Monthly Archives: January 2012

Monday Menu Plan: 1/30-2/5

It’s Super Bowl time! The Ravens aaaaaalmost made it (My team. Did you even know I had a team? I didn’t, until seven years ago when I managed a sports store in a Baltimore suburb and fell in love with the Ravens. True story) and then choked at the last minute (let’s not talk about it) during the playoffs, so this Sunday my focus will not be on the game but rather the food. I’m a sucker for dips, and after heavy contemplation I decided to offer a buffalo chicken dip for the festivities. I happen to love wings but hate the mess, and the dip is the perfect answer. I cannot wait to stuff my face full of tasty game time treats. Nom nom nom.

What’s your favorite food to snack on while you watch the game/commercials/a documentary on the history of America this coming Sunday? 

Before you get on to the menu plan, I leave you the Game Day Volkswagen commercial teaser (OMG, AT-AT dog? I die).

Breakfasts: baked oatmeal, eggs & toast, fresh fruit, homemade yogurt & granola

Lunches: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, tuna sandwiches, chicken nuggets, fresh fruit and veggies, leftovers

Snacks: fresh fruit and veggies, popcorn, graham crackers and peanut butter, applesauce, yogurt, veggie straws, jello, hard boiled eggs, spinach smoothies

Dinner:

Monday
  • swedish meatballs over egg noodles
  • broccoli
Tuesday
  • pork fried rice
  • salad
Wednesday
  • mini white bean sliders
  • salad
Thursday
  • veggie scramble
  • salad
Friday
  • rice and bean burritos
  • salad
Saturday
  • pizza
  • broccoli
Sunday
  • Super Bowl Sunday!!! I’ll be heading to my dad’s with a buffalo chicken dip.
What’s on your menu plan this week? Share in the comments section below! If you blog your own menu plan, leave a link so we can check it out. And if you want information on how to plan a weekly menu, click HERE.

30 Day Shred Update: Days 10, 11 & 12

Emma, rockin' the 30 Day Shred

I have yet another terrible confession to make. Since writing my last post in which I committed myself to an uninterrupted daily workout regimen, I’ve managed to skip two more of the past five days. Thursday morning had us out of bed with a running start, there simply was not a spare 25 minutes to commit to our exercise. And Saturday, well, you don’t want to know the details. Let’s just say I probably would’ve vomited or pooped my pants if I attempted a jumping jack, and we’ll leave it at that. And that leaves the three days that I worked out.

Day 10: I found the secret to my true motivation for exercising on day 10: my daughter Emma. As soon as she saw us pop in the 30 Day Shred DVD that morning, she was all about doing the workout with Mike and I. We grabbed her a set of weights (aka the two smallest soup cans we could find), she put on some shoes, and jumped in with the  enthusiasm of, well, a 3 year old. And it was HILARIOUS. I don’t know how I managed to laugh through the breathlessness of an intense workout, but I did. It made my workout so easy with Emma as my happy distraction that I never noticed whether or not I was experiencing discomfort. She did everything we did with such strong conviction it put us grown ups to shame. Squats, lunges, arm presses, jumping jacks, push ups (!?!)… she did it all. And she never quit. She made me realize that if a 3 year old can do it, I certainly can too. Emma proved that all we have to do is make it fun, and exercise doesn’t have to be a big scary monster. If you’re struggling to make it through the 30 Day Shred, I implore you to, please, get a lively young child involved. If you don’t have one of your own, I’m sure you can rent one from a relative or something.

Day 11: This is the day that I was supposed to advance to Level 2 of the Shred, but I’ve postponed. Taking days off has lowered my stamina, and I want to be back where I was physically on day 7 before I put more strain on my body than I can handle. Maybe after I’ve hit four consecutive days of exercise I’ll be brave enough. I’m also a little weenie about it, especially after Connie, an old friend of mine, informed me that I will probably want to die after I move on to Level 2. Waaaaaaaah (<–that’s me, being a weenie).

So the day before my 11th workout day Mike took me into the New York City to see Wicked on Broadway. It was awesome. But it was raining so I wore rubber rain boots (obviously), and walking through the city did a number on my heels and toes. Working out the next morning was double crappy because Mike convinced me to work out with my pained feet before I ate breakfast. NEVER AGAIN. I’m a daily breakfast eater and need to have at least one cup of tea to function at the most basic level, so I was running on a dead battery. I was a sorry excuse that morning, and complained more than moved. My reps were in the single digits, I didn’t even attempt a handful of the moves, and I cussed like a sailor the entire time (don’t worry, the kids were at my dad’s for a sleepover). All in all, it was a pathetic day for me. Note to self: never, ever work out before eating breakfast ever again.

Day 12: I took another day off (for my aforementioned Saturday woes) and Sunday morning we jumped back on the bandwagon. Emma joined us again but was disinterested after the first two circuits. I made sure I ate breakfast first this time, and I made it through the entire workout with only two brief pauses to catch my breath (and no cussing today, hehe). Mike is pressuring me to move on to Level 2 but I’m still not ready yet.  My biggest victory today was right before I hopped in the shower post workout, and curled my arm to make a muscle. Do you know what I saw in the mirror? A bicep! I have an actual, carved out, don’t-have-to-squint-to-see-it bicep! Wuddup. I’m awesome.

I’ll leave you all with a few more photos of Emma working out with us. They aren’t the best pictures, but points to Mike for attempting to document the hilarity.

Emma doing knee circles with Jillian

Perfect form.

Laughing at Emma while trying to do my modified push ups = NOT recommended.

Watching Emma try to do butt kicks was hilarious. She couldn't figure out how to kick something that was behind her. PS- note her pants are gone. She changed into shorts. She also changed her outfit 3 other times during our workout.

Static lunges, she gave up on her "weights". I don't blame her.

If you missed the previous updates, you can click on the links below to check them out:

A Few Thoughts on Exercise, and a 30 Day Shred Update (Days 1 & 2)

30 Day Shred Update: Day 3 and 4

Workout Snacks and 30 Day Shred Update: Days 5,6 and 7

30 Day Shred Update: Days 8 & 9

30 Day Shred Update: Days 8 & 9

Me post workout on day 9. Oddly reminiscent of me post workout on day 1?

I have a terrible confession to make. I have been extremely lazy with exercising over the past week. I could go through my list of excuses, but I realize that there really is no valid excuse for why I haven’t sucked it up and done the workout.

Not to say that I haven’t exercised at all in the past week, but I’ve done the Shred exactly TWO times in the past seven days. If I want to make myself feel better, I can count three hours of shoveling our driveway after last Saturday’s snowstorm as exercise. But it was kind of an unavoidable task.

Why, do I think, did I take so many days off from my planned exercise routine? I’ll tell you – I took ONE day off. Just one day was enough to break the habit for me, and once I realized I could take a day off my brain gave me the guilt-free OK to take off more “just one day”s.  To combat this, I’ll have to go back to making exercise a daily thing. If I can change my underwear everyday, or eat breakfast everyday, I can certainly commit to exercising everyday. It’s when I take a “break day” that I fall off the wagon.

Day 8: After taking my first break the day before, I started off a little rough. I could tell that I hit the pause button to recuperate, because I had to stop more frequently throughout my workout to catch my breath (or wallow in the pain of a push-up). The jump rope move has become my enemy, and I dread the 30 second bursts of bouncing uncomfortably. My muscles were a little sore, my stomach was in knots, and I felt more like I did on day 3 than I should by day 8. I pushed through it, but not without some major effort on my part.

Day 9: I took another break day after day 8, and day 9 was my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad workout. It was day 2 all over again. There was not a single set of exercises that I made it through smoothly. My muscles were on fire, I wanted to vomit, my lungs crapped out after just one set of jumping jacks. I held back tears just long enough to finish my 20 minutes. I couldn’t even finish the post-workout stretches, I just laid there, a sad blob on the floor dying on our beige rental carpet. My friend Angela warned me that taking days off in between would make the workout harder to endure, but I ignored her advice and now paid dearly for my disregard.

On a side note, the following day my husband and I shoveled our driveway (which is really big, no joke). I was a total snow-shoveling powerhouse, and I attribute my three hour streak of endurance to working out. I may not notice a difference yet in the way my clothing fits, but I do feel stronger. I feel better.

If you missed the previous updates, you can click on the links below to check them out:

A Few Thoughts on Exercise, and a 30 Day Shred Update (Days 1 & 2)

30 Day Shred Update: Day 3 and 4

Workout Snacks and 30 Day Shred Update: Days 5,6 and 7

Monday Menu Plan: 1/23-1/29

We’re on vacation this week! Not in the sense that we’ll be laying on a beach in sunny Cancun, but my husband is taking a vacation week from work and will be hangin’ with the home crowd for the next 8 days. It’s really easy to get stuck in the “I’m saving a ton of money by not going away for vacation, so I’ll splurge and eat out a lot instead!” mindset, and we’re trying to avoid that by sticking with our menu planning. But we’re definitely going to eat out on Thursday night when Mike takes me to see Wicked (!!!) on Broadway. Does anyone have any recommendations for good places to eat in Midtown NYC? Every time we go into the city we fall into the chain restaurant trap, and I’d love to expand my horizons with new-to-me tasty local eats.

Chocolate english breakfast tea: the perfect "be lazy" drink for my "be lazy" week.

Breakfasts: baked oatmeal, eggs & toast, fresh fruit, homemade yogurt, spinach smoothies

Lunches: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, tuna sandwiches, fresh fruit and veggies, leftovers

Snacks: fresh fruit and veggies, popcorn, graham crackers and peanut butter, applesauce, yogurt, jello, hard boiled eggs

Dinner:

Monday
  • meatball parmesan subs (rollover from last week)
  • fresh veggies and dip
Tuesday
  • dinner out – visiting with Mike’s dad
Wednesday
  • vegetable and dumpling soup
  • homemade french bread
Thursday
  • dinner out in New York City
Friday
  • baked ziti
  • salad
  • homemade french bread
Saturday
  • black bean and corn enchiladas
  • salad
Sunday
  • roasted chicken
  • rice
  • green beans or broccoli
What’s on your menu plan this week? Share in the comments section below! If you blog your own menu plan, leave a link so we can check it out. And if you want information on how to plan a weekly menu, click HERE.

Workout Snacks and 30 Day Shred Update: Days 5,6 and 7

So let’s talk food and exercise. I don’t mean calorie counting and all that jazz. I’m talking pre/post-exercise snacks. For those of you who exercise, what do you munch on before you work out that gives you enough energy to power through, but doesn’t leave your stomach in knots? How far in advance of working out do you eat so that you aren’t doubling over with cramps or indigestion? And what’s your favorite snack afterwards that curbs the desire to consume everything edible within a ten-mile radius? I’ve been chowing down on things like hard boiled eggs, oatmeal and bananas, but sometimes they just don’t hit the spot. A little bit of googling has planted the idea of protein shakes and energy bars in my brain, but those are a little on the expensive side (although I wonder if there are good homemade alternatives?). So now I’m on the hunt for satisfying and frugal workout friendly snack ideas. If you have any ideas, please share them in the comments section below!

30 Day Shred Update:

Day 5: I made the terrible mistake of gorging on a ginormous bowl of oatmeal right before the workout. In my defense, my husband was sleeping late after working late and I didn’t think he’d be motivated to hop out of bed & exercise immediately. But I was wrong. He woke up and dragged me into the routine about 20 minutes after I took my final bite of breakfast, and I spent the next 20 minutes worrying I was going to throw up. The upside: I was so busy being nauseous that I didn’t notice how sore my thighs were. The other upside: I learned to never again eat right before exercising.

Day 6: My husband wasn’t home in the morning so it was my first time working out by myself. It takes a lot of determination for me to get up and willingly exercise on my own. I decided I like having a workout partner better than going solo, as the outside influence pushes me to do my best. Nonetheless, I trudged through the entire 20 minutes and only stopped to catch my breath a handful of times. I realize that the only way I’m going to get results is by pushing myself beyond my comfort zone and giving 110% effort.

Day 7: Hallelujah! Finally, I’m no longer dying after the squats and lunges. I can  push through the sets without breaking down or even wincing. My legs aren’t the least bit sore before, during or afterwards. I didn’t think she could do it, but Jillian Michaels is actually turning me into an exercising machine (let’s just not talk about the jump ropes and push ups, mmmkay?). I’m guessing though that the 30 Day Shred doesn’t let you forget how strenuous a good workout should be, since in 3 more days I move on to Level 2. And from what I hear, Level 2 is a big scary monster compared to the fluffy bunny that is the Level 1 workout.

**Today I’m taking a day off from the Shred, because my body needs to recuperate for a quick minute (also, I’m currently carrying a Subway-for-lunch foodbaby in my belly, and I don’t think it’s wise to exercise like that while expecting). Tomorrow morning it’s back to the daily grind with day 8 of the 30 Day Shred.

If you missed the previous updates, you can click on the links below to check them out:

A Few Thoughts on Exercise, and a 30 Day Shred Update (Days 1 & 2)

30 Day Shred Update: Day 3 and 4

Monday Menu Plan: 1/16-1/22

I helped my sister move last weekend, and in return she gifted us a boatload of boxed pasta, alcohol and Jell-O mixes. The pasta and Jell-O is being put to good use as I speak. I think I’m going to take the bottle of vodka that I inherited and start the vanilla extract that I mentioned in my food bucket list. Hooray for free stuff!

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Breakfasts: oatmeal, scrambled eggs & toast, fresh fruit, homemade yogurt, granola, spinach smoothies

Lunches: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, tuna melt sandwiches, fresh fruit and veggies, pasta with olive oil and parmesan, leftovers

Snacks: fresh fruit and veggies, popcorn, graham crackers and peanut butter, applesauce, yogurt, jello, hard boiled eggs

Dinner:

Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
  • black bean burgers
  • oven fries
Friday
Saturday
  • pizza
  • salad
Sunday
  • meatball parmesan subs
  • fresh veggies & dip
What’s on your menu plan this week? Share in the comments section below! If you blog your own menu plan, leave a link so we can check it out. And if you want information on how to plan a weekly menu, click HERE.

30 Day Shred Update: Day 3 and 4

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I use soup cans for hand weights. It's what it is.

Hopefully you all don’t think this is becoming solely an exercise blog (after my whopping 2nd post, haha) but I know that if I keep writing about my experience it’ll help in holding myself accountable. And besides, I know you all just melt over talk of my wobbly knees and hatred of working out. But if you’re in search of more food posts, then patience, young grasshopper. I promise I will be back to posting yummy, artery-clogging recipes in no time.

Day 3: I woke up redonkulously sore with a major case of the grumbleface. The beginning warm up was promising, and then when the actual exercising came I decided I’d rather die than do another jumping jack. I made it through the first set, but then my lungs chose to collapse halfway through the second set. I also fell apart and had to pause after just 5 push ups (on my knees mind you). I made it through the first 15 minutes, and then…

“MOMMY, I NEED HELP WIPING!” – That was Emma. She doesn’t wipe herself after, you know… number two. I really don’t know why. It’s just a thing with her.

“DO (huff huff) IT (pant pant pant) YOURSELF!” – That was me. I wasn’t stopping for anything.

“I NEED HELP WIPIIIIIIIIIIIING!” – Emma, again.

“GODDAMNITWIPEYOURSELF!” – Me, again. Jillian Michaels brings out the mega hellbeast in me.

“WIPE (huff huff) YOURSELF (pant pant)” – That was my husband Mike, putting in his two cents. He may have said more, but by that point I was borderline blacking out.

…”okay”… (flush) – Emma. Finally. Yay.

So, yeah. All I asked for was twenty minutes, but instead I had to deal with an impeccably timed bowel movement and fervently dependent child. But when it comes to teaching independence so that I might have my twenty minutes of deathly hell peace, there’s no time like the present.

I managed to stop 4 (or 10, but who’s counting) more times to catch my breath, & grumbled my way painfully through day 3 of the 30 day shred. That means I’m 10% done.

Day 4: Woke up, still redonkulously sore. My friend Ani came over to check out the Shred. I was a little worried that I would be too distracted to take the workout seriously (we have a tendency to ham it up when we’re together), but my worries were laid to rest once the DVD started. By now my husband and I can beat Jillian Michaels to her lame lines (“your neck is NOT invited to this party”) so we cheesed it up and had fun mocking her. But we had our game face on under the cheese and managed to rock the routine. I was pleasantly surprised by my stamina, pausing only twice today during the entire twenty minutes to catch my breath. I also only expressed my hatred for Jillian 3 or 4 times total (compared to 3 or 4 times a minute the previous days). I still HATE lunges and squats but they came more easily to me, and my legs were much less sore afterwards. The arm lifts (with my awesome soup cans-for-weights) got me a little bit achy for the first time, but not enough to complain. When the DVD ended Ani asked “That’s it for stretches?!”. I’m glad she mentioned it because I was thinking that also, but (the exercise novice that I am) I thought maybe it was normal to have a very brief post-exercise stretch. She showed me a couple of killer stretches that I think I’m going to use from now on after the DVD ends, because I felt a million times better afterward. We’ll see how I feel in the morning, but for now I feel more awesome and less run-over-by-a-truck.

If you missed it, you can click the link to check out previous update:

A Few Thoughts on Exercise, and a 30 Day Shred Update (Days 1 & 2)

What’s your favorite form of exercise? Share with us in the comments section below! (but don’t let this question mislead you… I personally have no favorite form of exercise just yet, unless you count lunges for the ice cream in the freezer, or jumping to reach for the cookies on the upper shelf of our kitchen cabinets)