Saturday, June 25, 2011


Last Saturday I had a co-ed wedding shower to attend downtown (three cheers for the trending  co-ed baby and wedding showers-so much more fun!) so I used my summer hours afternoon off on Friday to clean and take the dog child to the groomers and booked a Zumba class for Saturday morning. The trains run slower in Chicago on weekends and even though I left enough time, my train was running late AND there was some kind of issue and we stopped on the tracks for a few minutes. I seriously missed making class by about 10 minutes. I was so ticked! I knew I needed to get in some exercise, so I opted to walk home to meet Mr. BB30 and drive back downtown with him. I turned on my Eminem inspired Pandora station to help me keep up the pace and I power walked (big tote bag and all) the seven miles or so home. It was a good test for me, because I don't handle last minute changes of plan well. I like plans. They make me feel in control and happy. Alas, instead of seething about the incompetent transit or being over dramatic and contemplating why the world wanted to keep me from exercising and make me remain jiggly for life, I rallied and came up with a solution that would get my body in motion and moved on. Ah personal growth. Gold star for me! Turnin' lemons into lemonade!

Inspired by SimplyShaka's recent post on stuffing spaghetti into a portabello cap, and in celebration of Mr. BB30 being free on a Friday night, we made stuffed mushrooms! We made our plans separately, but ended up both choosing to do one Italian version (my included homemade marinara sauce, onions, squash, whole wheat shells) and one Mexican version (mine included black beans, tofu, taco seasoning, purple onions and a sprinkle of Daiya cheese).

Unfortunately, due to his crazy schedule, my love fell asleep before 9:30pm and I stayed up watching Letters to Juliet (don't judge me!)

The produce store did not disappointed. I got six giant zucchinis for $1.49 and a big bag of perfect, adorable, colorful bell peppers for $1.98!!!!!!! I knew what had to be done: LUNCH SOUP

BB30's Roasted Pepper and Tomato Soup
Serves 4-6

1 large red bell pepper (sliced)
12 mini bell peppers (mix of red, orange and yellow) (sliced)
1 medium onion (vadalia)
8 cloves of garlic (whole)
2 cups of veggie broth
1 large can of diced tomatoes
Two cups of water
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425
Line a baking pan with aluminum foil.
Placed sliced peppers, onions and whole garlic cloves in the pan.
Drizzle olive oil over veggies and give them a stir to coat
Place pan in broiler for 20 minutes (you may want to peak in after 10 minutes and give the veggies a stir and/or give them a spritz of olive oil.)
Bring two cups of veggie broth and two cups of water to a boil.
Add diced tomatoes (with juice)
Add roasted veggies

Simmer together for a while to let the flavors marry
Use a food processor or your trusty immersion blender to puree.
Serve as is as a starter or with a sandwich or salad.

OR (how I am enjoying it this week for lunches):
In each bowl place a handful of spinach and ¼ c cooked brown rice.
Pour hot soup over the spinach and rice and let the heat do it’s magic.
Don't tell Anne Burrell that I didn't wipe my bowl clean for proper presentation!
So smooth and roasty and delicious!

The canned tomatoes I had on hand had green chiles in them so it made it spicy. I added two tbsp of plain soy yogurt to the pot to cool it down. My garden will be in full swing by the next time I make this soup so I can use fresh basil and oregano to make this Italian. I also think if left a bit chunky and chilled, this would make a delicious gazpacho-ish dish.

My workouts this week included:
Monday: Tabata Boxing
Tuesday: Strength Boxing followed by Zumba (whew)
Wednesday: TurboKick
Thursday: Off-I attended a benefit for the show my husband wrote and will star in, then went to an audition
Friday: Off-Ran a ton of errands and de-stressed-it's been a crazy week.
Saturday: Today before obligations and working on tomorrow's Pride Parade Mr. BB30 and I will, gulp, run.

Now to wake up that sleeping husband!

Thursday, June 16, 2011


My lower back/tailbone is killing me. I think I've strained muscles doing some of the lower punching moves in my various boxing classes. It's worse after class (clearly) and in the mornings. Once I hobble out of bed and pop an ibuprofen I am not in as much pain by the time I get to work. I can't bend over flat back without some major pain. Last night (in addition to having some errands that HAD to be run) I was hurting and so tired that I cancelled class. It was ridiculous how much shame and guilt I felt over not exercising. Then I felt angry at myself for feeling shame and guilt. So go the stupid games we play with our minds.

I am a firm believer in acupuncture. It is the only thing that helped my bad arm over a year ago. I need to carve out time and just go. I won't be able to exercise full out until I heal up so I must make it a priority!

Saturday will once again be full of obligations (nice ones, but busy ones nonetheless). Sunday I have to grocery shop and cook for the week. Not having time to do that last weekend has been tough. I've made do and haven't spent too much (thank goodness for a cheap-although small-salad bar at work.) The following Saturday will be a bit less obligated, but Sunday I'll have to be up early because I am working. I was tasked with coordinating my company's float for the Chicago Pride Parade. This is a big feat with lots of parts coming together (entertainment, body paint artists, the float itself, sound techs, company participants, etc). Should be cool, but oy, makes me nervous.
In other news, summer has brought one of my favorite things of all time....a little television show called So You Think You Can Dance!!!!!!!!!!! I sadly missed the first two seasons, but I have been a faithful viewer since season three! I am in love with this gal right here:

She is so darling and encompasses the beautiful, healthy, athletic body that I aspire to to have. Just watch her!
I die. So beautiful.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Gardens and Grumpies

Two weekends ago, we beat a huge storm by seconds and planted our little summer garden! Later this summer Mr.BB30 and I will have three varieties of tomatoes, basil, oregano, red and green bell peppers and yellow squash.

When I saw that this tomato was called a "Celebrity" I had to have it. It was a kind of wilty at first and I contemplated naming her Amy Winehouse, but we decided that a much more appropriate name was Courtney Love as Celebrity Skin is one of my favorite karaoke songs. You'll be relieved to know that Courtney is much less wilty and in recovery.
We have two of these sweet basil plants. I foresee some amazing pesto in my future!!

When digging about we unearthed a little stone garden Buddha. Over the last couple of years there have been some perennial flowers that were finally transplanted to make more room now that we have to share our plot. Garden Buddha must have been there a while. I thought it was a symbol of good gardening to come!
Since my squash died a tragic moldy death last summer, I decided Garden Buddha should watch over my new plant this year.

I have no pictures of my bell pepper plants or oregano. I am a bad mother.

I survived my busy weekend. I am definitely suffering from residual grumpiness, but I am rallying.

Last week I ended up changing my workouts a bit. Friday I opted to enjoy my summer hours early release instead of having to deal with the hassle of traveling all the way back downtown. I had plans downtown on Saturday afternoon, so I opted to head down early and take a Saturday morning Turbo Kick class. Having a full Friday afternoon off was really helpful and I was particularly lame and was asleep by 9:45pm. MUCH NEEDED.

This week I've had another Monday event, so I have some creative scheduling to do once again:

Monday-Off-Went to a wonderful show at a friends theater.
Tuesday: Strength Boxing
Wednesday: Turbo Kick followed by a toning class
Thursday: WERQ (yay!)
Friday: Take dog child to the groomers-brotha' needs his nails did
Saturday: Zumba

I ended up with another downtown event on Saturday afternoon, so I'm going to go for the Saturday morning workout again. This time I need to go a little earlier, so my option is Zumba. I find that it really depends on the instructor for me. The right instructor makes it such a blast, but some instructors are far too cutesy for me and I end up feeling silly-I always get a good work out, but I don't feel good if I feel silly. I've not taken from the person lined up to teach on Saturday, so I'm excited to take class from a new person!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Insert Clever Title Here

On Thursday night I got to meet a couple of Chicago Bloggers and dear heart Simply Shaka who was in town. I am so grateful to anyone who reads my ramblings while trying to say on track with this whole fitness thing, so after class I sped over to catch the group! They were so kind and didn't judge my lame The Hangover jokes. Ha!
Photo stolen from Tiffany.
My week this week is very hectic and my weekend to come is very over committed. This stresses me out big time!  I had zucchini to use up so I invented a zucchini soup to eat for lunch this week. It's frosty in Dayjobland so nice warm soup is a welcome meal even in the summer!

(All of the chopping can be rough since you'll blend this.)

2 small regular zucchinis, chopped
2 Mexican zucchinis, chopped
4 cups of veggie broth
1 small vadalia onion, chopped
1/4 cup instant potato flakes
1/2 tsp Tony's seasoning
A few shakes of curry powder (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Steam the zucchini (about 6 minutes if you're using a microwave steamer)
Chop onion and saute in a soup pot with a bit of olive oil (use your Misto to keep the calories in check)
Add zucchini, broth and seasoning to the pot and let everyone come to a nice boil
Blend with your trusty Immersion Blender or Food Processor
Add potato flakes and blend once more

This made about three hearty lunch portions.

I didn't anticipate my soup being so thin, thus the addition of the potato flakes. I would have preferred to use real potatoes, but in a pinch, potato flakes are a great thickener and made my soup a little more hearty. Without the flakes, this would be a great little starter soup for a dinner party, but for a meal, it needs a little bulk.

Monday I gussied up and attended an awards ceremony (sort of the Tony's of Chicago). A play I did was up for Best Play of the Year. (We didn't win-frown.) That meant that I couldn't get in a workout on Monday and will have to go back to back for the rest of the week again. That's not my favorite thing. Since I like to get my four workouts in on weekdays due to gym location, I much prefer to have Wednesdays off if at all possible. My office has begun summer hours and we come in earlier Mon-Thurs and get out early on Fridays. This makes scheduling difficult because if I have to go to a class on Friday night, I have to trek all the way home and all the way back again, thus ruining the point of opening up Friday afternoons for fun (and actually getting time with Mr. BB30 since for the next few Fridays he won't have a show or rehearsal-weee!) See how hard I work at all of this?! It's maddening!

The week is shaping up to look like this:

Monday: Off-Awards Ceremony
Tuesday: Strength Boxing
Wednesday: R.I.P.P.E.D (Resistance, Interval, Power, Plyometrics, and Endurance training)
Thursday: WERQ (hooray!)
Friday: Kwando Kickboxing

This line up may change if I decide to double up on Thursday so I can have my Friday afternoon free to go on a date with my hubby.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


I have been craving crunchy tacos for a while now. Last week, Mr. BB30 brought home these!
I am in love! 110 calories for two. Not too shabby when you're dying for that crunch! I've been making fillings of homemade seitan, black beans, onions, green peppers, taco seasoning (Trader Joe's is the best) and Mr. BB30's homemade tomatillo sauce. You can have two awesome tacos and add lots of steamed veggies on the side to fill up  (I have a lot of kale on hand this week) . It scratches the itch but keeps me in check. Ole!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Happy Summer!

I really needed my long Memorial Day weekend. It was a bit bumpy emotionally and having an extra day away from the daily grind was really good for me. I was adding things to my calendar today and June is jammed with obligations and events so I am really going to have to plan well to get in workouts and carve out down time. I am simply not someone who can play hard all weekend and bounce right into the week. I need down time. If I do not get my Sunday to recharge nestled on my sofa, it really throws me off and I am unhappy and grouchy. Being aware of what I need to be productive and happy is definitely part of my healthy journey. Workouts have taken the place of rehearsals (during this unfortunately dry time acting-wise) so I do not have much time in the evenings once I get home on weekdays. I know it's all for a good reason (being fit!), but I have to put effort into balancing my time between obligations (social and others) and errands on the weekends so I can have some moments to be still.
On Monday I had such a satisfying and healthy Memorial Day Feast:
  • Raw veggies to snack on
  • Fresh grilled corn that had been soaked in-husk in a brine of sugar and salt water
  • Grilled salad: romaine, portabellos, tomatoes and vadalia onions ALL grilled (even the romaine!)
  • Whole grilled portabello mushroom caps-delightful
So fresh and delicious and guilt free! I suppose it balanced out my two Kahlua and vodkas VODKA and Kahlua's.

This week's work out line up includes:
Monday: Off
Tuesday: Strength Boxing
Wednesday: Throwback Dance & Sculpt followed by Abs & Butt Blast
Thursday: Kicklates (kick boxing + pilates)
Friday: Kwando Kick Boxing

So, I'll be boxing a lot this week. Cardio kick boxing in general (strength, kwando, tabata) has been the best overall workout I have ever gotten. It's done more for my core than pilates and I really connect to it. Strength boxing ain't no joke. Unless you're a superstar who has been doing it for a while you're encouraged to use 2lb weights. Seriously. It sounds like nothing, but it ups ante so much! Last night while I waited for class to start I overheard a girl saying she was new to this particular gym and she'd once been really active but was injured and couldn't exercise for a while. She said she would probably need to hit the elliptical after class was over to get in some more cardio. Cut to after class when I heard her say, "I wanted to cry after 20 minutes." That makes it sound horrible. It's not. It's just challenging. That's one thing I dig about the place I have been going to for the past four months, they give you a serious workout. Even the "slower" sounding classes like strength yoga and barre burn (ballet toning) really give you a thorough workout. They give you the most for your hour long class.
I am excited about the Throwback Dance & Sculpt class today. It's a new offering and will be half cardio/half toning set to 80s and 90s music. I'm excited to dance again. I haven't done much Zumba since my favorite teacher isn't teaching right now and things have come up the past several weeks and I haven't been able to stay late on the day they have the WERQ (hip hop) class. I've been missing dance and feeling a twinge of workout boredom. I'm glad to spice it up this week.  I will channel my inner Jane Fonda. Don't think this chubby 80s child didn't awkwardly attempt this video workout. My favorite part is from minute 3:50 to minute 4:13.