Monday, February 27, 2012

Making Do Rundown

So here we are on day 27 of eating what we have.  We have only shopped for dairy, fresh fruit and veggies and the occasional treat.  I can't believe how much everything stretched.  I also can't believe how much of a grocery shopper I was.  This experiment has definitely taught me a lesson about wasting food and saving money.  I never would have realized this without this test.

Here are some of the pictures I managed to remember to take.  I had every intention of documenting the month (along with recipes) but you know how life gets in the way of well thought out plans.  

I finally roasted the beets and the butternut squash.  I turned out some pretty good soup puree.  Some of it made it to the freezer for future meals.

Because we buy grain in bulk, a majority of the meals had rice, quinoa, millet and pasta.

I even pulled out some dried fruit and nuts along with a veggie juice for some work snacks.

Spaghetti with butternut puree sauce and steamed frozen mixed veggies.

Breakfast was fairly easy.  We always have egg whites, frozen spinach and frozen french bread.  Of course tea finishes any meal well.

Frozen chicken made for many creative dishes.  This lunch was leftover chicken legs (very spicy) chopped and roasted accompanied with rice and steamed frozen veggies. 

I never considered frozen black-eyed peas sauteed with onions, peppers, and tomatoes in a light vinegar sauce.  But the husband was right about the combination.

Spicy California rolls picked up on one of the few grocery trips. Can you tell Baxter is a fan of sushi?

After some heavier, starchy, yet delicious meals, the husband and I are ready for some freshness.  This was today's lunch (enjoyed in the peace and quiet of my car). Very tasty.

I think we did pretty well on this particular journey.  Not only did we save money, but we also came up with some good creative meals that will become regulars on our menu.  This was a fun and eye-opening experiment and I recommend everyone try it at least once. 

Quote of the Day: As a child my family's menu consisted of two choices:  take it or leave it.  ~Buddy Hackett

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tabata Beatdown

What I've learned today is that if you see your workout class carrying water bottles and no equipment (medicine balls, ropes or kettles) leaving the gym in a herd, you should probably ask where they are going and what they will do before falling in behind them.

I did that today and I got my butt kicked all over the field behind the gym.  Just when I thought I was getting the hang of Crossfit, the Sgt throws in a day of Tabata Protocol.  The title alone belted out of his military influenced mouth should have been a warning. I had a slight headache and low motivation so anything I saw or heard seemed difficult.  I decided times like this I need to work through the doubt.  Hmph!  What a time to start it.

In case you are wondering a tabata workout is a timed workout that lasts 4 minutes long. It consists of 20 seconds of hard (intense) exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest, and then you repeat this 8 times. Unfortunately for us, the afternoon is longer than 4 minutes so we couldn't just stop there.  I don't know when the tabata part ended and the Sgt insanity began.  It was hard. Very hard.  It almost beat me.  We'll have to see tomorrow. A friend told me she didn't think she was ready for this type of workout yet.  I told her she would need to go into it blind and ignorant to get there.  She laughed thinking I was joking asking if that's what I did.  Absolutely!  Not only did I ignorantly follow; I also was blind to what was on the field when I got there.  Next time I have a headache and know my head is not in the game, I will ask instead of just following along ignorantly thinking today might just be the one easy day for working out.

Instead of trying to explain everything we did, I figured I would just Google some images.

My group started with ball slams

Moving on to atomic pushups

Then the tire flips. For my back's sake, I pray I did these correctly!

Sledgehammer Slams.  I kinda liked these.
After the Sledgehammers, we had another row of tires to flip.  I've decided I don't like the tires very much.

Not sure what these were called.  For the record, our group did the easier knees bent , straight back version.

After we completed these suspensions, we were back where we started (ball slams) and then we had to end it with pushups.  My time was just under 4 minutes.  Very slow compared to many others but I was just happy I finished everything.  I walked away from it with shaky legs and arms.  Did it feel good?  I wouldn't go straight to good.  I'd have to work my way around confusion, disbelief, resentment, hate, hope and then relief before getting to good.  Right now I'm only at relief.  I'll let you know another time.

Good night.

Monday, February 20, 2012

You Send Me

Saturday was our 2nd Anniversary.  It was a nice and quiet one.  We hugged, we kissed, we danced till the wee hours of the night to Sam Cooke songs. It was a wonderful time and I feel more love for him than ever before. I like him. I admire him. I love him. That's about all I have to say about that.

I'll leave you with the lyrics to our last song of the night.  It is our song. It's the first song we swayed a.k.a. danced to.  It was also the song that played from the card I gave him this night.

You Send Me by Sam Cooke

Darling, you send me.
I know you send me
Darling, you send me
Honest, you do, honest, you do,
Honest, you do....

At first I thought it was infatuation
But oh, it's lasted so long
Now I find myself wanting
To marry you and take you home...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Bow Out

Thursday I have a standing 5:15 appointment with a group of coworkers who have also committed (loosely) to Crossfit.  They've been at 2 days a week for almost 4 weeks now.  Turns out I'm an inspiration and one of the few reasons they keep the appointment.  How about that?  I was both surprised and a little flattered.  My cube buddy says watching me go most everyday and not give in to junk food and bringing my lunch everyday keeps them going.  Well, this past Thursday I opted out.  I knew they would give me a hard time about not being there so I sent them a nice email. 

Sweatin' Divas,

I regret to inform y’all that I will not be in attendance today. It will be too uncomfortable to work it like I should so I’m going to bow out gracefully. But don’t worry. I’ll be hopping around in front of my TV doing a living room workout in honor of you.
Peace Out!

I got outraged and funny responses.

Da and Ro: What happened?
Me:  Eve happened.
Ro:  Ah...well, carry on.

Da:  That ain't no kind of excuse.  Eve handled the flow with a fig leaf.
Me:  Eve was crazy.

Eema:  You'd better have a good reason!
Me:  It's the same thing you suffered last week and I let you out of it.
Eema:  Oh. Well... OK. I'll pray for you sista'.

Di:  Then I don't think I'll be going.
Me:  Don't make me come over this wall and drag you. Better yet, I just saw Sgt in the hall. We tight...I can make him come and have a talk with you.
Di:  I'm just playin' girl.  I'll be there....cursing you for not being there with me. Lol.
Me:  That's more like it!

I've not worked there very long but these ladies keep me in good spirits and I will continue to try to encourage and inspire them to keep moving.  I held true to my word.  I did a workout in my living room.  It was Jillian's 30 Day Shred.  That's one tough workout but I was able to do so much more than I had prior to starting Crossfit. 

It's me and the hub's 2nd Anniversary so we've been relaxing and enjoying each other's company on this raining and cold weekend.  We've not worked in a workout but have done plenty of walking and seeing the sights.  Come Monday we will be sweating it out first thing since I have the holiday off.  I'll be back with the fit group Tuesday.  I'm looking forward to it.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Day 14 (Soup)

The husband and I are still holding to the 29 day goal of eating what we have.  I'll admit that I've fallen behind on using things from the crisper simply because I've don't remember what recipe I had in mind when I bought them. I located slightly wilted kale in the crisper this weekend.  I decided to make soup.  I've made this one before but used a few substitutions to keep from going out to shop. It turned out OK.

Kale, Sausage and Lentil Soup

2 Turkey Italian Sausage
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 C thinly sliced onion
1/2 C lentils
1 1/2 C water
1 1/2 C chicken broth
2 C kale (stems and ribs discarded) thin sliced
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
Balsamic vinegar

I always jot down my recipes on scratch paper because I make a mess of a good recipe book.

I'm not sure the sausage I used today was turkey or not. The freezer bag was not labeled (shame on me). I don't think it was because there was plenty of oil after browning them.  But that was no problem as the onions and garlic sauteed well in it. 
I didn't have any prepared chicken stock left so I used half a boullion cube in a cup and a half of hot water.  Probably more sodium than I need but it's what I had.

The broth, lentils and water are added to the sauteed onions. 
I used red lentils ((masoor dal) instead the brown because that's what I had.  Because they are peeled and split, they break down faster.  But they thickened the soup so nicely.  Think I'll continue using those as a thickener. Isn't that kale pretty?
I vowed to use the condiments packages sitting in the jar on the counter.   
The red pepper was a nice touch for this soup. 
Bon Appetit!

Quote of the Day: "I'm sick of 'soup of the day'. It's time we made a decision, I want to know what 'soup from now on' is.” - Mitch Hedberg.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Row

I caught a smudged pic on my camera phone just before a Friday's workout.  I have a bad habit of forgetting to lock it so I get several pictures of nothing.  In this case, it couldn't have come at a better time.  It was row day in the gym so you get to catch a glimpse of my challenge of the day. 

There was nothing on the workout board so we weren't sure if we would be combining a row with other moves or not.  Turned out it was only the machine that day.  The expectation was 3000 meters in 10 minutes with a slight resting period ever minute or so.  I don't know how long the resting period was.  I only know it wasn't enough! Then when that was done, there was a 3 minute rest and we were back in the saddle and expected to pull out 1000 meters as hard and fast as possible in 4 minutes.  He was feeling generous and gave the ladies an additional 45 seconds.  The display was set and we were off!

I don't know that I've ever heard so many grunts at one time.  I did my share of it.  Sounded like a women's tennis match up in there.  Lol. It was hard but I kept going.  Even had my eyes closed some of the time to discourage negativity after seeing the time on the screen.  At one point I looked at the display and saw that I had less than a minute to go and was short on distance.  At that moment I heard Sgt say, 'If you aren't on mark push to catch up!' And I did.  I dug in and pushed hard with my legs and pulled hard enough to get my wattage over 50% what it had been.  It was hell but guess what? We did it!  Yes we did! I walked away with wobbly and shaking arms and a smile of pride on my face.  Had someone told me that was going to be the workout before-hand, I know I would have thought it impossible for me to complete.  But again, it's that ignorance/blind trust thing I had going on that got me through it.  That and one of my friends from the department was struggling right along side me. 

When I got home, I excitedly told my husband about it and he gave me a hug and congratulated me.  I even had to text a few friends about it.   I won't lie and say I didn't feel the effects of such a workout.  My lungs burned and my still tender shoulder muscles (from the strength training the day before) ached just a bit more.  But you know what?  I was OK with it all because I had met my goal and my reward for sticking it out all week was the long-awaited massage.  That alone will keep me sweating it out for another week.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


I'm one of the most recent fans of Pinterest. At first I wasn't all that into it. My little sister sent me an invite months and months ago and I ignored it. Then she would post a few pins on her FB page that I thought was cute, clever or drool worthy. Finally she called asking why I had not accepted the invitation and gone in there yet. I told her I didn't really want another social site. She explained it was more like a virtual wish book. I checked it out and lo and behold, I'm hooked. There are some great pics, quotes, crafts and ideas. See? I'm hooked.  I've even found some really good food and fitness sites from there. And talk about inspiration! There are so many good get-of-your-butt poster quotes on there. I thought I would post some of the ones I've found so far. Enjoy!


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Snacking away Temptation

Monday's pickling cucumber
and ff cream cheese (not pictured)
I'm like any other person when it comes to trying to eat better.  I am tempted by things I know will do me no good.  Working in an office with several women seems to make that battle a little bit harder.  They mean well but they always want to share the wrong things.  Luckily, they all seem to have gotten wind of my new habits and try to bring fruits and veggies when there is to be a celebration for one reason or another.  I do appreciate this but I try to let them know that they don't have to do this just for me.  You see, I'm not tempted by donuts at all.  I've learned to hold the memory of how dry the last celebration cake was and can never get pass finding a hair in the last bowl of homemade cookies someone brought.  On top of all that (and after the last store-bought cookie battle) I have been bringing very satisfying break-snacks. 

Tuesday's carrot/banana smoothie
an apple, and rice cake.
One of my co-workers commented on it last week.  She said, 'I can't believe you are actually bringing your snacks AND eating them.  I bring my yogurt and still manage to buy a jumbo muffin when I get here!' She's right. I do bring my snacks and eat them and I don't go beyond that. It's not because I have better willpower.  It's mostly because I'm cheap.  No sense in spending money on food there if I have some already. snacks are pretty darned good. Anyway, I told her I hadn't really thought about what I bring because I just toss something in my bag before coming into work so I decided to spend the week taking pics of my snacks. I've discovered they are not complex and I don't have a lot of variety.  But that's OK.  I turned down dry cake in favor of my peanut butter rice cake Friday.  It was definitely a good thing.

Thursday's banana, Fiber One bar, and apple.

Wednesday's pear and
peanut butter rice cake.

Friday's pb rice cake, apple and
a couple of prunes.
  I'm very happy with the selection as it barely shakes the change in my pocketbook and they really are satisfying.  As you can see I have water with everything.  I do love water so I am OK with not adding flavors to it to get through a bottle.  In fact, I think I must down at least 72 oz in a workday.  That includes the chucks during the workouts.  I refill at the fountain every couple of hours so even that is free. 

I don't know that most agree with snacking during the day but it keeps me from feeling starved by lunch or dinner.  I see nothing wrong with it if I make the right choices.  Besides, it's all about me right?  Lol. 

Have an awesome weekend!

Quote of the Day: He who takes medicine and neglects to diet wastes the skill of his doctors. ~Chinese Proverb

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Barbara Made a Liar Out of Me

There are many things I'd like to talk about but honestly, the only thing on my mind is my thighs, arms, entire body.  It's not exactly aching or hurting.  I'm just aware that  it's waiting to do something.  Possibly show me the hurt tomorrow.  Probably. 

I didn't really feel like working out today.  In fact my alarm sounded at 5am and I hurriedly slapped it off thinking it would wake the husband and he would take that as a sign that I wanted to hit the gym.  I realized about a second after this action that he was already awake and out of bed.  Curses! I lay there and thought about getting up.  You know what?  I didn't.  I lazed in bed another 30 minutes before he opened the bedroom door and just stood there looking at me.  I said, 'What? Did you want to workout?'  He shrugged and said no, got undressed and lay back down too.  I thought I was off the hook when he said, 'I'm working out later while you are at Crossfit.'  Well, I guess that's that.

All day I kept trying to decide if 'I don't feel like it' was a good enough reason to not go to class.  At about 3:30 I realized I had a headache and almost used that as an excuse.  Luckily (luckily?) my morning workout buddy came to me saying she too was going to the afternoon class but forgot her shoes and only had boots.  She needed to know if anyone had a spare pair.  I didn't immediately speak up because I'm not in the habit of sharing shoes.  That and I think my feet is a half size larger than hers.  She made the rounds and no one had any.  I finally gave in and she gladly took them.  I decided since she had my shoes she was probably expecting me to make an appearance.  I popped an Excedrin and prayed the headache would magically vanish before 5:15.  It did. 

We walked in and on the board was the workout of the day.  It was titled 'Barbara: Benchmark'.  I joked and said 'Whoever this Barbara is I'm almost sure she doesn't expect us to do all that.'  We laughed.  I was wrong.  Barbara +The Sgt indeed expected it.  In case you're interested, the Barbara Benchmark is as follows:

Five rounds, each of:

20 Pull-ups
30 Push-ups
40 Sit-ups
50 Squats

Rest precisely three minutes between each round (I didn't know anything about this 3 minute rest business! I don't recall him saying it was OK to rest! I feel cheated. Hmph!)

Once we got started, I repeatedly used the work CAN'T before realizing Barbara had made a liar out of me.  Lo and behold I started paying attention to what I was doing and I did it!  I did it all. Can you believe that?!?  It was awesome but I've discovered that me and pull-ups have serious issues with each other.  I really need to practice those.  But my bar partner made the comment that we have both made great strides with our push-ups.  She ain't lying.  On one of the switches from bars to push-up, I said, 'I never thought I'd be happy to be doing a push-ups.  It beat the hell out of that pull-up!'  Sgt like that.

I was so impressed with my skill and then Barbara was done and the Sgt was back in charge.  He had that smile. We all met the mats and he proceeded to torture us with butterflies, planks, and....I don't even know the names of half the insane moves he seemed to think we could all do.  All I know was I tried each one and my form was probably not there for them all but I did my best and I walked with a wobble to my car.  It was good.

Funny how I know each class is gonna be hard but I just keep on going back for more.  Maybe I'm getting the hang of things.  Or maybe I've finally lost my mind. Whatever gets me there.

That's all folks!  Have a good night.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Push-Ups and F.L.O!

I've been pushing through a bummer lately.  I've been working out, trying to watch what I eat and keep a positive attitude through it all.  I'm bummed because I want to see results now.  Like NOW!  I know that's a bit dramatic and it took longer to put the weight on than it's taking me to take it off.  It's unrealistic to think I will start to melt and harden in a few weeks.  But you know we all think this.  We start working out and start to feel so much better and leaner and then BAM!; we look in the mirror and not a lot has changed.  How can the mind change and not the body? Wah, wah, wah....bummer.  I'll get over it.  I just wanted to whine about it for a minute or two.

Anyway, I don't know that I've mentioned this before but the hubs has been very supportive in everything I try to combat the fat.  Any workout I try, he's all for it.  He will even leave the room so I can jump and prance my way through a dance workout because he thinks I'm self conscious.  I'm least not in front of him. So since I've started Crossfit, he's seen my excitement build and vows to help me keep up the motivation.  So far, so good.

I sat thinking last night about what I typically hear on a weekday morning.  'Go!', 'Push through it!', 'Finish what you start!', 'Don't let weak defeat!', 'Come on... you can do better than that!' That is a combination of comments from the Sgt and the Hubs.   The husband and I have recently discovered that my body can do more than my mind thinks it can.  Not all the time but most of the time.  If I get my head in the right place I can push past that popping thought that I can't do it. When I do it I'm both amazed and ecstatic.  He's witnessed my struggle and victory and says that from here on out, he will make sure I get to the point where I am completely satisfied after a workout.  Seems he was being easy on me before.  He's been true to his word.  I do appreciate it.  I really do.  I don't always show it when I'm grunting and sweating but after I'm done, I thank him.  I've even gotten to the point where I set a mindful goal before setting foot in the gym (or my workout space before the TV) and I won't stop until I've reached it.  They aren't unreachable in case you are wondering.  No, they are things like I will do 5 more pushups or situps than I did previously.  Baby steps. 

I saw this YouTube clip of Ellen and the First Lady doing pushups. It is so awesome to see a First Lady take responsibility and be a model for fitness.  Man oh man I wish I had that woman's arms! I'm hoping with my baby step goals, I'll eventually get to the Sgt's 50 pushup requirement without half killing myself. Can 50 pushups give me those arms? Can't hurt to try.  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

29 Days of Making Do

'We can make do with what we've got.'  That's what my parents use to say when the funds ran low.  As an adult, I understand it now.  With the new year, we've taken stock of our lives and where we could do more and also where we could do with much less.  The husband mentioned that we have things in the freezer, fridge and pantry that needs to be used before it goes bad.  He's much better at that sort of thing than I am.  I'll say 'Let's go grocery shopping.'  He'll say, 'There's no need. We have food here.'  I'll roll my eyes and think, 'But I don't want to cook!'  He must know that look because he almost always shrugs and says, 'Don't worry yourself. I'll cook something. You'll like it.'  And I always do. 

So I'm jumping on his wagon of frugality and trying 29 days of cooking only what we have in house.  Of course I will still make a weekly trip for milk, OJ, eggs and yogurt.  I figure it's a leap year, why not.  I like the sound of 29 days.  To start, I had to take stock of what we have. That meant pulling out the camera and shamelessly showing you the disorganized state of my kitchen.

Our small chest freezer is pretty well stocked.  I found fish, chicken, beef, peas, edamame, and several bags of veggies.  There are also containers of leftover lasagna, enchiladas, okra sauce and attieke.  Yep, I don't think we we'll be going hungry anytime soon.

The fridge freezer main part is pretty minimal.  We've run out of low-fat ice cream and have eaten most of the frozen muffins.  All that's left are a few bags of go-to veggies and whipped cream. 

The fridge freezer door is mostly designated for baking items like nuts, chocolate, pastry etc.  And yes, I do freeze leftover sweetened condensed milk.  I don't use it enough to store leftovers in the cooler.

The cooler of the fridge leaves a lot to be desired but the leftovers will keep us a few days.  This is basically what it looks like at all times.  We try to keep milk, eggs, OK, cottage cheese and leftovers.

The door of the fridge seems to be the catch-all for condiments and bags of half-used grain.  Again, it always looks this way.  Nothing much ever changes.  I do see pesto in

That brings us to the pantry.  Please don't judge for the disorganized look.  I know where everything is.  Really.  Plenty of cans, grains and such.  Now that I look at this section, I think maybe I ought to revisit the idea of spending an hour or so of my day organizing.  Could be quite a few discoveries to be had here.
This top shelf is reserved for things that were bought on a whim.  Not used often but I'm guessing they will be making an introduction on our dinner table (or lunch boxes) soon.                                                                                                                                                       

The floor also serves to hold several staples. This place is very short on storage so every bit of space counts. Though I've put in an order with my Dad to make me a potato bin. He's designing me a nice slimline one just for apartment living. This hold most of our root veggies and large bagged staples. Rice is the main staple for my husband.

The fridge top is the tea station.  Well....some of it.  Those pictured are my recent attempt at spending less on this wonderful beverage.  They aren't too bad but I still have my favorites and I can't imagine I won't splurge on a good tin or two.
The spice cabinet? There's plenty. That is something we always keep stocked because there's nothing worse than cooking only to realize you are out of salt, pepper or garlic powder. At least in Tex-Mex cooking there's nothing worse. Lol.

And there you have it.  Twenty nine days of making do.  I think we can do it.

Quote of the Day:  Without frugality none can be rich, and with it very few would be poor.” ~ Samuel Johnson quotes