Monday, October 24, 2011

Rice to the Rescue

This morning, my workout was NOT easy! I hit the gym at 5:45 to do back and a quickie cardio circuit. My energy was basically nonexistent because I didn’t go to sleep until midnight last night! (I know, after I just pontificated about the importance of sleep I slept for a mere 5-ish hours! Terrible!) Even though it was tough, I did push through my whole workout and even worked up a pretty decent sweat. Once my workout was completed I felt good and proud of myself for getting in there and getting it done. I was happy that I didn’t just “go through the motions”.
I think I might have over done it yesterday and made myself over tired. Yesterday morning Dan and I woke up at 6:45am and started our morning with a quick but heavy legs session. After warming up we did this routine:

                Squat Press; 3 sets, 8-10 reps

                Calf Raises; 3 sets, 35 reps

                Extensions; 3 sets, 25  reps

                Squats; 3 sets, 6-8 reps

                Split Squats; 3 sets, 6 reps each leg

                Box Jumps to failure

It was quick, but tough L I went heavy. I realized about half way through the workout that doing a heavy day of legs the day after a long run was a pretty dumb move. What I really needed yesterday was a REST day—or at least an active recovery day. I thought about taking the day off today but when I woke up I had the energy and just couldn’t lay in bed any longer so I went to the gym and just focused on my upper body. My cardio circuit consisted of some jumping jacks, burpees, push ups and mountain climbers. It pretty much served as a warm up. I was in and out in about 45 minutes.

Back to yesterday; yesterday was a really fun day! Casey’s 20th birthday was October 22nd, and her boyfriend, George’s 21st was October 20th. So yesterday my mom hosted a big birthday celebration at our house. She went all out with the food (as usual) and dinner seriously felt like Thanksgiving!! Plus just about EVERYTHING we ate was PUMPKIN flavored! LOVE! First, she served a butternut squash and pear soup that was so delicious. Then, we had salads and for the main course she made an incredible beef stew with root vegetables that she served in a BAKED PUMPKIN. I really should have taken a picture of the stew-in-the-pumpkin but I forgot! For dessert, she made chocolate cake balls and a pumpkin spice cake. I brought a fat-free, sugar-free “pumpkin cream pie” that I made (poorly) that ended up looking like a slab of goo. Everyone was kind of grossed out by it but not surprisingly Casey and I enjoyed it and continued to pick at it after we finished our slices. My mom also served pumpkin ice cream and Halloween cookies (because in our family there is no such thing as too much dessert…or food in general). I had seconds and thirds of everything, plus a glass of wine and I consistently picked on everything in between each course. At least before dessert was served Dan and I took Chewy on a walk so I got some movement in!
Babe & I waiting for dinner <3

                Dan and I got back to his apartment at around 9pm and I must have been on a sugar high from the desserts because I could not sleep for the life of me! Plus, I was seriously starting to feel that morning workout. My glutes were SCREAMING. I made myself a glass of peppermint tea and read some magazines hoping it would calm me down and make me sleepy. By 10pm, though, I was on the living room floor with the foam roller, rolling out my glutes and hips while watching the Real Housewives of New Jersey Reunion. By 10:30, I gave up and just took a melatonin. I waited and waited for it to kick in but I just could not get tired!! I finished watching the reunion show, read a little and did some journaling until finally at around 11:40pm I was tired enough to go lay down. I tossed and turned for a while and finally fell asleep. Perhaps I just wasn’t tired because I sprung out of bed before 6am this morning without an alarm. Today, I haven’t felt irritable, groggy or tired. Now I’m finally starting to unwind so hopefully I’ll have a good night of sleep tonight.

                Even though yesterday was a wonderful day full of great family bonding, there was one tiny lil downside. I dropped my phone right into Chewy’s water bowl. L Currently, I am disconnected from the world as my phone is recovering in a bag of uncooked white rice. Apparently, this process saves a submerged phone. It takes a few days. So in a few days when I take it out of the rice, I’ll let you know the verdict.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Wellness and Illness

First off, I am feeling so much better!!

When I was in high school and I would catch a cold it would take my body at least a week to fight off the virus. Now, it takes about twenty four hours. Yes, one day. And, during that one day I'm usually not even that bad! If I got a cold in high school I really needed to take the day off an stay in bed all day (although that NEVER happened because I'm far too anal about *perfect* attendance) but now I maintain my daily routine regardless of a cold.
HS-junior year-I actually had mono in this picture!

Why is this? I've been thinking about the difference in my lifestyle from high school to now. I've always been a pretty healthy chick. I first joined a gym when I was 14 and did sports forever. I ran track and cross country in high school and college and have been a runner + weight lifter for, omg, almost ten years! A healthy diet has always been important to me but in high school I simply did not yet understand what it meant to be healthy. While I thought I was eating to be healthy, I was really eating to be skinny.

Back then, for breakfast I'd have coffee with skim milk and some kind of protein bar (either Special K or those dreaded awful Atkins bars) then as a snack I'd have a diet coke and Dannon light yogurt (those lil 80 calorie cups). I ALWAYS packed my own lunch which was usually always chicken breast, some kind of light cheese, pesto and spinach wrapped up in a whole wheat wrap (though I usually picked off about half the wrap). Sometimes I kept a box of Fiber One cereal in my locker to snack on and afternoon snacks typically consists of mixed nuts or fruit or both. I thought I was healthy because I defined "health" in terms of comparissions to the lifestyles of my peers and information I obtained from the one general nutrition class I took. A lot of my friends did not work out, did not play a sport, bought lunch which consisted of a plate of fries with ketchup and mayo, a bagel with cream cheese or a muffin. They loaded their coffee with sugar and TONS of half and half (I'm talking a cup of cream with a splash of coffee). I drank my coffee with splenda and splash of skim, drank only diet soda, stringently watched my carbs, made sure it was ALWAYS whole wheat, obsessively made sure there was fiber in whatever I ate (always snacked on those flavored fiber chews) and ate salads like they were going out of style.
father daughter dance senior year :)

So, was I healthy in high school? Yes and no. Sure what I was eating was nutritious, but I really wasn't eating "healthy". I cared about fiber and calories more than anything. Protein? What was that? I definitely was not eating to fuel the workouts I was doing. Track practice was hardcore and lasted two hours a day and after practice I hit some weights or did a pilates class. There was no need for me to "watch my carbs". Plus, I focued on trying to eat as little calories as possible and often went on "fasting diet". Around prom season I attempted the "gum-water-and-diet-coke-diet". Not healthy. So basically, I was starving and overtraining. NO WONDER it took my body nearly TWO WEEKS to battle a cold!!!!!!!!! Plus-I got sick ALL THE TIME!!!!!!!! Whenever a virus was going around, this girl ALWAYS caught it!
sweet 16! was actually sick during my party!

Now, I eat a balanced diet that includes TONS of veggies, fruits, some whole grains and plenty of lean protein like chicken breast and egg whites. I also eat lots of healthy fats like cacao, coconut, nuts, peanut butter and olive oil (and I love it all...LOVE fats). My workouts last around 45 minutes to an hour and they include a balance of strength, power and cardio. The only thing I really need to work on is remembering to stretch. Keeping this balance fuels my body AND my immune system properly. Basically, I'm giving it *just* what it needs to function at its best. So, when I catch a cold (which, thankfully, RARELY happens) it's a minor discomfort that doesn't really slow me down and my body is able to fight it right off.

But, I forgot to mention the MOST IMPORTANT difference between my lifestyle now and in high school:

my guys are the perfect models for sleeping..

SLEEP is way too commonly overlooked but it is the KEYYY to a balanced and healthy life!!! In high school I was lucky if i slept for four hours a night! I was a TOTAL night owl!! I could stay out all night long, and on school nights I stayed up all hours of the night either cramming or talking on the phone. Then I'd wake up at 6am (some days earlier because I always had morning detention). On Sundays I would "catch up" on my sleep for the week and sleep in till way passed noon. Now, how healthy is that? Now, I MAKE SURE to get AT LEAST 7 and a half hours of sleep a night!! I almost always get my full 8 hours, only rarely do I get 7 1/2. Sleep is a HUGE priority for me. Even if I'm not tired, if it's time for bed I pop a melatonin and go lay down. To keep my circadian rythym balanced I don't sleep in much later on the days that I don't have to wake up. It's about a thirty to forty minute difference. When you sleep your body RECOVERS. How can you battle a cold if you're not sleeping?!

So since I woke up yesterday feeling vibrant and refreshed I went out and completed my nine mile training run! It was a bit cooler this week but that worked in my favor because it speeded me up a bit. My run was ten minutes shorter this week! My legs feel fine today, only a little bit tight so I'm going to roll them out a bit on the foam roller.

Dan, however, was feelin' my same peppiness. He was a little under the weather last night so we decided to stay in and cook dinner. After pondering recipe ideas I decided I wanted to try Mousakka (it always reminds me of the Lion King...Mufasaaaaa). I loosely followed a recipe from Cooking Light. When I say "loosely followed" I mean not at all because their recipe was a vegetarian bulgur Mousakka topped with some butter-y, flour-y, cheese-y sauce goo and mine was loaded was beef and sprinkled with vegan cheese.

Dan was impressed and we both gobbled it up (seriously, half of it-GONE) so I say success!

Meaty Mousakka
  • 3 eggplant
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 Vidalia onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 packages extra lean 96% ground sirloin
  • 1 can no salt added diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup mozeralla flavored Daiya cheese
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 TBSP oregano
First, preheat your broiler to high. Slice the eggplant into half inch thick rounds and line on a sprayed baking sheet. Pop them in the broiler for 5 minutes, flip and broil 5 minutes on the other side. Get 'em nice and brown & crispy. Put them aside. While the eggplant is broiling chop up the onion and garlic and heat the tbsp of olive oil in a deep sautee pan. Sautee the garlic and onion for about 10 minutes then add your ground beef. Brown the meat a little then add in the spices. Continue until the meat is mostly browned then add chicken broth and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, stirring until the meat is about done. In a casserole dish, line the bottom with half the eggplant. Spoon meat mixture over the eggplant (I used a slotted spoon and left the remaining liquid in the sautee pan). Top the meat mix with the remaining eggplant. Top the eggplant with cheese and bake at 350 for 20 minutes, then at 400 for another few minutes.

Since the recipe called for bulgur wheat the cooking times were all off so improvised. I thought I might've cooked everything too long and the meat would be dry but it actually came out perfect! We paired the Mousakka with a side of brussels sprouts, 'cuz I just like having a lil something green with every meal :)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Lattes & Frozen Grapes

Frozen grapes and macadamia nuts may just be one of my favorite snacks ever. Frozen grapes are truly nature's candy. They are SO delishh!!! I eat the macadamias frozen as well, and when they're frozen they just taste even more buttery, smooth and delectable :)

Plus, last night I caught Dan's icky lil virus :( No bueno... So after being too sick to sleep last night and suffering from a scratchy sore throat all day today, a soft, frozen snack was exactly what I needed. As for the nuts, I kind of just sucked on them like a hard candy so jagged pieces wouldn't irritate my poor swollen tonsils. Ever since I had mono when I was 16 my tonsils have become super sensitive to any virus and swell up to the size of ping pong balls, which then makes the glands on my neck super swollen. Hot, I know. Luckily, though, my healthy life style keeps my immune system in tip top shape and I typically fight off viruses in record time and can easily maintain my daily life even when sick. For example, today I hit the gym at 6am for a leg workout before work, then worked for five hours, followed by a lovely manicure and walk around my neighborhood (for some much needed fresh air and to complete some errands).

Want to know what else I enjoyed with my frozen snack? A pumpkin spice latte - homemade! I was SO proud of myself for this one, and I thought it was AMAZEEE. Dan, however, thought it tasted like doody. meh..

Anyway, don't go by our opinions, try it out and judge for yourself :) it's not hard:

Pumpkin Spice Latte for one:
  1. Mix 1 TBSP pureed pumpkin, 1/2 TSP pumpkin pie spice, pinch cinnamon, one packet of Stevia and 1/2 TSP vanilla extract in half a cup of almond milk.
  2. Mix together with a whisk or a fork and pop in microwave for 1 1/2-2 minutes in 30 second intervals (stirring each time you stop it)
  3. Mix the almond milk concoction with 1/2 cup french vanilla flavored coffee, add in some more milk if you life your latte on the light side.
  4. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon or a dollop of whipped cream and ENJOY!
I found this whole snack SO enjoyable. I notice that whenever I eat frozen grapes and macadamia nuts I actually feel guilty--like I ate something bad! THAT'S how much I enjoy them. But I do have to watch myself with portion control because it's way too easy to over do it, and when that happens you may end up having something to feel guilty about. Macadamia nuts are naturally high in fat and calories and grapes have a bit of a high glycemic load and sugar content, so exceeding a proper portion (I like to stick to 1/2-3/4 cup....if I can) may spike your blood sugar a little too quickly. This is probably ok right before or after a workout.

Have you ever had ice wine??? I found out about it in this erotic novel I read over the summer...and found out that the grapes used to make the wine are fermented when they're still frozen. Wine made from FROZEN GRAPES?! Count me in! I immediately starting googling like crazy and found a place nearby that carryied it. I bought the wine back in the summer but only tried it a few weeks ago with Dan. was amazing but CRAZY sweet! You know those little port wine glasses? One of those is ALL YOU NEED, any more than that and it's just overwhelmingly sweet. The expensive price tag is worth it because it is orgasmic and a little really goes a long way!
Ice Wine & Prosecco; meet some of my favorite indulgences :)

Well, I'm off to relax for the rest of the night because I plan on doing a long run tomorrow morning as part of my training for the Tough Mudder race that my sister and I will be competing in this November! If I'm feeling up to it (depending on this dangggg virus) I'm going to complete a nice lil nine mile run outside around town from my gym this morning. Last week I ran a nine mile course with my friend Gianna. It was GORGEOUS out last Saturday morning--absolutely PERFECT running conditions! So, tonight I'm taking it easy and taking lots of cold meds. Also, on Fridays I now include a bit more carbs and fruits into my diet to prepare myself for an intense cardio workout the following morning. I have WAY more energy for the run and feel great during and after when I eat this way. Cross your fingers that I'm feeling up to it tomorrow!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Halloween Party & Harvest Quinoa

So, this past weekend I threw a little Halloween party for some friends! It turned out really nice and we all had SO much fun!
party peopleee

It was a cute, festive little gathering. I had it at my house and entertained Dan, Casey & her boyfriend, George and a few girl friends. My parents hung out with us for the night too, which was fun! I made an assortment of Halloween themed foods and drinks and my friend Gianna brought cupcake flavored vodka (yes, CUPCAKE). The vodka was delicious, however, my body is so not used to the combination of sugar+alcohol overload so by the end of the night I was suffering from a pretty bad tummy ache :( which continued into the next morning. So, Saturday night was the my first and last experience with cake vodka. Thanks, but no thanks.
well, it seemed like a good idea!
Aside from that, I had SO much fun preparing, cooking, decorating and entertaining! I LOVE throwing parties and get togethers. The prep work started the night before; I made my "Harvest Quinoa", edamame hummus and pumpkin spice cookies. The next day I chopped a ton of veggies and made/prepared the rest of the appetizers and entrees. With the hummus I served seaweed snacks, veggies and sweet potato bakes (thin slices of sweet potato seasoned and baked). I also used dark pumperknickel bread and a cookie cutter to make "black cat" grilled cheeses. Dinner was pumpkin quinoa, turkey sliders and flank steak covered in cherry tomatos, avocados and sauteed onions. For dessert I made a brown rice crispy treat cake in the shape of a big pumpkin (no butter, just marshmallow and extra dark chocolate chips were melted to create the Jack-O-Lantern face), caramel apples, white chocolate "ghost" pears and candy corn, of course. Casey made some Oreo cake balls and I also served some of Dan's mom's phenomenal pumpkin bread. Jackie & Gianna completely hoarded the pumpkin bread for the night, but trust me, I had more than my fair share during the day...picking while cooking ;)
my fruit & casey's ballss

my other helper ;)

crudites & black cat grilled cheeses

The Harvest Quinoa was a nice lil side and would probably be a nice addition to Thanksgiving dinner as well! Plus, it's crazy easy to make:

Harvest Quinoa - Serves 12
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 dried cherries (no sugar added)
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Cook quinoa and water on high until water comes to a rapid boil. Cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook until water absorbs. Remove from heat, stir in pumpkin until thoroughly mixed. Next, add in maple syrup, salt and dried fruit. Stir in nuts right before serving (so they stay crunchy).

This recipe makes SO MUCH!!!!!! Another reason why I think it would be perfect for Thanksgiving :)

All in all, it was a fun lil get together with some of the best company, good food & maybe too many drinks! All I know is as usual, Gianna and I totally went to town on the desserts........see all that candy corn? Gone. And I wonder why my stomach was hurting!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Spicey Lunch

I LOVE a lazy day off!! No school or work today and since I hit the gym so early I have the whole day free. When does that happen? Never.

After I showered I went over to the salon my friend works at for a nice lil airbrush tan...feels so good to not be pale as a ghost anymore. It took basically a lifetime to finally scrub off the entirety of my competition tan. That nightmare will most likely happen again fairly soon since Halloween is rapidly approaching and that requires lots of spray tans. Even a few years ago when I was a vampire I got a spray tan, it's all good.

After my tan I made a delicious spicey lunch.
OD spicey seasoning

I baked some chicken breast yesterday, saturated half of them in Tomato Basil Mrs. Dash and the other half in an overwhelming mix of dried chipotle, cayenne, paprika and cumin. I like a TON of spice on my chicken because I don't marinate them or use any fat or salt while cooking them. Along with my chicken I had some steamed spinach (leftover from Sunday night's dinner) topped with a drizzle of balsamic and a scoop of hummus to dip (spicey hummus). Balsamic and hummus are a really good mix..up until today I always had one or the other. WHY did I never think to combine!?

Sunday I went apple picking with Dan and my parents, but unfortunately the whole orchard was COVERED in poison ivy, so we didn't nab ANY apples. :( While we were leaving we realized we went to the wrong orchard. The one we planned on visiting was actually a few feet down the road, across the street. Oops. By that time, though, the lines and crowds were RIDICULOUS so we just passed and came home! Now I wish we had stopped because I'm totally craving the homemade apple sauce I had PLANNED to make!! booo...

"And Then She Asked Me To Eat Green Paper"

My boyfriend thinks I am a nut job. I'm constantly cooking up strange concoctions and playing with food trying to make something healthy and tasty while also being low calorie and fairly high in protein. I also buy random things that also meet this criteria.

Such as seaweed snacks and tofu shirataki noodles...both of which I introduced him to this week. When I first offered him a piece of seaweed, assuring him they were delicious and totally addictive he stared at it and simply said, "and then she asked me to eat green paper....that's what I'm telling everyone tomorrow. I tell everyone about all the weird sh** that you make and try to feed me."
seaweedy deliciousness

Well, Saturday night we decided to stay in for dinner and wanted something quick and lazy. I could have cooked but he wasn't in the mood so we decided on pasta. Even though I ran a long run Saturday morning, I just wasn't feelin' pasta (let's be honest...I just wanted to enjoy my carbs in the form of pumpkin beer..). So he boiled up some whole wheat penne for himself and I opened up a bag of these guys for myself. We both topped our noodles with some jarred tomato sauce but I mixed in a bag of steamed brocoli and cauliflower to mine. Suprsingly, he was intrigued by my dinner and to my shock he tried it!!!! Shocking me even further, he LIKED them!!!!!! Liked them so much that he said, "if you buy these...i'll eat them" (he later told my sister that they tasted like goo, but enjoyable goo, nonetheless). I felt a slight warming sense of accomplishment anyway :)  Anytime I can turn Dan on to one of my weird little findings I have to give myself a pat on the back. His enjoyment of whole wheat pasta took me just over three years!! Persistance, my friends.

Besides Saturday's dinner the rest of our weekend was pretty dang good! Saturday Dan and I headed out to a mall in New Jersey for some fall decorations and Target for a bag of candy corn. Then, we came home and made this monster:
teamwork at its finest

His mom got us the kit from Williams-Sonoma, so the gingerbread is actually really tasty (those two tombstones have been devoured already...along with some of the roof..).

Along with decorating that house (and consuming way too much candy corn...the pumpkin variety is ridiculous...I was sure to get the bag with the MOST pumpkins mixed in) we festively decorated the apartment! I'm obsessed with the cozy decorations and pops of pumpkin-orange fall colors!
lovin the lil pumpkin candles
is there anything cuter?!

For our first autumn-decorating experience I think we did pretty well! The following morning I was craving something pumpkin-y for breakfast so I made myself a bowl of pumpkin spice mush. I credit Dan for the creation of mushbowl.
thick goo
Into the bowl went 1/2 cup shredded wheat cereal, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, 2 tbsp raisins, 1 tbsp flax meal and a cup of almond milk. I stuck the bowl back in the fridge while I made and ate some egg whites (about 10 minutes). After the cereal sits for about ten minutes it absorbs all the milk and becomes super soft, thick and mushy. I stirred in a tbsp of canned pumpkin and another splash of almond milk. Thick, mushy goodness...that tasted like pumpkin bread dough. Amazing. Dan lets his mushbowl mush-ify right on the table but I like mine extra cold so I keep it in the fridge. Mind you, I'm not a fan of mushy cereal, I definitely prefer crunch, but for some reason this mushbowl is beyond addictive. Plus, soaking the raisins lends some extra sweetness.

Since I hit the gym at 5:30 this morning and it's now a little after 9am and I have yet to shower, I think it's probably time I go do that. ;)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Lactose-Free Yogurt & Protein DELIGHT

When I realized I was lactose intolerant it was pretty easy to give up dairy, since I wasn't consuming much of it to begin with.

However, there was one dairy staple in my daily diet that broke my heart to eliminate....

this guy:
thick, creamy deliciousness in a cup

I love greek yogurt. I never cared for the fruity flavors because they tasted like jelly mixed into yogurt (I will ALWAYS favor REAL, WHOLE fruit rather than cooked down, sugared up versions of "fruit"). The plain, however, oh my gosh. Plus, it is SO easy to customize plain greek yogurt into whatever you're in the mood for! At first I only added a little cinnamon..then I played with various fruit add ins like banana slices and blueberries. My staple was definitely plain yogurt with cinnamon and blueberries.

Of course, there was always the occasional Crystal-Light+Fage mix (a la Hungry Girl -- I heart you, Lisa Lillian) and spoonful of peanut butter+Fage mix (amazing). Oh, and have you ever mixed frozen blueberries into greek yogurt??? Obsessed. Cocoa roasted almonds also pair pretty dang well.

So when I first discovered my intolerance I simply took a Lactaid pill with my yogurt. Unfortunately, even that didn't work. My body cannot tolerate dairy, no matter how much help I try to give it.

Hey, don't love foods that don't love you back.

So, it's been MONTHS since I've had a yogurt of any kind...until yesterday.

While wandering the aisles of Whole Foods I stumbled upon these lil guys:

The stats were horomones, grass fed, nothing artificial, organic, LOTS of probiotics, and lactose free. Lactose free milk still bothers me and even when I take a Lactaid pill dairy still bothers me so I was definitely hesistant to try this. However, I've read that "cleaner" dairy products are easier on the body so I figured I'd try it.

My problem with other dairy-free yogurts (like the soy and coconut milk varieties) is that they are LOADED with sugar, and fat, sometimes, too. Some of those little cups have 29 grams of sugar!! That's INSANE!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's more than Halloween candy!!!!!! My other problem is that they have a measly one or two grams of protein. ehh..

This yogurt had 100 calories, 2.5 grams of fat (I couldn't find a fat-free version, but I'm on the lookout), 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of sugar (naturally occuring, not added). Sure, half the protein of greek, but way more than what my other options present me with!

So to solve the protein issue I figured I'd add a couple spoonfuls of my Strawberries 'n' Cream Myofusion. OMG it was SOOO amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not only was it DELICIOUS, but my stomach actually felt OK!!!!!! (Not 100% symptom free, but so minimal that it was worth it is sooooo soo good and I really really miss yogurt). I also still took a Lactaid with it.

Why did I never think of adding protein powder to yogurt!?! (Oh yea, cuz the greek stuff was already naturally loaded with 18+ grams!!!!!!!) SO good and since I have like a hundred different jars of every protein imaginable my options are endless!

I'm not going to have it everyday, since my body just wouldn't be able to handle it, but it's a great option for a treat every now and then. :)

I'm just so happy to know there is a yogurt option out there for me for when the craving hits :) woohooo

On another happy note--I talked to Dan and this weekend we are doing it ALL!!!!!!!! Saturday shopping for fall decorations, Sat night having an intimate lil party of drinking pumpkin beer and decorating and Sunday apple picking!!!!!! I can't even explain how excited I am. The little things in life :) LOVE!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Morning Workouts & Pumpkin Ale

Why does working out first thing in the morning feel so good?!

It's definitely a pain to wake up to a blaring alarm before 6am, when it's still dark out and the bed just seems extra comfy, but once I'm up and out of bed I feel fine. On the two minute drive to the gym I suck down either a Monster Zero or black coffee and by the time I get to the gym I'm energized and ready to go! Today I did back, a little ab work and a thirty minute interval walk on the treadmill.

A couple things help make an early morning workout doable. First, preparing the night before. Last night I laid out my workout outfit so this morning I didn't have to scramble through my drawers (I don't know about you, but for me, this process takes an ungodly LONG time!!! NO IDEA WHY). On my counter I laid out my house & car keys, morning vitamins, bottle of water, iPod and workout journal. After I got dressed all I had to do was grab my little pile of things in one quick reach and I was off!

My back workout looked like this:

4 minute warmup on hand bike

3 sets, 20 reps:
Lat Pulldown
Bent over Row
Hammer Strength Row

4 sets, 12 reps:
DB one arm row
1 arm seated pull
Rope Cable high pull (no idea what to call this exercise...hook the 2 headed rope up to the top of the cable and pull using your back/rear delts to bring it to your face)

Finished off with body weight pull ups and chin ups to failure

Then I did a few random ab moves and went over to the treadmill where I did a fast walk on incline while listening to the Nicki Minaj and Britney Spears stations on Pandora (love).

My sister and her boyfriend were at the gym this morning...which meant lots of stop-and-chats between sets so the weight portion of my workout wasn't as sweaty as it could have been thanks to all the extra rest. However, we had very significant things to haunted houses and my upcoming Halloween party. Clearly, extremely important.

the cutiess

Our conversation reflected the fact that boyfriends seem to despise things like double dates to haunted houses. My sister and I agreed that these outings should be planned as girl trips instead of double dates, seeing as both of our boyfriend's had the same answer to the question, "hey, wana go to that haunted house friday night?"

...that answer being "No. But, if you really want to I'll do it".

 Translation: "I'm a really good boyfriend, and love you sooo much that instead of doing things I like to do I will put myself through the torture of doing these stupid girly activities that for reasons I'll never understand you sooo enjoy.'d be nice if you could maaaayyybeee, just maybe, be a good girlfriend and not make me do this?"

Well, Casey is that good girlfriend and backed out of the haunted house for her man.
whereas I make Dan do stuff like this...

But, Halloween is my FAVORITE holiday, I never made it to a haunted house last year and I'm determined to do something festive this week. Preferable including a trip to a haunted house. Friday night. With Dan.

It'd be super awesome if candy corn can somehow, someway be incorporated into this weekend.

And apple picking.

And pumpkin picking...

And if we're coming home with pumpkins, we should probably carve them, right? And toast the seeds..while watching old school horror movies...and drinking that pumpkin beer I impulsively bought yesterday..
can't wait to try this!

See how I plan out this crap in my head? Who the hell am I going to do these things with? Cuz, I haven't said anything about any of this to Dan (except for the haunted house)...and when he asks me what I want to do this weekend, I'll probably say "I don't know, babe..what do you want to do?"

I'm going to challenge myself...when this conversation comes up I'm going to tell him my ideas!!!! (or at least direct him to this post...)

Well, I'm off to start my day which includes finishing the laundry, going to Party City for cute stuff for my party & costumes and some other errands...and class this afternoon (Group Dynamics--actually a pretty fascinating class!).

Side note--my Hair ADD kicked in again and I now have DARK brown (nearly black) hair!
darkkk girl

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cake for Breakfast??

This morning's breakfast was amazing.

chocolate peanut butter heaven...

I used Chocolate Covered Katie's dessert pizza recipe and just went all out :)

I mixed together:
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 2 tbsp garbanzo bean flour
  • 1 tbsp applesauce
  • 1 rounded tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp cacao nibs
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • TINY pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • drop of almond milk
Then I baked the concoction for about 15 minutes and topped it with "peanut butter syrup" aka 1/2 tbsp Better'n'PB, 1/2 tbsp coconut butter and 1/4 cup almond milk microwaved for 30 seconds and stirred up (sounds weird but trust me its delicioussssss). I poured the syrup over the chocolate blob and topped it with some banana chips for crunch and a squirt of whipped cream...since it was resembling cake anyway. why not? 

OMG was amazing. It just tasted like mushy delicious fantastic chocolate peanut butter cake. It was that good. Plus, the apartment smelled like a bakery. Since I'm always extra hungry in the morning I also had some egg whites with salsa :)

I notice when I eat a bigger breakfast with carbs and protein and healthy fats I have SOO much more energy not just in the morning but all throughout the day. I also notice I'm way less hungry throughout the day and don't crave sugar. 

It's hard to believe that a few years ago I used to just eat a bowl of cereal with some almond milk and maybe some strawberries and banana on top-that's IT!! Nothing but carbs and NO protein. I was usually starving about an hour (sometimes even sooner) after. Usually, I'd just have another bowl of cereal. Then I craved sugar and carbs throughout the day and would pick at JUNK. People are usually surprised at how much I eat for breakfast but since I've started having "bigger" (really, just more BALANCED) morning meals I've noticed such a positive difference in my hunger, energy and mood. 

Plus, today I worked out first thing in the morning on nothing but coffee, which usually leaves me STARVED.

Now I feel perfectly fueled and ready for another busy day of chores, work and class...won't be home until bedtime :(

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I Did It!!!!!

All the gorgeous women 
Victory is MINE :)
I did it-I won my very first fitness competition! First place, baby!!!! The moment was SURREAL! I worked SO hard and truly gave it my all. For all that dedication to pay off just brought me to tears-- literally, on stage. When they handed me that trophy I just started balling! ( happiest tears ever!)

One of the best moments was hearing my sister scream the whole time!!! She was sooo loud I could hear that mouth of hers the whole time I was on stage. I loved it because hearing her voice was so comforting and gave me such a confidence boost. When my name was called for first she screamed out, "THIS IS HER FIRST SHOW!" Because, after all, doesn't that make anything that much more satisfying? To go into something brand new- for the very first time- and kill it!!!! Let me tell you, it's an incredible feeling. When my sister competes for her first time ( which I hope she will because she's a beautiful crazy lil fit chick herself) I owe her MANY, MANY screams.
My sister--BEST cheerleader EVER
I am SO blessed to have such an amazing support system. My crowd of cheerleaders included Dan, my sister, my parents, my friends Jackie and Gianna and of course, Greg, aka the best trainer in the universe, hands down. Greg was supportive of me from day one. He didn't just meet me once or twice a week to train and then send me off on my own. He motivated me every single day, even sending me motivational tweets! From the start he believed in me and told me I would do well. He critiqued my walk and gave me a million helpful tips. Along with sculpting my body to what it is now through intense training he also helped me build my confidence up to a place I never thought possible. If you want a sickkkkk trainer who will motivate the hell out of you and help you look and feel your best-Greg Watson at Equinox Fitness Club in Scarsdale NY is your guy.
beautiful & supportive friends <3
I'm off to the gym to get in a good workout before a long day of cleaning, cooking, errands and school!
world's best trainer!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Coffee vs Energy Drinks

First off, I am a caffeine queen. I LOVE it. Caffeine is definitely my biggest vice. As addicted as I am, I have cut down quite a bit. In high school my caffeine consumption was as such: 
Large or extra large dunkin donuts iced coffee in the morning on the way to school
2-3 diet cokes before lunch
1-2 diet cokes and or coffee after lunch
Red bull before going out and red bull and vodka when out

In college, it increased a little:
A sugar free red bull or other energy drink on the way to class, or sometimes on the way to dunkin....
Coffee before or after class (extra large dunkin) or both
Several ( or way more) cans of diet coke throughout the morning/ early afternoon
Another energy drink and coffee before and again during work
Medium or large coffee or 2 during night classes
More coffee after class if I went out with friends

In college I was a commuter and the money on my meal card was NEVER used because I always packed my own food. So to utilize the money ( I never let it go to waste) I stocked up on fuel for my awful caffeine habit. I bought a ton of 12 pack cases of diet soda cans. Sometime I just carried the case with me from class to class and popped them open throughout the day. I always had a case or two in the trunk of my car for emergencies. 

Finally, around my college graduation I realized how bad this habit was. I relied on my blood pressure to tell me if the caffeine was getting out of hand; if it went up I'd cut out some caffeine. Because I was such an avid runner ( a serious distance runner at that time) and gym rat my blood pressure stayed consistently around 110-20 over 60-70. Finally I realized that I was lying to myself-- the caffeine intake was really extreme and something had to be done. 

I'm really good at quitting things cold turkey ( it's how I stopped smoking, cut out fake sweetener, dairy, etc). I had already cut out the splenda, which led to way less coffee because I wasn't used to the bitter taste yet, but I was supplementing coffees with diet cokes- even worse.  So out went ALL the soda!! At first my headaches were outrageous and I was really cranky. I realized I slowly started adding in more energy drinks. 

Finally I found a balance which has led me to where i am now in terms of caffeine:
Big cup of iced coffee or 2 smaller cups of hot coffee after breakfast ( apparently it's not good for your metabolism to drink something caffeinated with a meal)
A sugar free or calorie free energy drink before a workout ( sometimes an iced coffee instead)

Usually I have my coffee with a teenie splash of non dairy milk, but now I just drink it black. Flavored coffee is actually, dare I say...better black. The flavor overrides the usual bitterness. 

Thanks to training for this competition, though, I've nixed the energy drinks. I'm eating so clean that I figured I'd nix the artificial stuff for now. So pre workout is just a big iced coffee. At first I was annoyed because I felt like the coffee just didn't deliver like the energy drinks did. I never ever got jittery from them I just got some energy. I'm very ADHD so my body responds pretty well to caffeine, it focuses me and never makes me jittery. After a week of only coffee, even though I'm taking in LESS caffeine,  i feel way better and more energetic! Plus, I never get that bloated or crampy feeling in my stomach that I sometimes get from energy drinks. 

This is not to say I'm mixing energy drinks forever (weird as it is, sometimes I crave a Monster Zero, I actually LOVE the flavor) but they're definitely out of my daily routine for good. I'm going to stick to the twice a day black coffee thing. I think my body responds way better to it. Maybe once a week before a Saturday morning workout I'll cave and go for a Monster Zero. But for now, coffee it is! 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Food FIT for FALL

  The other night before dinner I was feeling a little bored but had the urge to cook something. I'm still eating the same thing every day for one more week so I decided to make something for Dan. He's trying to eat as healthy as possible but sometimes it's hard because his schedule is so crazy. So I figured I would make him some healthy granola. It's good because he can add it to his cereal in the morning for lasting energy PLUS it's totally portable so he can bring it to work without worrying about refrigerating or reheating.

So to make sure it'd be healthy it had to have a balance of:
healthy fats

Granola can be LOADED with fat and sugar...which is usually what makes it so delicious :(

So instead of oil I used egg whites, which also adds in some extra protein. For sweetness I combined a tablespoon of pure maple syrup with a tablespoon of farm fresh honey and added a little water for a less thick consistency. To make sure it was still packed with flavor I added a TON of cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice to the dry oats.

This granola is yummy, good for you and fuels your body without added fats or sugar! Plus it tastes like FALL. Perfect for transitioning into the new season!



  • 2 cups oats (I used quick cook)
  • 1 T pure maple syrup
  • 1 T honey
  • 2 heaping T water (more if you need)
  • 1 heaping tsp cinnamon
  • 1 heaping tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 T egg whites
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 3/4 cup macadamia nuts
  • 3/4 cup freeze dried blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine oats, spices, nuts and berries in one bowl and mix. In a separate bowl combine all wet ingredients, mix well. Pour wet ingredients over oat mixture and stir until well combined. Spread mixture out onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet (if you like your oatmeal on the sweeter side, drizzle it with some more maple syrup now). Bake for 20 minutes, stirring it up at the 10 minute point.
before baking 
combining wet & dry

Let sit at room temperature so it becomes nice and crispy!
packed & ready to go!

Every season has it's own selection of food unique to its time of year. Fall happens to have some of the best my favorites:

Butternut Squash
Sweet Potatos
candy corn 

I can't help it!! There's absolutely nothing healthy about it and usually it's everyone's least favorite candy but for whatever reason I just LOVE candy corn. I love every single flavor and even those waxy little candy corn pumpkins! In the fall I usually always have candy corn on me...hiding in my purse or car or somewhere. A few little triangles here and there are NOT going to kill me. ;)