Monday, May 2, 2016

Weekly Review

Hello, it's been a week full of fun family time!  It's included some late nights and some early mornings so I can say I'm a bit exhausted.  I did manage to get in some work outs as well so here's my recap.

Monday - rest day

Tuesday - rest day.  I did manage to get in more than 10,000 steps since the evening was spent cleaning in preparation for guests arriving on Wednesday.  In fact, I got in more than my 10,000 steps ever weekday except Monday.

Wednesday - rest day

Thursday - I woke up early to get in 30 minutes on the elliptical before anyone else woke up.

Friday - Strength training in the evening.  This was 3 rounds of jumping jacks, squats, crunches, glute bridges, clam shells, planks, push-ups, squats and calf raises.

Saturday - Got up early to meet my friends for a local 5k.  This was through the Montgomery County Road Runners so it was free for members, score!  We did about a 2 mile warm up and then the 5k.  It was another hilly one but I felt good at the end.

Sunday- I woke up before everyone else to get in some Yoga With Adrienne.  I chose the strength training routine.  We also went back to pub trivia and managed to claim 2nd place this time!  That resulted in $25 off our bar tab which is always appreciated.  But it looks like probably no more trivia for us until July or so.  May and June are shaping up to be busy months.

So that was it for last week.  This week is probably going to involve a lot of rest days early in the week too since my family doesn't leave until Wednesday.  But I am hoping to make body pump Wednesday evening, run on Thursday, yoga on Friday, run on Saturday and Sunday.

I'm linking up   with HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin for their Weekly Wrap.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Goat cheese polenta with spinach and roasted tomatoes

Yum!  I saw this polenta recipe from Pinch of Yum a while ago and knew I was going to need to try to make it at some point.  Well, we made it last week for dinner and it was delicious!  The polenta was creamy and pungent while the roasted tomatoes gave a depth of flavor and the spinach added freshness.  A perfect Spring meal, and it was pretty easy as well.

The recipe makes 4 servings, but I could see it being 2 -3 servings if you're hungry since it was so delicious.  You may want to serve it with a salad just in case. Here is my version of the dish.

  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 3 cups spinach
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • salt to taste
I did this first step over the weekend, making it then an easy weeknight dinner to throw together. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and place the tomatoes on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast for 10 minutes, gently turn the tomatoes, and repeat 2 more times for a total of 30 minutes.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large pot. Once the oil is hot, add the spinach, red chili flakes, garlic powder and salt to taste. The spinach will begin to wilt and reduce quickly so you won't need to sautee it long.  Just keep stirring it for a minute or two until it's the consistency you want it.  I wanted it to be wilted but not cooked to death so that it could still give some freshness to the dish. I then removed it from the pot and set it aside on a plate.

In the same pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the polenta slowly and whisk at the same time  to help avoid clumps. Simmer for 15 minutes or so until the polenta has thickened. Add the goat cheese and stir until smooth. Taste at this point to see if any extra salt is needed.  Some goat cheese can be quite salty so I didn't want to add salt to the polenta until now to see how much it needed.

And voila!  Serve the cheesy polenta in a bowl and top with some of the spinach and roasted tomatoes.  It was as beautiful as it was delicious!

I'm excited to be linking up with Deborah and Sarah for meatless Mondays. This is a great link up to find delicious vegetarian recipes.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Weekly Review

I had a pretty good week, but it was busy.  And my rest days ended up being at the beginning of the week again so all my workouts were concentrated toward the end.  But, I got in everything I wanted to get in so that's a positive.

Monday- rest day

Tuesday - rest day

Wednesday - Body pump and 15 minute warm up on the elliptical.  I pushed it again and I think I was sore until Saturday!

Thursday - 40 minutes on the elliptical at the gym

Friday - Runner's World yoga essentials. I had meant to get to body pump but couldn't get away from work to make it to class.  So I did a yoga video instead.  It was probably a good thing since I was still a bit sore.

Saturday - Ben's Run 5k with a 1.5 mile warm up before the race (full review later this week)

Sunday - 30 minute run before my volunteer shift at the Pike's Peek 10k.

I ran this race last year and had a bad experience (totally my own fault for not checking the weather report ahead of time) so I decided to just volunteer this year.  I was placed at bag check at the finish line so the job consisted of setting up the area, organizing the bags in numerical order once the trucks arrived, and then handing them out to runners as they came up.  It was super organized and there were just the right amount of volunteers.  Everything went so smoothly and it was a great experience. Plus, I got a lot of steps running back and forth to get the bags :)  I had around 5,000 steps when I started and around 12,000 when I finished.

My other bit of fun on Sunday was we went out for pub trivia with friends in the evening.  We ended up getting 3rd place, which meant we got to choose one of the categories for next week's trivia.  Which means we have to go back next week!

This week is going to be a bit tough to get in a lot of work outs because I have family visiting from out of town but I'm going to try my best and see what happens.  I'm linking up   with HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin for their Weekly Wrap.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Friday Five - Photos

I hope you're all doing well!  It's Friday and that means I'm linking up with Mar, Cynthia and Courtney for the Friday Five link up. Today's theme is a "free" Friday.  Marathon Photo recently had a special where you could buy three photos for the price of one so I got some from the Rock and Roll DC Half.  So I figure today would just be a picture post where I share 5 recent photos :)

Happy to be finishing!

Not sure what I'm looking at here

All smiles at the end

Shelby - "He's right behind me, isn't he?"

A neighbor kitty has been visiting and Perry and Shelby are not fans.

So those are some recent photos from my life.  I'm working from home today which usually results in more cat snuggling and more cat photos :)  Hopefully it will be peaceful with no neighbor kitties causing a ruckus.  I'm running a hilly 5k tomorrow and volunteering at a local 10k Sunday and looking forward to both!  I hope everyone has a good weekend!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Weekly Review

I had a pretty full week last week and it seemed to fly by.  I struggled a bit with allergies but I got in most of my work outs for the week and the only one that had to be modified was one planned run turned into a walk instead because of some breathing issues.  Here are the details. 

Monday - rest day

Tuesday - rest day

Wednesday - strength training.  I did three circuits of jumping jacks, squats, crunches, glute bridges, clam shells, planks, push-ups and lunges.

Thursday - elliptical machine at the gym

Friday - rest day. I meant to go to a lunch time body pump class but work was busy and I didn't make it. 

Saturday - This is the morning I woke up with some allergy struggles so my planned run turned mostly into a walk. After the walk, I did my strength training circuit again since I had missed Friday's body pump class.

We also went dancing Saturday night since a DJ I really like from New York was in town.  We didn't leave the house until 10pm, which is past my bedtime.  I yawned the whole way there, but had a lot of fun working up a sweat dancing to some fun music. 

Sunday - 6 mile run with friends on the Rock Creek Trail.

I really enjoyed running with friends again and had a great time catching up.  This is also the first run over three miles I've done in about 3 weeks so it felt good to spend an extended about of time out there.  Afterwards, I cleaned up and met some other friends for a fun wine tasting.

So that was my week.  I hope that you all had some fun times this week too!  I'm linking up with HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin for their Weekly Wrap.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Friday Five - Hamilton musical

It's Friday!  This week has sped by and the weekend has crept up on me.  But I'm never sad about it being Friday.  It means it's almost time for the weekend and of course, time to link up with Cynthia, Mar and Courtney for the Friday Five.  This week's theme is favorites and so I thought I'd talk about the things I've been enjoying about the Hamilton soundtrack as it's currently my favorite thing to listen to.

I think most people have heard of the Hamilton musical by this point.  It's had rave reviews and sell out crowds on Broadway.  For those who aren't familiar with it, it's been called a hip-hop musical about Alexander Hamilton, the first treasury secretary of the US.  The concept sounds almost ridiculous but it's amazingly well executed and really works much better than you would expect.

1. Writing - My favorite thing about the soundtrack is the lyrics.  The writing is amazing.  One of the things that sticks out about Hamilton as opposed to other musicals is the verbal density. One review pointed out that the opening number had around 500 words whereas less than 100 is more typical.  And the density works so well for being able to tell this story, especially as Alexander Hamilton's own writings were know to be very dense.

2. Diversity - The casting is pretty diverse compared to most musicals and the type of music employed is also equally diverse.  I feel like it's dismissive to simply call Hamilton a hip hop musical since it draws from so many more musical styles than that.  There are songs that seem like traditional show tunes, numbers sung by King George that are inspired by brit-pop, in addition to the songs inspired by R&B, hip hop, reggae and rap.  I love the fact that the cabinet arguments between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson have been re-imagined as rap battles.

3. Historical accuracy - Just as impressive as the artistry is the fact that it is surprisingly historically accurate.  The play was inspired by a biography written by a historian and the author of the book was involved in the show as a historical consultant.  I was so intrigued by the soundtrack that I'm currently reading the book and I've been impressed with the accuracy of the play.  There are some small differences, mostly to compress the timeline or to avoid having to introduce extra characters, but generally the reasons for the change are evident and they don't really change the main points of the larger story.

4. Great for working out - I mentioned earlier that I was limiting myself to listening to the soundtrack to when I was working out.  The music is great for working out.  The first half is very upbeat and intricate and works to keep my mind engaged and my body moving.

5. Social commentary - I love the way this is a historical story and a modern story at the same time.  This story about events from hundreds of years ago at the forming of our country is also about revolution and justice and the surprising things that can happen when people who have traditionally been excluded from society are allowed a seat at the table.  It is also about the great things that can be done by regular people who are flawed, just like those of us in the audience.

And, if you're an Amazon Prime member, it's available for streaming on Amazon Prime right now so it's easy to give it a listen and see what you think!  If you've listened to the sound track, I'd love to hear what you think about it. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Smoothie experiments

I didn't have a lot of healthy snacks around the house last week for some reason and there were a couple days I was feeling a bit peckish after dinner.  I also had some veggies that needed to be used up.  So I decided to experiment with smoothie bowls since that was something I'd been seeing a lot online.

Experiment 1 - Spinach, banana, frozen peach and almond milk.

This one was sadly not that successful.  I topped it with granola, extra peaches and some chocolate chips.  But it pretty much just tasted like banana with a weird, herb-y, bitter after taste.  It was also not quite as thick as it should have been.

At least it was pretty.

Experiment 2 - Cabbage, banana, frozen peaches, frozen cherries and almond milk

This one turned out delicious!  I had learned some lessons from my first try.  I only used half a banana instead of a whole one.  It's too easy for the banana taste to overpower otherwise.  The frozen cherries helped because it's a stronger flavored fruit.  I think the peaches by themselves got lost in my first attempt.  And the cabbage has a milder flavor than the spinach so it was easier to cover up.  I also added a bit of vanilla extract and cinnamon to boost the flavor.  As far as the almond milk, I just added a little bit.  It was too thick but I was able to add a bit more until it was at the right consistency.  You can always add in more liquid but you can't take it out.

Just topped with a sprinkling of chocolate chips as I wasn't as hungry this day.

I have to admit that I was skeptical about vegetables in smoothies but I'm glad I tried it and learned that it can be delicious!  Both versions helped me use up some veggies I had in the refrigerator that may have gone bad otherwise and helped me get in some extra healthy veggies.  Mike tried the first one and wasn't a fan but even he really enjoyed the second one.