Monday, August 23, 2010

Did you know The Passion was a big hit in Italy?

Oops! I was not a very dutiful blogger over the weekend. My only excuse is that it's summer. Minnesota summers are fleeting and I try to enjoy the warm weather as much as possible. The thought of winter and snow is enough to make me want to go into hibernation. I'm definitely a summer baby. I like the heat, days spent on the lake, and living in shorts and a tank top. This chick was meant for warmer climates.

Aside from being a blogging slacker, I was also a slacker when it came to documenting my eats. I only took sporadic photos because I mostly ate the same few things all weekend long.

There were a couple of these...

The picture doesn't do the pretty pink color of this smoothie justice. It was delish too!

I ate a lot of this. My mom made the salad for a potluck and sent me home with a big bowl of leftovers. Yum! Thanks mom!

I also had one of these for at least two of my meals this weekend.

A margherita pita pizza! Double yum!

After my last successful attempt at eating greek yogurt (and actually enjoying it), I gave this bad boy a whirl.

Verdict: Yuck! Apparently plain greek yogurt is still a taste that my tastebuds haven't grown accustomed to. Even the copious blueberries weren't enough to make it palatable.

I was bored this weekend and wanted to try a new twist on my breakfast standby so I made this.

I forgot to take a photo until after I'd mauled it throughout the weekend. Oops again! I'm not completely in love with the recipe yet (I stuck to the basic recipe and they were a little bland) but I think with a little creativity they could be uber fantastic. I left out the chocolate chips from the original recipe because this chick is not a chocolate fan. I feel like my girl membership should be revoked every single time I admit that chocolate just doesn't do it for me.

This morning's version was getting pretty close to being delicious, I sliced up a banana and smotheredsprinkled brown sugar on top.

The most exciting thing about my weekend was my baby brother's birthday. He turned 20! I'm still having a hard time wrapping my mind around the idea that my baby brother isn't so little anymore.

You can't see it in the photo, but my baby brother isn't such a baby. He's over 6 feet tall and totally dwarfs my 5'7" height. I have a feeling that he's always going to be my adorkable baby brother no matter how tall or old he gets. Sorry E!

Let's take a little trip down memory lane, shall we?

From the very beginning Ethan recognized that his sister was to be respected and feared.

I, in turn, recognized that my little brother needed to be loved (in spite of the mullet my mother forced on him) and protected (because of the mullet my mother forced on him).

Eventually mom stopped making the poor kid have a mullet... Thank goodness...

Sometimes E likes to stare pensively into the distance. I'm sure he's thinking something highly intelligent.

Or he was just wishing that he could pose like this. *points down*

Embarrassing facial expressions aside (a trait that runs in the family), Ethan is pretty much the best little brother I could ask for. He embraces my natural inclination toward enthusiastic insanity and doesn't bat an eyelash when I suddenly burst into song in the middle of Target. Both are important traits to have if you're going to be my brother. If he had a nickel for every time I've sang the theme song to "Fame" in public, he'd be a rich man. He's also adorkably nerdy, super smart, a little bit lazy, accidentally hilarious, and all around awesome. Happy Birthday E! I love you to bits!

The fam went out for lunch at D Michael B's to celebrate E's birthday and I had my old standby. A panini with veggies and dip on the side.

I also snitched a few bites off of E's plate. Tortellini?! Yes please!

Aside from the birthday fun on Sunday, I spent most of my weekend hanging out with this furball.

This is Colby and his "girlfriend" Sadie. Colby hasn't realized that Sadie is three times his size yet.

Lunch today was a huge salad. I was craving veggies like mad. As usual I had to add some hardboiled egg whites to my salad. Most of the white stuff is chopped up egg whites, but there is a little feta cheese on there as well.

I filled up my gas tank over my lunch hour and I caved to buying an iced coffee from the gas station. Am I the only one who has a weakness for gas station iced coffee? It's a very peculiar love, I know. The coffee was incredibly sweet so I only drank about a third before I ditched the rest of it. I didn't want to spend the rest of my afternoon at work with a sugar high.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm actually excited to start my half-marathon training once the weather takes a turn for the arctic chill that Minnesota calls winter. I like having a goal to work toward. Plus, let's face it, being able to run a half-marathon is pretty b.a. I've always had a serious case of runner's envy. In the back of my mind I always had this desire to become a "runner" but for whatever reason it seemed like such an insurmountable goal. Over the years I've tried to start running time and time again, but after making what seemed like no progress I kept giving up. I attempted to start running (for what felt like the millionth time) earlier this year and started to repeat the same pattern. I spent a few months running pretty consistently, but my progress seemed nominal at best. I stopped running for a month because I was so frustrated with it, but one day my mom goaded me into hopping on the treadmill while I waited for her to be ready for our bike ride. When I had been running previously, I'd been doing intervals of running and walking. The longest run interval I'd ever done was 7 minutes (which made me feel like I was going to die) so I set a goal of running five minutes straight and powered up the old treadmill. Five minutes passed by without me breaking a leg and/or dropping dead so I decided to run for another minute. Then I ran another. Then another. Somehow I managed to run over a mile without stopping. As a point of reference I would like to say that I had NEVER ran a mile straight in my entire life before that point. I literally screamed when I realized that I'd ran an entire mile without stopping. I then promptly burst into excited tears. The pure joy of that accomplishment jumpstarted my motivation and I haven't quit running since. I've fallen in love with the way running makes me feel. Strong. Accomplished. Invincible. Fantastic.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Nature vs. Nurture and the age old question... Is anything better than peanut butter?

It’s Friday! My morning started off in a pretty yum-tastic manner. A breakfast cookie ala the Fitnessista! Breakfast is instantly made more exciting when you eat something with the word cookie in the name.

I went out for lunch with my boss and had a coconut crusted chicken tropical salad. It was quite delish although I had to scrape the coconut crust off the chicken. The coconut crust was pretty tasty, but the amount of grease in it would have ended up making me feel sick so I did the smart thing and avoided it. My stomach has been feeling a touch off lately so I’ve been extra careful about what I eat.

No picture of the salad since I didn’t feel like explaining to my boss why I was taking a picture of my lunch.

Okay so this looks SO GOOD! I don’t dare make this for myself because I would inhale it. That loaf of bread would last no longer than 24 hours in my apartment. My willpower is definitely not strong enough to stand up to anything that incorporates banana bread AND peanut butter.

Peanut butter is my kryptonite. Peanut Butter & Co.’s White Chocolate Wonderful peanut butter is a thing of dreams. I would bathe in that peanut butter if possible. My eyes may or may not have just glazed over at that thought. Some people might find being immersed in a sea of peanut butter disgusting, but I’m having a hard time coming up with anything that sounds more appealing.

Do you ever wonder how much of your personality is ingrained and how much is learned behavior? For example, I've spent most of my life feeling almost debilitatingly shy around new people, but being an introvert has never felt natural. Being shy feels like something I imposed on myself. My mom once described me as a closested extrovert. Haha, as weird as it sounds I do kind of feel like I've pushed myself into the closest. My natural inclination when I meet new people is to be friendly and outgoing, but I smother the impulse because I'm afraid of what they'll think of me. I've taught myself to assume that people will probably not like me which is something I'm working on, but it definitely makes being outgoing right away difficult for me.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sometimes a girl just needs to smash something

I am athletic.

There… I said it.

And I’ll say it again because it’s true.

This is the first time in my entire life that I’ve used that word to describe myself. I don’t know why it took me so long. I was a competitive cheerleader for my entire high school career which is an extremely athletic sport, but I never truly felt like I deserved the label until right now.

I may not be an athlete, but I am athletic.

I want to dance around in a circle chanting, “I’m athletic, I’m athletic” for the rest of the day. I want to say it a thousand times because I’m so proud that I managed to say it even once.

I’ve spent the majority of my life seeing myself in a skewed fashion. Smashing through one of my own preconceived notions about myself feels AH-MAZING! I’ve been refusing to give myself credit for my own achievements, but I don’t want to do that anymore. Why should I be everyone else’s biggest cheerleader but not my own?

Watch out world, I'm busting out of my shell!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A day of Fit Chick Foodie firsts!

It is official, people, I’m in a breakfast rut. Well if you’re going to be addicted to anything, it might as well be a mix of oatmeal, chia seeds, and almond milk with bananas and almond butter on top, right? Haha, there was a time in my life where I was addicted to frosted strawberry pop-tarts so I’m going to count this oatmeal addiction as a win for my health!

Lunch was courtesy of Wal-Mart and Subway. My office bought the entire staff tickets to a Pork Chop Jubilee today (and yes, that gagging sound you hear is me), but I manned up and decided to be a sport about going. At worst I figured that I could munch on some sweet corn and whatever fruit they served. I didn’t pack my lunch because of the dreadful delicious pork chop lunch I had tickets for, but when I got to work I found out that our office manager had other people lined up to take our tickets if we didn’t want to use them. I happily gave mine back. I had to buy a few groceries anyway so I grabbed a veggie sandwich at Subway on the way to Wal-Mart.

It wasn’t anything special. Way too much honey mustard though, it made me wish I’d ordered my sandwich sans sauce. The only notable thing about my sandwich was that I got it without cheese. It was the first time I’ve ever ordered a sandwich (of any kind) without cheese. I thought I would miss it desperately, but surprisingly enough I didn’t even notice that there wasn’t cheese.

I grabbed a Greek yogurt on my way out the door and snacked on that when I got back to the office.

Greek yogurt and I have a love/hate relationship. I want to love it, but most of the time I hate it. However my mom does daycare so I grew up with the idea that you have to try things multiple times before your taste buds adjust to the new flavors and accurately tell you whether you like it or not. I may not be four anymore, but the theory still applies. My persistence has finally paid off. Today the Greek yogurt and I called a truce and for the first time ever I actually liked the taste. Proof that the system works! I grew up on Yoplait Lights (and still love them) so the taste of Greek yogurt is a bit of a shock to my system.

I also picked up some new tea flavors. I’ve been craving chai tea like a beast ever since I had a cup on my mini road trip last Friday night. My tea supply at work was dwindling which made buying new flavors a necessity. I’m almost excited (but not really) for winter to get here because there’s nothing better than curling up on a couch with comfy clothes on and drinking a hot cup of tea while a blizzard rages outside.

Supper as I mentioned yesterday was a bit of an experiment. I found a recipe on for a quinoa dish with spinach and feta cheese. Considering I had a box of quinoa just sitting in my cupboard ready to be opened, it felt a lot like fate. I informed mom that I had the side dish of our meal under control and prepared for my maiden voyage with quinoa.

I know what you all are thinking. How in the world did I get to the age of 24 without learning how to properly cook anything more intensive than homemade macaroni and cheese?! The simple answer is that I just never wanted to. I never had any interest in learning how to cook until just recently. Not to mention I grew up as an incredibly picky eater and was always too cautious to try anything new. I was happy to stick to the things that I knew I liked without trying anything new. However reading all of the amazing food and recipe blogs out there, I’ve been inspired to try my hand at the culinary arts. With my newfound zest for trying new foods and exploring new ways of eating, it’s the perfect time for me to try my hand at cooking things that are out of my comfort zone.

In the spirit of that, let’s move on to my first foray into the art of healthy cooking. It was a fairly simple recipe (half the reason I chose it) so I was pretty sure that even I couldn’t screw it up too badly.

As simple as this recipe was, it still had a few cooking firsts. I’d never tasted quinoa much less used it in a recipe and the only garlic I’ve ever used has come out of a plastic jar. I’ve never worked with an actual clove of garlic before. Yikes! Haha, I told you that I was a rookie!

I totally killed that garlic! Score: Fit Chick Foodie 1, Garlic 0.

Stirring is serious business, yo.

The finished product!

End result: Eh. It wasn't anything special. It was actually pretty bland. It definitely needed a little more pizazz. Perhaps if I had more confidence in my culinary skills I would have done my best to jazz it up, but I'm not sure I'm ready to go off-recipe yet. Baby steps!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Life's waiting to begin

My Tuesday has been totally dullsville so far. I hate the days when work seems to drag on forever and I’m forced to magically conjure up something to do because I don’t have enough work to do. Sigh… why can’t I be busy every day? I loathe days when I come to work and have nothing to keep me busy. I work as a paralegal in a law office by the way. I like the job, but I definitely don’t like how un-busy I am sometimes.

I think a change of scenery is in order. I live in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere Minnesota and I want something bigger. I want to live somewhere with bustling sidewalks, diverse restaurants, actual night life, malls that deserve to be called malls, and all of the other perks that can come along with living in a town that boasts a population of more than 256 people.

The time is right to make a change. I’m at a place in my life where the only person I’m responsible for is me. And of course this little guy.

Colby and his new best friend Gerard the Dinosaur. Cute!

I’m currently unattached and I have an outrageously supportive family who will have my back no matter what. When else is it going to be this easy for me to pick up and change my life? I’m not saying that I’m going to move tomorrow, but it’s definitely on my agenda for the next year. Someday soon I’m going to be the Fit Chick Foodie living in the big city! Perhaps by the time I move, I’ll be a true fit chick foodie instead of one in the making.

Onto my eats!

Breakfast was essentially a repeat of yesterday’s oatmeal.

Even yummier with a dollop of almond butter!

I’ve been trying to avoid processed frozen food, but I do have a few frozen dinners stuffed in my freezer in case I’m running behind in the morning and don’t have time to throw something better together. I could probably find healthier frozen food options, but so far I haven’t made the switch from Lean Cuisines. Luckily, my L.C. meals only make very rare appearances.

Haha, I took that picture primarily to showcase the sketchy microwave that we have at work. I had a similar microwave when I was in college that I held onto until earlier this year when it started lighting my food on fire when I tried to use it. After I started a few microwave items on fire, I decided it was time to upgrade.

Here’s the finished product.

It tasted pretty good for a L.C. meal, but I wish I would have grabbed something else to munch on during the afternoon. I was hungry again by 3 p.m. I think I might have to bring a stash of snacks to keep at my desk for those days when I need something to snack on.

I munched some carrots and hummus when I got home from work because I was having a hard time deciding what I was in the mood to eat for supper.

Eventually I decided on a bagel thin with egg whites and the new chipotle flavor laughing cow cheese with a tomato on the side. Not the most well-rounded or substantial meal, but I wasn't in the mood to eat anything else. Perhaps I'll snack on some fruit later this evening.

I snuck in some weight training after eating dinner and then I headed out for my bike ride with mom. The convenient thing about living down the street from my mom is that I always have a willing bike riding companion. My mom is on a mission to get healthy too so we’re helping to keep each other accountable.

This bad boy takes me everywhere I want to go.

Speaking of my mom, she’s a blog reader too (although currently I haven’t allowed her to read mine) and we decided that she needed a catchy nickname for use on my blog. Haha, suggestions?

 Tomorrow night is my weekly dinner with my mom and little brother. Wednesday nights are when my dad and older brother have fishing league so it's the perfect excuse for mom and I to try out our new healthy recipes without having to hear complaints from the boys.

Our menu currently consists of a quinoa salad so I'm going to have to plan out a more complete menu before tomorrow night. This is my first foray into using quinoa. Wish me luck! I'll be sure to post the results of my quinoa cooking experiment.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Goal #1: Learn to be a kitchen goddess

I crashed out insanely early last night (I was sleeping before 10 p.m.) and woke up this morning feeling bright and chipper. Highly unusual for a Monday morning. Most Monday mornings are experienced through blurry eyes and a haze of exhaustion.

Breakfast this morning consisted of an oatmeal concoction that was half overnight oats and half breakfast cookie ala The Fitnessista.

This whole blog thing is new to me so I’m still smoothing out a lot of the rough edges. I do plan on blogging about my food on a daily basis, but does that mean that I’m going to document every single thing that I eat each day? I’m not sure. Maybe. These first few weeks of blogging are going to be experimental. I’m going to see what works for me and what doesn’t.

Food blogging is something that is weirdly fascinating. Seeing what people eat each day is like a tiny peek into their personal lives. I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m incredibly nosy so I find these little glimpses to be rather fascinating. Plus it’s a great way to find new foods, recipes, and ways to change up your own eating habits.

My attitude toward food has been the biggest change in my life over the past eight months. When I started trying to lose weight back in January (SPOILER ALERT! A blog post about my weight loss is coming soon. :P) I did what I always did when I wanted to lose weight in the past. I cut my calories (a lot) and pretty much tried to subsist on “diet” food. If it was fat free, sugar-free, or low-calorie then I was willing to eat it even though the ingredient lists usually read a lot like a science experiment. I was aware that my methods weren’t sustainable in the long term, but I was so overwhelmed by the idea of trying to lose the weight that I was afraid to put any more stress on my own shoulders by trying to find a different way. My philosophy was that I’d lose all of the weight and then I’d worry about keeping it off. I’m definitely an act first and stress later kind of girl.

A lot of little things led up to the shift in my mindset. I started listening to podcasts of Jillian Michael’s radio show and slowly but surely my opinions on what I should be eating began to change. Jillian talked a lot about organics and how we should be eating “real” food, not processed chemicals with no real nutritional value. I also came to realize that if I wanted to make a real change, the kind that would last, I had to tackle the bigger issues and overhaul my lifestyle in a way that was both healthy and sustainable. I made small changes at first like adding more fruits and veggies to my meals, avoiding trans fats, and attempting to buy organic when possible. It is definitely still a work in progress, but my eating has done a 180 degree twist from when I first started. My eating habits are far from perfect, but every day I’m working toward eating as clean as possible.

My newest goal (food-wise) is to put more effort into my meals. Right now I tend to follow the path of least resistance when it comes to cooking (i.e. I rarely do any actual cooking), but I want to change that. I’ve been reading a bunch of other food blogs lately and seeing all of the delicious food has inspired me to take more pride in the food that I prepare. I’m going to learn how to be a total goddess in the kitchen if it kills me (and it might!). Keep your fingers crossed that I don’t blow up the oven. You laugh now, but it’s a definite possibility, I have the magic touch when it comes to innocently destroying common household items. I’ve managed to blow up everything from lawn mowers to vacuum cleaners to ice cream scoops.

Lunch was a gloriously delicious salad! Romaine, tomatoes, green peppers, hardboiled egg whites, feta, and cucumbers… YUM!

Usually after I scarf down my lunch, I use the rest of my lunch hour to take a brisk walk outside, but today a trip to Target was required. My headphones went on the fritz this weekend. Certain things I can live without, but my iPod is not one of them. New headphones were an instantaneous must.

Oops! I was only going to buy the headphones, but I can never resist buying a book when it has Nalini Singh’s name on the cover. I am an unabashed fangirl for any and all of Nalini’s books.

Cherries have been my favorite snack lately. They’re perfect for when I need something simple to munch on at work. Between the cherries and the copious amounts of tea that I drank today, my tummy was happy all afternoon.

Half the fun of drinking tea is that I get to use my super awesome picture mug. I had a picture mug made for my ex-boyfriend for Valentine’s Day this year and thought it was so cute that I had another one made just for me.

My friend Casey is lending me his copies of P90X which I’m incredibly excited for. I’m hoping it kicks my butt. I’ve been doing my best to keep my workouts outdoors this summer because the warm weather is so fleeting in Minnesota. I hate to waste even a second of the glorious hot sunny weather. However, once the weather turns cold, I’m going to be in full-on hibernation mode. It’ll be the perfect time for indoor workouts like P90X or my much coveted Turbofire (*hint, hint* Christmas present idea!). I’m also planning to use my hibernation productively and to make use of the treadmill. Training for a half-marathon is how I intend to spend my winter. I haven’t decided when (or even if) I’ll run a half-marathon, but I’d like to be prepared just in case. I’ve always thought the Disney Princess Half-Marathon looked pretty snazzy. Any place that you can wear a tutu without people looking at you funny is a-ok in my book.