Friday, March 16, 2012
I can't explain why I feel like I just need fatty foods these days. Maybe it's because I'm cutting back my calories to lose those last 5 lbs... well, four as of today. Maybe it's because without doing hours of intense cardio, I don't need as many carbs to keep up my energy levels.
I bought a pork shoulder at the commissary a little bit ago because it was on sale and I thought, why not, if I cook it on a rack with a drip pan, a lot of the fat will seep out and not cook into the pork. So last night, even though I was going to hubby's concert and wouldn't be able to eat it fresh, I cooked the pork. I put aluminum foil in the drip pan to make clean-up easy.
Somehow, the fat managed to get under the foil and coat the drip pan. It was already 9pm, and I was thinking hard about wanting to get to sleep, not clean a drip pan. So I called my kitty and put the drip pan in front of her.
Five minutes later, that pan was sparkling clean.
I have two cats. The funny thing is that our older male cat, who has been a domestic pet all his life, wanted nothing to do with the drip pan. Heck, if he could have wanted less than nothing to do with it, he would have chosen that. If it's between the meat and the kibble, he will choose the kibble every time. Our younger female cat, who bummed around with the local strays in Texas for the first 3-4 months of her life, will take the meat over the kibble any day. When I was preparing the pork, she wouldn't eat the kibble I had just put out for them. She would rather run around my ankles meowing in the hopes that I give her a piece of meat.
Usually I oblige. This is probably why she insists on running around my ankles mewing pathetically.
This morning, I had a bacon attack and cooked up ample amounts with my eggs. I started cooking in the small pan and realized that I had just a bit too much bacon, so I switched over to the big pan. I finished, started cleaning my dishes, and the cats both came wandering through the kitchen. The both stopped at the greasy bacon pans and sniffed. Our older male cat quickly walked away, but our girl kept on sniffing... and sniffing... and sniffing. Just as she was about to leave, I called her, she froze, and I gave her the little pan, which was completely cooled at this point. She settled in and cleaned it up. She had no interest in the big pan because it was still too warm.
So, she and I are currently sharing a desire for fatty foods.
The bacon is uncured, and both cats drink tons of water out of their fountain, so I'm not particularly worried about her eating something she shouldn't. Sometimes I feel better that she takes this stuff from me because our fat male cat is a glutton and doesn't always let her have enough food. We have to feed them three times a day because otherwise he would eat it all in one sitting and then freak out because there's no food. Idiot.
I rode my bike to work for the third day in a row today. Yesterday, I purchased a gel cushion to go on top of my regular seat because, while the hard seat doesn't bother me in particular, hard seats aren't so good when you accidentally hit a pothole or have to travel over railroad tracks. Ouch.
Today was a bit of a gamble. It was about 36 degrees outside and overcast because it was supposed to rain sometime today, but the forecast first said it would rain at 9am, and then it changed to 1pm. Well, lucky for me it didn't rain on my way there. It rained around 10am. Then it stopped. We secured work at 11am because we are marching in the St. Patrick's Day parade here in Newport tomorrow, so they're giving us a little extra time off. I rode to the gym, had a fabulous bodyweight workout, and then rode my bike home, rain-free.
It did drizzle a little bit in the evening, but not much. I'm glad I made the gamble.
Also yesterday, the band had a half-day of work and then a half-day "Hail and Farewell" to a colleague who is moving to a new duty station. We used to do it during lunch hour as just a potluck, but someone suggested to our superiors that it was kind of lame, we should make a bigger deal. So we all went out to Chili's.
Not gonna lie, I'm the assistant for Morale-Wellfare-and-Recreation, which means I was the assistant to the guy who chose the restaurant. I was like, Chili's, really? How boring when there are plenty of non-chain restaurants in Newport. But Chili's it was.
I got lucky. On their Lighter Choice menu, they added a new 6 oz. sirloin with just a side of steamed broccoli. It has carne asada rub and pico. I wasn't convinced they wouldn't mess up my medium-rare order, so I also got a side of guacamole (hey, carne asada and pico called for guac). Turns out my sirloin came on the rarer side of medium-rare, just how I like it! And the steamed broccoli came with a light topping of grated parmesan -- the chunky kind, not the cheap nasty kind. I was soooooo happy that when hubby and I went comparison shopping at the commissary, I bought a tub of good grated parmesan to put on top of our cauliflower. It's like salty, but more flavorful.
I think they are now calling that sensation "umami." I'm not sure what's up with that, but the Wikipedia article says it's one of the five basic tastes along with sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. I thought I remembered learning way back in first grade that the tongue tasted five things, but I don't remember learning umami. Maybe it was that there were four tastes and then one spot on the tongue couldn't taste anything. Anyone else having flashbacks to random blindfolded taste tests in first grade?
I can't decide if I'm actually hungry, if my stomach is just empty, or if my stomach feels like it's empty because I'm sitting on the couch (a common phenomenon). One thing I did notice, though, is that I like the feeling of being satiated more than I like the feeling of being full. There's a big difference. It's the difference between plowing through a bag of carrots with salsa because my stomach needs to feel full and feeling light and energetic because I've eaten the food I need to satisfy me without weighing me down.
The thing is, after saying that, I think carrots and salsa are exactly what the doctor ordered.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Today was supposed to be a beautiful, sunny day. Sure, it was foggy in the morning, but the forecast called for the fog to lift around noon and leave us with 65 degrees and bright sunshine, not too shabby for the middle or March. So, I decided to ride my bike to work for the first time since moving here.
The ride to the base was completely downhill. After all, I live on the top of a hill (a good place to be when a hurricane, like Irene or something, decides to skirt by) and the base is right on the water. I can't argue with that for the morning ride -- nice and easy, since there's a chance I'm still half asleep.
The weather delivered, and by noon the day had opened up to something full of sunshine and warmth, in spite of the cold coastal breezes (well, more like winds). I did go train for my PRT at the gym today, walking to the gym, spending just a half hour doing a mock PRT followed by resistance sprints, and then walking back. I did ride over to the NEX to see if they had any wrist wallets so I could keep my ID snug and safe when I rode my bike; they did not.
I thought about riding up to T.J. Maxx on my own and getting the wrist wallet that I almost bought there the other day, but I thought better. I decided that since I was relatively new to riding my bike outdoors, I would just ride home. After all, I knew that since my trip to the base was downhill, that meant that my trip home was entirely... uphill.
It wasn't so bad until I got to the end. The nice steep hill that starts off my bike ride ends up being the awful steep hill that finishes my bike ride. I'm strong enough -- I noticed the difference that doing REAL resistance training on the stationary bike has made -- but it was still a beast for a first-timer.
When I input my bike rides into the fitness map feature on SparkPeople, it told me that my route to work was slightly longer and because I completed it faster, I burned more calories. My route from work is just a little bit different due to the one-way streets, so it was a little shorter, but the time it took me to complete the ride was a little longer. Sluggishness uphill. Of course the fitness tracker doesn't know about the amazing one-way hill, so it didn't know that I felt like my ride to work was a gentle joyride while my ride from work was a power struggle against the forces of nature. I came home from that feeling like I got a workout!
So, Fitness Tracker, I definitely beg to differ!
On another note, I think I had an epic moment today. I forgot to eat my mid-afternoon snack. I don't forget these things, but today I did. I ate a larger breakfast than normal (those bananas were turning all kinds of brown and needed to be consumed), but I still wanted my mid-morning snack. Just a quarter tablespoon of coconut oil (I call it a "fat fast"). I went to the gym before I ate lunch, so come 12:30 I was more than ready for my modest salmon salad. But then, around 2:30pm, I felt my energy dragging a bit, so I grabbed a small cup of coffee, continued with my work, and didn't even for a second think that maybe I needed a snack. At 3pm, I wrapped up my work, did my cleanups, changed my clothes, hopped on the bike, and headed over to the NEX in search of a wrist wallet. When I was done with that, I rode home.
By the time I got there, it was just after 4pm, and I could feel my stomach running on empty. But it was too early for dinner and too late for a snack, in my opinion. I had literally forgotten to eat. Not chosen. Forgotten.
Well, I wanted to go get some WD-40 for my bike (it's a little squeaky), purchase the wrist wallet from T.J. Maxx (I got the last one!), and then go to BJ's to see if they might be worth getting a membership because I'm really getting over our commissary being out of stuff all the time.
When we finally got back, it was just about 6pm, and I was finally pretty darn hungry! So, since my darling husband forgot to make the pork shoulder I had pulled out, in spite of me actually asking if I could trust him to "not screw it up" (my words exactly), I came to the rescue with turkey burgers! It's always good to have something extra like that laying around for a quick defrost and eat. I coated them with a bit of chipotle powder and paprika (or was it ancho chili? It was whatever smelled more like chipotle) and cooked them up. We ate them as a salad topped with guacamole and salsa. I even forgot I might have wanted cheese on them! Oh well!
One piece of Endangered Species chocolate later, and then I called it a food night. All together, it came out to less than 1400 calories. I must still be burning off food energy from my decadent birthday dinner.
Did I mention that, while hubby halved the recipe to make it fit into four ramekins so it was nicely portion controlled, he for some reason decided that a stick of butter was 16 tbsp., and he forgot to halve the chocolate? So really, each little serving had twice as much chocolate and coconut butter as it was supposed to.
I calculated. My "portion controlled" ramekins came in at just under 1,000 calories each. No wonder I felt almost sick after Sunday's dinner!
On another note, I did find a flourless chocolate cake recipe on FoodNetwork.com that also doesn't use a ton of sugar. It calls for super-dark chocolate, and the batter uses bananas and sweet potatoes. I think it also calls for 1/4 cup of honey, but I'm almost positive that with bananas and sweet potatoes, it will taste fine without honey. And it calls for orange zest or orange extract, which I think will make a divine dark chocolate cake! I must try it one of these days...
Still, for a decadent birthday dinner, hubby's cake fit the bill. Who's really going to argue with double butter and double chocolate on a day like that?
On one last note, my parents sent me money for my birthday so I could buy a much-coveted pair of Kalso Earth boots. I got them today, and while the calf is HUGE, they're kind of chunky motorcycle-looking anyway. I love them! They have a negative heel, and I compared those boots to a pair of FitFlops, and I definitely feel like I'm getting more of a workout from the Kalso Earth shoes. So, a little extra toning (shoes that make you feel like you're walking uphill all. the. time. will do that), and a cute, casual motorcycle look? Win!
I'm going to have to look into more of their shoes in the future. They're expensive, but they fit the happy-feet bill that I'm into.
I think there was something else profound and wonderful that I was planning on saying, but I forgot what it was, so at this point I think I'm going to end this post and curl up on the couch with a book. Ciao!
Monday, March 12, 2012
Yesterday, I got to celebrate the beginning of my last year being a 20-something. I do not feel for a second like I'm almost 30; I suppose that's why age is just a number!
I ate light the last day or two in preparation, but sometimes no preparation in the world can make up for how much you eat. Hubby wanted me out of the house so he could surprise me with dinner, so I went over to a friend's place, drank some very good Mexican tequila, and enjoyed some very good low-carb snacks. She is definitely one of those people who just discovered how much low-carb works for her, so when I'm over there, I never have to worry about food. She always makes a fabulous crab dip and serves it up with celery sticks.
We put the hurt on that crab dip. I also brought along a small portion of a goat cheese spread, toasted pecans, and salami rolls with cream cheese and sundried tomatoes. All stuff I was able to whip up in my kitchen quickly.
Let me share the super-easy recipe for the pecans, because these are some of the most delicious, addictive nuts I've ever eaten.
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 1/2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2-3 cups pecans
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350. Heat the butter in a skillet, add the Worcestershire sauce, and then toss in the pecans. The original recipe called for two cups, but I got three in and still got them all coated with butter and sauce. Sprinkle salt and pepper if desired. Once coated, put in a pan and bake for 10 minutes or until crispy. It took mine about 15 minutes.
These were seriously delicious and made A LOT of nuts. I divided it in half and took half of them with me to my friend's house, where we polished them off. So when hubby picked me up for dinner, I wasn't super-hungry, but he hit a small snag with dessert and had to run out and grab an ingredient. He just wanted to know if I was okay with him making whipped cream out of heavy whipping cream instead of coconut milk or cream or whatever he bought that clearly wasn't working. Of course I said okay -- one day of dairy isn't going to kill me. I might break out briefly, but then it'll clear up and I'll be over it.
That worked, because it gave me time to work up a small appetite. Good thing, too, because while dinner didn't look huge, it felt huge! He made kebabs that alternated bacon-wrapped scallops, onions and bell peppers, and bacon-wrapped stuffed jalapenos. Holy food! The cool part is that he used veggie cream cheese and tore up pieces of rice cheddar, and he thought they were so good that he would readily make poppers with the fake cheese and serve it to guests. Heck, I did that to my friend today, using veggie cream cheese in my salami rolls, and both she and her husband thought they were fabulous. I just never, ever say that it's not real cream cheese so even though I can taste the difference, nobody else knows to question it.
It was really good, if really heavy. I felt a little bad that I had already eaten as much as I had, because it would have tasted better if I had more of an appetite. The best part is that because they were kebabs, there was more food than we actually needed. I have one kebab waiting for me for another day, when I'll have an appropriate appetite to eat such a wonderful goodie!
The cake hubby made was awesome! Per my request, he made the recipe small enough to cook in four ramekins, so we had portions already divvied up. It meant making half the recipe (although he halved everything except the chocolate, which didn't cause any problems at all!) and then dividing it into four ramekins, so quite a nice bit of portion control there!
So what was it, you ask? A flourless ancho chili chocolate cake with cinnamony whipped cream! He was going to make his stand-by flourless chocolate cake with Frangelico ganache and berries, but then he wanted to double-check the ingredients, googled "Big Daddy's House flourless cake" and the first hit wasn't hubby's standby chocolate cake, it was "Ancho Chili Chocolate Flourless Cake." Hubby did a double-take, put away all the berries, and picked up the one ingredient he needed for the cake.
It was so delicious! Rich and chocolatey (I guess that's what you get when you essentially double the bittersweet chocolate in a recipe) but with a kick after you swallow. Think baked Mexican hot chocolate.
Something neat I learned about baking that evening, too. In hubby's first flourless chocolate cake recipe, you put the whole eggs in the batter, mix it up that way, and end up with a cake that looks and feels like a rich, dense brownie. In this recipe (the recipes really are almost identical), the big difference is that you separate the eggs, mix the sugar into the yolks, beat the whites until they're superfluffy and stiff, and then fold the batter in, and you end up with something that is airier and more cake-like. I wonder if you could do the same with the ganache recipe, or if the ganache would be heavy enough that the cake would collapse. Kinda like it did under the weight of the candles hubby put on ours last night!
See, the kebabs are really quite moderate, unless you've eaten half a cup of roasted pecans, a serving of salami with cream cheese, and way more crab dip than you're willing to account for.
These were really special. Seriously. Whereas the original "amazing cake" with the Frangelico ganache and the berries is universally pleasing and has become hubby's go-to dessert when we're providing a dessert, this was something he wouldn't make for just anyone. It might have to stay between us. I'm okay with that. If he makes this for me every year, I'll be okay with it.
And that's how we do birthdays in my house. My parents called me, and my brother even called me from the West Coast and we chit-chatted a bit. We're not big phone people (or at least I'm not), so I forget that I actually LIKE talking to my brother! It was a nice treat.
Today, I can't look at food. I might be hungry for a small portion of dinner later tonight but otherwise dinner is the last thing on my mind. We have the day off because Saturday's parade made for a full workday. It's supposed to be almost 60 here today and sunny, so I think I'm going to have to enjoy some outdoor walking-around time. Yay!
Friday, March 09, 2012
I got up at 5:30am again today, after a long, comatose sleep. I don't know if it was the weather or if it was my brain still decompressing, but I spent the first half of the day warding off a massive migraine. Coffee and Excedrin...
I had an 8:00am muster for a graduation and then, since we're doing a St. Patrick's Day parade tomorrow in Providence, we got the afternoon off. I hit the gym and did my regular bodyweight exercise. I took a few of the exercises down a notch to make sure that yeah, I can do them. The inverted pushups that I had been doing with my legs elevated I did with my feet on the floor and aimed for 15, and I got that number easily. So I guess I really should work on doing the dive-bomber push-ups. I *only* need to work up to 10 of those...
I'm also making more use of the assisted pull-up machine to practice pull-ups instead of doing reverse pull-ups. Right now I'm doing 2 sets of 15 with 50 pounds of assistance, and I kinda wonder how much resistance (or little) I need before I go back to doing reverse pull-ups.
Tomorrow morning, I'm going to do my first running workout since I got the stress fracture in January. The Primal Blueprint fitness book says that running uphill is easier on feet because the foot doesn't fall as far, and since I can't run straight distances anyway, I decided I would walk down to a street with a good hill and do 30 second sprints up the hill, then rest as long as it takes to walk down the hill and maybe catch my breath a bit. I'm hoping to do 8 sprints -- a grand total of 4 minutes running.
That's okay, I'm getting more and more sold on the idea of making a cardio workout either super-hard or super-easy. By doing slow cardio, I actually get more activity in without feeling like my body has taken a huge beating. I don't feel tired and sore all the time. I have been feeling more relaxed and less frantic, and that's been the feeling this entire week, even before the exam.
Today, I was in the gym on the elliptical to put in a half hour of extra slow cardio time, and I couldn't help but look at everyone on their cardio machines just looking kinda pathetic -- myself included. It's kinda sad watching everyone be a hamster on a wheel, but the final straw was when someone got on the squeaky machine. I don't care, if I get on a piece of cardio equipment and it's the squeaky one, I get off and find another machine. There is NO EXCUSE for putting the rest of the gym through the torture of 30-60 minutes of your rhythmic squeaking. No, no, no.
So I was more than glad when my half hour was up and I could walk to the commissary to do some grocery shopping, then walk to my car to drive home for the afternoon. I gave myself a test: without hurrying, how much cleaning could be accomplished in one hour? I found out: I swept and vacuumed all the floors, dusted all the shelves in the den and the living room, and used a sticky roller to remove cat hair from one couch, two chairs, and the bedspread. That's actually a heck of a lot of clean in one hour. Then, I sat down to play a videogame.
Ah, relaxation. Makes me completely okay with going to a parade tomorrow. I got to relax a ton today. I get Monday off, and then I get Tuesday morning off because I have a gig that evening. Yeah, the schedule is a little weird, but it always balances out.
Well, since tomorrow is another super-early wake-up, today is another super-early bedtime. A very relaxed bedtime, indeed!
Thursday, March 08, 2012
I had my advancement exam today, finally. We had to be at the Officer's Club at 6:30am, then we sat around while everybody checked in. Doors locked at 7:00am, then they went through a million instructions, let us take a bathroom break, and then at 7:38am we began the exam and had exactly 3 hours to finish.
I was the dead last one there by a long shot. The proctor called 20 minutes left and I was the only one in the room. When I left, there were only five minutes left. But you better believe, with as complicated as some of those questions were, I wanted those 20 minutes to go back over questions that I had circled as needing to be looked over.
I had a huge breakfast this morning: eggs, four slices of bacon, a banana, and 6 tbsp. dark chocolate almond butter (hey, I might as well indulge a little!). That definitely got me through the exam.
When I was done, I was seriously thirsty and had a raging headache. I didn't feel defeated, though. I skipped ones that my brain was too fried to handle, went through the test, finished with the professional military questions, and then went back to the toughest questions. Doing the military questions gave my brain a break, so I felt like I hit the hardest questions with a second wind and suddenly questions that seemed daunting weren't so bad. I'm just hoping that when I get my scores back, I was right, they weren't that daunting!
I won't find out for another two months.
At least it's over. I think my husband is almost more excited that I am. He told the teacher he was assisting today that now, in the evenings, we can sit down together and watch a favorite TV show or movie instead of, "Hey, honey, can you quiz me on this?" LOL.
I felt a little queasy when I was done with my exam, so I skipped the pizza party and headed home. I changed out of my uniform and got a pedicure! Yay! Now my toes are a fresh and relaxing minty green color, although the problem with having perpetually pedicured toes is that I didn't realize I had let my pinky toes grow too long, so the abuse from shoes means that they're both probably going to fall off. EEEEW!
So I will keep those bad boys clipped from now on!
When I was done with that, I came home, drank some green tea with coconut oil since I was finally feeling hungry but not for food, and then went to walk around Newport. It was beautifully sunny out and 56 degrees, but the wind was wicked! I walked around for about 45 minutes before I just wanted to get home.
Hubby and I kind of hung out a little bit, and then around 4:30pm I made dinner, since that's when I was finally really hungry. I also wanted to eat early enough because I was planning on going to the ballet class tonight.
I walked down there with hubby, but then I found out that the class isn't suitable for beginners. The woman I talked to was under the impression that I had taken ballet before, but she took my name and number down because she's had several people ask about beginning dance classes and is hoping with four people, maybe once the troupe gets back from their Florida tour in two weeks, one of them will be willing to start up the beginner class again. There was a class, but interest dwindled and it kind of fell out. She did recommend that I come to the Wednesday class and at least sit in so I could see what they do and judge for myself whether or not I could pick up on the moves.
So, a minor disappointment, but nothing horrible. I just came home, looked up some ballet workouts, and played ballerina on my yoga mat in the living room.
Who would have thought that those moves burn so bad?! Actually, it's not the moves themselves, it's the number of reps. 30 reps per move. I did some plies in first and second position, releves in third position, some mat work, some leg circles, and a few little jumps, and for basically any of the moves that weren't squat-related, it took a lot of willpower and a few breaks to make it to 30 reps. Like, there's the butt-bridge, but you're up on your toes, one leg is straight out so you're just balancing on the other leg, and you pulse your hips up and down. It's probably one of the most killer hamstring exercises I've ever done, and I'm ashamed to say that doing arabesques on the mat was the most butt-burning experience I've had in a long time.
Just for funsies, I also did a little arm work, 50 biceps curls with ridiculously light weights, arm raises, all kinds of arm circles, and pulsing dips on the mat. Doing all those light exercises for endurance is a whole different ball game! I'm finding that while I truly enjoy lifting weights in the gym, all I've gotten out of it is being able to lift heavier weights. It did help with my pushups and my run time, but I can't do ballet moves without getting pooped out really fast! I can't keep up with all of Billy Blank's moves in the Tae-bo DVD I just bought. Basically, I can't move my own body through space as easily as I'd like. So I'm going to stick with it.
I am still going to stick with the one Primal Blueprint workout of basic pushups, pullups, squats, inverted pushups, and planks so I have one consistent heavy bodyweight workout each week, I'm going to stick with yoga each week, and I'm going to stick with my plyometric leg workout. Everything else, ballet workouts included, fall under "play," in my opinion. But who knows, given time, I might "play around" with ballet workouts more. Or Tae-bo. Or both. And I plan on starting to bike to work.
Last five pounds, your days are numbered!
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