Ghost Town

Today was an absolutely gorgeous day. It was the taste of spring that I had so been craving. Bring on the sixty-degree days, I am MORE than ready.

Unfortunately, I was stuck inside for a good part of the day, so I didn’t get to swallow up the sunshine as much as I had hoped! Sad!

After some fumbling around for transportation, I made my way to the gym this evening and walked right into The Most Beautiful Scene in All of the Land. The instant I pulled into the parking lot, I knew it was going to be a good gym night– there were about seven cars. That’s right guys, seven, not seventy. I couldn’t believe it! The gym was a GHOST TOWN! I had free reign of the whole place. I even managed to make my way to the weights! (Which are usually overrun by lots and lots of very, very large men.) Strangely, I think I was a little taken aback by the situation so my workout wasn’t quite as well-planned as it otherwise would have been! I spent a little bit of time on the treadmill, a little while on the elliptical and hit a few different weight machines. I closed off the night with a (semi-spastic) ab workout on the mats with far fewer reps than I had actually intended to complete. Don’t you worry, I’ve got tomorrow’s workout alllll planned out. The freedom of hopping around from machine to machine and not worrying about the line forming behind me, nor the general, anxiety-producing vibe of having an overcrowded facility gave me a second lease on (gym) life! I am really hoping that this little reminder of what an accessible, uncrowded gym can do for the soul will be the push that I need to force myself to hop over to the gym first thing in the morning. It’s time to get serious about this!

(Actually, it’s time to hop-to some big changes all the way around. The lunches, the snacks, the self-control, the gym, the running. Today is tomorrow!)

And speaking of healthy snacks, let’s talk about my newest obsession:

cookie dough

 

Raw cookie dough. Only not.

Back in college, one of my favorite healthier snacks was a peanut butter-Greek yogurt dip that I used to make by combining plain Greek yogurt, peanut butter, and honey. In that dip, there was significantly more peanut butter than yogurt (the yogurt really just served to “dilute” the peanut butter a bit in order to make it slightly lower in calories and also to change the consistency a tad).

And then, I tried this. Oh my dear goodness.

Take one 6 oz. cup of PLAIN Greek yogurt and stir in about a tablespoon of creamy peanut butter. Swirl in about a teaspoon of honey, and add a spoon or two of mini chocolate chips and bam, it’s cookie dough-flavored Greek yogurt. It is so, so tasty I can’t hardly believe it! On top of that, just one serving proved to be extremely filling. Plus, I totally felt like I was getting away with something so calorically sinful, when in reality, it was just a fun way to get some healthy fat (from the peanut butter) and mega-doses of protein (from the yogurt).

And now it’s time to play a rousing game of “Let’s See if Brittany Can Get to Bed at a Reasonable Time Tonight!”

Happy Daylight Saving Time day! I hope you have all started to recover from your lost hour!

 

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Oatmeal ADD-ins, not STIR-ins!

Greetings, greetings! I hope you have had a lovely day. Mine was the perfect combination of play and work. This morning, I met up with Katie for breakfast and some shopping (revelation time: LONG JEANS. I probably sound like the dumbest person alive right now, but even though I have purchased long jeans from some stores before, it never really occurred to me to give them a go at my favorite store. I have always loved American Eagle jeans, they always seem to fit and they last forever. They are also often on sale and/or have applicable coupons so it’s a win-win. Recently, however, I noticed that several of the pairs that I have had for a while were a little short. Especially when I wore them at work with sneakers. So today, I got a long pair and I LOVE them. They are perfect!)

However, since tonight’s post title has absolutely nothing to do with shopping, nor the length of my jeans, let’s cut to the chase. 😉

I am an oatmeal LOVER. My obsession probably began long, long ago with the magical, fantastical Dinosaur Eggs instant oatmeal. (Have you ever tried this stuff? I was ALL about it in elementary school and then it disappeared from the grocery stores, but I assure you, it is back. Ok, so basically it’s dinosaur-shaped sprinkles cased in hard sugar that melts in the hot oatmeal (AKA THE DINOSAURS HATCH!!!!!!!!!) and it is the coolest breakfast food in the universe, pretty cool I guess…

Anyway, ever since then, I have loved oatmeal and I typically just eat it plain or with a teeny tiny bit of sugar and milk. That is mostly because anything else that I have ever added has entirely repulsed me. Recently, however, I have been trying to shake things up a bit.

It all started with chocolate chips. One of my roommates loved to put chocolate chips in her oatmeal and since it sounded like dessert for breakfast, I decided to give it a go. I stirred in a tablespoon of chocolate chips and HATED it. It was “chocolate” oatmeal. Please, brother.

Next up was peanut butter. One day I decided to stir in a tablespoon of peanut butter and it just made the oats disgustingly thick and tasted a little bit like garbage.

Eventually, I reverted to the back to the chocolate chips, but that time, I dropped them in and DIDN’T stir them. They were melty, delicious little pockets of chocolatey delight.

So today, I decided to revisit the peanut butter addition and I am totally smitten. It was fantastic.

 

So I think it finally clicked. I need to stop stirring things into the oatmeal (like chocolate chips and peanut butter.) Instead they should be accessories, of sorts. Dropped in, left untouched. Now all I can think about is tomorrow’s breakfast.

So what have we learned today, class? a) the 5’7″ + crowd may benefit from American Eagles’ “long” option and b) when making additions to oatmeal, drop, don’t stir.

 

Vegetable Parmesan

Well, I was a complete “Cyber Monday” failure today. I even checked out a couple of my favorite sites, but other than free shipping from nearly EVERY source, I was less-than impressed.

I did manage to get (some) of the Christmas decorations up, but some of the lights that we used last year are MIA! I can’t find them anywhere and the ones that I did locate are older and a bunch of them are busted! I was becoming quite frustrated with all of the wiry knots this morning. The whole situation was starting to remind me of that (God awful) “The 12 Pains of Christmas” song they love to play on the radio. The second one is hanging up the lights. They got THAT one right.

 

The rest of the morning/ afternoon I spent with my mom. We mostly did some random shopping outings (including Marshall’s and Barnes & Noble) in the shock of the century, I didn’t buy any books at Barnes & Noble!

And now, for the main feature! For dinner tonight, I made vegetable parmesan! It is an adapted version of Giada De Laurentiis’ recipe (I pretty much just changed the preparation of it a tad). It includes peppers, eggplant and the typical “parmesan” fixings. Here we go!

 

The recipe calls three peppers: red, yellow and orange. First, I sliced those and sautéed them in a frying pan with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Meanwhile, I had one medium eggplant salting on the table.

 

After the peppers were partially cooked, it was time to layer everything up:

 

Here’s what the final product looked like…

 

The whole thing took probably about 15 minutes to prepare and was in the oven for 30 minutes! (I bake it at 375 for 30 minutes). Check out the original recipe here!

Have a goodnight and I will talk to you tomorrow! With GYM STORIES. Sheesh.

 

Avocado Pita Pizza

Hello all!

It has been nearly impossible for me to squeeze good blogging time into this weekend! My sister was visiting from out of town and I wanted to spend as much time as her as possible, especially considering my crazy work schedule for the past three days! It was great to see her!

First thing is first. I have always known this subconsciously, but now it is a fact that I can no longer ignore! Sugar is DANGEROUS! This weekend, I pretty much let my guard down. I realized that my favorite treats at work (read: elephant ears and pumpkin donuts) will soon be gone. Additionally, I always find myself eating 50 times worse when there is company in town as there are more meals out and more treats and special things. Anyway, it is so scary, but so clear that the more sugar you eat, the more you “want” it. It is suddenly so very clear to me how I would get myself stuck in donut-frenzy ruts in previous years at work. It is so easy to convince yourself that you’re “hungry” and that a sweet treat will solve the problem! I can’t wait to hit up the gym tomorrow and  fill up on nutritious things again. I do love my splurges, but after a couple of days, I start to feel pretty sluggish!

I must say, this cake bite from a local bakery was 100% worth it.

Tonight for dinner, I decided to make one of my new favorite, super simple meals that I found online a while back. Avocado-egg pizza. (His picture is 150% better than any picture I was able to snap of my own creation, but trust me. If you’re an avocado-lover as I am, this is a MUST-TRY.) Also, Kontos “Smart Carb” pitas are brilliant. They are tasty, healthier than normal pita breads and also filling. I will definitely be throwing them in my shopping cart more often!

If you are NOT an avocado or egg lover, then this picture will look absolutely repulsive to you! In that case, I highly suggest that you avoid this recipe.

 

 

(Strangely, I never, ever, ever eat undercooked eggs (I am a little on the paranoid side), but the one that I topped the pizza off with was slightly over-easy and it was perfect for this purpose!)

Stay tuned for tales of Brittany’s Day Off tomorrow! Have a great night!

(Also, is it weird that I just got really excited thinking about my morning cup of coffee tomorrow? Probably. Actually, maybe it’s a sign of a problem…….Naaaaaaw. 😉 )

On Location

Hello friends!

Thanks for coming back again! Being away from home riiiight before the big 5k day should be interesting indeed. I just downloaded the Map My Run app and I’m hoping to find a manageable, decently nearby trail to hit up, but we will see. (Also, there is an elliptical machine here, but it DOESN’T WORK. I was so bummed when I made that discovery because the machine itself is on the back porch with a BEAUTIFUL view. So sad.

Due to that unsuspected snafu in my workout plan for this morning, let’s talk about food instead. Breakfast was delicious and filling. Oatmeal with fresh peaches and a pinch of brown sugar plus a Raspberry Chobani! (I don’t think I’ve ever tried the raspberry before today, but it was just as enjoyable as the rest of them are.)

 

Peach Oatmeal Breakfast So the food portion of this meal was perfect. It was seasonal and fresh and delicious. The COFFEE, on the other hand was a disaster and a half. I’m not entirely sure what went wrong, but the only coffee pot on hand here is one of those cup-by-cup Keurig machines (which I swear are cooling in theory than they are in actual practice). Anyway, we also don’t have any milk or sugar yet, so it was too strong to begin with and I had NOTHING to dilute it with! Ick. Better luck tomorrow I suppose!

And for lunch…

This is one of my very favorite staple lunches that is SO easy to make! Nothing more than sliced avocado and tomato on whole wheat bread! A banana on the side makes it even more filling. This was so summery and delicious I was a very happy camper.

So, I suppose that’s all for now my dearest readers. I will be back with more tonight! Hopefully with some ridiculous story about how I rigged the elliptical up to my car and managed to get it working. Only not really.

 

 

Pumpkin Bites and Research

Check out tonight’s endeavor. PUMPKIN COOKIES. HEALTHFUL pumpkin cookies. I couldn’t justify the smoothie tonight, especially with no workout, but these little guys will be coming on my trip with me! There were about 4 ingredients and they are absolutely delicious. (She said so humbly…)

Pumpkin Cookies

I probably could have eaten all of this PRE-oven. (For the record, I didn’t…)

Fall Treats

I should also mention that they’re under 100 calories each! 

Sure, it’s a little early still for fall, but these are a win already. I’m sure September and October will bring many, many more of these bad boys. (I adapted the recipe from this one: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/pumpkin-spice-cookie/).

(Two Notes: 1.For those of you frequent-readers, you’re probably thinking it’s about time that I get a new plate to display my creations on. I’d have to say that I agree 100%, but this one is just so bright! and 2. Let it be known that I am well aware that I may be obsessed with chia seeds. It’s fine, don’t worry about it.)

I think that’s about it for today! I’ve been doing lots of research on this whole blogging business I’ve gotten myself into, so stay tuned for some exciting changes!

I will see you here again tomorrow. Hopefully after a workout and a smoothie.

‘Night!

Full Distance = TACKLED

Hello!

Workout : OK. First thing’s first. This morning, bright and early I tackled the full 3.1 (plus some!) for the first time! Granted, it was a treadmill and my pace was quite slow, but I DID IT! In exactly one week I will have a shiny new race bib and a 5k under my hat. Hellllooooooo Fitness Bucket List. What will be next !?

My motto today when I was convinced I was dying around mile 2.8? This little gem from Pinterest:

 

 

It’s quite interesting what a mantra and some feisty music can do for you!

I Want to Teach!! : Right now, I am in the process of figuring out the best way to go about getting certified to teach some fitness classes! Ultimately, I would love to get that personal training certification, but for the time being I think becoming a fitness instructor may be the most feasible option (both financially and time-wise!) From the looks of it, it seems like you can choose which classes you want to teach. There are cardio ones, dance ones, self-defense ones (stretching back to my dojo days!), strength ones….everything imaginable! Unfortunately you have to pay for each separate certification so this is an important decision! As it turns out, I also need to be re-certified in CPR (apparently that class I took in high school health class doesn’t last forever 😛 ). If I end up being chosen for the running program, they will cover the cost of the CPR/ first-aid class which would be very handy, but we will have to wait and see about that!

Recipe ChallengeAlright, I have a new plan to introduce! So far, I have been throwing a few recipes at you randomly whenever I saw it fitting. However, there was rarely any rhyme or reason to what I posted! To get some consistency going (and also to have a way of forcing myself to try some new recipes and also continuing to push myself to be a better cook), I will be starting monthly cooking themes. Every week (or more frequently, if things go well), I will be providing recipes that have some sort of cohesive theme! Maybe seasonal, maybe revolving around some kitchen tool (grill? blender?) or maybe something totally different that will come to me later! I’m thinking this will be on Sundays each week. So check back tomorrow for a random recipe, but also the introduction of next month’s theme! (Can you believe it’s already almost September!?!) So now, in addition to the random recipe posts throughout the week, you can also check out the sunday specialty!

Alright guys, I think that’s it for today! I will see you all tomorrow.