Nov 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving! (Menu)

I hope everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving had a wonderful day of family and great food!
And for any Canadians? I hope you enjoyed your day as well :)

I slacked on my recipe for the week....so I will share my Thanksgiving menu instead. Despite my attempts to branch out and try new things all the time, the holidays are an exception. Call it fear or tradition but I don't like branching too far away from old stand by classics.

Baked Turkey - although Hubs took the lead on this and did a saffron butter rub just to try it. Amazing!! 

Cornbread stuffing - from Bill Miller BBQ. Seriously the best and easiest fresh stuffing. It's not a box or crouton kind of mix....fresh goopy stuff your pour out and bake for 90minutes. I did this with the promise to make my real homemade version for Christmas 

Sweet potatoes - butter with brown sugar, maple syrup and orange juice sauce and then baked to caramelize the sugars.

GreenBean Casserole - no changes to the classic. It's now the 9yr olds job to make this.

Fresh homemade pan rolls - basic white bread recipe

Green salad

Homemade pecan pie for Hubs 

And last but the most anticipated......
My mom brought our family traditional "Pink Salad" which is a cranberry pecan marshmallow sugar heavenly concoction.


********
We ate at 1pm and we just snacked for dinner. 
Literally at 9pm I grabbed a handful of peanuts and called it a day.

Since we had a monster of a bird, a "marathon" turkey that weighed 26.8 pounds!?!? 
I got up early at 5:30 to get my run in before the bird went in the oven at 6:30.

4.10miles before 6am on a holiday? Go me.
(I'm still behind by 5miles to meet my Nov goal of 60)

Anyone do a "Turkey trot?" official or not...miles are miles!


Nov 25, 2013

I played hooky on Friday

I skipped work.....


for the gym!?

Is that sad??

Let me clarify, I actually planned the leave to attend my son's annual Thanksgiving luncheon at school. It is the one lunch for the whole year that I take off work for and join him. I love how his face lights up when he sees me waiting for him.  This year was extra special because I arranged for my mom and grandmother (his grandma and great-grandma) to surprise him as well. 

His luncheon wasn't until 11:45, so what's a girl to do???

She takes him to school like normal at 6:30 and then drives to the new gym she just joined three days prior and she splurges on some alone time at a brand new clean gym while everyone else was at work.


Gosh I've missed having free reign at the gym!!  

7:15 - 7:35 = slow treadmill
7:40 - 8:15 = shoulders and glutes intermixed with biceps and tris.
8:15-8:30 = BREAK
8:30 - 9:30 = Insanity LIVE class!?


Low estimate of calories burned (between treadmill and insanity) = 980.

I showered and met up with my mom and grandmother for an emergency Kohl's stop to replace my shirt with a sweater since the weather kicked my arss with the sudden shift.  Then off to the luncheon where I promptly ate 80% of what they gave me, I would have gladly eaten 100% but I gave my stuffing to the growing boy sitting next to me who was eyeballing it (no worries, I only sacrificed for my own kid...I'm not that nice with my food to share with some stranger.)




Today's Doctor Who gifs are brought to you by the fact that this weekend was the 50th anniversary special for the show.  For the fun of it I signed up both Kiddo and myself for some kickass medals that probably won't arrive until January.  Kiddo did a 1K but went over (.84mile) and I did a 5K (33min!) on Saturday.



Special thanks to  Desiree at Skinnygeekwithin.blogspot.com for sharing the link for the awesome TARDIS medals!! 
 Check her out on her weightloss journey, she's lost over 55 pounds and is taking charge to get through the holidays!








Nov 21, 2013

I got a swipey and not afraid to use it

I have been bouncing in my seat since Tuesday night with excitement,
ants in my pants kind of fidgeting and such.

I don't mention Hubs very often for his privacy and such, but he is part of this story.  Once upon a time (like when we first met...12yrs ago) he was very fit....actually competed in bodybuilding back in his home country and such kind of hard core gym rat.  He has kept this up over the years as being the gym rat of the household and I'm the supportive wife who secretly lost weight behind his back because I didn't want to turn into his pet project for training. 

So through the years we've always had a real gym membership for him to go and get his grunt on while I rely on my treadmill and our home weight set (which is rather impressive compared to others) mostly because my activity was hit or miss once the kids came into the picture.  We bought my treadmill on 2003 when we bought the first house and I walked. Just walked, I was 180ish? I wasn't a runner and I'm a weather wimp, so I walked.  But the kid came along in 2004, we moved.....blah blah blah and it sat and got dusty.

But we never paid for a gym membership after buying the treadmill for me.
Now with the kiddo, it just wasn't going to happen because of schedule and time right?

That brings me to Tuesday night in which Hubs explained that his current gym contract that he's hated for the last year is ending in December and wanted to check out the brand new gym that opened literally within 50feet of the other gym.

We got the tour and sat through the selling and pricing spiel and it was wonderful and we both knew he was going to switch no matter what.

Then he suddenly asks...'what's the price for both of us?'


say what??
I get my own membership?

We left and I was smiling, Hubs remarked

'well, you've been kicking butt for a year now, you are working out
 harder and more often than I have this year.'




End of story is that I have a brand new spanking key swipey thing just waiting to be swiped!
I have access at my hours, classes during their full hours, and daycare??

I'm in heaven and didn't have to die to get there! (truth is, I'm more likely to end up in not-heaven)


Nov 20, 2013

A Supernatural So-What

It has been a couple weeks since this fun linkup, and I'm running low on coffee this morning, so lets run with my sarcastic-coffee-withdrawal mood...mk?

So What.....
That my alarm went off at 4:15 this morning, but I did not step onto my treadmill until 4:55am. 
 
That we are only half-way through the in-laws visit for 2013 and tensions are rising.

That today we have our Thanksgiving luncheon for work today
and its pizza.....and I'm looking forward to it?
 

That I just realized that Thanksgiving is literally a week away
and I only have a frozen turkey so far. 
Or that I have purchased two itty bitty stocking stuffers and 
ZERO Christmas presents yet 
and the big day is like 30 days away??



and that I blame Ashton @ A Fluffy Girl for turning me into a gif-whore.



to any fellow Supernatural fans, you are welcome.
To any non-supernatural fans? um...you are missing out.


Nov 19, 2013

On The Table: Homemade Hummus

Now this isn't anything fancy, but it is superfriggin awesome and easy to make yourself!

In full disclosure, if you'd asked me ten years ago....heck, 5 years ago if I had ever tried hummus, I'd have given you that blank stare of 'what the hell is that?'

But I saw the light.
courtesy of www.arabamerican.com

If you are one to spend $2-$3 every week on a package of hummus, of if you are more like us and buy it at Sams at $8 for the monster container, you may want to consider making it yourself because the love of hummus is not exactly cheap.

Here's the deal, you can find the basic hummus recipe in a million places online.

Every one of those links have the basic starter recipe and then their own personal tweaks or preferences for their likes. So my recipe doesn't include much measurements for you, you will as you go! I wrote up my best estimates as measurements for my personal favorite hummus.

Breaking it down to the basics is your basic 'starter' and then your 'addons' or flavors

Your Basic Hummus recipe:
1 15oz can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans
tahini (sesame seed paste)
lemon juice
water
olive oil

But you really get to make it your own and have fun experimenting with the flavors and addons:
garlic
cumin
pine nuts
paprika
saffron
other pureed veggies
cilantro
parsley
roasted red peppers (my fave!)
avocado

Some quick FAQs and info to spare you the pain of looking for it yourself. 

The most important ingredient outside of the garbanzo beans is Tahini. It is the nectar that blends beans into awesomeness.  Think of peanut butter but from sesame seeds, these itty bitty teeny-tiny seeds!  I find mine on the bottom or top shelf in the peanut butter aisle (because we know that I stop there every week!)



Its all about the blender or food processor and the technique you use, with either processing method, you will need a silicon scraper to get the most out of your machine! You don't want to deal with wasting, washing it down the drain.
crate and barrel
  •  Drain your beans, but keep the bean juice!
    • use it instead of the amount of oil to keep it lighter, granted this may up the side effect of beans (wink) 
  • have everything close to grab, you will likely need more spices than you expect
  • have extra spoons or fingers ready to taste and texture test your hummus as you go.
  • what kind of container are you going to keep it in?
    •  Leftover empty Sabra container? Why yes! 
    • Or a plastic sour cream container would work just as good. 




Here we go...this is my personal technique with a blender:
  1. Drain your can of beans.  Just push the lid down into it (like you do tuna) and collect the "bean juice" in a measuring cup or bowl.
  2. Toss the beans into the blender
  3. Add 2tbsp of water into the blender.
  4. Pulse and start the process to mush up or at least break down the beans. 2 minutes?
  5. Add in the 2 tbsp of tahini (start with 1 if you are nervous) and continue to blend
  6. While the tahini, beans, and water are blending...pour in about 1tsp of lemon juice
  7. Does it look thick? then add in either water or the saved bean juice (its more aromatic and adds more flavor)
  8. Stop and scrap the blender/processer to get everything back down to get this nice and smooth.
  9. While pausing, add in two cloves of fresh garlic (or sprinkle in the powder stuff)
  10. More blending....and lets add in some cumin, okay a LOT of cumin (we like it zesty!) and another dab of tahini.
  11. More blending! just watch it for your preference for creaminess.  *I probably add in about a 1/4 cup of liquid.
  12. Grab that silicon and pour your creamy goodness into a container. Looks purdy, so tempting to chow down??No, not yet!
  13. Now its time for the olive oil, just drizzle it on top.. don't mix it in.  It is a barrier to help prevent it from drying out!

And here is where you get fancy if you have company coming over and garnish it with a sprinkle of paprika or toss some sesame seeds or whole beans on top.  And it looks all schmancy like?


But if its for yourself?  You now have permission to lounge on the couch with some pita chips (or toasted flour tortillas in a pinch) and our homemade heaven.







Nov 18, 2013

Why do it?

I didn't have a post planned for today since my weekends are typically the same during soccer season.

But then something happened today that struck me like a slap in the face (and maybe other people's faces too.)

This morning my favorite mentor runner was checking in to see if I got outside this weekend since the weather was absolutely fabulous! It was truly amazing, I mean it was 90 on Sunday?!?! The middle of November and we hit 90 and broke a record.

Anyway, he was checking on my mileage of my shoes and how this muscle was feeling or another when another friend overheard us.

"April? I didn't know you ran?"
"well no, not really....I'm learning"
Then my mentor chimed in
"April is racking up miles pretty good, I may convince her to join us soon"
*ha, this is not likely!! The group he runs with all are marathoners and their short run days are 9-12miles at 4am doing TownLake. I'm lucky to call myself a jogger.

"So April, what are you training for then?"


"well nothing special, I'm just doing it...."



"For me."



Nov 15, 2013

Fit Friday Recap (Pile on the Miles)


My calves are pissed and cranky. They tried to throw a coup over night and kick me out of my own body. Together they attacked me, repeatedly. They kicked my literal ass. Quads. Calves. Feet. All of them.  I found awake and fighting not to crawl into the kitchen for a banana or something, anything! I forced myself up onto two painful quaking legs and forced myself to get 4oz of chocolate almond milk to help.

My 4:30am alarm and intent to finish up my week with a 4-5miler?



So my weekly goal of 20miles was not met today, and depending on how my legs work today I'm not sure I'll push it for tomorrow.  If I really want to work on the distance and more endurance I really need to try and get outside anyway.  I'm afraid it doesn't really count that I can run 5+ miles on a treadmill (I do fluctuate my inclines though!) but can't handle my breathing outdoors.

Monday - 5.04 miles (personal best distance and time!)  55:05
Tuesday - 3.25 miles (4.7 walk)
Wednesday - 3.10 miles (4.8 walk)
Thursday - 4.0 miles - 44:34

Total weekly miles: 15.39 as of Friday morning.
I'm in the hole 4.61miles, so I'm going to see if I can sneak away for an hour and get it done before Sunday.

In addition to my mileage challenge, I did return to my mid-day classes since my surgery last month.  Granted my first day back was Insanity Cardio day. Hello? Perhaps that is why my quads are rebelling??  But its all good, I can do this.....

with or without my legs cooperating.


How did your week add up??
If you had a rough week (like me) do you change up next week's goals?
 
 

 

Nov 14, 2013

Finding middle ground

I'm in some funky middle-ground place...

I don't call myself a runner quite yet, but got gotten myself up to 3-4miles every morning five days a week. That's not too shabby I know, and I'm obviously getting stronger to handle it without too much trouble since I now have done a 5+ (not quite 5.5miles) without trouble other than time restraints.

But I've run into a problem with this and it might be why the scale hasn't moved at all.


For about 48hours after a solid run, I feel like I could eat a small cat or at least a five pound bar of chocolate in a single sitting.

How do I balance this out?  My treadmill is grossly over-estimating calories burned hitting 600-700, so I tend to use MyFitnessPal which is also skewed but it is a safer estimate of about 400-450 calories burned.

I try not to eat back my calories burned, but when this ravenous appetite hits me, I do good to limit myself to half of the burned calories, so possibly a 200lb indulgence.


How long does it take to find that balance of eating enough but not too much?  
I have increased my daily carbs from 30g to 80g, any more and my stomach revolts.

Nov 13, 2013

W.O.W. : "Closet" Workout

button



I think I'm at a place that I can say that waking up at 4:30am to workout is a habit and a good one.  I do struggle some Sunday nights knowing that the 5-day grind is starting back up again for both work and exercise, but I do it!

And guess what?  Mondays typically are my best days with longest distance or fastest pace.

My mornings consist of a 4:30am wakeup alarm to jump on the treadmill, and another alarm to get me off and to the shower at 5:40.  Shower and while cooling off, I have this little habit that I thought I'd share with everyone. 

What I call my 'closet' routine is something I've done for years in one variation or another.  I think it originally was a crunch challenge I entered and my closet seemed to be the best place to be and well, I took the opportunity for privacy. Ha! Yes, I am talking about a walk-in closet, I'm flexible but not that flexible.

So after the shower and once the skivvies and bra are on but not quite dry enough for clothes, I find myself still cooling off by laying on the floor of my closet. Weird, but okay it works for me.

While down for the count, it used to be easy to try and close my eyes for a few ZZZs, but instead I now do this little morning boost:(I will try and make this a table to read easier!)

A 'closet' boost that should take no more than 15 minutes!

Totals
2 sets of 10 crunches
2 sets of 10 reverse crunches (bringing legs into chest)
2 sets of 10 of Jillian crunch-taps?  (featured in 30DS, raise head and shoulders from the ground for a held crunch and then oblique stretch alternating hands to the inside ankle. Hold the crunch while alternating oblique muscles. The link below is similar, but HOLD the crunch! You will feel this!) 

2 sets of 10 pelvic raises 
2 sets of 10 pelvic raises with leg raised (one set per leg)
5 indiv plank holds (hold as long as you can on elbow or hands)
12 pushups (not girly modified, full on pushup...make Jillian proud!) 
2 sets of 10 supermans
STRETCH to finish!! 

I intermix them up and rotate them around depending on how I feel after my run. Like my pushups? yeah, those get paused in the middle to incorporate the planks:

3 pushups
2 plank holds
3 pushups
2 plank holds
3 pushups
1 plank hold
3 pushups

Be creative and shake it up every morning, I just have a running list in my head of what I need to do and the pattern and flow changes depending on how strong I feel in my abs or arms and so forth.

Last month I was doing only 20 crunches, but today was a total of 50 by doing 2 sets of 25.


Are you game?? In or out??
Where are you going to do your 'closet' workout??

Nov 11, 2013

Weekends: Mileage and Glam

Last week was quite the week! I think it was the first Friday I didn't blog since starting! That means I have my belated Friday Fit Recap for last week.  I think it was important enough to blog-belated mostly because I set my own personal record for weekly miles!!!

Monday - 3.52
Tuesday - 4.0
Wednesday - 2.5
Thursday - 4.71
Friday - 3.5

Weekly total: 18.43
(reclosing the geek closet)

How about my weekend shenanigans now that I've bragged on myself now?

Sami's Shenanigans

Saturday I got an uber rare treat of 3 hours by myself! Insert a blissful grin here.  But it wasn't all for fun, rather was spent getting my hair done.  Its double-rare since I only get my hair done about twice a year, and I happen to be kid free, but Hubs mentioned in passing to splurge and get someone to do my color instead of my routine box habit.  So I jumped at the chance and lucked out with @GlamGirlErin.

How can you complain about an awesome colorist who comes to you?? She's in San Antonio, but a few friends from work got together and made it worth her drive up to south Austin to hook some girls up with some highlights.  A total sweetheart who let us all talk crap and gossip among one another while she just worked her magic.  So my routine reddish brown now has honey highlights, and I'm already itching to add more! ha!  It has been forever since I did blondish highlights or highlight at all, likely close to 9 years. Wow.

After that fun, we hosted some friends for dinner with a traditional moroccan fun night with roasted lamb and french fries, followed up with extra hot mint tea and card games.  It was a blast having a crowd in the house for once for fun.

Sunday we headed down to San Antonio for the zoo, letting the kids run amok.  I had to take the emergency inhalers for LittleOne, but she's good.  She started steroids on Friday and she's now clear of any emergencies (for now.)

Today being the holiday for us but not Kiddo, I had to really force myself to stay on target with getting up at 4:30 to run.  I mean I didn't have to work, and I'm voluntarily getting up uber early for no reason?? YES I DID.  I hit that treadmill hard and faster than usual and actually hit 5 miles! My longest running distance to date. I've walked it several times,  but this was full on running under 11minute pace.

And now?
COFFEE.



Nov 7, 2013

Pile on the Miles 2013

How in the world is it only Thursday??

This has got to be the slowest week in history, I thought it was Friday on Tuesday!

Tuesday was rough for our house, we spent the afternoon at the emergency room with LittleOne.  No worries, Dr. Mom was correct (that's me, even if Hubs won't ever say it) that her arm was NOT broken but rather her elbow was dislocated. Ouch, yes...but less trauma than a broken bone for a fiesty 2yr old, right?

That three hours at the emergency visit allowed me the treat of going out for dinner.  We ran to Logan's Roadhouse mostly because of its location but also it was coupon night. What can I say, I have six mouths to feed right now with our houseguests!  I was proud of my choice though, I did not touch a single one of the warm yummy rolls smothered in butter, and my dinner choice was a sirloin steak with double side of skewered/grilled vegetables.  As I said, we don't eat out very often at all and when the random outings to come up, I always used that as an excuse to eat in excess or splurge more than usual.

I mentioned last month that my October goals were thwarted by the chronic sickies in the house and my surgery, but that was last month and now its November.

To help this time around, is
www.runeatrepeat.com

I signed up late, as in yesterday the 6th of November...oops.  I figure the more I put it out there, the better odds I have of actually following through.

I signed up with the goal of a total of 50 miles for November, completely do-able even with me only running during the work week.


I'm already stoked with my mileage this week alone, but will wait for tomorrow for a weekly total to share :)


www.irunwithit.com

Don't worry, I'm still not calling myself a runner....but this is hilarious to me because my 9yr old says it to me almost daily now when I report in how far I ran that morning.  He shakes his head and says 'wow mom, you are crazy!' and smiles.


Any other November challenges or incentive out there?
  I need all the help I can have this time of the year!


Nov 5, 2013

On The Table: Chicken Pockets

I'm almost embarrassed to post some recipes that I think are so simple and easy its almost disrespectful to call them a 'recipe.'  We need to find a word for things that are 'whip-it-together-and-viola!' kind of things.

I made this earlier this summer and I think my kids fell in love with me even more than before. I mean, crescent rolls! Enough said, right??

Super easy weeknight dinner made with leftover chicken, but this recipe is versatile to make with anything you have on hand.  I'm thinking of making mini calzone type pockets with turkey pepperonis, olives and mushrooms for the boys and mushroom and onion for me. 

Sources:
I found the idea at Foodie Felisha,
who originally adapted it from Pennies on a Platter 


Between the three of us I think everyone can see how versatile the recipe is!

Chicken Pockets



Ingredients :
1 roll/package of reduced fat crescent rolls
1.5 cups of leftover chicken chopped or shredded
1 cup (or basically a handful) of fresh spinach leaves, chopped into bitesize pieces
1 medium tomato sliced thick (similar to thickness for hamburgers)
1/2 cup of reduced fat cream cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp of garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Directions :
Warm the cream cheese in the microwave or soften it up for easier mixing.
In a bowl, combine the chicken, spinach, cream cheese, mozzarella and spices.

Unroll the crescent rolls into the 4 rectangles and close the seams to prevent the triangles from separating.

In the middle of the rectangle, place one slice of tomato and then a spoonful of the chicken mixture (likely a 1/4 cup?) sprinkle any extra mozzarella cheese on top and then close to seal the 'pocket.'

Repeat for the remaining three.

Using a silpat on the cookie sheet prevented any oozing mess.

Spray the tops of the pockets with Pam or use butter to help brown the tops.

Bake at 375* until golden brown.

I served mine with a side a corn and a green salad.  Kiddo enjoyed the pastry parts of it and the tomato was just so soft and juicy! He's asked for this again already.

*LowCarb or GlutenFree option: For myself and LittleOne we simply warmed the chicken mixture up in a bowl and ate the chicken/spinach mixture without any crescent roll.  Still very yummy, I was able to measure out 4oz of chicken mixture for my protein for the dinner.  Can be eaten warm or cold for lunch!






Nov 4, 2013

I'm watching you...

Dear Mr. Postman:

If you or someone in the delivery program for the U.S. Postal Service out here are jealous, then let me know, I may be able to share my good luck with you so that you would let me have my prize packages and not hoard them for yourself.

Being prizes of giveaways or contests, I cannot contact the sender to complain to about not sending a package which they have graciously put out themselves in postage and packaging.  But on that token I canot flub my way through a fake thank you or show of appreciation upon receipt that is typically expected.

Mr or Ms. delivery person, you see my conundrum?
I now realize that is not my fault! I had a great streak with book blog giveaways last year (five in 8months) but now that I have had three giveaway packages never received? I am on to you.  The first one I contacted (an author signed hardback book!) as I thought I failed to fulfill the claim my prize timely only to be embarrassed that it was mailed but never received. It is not the New York Best Selling author's fault nor her publicist that I never received it all the way to a significant metroplex in Texas. And it was nerve wracking enough to email them once to inquire about it, I surely could not ask for a 2nd attempt.

And here I am a year later and three more giveaway winnings "lost" in transit.
I don't think it is natural bad luck here, I now have to surrender.  You win.

**any future prizes or deliveries will now be sent to my parent's home.

P.S.
I'm watching you.


***and to anybody who has sent me anything in the last two months?? I have every faith that you did send it, and I thank you.


I'm watching you Mr. Postman.


Nov 1, 2013

Silver linings of October

This morning I awoke in a craptastic mood. No specific reason other than one hell of a week, but I hate to write of all the negatives going on.  I find that if I dwell on the past or the negatives, then it is all that I see and you end up in a bad negative cycle. 


Rather, this post is about the 'silver linings' of Octobers less than stellar events:

My original goal of mileage was lofty but totally do-able until hampered by a very sick toddler and then a surgery being suddenly scheduled midmonth.  I ended the month with a whole 42miles (originally set myself a goal of 60.)  Its respectable since I started using dailymile since July as it is my 2nd highest month logged in.
Silver Lining? Next month will obviously be a new personal best month and will set my new high record.
************
As a result of  my mileage fail, the scale has not moved and my legs are getting soft.
Silver Lining? The scale didn't move UP.  Reality is with houseguests and the eating habits and entertaining, I'll be happy if I survive the next two months in maintaining
************
3. A total of seven days of vacation/sick time used this month for a sick kiddo and my surgery.
Silver Lining? Bonus cuddle time with LittleOne, updated prescriptions for the rest of the year for her.....(and pain meds for me)

*************

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