Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Green Monster Ate My Eggs

I am feeling a lot better today.  Thanks for asking.  I spent most of the day sitting lying on the couch watching really bad tv and a little good tv.  Has anyone out there watched the new Hawaii Five-0?  I was able to watch the fist two episodes on Rogers OnDemand.  I love myself a good cop show and I have to say this one is pretty good.  Funny, with lots of action. 

As I wasn't feeling great so my eats were not very inspiring.  I figured I needed a nutrition boost so I had a green monster smoothie.  It looks gross but I promise it is good.

In this bad boy:

1 cup baby spinach
1 frozen banana
splash of mango orange juice
1/2 cup Original Unsweetened Almond Breeze
6 ice cubes

Just throw it all in the blender and whiz it up.  I promise you will not taste the spinach so it is almost like a free serving of veggies.

While this smoothie was tasty,  I am used to eating a lot more than a smoothie for breakfast so even though I wasn't feeling great I was hungry in a few hours.  So, after a few more hours of tv watching and couch cuddles with the puppies I decided to see if my stomach could handle a little more substance.  I had some eggs and dry toast.  Actually it was a "thin" 100 calorie bagel, but who is keeping track.  It hit the spot and my stomach agreed.  I was on the road to recovery.


Needless to say I decided to skip my planned cardio session yesterday to give my body (and stomach) a chance to recover.  Can I just tell you that I tried out some new ab moves on Monday at the small corporate gym in my office building on my lunch hour and days later my abs are still killing me.  Another good reason to take a day off.

I am hoping to get back on track with the weight training tomorrow.  Here is the plan:

Legs (oh how I hate leg day!)

Barbell squat 4 sets, 6 reps 60lbs
Lunges 4 sets, 15 reps (each leg) 30lbs
Lying Hamstring curls 4 sets, 6 reps 60lbs
Straight Leg Dead Lifts 4 sets, 15 reps 40lbs

On a happy note,  I am looking forward to tomorrow night.  My office is having a social event and they have paid for all the staff to watch the local hockey team from primo seats in the box.  Truth be told, the office is mostly women, so we will be watching Say Yes to the Dress on the tv for most of the night.  (that is what we did last year, so why break with tradition?)  Our husbands and boyfriends would be horrified to know the truth so lets just keep this between you and me...ok.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Nike+ and Tea for Me

I am sick today and I feel terrible.  I went to bed last night feeling a sore throat coming on, which is not surprising considering the BF has been fighting a cold all week.  I took some cold and flu medicine in hopes of stopping this beast in its tracks.  But, by the time the BF came home from work at 11:30pm I was still suffering with the sore throat and had the added bonus of an upset stomach.  I figured I would feel better in the morning so went back to sleep.  I woke up again at 5am still feeling ill so I decided to turn off my alarm and stay home for the day.  

I am currently sitting on the couch in my comfy pants and hot pink sweater with my puppies and drinking a cup of tea.  My plan is to drink lots of fluids and just relax.  I am just about finished Belong to Me so I am hoping to spend my afternoon reading and relaxing while my body heals itself. 

Oh, and I was able to get my Nike+ Sportband set-up and running perfectly this morning.  I bought one a week ago but it was defective and I couldn't get it to connect to my PC.  If you are not familiar with the Nike+ products the Sportband is a great basic running accessory.  There is a sensor that goes in your shoe (if you wear Nike+ shoes) or is clipped to your shoe (if you don't wear Nike).  The Sportband measures your distance, pace and calories.  The cool part is that you can then upload your run stats to the Nike+ website so you can review all of your runs and analyse your progress. 
 
I know there are more sophisticated pace and distance sportbands on the market but I think this particular Nike+ product is great for beginners because it is easy to use but still tracks your  key running stats.  I am an on again, off again runner and knowing that I can track my runs accurately keeps me motivated.  Plus, it's pink...and love love anything pink!

A Better Baker

Let's set the record straight.  I am not a baker.  I am not good at following recipes.  And the reality is that baking requires precision and accuracy.  Not my strong points.  But last night, I tackled my foe head on with a simple (and as it turns out...tasty) recipe for Cheddar and Apple Drop Biscuits.  This recipe comes from a cookbook I picked up while I was at the International Plowing Match 2010.  There are no fancy pictures but it's one of those books that has recipes compiled from favourites of the local community.  Lots of classic comfort food and few new things to try.   The Flavours of Elgin cookbook has more than a few recipes I will be trying.

 

 
But, back to my Cheddar Apple Drop Biscuits.  I would like to the original recipe but (shockingly!)  The Flavours of Elgin Cookbook is not actually online.  I actually only made a half batch since I would be the only one eating them but they still turned out great.  I actually used less butter and more apple then the recipe below called for. 

 
Cheddar Apple Drop Biscuits

 
1 3/4 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter
1 cup shredded old cheddar cheese
1 cup peeled grated apple
3/4 cup milk
Mix all dry ingredients together.
Grate the cold butter into the dry ingredients and toss together.
Add cheese and apple and combine.
Stir in milk and miz with a fork until a rough dough is formed.
Drop 1/4 cupfuls onto a lines baking sheet.
Bake at 425F (220C) for 13 - 15 minutes.

 

 

 
The biscuits turned out moist and delicious with just a hint of apple flavour.  I think you want to use the strongest cheddar cheese you can for this recipe otherwise the cheese flavour will be lost I think.  So, I might not be a baker but I rocked this these biscuits.  They would be great with chili or on their own with a little nut butter.  Yum!  I think I know what I am having for breakfast.

 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Oats and Dumbbells and Brittany...oh my!

My day started out with a steaming bowl of oats.  But not just any old oats, steel cut oats.  I recently purchased a rice cooker and have been using it frequently for morning oats.  I go to the gym in the morning before work so time is of the essence.  But, I am not willing to give up a hearty breakfast in the interest of time.  Rice cooker oats to the rescue.  My rice cooker has a delay timer so I can set the oats to be perfectly done the moment I make it down to the kitchen.  Perfect! 


Today's Oataliciousness:
1/2 cup steel cut oats
1 cup water
1 cup almond milk

Once the oats were prepared I added:
1 tsp peanut butter
1 tsp agave nectar
2 tsp chia seeds
splash of milk

It was creamy, chewy, nutty heaven in a bowl.  I washed it all down with a half a glass of milk.

As I mentioned, I like to get my workout out of the way first thing in the morning.  I have learned that if I wait until the evening I can easily talk myself out of it.  I have started using the gym in my office building on my lunch hour a few days a week.  But this is usually a bonus workout or the result of not enough sleep and taking the extra hour in the morning. 

Right now, my workout consists of a 4 day split plus 3 cardio sessions.  Truth be told, I hate cardio.  I would rather lift heavy weights any day instead of running or ellipticalling.  Cardio is easily my downfall and I struggle every week to get in my cardio sessions. 

Today's workout:  Back and Biceps
Lat Pull downs 4 set, 6 reps 70lbs
One Arm Dumbbell Row 4 sets, 15 reps 20 lbs
Barbell Curl 4 sets, 6 reps 40 lbs
Preacher Curls 4 sets, 10 - 12 reps 20 lbs

I am liking this split because it combines heavy weights and low reps with lighter weights with more reps.  It is a good balance I think and I am enjoying it so far.

I must confess...time for Glee...Brittney's on.  Gotta go!

Monday, September 27, 2010

PBG Book Club: Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos

I am currently reading Belong to Me by Marisa de Santos.  It was a great find by my mother in her office book exchange.  Even though I haven't finished this book I highly recommend it to any 30-something women out there who are on the verge of starting a family. 


A Quick Summary
Cornelia Brown a born and raised city girl moves to the suburbs with her husband Teo, the very handsome doctor. She is quickly tested by her very stereotypical, overly judgmental neighbor Piper Truitt—the embodiment of everything Cornelia feared she'd find in suburbia. Thankfully Conelia quickly bonds with another new addition to the neighbourhood, Lake and her son Dev.  However, time son shows us who Cornelia's real friends are.

My Take on It
This book (so far!) has been fantastic.  I can totally relate to the main character, Cornelia.  I envision her to be about the same age as me, and while I am not married to a hunky doctor (although I am living in sin with a hot to trot budding Ironman instead) I can relate to where she is in her life and her expectations of her future.  I can also relate to her need to have strong female relationships.  Having moved back to my home town after living in Toronto for 9 years I struggle to establish strong female friendships.  Cornelia's run-ins with Piper are classic - you just cringe when she enters the scene. 

I do not usually read these kinds of books but for some reason as soon as I picked up this book I was hooked.  I am about 2/3rds of the way through the book and the most recent twist is riveting.  Marisa de los Santos has a style that is easy to read and draws you in.  Unlike so many characters in modern writing, her characters are easy to relate to.  You can see yourself in them, and that makes for a story you can relate to.

Ch-ch-ch-Chia!

This morning (like most mornings) started with a bowl of oats.  Oats are easily my most favourite breakfast staple.  I eat oats almost every morning. 



I have started to get a little adventurous with my oatmeal flavours - I used to be a milk and maple syrup girl.  But now I like to keep things interesting by switching up the flavours every day.  In today's mix:

1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup 1% milk
1 tbsp Chia seeds
1 tsp of peanut butter
1 tsp of Coconut Butter
1 squirt of agave nectar

Yum!

If you are new to healthy living you may have never heard of Chia seeds.  To answer your obvious first question, yes, these are the same seeds that are used for Chia Pets.  Although I am told you should not eat the seeds that come with your Chia Pet as they can me covered in pesticides.  Instead, you can get your Chia seeds at your local health food or bulk food store.  They come in black and white varieties.  There is some debate but the general consensus is that there is not a significant nutritional difference between the two colours.

I first learned about Chia seeds while reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.  If you haven't read this book, you should.  Even if you are not a runner you can still appreciate this great book.  Read it. 

As for Chia seeds, they have been used by the Taramahura tribe (and others) as a natural energy source.  Chia is actually an ancient superfood.  Check out some of the benefits of this tiny seed:



  • 2 times the protein of any other seed or grain 





  • 5 times the calcium of milk, plus boron which is a trace mineral that helps transfer calcium into your bones





  • 2 times the amount of potassium as bananas





  • 3 times the reported antioxidant strength of blueberries  





  • 3 times more iron than spinach  





  • copious amounts of omega 3 and omega 6, which are essential fatty acids (good fats!)





  • The other cool thing about Chia seeds is that when they are mixed with fluid they absorb the liquid and turn into a gel.  This gel can be mixed with anything to increase the nutritional profile and volume of the selected food while (usually) decreasing the caloric value.  The seeds have no noticeable flavour when mixed with other foods and add a slightly crunch texture - like the seeds in strawberry jam.  I add Chia seeds to my breakfast almost every day, and I recommend you give it a try too. 

    As for the rest of the day tonight is the second game of our Ultimate Frisbee league.  If you have never played it is a cross between soccer and football with a Frisbee and no tackling.  I love it.  Go team!

    Sunday, September 26, 2010

    Dog Day Afternoon

    How do you plan to spend your Sunday?  I will start with a little of this...

    And a little of this...

    Gotta run...I don't want to miss a minute of it.

    Saturday, September 25, 2010

    A Day in the Country

    So, what does one do on a cold, crisp fall afternoon in Southwestern Ontario?  You go to the 2010 International Plowing Match, obviously. 
    I spent the afternoon with my mom and stepdad wandering over 1000 acres of farm equipment, fair food, local vendor booths and lots of other interesting things.  I know for most of you city folk out there (and even some of you country folk) this does not sound like a very exciting Saturday afternoon.  And I agree, I had my doubts.  But, after a little convincing from my mother (who I am pretty sure just dragged me along so she wouldn't have to suffer alone)  I decided I might as well go.  The BF was working for most of the day and if I sat around at home I would have no excuse but to clean up around the house, and I just was not in a Suzie Homemaker mood.

    I got up early with the BF and after a lovely bowl of warm steel cuts oats with peanut butter and apricot jam and headed to the gym to squeeze in a weight training session - chest, shoulders and triceps.  The workout went longer than intended so I had to rush home and shower before the parental units arrived for out rural adventure.  Once I was showered and dressed I managed to make myself a travel mug of coffee just as my parents arrived.

    A quick 25 minute drive had us parked in the massive parking area and on a shuttle bus (that's right - this event was so huge we needed to take a shuttle bus to get us to the main area!) and on our way into the IPM.  The first part of the day was spent wandering through tents and exhibits speaking with local artisans and business people and learning about sustainable agriculture, energy alternatives and local tourism. 

    The afternoon was spent looking at antique farm equipment and cars. 




    There were plowing matches and other tractor related events going on throughout the day and even a tractor parade in the afternoon.  There is also a good chance some fair-like food was involved.  Grilled chicken pita with tzatiki sauce and grilled veggies was the highlight.  Some chocolate and peanut butter fudge was also purchased but has yet to be tasted.  All in all it was a pretty good afternoon.  Lots of walking, lots of fresh air and lots of interesting stuff. 

    Plans for tonight are sushi and a movie with the BF.

    Friday, September 24, 2010

    Control Your Peanut Butter

    If you can't control your peanut butter, you can't expect to control your life.  - Bill Watterson
    I have been lurking on several health, wellness and lifestyle blogs for a while.  Occasionally I would leave a comment but more often then not I would just take the time to read the posts, absorb the information and find a way to incorporate some of these great "crumbs" about food, fitness and lifestyle into my own life.  Some of the women who write these blogs (sorry guys, so far my favourite bloggers are women) are so passionate about their journeys and offer the inspiration and motivation that many of us need to stay focused on our goals.  Not to mention the fact that they all seem to share my addiction to all things “peanut butter”.
    I have always been a reasonably healthy and active individual but in the past few years my interest in health and fitness has spiked.  This is in part thanks to my BF who is very passionate about his own fitness goals.  While I admit, his focus and determination can be frustrating at times, I know my interest in fitness has grown out of his passion. 
    
    Me and the BF
    Reach the Beach 5km Race, Port Stanley, Ontario
    
    I have also developed a new interest in simplifying everything in hopes of taking control of my peanut butter life.  This is a fairly new interest in my life and I struggle on a daily basis to find balance in a cluttered universe.
    So, I hope you will join me on my adventure as I document the ups and downs of trying to live a healthy balanced life.  I love food, friends, my dogs, my bf and my family (not necessarily in that order) and I plan to write about all of these loves and more.
    Here we go…