Hills and Flats

Blog Updates

I am currently making the switch to a self hosting blog (using Blue Host) and giving the ol’ blog a makeover, so I apologize that I have not been getting around to everyone’s blogs this past week or so. It’s quite time consuming!

This transition is completely new to me and I am doing it all on my own (I looked at some blog services out there but it’s just too expensive and this is just a hobby for me).  But it’s also kind of fun to figure out all this technical stuff!  Hopefully everything will go smoothly and I can add some more features to the blog soon! :)

I decided to make the switch because I want more control over what I can do on my blog, plus I just ran out of media space (total bust!) and by self hosting it’s unlimited.  I figured I might as well try to figure this out!

Hills and Flats

The other day I tackled another interval workout on the treadmill during my lunch break.  Usually when I come up with a workout I map it out ahead of time.  This time I made it up as I went along (and wrote it down right after I was done!)

As I was going through the workout I realized I was doing another version of Rolling Hills.  Only this time the intervals were longer and I spent the majority of time running or jogging. It was a nice mix of running hills and flats.

Here’s what I did:

I started out running 6.5 mph with no incline.  Each minute after that I would up the incline and lower the speed.  I did this for 5 minutes.  After that I ran another flat at 6.5 on no incline.  The next 5 minutes were more hills with the incline increasing even more each minute.  I repeated another 6.5 flat for 5 minutes and ended with a final set of hills.

This was tough but if flew by! I think this may be a favorite out of the interval workouts I have posted.  Try it out!

Question:

Is your blog self hosted? Why or why not?

Mallorca

My parents arrived last night to spend the long weekend with Andy and I.  I had not seen them since July while on vacation so I was more than excited to spend some time with them.

Boo and Sophia were also quite excited, as they know Grandma and Grandpa come with gifts :)

To kick the weekend off, we headed to a restaurant that none of us had ever been to: Mallorca.  I wanted to try something different and something new for all of us, so I searched Google for a recommended restaurant in Cleveland.

Mallorca is a restaurant that serves Portugal and Spanish dishes.  Since my parents and Andy and I enjoy seafood and meat dishes, it sounded like a restaurant we’d all enjoy.  Plus, the prices on the online menu were not outrageous, and seemed fair for they type of food you get along with the upscale vibe of the restaurant.

I had made reservations online and we arrived about 5 minutes early.  Our table was not ready yet, so we headed to the bar (obviously) and ordered a round of drinks while we waited.

I ordered the homemade Sangria, which was fantastic and not overly sweet.  Andy and my dad ordered a Spanish beer while my mom kept it simple with a glass of red wine.

Before we knew it, our tables were ready.  I was glad too, because I was starving! Good thing they immediately gave us fresh bread with olive oil.  We all dug in!

Appetizers and More

For appetizers we shared a plate of calamari and mussels in green sauce.  I detest mussels, so I didn’t eat them, but everyone else said they were really good.  The calamari was pretty standard. It was just OK to me and the dipping sauce was not very flavorful.

I also ordered the garlic soup to have as an appetizer and I really enjoyed it.  It was a very light soup made with chicken broth and had just the right garlic flavor.  If you love garlic, I’d recommend this soup.

Salads came out next (which I had no idea were served – it was not stated on the menu).  They were light and fresh and I enjoyed it.  However, if I would have known you get a salad with your entree I would have not ate so many appetizers! I was really full by the time my dinner came.

Entrees and Sides

For my entree I ordered the Tilapia Rellena, which was a tilapia fillet stuffed with crab, scallops and shrimp.  It was good, but I could only manage to eat a few bites since I was so full from the appetizers!

My dad and Andy ordered a veal dish that was served in a mozzarella cream sauce.  Andy said it was just OK and that he’d order something different next time.  My dad ate his right up though and said it was great.  Different strokes for different folks I guess! My mom got a shrimp dish that look amazing.  The shrimp were stuffed with moscapone cheese…yum!

All of the entrees came with family style side dishes including rice, steamed veggies, and “spanish potatoes” (which were basically glorified potato chips).  I was not impressed with the sides at all, and would much prefer to have a variety of options to choose from.  I’m not a big rice person and I can get potato chips anywhere.

Dessert and a Shot 

Although I was stuffed, I still ordered dessert to go.  I ordered the caramel cheesecake but unfortunately I didn’t look in the box until I got home and they gave me the wrong kind.  They gave me a raspberry cheesecake.  Although I still ate it, I much would have preferred the caramel one that I ordered.

At the end of the meal, we were each served a complimentary round of almond liquor shots.  I thought this was a fun and unique way to end the meal!

Our dining experience was nice and we did have a good time, but it certainly wasn’t exceptional for how upscale the restaurant is.  I think I expected more from the service (it was slow) and more from the food (I would say it was pretty average – nothing blew me away).

In the car yesterday Andy and I were discussing what we thought about Mallorca and agreed that while it was not a bad meal by any means, it’s jut not somewhere we’d go back to.  There are way too many restaurants in the area that we want to try and this one just wont be a repeat visit.

Greek Festival

For the rest of the weekend we spent time looking at houses online (and went to one Open House) since Andy and I would like to buy a home in the next year or so.

We also hit up a local Greek Festival to get our grub on yet again.

We had a nice time and enjoyed all of the Greek food available (I had two slices of baklava!) The rest of our night was spent watching a movie at home.  The weather was very stormy so we all just curled up on the couch and relaxed.

I had a great weekend with my parents and I already can’t wait to see them again.  Luckily I’ll be seeing them in mid October when I take a visit to Cincy. And though I will certainly miss them dearly, I think Boo and Sophia will miss them a little more, especially tackling my dad in the guest room:

I hope you all had a great weekend!

Question:

What’s something fun you did this weekend?

Secret Ingredient for Boxed Mac n' Cheese

Yesterday at work we hosted a Farmers Market, showcasing some local businesses in the Cleveland area.


We spent the morning setting up the picnic grounds area as the vendors began to arrive. Everything was going smoothly until a major down poor of rain came through the area…

Luckily most of the vendors had their tents set up and came prepared for the weather!

Eventually the rain went away (thankfully!) and the sun came out just in time for the employees (and their families) to enjoy the market.

We had a variety of vendors come and each showcased their unique products.

Honey, jellies, and more

Bread and other goodies

Olive Oils and Vinegars

Produce

Hummus, pitas, and other goods

There were also vendors selling purses and handmade bags, flowers, maple syrup, salsas and hot sauces, and gyros.  It was a nice variety!

Lunch

On my lunch break I took time to shop and eat! I managed to buy a lot of goodies for Andy and I, as well as a couple of things to use as birthday gifts coming up.

Produce, monkey bread, nut roll, hot sauce, pepper jelly, and BBQ sauce

For lunch I went to the gyro stand and purchased a chicken pita.

It was delicious! I especially loved the yogurt sauce.

I think the Farmers Market was a big success! Everyone seemed to have a great time and enjoyed the vendor selections.

Dinner

I was in the mood for more roasted tomatoes to have with dinner last night.  I decided to use the fresh ones I purchased at the market along with the zucchini.

I sliced up the veggies then seasoned with salt and pepper and drizzled with olive oil. I also chopped up a head of garlic to roast with the tomatoes and zucchini.

The veggies cooked in the oven set at 375 for about 40 minutes.

I wasn’t sure what else I wanted with my veggies until I saw a box of Whole Foods brand Shells and Cheese.  We had a winner!

I cooked the macaroni according to package directions.  Then I added my secret ingredient to make it extra creamy: A Laughing Cow cheese wedge!

Along with the cheese wedge, I added a splash of 2% milk and about a tbsp of real butter.  It really ups the flavor! I think boxed mac n’ cheese is rather bland without the extra additions. Try this combo! It will not disappoint!

Workout

Today’s workout included a hot run with Boo and Sophia. It’s supposed to be in the 90s today and by the the time we hit the pavement it was already 75 and humid.  Luckily there was a slight breeze that made the 2 mile run pretty enjoyable.

That still didn’t stop me from looking like a total sweat monster:

Sophia was hot too, and jumped straight into the bushes when we got back:

Boo just looked stunned,  like he was blinded by the light:

I swear they enjoy running with me :)

After cooling down, we all relaxed for a bit before I headed off to work for the day.

Weekend Plans

My mom and dad are coming from Cincinnati to stay with Andy and I for the long weekend. I can’t wait to see them! We have dinner plans tomorrow night and we’re thinking about going to the Zoo as well.  I love family time!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Secret Ingredient for Boxed Mac n’ Cheese

Yesterday at work we hosted a Farmers Market, showcasing some local businesses in the Cleveland area.


We spent the morning setting up the picnic grounds area as the vendors began to arrive. Everything was going smoothly until a major down poor of rain came through the area…

Luckily most of the vendors had their tents set up and came prepared for the weather!

Eventually the rain went away (thankfully!) and the sun came out just in time for the employees (and their families) to enjoy the market.

We had a variety of vendors come and each showcased their unique products.

Honey, jellies, and more

Bread and other goodies

Olive Oils and Vinegars

Produce

Hummus, pitas, and other goods

There were also vendors selling purses and handmade bags, flowers, maple syrup, salsas and hot sauces, and gyros.  It was a nice variety!

Lunch

On my lunch break I took time to shop and eat! I managed to buy a lot of goodies for Andy and I, as well as a couple of things to use as birthday gifts coming up.

Produce, monkey bread, nut roll, hot sauce, pepper jelly, and BBQ sauce

For lunch I went to the gyro stand and purchased a chicken pita.

It was delicious! I especially loved the yogurt sauce.

I think the Farmers Market was a big success! Everyone seemed to have a great time and enjoyed the vendor selections.

Dinner

I was in the mood for more roasted tomatoes to have with dinner last night.  I decided to use the fresh ones I purchased at the market along with the zucchini.

I sliced up the veggies then seasoned with salt and pepper and drizzled with olive oil. I also chopped up a head of garlic to roast with the tomatoes and zucchini.

The veggies cooked in the oven set at 375 for about 40 minutes.

I wasn’t sure what else I wanted with my veggies until I saw a box of Whole Foods brand Shells and Cheese.  We had a winner!

I cooked the macaroni according to package directions.  Then I added my secret ingredient to make it extra creamy: A Laughing Cow cheese wedge!

Along with the cheese wedge, I added a splash of 2% milk and about a tbsp of real butter.  It really ups the flavor! I think boxed mac n’ cheese is rather bland without the extra additions. Try this combo! It will not disappoint!

Workout

Today’s workout included a hot run with Boo and Sophia. It’s supposed to be in the 90s today and by the the time we hit the pavement it was already 75 and humid.  Luckily there was a slight breeze that made the 2 mile run pretty enjoyable.

That still didn’t stop me from looking like a total sweat monster:

Sophia was hot too, and jumped straight into the bushes when we got back:

Boo just looked stunned,  like he was blinded by the light:

I swear they enjoy running with me :)

After cooling down, we all relaxed for a bit before I headed off to work for the day.

Weekend Plans

My mom and dad are coming from Cincinnati to stay with Andy and I for the long weekend. I can’t wait to see them! We have dinner plans tomorrow night and we’re thinking about going to the Zoo as well.  I love family time!

Have a great weekend everyone!

What Would Your Real Life Friends Say?

Good Morning!  It’s only 6:30AM and for some reason I am full of energy.  Just another reason why I love my mornings! And the fact that the deer seem to always greet me as I drive in to work :)

It was a little family too – Mom, Dad, and two babies.  I about cry every time I see them (because I’m strange…and I love animals so much!)

Don't worry guys, it's just that crazy lady with the camera again.

So cute!

Farmer’s Market

It’s my early day at work and we’ll be spending the day setting up and working the Farmers Market we’re hosting. I really love this aspect of my job.  Putting together programs and events focused on health and wellness is so fun and I feel like the employees here are so appreciative and enjoy participating.  Let’s just hope the weather holds out for us today! It’s supposed to be hot with just a chance of isolated storms.  I think it will be a great day though!

What Would Your Real Life Friends Say?

When I write a post for my blog, I truly am being 100% genuine and authentic with what I say.  This is me.

But there are parts of me that are not portrayed on here simply because I think it’s hard to show everything about who you are through a blog.  For one, I don’t tell you guys everything about me or tell you every little thing that I do each day (trust me, you’d be bored to see how much TV I really watch at night and how early I go to bed..even on a Saturday night.  I’m really cool).  I also don’t talk in detail about my relationships with friends and family.  I just skim the surface of my life.

I thought it would be fun to come up with things that I think my “real life” friends and family would say about me and how I act in “real life”.  Ready to for this?

#1:  I am really strange.  And my friends would probably agree with that and have no problem saying it to my face. I’m strange in a goofy way and I love to make others laugh doing really weird things.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Exhibit C (this is what happens when a 3 year old puts your make up on by the way)

Exhibit D

I could really go on all day about how much of a goon I am, but I will spare you that and move on ;)

#2: I don’t talk about my emotions out loud.  When I write a post (like Tuesday’s on Food Obsession), I write from the heart.  Often those posts come out of no where. I just get a thought and I run with it.  These posts are meant to help others by sharing what I’ve been through and how I have changed my life for the better. I hope to inspire others to do the same if they are struggling with body image.

But in my “real life” I don’t talk about this.  Perhaps I should talk about it more, but in reality, I don’t.  It’s more something that I like to express through writing.

Plus, I like to spend my time laughing when I am with friends and sometimes a serious conversation like that just doesn’t come up!

I mean who could take me seriously looking like this?

That’s me and Fernando by the way.

#3: I’m a cry baby. Although I don’t always talk thoroughly about my emotions, I certainly can cry like no other! I’ve always been a cry baby.  Growing up I was the youngest out of most of my cousins and I was constantly picked on.  I would cry all. the. time. I even had a shirt that said “Don’t bother me, I am crabby”.  Because I was!

Now-a-days, I still can cry easily and I am easily upset, especially anything having to do with the mistreatment of animals.  When those depressing commercials come on with Sarah Mclachlan singing, I have to turn it off or the water works will instantly flow.

#4: I’m not the most patient person…and I think Andy would definitely agree! Unfortunately he gets the brunt of it too, especially if we’re driving somewhere and I get lost.  Let’s just say it’s not pretty and neither are the words coming out of my mouth!

#5: I hardly ever wear make up or dress up.  And again, Andy would attest to this. When I post pictures from weddings or other fun outings, I actually do put effort into what I wear.  But aside from these times, I generally wear absolutely no make up and you can find me in my shorts and a t-shirt or hoodie.

I actually would like to work on putting more effort into what I wear and actually brushing my hair rather than putting it up in a bun, because I really do feel better.  But ultimately, I’m lazy and I’d rather slip into something comfy!

Question:

Tell me something that YOUR friends or family would say about YOU that isn’t always portrayed on your blog?

Roasted Tomato and Garlic Couscous with Goat Cheese

I have been craving goat cheese. I think it’s from reading others’ blogs and seeing their meals filled with the delicious cheese.  I knew I had to get my hands on it soon to satisfy my cheesy craving!

Good thing I had to make a pit stop at Whole Foods yesterday after work.  We’re putting on a Farmers Market at work tomorrow and the nice folks at my local Whole Foods are donating reusable bags for us to give out to the attendees.  So after loading my car with the boxes of bags, I grabbed a shopping basket to pick up a few items.  Goat cheese was #1 on the list!

Dinner

I’m not a huge fan of cooking, especially when it takes up too much of my time.  Therefore I typically only make simple meals with only a few ingredients.  Tonight was no different.  I literally picked things from my pantry and fridge, threw em’ together and hoped they tasted decent at the end.  This meal tasted more than decent.  It was freakin’ awesome! 

Roasted Tomato and Garlic Couscous with Goat Cheese

Serving Size: 2-3 entree portions or 4 side dishes

Ingredients:

  • 2 large tomatoes
  • Head of garlic (I love garlic…a lot.  Like I could eat it by itself, so by all means cut this down if it’s too much for your liking)
  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 2 tbsp olive oil to roast the tomatoes and garlic (could omit and just use cooking spray)
  • 1 box of couscous (I used this brand and flavor)
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • Fresh basil, chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Optional: A good crusty bread to have on the side

Directions

Preheat oven to 375.  Dice tomatoes and head of garlic in large chunks.  Toss in olive oil and place on a baking pan.  Season with salt and pepper.

While the tomatoes and garlic roast (roughly 30 minutes), cook couscous according to package directions.

In a large serving bowl, mix the couscous, tomato and garlic mixture, onion, capers, goat cheese, and basil together until blended.

Slice up some delicious bread if you’d like…

Spoon out a hearty serving and enjoy!

Roasted tomatoes are seriously amazing and I don’t know why I don’t make them more often.  If you have not roasted a tomato yet, DO IT.  You will not regret it. It brings out the most delicious flavors.

I am already looking forward to leftovers tonight! :)

A Look into the Mind of the Food Obsessed

Last night as I finished up dinner (Chipotle Burrito Bowl thanks to Andy!), I started to think about how my life has changed over the last few years.  I thought about how my views on myself have especially changed.

When I was in high school I had virtually no care in the world.  I was fearless and definitely had a zest for life.  Also at this time, I didn’t have negative thoughts about myself or my body.

I honestly can’t remember ever being worried about what I was going to eat next and how it would make me feel.Will I feel fat and bloated? Will I feel gross? Will I vow to not eat this much again? Those thoughts were non-existent in my teenage mind.  That is until this point in my life when tragedy struck and I began using unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with life rather than actually working through things.

From about 18 years of age until my early 20’s, I was pretty food obsessed.  Sure, I still enjoyed myself and I have a lot of great memories from this period in my life, but I struggled mentally with self acceptance.

Freshman  year of college, 2004

I started an online journal on a fitness forum around this time and was excited to interact with others that shared the same passion for nutrition and fitness. The forum is now deleted…and I am thankful it is! I don’t think I could go back and re-read my posts.

But to be honest, this was a very unhealthy time for me. The interaction with most people was based on strict dieting and obsessive exercise habits.  Most everyone was after the “perfect body” and being at the “perfect weight” and so almost everyone’s journal was about being on a diet.

Source

I admit that I got sucked into this life (or perhaps the life was sucked out of me?) and I read everything I could get my hands on pertaining to dieting and fitness.

I even toyed with the idea of competing in a Figure Competition and ended up training and dieting for 6 weeks (read more about it here).  I ended up quitting(not ashamed that I am a quitter! Best decision I could have made).

I  went through a period of being depressed and down on myself, since I was suffering a terrible rebound. This filled me with anxiety and more negative thoughts about myself.

Food Obsessed

During this time in my life, I think that food ruled my world.  As much as I enjoyed it, I feared it.  I thought about it constantly.  What will I eat next? Am I getting enough protein in this meal? Should I be eating carbs this late in the day?

On the outside I looked completely normal (at least I think!) and didn’t really discuss food and dieting with anyone around me (only online).  But there was certainly a mental battle happening inside.

A Look into the Mind of the Food Obsessed

I’ve tried to dive deep into my memory to show what it was like for a period in my life.  Here is what I have come up with. So let’s take a walk down memory lane into the mind of the food obsessed:

Alarm goes off, I wake up and go to the bathroom.  I pee first because I need to weigh myself.  Surely my pee weighs a few pounds and I want to get an accurate reading.  I see the number on the scale and hate it.  I should not weigh this much.  Why don’t I weigh 135lbs or less? I am 5’7 and I should weigh 135lbs, not 140lbs.

As soon as I wake up, I instantly think: When am I working out today? What will I eat for breakfast? It needs to have the perfect combination of fat, carbohydrate and protein.  And I need to make sure I am getting at at least a gram of protein for every pound that I weigh.

My workout will either be lifting heavy (no more than 6 reps because higher reps are useless) or I will be doing a 25 minute HIIT session on the treadmill.  Steady state cardio is for the birds.

I pack my lunch and snacks before heading off to work as a Graduate Assistant Heaven for bid I am without a snack or without a plan. I’d be lost without my protein shake. I need that protein!!

I am starving by dinner time.  But how could that be? I am eating enough (5-6 small meals a day..it’s the only way to eat) and a 300-400 calorie meal should be more than filling.  I had a tablespoon of peanut butter for God’s sake! That good fat should be filling me up. But I begin to daydream about pizza, cereal, and ice cream.

I eat the ice cream. Then the cereal. Then I lose it and eat whatever I can find. Toast with peanut butter? Sure, why not! I’ve already ruined my day. Oatmeal? OK! I am a loser and can not control myself therefore I will stuff myself senseless and go to bed upset.

I repeat this sequence of events for years…

During this time in my life, I still felt like I was a happy person. But my idea of happiness was all wrong. I believed I was supposed to feel this way about myself.  I believed that happiness came when I reached a certain weight and could maintain it.  I believed that if and when I competed in a figure competition everyone would praise me and announce that, yes, she has the perfect body! Hip hip hooray! I believed that happiness was based upon looks and appearances.

This was my food obsessed mind at a glance.  Luckily, things have changed.