Sunday, January 29, 2012

Weekend Fun and Weekly Meals and Exercise

We had some fun at the Children’s Discovery Museum, a place the kid still loves and can’t get enough of.

I had planned to post the recipe for the chicken cilantro dumplings by now, but there were no pictures, so I decided to do it another time. I basically followed this recipe for mandu (that hubby made with the “then still a toddler” last year), but I used ground, organic chicken instead of the beef and pork, and I also added cilantro and adjusted the other ingredients slightly. I didn’t make the dumplings with the kid, but looking at the pics on hubby’s blog made me realize that we’ll have to do it again as a family! Here are three of the many pics he posted last year

On to this week’s meals:

Meal 1: Black bean quesadillas with guacamole and a salad
Meal 2: Veggie tofu stir fry and brown rice
Meal 3: Quinoa with roasted veggies, topped with poached eggs
Meal 4: Pureed vegetable soup
Meal 5: Leftovers and “refrigerator finds”

Now on to my weekly exercise. I took four barre classes last week, and they were all very tough and great workouts (I had several Groupons, etc., which made them more affordable). But I know that I have to focus a bit more on high intensity cardio. I did an interval workout on the elliptical, and I ended up feeling very nauseous afterward. I definitely want to increase my cardio fitness in the next few weeks. I also want to do some more workouts with heavier free weights. So here are my workout plans:
  • 1 barre class
  • 2 weight sessions
  • 2 HIIT workouts
  • Longer cardio (hope I’ll be able to fit a long hike into my schedule)
Questions: What was the highlight of your weekend? What was the best thing you ate last week? What’s on your menu this week? What workouts do you have planned? 

Be well,

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Online Workout Websites

Thank you for all your suggestions in the comments (and via email) on my last post regarding online workout websites. I checked out all the suggestions and thought it would be helpful to list them in a post. So here we go: has a great variety of workouts, and they are short and intense. It’s a great site to explore and get ideas for new and exciting exercise routines. Some of the exercises are clearly beyond the scope of what I’m looking for in my workouts, and I really don’t want to (re)injure myself (having a weak ankle and a lingering lower back injury). It’s a great site to explore, but I think one has to know one’s limits (which is always the case when one exercises).
I really like and used it years ago but had sort of forgotten about it. The site has a wide variety of yoga classes as well as audio and (some) video downloads. Some of the shorter classes are even free.
I hadn’t heard of before (well maybe I had, but I don’t remember for sure…). The site has an extensive free collection of short videos (each 1-4 minutes in length) demonstrating and explaining individual poses. There are also a wide variety of yoga classes (beginner, prenatal, athletes, kids, etc.) that can be accessed with a paid plan. First-time customers can download a free 15 day trial, and an unlimited monthly pass costs $20.
I always see the “crazy” CrossFit people doing their WOD (workout of the day) at my gym, and I have been intrigued for a long time. The CrossFit site provides lots and lots of information, but if I ever decide to give this (crazy) workout plan a try, I think I’ll start by taking a few classes at a CrossFit gym to make sure I understand the basics. Groupon and similar sites frequently run great deals on CrossFit classes.
YouTube Mike Chang
Some good, basic workouts. I look forward to exploring his YouTube channels a bit more.
Jamie Eason
Jamie has a 12-week program, consisting of three four-week sessions focusing on training, nutrition, and supplementation.  It’s definitely too intense for what I’m looking for at this point, and I wouldn’t want to follow such a strict eating and supplementation plan. But I may explore the exercises more in the future. I also like that the workouts are available as printable logs.

Questions: What’s your favorite workout right now (online, outdoors, indoors, at home, at the gym, anything)? I still love barre classes. They are a great workout, and they have really helped me to manage my lower back pain. However, my favorite workouts are still long, challenging hikes. What’s a workout you want to try but are scared of? 

Be well,

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Veggies, Meals & Workouts

Bike riding, running, climbing, and soccer are some of the kid’s current favorite activities. It keeps us all very active, which is a good thing!

We got another CSA box. Over the years, I have learned that it’s best to eat the lettuce right away as it quickly wilts, so we had a nice, simple salad with radishes on Friday night. We really enjoyed it.

Now on to this week’s meals:

Meal 1: Chicken cilantro dumplings – some pan fried, some in a veggie broth; steamed veggies
Meal 2: Veggie stir fry with mushrooms over brown rice – I’m really looking forward to using the mushrooms from the CSA box
Meal 3: Mushroom ravioli with pesto and veggies
Meal 4: Grilled salmon with lemon dill sauce and smashed cauliflower
Meal 5: Butternut squash soup, leftovers and other refrigerator finds

My workouts didn’t go at all as planned. I came down with a bad cold and just couldn’t exercise at all on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday I thought I’d give a short workout a try and did 20 minutes on the elliptical. Afterwards, I went into the steam room (which was challenging as I couldn’t really breathe, but I felt better afterwards). Thursday and Friday I rested more. Finally, on Saturday I felt well enough to go to a barre class. In the past, I never took a break from working out even when I was sick, and there were stretches when I was always sick. Looking back, I think it was because I didn’t allow my body to heal properly. Glad I’m older and bit wiser… Winking smile

Here are my workout plans for this week:
  • 2 barre workouts (I got a couple of questions about barre workouts. I wrote a post about barre workouts last year, but in short barre workouts are a mixture of ballet, yoga, and Pilates; there is lots of thigh work, core work, and push ups; light weights with high repetitions are also used – much harder than it sounds)
  • 1 weights workout
  • HIIT
  • Short workout DVDs (The 30 Day Shred, etc.), which I will do before work – I really miss Exercise t.v. on demand (which apparently shut down its on demand channels as well as its website on December 31.) We just got cable t.v. again recently, and Exercise t.v. was one of the things I really liked about it. I know many people like, and I’ll have to give the site a try soon.
Questions: Do you have any suggestions for online exercise sites? If so, please share in the comments! What workouts do you have planned for this week? What’s on your menu?
Be well,

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Weekly Meals and Workouts

We have had a good weekend with lots of playtime and fun so far.

The highlight of last week’s meals was the leek potato soup. Unfortunately there is no photo. In the comments, Mimi asked me for the recipe, and I wrote it down in my reply to her. It’s actually a “no recipe,” but the sweet potatoes made the soup really tasty. Whenever I made leek and potato soup in the past, I used regular potatoes. The sweet potatoes gave it a subtle sweetness, and the soup didn’t taste too “oniony.”

Leek Potato Soup comment

Now on to this week’s meals:

Meal 1: Salmon and a salad.

Meal 2: Veggie chickpea stew – I love this simple stew, especially all the dill in it.

Meal 3: Grilled cheese sandwiches with sautéed onions and mushrooms in the middle. Veggies and hummus.

Meal 4: Spaghetti and meatballs – the toddler kid has asked for this for weeks.

Meal 5: Tofu/veggie stir fry and brown rice.

As far as my workouts go, I did everything except a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout. But I did do two extra barre classes. I purchased several Groupons lately, which have made barre classes much more affordable. And since it’s such an intense workout, it’s really a good idea to do it regularly as otherwise class is all but impossible… Plus, if I do barre workouts regularly my low back pain is completely gone.

Here is what I have planned for this week:
  • 2 barre classes
  • Jackie Warner Power Circuit Training DVD – I really like this workout. The 40 minute workout is quite challenging and really works your whole body (it’s also broken up into body parts if you want to do only part(s) of it). Since it’s going to be another busy week, an at-home workout is just what I need.
  • Weights at the gym
  • HIIT – I’ll really try to do it this week! Smile 
Questions: What was the highlight of your weekend? What’s on your menu this week? What workouts do you have planned?

Be well,


Monday, January 9, 2012

Back to Planning: Meals and Workouts

It was a beautiful weekend, and we got plenty of outdoor playtime in and also had some good friends over for dinner. Overall, we had a good, low-key weekend that was unfortunately over way too quickly…

Playground Fun 01Riding Time 01

Life is busy again, and it’s more essential than ever to plan our meals:

Meal 1: Leek and potato soup with Greek yogurt.
Meal 2: Ziti pasta with a simple, homemade tomato sauce – I found some long ziti pasta (the length of spaghetti) and it brought back lots of childhood memories as this was one of my favorite meals when I was little. It’s funny to me how much the pasta shape (and length) can influence the taste of a pasta dish (it’s NOT the same with short ziti or penne). Can’t wait for this meal! We’ll also have a salad.
Meal 3: Salmon cakes & a salad.
Meal 4: Pizza – I’ll take a shortcut with Trader Joe’s pizza dough. Toppings: Sautéed onions, mushrooms, & brie cheese. As an appetizer: hummus with carrot sticks and celery for dipping.
Meal 5: Leftovers and other “refrigerator finds.”

And now on to my workouts:
  • 2 Dailey Method workouts (I’ll probably take one class and do the DVD the other time)
  • HIIT workout
  • 2 weight workouts
  • Long(er) cardio
I’m still tracking most of my workouts on Daily Mile. I like looking back at my workouts and keeping myself accountable. For those who are looking for a simple way to keep track of workouts (and interact with others if they like), I recommend the site.

Questions: What’s on your menu this week? What meal are you looking forward to the most? What’s your favorite pasta shape? What workouts do you have planned?
Be well,

Friday, January 6, 2012

Cleaning Things Up a Bit

Happy 2012!

I hope the first few days of the new year have been good ones! I have been busy trying to bring some order back into my life and to clean things up a bit. I don’t usually make big resolutions at the beginning of a new year, but it is a nice reminder of how “things should/could be in a perfect world.” I also start teaching new classes next week, and so being especially organized is important. Here are some of the organization projects I tackled over the last few days:
  • Sorted through clothes and donated anything that didn’t look good and didn’t make me feel good – felt soooo good!
  • Organized clothes so that I can easily pull outfits together
  • Organized jewelry and made it more accessible
  • Sorted through my spices (and noticed that most of them had been expired for many months and some even years – big oops!)
  • Made hubby install a new spice rack for the spices I use the most
  • Used up most contents from freezer and pantry for meals – I’m very proud that I was able to cook healthy meals with practically “no groceries” in the house for an entire week
Here is a pic of our new “high frequency spices” rack.

We got another CSA box. I love all the leafy greens, especially since my diet is in need of some “cleaning up,” too. I see quite a few green juices and green smoothies in my future, especially as there are still several frozen bananas in the freezer. I also bought a couple cucumbers for juicing. The tangerines can add some sweetness to the juices and smoothies.

Questions: Did you make New Year’s resolutions? If so, what are they? How often do you sort through your spices? I clearly don’t do it often enough! I’ll be better about it!

Be well,