Monday, November 29, 2010

Anybody Want Some Free Stuff?

Since I didn't have to go to my office job for the past four days, I spent a little time clearing out my closets and DVD collection this weekend.  I found some things that I'd love to pass on for someone else to enjoy.  Yeah, I didn't call this a give-away since it's nothing fancy, but if you find something you can use, it's yours.  We'll call it something of a Blog Freecycle program.  :)

So here's how it will work.  If you see something you like, just write a quick comment naming the item so you can stake your "claim" and then drop me an email with your mailing address.  If you are the first commentor for that item, it's yours.  I will mail all claimed items next week via media mail on my dime.  They are small items so there will be no residency restriction.  I only ask that you be a follower, making it easier for me to contact you if need be and limit yourself to just one item for now.  In a few days, if there are still items left, I'll open them up for seconds.  As items are claimed, I will strike them out in this post.

Now here's what I have:
Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential - both my husband and I read this.  I really enjoyed this book.  Lots of references to sex, drugs and rock and roll type stuff though (contains quite a bit of the F-bomb).  Just a warning.  :)  If you've seen his show, this book reads exactly like he speaks.  I loved that you could just hear his voice through the pages.

Biggest Loser Cardio Max DVD - great beginner cardio DVD.  This has been previewed by me.

Biggest Loser Weight Loss Yoga - fun beginner yoga DVD.  I have viewed and tried this once.

Biggest Loser Power Sculpt - good resistance DVD for beginners.  Requires light dumbells for max results.  I used this a few times.

Biggest Loser Last Chance Workout - A step up from cardio max.  Gets you sweating pretty good.  I used this a few times.

Biggest Loser Boot Camp - A 6 to 8 week program progressing from Level 1 to Level 3.  Seems like a pretty good DVD.  I have not tried this one, but it is opened.

Jari Love's Get Extremely Ripped 1000 - I did this video once.  If you like step aerobics, this may be the one for you.  I just couldn't get past the dated and dark clothing and didn't really care for Jari.  But, someone else may love it.  It has a ton of great reviews on Amazon.

That will do it.  Hope to help someone get started on a fit and healthy 2011!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fell off the Wagon

Just a quick update post.  I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving and hopefully a long and restful weekend.  I've been absent from the blog for a while due to work, but I have been reading your wonderful blogs, printing  your delicious recipes and hope to catch up with you all over the next two weeks.

As for my workout stats, well there isn't much to tell.  I got up early for two mornings this week and did a great workout (P90X chest & back and Insanity Pure Cardio & Cardio Abs) despite having some lingering pain from the Bob Harper DVD I did last week.  After that though, I was down for the count.  I must have pulled something in my mid-back that limits my ability to even stand still, let alone jump around or do weight bearing activity.  Don't even get me started on standing in line this past Friday at the stores.  I ended up leaving the mall near tears from the pain.  That's right!!  I walked away from shopping the good deals even!!  LOL

Anyway, we are hoping to get back on the ball tomorrow.  I'm going to follow the P90X plan from the start again since that is the program that I feel gave me the greatest results.  From time to time I'll sub out the cardio DVDs when I get too bored.

So, until next week!!  Have a great one.

Oh yeah, and I have been cooking and baking.  I can't wait to share the delicious granola bars I've been making and a sinful grilled ahi tuna roll.  So yummy!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

X-Sanity Plus - Week 2

Still adjusting to not working out in the mornings.  The worst thing about it is that sometimes I run out of time or something comes up (work, headache, kid's event) that prevents me from working out.  Also, I don't find that I bring the same intensity to the workout that I would in the morning.  A few nights my I just felt really full so it was hard to really jump around comfortably.

But, still managed to get in five workouts this week.  Here's how it went:

Day 1 - P90X Chest & Back, Jackie Warner Abs Only Circuit from Power Circuit Training
Day 2 - Insanity Cardio Power & Resistance
Day 3 - P90X Shoulders & Arms, Ab Ripper
Day 4 - Rest (grrrr, migraines)
Day 5 - Rest (grrrr, not enough hours in the day)
Day 6 - Bob Harper Body Rev Cardio Conditioning
Day 7 - P90X Legs & Back, Insanity Cardio Abs

My husband and I were chatting about working out, eating, etc. earlier in the week and we agree that we have both put on a few pounds since wrapping up Insanity.  Can't tell you how much as we don't own a scale, but I've felt a little "puffy" so maybe two or three pounds (all in the midsection, of course).  I think the main reason is that we are still eating as though we are doing Insanity.  A few nights this week I just felt way too full after dinner.  So, we are going to try to get back on track with cooking at home, watching what we eat and all that really fun (not) stuff.  :)

One thing I'm noticing too is that I'm so bored with my workout selections.  Mostly the cardio ones, but even the P90X videos are getting on my nerves.  Anybody have any good suggestions for cardio workouts that are somewhat intense but preferably not over 45 minutes long?  If so, I'd love to hear about them.  Thanks muchly!!

Have a great Turkey week!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

X-Sanity Plus - Week 1

Completed my first week of the P90X, Insanity and other random stuff workout.  It feels good to be back into some strength training.  I missed it even more than I thought I did.  What else is different is that I'm working out in the evenings sans hubby.  After several weeks of being unable to drag myself out of bed, I decided that perhaps this time of year workouts need to be done in the evening for me.  So, every night at about 7pm, I push play.  My husband started morning workouts this morning.

This week's schedule for me was as follows:

Day 1 - P90X Chest & Back, Ab Ripper
Day 2 - Insanity Pure Cardio
Day 3 - rest (unintentional)
Day 4 - Jillian Michael's Shred it With Weights, Level 2
Day 5 - P90X Shoulders & Arms, Ab Ripper
Day 6 - Cathe Kick, Punch & Crunch
Day 7 - rest

My legs were super duper sore after the JM's workout and then Cathe came along and really drove that soreness home.  I'll review those two DVDs after I give them another whirl or two, but for now, I think I like them and will keep them in the mix.

I'm enjoying giving myself the flexibility to choose different DVDs depending on my mood.  The weekly schedule will change quite a bit week to week, but the three strength days from P90X will always be there.  Love, love, love them!  :)

Hope everybody is having a great week.  Guess it's time to gear up for the holidays.  Any day now all those delicious baked goodies will be popping up everywhere!  Must stay on track with my workouts so I can enjoy.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Best. Pizza. Ever.

Oh yes, oh yes, we've just had possibly the best pizza I have ever made.  Perhaps even the best pizza I've ever tasted!  And, it's got veggies on it.  I know, me and veggies and the best pizza ever.  Craziness!!  Who woulda thunk!!??

Anyway, I won't go into the whole pizza process as I've done that so many times and I don't really change is up much.  But I will list today's toppings and note the variations from my usual prep.

whole wheat dough
homemade sauce
low fat mozzarella, grated
1/2 head broccoli, steamed and chopped
1 medium onion, sliced and caramelized with olive oil, crushed garlic & butter
1 head garlic, roasted
Parmesan cheese, grated
red pepper flakes, to taste
salt & pepper, to taste

I did precook my dough for about 5 minutes before smearing it with the roasted garlic.  Mostly so it wouldn't tear.  Then I added the remaining toppings and cooked it at 500 until done.

The result was so far beyond my expectations.  The entire pizza was gone in minutes.  One warning though, let's just say that my husband kept the bed very warm that night.  :-P
Does anybody else have a pizza obsession?  I'm thinking of reincarnating the "pizza Fridays" from my childhood.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Insanity - The End! My Review

Hey there folks!  Sorry for the late review post.  Life has once again gotten a bit hectic.  Work for me, in my freelance job, is always feast or famine.  Right now, we've got a huge feast going on.  :)  Now, on to the Insanity review.
First things first - We did not complete the Insanity program as it was meant to be done.  We skipped most of the second to last week and then decided to go back to the Month 1 workouts for our last week. So these opinions and results are based on that fact.

My husband and I both really enjoyed all of the Month 1 workouts.  They were challenging (especially that first week) and fresh.  With each repetition of a workout you can feel yourself getting farther and farther along with less trouble - which is very motivating.  It was great to see our progress from Week 1 to Week 3.  After that though, we pretty much stayed the same as far as fit test results go, which is totally fine with me. 

Unfortunately, our love for the program came to a screeching halt at Month 2.  After the first week we both mentioned that the workouts seemed too frantic, too long and too repetitive.  There were also several complex moves that I felt could cause injury if not done perfectly (and I most likely don't do ANY of the moves perfectly).  We made it two very long feeling weeks before calling it quits and going back to the Month 1 workouts for the remainder.

The problem with Month 2, in my opinion and for my personal taste, is that it gets boring.  In Month 1 several of the workouts contain interval training consisting of three or four exercises done for 30 to 60 seconds each in two to three minute intervals, each interval then being performed three times.  Now for me three times is a bit much (for reference, intervals in P90X are only repeated twice).  I get bored and start craving variety, but for three minutes at a time, I can handle it.  Enter Month 2 and the intervals jump to eight minutes or more.  So after repeating three times, that is 24+ minutes of repeating the same movements.  It was just too repetitive for me.  I lost interest and ended up really dreading getting up in the morning for our workouts.  The only Month 2 workout I really enjoyed was Max Cardio because there were NO intervals, just pure sweat and hard work.

Also, I felt extremely tired all day after starting it with a 60 minute sweat fest.  To keep my body fueled for that type of activity just didn't seem possible.  There are only so many calories one can consume in a day.

Results - my husband visibly slimmed down from his face to his feet.  Both of us experienced great jumps in our stamina and an overall feeling of "tightness".  I, on the other hand, did not start out with any actual weight to lose but wanted to tighten up the butt and loose some of that extra belly fat.  What I got was a firmer and lifted butt and some very strong and toned legs - very happy about that.  The belly?  Well, that's still there, but I hear that good abs are made in the kitchen and to be honest, my kitchen doesn't usually produce the dishes necessary for good abs.  Living on salads and carefully counted carb, protein, veggie ratios is just not something I'm good at, nor do I desire to be.

So, in closing, we did enjoy Insanity.  If we did the Month 1 program for both months I'd have been happy.  And I think that is an option that will bring great results for most people.  What I missed was weight training.  I feel I lost a lot of muscle and strength in my upper body and abs since completing P90X and trying Insanity.  If you aren't as easily bored as me, you will probably enjoy both months of Insanity.  For people with extra weight to lose or who wish to increase their cardio activity, I highly recommend it.  For people with any type of leg, knee or back problems, this is probably not for you.  All of the workouts are very high impact.  The new sneaks (Mizunos in fact) I purchased at the start were completely out of cushioning and support by week 5!

What's next?  We are now in our first week of a P90X/Insanity combo.  I am following the P90X workout calendar and just subbing out most of the X cardio days with Insanity workouts from Month 1.  I also plan to incorporate a few other DVDs into the plan as I have several new ones that I want to test out and review, including Jillian Micheal's Shred it With Weights and Six Week Six Pack which should arrive by month's end.

I'll try to post progress pics later in the week although I don't really have visible results.

Have a great day all!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Yum-EEE Lobster Salad

OK, finally posting the recipe we used for that delicious tub of fresh Maine lobster I picked up at the farmer's market.  This is a version of Mario Batali's recipe that also calls for fresh basil and mint which I did not have on hand, but can only imagine the layers of deliciousness they would add.  So, if you do try this, definitely pick up some basil and mint!!  I know I will next time - and there will be a next time.

The schtuff:

Steamed and cooled meat from 2-3 lobsters
1 medium red onion, sliced paper thin
1 pound almost overripe tomatoes, chopped into 1/4-inch dice
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
15 basil leaves (I had to use dried)
10 mint leaves (sadly, I didn't have these)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice and zest of 1 lemon

Mix all ingredients together.  Serve.  Easy peasy!!
I served this along side the Brie Stuffed Latkes and a little garlic bread (yeah, we love our starches).  Obviously this would be so much prettier (and tastier) had I picked up the fresh basil and mint.
Happy Eating!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Farmer's Market, Lobster & Latkes

I have to thank Christine over at Fresh Local and Best for opening my eyes to a really great farmer's market in Manhattan.  After reading her post about the New Amsterdam market, I planned a trip for the following Sunday.  To get the kids excited, I promised a tour of the ships at the South Street Seaport with their dad who met up with us there which we did prior to exploring the market stalls.

The New Amsterdam Market is very impressive.  All the vendors I visited were so friendly and knowledgeable.  I didn't buy much, but will be going back again soon.  What I did come home with was a tub of fresh Maine lobster meat, some lovely brie and a huge bottle of fabulous Vermont maple syrup.  Oh, and there may have been a few donuts purchased, but they never made it home.  :)
The camera was in tow, but I never took any pictures at the market.  Feel free to check out the link to Christine's blog above to see her gorgeous and appetizing photos.

Dinner is always awesome after a visit to the market!  I started out with a slightly modified version of Julia's Brie Stuffed Latkes.  To. Die. For.

4 large potatoes, parboiled, peeled, grated
2 large eggs
1 medium onion, grated
4 cloves garlic, grated
2/3 pound brie, rind on
handful of garbanzo flour
1 tsp baking powder
dash of skim milk
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil, for pan

Combine your shredded potatoes, onion (I would've used white, but all I had on hand was a red) and garlic in a bowl.  Add salt and pepper, mix.  Add in eggs, flour and baking powder.  Mix and add a dash of milk.  Adjust your milk and flour amounts until you see batter beginning to coat the potatoes (I actually kept mine quite moist).

Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat.  Have your cheese sliced and ready to go .  Place a tablespoon (or more) of batter onto pan.  Place a slice of brie on the top and press in slightly.  Top with another tablespoon of batter.  Flip when browned on underside and press down slightly making sure you don't squeeze out all that delicious cheese.
Drain on paper toweling when done.  Eat and enjoy!!
It is hard to get a photo of these babies that looks appetizing, but I promise you, they are.  When the brie melts it just kind of permeates the entire latke with a creamy flavor.  My husband couldn't resist and had some later on as an evening snack and then dished them out the following morning at breakfast with scrambled eggs.  By the time my lunch hour rolled around, they were gone.  I totally have to start hiding some leftovers for myself!!

I served these with a wonderfully delicious lobster salad (check out the pic above - hello claw meat, yum).  Recipe to follow tomorrow.  This was one really awesome dinner.  Possibly in the top 3!

Anybody have a dish they just love to make after picking up fresh ingredients from the market?