Archive | September 2012

Lentil Quinoa Stew

I have never written a recipe post before.  I do love to cook, and I am always trolling blogs for recipes, so what the heck.  Here goes nothing.

I was inspired by Heather yesterday to take “imperfect action”.  I wanted to make something that was really healthy but also very satisfying to eat (I like to feel full; I didn’t get this way by not liking food!).  I wanted to feel good about what I was eating instead of making another lousy choice.

The slow cooker was an appealing choice yesterday with the kids at home for Yom Kippur (read:  didn’t feel like actually cooking) with stuff that I already had on hand (read:  too lazy to go shopping).  I started looking around online for recipes and found a few things with some of the ingredients I had, so I knew that I could theoretically cook what I had in the slow cooker.

Here’s the ingredients I used.  You could vary them based on whatever you have in the pantry or vegetable bin:

2 medium sized potatoes
1 red bell pepper
4 medium carrots (or a bazillion baby ones like I used because that was what was in the bottom of my vegetable bin)
1 shallot (you could use onion here, but I was out and a shallot was all I had)
2 cloves garlic
1 c quinoa
1 c lentils (I had green ones on hand but whatever would work fine I am sure)
2 cans diced tomatoes (don’t drain them)
4 c chicken broth
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp oregano
2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley (only because I had it in the bin and it is about to turn, you could probably skip this if you don’t have any)

Here’s what I did:

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Chop the potatoes up.  I did them into slices and then quartered the slices.  I left the peel on because I am lazy they are full of nutrients.  Throw them into your slow cooker of choice.

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Chop up all of your other veggies.  Rough chop is fine.  Mince the garlic pretty finely.  Like my fancy Farmers’ Market garlic here?  It’s so pretty….

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Once you’re done with the veggies it will look like this in your pot.  Then rinse off the quinoa and lentils in a strainer:  Apparently this is quite important.  Toss that into the slow cooker.

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Then just throw in everything else (sensing a theme here?):  the tomatoes (don’t drain them) the spices, the chicken broth.  I stirred it all around to get it going.  Afterwards, my counter looked like the above photo.  Apparently I used Adobo in there too.  Whatever sounds good to you.

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Turn your slow cooker on low.  Like mine?  It’s my mom’s from like 1985.  This one replaced the avocado green one she used in the 1970s.  Because I am super cheap environmentally friendly, I’ve never replaced it.  It still works like a charm!  Set it on low and let it go at least eight hours.  Don’t try it at the six hour mark, trust me.

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After a good eight hours on low (or I suppose four hours on high) you will be rewarded with a thick, well flavored stew.  I called it “chili” in an effort to get my kids to eat it.  They like “chili” but not “stew” or “soup” (I blame the semantics on my husband).  Anyway, even though I tried to disguise the new meal as an old one they were familiar with, I think the sprouty quinoa threw them off visually.  Neither were super pleased with it, even though I thought it was fan freaking tastic.  But they did eat it.  Well, mostly.

So there you have it.  Lentil Quinoa Stew.  You could make this totally vegan of course by using vegetable broth.

Enjoy!

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Wednesday Weigh In

All I want to say is:

“REALLY?”

Up 1.6 over last week’s weigh in.  This is what the last month looks like in My Fitness Pal:

I mean, you can’t get any more maintain-ey than that.  Except I’m not trying to maintain.  I’m trying to lose!

Oh, and for those of you keeping score, that last little dot?  Yep, higher than the first dot.

I honestly don’t get the gain this week. I truly don’t. I worked out like never before at FitBloggin’, ate healthy foods (and never too much of it) and basically had a great week. The only guess I can make is that the new workouts worked muscles I haven’t been using and that has caused me to retain some water in them. Because fitness wise?  I feel strong and like I am definitely making progress and moving forward, noticably.

So, it is what it is.  I am going to have to move past it, because I think it is totally not a representation of this week for me.  Sure, sometimes the scale is “feedback not failure” (as I learned in one of my WW meetings a few years back).  But this week?  It more feels like one of those quirky weeks that sometimes happen and there’s no rhyme or reason to it.

So, back to work.  Still sticking to the no bread rule pretty well.  The only one glass of wine on week nights rule?  Out the window last night.  And Sunday night, if you count Sunday as a weeknight.  I don’t normally, but then I suppose I would have to count Friday as a weeknight.  I mean, there aren’t three weekend nights, right?
Then again, if I could just do that four nights a week I’d be doing more than I was, so let’s go with that.

This week?  My goal is to try to find some new strength workouts online to keep working the muscles that I clearly wasn’t before FitBloggin’.  If anyone has any suggestions, leave some in the comments!

Downward

I’m looking at these pictures right now and honestly, they feel so very far away, even though they’re only 48 hours old.

I got up early on Sunday to run the 5K.  I have been super excited about this ever since I knew I was going to FitBloggin.  I started Couch to 5K a year ago this month.  At this point last year I think I was rocking running maybe 5 minutes at a stretch.  I was really wanting to run the Inner Harbor and having this final moment of FitBloggin’ prove how far I’ve come.

I had a little trepidation once I entered the conference room where we were all gathered. Sure, there were all shapes and sizes.  But as I overheard the Real Runners talk about their “easy 8 minute pace” I started all of my usual negative comparison behaviors.  I didn’t want to be last.  I wished I’d worked harder this year, run further, faster.  Shouldn’t I be running faster by now?  My last 5K clocked me in at 40:13, which was my second worst.  I started to worry that maybe this wasn’t going to be a great final moment.  Maybe it was going to make me feel bad.

Once we got out there though, the sun and the scenery won out.  I found my steady pace and forced myself to just keep going.  It was a mostly flat course, so I was able to never feel that “OMG I am going to die right now” feeling.  The herd was well ahead of me, but I kept pace with a few women (fangirl alert:  I caught up to Susan Ito and was near her for most of the second half!) and finished feeling good.  Strong.  Empowered.  Which is why I did something stupid and posed for this photo at the Reebok booth totally sweaty and nasty.  I didn’t care.  I ran the whole 5K at Fitbloggin’.  I was a rockstar.

I said some quick goodbyes (nearly crying but making myself not) and went to my hotel to get cleaned up and hit the road.  My five hour drive home went quickly and I spent my very tired afternoon bonding with my kids and husband.  I went to sleep satisfied and honored and feeling like a new chapter in my life had just begun.

But.

Then I woke up.  First thing I did?  Step on the scale.

UP THREE POUNDS.  WTF?

Still, I forced myself onto the treadmill and walked three fast miles (who was it that said the treadmill was a tollbooth, and no matter what you owe it three miles?  That made me do all three.  I wanted to stop but that kept me going).  Then I sat down to the myriad of work emails, new friend emails, all manner of Twitter and Facebook fun.

Plus laundry.

Plus a messy house (I work from home).

Plus….everything.

And suddenly, the downward spiral began.  I could feel it.  And wouldn’t you know, instead of being inspired to eat all healthy as I had been for three days, I was more inspired to eat….anything.

And by the end of the day I was drinking wine and logging in 500 calories of trail mix (not the healthy kind, the kind with M and Ms) and a few hundred more of McDonald’s French Fries.  Self sabotage, welcome back.  I had a feeling you were waiting around the corner for me.

I feel so far from all of that energy and inspiration that was FitBloggin’.  I know it’s silly and crazy, but I miss all of those people that I didn’t even know this time last week.  I miss feeling like I’m surrounded by people Just Like Me.  And all I want to do is eat my crappy trail mix and look at Twitter and my photos and get back to where I belong.

But I can’t.

So this morning, I got up and went for a run.  I ran a 5K around my neighborhood.  And you know what?  It was easier than the last time I did it.  In fact, it was easier than it has been in a while.  I didn’t stop to walk.  I didn’t even really want to.

I felt good.  I felt strong.  I felt empowered.

And so….today’s another day.  I’m going to try, really really hard, to (mostly) move forward.

Home From FitBloggin’

Holy crap, it’s over.

There’s so much I want to say about FitBloggin’.  Truly, as much as I’d loved the first two days, it was the third day that really put it completely over the top for me.  In the morning I did two absolutely killer workouts: the first with Fit Trampoline.  It was super hard.  It was super fun.  I usually hate tough workout classes.  I avoid BootCamp anything like the plague.  But this was different.  I don’t know if it was the people I was with, the lower impact of the trampoline, or what, but even though I knew I was working hard, I was absolutely loving it.  I went full out right to the end.  It was freaking awesome.

After that, it was Zumba.  Yep.  Back to back workouts.  I am not this type of person.  But I’ve never tried Zumba and I’ve always heard great things about it.  Plus, this session was being led by Mrs. Fatass, who everyone was raving about.

They were right.  Sue, along with Sam, led a high energy session of Zumba to oh, like 100 people all at once.  It was crazy.  I did all the moves wrong.  But it was fun and loud and I kept on sweating.  There’s something insanely motivating about having a room full of people of all different fitness levels going at a workout like that.  I didn’t feel self conscious or stupid or uncoordinated.  I just felt good.  I haven’t really ever had that happen except with running.  And so now my mind is more open about maybe doing some other things.  Thanks, Sue!

The workouts that morning changed my view of exercise classes.  Maybe it isn’t that I hate them.  Maybe it’s that I haven’t found the right ones yet.

I had somewhat of a dilemma at this point.  While I wanted to go to the nuts and bolts informational sessions in the afternoon,  because not only would they help me improve my blog traffic (insert my whiny “WHAT ABOUT ME” from previous post here), they would also help me with my paid website clients.  But as I spoke with my new friend Sylvia, she convinced me that I might get more out of going to the discussion session that afternoon called “When You Have a Lot To Lose.”  We reasoned that whatever information might be presented at the other workshops would be well recapped online, but that an emotional discussion sharing session couldn’t be recaptured in the same way.

She was so right.

It was that afternoon session that really pulled the whole conference together for me.  It showed me the real reason that all of these people were together here.  Sure there was learning to be had, and famous bloggers to stalk, but at the end of the day, we all blog for the same reason.

To connect.  To share.   To support.  To inspire and be inspired.

As I listened to story after story, I heard more and more pieces of my own.  This person was just like me in one way.  That one in another.  That one stole the words right out of my own thoughts at that moment.  We were all the same in some way or another.  We were all connected by a common need to be more, do more, but have all struggled within ourselves at some point or another, in some way or another, to get there.  To feel like our very best version of ourselves.  Most of us are just somewhere on the journey.  No one is ever really there.

It was what Oprah would call an “a-ha” moment.  It made everything make sense.  To use an overused phrase, a life changing moment.

By the time the reception rolled around later that evening, I was full to the brim.  I went from blogger to blogger and just connected.  Took photos, shared hugs, thanked them for sharing their stories with me, with the universe.

The three glasses of wine didn’t hurt either, of course.  I know I made that rule about having one glass a day.  But if you read the fine print I put in there “weekdays”.  I know myself that well, at least.  It was a Saturday, wooohoo.

Here are some photos with those that I stalked connected with Saturday night.

                   

(I will put names and websites on these, I promise, but hubby has made dinner and after four days away, it probably is a good idea to pay attention to him at this point).

More to come on the 5K and the final day….

A Bit Intimidated But Ready For More

Back in the hotel room, I’ve gone through Twitter with a fine tooth comb and my head is a blur thinking about the day.  The morning was all about the fitness portion, and the afternoon was all about the nuts and bolts of blogging.

First off, in my desperate need for a shower after six whole minutes of Cross Fit and about half of Cathe Friedrich’s workout session (I was LiveBlogging, that’s my excuse), I missed the one session I had totally been desperate to see:  Transition from Blog to Book.  My other blog originally started out as my retelling of my life story, one moment at a time.  I have always been told it would translate well into a book.  But alas, I needed a shower, so I guess I’ll not be figuring out how to make that happen today.

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Anyway, after I was clean, I went to Emily Sandford’s session on social media.  I LOVED IT.  Holy smokes, it was freakin’ geek heaven. It tied everything together so well for me that I have been trying to teach myself as not only a blogger but a web designer.  The information was so pertinent and so useful, and clearly presented.  Plus Emily is very funny.  I mean, I was so excited I took pictures of her slides!

I also went to the Business of Blogging discussion session today.  And as much as I felt like I was in my element in the social media session, this one left me feeling very intimidated.  So many bloggers who have been building businesses from their words online.  Nearly everyone in the room seemed to have been at it for years.  And while I’ve blogged consistently for three years now, I still felt like a total novice beginner.  And then I began to question why I blog.  I mean, I blog mostly for me, and while I’ve always hoped my work finds an audience, I’ve never really worked to build that.  One of the comments today in this session was “We don’t exist without an audience.”  My other blog, three years in, sometimes only gets 10 pageviews in a day.  So does that mean I don’t exist?  I’m still mulling over that discussion in my head.  I mean, all of these people were able to build these big audiences?  My inner teenage insecure girl was screaming “What’s Wrong With MEEEEEEE?”  That being said, I’ll have to revisit my notes and see if I can do more.

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I don’t know if it was my feelings of inadequacy or the fact that Roni was speaking to a woman I met last night at the mixer, but I finally decided it was time to introduce myself to Roni Noone.  I told her how I have been following her blog for five years, how she has been so inspirational to me with her struggles and her honesty.  She was just as nice as I had ever imagined she would be, and even posed for this photo with me.  It made me feel slightly less inferior when she retweeted my Instagram of it.

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Unfortunately all of my newly found pals had disappeared while I had my star struck fangirl moment, so I was left all alone to go hunt down dinner.  I walked around the Harbor area for a while and decided that if I was in freaking Baltimore, I should be eating seafood while looking at the water.  Which is why I ordered Maryland Crab soup and the biggest glass of wine I could have without having the whole bottle.

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It was a little weird to eat all alone, but hey, if you had something like this put in front of you, you’d forget that it felt weird and enjoy, right?  Well, that’s just what I did.  The mussels and crab soup were delish! I did end up breaking my no bread rule with that garlic bread though.  It sopped up the wine and garlic sauce so nicely.

After dinner I went back to the Ignite Keynote session.  I’m glad to say I met up again with my new friend Heather Hurd of my morning workout, so most of my inferiority complex was able to stay well at bay.  The other girls at the table were super nice too.

The five minute speeches ran the gamut and were alternately inspiring, hilarious and educational.   I left fully recharged and ready for tomorrow to begin.  Tomorrow…I am ready for you.

LiveBloggin’ At FitBloggin’

Woohoo!  So I’m a real, live, LiveBlogger here at Fitbloggin’!  I just pressed publish on my LiveBlog and it is all live and readable on the real, live FitBloggin’ website.

Workout with Cathe Friedrich by ME!

In addition to my livebloggin’ duties today I did my first ever Cross Fit workout, partnering with someone I’d never met but have now bonded so much with that we each commemorated the moment with sweaty pictures of ourselves together.  Heather, we rock!  I wore my fancy new Reeboks that I got in my swag bag yesterday.  Comfy!

I started doing my official LiveBlog duties for the Cathe Friedrich workout session and actually got a little bummed that I wasn’t getting in the awesome workout.  So I started alternating between taking pictures like a crazy person and doing the workout.  Hoping I burned a few calories.

The rest of the time here is mine to do with what I want….my official duties are over.  Time to go find something to eat and figure out what else to do next!

Quick Fitbloggin Post

Super quick post, a la Roni Noone’s photo blog posts….

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Since I’m not staying at the conference hotel, I had to find it after I arrived in Baltimore.  It meant a lovely, lovely stroll around the inner harbor this afternoon.  The weather was perfect!  And because I was closer than I thought I was, I ended up being THE VERY FIRST person to register this afternoon for Fitbloggin.  Yes, my family will not be surprised to hear I was nearly an hour early.  They hate that about me.

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I embarassed myself not being able to choose between the Exercise Bands swag bag or the Yoga mat bag.  I flip flopped and ended up choosing the Yoga Mat bag (and yet, inexplicably did not take a photo of the offending item).  Look at all the freakin’ swag!  If you don’t see it there, there is a brand new pair of Reeboks in that mess ‘o goodies.  AWESOME start to the conference, I must say!

I trucked my bag full of goodies back to my hotel and still made it back as registration was just starting.  OY.

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Gotta say, I’m a bit star struck by Roni (must have been shaking when I took this uber blurry photo of her).  I’ve been following her blog since my initial weight loss of 2007, when her site was still called WeightWatchen.   I’m playing it cool though….very cool.  In other words, she still doesn’t know I exist.   But I’m on her radar….I just know it.  🙂

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Speaking of star struck, I met tons of cool bloggers tonight!  Here we have Sheryl Yvette (@BitchCakesNY), who brought these awesome donuts from Brooklyn to the conference (Peter Pan Donuts and Pastry, to be exact).  Yes, you read that right.  Donuts at the fitness blogging conference.  Of course we all had to try them!  That’s Sue O’Lear (@MrsFatAss) herself stuffing her face.  Love it!

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After an amazing performance by Susan Ito, who did this very spot on monolouge/performance art about her wake up call to fitness and weight loss, two new friends and I went out to dinner at a lovely harborside restaurant.  What  a view, huh?  Shoutout to Calie Shackleford (@broccolicupcake) and Sylvia Bolter (@cowgirlwarrior).  Who knew you could spend such a pleasant evening with people you just met!  People told me that I’d make friends quickly here, but I honestly didn’t really believe it.  Well, I believe it now.

I cannot stinking wait for tomorrow.  I’ll be liveblogging one of the workoutsessions and then have the rest of the day to workout, learn stuff and meet more awesome people.   Yay, Fitbloggin!