I’d Rather Buy The Box

I’m not sure if it’s the weather, stress, my love of baking, or a combo of the three, but I’m on a bit of a roll.

Not sweets, but the carbs have been calling my name!After a little phase of being obnoxiously obsessed with sun dried tomato wheat thins, I figured there was surely some way to recreate them?

There is! There is!

Although I won’t say it was super easy.  I followed the recipe (from The Fresh Loaf) as closely as I could. But ended up adding more water in the mixing process because the dough wasn’t coming together very well.

And then the rolling. Oh the rolling…According to the recipe, you roll it out as thin as you possibly can. I decided halfway through rolling of the first round of dough that my crackers would end up thicker than regular wheat thins.

The recipe says you’ll yield approximately 13 dozen “wheat thins”.

Um… yeah…

I’d say my crackers were at least twice as thick (if not 3x!). And I cut them a little bigger. Soooo…After all was said and done, I had about 3 dozen crackers. Not 13, but 3. But I’m cool with that- I like that they’re a little thicker with just a light crisp (by the way, I baked them closer to 10-11 minutes because they were much thicker).

I also added a little chili powder to see if I could create a spicy cracker.  Surprisingly, it didn’t make much of a difference. Still good nonetheless. But even when I enjoy baking, I think in this case, I’d rather just grab a box of wheat thins. That sun dried tomato flavor drives me wild and it’s worth the $2-3 to just throw the box in the cart instead of the 45 minutes in the kitchen.

Plus, let’s be honest- I’d rather be baking cookies.

When’s the last time you decided store-bought was better?

Hopefully my seeking comfort in ridiculous amounts of baked goods will slow down as we Chicagoans creep out of this single-degree weather?  As the temps reach the 30′s this weekend (woo hoo?), we shall see…

This morning I braved said temps to hit the workout room. 26 minutes on the elliptical and 16 on the stairs (apparently “6″ is the number of the day- creepy). It felt good after having a rest day- fresh legs.  Tomorrow I’m gearing up for a long run and am kind of looking forward to it. Long runs happen on Saturdays for a reason. I have ample amounts of time, can zone without worrying, and did I mention my love for the weekend?

Oh and the crazy early workout girl wasn’t there today. And I may just agree with some of you that commented yesterday- maybe she can’t sleep?  Now that I think about it, not that long ago I was the one who gave up on sleep and went to the gym at 4:00 in the morning.  Remember that one?  Yeah- it still pains me a little.  Gross!

Even though I’ll admit I have oatmeal *almost* everyday, sometimes it’s necessary to switch it up.A semi-success of an omelet.

I wasn’t feeling the oatmeal or peanut butter toast because I had the need for a little more protein in my life.  Plus the mushrooms, onion, spinach, and feta were a welcome change of pace to the AM. And sometimes change is good. No matter how small.  :)

Time for the Friday dance…

Adventures With Cecil

It’s safe to say my humor is nothing short of quirky. Maybe even a tad eccentric eclectic.

I think we all remember Psycho Pete and his shenanigans last month.

So imagine my joy when Jaime and I received a gift from our downtown office! Say hello to Cecil. I thought long and hard about that name and am quite proud of it. He’s quite the menace (check out that grin), but when the day is over, he’s still a dear old man. Threatening to run you over.  

Cecil was a promotional thing someone in our other office had a few extra of (don’t ask).  So some of the girls stashed and sent him our way! Anyhoo, we got to know each other over coffee.  He likes World War II documentaries and hasn’t lost a game of Yahtzee since 1987 (the year arthritis set in- he learned to adjust).

Cecil likes to talk.  I told him to chill for a bit so I could get some work done, but invited him to lunch.I was hoping he’d have a Werther’s Original for me as a nice dessert, but was sadly mistaken.  What gives???Since he held on on sharing the candy, I didn’t share my ice cream one of my coworkers brought in for everyone. Yeah, that’s right old man- it’s all mine.

Besides, I’m concerned about your hypoglycemic levels.

He got a little upset and drove away for a bit. But it was all good. We made amends once he realized we shared a common love of baseball.Because clearly we’re done with football for the year.  Time to start thinking towards the future… am I right?

Cecil and I had a fun day together.  And I’m glad he’s gonna be hanging out. Until he starts getting Metamucil all over my desk.  Or the office starts smelling like old man. Then we may have issues…

Once I made sure Cecil’s scooter was well charged, I went home to do my thing. Tonight, my “thing” was laundry and the gym. Typical.

On the workout front, it was a cross training day, aka Amy gets let loose in the gym day. I did 28 minutes on the elliptical. An odd number because I meant to do 25, but Mon came in and was telling stories. I don’t see a downside to this. Also spent 15 minutes on the stair mill and did a 10-minute walk to cool down. A solid crosstraining session in my book.

It’s all about being well-rounded.

And before I forget, it seems in the Big Macaroni Debate of 2011 (yeah, I officially named it), Kraft won out. In case you were wondering. I think it was the variety of pasta shapes.  I know that’s what always made me happy.  :)

Announcements

Thursday!  It’s here already!

I celebrated by another morning workout.  I know- kinda lame.  But that’s sometimes how I roll in the middle (ish) of the week.  Just go with it.  :)

Yesterday I did elliptical, but I wanted to get one more decent run in before Saturday’s race. So today, I strolled into the workout room and it was empty.  Again.  I sort of love it.  The only other people I’d ever see in the morning is the woman who refused to acknowledge my existence and the old man running around in his super tiny swimming trunks after chillin’ in the hot tub (I’m still weirded out at why he’s doing this at 5 in the morning?).  So I welcome the alone time.

I did 4 miles at almost exactly an 8:30 pace.  I’m not wearing anything to track mileage for Saturday’s race, so I’m hoping this is my natural pace that I’ll fall into (considering I’ve been hovering around it for the last month).  I’ve worn my Nike+ for a couple races, but end up just driving myself mad by looking at it over and over.  I’m sure they’ll have clocks at the mile markers.  That’s all I need.

Now for a few announcement of sorts…

I got a haircut last night!  It’s like I’m a new woman.  :)

Actually, it was just a trim.  And that’s a lame announcement.

Surely I can think of something better?

I am signed up to do the Hustle Up the Hancock!

For all of ya’ll who have been reading for a while (seriously- I can’t believe you’ve made it this far!), I went to support my friend Mon as she attempted it.  That didn’t work out so well- but I’m going to let her tell you that story in her words eventually.  ;)  Anyways, Mon refuses to do it this year, so when her friend started to get the team together, she asked if I’d consider it.

Heck yes I will! 

At first I wanted time to think about it (it’s a bit pricey for me when it comes to events), but it was sort of a “need to know in less than a week” sort of thing.  For the last couple of years it has sold out within an hour or two of registration opening.  For real- I had to double check that I wasn’t accidentally signing up for the Boston Marathon or something… it’s crazy how many people want to do this!

So on February 27th, yours truly will be climbing the 94-floor stairwell of the John Hancock Building.  I even have a partner in crime to participate in the insanity…  I bribed convinced asked Megan if she’d want to do it, too. 

I’m not sure, but she may be just as crazy as I am- because she totally said she would!  So watch out friends- there’s training that will need to go down and we may be coming to a stairwell near you!

That did not sound creepy in the slightest.

I’m hoping that training for this will be just the thing I need to change up my workout routine.  Not gonna lie- I’m on the brink of running burn out.  Some serious cross training will do me good.  :)

And finally… I guess it’s time I tell you about who won the Adora Giveaway, huh?

Congrats Lindsey!

Please email me your mailing address so I can pass the info along and get your chocolate to you!  :)

Oh and thanks for all the comments on my random things.  I can’t believe how many of us loved Doug!!!  Hilarious.  And the getting kicked out of band story isn’t nearly as cool as I wish it were.  The new teacher didn’t really care for my friend and I (probably because the old teacher loved us).  As soon as he found an excuse to get rid of us, he did.  We were late.  Once.  Got the boot.  Lame.

I’d like to think I’m over it and moved on, though. And it’s just fun to say it happened.  :)

Ok kids, it’s time to get to work. Later!

Better Now

Sorry guys.  I’ve been ranting a lot as of late.

But it seems I’m not the only one with traffic issues.  Seems that we all deal with some frustrations when it comes to such things.  Even when I still lived back in Mid-MO I was quick to get frustrated.  In high school, when driving from my hometown to my summer job, you have no idea how frustrating it was to get behind a dude on a tractor. 

Yeah, that really happens.  And I’m pretty sure my friends from home who read this can definitely back me on this one.

Anyways.  I’m chilled out.  I got home (we shall not discuss the traffic again after this point) and ran quickly to the gym.  I wanted to get my lounge on, and that was not happening until I worked up a little sweat first.  So I did.  Not with ease, though.  There was a birthday in the office- happy birthday, Jaime!!!  I had a really really big piece of this:(The pics are here two little lovely dogs that I absolutely adore and even doggysat for back in the Spring!)

I giggled a little as we sang because Jaime  doesn’t embarrass easily.  BUT, she does turn extremely red in the face when a break room full of guys start to sing to her.  Don’t worry Jaime- it happened to me, too.  :)

The cake was chocolate and buttercream and delicious.  It also gave me a bit of a sugar rush that didn’t help me out one bit mid-workout.  You can’t sustain energy with butter and sugar?  Really?  Huh.  Whew knew?  :)

Either way, I did 2 miles at an 8:35 pace and finished off with 20 minutes on the elliptical.  I had wanted to do The Shred, but took the intensity down a notch and did the resistance bands instead.  They’re still a really good workout for my arms.  Plus, the circuit I like to do ends with sets of planks.  And I love me some workouts that trim the tummy!

After congratulating myself for getting through a decent cross training session, I showered and started my wild and crazy night in.  Yes. Wild. 

My cravings recently have really headed the direction of comfort foods- but not one certain one in particular.  Last night, it was BBQ.  Aaaahhh!  Naked chicken!  Well- almost.  It’s covered with a bbq seasoning and frozen peppers from Trader Joe’s.  I’ve used the peppers before, and everyone else who tried them agreed- they’re handy to have for mixing in to something.  Because they don’t have that crisp that make them good on their own.

I also add mucho red chili pepper flakes.  Because it’s delicious that way.  No other reason.Ah much better.  Sassy lookin’ chicken.  Just because summer’s over, it doesn’t mean I’m retiring the sauce… A little cheddar and ranch go a long way. 

That’s life advice, folks.  You should write that down.

And who doesn’t have a Friday night dinner without a glass of wine?Beer may have been a better choice, but I wasn’t really feeling it.  Wine got it done.

I spent the rest of the night catching up on shows I had missed during the week thanks to OnDemand. 

Does anyone watch Community?  Drew Carey was a guest star.  But I spent the first minute or two trying to figure out if it was really him- he’s lost 70 pounds!  Seriously- he’s barely recognizable…

Clearly I haven’t been watching enough of The Price Is Right to notice.

Ok I’m off.  I’m pushing it with my free time this morning.  Gotta get a long run in before heading to a food and wine fest with Mon.  Not sure how long the “long run” is actually going to be. Somewhere between 6 and 8.  That’s the plan.  Wish me luck!  :)

Enjoy your Saturday!

Bulking Up

So I’m not the only one who hoards leftover office food, huh?  Good thing we don’t all work together- I’d hate to fight you guys for it.

Because I fight dirty.  And I’m not scared.  Bring it.

Don’t believe me?  You should.  I’ve been working on my guns.  Well- sort of.  I’ve been loving using resistance bands during my workout as part of my cross training routine.  I may have mentioned it already- but doing the front body circuit is my favorite.  So I spend some time doing work on the arms, shoulders, and even the core.  Loves it.

So I did that, but also hit the gym beforehand for some elliptical and stairmill time.  Kept myself entertained in the workout room this time by playing “where is that cheap cologne smell coming from?” 

I still don’t know.

Then I did some more bulking up.  With my dinner.90 calories a serving?  Sweet… that’ll keep me full for like a whole 15 minutes!  Like oh my god! I actually took two pics of the same thing- because I caught myself doing a sweet hitchhiker’s thumb and was kinda embarrassed.  Then I laughed.  Try and beat that one, people!  I think my thumbnail makes it look that much longer… Awesome.

But yes, we can take a minute to talk about my soup in a can.  I love playing in the kitchen, and I know soup isn’t hard, but I’m just not “there” yet.  I still only keep a few cans of it around as an easy option.  I know it’s a bit high on the sodium end, but I don’t know what to say- I just don’t like making soup from scratch.

Anyhoo, I took the can and used it as a “base”.  Then I added the goods.  Like broccoli, black beans, and corn.  And red chili pepper flakes.  And pepper (because we know how almost all “lite” soups are pretty freakin’ bland).  I must have gotten a little out of control because it was exploding out of the pot…I SLOWLY stirred it until it was all heated up and ready to go.  And then toasted an Arnold’s thin (still living on coupons from the Healthy Living Summit- holla’) with cheese on top.  Because soup isn’t comfort food without cheesy bread.  I don’t care what you say.  I need my cheesy bread.Voila.  Just in time for Modern Family. 

I have fantastic timing.

Being as how it’s Thursday, today is an official rest day for me.  Again- probably for the better.  I still haven’t figured out that “weird” feeling in my left leg.  It doesn’t hurt.  It’s just annoying me.  Grrr.  My real frustration comes from the fact that I’m a little over a month away from my 15k, and have yet to really log much over a 6-mile distance as of late.  Gah.

Here’s something funny…

Has anyone heard of the Happy Meal Project?  An artist out of New York, Sally Davies, photographed a McDonald’s happy meal every single day over a period of MONTHS.  Results?  I believe she’s still doing it, but they had pictures of Day 1 compared to Day 137- with very little change of appearance.  What?? (Click on the picture to be taken to the article and slideshow) 

Now- let me be clear.  I’m a kid who runs through the drive thru every now and then.  I see nothing wrong with that.  But um… I’m concerned about people who eat this every day.  I mean, it looks like you could still eat the bread- which seems to be mold free after 137 days (another reason why I’m frustrated my lastest wraps purchase didn’t even last but a week!).  Yikes.

Thoughts?

Unexplained Injuries and Nachos

First off, let me just say thank you to everyone who commented about the race Annie and I did on Sunday.  We both walked away pretty happy with it.  I keep telling Annie her next step is a 10k. She keeps looking at me like I’m crazy.

Just wait…

Mondays are usually spent running, but after my speedy 8k on Sunday, I gave myself a bit of a recovery day and spent more time on the elliptical.  No worries- I’m not really feeling that much soreness (except what I would call a “good sore”, not “bad”).  I just wanted to be nice to the body (so to speak).  So I did 25 minutes on the elliptical, did some ab work, and finished off at home with Level 1 of The Shred.

Oh and I’m probably the only person I know to ever injure myself getting either on or off the elliptical.  I’m honestly not sure when it happened.  But I go over to the mirrored wall in our gym to stretch and notice that I’m bleeding from the front of my shin.  A sassy and decent-sized gash had occurred.  But when? And how?  It’s still a mystery…

I never said I wasn’t accident-prone. 

It’d be pretty sweet if you shared a good “clumsy” story as to make me feel better… :)

I made sure to keep one eye on the clock as to make sure I didn’t miss the start of the BEARS game!  So you can bet that I was done working out, showered, and parked in front of my tv ready to go with proper eats for the game:I’m sort of obsessed with making my own nacho chips now out of the Trader Joe tortillas.  I just sprinkle them with a little olive oil and garlic salt and throw them in the oven until they’re crispy.  Simple.

Then I topped it with black beans, corn, and red onion that I had sautéed really quickly on the oven with taco seasoning.  And added cheese (um, duh).  And topped it off with lettuce and salsa. 

This is how you can cover a wide variety of your nutritional needs.  And make it pretty with all the colors.  Can I get an amen???When I was little, my Aunt Anne used to say that it’s important to have a rainbow of colors at every meal.  I think she mostly said that because I’d often just chew on crescent rolls during holiday meals (while pouting) because I wasn’t a fan of ham and hadn’t quite developed a palette for things like stuffing or seven-layer salad.  Luckily, my veggie love finally kicked in and no one has to worry anymore.  :)

What’s something you’ve learned to love in the last few years that you hated growing up?  I’d say asparagus would be a big one for me.  My parents used to have it growing in our garden every year, but now they don’t and I’ll actually eat it.  Now that’s just bad timing.

It just might be Tuesday.  But since I’m not a fan of Tuesdays, we’re just not going to acknowledge it as such.  Is that ok?  Yes?  Ok.

Have a good almost-middle-of-the-week day!

Not Cute

Well.  I’m much more chipper today.

Probably because I got my cookie yesterday.  ;)

Totally needed it.  Considered it pre-workout fuel.  Because that’s how my thought process works.

Thanks for all the kind words on how my speed work session went.  I’ve spent all this time dreading it, and think I may have built it up into something that is much worse than it actually was.  Don’t get me wrong- it was challenging, but in a good way. 

I was asked a few things about yesterday’s post, and here are my answers:

1. I walked a minute between each interval.  Is walking a no-no?  Should I have jogged? I’ve heard debates on it.  Seriously, I need to Google this situation more.  Because Google is my answer to everything.  And I believe it will someday take over the world.  Don’t ask me how, I know it’s simply a search engine, but it’s gonna happen.  You saw it here first.

2. The Samantha Bee book is going fabulously well.  I really like her.  I think because I’m one to appreciate dry humor.  It’s a collection of essays,  basically, about how she grew up.  Some I love more than others, but they’re all generally entertaining.  As a warning, she can be crude at times.  So if that’s not your style (I don’t judge), don’t take my recommendation.  If it is, go check it out.

3. And it is beyond me how people cannot smell themselves when they reek and are affecting the productivity of those around them.  No clue.  If you have the answer, please inform us all.  Thanks.

Last night was killer, too.  My plan called for 2 miles and cross training.  Which I consider as a free-for-all at my gym- last night that meant the run, elliptical, crunches, and some arm weights.  And there was a lot of energy bursting out of me (afternoon coffee?), so I was ok with the long session.  I even decided part of my arm workout would be my resistance band dvd workout.  It has three circuits: front body, back body, and core.  I’ve done them all together in a row, but like it much better to do one session (each is about 15 minutes) as part of a bigger workout.  Last night I chose front body.  And I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m crushing hard on the band workouts.  They don’t feel like that much of a strain compared to free weights, but I always feel the resistance and break a sweat (or continue sweating, in this case).

Last night I made something different.  I sort of took a few of the things I’ve liked over the last week or two and threw them together.  Spinach base?  Check!  Sautéed veggies with a curry seasoning?  Yes!  Peanut butter dressing?  Holy yumminess. All together?  Eeeehhh… Totally not cute.  Downright ugly-looking salad, if we’re being honest.  But did it taste ok?  Considering I can’t say “YES!” right away, that should probably be my indicator not to make it like this again.

Another look?Yep, still ugly.  I think what kills it is that the curry powder totally turned the veggies a semi-neon color.  And that the spinach is a bit wilty as it happens to be on it’s last leg.  Oh well… 

What’s the last “eh” creation you’ve made?

Today is my rest day.  I’m excited about this not so much because I want to rest (kind of indifferent on that one), but because I’ve got plans.  Mon and I are having a spa night.  I’m an avid Groupon gal, and when a spa near us advertised on it one day, we swooped.  I need a massage.  It’s out of control.  I’m tense.  So when I saw 60% off for a salon gift certificate?  YES PLEASE.  My muscles cried tears of joy.  It’s kind of pathetic.

Assume that tonight I will be a mellow ball of happiness.  Now the question is will I have enough leftover on the gift certificate to cover a pedicure for my friend’s wedding that I’m in next weekend?  If not, I may be in trouble.  Who’s got ugly feet?  This girl!  Seriously… not cute!

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