Monday, February 28, 2011

Cold Weather Comforts

As I sit here and type it is pouring freezing rain outside. I’m not a complainer but I am a worrywart. See tomorrow beings my running training schedule. I thought by now I’d have my first paycheck, I’d be able to get a gym membership, a day pass, or run outside. I am still bringing everything with me to run outside tomorrow, however I am trying to find my motivation.

Tomorrow I will wake up drive to Saratoga, work, run, drive to Albany, get changed into my costume, have rehearsal, then drive to Rotterdam and completely fall asleep. When I first made March 1st my start date I didn’t have a second staged reading. I didn’t have a job either, so these things weren’t in my mind. Now I have both and I am seeking a way to recommit myself to my goal.

I get nervous every time I think about the boilermaker. I still know I can do it, or I believe I can do it with a little bit of doubt mixed in there too. I was the same way when I started out my training for the first 5k. I got excited half way through, felt great on days with a cold wet run, and found a focus.

Now I am looking out the window, reminiscent of the cold from walking into work, the wetness of having a hole in the sole of your shoe and one other big thing.

My asthma.

It’s been there my entire life and I’ve never controlled it well. I hyperventilated a lot during JV & Varsity volleyball but only on sprint suicides and long ladder runs. I was a smoker in college & grad school so I damaged my lungs even more. Now, it’s just the cold weather that kicks it up. While ice skating this weekend I found myself wheezing afterwards, not from exertion but just from the cold.

It makes me nervous for tomorrow. While it is supposed to be sunny it will still be around 33-35 degrees out when I go for a run. I’ll have to wrap a scarf around because I didn’t find a sports facemask that I liked. I’ll also be dodging some large puddles in the park and may have to switch my route around due to what areas are plowed.

None the less I still need to run. I’ve got 13 weeks of 10K training, and then I’ll have a month to add on the last 5K’s worth of distance that I’ll need to add. This goal is bigger, is harder, and is scarier. It’s a challenge. I just have to find my courage.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Fancy a good brunch

Often on the weekends I get to cook a good breakfast. Mainly because I have time but most often prompted by my brother's request for an omelet. This morning it will be an egg sandwich because my brother is at work this morning.

I like the egg. It was one of my first culinary bucket list challenges (sometimes still remains). As a kid I learned how to make scrambled eggs very quickly and learned how to cover them in ketchup just as quickly. I thought I didn't like eggs, it turns out I just didn't like my mother's eggs.

When I grew up i found myself cooking a lot. It's a passion and at times a missed career path. I remember the first time I had scrambled eggs cooked differently was at a relatives house after sleeping over. They were fluffy, moist, seasoned well. Namley, they weren't my moms dried and over peppered eggs. The difference I later found out was water instead of milk, a little cheddar cheese, and salt.

I often found new forms of egg devotion when sleeping over someone's house. In junior high I learned how to make an egg mcmuffin at the house. A skill that has been perfected many times over. I learned the differences between sunny side up, over easy, over hard and how to cook each one. Once, with several women at the breakfast table I was cooking morning eggs. I asked a much younger woman how she liked her eggs. Another woman, older than I laughed and remarked "She didn't know." The younger woman said, she took what ever she was given before. That is a travesty I said and made her an over easy egg, some salted fresh avocado, a tomato & toast.

I've perfected a french fold omelet, know how to poach an egg, can create Hollandaise by hand whisking or the blender, can make a soft or hard boiled egg, and I am still working on making a coddled egg, shirred eggs, scotch eggs, and making Huevos rancheros.

Breakfast always seemed to be easier to make than most fancy dinners and for awhile I stuck primarily to breakfast cooking. It allowed me to gain confidence. I knew I could bake but I didn't know if I could cook. I still have daydreams and fantasies about clear plastic squeeze bottled filled with sauces that I make on the weekends to use throughout the week. I think about making fresh pasta and fresh sauce. I'm still working on my salting as tenderizing beef skills. I want to make a brick or stone oven outside this summer for pizzas and breads. I want to be that foodie in your neighborhood who invites you and your partner over for good food and you bring over good wine in return. Yeah, I'm a nerd. A foodie nerd.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Caffeine Withdrawal

It is always my great downfall. I can control my food addictions, control my alcohol issues, I've kicked the smoking habit, recreational relaxants are far and few in between. Yet coffee & soda are my kryptonite.

I have one to two 8oz cups of coffee in the morning currently, and then I might have a tea around 3pm at work. We've forgone soda at the house for dinner time so I'm drinking water, tea, juice, the champagne of beers, or something that does not have caffeine in it.

Well, the other day I went crazy. I was having dinner with friends and my one friend owns a store where there is soda. She told me to take two if I wanted. I was like a kid in a candy store. (the fact was that I was an adult in an actual candy store but soda was more appealing than sugar) So diet coke & diet dr. pepper came along for the evening.

It was a binge moment. Carrying the Dr. Pepper it was my life-line. Telling me, exhaustion is no option for you young lady. You can carry on with my help. It was telling me lies. LIES.

So yesterday & today have been withdrawal days again. Going back to limited coffee intake, no soda at work, only tea in the afternoon, and no caffeinated soda at dinner (I had some diet root beer) On the way home from work my head was pounding. I can't be sure if it's sinus pressure from the storm, eye strain from 8 hours of computer work, stress causing my headache disorder to comeback, or caffeine withdrawal. Because the pain was (is) really bad I stopped at Dunkin Donuts and got a medium coffee, with the hope of by the time I got home the caffeine would kick in.

It hasn't and my headache is still prevalent. I wanted to get some thoughts down about it, about how I struggle with it, how it's hard to quit you. It sounds corny that I'm worried about this. It's just my way of keeping the variables down if I have to go back into the doctors to try to figure out why my headaches never stop. Right now I don't have to go and I want to do everything in my control to make sure I won't have to again.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Creature of Habit

So I plan out a menu for the household so we all know what we are having for dinner. What about the lunch dilemma? Currently, I don’t have to worry about going out to lunch because well I just don’t have the money for it. So, I’ve become a creature of habit.

I am a big fan of the assemble your lunch in the cafeteria method of preparation. Why? Because you don’t have soggy bread, melted cheese, or the question of can mayo sit unrefrigerated. The other reason why I do it is because I like to get out of the house at a reasonable hour in the morning.

Prior to the week starting I took 7 chicken breasts and I grilled them on the stove top. I cut them in small pieces and placed them in the snack pack size zip-lock bags. I got a big box of spring mix and each morning I take from the box and place it into a sandwich size zip-lock bag. These items along with a large wrap, piece of cheese, & a mini salad dressing packet the size of travel ketchup go together for the chicken wrap of the day. I switch the dressing up from french, to ranch, to Italian, to spicy mustard.

I have a chocolate or butterscotch pudding to finish off my meal and lately it’s paired with fruit punch Gatorade (that is made from the powder at home). I’ve been trying to stay away from soda as much as I can so bringing in juice, milk or Gatorade in my recycled glass bottle from an iced tea purchase allows me to have variety if I want.

I eat 3 meals while I’m at work. I have yogurt in the morning around 10:30. Then lunch around 12:30 or 1, then I have a snack (usually some protein bar) around 3pm. I know it helps to keep my metabolism up, so I’m OK with having a routine or a schedule. I make a lot of tea at work as well. I’m out of my favorites of green tea with mint & tazo Passion, so I’ve switched back to my PG Tips. For the afternoon snack it’s usually the chocolate brownie CLIFbar or the chocolate peanut butter special k protein bar.

One of my old friends often commented on how she couldn’t eat the same thing day in & day out. However, she knew several of her friends had no problem doing so. Me? I am a creature of habit, I’m OK with that. Dinner is often where I splurge, or on the weekends I do fancy a good brunch. Yet, I find that when I am trying to get back into a place where I feel better about my food choices routine is a comfort.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I used to be fat

I still am fat. However, I'm talking about the MTV show titled I Used to be Fat. Otherwise known as MADE for fat kids who wanted to be skinnier.

I have a love/hate relationship with this show but not in the same way that I have a love/hate relationship with The Biggest Looser. See I hate The Biggest Looser (I just LOVE to look at Jillian) Where I have clear and defined lines along my disdain for The Biggest Looser as a franchise, I have a love/hate with I Used to be Fat because it gives me a bit more hope. It's a bit more realistic. A bit.

See these kids often say before I go off to college, or before I start school again I want to make a change in my life. Often it gives them anywhere from 98 - 115 days to do so. You can drop a large amount of weight in 3 months. I dropped close to 40 pounds in my first 3 months of training with a trainer 3 days a week. However, these kids are working out 6 days a week for anywhere from 4-6 hours. Yet it's only breezed over that this is how much time they are putting in. It's also breezed over that they are "eating healthier" when it's never really spelled out what methods are being used in their diet.

I love the show because it shows you what you can do if you are determined, push through, and actually make a dedication to yourself. I hate the show because it doesn't fully show young kids how much support you need to push yourself. Family support, yeah they focus on that. But what about the rural fat kid who sees this show and can't afford the personal trainer, who doesn't have a gym nearby, how do they replicate the same results.

I would love a show that follows people in the struggle. People who take the time to change their bodies. I would love it if the show was positive and helpful. The damned Heavy show on A&E just has the music that is depressing and makes me feel like I'm watching Intervention hoping for the addict to fail. (I know how horrible that sounds but the internet can show you all sorts of Intervention drinking games)

What I want from I Used to be Fat is for them to follow these kids and see how the term "I used to be fat" affects them. Often friends who have lost weight mention to me that it's hard to let go of the defenses of the funny fat kid, or the fat kid who goes along with what everyone says. I want people to know that struggles don't stop just because the weight eventually comes off.

Monday, February 21, 2011

keeping up

So, I'm not the greatest blogger. I want to stress that my fitness was not a new years resolution. I'm still be up working on my fitness. It's just the blogging that got away from me.

Since I last wrote a few things have happened. One huge thing is that I got a job, so now I'm a 9-5 working girl who has an hour commute each morning & evening so I'm relearning my routines and trying to fit in a plan for running. (as my training start is approaching: March 1)

Also, for the past month & a half I've worked on dinner menus for my family. I was enticed by photos that my high school crush had posted on her facebook page. She's a doctor and recently working on her fitness, so when she mentioned a cookbook I checked it out. I've been doing a lot of recipes from the Clean Living Magazine. I also take a lot of my recipes from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food: Great Food Fast.

My friend Katie posted her weeks menu on her blog NNYlife so it inspired me to list out what the weeks menu is here. I have some flexible days filled with my dad's favorites or else he complains a bit for all the healthy eating. As well as Fish-a-palooza a.k.a. Lent is coming up so it's finding a happy medium of vegetarian or seafood dishes that the whole family will eat.

Most of my meal choices are based on if my mom can buy in bulk (i plan two weeks at a time), offering my dad more than chicken and good for diabetics, and keeping me at a lower sodium & fat level while gaining protein. It's a difficult blend of things. So we print recipes, try them and if the family likes them we keep them, if not they get labeled as gross and toss them.

This weeks menu is up on the fridge (so everyone knows what we're having ahead of time) so I figured I'd post next weeks menu. We go Sunday - Saturday, I'll post links to recipes when I can.

Week of Feb 27 - Mar 5:
Southwestern Pumpkin Soup & Turkey Carver Sandwiches.

Dinner out - I give my parents the option once every two weeks, they used to go out about 3 times a week.

Tuesday (I'm at rehearsal so I'll be getting a Februany sub at Subway)
Dad's Choice - Ham Steak & Scalloped Potatoes.

Beef tacos with radish & avocado salsa - Everyday Food

Pacific Pork Kebabs with pineapple rice

Sauteed Chicken in mustard cream sauce, fresh asparagus, baked potato, & salad.

Clams & Spaghetti for Dad & my brother, Meatballs & spaghetti for mom & I, salad & bread.

Well, the timer is going off and I've got peas & brown rice to cook to add to our Ginger Honey Chicken.