New Site, Fun Food… and an Epic Fail

Welcome to the new Sprint 2 the Table!

Thank you guys for putting up with my outdated look for so long.  I am no web designer, so I finally decided to do the smart thing and enlist help.  I hope you like it, and that it makes it easier to navigate around here.  If you run into any bugs, please let me know.  There are always kinks to workout.  Kinky.

ALSO… I added a tab for training and nutrition.  I earned my certifications a few weeks back, but hadn’t had the time to really promote it.  With the new site in place, I’m ready to take it to the next level.  Wheeee!

This has nothing to do with anything except that I think it's hilarious.  Although... if Target had a bar... that would really be taking it to the next level.

This has nothing to do with anything except that I think it’s hilarious. Although… if Target had a bar… that would really be taking it to the next level.

… 

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Work it Out: My Fitness Journey

Life is a jungle gym.

 

And I like monkeying around.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned lately is life isn’t linear.  This sounds obvious even as I write it, but over and over I’ve been surprised when my carefully laid plains deviate from the path I’ve plotted.  Things change – you grow up.  You learn new skills.  You have setbacks.  Life happens.

Plan changes have happened in all aspects of my life – career, relationships, fitness, etc. – and I’m sure you’ve experienced the same.  I gt a lot of questions about how I began competing, so today’s Work It Out is my fitness journey.  My jungle gym.

sprint2table-workitout

Before I get into it, I want to be very clear that this is my path.  I’ve done things that were right and that were wrong.  Some are tender subjects; they were part of my journey.  I know you all have your own stories.  I simply submit that I hope no matter where you are in your journey, that you stay true to yourself and have FUN.  No regrets. 

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I love a competition.  Sports, spelling bees,  pie eating… you name it, I’m up for the challenge.  It’s how I’m wired.  This has taken me on many a fun ride in my life.

Related to fitness, I have tried just about any sport you can think of.  I was lucky to have parents who encouraged me to sign up for all sorts of things – from ice skating to horseback riding to softball.  Softball stuck – I still play every season!

softball

Years later I still morn the day that bat broke.

 

In my college years, I wasn’t very active unless you count partying and working.  I was a bartender.  I smoked, drank too much, and ate crap.  Not surprisingly, I gained the “freshman 15″ (and the sophomore 15) and was always tired.  When my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer something clicked in my head.  His disease wasn’t related to unhealthy living; he had actually lost a ton of weight through diet and exercise a few years prior and never smoked a day in his life.

The message that life is short came loud and clear to me.  While my dad was getting treatments he continued light exercise to keep strength that allowed him to turn 6 months into 4.5 years with the disease.  Through his example, I was inspired to clean up my act a bit and started workout out casually.  It wasn’t a total turnaround… but it was a start.

no one wins

Which beer shall I drink first…

 

Fast forward a few years and I discovered a new passion – roller derby.  I only wish my dad had been around to see that!  I had a blast, met some really cool people, and skated about 12 hours a week.  It was thrilling.  I’d found a sport I loved again!

It also proved to myself that it is impossible to out exercise a bad diet.  I was doing intense workouts nearly daily but gaining weight.  I am not saying I was “fat,” but I wasn’t healthy and, more importantly, I didn’t feel good.

derby

 

Looking at my unhealthy habits, I decided it was time for a cleanse.  It was the derby off-season and I took the opportunity to give my body a break from getting beat up (literally and figuratively).  21 days of clean eating was amazing for me.  I reset some habits, had boundless energy again, and I learned to love running.

That Thanksgiving I ran a 10K with my baby sister and my mom!

Gobble Jog

 

Then came a new season of derby.  I was still doing really well with healthy living and had come back for the next season with more energy and passion and ever.  Whatever was in stow, I was ready to jump on it.  Life had other plans.  

I broke my jaw during an expo bout (bout = a roller derby game).  It was miserable.  I looked like Jay Leno and it cost me a pretty important trip in my new job.

 

6 weeks later my jaw was as good as new but I decided it was time to find something a little safer.  Plus, I’d lost a TON of weight from not being able to eat solids, which was not good for playing a contact sport.  I looked unhealthy, and I’d basically forgotten how to eat.  All I’d been able to have was soup, pureed oatmeal, and smoothies!

I struggled with the aftermath of that injury for a while.  Rather than derby, I ran all the time.  I was faster and going longer than ever, but – even though I was eating – my new teeny body couldn’t keep up.  When you are at a deficit and continue to workout at the level you were before… well, you are just going to get skinnier (read: my mom was worried sick).

I almost didn’t post this pic. It pains me to look at it… but it’s what happened.

 

Unrelated to that, my knee decided to give out.  I got half a mile into a run and was in so much pain I had to stop.  The doctor told me my ACL was hanging on by a thread and if I wanted to run distance again I’d need to have surgery.  That may have been the best thing that could have happened to me.

 

Time for a new hobby!  Instead of going under the knife, I decided to go the route of building.  Body building.  If I could build up my quads, my knee wouldn’t bother me in daily activity and running short distances.  I’d always loved lifting weights and had done a round or two of P90X, so it seemed to be the perfect next bar to grab.

Two and a half years ago I met with my trainer the first time and started down the path of something that would forever change my life.  Lifting feels like it did when I fell in love with softball – I look forward to going to the gym, I want to talk strategy with anyone who will listen… it’s my passion!

Lisa and me at Palmetto – both Top 5!

Since then, I’ve gained 10 solid pounds of muscle, 2 pounds of  boob, and competed in 2 figure competitions.  Much to my surprise I placed in both!  Rounds 3 and 4 are in 3 and 4 weeks… they are on very competitive stages, but I’m excited just to have the experience.  I’ve been watching the success of others around me and am stoked (do people still say that?) for the off season and a sold year of building.

I feel great: inspired, focused, and having fun.

 

Fitness looks like a million different things.  What you do isn’t important, as long as it’s something you love and something that contributes to your health.  Don’t be afraid to change your course as you evolve.  Yoga, walking, lifting, cross-fitting… whatever.  Find something you are passionate about and embrace it.

Having been both active and inactive to my detriment, I can promise you that finding balance and the thing that turns you on will make all the difference.  That high, that endorphin rush, is sheer joy.  It’s worth it to make time for it.

YOU are worth it.

***

Need some inspiration?  Check out this post full of inspiring athletes from all walks of life.

Have you always been “healthy,” or was there a turning point for you?

What brings you joy?

 

Work It Out: Limited Legs

Today is leg day.

 

Let’s pretend I don’t dread this day each week.

Misery loves company, so today’s Work It Out is a leg day too.  You’re welcome.

sprint2table-workitout-BLUE

 

This is actually kind of a fun routine.  I call it limited because you only need 2 machines, and it’s a good one to do if you’re suffering from foot/ankle problems (I do these when my plantar fasciitis acts up).  You CAN have a challenging leg workout without ever touching your feet to the floor.

Another reason I like it is that is incorporates many of the previous techniques I’ve written about to shake up your routine.  Click the title of each for the post with a full description/benefits of the technique.

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The only equipment you need to do these is a leg extension machine and a leg curl machine.

Do 3 sets of each move, 10 reps per set (unless otherwise indicated).  When you select your starting weight, remember that most of these are using techniques that make the move more challenging.  If you can, increase your weight with each set.

 

Leg Extensions

Leg Extensions seated

1. Traditional Leg Extensions (regular reps)

2. 24s (8 reps from bottom to half way point, 8 starting half way to full extension, and 8 full)

3. Fulls and Partials (10 full, followed by 10 partial reps – 1st and 3rd sets bottom half, 2nd and 4th top half)

4. Drop Sets (10 reps with a medium heavy weight, 10 with 10 lbs less, then 10 more with 10 lbs less = 1 set)

 

Lying Leg Curls

lying leg curls

1. Traditional Lying Leg Curls (regular reps)

2. Super 8′s (8 reps + hold for 8 count, 3 times = 1 set)

3. 1 1/2′s (1 full + 1 half = 1 rep, 1st and 3rd set halfs on the bottom half, 2nd and 4th on the top)

4. Super Slow (6 count going up, 6 count going down)

 

Caution: It is easy to “over train” with these modifications.  They challenge your muscles to work much harder than usual, so these moves are not recommended as a long-term regimen.

***

You guys cracked me up with the gym confessions/pet peeves last week.  I’m going to be doing more posts like that!

What’s you most-hated leg move?  Hack squats.

So we end on a positive… what’s your favorite leg move?  Heavy squats!

 

Work It Out: Save Your Knees

I have terrible knees.

 

When they are at their worst, I walk like an old man.

This week’s Work It Out comes from a reader request.  My girl Calee has been struggling with injuries and wanted to hear more about leg exercises that wouldn’t stress her knees.  Since she designed this logo I, of course, had to oblige. :)

sprint2table-workitout-BLUE

 

Building up your leg muscles will go a long way in helping your knees.  After years of abuse – including a broken knee – my knees were so bad that I could tell when it was going to rain because they would ache so much.  That’s actually gotten BETTER since I’ve been lifting more seriously.

I’m not going to tell you they are 100%.  Just last week my left knee was tweaking during hack squats.  However, prior to beginning my training I couldn’t run more than a mile.  I ran an adventure race 3 weeks ago with no issues whatsoever.

Leg mucles

 

The leg muscles are the largest muscles in our body, and a large contributor to overall lean muscle mass (or lack thereof).  Leg muscles also protect the knee joint.

Movements like squats and lunges place a lot of stress on the knees, which is exactly what those suffering from knee issues need to avoid.  Instead, focus on strengthening your hamstring and quadriceps muscles to build leg strength and protect your knees.  It will seem difficult at first.  Start slowly and do leg exercises on a regular basis.  It takes 21 days to change a pattern!

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Below are several exercises you might try to strengthen your leg muscles without stressing your knees.  Note that these exercises are options to work around your pain and/ or limitations.  They are NOT designed to be rehabilitation exercises or corrective training.  This type of training is best left to a qualified physical therapist, so please consult with a doctor first if you have significant pain or injuries.  I am NOT a doctor.

 

Sumo Stomps

Yes, this is just what it sounds like.  Sumo stomps are fun to do and will blast your quads, and you inner and outer thighs.  Be sure to stay low and controlled!

Sumo stomp

Stand with feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart, toes pointed out to sides at about 45 degrees.  Pointing your toes out will make this easier on your knees than a traditional squat.  Press your palms together in front of you in a prayer position at shoulder level.  Squat down, sending hips back and keeping knees behind toes.  Hold the squat and lift one leg up to the side as high as you can, remaining as low as possible in your squat.  Be sure to keep your abs tight and your chest up!  Lower leg and repeat with other side to complete one rep.

 

Cable Squats

These are great for your core too!  Lean back a bit while doing these, hitting your glutes and taking strain off of your knees.  A medicine ball is used in the example, but you can do it without.

Cable Squats

Attach a EZ or straight bar to the low pulley cable.  Place a medicine ball between your knees (feet hip width apart as in a squat position).  Hold the bar with arms outstretched, standing a body length away from the cable stack.  Squat until both your hips and knees form 90 degree angles. Shift your weight over your heels and push through the heels to return to standing position.

 

Hip Lifts On Bench

This is a great move to target the glutes and the hamstrings.  Hamstrings provide an accelerating force at each push-off, so stronger hamstrings are especially beneficial for runners.  Keep your core tight to get a little extra oblique tone, too!

Hip Lift

Place your heels on a bench (or chair), allowing your knees to bend so that they are directly above your hips at a 90 degree angle  Rest your arms should on the floor at your side.  Exhale and dig into the bench with your heels, lifting your hips off the floor as high as possible.  Pause for 1-2 seconds, squeezing your glutes.  Lower and repeat for reps.

Need a challenge?  Do them one-legged or on a stability ball!

 

Below are a few more exercises.  Click the titles for a link to descriptions and pics:

  • Wall Ball Squats – This is a great way to squat with some support.  Just like a traditional squat, be sure your knees don’t go over your toes.  Try them with weights in your hands for a greater challenge.
  • Side Step Ups – This is a good move for you butt, hips, and thighs.  Start on a lower platform and work your way up to a bench.  As your legs strengthen, you can do these at a faster pace as more of a Side Shuffle.
  • Pop Squats – These are a plyometric exercise.  Plyo can be hard on your knees… BUT if you do these correctly, take your time, and land softly they can help build up your quads and hams.  Tip: keeping your toes pointed slightly outward will  make it easier on  your knees.
  • Single Leg Extensions – These CAN strain your knees, but if you adjust the machine to your height and stick to low weight/high reps it can be a good tool for strengthening your quads, which is a huge help to your knees.
  • Single Leg Curls - This is a perfect for directly targeting the hamstrings.  If you don’t have access to gym machines, you can do standing leg curls with an elastic resistance band or low cable pulley
  • Good Mornings – This is another fantastic move for your hamstrings.  I like to do them at the end of a workout because it’s also a nice stretch.  Begin with a light weight and be sure not to round your back.  Your chin should remain upright; I try to focus on a spot at about belt height during the lift to ensure my back doesn’t round.

 

Don’t be afraid to modify a movement to better accommodate your specific limitations.  For instance, use a lighter weight or slower tempo.  If it hurts, stop.  Don’t push yourself too far or you could cause further injury to your knees.

***

I’ve been super-setting a lot since last week’s post about them.  According to my Polar HRM, the claim of an extra 1/3 calorie burn is spot on!

Did anyone try super-sets after reading about them last week?

Do you have any workout questions or things you’d like more info on? I’m going to “interview” with my trainer in a future post and would love your input!!  Leave a comment or email me at sprint2thetable at gmail.com

 

Setting the Tone for a New Year + Amazing Kitchen Mistakes

Life is full of failures.

 

I am going to discuss one on Monday, in fact.

Sometimes they are happy accidents!  One of my favorite stir-frys happened because I couldn’t figure out how to use my spiralizer.  This Indian Ginger Tempeh Stir-Fry happened when I wanted zucchini pasta but failed to  spiralize:

 

Or how about last week when I accidentally sprouted a spaghetti squash I’d planned for my meal?  That forced me to come up with this Sweet Potato Chicken Salad Strange But Good (don’t forget tomorrow’s link up!) creation:

Sweet Potato Chicken Salad

 

Breaking my jaw playing roller derby was a fail… but without that experience I would have never come up with one of my favorite oatmeal discoveries: Blueberry Pie.  Made smooth enough to slurp thanks to an immersion blender.

Jaw-breaking in action.

 

Or how about when you leave for vacation thinking you’re going to Argentina, but end up in Chile?  That was one FUN fail!

All that said, don’t be too discouraged by fails.  Trust in what will be and happy accidents you shall see.

And now I’ll shut up and let Kat tell you about hers!

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Because I blog bi-weekly, this is my first opportunity to say, “Happy New Year!

I had an A-typical New Year’s Eve, which I used to help me set the tone for the year.  I went to a hot yoga class that lasted from 10:30pm-12:15am.  Yep, meditating, thinking about goals, who I am, who I have been, and who I want to be this year.  It was amazing!  I felt centered, and was happy to bring in the New Year thinking about health, community, and grounded-ness. (Editor’s note: Remind me to do this next year.)

The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.

The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.

 

I want to share a couple of my goals, so you all can partially hold me accountable.  First, I want to say, “No,” more often – in work, in family, and in social aspects of my life.  This seems easy for a lot of people, but it give me knots in my stomach just to think about possibly disappointing someone.

This goal is in support of my second goal, to stop stretching myself so thin.  I tend to take on way too much, and some things I do become a little bit less “quality.”  So, in order to enjoy what I do more, and to have more quality, I have to reduce quantity.  These are lofty goals.  I also started a journal for the first time since I was 12, to help keep me working towards my goals and thinking about them often.

 

thequieteryoubecome

 

I later got to celebrate with a holiday party, a West Side Story theme.  I got to get all dolled-up, and I was SO excited to get dressed up and dance the night away.  My feet and legs were definitely sore afterwards!

I’m also back on track with all of my runs and work outs.  I didn’t mention it, but December was rough for me and threw me through a loop.

alldolledup

 

I’ve also been cooking at home like a madwoman!  I had a New Years Day party with mocktails and healthy food to start the New Year catching up with a few friends.

Many didn’t make it due to hangovers and being out way too late, but it was still fun!  The mocktails were delicious, but too sweet, and kept me up all night from sugar!  I made Indian food, pop-corn (Kat-classic), and a number of other fun dishes with lots of fresh fruit and veggies.

 

NewYearSpread

 

Eating and cooking more at home, for me, means many unplanned meals, sometimes just throwing whatever I have in my fridge together, and last week, amazing kitchen mistakes!

I was making dinner for a friend this week, and I had left over quinoa and brown rice, extra fresh broccolini, kale, and sweet potatoes, and some random tofu.  So I just got started, and this is what ended up happening:

 

kitchenmistake1

Amazing Kitchen Mistake

 

I sautéed the veggies with fresh ginger and garlic, re-heated the quinoa/brown rice combo (about 75% quinoa, 25% brown rice), and felt like the dish needed something else.  Tofu.  The tofu preparation was the amazing mistake.  I wanted to sort of “fry” it, so I coated it with some brown rice flour mixed with cayenne, salt, and white pepper.  I carefully coated each cube and placed it on a plate for frying.  But I totally forgot cornstarch!  This would have gotten the flour mixture to stick to the tofu and fry properly.  Instead, when I put it in the hot coconut oil, the flour started to stick to the bottom, and it wasn’t going very well.

So, to save the tofu, I took part of a box of Trader Joe’s Carrot Ginger Soup and poured some in the pan with the tofu, stirred and scrambled the tofu with the soup and flour mixture, let it simmer, and made THE most delicious scrambled tofu I have ever had.  (Editor’s note: will you plase make me a mistake too?)

 

kitchenmistake2

 

Amazing Tofu Carrot-Ginger Scramble (Mistake)

  • 1 block firm Tofu, 1 in cubes (which are later scrambled)
  • ½ C brown rice flour
  • Salt, Cayenne and White Pepper to taste
  • 2 T Coconut Oil (for frying)
  • ~ ½ cup of Carrot-Ginger Soup (Trader Joe’s or Imagine Brand)

 

kitchenmistake3

 

Follow the directions above and serve with the brown rice/quinoa mixture and sautéed veggies!  This was definitely a healthy meal too!

It feels good to give.  I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t also say that I’m donating blood today.  It’s SO important.  I also tend to be low-iron so I’ve had an iron-packed diet this week.

Note some things you should eat to pump up your iron (Editor’s note: I read this in an Arnola accent):

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Lentils
  • Raisins
  • Black beans
  • Pumpkin seeds

All of these give you almost as much iron as a big steak, and is less harmful to your body if you ingest too much iron because they contain nonheme iron.  They also give you more per serving than the dark, leafy greens that are often recommended.  If you eat whatever, nothing can compare to the iron-filled foods like liver, clams and mussels.  And don’t forget dark chocolate and cocoa powder!  Check out their nutrition facts for confirmation!

 

Donate

 

Additionally, I have a theory about blood donation for my own health.  I think it promotes cell-regeneration throughout my own body!  Do something good for others, while doing something good for yourself!

***

 I echo Kat’s thoughts on the importance of blood donation.  My dad suffered from cancer for 4.5 years and made it as long as he did largely in part to blood, platlet, and bone marrow doners.  Click here for more info on becoming a marrow donor.  It only takes a cotton swab!

What amazing kitchen mistakes have you had that you want to share?

How do you get re-centered when you have an “off” month?

 

Do I Spend Too Much on Groceries?

Families of 3 or 4 are able to spend just $100 a week on groceries.

 

At least that seems to be the case according to a question posed on Facebook last week.  Apparently I’m eating for 3.  In my defense, I do buy a few things family probably wouldn’t spend money on.

When I want something, I buy it.  There’s not much grocery cart self-editing going on; however, I don’t waste food.  Thanks to my meal plan spreadsheet I stay on track.  If I end up with to much of something, I share with friend or my concierges.  That’s probably why my weekly haul hovers around $100… this week’s was $104.

 

 

I get a lot of questions about nutrition and diet, so I thought this would be a good time to give you guys a peek into my grocery bill.  It has certainly increased since I began training.  Protein costs a lot more than the pounds of veggies I was eating on my sort-of vegan diet.

 

 

Protein

Seafood: Mahi Mahi, Tilapia, lump crab meat (I just learned it’s very high in protein), and canned tuna and salmon

Dairy: Greek yogurt and cottage cheese

Vegan: Sprouted tofu

 

Produce

 

Veggies: Celery, 2.5 lb bag of spinach, cilantro, carrots, broccoli, red pepper, Spanish eggplant, cucumber, portabella, asparagus, cauliflower, onion, garlic, jalapeno, and ginger

Fruits: Golden kiwi, nectarine, apples, Thai banana, and pear

 

 

Other

Packaged/Canned Goods: Pumpkin puree, tomato paste, tortillas

Goodies: Teff flour, sugar-free chocolate covered espresso beans, cinnamon, lavender, flowers

 

 

This week I did my shopping at Atlanta’s local year-round farmer’s market where (most) groceries are much cheaper than a typical store (ahem… Whole Paycheck Foods).  For instance, I got the 1/4 lb tub of cinnamon for $0.68.  However, some things will always be pricey… my crab meat was $16.29.

This wasn’t a big staple-buying week.  Some items I already had include: tempeh, almond milk, egg whites, tomatoes, grapefruit, beans, nuts, and grains.

 

 

I already cooked my Mahi Mahi!

 

 

It’s really easy to prepare.  I squeezed a lemon over the filet and let it sit for about 30 mins.  Then I sprinkled it with paprika and placed it in the oven on broil for 10 mins.  Bam.

Served with roasted broccoli slaw and sweet potato tots.  No, I’m not sharing the tot recipe yet.  They weren’t the right texture and the flavor needed some “umph.”  Soon though!

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Workout Recap

My plantar fasciitisis still raring it’s head.  Despite being responsible and doing the stretches prescribed by my podiatrist, it’s not 100%.  It’s not even 80%.

With some modifications I’ve still been able to do leg day (focusing on extensions, curls, etc.).  I’m crossing my fingers that I will be able to do more by tomorrow’s leg day.  The arms are still going strong.  I’m excited to be increasing the weight I’m lifting, and to be getting a little bigger.  Still a ways to go though!  Bring on the protein.

 

 

Workout Recap (8/20 – 8/26):

  • Monday – Back/Triceps, Calf raises
  • Tuesday - Shoulders/Butt
  • Wednesday – Chest/Biceps, Calf raises, 100 push-ups
  • Thursday – Legs (w/ trainer), 1 mile walk
  • Friday – Back/Triceps, Calf raises, 2 mile walk
  • Saturday - Shoulders/Butt, 100 push-ups
  • Sunday - rest, 1.5 mile walk, Yes/No machine

***

This is going to be a busy work week and I’ll be working at home a good deal.  Therefore, I treated myself to a bouquet of pretty flowers to look at. :)

What are your weekly must-buy items?

Are there items you only buy on occasion as a treat?

 

Random Acts of Friday

Time sure flies when you’re all jacked up.

 

 

The heel pain mystery has been solved.  No, it was not caused (or cured) by Jack.  This was my view on the way to the doctor though!

Many of you guys guessed it would be plantar fasciitis and you were right.  The Doc said I caught it early, so I should be fine with some daily stretches and rolling it on a frozen water bottle.  While I wish it had been nothing more than a random bruise, I’m glad it’s nothing horrendous!

 

 

How’s this for random: 

Kellogg is coming out with limited edition college-themed Pop Tarts.  As if college students need any encouragement to subside on a diet of PopTarts.  Did anyone else go through a cinnamon Pop Tart vending machine phase freshmen year?

Nothing like add a curve in the form of the “Freshman 15.”

 

 

Then I saw this nauseatingly random sandwich:

NPR reported on a group who found a creative, albeit unnecessary, way to fuel their 5K.  An Energy Bar Sandwich composed of “Luna Bar bread, a Clif Bar patty, topped with a Powerbar, carbohydrate goo and… Clif Shot Bloks.”  1,200 calories of fuel.  *barf*

The article is filled with hilarious quotes, but this one was my favorite Shot: “This is the perfect thing to eat before my new workout program, ‘Crossfat.’”

 

 

Less gag-inducing, but random nonetheless: 

This article entitled “Foods That Make You Pretty” is full on food remedies to common annoyances.

My favorite? Celery can apparently be used to scrub and whiten your teeth.  I think I’ve inadvertently used it as floss…

 

 

A random blast for my recipe past:

Photo from Amanda’s blog

Amanda @ Friday Love Song brought back my “Green Slime” Protein Icing this week in her What I Ate Wednesday post.  Rock on, my friend.

And additional random slime fact: a reader recently commented on my slime  post that she was slimed once At Universal Studios.  And I was jealous.

Totally having this for breakfast today on my PrOATein Pancakes.  Thanks for reminding me about it, Amanda!

Finally the random you’ve all been waiting for…

The Chike Protein Coffee giveaway winners!

Winner 1: Cari

Winner 2: Haley

Winner 3: Leslie @ Pixiepine Blog

Congrats to the winners!!!

Please email me your info to send along to Chike.

 

If you didn’t wine but would like to try Chike High Protein Coffee, click here to visit their site to place an order.  I will be ordering more for myself!

 ***

I can’t thank you all enough for the kind words about the loss of my dad via comments on yesterday’s post, Instagram, and Facebook.  You truly brightened my day. :)

What is something random you’ve encountered lately?

How much would someone have to pay you to eat that Energy Bar Sandwich?

Overachieving Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Meatless Monday is back again!

 

 

Heather has been doing a weekly Meatless Mondays from A-Z challenge.  Each week there is a certain ingredient to be used.  So far we’ve used artichokes and beets.

I created a Quinoa-Stuffed Artichoke and a Golden Beet and Tempeh Stuffed Poblano.  The artichoke included beet juice, and my beet stuffing included artichoke hearts.

 

Completely accidental overachieving.

 

This week I’m owning the overachieving.  The ingredient is capers, and my dish is a Caper-Beet-Artichoke Cauliflower Crust Pizza.

If you’ve checked out any of my WIAW posts, you’ve seen this crust before.  It is based on this blogger recipe.  I fell in love with it because it’s the first “alternative” crust pizza I’ve been able to pick up and eat like a pizza.  It’s crusty on the edges and chewy in the center – you would NEVER guess that the secret ingredient is cauliflower.

 

 

I’ve been playing with it for a few weeks and – after feedback from a couple of readers whose crust wasn’t sturdy enough – I measured/weighed every ingredient so it is fool-proof.  *knock on wood*

The recipe seems long because I wanted to be very detailed.  It’s really not as hard at it seems at first glance!  There are a couple of steps, but it is well worth it.  This is one of the best things I’ve made lately.  The recipes I repeat are few and far between; this deliciousness has been on my meal plan at least once a week for a month!

 

 

I included my toppings in the recipe below, but feel free to use you own favorites.  I have always loved artichokes, arugula, and eggplant on pizza.  This addition of capers was fun!

Typically I find capers too salty, but I quickly rinsed them under water before placing them on my pizza and it added just the right amount of tang!

 

 

This will make you feel like you’re eating a cheat day meal, but there’s nothing “bad” about it.  It is also gluten-free, and sugar-free, with a vegan option.

Bon appétit!

 

Recipe at bottom.

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Workout Recap

Last week I mentioned a weird heel pain.  Its still there.  I went to the chiro who said bad ankle mechanics and some calf stuff may be causing it.  A week later, it still feels bruised.  It looks like this week I’ll be going to visit my podiatrist!

After attending my first show this weekend, I am more motivated than ever to be figure competition ready.  With heel pain, it’s impossible to effectively do squats and lunges with significant weight.  Not wanting to fall behind, we focused on what I could do leg-wise.  That involved a lot of work on the leg extension and leg curl machines – both of which I’d always looked at with some relief.  Both seemed so much easier than squatting 200 lbs or doing god knows how much on hack squats (I don’t even look anymore).  Obviously, my trainer had to prove me wrong and came up with some truly sadistic combinations to keep us making forward progress.

 

Thank you, Sir. May I have another.

 

Workout Recap (8/13 – 8/19):

  • Monday – Chest/Biceps, Calf raises
  • Tuesday - Legs
  • Wednesday – Back/Triceps, Calf raises
  • Thursday – Rest, 150 push-ups, 1 mile walk
  • Friday – Shoulders/Butt, Calf raises
  • Saturday - Chest/Biceps
  • Sunday - Legs (w/ trainer)

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Overachieving Cauliflower Crust Pizza

For the Crust:

  •  100g cauliflower (~1 C de-stemmed)
  • 1/4 C egg whites (use flax egg to make vegan)
  • 1/4 C quinoa flakes
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

 

My Toppings:

  • Red onion
  • Garlic
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Arugula
  • Eggplant (dices and pre-cooked)
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Red Beets
  • Capers

 

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

Place raw cauliflower florets in a food processor or blender.  Blend until it is “riced” (in very small rice-like pieces).

In a small bowl, combine cauliflower, quinoa flakes, egg, and spices.

Cut 2 circles of parchment paper the size of a 10 inch pizza stone or baking sheet.  Press your “dough” onto one sheet of parchment, spreading to create a thin crust (1/8-1/4 inch thick).  Place other sheet on top of crust and  bake for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, saute onions and garlic with a bit of olive oil until fragrant.  Chop other toppings to desired size.

When crust is done (should have turn slightly golden and firmed up), remove from oven and flip over so that the bottom is now to top.  Remove the top sheet of parchment.

Top crust with tomato sauce (or pesto, or oil… whatever you prefer) and veggies.  Return to oven and bake for 15 more mins.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with your favorite additions.  I used (vegan) Parmesan and red pepper flakes.

Note: If crust doesn’t seem done after the first 20 mins, remove top sheet and bake ~5 mins more before adding topping.

Makes 1 serving.

***

I’m drafting this while watching Extreme Makeover Weight-loss.  It makes me want to eat cookies.  What is wrong with me?!

Have you tried a cauliflower crust before?

What are your favorite pizza toppings?

 

Memorable Memorial Day Weekend

Does blogging count as working over a holiday weekend?

 

I couldn’t wait to share a few highlights!  In case it does count as working, I’ll play it safe and keep this one short.  Literally.

 

1. Just when you thought it couldn’t get shorter…

I got my hair cut again.

 

 

I HAD to do it to prepare for Argentina. :)

Karen  @ Lava Hair Studio rocks my world.  She’s my longest relationship – we’ve been together nearly 5 years.

 

2. My sister isn’t the only artist in the family.

Sort of.

 

 

Heather invited me to one of those drink-wine-and-paint places.  I was skeptical (I’m NOT artistic), but it was SO much fun!  If you have one in your area, I’d recommend trying it out for a fun girls night.

Thank you so much for a great evening Just for Giggles!

 

3. There was a first:

I ordered a seafood entrée for the first time in a restaurant.

 

 

One of my best friends and I met for dinner at a local spot called Haven.  It was a great meal!  We split some apps and a seafood entrée: a white grouper with zucchinipole beans, cranberry beans, and a carrot-fennel salad.

 

4. Quality pool time.

Complete with a Todd-jito: strawberries, mint, vodka, limoncello, and a bit of powdered sugar and ice.  Tasty.

 

 

Check out the bottom pic.  Doesn’t the water fountain thing make it look like the guy is peeing?!  Yes, I’m that immature.

 

5. Best.  Yogurt.  Ever.

The Yogurt Tap in Decatur, GA is the BEST fro-yo.

 

I'd tap that.

 

It’s local, made fresh in the store from in-season fruits, and they are now offering a dairy-free almond butter flavor.  If you’re in Georgia and haven’t tried it… you don’t know what you’re missing.

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A holiday weekend and an ACL tear doesn’t mean I’m taking a holiday from working out!

Yesterday began with a soon-to-be disclosed workout designed especially for this blog by Lindsay.  It’s going up as a guest post during my travels next week.

 

Post-Linsday butt kicking

 

Workout Recap (5/14 – 5/27):

  • Monday – Quick Cardio Circuit, Back/Biceps w/ plyo, 100 push-ups
  • Tuesday – P90X Plyo
  • Wednesday – 5-4-3-2-1 workout (2x), Wednesday workout, 100 push-ups
  • Thursday - 100 push-ups, REST
  • Friday Shoulders w/ plyo, 100 push-ups
  • Saturday – Tris/Chest w/ plyo, 2 mi jog
  • Sunday –  Lindsay’s workout, Ab Ripper X, 2.75 mi run/walk, 100 push-ups

***

I’m going to state the obvious: I vote every weekend be 3 days long.

How has your long weekend been?  Did you workout?

Do you still laugh at juvenile things?  I don’t think I’m growing out of it.

 

ACL Tear + WIAW

It doesn’t happen often, but yesterday I almost cried.

 

It took me 2 months to get into the ortho Dr., but I finally made it.  After an hour-long wait (grrrr…), I was called back to the exam room.  The Doc was great (he’s a talker, which explains the wait).  He does a lot of work on the Atlanta Braves, among other sports teams.  Unfortunately that resume didn’t lessen my injury.

The Dr. actually said I was pushing my body to the extreme… and that made me feel proud.  Isn’t there a quote about taking up too much room if you’re not living on the edge? ;)

 

 

It turn out that the pain is my left knee is due to a torn ACL.  I always thought that when you tear an ACL you couldn’t even walk!  Apparently there are varying degrees of tears.

Next step is to go for an MRI to confirm the extent of the damage – he’s betting I have some lateral meniscus repair work that needs to be done too.  I can’t even get in for that consult until late June (hazards of choosing a popular Dr.), which puts me having surgery around August.  4-6 months after that I’ll be back in fighting shape.  That’s 2013.  Ugh.

 

Nonetheless, I’m pretty depressed.  I was hoping it was just a strained something.  At least I have What I Ate Wednesday to make me smile. (Jenn, can I get  a hug??) 

 

 

Check out my eats below; then click here to hope on over to our host - Jenn Peas and Crayons - to see what everyone else ate Wednesday (or – more than likely – Tuesday).

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Breakfast:

I was told that plyo probably isn’t be best thing for me to be doing with a torn ACL (that explains all the knee pain after…).  Good thing I got in one last P90X Plyometrics workout pre-doctor visit this morning!

 

I re-fueled with a Laura-style Frapp: loaded with protein and spinach!  Yes, it looks weird.  But it was good.

 

Green Protein Frapp

  • 1 C chilled coffee
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 giant handful spinach
  • 1.2 large banana
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp guar gum (to thicken)
  • Ice

 

Lunch:

Salad.  In a box.  It seems simple, but eating right out of the container make me happy.  If only I could get a salad into an almost-empty PB jar.

 

 

In my box:

  • Mixed greens
  • Asparagus
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumber
  • Tempeh croutons (lemon-pepper tempeh, sautéed in a pan and cooled)
  • Hummus dressing (1 T spinach hummus + 2 tsp apple cider vinegar)

 

Dinner:

I’ve been eating almost totally vegan since the Food & Wine Festival gut-buster.  The availability of local farm-fresh eggs at this weekend’s farmer’s market in the park was too much to pass up.

 

 

Dinner was an egg scramble with hatch chili salsa, sautéed kale, Daiya pepper jack cheese, red pepper flakes served over a sprouted grain tortilla.

 

Snacks:

There were many, but I was too depressed and too busy at work to take pics: lots of cashews, kombucha, dried sea weed, Think Thin bar… and some other depression-snacks stuff I can’t remember.

***

Speaking of injuries…Don’t forget to enter to win 1 of 2 BENGAY Zero Degrees prize bags: http://wp.me/p16jDn-1hS

Have you ever had knee surgery?

If you are vegan/vegetarian, what food do you “miss” the most?  If you’re NOT vegan/vegetarian, which food most keeps you from trying (if any)?