Monday, October 31, 2011

To Tweet is to Motivate


Just a reminder that I began Tweeting at the end of May. I find it to be a great way to motivate myself to workout. Being able to give myself a virtual pat on the back while waiting for a class to start and possibly encouraging others to bust out the ol' sports bra has been very satisfying.

Follow me at:!/BikiniBy30

Earlier this month, Bestie was in town for a quick trip and celebrated with pumpkin carvin'. They molded in less than a week. One of the pumpkins didn't even survive in time for a photo.
Mine. She had hair. I think she looks better molded.
Mr. BB30's. He went traditional.
Bestie's. She had Pac Man ghosts on the brain all night.
Things are glum around my day job office lately. I didn't go all out like in years past (I was a prize winning Amy Winehouse in 2008), but I dusted off my cat ears.

2011 YAWN
Today in gratitude I am thankful for the morning ritual of my little dog swimming his way across my lap in hopes of a good stretch and some scratches while I put on make up. It's a part of my day that makes me feel super loved. I'm smitten.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Soup's On...Again

Last Sunday was a two-soup day for me. Typically what I make is based on what is on sale at my produce store. For the past two weeks, zucchini has been .69/lb. Amazing! I stocked up. I chopped several into disks, lightly sauteed them in a tad of olive oil, and put them in the freezer in batches to enjoy in dishes later.Then I got to soup making. I've made zucchini soup in the past, but here was this week's version. Anything green or white that needed to be used up got thrown in as well (I hate to waste produce!). The results were delicious and bursting with garden flavor!

October 23 Zucchini Soup
6 medium zucchini, chopped
4 cups of vegetable broth
2 cups of water
1/4 of a cabbage, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 large onion (I used Spanish, but any white or yellow one will do)
1/4 potato, chopped, skin on (I wish I'd added more for thickening)
3 giant cloves of garlic
1 can of a white bean (chick pea, navy, cannellini)

In a big pot, sautee everything up with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Add broth and water.
Bring to a boil.
Turn heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Bust out your immersion blender and blend until smooth.
Add whole beans. (I think I lightly drained the can.)

I added the beans after blending to add texture and protein, but the soup is good without them, and you could certainly blend in the beans (or even tofu) as well.
I call this phone camera shot:
Zuc Soup Riot

Today in gratitude I am thankful for the creative people in my life. I am surrounded by amazingly talented artists (who do awesome things like create brilliant live versions of Pruple Rain-no joke) who inspire me to get my creative juices flowing. I know I have imaginative feats inside beyond acting just aching to come out and I am so glad I have artists around me that remind me to think outside the box.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Simple Vegetable "Stew"

Sunday ended up being a two-soup day for me. First, I threw together a little vegetable "stew." I suppose if I were Rachael Ray I would call this a "stoup" since it's not quite as thick as a traditional stew. (This is mainly because I forgot to buy a potato.)

Simple Vegetable "Stew"
6 large carrots, sliced into thin disks
6 stalks of celery, chopped (including leafy tops)
1/4 green cabbage, chopped
1/4 Spanish onion (or your favorite white onion)
1 med/lg zucchini, chopped
1 tsp Dill
1 Tbsp Thyme
1 Tbsp Sage
3 giant cloves of garlic, grated or finely chopped
4 cups of vegetable broth
2 cups of water
3/4 cup instant potato flakes
*1 can of beans, drained (I used black)

In a large pot, sautee your veggies and herbs in a tiny bit of olive oil (don't add the garlic yet). Give your carrots a three minute head start and sprinkle with dill (carrots and dill are lovers and need alone time together).
Add broth and water.
Let everything come to a boil.
Add garlic.
Add instant potato flakes
Add beans (no need to drain if you are using a white bean)
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Turn heat to low and let the "stew" simmer for about 15 minutes.

*You don't have to add beans if you aren't into them. I add beans to most of my soups to up the protein quotient.
My broth is a little dark because I didn't drain and rinse my black beans well. Doesn't effect the flavor, just the aesthetics :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mindful Snacking

Offices can be traps for mindless snacking.

"Hey look, a stressful email I don't want to deal with, let's go to the vending machine to procrastinate."
"I just had to talk to the meanest person in the office, let's go find something to munch on."

Even healthy snacks like almonds can be eaten mindlessly (and cause detriment to all of our hard work at the gym). Lately, I've become irresponsible with my snacks and find myself reaching for a nibble when I am not hungry at all. I decided to recommitt to being mindful and while day one was difficult, I feel like I am back in the saddle. What is the statistic? It takes about 21 days to form a habit. I'm on my way! I'm also being more diligent with hydrating and keeping my water cup filled!

Exercise line up for the week is:

Monday: 500 Calorie Work Out
Tuesday: Strength Boxing
Wednesday: Strength Yoga
Thursday: Cardio Soaked
Friday: Off (seeing a play)

In a perfect world, I would prefer not to have more than two days off in a row since it makes the return to class so much harder, but we do what we can.

The 500 Calorie Workout is a new one at the gym. Obviously it promises a 500 calorie or more burn per workout. One girl wore a monitor to class and she clocked over 500 calories, so it definitely held true to its promise. Of course, every one's calorie burn will be different and depends on height, weight, muscle, and number of other things. The class was made up of cardio (calisthenics, a little kick boxing), weight lifting (5lbs and 8lbs dumbbells) and some ab work. A good total body workout. Half of it was done tabata-style. (20 seconds of activity on, 10 seconds off for eight reps.) It makes my least favorite things like burpees and mountain climbers slightly more tolerable. I try not to let myself get caught up calories and numbers, it makes me crazy and crazy is not effective or healthy, but kudos to the instructor for good marketing with this title. The class was packed!

Today in gratitude: I am thankful for fall colors. Growing up in Texas, I never really had true seasons. In Chicago, I definitely do. I am thankful for all the beautiful natural colors that have come out over the past few weeks and the chance to kick fall leaves. For as rough as October has been emotionally (lots of blahs this month-more them later), the weather has gifted me with some lovely days and chances to take some big deep breaths of fresh fall air.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pumpkins and Workouts and Gym Etiquette

First things first. Last week's sweaty line up included:

Monday: Off I had to work late since in the morning I saw a taping of The Rosie Show!!! I'm still giddy!
Tuesday: Strength Boxing followed by Abs and Butt Blast
Wednesday: Strength Yoga
Thursday: Cardio Soaked

Friday I was scheduled for Pilates Sculpting, but during Thursday's Cardio Soaked class my knee popped. That's the only way to describe it. It felt weird. I was able to finish class at a Level One intensity, but the instructor told me to be very careful and lay off for a few days. So I did just that.

Last week I noticed that my tolerance for bad gym etiquette was quite low. While I love my fitness center, they tend to allow too many people into classes and it gets very crowded. In the world of Bikram Yoga, crowds are fine. The practice is designed so that you only need the area of your mat. While it's not awesome to be in a jammed Bikram class mat to mat with a giant sweaty half naked 50 year old man with oodles of chest hair, it's manageable. In classes where there is punching and kicking it is dangerous. Both Bikram and traditional classes of most kinds involve the need for proper form and thus, a view of yourself in the mirror. Enter the concept of "windows." I learned about "windows" at age nine when I took my first dance class. This is the simple act of not standing directly in front of another person. Look at these cheerleaders. They are standing in "windows."
Easy, right? Apparently this concept blows the minds of some of the women at my gym. Walking in late and standing directly in front of someone in a class is bad form. Don't do it people. I went to the interwebs and found several articles that agreed. "Mirror hogging" falls under the same no-no category as not wiping down your machines or stealing extra time on coveted equipment. It can be awkward to speak up about these things and I really feel like instructors could take some advice from the world of Bikram and make a little announcement prior to class starting or even mark the floor with the proper places to stand. A bit like kindergarten? Yes. Necessary? Totally.

In other news, last week I practiced a simple pumpkin soup (canned pumpkin, veggie broth salt, pepper, curry powder, garlic powder, onion powder and cinnamon), and it just doesn't work for me. I need fresh ingredients and a little butternut squash. I think for Thanksgiving I'll just be sending a recipe to my mom and having her freeze it and bring it. I like to manage my own cooking, but I think in this case I must relinquish control. Look at that there personal growth.

I realized that the main reason I don't update more is because I don't upload my personal pictures enough and I feel picture posts are always more effective. Then I sit on a recipe, event, or musing I want to write about and it never gets published. So in the spirit of trying to commit to updating more, here is a picture of some pumpkin and sweet potato soup that I didn't make (but sounds AMAZING):

Maybe one day I will get my act together and post the picture of my Halloween Pumpkin. She had hair.

Today in gratitude: I am thankful for my husband's generous leg and foot rubs. Many evenings Mr. BB30 devotes time to my aching muscles, because he know it makes me feel comforted and happy. I'm lucky.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Oh October

October has gotten off to a rough start. My Paw Paw passed away last week and we said goodbye to him on Friday, his 89th birthday. He was an avid farmer and no doubt my need to garden comes from him.

Tuesday when I got the news I opted to work from home and chose a nice long fall walk over my scheduled workout.

Last weeks workouts included:

Monday: Ultimate Conditioning Class (30 Minutes of cardio, strength, cross-conditioning exercises) and Zumba
Tuesday: Walk
Wednesday: Strength Yoga

This week's plan is:

Monday: Zumba and Cardio Barre Sculpting
Tuesday: Strength Boxing and Abs & Butt Blast
Wednesday: Strength Yoga
Thursday: Off (I have a fundraiser to attend- It's a costume party-I'm going as a disco queen!)
Friday: Pilates and 100s Cardio

Over the past few weeks I've noticed that my bum is really shaping up. I've always been in the Flat and Wide Club, but these seven months or so of hitting the gym regularly are starting to give me some tone back there. I'm happy because those kind of curves are hot!
Ain't no shame in that game Scarlett!!
It's time to start thinking over Thanksgiving menu options. This year I will be traveling home and will need something easy to assemble at my aunt's house. My plan as of now is to have my mom bring her crock pot and I will do a simplified pumpkin soup (pumpkin, veg broth, whatever seasoning is available, frozen pre-minced onion). It will be really flavorful, easy, and a great dish to share and show my family how deliciously I eat. I think they were all worried about me when all I ate at the post-funeral dinner was grapes. (Trust me-afterward I had a huge veggie sandwich, a big salad, and some cashews.) My mom is also going to bring some veggie sides as well. I plan to do a trial run of my soup soon and will be sure to share.
Are you planning your Thanksgiving dinner yet?