September 24, 2011

All in the name of good times…

Busy busy busy! I am actually up at 5:15 in the morning! Being this busy on a Saturday would normally be a bummer, but since it’s all for the sake of good times, I’m not complaining.

Here was last night’s healthy dinner:

cashew tofu

I planned to try a dish from my Peas and Thank You cookbook, but I decided that was going to take way too much time and energy. I modified it and was relatively pleased. The sauce was good but a wee bit too tangy for me. I’ll definitely make it again, but I won’t add the full amount of apple cider vinegar. Kevin and I enjoyed this meal with chilled pinot grigio.

Here were my workouts for the week:

  • Sunday: Cleaning House (That’s kind of a workout, right? It’s exhausting!)
  • Monday: Elliptical (25 minutes with intervals), Leg Day with Reps in the 12-15 Range
  • Tuesday: 99 Workout (with very modified pushups)
  • Wednesday: Run (2.5 mi), Back Day with Reps in the 8-10 Range
  • Thursday: Skip! (my body needed rest, though I did take a 30-minute walk)
  • Friday: Arc Trainer(30 minutes), Arm Day with 3 Sets of 8-10 Reps
  • Saturday: Run (2 mi, super speedy), I *would* do pilates if I had more time

I don’t plan on eating “clean” all weekend, but wish me luck on doing better than last weekend. Baby steps!

Ooohhhh by the way… aren’t these gorgeous??? I didn’t order them, but I was drooling over my keyboard when I saw them yesterday.

Nine West boots

Nine West boots

Are you busy this weekend, or are you just busy relaxing?

Stumble It!

September 23, 2011

Beerly Made It to Friday

TGIF Y’all! Whew – it’s a good thing today’s Friday; I’m not sure I could put in one more day of work. I think everyone who put in their 40 this week deserves a pat on the back, or at least a beer… but that’s just my opinion.

In my WIAW post I said I was having raspberries in my protein oats all week, but I changed it up a bit. When I saw the farmer’s stand still had fresh, local peaches, I couldn’t help myself.

peaches n' whey [protein]

Awesomeness.

You know what else is awesome? These 2 beers I tried last weekend. I didn’t take notes, so instead of doing a full review on only 1, I decided to combine 2 mini reviews in 1 post.

Lagunitas A Little Sumpin Sumpin Ale

It’s a very hoppy ale that has the flavor of an IPA with a hint and backbone of a wheat. It’s a hybrid of sorts. No matter the official label, I call it darn tasty!

sumpin sumpin

For months I looked all over town to get my hands on a six-pack or fresh pint of this. I finally got lucky at a specialty shop – though they only had 5 in stock. The shop charged $2.25 per bottle, so I only got 4. At 7.5% ABV, I guess I didn’t really need too much of this stuff anyway.

Post Road Pumpkin Ale

I think this one’s more of a C- or B-grade beer. I like the spice, but something about it just doesn’t seem authentic. (I have no better way of describing it.) Brooklyn Brewer’s Post Road is also too light on pumpkin flavor.

Post Road

Luckily, I enjoyed this beer while sitting around a fire pit with some friends. It was definitely the perfect context for the season’s first pumpkin brew.

Have you tried any new beers lately? What’s your favorite pumpkin brew?

PS: For those of you following my tweets, last night’s hair appointment was very relaxing!

book wine hair

Stumble It!

September 22, 2011

The Good, the Bad, and the Spicy

The Good:

Food pushers planned an ice cream social at the office yesterday, and I did not eat any ice cream.  Not even a cone, y’all – this is serious.  Given my overall lack of willpower and my infatuation with sweets, this is good.  Really good.

I’m not the only one who fought the urge to partake.  I’m not sure why companies don’t just offer fruit socials or tea time instead.  Many health insurance providers give discounts for employees’ healthy actions, so why is our insurer cool with this?  It just sounds hypocritical to me.

The Bad:

I am skipping today’s workout.  I hit the gym kind of hard yesterday morning, and my body was dragging the rest of the day.  I’ve been in a slump all week, so I think rest is more important.  I only hope I’m not getting sick.  I have started to hear coughs and sniffles in the office.  Yipes!

The Spicy:

Here’s a makeshift version of the recipe I promised yesterday.  I was inspired by the Whole Foods recipe I saw on Brittany’s blog.  It’s not hot n’ spicy; it just contains a lot of spice.  You could easily spice it up if you wanted though.

pot o' soup

I’d love to provide the nutritional information for this, but my numbers are very different from Whole Foods.  This is partially because I used different lentils and changed things a wee bit, but I’m still surprised at the size of the variance.

Indian Spiced Lentil Soup

soup

My pepper thinks it's a star, and my lentils look like fish food.

Ingredients

  •  8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 TBS garam masala
  • 1-2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 cups orange lentils (Next Time I’d Use Green Lentils)
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (More If You Like it Hot)
  • 3 handfulls of kale leaves, torn into bite-size chunks
  • 2 tsp cumin (I Didn’t Add This But Might Next Time)
  • 1-2 carrots, chopped (I Didn’t Add This But Might Next Time)
spicy!

Directions

  1. Prep all your ingredients (washing, chopping, rinsing the lentils)
  2. Put everything in your slow cooker except for the kale.  Give it a stir.
  3. Here’s the hard part… turn the slow cooker to “low.”
  4. Let the slow cooker do the work for about 8 hours.
  5. Add the kale in the last hour of cooking.  It’s firm, but that’s better than mushy.

***I was running low on time and cooked mine for 3 hours on high.  I added kale for one additional half-hour.  This was okay, but I wish it had cooked a bit longer.

Why is this adapted recipe awesome?

If you don’t mind eating the same thing all week, this is a great lunch.  Although I ate it without sides, I think naan would pair well with the meal.

In addition, according to the American Cancer Society, turmeric might be able to slow the growth of some cancers, help lower “bad” cholesterol, serve as an anti-inflammatory, and more.  Gotta love spices!

Have colds started circulating in your area yet?  Do you love your slow cooker as much as I do?

September 21, 2011

WIAW: Bowl Weather

Sure, you can enjoy foods in bowls all year long, but this week is super for bowl meals.  It’s a little cooler, and meteorologists call for rain almost every day.  Sounds like bowl weather to me!

My pre-gym breakfast is a rice cake with a spoon of peeb.

Peeb = Happiness

My post-gym breakfast, which is a few hours later, includes 1/3 cup of oats, 1 scoop of natural vanilla whey protein, a dash of cinnamon, and 1/5 cup of raspberries.  Raspberry + Vanilla = Yummy Combo.

the raspberries taste like raspberries

On Sunday, I made a lentil soup in the slow cooker.  You can check back tomorrow for the recipe.  It’s perfect for these rainy days!

lentil lovin'

Snack is sadly bowl-less, but it’s delightfully delicious.  I am having a Fuji apple and hardboiled egg each day (M-F).

ugly

Ugly Apples Need Love Too

Dinner alternates throughout the week.  Last night I had a Gorton’s Signature Grilled Tilapia over brown rice and spinach.  That meal didn’t actually require a bowl, but why stop a good thing?

something fishy

I wish my after-dinner snack required a bowl (read = ice cream), but I’ve actually been pretty chill with the snacks lately.  Tea, an Eat.Think.Smile bar or popcorn has done the trick.

Have you been in a snack-y mood lately?  Does the weather influence your eating?

I feel like I should throw in a tidbit about my workout from yesterday.  I did Katy’s 99 workout since it looked challenging and Hayley gave it such a rave review.  Wow.  My arms were tired!!!  My push-ups were definitely modified – all 484 of them!  I actually skipped the first half of the squats because I forgot about them, but I still got a good workout without them.

arms

That's my tough chick face. Look out for those guns!

Be sure to check out Peas & Crayons for other great meal ideas, recipes, and on-the-go lunches!

Stumble It!

September 20, 2011

Why I’m not “low-carb”

I know low-carbohydrate diets work for some people (even though most gain weight as soon as they re-introduce carbs to their diets), but for various reasons, it just doesn’t work so well for me.  Here are my non-nutritionist/non-dietitian thoughts…

Bread n' Wine

Olive Oil Tasting in Tuscany (mmm... bread)

  1. I crave what I can’t have. I’m like a 4 year-old.  When something’s off-limits, I want it more than ever.  I tried the South Beach Diet back in the day.  I think I made it 4 of the first 14 days of the plan.  Fail.
  2. It is expensive.  Did anyone else notice how low-carb diets fizzled when the recession hit?  Steaks, fresh veggies, and plain Greek yogurt are not cheap.  Brown rice, lentils, and sweet potatoes are budget friendly!
  3. Long-term low-carb diets *might* harm organs.  I read this somewhere and cannot find the source to back up my claims.  Nevertheless, I can see how organs would feel the strain after time.  I think the biggest hit are the kidneys and brain, but many sources claim low-carb diets are totally healthy.  This Mayo Clinic nutritionist says the diet is for short-term use only.
  4. Carbs have fiber and a little protein. – Prime examples include tempeh, oats, and beans.  These can help you feel satisfied and keep you full.
  5. I like carbohydrates.  Weight loss (or maintenance) shouldn’t be torture; it should be manageable and sustainable.  If you just loooooove chocolate and ice cream, don’t give up sweets.  If you loooooove salty foods, make healthy alternatives.  When you nix the things you really enjoy, you’re setting yourself up for failure.  I don’t like failing, so I don’t give up carbs.

To prove my carb love, here is a picture of last night’s dinner.

Sweet Potato

(with a spoon of pb - not pictured)

I prefer more balanced meals, but given my current kitchen constraints, this is all I attempted.  [We've had no water in the kitchen (including dishwasher) since Thursday.  The installation of the new counter tops this past Friday required us to cut off the water until we can get a plumber out here.]

What do you think of low-carb diets?  Do they work for you?  Have you tried other diet crazes?

On a side note… ’twas the last day for nude pumps, which is sad.  Methinks it’s time for boot season though, which is glorious!

nude pumps

September 19, 2011

Go Tigers!

This weekend my Tigers did not disappoint. Clemson had a great game, and I had a great weekend. I tried a new beer, ate a healthy dinner, and relaxed with friends on Friday. Saturday was a bit more exciting and included significant tailgating. I’ll spare you all the nitty-gritty details, but there was some of this

the boys

and too much of this (okay… all of it).

Mellow Mushroom calzone

Although I had a great time in Clemson, I took some time Sunday to recount my indulgences***. I discovered that I ate/drank twice the calories I normally eat/drink on a weekday. (By the way, dinner was paired with a Victory Hop Devil.)

victory hop devil

Since I often indulge on weekends, I’m not floored by this discovery, but it was still an eye-opener for me. I don’t regret eating my weight in calzone because it really was that delicious, but I hope to be more mindful of my splurges in the future.

To help heal my veggie-starved, fat-stuffed body, Sunday was a bit healthier. I drank water and coconut water to combat the sodium of Saturday’s treats. I also ate my greens.

dinner salad

The dinner above was friggin’ awesome. I had been drooling over that salad dressing in the store for a while now, and I’m so glad I finally bought it. The salad included spinach, dressing, half a pear, and cashews. As you can see, I added a side of French bread.

How was your weekend? Did your team win too?

***To help me “recount my indulgences,” I’ve been using the iPhone app, MyNetDiary. It’s free and incredibly helpful.

September 17, 2011

One Love, Some Sweat & A Beer

This all-over-the-place post covers love, sweat, and beers. How appropriate.

LOVE: As many regular readers already know, I love packages! They’re like presents, even if you order them for yourself. Presents from me, to me, are still presents!

I received Mama Pea’s book, Peas and Thank You from Sara and The Foodie Diaries yesterday. Thanks for sending that Sara! I can’t wait to test out some of the recipes. (I once made Mama Pea’s Tamale Pie, which I got from her blog, and it was amazing. I bet these are great too!)

peas and thank you

SWEAT: Here is a workout I did last week. It’s a 10-minute boot-camp style cardio routine. I did it twice in a row.

10-Minute At-Home Cardio

I made a video for it, but it’s dreadful. I posted this PDF (click the link above) that you can print. If you don’t know what the moves are and just can’t live another day without laughing at viewing my video, shoot me an email. I’ll email it or post a better version next Saturday.

BEER: I tried a new beer this week. Kevin and I went to a British restaurant, so I had a grilled chicken salad and an English beer. (I prefer to order my drinks in context.)

samuel smith

I got a Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout. I give this beer a B, and let me briefly explain why.

porter

It is strong in toasted malts, and it also has a nice coffee flavor. I like to think of this as a pint of breakfast – toast n’ black coffee. It’s very smooth and relatively mild, but it still has a lot of flavor. On the other hand, it does not have that thick, milky like consistency – I’m thinking of Guinness here. It’s actually thinner with a little carbonation to it. Overall – I was very satisfied.

grilled chicken, lettuce, cucumbers, & beer

September 16, 2011

Sweeeet Friday Post

In the words of Def Leppard, pour some sugar on me. In the words of Tiff, pour less sugar in my food.

Many of you know Americans consume loads of sugar. According to FitSugar:

According to the American Heart Association, eating too much is contributing to a plethora of health issues including obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Women are urged to cut back and consume no more than 100 calories of added processed sugar each day, which is equal to six teaspoons (25 grams).

WebMD has shed some less than sweet insight into refined sugar. I’ll let you check that out for yourself.

As you can see, too much added and/or refined sugar aren’t fun. You know what is fun? Learning how much sugar is in some everyday foods and treats, of course! You know what kind of “fun” I’m talking about – it’s like smelling the stinky-ness of your gym bag fun or looking at the blackheads on your Biore pore strip fun.

Here are just a few foods that I found interesting…

One Can of Coke (Not even the Mega Gulp at your favorite gas station) – 39 grams

source

***Diet Coke isn’t so great either since the artificial sweeteners can make your body think it’s getting sugar. When it doesn’t, you end up wanting more food. I’m not so sure I buy this argument, but I’ve heard it numerous times.

Grapes (1 cup) – 14.9 grams (they’re not added sugars, but they aren’t slow-burn carbs either)

source

Light Yoplait Yogurt – 14 grams

http://yoplait.com/images/light/harvest-peach.pngsource

Fiber One Oats & Caramel Chewy Bar – 9 grams

http://s.shld.net/is/image/Sears/08711441000_20100324080304067?hei=248&wid=248&op_sharpen=1&resMode=sharp&op_usm=0.9,0.5,0,0source

Pumpkin Latte (tall, skim, with whip) – 38 grams (37 grams no whip)

http://cdn.blisstree.com/files/2011/09/pumpkinspicesbux-167x200.pngsource

Despite my pumpkin obsession, I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin lattes. I usually save up for my once (or twice) yearly peppermint mochas instead. Yum!

Did any of these treats surprise you? Do you have any more sugar shockers you can share?

***All sugar counts came from Livestrong.com or Starbuck’s website.

By the way, I have to give Lindsey at Cardio Pizza some link love for two reasons.

      1. She has excellent info about self hosting in this post.
      2. Yesterday, I did a great treadmill workout she posted. I almost skipped the gym, but when I realized my legs felt surprisingly refreshed in the morning, I wore them out with this workout.
Tomorrow’s post is a fun one, so be sure to check back for it!
September 15, 2011

Blogging About Blogging…

I have had something on my mind for a few weeks, and I finally decided to just come out and discuss it with than my wise and insightful readers. (I’m about to ask for your help and advice, so consider yourself buttered.)

  1. I am thinking of changing the look and backbone of the blog. However, I am not looking to do many (if any) changes to content.
  2. I would also like to drop the “Wordpress” from my URL. It’s not all that inconvenient, but I’m a bit of a perfectionist.
  3. Lastly, I’d like to throw up some advertisements. I’ve been happy with readership and company samples, but as a competitive chick, I’m always looking to push to the next level.

So this is where you come in…

Cleo Gives Pleading “Puppy” Eyes

Have any of you bloggers had experience with self hosting, creating your own theme/header, or finding sponsors? Is it hard? Expensive? Time consuming? Restricting?

Any advice you can send me via tweet @LoveSweatBeers, email at lovesweatandbeers@yahoo.com, or as a comment to this post would be greatly appreciated.

In other blog news…

I won a giveaway! Woohoo! Janetha from Meals and Moves sent me the Izze package.

Izze Coupons, Hat, & Keychain

I have only tried their products once when I took a sip of my friend’s orange flavored Izze soda. Her soda had a little added something (starts with a “v” and rhymes with “odka”). It was good, but being the beer girl that I am, I decided a sip was enough.

Izze

I’m really looking forward to trying these. Many of us have memories of comfort food, but I have a very strong memory of a comfort beverage. I used to love getting grape sodas from mini golf (put-put) vending machines on hot summer days. Mom didn’t let me get them often (thanks Ma!), but they were a real treat. I wonder if Izze can take me down memory lane. (Crossing fingers!)

  1. Do you have hints, tips, or suggestions for me? Even constructive criticism is welcome!
  2. Have you tried Izze products? If so, what did you think?

PS: I tried a new brew last night, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it! Maybe that’ll be a good weekend post…

September 14, 2011

WIAW: Ugly Edition

It’s time for another What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW). I feel awful about this, but this week’s WIAW is the Ugly Edition. No pretty food here!

I’m eating the same thing M-F for breakfast, lunch, and snack all week… unless I get a chocolate craving, of course. Dinner will change a little, but even that is pretty basic.

I start my protein packed day with first breakfast, which is a salt-free rice cake with 1 TBS of natural peeb. It’s great workout fuel.

Second breakfast a few hours later is a third of a cup of old fashioned oats, half a banana (mashed in oats), and one scoop of natural vanilla whey protein. I also have one third of a cup of raspberries on the side.

Lunch is the ugliest meal of the day, but darn is it filling! I have two servings of lean deli meat, half a sweet potato (I guess approx 7 oz), and one 50-calorie pack of steamed Brussels sprouts. It’s ugly, but it’s yummy. That’s what counts, right?

I usually try not to buy deli meat for various reasons, and now I have one more reason to add to the list. Sodium! I knew deli cuts had a lot of sodium, but I didn’t realize how much until after I got home from the store. Whoops!

Snack has been 110 calories worth of 2% cottage cheese and 15 raw almonds. This is a very fatty yet protein-packed snack. It’s ugly, but it’s incredibly satisfying!

Dinner has been meat, a green vegetable, and a carb. Typical. I had the same thing Monday and Tuesday, beef tenderloin. I enjoyed it with a spinach salad Monday night and broccoli last night.

Tonight is chicken night instead. Chicken gets boring fast, but I have to admit that I really do like the taste of plain ole’ baked chicken. I’m not sure if I’ll pair it with rice, quinoa, or something else all together.

Snacks have been all over the place (whole wheat pita, peeb, or popcorn), so they aren’t pictured. I don’t really think you need any more pictures of ugly food anyway, do ya???

Do you often eat “plain” meals at your house? Or does something generally have a sauce or require a real recipe?
Be sure to check out Peas and Crayons for other great meal ideas!

PS: At least Leia finds them attractive…

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