Monday, July 21, 2008

Random Favorites

Panera - I love you.  I hate you.  Chipotle chicken sandwich weighs in at 810 calories.  Sans cheese?  Well, not enough to cut that down to reasonable.  Too yummy to eat just half.  Even with the cute pink apple.  I guess I'll stick to the various lower-cal salads.

Americano, iced.  A brew so smooth and creamy you'd think it were a mocha, and double check every 2 sips to make sure someone didn't swap drinks with you.  Longbottom = <3

Good China eye color by Everyday Minerals.  The go to color, alone or blended, always perfect.

Sushi - really good sushi.  Probably my the primary means of fish consumption, but so very tasty. 

Pickled Ginger.  Pickled Ginger.  Pickled Ginger.  /drool/

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Friday Night Pizza


Spinach Salad, ala Trader Joe's 
Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar Salad Dressing 
- drenching baby spinach, 
topped with very sweet raspberries, 
freshly ground Nutmeg and
White Pepper.

Followed by our best-ever home pizza.
Enjoy!



BBQ Chicken Pizza:  Preheat oven to 425.  Roll or stretch out New Seasons Organic Pizza Dough on pizza pan.  Cover lightly with 2-4 Tbsp of Hot BBQ Sauce.  (We had two jars to use up, hot and sweet, provided by our friends in AZ.)

Sauté sliced red bell pepper and two whole garlic cloves in olive oil.  Separate out garlic once golden blisters appear on all sides.  Crush this quick-roasted garlic over the pizza crust, distribute evenly.  Set peppers aside.  

Sauté one large, diced chicken breast until golden brown.  Add sweet BBQ sauce and simmer, adding back the bell peppers and tossing to ensure every piece is well coated.  Distribute over pizza dough.  Top with 1/2c Tillamook Shredded Mozzarella, 1/4c shredded Tillamook Cheddar, and 1/2c fresh goat cheese crumbles.  Drop temp to 350, bake 18-20 mins.  Crank heat back to 425, bake until toppings are golden brown delicious.  Sprinkle with Cilantro, optional.  Serve as soon as it is safe to eat and not blister your mouth.  

Try not to eat the whole thing.  It's really that good.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Getting Crafty

Over the past few days I created my first piece of art, specifically for the purpose of doing so.  This mixed media ribbon embroidery is the type of work that I intend to do.  I have many design ideas in the flora classification, and a grand plan for something a little more medieval.  

I love the colors in this piece, currently untitled.  Suggestions?  I will probably make it available as is, gently mounted.  As a 6" square, It could be framed (no glass) or used as a quilt block, or something else entirely that I'm not able to think of at the moment.  For the most part, I am satisfied with the outcome tho I am making notes on what did and did not work.

Did:  Threads for small branches, ribbon selected for leaves, and beads.  
Did Not:  Thick satin ribbon thru the cotton fabric - that was a hassle.
Did:  Flexible design, minimal rework.  Twisted branches.
Did Not:  Mounting, due to knots on the back.
Did:  Planet Bead - I think I love you

Eventually I will have enough pieces to set up an Etsy.com shoppe, tho I do not yet have a number identified. I think 2 or 3 more branch pieces, probably larger, and one other concept that requires different thread before I can start - one I'm very excited about but will keep under wraps for now.  

What is next?  A bridal veil for my sister in law, decorated in Czech glass beads.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Zucchini Cardamom Muffin


One final image for the day.. and tempting enough that I have to re-read my rule on baked goods to keep from rushing in to the kitchen to whip up another batch.

The Zucchini Cardamom Muffin.  Enjoy.  

Cupcake Truffle Bombs - the Photos

Long awaited...

Chocolate cupcake with coconut milk truffle filling, 
chocolate ganache topped with buttercream icing 
and chocolate dusted shredded coconut.
In a pretty little box.  
I think it weighed in around 4lbs...


And finally, Strawberry chocolate cupcakes.
With sprinkles.
  

Banana Cardamom French Toast

Anyone in the Portland area looking to eat fabulous and gluten free simply Must try blüma bakery.  She'll blow you away with her delicious breads and biscotti.

Having recently entered into a love affair with cardamom, I had to order the Banana Cardamom bread.  And, as we had guests in town, I decided to take things a step further - thus the application of french toasting with orange zest.

The bread was too moist to soak up any of the egg batter, so I dried slices in the oven on low heat.

Then the slices were placed on a quarter sheet pan, soaked up all the liquid and zest before going to the griddle.  To serve, I topped them with greek yogurt, and a little maple infused orange marmalade. 

Result?  Delish!  Rich, moist banana against tart orange zest and yogurt, with the sweet cardamom in every bite.  Far too rich to eat two slices - the side of sausage (not pictured) rounded out the meal.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Aaah, Summer

July is summer.

The excitement of the Tour. Phil Liggett's melodic voice.

Wild flowers, sunflowers, lemons, blueberries, and herbs de provence. BBQ and fresh salads. Fruit crisps, crumbles, and pies.

Hot, dry winds carrying the sweet smell of freshly cut hay. Fields of clover so rich your nose burns as you breathe in. The smell of fallen pine needles baked in the heat, contrasted by the cool sweetness of ferns.

This is summer. How long will it last?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Progress?

Some days, progress is sticking to the plan. Other days, it's acknowledging that rest is required. But getting strict and sticking to a plan can be undermined by things like extra exertion or PMS.

I know that thedailyplate does a poor job of calculating calories burnt in activity. I know that if it tells me I have 2400 calories available once I upload my exercise, that I can't gorge and use them all up if I want to maintain or lose weight. I am not quite sure what the right amount of refuel is, that is still in trial and error. However, it's difficult when you finish a hard ride and your body is willing to consume any and all food within arms reach (Thursday.) I also experience my first ride (Saturday) in which I actually got Hungry on ride. Even with on ride snacks, if we would have passed a McDonalds on the way back I'm sure I would have stopped for a big mac. Ew.

Then there is the added bonus - the once a month the "MUST EAT" monster arrives, and no quantity or quality of food will satisfy the beast. It is a difficult craving to manage, because eating doesn't make me feel good. I haven't figured out how to shake the massive drive to consume candy bars and potato chips and donuts and cake and chocolate. I was doubly caught off guard, as it showed up 4 days later than expected.. I'd thought I'd escaped, but no such luck.

So how is the progress? From Tues to Fri my weight stepped down 3 lbs, a beautiful down trend to my average low of 143. Then came the weekend, and it jumped right back up to the 146s. Shrug?

This week - Last night was weights. Today I brought my gym bag so I can run. We're bike commuting, so that adds about 8 miles per day. Tomorrow is weights, and I need to figure out how to get a ride in Thursday - don't know yet if that will mean driving downtown to join the race team or finding something to do on the west side after taking a bath in sun block. I've planned out my lunches, and have some tasty dinners in the lineup, lots of salads or vegetables and berries. Small steps.

recap: Last Week

Goal Reset: Check
Food Tracking: Check
Cardio Workouts: Run and Ride - Check Checkity Check
Weight Workouts: Well... I got one in.

With a long weekend and many ride opportunities, I needed to figure out how to schedule two rides with a day off between them. I decided to ride Thursday after work, then the club ride Saturday. This would have put my weights routine Friday the Fourth, and Sunday - we'll get back to that.

Thursday - the race team assaulted Portland. We rolled thru every neighborhood, and left stunned observers everywhere we went. Up 3 volcanoes - they tell me it was 2500' gain over 30 miles. I hadn't anticipated that challenging of work, but I tend to prefer not to know. I was one of 3 women on that ride, and the slow-pokiest one up every climb. In my defense, this was more climbing than I've done in the last 3 months combined, so it wasn't That bad. And, I managed to stay right up with the group on all of the flats, after a quick recovery at the top and on the descent. Huzzah. We finished the night with a subgroup over far better food than I could have hoped for, and great company. That put us home around 11:30 pm. Zzzz.

Friday - Happy Fourth! I celebrate by.. shopping at Ikea?! Yes indeed. I found nearly everything for my craft room redesign at Ikea. Many thanks to Linda #2 and her truck for the ride, and company, on the shopping expedition. The desk top would Not have fit in the back of my minicoop. (OMG MINI!) After a successful outing and only one mis-purchase, we met the boys for lunch at CPR, and then drove home to unload and assemble the furniture. Note: Double check bin items; it may not be the same as the example hanging above it. Also, Check rubber mallet for bike grease before using on indoor furniture.
By that evening my energy was gone. Workout skipped.

Saturday - The route map would have sent us east - under dark and heavy clouds, into the wind and traffic. We change the route, and I roll out to Dairy Creek with the 17s. Jackson School and West Union - we aren't turning? We're going North? Okay, pallet factory, here we come! I'm afraid I'll get dropped on every rise, so I dig in and push to stay near the front. This is a large group, and my ego suddenly refuses to be last man up the hill, even if that means a few anaerobic pushes out of the saddle. On our right, a little baby skunk with Disney eyes sits by the side of the road. We finally wind our way out to Dairy Creek.. it is humid, and just warm enough to be comfortable even with the cloud cover. On our left, walking through a field of micro daisies is a brown horse with a little brown bird on it's withers. (awwww)

We're rolling fast. Dairy Creek slowly ticks up, and my small group is off the front. It's okay - let's push this! We tear off the front, build a sizeable gap, and roll on. I pass Matt going the other way. Shortly after, thinking we're near the end I decide to sit up & rest the legs a little. Oops, we're only half way done? Oh well, legs were tired an no one else would roll to the front to pull. I reach the turn around and we regroup. A cold front blows thru, everyone is chilled. We push back down the road, trying to get the heart rate and core temperature back up to fight off this cold. Suddenly we're in a chase, speed ticks up and we're maintaining 22-24mph. One more regroup, we decide to turn left and head back. By the time we roll back in to Longbottom, our Average is 17.0. New personal best for that route, and it was a blast.

The Knees - the left did hurt a bit on both rides, but not until 15 or 20 miles in; more so with the climbs, but it reached a point that I worked thru the pain. That's either really good or nerve damage... I'll go with really good for now.


Sunday - Tired. Simply drained. I go grocery shopping, M goes for a recovery ride. Later we head out to Sears and upgrade our dishwasher. Hooray Dishwasher! I'm a zombie. I bail on workout #3, finish organizing and cleaning out the craft room, and rest.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

It's Go Time

Transformation.

At my worst, I was 178 lbs. 38D, size 12 jeans, and they were snug. There was a roll of fat at the nape of my neck that would form when I looked up. How gross is that? I carried far too much flab, was heavy, ate too much fast food and large meals and exercised intermittently, if at all. That behavior, that weight, that "worst" is a place I never want to return to. It is also the danger, the result of do nothing good. It took a long time for my self image to have that reality check. There are years of photos that were avoided or ignored because the person in the frame did not match who I see inside.

Athletic Feminine.

The ideal me is slim and fit. She has a low body fat percentage. She plans and eats fabulous, healthy meals. She is muscular and Strong. She is effortlessly active - ready to go and do at a moment's notice. She tries new things, sticks to her workout plan and adjusts to keep it fresh and challenging. She is healthy. She respects and challenges the true limits of her body.

Over Half Way There.

The current me is stuck somewhere in between. I've made progress, floating between 142-146lbs and about 23%bf. I've worked in spurts; progress and intention followed by plateaus or regressions followed by work. I am no longer embarrassed by my photo, but I can see areas for improvement. I enjoy the workouts, but am too easily swayed by excuses that enable laziness. I've embraced too many sweets, too many pints or G&Ts. I don't deny that the progress is good.. there are many that would be satisfied to reach this stage and stop. But I am not yet where I want to be, and the realization and reminder that this year is half over has me refocusing on my goals and plan.


PHYSICAL GOALS:
18-21% bodyfat
130-139 lbs

EXERCISE PLAN:
2-3x/week weight training
2-3x/week cardio - cycling specific, running supplemented
1-2x/week rest - depending on training plan and needs

FOOD PLAN:
4-6 Healthy, Intentional Meals per day
Eating within caloric goals

LIMITS & NOTES:
Baked Goods 2 servings per month, max
Alcohol 1 per week, max
Shift to Starches post Exercise, not fundamental to diet
Learn how to honor the 80% full rule
Have a workout plan to follow
Identify the next plan before the current one expires

MEASUREMENTS:
thedailyplate tracking... daily
Caloric intake adjusted to meet and sustain physical and exercise goals
Daily weigh in, tracked
Biweekly Measurements & Photos

ACCOUNTABILITY:
Monthly blog check in. I'm not so brave that I'll post photos here yet, but I will call on two of you to keep me honest.
Wedding Photos. I really should hit my weight goal and make progress on bodyfat by my SIL's wedding Sept 27. Nothing like Forever photos to light a fire! That's just over 12 weeks. Time for two intense 6 week workout routines.

REWARDS:
Many years ago I found something called Trollbeads. They go by many names (pandora, biagi, lampwork?) but I love the variety and color and design ~ such a cool way to do a charm bracelet. I stumbled across them again recently (thanks again, Etsy) and still love it. This will be my reward, my badge of progress.

When I maintain less than 140 lbs for 10 days = 1 bracelet and 3 beds

When I reach 20% bodyfat = 5 beads

Each 4 weeks maintaining Physical Goal = 1 bead