Things change, and people move on.
Therefore, I won’t be posting at Pretty Fit, Pretty Healthy, Pretty Happy anymore.
Come see me at my new blog… BRITTANY THE BUSY. It’s a pretty fun time over there, I promise!
So I’m back in Tampa again, this time for the two weeks surrounding the Christmas holidays. I usually stay with my mom, who is notorious for all the goodies she has lying around the house. And since she began baking as a side business, there are at least four kinds of baked-from-scratch cakes/pies/tarts chilling in the fridge.
The temptation, I tell you, is daunting. Absolutely daunting.
So I came up with the idea of having a small stockpile of healthier foods that I could integrate with things already at her house and keep eating healthily during these two weeks (more on that in one of my next posts).
If I must say so, I’m pretty proud of tonight’s concoction. And it’s definitely getting a repeat for a future Meatless Monday.
I got the idea for dinner from this post on The Edible Perspective. However, since I don’t eat tofu(more on that here), I used part-skim ricotta to add a bit of creaminess to the pasta. And since all the chicken in the house was frozen (and I’m not one to be patient and wait for thawing), I used a Qorn Chik’n patty I bought at Whole Foods. I love these meatless “chik’n” patties, because they taste just like a chicken sandwich, and they have no soy!
After fully cooking and draining spiral pasta (my favorite :) ), I stirred in a heaping tablespoon of part-skim ricotta until the pasta was fully-cooked. Next came about 1/4 cup of some of my mom’s amazing, better-than-crack (an assumption, of course) spaghetti sauce. Finally, I added a handful of spinach and the diced Chik’n patty and turned the heat back on to low and stirred it around occasionally just until everything was heated and the spinach was wilted to my liking.
It reminded me of chicken lasagna… without… well… lasagna noodles. It was so delicious, I’ll be making a giant pot of it for my family this week. But this time, I’ll make sure to wait for the REAL chicken to defrost.
I’m heading back to Universal’s Islands of Adventure tomorrow, where I’ll be spending a lot of time in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter… most likely stocking up on a few things from the Hogwarts House I was sorted into (insert judging of my extreme nerdiness here).
If you’re a bit bored, and maybe wondered what house you’d be sorted into, click here and take a quiz.
Yours truly is a proud…
I’ve returned after a brief (okay, not so brief) hiatus, where things have been surprisingly busy– joblessness aside.
Since I was last here, a couple things have changed.
Number one, I’m about 8 inches shorter.
The 8 inches, of course, are referring to my hair. I had made an appointment in Tampa to get my hair trimmed by a friend from college, and I decided the night before that I’d be cutting a bit more off and doing something better than littering the floor of the salon with it.
I donated my hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, which creates wigs free of charge to women who have lost their hair while battling cancer. It’s not as well-known as Locks of Love, but I chose to go with them for several reasons.
To check them out, visit their site. If you’re thinking of changing your hairstyle soon, think about chopping it into a bob… or a “lob” (long bob) like mine and donate your ponytail to Beautiful Lengths!
As for the second thing that’s new, I’ve been trying to stick to Meatless Monday. Every Monday, I abstain from anything that requires an animal to be killed. No to fish. No to chicken. No to beef. Yes to eggs! Yes to dairy!
This will be my third week trying out Meatless Monday! The first week, it was a breeze. The second week, a little harder having to watch The Dude eat chicken apple sausage. This week, I stomped through the grocery store, starving and frustrated that all the hot meals had meat in them. And I almost gave up.
But I didn’t.
And now it’s the end of my third Meatless Monday, and again, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. It’s even better that neither Christmas or New Year’s fall on Mondays (I can’t even imagine Nochebuena without pork :) ).
Here’s something I made a couple weeks ago. It’s delicious, it makes me not miss meat, and it tastes like something a little sinful: it’s BBQ tempeh, some veggies, and a pile of creamy mashed potatoes.
I treated the tempeh and the veggies much like I would a stir-fry. I browned up the tempeh in a skillet and threw in some mixed veggies, seasoned them with a little red pepper flakes and some Trader Joe’s Every Day Seasoning, and then added a couple tablespoons of BBQ sauce (mine’s from… surprise… Trader Joe’s).
For the mashed potatoes, I boiled a batch of multi-colored potatoes (hence the different colors of potato skin in the potatoes and the slight purple color) and blended them with 1/2 a tablespoon of butter, some non fat Greek yogurt, and a few sprinklings of sea salt.
Since it’s only week 3, I’m considering today’s grouchfest in the grocery store part of the learning curve. It’s going to take a bit of getting used to, but if mashed potatoes are involved… how much can a day without meat suck?
Believe it or not, I just haven’t been in the mood for a hot bowl of oats. Sure, I’ve had my fair share of Overnight Oats when I have the foresight to make it the night before. But the idea of hot oats just hasn’t appealed to me. I even made a bowl of pumpkin oats the other day, and I left it barely eaten.
Until this morning, that is.
I woke up craving something sweet for breakfast– which hasn’t been happening often– and the heater in my apartment is currently broken (hey landlord, wanna come remedy that like… yesterday??). Needless to say, eating cold cereal with fruit was out of the question.
My feelings on having to wear my hoodie indoors while my $17 Target space heater makes my apartment feel warmer than the low 60s:
So with my apartment feeling like the Arctic Circle (okay, it’s only 55 outside, I’m exaggerating), I decided to give a piping hot bowl of oats a second try.
And boy am I glad I did.
I made a bowl of steel cut oats (way more filling for me than quick-cooking or even rolled oats) with Greek yogurt to make it creamy. For fruit, I stirred in some frozen blueberries in its last minute of cooking.
Creamy Blueberry Oats
makes one serving
- 1/4 c steel cut oats
- 1/2 c water
- 1/2 c almond milk
- 1/4 c no-sugar-added applesauce
- 1/4 c non-fat Greek yogurt
- 1/3 c frozen wild blueberries
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- Mix the oats, water, almond milk, and vanilla in a large microwave-safe bowl (steel cut oats expand A LOT while microwaving, so make sure it’s a large bowl or you’ll be doing a lot of cleaning afterward) and microwave for 2 1/2 minutes.
- Remove bowl from microwave and stir in blueberries and applesauce. Microwave for another minute.
- Allow to cool for a minute, remove from microwave, and stir in Greek yogurt. Top your oatmeal with a few things, too! I used almond butter and puffed millet.
In other news, I’ve actually given myself quite the to-do list for today in lieu of some plans that got canceled. It goes something like this:
- Clean the apartment, you messy, messy girl.
- Do an hour of yoga– gym or DVD, just do it.
Apply to jobs.DONE!!
- Continue working on that book you and Keli started almost 3 years ago.
- Go grocery shopping. The only source of protein in your fridge is Greek yogurt and tempeh.
So with my blogging and job-applying done, I’m moving on to a little more writing. This time less about food, and more about… well… you’ll see if we ever finish our book. :D
In the meantime, enjoy the sight of the orchid plant from The Dude (he’s amused by his nick name) I’ve yet to kill…
… and my wake-up juice that’s sitting next to a laptop where very minimal Facebooking is being done. I swear, I’m being productive today. Mostly.
Flat Abs November is off to a painful start.
It hurts to walk, laugh, and get up from my current lying down position on the couch.
Either my muscles are way more out of shape than I’d anticipated, or I put together one heck of a workout. In any case, I’ll share it with you so you can try it out as well.
I did 5 different exercises, and then repeated all five for two full sets:
- With a bosu ball (or stability ball), get into the plank position (on your hands, not elbows) and hold on to the sides of the bosu platform (or place your hands on top of the ball) and hold plank for 30-45 seconds.
- Switch positions so that your feet are on the platform (or ball) and your arms are on the floor. Hold for 30-45 seconds.
- Lie on your back and twist to one side like you’re doing a side crunch. Hold for 10 seconds, switch the other side for 10 more seconds, then repeat both sides. Then come up to boat pose and hold the pose for 30 seconds. Repeat this entire exercise once more.
- Hold a medicine ball or weighted plate and get into boat pose. Twist your upper body from side to side, allowing the ball/plate to touch the ground on each side. Once on each side is one rep. Do 15.
- Lie on your back with your hands at your side or under your butt. Bring your legs up so they’re straight and at a 90 degree angle with your body. Slowly lower them for a count of 10 seconds until they’re a few inches above the ground. Hold them at that point for another 10 seconds. That’s one. Do 5.
But you know what makes even the sorest of muscles feel better? (Other than a heat pack, a stretch, a massage, or… you know, other practical things.)
And rather than ruin all the hard work I just accomplished at the gym, I slimmed it way down.
Instead of using thick bread that packs on a few hundred calories, I used my Sara Lee bread that has 45 calories per slice. That meant I could have three slices instead of two, I reasoned.
After soaking the slices in an egg wash consisting of egg, vanilla, and skim milk, I browned the slices in a skillet for a couple of minutes on each side. I made sure that the center was warm enough so I wasn’t eating raw egg (no sense in making my abdominal region hurt any worse), but not so much that the center isn’t soft like custard. Mmmmm :)
Right before placing the bread into the skillet, make sure you sprinkle on a little cinnamon and sugar, too!
I felt the French toast was sweet enough with the sprinkling of sugar, so instead of topping it with syrup I topped it with almond butter and blackberry preserves. That way it’s not just bread for breakfast, but some healthy fats to boot!
What about you… any good workouts that left you feeling the burn the next day?
Yesterday, as part of Flat Abs November/my Pile on the Miles challenge, I hiked 2.8 miles through a place I’ve never been before– Stough Canyon.
While The Dude had some work done on his car, I picked him up at the dealership and headed over to the canyon for a little naaaaaaature.
I don’t know about you, but whenever I hear the word “nature,” this is what comes to mind…
Anywho, Stough Canyon was pretty spectacular. It wasn’t as lush and green as Solstice Canyon in Malibu, but it was challenging and the views were breathtaking.
Once we wound around the first part of the hike, we came to two hills– one a little steep, and one very steep. The Dude gave me the choice… and guess which one I picked. :D
Oh hey, Dude.
The uphill hike was pretty challenging, but the downhill hike was downright scary. I slid on my butt quite a few times, and The Dude ended up with a booboo on his hand. I didn’t get to take a picture of it yesterday, but here it is after giving it 24 hours to heal– nothing big, just a little scratch from the rocks.
After working up a huge appetite on the hike, we grabbed some Cuban food and yours truly gobbled it all down in a very unladylike fashion.
Today, I did a killer ab workout, so I’ll let you know tomorrow morning if I feel it! I have a feeling I’m going to… the soreness is already setting in.
It’s the second day into November, and I’ve started a new goal…
My aim for the rest of the month is to up my cardio as well as my ab workouts to both shave off that layer that has taken residence over my stomach as well as whip me in tip-top shape to breeze through the 5K I’ve registered to run on Thanksgiving morning.
To start off, I’ve been keeping up with Run Eat Repeat’s Pile on the Miles Challenge, having thrown in a couple miles around my neighborhood yesterday and a 3-ish mile hike today (pics to go up tomorrow!). Tomorrow I’ll be starting my ab workouts. I’ll be sure to share them if I wake up with killer-sore abs the next morning– that way I know they work. :)
I’m also working on being more conscious of what I’m eating. All-baked-goods-all-the-time season started back in October, and I can already feel the difference in my jeans! So between upping my water intake (which is just as important in colder months as it is in the summer!!) and not going carb-crazy with scones, cookies, and anything that has chocolate baked into it, I figure the flat abs boat will be pretty smooth sailing. I always end up getting some sort of cold in the winter months anyway, so the extra servings of fruits and vegetables can’t do anything but help to stave it off!
Some spicy chicken sausage with onions and red + orange peppers, steamed green beans, and roasted multicolored potatoes for lunch on Tuesday was a pretty good start to things. The color in the potatoes was an added bonus– more color in food = more antioxidants.
Luckily, my knees have decided to make themselves functional again (and not a day too soon), but I’ve been doing some heat therapy just to keep things in check. I swear this heating pack is the best $6 I’ve spent in recent memory.
As a sidenote, I finally gave in to the Pinterest peer pressure and decided to see what it was all about. I’m still getting the hang of it and am shuffling through a lot of white noise (some people post some pretty strange/silly stuff), but I found a few motivational pins that I thought I’d share– just in case you’re in need of a little push, too!
And, though it’s not exactly motivational, this is pretty funny:
I’ll post the hiking photos tomorrow– we did a pretty intense hike, and someone ended up with a booboo (spoiler alert: wasn’t me!).