Foodie Pen Pal: April

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Good morning! Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend- I know I did! I’ll be back to report on all of the fun details tomorrow. And just a quick note- I know that the blog looks a little weird right now. I finally moved to self-hosting over the weekend, but have to re-design my layout from scratch… which I haven’t had time to do. Please let me know if you are having any issues reading or commenting and I’ll do my best to fix them!

Today’s post is all about an awesome program that Lindsay from The Lean Green Bean puts together each month called Foodie Pen Pals. (I’ll include more information about the program at the bottom of this post.

After months of reading post after post from my fellow bloggers about these awesome care packages they were receiving from a foodie pen pal, I finally decided to participate. I was really excited to see what I would get, but equally (if not more so!) as excited to put together a package to send out!

I got my package from Taylor, an personal trainer who owns a women’s boot camp and online training community. How cool is that?

I was excited when my package arrived!

Here’s a closer look inside the box:

Included were 5 packets of Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter, vanilla almond tea, some almond clusters, and a mason jar with Taylor’s gooey chocolate chip cookie mix (which had oats and huge chunks of chocolate, amongst other things)!

She included directions for how to make the gooey chocolate chip cookies:

The recipe includes some of the chocolate hazelnut butter. I haven’t made them yet- but I’ll be honest- I’ve already made my way through one of the packets of nut butter. :)

I had the tea for the first time the other night, and it was fantastic! It made me remember how flavorful loose tea is, and that I should buy it more often!

My favorite item in the box? The almond clusters.

I have just one left….

Thank you, Taylor for the awesome package, and to Lindsay for taking the time to put this all together each month!

And now it’s time for some details about Foodie Penpals.  In case you’re a new reader, here’s a reminder of what the program is all about:
-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa.
If you’re interested in participating for May, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.
You must submit your information by May 4th as pairings will be emailed on May 5th!

*If you’re from somewhere besides the US, Canada or Europe and want to participate, send me an email and I’ll see if we get enough interest this month!

Have you ever participated in Foodie Pen Pals? What’s the coolest item you’ve received?

 

Three Things for Friday

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I made it to Friday!! I can’t believe it! (Don’t I say this every Friday??) Well, I still have to get through the day. Our art show was a raging success, but it was certainly a long day yesterday. I left the building around 7:30 (and was back here just over 11 hours later for work!). The show will be disassembled during out last period today, and then I’ll go teach my  Spin and Bodypump classes… and by 7 pm will be in sweatpants, eating homemade pizza and drinking (homemade!) beer. I CAN NOT WAIT.

Since my brain is pretty much on auto-pilot right now, here are some randoms for this lovely Friday:

1. BLEND is in one week. I am so excited, it’s hard for me to put into words! I really can’t believe it’s almost here. The thing that makes it even sweeter is that it’s in Colorado, which is where my heart truly lies. (I actually plan to write a whole post about my love for Colorado soon.) That means that I will be standing in this spot, with the Flat Irons behind me… it doesn’t get much better than that!!

While I’m excited to meet everyone at Blend, I have to give a special shout-out to some girls I am uber excited to meet: Tiffany and Lynne, because I’ve been following their blogs forever, and my newest soul sisters, Laura and Kelly. It’s weird and wonderful how you can just “know” other women through blogging and emails, and feel so close to them without actually having ever met! It will be truly surreal. And of course, I’m also really looking forward to finally meeting Janetha, whose blog I have been following pretty much since the day I discovered healthy living blogs just one year ago.

And some women I really wish were coming? Lee, Diana, Annette and Corrie Anne. We’ll meet up someday!

2. After the art show last night, Greg and I grabbed sushi at a new Asian-fusion restaurant that opened about a month ago. While I do love sushi, it’s not something that I really choose to get for dinner much. I feel like it fills me up really fast, and then I’m hungry again in 30 minutes. The restaurant is next to a Yogi Castle, and I actually “joked” to Greg that I’d be happy just getting fro-yo for dinner instead (we all know I’m not joking). But we did end up getting sushi, and it was pretty good. We started with our standard miso soup for him and seaweed salad for me. We ordered a veggie roll and rainbow roll (salmon, tuna and yellowtail) and two pieces of tuna and yellowtail sashimi. It wasn’t a whole lot of food, but we figured we could always order more. (We have a habit of ordering way too much and having a ton leftover, and we never take it home).

We were both still definitely hungry after this. Greg suggested ordering more, but I said that I’d rather just go get some fro-yo next door! So that’s exactly what we did.

I tried a few different flavors here, but actually showed a lot of restraint on the portion size (this was probably only about 5 oz total). It was already 8:30 at night, and I knew I’d be going home and hitting the sack right away. Too much sugar on the belly does not make for good sleep.

3. I’m taking a break from food-logging. I’ve been tracking either points or calories since November, and in that time, I’ve lost a total of three lbs. I know that losing weight is an incredibly slow process for me, and those last 10 (or 15 in my case) lbs are the hardest to lose. But, I honestly don’t think that tracking is really “helping” me at this point. It actually stresses me out, because I get a little too obsessed with it. I also know that for me, stress is the #1 reason why I have a hard time losing weight, because it makes my body want to hold on to fat. I know that tracking can be wonderful for many people – because it makes them accountable. For me, it’s just one more thing that I have to do. And I actually do stress about it. I’m going try my darndest to just listen to my body and eat mindfully.

Back in the winter of 2006/2007, I was about 7 or 8 lbs. heavier than I am now, and that was after losing 30ish lbs. a few years before. I joined WW, tracked everything, and really didn’t lose any weight. I continued to obsessively write down every single bite I ate for a few months, and then just stopped one day. And after that, I lost 25 more lbs. (over about a 5 month period). Giving it tracking and listening to my body really worked for me then, so I’m hoping it will again. We’ll see. I just need to get back into that place where I don’t obsess so much about food and just enjoy it (without overdoing it).

So if you’re my friend on MyFitnessPal and you get the notifications that I haven’t logged in however many days and “need encouragement,” just know that I’m okay. :)

Have an awesome Friday!

What are some random things going on in your life right now?

Quick Low-Carb/High-Protein “Pancakes”

Happy Thursday everyone! My stress level is definitely at an all-time high today as we prepare for our big student art show here tonight at my work. We spend all year preparing, but most of the details can’t be done until a few days before the show. I’ve spent most of the day moving large panels and running all over the school, directing kids, and somehow still teaching my classes. I’ll be at school until 7 tonight (love those 12 hour days!) and then will breathe a huge sigh of relief tomorrow afternoon when the show is all taken down and it’s done.

I’m also stressing a little bit about being prepared (job wise) to leave for Colorado next week. I have to have four days of sub plans ready, which is no easy task. I’m also trying to get caught up on all of my grading, so that I don’t come back to a huge mess after I return from my trip. (I’ll already be depressed about having to leave Colorado- and a mountain of work that needs to be graded is not the type of mountain I want to see!).

Anyway- I know it will all work out and by this time next week, I won’t even be thinking about my job and all of this stress.

On a happier note, I taught Spin + Bodypump after work yesterday, which always makes me feel better. The Bodypump class was packed! It was also my first time teaching the entire new release (since we each taught half for the launch) and I think I ROCKED IT. I just feel SO good teaching my exercise classes- I can’t get enough!

Wow, I feel just a little bit better having just typed how happy teaching exercise classes makes me. :)

So. I want to share a quick little recipe that I’ve been enjoying lately either after a workout or as a late afternoon snack. When I was doing yoga after work on Monday, I was thinking about what I wanted to eat afterwards (I know that you are supposed to be “in the present” when practicing yoga, but I can’t help if I have fleeting thoughts about food :)). I thought about what I could throw together quickly that would be packed with protein, that wasn’t my normal smoothie or Greek yogurt. And then I remembered a little protein pancake that I made a couple of months ago.

I modified the recipe a little bit, and came up with this:

Yup. It’s not pretty- even Instagram couldn’t make this pancake look beautiful. But trust me, it tasted good.

Blueberry Super-Protein Pancake

1/4 c 1% no salt added cottage cheese

1/4 c liquid egg whites

1.5 T vanilla protein powder

1/2 tsp baking powder

a few blueberries (I used wild frozen ones from TJs)

a dash of salt

Stevia, to taste (optional)

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Place a skillet over medium heat and pour batter. Cook for 5 minutes on one side (or until edges start to turn golden brown) and flip. Cook for an additional 3 minutes on the other side.

This pancake had 105 calories, 1 g fat, 4 g carbs and 19 g protein.

One thing I love about this pancake is how the cottage cheese melts in the middle. It becomes kind of stretchy, and I really love that. Since I liked this pancake so much on Monday, I decided to make another variation on Tuesday!

I call this onePeanut butter and Jelly protein pancake. It uses peanut flour for protein and heated strawberries as the “jelly.”

PB+J Super-Protein Pancake

1/4 c 1% no salt added cottage cheese

1/4 c liquid egg whites

1.5 T peanut flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

a dash of salt

Stevia, to taste (optional)

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Place a skillet over medium heat and pour batter. Cook for 5 minutes on one side (or until edges start to turn golden brown) and flip. Cook for an additional 3 minutes on the other side. Top with “pb + j”(recipe to follow).

PB + J topping

1 heaping T peanut flour

about 1/2 T water

a few drops of liquid vanilla stevia

a dash of salt

2 strawberries, cut into quarters

Mix all of the ingredients together (except the strawberries) in a small bowl. Add more water for a thinner consistency as desired. Pour over pancake. Microwave or heat strawberries into a skillet until the become soft. Mash with a fork and spread on top of the peanut flour sauce.

**

On to tackle the rest of the day….

Do you have any good “quick” high protein recipes that you enjoy?

A Survey

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Who doesn’t love a survey? I saw this one yesterday on Laura’s blog and jumped right in. Feel free to copy to your own blog and spread the survey love!

Here goes…

Coke or Pepsi?  Neither. I have never in my life liked regular soda, but did drink my fair share of Diet Coke in college and in my mid-20s. I quit artifical sweeteners cold turkey four years ago. :)

Lemonade or Fruit Punch? Again, not something I drink often, but I do love some good lemonade.

Carmel Apple or Cotton Candy?  I kind of think cotton candy is a waste… It just evaporates. Definitely caramel apple. Covered in chopped nuts!

Butterfinger or Snickers? Have to agree with Laura- frozen snickers.

Pudding and Jell-O?  Pudding all the way! Especially butterscotch. Oh. yum. But- I do like jell-o in the form of jell-o shots…

Turkey or Chicken? I absolutely love turkey. Especially leftover from Thanksgiving in the form of a sandwich with cranberries and stuffing or in soup.

American or Provolone Cheese?American “cheese” makes me want to vomit. I shiver just thinking about the big smelly brick of it that my mom used to  buy from the deli when I was a kid. Goat is my fave, followed by really sharp cheddar or Havarti dill…

Crackers or Cookies?  I love both, but will pretty much always pick cookies over crackers. Lately I can’t get enough of these oatcakes.

Pretzels or Chips? Again, both are good, but potato chips from Boulder Canyon are the best, ever (and this flavor is the best chip I’ve ever had)

Mexican food or Japanese food?  Mexican any day of the week! Mexican food pretty much trumps every other “ethnic” cuisine any day of the week. (Like the awesome tempeh+black bean tacos I made last night)

Chinese food or Italian food? Definitely Italian. And preferably anything covered in marinara

Pie or Cake?  I’d have to go with pie. My favorite dessert combo ever is a fruit cobbler or crumble served a la mode, but pie is almost just as good. And don’t ask me to pick a favorite flavor of pie. That would be impossible.

Ice Cream or Cookies?  Why not both, together? I would pick ice cream if I had to choose- I’ll eat it year-round (and I’d much rather have a little bit of the good stuff once in a while than some fat-free or sugar-free chemical version all the time)

Pasta or Pizza? Pizza is my favorite food of all time. I’m a thin-crust girl all the way- loaded with tons of veggies and a few different cheeses. And LOTS of sauce. We make pizza every single Friday night at home! (Side note: MAN, there’s a lot of pictures of homemade pizza on my blog!!)

Soda or Juice? Neither. I’m a big fan of carbonated water though!

Chocolate Bars or Chocolate Truffles? Who cares? As long as it’s dark chocolate, I’ll take it in any form: chips, sauce, bars, truffles… whatever!

Apples or Bananas? I can’t pick between the two. I eat one of each every single day.

Salad or Soup? I’d pick salad, because I eat one almost every day (or sometimes twice). However, whenever I DO make soup, I wonder why I don’t have it more often. My favorite? Maryland Crab. :)

Cauliflower or Broccoli? Cauliflower is a little bit more versatile, but I’d probably give broccoli the edge. I love it. Especially roasted with some salt, garlic and nooch.

Onion Rings or French Fries? Even though I am not a lover of fried foods, good french fries are definitely my weakness. I have been known to swap out fries for a salad when dining out, only to steal half of my husband’s fries from his plate.

Blizzard or McFlurry? I don’t think I’ve ever had a Blizzard, but I had a McFlurry years ago… I’m pretty sure it was good… (like chocolate, I’ll take ice cream in any form!)

Fried or Poached Eggs? I love poached eggs. My mom makes them taste better than anyone else can. She uses this really old egg poacher and sits each egg on top of a piece of buttered toast, and it’s just the best tasting egg ever. And for the life of me, I can’t make them taste as good as she can.

Crepes or Pancakes? Pancakes! Especially these coconut-cornmeal pancakes. Crepes are good, but I don’t get the hype.

Hashbrowns or Roasted Potatoes?  I haven’t had hashbrowns in a really long time, but I do love roasting a big mixture of different potatoes in the summertime with olive oil and herbs… mmmmm…..

Oatmeal or Cereal?  I actually would pick cereal, if it filled me up like oatmeal did. I LOVE cereal, but have no control and could easily eat 3-4 “servings” at a time. So by default, I choose my beloved oatmeal.

You can’t really go wrong there!

**

The COUNTDOWN IS ON! I leave for Colorado in exactly ONE WEEK. I really can’t believe it’s almost here!!!

Pick one or two foods from this survey and tell me how much you love it. :)

New Discoveries

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Happy Tuesday, y’all. Today started bright and early with the alarm going off at 4:40 and me rushing out of the house to teach spin class. I did my usual warm-up workout before class, and cranked through three Bodypump tracks (just to get some additional practice). Then it was time to teach an intense 50-minute ride, and off to work for me! So now I just need to make it through the day because I have two wonderful things waiting for me this afternoon: #1 my bi-weekly deep tissue massage and #2 TACO NIGHT. (We’re using tempeh and black beans tonight!)

I picked up two new-to-me products over the weekend that I am loving. I went to Wegmans, which I rarely shop at because it’s just so overwhelming and big.Also, every time I got there, I spend way too much money because there are always new products (and they have a pretty big and impressive organic section).

I was looking for some new wraps and spotted these:

Actually, I spotted the “everything” flavor first (which was like an everything bagel) and then saw these. I am a sucker for pumpernickel! First of all, these suckers are HUGE. It’s kind of hard to believe that they’re only 80 calories a piece, too (but they say they are!). They have four other flavors, all of which I will have to try, that you can see on their website. They are also vegan, fyi.

When I bought these on Friday, it was in the late morning, so I was happy to be able to try one right away for lunch. I had some leftover steak and grilled veggies from kebabs that Greg had grilled two nights before, so I combined that with a bunch of mixed greens and a Laughing Cow French Onion wedge spread on the tortilla.

Today I have a container packed with avocado, two hard-boiled eggs, tomato, onion and mixed greens to stuff into a tortilla. I can’t wait until lunchtime….

**

Another awesome find at Wegman’s were these protein bagels (of which I gave a sneak peak of yesterday).

I don’t know why, but I recently just got a hankering for bagels. I’m not even a bagel person. I’d actually prefer a nice hearty, nutty piece of whole grain bread any day. But, like I said- I had bagels on my mind. I was looking in the frozen organic section first and reading labels and such, and then spotted these in the bread section. Of course the words “high protein” got my attention right away. They were a little pricey, but as soon as I checked out the nutritional stats, I was sold!

In case you can’t read it- that says 260 calories per bagel (and they are HUGE!), 7 grams of fat, 25g carbs, 4g fiber, 5g sugar and a whopping 28 grams of protein! They are actually made with a whey protein blend- so yeah- these are not for the vegans. They also had bread with similar stats, which would be good to get for sandwiches (one thing at a time here, folks!). I’ll be completely honest- these taste good. Not GREAT- the texture is a little different than a “real” bagel, but they’re still pretty good (and good enough for me). I’m not sure how they would be straight out of the bag because of the different texture, so I’d recommend toasting them. I had one with just some butter spread on top over the weekend- and that tasted awesome. But, one of these paired with a little nut butter and fruit and/or yogurt makes a perfect breakfast. Or eggs, of course.

**

Some other new things I’m excited about? Well, the new season of Real Housewives of New Jersey started…

I can’t get enough of this trashy drama- I love it! New Jersey has always been at the top of my list, with Beverly Hills being second. I also really loved DC and am sad that it probably won’t be coming back. I used to like New Jersey, but not so much anymore. And I never really got into Atlanta, Miami or Orange County.

But, my favorite television discovery came along when I was browsing the shows on Hulu Plus this weekend. I pay $8 a month for Hulu Plus, which streams through out Blu-Ray player. And it’s worth every penny. I’m bad about remembering to record shows, so I can find most of them there. The real treasure though is that it has a vault of old shows- and many of which I watched during my angsty teen years. One of my favorite shows from high school? THE REAL WORLD. I actually dreamed of being on it. To my credit, this was back in the beginning when it was cool and not trashy. I’ve watched it from the very beginning- when it was in New York with Julie and Eric and Kevin, etc. – I was in 7th grade then. I can hardly pick a favorite season- but my top 5 would be Miami, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle and L.A. I also loved New Orleans, which was during my sophomore year of college. And then it all just got trashy after that (well, after Vegas).

I’m making my way through San Francisco now. :)

Oh man, I just can’t get enough. I was watching the episode last night where Pedro calls Puck out for sticking his finger in the peanut butter jar and was just dying laughing. I remember quoting that with my friends in high school all the time. Instant nostalgia.

It’s weird- because looking back on the show now, I remember thinking that they all seemed so old and mature (well, Judd still definitely does) but most of them are at least 10 years younger than my age now. But they still look older to me.

I can’t wait to get home and watch another episode tonight. :)

Do you like bagels or wraps? Favorite kind?

Are you a Real World or Housewives fan? What’s your favorite season?

 

Spills, Thrills and Instagram [obsession!]

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Just a quick note to start: I’m in the process of (finally) moving my blog to self-hosting… as soon as I can figure out how the heck to do it. I am so illiterate about these things. I spend an hour trying to follow the “easy” step-by-step instructions on WordPress.org yesterday and gave up. If anyone wants to do this for me, let me know. :)

If you tried to visit my blog yesterday, you may have missed this post.

Moving right along- yes, as the title says, the weekend was full of spills, thrills and spending WAY too much time looking at Instagram.

Let’s start with the spills!

I had the house to myself all weekend (well, me and the two mutts) because Greg has been in Chicago for work since Friday morning and comes back sometime tonight (hopefully- this crazy weather will surely cause some flight delays…). The forecast called for rain and nasty weather all weekend, so I got out of the house pretty quickly on Saturday morning to squeeze in a quick trail run. I wanted to stay in bed and snuggle with the pups, but didn’t want to miss my chance at being outside before the monsoon started. It ended up not raining until much later in the afternoon, so in the end I could have waited… but whatever.

The weather in the morning was gorgeous. I was really excited to try out my new trail-running shoes that I bought recently, and had only work for hiking so far. I set out for my favorite 5-ish mile loop at Gambrill and felt great. I was running fast and loving life. And the scenery was beautiful, as always.

I love seeing these little rock piles. I’ve seen them on hiking trails all around the country. :)

I had only passed by a few people on the trail. I was a little surprised that more people weren’t out, but it was kind of early after all. So there I was, running along, not a care in the world when SPLAT! I face-planted running downhill. I was on a pretty technical section, but I also know these trails like the back of my hand. I know ever rock and root and where to step- but apparently that didn’t help. I kind of braced my fall with my forearms, but my legs took a beating. I just laid there for a minute and thought oh crap…. I moved my ankles and thank God I hadn’t twisted one of them. I pulled my legs up and sat on my butt and felt my left leg throbbing. I rolled up my pant leg and saw a huge gash right below my knee – a pretty deep cut with a good amount of blood. I had scrapes on my ankles, arms and other leg, but no other real blood (well, until I noticed that I had also cut one of my fingers!). I stood up and bent my knee, whichkilled. I leaned against a tree for a minute and thought about what to do. I felt nauseous and thought I might puke, but I didn’t. :) I was exactly half way through the trail (of course!) and had just ran down a huge, long hill, so turning back around was not appealing. The hill I was running down leveled out a little further ahead, and then it was flat before one more big incline to get back to the parking lot. I decided to just keep going. I hobbled along, as fast as I could, which definitely wasn’t the same pace I was running right before. I was covered in dirt from head to toe and probably looked pretty interesting, but luckily, I didn’t pass a single person on the way back up!

I’ve fallen a few times while trail-running, but never had anything more than a scrape. I haven’t had a bad fall in a long time- my last “bad” one was three and a half years ago, and that was on pavement, with a lot more blood involved.

Here’s the damage, which looks pretty tame actually.

If you can avert your eyes from my gigantic bunion, you’ll see my next future scar (just adding another to the collection!). My leg hurt so much that I dashed all of my plans to be productive for the remaining hours of the morning and sat on the couch with a big pack of ice on my leg and two pups curled up beside me. That wasn’t so bad.

Later on in the afternoon, I got ready, hobbled out to my car, and headed over to my mom’s house for my step-dad Joe’s  “surprise” birthday party. He knew that all of the kids were coming, but the surprise was that a number of other people came over too. We had a really nice night! I really wish Greg could have been there, but it’s always fun hanging out with my family.

We had an awesome dinner of pizza and salad, which was followed by the opening of presents. The first gift that Joe opened was from his friends Dawn and Bill, which was a gag gift that they keep re-gifting back and and forth. It was some weird-o frog sculpture thing that Joe brought back for Dawn from New Orleans about 30 years ago. We were all cracking up over this one- Joe even had tears in his eyes. :)

My niece, Makayla very patiently waited for Joe to open her present, which was a beautiful hand-made booklet called “10 Reasons why we love Grandpa.” Her and her brother thought of 10 reasons to write and drew illustrations on each page. It was so sweet. :)

You can see that the boys had lost interest by this point (the blur on the left), and decided to wrestle instead.

Here’s me with my stepsister Casey and stepsister-in-law, Tiffany.

And then it was time for cake! Or should I say, cakes.

My Aunt Janet made a carrot cake:

And my mom picked up a fudge and peanut butter cake from a local farmer’s market that they go to every Saturday. (You can see on the bottom right corner that Joe couldn’t resist trying the frosting!)

Of course, I had a little slice of both. And ice cream. And then went back for seconds! My eyes were definitely bigger than my stomach and my tummy definitely felt upset later. Whatever, it was worth it.

**

On Sunday I woke up to a throbbing knee and immediately downed some Advil. I headed out to the gym to do Bodypump (by myself) before teaching my 8:30 spin class, and hoped that my leg wouldn’t give me problems. Thank goodness, it was fine. The only thing I couldn’t do were lunges in Bodypump, but the Spinning actually felt great.

To make up for the sitting around I did on Saturday, I spent the rest of Sunday marathon cleaning. It was raining pretty heavily all day long, which motivated me to do things inside that I usually ditch for playing outdoors. When I wasn’t cleaning, I was probably playing with Instagram.I am obsessed. Here are some photos that I took over the last few days…

From Saturday’s trail run: the overlook along the black/green trail at Gambrill where Greg and I had our private ceremony on the morning of our wedding:

Kombucha, which was on sale at Mom’s:

Yesterday’s lunch (tempeh, kelp noodles, broccoli, carrots and mushrooms with a peanut flour/Bragg’s sauce):

And of course, the boys:

Jackson passed out while I was folding laundry:

Lance likes to run around with an empty dog food bag in his mouth, but I wasn’t able to catch him doing that and got this instead.

And from today- breakfast:

That’s a high-protein bagel (I’ll elaborate more on that tomorrow!) with peanut flour “butter” and banana, and a Siggi’s with strawberries.

I’m off to conquer the work week (and hope that this stupid cut on my leg stops hurting)!

Have you ever taken a spill while running? Are you on Instagram? (my username is laurenbeach1- feel free to follow me!)

Upgrades

Hey all-

I’m trying to figure out how to do some upgrades on my site.

Please visit http://oatmealafterspinning.wordpress.com until I get it all figured out!!!

Pump’d up!

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Whew! The last two days have been pretty crazy- but in a good way.

On Thursday night, Greg and I picked up my mom and stepdad (Joe) to head to Baltimore for our annual Colin Hay concert. I’m pretty cure I’ve mentioned Colin a few times on this blog before, but he has a really special meaning to me and Greg. When we started dating, we both discovered that we were both big Colin Hay fans. I haven’t met many other people that even really know who he is (which is a shame!) or do only when I say “he was the singer from Men at Work….” and start singing “Down Under.”

Colin has an amazing solo career and one of the most beautiful, timeless voices I’ve ever heard. It gives me chills, and he sounds just as good (or even better) live. Apparently Zach Braff is also a big fan of his, because Colin appeared on a few episodes of Scrubs and also provided some of the music for one of the best movies ever, Garden State.

He tours with his band around the west coast, and does solo shows all over the world. He’s played in Maryland during the month of April for the last 5 years, and Greg and I have seen him each time. Two years ago we started bringing my mom and stepdad, who have also become big fans. The last four shows we’ve seen him play have been in Annapolis, but this year he came to Baltimore. And our seats were awesome! (and the lighting…. was not. Very dark, grainy pictures are ahead.)

I always get tickets the moment they go on sale, because I like to be CLOSE.

Did I mention that it was also Joe’s 60th birthday? What an awesome way for him to spend it! He even wore an awesome pin and got a free drink. :)

An artist from Boston named Chris Trapper opened for Colin. He also opened for him last year, and I really liked his music. It’s funny- I have only seen him play once, but remembered almost every song he played from last year.

And then it was time for the main event: Colin Hay!!!

Colin tells a lot of stories during his performance, which are awesome to listen to. He’s also got a thick Scottish accent and uses the f-word pretty liberally, which is always hilarious.

He mostly plays his solo stuff (he has a ton of albums out), but always throws in a few on Men at Work’s big hits. And this night in particular was a bit strange, because the former saxophone player from Men at Work (and Colin’s friend since high school) was found dead the night before. Colin spoke about him before playing “Who Can It Be Now,” which you can here around 1:36 here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKbaW-gZKCQ

I took a video of it also, but for some reason, can’t get it to upload. I found this on Youtube. Here’s another video- of him singing the Men at Work hitOverkill: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Sj1BCqdRMs

He played for about two hours, just as he has done every time we’ve seen him. He also jokes about encores- because he doesn’t do them. He’s like “why am I going to walk off a stage and come right back?” :)

It was a really great night- but a LATE one. We got home around midnight, which is unheard of for me and Greg! We both like our sleep, and rarely stay out past 9 or 10 pm. You might call that lame, but I call it awesome. I love sleep, and when you get up around 5:00 am every day, staying up too late just isn’t an option.

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Since I took Friday off, I actually got to sleep in… a little bit. Greg set his alarm for 6:00 because he had a 9:30 flight to catch to Chicago. He’s there for a few days setting up a new network (or something like that) in one of his company’s new buildings. I woke up then too, and headed downstairs to ride my spin bike and watch the Bodypump 81 DVD one more time before meeting up with another instructor to practice. The two of us were lucky enough to present the big launch for BP81 that night during her regular 6 pm class, but wanted to run through it one time in the morning first.

We met up at the gym, did the routine, and I felt confident about the choreography. But, I was really tired. And hoping to fit a nap in sometime before that evening. Annnnnnd…. that didn’t happen. I just can’t nap! I don’t know why- but I am never able to fall asleep in the middle of the day. Man, I wish I could!

By the time 5:00 rolled around, I changed into my new Bodypump shirt, laced up my shoes and headed for the gym. Oh, and took a silly self-portrait with my iPhone.

I got to the gym a little early and ran through the Abs and Cooldown one last time (since these were the two tracks that I spent the least amount of time learning).

Just a little sidenote, in case you’re not familiar with Les Mills Bodypump: Each quarter, a new “release” comes out, which is titled by a number (so this one was release 81). Each release had 10 tracks and focuses on the same muscles groups in the same order, but the choreography and music switches up each time. It’s all put together to constantly confuse the muscles and make you STRONG (and not bored!). At our gym, two instructors are chosen to introduce the new release (which we call the “launch”), and I was really excited to have that opportunity this time, along with another instructor named Davina. (and BTW, Davina is pretty bad-ass. She’s also certified in Les Mills RPM and Flow, both of which also had their launches this week! That’s A LOT of choreography to learn!!)

Davina suggested that we get matching shirts for the launch, which I thought was a cute idea. Here we are getting ready to teach!

We split up the tracks evenly, but were both side-by-side in front of the class the whole time. And SUPER HIGH ENERGY!! Lots of “whoop whoop-ing” going on. ;)

Davina taught the Warm-up, Squats, Chest, Lunges and Shoulder tracks and I taught the Back, Triceps, Biceps, Abs and Cooldown tracks. If I HAD to pick a favorite track from this release, I’d probably go with the Back track… but I also really like the Chest and Abs. And the warm-up!! The most difficult by far is the bicep track. I was literally growling (Grrrrr!!!!) when I taught it and encouraging others to do the same. And people were dying. I loved it. And I LOVE LOVE LOVE teaching Bodypump. I can’t say it enough. There’s just something amazing about helping people get strong and challenge themselves- and helping them to learn to LOVE exercise!

At the end of class, we were all flying high (and nice and sweaty!) and posed for a photo with two other Bodypump instructor BEASTS that were there, Jill and Bonnie.

I got home around 7:30 and didn’t have much energy to make dinner. Luckily, what I was craving took very little effort.

I started with a bowl of baked kale (sprinkled with nutritional yeast) along with some spicy ketchup (siracha + ketchup).

And then I made myself a big old bowl of ice cream smoothie.

I have been LOVING this combination for the last week. In the smoothie: one cup frozen butternut squash, a handful of spinach, 8 ice cubes, flax milk, 3 T peanut flour, 1 T vanilla protein powder, 1 T unsweetened cocoa powder, “English toffee” stevia extract, and guar and xantham gums. Once it was poured into the bowl, I sprinkled a little sea salt on top- which really takes it to the next level. The sweet and salty combination is unreal. I could eat this every single day (and pretty much have this week!).

Perfect ending to a perfect night. :)

Have you tried the latest Bodypump release yet? Thoughts?

 

Stress Is My Middle Name (for now)

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Hello!

I’m here… and just barely.

Work is crazy stressful right now… like… crazy. We have our annual art show at the end of next week, which requires a massive amount of preparation and extra hours (unpaid of course). There’s also just a lot of other stuff going on, and I’m being pulled in about 1,000 different directions.

On top of that, the Bodypump 81 launch is tomorrow. I’m SUPER excited about it, but just really anxious because it will be my first time teaching the new launch (!!) and will just be able to breathe a big sigh of relief when it’s done. I’ve been practicing the choreography daily, and think I have it nailed… we’ll see.

This is pretty much how I have looked the majority of this week:

But, I’m trying to buck up and put on a happy face.

*Note the massive bags under my eyes…..

So here are three things that are making me smile:

1. This bar that I had to fuel me up before teaching Spin + Bodypump yesterday afternoon:

Good golly Miss Molly, this was GOOD! And the ingredients made me very happy, too!

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2. I’m going to see Colin Hay in concert tonight. He’s the singer from Men at Work, and one of my favorite artists of all time. His solo career is amazing and his voice is just one of a kind. If you’re not familiar with him, check him out, or add him to your Pandora stations (which will play music from artists like Matt Kearney, Jack Johnson and Coldplay).

Greg and I have gone to see him every April for the last five years. The photo above was from 2009, when we got to meet him afterwards!

We are bringing my mom and stepdad with us tonight (and it’s my stepdad’s 60th birthday today!!!), which will be awesome.

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3. In exactly two weeks, I will be standing in this very spot.

’nuff said.

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I’m going to try to tame the stress monster over the next few days and give myself a break. I took tomorrow off since I will be out late tonight and will need to practice Bodypump choreography all day tomorrow. I’m going to try to make this weekend last as long as it possibly can, and try to not even think about the stress and chaos that awaits me when I return to work on Monday….

See ya soon!

Quick Fish Dish + Miracle Tapenade

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Happy hump day! How’s your week treating you?

In exactly two weeks I’ll be boarding a plane for Denver!! I’ll have two days of exploring some of my favorite parts of Colorado and then will be at the Blend Retreat during the weekend. To say that I can hardly contain my excitement would be an understatement.

Wednesdays are my crazy busy days, so today I present you with a short simple post about my dinner last night.

We’ve been eating Pacific cod for dinner a lot recently, because it’s relatively inexpensive, versatile, and incredibly low in calories/high in protein. I read that it’s better to eat Pacific rather than Atlantic (I think because it’s over fished?) and definitely buy it wild (rather than farmed). You can read more about the benefits of cod here, which also states that a 3 oz. serving has 89 calories and a whopping 20 grams of protein!

I have to admit, cod on it’s own does not have a lot of flavor. It’s not like halibut or grouper or rockfish (my favorite white fish varieties) which have a lot of flavor on their own. But, with just a few simple ingredients, it can taste pretty amazing. This has been my ‘go to’ method of preparing cod, which doesn’t take a whole lot of time or effort:

I chop up some veggies (onion, heirloom tomato, mushrooms) along with lemon and dill and place them in a baking dish. I usually add capers too, but completely forgot to last night. other veggies that go well with this fish are zucchini and yellow squash and red bell peppers.

Lay the fish on top of the veggies. Season with a little bit of extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt and pepper.

Find the magic ingredient: Trader Joes Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade!

I love this stuff. LOVE. I mix it into crushed, unsalted tomatoes for the best pizza sauce ever and smother it on top of a rice cake topped with a wedge of laughing cow for a snack. It is pretty darn good.
Spread the tapenade over the fish filets.
Bake at 400 for 15 minutes (fish should flake off easily when it’s done!). The fish will have a nice broth underneath, which can be spooned over top of it when plated. You can also prepare the whole dish on the stoptop in a large, deep pan, which is equally as delicious.
We had an assortment of different veggies in the fridge, so I chopped them up, sprinkled on some nutritional yeast, and let them roast on a cookie sheet while the fish baked. I also had the other half of a Japanese sweet potato from the night before (looooove these guys!).
Our dinner plates are kind of small. I definitely piled about 3x more veggies on my plate after snapping this photo.

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One more update: breakfast this morning. I made zucchini bread oatmeal for breakfast again today, but this time made it into overnight oats instead (again, inspired by Laura!)

In the jar: 3 T multigrain oats, 3 T oat bran, 2 T no salt added 1% cottage cheese, 1 T pumpkin puree, 1/2 T chia seeds, 1/4 small melted banana (formerly frozen, nuked for 30 seconds), 1/3 c shredded zucchini, a few frozen wild blueberries, nutmeg, cinnamon, pinch of salt, vanilla stevia, almond milk and water. Topped with a spoonful of sunflower butter.

I also made a mini protein (zucchini) muffin using 1 scant T coconut flour, 1 scant T oat flour, baking powder, vanilla stevia, egg whites, almond milk, pumpkin puree, grated zucchini and a few walnuts. Nuked in the microwave. I didn’t think to photograph it until I had broken it up to crumble over my oats. You get the idea though….

Very yummy and very filling.

Have a great Wednesday!

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Are you a fish fan? What’s your favorite type?