Staying Active- Jillian Michaels DVD review!

I actually managed to stay active at home:

  • I had a lot of gym dates with Alexa (which is SO motivating!)
  • My dad and I had a father-daughter date at the ice rink and an hour of ice skating is enough cardio for me!
  • And thanks to this Christmas present, I’ve been sore for the past 3 days:

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I got the Shed and Shred Jillian Michaels DVD for Christmas, and I wanted to make sure I did it this week, so I could let you know if it was good!

So here’s the deal:

There are 2, 45 minute workouts. Level 1 and Level 2. Or you can do both levels together (but I think it’s slightly shortened, so it’s only an hour.) I sort of did it wrong, and ended up doing level 1 + level 2, and so it took an hour and a half. Let me tell you, an hour and a half of Jillian is a little much. But man was it a workout.

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Its typical Jillian- lots of circuit workouts. This one had new moves though, so I was happy to see she wasn’t just recycling moves from her other dvds. It was also great because most of the moves can easily be incorporated into your own circuit workout. I’ll definitely be using these moves!

I think I liked it better than her Ripped in 30 dvd, and it’s at least as good as the 30 day Shred dvd, the workouts are just longer, so you need a little more time to complete them. (And if you haven’t tried Jillian’s Power Yoga, it’s one of my favorites!)

Have you stayed active this Christmas?

What I Ate [at my parents] Wednesday

I should warn you, my mom has been nervous about this post.

It seems that even she has noticed the buzz around the blog world on Wednesdays, thanks to Jenn and her famous What I Ate Wednesday party! My mom isn’t a frequent reader, so the fact that she’s noticed, its kind of amusing.

Breakfast

This was actually more like a morning snack. I woke up and did the Jillian Michael’s dvd I got for Christmas, before eating breakfast. By the time I finished, it was almost 11am, and I wasn’t in the mood for a big breakfast. So I munched on this:

Kashi TLC bar (SO good) and a clementine, fresh from Florida (Thanks, Aunt Dee!)

Lunch

A giant yogurt bowl. (My mom even dug out a colored bowl so I didn’t have to use a plain white one.)

Snack

I nibbled on these all afternoon. These things are super crunchy. I love them!

Dinner

My friend Kate, (from Virginia) stopped by Columbus on her way home from Wisconsin so we headed downtown and had dinner at Jimmy V’s. Ready for a #foodbloggerfail? I didn’t bring my camera. So I have no picture of the panini. Please allow this google image to fill in for me:

(source)

Thank you, google images, for saving me on that one. And the panini was good, despite the fact that they put mushrooms on it when I specifically asked for them not to. Oh well. I survived.

Entertainment

We finished off the evening at Woodlands Tavern, since my friend Dylan was putting on a comedy show. (If you’re in Columbus you should totally check out Dylan’s shows. He was featured in the news earlier this week!)

As you can see, we knew it would be a fun filled evening ;)

Do you enjoy stand up comedy? Do you have a favorite restaurant from your hometown?

Keeping [Mostly] in Check

I’m definitely much more “relaxed” over the holidays.

As it should be! If a workout gets skipped, because I’m busy visiting friends and family that’s the kind of trade off I’m ok with. And if I eat some extra sugar on Christmas… well Aunt Dee’s brownies were totally worth it.

But the fact is, I feel best when I’m eating healthy and exercising.

So it’s all about balance :)

My mom and I took a trip to Trader Joe’s and stocked up on some of my favorites, so I’d have things to munch on. And she also picked up Arnold Whole Wheat Mini Sandwich thins, which were new-to-me.

I’ve had this the past couple of days:

 
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To make this delicious lunch:

Arnold whole wheat mini + Trader Joe’s garlic hummus + Trader Joe’s chopped veggies + Everything Pretzel Slims

My blog is also having quite a Christmas. Presents included:

  • A light box (for better pictures!)
  • A new Jillian Michael’s DVD (review to come)
  • Kitchen gadgets (berry saver, produce keeper, collapsable measuring cups)
  • A Kindle Fire (so I’ll be reading blogs wherever there is wifi!)

Now I’m off to go to the gym with Alexa. (Probably a good idea, since the Northstar burger is to be consumed tonight.)

 

Did you get any kitchen-related gifts? (Anything I might want to go look for in after Christmas sales??)

Friday Festivities

If you’re a grinch, come back later.

Because I’m in a fantastic mood, and I don’t need any scrooges around here :)

I’m home. I’m on vacation. All that’s left is baking and shopping, which both happen to be favorite activities.

So Yes. Life is good.

I’m even smiling at the gym. (Which is actually kind of creepy, when you look over and see someone grinning on the treadmill.) I’m not sure if my new Nikes are the best shoes ever, or if my shoes from my freshman year of college were slightly worn out. Maybe both? (Yeah, I’ve been done with college for… 2 1/2 years now.) But hey. At least I finally mostly stopped wearing my cheerleading shoes from freshman year of high school. Now if I just threw out my cheer camp t-shirts from middle school, we’d be good to go. oops.

I’m also smiling because my mom is the cutest mom ever. She’s like:

“I read your blog and picked up some of your favorite foods that you wrote about!”

Ok mom, you win mom of the year.

Thanksgiving photo repeat.

Anyways, the obvious best part of being home is catching up with friends & family.

So that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas!

What I Ate [as an elf] Wedensday

I’ve felt like an elf this week!

I finished up [almost] all my Christmas shopping, and I was in a wrapping frenzy! But let me take you through the day of eats first.

Thanks, Jenn, for hosting the party, as always!

Breakfast:

Yep. Still the same. After a week of oats I’m back to my old ways. Yogurt it is! Plus blueberries and Bear Naked Granola.

Lunch:

I though the salad + hummus combo had been upsetting my stomach, so I’ve been trying to switch things up.

Curried chickpeas, which were eaten with some vegetable soup. Even though that’s essentially the same combo as a salad with hummus, it didn’t upset my stomach! Odd!

Snack:

I will eventually do a whole review of the Lolihop box, but I’m waiting until I consume all the snacks!

I did eat an unpictured larabar and I decided I’m not going to eat these anymore. It can eat these in 2 bites! (I mean, I made it last like ten bites, by eating like a rabbit, and I think my co-workers were thinking “why the heck can’t she take a normal bite?”) See? More trouble than it’s worth. And for 220 calories, I’d rather have a huge yogurt bowl. Anyways. Sorry, Larabar fans!

Dinner

G-love and I ate leftovers. We actually cooked a big spaghetti dinner for some friends on Sunday and we made way too much food, which means leftovers were in order. He ate the spaghetti, I ate the leftover salad. And I bought caesar dressing for Sunday, but I didn’t eat any of it, because it has anchovies in it :( But that meant I finally tried the Ranch I bought from Trader Joe’s! I haven’t had Ranch in a long time, but this stuff is relatively low calorie (30 per tbsp!) so I decided to give it a try. And I actually love it!

Yummm. Croutons and parmesan cheese made it extra tasty.

Dessert:

The boys and I were doing a gift exchange tonight, so I whipped up some cookies. I was inspired by Lauren, who was inspired by Jessica, but in the end, I did my own fun twist!

Cherry Almond Cookies

Adapted from How Sweet Eats
Makes ~12 cookies (you could easily double!)
  • 6 full sheets of graham crackers
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt (more if your nut butter is unsalted)
  • 2 tbsp chopped dried cherries

Run the graham crackers through the blender or food processor, or just smash them in a baggie. You do want them finely crushed! Then combine the almond butter, syrup, sugar and salt. You may need to add a little bit more syrup, especially if your nut butter is on the dry side. I used TJ’s and it’s a little more runny/oily, so mine we’re fine with this amount. Then add in the chopped cherries and roll into balls. Flatten a bit, and leave in the fridge for about an hour before serving. BAM.

They sort of taste like cookie dough balls :)

Early Christmas Presents:

Last night, the boys and I did a gift exchange. It was quite a success! (They did well! Eugene even got me a coat, that fit’s perfect! I love it!) I have to say though, these were hands down my favorite:

The man-friend bought me the Nike Free Runs I’ve been wanting forever! I’m SO excited to use these! And he picked out the colors himself :) I’m super thrilled!

Have you opened any Christmas gifts yet?What have you been munching on?

Time-Saving Caramel Dip

Holy monkeys! What happened to December?

I can’t believe I’ll be flying home in just a few days! I’m almost done Christmas shopping, but I can’t believe how quickly it’s coming. Which is probably good considering the amount of holiday goodies I’ve been eating.

And as you can see, I’ve been busy making a Gingerbread Toaster:

The iphone picture doesn’t do it justice. You can’t see the power cord coming out of it, or the little lever that you’d push down. I’m also not sure why the toaster has a face, but that’s ok. It was the winner of the terribly-unofficially-twitter-voting-system. And that’s what matters. *(Note, I was busy taking pictures and barely had a hand in this creation. But the boys on my team did an excellent job.)

Anyways, I’m sure I’m not the only one who is feeling like the days are becoming a blur. Where the heck did the time go? I had 10 christmas parties (+2 birthday parties) to attend over the course of 6 days. Needless to say, I had to give up making all of them, and just hit as many as I could!

Since a lot of these events were the “bring a dish to share” type of shindigs, I’ve been relying on some super quick, super simple recipes.

And if I can incorporate some fruit, well, that’s a bonus.

I did some googling for basic types of caramel dip, and then improvised my own with some ingredients I had on hand. So here’s what went down

Caramel Sauce

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown Sugar, Packed
  • 1/2 cup Half-and-half
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt

All you have to do is cook it over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, while stirring to ensure that it doesn’t burn. Then pour into a bowl or jar and let it cool. (You don’t even have to let it cool, I served it warm!)

I recommend it with apple slices and pretzel sticks! It also ensures that you’ll have the option of fruit at the party! :)

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It was hard to get a picture without getting a hand in there!

(Good sign, I think!)

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 Did you make a gingerbread house? What would you dip in caramel?

Workout for the Attention-Span-Challenged

I have a really short attention span.

I don’t like sitting still. I’m not even a big fan of movies, mostly because I don’t like sitting down for that long.

Does anyone else sit cross legged in their office chair? Yeah. That’s me. Fidgeting. Because I’m such a grown up.

Anyways.

I think that’s part of why I haven’t been able to really get that into running. That is, unless I have a fresh playlist, new workout clothes, and a sparkly headband.

That’s when I discovered the magic of circuit workouts.

So I have no idea why I didn’t try circuit workouts sooner. I mean, I’ve taken some HIIT classes at the gym, but for some reason, it never occurred to me that I could do these on my own. I think my favorite part is that you can mix and match everything.

It’s SO simple. It’s also something you could do at the gym, or in your living room. SCORE.

I’ve been doing 20 minute circuit workouts, and it’s been kicking my butt. I basically have a mental list of exercises, and then I mix and match them for 20 minutes. Easy peasy.

Source

My Circuit Recipe

Mix and match these 1 minute exercises for 15-20 minutes.

  • Jump rope
  • Weighted sit ups
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Bicep curls
  • Plank position
  • Burpees (Love’ em and hate ‘em)
  • Mountain climbers
  • Push-ups
  • Jumping Jacks

Honestly, the time flies by, and I like picking out the next exercise during each minute. It keeps my mind occupied, and it makes the workout really fun. It also keeps my muscles guessing, and I end up getting in a much better workout than just aimlessly wandering from weight machine to weight machine. (Not that I do that or anything… *ahem*)

Do you like circuit workouts? What workout would you add to the list?

What I [Will] Eat Wednesday

Its time to start thinking ahead.

So lets talk about what I will be eating today. I’ve actually broken out of my food ruts the past few days, so these are some new favorite things! (Thank you Jenn, for hosting the party!)

Breakfast:

For the first time in like, 2 years, I had something that wasn’t a smoothie or yogurt for breakfast. Maybe it’s the cold temperatures? [More likely it's the fact that I haven't been grocery shopping to get more yogurt and soymilk.]

This was 1/3 cup oats, 2/3 cup water, 1 egg white, 2 packets of stevia. Microwaved and then topped with 1/2 banana, 1/2 tbsp of almond butter, and some cookie crumbles, from the delicious cookies that Brittany gave me on Sunday!

Lunch #1:

I usually eat a snack around 11, and then go to the gym during lunch. So this is sort of like mini lunch #1.

I’d never had a Kind Bar before. But thanks to the lovely folks at Lolihop, I got one in the box they sent me to review!

I totally bought more of these, and I can’t wait to eat another. It powered me through my workout!

Lunch #2:


That’s 1 cup plain chobani 0% greek yogurt, 1 cup blueberries, and a handful of fiber one. Simple. Delicious. (I finally sprung for overpriced blueberries because I missed it so much at breakfast.)

Afternoon Snack:

I either have a snack at work, or a snack as soon as I get home from work. Lately, this has been Fiber One with Honey Clusters.

This stuff is soooo good. I also love it on top of yogurt and smoothies.

The Snack that became Dinner:

I blame Stephanie for this one.

But I’m quite lucky to have a roommate to blame for these things. And just like Steph’s sugar cookies, these things are addicting.

Oh and did I mention this is the easiest party snack ever? I made it for tonight’s Christmas party, but my “sampling” was a little out of control ;)

Seasoned Oyster Crackers

  • 1 package Ranch dressing mix (1 oz)
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill weed
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 5 cups oyster cracker

Set your oven oven to 250 degrees. Combine all of your ingredients in a bowl and toss to coat. (You do need the oil to help the spices stick, so don’t skimp!) Spread out on a baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, stirring gently after 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and allow to cool before serving. Then dig in, and you’ll never stop. Addicting to the max.

I ate so many of these that I didn’t really feel hungry until later that night.

Evening snack:

Yesterday, I sliced up some b-nut squash, and ate it with a mountain of ketchup. No joke, I eat a lot of ketchup. And I’m well aware those squash fries look kind of gross. But let me tell you, they’re amazing. This will be reappearing at dinner, because I have half a squash leftover…

What will you be eating today? Do you like Fiber One cereal?

Healthified Parmesan Caesar Dressing

I was having dinner with some girlfriends, and I had volunteered to make a salad to go with the lasgana that my friend Anna was making.

Easy, right?

Yeah, not so much. I realized that I really had no idea what to make. I eat salads like 5 times a week… but mine aren’t really “normal” salads. I couldn’t really bring a bunch of lettuce and vegetables covered in hummus to an Italian dinner. (Or could I? Tessa, I could bring some ketchup for dippage… ;) )

I actually used to be a salad hater. Until I realized I was just sick of salad dressings. I don’t generally use salad “dressing” at all anymore. Avocado, hummus, or balsamic vinegar are pretty much all I use. It was time to get creative.

I spent much longer than any person should, researching salad “recipes” . Since we’d be eating lasagna and garlic bread, I wanted something lower in calories, but packed with veggie-deliciousness. I did want something creamy, and I had some parmesan cheese calling my name in the fridge… so here’s what happened.

“Healthified” Parmesan Caesar Salad

Serves 4 as a side dish/appetizer

  • 1/4 cup o% greek yogurt
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 teaspoon coarse pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • 3 hearts romaine chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup of croutons

I blended up everything except the lettuce, tomatoes and croutons in my mini-food processor until smooth. I kept it in a tiny tupperware and waited until I was at my friends house before tossing everything together, in order to prevent the lettuce and croutons from getting soggy. Excellent.

Simple. Healthy. Delicious.

See the nutritional info here (For 1/4 of the full recipe)

Sorry for the iphone pic. I was a bad blogger and didn’t bring my camera to the dinner!

What’s your favorite salad dressing? Do you prefer things like hummus?

Roasted Asiago Potatoes

Do you know about the Target curse?

It’s a real thing.

You cannot go into Target and purchase only the items you intended to purchase. That’s how I ended up with the comforter on my bed. But that’s another story.

The most recent Target purchase? A “curling wand“. (Thank you to my roomie’s friend who recommended it!)

Works like a charm! (Excuse the iphone picture.)

The real question is why do I suddenly look 15?

Don’t worry, I brushed out the curls a little so I didn’t look like Shirley Temple when I left the house.

But the point is, the curling wand is my new best friend. Go get yourself one. Mmk?

Alright, on to the food talk.

Remember that vegetarian dinner I cooked for my brother?

It’s time I shared the recipe. The potato recipe.

This is not for the weak.

Move over startchy-vegetable-fearing-people. There is no room at the table for you and your potato prejudice.

Put your low-GI-low-carb-fat-free-packaged-side-dish back in the freezer. And get out a bag of white potatoes. Yes. The white ones.

Roasted Asiago Potatoes

  • 5 medium russet potatoes
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup asiago cheese
  • 1 tbsp coarse sea salt
  • Dash of pepper to taste
  • Sprinkle of rosemary

Coat a large baking pan (the largest one you have probably) with the olive oil. You could probably use a little less, but make sure the whole pan is coated. Dice (and peel, if you’re into that sort of thing) your potatoes so they’re in 1 inch cubes, more or less. Pop your oiled pan in the oven for about 2 minutes, so the oil gets warm. Then take it out of the oven and spread out the potatoes over the oil, and make sure they are in a single layer. Then top with the asiago, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in a 450 degree oven for about 35 minutes. Then top with a bit of rosemary :)

Yum.

It doesn’t get more simple, or more delicious than that. And the asiago cheese gives it a richer taste than a predictable cheddar.

Hopefully, we’ll be getting a “guest post” from the brother soon. Stay tuned.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy potatoes?