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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Je ne regrette rien!

Me and my babies circa 2011
*Google translated as "I regret nothing!"

Happy Mardi Gras y'all!

My father is from Louisiana and we have a Cajun background so I've made it a point to celebrate Mardi Gras with my kiddos every year. Nothing too crazy but we make some Cajun food, have a King Cake, and accessorize to some degree.

This year my son has a choir concert this evening and thus we celebrated a day early. Last year I went through the whole ordeal of making gumbo but since that requires pretty much an entire day by the stove and about $80 worth of groceries just for that one pot of food (though it does serve like 20 people or a family of four over several meals and leftovers freeze nicely) I picked an easier meal for this year.

Shrimp & Crab Étouffée - based on this recipe with a couple slight changes: https://spicysouthernkitchen.com/shrimp-etouffee/

This recipe requires a "roux". If you've never made a roux from scratch you should know that it takes a lot of time and forearm strength since it's 20-30  minutes of constant stirring until it reaches the perfect color. Our family always aims for the color of peanut butter but some (like the recipe above) go much darker in their color - it's all a matter of preference). Now the original recipe said this would serve 4 people but we definitely have about 8-10 servings which is a good thing since the calorie count for the entire recipe ended up around 2400 calories. Considering that you add in rice, usually with a side of garlic bread, a dessert of King Cake, and Hurricane cocktails - well, it's not surprising that I exceeded my calorie counts yesterday. But as this is a once a year type of food and celebration I have no problem with a little excess. 

Even the bear gets into Mardi Gras
Another tradition for Mardi Gras is the making of pancakes. While this has never been our thing I did try out a pancake recipe over the weekend that I thought I would post on here. This one has been around for a while so you may have already tried it but it was the first time I used it.



The base recipe really is just one banana and two eggs but in the recipe above it suggests adding baking powder, salt, and vanilla which I did when I tried it out. The first taste was a little surprising (very banana like of course) but after that first "what is this?!" bite I really enjoyed them. My daughter did not and requested an Eggo waffle instead. 

I don't know that I would make these instead of my Biggest Loser pancakes that are a regular staple in my diet but if I was out of cottage cheese it's a good alternative if the rest of the family is eating regular pancakes and I want something a bit more healthy.

Weekly Review
I didn't participate in the weekly wrap due to time restrictions and not being able to dedicate time to reading and commenting on other blogs but last week went fine. Hit all my exercise goals and I'm trying to figure out long term diet habits (i.e. how to balance out carbs more realistically). Motivation wise I'm feeling pretty blah at the moment which makes everything seem like I'm off track but when I step back, I realize that I am doing fine and am just lower on the emotion side of things which happens. Weight loss for last week was about 1.5 pounds which is to be expected after the big loss of 4 pounds in the prior week. 

Now off to Barre torture plus 60 squats...


Friday, February 9, 2018

Cults, Camps, and Taco Bell

Not really much to blog about this week so just a quick pop in to say that things are going fine and to share what's been running through this random brain of mine...

Podcasts I love:
I happened to catch the end of a NPR interview with the host of the Heaven's Gate Podcast which was released at the end of 2017. It sounded like a  podcast I would like so I started the first episode over the weekend while I was on the indoor track. OMG so so good. I binge-listened to it all week. If you remember, Heaven's Gate was the cult that committed mass suicide in the San Diego area in 1997 because they thought the aliens would rapture their spirits up to God when the Hale-Bopp comet was going by. While I vaguely remember those headlines from 20 years ago it's been fascinating to really look at what goes into a group like this, interviews with former members, and family members left behind. It's an excellent production and I highly recommend adding it to your library.

I'm also listening to Maisel Goys which is a podcast from the makers of Gilmore Guys but about the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime series) - also good but completely different...

Summer Camps
I'm trying to figure out what my kids will do all summer long. They're currently in 4th and 7th grade which means they can stay home by themselves for limited amounts of time but good lord I better plan something over the summer for them so they don't kill each other or burn the house down...

Didn't you always dream of summer camp being like it was in the Disney movies? You'd have delightful days on the lake, playing pranks on each other, and finding your long lost twin sister who had been cruelly separated from you at birth!?! Just me? Fine, moving on...

Anyway, planning summer camps as a parent is not as fun.  And it's super expensive. AND since all camps want to be held in two weeks over June - you're screwed for the rest of the summer. So anyway, I'm starting to plan that for this coming summer.

Taco Bell Hell
I know better - yes I do. But Tuesday was hard y'all. One kid here, the other one there, back and forth and who has time to make a healthy and whole dinner? A quick calculation and I thought 2 hard tacos from Taco Bell wouldn't be the worst thing in the world for my diet. Maybe calories wise it was an ok choice but I was chugging Maalox later that night as the heartburn wasn't kidding around. I've been trying to behave better for the remainder of the week.

There have been some adjustments to the plan for this week as Zumba was cancelled on Wednesday - so that became my rest day and I'll fit something in on Sunday. And I've moved around some of the other things but overall I'm still getting the planned C25K runs in and the strength training I wrote down last week and working through Rachel's Supermans/Squats/Twists challenge.

Winter is Not Forever, it just feels like it...
It's a gorgeous sunny day today which I will enjoy and celebrate by using the BBQ for some steaks tonight. Unfortunately, starting tomorrow it all turns to rain again and from the weather forecast it looks like the rain won't stop for a couple of weeks. I despise this part of winter; it's almost insulting to be so close to spring but covered by gray skies or freezing weather. But this too shall pass.


Monday, February 5, 2018

A real bonafide plan!

First a scale update -
Last week was actually a 4 pound loss! I "officially" weigh myself every Monday morning and I was down another pound from my last post. That brings me to 20 lbs overall since January 1. And now I'm sure I'll sit at this weight for a week as my body is like, "WTF?" and holds on to everything.

Up until this morning everything has been a little loosey-goosey regarding a schedule for my workout plans. And that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. I needed time to get back into the groove and not be too strict about doing any one thing. I was consistent about working out but the workouts were whatever struck me as fun at the moment.

As mentioned in my last post I joined up with Rachel's Supermans, Squats, and Twists challenge. While I didn't (and would never) have FOMO about the burpees challenge this one was more up my alley. But in looking at the plan, where certain muscle groups are targeted on different days, I knew I didn't want another week where I did leg work two days in a row and then had to deal with 3 days of DOMS (aka last week).

It all clicked when I read Kim's Weekly Wrap-Up and she posted her week's plan. Suddenly I realized that just because I had done legs on the last couple of Mondays didn't mean I was stuck in that forever. Thankfully the squat days line up with the Barre class that I'll be going to this month so Tuesdays are now legs day instead of Mondays...

Well here's the whole deal (FYI: spell check is anti-"Supermans":
5 days of cardio and 2 days each of the major muscle groups.
I won't always be able to get to Zumba on Saturdays so that might just be a challenge and core day or if I really need the cardio I'll throw in the elliptical; but I like the plan as of now. I'll adjust as time goes on if needed.

Running Updates -
My speed is improving but my mileage is still very low. Because of my overall slower pace, the C25K runs at this stage only cover 2 miles. However, I have moved up my pace from a 15 min/mile to 13.5 min/mile (this still includes lots of walking intervals) and as walking portions decrease, I anticipate that pace to increase progressively until I'm back to my standard 10.5-11 min pace. Right now the running portions of the C25K intervals are about a 10-10.5 m/m pace. I don't run with a Garmin or other speed tracker but I've measured out the distances of the laps on the indoor track that I use so I can calculate it old school.

I totally had this calculator in the 80's - now I miss it...

By the end of February I will be finished with week 5 of the C25K plan and at that point I'll switch to 4:1 intervals again and try to bring up my mileage on a longer run once a week. Keep in mind that when I say long run" I'm not talking about more than 5-6 miles at the most. During the week my time is limited so most runs will still be 2-3 miles each. My thoughts on running are the same as last year - "there's absolutely no need for me to run anything longer than a 10k". I'd rather focus my time on other kinds of training than to spend up to 2 hours running on a Saturday or Sunday morning. I might get seduced by a race later on but for now having these 2-3 mile runs are perfect.