Memorial Day Recap & Importance Of Routine.

I hope everyone enjoyed a safe and fun Memorial holiday. Did anyone else enjoy some poolside time this weekend? I soaked up a little bit of sun and tried to use this holiday weekend to rest up and relax, though it certainly was busy.

One of my best friends from college stayed with me this past weekend. It’s always refreshing to reminisce on college memories, to catch up on current life happenings and to see where life is taking us both. So much happens in such a short time.

I also took an unplanned trip to Nashville to visit with my boyfriend and his family for the weekend. Have I mentioned lately that I am one lucky girl to have him in my life? I need to go to the grocery store because there is absolutely nothing in my fridge right now. I’ll be relying heavily on my stocked pantry and freezer today and tomorrow. I don’t think I’ll be able to make it to the grocery until then. I’m not sure yet what I’ll be eating for breakfast…

While Memorial Weekend was wonderful, it’s time for me to get back on my routine. I believe consistency is one of the biggest keys to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong; I do enjoy three-day, holiday weekends. Because my travel this past weekend was unplanned, I learned quickly that unplanned travel offers a major challenge in hard maintaining my specific and tailored diet. I am most successful and feel better about my health focus when I take time to plan and prepare for travel. I can balance my meals the week leading up to the travel, I can prepare healthy snacks, and I  can pack appropriate workout attire. I did try to stick to my safe foods list while I’m on the road.

While I wish I were still in Tennessee, I do look forward to getting back on my routine. I plan to resume my regular weekly workout schedule today. That means I’ll be focusing on a total body workout with some ab work, too.

Before I scrounge up something for breakfast, I wanted to let you know that I hope to announce the winner of the 7-Quart Oval Stainless Steel Slow Cooker, brought to you by SlimKicker on tomorrow’s post. SlimKicker is currently reviewing the entries, and I’m just waiting on their top choice. Stay tuned for the winner and also, stay tuned for some GREAT blog news coming VERY soon. I can’t wait to share these things with you!

Wishing you the best. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:
How was your Memorial Day Weekend? Did you do anything fun?
Do you function better on a routine or do you prefer spontaneity? 

Exercise Highlight: Squats.

Do you have a favorite exercise move? I have a favorite I like to incorporate in almost every strength training session.  It’s the Goblet Squat. As Tony Horton, the man of P90X, says in his intro of the Ab Ripper X video, “I hate it, but I love it.” It’s so true.

Goblet Squat

Squats and lunges are probably the main two reasons I never used to exercise. I hated these two moves, even in their simplest of modifications. I avoided squats at all costs. But when I decided to get health focused for life, I was all in, pushing myself to exercise in a way that would actually produce results. Nothing halfway. Early in my fitness journey, I started with a Total Body Transformation plan. I thought I’d stick with this plan for one month…and I’ve stayed with it now for almost a year! Even though I didn’t immediately love squats, I pushed through and I saw almost-immediate results.

Squats make me feel stronger. By incorporating dumbbells, they transform my entire body, not just my legs, but arms and core included. By including squats in my strength toning exercises, I’ve noticed muscle toning and quads, hamstrings, and “rear-end”. A personal trainer at the gym told me that squats, when done in correct form, use the most muscle groups out of all the other exercise moves out there.

I believe it. I can see and feel the benefits in my own body.

You all know I travel often. I’ve blogged about that several times before. The squat is something you don’t have to pack. I’ve found myself incorporating  squats in all forms while brushing my teeth, meal planning and cooking, while cleaning my place, watching T.V. and going about day-to-day activities.

So, enlighten me. What’s YOUR favorite exercise move?

REMINDER: Don’t forget that SlimKicker is giving one of my readers an awesome 7 Quart Stainless Steel Slow Cooker. To enter this GIVEAWAY, visit this post. Monday is the last day for entries!

7-Quart Oval Slow Cooker

Wishing you the best. katie

Health & Fitness Grade = A.

Yesterday was a surprisingly health-focused day, and, with the exception of my workout and Zumba, the extra emphasis on health was not even planned. If I could hand out a letter grade for being “health-focused” for the entire day, I’d give myself an A. Normally, I’m a B student on the “health-focused” grade scale. I was able to balance health and fitness in several different ways: 1.) I stayed focused on healthy eating at every meal and snack time; 2.) I explored the new Lexington farmers market at the University of Kentucky; 3.) I pushed myself in the weight room with a tough lower body/leg workout; 4.) I renewed my enjoyment of Zumba; and 5.) I “attended” an informative Twitter chat about Soy Protein, which was organized by FitFluential and Solae. Let’s break these activities down:

Salsa Lime Tofu. So delicious!

1.) My overall food and nutrition intake was on par and I didn’t feel deprived of anything. I had an omelet for breakfast, oatmeal for a midmorning snack, Salsa Lime Tofu with veggies & strawberry banana Chobani for lunch, a Green Monster protein smoothie for dinner, blueberries and a piece of organic dark chocolate for dessert. Everything was delicious and nutritious, just the way I like it.

Lexington’s newest Farmer’s Market on U.K.’s campus.

2.) I took a spur-of-the-moment trip to Lexington’s newest Farmer’s Market on U.K.’s campus. While I love the grocery, I really enjoy shopping for locally grown produce. I mingled with the very people who grew the food before my eyes. I love asking the vendors questions about their produce and I’m always amazed by the new knowledge I take away each time I go. I stopped by a vendor offering samples of strawberries and they were divine! They were juicy and delicious down to the very last bite. I wanted to buy a carton, but they were all sold out. (I would have bought the rest of these samples if there wasn’t a line for them already!) Hopefully strawberries will be at the market next time.

Free pedometers were being handed out to the employees in attendance, so I gladly accepted. It’s nothing fancy, but I’ll where it at work to keep track of my steps taken throughout the work day. I’ll test it out and see what number I’ll get today. While I try to stand a lot at my desk, I don’t do too much walking. This just might be a wake up call for me to get moving even more.

3.) Yesterday’s strength training was focused on my lower body. And boy, did I workout my lower half. Having a weekly training plan has helped me concentrate on getting more out of each and every gym sessions. When I came to my final set, I thought about giving up. But winners never quit, and the pain only makes you stronger. So I pushed myself and I didn’t regret it. Today I’m feeling that good kind of soreness you get after you’ve put in a good workout.

Workout Proof. Don’t mess with these “guns”.

4.) I renewed my enjoyment of Zumba once again. After reviewing my thoughts, I’ve found that letting loose with my coworkers and simply moving my body after a long day of work – even if it’s not pushing me physically – helps make me feel better about my over all wellness. I didn’t realize that I had previously placed a pressure on myself to get a good workout in every time I had previously attended a Zumba class. I would always feel stressed because I couldn’t figure out how to get more out of it.  By switching my focus now on the enjoyment of the activity, I’m more in the spirit to dance off stress that has built up throughout the week. I simply feel better going to that group class now without feeling the pressure of a workout.

5.) The soy protein Twitter chat organized by FitFluential and Solae was informative and left me wanting to know more. Since I’ve  been upping my workout routine, higher protein intake is a necessity for me. I always use whey protein in my smoothies, but I’ve recently started limiting the amount of dairy I take in. Personally, I’ve found that limiting dairy  improves the way I feel. Soy protein is fairly new to me and I want to learn more. I had a few questions answered during the chat, but I also came up with more questions that I’d like to research before ditching whey completely. The two things I learned from the Twitter chat are: 1.) Whey is a “fast” protein because it’s rapidly absorbed; Soy protein is“intermediate” & casein “slow”, taking several hours for the body to absorb, and 2.) Soy Protein contains more glutamine & arginine than whey protein or casein. I still have a lot to learn, but I enjoyed the little knowledge I did gain.

Have you entered my giveaway going on now from SlimKicker? There’s still some time left! SlimKicker wants to give one of my readers a 7 Quart Stainless Steel Slow Cooker. Imagine all of the healthy, easy to prepare recipes where you can use this, like my Mexican Salsa Chicken recipe. There’s still time to enter to giveaway! Read all about how you can win, here.

7-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker, Stainless Steel

I’m curious to see what today holds. This evening after work, I’m hoping to attend a “skirt! After Work” party for a grand opening of House, an interior design and housewares store in Lexington. They’re having a grand opening sale and Saul Good, one of my FAVORITE Lexington eateries is catering. Wishing you all the best. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:
Do you incorporate soy protein into your daily diet? If so, how?
If not, how do you make sure you get enough protein into your daily diet?

Workouts Reviewed and SlimKicker {Giveaway}

There’s a giveaway involved in today’s post, so keep reading…but first, let me recap yesterday’s workouts. Monday, my first day on my new workout schedule, was a major success! I designed my strength session to be a total body workout with extra emphasis on the upper body. Simply knowing that I wanted to push my upper body made me concentrate on that muscle group more with each exercise. Just like yoga where the instructor emphasizes the importance of feeling every vertebrae, I focused on every muscle being used.

I also went to Zumba after work. Now that I view Zumba as a fun activity and not a workout for me personally, I let loose, had a blast, and actually seemed to have more energy to dance. I focused on twisting and turning, engaging my core, and putting more of myself into each move rather than just go through the motions.

You know I like apps and tools that help you live a healthy, balanced life. In previous posts, I’ve mentioned several tools I use daily to help hold me accountable toward achieving my overall health goals. Have you heard of SlimKicker? It’s a great online tool and iPhone app that helps motivate you to get fit by turning your diet and fitness goals into a level-up game. You earn points by participating in healthy eating and fitness challenges.

Examples of SlimKicker challenges include: quitting soda for a week, giving up processed meats for two weeks and committing to 100 planks over the course of a week. Some challenges give you the opportunity to win giveaways if, of course, you successfully complete them. Participate in one or several. Enjoy the many challenges offered to help you stay health-focused for life! SlimKicker also features useful tools such as a calorie counter, a fitness tracker, and a community with other similar-minded people.

One feature I particularly like about SlimKicker is the collection of recipes SlimKicker has online, each arranged by particular diet plans you may follow. Some of these diet plans include the 17 Day Diet, P90X diet plan, or the Dukan Diet…and to make some of those healthy recipes, you may need a slow cooker, right? How would you like to win this slow cooker? You can!

7-Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker, Stainless Steel  *Due to shipping costs, this giveaway is open to US residents only.* 

GIVEAWAY: The great people of SlimKicker want to give you, my dear reader, a chance to score this fantastic 7-Quart Oval Manual, Stainless Steel Slow Cooker. You can make some easy-to-prepare, easy-to-cook recipes (like my Mexican Salsa Chicken) in this slow cooker. Interested in winning? It’s easy. Here’s how enter this giveaway:

Mandatory: Leave a comment on a creative diet and/or fitness challenge idea that you would want to participate in, like quitting soda for a week or doing 100 plank week challenge, running 1 mile a day for 10 days, etc. The key is to be creative on the challenge! What type of fun SlimKicker challenge would you want to participate in? (Please note that this is mandatory in order to be entered into the giveaway!)

Optional: After you leave the above comment, follow me on twitter. Let your friends know about SlimKicker and this giveaway by tweeting:
“I just entered to win a 7-Quart Stainless Steel Slow Cooker in the @wishandwhimsy @SlimKicker Giveaway http://wp.me/pHJIG-kP”

I will be collecting entries until 11:59pm on Monday, May 28, 2012 and the winner will be announced shortly after. The SlimKicker team will pick their favorite challenge idea submitted by you, use it on their site, and give the winner the slow cooker. *Due to shipping costs, this giveaway is open to US residents only. 

Interested in joining SlimKicker? You can visit their website, or download their iPhone app. Wishing you all the best and the best of luck on this awesome giveaway. katie

***EDITED: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.***
(LEAVE A COMMENT: I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to comment below or visit my Contact Me page. You’ll find information  on following me on Twitter, FacebookPinterest and more.) 

My Weekly Fitness Plan.

One of my recent fitness goals was to come up with an overall weekly training schedule. I’m excited to share with you what I have worked on this week. Sticking to a fitness schedule gives me a way to craft workouts that are goal specific and ensures that I target specific muscle groups. It will push and challenge my current fitness level. While my training plan will constantly evolve, this is an overall view of my weekly workout plan:

While this training plan will certainly change throughout the weeks, my goal is to focus on toning particular muscle groups. I used to use my midday strength toning session to do a total body workout, but lately, I’ve been a little bored with the same routine and I’ve found myself wishing to push my body a bit harder.

I’m having my brother over for breakfast in just a bit and I still haven’t decided what to make him. I want to make a healthy breakfast, but I don’t think he would be a fan of anything with kale in it…

Oh, and I have one tiny favor to ask you. Would you Follow me on Twitter? I’m SO close to 100 Followers, which would make a goal of mine come true. (I also have a new Facebook page if you’re interested in “liking” Wish and Whimsy…) Anyway, wishing you the best. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY
What is your general fitness plan? Do you find it important to focus on specific muscle groups or do you prefer total body workouts?

(LEAVE A COMMENT: I’d love to hear from you! To comment click on the comment/dialogue box at the top of this post. Or visit my Contact Me page. You’ll find information  on following me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and more.) 

Zumba | When A Workout Isn’t Working You Out.

My Zumba class was cancelled. I go to Zumba after work on Mondays and Wednesdays and I have recruited a lady I work with to come along, too. We both had plans to go, until I received an email about the class being cancelled. While she decided to go home, I decided I wanted to do something to get my body moving. So, I went to another class being offered in Zumba’s place. While I enjoy Zumba, this other cardio class got me thinking about what I want out of evening workouts. Zumba may be a great group fitness class that allows you to move around after a long day of work, but it’s not really working me out much any more. The class yesterday included tabata training and I felt the burn, which felt great!

Image Source.

I first started attending Zumba a couple of years ago. At that point, the two days a week class was the only structured workout I participated in. I always looked forward to the dancing/fitness combination. I should probably credit Zumba as my first “baby step” toward beginning my fitness journey. Since beginning Zumba, and especially in the last year and a half, I’ve incorporated other fitness classes and routines like Krav Maga – where I met my boyfriend – and strength toning classes offered at the gym owned by my work. I’ve also dabbled with Yoga and I have now crossed over to the weight room at the gym. (It used to intimidate me!)

Krav Maga – Don’t mess with me, I Krav.

While some of those classes have come and gone, I’ve tweaked my fitness routine to what works best for me in terms of results and enjoyment, and what works with my schedule and lifestyle.

While attending Zumba classes these past few weeks, I’ve notice that I’m not benefiting much from Zumba any more in terms of physical results. I find myself kind of going through the motions. So I’ve been wondering what I need to do to amp up this time so I can benefit most. My dad is an engineer and he always advised me to make a list of pros and cons. Here’s my list, Pros and Cons personalized for me:

Zumba Pros:

  1. Zumba gets me moving after a long day at the office.
  2. It’s convenient to work. Just a five-minute walk and I’m at class.
  3. It’s immediately after work, so no wasting a few minutes here or there before class starts. Time is precious and I hate to waste a minute of it!
  4. I connect with my colleagues in a non-work environment. This builds rapport.
  5. Dancing makes me feel good and boosts confidence. While I’m not the world’s greatest dancer, I can pretend to be J.Lo for 45 minutes.

Zumba Cons:

  1. I don’t feel like I’m pushing myself.
  2. I don’t think it contributes to seeing real results.

While there are more Pros on the list than Cons, the value placed on the Cons are a lot to consider. Should I spend that time at the gym or another class to push and challenge me? Or can I find a way to push myself harder in Zumba to make it a more effective workout? Or do I focus on the fact that Zumba helps me build relationships and incorporates a fun activity in my work week?

With all of this said, I think I’ll stick with Zumba, concentrate on engaging new muscle groups and feel good about simply moving my body after a long day of work. I must understand that Zumba is only a supplement or a complement to my active lifestyle and it’s not my main workout plan. Zumba has become a social and fun activity which, too, contributes to an overall healthy life. If I were to replace my Monday and Wednesday Zumba sessions, I would be limiting my social and networking life. How often do you actually get to combine fun activity with socializing/networking? Not very often. As long as an activity isn’t decreasing my overall health and is helping maintain or promote it, I’m in. I’m going to keep that fitness party going.

Tabata Time!

Additionally, while I spend part of every lunch hour in my gym, I think I’ll look for a class that challenges me on Tuesdays and Thursdays because I really did enjoy the tabata training yesterday. It pushed me and I felt like I had worked out when the class ended. I guess that conclusion makes for the best of all worlds.

Wow. That Pros & Cons list really did help. Thanks, Dad!

Wishing you all the best. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:

What would you do? Is it okay to participate in a workout that is not really working you out? How would you up the fitness results in this situation? Do you have a similar story? Please share and let’s discuss!

(LEAVE A COMMENT: I’d love to hear from you! To comment click on the comment/dialogue box at the top of this post. Or visit my Contact Me page. You’ll find information  on following me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and more.) 

5 Simple Ways I Stay Fit At Work.

First, I must say that I really gave my arms a workout yesterday. This week I’m creating a daily fitness plan, goal specific workouts for each day I hit the gym. While I’m still tweaking the plan, I focused on my arms and shoulders during my strength training session yesterday. Because of that great workout out, my body was already a little sore when I went to Zumba. At this point in my life, Zumba is not the workout I benefit most from. I consider it a great way to move after a long day and a great way to connect with people at work, outside of the office setting.

While I love where I work and what I do, I have a typical “desk job”. It would be easy to get caught up in a routine of walking in the office and sitting for 8 hours. But I prefer moving around much more than I do sitting. So, how does one passionate about healthy living  make fitness a priority while at the office? Simple…I modify my work space and my day to accommodate the healthy life I want to live. Here’s how I stay fit and on track during my work day:

1.) I’ve designed my space and coordinated my schedule to make sure my fitness is maintained while on the  job. While I don’t have a standing treadmill in my office (I’m envious of Lindsay’s @ the Lean Green Bean blog), I have propped up my computer and keyboard to allow me to stand. I’ve read in numerous places that you burn twice the amount of calories standing than you do sitting because your body is constantly engaging your muscles and core to provide proper balance. I also read that if you stand for 10 minutes out of every work hour, you will end up burning about 100 calories each day (source).

2.) I keep a water bottle on my desk to remain hydrated throughout the day. I try my hardest to refill it at least once while at work. I also have green tea to keep my energy and my metabolism up. While I occasionally enjoy a cup of coffee at home in the mornings, I try to limit the amount of coffee I drink while I’m at work to limit my caffeine intake.

3.) I designate at least half of my lunch hour for working out. There is a small gym down the street that I can walk to easily. Because it is owned by my work, there’s only a tiny monthly fee for employees to use it.  To avoid getting sweaty, I strength tone during this time. My membership in this gym includes group classes that are offered at different points of the day. I take advantage of Zumba after work on Monday’s and Wednesdays. Zumba is a fun way to get moving after a long day at work.

I come to work dressed like the left photo and change midday for a quick workout during lunch. I’m thankful for an office with a door:

   

4.) I bring my own homemade lunches to work every day. This way I can control the ingredients and monitor the nutrients I am taking in. Additionally, brown bagging my lunch saves me money. (I consider being financially wise a large part of healthy living.)

5.) I use the free application FitBolt on my computer. This application gives you an activity every half hour to get you moving. These include a mix of stretches and exercises that can be performed in a small office.

Those are just five simple ways I stay fit while at the office. By the way, some of you have asked about FitFluential. I’m now an Ambassador, and I couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity. FitFluential is a unique network of fitness and health bloggers who share their fitness journeys and influence others toward healthy living. You can join and follow fitness happenings here. I’m off to enjoy another day of work, beginning with an early meeting.

Wishing you all the best. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY
How do you maintain fitness while at work?
What are your favorite on-the-job fitness tips?

(LEAVE A COMMENT: I’d love to hear from you! To comment click on the comment/dialogue box at the top of this post. Or visit my Contact Me page. You’ll find information  on following me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and more.) 

Home & Happy.

I’m back home! Isn’t it funny how even though you grow up and move to your own little place in the world, perhaps in a different city or state, “home” is always where you grew up? I have been looking forward to being home for this special Mother’s Day weekend for several weeks now. As I mentioned on Wednesday, my parents are really amazing people. Though my parents will always be “Mom” and “Dad”, I’m realizing I’m at a point in my life where I begin to view both of them as great friends, too.

The drive wasn’t bad at all. It’s about 2.5 to 3 hours to get back to home. Since I was driving during my afternoon snack time, I enjoyed a delicious Apple Pie Larabar. These things are really delicious. I appreciate and support a company who uses whole, natural ingredients in their products. I can have a safe, delicious, nutritious and unprocessed snack that’s convenient to eat on the run. This is how Larabar describes this bar on their website: “Just like Grandma’s and under 200 calories, this Apple Pie provides 1 full serving of fruit and 5 grams of fiber. Not too sweet, and spiced with cinnamon and raisins, Apple Pie also has almonds, walnuts and natural chewy goodness.” So good.

Please note, my car was parked when I took this shot.

Before heading home yesterday afternoon, I managed to get a great workout in during my office lunch hour, focusing on my legs. My Sumo Squats improved by increasing my free weights from 12.5lbs to 15lbs. I’ve played with this weight a bit before by trying one set of sumo squats with 12.5lbs, the middle set with 15lbs, and then finishing with 12.5 again. But this time, I did 15lbs for each set. I’ll take and celebrate this little victory! I also finally increased my hammer curl to press weight from 10lbs. to 12.5lbs for each set. While it’s not much, it’s definitely improvement and I like to see my fitness goals improving!

When I arrived home, we decided to go out to dinner to a little Chinese buffet just outside of town. I was able to stay on the healthy side of things with a plate full of shrimp (which needed peeling, so it slowed my eating down), salad without dressing, sushi – though it was spicy and I didn’t eat much of it, and honeydew melon. I also had a small serving a vanilla soft serve ice cream. After dinner, Dad dropped Mom and I off at the grocery to shop for my healthy grocery list. We bought the ingredients to make Salsa Lime Tofu and we’ll be making that tonight for dinner. I’ll be curious to know if my Dad will enjoy it…at least he’s willing to give it a try!

Because I’m not sure when I’d be able to exercise today, I got up around 5:30AM to go on a walk around town. Mom joined me and it felt great starting my day off by making fitness a priority. The best part of the walk, of course, was the company. Walking with Mom allowed the time to pass quickly and made the walk more enjoyable. Want to see a funny thing about this morning’s walk? I didn’t pack clothes suitable for the chilly morning, so I had to borrow some sweats that didn’t quite fit…

Anyway, I’m taking my Mom out later this morning to a coffee spot just outside of town that will be new for both of us to try. I thought we’d celebrate Mother’s Day one day early. We have the best time sharing about life over a cup of coffee and a scone. Many good tears have been part of our coffee dates. I’m looking forward to trying a new place, but most of all, I’m looking forward to spending this treasured time with Mom. I’ll report back with a review on the coffee shop later.

But first, I’m about to head to the kitchen and whip up a healthy omelet for Dad and me to enjoy for breakfast.

I hope you have a great Saturday ahead of you! Wishing you the best. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:
What’s one of your favorite on-the-road snacks?
How are you celebrating Mother’s Day weekend? 

(LEAVE A COMMENT: I’d love to hear from you! To comment click on the comment/dialogue box at the top of this post. Or visit my Contact Me page. You’ll find information  on following me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and more.) 

Rosemary & Ab Work.

"Never miss an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting." Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’m developing a little crush on local nurseries. Earlier this week I stopped by Sunshine Grow Shop, a lovely, locally owned side of the road nursery in Lexington. It was a gorgeous afternoon and a coworker and I were running a quick, after lunch errand. We stopped at Sunshine Grow Shop to look for a specific flower she needed to complete her garden. Since I live in an apartment complex, I unfortunately do not have the luxury of being able to plant flowers. After my Earth Day purchase of Sweet Basil a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been inspired to have a few herbs for healthy cooking. While my colleague looked for her specific flower (some perennial that I can’t recall the name of) I took a stroll down the herb aisle. I met a very friendly worker, possibly the owner, who shared insight on one more herb I could have in my apartment – Rosemary. The owner explained that Rosemary requires little attention and can survive without much care. The scent was heavenly and I know the herb is versatile so I was sold. Now I think my indoor garden is complete and my apartment smells sweet from the natural, chemical-free scent produced by my Sweet Basil and Rosemary plant.

I’m looking forward to developing new recipes with both of my herbs and I’ll keep you posted! I’ve already enjoyed fresh basil several times this week in my morning omelets.

Since today is Wednesday, I have a good day of fitness planned. I’ll be working out during my lunch hour with a focus on total body strength toning, with a special emphasis on ab work. One of my favorite ab workouts is the P90x Ab Ripper X. So, when I’m in the gym, I modify or intensify some of the moves from the DVD. My favorite ab move on AB Ripper X are the Mason Twists. (It’s the last move in the workout, probably because it’s so intense.) To  see an example of the Mason Twist, visit this site. At the gym, I do this move with a 8-10lb. dumbbell and do 3 sets of 25. It burns, but in such a great way. I also plan to attend Zumba after work. It’s a great way to get moving after being in an office all day.

Here’s what I’ve been enjoying for breakfast this morning:

This is definitely a protein packed, energy boosting breakfast. I have an egg white omelet with kale, tuna, Roma tomatoes, Vidalia onions, sweet basil and crushed red pepper for a little bit of a kick. Vanilla greek yogurt and blueberries and a mug of chocolate truffle coffe are my side choices this morning. All of this offers me 39g of protein– a great way to start a busy day.

Well, I’m off to work, then Zumba, then catching up with a great friend tonight. Busy, but great day ahead!

Wishing you the best. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:
Do you have any indoor herbs? Do you have any advice on keeping these herbs, especially Rosemary and Sweet Basil thriving?
Do you have any recipes that use fresh rosemary or basil? Leave your healthy recipe in the comment section and I may feature your recipe in an upcoming blog post!

(LEAVE A COMMENT: I’d love to hear from you! To comment click on the comment/dialogue box at the top of this post. Or visit my Contact Me page. You’ll find information  on following me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and more.) 

Tofu Take 2, AM Workouts & Table Sitting.

This weekend was just what I needed. After my work event on Saturday morning, I simply relaxed the weekend away. With the exception of grocery shopping and church, I really didn’t leave my apartment. While it’s been a great April, it’s been a very busy month with travel and planning a couple of large events. It’s been nice to relax.

Last night’s dinner was amazing. Since I had some leftover tofu, I decided to mix it up a bit. I cut up piece of the Salsa Lime Tofu into a few slices and put it on a frying pan to heat up and crisp the edges. Meanwhile, I prepped a half of a whole wheat pita pocket with a fried egg, Roma tomato and kale. Then I stuffed it with the tofu “scramble”. On the side, I had some cucumber and roasted red pepper hummus. Friends, this meal was mighty delicious.

Even though this dinner was solo, I sat at my dining room table to enjoy my meal. I realized that it’s a shame I don’t use my table as often because I have a fabulous view from my floor to ceiling windows in my “dining room”. (It’s not technically a dining room, because my apartment is tiny. But it’s a nice sunroom that I’ve designated as my dining room.) Sitting there without the tv on, without distraction other than the nature outside allowed me to slow down and enjoy my meal — the art of mindful eating. After finishing my meal, I realized that I want to incorporate this practice more often. Growing up, our family always made time to sit together at the table. And while I’ve always known I wanted to carry on that tradition if I ever have a family if my own, I think I want to start that tradition now…even if it’s just me.

Since my department is going out for lunch today, I decided to get up extra early and workout. Monday’s are usually my heavier workout days, but since I won’t make it to the gym during my lunch hour, I needed to get my fitness in this morning. I usually have Zumba after work, but I have an appointment this afternoon and won’t be able to make that either. (More on that “appointment” later this week. Stay tuned, Lexington.) If I want to make fitness a priority, I have to find the time. So, it meant me getting up a little earlier than normal. My workout consisted of a total body strength workout.
3 sets of 12 reps of the following:

  • Sumo squats with 10lb. dumbbell
  • Hammer curl to press
  • Dumbbell deadlifts
  • Single-arm, neutral-grip dumbbell row and rotation
  • Dumbbell pullover

Breakfast had to be put together in a flash and thanks to planning ahead last night, I knew exactly what I was going to make this morning. I’m currently chowing down on an egg white omelet with kale, Vidalia onions, Roma tomatoes, crushed red pepper and FRESH SWEET BASIL! My plant that I bought on Earth Day has finally matured enough to pick a few leaves from the plant and place in this omelet. The fresh basil adds so much more flavor than the dried version in my pantry.

Well, I’m off to start another week of work. There are a lot of fun things planned this week and I can’t wait to share them with you.

Wishing you the best. katie

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

Where do you eat your meals? At the table, in the car, on the floor infront of the T.V.?