Friday, September 20, 2013

Potluck at work - I survived.

I survived.  The potluck lunch today at work, that is.  I do believe I was the only one who brought something "green".  I made little cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches.  So, green - yes.  Healthy - questionable.  I did use light cream cheese though =D

I modified this recipe from

Cucumber and Cream Cheese Tea Sandwiches
Picture by: RoosterandHen
1 English cucumber, unpeeled

4 oz light cream cheese, room temperature

1 TBS mayo (I used Kraft light mayo)

1 tsp garlic powder (recipe calls for a pinch of garlic salt but I didn't have any)

1/2 tsp dried dill weed

10 slices wheat bread

  1. Slice cucumber with a mandolin to make very thin slices.
  2. In a bowl, stir cream cheese, mayo, garlic and dill together until mixed well.
  3. Spread cream cheese mixture over 5 slices of bread, then lay cucumber slices in overlapping rows.  
  4. Top with remaining slices of bread.  Cut crusts from each sandwich and cut sandwiches into quarters.

I had leftover cream cheese and cucumbers with this recipe and used it like a "chips & dip" on the side. These little sandwiches went over really well.  Most folks had never tried them before.  I thought I overdid it on the garlic, but I wasn't sure of a garlic salt vs garlic powder equivalent.  Next time I'll just use garlic salt.  

The rest of the food included fruit salad (w/cool whip & marshmallows), baked ziti, meatball subs, and lumpia to name a few.  I sampled everything except the bread for meatball sandwiches and just had a couple meatballs instead.  It was all very yummy and I was quite satisfied.  I'm sure I consumed more calories than my normal lunch, but I skipped both snacks today and had a light dinner.  Hopefully that balanced the intake.

Weigh-in tomorrow - yay.  TOM showed up today (early) so I'm not looking forward to the weigh-in.  At least I now have an explanation for all the snack attacks this week.  It all makes sense now.  

Anyone got big plans for the weekend?  I'm just gonna kick back and relax.  Well, whatever you do, I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Did I just invent a new exercise?

Nah! No way, I can't be the first to try this, but I also couldn't find it anywhere.  But hey, necessity is the mother of invention.  Tonight I was trying to get in a quick upper body workout - I mean really quick.  I ran out of time today but still wanted to do something that would work chest, shoulders, back, triceps and biceps.  Well, I came up with an exercise that, for me, worked pretty much every single one - in less than 5 minutes!!

At first, I thought it would only work chest because that's pretty much what a bench press or push up or even a regular wall push-up might do.  But then, WOW!  It worked pretty much everything!

Wall push-ups with a "catch":

I stood facing the wall about an arm's length away - my middle finger was barely touching the wall if I kept my shoulders in line with my body.

Then I just leaned forward, keeping my back straight, and "caught" myself, arms slightly bent, about halfway to the wall (halfway before my face would smack into it really!).  I guess the best way to describe it would be that I used my arms like shock absorbers and slowly guided myself to the wall.

Next, I pushed off the wall as if I was doing a push-up, but actually let my arms drop to my side before the next rep.

And that's it.  I did a few sets and really felt that I worked chest, shoulders and triceps the most.  But I felt it in my back because I was concentrating on keeping my back straight.  I don't think swaying the back would be good in very many exercises, do you?

I guess it's the catching part that really changes this up.  If you try it though, remember to keep your back straight and don't let your hips fall toward the wall.  I had to concentrate on that the most - well, second most - first most was not hitting the wall with my face!!

So, after trying to come up with a name or at least how to describe this exercise, I found this page/exercise - "How to do: Wall Push-Ups with a Clap."  I didn't do the clap part, but this is definitely the idea.  Oh well, no new break-through exercise patent in my future, but it was fun to do anyway!

Have a fun-filled Friday everyone!!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Last minute dining out plan

Last night, we received an invitation to dinner for tonight at an Italian restaurant.  I decided to go, but to really watch food intake during the day to hopefully offset what I know will be a high calorie meal.  It's a four-course type thing, so I'm sure there'll be a salad.  Stick to a few small bites of appetizer.  For the entree, I'm thinking something baked instead of fried.  Then there's dessert, but of course there's no law that says you MUST eat the whole thing, is there?  There's not even one requiring us to eat dessert, but I'm thinking I'll give it a try.

So, my food so far today - cereal for breakfast, one cup of coffee, a turkey sandwich on wheat and 4 pita crisps.  It's a good thing dinner is at 6:30, because I don't know if I can hold off much longer!  It's 4:45 as I type this.  I should just go guzzle a liter of water!!  Then I'll just have to pee the whole time.  Of course all that walking back and forth to the restroom could be considered exercise, right?

Stats update on the Nike Fuel Band that I've been wearing since mid June...
Last month I burned 24,876 calories (this is active time only - it doesn't count cals when I sit or lay down or basically don't move)
Was active 336 hours
Stepped 175,023 steps
Walked 71.8 miles

And here's a pic of the year so far...

Finally, I had my dermatology appointment today.  Yep, I've got some really dry skin.  The doc prescribed a lotion, but also suggested some over-the-counter ones that have seen good results.  I also had a "mole check."  While I was only concerned about 3, the doc checked me from head to toe - literally.  The 3  I had concerns over were - one on the very top of my head that showed up last week, one on my back that seems to be growing and is odd-shaped, and one on my leg that just looks like a bug-bite scar, but has like a tiny lump underneath.  Turns out all of them are fine except the one on my scalp - that one had pre-cancerous cells and had to be treated.  So I sat still and winced as the doc froze the bugger on my scalp.  It's still a bit tender now, and I also got a headache for the rest of the day.  Not a bad one, just mild but still no fun.  Now, I go back once a year or so and get checked.

And that's it for my adventures today, how'd your day go?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Quick Lower Body Stretches and the Nighttime Snack Attack

Getting right into the fitness area, today I was going to change up with my resistance training and walk a 5K after dinner with an organized group downtown.  But at the last minute, it fell through.  So, a quick lower body workout it is.  Followed by some stretching of course.

It's kind of cool that stretching is like my favorite part of my routine now.  It's also the part that gets skipped most often due to time, but I so enjoy it.  There's just something about it that is so rejuvenating - it makes me feel like my body is saying thanks for taking care of it.  Silly, huh?

But in case I haven't shared, here are some of the lower body stretches I do - there are a few more, but these are the "go to" group for me...

It really helps to know how to stretch properly.  I was surprised at how many of these stretches I was originally doing incorrectly (butterfly & calf), but now that I read up on how they're supposed to actually feel while stretching, I am getting so much more out of my stretch routine.  The other stretches are fairly easy because if you just do what's in the picture you get the stretch - though I have found that tilting the pelvis aids a bit in a quad stretch.

Butterfly Stretch

Butterfly stretch  - Sit on the floor or ground and bend your legs so the sides of your feet are touching the ground.  Pull your feet toward your body and get them as close to your inner thighs as possible.  You want the bottoms of your feet to touch.  Grab your feet with your hands and pull your body forward until you fell the stretch in you inner thighs.  Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat. (from

Calf Stretch
Calf Stretch - Stand about an arm's-length from the wall.  Lean forward and place both hands on the wall about shoulder width apart.  Extend one foot (the side to be stretched) behind you with heel on the ground and one foot closer to the wall.  Lean into wall with your hips until you feel a stretch in the calf of the extended leg.  Hold this stretch for about 30 seconds and change sides.  For a deeper stretch, move your foot farther back.  (from - Calf Stretch for Flexibility)

Quad Stretch
Standing Hamstring Stretch

Ab Stretch

I stuck to my menu plan today until after dinner.  Then I got all snacky - no idea why, except I wasn't satisfied at all with dinner.  Everything tasted blah.  Fortunately all my after-dinner snacks were fairly healthy, but still, I didn't really need those calories.  I can't even say I was hungry, but after the third and final snack I was, FINALLY, satisfied.  Anyway, has that ever happened to you?  It's like you know you shouldn't, but you do it anyway?  Wow, that's a lot like life in general isn't it?  Interesting.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Golden Rules from Kathrine Switzer

As I was planning this week's menu, I decided to change things up again this week.  With the rainy weather we've been having lately, I've been feeling very lazy.  I know that feeling will roll over into mealtimes tempting me to hit the drive-thru.  So, I switched all  my meals to choices I will DEFINITELY look forward to and that are also VERY EASY to prepare.

Dinner meals are the only ones where I have the desire to hit the lazy button.  So here are my quick and easy yet tasty dinners for the rest of this week...

Tues: Beef Au Jus w/ Mashed Potatoes & Green Beans
Wed:  Skillet Tostadas (This is probably my favorite meal of all 4 weeks of meal plans!)
Thur:  BBQ Meatballs w/ cauliflower/whole wheat pasta/cheese
Fri:  Shredded Pork Tacos and fresh corn-on-the-cob
Sat:  Subway Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki on flat bread w/lettuce, tomato, cucumber and spinach

Did I mention that I was reading "Born to Run" by electronically checking it out from the library?  Well, apparently my checkout time was up, so I had to put the physical book on hold and wait for it to be available.  (I could probably check out the electronic book again soon, but I don't know the requirements.)  So in the meantime, one of the other "running" books I put on hold became available - "Running and Walking for Women Over 40" by Kathrine Switzer.  I don't know if I'll do a review of this one or not just yet, but I wanted to share something I just read...

Golden Rules for Running and Walking: 

1.) Running or walking regularly makes you feel good about yourself.  And when you feel good about yourself, your relationships with others are better as well.

2.) Move fast enough to puff a little and work up a sweat, but avoid going too fast too soon.  Your goal is sustained exercise that is comfortable but keeps you working.

3.) Drink water all day long.  No matter how much you think you're drinking, it's almost never as much as you need.

4.) Keep a training log.  You'll be amazed and proud of your progress. (You also won't skip workouts.)

5.) Have a goal. Whether it's completing your first mile or entering a local fun run six months from now, a goal keeps you motivated.

There are actually 17 of these "rules", but these are the ones that really caught my attention.  I think this book is geared more for women who have just decided to start working out.  It doesn't really matter to me though, good advice is good advice, whether we're seasoned veterans or brand-spanking newbies.

I almost forgot to mention the weigh-in.  Honestly, I almost forgot to weigh-in.  I was running late Saturday morning, so by the time I remembered to step on the scale I had more than PJs on and had food in my belly.  So I have no idea what the true weight was BUT with food AND clothes I was only up a pound from last week.  At the very least, I maintained.  I'm very happy with that.

Looking forward to a fantastic week!  Hope you are too.  Oh and if you haven't done so already, you can sign up now to receive my posts via email.  There's a sign-up gadget on the left side of the page - I tried it out and it works great!
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