Thursday, October 27, 2011

Jillian kicked my a**

I did Jillian's 30 Day Shred DVD for the first time in ages last night. With very little free time I still really felt like I had to do SOMETHING as my back was sore from work, my legs tight from heels and Sunday was the only other work out I got in this week.

So I dug through Ty's pile of DVD's by the xbox and found good old Jillian.... you may remember that when I was doing the 30 Day Shred I came to a point where I was able to do Level 2 and Level 3 BACK TO BACK... (well, this only happened once, but I was still so surprised at myself, I felt like Wonder woman!)

 I put our projector on (so Jillian is life sized- and mean!) and did Level Two. I could barely keep up and was a sweaty, messy haired pile of jello on my yoga mat by the end of it...

Its not that I haven't been working out either! For the past few months I've been getting to the gym at least three times a week, mainly four, and have a lot more leg and arm strength! Its just that machines use certain muscles whereas using your OWN body weight as your resistance uses a whole different set of muscles! Its called Plyometric exercises and I feel like its actually harder, as the machines aide and cushion to a certain degree. The moves that were kililng me were the ones in push up position, where she has you jump your legs in and out...oh god!! I was quite chuffed to find I had stronger arms though as the dumbbell parts didn't phase me at all :D

Its also true that your body adapts and gets used to certain workouts!! That must have happened for me with Jillian before as I found the work out quite easy when I stopped, and now its a killer! My body has adapted to the gym instead.

Speaking of the gym, I need to get another workout in tonight with all the Halloween candy around. Yes, I will admit to having had a few fun sized snickers (though I've resisted waaaaaay more than I've eaten!!)....that will bring me to three workouts this week, plus lots of walking on my breaks at work!

I've been soooo busy this week that I haven't really 'cooked'. Sure, I've thrown some salads and simple things together, but I haven't made anything photo worthy (I did get taken to a surprise dinner by Ty- he showed up at the end of my work day with roses and took me out, but I dont know where those photos went!!!)

 I have blog envy looking at all the delish recipes on other bloggers sites! I really want to make this stew from

Friday, October 21, 2011

Greek Spinach Pie and Dinner Party Fun

/hihi How are you? I'm sore from my workouts this week!! But on my way to Michelle Obama arms as I've been doing my weights AND cardio!

Ty was on shift at the fire station all weekend, so we decided to have friends over on Monday night for dinner!  I knew I would be at work all day then in photography class until 7.30pm on Monday night and our guests were coming over at 8:00pm, so I planned ahead and spent most of Sunday grocery shopping and cooking. I made an Indian subji (with accompanying Texmati mushroom rice ready to be boiled by Ty on Monday night),

Texmati rice mixed with mushrooms and carrots, so good!


  pumpkin pie for dessert,

and an authentic greek spinach pie (Spanakopita).

The Greek pie was the highlight of the evening, and was devoured! I made a 9 by 12 pie dish full of it for four people and thought I would have leftovers for sure..but no! The boys pigged out on several pieces each :) It was a beautiful fall evening and the temperature was just perfect so I set up a table outside

Here is the recipe:

Authentic Spinach Pie (egg free)

1 package of phyllo pastry with two rolls in it- set this out to defrost at least two hours beforehand
2 boxes of frozen spinach

Step 1- thaw the spinach, boil it a bit in hot water so it is completely defrosted, then put it in a colander and press it/drain the water out of it. Let it sit for about three hours in a colander or sieve over a pot (so the water has somewhere to drip) and squeeze more water out of. At the end you should have a cool, pretty dry ball of spinach. Its necessary to do this or your pie will be soggy!

1 package of feta cheese (about a cup) You can put more in, if you want to go wild put in two or three :D
1 cup of ricotta cheese (I flavored it a bit with onion powder and salt and pepper)

Mix these into the spinach when its dry. The original recipe I found (which I cant find the link for again btw, sorry!!) didn't have ANY cheese in it, so you could make this vegan if you want to!

1 leek
A bunch of chives/green onions
Half a red onion
Half a sweet onion

The mix of various onions is part of the authenticity of this dish. I only used half the leek (not the green part). Cook them until soft in 3-4tbsp of olive oil. As you soften the onions, add in:

1 cup of chopped parsley
6tbsp of fresh dill

Mix the spinach/cheese mix into the onions at the end of their cooking. Sprinkle with a pinch of nutmeg, and fresh cracked pepper and sea salt to taste.  Let this mix cool a little. This is your pie stuffing.

Get a 9 by 12 baking dish and brush the bottom of it with olive oil. You will need a pastry brush/baster for this part. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Melt 1/4 cup of butter

Open one of the phyllo dough packages. Take a sheet of the pastry and lay in the baking dish on top of the olive oil. Brush this with butter with your pastry brush (or baster). Keep the rest of your open pastry covered with a cloth so it doesn't dry out as you work. Layer in the next piece of pastry, brush it with butter. Continue until you have put down at least 11 sheets of pastry. I used more, it depends on how much of a pastry lover you are!

Don't put any butter on the last piece. Then spread your spinach mix evenly across the pastry and cover with another pastry sheet when done. Brush that with butter. Continue until you have at least 11 sheets of layered buttery pastry. Brush your final sheet with olive oil.

Bang it in the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes, until golden. This is not meant to be served piping hot, more like room temperature, so do it a little ahead of time.

This pie also FREEZES well!! I put it in the freezer at the point just before baking- and Ty took it out and popped it in on Monday evening and gave it about 15 minutes extra baking time and it came out beautifully! :D

I also had some yummy soy 'chicken' salads and post workout smoothies :)

Gardein chicken salad and rice

blueberry/almond milk smoothie- use the frozen ones off season to get your antioxidants!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pumpkin pancakes and vegan mac and cheese

On Friday night I made Angela from "Oh She Glows" (see her link in my blogs I follow list, you can find the recipe on her site) Vegan mac&cheese- it was scrape the pot good!! 

yummy sauce!!

 I really liked the fact that the sauce was tasty without having a ton of calories like normal mac and cheese sauce, and that it had pumpkin in it (because I often neglect vegetables in my life, yes I could probably use a mom telling me to eat my broccoli lol...)

Ty also loved it and has requested I make it again :) And he used to be a huge cheese addict!

On Saturday morning Ty was on shift at the firestation which sucks because we usually cook together on Saturday and make a nice breakfast. :( I decided to make a yummy breakfast anyway and made pumpkin pancakes! (I'm on a bit of a pumpkin kick I guess!!)

They were delicious, and the house smelled so good for hours after I made them! They also fueld me through an hour and a half long workout later and kept me full until about 4pm!

I basically used one cup Hogdson Mill's whole wheat baking mix, 1 cup of pumpkin,  1 tablesppon of molasses, 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil,1 tablespoon of fat free sour cream as my 'egg', 1 teaspoon of allspice, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and about a cup of almond milk (as much as needed to get it to a batter consistency) Mix all of that together, plop dollops of it in a lightly oiled nonstick pan until browned on both sides and then drizzle raw organic honey on top..mmmM!!

If you dont have ready mix you could follow this recipe:

 1/2 cups milk
1 and a half cups pumpkin puree
1 tablesppon sour cream as 'egg'
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar (or molasses- I used molasses

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger ( I didnt have any but it would add to the flavor!)

1/2 teaspoon salt


In a bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, sour cream, oil. Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt in a separate bowl. Stir into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine.

Spray your griddle or frying pan with non stick and put it on a medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Really good with hot chocolate too.... :D

Reading Tina's blog post  from "Carrots and Cake" reminded me of our visit to Swamphead brewery! Ty and I were in local brewery withdrawal after our trip to the awesome city of Asheville, and decided to go visit Gainesville's one and only local Swamp Head Brewery.

 I wanted to try the cask of pink beer they are tapping every Wednesday night and selling snifters of for breast cancer awareness month but it was gone already :( Their other beer was wondeful though, made right on site- we stood around with friends amdist huge containers filled with brews.

A pic I stole off Google

The brewery has a tasting room with all their beers on tap, and I got to meet one of the owners/creators :) Swamp Head has a variety of brews, my favorite was Wild Night Honey Cream Ale wich adds tupelo honey from Apalachicola, the area northwest of Gainesville that's the only place in the world tupelo honey is commercially made. The brewery is sustainable, and their spent grain feeds local cattle, isn't that neat?

You can also buy a 'Growler' (yes this is Gator country!) of beer, basically a little barrel of it for $18, a great gift for the men in your life!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Good news - I CAN lose weight quickly after vacation!

I gained four pounds in four days....and am back to normal after three days of eating right and going to the gym! (phew!) =D> Im SO happy to see my body rebounds so quickly after debauchery (believe me, in the past those four pounds would have stuck around for MONTHS)....basically Ty and I just spent four days constantly eating and drinking on our mini vacation to the N.C mountains!

I really wanted to see some fall foliage and some mountains (yes, we dont have either in Florida to any awe inspiring degree!) and so we packed the cooler and tent into the car, got the dogs sweaters out the attic (they despise the cold) and took off to North Carolina.

Whats your favorite place to see fall color?
Ellie, happy to be in TWO sweaters thank you very much!

We drove through Atlanta and stayed the night, as I've been dying to go to the Georgia Aquarium (the worlds largest) and see whale sharks!

Thats a whale shark behind me!
 I got to touch sharks and manta rays too! The rays were slimy and the sharks felt rubbery.

PS- Pardon all the shots of me, I had to take self portraits for photography class and I really like some of them and want to share :)

If only I had the place to myself I could relax and watch fish for hours

We stopped for some Indian food at an all vegetarian place called Chaat Patti, because whenever I find an Indian place I just HAVE to go for nostalgia's sake!

Yummy- and ALL vegetarian!

Dai vadda! YUM

Indian 'street' food- Phav bhaji!

Basically- indian nachos

Idli- with coconut chutney! I could eat a bathtubs worth of coconut chutney!
  The next day we journedy along the Blue Ridge Parkway to our camping spot, Mount Pisgah park at an elevation of 5000 feet!

Where we ate chocolate, smores and vegetarian kebabs made with mock duck, chicken, mushrooms and veggies and slatherd in BBQ sauce...I ate about five I think....

Mock meat is great because it is cooked already, well at least the cans of it we get at the Asian Market. So there are no worries about the meat not being cooked through etc, you just need to get the veggies grilled :)

  We went to the town of Ashevill in the foothills and tried lots of local breweries samplings! They were SO good! And had calzone's too...

At the Asheville brewing company, they have Shiva on their menu- too cool

Loving the decor!


Another brewery

The Thirsty Monk- brewery and pub
After a breakfast of vegetarian hot dogs, we visited Ty's parents and they made us cheesecake, and lots of yummy vegetarian food!
His mum made me Indian puris and paneer subji with brown rice!

Oh, and the entire weekend I hydrated with hot chocolate cos it was so darn 200 calories a pop...

It was a beautiful trip though, and I've lost the weight already even after eating cheesecake leftovers last night- fitness really does change your chemical composition because there is NO way my body would have lost the weight so quickly in the past!

The Blue Ridge Parkway!
Having fun at Looking Glass Falls

Romantic Asheville

I'm back in Florida now, and its 85 and humid.....oh well, at least I got to see some real fall! Sometimes I wish I could live in a giant RV and travel the USA, there is still so much of this beautiful country I havent seen....

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Its weird when people comment on my weight...

I'd like to start this post by sharing a great quote I came across:

The first wealth is health.~Author : Ralph Waldo Emerson

Isn't that just the truth? Health is SO important and yet its not a priority for a lot of people. SO many people waste hours shopping for cute new things at the mall instead of working out at the gym which would have more impact than ANY cute thing they could buy! And it would make them feel better!
Anyway, onto the next topic. I ran into two acquaintances at a cafe  (ie. people who I've seen over a year ago/are facebook friends/but don't really know very well) and they said:

"Look at you, you are sooo skinny!" and "Wow, you have lost weight!"

I said "Thank you." I wasnt sure what the appropriate response was (no waaaaay? I hadn't noticed lol) :)

"I guess thank you is an appropriate response" the acquaintance said and I clarified "Thank you for noticing I guess?"

I felt...Awkward!

When my close friends, co-workers and people in the blogging community I have shared my journey with comment on my weight loss I accept the compliments graciously. I feel they know I am doing it in a healthy way with lots of effort in the gym!  And that its not the MOST important thing to me! When almost strangers comment, its a bit weird for me....

I think this writer sums it up my feelings on this best

Never ask “Have You Lost Weight?”  Either way, you send a message that bodies are up for grabs in casual discussion and leave that person thinking that you thought there was weight that needed to be lost.  By banishing weight-loss commentary, you keep yourself from perpetuating that someone’s weight and body are fair game for discussion and up for both grabs and judgment.

why is it ok to go on and on about Chris Christies weight??

All this talk of awkward situations reminds me of one of my all time fave funny blog posts, read it if you havent already, you WILL love it:

Anyway, after all that I had a huge meal of vegetarian chicken, drumsticks, palak panner and salad at the cafe! We had spent the day workign up an appetite by floating and swimming down the beautiful clear, blue Itchetucknee river!

This gorgeous river is one of the jewels of Florida.  It was our last chance before fall set in later in the week and temperatures dropped. I love the river, there is nothing as peaceful and stress reducing as floating down a river under a canopy of trees with nothing but the sound of woodpeckers and turtles splashing as they scuttle off their logs at our approach.

I'm loving this weather! On Saturday we took our workout outdoors and went on a hike on a wooded trail for two hours with our doggies. They had SO much fun sniffing every tree along the way! 

Sunday I did an hour on the arc at the gym, and 20 minutes of weights- I'm gunning for Michelle Obama arms!! I love how they are defined and indent in the right places but aren't hulk like!

My arms and chest still hurt from the weights session I did on Sunday. I have a mandatory four work outs per week (cant quite believe I have stuck to this for several months now!!) This week is going to be really hard to fit it all in though...

Tuesday night was supposed to be my next gym session but we went to buy some camping gear for a trip we are planning (I had to get a horrible neon orange hat

to wear on our planned hikes, because it is 'bow and musket hunting season' eeek!)

This website has some motivating success stories