Thursday, July 31, 2008

Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise

I am very pleased to announce that my pants no longer squish into the sides of my waist and my thighs aren't as wiggly-jiggly as they were once upon a few weeks ago. A few weeks ago! Already I am seeing some very likable results. This program is proving to be very impressive.

I have only worked out once this week thus far (as you can see on my handy-dandy calendar over yonder), which just means that my goal of four days a week has no more freebie days to spare. But that's ok! I will do it. What I really need to make myself do is wake up an hour or so earlier in the mornings and do it before work. I know Bradford is reading this, nodding his head, thinking something along the lines of, "That's what I've been saying this whole time you crazy girl!" and I know! You're so right Bradford, but I am so very terrible at getting myself out of bed in the morning to do anything other than shower and get ready for work... sometimes even without the shower part... but it is something that I will keep working towards. My dad can testify of my challenge with early mornings. From paper routes to early morning seminary I was a force to reckon with if anyone so much as dared to try and wake me up without my being ready to be woken, not that I was ever ready... I'll keep setting that alarm though and keep on trying to roll out of bed sooner. I know it is good for me. The few times I have actually succeeded in doing so, my days have been more productive and smooth and more positive overall. Good ol' Ben Franklin wasn't lying.

I tried another recipe on Tuesday night and it turned out pretty well. It was a breaded, baked, perch dish and I made sauteed squash and a fresh vegetable salad to go alongside it. I've never had perch before and it was a risk since my liking for fish has only been a recent development, but even Kathi, who doesn't like fish very well at all, ate it and seemed to like it ok. I forget how small perch is though so only four filets made a light meal for Bradford, Kathi, and me. Next time I'll make a few more. Everything tasted pretty good and the recipes are pretty simple. It was a pretty fast meal too, it didn't take more than 30 minutes to make it all. I'll post the recipes a little later, maybe this evening after work, and add my suggestions for alterations as well.

Anyone who read my previous post I hope didn't feel that I was more low than I was trying to express. It has merely been a more laziness on my part than anything else. I've not been not doing the things I love and know would be productive and gratifying to me. Instead I have opted to just sit in front of the TV when I get off of work until I decide its time for bed rather than do things like clean or make a card for someone or read a good book or exercise... simple things, but good things. I was just observing that my life was a reflection of the old adage, "Old habits die hard." Thank you for all of your concerns and thoughtfulness though. I'm grateful for everyone's input and support! I know we've all felt this way one time or another. Its good to know I'm normal :).

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Running Circles

For starters, this P90X thing is really working. I've only done it for about a week now, but it has been working me out. Last Thursday I did the "Plyometrix" workout and it tore me up. I could barely walk for the next two days. It was pathetic. But obviously that means its doing something right? Next time that particular workout comes around though I think I won't push myself so hard. I can't remember a time I've ever felt that sore!

Lately I've been feeling pretty mellow. It seems to be a common emotion for me the past few years. I don't really feel sad, sometimes I do, but for the most part its just mellow. Its more a state of being, actually, than an emotion. Maybe I'm not doing enough in my life to feel that sense of fulfillment that maybe I'm subconsciously craving? I don't know... probably. I guess I don't live enough for the present. I'm too concerned about what I haven't done in days gone by or what I dream about doing in the future that I end up just sitting around in the mud not really doing anything for today. I get stuck in a melancholy, unproductive state of being. Even writing this I can feel something stirring inside of me with discomfort at the very thought of me wasting all this time that I could have been doing something meaningful with. I'm not content with mediocrity, but I think that maybe the past few years of my life have kind of shown otherwise. Maybe that's where my mild frustration lies. My outer sphere of life, the life that everyone around me can see me in and the life that my actions (or lack thereof) reflect, is so conflicting with my true desires. I guess the "real me," for want of a better phrase, is still struggling to surface through.

And yet, I know what the cure is: Quit feeling so blah and start doing something with my life. Quit letting old, hard dying habits rule my life! Quit writing about it and talking about it and just do. I won't be perfect. I will probably relapse many times and feel this same sort of state of being all over again, but I will do something today. Something that will make me feel good and like a consequential individual.

Just one day at a time...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Week Gone By

I haven't posted anything for about a week and I had another recipe test for dinner last night but part of me doesn't want this blog to become just a bunch of relatings about me trying out recipes and what I think about them... its all well and good, but, there has GOT to be something a little more blogworthy in my life than me eating dinner. So, for the sake of proving to myself that I'm not desperate and I don't have to resort to recipe analyzing just to write an entry about my life, I am not going to divulge the sub-par parmesean chicken recipe I tried (partly because it was sub-par and also because I will not be dependent on those experiences to make sure I have regular entries) and will instead write about something... else.

Its funny, I started out writing this particular entry having something somewhat in mind to write about that didn't invole a frying pan and now, after all that, all I can think about is why I didn't take the stinking foil off the chicken halfway through its baking like I'd planned... Give me a minute and I'll dig out something un-food related.

Ok, I'm going to slightly milk Bradford's most recent entry topic and tell about my own resolve to try out a new workout regimen. I have always felt the desire to be in shape but, like most people, I do well for a week or two and then for about a month I drop out of the exercise realm altogether until I catch a glimpse of my thigh in the mirror or some other body part that should not be that bulgy. Laugh all you want, I know I'm not a large person in the grand scheme of things but I am definitely not in as good of shape as I know I can and want to be. My metabolism is slowing, believe it or not friends. I am really excited to start this P90X thing. Despite the fact that it somewhat terrifies me for how intense it is, the little I have expereienced of it has proven to me that this is a no nonsense program that has every promise of helping me get and stay fit. Its going to kick my butt but I will garuntee you that while doing so it is going to make that butt come out looking better than ever.

One thing I've found that I really like about this P90X program is that it IS really hard but the Tony guy, or whatever his name is, that hosts the program really emphasizes pushing yourself and doing good reps but not overdoing it "take a break if you need to, we'll be here when you get back" is common to hear throughout the programs. I like that because I can do what I can and still have room to grow. So the program will give me something to work up to and I won't grow out of it very quickly and when I'm (cross-your-fingers) more fit and active, I can still use this program to keep challenging and toning my new bod. Hopefully it will help me create a new healthy habit that will stick with me throughout the rest of my life too. I have a feeling that I'll stick with this for longer than I've stuck with most things. Not only because I'm doing it with Bradford and accountability has an uncanny way of motivating me, but also because my hiney will be awfully glad too.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Good Eats

Yesterday I realized again that I like to cook! Its been too long since I've actually pulled out a recipe and made something. Recently, however, I have felt the desire to be healthier in my lifestyle and eating well is obviously a part of that. My roommate and I have decided to trade off nights to cook dinner. I pulled out my collection of long accumulated recipes and chose about four to buy ingredients for and I made up a shopping list for what I needed and after work yesterday we stopped at good ol' Maceys and loaded up on some foods. Eighty-seven dollars later I had a nice myriad of resources to put my creativity into some intriguing recipes. As I was planning my day, I had everything worked out for when we would get home from the grocery store and how long it would take me to make dinner and then exactly what time we would sit down to eat and then when we would be done so Bradford and I could get to our 7:30 appointment. Needless to say, nothing stuck to the schedule like it should have and I was only barely able to get everything done in time for us to only be 20 minutes late... whoops. Regardless, it came out pretty well I must say. Bradford, my darling boyfriend/best friend in the entire world, and Kathi, my previously mentioned roommate, were donned my critics for the meal. However I think I was the harshest crtic overall. The meal included a main dish of honey mustard chicken breasts, a basil, mint, and fresh green bean salad, and some french bread. I figured I'd share the recipes since that seems to be common blogger ettiquette:

1/3 cup dijon mustard (I just used whatever mustard we had in the fridge)
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise (I had Miracle Whip so I just used that)
1 tsp. steak sauce
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

Preheat the grill for medium heat.

In a shallow bowl, mix the mustard, honey, mayonnaise, and steak sauce. Set aside a small amount of the honey mustard sauce for basting, and dip the chicken into the remaining sauce to coat.

Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill chicken over indirect heat for 18 to 20 minutes, turning occasionally, or until juices run clear. Baste occasionally with the reserved sauce during the last 10 minutes.

*I don't have a grill so I did it in a frying pan over med-low heat and just basted the chicken every so often. I used a lid too to keep in as much moisture as I could. It made for a nice sauce to serve the chicken with too so that was a plus.

(I don't have the salad recipe on me, but it was pretty simple and I can remember it I think... here it goes!)
6 cups water (its just to cook the beans in so I didn't measure how much water I used. just enough to boil the beans)
1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed if preferred
1/2 cup shredded fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup shredded fresh mint leaves
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small sweet red pepper chopped
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt (I used a salt/herb mix that I had in my spice cabinet)
*I also added some edamame because Bradford likes protein and I was introducing a new option for him to get some more of it. I probably used about 1 1/2 cups? I didn't measure, I just added some until it looked good.
*I also used spinach to make it more substantial because the leafiness seemed a little scarce to me, plus it was on sale for 69 cents a bag :)
**I also didn't measure the mint and Basil, nor did I shred them. I just did what I thought looked right. And I lied. I did tear up the mint now that I think of it, but not the basil.

Bring the water to a boil in a large sauce pan. Add the green beans, and bring to a boil again (I also added the edamame at this point.) Reduce heat to a simmer for 7-8 minutes or until beans are crisp-tender (whatever that means...). Add garlic to last minute or so of simmering. While beans are simmering, toss leafies, and red pepper in a large bowl. Once beans are ready, drain and toss into the other ingredients (I also ran cold water over them until they were cool so that they didn't wilt the other stuff). Then add olive oil and salt (I ended up using about three tablespoons of olive oil to compensate for the spinach and I didn't measure the salt...). Mix until coated.
*I also stuck the bowl of salad in the freezer for a few moments while I was getting everything else out onto the table, to give it a slight cool.

The last thing I did was the bread. I would have loved to try my hand at making some French bread from scratch but given my time crunch I opted to just buy a ready made loaf at the bakery and then I sliced it up in about 1 inch thickness, and laid them on a cookie sheet. Then I melted some butter, drizzled it over the peices, sprinkled some shredded parmasean (not the powdery stuff), sprinkled some garlic powder, and then some dried parsley. I was going to use fresh parsley but its a lot more potent than the dried stuff and I didn't want it to conflict with the basil and mint in the salad. I would have just left it off altogether but the parsley added a nice color. Then I set the oven on broil and put them slices in for probably 3-4 minutes and they were perfect.

It took a total of approximately 45 minutes to make everything. Even though I got clock-shock toward the end, which meant I forgot to add the garlic to the simmering beans (so I just added it straight into the salad and it ended up being fine), and I forgot to turn the oven on to broil so the bread was just sitting there for a while (good thing it didn't take very long to toast! we just had to have it half way in to our eating... but it was good!) it was a pretty darn good meal. And if my camera wasn't charging at the time I would have taken a picture. It looked pretty and colorful on our plates.

We all agreed that I should have taken the soy beans out of their pods (Duh), because it made for a not-so-enjoyable toughness in the salad (we ended up taking them out individually ourselves as we ate, and it actually added a lot to the whole asthetic appeal of the salad). And, of course, the chicken was a little dry. Next time, when I have more time allotted to cook, I'll bake it to keep it juicier. Other than that there were no complaints. Bradford gave the chicken's sauce 5 out of 5 stars, the chicken itself 3 1/2 stars (because of the slight dryness), and he said he would have liked the green beans to be cut in half because they were so long. I kinda liked how they looked though with their length, but it would have made them easier to consume if they were cut. I would have added some of that shredded parmasean cheese I used on the bread to put on the salad if I'd had a moment to think about it. That would have been yummy. Or maybe even some crumbled feta or something. I also should have trimmed off the very ends of the beans because they were like eating grass... All in all though, the salad was really tasty, I loved the zestiness of the mint and basil, and the bread was great (you can't really go wrong with garlic bread), and the chicken with its kinda musky mustardy flavor was really a good compliment of flavors to the unique variety in the salad. These are some dishes I will definitely make again.

I'm looking forward to continuing this cooking idea. It not only provides me with better nutrition but it also makes me feel a small sense of accomplishment which is always greatly appreciated. I'll keep adding the recipes and let you know how they all work out, the good and the bad.

Now... next time its my turn I think I'm going tackle a seafood pasta dish... any suggestions for sides?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Chaff and Grain

I love being loved. Really loved, in that unique way that only a few seem to be capable of. Knowing that there is someone in the world that truly loves and enjoys me with all my ins and outs and ups and downs, I can't imagine anything more satisfying. Its like, an external part of me. A part that is me but isn't at the same time. Its incredible having someone that can get into my brain and mull around in it with me. Yet we're still seperate entities. With seperate emotions and reactions and thinkings. I love it . Everything about it. Now... the only thing that's missing is the hardware. Oh you know I'm teasing... kind of.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Commencing the Bloggage

I had all sorts of fun setting up my blog. Choosing a background, thinking of something semi-clever for a title and theme... And then, after all those preliminary steps were taken, I had no idea what to even write as my first posted blog. So, here is to blogging and hopes for something significant or blog worthy to appear into my brain. Cheers and happy blogging all.