Weirdness in List Form

Being as how my thoughts are terribly scrambled as I rush around to get myself through the end of the work week, I figured I’d do well with a list today. Because then maybe you won’t notice that there isn’t one thing going on in my head that relates to the other.

1. First off, I feel the need to shout from the rooftops- I found a new place! No need to worry about me being homeless anymore! (Because I know you were freaking out.) I will no longer be living solo, but my new roommate is great. And our place is actually spacious enough to where we won’t kill each other. For at least 6 months. After that, well, there are no promises.

2. With the excitement of finding a place comes the sadness of leaving my current home. It hasn’t completely set in yet. We’re not talking about it now.

3. I missed Modern Family on Wednesday, but made it home for the new show Happy Endings. Has anyone seen it? It’s quickly moving to the top of my list.

4. Peanut butter sandwiches for dinner are one of the easiest things ever to eat in your car during rush hour. Balanced? Probably not. But I was quite content. For the last two nights I did it.

5. Along with that balanced peanut butter sandwich dinner, I’ve been enjoying cookies brought in by the office supply dude (aka Hottie McHotterson) who came by for a visit yesterday. It really is getting sad that the only thing we don’t know about his personal life is if he has a girlfriend or not. I know, I know… I should grow a pair and ask.

5. I’ve talked about my cereal obsession before, but I think we’ve hit another peak. Kashi is on sale at Target. Pair that with Kashi coupons from Target.com? I will not run out for at least 6 months. Pair that with how much fiber is in Kashi? I will not be hungry for the next year.

6. Today I’m off on yet another road trip starting as soon as we close the office at noon. But instead of only a 4.5-hour drive to St. Louis, we’re looking at an 8-hour drive to the middle of the state. Good times.

7. My mom informed me their computer was broken and so access to the internet is not looking good.  My heart stopped a little. And I immediately made plans to pack my laptop. Feeling “disconnected” does not sit well with me. Sad but true.

8. Last night was one of the worst nights of sleep I’ve had in a while. Unlike last time the phase happened for no seemingly good reason, I think this time it’s mostly because of all the stress factors in my life: traveling, moving, budgeting, work, etc. The plan was to maybe get up and do The Shred this morning. Instead, I was walking to the gym at 4:45. Because what else was I going to do? 2 miles at 8:28 (seriously, how do I get faster when sleep deprived?) and 15 minutes on the stairs. Believe it or not, I felt much better when the workout was over. Let’s hope this little “cardio high” at least lasts until halfway through my drive. A little wishful thinking never hurt anyone.

9. Mon messaged me yesterday about seeing identical twins in suits walking together down the street. She suggested I take one for myself and she could have the other. And she really jumped the gun with the kid talk:

Mon: Do you realize if we married identicals, there is a chance our kids would look a lot alike? Wouldn’t that be totally outrageously WEIRD? (I should mention here that along with the idea that we marry twins, she’s quite the red head and I also have that recessive gene popping up in both sides of the fam. So yes, there’s a good chance I will give birth to a little carrot top. I’ve braced myself for this.)

Me: Yes, that is very true. But yours would still be way shorter than mine. Woomp woomp.

Mon: Yeah well at least they wouldn’t have freakishly long torsos.

Touche, Mon. Touche…

10. That’s all I’ve got. I’m just really OCD, so I felt the need to end with a nice round number like 10. So yeah. Happy Friday!

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?

Modern Family Dinner Party

So how much is everyone enjoying premiere week?  Unfortunately for me, the majority of the shows I tend to watch have all ended up on Thursdays.  I don’t have DVR (I regret this decision everyday, my friends), so I’ll be hopefully catching up on some shows here and there over the weekend that I don’t catch the first time around.  Life is so hard sometimes.

Although, there is one show that is NOT on Thursday- and that is Modern Family!I have no idea how I started watching it, but last year it was one I never missed.  It’s hilarious.  And if you don’t watch it yet, you should.

Mon also enjoys this show.  And because her eyes lit up when I started talking about my plans for the Uncle Sam cereal I was sent, I invited her over.  Deal was that I’d cook if she brought the booze.Not a problem.  Mon has a knack for always finding fun bottles- versus my usual go to Trader Joe’s and find a decent bottle under $6 or $7.  To each their own I guess… 

I decided to make a breaded chicken.  Originally I was going to do a honey crusted chicken.  How sweet would that have been (seriously the worst joke I’ll write all day- promise)?  But a trip to Trader Joe’s over lunch changed things.  I swear the cheese display calls to me.  So I went with Parmesan Crusted Chicken instead. Since I never cook with exact recipes, I’ll give you the general process.  I cut 2 chicken breasts into pieces and dredged them in whole wheat flour.  Then, I dipped them in an egg white/milk mixture.  Then I dipped it into a mixture of about a cup of Uncle Sam cereal and a cup of parmesan cheese.  It’s pretty easy if you just line up 3 bowls in a row and just work it down the assembly line (I didn’t realize until right now how helpful a picture may have been).

If you have any of the cereal/parm mixture leftover, just dump it over the top of the pan of chicken.  You don’t ever let good parmesan go to waste…

Then, I cooked the chicken at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.  I have a very scientific method of cutting into 2 or 3 pieces to check if it’s done or not.

Clearly you can’t have just chicken.  So I also used the premier of Modern Family as an excuse to celebrate and open one of the finest jars of green beans canned on this side of the Mississippi. 

Which is actually wrong now that I think about it- it’d be the other side I guess since that particular river resides inbetween my ‘rents and I…

Anyhoo… I also complimented the chicken with a lovely red sauce.  I call it “la Prego”.  Roll the “r” with your tongue as you say it and it sounds fancy.  :)  I also added some parsley, oregano, and garlic powder to give it more of a kick.The chicken was easily cut with a fork.  So tender- I think the breading did a good job of helping keep the moisture in.

And when entertaining, don’t ever go without a simple garden salad.  I mean, come on.  This is me that we’re talking about- from my eating  habits as of late, I can’t go a day without it.  If I don’t get my leafy greens quota, I may start getting the shakes.Peas, carrots, red onion. 

We sat on opposite ends of the couch after the onion.

Another easy dinner- and I got the thumbs up from Mon, so I guess it wasn’t all that bad, either.  :)

I realize at this point you must be thinking, “but Amy- what about your working out?  How’s that going?  You haven’t talked about it much lately.”  No worries- it’s still going ok.  I seem to have slacked off on the running.  One reason being that blister on my heel wasn’t getting any better- running is a little harder on it than the elliptical.  Also, I’m babying the leggy a little bit.  It doesn’t hurt per se, but I don’t feel 100% either.  I’ve realized that I’ve become like one of those super-crazed overprotective moms when it comes to my leg.  Pretty soon I’ll have it completely soaked in hand sanitizer and wrapped in bubble wrap for protection. 

Besides, I still have an 8k race this weekend and I’m not screwing it up!

But I digress.

The workouts have been standard.  Yesterday I did run 2 miles at a relaxed pace (a little over 8:30) and spent a solid 20 minutes on the elliptical for my cardio.  And to get in a little strength training, I did another round of The Shred Level 2.  Level 2 is what I tend to gravitate to.  Level 1 started to get a little too easy and I’m not particularly fond of the moves in Level 3.  Rockstar jumps for 30 seconds is crap.  I don’t like it one bit.  And on that note, I’m pretty sure my downstairs neighbor wouldn’t appreciate it either.

Time to get on with the day!  Have a good one!

More Sweetness

So… how ya doin’?

Enjoying your Monday morning?  It seems your coffee’s getting a little cold and low.  You can go grab some more.  I’ll wait.

…. yeah, I grabbed some more, too.

Thanks for all the nice compliments on the baby shower cake I made Friday night.  I really do love baking.  Quite a few people have asked if I’d ever go into “the business”.  My answer to that is definitely NO.  Granted, I have no problems doing it for friends or people who ask from time to time. But never on a regular basis.  I think it would ruin the fun.  Because I’m usually wiped for a while after a big “order”. 

And I would probably end up eating 10 pounds of buttercream on a weekly basis.  If we’re being completely honest.

Anyways, don’t think I’m done talking about sugar just yet.  Because my breakfast yesterday was actually lunch and definitely a BBQ sandwich, I had breakfast for dinner.  If you know me, this isn’t really that uncommon.  I often have eggs for dinner.  But what about pancakes?Yeah, that’s right.  Want another look?Those are cinnamon roll pancakes.  In efforts to find an interesting new spin on my occasional pancakes, I ran across these at Big Red Kitchen.  I’ve been holding on to the recipe for a while.  Then today I just couldn’t take it anymore!  They seriously look like cinnamon rolls, right? 

Of course I put my own spin on it.  Mostly because of lack of ingredients.  I used my Trader Joe’s multi-grain pancake mix- looking back, I think making her version of the pancakes may have been more fitting.  But whatev.  I still added a little powdered sugar to the pancake mix and it was over the top indulgence!  My icing that I used was a really simple combo of milk and powdered sugar.  That’s how my grandma used to make it.  :)

One thing to be careful about?  Well… when you put the “filling” in the pancake, it does come out a bit when you flip it.  And if you let it sit there for the next round, it will most definitely burn.  So watch out for that.

Moving on… because I was still a bit tired from my night out on Saturday, I kept the workout light.  Which was how my Sunday was supposed to be anyways.  I did a slow 2 miles and walked another couple.  Then I did a little yoga, but about half way through I stopped and said “no Jillian, I’ve had enough today”.  I’m sure she’ll make me pay for that later.

Can you believe I almost forgot about the Emmy’s last night?  I just wanted to say congrats to MODERN FAMILY!  It was by far my favorite show all last season and I can’t wait for it to be back!  Also, JIM PARSONS won for playing Sheldon in Big Bang Theory!  My friend Ashlee and I texted each other immediately in excitement.  I still very much heart Sheldon.  :)

What show are you looking forward to this fall?  Modern Family and Big Bang Theory are the two I go out of my way for.  There are others… but they’re by far my favorites.

Alright- I gotta go and get this party started.  Have a good day!

Five Things

I really figured a “Three Things Thursday” would have been fun, but I was a day late.  So now it’s “Five Things Friday”.  Hopefully I’ve got five things.  Otherwise I’ve really shot myself in the foot with this one…

1. Modern Family received 14 Emmy nominations!  YES!  This was by far my favorite new comedy from last season.  It was one of a few shows that I worked my schedule around (and I wouldn’t do that for just ANY show).2. French Women Don’t Get Fat.  I finished the book yesterday.  Final thoughts?  I believe I’ve said before- I find the writing amusing in a smug sort of way.  She’s not trying to be pompous on purpose by any means- but does have the air about her.  If you can get over that issue, it really does give you some “oh duh” and “ah-ha” moments.  Many things you have probably heard and need repeated again.  Such as everything in moderation is ok, eat real food instead of “fat-free/reduced calories” because there’s less processing and you’ll be more satisfied, and drink a crap ton of water. 

She also points out things such as when it comes to eats, pick as much as you can that’s in season for maximum value and taste.  The flavors are fresh and this way, you’ll never get into a food rut as things cycle in and out.  Makes sense, right? 

I also like her outtake on physical activity.  She swears to never exercise because she doesn’t find pleasure in it.  Ok, as an avid runner, I don’t “like” that part, but I like where she goes with her argument.  Don’t do stuff you don’t like.  Instead, she just makes sure to get a lot of movement in her entire day.  Take the stairs, walk instead of drive, take a few breaks from the desk to walk around, etc.  The little things really do add up.  It’s common sense.  Yet why don’t we seem to do it?

3. Check out my water bottle in the last pic.  It’s huge!  There was no convenience store near the movies last weekend and Mon and I wanted to sneak in some snackage (yeah, we’re some of “those” people) so we stopped in a nearby Whole Foods.  Two liters of Fiji for $3.  Bam.  So I’ve been carrying one of those bad boys around with me all week.  And it has really done a number on my amount of trips to the bathroom (I guess maybe that would be considered lots of “movement”?).  What do you drink while at work?  Water bottle after bottle?  Coffee?  Tea? Vodka? (Hey- I won’t judge the vodka- some peeps have really stressful jobs… but I am concerned about possibilities of dehydration…)

4. Dinner was a fail.  I was disappointed because I really thought I had something going and still don’t understand why it went wrong.  :(I like grilled cheese.  I like broccoli and cheese.  Why not a grilled cheese sammy with broccoli?  It makes sense.  It’d be like a veggie wrap sorta… right?

Soooo not digging it.  Like at all.  It doesn’t even look appealing.  Maybe the bread wasn’t toasted enough.  Maybe I needed more chedda’.  Maybe less broccoli.  But it was no good.  And I don’t care to spend the time tweaking it.  Goodbye forever grilled broccoli and cheese sandwich.

5. It was a rest day.  I got out of work at 4:30.  What do I do with that time?  Clean.  Cook gross things (see above).  Go to Target.  Spend paycheck at Target.  Come home with head hung in shame considering I went there for a card and a toothbrush and instead are carrying a heavy bag up the stairs.  At least it was all stuff I need that looked neat.  Like this new Celestial tea I found:I ran out of Sleepytime tea forever ago and love having it around as something to drink before um… sleepy time.  And since actual “sleepy time” was lacking this week, I tried it.  It smells awesome.  The vanilla scent is just fantastic.  Even though I wish the taste were a little stronger, I like it.  Yay for the Target impulse buy!

Whew.  Wasn’t sure if I’d make it to five (I feel like my life may only be interesting enough to cap out at three if I did this on a regular basis… ha).  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  I’ll be out and about with more random things- nothing too out of the ordinary.  Relax, sit back and stay cool, kids!  :)

Cereal Confessions

After a long day of work, with no serious workout planned, what’s a girl to do? 

Retail therapy.

First stop was Dick’s Sporting Goods.  I needed to acquire clothing for the Shamrock Shuffle on Sunday.  Why? Because I need another layer of warmth that isn’t cotton and won’t weigh me down and be quite miserably cold if it’s rainy.  So after many laps around the women’s apparel area, this is what I ended up coming home with:My fav part is the zip pocket on the side.  And it was on sale.  Double awesome!

So now I have one layer of clothing secured.  According to the forecast, it’s going to be mostly cloudy with a chance of mixed rain and snow and a high later in the day of 38 degrees.  So now I only have about 342 more layers to figure out.  Nice…

Then, I decided to also hit Target to see if I could find any cheap(er) layers before I settled on just using the kind of bulky windbreaker I have.  No luck with the clothing options.  But I did find other things to spend money on.  Why do you always do this to me, Target?!?!  Aaaahhhh… such a love/hate relationship we have. 

I walked by the food aisles and popped my head into the cereal section.  My weakness…  for some reason, I can always justify buying cereal.  I don’t go through it NEARLY as fast as I used to.  Because really, I just throw it in my oatmeal and use it for snacking on occasion.  But it’s still a staple in my pantry.  And there it was.  A deal on Special K.  I know Special K isn’t the best.  It’s got a long ingredient list of hard-to-pronounce ingredients (insert Michael Pollan shaking his head in shame) and a lovely sugar count most people don’t notice because they’re too busy focusing on the 100 calorie claim.  I know this.  But I can’t help but love it.  Aaaahhhh!

So there it sat.  Heaven shining a light down onto all the glorious manufactured flavors (ok the flourescent lighting might just really suck in that particular store, who knows?).  $2.99 a box.  And if you buy 4 boxes, you get a $5 gift card.  I already had a random candle in my hand (that smells like cinnabuns!) and some tissue paper on clearance (75 cents!- Don’t ask.) that was just over $6.  It was fate.  You may say, “Amy, 4 boxes is a little unneccessary, don’t you think?”.  I say, “that’s what a pantry is for”.  I also realize that I’ll have to go through another pantry slim down at some point if I keep this up.  Geez.

I can’t pass up a good cereal sale.  It’s my kryptonite.  If you think I’m excited now, wait until you see me all worked up over a Kashi sale.  Get out of my way!

Quite famished by the time I got home and lugged all my goodies up the stairs, I was quick to make dinner.  Salad loaded with broccoli, edamame, and mushrooms- complimented with a quarter of a pita and hummus.  Lovely- it’s dinner by candlelight!Even Taylor was eyeing my fierce salad.  And complimenting me on my saavy candle scent choice.  Btw, I have no idea why I started receiving Elle.  I just did. Wouldn’t have picked Elle if I was deciding on magazines to start subscribing to (no offense to any die hard Elle readers).  But it came out of nowhere.  Never received a bill.  Never showed up on any banking statements.  No clue…

Well at least today is another gorgeous one that is supposed to be 60 and sunny.  The bad weather had the decency to wait completely until the weekend to blast us with winter craziness.  My family is actually supposed to come up tomorrow for a visit (and the shuffle), but have been very noncommital due to the weather.  So we’ll see if they join me tomorrow at the Shuffle Expo or not. 

Have a good weekend!  You know my Friday ritual… ;)  I don’t expect tonight to be any different.  Except I might hit a RedBox on the way home because I don’t have any new episodes of Grey’s or Modern Family to catch up on.  So yeah- really getting wild and spontaneous tonight!  Weeeeee!

*One of these days, I’m actually going to do something on a Friday and you guys will be completely beside yourself!  Ha… Or not really care.  One or the other…

Have a good one!

Broccoli.

If you’ve been reading the past few days, you probably knew this post was coming.  Apparently broccoli is habit forming.  As in, I will eat it everyday.  Until I get tired of it, or I run out of it.  It’s a pretty big bag that is chilling in my freezer, so odds are pretty even at this point.  I got a double dose of it today.  The pic of my dinner from Tuesday night?  I could probably copy it and that was my lunch yesterday (in a bit smaller of a portion).  My dinner creation?  Veggie scramble in a pita… starring broccoli! Not the sexiest looking thing, but it was good nonetheless.

My mom is probably wondering where this sensational eating habit was when I was four.  Because I would not touch it.  I think mom stopped even trying to bring broccoli in the house after I turned six- it was a lost cause.  As were most fruits/veggies at that point.  Many nights were spent as a test of wills- my mom making me sit at the dinner table after everyone else got to get up and leave until I ate however many stated bites.  But I was a stubborn little booger.  For real.  We wore each other down.  Night after night.  I think at some point, we would get the compromise down to one bite of whatever cold item of food was sitting in front of me.  I often got the exasperated, “people are going to think I just don’t feed you!”, which was a useless argument.  I didn’t care- I wasn’t going to eat it.  Funny how 20 years later, I’m the one who’s usually willing to try almost anything once (we’re talking FOOD people… watch yourself).  On that note- what’s the gross food you hated as a kid?  For me it was broccoli and creamed corn.  Yeah, the creamed corn thing still makes me shudder a little.  But I do like corn chowder.  Random?  Yes.

Anyhoo, last night was as relaxing as I had hoped it would be.  But I kinda did The Shred.  I had played with the idea of doing it in my head- gone back and forth, and then realized I just really WANTED to.  Why fight it?*

*I think some of that desire may have come from the cookie sneaking I did out of the cookie drawer again.  How are they not gone yet?!?!

But yoga was also a major player in my night.  I still do the Fitness Fusion on Exercise TV and I STILL get a little fatigued on some of the moves.  I’m no yogi.  That is for certain.  

Eventually, I was able to pull myself up on to the couch and lift the remote with my exhausted arm to flip on Modern Family and catch Apollo do some work on the ice along with some more speed skating. Sweetness.

Mon and I took part of our day yesterday to discuss some weekend plans.  She’s doing Hustle up the Hancock on Sunday.  She told me about it last fall when we started chatting it up in the gym (and realized we don’t dislike each other, just alot of the other people who frequent our workout room) and tried to get me in, but there were no openings and the event had already been sold out for weeks.  Which, in retrospect, is fine because I would have had very little time to train for it being as how I only got to start running again less than a month ago.  And it has a pricey registration fee.  Either way, she said she’s getting a room downtown on Saturday, I haven’t been in the real “downtown Chicago” area for quite some time, we’re both a little fed up with current situations (hence the tequila and bowling that occurred Sunday) and we just felt like having a little pampered staycation.  Sooooo looking forward to it!  Not that we’re doing anything special.  If I get dragged to Navy Pier one more time I might gag (I’ve hosted waaaayyyy too many visitors- ha ha).  We’re just getting away.  Hooray!

Tonight?  We’re attempting 4 1/2 miles.  My energy level this week is out of control, so let’s hope I can keep it up!  Sorry I haven’t been posting times or anything (if you were even curious).  This is how sadly competitive I am with myself- I have the Nike+ sportsband that’s ready to go, but I’ve been wanting to wait to use it until I get back to my “normal” self.  I know, technically this is my “normal” run now (can you believe I’ve been back on running for almost a month now?  Hooray!) and I should just start using it.  But I don’t know if I’m ready to see my stats in detail like that just yet!  Eeeekkkk!

And, I downloaded another song or two- thanks goes to Danielle for the good suggestion!

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