Saturday, July 31, 2010

Friday in Pictures - Cathe Road Trip

This is me on the way to the airport Friday morning. Obviously the ativan had not yet kicked in.

Finally got to meet Jessica and Jolene!

Sweaty messes after the first step class. Should 3 people be so happy to be so sweaty and tired?

The I heart Cathe girls.

It's been an absolute whirlwind. Friday night's step class was awesome - the energy through the roof. Saturday's schedule ended up being more packed with an added spin class. So today went a bit like this:
Step aerobics 50 mins/abs 10
Bootcamp 40 mins
no break
Spin 40 mins
no break
Yoga 45-ish mins
Cardio Core Circuit 30 mins/upper body 30 mins
Awwww well-deserved break before dinner

More pics and actual content to come....

Friday, July 30, 2010

Jersey Bound - The Cathe Road Trip Day 1

Jersey Bound
Well as you know, I'm on my way to the Cathe Road Trip. I am not sure if I'll be able to blog tomorrow or not. It all depends on how if Jessica, Jolene, and myself can stop chatting long enough to log onto our laptops ;-) If I can't get a post out, I will definitely return on Sunday with at least a quick/condensed recap, maybe a post in pictures. Not sure how you guys feel about those. Speaking of pictures, I'll be sure to take plenty (though I'll only have my point and shoot unfortunately). The full recap will probably be done in a series - I am thinking it'll be lengthy.

As promised - here is the schedule for the Road Trip and a link where the webcam will be posted (I think): Webcam: or maybe on the Road Trip home page. I don't know all the details on the webcam, but if you get a chance, check it out. You may get to see me in action (aka getting my booty kicked).

3:45 PM - "The Cathe Buses" depart from hotels to the gym.
4:15 – 4:50 PM - Registration and shopping
4:50 - 5:15 PM- Road Trippers change clothes for class.
5:15 - 6:15 PM- Class #1 - 30 minutes of step and 30 minutes of kickboxing
6:15 – 6:45 PM- Time to freshen up!
6:45 – 8:45 PM- 2010 Road Trip Meet & Greet Party at gym
8:45 – 9:00 PM - Change into your Jammies!
9:00 – 9:45 PM - Class #2 - Pajamas Nightcap Stretch Class
10:00 PM - Buses return to hotels

6:30 – 7:15 AM - Breakfast at hotels
7:15 AM - Buses depart from hotels to gym
8:00 – 8:30 AM - Official Road Trip Group Picture
8:30 – 8:45 AM - Break to grab your water and get ready for class!
8:45 – 9:45 AM - Class #3 - 50 minutes Step/10 minutes Abs
9:45 – 10:15 AM Break and split into Groups A and B.

10:15 – 12:15 AM - We’ll split into two groups (A and B) of about 50 people 

10:15-11:15 GROUP “A”: Choose:Q&A Info Session with Chris Williams, Cathe’s business partner OR Yoga Fit class with Nikki, a staff instructor at FSHS

10:15-11:15 GROUP "B": Class #4 - Boot Camp…run, jump, pump sweat

11:15 – 11:30 AM Break for Groups A and B to switch places!

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM GROUP “B”: Choose: Q&A Info Session with Chris Williams, Cathe’s business partner OR Yoga Fit class with Nikki, a staff instructor at FSHS

11:30-12:30 GROUP "A": Class #4 – Boot Camp…. run, jump, pump sweat

12:30 – 12:40 PM - Cleanup break
12:40 – 2:15 PM - Lunch
2:15 – 2:30 PM - Break
2:30 – 3:30 PM Class #5 - 30 minutes Cardio Core Circuit/30 minutes Intense Upper Body Conditioning
3:30 – 3:45 PM Road Trippers, gather your gear!
3:45 PM - Buses depart to hotels
4:00 – 6:00 PM - Shower and dress in casual, comfy clothes you can move & groove in!
6:00 PM - Buses depart from hotels to gym
6:30 – 10:00 PM - Fitness Feast, plus 15 Minutes Of Fame, and Zumba Dance Party
10:00 PM - Buses depart to return to hotels

6:00 – 6:30 AM -  Breakfast at hotels
6:30 AM - Buses depart for gym
7:00 – 8:00 AM - Class #6 -  Lower Body Blast combined with Plyometric bursts
8:00 – 8:30 AM Time for a quick clean-up before the bus comes!
8:30 AM - Buses depart from gym to Five Points Diner
9:00 – 10:45 AM - Farewell brunch at Five Points Diner
11:00 AM - Buses depart to hotels

Wish me luck!

Fun Facts and Pizza Friday will return to their regularly scheduled time August 6.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rest Day & Packing for The Cathe Road Trip

Thinking Positively
Well, today is my official rest day - properly preparing myself for the Cathe Road Trip. However, I am such a bundle of nerves (both good and bad) that I feel like I need to do something just to shake out some of the energy.

While some of the nerves are from my anxiety over flying, a huge part of the nerve is really pure excitement. I am almost at a loss for words to be honest. I'm not sure there is really any way that I can totally express how excited I am to not only meet Cathe, but to also finally meet Jessica and Jolene.

As I commented to Jessica, there may actually be squealing when we meet! Seriously that giddy, not going to lie. Never in a million years would I have thought that I could honestly call 2 people true friends when I have never even met them face-to-face. But, I do indeed consider them to be friends. I know that this will not be the last time we meet up. I fully expect that they will come visit me and I'll gladly brave another flight to visit them - and that's huge 'cause I don't just fly for anyone ;-)

So, even though I am worried about eating out so much (something I know I haven't really mentioned), terrified of the flight, worried if I'm really up for what's in store regarding all the workouts, I have so many more positive aspects of this trip to look forward to and to help ground me (well sort of as I am seriously on cloud 9).

I thought I would list out all of the positives that I'm looking forward to - this will help me first and foremost, but it will also give you all an idea of what I'll be up to:
  1. Meeting Jessica and Jolene.
  2. Meeting Cathe.
  3. Meeting all the other Catheletes - seriously how cool is it going to be to meet so many others who actually know who Cathe is????
  4. Getting to attend classes taught by Cathe - not just my DVDs wow.
  5. Visiting Philadelphia with Jason.
  6. Getting to visit with some really good friends who now live in Maryland - Jason is staying with them and then they're going to join us in Philly at least one day.
  7. Getting to enjoy some restaurants that actually understand what a vegan or vegetarian meal really is. As in they include *gasp* a protein like tofu or seitan. This is going to be a HUGE treat for me. There are NO restaurants like that here, none, nada.
  8. Enjoying a few days off from work.
Skipping Regular Dinner Post
I will apologize in advance for the out-of-ordinary post (and the ones over the next few days that won't be my norm as well). I hope you all stick with me though and maybe even enjoy the programming change.

I have so much left to get done that I am going to do myself a favor and post early rather than wait on dinner. Plus, dinner tonight will be whatever we can manage to pull together - may be just an easy stir fry so you won't be missing out on too much I hate to admit.

My sister will be staying over and watching the dogs again (thank goodness), so I need to get the house in order for her as well as finish with last minute packing. The flight is scheduled for 7:30 am, so the goal is to get to bed early and pray for sleep.

I look forward to sharing this trip with you all.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Last Chance Workout & "Beef" Fajita Taco Bowl

Thank You!
I wanted to thank everyone for their kind words regarding my anxiety about flying. It's nice to feel like I have so much support! You guys are so wonderful. I plan on posting the schedule on Friday along with a link to a webcam. Not sure what the schedule will be for the webcam, but if you're bored, you might be able to get online and see what I'm up to - literally!

Last Chance Workout
I thought today might be my rest day after doing legs yesterday. But Jason got up to go to his master's swim class at 5 am and I was wide awake. So I decided to get it done - my last chance workout. Today was chest and back (supposed to do abs too). Because I didn't have a spotter, I had to go lighter with weights for chest. To make up for that, I increased the reps and supersetted with flyes.

SS#1 3x10
Flat bench chest flyes
Flat bench dumbbell press

SS#2 3x10
Flat back, double-arm rows
Single-arm horizontal rows

SS#3 3x10
Incline chest flyes
Incline dumbbell press

SS#4 3x8
Underhand dumbbell rows

Pushups on stability ball - 24
Lat band pull downs - 16 (with heaviest band)

I finished up with a short 2-mile run. I seriously didn't think my legs were that sore until I started to run. Two words: Dead Weight. It felt like I was running in mud. I didn't have enough time to go any farther or get in abs. So, after work I did abs from Kick, Punch, and Crunch.

Taco Wednesday
Dinner was once again meant to use up more food in the fridge. I made some "Beef" Seitan over the weekend and decided to make "Beef" Fajita Taco Salad Bowls. I apologize for the brevity, but I simply sauteed the seitan, bell peppers, onions, and fresh jalapenos with lemon juice, cumin, salt, pepper, cilantro, garlic powder, and red pepper. I also added similar spices to the black beans I cooked off Sunday and put everything into whole-wheat taco "bowls" that I made by simply baking them in bowls at 400 degrees for approximately 15 minutes. We topped them with Cheddar Daiya Vegan Cheese. I also added more jalapenos and salsa.
Let's just say that this turned out so good, Jason tried to go back for seconds. And, um, there were none.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Weights, Run, & Road Trip Details

Two on Tuesday
This morning my eyes opened wide at 4:55 am. I tried to go back to sleep, but quickly realized I was only fooling myself. So I got up and got my workouts done. Today was leg day with quad focus.

Wide-stance squats - 3x8
Rear leg elevated lunges - 3x10
Firewalkers - 8 total
Narrow-stance squats - 3x10
Static lunges - 3x10
Squats with low-end pulse - 3x8
Wall squats with ball - 6 reps of squat with 10 sec hold
Outer thigh raises with ankle weights on ball - 2x24

We had storms roll through last night, so the temperatures dropped finally. It was 74 this morning, so I decided to take advantage of that and get in a short 20-minute run. When I first started out, I seriously didn't think I was going to get very far. My legs were already yelling at me. But, about half a mile into the run, they loosened up and it felt good.

What's the Deal With the Road Trip?
I am really glad I got the workouts done early. I feel like I still have so much to do to get ready for my upcoming trip. I, perhaps, been slightly glossing over it. It's not intentional, I am just not sure how many of my readers really understand what this trip means (and I don't mean that in a negative way at all mind you). So, here's the deal:

I have been working out to Cathe Friedrich DVDs for about 5 years (?) now. I have sort of lost track. It all started with just the step aerobic workouts, then it escalated to weights and circuit workouts. Last year I did a 3.5 month round of her kick-ass weight rotation called STS. I have tried many many other instructors, and always go right back to Cathe. Why? For me she is a perfect fit. She is beyond personable, she looks incredibly fit, she is one instructor that always has good form (sorry, but there are some that are horrible). I feel comfortable that she knows her stuff basically.

She also has a forum and does indeed take the time to answer questions and interact. As well, it allows other fans to "meet" and talk about workouts, even do daily check ins. It's an incredibly supportive environment. Even better, 2 blogger buddies (Jessica and Jolene) just happen to be fellow "Catheletes" and join in on the forum. Cathe's studio is in New Jersey, and she does an annual event called the Cathe Road Trip. It is only open to 105 registrants. While I always wanted to attend, I never dreamed I would.

But, Jessica and Jolene gently (well, more than gently) urged, begged, pleaded, threatened on the day that the registration opened up, I sat there with the page open, waiting for the registration to begin. I entered my info and sat there with my finger on the enter button. I hadn't even told Jason that I was seriously considering this. He knew I wanted to, that I had talked about it, but to really do it???? I hit submit and half hoped that the registration was already full. But, I got in. I was absolutely panicked to be honest. I had that, "What the hell did I just do?" moment. Then I had to tell Jason what the hell I had just done.

I will definitely be posting the full schedule of events, but basically there are 6 classes between Friday at 5:15 pm and Sunday morning at 7 am. Will I be able to even breathe??? When Jason saw the schedule, his response was, "HOLY CRAP! Will you even have time to pee?"

Jason is flying up with me and then going to spend Friday-Sunday morning with some good friends in Maryland. Then, Jason and I will hang out in Philadelphia and be tourists. I mean, we had to fly into Philly, why not take a couple of days to enjoy it???

Here's the big kicker, I hate to fly. I get so anxious and stressed out that I typically am in tears long before we even see the airport. So, as much as I don't like to rely on medication, today I went to the doctor to get a prescription for some anxiety medication (used it the last time I flew and Jason won't fly with me unless I take it). So, in addition to freaking out about flying, I am a bit nervous about the Road Trip and all that it entails, and I am trying to get everything packed and in order - and all in a single carry on.

I know that I am going to have a blast. I also know that if there is something I forget, I can likely buy it there. I have also found several veg friendly restaurants in Philadelphia (another concern b/c I don't typically eat out so often) and look forward to visiting the city with Jason. I know that it is not healthy to stress, and basically does not good, so I am really trying to remind myself over and over again about how fun this is going to be, what a unique experience it will be, and the fact that I finally get to meet Jessica and Jolene. There are no words to describe how excited I am about this!

Sorry for that long ramble - if you didn't stick with me, I totally understand. So, now onto dinner and something a whole lot lighter (pics included of course).

Leftover Re-Make
Tonight I wanted something simple, and it also needed to use up things in the fridge. We had leftover Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce. We also had another portobello, a few new potatoes, and some asparagus. I decided to grill the new potatoes (seasoned with sea salt, rosemary, and garlic), the portobello (with balsamic vinaigrette), and asparagus. I heated up some Quorn Naked Chik'n Cutlets and topped them with Soy Kaas Montery Jack "cheese," tomato sauce, and the portobellos. For the asparagus, I squirted the with fresh lemon juice and seasoned with a lemon salt. I also grilled up some of the wheat French bread that I had made the other day.

It was really nice to be able to grill out again. It wasn't 100+ degrees out for a change, so standing around a grill wasn't more trouble than it was worth. I liked the extra flavor the portobellos added to the sauce and may use them in the future for a portobello tomato sauce.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Weights and Wraps on Monday

Working it Out
I must say that I feel so incredibly wiped out today after such a busy weekend. I didn't even feel like attempting weights at lunch, so we hit Target instead to get some more last-minute travel items for my Cathe Road Trip extravaganza this weekend.

I did manage to pull it together for biceps, triceps, and MMA boxing after work. I knew deep down that it'd give me the energy boost I desperately needed. Plus, I needed to get it done. I did supersets again for weights of 3 sets of 8 reps:

Biceps dumbbell curls
Triceps overhead extensions

SS# 2
Hammer curls
Double-arm kickbacks

Incline biceps curls
Lying triceps extension (on stability ball)

Biceps curls - 21's
Weighted triceps dips - to failure

I followed the weights with Cathe Friedrich's MMA Boxing and abs from Muscle Max (which I haven't done in ages).

Where's the Food?
We are fairly low on groceries, but with the upcoming travels, we don't want to go to the store and load up. I can't remember if I mentioned that we are going to be staying in Philadelphia Sunday and Monday just to piddle around as we've never been there. I'll be sure to lay out the whole plan of attack for this upcoming whirlwind of an extended weekend, including my absence from blogging.

But, on to dinner. We had some portobellos and squash hanging out. So I decided to make Portobello & Veggie Wraps with baked sweet potato "fries." There really isn't much of a recipe to post. I simply roasted portobellos, squash, and red and green bell peppers to go in a Flatout flatbread. I made a super quick, basic hummus to spread on the wraps for protein as well as tempeh bacon, and a bit of organic feta.

So they may not be pretty, but they were certainly tasty! Hope everyone has had the best Monday possible.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Late Nigh Saturday and Super Busy Sunday

Saturday Night with Friends
Thank you all for your kind comments from yesterday's post. Lake days with the family truly are special days for us. The only way to end such a great day was a great dinner with fantastic friends. We headed over to Diane and Antonio's around 6:30 and didn't get home until 12:30 am!!!! Holy smokes right? I can't remember the last time we were out that late.

We had a great visit though, so no complaints. When we got there, Diane had set out a platter of some different cheeses, crackers, olives, and Spanish almonds (hello yum). We chatted and snacked while Antonio worked on dinner. For the meat-eaters, he was making pork meatballs to go with a tomato sauce over pasta. For me, I was having the tomato sauce (he pulled some out for me before putting the meatballs in it) with pasta. We also had a super simple, but delicious romaine salad with a Dijon vinaigrette. The tomato sauce was also simple, but good: diced tomatoes, lots of garlic and onions. There were also several spices like bay, basil, basil, and black pepper.

Sunday Workout Marathon
This morning I actually slept in until 8:30 and took my time getting started on my workouts. I was going to just do legs (hams, glutes, calves), but started thinking about my rest day this week and realized that in order to get everything done and take my rest day on Thursday as I will be starting the Cathe Road Trip on Friday, I needed to also do shoulders. So it ended up being a long workout for me. I did legs then shoulders as supersets:

Step ups with rear leg lift 3 x 10
Plie squats with low-end pulse 3x10  
Stiff legged dead lifts (on bench) 3 x 10
Single leg calf raises (on bench) 3 x 20
Front leg elevated lunges 3 x 10
Rear leg slide back lunges 3 x 10
Single leg dead lifts 3 x 10
Calf raises 3 x 15 (feet turned out, feet parallel, feet turned in)
Donkey kicks (weighted) 2 x 16
Glute roll ins on stability ball 24
Glute raises on stability ball 16

SS#1 - 3x8
Shoulder press
Upright rows

SS#2 - 3x8
Lateral raise
Front raise

SS#3 - 3x10
Alternating shoulder press with elbow forward
Rear delt press

Rear delt flyes 3x10
Band pulls 8 regular pulse  then 2 sets of 15 pulses x 3

I did followed up with just half of Cathe Friedrich's HIIT Pyramid and my legs were SPENT.

Busy Bee
I felt that I head more than earned some pool time. I sat out and read then lounged in the pool when it got too hot for about an hour and a half. It started to cloud up and look like rain, so I head in. I really needed to be productive to be quite honest. My to-do list is growing by leaps and bounds.

I started a pot of black beans, more "Beef" Seitan, wheat French bread, and finished painting the door and the last of the trim work around one of the windows in the living room. I was a busy bee once I got going. It felt nice to get some things accomplished, especially in the kitchen.

I have been really wanting to make a zucchini "pasta" dish for quite some time. I figured today would be the perfect day to do so. I knew it would be a fast and easy meal to put together, plus I had a nice fresh loaf of bread that we had to try of course.

Zucchini Pasta with Roasted Garlic Tomato & Lentil Sauce
3-4 zucchini (spiralized or use mandoline to create ribbons)
4-5 large tomatoes, rough chop
1 medium yellow onion, rough chop
4 garlic cloves (or equivalent minced)
Extra-virgin olive oil (drizzle)
Sea salt
Fresh basil
To taste: parsley, oregano, red pepper flakes
1 cup cooked lentils
Minced garlic
Nutritional yeast flakes (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Spread zucchini on baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Bake for 10 minutes. (This is optional and they can be eaten raw. I like them softer.)

Place tomatoes, onions, garlic on large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake approximately 15-20 minutes until soft.

In food processor, rough chop the tomatoes and herbs and spices. Reseason as needed.

To the lentils, add basil, parsley, oregano, minced garlic.

To serve, spoon on sauce over "pasta" and top with lentils and nutritional yeast flakes.
This sauce turned out really well and was just what I had been craving recently. The only problem, I wish I would have used more zucchini.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Lake Day = Lots of Pictures

Side Stitch
This morning we got up early and headed to the lake to spend the day with the family. Jason and I ran a little over 3 miles. It was a really crappy run for me. I enjoyed the scenery and the company, but I kept getting major side stitch, which hasn't happened to me in so long I can't even remember. I think it may have been a combination of the heat and not being hydrated enough. But, I did get it done!

Lake Fun
After the run, we spent the rest of the day pretty much watching Jason "Monster Tube" with my niece. She'll be 6 in October and has really come out of her shell this summer in terms of trying new things. But, she will only monster tube with her Uncle Jason. He's such a trooper I must say.

Oh, there were some cannotball (that's what my niece calls cannonballs) to be done too. We all had to jump first of course, then she deemed it safe. She wanted to jump with my sister and me. Then my dad pretended to get in on the action - I say pretend because he didn't actually jump when we thought he was.

My nephew just turned 4 and is a bit more timid. He said he couldn't do cannotballs because he didn't know the rules yet. He eventually came around after we explained that the rules were, "there are no rules, just make a big splash."

He also finally got the nerve to do a bit of monster tubing himself, with Uncle Jason and his big sister of course. The last time he tried to go for a tube ride we had a freak hail storm. This time, he seemed to be more relaxed and enjoying himself until they hit a wave just right (or wrong) and got some major air. He politely called it quits shortly thereafter.

And here are just a few random shots - and yes, my sister and I wore similar bathing suits once again. Clearly we need to start calling each other before we head out.

So after a great day on the lake with the family, we cleaned up and headed out again for dinner with friends. I do plan on taking pictures so long as they don't think I've totally lost my mind. Antonio is really a fabulous cook, so we're looking forward to a great dinner.

I hope you all are having a great weekend!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Fun Facts Friday - The Versatile Blogger Edition

Back, Chest, Abs...Oh My
Jason was getting up early to head to his master's swim class then for a bike ride, so I knew I'd be getting up early one way or the other. Today I had planned on back and chest, but since I didn't have a spotter, that meant I'd have to go lighter with my chest work. So I decided to superset chest exercises to up the intensity to make up for the lower weights. Well, it worked. Essentially I was doing 16 reps for chest for 3 sets. Burn baby burn!  I did 3 sets of 8 reps of everything except as noted.

Flat bench chest flyes
Flat bench DB chest press

Flat back double-arm rows
Underhand band pulls (band in door in lieu of pull ups, not sure what this is really called - did 10 reps)

Incline chest flyes
Incline DB chest press

Underhand DB rows

Pushups on stability ball - 24
Lat band pull downs - 16 with blue band

I did some basic ab work with and without weights while waiting for it to get light enough to run. I hit the pavement right at 5:50 and ran for 20 minutes. It was so humid and I was really regretting that I forgot to grab my hat (to soak up the sweat, ick right). My legs felt really heavy initially, but the loosened up, and I had another really good run. Total time for workout (with brief stretch) was 1:05. I should have noted that yesterday's was 1:07 because I know it probably sounded much longer than it really was.

We're Boring Folks on Fridays
Tonight will, of course, be Pizza Friday, so no new recipes or food pictures. We're fairly boring people, and rarely go out so I feel like I don't have much to report or share with you on Fridays.

Tomorrow, however, will be a super busy one for us. We are planning on another lake day with the family. We'll need every bit of that water too as the highs are predicted to be 100. I'm hoping to get in a run at the very least, and I plan on trying to persuade my dear sis into another interval workout. Jason already said no way.

We're also supposed to have dinner with some friends. We're very much looking forward to this. It's actually my former dance teacher and his wife. Antonio is an amazing cook and always makes me a fabulous vegetarian (usually vegan) dish. I feel so honored to have someone go out of their way to make sure I get a superb dinner as well. It really means a lot that he takes the time to think about my needs.

For those of you who are vegetarian, vegan, or have food allergies, do you have any friends who make special meals for you? Somewhere you can go and not worry about what you'll end up with? It's such a refreshing change I must say.

Fun Facts Friday - Versatile Blogger Edition

Kat @ Bubblegum Gym Kat and Kris @ IHeartWellness both passed along The Versatile Blogger award to me. This may seem trivial to some people (probably not you guys) but this really means a great deal to me. when I started blogging, I had absolutely no clue what to expect. I feel very honored that any one of you read my blog. So getting these "awards" really is special to me. So I truly do thank you both.

Ok, no more mushiness: The Guidelines for Accepting this Award are…
  1. Thank the person who gave you the award.
  2. Tell 7 things about yourself.
  3. Pass the award on to 10 bloggers who you have recently discovered, and think are fantastic!

I thought it would work just nicely for Fun Facts Friday. So even if it's not passed along to you, consider yourself a Versatile Blogger and tell me at least 2 random things you've not yet shared
  1. Last night I finally started my Daily Thanks journal where I intend on listing the things I have been thankful for during the day and a goal for the next day.
  2. This morning I decided that I think I am a runner (that's for you Jess and Jo)
  3. I love working biceps.
  4. I have a convertible and can't imagine ever having a hardtop now.
  5. I'm a lazy neat freak - want everything neat and tidy, but too lazy to keep up with it.
  6. I have a horrible habit of picking at my cuticles when I get nervous or anxious (thanks for the reminder Alicia).
  7. I want one more Cocker Spaniel - a chocolate colored named Charlie (after Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).
Now I am passing this along to these 10 fab bloggers that I have more recently discovered:
Jenny @ Vegan and So Forth
Melissa @ Melissa Dishes
Lindsey @ Cotter Crunch
Alycia @ Fit n Fresh
Bela @ It's Life, Max it Out
Jill @ My So Called Health Life
Sarah @ Run Sarah
Kenzie @ A Healthy Purpose
Melissa @ Live Laugh Love...Run
Fit Chick in the City

Happy Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Triple Workout and Tofu on Thursday

Lifting, Boxing, Running
This morning I got up and got my workouts out of the way. It was a great way to start the day I must say. I did biceps and triceps as supersets - 3 sets of 8 reps except as noted.

Alternating curls
Overhead triceps extension

Hammer curls

Concentration curls
Lying dumbbell extensions

Dumbbell biceps curls - 1 set of 21's
Triceps dips with weight - to failure (16 reps)

After the weights, I did about 15-ish minutes of Cathe Friedrich's MMA Boxing while waiting for it to get light enough to safely run.

I didn't have time for the usual 3-mile route. I ran a little off route so I don't know exactly how far I went, but it was probably a bit over 2 miles. I know that the first lap put me around 1.75 miles at an 8:18 pace. I must say that I am pretty happy with that pace and how good I felt, but I know that I couldn't have maintained it for a longer run. I did keep going another few blocks trying to round out to at least 2 full miles before admitting I had to head home. It felt good and I wish I had been able to run longer actually. Love it when it all seems to fall into place nicely.

What to Eat?
After work I was planning to head over to our new local market that carries local produce. I'm really frustrated with our garden. About the only thing that I have an abundance of is jalapenos. Don't get me wrong, love jalapenos, but they don't exactly help me make up a meal. We had some animal that kept eating down the plants when they were first put in the ground, so everything is really behind. I have tomatoes, but not enough at one time to do much with other than a few to toss on a salad even.

Anyway, I say all that because we are fresh out of fresh veggies. I feel like we're out of almost everything all of the sudden actually, and I'm not sure how that happened exactly. Jason actually offered to go for me though so I could go home and try to finish painting the trim in the living room. We had some patchwork to do on one of the door frames.

I had him pick up zucchini (been really wanting zucchini pasta lately), squash, tomatoes, portobellos, asparagus. I figured I could get a few meals out of this produce. I don't know if the heat has sucked the creativity right out of me or what, but I have been feeling a bit like a slacker in the kitchen lately. I have all of these recipes that I had so wanted to try, now I just want something super fast and super simple.

I finally settled on Veggie & Tofu Sandwiches with baked sweet potato "fries." I was going to grill everything, but seeing as how it was 100 degrees (not including the heat index) I opted to bake it. I did use a grill pan for the squash and white (yes white) eggplant. The white eggplants are one of the things that are doing really well in our garden. This is the first year we've grown them, and we've been looking forward to trying them.

For the tofu marinade, I used a habanero and mango marinade I had on hand. I love the hot and spicy combo of this particular marinade and am sad that this was the last of it. I guess what it really boils down to is that I am going to have to make my own.

Oh, as for the white eggplant, it pretty much tasted like the Japanese eggplant as in it was milder than a regular eggplant.

Do you find that you go through lulls in the creativity department?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Crispy Burritos on Rest Day Wednesday

Rest Day Wednesday
I wanted to really thank everyone for the workout clothing suggestions. I learned of some brands I'd never heard of before and now would feel more comfortable shelling out the money for Lululemon too. I did find it interesting that a few of you are very loyal to a specific brand or two and some don't care as long as it was a great deal. And, apparently I'm one of the only people around who doesn't care for running shorts.

Well, today ended up being a rest day. My legs are worn out and needed a break after the front/back split workouts. Even boxing didn't sound appealing today. That meant standing ;-) So I fitfully dozed after Jason left for swim at 5 am. Actually, I had a pretty crappy night's sleep. I was up 5 different times. I just couldn't seem to get comfy and stay asleep. I think I am starting to get a bit nervous about the Cathe Road Trip next week. I'm going over lists in my head and worrying about all the things we have yet to get the hotel in Philly for Sunday and Monday nights.

This was the most spontaneous trip I have ever signed up for. I am a planner, this was soooo not planned. And, it's still not planned really. I know it's going to be a blast thought - I just keep reminding myself of that.

Busy Afternoon = Jason Cooking
Anyway, after work I went and indulged myself with a hair cut and a trip to Target. This time I was more successful with workout clothes. I picked up 2 pairs of short and another (black) sports bra. I think I may hit up the other Target in our area to see if they have my size in a particular sports bra that would match one of the pairs of shorts. So, needless to say, I got home a lot later than normal and was STARVING. Thankfully, Jason beat me home and started quesadillas that ended up being Crispy Burritos. The filling was spinach, black beans, tomatoes, red and green bell peppers, fresh jalapenos, onions, and MealStarters Chik'n Strips.

Unfortunately I was out of homemade seitan to use for these. He was going to do veggie burgers, but I am out of those too. Apparently I need to get myself in the kitchen at some point this weekend.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Step, Shoulders. Soup, Sandwiches {edited}

Step & Shoulders
This morning I was determined to get in my workout to beat the heat. My legs are most definitely talking to me after the Part 1 and Part 2 leg workouts. Yikes. Oh, speaking of Part 2, I forgot to include a set of narrow-stance squats (3x10).

Anyway, it's been at least three weeks since I've done a step workout. So this morning I decided to go for Cathe Friedrich's Cardio Fusion. Jason was getting up and getting ready at the same time to go for a bike ride with a friend, so I ended up getting started later than I had hoped. That meant I was only about to do about 45 minutes and didn't get my ab work in. I will readily admit that step aerobics with sore legs is probably not the smartest idea. But, I thought I could crank that out over a run in the humidity. It was a toss up really.

Never fear though, I got it done after work along with shoulders. I was really wanting to lift today. I had planned on splitting out upper body into biceps/triceps/shoulders and back/chest. I decided, instead, to do shoulders and abs today. I may not have time for longer weight work later in the week actually. So, I did supersets today, 3 sets of 8 reps unless otherwise noted:

Arnold press
Upright rows

Lateral raise
Front raise

Rear delt press
Band pulls*

Alternating shoulder press with elbows forward - to failure
Rear delt flyes - 2x10

*For the band pulls you hole a band palms up with elbows tight to sides and pull band open keeping elbows tight. I did 8 single then 3 sets of 7 pulses.

For abs, I did a serious of standing ab work then stability ball work.

Workout Clothing Help
Ok, bit of a rant, I am dire need of some new workout clothes before Cathe's Road Trip next weekend (yikes). I have been liking the Champion brand at Target, but keep ending up with all black - boring. I HATE running shorts. I get sweaty and the stick to me, so I prefer the tighter fitting/spandexy type booty shorts. I don't want to spend a fortune of course. I've looked at Lululemon,,, and Academy Sports. Almost all of the shorts are the blasted, baggy running shorts. Any suggestions? What's your favorite brand?

Soup and Sandwich
Warning - recipes overload! Tonight I made the soup and sandwich combo I had planned on making last night. Since it's hot, I thought a cold soup would probably be the better option. I made a Cold Creamy Tomato Basil Soup with Grilled Spinach, Tomato & Balsamic Tofu Sandwiches.

Cold Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
1 14.5 oz can no-salt tomatoes with juice (fresh would be best if you have enough)
1 8 oz can no-salt tomato sauce
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained 
1 tbsp minced garlic
Minced shallot
Juice of 1/2 lemon
To taste: sea salt, fresh black pepper, dried basil
Fresh basil (to taste)

Puree all ingredients in blender until smooth.

Grilled Spinach, Tomato & Balsamic Tofu Sandwiches
Whole-wheat sandwich thins
Fresh spinach
Fresh basil
Tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 package extra firm tofu (frozen, thawed, drained)
Sundried tomato balsamic marinade*

Soy Kaas Montery Jack "Cheese"(or other cheese option of choice)
Vegan Spinach & Sundried Tomato Dip

Prepare marinade* and let tofu marinate for approximately 30 minutes. Then pan sear until crisp.

Spread Vegan Spinach & Sundried Tomato Dip on both slices of sandwich rounds. On bottom half, place spinach, basil, and tomatoes, then add the tofu and "cheese." Pan sear both sides until crisp and "cheese" is melted.

*Sundried Tomato & Basil Marinade
Roasted tomato flakes (or sundried tomatoes finely diced)
Balsamic vinegar
White wine (to desired consistency)
Agave nectar
Pinch of salt and black pepper

Combine all ingredients.

I really loved this soup. Jason was sort of "eh" about it though. He had nothing negative to say and no suggestions. So, not sure what that means. But I really enjoyed it and I don't typically like cold soups. I really enjoyed the sandwich too. I liked the balsamic dressing with the tofu. It was slightly juicy. And, you can't go wrong with spinach, basil, and tomatoes as toppings.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Legs Part 2 & Convenient Food Wins Out

Legs Part 2
This morning I opted to sleep in rather than try to get out and run. My hamstrings and booty were more sore today after Saturday's workout then painting yesterday, which involved a lot of standing and squatting.

I did get my second leg workout done during lunch. Today I focused on the quads. I think I might try this front/back split again next week as well. Here's what I did today:

Squats (warm up set) 10
Wide-stance squats 3x10
Static lunges 3x10
Squat jumps 3x10 (only difference was that when I jumped up, I brought my knees up so I was still in squat position)
Single leg squat/sit and stands 3x8
Wall squats with ball & weights 2x6 then static holds 4x10 seconds
Firewalkers 8 (4 steps right, 4 steps left equals 1)
Outer thigh raises on ball with ankle weights 2x16

After work, I ended up going for Cathe Friedrich's MMA Boxing. I wanted a cardio workout, but I definitely didn't need anything that was leg intensive at all.

Stir Fry Monday
I had really planned on soup and sandwiches for dinner, but in the end, stir fry won out. We already had some brown rice made, frozen veggies, and Quorn Chik'n Tenders. Sometimes convenience totally wins out. Maybe tomorrow I'll have the energy to make the soup that I wanted to try my hand at tonight.

Do you often let convenience and ease win out with dinner or do you stick to your planned meal?

Hope everyone has had a good Monday. Just 4 more days until the weekend right??

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Busy Sunday - Run, Pool, Paint

Saturday Follow Up
I wanted to thank everyone for their kind words about yesterday's pictures. I certainly hope you don't think I'm fishing for comments by the way!!! You all are far too sweet.

Last night we ended up making veggie burgers (some I had pre-made and frozen in the freezer) and sweet potato "fries." I used the Vegan Spinach & Sundried Tomato dip on the buns and topped with the usual roasted red bell peppers, spinach, and Soy Kaas "cheese."

Hot Run
This morning I was itching to get in a run. My legs weren't as sore as I thought they might be from the backside workout, so I thought a run might be good. It was HOT, but I sucked it up and got it done. I told myself I'd at least do 1.5 miles then see how I felt. I ended up doing a speedy 3.5 miles at an 8:05 average pace. Guess I was ready to get it done huh?!

I really had no idea I was going that fast. I thought my heart rate was up because it was so freaking hot. When I went to wave at people, I slung sweat off my fingers LOL. I came in and did abs and stretched while trying to cool back down.

Pool and Painting
I felt I had earned some pool/patio/reading time (always easy to justify really), so I sat outside for about an hour and a half. Then I started feeling guilty for being so lazy. Jason was going to head out for a bike ride with a friend. I was torn on getting ready (hair and makeup) to go to Pier 1 and Kroger. I ended up painting the trim in our living room instead. Funny how I was too lazy to get ready to leave the house, but ended up in the midst of a huge painting project instead.

When we first moved into our house, 9 years ago, I had it in my mind that I wanted to strip the paint from all the trim and stain it all. We have a historical home. I started the project about a year after moving in. I managed to get one room done - the living room (which is really the dining room, but the pool table resides in the living room).

It took FOREVER to successfully get all of the layers stripped off. I was so worn out from doing that, that I just stopped. And that was about 7+ years ago. Soooo, I finally realized that I was not going to ever finish stripping the paint in the rest of the house or staining the trim in the living room.'s painting session. It was so hard to put that first stroke of paint on the trim, I won't lie. But, I think it's really does look good and am happy with the results.

Mexican Sunday
Time totally passed me by while I was painting. The next thing I realized, it was 5:30. I really didn't feel much like cooking after painting all day. Jason ended up making the decision: tamales, "Spanish-style" rice (his version anyway), and sauteed zucchini, onions, bell peppers, and black beans (the only fresh veggies we had). The tamale brand is White Mountain and they are completely vegan. This flavor was a chipotle mushroom. So far we've enjoyed any of the flavors we've bought.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Plan B Saturday

Friday Follow Up
I loved reading your 5 (or sometimes 4) facts! Love getting to know you guys and love that you take the time to play along. I really look forward to your comments.

Last night we enjoyed our Pizza Friday night then decided to go chill out in the pool. It's so peaceful at night - just floating on the mats, listening to music, not a care in the world. The only thing that would have made it better is if the stars had actually been out. It was a bit cloudy. We definitely need to take advantage of nighttime pool time more often. Do you like swimming at night?

I had wanted to run this morning, but I didn't get up early enough and by the time breakfast had settled enough to safely run it was already 83 degrees with heat index of 89 (at 9 am), so that was a no go (it just really didn't sound like a fun way to spend my Saturday). So today is Plan B day.

Plan B(ackside) Workout
I decided to break up my leg workout into backside and front side (very official sounding I know). I worked backside today: hamstrings, booty, calves and followed it up with a HIIT workout.

Stiff legged dead lifts (on bench) 3 x 10
Front leg elevated lunges 3 x 10
Single leg dead lifts 3 x 10
Plie squats with low-end pulse 3x10
Single leg calf raises (on bench) 3 x 20
Rear leg slide back lunges 3 x 8
Step ups with rear leg lift 3 x 8
Calf raises 3 x 20 (feet turned out, feet parallel, feet turned in) 3 x 15
Donkey kicks (weighted) 2 x 18
Glute roll ins on stability ball 2 x 10
Glute raises on stability ball 2 x 10

I did Cathe Friedrich's HIIT Pyramid and my legs were SPENT. I stretched for a while and that felt great.

Plan B Pool Time
Today was supposed to have been a totally different day for us. Jason had planned to do a triathlon. However, he has been pretty sick all week, so that was a no go. I was going to go to the lake with the family, but then my sister was put back on antibiotics for strep. That means no sun for her, so the lake was a no go. But, some friends (Troy and Karla) invited us to join them at their community pool so we enjoyed a day poolside with great friends, a few drinks, and some tasty snacks.

I made up a quick Vegan Spinach & Sundried Tomato Dip and Karla brought along some hummus. It's always fun to hang out with friends who do try to eat healthy as well.

Vegan Spinach & Sundried Tomato Dip
1 package extra firm silken tofu (firm would work too)
5-6 sundried tomatoes, rehydrated
Artichokes (about 1/2 a can?)
1 10oz package frozen spinach, thawed and drained (fresh would work of course)
Fresh basil
To taste: sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, lemon juice

Puree all ingredients in food processor.

This made for a really nice, creamy dip that would also be perfect in a wrap or as a spread in lieu of mayo on a veggie burger.

We really had a great day despite the intense heat. Actually, it was more the humidity than anything. I actually ended up just a tad pink because I kept sweating off the sunblock (pretty picture right?). Oh and you go. Please ignore the pool/sweat hair ;-)

As of right now, dinner is TBD...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Fun Facts Friday - 5 for 5

Failure? Nope.
This morning I got up at 5:22 to get my workout done. It was at least a bearable 74 degrees upstairs that early as opposed to 85 in the afternoon. I did drop sets again for back and chest doing 4 sets of 8 reps. I did increase the weights from last week as well.

Single-arm rows (all right side then all left side)
Single-arm horizontal rows (all right side then all left side)

Incline chest flyes
Incline dumbbell chest press
Flat bench dumbbell chest press (failed at 7 on the 2nd set, failed at 6 on the 3rd set)

Sometimes I experience major weakness in my left elbow. It doesn't hurt, it just wants to buckle and give out. Thankfully, Jason got out of bed to spot me this morning (bleary-eyed of course).

I wanted to talk briefly about hitting failure. It's probably not the best term to use. I used to get so angry at myself when I couldn't complete the number of reps intended. I thought of myself literally as a failure, I sucked, I was weak...insert any number of negative comments here. However, I realized that it is the quality not the quantity.

There are times when I would prefer being able to increase my weights and only being able to hit 6 out of 7 reps rather than just sticking with the lower weights that I know I can crank out the reps with. So while I noted that I hit failure, I was going with heavier weights and that was more important to me. It means that (to me at least) that I'm getting stronger. Sometimes failure is really success. So don't be afraid to fail!

Moving on...I followed up the weights with three combos from Cathe Friedrich's Kick, Punch, and Crunch and called it quits. I am officially done with workouts for the day. Woohoo! While I dread getting up early to workout, it's so worth it when I make it happen.

Fun Facts Friday - 5 for 5

Dawn @ Florida Coastal Cooking passed this along to me the other day (thanks girl!), and I thought it would do quite nicely for Fun Facts Friday. It's called 5 Answers for 5 Questions.

1.) What was on your To-Do list today:
  • Weights and short cardio
  • Pick up dogs from groomer
  • Make pizza for Pizza Friday
  • RELAX (and enjoy Pizza Friday)
2.) 5 Snacks you enjoy:
  • Greek yogurt with blueberries, almonds, cinnamon, and teensy bit of stevia
  • Apples with string cheese or peanut butter (love, but almost makes me hungrier)
  • Hummus (any dipping device will do)
  • Kashi cereal (just by the handful no need to dirty bowls)
  • Rice cake with almond butter (heaven)
3.) 5 Places you have lived:
Sorry, only 4 & I am apparently drawn to "A" states
  • Hot Springs, AR (home town)
  • Alexander, AR (during college with cousin)
  • Auburn, AL (long story)
  • Little Rock, AR (where I call home)
4.) What were you doing 5 years ago
This one was hard; only came up with 3 'cause I can't remember 5 days ago let alone 5 years ago:
  • Working on my MA (ugh, tons of research)
  • Working at a job I hated (boo)
  • Enjoying ballet classes still (before I got too old to deal with the teenagers)
5.) 5 things you would do if you were a Billionaire:
  • Pay off all debt
  • Buy my sister a home (next door to me of course)
  • Buy a beach house (or 2)
  • Donate (not just saying this to look good either, promise)
  • Finally buy new vehicles (mine is a 2001 and Jason's is a 2000)

So, I'm supposed to pass this along of course:
Eden @ Eden's Eats
Madeline @ Greens and Jeans
Laura @ B Foxy Fitness Nichole @ Live for the Run
Kat @ Bubblegum Gym Kat

You know that I fully expect everyone to participate though right? So give me either 5 answers for 1 questions or 1 answer for 5 questions. And....Go.

Sorry for the pictureless post. It'll be Pizza Friday unless something crazy happens. I'll be back tomorrow with pretty pictures ;-P  Now log off and enjoy your night!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Taco Thursday

Rest for the Weary 
Today I have some DOMS going on from yesterday's biceps/triceps/shoulder workout. I only briefly thought about getting up for an early run, but our lows were going to be 79/80 degrees, and the humidity is extreme - makes the heat so much worse. So I didn't even bother with a run or pretending to think about a run.

I had really wanted to do back and chest today, but my arms are too sore and the workout would have suffered as a result. Believe it or not, I do know my limits. So today was a rest day. I really wish that I could have mustered the energy for a cardio only day though because this means I'll have to force my rear out of bed tomorrow morning in order to get the workout done. The dogs are getting groomed (very much overdue) in the morning so Jason will take them in, but I will have to pick them up after work.

Sometimes I think morning workouts are worse when I know they are a must. Hmmm, need to refocus how I think about them. Tomorrow I will be reminding myself that it'll be much cooler to workout early than wait until later in the day. Let's put it this way, the heat index was 109 today and the upstairs (always hotter of course) A/C cannot keep up. The thermostat was set at 75 and it's still 85 degrees. Talk about working out in a sauna. 

Taco Thursday
I decided to make Taco Salad Bowls for dinner tonight. I've been seeing a few posts where people made the "bowls" with whole-wheat flour tortillas by simply baking them in a bowl shaped dish. Thought I'd give it a try. I don't even recall the last time I had a salad in a bowl like that. Jason opted for hard tacos instead.

The filling was simple: leaf lettuce, Roma tomatoes, a variety of bell peppers, jalapenos, black beans, and TVP that I spiced up (think taco seasoning). I topped mine with Daiya Cheddar "Cheese".

Had to Share
Kelsey @ Snacking Squirrel had this quote posted today. I am not a big quote person, but sometimes they do speak don't they? This is one that I thought might speak to many of you who read my blog.

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” George Bernard Shaw

Do you love love love quotes or just have a few that speak to you? Feel free to share your favorite!