To Be Strong

Last weekend when my parents were over, Dave and I pulled out our dumbbells and started adding weights to see how much people could lift. You know, like you do.

My mom said to me, “I don’t understand. Why do you want to be strong?”

I want to be strong so I can run faster.

I want to be strong so I don’t get osteoporosis.

I want to be strong so I can walk tall.

I want to be strong so people won’t say “You’re strong…for a girl.”

I want to be strong so I feel strong inside.

I want to be strong so I don’t get diabetes.

I want to be strong to fight depression.

I want to be strong to have more self-confidence.

I want to be strong to know the beauty of which my body is capable.

 

 

 

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Training for a 10K

Yesterday I received my fancy new Belkin EaseFit armband for my Iphone, so I simply had to take it for a run. I downloaded an app called Runkeeper which has a lot of different training plans to choose from, so I signed up to train for a sub 60 minute 10k.

imageI was scheduled to run 3 miles at a slow pace (between 11:15 and 11:45) yesterday. Since it was so bloody hot and humid out, I had no trouble keeping to the schedule.

Mile 1: 11.03 min/mi

Mile 2: 11:02 min/mi

Mile 3: 11:21 min/mi

Total miles: 3.02. Duration: 33:42. Average pace: 11:10

I paid $15 for the Belkin EaseFit on Amazon (it was $30 at the Cellcom store), and I was very pleased with it. It didn’t slip or slide around very much, and it was very comfortable. My Iphone was firmly stuck in the pocket, so I didn’t have to worry about it falling out. Plus, I got to hear my average pace while I was running, so I knew if I had to slow down or speed up. Now I just have to learn what ‘strides’ and ‘intervals’ are. Any of my runner friends out there know?

After I was done with my run, I walked the last mile to cool down and took some pictures of the trail.

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It’s a beautiful trail, isn’t it? I had some fun with Instagram, too.

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I stretched for a few minutes after I got back to the park and then drove home. I think I’m going to get a bike lock and find a place to keep my bike at the park so I don’t have to drive there. It’s only about a mile or so away, and I only have to cross the street once to get there.

During the week, Dave and I usually take one or two days where we’re on our own for dinner. Dave had a sandwich last night, so I got a chance to try out one of my new Morning Star products and cook some delicious cauliflower (which he hates).

I made Faux Mashed Potatoes with my cauliflower.

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These are incredibly easy to make and so good. Just add cauliflower to a pot with a small amount of water (I did 1/3 of a small cauliflower head with about 1 inch of water). Let water come to a boil, turn heat down, and let the cauliflower simmer until tender, about ten minutes. Drain water, add a splash of milk, butter or olive oil, and seasonings, then puree with a stick blender or mash with a potato masher. I added a tsp of butter, a splash of skim milk, fresh basil, garlic powder, feta cheese, salt & pepper to my mashed cauliflower.

On the side, I tried out a Hickory BBQ Riblet from Morning Star.

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Because I was lazy and didn’t want to turn on the oven for one riblet, I cooked it in the microwave.

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It looked kind of strange, but it was surprisingly good. I’m not a huge bbq fan, but even I thought the sauce was pretty tasty. I think I will try the next one as a bbq sandwich. Still, I don’t really like fake meat products that much, so I’m not sure if I would buy them again. But I would definitely recommend them as a low cal alternative to ribs, if you’re into that sort of thing.

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I had a piece of sprouted rye bread on the side to soak up the rib sauce and cauliflower. Rye is one of my favorite types of bread, and the sprouted rye has so much flavor. Also, I love how huge that pile of cauliflower looks next to the tiny riblet. It was a big serving, but it worked out to be about 150 calories altogether with the butter and cheese, which is pretty darn good.

On the side, I had my newest obsession: frozen grapes.

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These are the perfect hot weather snack. If you are a grape-lover, you must try these!

I was really tired last night so in preparation for the upcoming weekend, I went to bed at 6:00pm. Time to prepare for an awesome weekend with friends!

Spoiled

I feel like I’m cheating the system this week with only three days of work. I had Monday off for Memorial Day and yesterday was my normal Wednesday off (I a have Wednesday off once or twice a month). It was a great day!

I started my morning with Level 1 of Extreme Shed & Shred. It was a very grey, gloomy morning, and it was all I could do to make myself exercise with no sun to brighten my mood. Luckily, I felt great afterwards. Somehow I forgot that this workout starts with burpees, though.

With leftover mango from the previous night’s mango avocado grilled cheese sandwiches, I made myself a Mango Lassi for breakfast.

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(I took these pictures on our cat tower, because it was the only good light I could find!)

  • 1/2 cup fresh mango chunks
  • 1 container Chobani mango yogurt
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 3 ice cubes

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It was a very refreshing and filling breakfast. When I went to pick up my sister three hours later to go see a movie, I still wasn’t hungry! Probably good, because those pretzel poppers smelled delicious.

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Moriah and I went to see The Great Gatsby, which I’ve been eagerly anticipating. I’m glad there are finally good movies coming out again! Even though this movie was almost two and a half hours long, I was never bored.

DiCaprio was absolutely fantastic as Jay Gatsby, and I even liked Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway. Plus, the movie was visually stunning. The soundtrack was definitely more 2000s than 1920s, but I think it worked okay.

After the movie, we hit up Hobby Lobby so I could pick up some things to make invitations for my birthday. I love birthdays and I love themed parties, so I’m planning a Wine & Cheese party for my twenty-sixth birthday in July.

I watched some Gilmore Girls while I printed, traced, cut, and glued my invitations, which turned out pretty well.

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Sorry you can’t see the whole thing: I cut off the bottom part with my address in case any of you out there are creepers.

After I finished my invitations, I made myself some dinner based on a super-duper easy recipe I found on How Sweet Eats.

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Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad

  • 4 cups grape tomatoes
  • 4 cups cubed artisan bread
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups fresh mozarella pearls
  • 15-20 fresh basil leaves, torn
  • really good balsamic vinegar
  • mixed lettuce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In one pan, toss grape tomatoes with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper. In another pan, toss cubed artisan bread with 1 tbsp olive oil. Roast tomatoes for 20 minutes and bread for 10-12 minutes, tossing a few times during cooking. Remove and let cool.

Combine all ingredients together, sprinkle with remaining salt and pepper, and drizzle with remaining olive oil and a nice pour of balsamic vinegar. Serve over lettuce.

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I was looking for whole grain bread at the store but they were sold out, so I went all out with a loaf of Tomato Basil Chop Block bread instead.

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Is there anything better than really good bread? I think not.

 

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It smelled absolutely wonderful while it was toasting.

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I also loved the idea of roasting the tomatoes as opposed to eating them fresh. Firstly, because I could eat them whole (I have to cut fresh grape tomatoes in half, otherwise I feel like I’m biting into an eyeball) and secondly, because they developed a rich, complex taste from the oven.

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This was so easy and so good; a wonderful twist on a regular caprese salad. Perfect summer dinner!

I had so much fun yesterday that I proposed to Dave that I become a lady of leisure while he worked. He didn’t like that idea. Oh, well, back to work I go. But the weekend is coming soon!

Cheesy Goodness

This week promises to be grey, rainy, and hot. I don’t care if it rains every day this week as long as it’s nice on Saturday for Oshkosh Irish Fest. Unfortunately, it looks like that’s the day it’s supposed to rain the most. Bummer. I might have to get a rain hat.

Dave would probably refuse to walk by me, though.

Since it was a drizzly day yesterday, I stayed inside and did two workouts from Kickbox Fastfix: the lower body and abs version. Those sprawls are insane.

My doctor told me my metabolism is so low, I should be exercising for an hour a day instead of half an hour if I want to maintain my girlish figure. It’s hell getting old. I think my forty minutes yesterday were good enough, thankyouverymuch.

And then I counteracted it with a deliciously cheesy grilled cheese sandwich.

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Mango Avocado Grilled Cheese on Sprouted Rye Bread. Mmm…Avocadoes? Good. Mangoes? Good. Sharp Cheddar? Goooood. The only thing that could have improved this sandwich is bacon. Noted.

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I served my grilled cheese with some roasted broccoli and carrots. I’m not a huge fan of cooked carrots, but they were begging to be used. I much prefer my carrots raw and dipped in hummus, so I think that’s going on the agenda for today. For some reason, Dave and I never have both pita chips and hummus in the house at the same time.

Dave and I spent the evening catching up with Arrested Development. The new season came out on Saturday, so we have to plug through season three (my least favorite season, but still funny) before we get to it. I’ve heard mixed reviews, but I’m eager to make my own judgement.

Are you an Arrested Development fan? What did you think of the new season?

Long Weekend

Hey guys!

I am loving this long weekend; how about you? Every time I remembered yesterday that I had Monday off, I got ridiculously excited. Woohoo!

Saturday was an errand day. Dave and I went to Target for a few things, stocked up on mostly produce at Woodman’s, and hit up Cellcom to take a peek at smartphones. We both left with Iphones.

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I haven’t had a brand new phone in about three years (I had a used one last time I switched), so it was definitely time for an upgrade. I’m really excited about taking it on runs with me to track my pace, and the camera quality is amazing. But I still promise to never be one of those people that plays with their phone instead of talking to their friends. That’s one of my biggest pet peeves. Still, Dave and I have been playing with our phones a lot this weekend.

My mom and I have been discussing visiting my grandpa’s grave for several years now, and yesterday we finally did it. I find cemeteries incredibly fascinating. There are so many stories floating around in that plot of land, so much love and pain and anger and heartbreak and memories. I love to look at the gravestones and guess what kind of life the person had.

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I never met my Grandpa Bain, and being the family-oriented person I am, I miss him sometimes. I wish he would have been part of my life.

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My uncle is right next to him. He died when I was only three and, based on all the stories I’ve heard about him, I’m sure he would have been one of my favorite uncles.

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We spent quite a while walking through the entire cemetery. I was very excited to see a lilac bush, because they are one of my favorite flowers. I remember when I was sick once as a child, and my mom put lilacs in a vase next to my bed. I alternated reading and smelling the lilacs until I felt better.

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When we returned back to our apartment, Dave and I made good on a promise we had made to our Dad last July: to cook him a Low Country Boil.

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This is only the second time we’ve made Low Country Boil, but it is such a wonderful meal. I use Alton Brown’s seasoning recipe which is a little long but so, so good. It is the perfect amount of spice.

Low Country Boil (serves 10-12)

  • 4 lbs small red potatoes
  • 10 quarts water (last time I listed five, but based on the size of our pot, I have to use ten)
  • 2 lbs andouille sausage, cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks
  • 6 ears of corn, cut into thirds (we cut them in half last time, but I think I prefer the size of thirds)
  • 4 lbs of shrimp, uncooked, peeled, and deveined
  • seasoning (see below)

Add potatoes to large pot, then add 10 quarts of water and seasoning. Cover pot and heat to a rolling boil; cook 5 minutes. Add sausage and corn, and return to a boil. Cook 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Add shrimp to stockpot; cook 3 to 4 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Drain

Low Country Boil Seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons whole cloves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons whole allspice
  • 1 lb kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill weed
  • bay leaves, crumbled

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I think I ran out of most of my spices making this, but it was worth it. Before we put the Low Country Boil on the grill, Dave made some amazing corn fritters. I made cornbread to go with the boil last time, but these were way better.

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I had a few beers while we cooked, including this Alaska Summer beer, which I really enjoyed.

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Only a few members of my family showed up, but we still had a good time.

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Our apartment isn’t the greatest for cookouts, but we make do with what we have. There wasn’t a whole lot of activity in our complex last night, so I suspect most people went up north for the weekend.

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The chefs!

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One of the chefs who taught me!

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Probably the best one pot meal I’ve ever had. I added some cocktail sauce to my plate and dipped everything into it. Dave’s corn fritters went wonderfully with the meal. And even though I was full, I had to have a piece of angel food cake that I had sliced and thrown on the grill for a few minutes.

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With some whipped cream, strawberries, and blueberries on top, it was awesome. I highly recommend grilling angel food cake.

I’m looking forward to another relaxing day, but I’ll leave you with a picture of my niece Aurelia.

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Holy Cats, Yoga is Hard

It’s been awhile since I’ve done yoga. A looooong while. I never thought the day would come when I would be wearing running shoes more often than yoga socks. But today seemed like a perfect day for a trade, so I popped on Level 1 of Yoga Meltdown with Jillian Michaels.

Athena was very insistent on doing yoga with me.

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And I have to admit that she is much more flexible than I am.

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Naturally, she absolutely rocks at cat pose.

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And she’s got snake kitty pose down pat.

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I missed you, yoga socks! I think toe socks are hideous, but these yoga socks really help me with my balance poses, otherwise I’d be sliding all over the mat.

It was pretty chilly when I started my morning workout, but I was quite warm by the time I finished and was ready for a smoothie. Dave asked for a small glass once he found out I wasn’t putting any spinach in it, (because we were out). 😦

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For this one I used Chobani Greek banana yogurt, frozen banana chunks, strawberries, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, a dash of vanilla, a spoonful of stevia, and ice.

010Mmmmm. Perfect start to the long weekend. I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing today, and I’m perfectly okay with that.

Do you have any fun Memorial Day weekend plans?

Wanna Go on a Run With Me?

Awesome! How about we do a 5k?

First things first: the shoes.

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My Asics are my favorite. They’re nice and cushy with plenty of room to spread my toes when I land. What kind do you wear?

Really? Those are always too narrow for my feet! It takes all kinds, though.

Did you bring your Ipod along? You know, in case we get sick of talking to each other. Ha, I know. Hasn’t happened yet.

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Still, I’ve got my brand new purple Koss Fit earclips. Looove them. They don’t move a wink.

Better bring Burt, too.

003You don’t have a Burt?! Well, you can borrow mine. But you really need your own Burt; he’s the best. I never go anywhere without him.

Well, first we better warm up with a walk.

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A quarter mile is good. It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?

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I love summer so much.

All right, are you ready?

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So it begins!

Yeah, the breeze does feel awesome. It’s a great running day. I’m glad you came with me.

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I don’t understand people who don’t like nature. I could wrap this around me like a blanket.

Uh oh, we’re coming up to my least favorite part of the trail.

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On those 80 degree days, this open space is a killer. Luckily it’s only 60 out today. Although I was kind of hoping for a nice, hot beach day for Memorial Day. Sometimes I just want to pull an Ishmael and take to the sea, don’t you?

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Wow, the woody areas are really buggy today. I must have eaten ten of them already. My Dad always said they were just extra protein.

At least I wore my sunglasses instead of my hat. This tough chick does not want bugs in her eyes.

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Hey, lookee here, the halfway point! I’m feeling pretty good; how about you? Great! Let’s turn around and keep going.

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Hey, I wonder what that trail leads to…. Wait, can’t get distracted today. We’ll check it out next time. It will just have to be the road not taken.

Yeah, not my favorite poem either. Probably because it’s over-analyzed  I think that’s why I don’t like The Scarlet Letter, either. I hate when symbolism is bashing you on the head instead of swimming along quietly beside you.

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The trees smell so wonderful today, don’t they?

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Summer is so seductive. Winter is beautiful in its own way, but it’s so lonely. Summer just wants to wrap you up in its arms and give you a big hug.

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I’m glad there aren’t too many people on the trail today. It feels like we have the whole world to ourselves.

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We’re back! That was a great run. Let’s walk a little bit and then do some stretching.

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There, that should do it.

Thanks again for coming with me. That was fun, wasn’t it?

Against the Wind

I fancied a run after work today, but even though the sun shone through the cold, it was terribly windy, and I’ve learned my lesson about running against the wind. I couldn’t help but think of this video I emailed my mom a year ago.

I watched it when I got home and had the same reaction as last time: I laughed and then immediately felt guilty about it and said “awww….”

Click image to watch!

I want a pet duck! ………..Dave? 🙂

Instead of being blown over, I stayed inside my windproof apartment and had Jillian Michaels torture me for an hour with Banish Fat Boost Metabolism.

I probably would have had an easier workout being blown around outside, but this got the job done. It’s been ages since I’ve done this video, and I remember why: it’s heavy cardio with very few breaks or strength training. Circuit two is a killer. At least I have a nice spurt of endorphins afterwards. But I’m hoping for some nice warm weather tomorrow so I can hit the trail!

I made it about an hour after my shower before my stomach started grumbling. My eating schedule is pretty weird these days. I usually eat brunch at eleven and dinner at four during the week, and then it’s all over the place on the weekends. It seems like a really early dinner, but since I go to bed at 7:30, I guess it’s okay. And it makes more sense to listen to my hunger cues than starve myself and overeat later.

Since I had two cups of leftover brown rice from yesterday, I mixed it up with some canned diced tomatoes and sliced mushrooms, then added traditional taco seasoning spices: cumin, oregano, garlic powder, minced onion, chili powder, and red pepper flakes.

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Fast & easy burritos salad!

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I topped a whole wheat tortilla with a heap of spinach, the rice mixture, some shredded cheddar, salsa, and Greek yogurt.

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Salsa and Greek yogurt are two of my absolute favorite condiments. Mmm….mmm…good.

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After I took all these pretty pictures, I remembered we had some olives in the fridge and threw those on, too. Then I ate the toppings like a salad until I had a small enough amount to roll up and eat a burrito. This is my favorite way to eat a burrito at home, because I can have more of the tasty, healthy fillings and less of the wraps.

I am so excited that it’s Friday tomorrow. Woohoo, three day weekend!

By the Wayside

With the impending Memorial Day (and three day week!), I was struggling to remember what I did last year on this particular holiday. Slow Poke Mcgee that I am, it took a while to figure out I could just check my blog. I love that! My dad always told us to write dates and places on the back of photographs so we would remember where we were; now I have a blog that tells me the happenstance of almost all of my photos for the last year.

So now I know that last Memorial Day, I dressed up as a Renaissance lady and marched in a parade.

After the parade, I went to a friend’s house to hang out by the pool and grill out with family and friends.

The downside of having access to my past is that I have to read all the silly things I wrote a year ago when I started this blog. Oh, well. That’s what we call personal growth, people.

And since it’s not Memorial Day yet…on to today!

For the time being, I’ve decided to leave Sushi Wednesday by the wayside. 😦 We had a good thing going, but with summer finally here, I have a boatload of things to save money for. I’m a little sad…but it will be more fun to spend my money on weekend trips, dinner with friends, and Alaska! Besides, dinner with friends might include sushi. And sushi with friends is more fun than sushi alone.

Image Source: http://www.alaska.com

After I got home from work, I contemplated a run in the rain, but I decided my time would be better put to use with an hour of No More Trouble Zones. I think the kitties get sad when I come home and then leave them again. And they love to help me exercise.

It is amazing how my interpretation of a workout can change from one day to the next. One day a run is lovely and the next, I want to rip my legs off. One day, I’m rocking at bicycle crunches, and the next, I want to rip my legs off. So, yeah. The bicycle crunches hurt today. I did them anyway. Oh, Jillian Michaels. How I love to hate you.

In an attempt to use up my leftover pan-fried tofu from yesterday, and because I still wanted my addictive peanut sauce, I made a ginormous stir fry for dinner.

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I used:

  • 1 bunch of broccoli
  • 1 red pepper
  • 5 large mushrooms
  • a scant amount of leftover onions from the fridge (because I couldn’t find a whole one!) 😦
  • 1 can of water chestnuts

I cooked the veggies in a wok over medium high heat in a little bit of sesame oil.

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I don’t use this wok often, but it rocks.

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When the veggies were crisp-tender, I added the already cooked tofu to heat it up. While I was stir frying away, I mixed up my peanut sauce.

  • 4 tbsp powdered peanut butter
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

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I served the stir fry over a little brown rice and topped it with a few roasted onion and garlic peanuts.

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I love, love, love this peanut sauce so much. Have I annoyed you all yet with how much I love it? It is perfect for stir fry and the best spring roll dipping sauce. I want to take a bath in it. Come over and I’ll make some for you.

In short, dinner was wonderful. And I finally caught up with How I Met Your Mother and got to see ‘The Mother.’ Only took eight years.

Have you been watching HIMYM? 

I started watching HIMYM in college with my friend Bobby, but I only recently caught up with the entire series. Dave watched it with me for awhile, but he has given up on the show and doesn’t care who the mother is anymore. I can’t say I blame him. But I still think it’s a pretty funny show.

Too Much Fun

Weekends are great for my social life, but not so much for my healthy life. The amount of sleep I got and drinks I consumed last weekend had me zombified on Monday morning. The way I felt on yesterday was definitely a kick in the pants to treat myself better so I don’t feel like crap. After all, summer has only begun! I need to pace myself. 🙂

I was so tired yesterday that I ate dinner at 4pm and was in bed by 5pm. Lame-o. I was trying to watch the latest episode of Mad Men and fell asleep on the couch during it. Most people catch up on sleep on the weekends but with my schedule, I’m more likely to catch up on sleep during the week.

I was feeling so much more refreshed after ten hours of shut eye last night. I had an urge to go running, but wasn’t sure if my body could handle the heat and humidity hanging in the air today. I’ve decided not to go running if it’s over 75 degrees unless there is a nice breeze and, as luck would have it, the trees were a’ blowin’.

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I made it my mission to run three miles today. While I was doing so, I thought How did I do this last year whilst rolling under barbed wire, climbing over a fence, swimming, and jumping over a fire? Marathon runners are beasts. Still, it was a pretty good run despite the heat.

I came home famished and ready for an easy and delicious dinner of curry.

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I love these Kitchens of India packages from Woodman’s. They are so delicious! For some extra protein, I pan fried some pressed tofu and topped it with mixed vegetable curry and plain Greek yogurt.

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I had some leftover toasted pitas from the grill and cut them for dipping.

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Perfect dinner! Now I think I’m going to dig into that leftover root beer cupcake in the fridge…