Chance wanted some.

Well actually he probably wanted the PB but I’m sure he would have enjoyed the jam.

And in other non-jam news, I’m working from home today and even though I wanted to just sit around and watch the Today Show, I hopped on the spin bike for some sweaty cardio.  I rode for 30 minutes at a moderate resistance (while watching the final segment of the Weight of the Nation documentary) and then 15 minutes of intervals – 1 minute recovery, 30 seconds out of the saddle with hard resistance.

And then I ate this for breakfast…blueberry protein smoothie, an egg pouf with hot sauce (2 eggs microwaved for 1:30) and some coffee with almond milk.  Breakfast of champions I tell you.

And I’m out.  Off to get some work done before we go camping.  Normally I would be super excited except that in typical Pacific Northwest fashion, the weather forecast is calling for nonstop showers which ironically doesn’t phase me all that much since the last 3 times we’ve camped it’s been in the rain. Luckily I’ve got some rain pants.

Do you guys have any fun plans for the weekend?  What are your thoughts on rain camping?  Would you still go or bag it?

Oh and I also wanted to pass this along.  The Fitnessista, my all-time favorite blogger was picked as one of the top 10 online fitness influencers.  How freaking cool is that?  She’s the one who inspired me to start blogging and start experimenting more with foods.  Love her.  And of course my fave lady ever, Jillian, took home the #1 spot – freaking rockstar.

What do you guys think about this list?  Are you influenced by anyone on there?

 

 

 

 

What to do with a BOSU Ball

Are you excited that it’s Friday?  Do you have any fun plans for the weekend?  We’re staining the deck today, and tomorrow we’re going wine tasting with the in-laws.  I can’t wait!  Plus it’s still sunny here which has to be some sort of record especially because the sun is supposed to stick around at least through the weekend before it starts raining again (which is fine with me because we leave for Mexico in a couple of days).

Speaking of sunshine, Chris has been taking advantage of it and sanding our deck every night this week after work and I wasn’t able to get to the gym yesterday because he wanted to go straight home to take advantage of every last ray.  Which meant I worked myself out with equipment I had at home. I rode the spin bike for 20 minutes at an easy pace and then spent the last 10 minutes doing intervals – 1 min with the highest resistance I could handle, going as fast I as could, followed by 30 sec of rest (turning the resistance way down).  After that, I made up this little circuit and did it 5 times:

I ended everything with 1 minute front and side planks also on the BOSU.

And after all of that, I looked like this.  Yikes.

Not pretty

And as I was sweating through this workout I realized that not everyone may be as buddy-buddy with the BOSU as I am.  See, I’ve amassed quite the collection of at-home fitness gear over the years – fitness ball, medicine ball, yoga mat, free weights, resistance bands, kettlebells, foam roller…but my 1st piece of equipment (and arguably the most versatile) was my BOSU.

BOSU Ball

Besides awkwardly looking like a part of the female anatomy it is one of the most amazing pieces of gym equipment you will ever use.  This little half dome can work out every part of your body!  If you head over to the official BOSU website you’ll learn that BOSU was originally an acronym for “both sides up” meaning that the ball can be used with the dome up or dome down (you learn something new everyday).  You can also read about the science behind the ball, and that BOSU training really is for everyone. It’s quite possibly the most effective route to improving core stabilization and neutral spinal posture, both of which are the building blocks for moving better in athletics and in life.

Stabilization.  That’s the key word. Every move you do on that ball requires you to stabilize your muscles and balance your body.  Whether you’re standing on it for squats or holding it upside down for push-ups, you loose your solid ground and have to work harder to complete your set.  Imagine standing on level ground doing some bicep curls.  Easy, yes?  Now imagine you’re standing on a water-bed trying to do them…much harder right?  That’s kind of how I describe the BOSU.  It’s an unstable surface and it makes your muscles work harder.

Here are some of my favorite ways to use the BOSU but the possibilities are endless.

Upper body

Image source

  • Push-ups
  • Bicep curls
  • Tricep extensions
  • Front raises
  • Shoulder press
  • Chest Press
  • Chest fly

Lower body

Image Source

  • Squats
  • Single leg squats
  • Bridge
  • Side leg lift
  • Runners toe touch
  • Lunges
  • Donkey kicks
  • Fire hydrants
  • Side leg series

Core

Image source

  • V-ups
  • Roman Twists
  • Sit-ups
  • Planks
  • Superman
  • Swimming

Cardio:

  • Burpees
  • Side hops

Really, you can do just about any exercise on the BOSU.  Just place the dome-side down and stand on the platform to challenge your core.  If you’re really feeling crazy, stand on the dome to challenge your stability even more.

Do you guys BOSU?  Do you have any favorite BOSU moves? Are there exercises I missed?

 

Mind over matter

That’s what Jillian told me this morning, “mind over matter.”  She said this to me as I was doing her 30 Day Shred.  The ENTIRE DVD.  That would be all 3 levels in descending order.  See normally, you’re supposed to do 1 level for a good 20 minute workout but I wanted to kick my butt so I did them all.  Am I a crazy woman?  Maybe so.  Am I going to be sore tomorrow?  You bet.

See, I just haven’t felt like I have it together this week.  Last weekend I enjoyed myself and didn’t worry about food or fitness.  And normally I’d get everything back in order during the week – eat good, work-out etc.  But this week has been super random.  I went out with some friends for a belated bday celebration Tuesday (had Mexican food and drinks) and then the rest of the week has been spent at the photo studio, totally throwing off my normal schedule.  I’ve had to squeeze workouts in at random times and I haven’t been able to push myself as much as I normally like to.  Add that to a table full of sweet temptations at the studio (which I’ve enjoyed) and larger than normal lunches and I just feel like of blah.

I did manage to eat a pretty healthy dinner last night though.  Left-over stir fry with some kale chips.  I’d made kale chips once before and they were kind of a fail but last night I followed a recipe from Kath Eats Real Food and they were fantastic.  Highly recommend them.  I actually ended up eating my whole bunch of kale so I’m going to need to pick some more up this weekend.

Kale Chips (Recipe from Kath Eats)

  • Preheat oven to about 375
  • Use about 1 OXO salad spinner’s worth of kale (which was a stuffed grocery store veggie bag). Tear the leaves off the thick stems into bite size pieces. Spread out on cookie sheets.
  • Drizzle with about 2 tsp of olive oil
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan, Asiago or your seasonings of choice. Plus a sprinkle of kosher salt.  Note – I added some cayanne.  I like my food spicy!
  • Bake for about 15 minutes, until edges are brown and kale is crispy when moved in pan.

After dinner, my random schedule continued when I went over to my friend’s house to drop off some dinner and visit with the most adorable 1 month old ever.  Can I just say that baby John is so cute???  Chris and I aren’t quite ready for kids but after holding this little guy for almost 2 hours the idea is certainly a little more tempting.  He just smelled so good and when he was all cuddled up, sleeping in my arms… kind of blissful :) Not to mention I was able to enjoy a mason jar of beer while holding him.  Multi-tasking at it’s finest.  I also learned some lessons from the new parents – apparently the Happiest Baby on the Block is the method to follow if you have a crying baby.  Good to know for the future.

When I got home, it was around 8:30 and I still hadn’t gotten a workout in and I was dying.  Just feeling a little gross.  So I hopped on the spin bike and rode for an hour while watching TV.  I’ll admit, not the hardest workout but I did get my heart rate up and worked up a sweat.  And I felt better doing something.  Plus Chance kept me company :)

And even though it was pushing 10pm when I finished, I made myself a protein shake.  Mostly because I wanted something sweet as opposed actually needing the protein.

Cherry Cheesecake Protein Shake:

  • 1 cup frozen dark pitted cherries
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar-free/fat-free instant cheesecake pudding mix

And then as I was crawling into bed later I told myself I was going to get up in the morning and work-out.  The shoot was probably going to go long and then I had plans to meet up with friends later so I knew that getting a workout in was going to be challenging.  Plus, at least for me, I tend to make better food choices if I know I’ve already worked out.  For example, I’m much less likely to snack on peanut M&Ms when I know I can’t work them off.  Make sense?  Yesterday for example, I kept telling myself, “I’ll workout after work and work off all of this that I’m eating.”  Basically erasing the calories I’ve consumed.  But with working out at the beginning of the morning, I won’t have the chance to erase things and I’m more motivated to keep my diet clean.

But when my alarm when off at 5 am I was just not feeling it.  I seriously laid in bed, hitting the snooze for almost 45 minutes trying to talk myself into getting up.  I kept rationalizing why it would be okay to skip my morning workout…I’ll eat good, ride the spin bike after work, skip drinks with my friend.  And finally at around 5:45 I just got up and MADE myself but on my training shoes.  And I’ll be honest.  It sucked at first.  I was cold and tired and Jillian was yelling around.  Ug.  But then something happened.  By the time I was halfway through the 1st level I had found my groove.  The cobwebs were gone, the workout endorphins were starting to kick in and I was so glad I’d made myself get up.  Mind over matter.  Jillian was right.  No excuses.  Just do it.  Sometimes you just have to force yourself to get out of that bed and work up a sweat.  You’ll thank yourself later, because I honestly can’t think of a time where you’d regret it.  And then because I was enjoying (is that the right word hahah?) I made myself do all 3 levels starting with 3 and going backwards.  I’ve only done that one other time and all I remember is being super sore the next day so I’m pretty sure that’s what I’ll wake up to tomorrow.  But it will be worth it.

Allrighty, this has turned into the longest post ever and if anyone has made it this far, nice work!   Hopefully you all have some fun plans for the weekend…Until tomorrow :)

Midweek roundup – Food + fitness

This is what I spent my day looking at yesterday.  That, my friends, is my front room.  Where a window is supposed to go.  A few weeks ago, you’ll remember that I was also working from home, dealing with Home Depot and leaking windows. And they PROMISED me that they were fixing it.  But they didn’t.  So yesterday they were back.  For the 6th time.  And after they finally admitted they installed them incorrectly the 1st time, they completely uninstalled and reinstalled my windows.  Except they didn’t quite finish.  So they’re coming back today.  That makes time #7.  The good thing about all of this is that I think they’re finally getting installed correctly so I am really feeling good about all this work.  Really hoping after today I can finally move on with my life.  Plus, because I had some very lengthy convos with a variety of people at HD they also fixed all of the windowsills/woodwork which makes it a little more worth my while.  And I’m currently in conversations with them about some HD gift cards.

Anyway, because I was at home yesterday my diet/workout plan was a little random.  Breakfast was the normal PB blueberry smoothie.  Lunch was a homemade protein bar and then later PB toast with honey and an orange.  And dinner was a hodgepodge of leftovers – corn, pinto beans, orange pepper, eggs/egg whites and cheese.

Speaking of hodgepodge, here are some random iphone snaps of this week’s eats:

Wednesday PB toast

Monday's afternoon snack

Tuesday dinner: corn, ground turkey breast, re-fried beans, avocado, red pepper, cheddar cheese, sour cream. So good.

Monday's lunch: leftover favorite salsa plus 2 egg whites, 2 eggs and goat cheese.

Wednesday snack

Wednesday dinner - eggs + egg whites, orange pepper, corn and beans. Random

For my workout (we’re still talking Wednesday), I rode on the spin bike for 45 minutes but couldn’t get the seat lowered from Chris’ height so I had to ride most of it out of the saddle.  My feet could touch the peddles sitting down but it bugged my knees and I couldn’t put that much resistance on there since it didn’t have much force to come down with so it wasn’t as challenging as I would have liked.  We still haven’t been able to get that seat lowered.  I hope the knob magically loosens up or something soon.

After the bike I did a tiny weight circuit on the fitness ball:

Chest fly, chest press, triceps extension…15 reps each, repeat 3 times, using 5lb hand-weights. And some situps…4 sets of 25 also on the fitness ball.  And then I started to do the pilates side leg series on the ball but Chris got home and we took Chance for a walk.

And while we’re on the subject of circuits, here’s a good legs one I did at the gym Tuesday:

Buns burner
You could probably try heavier weights, but with my knees, this is as much as I can do right now.

  • Leg press – 3 sets of 12 reps, 60lbs on each side
  • Straight leg dead lift – 3 sets of 20 reps, 40lb barbell
  • Side squats with leg raise – 20 on each side.  No weight
  • Sumo squat calf raises – 20.  No weight
  • Step-ups – 20 on each leg
  • Leg extension – 3 sets (50 reps @ 40 lbs, 35 reps @ 30 lbs, 25 reps @ 20 lbs + extend legs and hold for a min)
  • Abductor machine – 60lbs, 3 sets.  50 little pulses + hold for 50 counts.  Also, make sure to sit forward on the machine.  Don’t lean back.  You have to engage your core more if you’re not using that back support.

I got all my leg press reps done then rotated through the deadlift/squat/calf/step-up combo 3 times and then headed over to the machines and did all reps of the leg extension and then ended with the abductor.  My buns were seriously on fire.  I think it was the side squats or something.

Alright I think I’ve zigged and zagged around the past couple days but you should be pretty caught up.  Hopefully the week is going by fast for you.  I actually can’t believe today is Thursday and the weekend is just right around the corner.