Monthly Archives: March 2012

Proactive Procrastination

Happy Friday!

So, I sat down at my computer this morning to work on my class .  . . but after procrastinating for far too long, I have just accepted that I will not be productive this morning. Instead, I thought I would fill you- whoever you all are- on my last few days!

So here it goes:

Wednesday was a great day because it was my FIRST DAY working as part of the event staff for a catering company in the area! And guess what? I loved it!

Ok, I didn’t do much- it was a small buffet lunch for a small chemical/technical company, but it was a great way to dip my feet into the pool and get a feel for the work. Since it was a small-ish (75 people) lunch, it was only me and one of the head catering directors working the event. And what did we do, you may ask? (Even if you didn’t ask, I am going to tell you anyway). Well, it was a hot buffet lunch at the local convention center. Therefore, I :

  1. helped gather up the food and supplies
  2. loaded everything into the catering van
  3. drove with Larry (one of the head catering directors I mentioned earlier)
  4. unloaded the food and set-up the buffet
  5. waited FOREVER for the company to finish up a PowerPoint presentation (all the while smelling the marvelous, mouthwatering food!)
  6. stood awkwardly behind the buffet table while workers loaded their plates . . . yeah, I was a bit of a food creeper (We were there to oversee and answer questions, but since I am still learning about the food, Larry did all of the answering!)
  7. cleaned up and stored the leftovers
  8. loaded the van back up
  9. drove back to the café and unloaded

And that’s all folks! Smile It was all through in about 2.5 hours! Speedy! Speedy! I did stay a little longer to help set up a banquet room, though. So, I was able to clock in about 3.5 hours.

I also got a little refresher course in dining etiquette. I was instructed to put the napkin under the spoon and knife . . . but this looks pretty similar to the set up I helped assemble!

formal_dinner

(Source)

I didn’t know there was a difference in wine glasses?! Hmmm . . . learn something new everyday, eh?

Well, after work, I headed to the gym for a quick workout. Since my quads were screaming from Tuesday’s Killer Quad Workout, I did my best to loosen those babies up with a brisk elliptical action. Haha . . . no such luck . . .

The rest of my day was spent making protein bars and vegging like no other. Can we say ICE CREAM????? (Hey! I had to celebrate my first successful da of legit employment!)

My personal fav:

Ice cream

(Source)

Yesterday ended up being pretty busy too . . . well in a way.

One of Lori’s friends was having surgery in Toledo, and the hospital has a policy stating that an emergency person must be present at the time of the surgery. Since her husband is in Afghanistan, and since Lori had to work, I offered to go and wait at the hospital and be her in case of emergency person. However, she also had her kids that day, so I did double duty! 

So, I got to Toledo at 11:15am and waited until she was done at 6:45pm!!! I can’t say I was physically tired come the end of the day, but sitting and keeping the kids occupied was pretty draining. I was so happy to do it, though! Her kids were darling, and it just feels so good to be able to lend a hand. I mean, I just hope that if I was ever in that situation, someone would be kind enough to do the same, you know?

Well, it’s getting late. I’m off to meet Lori! Have a great Friday!

Leave a comment

Filed under lamentations, work outs

It Burns!!!

Happy Tuesday!

So, I don’t know about you, but I was really dragging this morning. I mean, I had a good night’s sleep (although I should try to get to bed even earlier), a good, hearty breakfast, and a pretty non-stressful morning. Still, I felt like I was in a dense haze of lethargy! I couldn’t figure it out until I was driving to the gym: I had forgotten to take my BCAAs!

What are BCAAs you ask? Here’s a little video from bodybuilding.com that gives a quick overview:

BCAA Video

I never have been a huge believer in supplements and what not, but I tell you what, I don’t think it is just a fluke. Since I have started taking BCAA powder each day, I feel more energetic and my workouts feel stronger! Cross my heart and hope to die! Lori has made a believer out of this girl! Smile

I definitely could have used an extra boost of power today too, because Lori and I completed a KILLER workout this afternoon. The victims today were our quads and calves!

Check it out:

Quads Workout (Note: we tried to move up in weight for each set!):

  • Leg Press (4 Sets with Reps of 50, 45, 40, 35) Yes, that does say 50 . . . that is why I said it was KILLER!

Or as Bartok would say:

bartok talk

Please tell me you’ve seen Anastasia?!! Great movie! Great Music! And I love little Bartok Smile My favorite scene is his kung fu kick sequence!

Bartok reel He’s too cute to be evil!

Back to the rest of the workout . . .

  • Barbell Lunge (4 Sets with Reps of 15, 12, 10, 10 – remember, BOTH LEGS= 1 rep!)
  • Smith Machine Squats (4 Sets of 15 Reps)
  • Leg Extensions (4 Sets with Reps of 30, 25, 20, 15)

Calf Workout (Again, we moved up in weight with each set):

 

  • Standing Calf Raises (3 Sets with Reps of 25, 15, 10)
  • Seated Calf Raise- We used the Leg Press (3 Sets with Reps of 25, 15, 10)

And Done!

I’m not gonna lie . . . my muscles were shaking during most of these exercises, and I was feeling the BURN!!!!!!!

Random aside: Whenever I say that it always reminds me of a scene in She’s the Man. The one where she gets hit in the crotch with a soccer ball while posing as her brother:

shes the man it burns

“Oh! For the love of God! It BURRRRRNNNNNSSSS!”

Here’s the trailer for the movie. Unfortunately, they just barely cut off the last line, but it is so funny. I think I probably quote this movie daily . . . but when am I not quoting movies, eh? Smile

Well, I am off to hopefully be productive . . . we’ll see how that goes!

Questions for the day:

  • Are you a believer in supplements? If so, which have you found to be the most helpful?
  • What movie do you find yourself quoting the most?

 

Leave a comment

Filed under lamentations, work outs

Bananas, Guinness, and Army Wives

That title pretty much sums up my Sunday!

Before I planted myself in the kitchen for the day, I met my best friend, Lori, at church. I actually just started going to church again about a month ago, after having not gone in over a year, and I’m really enjoying it. This time around, I feel like I have more of a purpose to go—a yearning to grow closer to God. And this church provides such a safe haven to do just that. I love the pastor and his messages, and the people I have met have been nothing but welcoming. It almost is like coming home in a way. Smile

One of my favorite passages from yesterday’s message was from 1 Corinthians 15: 58:

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

It is just served as a reminder for me that we need to live for Him. Because He works through us and has a plan for us- even if it is not the one we have for ourselves.

Well, after church and a quick trip to the grocery store for supplies, I was ready to get down to business.The first things I had to get done were FOUR batches of protein bars for Discovering Strength clients. Clean eating approved, protein packed, and low in calories . . . these things are pretty great little numbers, let me tell you. I might have made a batch for myself also . . . Winking smile

The next thing on my list was finding something to do with my crazy ripe bananas. I certainly couldn’t eat them in their current state (I LOVE bananas and peanut butter), since I am slightly allergic to bananas. (I break out if I eat them when they are too green OR too ripe. They must have that picture perfect yellow peel!)

over-ripe-bananas

(Okay. . . those aren’t my exact naners, but they look exactly the same!)

So, after leafing through my huge recipe binder, I stumbled across a recipe Madre used to make all of the time: Banana Cupcakes! Basically, they are just banana muffins, but they are so delicious and MOIST! I think I would eat 2 or 3 after I got home from jr. high. (If only I could still eat like that!) Anyway, yes, they are THAT good.

I tried my hand at making them myself, but I have to admit, I was not perfectly happy with the end result. I remember Madre’s cupcakes having nice rounded, pillowy tops. Mine turned out kinda flat . . . bah! In my defense, I looked at the baking soda and found that the expiration date had passed. So, I am going to take the low road and blame it on the baking soda. It can’t defend itself anyway, so I automatically win! (Yes, I just sounded 7 years old!) Smile

Maybe you will have better luck at achieving those golden muffin tops:

Banana Cupcakes

Banana Cupcakes

(from Gma)

Yield:18

Ingredients:

  1. 1 C. sugar
  2. 1 C. mayo (no substitutions)
  3. 2 C. flour
  4. 2 tsp. baking soda
  5. 2 large ripe bananas, mashed
  6. 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake/muffin tray with paper liners.
  2. Combine the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Blend until smooth and incorporated.
  3. Fill cups about 1/2 full of batter.
  4. Bake for about 20 minutes. (Or until lightly golden).
  5. Cool on a wire rack.

So moving on to Guinness . . . . Winking smile

Well, since I was helping move Gma on St. Patty’s day, I decided to make up for lost time and treat my family to Guinness Brownies!

Guinness Brownies

I can’t really take any credit for this recipe, since all I did was take Emily’s recipe (WONDERFUL) and subbed Guinness for Oktoberfest beer.

But the result: pretty darn good! We’re talkin’ rich, creamy, decadent chocolate brownie here people. And the ganache frosting . . . swoon!

guinness piece

Check out that dense chocolate! Mmmmmm . . . my thighs are getting bigger just looking at it. Winking smile

That about wraps up my cooking adventures for the weekend. Lucky I was solo all day, since I monopolized the kitchen for the day . . . no one would have been able to make a meal! Well, I guess I wasn’t quite solo . . . I had a bunch of Army Wives to entertain me in the background:

army-wives1

Haha! Yes, I am one of those people who likes background noise. I think it’s a woman thing—we rule at multitasking. Am I right or am I right? It’s actually a pretty good series . . . dramatic, witty, hot men . . . well some Winking smile

Well, I am off to work on my online class! Have a fantastic Monday!

Questions for the day:

  1. How do you use your over-ripe bananas?
  2. Do you like background noise when you are working and/or cooking?

Leave a comment

Filed under recipes, Uncategorized

My “Signature”

Wow, if you can believe it, I had somewhat of a busy weekend! As always, I had every intention of blogging earlier, but time just seemed to slip away from me. But, maybe you will forgive me since I did leave you with a nice shirtless pic of Arnie and all. Right? Forgiven? Sweet . . . moving on Winking smile

Some big news as of Friday: I have a part-time job! See, a few weeks ago I dropped off my resume and letter to a local café/catering business. I did not know if they were hiring at the time, but I thought it was worth a shot to express my interest. Anyway, I had completely written it off since I hadn’t hear from them in weeks. BUT as I was finishing moving my Gma last week, I received an email asking if I would be interested in joining the company’s part-time event staff!! YUZZZZZ!!! So, on Friday I met with the catering manager to go over specifics. Now, I am so excited to begin working! The manager was extremely nice, and I was digging the cafes welcoming atmosphere. My first day is on Wednesday, so I will report back on how it goes.

The rest of my Friday was a pretty typical day in the life. Lifting and spinning with Lori, my online class, random errands, etc. I did meet up with one of my best friends, Katie, to catch up over coffee, and I made my signature dessert for my Uncle B.

Okay, okay, I know . . . signature? I’m not some elite chef or anything, and I certainly did not come up with the recipe. (My Gma gave it to me, and I have no clue where she found it). However, it is the thing a make all the time, and the one thing over which people seem to rave. That’s why Poppa (my dad) nicknamed these little babies “Lemon Crack.”

They seriously are like potato chips- you can’t eat just one. And, to make it even harder to control that willpower, they are perfectly pop-able.

Since I am in a benevolent mood this morning, I decided I would share my favorite recipe with you! But be warned, once you make these there is NO GOING BACK! Smile

Lemon Blossom Cookies (AKA LEMON CRACK)

glazed lemon crack

COOKIES:

  1. 18.5 oz. package of yellow cake mix
  2. 3.5 oz. package INSTANT lemon pudding mix
  3. 4 large eggs
  4. 3/4 C vegetable oil

GLAZE:

  1. 4 C. powdered sugar
  2. 1/3 C lemon juice (fresh is best!)
  3. zest of 1 lemon
  4. 3 T vegetable oil
  5. 3 T water

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Spray mini muffin tins with cooking spray.
  • Combine cake mix, lemon pudding mix, eggs, and oil. Blend/beat until smooth (about 2 minutes).
  • Pour a small amount of batter into each tin- I fill it about 3/4 full.

lemon batter 2

  • Bake for 10-11 minutes. (Look for just a little golden hue on the edges).
  • Cool a minute before flipping onto a paper towel.
  • GLAZE: sift sugar into mixing bowl. Add lemon juice, zest, oil, and water. Mix with a spoon until smooth and combined.
  • Dip cookie cups into glaze while still a bit warm. Warning: Your hands WILL get gooey and sticky!
  • Set cookie cups on wire rack to cool and set. (Note: I put 2 layers of paper towels under my cooling racks- that glaze likes to drip and can make your table sticky!)

glazed lemon crack 2

Now try to eat just one . . . Winking smile

 

Leave a comment

Filed under recipes

“Get to the Choppa!”

How many of you have seen Predator? You know, the original version in which good ol’ Arnie gets down and dirty in the mud in order to hide from the Predator. Good stuff right there! I just love his sweet accent, and how words like “chopper” come out “choppa!” Smile

Arnie Predator

(Source)

You’re welcome, ladies. A shirtless Arnold for ya. But you know how he got that bod, right? Hello weight training!

In fact, I tried my hand at Arnold Presses the other day with my friend Lori! It was my first attempt at any Arnie moves, and let me tell ya, my muscles were feeling the burn!

Here is a layout of what my and Lori’s workout looked like the other day:

  1. Arnold Presses: we did 2 warm-up sets of 12, followed by 3 sets of 10 repetitions
  2. One arm side raises: 3 sets of 10 reps
  3. Seated rear delt raises: 3 sets of 15
  4. Front plate raises: 1 set of 20 reps (since it’s only one set- CHALLENGE yourself! It will be worth it!)

Another good workout that we completed yesterday focused on the chest. I am pretty sore today, so I know it was highly effective!

Here ya go:

  1. Assisted Dips- we reversed our grip so that our hands were pointed in): 3 sets of 6
  2. Decline Dumbell Bench Press (45-60 degrees): 4 sets of 12 reps
  3. Incline Dumbbell Flyes (at 45 degrees): 3 sets of 12 reps
  4. (Straight) Dumbbell Flyes: 3 sets of 12 reps
  5. Straight Arm Dumbbell Pullover: 3 sets of 15 reps

Well, I apologize for the short post, but I am off to meet up with a friend! Have a wonderful Saturday night!

Questions to ponder:

  • What is your favorite testosterone-pumped movie? Why?
  • What are your favorite shoulder and chest moves at the gym?

Leave a comment

Filed under lamentations, work outs

Pickle Jars & Snickerdoodle Bars

I know what you’re thinking . . . it’s been a week! A week since my last post!

How Dare you Ellie

BUT I do have a good excuse. I promise!

Lets hear it ellie

Okay, maybe my only excuse for not posting on Thursday was that I was pretty busy prepping for the weekend. But it was a busy weekend! Not only was my family helping my grandma (who I affectionately call Gma or Grammy- I love you Grammy! if you are reading this) move into her new apartment, but I also got the honor of picking my Uncle B up at the airport on Friday night! He flew all the way from Arizona to take part in all of the festivities . . . uh, work. Winking smile

Therefore, due to lack of internet access and being completely exhausted, I decided that blogging could wait.

Although I did venture back home briefly to fill some work orders and visit with my friend Lori, I turned right around and jetted back down to Springfield once again for my Gma’s auction a day and a half later. Now THAT was one interesting experience. The auctioneer amazed me with his super speed speech . . . I wonder how long it took him to learn how to speak that fast. And that intermittent mumbling? That is an art form. 

All in all, it was a pretty successful night. (And a HOT one at that- 85 degrees in March?!! What’s going on Ohio?) I was surprised by how much people paid for some things. For instance, a pickle jar went for $17.50. That must have been one heck of a pickle jar . . . maybe it was bedazzled. Yet, I would have thought that other items would have sold for more. Hmmm, I guess that is just the way it goes though, eh?

The rest of my time in Springfield was spent making trips to Goodwill, cleaning Gma’s house (HOLY DUST BUNNIES!), and sweating from the crazy heat. However, despite the work, I loved having the time to catch up with Uncle B and Gma. Plus, it felt great being able to help out my parents!

Oh! But before I left for the auction, I made something extra special for my Uncle’s sweet tooth:

Snickeredoodle bars!!!!

Snickerdoodle bars main

If you like regular snickerdoodle cookies, then you will absolutely LOVE these bars! They are so much moister (I think that’s a real word) than the cookies, and absolutely filled with satisfying cinnamon-y goodness! Really, you need to try these. Like right now.

Snickerdoodle Bars

Ingredients:

  1. 2 2/3 Cups AP Flour
  2. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  3. 1 teaspoon Kosher salt (I just used what I had on hand)
  4. 2 Cups packed light brown sugar
  5. 1 Cup butter, room temp
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  8. 2 Tablespoons sugar
  9. 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 9×13 pan.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside,
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla until smooth.
  4. Stir in flour mixture, making sure to blend well!
  5. Spread evenly into a prepared pan. Since the batter is thick, I found it works best if you put dollops into your pan and spread from there.
  6. Combine white sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and then sprinkle it over the batter. (It won’t look like too awfully much in your bowl, but once you start sprinkling, you will see that there is more than enough to thoroughly cover your batter!)
  7. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a little goo. (Yes, goo. You don’t want crumbs- otherwise you have overcooked!) *I cook mine about 23 minutes, but I know I like my baked goods slightly under done.
  8. Cool slightly and cut into bars. These are BEST served warm!

Snickerdoodle bars close up

Look at that golden cinnamon goodness!!!! MMMMMMMMMM

I brought a batch of these babies into Madre’s work a week ago. They were hot out of the oven! She later told me that they were gone within two hours. See?! They are that good! Now go make some for yourself. Your taste buds can thank me later!

Now off to make dinner!

Leave a comment

Filed under lamentations, recipes

Miles and Sunshine!

Well, today certainly has not been your typical March Ohio day. It was in the 70’s, and the sun was shining, shining, shining! This girl could not have been happier!

Even though I had quite a few things to get done, it was impossible not to be in a good mood. It’s those bright rays, people. If you’re not from Ohio, let me tell you that we Midwesterners relish in these days. They are few and far between.

(Side note: When I lived in AZ, people told me that I would get used to the constant sunshine. Yeah, no way! I appreciated each and every day of sparkling brilliance! But what I find funny is that my uncle, who lives in AZ year-round, lives for overcast days. Their cloudy days are as sparse as our sunny, so I guess it’s all relative, eh?)

To fuel my busy day, I made my go-to breakfast: pumpkin oat bran and egg whites (not pictured).

Pumpkin Oat Bran

Okay okay, so it doesn’t look too appetizing. . . but I promise that it is quite tasty! Just give it a try! If you don’t like it, then you never have to eat again. Deal?

After breakfast, I set out to conquer a multitude of little annoying to do’s. Plus, I wanted to get a few more of my online Microsoft Office lessons out of the way.

However, despite my busy morning, I did make time to squeeze in a run! I just couldn’t let this amazing day get away from me without spending some time outside, and it felt really good to breathe the warm, fresh air. I am also beginning to really love the time and space running gives me to just think and listen to some good tunes.

To make the day even better: my knee did not hurt at all during or after my run! To fill you in, I just started running in November. Seriously, I mean just started.I think the only time I had gone on a run before was in gym class in Jr. High- and that was UNwillingly. I had always hated to run growing up. However, for some reason I got it into my head this fall that I wanted to do a half-marathon. So, I started running on the treadmill at the gym. But after 3 weeks I was having major pain on the outside of my right knee. I tried rolling it out, thinking that maybe it was just a tight IT band, but it wasn’t getting any better. It especially hurt to go up and down stairs. I ended up going to see the doctor, but she sent me to physical therapy. No offense to the physical therapists, but I don’t think they really knew what was up, and after a month of therapy, it still was hurting. So I just decided to rest for a while.

After almost 2 months of not running, I went for a short run around my neighborhood on the first semi-sunny and warm day of February. I ran a little over a mile with no pain! Yes! Winning : Winking smile I have only ran twice since then (with today being one), and have not had pain. I’m still not quite sure what’s wrong with my knee, but I think I am going to avoid treadmills from here on out! I’m completely fine with that, though. Running outside provides a much better view.

But anyway, I did end up taking a different route today. I don’t own a Garmin or anything, but my last 2 runs have been just a little over 2 miles I believe. However, today’s run felt longer- but in a good way. I really wanted to see how far I had gone! So, I did a little research via Google, and I came across this little baby of a website: MapMyRun.

You simply register, type in your location, plot out your route, and POOF! Mileage calculated! That’s what I’m talking about!

I really surprised myself too! I ran about 4.7 miles!!! That’s the most I’ve ever ran! I know this is just a warm up for experienced runners, but I am new at this, so I’m pumped!

Well, I am off to accomplish a few more things before I make the family some dinner!

Enjoy the rest of your day!

Questions of the day:

What are some of your favorite activities to do when Spring rolls in?

How have you surprised yourself in the past?

Leave a comment

Filed under lamentations, work outs