Quinoa Three Ways

At least Monday’s bringing some sunshine! It was a dreary weekend after a dreary kind of week weather-wise. Friday night included some curling up on the couch time watching the Red Sox lose to the Yankees, which was disappointing. Saturday was a full-work day that was followed up by a long run on the treadmill, not friendly for these hips, and more time curled up on the couch watching the Red Sox lose to the Yankees, even more disappointing. I was up early again on Sunday for a softball game, followed by Mother’s Day celebrations. I ended Sunday with a massive load of laundry, which always feels so productive, while watching the Red Sox beat the Yankees, far more satisfying!

This morning, we jumped right into some food prep for the week! I haven’t made quinoa in forever, so I decided to get a little fanciful. Quinoa three ways!

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First up’s quinoa with chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, and feta!

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Next we find quinoa with cilantro and lime, a little knock-off from Chipotle’s cilantro lime rice.

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Finally, we have caprece quinoa with fresh tomato, mozzarella, and balsamic vinagerette! I’ll enjoy this one for dinner tonight as it won’t last as long as the others in the fridge.

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To go along with my delicious quinoa concoctions, I made a batch of Tasty’s garlic parmesan chicken tenders, which are amazing!

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Fret not, I didn’t forget my greens! This zucchini and spinach dish (mixed with a little garlic and olive oil) will have to be replenished a few times over to meet my needs for the week, but it’s a start!

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I’ve got meals to keep me fueled and workouts planned to keep me strong. Starting off on the right foot!

I would be remiss not to flash a picture of my breakfast this morning. This time, I went with the peanut butter Kodiak Cake waffle mix, and I was not disappointed. And look at those berries! (Butter is difficult to spread).

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Sometimes, You Just Need Whipped Cream

I shared this note last night on Facebook, but I wanted to extend the sentiment on my blog:

The beautiful thing about people like David Bowie and Alan Rickman is that they lived as their authentic selves. Creativity sparks ideas, inspiration, and movement. Such endeavors appeal to our humanity. It’s why we love them. It’s why we mourn. At the end of the day, we are all human. We all suffer, struggle, and fail, but these passionate types, these people, they, we, we all triumph, shine, and overcome. In death, we love and we grieve, but we also remember that they have lived, with us and for us, and that is a remarkable thing.

So when they say, “Let’s Dance,” we respond, “Always.”

A bit on the less serious side: Exciting news! According to Facebook, I joined the social media world 10 years ago from this very day. I don’t know how to feel about this. Old, for one. I was in high school 10 years ago. From my calculations, I would have been 16, so a sophomore? Yikes. A lot has changed in the past 10 years and I’m not ashamed to say, the majority of that has been for the good. If we’re being real though, that’s not so much a milestone for me as it is for Facebook. Good for you, book of faces.

On a list of other random happenings in my life, I’m beginning to suspect that I’m just into hot chocolate for the whipped cream on top. I’m not even sorry. Yes, the chocolatey, warm goodness makes the melty whipped cream taste that much better, but when I’ve had my share of the cream and it’s just the hot chocolate left, I’m all, eh.

My morning started with a quick, repeating meal before my Spin class. Peanut butter and jelly on an English Muffin. Wrong cannot be done with this combination. Warm, toasty, peanutty, and sweet.

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For my workout, it included the aforementioned Spin class, which was killer thanks to a ton of sprints and hill climbing. It’s butt-kicking, but works up a great sweat! I finished with a brief core workout before heading home to get my inner- Yogi on.

I’ll also take you back to last night’s dinner of chicken drumsticks, brown spinach rice, roasted Brussels sprouts, and a big salad.

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Now onto the work, work, work that needs to be done. It’s Friday though, so Happy Weekend-having to you all!

I’m the Maid of Honor, B*tch

I had a dream last night that a man stole my sister’s “precious” graphing calculator and we were all stressed out about it. Like, she was really upset. So I hunted the man down, doing a stakeout and everything and I took him down with a taser. Over a graphic calculator, while screaming “I’m the Maid of Honor, Bitch!” After, everyone congratulated me and I would tell them, “I’m just being a good Maid of Honor.”

Dream interpretation anyone? I’ll go first. I think it’s clear that I am not recuperating from the wedding being over. It’s been a rough few months since.

On another note, I ate a peach and didn’t die. Oh? You do this on the regular? Well then you must not have a pitted fruit allergy that precludes you from eating juicy, delicious peaches. I was tentative, but persevered and turns out, I didn’t show any symptoms. Yay me!

I also really understand the Nervous System. Listen, I’ve been stuck on the “Basic Human Science” chapter for awhile now with my Personal Training studying because I am terrible at science. It’s been quite the process but now that I have a grasp on it, things are going well. I would go as far as to say that today’s moment of strength came from studying and realizing that I actually grasp the concepts. In part, this is due to proof that hard work and diligence show results. It’s also just really cool and important to understand how the body works, how complex it is, and how important it is that we treat our bodies the right way. I might be taking it a bit too far, however, because on my way to work today, I yelled at a smoking woman for damaging her muscle spindles. We were both in our cars and she couldn’t hear me, but I know she felt it.

Let’s talk about the food for the day! Breakfast was this quick homemade waffle. I smeared peanut butter and jelly all over it and enjoyed with a bowl of berries.

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It was excellent fuel for my workout today, which included a kettlebell circuit, a medicine ball circuit, and a plyometric circuit and ended with sprints. I’ve never run so hard (on the treadmill) as I did today and even though my workout was killer, I felt powerful. Nothing better than that feeling!

Lunch was leftover pizza from last night’s dinner. I chopped up a bunch of celery and peppers, along with some carrots, that I dipped in some ranch dressing to go along with the slices.

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As I mentioned, I had a peach a little while later and I lived to tell about it.

The rest of the day was filled with studying and working. Before I left, I had a cup of Greek yogurt with some grapes to tide me over until dinner. My body was overheated from sitting outside and the yogurt was actually really refreshing.

When I got home from work, I heated leftover ravioli with a couple of chicken meatballs and a stir fry of veggies.

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All good here! Hope everyone has a lovely Friday!

I Ate A Frog’s Head (But It’s Not What You Think)

I would admit that while I am typing up today’s blog post, I am sipping on my second cup of coffee, which just so happens to be pumpkin spice, but I’m afraid you might judge me. It’s not my fault the pumpkin spice k-cups are on the shelves and one of my favorite flavors. We’re almost well into September now, what with it being the second day. It’s a judgement free zone here. Kind of. Okay, it’s still early, but it’s tasty!

I enjoyed a very non-seasonal cup of coffee with my breakfast this morning of the french vanilla variety. Also one of my favorite flavors. It complimented the flavors of my meal, which included scrambled eggs with a sprinkle of colby jack goodness, waffles with a dab of butter and maple syrup (I’m really not sure what this craving is about because I’m not usually of the maple syrup loving, but in moderation, I don’t think there’s a danger- my teeth feel kind of gritty after though), and a big bowl of berries which were super sweet.

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Is it me or does my breakfast look like a frog’s head? I guess I’m just artsy that way.

Dinner last night came in stages because I was called into work. I quickly threw together a peanut butter roll-up, a greek yogurt, and grapes to enjoy over the course of a few hours. When I got home, I had a salad with some steak on top.

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All were excellent and nutritional.

As for my moment of strength yesterday, it may sound counterintuitive. I think I mentioned how my workout consisted of heavy strength training (if not, my workout yesterday consisted of heavy strength training), and since I’ve changed up my routine to include only six exercises on this day, I’ve felt myself grow stronger. For barbell strength days, I focus on six power moves- deadlifts, shoulder presses, rows, squat presses, leg presses, and bench presses. I perform each move using the pyramid method of reps, which is 10x10x8x8x6x6x4x4x2x2. Starting with 10 reps, I use the lowest weight and go up as I go down in reps. By my last two sets, I am maxing out on how much weight I put on the barbells.

I’ve been gaining progress on my deadlifts in particular, and I felt like I could really max out on my last two sets, pumped myself up, set up in the correct position, and found I could not lift that barbell. This will happen. That hasn’t happened to me in awhile, which maybe means I’m not pushing myself hard enough. It’s a good reminder that progress will always have to be made, but hard work will get me there. There’s strength in failure too, so long as we learn from it.

In the making-Caitlin’s-life-easier variety, I learned how to Air Drop pictures from my phone to my computer so that I no longer have to email them. All those emails go undeleted by Ms. Laziness, which clogs things up and makes everything look cluttered. I’m not a fan of clutter, but it happens if I don’t take the time immediately to delete. Air Drop is a friend. Thank you, Air Drop.

Readers seemed to enjoy my big bad post on stir fry, so I will try to do more of those as I go! I think just talking about how I eat healthy in general is something that appeals to people. It’s not easy, but it should be. We’ll just have to be rebels and find our way around what society deems “convenient.”

Don’t Give Me That Look

Happy September! In the magical world, we would all be on the Hogwarts Express on our way to a new school year. Unfortunately, even if that all existed, I’d be too old at this point. Still worth mentioning.

Since it’s my day off, I decided it would be fine to sleep in just a little bit more than usual, but Bandit (my cat) was against this. He came into my room meowing his paws off because he wanted to be patted. So it’s more than a little hypocritical that while I was folding a load of laundry and singing along to my music that he glares up at me with such disdain. Oh, sorry. Were you trying to nap?

I started my day with this fine looking plate of pancakes. Berries on the side and banana mashed right in, it was the perfect balance of protein, carbs, fruit, and sweetness.

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While enjoying breakfast, I started my reread of Tina Fey’s Bossypants. I know I technically kicked off my Harry Potter reread, but I think I’m going to delay that for awhile longer. There are a ton of new books coming out in September/October that I can’t wait to read! Bossypants came off my hold list, so I needed to attend to it now anyways. We’ll get to Harry, there’s no doubt, but it’s been awhile since I’ve had time to sit down to read and I need to make more time for it.

I’m hoping to get as much out of summer as I can in these next few days, including at least one beach day. I can’t talk about the end of summer until Labor Day passes at the very least. Now’s time to go fit in a strength workout before a day of studying.

Hope you have a great month!

Weekend Catch Up!

Time for a peek back at the weekend!

Friday morning, started off with a strength workout before work. I ran through a dumbbell circuit before finishing up with a plyometric workout. My breakfast of choice was this egg, cheese, and chicken sausage sandwich with blueberries and pineapple on the side.

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After work, I met my friend Bobby in the city for a concert. On my walk over to the restaurant where we had dinner, I had to stop and capture this moment.

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It was absolutely mesmerizing, this moment where city meets nature.

Dinner before the show was a little unimpressive considering how delicious the dish sounded. I opted for mani mani in a tomato based sauce with peppers, but the fish didn’t have a ton of flavor. I could definitely recreate this at home with the right spice mixture! Sure did look good, though.

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Bobby and I have been fans of Idina Menzel for a long time now. It was great to be able to see her in concert!

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The highlight of the show, and there were a ton of amazing moments, had to be when she called up all the kids to help her sing Let it Go. I seriously almost started to cry. I think I’m going to have to go with this moment, magnified by watching someone so talented do something incredible with that talent, as my Friday moment of strength.

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I was up Saturday morning to work early. I had poached eggs over toast and a banana for my breakfast but didn’t get a picture. For lunch, I munched on a large salad and a turkey and cheddar wrap.

After work, I headed out as the sun began to go down for a magnificent run around a local lake. I don’t know why I don’t do this route more often. Sticking around my neighborhood is more convenient, but this area is still hilly so the terrain prevents a nice challenge, yet it’s not so extreme that I can elongate my run. The lake is five miles around on the nose and I felt strong throughout. It’s strange because running hasn’t left me feeling great after for the past few months, but recently things have improved and I’ve loved it again!

Extra points for running this route…this view after. Not one ounce of alteration.

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This would absolutely constitute as my Saturday moment of strength, sitting on a log and looking out into the water as my body rested.

I had a waffle with a smear of peanut butter right when I got home, then feasted on a salmon salad for my dinner. Later, we went over my neighbor’s house for some s’mores and conversation before an early to bed call for me.

Sunday was busy! I had to open at work so it was a bit of a shock to be called out of bed by my alarm. I had enough time to make eggs and some waffles for my breakfast, which helped me wake up and be okay in the alert world. Right after work, I drove to my friend Erin’s bridal shower, for whom I am honored to be one of her bridesmaids.

Erin is my first friend from college to be getting married. It’s kind of strange for the four of us to be celebrating this momentous occasion, but wonderful too! We had a great day and I think Erin enjoyed herself.

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We didn’t have time for many pictures, but here is a nice one of me and my friend/college roommate Stephanie.

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The rest of Sunday was spent at my sister’s house having dinner and watching Father of the Bride. I cannot get over how young the entire cast looks in that movie, especially Steve Martin. With the grey hair, I used to think he was so old! Not to mention how young the marrying couple are makes me feel very old. Lauren and I ordered an Indian food spread that included vegetarian samosas, garlic naan, chicken tikka masala, saag paneer, and basmati rice. It had been awhile since I had Indian and I had a real hankering for it. The food was decent, but lacking in spices like my dinner on Friday! It was nice to spend some sisterly quality time together regardless. Sister bonding made up my moment of strength on Sunday- both in regards to my actual sister and my college friends!

I kicked off Monday with another morning workout. I love my morning workouts, though it’s hard to justify waking up so early on days that I don’t have to, which is why they haven’t been happening on a consistent basis. I did a dumbbell strength workout including bicep curls, tricep extensions, alternating front raises, shoulder raises, weighted lunges, and high pulls. For my core workout, I ran through a circuit of kneeling kickbacks, tricep push ups, alternating ankle grabs, crunches, Russian twists, and side plank push ups. For cardio, I did some plyometric work that included box jumps, high knees, skater jumps, and jump roping. To finish my workout, I did a little Yoga with planks, shoulder stands, and a bridge.

My breakfast was delicious! I scrambled two eggs and two egg whites with some cheese, toasted a piece of whole wheat cinnamon raisin bread, and chopped up some strawberries and banana for sweetness.

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I packed a great lunch for work too! It consisted of a vegetable laden salad with chicken and a cup of plain Greek yogurt and oodles of red grapes. Red grapes are huge in my family right now.

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I snacked on a few celery and carrot sticks for an extra veggie kick later in the day.

For dinner, I enjoyed grilled salmon, roasted Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, and buttered, cheesy pasta.

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My moment of strength came during my studying time as it really hits me how complicated and beautiful the body is. The particular moment of clarity was reading about muscle spindles and how they protect the body from overextending its muscles when stretching. There is a stretch reflex that kicks in as you simply lift your leg. I mean, this is simple stuff, but it never occurred to me as to how impressive it all is!

It was a happy Monday and a wonderful weekend. Any moments of strength, joy, food, or exercise you want to share?

Homemade It Up!

Well, hello there! 

Let’s start off with yesterday’s source of strength. For my workout, I ran outside and it just happened to be as it was growing dark, so the beautiful moonlight shone over me. It took me awhile to get into things because I was on the track and feeling a little bored, but as it got darker, I felt stronger, so I was able to push myself through my four miles. I actually would have been able to run longer had I not had to pee (!), but I sprinted the last leg of the lap and have never in my life ran so hard. I felt like I was flying and it was an amazing thing!

My lunch yesterday was a product of me feeling creative. I put a salad together, poached two eggs, and enjoyed them altogether. I also had a slice of cinnamon raisin toast to top things off. It was quite tasty!

  
Dinner after my moonlit run was pizza and salad. I guess I was so excited about it that I forgot to snap a picture. I’m pretty sure you know what it looks like.

I woke up this morning with a hankering for waffles, but I decided to go the homemade route. It was really easy because of the Kodiak Cake mix, which is an all natural pancake/waffle mix. All I needed to do was add water. For a little spice, I added in some cinnamon to the batter. I topped the waffles with a little butter and syrup. Blueberries and bananas were my fruit source and for some protein, I had a cup of Greek yogurt with a spoonful of peanut butter and some grapes. This is my favorite yogurt flavor! How pretty are those waffles?!

  
Harry Potter is always creeping in the corner in this house.

Breakfast was followed by a great workout. I started with a kettlebell circuit and performed three sets of sixteen reps each. The moves were swings, goblet squats to high pulls, tricep push backs, shoulder to knee presses, kickback rows, and weighted step ups. I moved onto some medicine ball workouts, also three sets of sixteen reps. This circuit was side lunges with arrow chops, wall tosses with split squats, wall rotations, mermaid raises, elevated hip lifts, and Russian twists. I was sweating hard by the time I hopped into the pool for a half hour lap swim.

Before heading off to work, I had some leftovers for lunch. I finished off my chickpea medley and a little bowl of macaroni and cheese. Delicious!

Now off to grab some dinner and spend some quality time with my textbook. Cheers!