Monthly Archives: May 2012

I recently completed a 10 month training program for a half marathon and ran the St. Jude Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville on April 28th.  I did better than I had hoped for (1:54) and want to contine my running bug.  My goal is to run 40 miles a month.  This wan’t too hard to complete for May since I wasn’t working for most of it.  Actually, I have yet to complete it, but I’m pretty confident I will since I currently have run 39 miles and am planning to work out after work today. 

My goal will probably be difficult and take some real effort to complete for the rest of summer because I have now started working from 8:30-5 Monday through Friday.  I’m not the type of person to wake up extermely early in the morning and get my workout over with, so that means I’ll have to push myself to get it done after a long day of work. 

I have found that setting concrete goals helps me accomplish things.  So here I go–I will run 40 miles a month for at least June.  I plan to readjust or reset my goal for July and on once I see how this goes. I haven’t had a real 40 hour a week job yet, so I’m worried how tired I’ll end be, but wish me luck!

Do you have any summer fitness goals?

How do you fit exercise into your busy schedule?


I went shopping yesterday and got a new swimsuit that I’m really excited about! I haven’t bought a new swimsuit in awhile because I don’t wear swimsuits that often, but this summer my family is going on a trip to the Bahamas so I figured that would be a great excuse to buy a new suit! Here it is:

Now I just have to make sure I keep a flat stomach until August when our trip is so that I can feel great showing off the neon colors!

I got the suit at H&M and both pieces together were about $30–such a deal!  Where is your favorite place to get a swimsuit?


I spent part of Memorial Day Weekend at my Grandma’s lakehouse in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.  A lot of my family was there, so I decided to bake some chocolate peanut butter brownies from a recipe I found here.  They were simple to back and turned out well!  The batter was pretty thick, so I really had to spread it in the pan. I got a little lazy with appearance, so the top isn’t super smooth and pretty, but  taste is more important, right? They tasted good enough that I couldn’t take a picture once they were cut because they were already eaten!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

– Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 8X8″ pan with cooking spray. (I only had a 9X9″ pan, so I used foil to make a smaller pan).

– Combing flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.

– Combine sugars, oil, vanilla, and eggs in a mixing bowl.  Beat until combined.  Slowly add flour mixture and beat until just blended.

– Mix in peanut butter and chocolate chips by hand.

– Spread batter into prepared pan.  Bake for 25-28 minutes, or until toothpick comes out of center with just a few crumbs.  Cool on wire rack completely before cutting.

What’s your favorite brownie recipe?


I have found a new obsession: english muffin pizzas.  I haven’t been this excited about something I’ve been in awhile, but these are awesome!  I had very low expectations, but I just loved how they tasted on how easy they were!  They’re so customizable too!  You can add whatever you want to them.  I add some jarred tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, green peppers, onions, and mushrooms.

 

English Muffin Pizza

Ingredients:

1 English muffin per person

favorite tomato sauce

toppings of your choice! (I did green peppers, mushrooms and onions)

mozzarella cheese

Directions:

– Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

– Cook your toppings.  (If following my pizza, dice green pepper, mushroom, and onion.  Cook onion in pepper in skillet over medium high heat.  Add mushroom about 5-7 minutes later.  Cook until all veggies are tender.)

– Split English muffins in half and place on baking sheet.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.  Take out of oven and top with tomato sauce, then sprinkle with cheese, and top with rest of ingredients.  (Make sure not too add a huge amount of tomato sauce–the crust might get soggy).  Cook 11-13 minutes until English muffin is crispy and cheese is melted.

Personally, I don’t like that much cheese, but my mom does like it, so I added some more cheese to hers on top of of the veggies.

They tasted delicious!  Just the write serving size.  I had some extra veggies and tomato sauce, so I’m going to serve those up with some pasta tomorrow.

 


Back in the day, I did gymnastics and was pretty flexible.  Flexibility, though, one is of those things that goes away if you don’t keep practicing it.  It is also one of those things I wish I still had, so I have decided I want to be more flexible.  I know if I just say this, though, it won’t actually happen.  I  need some sort of concrete goal to have.  Luckily, I found this article on “8 stretches to get you to do the splits.” My goal, using these stretches, is to be able to do the splits by the end of summer.

After doing each of these stretches, I realized how far I may in fact be towards be goal.  The poses sound easy, the girls in the pictures make the poses look so easy, yet I was in pain after being in the pose for 2 seconds!  One thing I love about flexibility stretches is that you can see and feel the changes in your body.  In a few weeks, I should be able to do these poses more easily.  Last summer I did hot yoga a few times and I loved seeing how much more I could do after just a few classes–hopefully the same will be true with these stretches.

I’ve decided to describe the suffering I felt through each of the poses so that I can look back later and see how far I’ve come.

Pose 1: Tipover Tuck

<a href="http:/... Tuck</a> Luckily, the set of stretches starts out easy.  I was able to do this one and not feel like I was in too much pain after 30 seconds, but I thought I would be able to bend forward further.

Pose 2: Head to Knee

<a href="http:/... to Knee</a> I was also able to do this one, but I certainly felt the burn and know that I should eventually be able to stretch further.  Maybe eventually I’ll be able to get me head all the way to my knee and not be in pain?

Pose 3: Seated Straddle

<a href="http:/... Straddle</a> This is where the struggles started.  I can get my legs nowhere near as far apart as the girl in the picture and can barely even bend forward!  I need a lot of work on this one.

Pose 4: Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch Against a Wall

<a href="http:/... Hip Flexor Stretch Against a Wall</a> I think this stretch was added at this point in the sequence to make us feel a little better after that last one.  This stretch wasn’t difficult, but I could feel it was really stretching my hip flexors, which is really important if I hope to be able to do the splits in a couple months.

Pose 5: Lizard

<a href="http:/... This is another stretch this is somewhat do-able, but I know there’s a lot of progress to be made.  I can get one forearm completely on the ground and my body is extremely crooked, which I know can’t be right.  This stretch definitely has potential for me to master.

Pose 6: Standing Split

<a href="http:/... Split</a> Doesn’t that look cool? Yeah, well it’s not easy.  I can barely get my leg further than 90 degrees up.  If I can’t do the splits horizontally, using the ground as resistance, than how am I supposed to do the splits vertically with nothing pushing my legs apart?  Maybe sometime in the far future I’ll be able to do this, but I’m not holding my breath.

Pose 7: Standing Head to Big Toe C

<a href="http:/... Hand to Big Toe C</a> This is a pose I had seen before when doing hot yoga, but we always stopped at 90 degrees.  I was proud of myself when I was able to hold my upright leg completely straight at 90 degrees and not topple over! But now I have to increase the upright leg height?  Sounds difficult, but I’ll give it a try and hopefully make some progress.

Pose 8: Supported Split

Supported SplitHere’s the moment of truth: the actual splits.  At the end of summer, I hope to do this stretch unsupported.  I’m maybe 7 or 8 inches off the ground now?  I struggled to hold this in place of 30 seconds, but I looked down and did my best.  While looking down, I noticed the word “flexibility” on my shirt, which I found extremely inspiring.  Now, the shirt I’m wearing is one I got from attending a national civil engineering honor society conclave in March, so I’m not really sure how flexibility fits in, but the fact that it’s there means that flexibility can help me in other dimensions of life.  Yes, the flexibility mentioned in the shirt probably related more to adaptability and the ability to be flexible in your job rather than physical flexibility, but I think physical flexibility will teach me that I can push myself. Wish me luck on my journey!

Do you have any goals for this summer?

What are some of your favorite flexibility stretches?


Over the past few weeks I’ve gained some weight and not been able to lose any despite eating healthily and working out.  I definitely do not consider myself overweight,  but I’ve a hard time seeing my actions not reflected in my appearance.  I have to decided to try to nix unhealthy habits.  In order to do this realistically, I think it’s best to start with just one habit: my need to drink pop.  I always drink diet drinks, but I still feel this is not healthy.  I am hoping this will help me lose some bloat too.  I usually drink pop when I am hungry, but know that I will be eating a big meal soon so I don’t want to spoil my appetite.

What are simple things you do to stay healthier?

What are your tips to nix pop cravings?


One of my mom’s favorite dishes at restaurants is chicken piccata.  I’ve attempted to make it a few times, and finally had some success!  I was in such a frenzy cooking it, though, that I forgot to take pictures!  Luckily, the dish made enough that we had leftovers, and I was able to take a picture of the reheated plate.  It doesn’t look as spectacular as it did day one, but it tasted just as great!  I would highly recommend using low sodium chicken stock.  We didn’t have any in our pantry (we just had regular chicken stock) and I find it to be a little salty.

 

 

Chicken Piccata with Pasta and Mushrooms

Ingredients:

6 oz whole wheat angel hair pasta

5 teaspoons flour + more for dredging

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

10 oz sliced mushrooms

2 1/2 cups chicken broth

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons unsalted butter

2 teaspoons parsley

salt

pepper

 

Directions:

– Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain.

– While pasta is cooking, whisk flour and 2 cups chicken broth until combined.

– Place flour in a shallow dish.  Sprinkle both sides of chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour.  Heat 2 tsp oil in large skillet over medium heat, and cook chicken until browned on both sides and no longer pink in the middle (about 3 minutes per side, depending on thickness).

– Remove chicken from skillet and keep warm.  Add 1 tsp oil to skillet and heat on medium-high.  Add mushrooms to skillet and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Remove from skillet.

– Add 1/2 cup broth and garlic to skillet and cook about 2 minutes.  Add flour-broth mixture. lemon juice, and sprinkle of salt.  Cook about 5 minutes, until broth is thickened.

– Stir in capers, butter, parsley, and mushrooms.  Toss the pasta in with the sauce.

– Serve the chicken on top of the pasta and sauce.

Enjoy!

Like I said, it looked much prettier day one, but it tasted great both day 1 and 2!