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.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

074. Chocolatey Peanut Butter Banana Oats

First of all, I apologize for the lameness of my blog recently. My sick day on Monday turned into a wicked head cold mid-morning Tuesday, and I've been fighting that off. I've pretty much been in work, dinner, sleep, repeat mods since Tuesday. I'm finally feeling better (thank you Advil Cold & Sinus and 8+ hours of sleep per night!).

I've got lots to update about (especially the meals from my 7 Day Vegetarian Challenge which was this week despite my being sick.), but I'm getting ready for work right now so I need to make this a quickie. When I got up to get a glass of water around 3:00 this morning, I had a brilliant idea! Why not use chocolate soymilk to make myself chocolatey oats in the morning? I decided to change up my usual oats this morning in exactly this way.

So...I present to you, Chocolatey Peanut Butter Banana Oats

In my oats...
1/2 c. oats
3/4 c. Silk Light Chocolate Soymilk
1 medium banana mashed
1 T. peanut butter

Overall the oats were delicious. Not super chocolatey, but a nice subtle chocolate flavor. It's a great Friday morning treat.

Well, I'm back to updating regularly now, and I promise there will be plenty more posts in the next 24 hours! Until then, I hope you all have a fantastic Friday!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

073. Sick Day

So, yesterday I figured out the root of my laziness and lack of motivation on Saturday. It was my body telling me to take it easy so it could fight impending illness.

I woke up yesterday feeling like I was going to vomit. Needless to say, I spend yesterday on the couch as well.

I'm feeling much better this morning so I expect to be back in full (or near full) force today.

Longer post later! I hope you all have a wonderful Tuesday!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

072. On a Roll

I've had a very productive afternoon, but I've got a lot of slacking to make up for so here's how I've done so far.
  • Shower
  • Laundry
  • Clean my house
  • Blogs, blogs, blogs,
  • Meal Planning
  • Grocery Shopping
  • PetCo
  • Kohl's
  • Pick Chris up at 5
I headed to Orland because I could hit all 4 stores I needed without having to go far between them.

My first stop was at Kohl's. I got a 30% off coupon in the mail, and since I'm still losing weight, I'm pretty much constantly needing new clothes. Plus there was so much stuff on clearance! Kohl's clearance + extra 30% off = crazy deals! I got two pairs of dress pants for about $10 each, a cashmere cardigan for about $25, and a couple other items. I also bought myself a Chicago Blackhawks hoodie. I'm one of the few people left in my group of friends who shows up to watch games without sporting team gear.

After Kohl's I hit Target. I forgot to add this to my list initially, but remembered I needed a few things when I was browsing my coupons. I got deodorant, Kashi granola bars, a gallon of bleach (If you didn't know, bleach is a cheap alternative to Liquid Plumber or any other drain clearing product. I pour a gallon of bleach down my tub every 2 - 3 months to help keep it clear.), and some Burt's Bees Deep Conditioner.

From Target I went to PetCo for a few items for Hermione. I got her a ball and some vitamin supplements. I'm worried about her getting enough vitamin C. Guinea pigs are really susceptible to scurvy.

Finally, I went grocery shopping at Trader Joe's. I absolutely love Trader Joe's. Living within a mile of Trader Joe's was probably the thing I loved most when I lived in LaGrange. I love that the organic items are really reasonably priced (especially compared to Jewel which is the primary grocery chain in my area.) I think on of my favorite things about the store is that it's not overwhelming. When I go into Jewel (or any chain grocery store), I feel really overwhelmed by all of the options. I mean, do we really need 15 different kinds of ketchup to choose from?! Unfortunately, 2:30 in the afternoon on a Sunday is not the time to go to Trader Joe's. The store was packed! Luckily, they're pretty darn efficient so I was still in and out pretty quick.

I ate a Luna bar in the car on my way home because I was starving! (Don't worry, I was safely stopped at a red light when I snapped this photo.) I'm going to make myself some lunch and get some cleaning done now. I'm also hoping to get a blog or two written before I head out to pick Chris up at 6. (He got an extra hour!)

It's time to make lunch and start cleaning. The kitchen, bathroom, living room, and bedroom are all in pretty dire need. I also need to get Hermione's cage cleaned. I think lunch is going to be a grilled cheese with apples.

Coming soon...
YakTraks Review
Hermione photos!

071. An Excess of Lazy

I've been having far, far too many lazy days recently. Last night I laid on the couch watching TV almost the entire day. While this is certainly okay every now and then, I was in seriously slacker mode last weekend as well. This is not okay.

Since I slacked off so much yesterday, I've got a ton of stuff to get done today.

So far I made it out for a 3.3 mile run, made and eaten breakfast, and taken Chris to work.

Before my run I ate a clementine to fuel myself up.
(See the painted nails, that was the one thing I managed to accomplish yesterday)

My run was miserable. I seriously need to get back into a routine with my running. I had to take several walking breaks in addition to the stop at my parent's house for a potty break. I clocked in at 47 minutes included my warm-up walk, cool-down walk, and my potty break. The run itself probably took 30 - 35 minutes.

After I got home I made egg scrambles and red potatoes for Chris and I.
My scramble included chopped red onion, spinach leaves, chopped broccoli, and some shredded Mexican blend cheese.

Here's what still needs to get done today.
  • Shower
  • Laundry
  • Cleaning my house
  • Blogs, blogs, blogs!
  • Meal planning (I finished while writing this blog.)
  • Grocery Shopping
  • Go to PetCo for some stuff for Hermione
  • Go to Kohl's (I have a 30% off coupon, and I pretty much always need new clothes.)
  • Pick Chris up from work at 5.
There will be plenty of posts to come later including my dinner plans for my 7 Day Vegetarian Challenge which starts today!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

070. Excuse Me While I Rant for a Moment

All politics aside, the healthcare system is so frustrating!

The other day at work, I noticed some pain in my wrist at work when I was using the two-hole punch. Later that night while I was Whittling My Middle, as I set myself up in plank, I got a sharp pain in my wrist and collapsed. There’s been a bit of a dull pain in my wrist ever since, and any time I put pressure on it, I get a sharp pain. Hello very first (since high school anyway) sport's injury!

I did a lot of Googling yesterday and I’m convinced I’ve got a small stress fracture in my right wrist. Everything I read about stress fractures lists symptoms as dull pain that worsen with exercise/ use – Bingo! I think it developed from too many planks and working on crane asana in yoga. That’s a lot of body weight on my hands/ wrists

Last night I went to yoga, but I took it very easy and was careful not to put pressure on my wrist. After class I swam for about 30 minutes. My wrist bothered me a little during both so on the way home I stopped at Walgreens bought an ACE bandage. I wrapped it and iced it last night. I’ve also got it wrapped today.

I decided it was probably time to see a doctor about it. I wasn’t really sure where to start so I figured primary care doctor. Making an appointment at my doctor’s office is always a frustrating experience. It’s usually a week before you can get an appointment, and the receptionists who answer the phone have such a horrible attitude. The tone in their voice makes it very clear they feel you are interrupting their day by calling. Today it was especially frustrating.

They wouldn’t give me an appointment. They told me it was probably tendonitis, to take some Advil and go get an x-ray at an urgent care center if it gets worse. I’m not convinced it is tendonitis. I have tendonitis in my elbows from years of swimming, and I know how that feels. This doesn’t feel the same or even similar.

Maybe it’s all my healthy-habits and my new awareness of what I’m putting in an on my body, but that just doesn’t make sense to me. I’m trying to be proactive, and I’m being told ‘No, come back when you’ve got a problem.’ They want me to take Advil which will make the pain go away, but it won’t do anything to solve the problem. It will simply mask the symptoms until the problem is more severe.

I’m in pain right now. That means there’s a problem right now.

I would really prefer not to end up with a broken wrist from what started out as a small stress fracture.
The getting an x-ray and the urgent care center is an entirely separate issue. I'm still trying to work out an issue between my insurance company and Palos Community Hospital to get my last urgent care visit paid for rather than having to pay $151 out of pocket! (I had to go in July for strep throat and a wicked ear infection.) The last thing I want to do is go back to the urgent care center and create another billing/ insurance issue for myself!

So, I’m doing the best I can. Right now, I don’t want to take medication for it. I’m going to continue to do modified planks when doing Whittle my Middle and take it easy in my yoga classes – no more cranes for a while – and strength training. I’ll keep it wrapped and keep icing it. I’m also going to look into other possible holistic approaches to treating it. If you have any suggestions, please throw them my way!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

069. Better than Kraft Mac N Cheese

Partially inspired by the grilled cheese with apple Caitlin made for her husband, and partially inspired by the fact I really wanted some mac n cheese (but not some lame out of the box mac n cheese), tonight I decided to make Better than Kraft Mac n Cheese. I made this one all on my own (no recipe) and it was AWESOME!

It's rotelle pasta, Dubliner cheese, reduced fat cheddar cheese, and some chopped up apples. It was so delicious and savory.

The cheesy deliciousness of dinner brings my to The Great Cheese Debate which will be coming tomorrow.

068. 7 Day Vegetarian Challenge: Details, Goals, and my Thoughts Going into the Challenge

So, due to my case of the blahs and total lack of productivity over the weekend, I’ve decided to push back my 7 Day Vegetarian Challenge until next week. I want to give myself some time to reflect and prepare so that I don’t decide being a vegetarian sucks and bail on my ultimate goal of a 30 day challenge.

What? Starting Sunday (1/17), I’m going to go 1 week eating 100% vegetarian. For this particular challenge this means no meat – including fish. This 7 days challenge is a pre-cursor to a 30 day challenge I plan to do later this year.

Why? There are several reasons I wanted to do this challenge.

Initially, I was inspired by a few things Laura’s post about reducing her meat consumption and transitioning to a flexitarian diet. Caitlin's post eating ethically also got me thinking. The Vegan Week/ Blogger Vegan 4 a Day Challenge that took place back in November also piqued my interest though I wasn't read to tackle that challenge at the time.

I already knew about the cruelty a lot of animals endure when they’re being raised and slaughtered. I also had an idea of the negative impact the meat industry, and factory farming as a whole, has on the environment. However, I’ve justified this in my own mind a million different ways.

It was a complete coincidence that I read Skinny Bitch as I was decided to start my first veggie challenge; however, reading the book fueled my plan. It’s also motivated me to learn more and stop trying to justify the cruelty and negative impact on the environment that my eating meat has.

Where is this going? I don’t think I will ever become a full-fledged vegetarian, but who knows. Maybe after I do my 30 days, but I doubt it. I do have a few goals in mind for this mini challenge and my upcoming longer challenge.

  • This will make my look at my meal plans for a week and make truly conscious decisions about what I'm eating since I'll need to make sure they're 100% meat free.

  • Prove to myself (and others) that you don't need meat to be healthy and get enough protien

  • Find more creative ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables in to my meals (rather than having meat with a side of veggies)

  • Increase the number of vegetarian meals I eat weekly and decrease the amount of meat I'm eating.

  • In eating less meat, I want to increase the quality of the meat I do eat (e.g. buying organic free range chicken rather than the giant bag of frozen chicken breast from Sam's Club.)

  • Learn more about factory farming and it's impact on the environment.

  • Find new and yummy recipes to add to my files.

Coming up...
Meal plans for my Challenge
New recipes I'm trying (complete with pictures and reviews)

067. Good Morning Beautiful People!

I am quite sleepy this morning. I was up late cuddling with my new sweetie Hermione. I have to say; I'm in love!

This morning's breakfast was the usual bowl of oats with almond butter, cranberry apple butter and a drizzle of agave nectar. No photo because I think you've seen it enough!

I ran out of tea at work :( and the only green tea in the office is the Tazo China Green which I think tastes like dirt. (I usually have a cup of Tazo Zen in the morning.)

My friend Lauren and I decided to hit the 'Bucks. I was going to get tea, but since I'm seriously dragging, I went with a tall, skinny vanilla latte. YUM!

Well, time to get to work. My goal today is to stick to The 40/20 method and try to avoid multi-tasking too much!

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

066. A Blog I Thought My Phone Ate.

(This was from Thursday, but I thought my phone ate it. I just found
it it my phone so I figured I'd post anyway.)

Today I'm in total meal repeat mode. Breakfast was exactly the same as
it was yesterday so I didn't even snap a photo.

Lunch is left over Tofu Fried Rice.

065. Welcome Hermione

I would like to introduce you all to my new guinea pig Hermione...

Yes, she is named for Hermione Granger from Harry Potter. Had I gotten a boy it was going to be either Weasley or Potter. Yes, I know what a dork this probably makes me.

I bought her at PetCo. One of the things I really like about PetCo. (as opposed to PetSmart) is that the employees really seem to care about the animals. The cashier actually took little Hermione out of the box and gave her some loving while ringing us out. They also made sure to give us a crash course on guinea pig care.

Of course, I spend about 2 hours Googleing guinea pigs while at work yesterday (I had to cover the front desk for a while.). I wasn't about to buy a pet without learning about it first!

I did consider adopting a guinea pig as I always rank adopting an animal over buying one. Unfortunately, the nearest guinea pig rescue is nearly an hour away. That said, I definitely think I will adopt one in the future.

I'm sure there will be plenty of pictures to come. I didn't want to overwhelm her too much on her first night.

Before we headed out to the pet store, I made us burrito "bowls" for dinner. I made black beans and rice with corn and topped it with some Boca I sauteed with red onion, sharp cheddar cheese, more red onion, and what I could salvage from an over-ripened avocado.

It was mucho delish! (Also, check out that balancing act!)

064. A Change of Pace

This morning I decided to change things up a bit and add almond butter to my usual oat.

You can totally see the difference can't you?

Okay, so honestly, I just ran out of peanut butter, but even still, changing things up every now and then is good.

We all need to evaluate ourselves, our plans, our routines, on occasion and change the things that aren't working for us. Recently for me, the area of my life most in need of a change is my fitness. I've mentioned in a few time in the past couple weeks, but I've been seriously slacking on my workouts since the cold weather and total lack of day light has set it. I love to run outside. Truly, it’s what makes me happiest. Unfortunately, we’ve been averaging single digit temps (or single digits after the wind chill). Assuming I embrace the frigid temps (which I have considered), the sun rises about 7:15 (about the time I’m getting on the train to work) and sets around 4:45 (about the time I’m getting on the train home). This pretty much leaves me the weekends. You all know how I feel about the dreadmill. Despite finding some pretty great treadmill work outs thanks to Tina, I still can’t handle being on the treadmill more than once or twice a week. I don’t mind running on the indoor track. Unfortunately, now that it’s resolution season, the indoor track has been incredibly packed during the evening hours.

Cleary, this isn’t working for me. So what’s my solution?

Triathlon training!

One of the items on my 10 in 2010 is to complete a sprint (or possibly olympic) distance triathlon. What better time to start training than the dead of winter when running isn’t working out so well.

I have two goals to get me started

#1 Find (and register for) a triathlon. I found a Sprint distance triathlon near me that is in a pool, but it’s not until August 8th. There’s two problems with that 1) I don’t think I’m going to need 8 months to train and 2) I’m planning to do the Chicago Half Marathon in September which will require me to be training from June (or so) on. There are several other triathlons in the area earlier in the year, but I’m really nervous about doing the swimming in a lake. Should I just bite the bullet and go for it?

#2 Find a training plan. Since it is the dead of winter here in Chicago, I’m pretty limited in terms of what I can do outside. I’m thinking I’m going to do a bit of “pre-training” until it warms up and thaws a bit outside. Here’s my preliminary game plan for the next few weeks:

Monday: Treadmill workout (short distance run, intervals/ speed work)
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: Swim (drill work)
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Swim (endurance)
Saturday: Long Run (indoor track or outdoors weather permitting)
Sunday: Spin class (I’m thinking this is my best bet for winter bike training)

Have you ever participated in a triathlon? What distance? How long did you train? Did you use a particular training plan/ is there a training plan you would recommend for a first timer? Any advice for a novice?

Monday, January 11, 2010

063. Christmas Tree Disposal.

So, how do you get rid of a dried out, dying Christmas tree when you live in a second floor condo without making a mess through the entire building?
Why you throw it off the balcony of course!

Some how I managed to not take a picture of the tree in the yard. Here's where it landed though.
Tomorrow is trash day so we needed to get the tree out tonight.

Tonight my dad and brother came by to install my new dishwasher. They were in my kitchen when dinner was done so I didn't snap a picture (too much going on), but I made a really yummy quiche. Chris love quiche, and I think it's a great way to use whatever produce I have hanging out in the fridge. Tonight's quiche included broccoli, a chopped onion, a couple cloves of chopped garlic, spinach, and Dubliner cheese I picked up at Trader Joe's. The quiche tasted awesome!

My dishwasher is currently doing it's first load. We'll see how the dishes come out in the morning (and if this dishwasher can handle my oatmeal bowls!), but for now, here it is in all it's dishwashing glory.
I didn't make it to yoga tonight due to dishwasher installation, but I did stop slacking and Whittle My Middle. Unfortunately, while I was doing my core work, I discovered there's something wrong with my wrist. When I did my first plank, I collapse almost immediately from a sharp pain in my right wrist. I'm going to ice it tonight, and see how it feels over the next couple days, but if it doesn't start getting better a trip to the doctor may be in my near future. In the mean time, I'll be doing some modified planks.

Friday, January 8, 2010

062. Blogger Fail

I was a bad blogger this weekend. Yesterday was my planned work/ blogging day, but I had a serious case of the blahs so rather than be productive I called up my mom to go shopping/ run errands. I’m feeling much better today though. We’ll do a quick recap of my weekend. Unfortunately since I was in bad blogger mode, I don’t have photos for you.

Friday Evening
After work we headed out for a happy hour for my co-worker/ friend Lauren’s birthday. My plan was to have a beer or two and call it an early night. Things did not go quite as planned. Several Effen and cranberries and a few shots later, we were both pretty tipsy and getting on the El to go home around 10:00! Ooops!

I woke up early Saturday morning because I had agreed to help my friend Jennie and John move into their new house. I also needed to get to the post office to pick up my copy of The Spark and (finally!) mail the care package to my friend Dan. The majority of my day was spent helping load and unload the truck and unpack things.

My tip for moving/ unpacking: Unpack the kitchen first. Having piles and piles of boxes staring you in the face begging to be unpacked is overwhelming, and it’s usually hard to decide where to even start. I’ve found the kitchen is always the best place to start.

Unpacking a kitchen is fairly straight forward. Most items are going to go in to cabinets or on the counter top. The only decision you really have to make is which specific cabinet. I’ve almost always used the same organization pattern in my kitchen, and it’s based on what I grew up with. This makes the “where to put it” decision easier. Plus, you’ll end up refining your kitchen organization as you use it.

Getting an entire room unpacked reduces the amount of boxes looking back at you and gives you a sense of accomplishment. I find this usually provides me with enough motivation to tackle something else. (Generally I go for the bedroom next and unpack clothes and my every day items.)

Having a functional kitchen is important if you want to be able to cook for yourself and eat. Since cooking and eating are some of my favorite things to do, the kitchen is definitely a priority for me.

As I mentioned Sunday was shopping and running errands with my mom. The highlight of my day was purchasing a new dishwasher for my condo. I went with the Whirlpool DU1300 in white. The reviews I’ve read are all pretty positive saying it’s a good machine particularly for the price. It was delivered about an hour ago so I’m very excited to go home and wash my first load of dirty dishes!

(On a side note: Isn’t it kind of lame the things we get really excited about as we get older?)

I ate dinner at my parent’s house, and after I picked Chris up from work we watched Angels & Demons.

Angels & Demons quick review
Angels & Demons was pretty much what I expected. I went it expecting it to be similar to The Da Vinci Code in terms of direction and production. I was dead on. Overall, I felt the movie was slow moving, but was a good adaptation to the screen.

I did prefer The Da Vinci Code to Angels & Demons; however, I think it’s because I saw movie before I read the book. With Angels & Demons, I already knew all the “interesting stuff” about it so in some ways it was just a slow-moving movie.
In addition to being a bad blogger this weekend, I also failed at getting any work-outs in. I've taken about 6 rest days from Whittle My Middle this past week, but I'm ready to get my act together this week!
I'm also pushing back my 7 Day Vegetarian Challenge a week, but that post will come a little later.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

061. Blogging in a Winter Wonderland

It is a snowy winter day here in Chicago. It's very pretty, but it's making it very difficult for me to want to leave the house, ya'know, to go to work. I am hoping to get in some sort of winter wonderland work-out tonight after work.
This morning's breakfast was my usual peanut butter, cranberry apple butter, and banana oats with one small twist. I was really craving sweet this morning so I squirted about a tablespoon of agave nectar on top of my oats. It was perfect! Totally satisfied my sweets craving and my need for a nice warm winter-proofing breakfast!

I need to get my butt moving; have a terrific Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

060. Book Review: Skinny Bitch

I finished reading Skinny Bitch on my bus ride home yesterday so it's time for my review.

Before I get into the review, I want to preface it by saying I honestly never had any intention of reading this book. I had absolutely no interest in it when it first came out, and having heard other people's mixed opinions I wasn't really struck with any intense desire to read it. I basically read it by accident. It was sitting on the counter at Chris' mom's house and while he was on the hunt for his black dress shirt I picked it up and started reading the first Chapter to busy myself. I had finished Chapter 1 by the time Chris determined he wasn't going to find his shirt so I figured I might as well borrow the book and read the whole thing.

I started this as a pro’s and con’s list initially, but about half way through I decided it might be better if I reviewed the book topically.

Warning: If you’re easily offended by cursing, this book is not for you. I however have the mouth that could give a sailor a run for his money so I loved it. At first it was the no b.s. attitude of the authors that I pulled me into the book. They’re sarcastic and funny. A few chapters in that started to get a little old, and by the end I felt the authors were getting a little bit judgmental, condescending and, well, bitchy. To some extent, I’m sure that was the point. It worked for a while; then it made me want to slap them.

The book basically promotes a vegan diet as a way to lose-weight, be skinny, and stay healthy. It was nice to read a book that explains how healthy veganism (and by association vegetarianism) can be. The author’s make great points about how the factory-farm industry wants you to think you can’t live a healthy life without meat, dairy, and eggs. The authors were a little over zealous at times, however, which can be off-putting to readers. There were points in the book where I felt as though the authors were saying ‘if you’re not a vegan, you’re an idiot.’

The authors really encouraged thinking for yourself, using your head, and questioning authorities – even them – when it comes to what you put in your body. They provided a great deal of information, sources, and additional reading about how government agencies like the USDA and the FDA are in bed with the meat and dairy industry. This isn’t something that came as a shock to me (I’m of the opinion it’s rare to find a politician that isn’t in bed one corporation or another.), but a lot of people blindly follow the recommendations of the USDA and FDA (and other “authorities”) without question. Lots of diet pills are FDA approved; that doesn’t make them safe or good for you. In my opinion, anything that gets people to question authority and think critically is a good thing.

One of my favorite things about the book is at the end the authors provided an extensive list of product recommendations broken up by meal. Even if you don’t plan on going vegan, like me, integrating more vegetarian and vegan-friendly products into your diet can’t hurt. I definitely plan on integrating some of the vegan snack foods into my diet as I struggle with finding good healthy snacks. I also really liked that they provided an entire month worth of meal plans. Both of these are really helpful in showing the reader this is a totally feasible lifestyle change as long as you’re willing to make the sacrifices and adjustments required.

The thing I disliked most about the book was the fact that they spent 5 pages promoting fasting as something that is good for you and cleansing to the body. I’ve never bought into fasting and cleanses as healthy. In my mind, fasting is nothing more than short term anorexia. I’ve never tried it, but I’ve heard very few positive opinions from people who have. Personally, I get very hangry when I don’t eat. I would be an absolutely nightmare to be around if I were fasting. Additionally, there were also only 3 sources listed for this section none of which seemed to be medical studies showing fasting/ cleanses to be healthy or effective.

My other beef with the book was “don’t be a cheap asshole” approach to buying organic (pg. 179). There’s no question that more often than not organic products are more expensive. The authors make a point when they say, “But we spend countless dollars on clothes jewelery, manicures, magazines…” (pg. 179), but it really got on my nerves when they continued that with “…rent or mortgages, car payments and other bullshit.” (pg. 179). I’m more than willing to sacrifice a monthly manicure in order to buy organic food, but my mortgage? my car payment? If it comes to organic bananas versus my mortgage, I’m choosing the mortgage. I’m kind of a fan of having someplace to live. Organic broccoli versus car payment, car payment wins. If I lose the car I’m not going to be able to get myself to the store to buy organic broccoli anyway. They did go on to mention you should focus on buying organic for produce you eat without peeling away the skin, but I wish they would have spent more time focusing on practicality or buying organic on a budget.

Overall Opinion: I feel the book is totally worth the read. It reads really fast. (I finished it in about 3 hours total.) For the most part, the authors are entertaining, and there is a lot of good information in the book for anyone trying to live a healthy lifestyle even if they aren’t adopting the more hard-core skinny bitch diet.

I probably won’t be converting to a vegan, or even a full-blown vegetarian, anytime soon. I may be “chemically addicted to cheese” (pg. 127), but I’m not sure I care. I don’t eat that much cheese. Having read this book, I will definitely put more thought into the things I’m putting in to (and on) my body especially those products that are of animal origin. It’s a nice little coincidence that I read this book right before beginning my 7 Day Vegetarian Challenge and with the mind-set of doing a 30 day challenge in the future. One of my goals with my vegetarian challenge is to reduce my overall meat consumption and limit it to high quality, organic, lean meats. After having read this book, I think I’ll be looking to purchase more organic dairy and eggs as well. I’ll also be more aware of who is certifying products as organic (USDA vs. an independent, non-governmental agency). I may not have ever intended to read this book, but having done so, I am glad I did.

Have you read Skinny Bitch? What was your opinion of the book? Love it? Hate it?

059. Practice for my 7 Day Vegetarian Challenge: Tofu Fried Rice

Lunch with my friend Colleen today was awesome. I didn't get a picture because I forgot my phone at the office and my camera is still with my dad. As I mentioned earlier, we met at Roti; it was so much better than I remember! We were at a different location and my order was slightly different, but damn was it good. I had the Chicken Roti Sandwich which was Roti chicken on flatbread. I added a little bit of hummus, lettuce, feta cheese, and some of their garlic sauce. It was stellar!

Moving right along to dinner, with my 7 Day Vegetarian Challenge on the horizon, I decided to go for a test run tonight. For dinner, I made Vegetarian Tofu Fried Rice.

It's a little blurry, I must've moved my phone. Oops!

(Notice the cute, fancy plate and different background!)

The linked name above will take you to the recipe on SparkRecipes, but here's what was in my nutritious and delicious fried rice:
  • broccoli
  • snow pea pods
  • pea shoots
  • red onions
  • carrot
  • corn
  • tofu
  • egg
I think this was hands down the best fried rice I have ever made! I ended up going back a second helping (only half a serving though.) I'm actually kind of sad we're going out for lunch tomorrow for a co-workers birthday, and I can't eat the left overs.

Turning the Dreadmill into...well, something a little less dreadful.

To go along with my amazing dinner, I got in a really great workout today. I've been really struggling with my running/ work-outs because I cannot stand running on the treadmill. I make it about 15 minutes before I start losing it. I started thinking about how last winter I had no problems running on the treadmill, and I finally realized the difference. Last winter I had just started the Couch to 5K program. I wasn't running on the treadmill endlessly, going no where. I was running intervals. That's when it hit me. If I want to survive winter on the dreadmill, I need to be mixing it up! I decided to seek out some treadmill workouts to keep me going.

In her post earlier today, Tina mentioned MotionTraxx and how much she was digging the downloads. I decided to check it out. On the site I found three podcasts for interval workouts from Fitness Magazine which, oddly enough, a friend on SparkPeople had mentioned to me earlier today.

I downloaded all three of the Fitness Magazine "Lose 10lbs" podcasts and tonight I did "The Countdown." It was an awesome workout! If you're looking something to make the treadmill (or even elliptical) a little less miserable, check out these podcasts. I'm not usually a big fan of dance/ techno music (It's something I really need to be in the mood for.), but it really got me going. I managed to burn 550 calories in 35 minutes according to my heart rate monitor.

After my kick booty treadmill work out, I hit the 60 minute yoga class with my mom. I really do love yoga. I always feel so relaxed and centered after I finish. I also love that I get to go to class with my mom!

It's getting late so I need to go Whittle My Middle and get in the shower!

I'll be back tomorrow with more eats, a review of the book Skinny Bitch, and some Veggie Challenge related posts.

058. Pizza, Blackhawks, and Breakfast

Last night the plan was to make a tofu fried rice, but Tina's pizza posts over at TradingUpDowntown got my craving pizza. I decided to make pizza last night instead of fried rice. I went for a bacon and garlic pizza. It wasn't the most nutritionally sound pizza (hello, bacon?!), but I did what I could. Plus it was really yummy.

I used a pre-made in a can crust from Jewel. Next time I'm definitely going to seek out a whole wheat pre-made crust that's not in a can. The last two canned crusts I've used have been nightmares. For the sauce I used some no salt added tomato sauce I had left over in my fridge from a previously meal. I added garlic powder, oregano, time, and some minced dried onion. The I chopped up some fresh garlic (5 cloves actually).

I topped it with 1/2 c of reduced fat mozzarella cheese, 4 strips of cooked, chopped bacon, and a 1/4 of a red onion. Sadly, my phone ate the photo of the finished product.

After dinner, I headed to my friend Mike's house to hang out with friends and watch some hockey. We watched the Blackhawk's dominate the Minnesota Wild and flipped to the Junior Gold Medal game just in time to see the US score it's winning goal over Canada. (Sorry Angela!)

I ended up staying out later than originally planned, so I'm a bit sleepy today. I had a fantastic time though so I'll survive! I did managed to still wake up in plenty of time to make myself a yummy bowl of oatmeal this morning. It was the usual 1/2 c. oats, 3/4 cup vanilla soymilk, 1 T. peanut butter, and 1 T. Cranberry Applebutter. I also have bananas in the house so I mashed one of those up and added it in.

I've decided I need to start investing in some cuter dishware. My pictures all look the same (and boring) on these dishes!

This afternoon I'm meeting my new friend Colleen for lunch. (Colleen is my friend Shake's girlfriend of, like a year, that I just met at the wedding this past weekend. Like I said, I'm making it a point to reconnect with friends I haven't seen in a while.) We're going to meet at Roti. I'm not realy big on Mediterranean/ Middle Eastern food; however,I've been here once before, and the food is good.

Tonight I need to get in a serious and solid work-out. I've been a mega-slacker lately. I'm going to hit yoga at the gym with my mom and get at least 30 minutes on the dreadmill. I think I'm going to do some intense intervals. I also need to do my Whittle My Middle workout tonight as well.

Monday, January 4, 2010

057. 7 Day Vegetarian Challenge

One of the items on my 10 in 2010 is a 30 Day Vegetarian Challenge. However, before I take on a full month of going veggie, I want to do a week long test run.

So, next week I’m going to be doing my 7 Day Vegetarian Challenge. This week I’m going to be planning my meals for next week to make sure I’m 100% meat-free. (Also, I’ve been really terrible about meal planning lately, and I think this would be a great time/ way to get back into the habit.) I’ll be going shopping over the weekend so I can buy ingredients for the weeks meals (and because I want to get back into the habit of shopping weekly as well.)

Does anyone have suggestions of really great vegetarian meals I should try?

This is a precursor to the 30 day challenge I’ll be doing later in the year so the more Vegetarian-friendly recipes I can collect the better.

Hopefully my camera will be working (or replaced) by next week so I can fully document my challenge.

I’ve got a ton of posts in the works right now. So keep your eyes open for these upcoming posts…
  • Preliminary thoughts/ reflections on my 7 Day Vegetarian Challenge
  • Awesome Ideas for Applesauce (I’ve been working on this one for a while)
  • Meal plans/ recipes for my 7 Day Vegetarian Challenge
  • Book review of Skinny Bitch (which I randomly picked up and started reading this weekend)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

056. It's a Sad Blogger Day for Me

So, I wish I could say I have all kinds of fantastic pictures of the wedding last night to share with you all, but sadly I don't. I think my camera is dying a slow and painful death. Every picture I took last night came out super blurry. I noticed this problem in my New Years Eve pictures a little bit, but it wasn't terrible. My dad is trying to see if he can fix it, but I might be in the market for a new one very soon. Until the problem is resolved my photos are going to be pretty limits and taken with my iPhone.

The wedding was fantastic. It was such a great time, and it was so awesome to see a bunch of my friends that I haven't seen in at least a year. My friend Dan managed to break his nose. How does one manage to break their nose during a wedding reception you ask. Well, back in high school at a NYE party this tradition of singing along to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody got started. It starts with the guys and the girls in circles swaying and singing along. When the song reaches the "heavy" part the girls get the hell out of the way and the guys start moshing. Once the song slows back down we all end up in one big circle. This was repeated at every party and major even through high school and college. We even managed to pull it off at senior prom. It's also been part of every wedding as well. The whole thing is ridiculous, and to an outside observer we probably look positively insane, but it's part of the tradition of our friendships. Anyway, during the moshing Dan's nose connected with our friend Atom's head and Atom's head won.

I definitely drank a bit more than originally intended, but I only had a slight hangover this morning. It was nothing a couple huge glasses of water couldn't fix.

This morning I went out with my family for a late breakfast at Flapjack's Pancake House which is my favorite place to go for breakfast. I had stuffed French toast with apple compote and a side of hash browns.

My mom and I ran some errands. I managed to get my hands on a pair of YakTrax. Now I just need the temp needs to increase a few degrees so I can test them out. I would really like to go out for a run this afternoon, but it's so cold outside breathing would be a struggle. I do think I'm going to head over to the indoor track once Chris gets home from work.

I really need to get some run time in. I'm running a virtual 5K on January 23rd. The three girls I ran with for the Santa Shuffle 5K and I are going to run a 5K on treadmills on the 23rd and report back to each other. It's a pretty brilliant idea if you ask me. A great way to keep ourselves motivated since it's not really race season in the Midwest right now.

Since breakfast was huge, I had half an everything bagel with some onion and chive cream cheese for lunch just now.

I'm quite tired today so I'm going to go relax on the couch and read a book (I've got both of my container gardening books to get through, and I just started reading Skinny Bitch.) or watch some TV with a cup of tea. I also need to decide what to make for dinner tonight. Any suggestions?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

055. Going to the Chapel...where my friends are getting married

My friends Jennie and John are getting married today!!!! I've very excited for them, and who doesn't love weddings? They're so much fun! My goal today is to keep the drinking in check. This should be somewhat easy as I am driving. I also want to make sure I fully document the evening so I can share.

Quick morning recap: breakfast was an open face fried egg sammie with sharp cheddar and some of the potatoes I had left over from yesterday morning.

After I ate I Whittled My Middle, and Chris and I had to make a trip over to his mom's house to try and find his black dress shirt. We didn't have any luck.

I am absolutely in l-o-v-e with my dress/ outfit for today. I picked up the dress at H&M for about $35. I was the first (and only) dress I even tried on.

I loathe dress shopping. I'm very top heavy (large chest, wide back, swimmer shoulder's and tiny little hips on chicken legs) which makes it very difficult to find dresses that fit properly in all the "right" places. Add to that the fact that nothing causes my self esteem to plummet quite like dress shopping. Anyone with me on that one? I find when I'm dress shopping, I always end up having to go at least a size or two larger than my pants/ shirt size. I'm currently in a M top and size 8 bottom so why is my dress a 14? I know size is just a number, and I generally don't put much thought into it, but really, I just don't get how stores size clothing?!

Anyway, I'm sure you can imagine how stoked I was when I not only found a dress I loved that fit perfectly!

I paired the dress with the sweater and shoes I bought Wednesday and a bracelet one of my co-workers bought me for Christmas. Personally, I think I look adorable! Not to toot my own horn or anything. :)

I'll be sure to post all about the wedding tomorrow.

Friday, January 1, 2010

054. Adventures in Baking

I decided I should bring something with me to Kristin's house. I've been wanting to make this Cranberry Apple Bread for a few days now so I went ahead and whipped it up to take with me.

While making this, I ran into a slight issue that required me to employ some of my newly found kitchen experimentation skills. Here's the ingredient list.

1 1/2 c. flour (I substituted whole wheat flour)
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. basking soda
1 t. ground cinnamon
2 c. chopped, peeled apples (I used pink lady apples that I had in my fridge)
3/4 c. sugar
2 T. melted butter
1 large egg
1 c. fresh cranberries

Does anyone else see the problem here? This recipe calls for virtually no liquids! I mixed all of the ingredient together per the instructions (below) and wound up with just slightly moistened flour. There was no way it was going to bake into bread though! I started by adding about 1/4 c. of water and then it was Musselman's to the rescue! I poured in some applesauce and stirred until the batter reach the consistency I was looking for. I think it probably amounted to about 1/2 c. of applesauce that I ended up adding.

Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon; set aside. Mix apples, sugar and butter. Add egg; mix well. Add flour mixture; stir just until moistened. (Batter will be thick.) gently stir in the cranberries

Spread the batter into greased loaf pan

Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let stand in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

The bread turned out really great. It was very moist and had an awesome flavor. I really liked the tart cranberry flavor against the sweetness of the apples. I didn't snap a picture because I was running late so I wrapped it up and headed out the door; however, I plan on making another loaf tomorrow or Sunday (I still have half a bag of cranberries left) so I'll be sure to get a picture then.

053. Happy New Year!!

(Side note: I wrote this post this morning, but my internet went down right before I hit publish. I had to leave before it came back up hence the delay.)

Last night was a pretty fantastic way to start the new year!

To start the evening Chris and I had his mom, grandma, and brother over for dinner. I made a fabulously healthy dinner that everyone really enjoyed! I was so glad to share a healthy meal with people I care about and have them really love it. So what was on the menu you ask? I made spaghetti squash with marinara (and a little Boca "meat" for some protein) and topped it with sauteed garlic and zuchini. We also had some fresh mozzarella to top it all off with.

While I was finishing up dinner, the guys were teaching their mom and grandma how to play Wii bowling!

Grandma getting her Wii bowling on.

I made some Ghirardelli chocolate brownies for dessert. I used some of my seemingly infinite supply of apple sauce instead of oil. Man were the brownies good. They were super moist and cake-like.
Right as we were finishing up dinner Chris' buddy Mike came over and the party began. We played Rock Band and Wii. It was a total blast. This is definitely my favorite way to ring in a new year! We also managed to switch to TV just in time to see the ball drop in Time Square.
I was by far the best Rock Band singer of the night.
Hello? Mario? Are you there?

Mike decided to bust out the robot.

Then Chris joined in.

And Tim couldn't be left out of the fun.

The kiss at midnight. We kind of look like awkward teenagers.

Chris's bowl of snacks - a giant brownie and some chips.

I ended up over-indulging just a bit on the alcohol side. I definitely ended up the drunkest in the room. Oops! My drinks were just so tasty though! I started with a couple glasses of pinot grigio. Later in the evening I made myself some pomegranate martinis from Effen Raspberry vodka and some pomegranate juice I had in the fridge. Thankfully, I had the good sense to take a few Advil and drink two glasses of water before bed so I'm not suffering today.

Since Chris had to work at 10:00 this morning, we did call it a night pretty early. We were in bed by 1:30. All in all it was a fantastic night!

How was your New Years Eve? What did you do to ring in the New Year.

I had to take Chris to work this morning since I need my car today. After I got back I made myself some breakfast - scrambled eggs with mozzarella cheese mixed in and some red potato hash browns with garlic and red onions.

This afternoon I'm heading over to my friend Kristin's house to watch the Winter Classic. Right now I'm making a loaf of Cranberry Apple bread to take with me. I need to go Whittle My Middle and then get in the shower.

Have a fantastic first day of 2010!