Wednesday, February 3, 2010

084. The Big Move and Breakfast Time

The time had come! Girl Can has officially moved! Please update your blogrolls and Google readers accordingly.

Breakfast this morning was a bit of a change from my standard oatmeal. I left out the cranberry apple butter and tossed on some cinnamon.

Today’s oats: ½ c. oats, ¾ c. vanilla soy milk, ½ large banana mashed up, 1 T. peanut butter, cinnamon, and about ½ T. agave nectar.

(The photo is a bit blurry. I moved my phone too early.)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

083. Dinner, Dresses, and Developments

Tonight I made a quickie dinner because we had a 7:30 appointment at David's Bridal for Nicki to try on wedding dresses and for me to try on bridesmaid dresses.

For dinner I made some roasted red potatoes and a veggie burger inspired by the Red Robin Bonzai Burger. It was a Morning Star patty, with Munster cheese, a bit of BBQ sauce and some pineapple chunks.
I don't remember if I've ever posted how I make my roasted potatoes. It's so super easy so if you're curious...
  • chop up potatoes and toss in a ziplock bag.
  • add 1-2 T of EVOO (depending on amount of potatoes)
  • add sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, and any other spices
  • shake vigerously
  • pour on top cookie sheer
  • bake at 350 for 30 - 40 minutes.
The trip to David's Bridal was a huge success! Nicki found (and purchased) her dress!! I took a ton of pictures, but since one of the dresses was actually purchased I'm not going to be posting any of them.

We're also almost 100% on the bridesmaid's dresses, but we want at least one other bridesmaid to try it on. We're all pretty similar in body type, but it helps to see the dress on more than one person.
This is the actual dress...
...and these are the colors.
That brown dress was a size 24 so it was way too big to actually try on, but we wanted a picture of the color combo for the bridesmaids.

Initially we considered the tea length dress in the photo above, but I decided I'm just too short for tea length so we went with the full length. (I was given full control of bridesmaid dress selection.)

I have some big news my wonderful readers! I am going to be moving over to wordpress in the next week or so. I've been considering it for a while now as I've heard wordpress is a much better blogging platform, but I made my decision after one of my earlier posts got eaten by Blogger. Blogger has eaten one post too many! So keep your eye out for my new address!

082. The Blahs

So February is off to a rockin start. (Note: that was sarcasm.) Yesterday was a pretty bad day all around. I was planning to get to work early only to have my train get delayed by switching problems. I ended up being 15 minutes late. Generally I'd just get over it; I'd chalk it up to "such is life on the CTA," but yesterday it really soured my mood...for the whole day. The more I thought about my bad mood the more I realized I've been in a bad mood for a while now, like, most of January. I've started thinking I have mild seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Especially after reading Tina’s post about SAD.

I hardly see sunlight since it's still dark when I leave for work and dark again when I leave to go home. Plus, the weather has been crappy. Crappy weather, grey skies, and snow are standard for January in Chicago, but that doesn’t make it any less depressing. I’ve had zero motivation to do anything. My last few weekend have primarily been spent laying on the couch watching my way through my Buffy the Vampire Slayer DVDs. This past Saturday I basically had to force myself off the couch and out for my friend Kelly’s birthday. I haven’t been blogging with any sort of regularity (clearly). I keep putting off basic things like laundry and cleaning up around the house. They’re not the most fun things to do, but I generally get them done.

In any case, something needs to change because I am not happy with the way things are going right now. I don’t like being no fun girl. I’ve been thinking about it, and I didn’t go through this last winter. So my first question of course is, “what’s different?” After thinking about it I noticed two key differences.

Last winter, I was living in LaGrange. My commute was shorter (about 20 minutes on the train), and I walked home from the train station. I saw more sunlight as a result. This winter, it takes me an hour to an hour and a half to get home on the train and bus. I only walk across the street and by that time it’s mostly dark anyway.

Last winter, I was working out hard core. This time last year was when I really started getting serious about loosing weight and living a more healthy and active lifestyle. I was running several days a week and doing Zumba weekly. This winter, I’m still working out, but not to the same extent. My work-outs have been one of the first things I’ve blown off. I’ve also had a few minor injuries that have slowed me down.

So what’s the plan?

First, I’m going to try and get out for a 5 or 10 minute walk at lunch every day. This is especially important on sunny days. Part two of the plan is do my workouts no matter what. I’m going to stick to my February goal of cardio 5 days a week and strength training 3 days a week. I’m also going to get my 2 (or 3) days of yoga in every week. I honestly think if I can getting back into serious work-outs will really go a long way to making me feel better.

So, in the interest of keeping myself accountable, I’m going to be posting my weekly work-out schedule. Here is this week’s:

Monday: 60 minutes of yoga, 30 minutes of swimming.
(I got a late start out the door to yoga class so this ended up being 60 minutes of yoga and about 15 minutes of high intensity running.)
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 60 minutes of yoga, 30 minutes of swimming
Thursday: 30 Day Shred video
Friday: Long run at the Pavilion
Saturday: 60 minutes of yoga, 30 minutes of swimming
Sunday: 60 minute spin class

Lunch today was left-overs from last night's burrito bowls. I was disappointed because I forgot my avocado at home. :( However, lunch was good none the less. I'm such a HUGE fan of brown rice with black beans and corn (and some tomato sauce!) mmmm...mmmm....mmm....

I'm not really sure what dinner is going to be tonight. Originally, the plan was Spaghetti Squash with marinana and sauteed zuchinni, but tonight I am embarking on the soul (and self-esteem) crushing adventure that is trying on bridesmaid's dresses. Nicki, my mom, and I have a 7:30 appointment at David's Bridal. We went on Sunday and found some stuff we liked (bridalgown and bridal party), but they were way too busy for us to be able to actually work with someone and try stuff on. I'm going to be bringing my mom's fancy camera to take photos so I'll be sure to post them later.

081. Things I Love About Being Healthy #1: Recovery Time

There are a lot of things I’ve found I love about living a healthy lifestyle. There’s the generic “having more energy” and then there are more specific things. Currently, what I’m loving is how much my recovery time on illness and injury has improved.

As I mentioned (or more accurately complained about) last week, recently it seems like it’s been one thing after another with me. First the wrist, then the cold, then the back; however, none of these things have ailed me for very long.

I still think there’s an actual problem with my wrist – tendonitis or possibly a small stress fracture, but it’s not bothering me like it was two weeks ago. While my cold hit me like a ton of bricks and made me miserable for a couple days, it was gone in about a week. My back was totally better in about 3 days. It was uncomfortable to sit, stand, and move around on day one. Day two, I only noticed pain when I bendtover or twist around.

These are all things that, in the past, would have plagued me for weeks. I credit the decrease in recovery time 100% to my healthy lifestyle. I have a better awareness of my body, and I know when to take it easy. I know what kind of foods will help my body repair itself. I know how to take care of an injury better. Plus, my body is just healthier and better able to take care of itself. I also think (and I could be way off base here as I have minimal medical knowledge) that my body has become more efficient at repairing itself because it’s had to recover from my work-outs.

In any case, my decreasing recovery time is definitely something I love about being healthy.


This morning I made breakfast a la Tina. I rocked a 3-Minute Oatmeal Cookie for breakfast. For the most part I followed Tina's recipe. I used goji berries instead of raisin, and I added half a mashed up banana. I also topped it with a tablespoon of peanut butter.

I actually made one of these last night too as I was really craving a cookie. I can't lie; I was a bit skeptical at first, but I was really impressed with how these turned out. They're not quite the consistency I like it a cookie, but I defnintely see myself making a lot more of these. They're so quick and yummy!

Friday, January 29, 2010

080. Revisiting an Old Favorite

This morning I decided to revisit a breakfast favorite from before I discovered I like oatmeal. I present to you...

The Egg Sammich!

I have always been a huge fan of breakfast sandwiches. Today's sandwich was an egg, sharp cheddar, cheese, and two slices of Canadian bacon on a whole wheat sandwich thin.

For the first time in a while, I just wasn't feeling oatmeal this morning. I also decided to go with my old friend in hopes that the extra protien will help my back heal-up faster.

By the way, I totally forgot to photo dinner last night. I made homemade BBQ chicken pizzas (8" sized) on whole wheat crusts. They were pretty fantastic.

After I made dinner I spent the rest of the night alternating between laying on the couch and trying to gently stretch out my back using cat and cow pose. While watching season 3 of Buffy.* Chris borrowed a couple of microwavable heating pads from his mom so I used those on my back as well. My back is feeling a lot better today, but it's definitely not 100%. I can sit without discomfort, but it still hurts to bed and twist.

*I don't think I've mentioned this before, but I am a huge Joss Whedon nerd. I've watched my way through the entire Buffy and Angel television serieses (?) on more than one occassion.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

079. What Is Going On Here?

Recently, it seems like every time I turn a corner; I've got some sort of injury. I really don't know what's going on. I've never been prone to injuries. (Well, not the kind of injuries that don't come from being a total klutz anyway.) Now it seems like I've got some sort of malady every week. Two weeks ago it was my wrist. Last week I was sick. Yesterday the lower leftside of my back started hurting. I think I may have pulled a muscle. What is going on here?!

I had a really hard time falling asleep last night. Pretty much every position I laid in caused my back to ache after a few minutes. I woke up this morning with it feeling super tight. I loosened it up some with a nice hot shower and a the "massage" setting on the shower head, but it's still really uncomfortable. Sitting in a chair is the worst; so I foresee a looooong day ahead of me at work.

Since I'm already off to a rough start I decided to treat myself to some of my chocolatey peanut butter and banana oats a day early. Helloooooo deliciousness!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

078. Running Around Like a Chicken with my Head Cut Off

Afternoon snack was a GIANT honeycrisp apple. It was fantastic - crisp and juicy! Sadly, the picture seems to have gotten eaten by my phone and/ or my computer.

I've decided I really don't like the fact that Wednesday night yoga is at 7:15. I much prefer the 7:45 class on Mondays.

I've been going nonstop since I got off the bus. My mom is coming to pick me up for yoga (Chris still had my car.) at 6:50, and the dinner I was planning tonight takes about 40 minutes. That leaves me about 10 minutes to eat said dinner. To some extent this was poor planning on my part. I need to plan faster meals on Wednesdays when I have less time to cook before class.

I was going to switch plans up, but I forgot a couple items when I went shopping yesterday (even though they were on my list, ugh!) so swapping one of the less time consuming meals on the agenda this week wasn't even an option.

So what was tonight's dinner. You might remember from my meal plans that tonight I'm made Southwest Chicken Stew. Honestly, the prep time wasn't bad, but the recipe calls for it to simmer 20 - 30 minutes. I think this might be one that would work out well in a slow cooker too.

I subbed chilli powder for the cumin since I didn't have cumin and didn't want to buy it for just this recipe. I also used a can of diced tomatoes. I think next time I might add a small can of tomato sauce to give it a little more liquid. I also only simmered it about 15 minutes.

You can't see it in the pictures, but I ate it on top of/ with 3/4 c. of brown rice. This is definitely a make again, but I can see myself changing it up a little bit next time.

077. February Goals + More Kashi Goodness

As promised I've worked out my February goals. Yesterday, I spent some time thinking more about my goal-setting (why I stopped, how to make it better), and I’ve come to a couple conclusions.

First, I think part of the reason I stopped was because it was getting to the point where I was setting too many goals for myself. It’s hard to manage 15 goals in a month! A lot of them were simple things I was doing anyway. This made them less than meaningful and tedious to track. I drink water like the earth is going dry so it’s silly for me to set a goal to get my 8 glasses of water. Second, my goals, while not completely arbitrary, weren’t really working towards anything long term or any greater goal outside of “lose weight.”

So what does this mean for my February (and future) goals? First, I’m keeping it simple. I’m going to have 5 goals for February (though one of those five does have “mini-goals”). Second, most of them directly correlate with and help me achieve items on my 10 in 2010 list.

So without further ado…my February goals.

  • 5lbs lost. – I want to finally reach my goal weight of 135lbs. (This is really still flexible for me. I’m not sure what my ideal weight is, but this seemed like a good starting point.) Ideally I’d like to do it by June so that I’ve lost all my weight prior to ordering my bridesmaid dress for my brother’s wedding. I don’t want to worry about losing weight once it’s been ordered and having to have additional alterations made. This means I need to lose 5 – 6 pounds a month. This is totally doable; I just need to frickin’ focus already!

  • Track daily – I’ve been really terrible about tracking my food lately. I’m not even talking calorie counting (though that is my actual goal); I’ve been bad just documenting what I’m eating. How many foodie posts have you seen around herelately? Exactly my point. Obviously this is going to help me achieve the reaching my goal weight goal.

  • Cardio 5 days a week
    a. Swim 2 days
    b. Spin 1 day
    c. Run 2 days
    d. Yoga 2 days
    Obviously, this is the goal with mini-goals. I found a sprint distance triathlon on June 27th that I would like to do. Final details don’t become available until March (I believe it’s a small park district run event.), but right now I’m planning to sign up. The mini-goals provide me a skeleton for triathlon training and will help me reach my 10 in 2010 goal of competing in a sprint distance triathlon. And of course, we all know cardio is good for us anyway.

  • Strength training 3 days a week – This is the one goal that doesn’t directly correlate with any particular 10 in 2010 goal, but it’s one that will improve me over all. I always slack off when it comes to strength training. I need to work-out a more concrete plan, but I will make it happen.

  • Create weekly meal plans and go grocery shopping weekly – Like tracking, this is something I used to be really good about doing and then it sort of fell by the wayside. Creating weekly meal plans will help keep me organized, help keep me on track to meeting my goal weight and properly fueling my body for my work-outs and triathlon training, and help me save money (10 in 2010 #10).

So, in keeping with my goal to track everything. It's time for today's morning snackies and my lunch!

My morning snack was two mandarin oranges. I took a photo, but it's stuck in my iPhone right now. I'll post that when I get home.

Lunch was a new adventure. When I was at Jewel last night, they had a display of Kashi frozen entrees complete with coupons. I've been wanting to try some of the Kashi frozen entrees. I don't eat a whole lot of frozen meals, but I do think they're nice to have on hand just in case. I grabbed the Black Bean Mango entree, and brought it for lunch today.

Now, to be perfectly honest, I've yet to find a Kashi product I don't like. There's a few things I haven't LOVED, but everything I've tried so far I've liked enough to finish eating. For example I wasn't horribly impressed with the Dark Chocolate Coconut bars, but I liked them enough to finish the box.

I really enjoyed this lunch. As far as frozen meals go, Kashi does a top-notch job. This tasted more like reheated leftovers than a frozen entree.

I'd heard it was spicy so I was a bit scared (my spicy tolerance maxes out around mild salsa.) It wasn't as bad as I expected at all. There was definitely a kick to it, but it was balanced out by the sweetness of the mango and the rice.

It was also a perfect, filling portion. I ate it all without feeling stuffed or starved. Usually, I need to add something frozen entrees (e.g. Lean Cuisine), but this was plenty. It's been nearly two hours and I'm still feeling satisfied.

Overall, two thumbs up to Kashi on making a great frozen entry. I will definitely be keeping my eye our for coupons and sale so I can buy a couple more of these.


It still blows my mind that oatmeal has become my go-to breakfast. I was the girl who hated oatmeal! That was until the blogger world introduced me to "real" oatmeal as opposed to instant (read: crappy) oatmeal! Now I am in love.

This morning's oats were the usual peanut butter, cranberry apple butter, banana (sliced rather than mashed). I forgot to photograph before stirring. They look a little...well, less than appetizing. That's the only sad thing about oatmeal. It's not very photogenic.

I overslept a bit this morning so I need to get going to work.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

075. At the Risk of Sounding Like a Broken Record...

...I'm sorry for being a blogging lame. I swear. This week it is on like Donkey Kong. Starting right now!

I've had some major realization in the last week in regard to my weight loss and healthy living journey. I guess you could call this my "getting back on track post" even though I haven't been "off-track" per se; I've been maintaining my weight, eating healthy, and getting a couple work-outs in each week. I'm just not giving it 100% which would explain why the weight loss is going no where.

I started reading The Spark last week, and I'm really enjoying it. I'm pretty much only reading it during my commute though so I'm moving through it at a pretty slow pace. Anyway, even with just the two chapters I've read so far, I've had a major revelation.

From the beginning, there were two things that attracted me to SparkPeople. I love the proactive, goal-oriented nature of the site and the emphasis on planning. Setting my health and fitness goals, striving for them, and achieving them creates such a drive in me. It spreads to other areas of my life. Planning my meals and my fitness helps me keep other area of my life more organized. (If I know I'm going running after work then I have to structure the rest of my activities for the day accordingly so I can fit everything in.) I find myself more motivated in all areas of my life.

So given this, why the heck did I stop setting goals and making plans for myself?! I used to do monthly goal blogs and the occasional weekly goal blog; I had a weekly meal plan and fitness routine blogs then I just stopped. I have no idea why. Maybe got bored of setting the same goals. Maybe I got lazy. In any case, the time has come to change that.

So, starting February 1st*, I am back on the goal-setting wagon. I'm going to be writing them down in my planner. I'm going to make meal plans and fitness plans. I'm going to blog about these goals and plans to keep myself accountable. I'm getting back on the wagon!

I plan to have my February goals blog posted by Thursday at the latest. Keep an eye out for it.

*I am actually starting today and making meal and fitness plans for the remainder of the week, but my "official" start is going to be February 1st.

I took some time this evening to plan out the rest of the week's meals and make my grocery list. I really don't know why I stopped doing this. I makes life so much easier on so many levels! I also followed some of the advise of Tina over Trading Up Downtown and took stock of what I had in my pantry before choosing my meals to limit how much I needed to buy. This was especially important since I was going shopping at Jewel tonight. I hate going to Jewel because I always leave feeling ripped off. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to go all the way out to Trader Joe's tonight, and there aren't a lot of grocery store options in my immediate area. Anyway, here we go with the meal plans!

B: Oats with peanut butter and banana
L: Some Kashi frozen black bean mango thing I has a coupon for so I decided to try it.
D: Southwest Chicken Stew

B: Oats with banana, cinnamon, and brown sugar
L: Southwest Chicken Stew leftovers
D: Homemade BBQ Chicken Pizza

B: Chocolate oats with peanut butter and banana
L: BBQ Chicken pizza leftovers
D: Burrito Bowls

B: Homemade Whole Wheat Waffles
L: Mac n Cheese (with tuna and veggies added)
D: Ginger Orange Tofu with brown rice

B: omelets with roasted red potatoes
L: Chick'n nuggets and tater tots
D: TBD (My goal is to go grocery shopping for next week on Sunday so I left this as a free-be)

Give-Away Alert! There are some really great blogger give-aways going on right now. You should go check 'em out!
Shannon at The Daily Balance has two give-aways going right now: a Manduka yoga mat sling and a Gaiam yoga mat.
Tina at Trading Up Downtown is giving away some chocolate inspired goodies. She's also got a 24-class pass at Healthworks up for grabs over on Carrots n Cake.