Incredible eggs

Phew.  Today FLEW by.  My boss was out yesterday (whoa, I have a boss now!) so it was kind of slow, but there was lots to do today!  But the important stuff first.  Lunch!

One of the things I was secretly mourning as my funemployment came to a close last week was the fact that I would no longer be able to eat eggs for lunch.  My standard lunch these days is a yogurt bowl (yogurt, frozen fruit, granola, peanut/almond butter) with either a turkey sandwich or an egg sandwich.  Then I remembered that my good buddy Susan at The Great Balancing Act makes egg “pillows” at work in the microwave.  I tweeted her asking for instructions, and she obliged.  The results?

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Ta-da!

It was delicious, I must say.  They didn’t taste weird or rubbery or anything!  I had the sandwich and the yogurt, ran an errand (which I’ll tell you all about in a minute) and then had some TJ’s trail mix.  I saved the apple for a mid-afternoon snack.

So, back to my errand.  In my quest to find a new workable routine with working 8-5 every day (not including the 30 minute commute each way) I realized that my new job also has the perk of being university staff.  Annnnd university staff can use the university gym.  I still have to pay, and I’m debating the switch overnight, but I think I’m going to cancel my current gym membership and pick up here.

How awesomely inspirational is this?  This is what they have above the door.  I took this as a great sign.

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The pros of switching:

  • Convenience.  I won’t be able to work out there on weekends, because it’s so far from home, but it WILL be extraordinarily convenient 5 days a week.  (Okay, let’s not kid ourselves.  I won’t work out on Friday after work.  But at least I’ll be able to go 4 days a week, which gets a thumbs up in my book.)
  • Cost.  This set-up is $10 cheaper a month than my current gym.
  • Swimming!  I’ve missed swimming, and I would be able to use a gorgeous Olympic size pool there.
  • Sauna and steam room.  I’ve never tried them, but I bet they’ll feel awesome in the winter.
  • TVs on the cardio equipment that will sync with your iPod.  Cool!
  • Indoor/outdoor track to run on, should the treadmill bore me.
  • Nicer weight room
  • No annoyingly loud music on the speakers at all times
  • I could take a swim class!  (See the “goals” tab above.)
  • Racquetball/squash/basketball/volleyball courts, should my crippling uncoordination issues ever resolve themselves

The cons?

  • Not convenient on weekends/holidays.
  • I would have to pay extra for classes like yoga.  They’re about $50 for 7 weeks, and there isn’t a big selection at good times.
  • No personal training (not that I’ve ever done this anyway)
  • Would be working out with lots of hormonal college students

(I didn’t take pictures of the gym because I had an actual tour with tour guide.  If I join, I will.)  I think I’m going to pull the trigger and join unless T brings up any good objections tonight.

What do you think?  Am I forgetting to check anything out, gym-wise, that I should?

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Just another day at the crazy farm

Tomorrow I start my new job.  In an attempt to keep myself sane, I’ve been doing little odds and ends all day long to keep myself busy.  After my run, I had lunch and then ran a few errands.  I went to Ulta to get some beauty essentials, Archiver’s to experiment with vellum for our invitations, and Hallmark to get a card.

Then, I decided to try a recipe I’ve had bookmarked for awhile–Jenna’s roasted chicken.  I am pleased to announce that it turned out great!  I added some potatoes to the pan to roast with it.  Next time, I’ll add some carrots and mushrooms as well, but hindsight’s always 20/20, right?

He’s pooping a lemon!

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It was fabulous.  Dinner tomorrow night will be leftovers!

Then I started plotting.  Nothing makes me feel worse than being hungry, so I needed to develop a strategy for my first work day.  First, I packed a lunch in my awesome Fit and Fresh container I’m excited to finally have a reason to use again.

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Keeping it simple–turkey and cheddar on a multigrain Arnold’s sandwich thin, yogurt, strawberries (frozen–they’ll defrost by lunchtime tomorrow), and granola.  I’ll have the apple for a snack and maybe one of those awesome Trader Joe’s trail mix baggies (that giant bag contains 10 snack sized little bags).

I love the Fit and Fresh container because it all folds up so neatly and there’s a special ice pack that keeps everything cold.  See?

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But then, of course, I have to prepare for the inevitable snack attack.  I took a cue from Meghann and decided to form the beginnings of a snack drawer for my desk.  In it will go the entire bag of TJ’s trail mix, plus this divine assortment:

chicken 005Contents:

  • 2 Kashi TLC Peanut Peanut Butter granola bars
  • 2 Kashi TLC Trail Mix granola bars
  • 4 mini Luna bars (Nutz over Chocolate, S’mores, and Caramel Nut Brownie)
  • Banana Bread Larabar
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly Larabar
  • White Chocolate Macadamia Clif bar
  • packet of almonds
  • packet of Planter’s Energy Mix trail mix

I obviously won’t eat these all tomorrow, but I feel better knowing I’ll have a stash at work should things go bad.  When it gets low, I’ll just take the bag home and refill!  (Yes, I’m obsessed with bars.)

I also packed my absolute favorite hand lotion.  No, not just my favorite hand lotion, the best hand lotion in the entire world.  It is by OPI, the nail polish company, and it’s called Avojuice.  They have all sorts of scents and they all smell incredible.  They even have a Pumpkin Butter scent, which I love even though I’m a big grump when it comes to the blog-related pumpkin craze.  I chose the Crisp Apple scent, and this will sit on my desk.  (I’m a stress moisturizer.  When things get bad, I hit the bottle.)  Anyway, this lotion is a must buy–it leaves your hands silky smooth but not greasy and smells great.  Even T uses it!  I am dead serious about this.  It will change your life, especially with winter coming!

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All of this stuff went into my pretty new work bag, a “good luck at work” present from my mom:

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Nope, totally not wearing makeup.  Sorry, guys.

Speaking of crazy farm, our animals have all gone a little batty today.  Milhouse has decided his favorite hobby is gently picking up a shoe in his mouth, and moving it from one room of the house to another.  So, I can’t find any of my shoes.  But it is pretty cute to see him trotting around the house with a sneaker in his mouth!

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And Southpaw’s decided she likes the dog’s crate:

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Anyway, I go in bright and early tomorrow.  I have a university orientation in the morning and then I start my job in the afternoon.  I’m excited to find out all the little things–will I have a desk, or a cubicle, or an office?  Will people be nice or mean?  What exactly will a day in the life look like from now on?  Will it feel weird to be in a school and NOT be a student for the first time in twenty-five years?

Any first day of work advice?  I’ll be back tomorrow night with the day in review!

My (not-so) secret hobby

I love grocery shopping.

We go every two weeks for a big shopping trip, and I get so excited I start making the list a few days beforehand.  I clip coupons and prepare menus.  And when I’m there, I read labels and compare prices and calculate how much things cost per ounce.  My favorite time to go is late in the evening, when it’s almost empty and I can take my sweet time and nobody cares.  T used to go with me, but for his sanity now I just let him stay at home.

So, today I took pictures while I shopped!  My first stop is the produce department.  Today I got honeycrisp apples, bananas, Bartlett pears, carrots, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes:

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We shop at Super Target.  Our other options include Wal-Mart, Hy-Vee, and Price Chopper.  Wal-Mart produce and meat isn’t very good in my experience, so that’s out.  Hy-Vee has a nice health food section and bar selection, but they’re far more expensive.  Price Chopper just seems kind of dirty and is a little bit more expensive.  Plus, I like that I can pick up non-grocery things at Target–today I bought two Champion running shirts!  It’s getting a little chilly here, and the temperature for my race next week is probably going to be in the 40s-low 50s.  I generally hate having fabric on my arms when I work out and only have tank tops, but I broke down and got a short sleeved shirt and long sleeved shirt with some mesh ventilation in them.  Hopefully I like them.  But anyway, back to grocery shopping–my cart’s full at this point!

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Close ups:

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At the check-out:

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And all packed up in the trunk.  I have a motley assortment of grocery bags, most of them freebies for various things (blood donations, attending a baseball game, charity walk) but they do the job.  Bonus: I get $.05 off my grocery bill for every bag I use:

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Here’s what we wound up getting today:

  • 4 honeycrisp apples
  • 4 bananas
  • 2 yams
  • 1 pound baby carrots
  • 1 pound mushrooms
  • cashews
  • Gatorade mix (I’m going to try drinking this on runs)
  • frozen green beans
  • 2 boxes of risotto
  • 1 pound lentils
  • contact lens solution
  • egg noodles
  • spaghetti sauce
  • crushed tomatoes
  • lasagna noodles
  • skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 pounds extra lean ground beef (on sale! I stocked up.)
  • 2.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (ditto!)
  • 1 pound stew meat
  • 1 pound round steak
  • 1 loaf whole wheat bread
  • 1 loaf cinnamon swirl bread (not a usual buy, but I’ve been craving it)
  • multigrain bagels
  • 1.5 dozen eggs
  • cheese of various kinds (mozzarella, Mexican blend, string)
  • 1 gallon milk
  • orange juice
  • 2 large containers of yogurt
  • granola
  • laundry detergent (the cool new sheet kind! I’m excited)
  • ziploc bags
  • biscuit dough
  • beef broth
  • tomato paste
  • deli meat
  • frozen yogurt
  • Annie’s mac and cheese
  • teriyaki sauce
  • 2 running shirts

This stuff should last us roughly the next two weeks.  Sniff.

Bonus!  Check out my guest post on Susan’s blog, The Great Balancing Act, about some fitness-related things I’m thankful for!

Humility; flotsam and jetsam

I’ve decided that for my half marathon training, I’m going to be doing a combination of tackling the nasty hills in my neighborhood AND running on the treadmill.  I think that doing all my training on the hills would be very discouraging, especially when it gets cold, and I generally do enjoy the treadmill so I shouldn’t give it up.  Running hills will make me a better runner, but so will doing speedwork and intervals on a flat treadmill.  My only conundrum will be when I start getting into the 8+ miles part of my training, as I don’t think doing it on hard hills or on a treadmill will be ideal.  I’m going to have to start scoping out my area for some good flatter locations.  (My half course is largely flat, which is a blessing.)

This morning I went on a 3 mile run on the hills in my neighborhood.  Since I stuck to the treadmill all last week, it was a different (and difficult) experience, but I felt noticeably stronger since I’ve been running more in general lately.  I took a slightly different route that was largely downhill on the “out” part but largely uphill on the “back” part.  I had to take three short walking breaks (once due to a phone call I thought was job related, but wasn’t) but I felt good about it in general.  It’s funny how going downhill and going flat I feel so great, and then I start the uphill climb and I’m just humbled.  At this point in my fitness journey,  I’m pretty used to being one of the most in-shape people in the gym at any given time.  I feel great about myself when I’m the only one running intervals on the treadmill while everyone else is ambling away on the elliptical.  But man, running hills is just so humbling.  Marathoners always say “respect the distance;” I think I’m going to have to learn to “respect the hills.”  I’m going to have to LEARN to suck at something when it comes to the terrain here, but at the same time it feels nice to have something I know I’m going to conquer eventually, you know?

I also had my first moment of runner camaraderie today as I ran my last loop around my subdivision.  Another man was running the opposite direction and he gave me a wave and I waved back.  It was kind of fun to be like, “hey, we’re runners and we’re cool like that.”  Yes, I’m a nerd.

Since I don’t have any pictures about my run, I thought I would post a few random ones I took this weekend that aren’t really worthy of a post in and of themselves.

I’ve never seen this flavor of Clif bar before.  It was pretty good.  Not my favorite, but I liked it better than I thought I would.  It was especially great with a smear of cinnamon peanut butter on it!

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I spray painted some baskets for assorted things at the wedding like programs and photoshare cards:

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Shout out to the first honeycrisp of the season!  These babies are perfect and I think I’ll be fighting T for the last one tonight:

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In other news, my contact lens case (with lenses in it from last night) is missing.  I suspect Buckley has run off with it and hidden it somewhere.  Crazy cats.

What’s humbled you, fitness-wise?  Have you conquered it or are you still working at it?

Fall is here!

Well, almost.

I am generally not all that keen on fall.  I know a lot of people love pumpkin pie, and cinnamon, and Halloween, and falling leaves, and gourds and stuff, but I do not like any of those things.  No joke: I started crying once when my mom was pushing us to have a beautiful fall wedding, with dark reds and oranges and browns and pumpkins.  I believe I used the phrase, “I don’t want any bleeping pumpkins at our wedding!”

That said, I do generally like the mild fall weather.  T and I were ranking our favorite to least favorite seasons the other day, and summer was definitely my least favorite, with spring on top, and fall slighly ahead of winter.  And I do like the plethora of delicious apples and pears that show up in grocery stores.  So, I decided to make applesauce!

T is a big applesauce fan.  He packs it in his lunch several times a week and makes funny happy faces while eating it.  I like it fine.  Again, like with pizza…he likes his smooth and cinnamon-free, whereas I prefer mine chunky and cinnamony.

First, I bought a dozen Gala apples at the store (for about $4):

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Then, I peeled them:

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And cored them and cut them into small pieces.  And broke the garbage disposal.  Cores go in the trash can, friends!:

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I added half a cup of water, and let it simmer on medium heat for about an hour, stirring occasionally, until it reduced itself into applesauce!

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Since T wanted his smooth, and I wanted cinnamon in mine, I split the batch roughly in half.  I stirred some cinnamon into mine:

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And then I put his in our Magic Bullet, which made it smooth and almost creamy in texture:

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All in all, this is what my afternoon yielded!  T’s is in small cups, ready to take to work:

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And, wow, is this stuff good.  Apples, water, and cinnamon–that’s it.  No sugar added (or needed)!  I’ll definitely be making this again soon.

I rested from exercise yesterday and today.  My legs are quite sore from lifting on Friday, to the point where they’ve actually been cramping up–yuck!  Any suggestions?

How do you like your applesauce?  Chunky, smooth, cinnamon, no cinnamon?