Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tasty Tuesdays #8 - Barbecue Finale: Fiesta Wraps

This week's recipe post is an ode to the barbecue. I thought I'd get one last outdoor grill recipe out there before packing it up for the winter. Actually, who am I kidding? We all know Canadians just move their BBQs to the garage during winter. Alas, this recipe is a snap to whip up any time of year. I've called these "fiesta wraps" because that sounds a lot better than "radish and avocado fajitas". Please - don't let the ingredients scare you! I promise this is delicious. You won't even taste the radishes - you'll just enjoy the crunch and the nutrients! ;)

Ingredients round up: flank steak, whole wheat tortillas, avocado, radishes, cumin, chilli powder, not shown: salt, pepper, lime juice. Optional: fresh cilantro.

To begin, you will prepare the fajita filling. Dice your avocado and put it into a bowl. Squirt some lime juice on the avocado to prevent it from browning. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Next, wash your radishes well and trim them. Cut into slices and add this to your avocado in a bowl. If you are a fan of cilantro, now is the time to add a handful!

Next, pre-heat your barbecue. You want it to be quite hot. Okay....maybe not quite this hot. About 400-degrees should do it. Given flank steak is so lean and thin, the trick is to sear it off quite quickly. I like mine medium-rare.

Before putting your meat on the grill, season it liberally with cumin and sprinkle a bit of salt, pepper and chilli powder on both sides. Grill away!

Top the whole wheat tortillas with thinly sliced steak and your avocado/radish mixture! I add a spoonful of plain low-fat yogurt to make it extra-delicious.


Monday, September 27, 2010

The Plan: food, exercise and reading

It seems my cold has run it's course and I'm finally starting to feel like myself again. I eased back into my workout routine on the weekend by accomplishing a goal of moving 25 miles on foot and by bike. Thanks for the inspiration, Clyde!

The week ahead is a "normal" week. I won't be doing any work-related travel and I don't have any events to attend. I don't have any crazy project deadlines to keep me at the office. Basically, I have NO EXCUSES. Here is the plan for the week...

I need to reconnect with my running buddy and get us back on track to hit the streets three days this week. I'm scared to think how much progress I may have lost on the running front since it's been over a week since we last went out!
M: 30 day shred, 5km walk
T: Run
W: 30 day shred, 5km walk
R: Run
F: 30 day shred, Bike 5km
Sa: Run
Sun: Hike, 30 day Shred
Bonus: one day this week I plan to rent a movie and walk on the treadmill 3mph while watching it. The last time I did this I managed to walk over 4 miles without a second thought.

Meal Plan
M: maple ginger salmon with green beans and salad
T: baked acorn squash with quinoa salad (w/pear, blue cheese & walnuts), garden salad
W: shrimp stir fry on brown rice
R: spaghetti squash "pasta" with turkey meatballs, garlic toast
F: chicken breast and quinoa salad

In other news. I got a hot tip on a new book. I'm going to start reading Savor by Thich Nhat Hanh this week. I'll let you know what I think!

Have a great week everyone!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Down but not out! (-5.0)

Just as I was using all your great comments to get my mojo back, I was literally knocked on my ass by a cold this week. I mean, this wasn't a little sniff-sniff-polite-cold. This was the type that has you hacking, sneezing, spewing phlegm and cowering as your head pounds. The kind that has women sheltering their small children as they pass you on the street. Ugly. To top it all off, I was on the road for work three days this week, which made me #1 public enemy among my colleagues. But alas, $200,000 research projects will stop for no virus.

The upside: a 5 pound weight loss. Woo hoo! If you'd like to see similar results, just follow my 5 easy steps:
1. Remove solid foods from your diet
2. Remove soft foods from your diet
3. Derive 98% of your sustenance from plain herbal tea
4. Sleep 10-hours a day
5. Work up a sweat by sneezing and coughing

Easy-peasy, LOL!

I'm starting to feel more like myself, but will be keeping things pretty low key this weekend. I'll focus on cheering on YOU from the sidelines and getting a plan together for next week.

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Help me out

Help! I've lost my mojo.

Despite last week's post on getting serious about planning for success, I have had a pretty crappy week when it comes to fitness. My diet has been okay, but not stellar. I have been dreading every run and not putting my heart into my workouts. What's worse is that I've totally been neglecting the blog, and all of YOUR great blogs because my heart just isn't in it. What is up with that!? I guess I kinda feel like a fraud to be posting here when I'm just talking the talk and not walking the walk.

I'm sure everyone feels this way once in a while, but I've been fighting it for about two weeks now. How do you get past it? Advice please!!! ;)

I've taken a few small steps to help get me 'back into it'.

First, I bought a new scale. My old scale was giving me grief due to inconsistency. I mean, I could weigh myself within three 30-second intervals and get weights that swung by 10-pounds either way. Not cool. The new scale is very consistent and it's digital. Yeah!

Second, I am setting the weight-loss clock to zero. I am going to be tracking pounds lost from here on out and tracking them in my side bar.

Third, I am taking advantage of music. I don't know about you, but music can make or break a workout for me. The right song can motivate me to get my shoes on, or push me to give that little bit extra on a run. I've been listening to The Killers album, Hot Fuss today and it has already helped inspire me to get in a big hike with the dog and play tennis with Hubs for 45 minutes....and I'm already planning my evening run or bike ride! I've included some songs in my playlist. What music keeps you moving?

Finally, I'll leave you with a quote that has meant a lot to me this week:
Success is not final,
Failure is not fatal,
It is courage to continue that counts
- Winston Churchill.

Have a good one & keep moving!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

We've all heard this quote before: if you don't lay the groundwork by setting up a good plan, you're destined to veer off-course. I totally buy into this proverb. I'm a chronic list-maker. I love getting absorbed in 'the details' whether it's to get ready for a Christmas party or to map out my 5-year career plan. I love setting goals almost as much as I love achieving them.

So why haven't I been applying this approach to my fitness and diet?

Things have become a little complacent around here. A little too reactive for my liking. I have resolved to start getting back to basics when it comes to planning for success. Each Monday I will be using my post to outline a detailed plan for the work week. The strange thing is that weekends are actually my BEST days - I'm always really active on the weekends and tend to plan great meals. So, I am focusing on Mon-Fri here. I will map out the fitness activities I plan to do each day, along with a meal plan for dinners. I tend to use my dinner leftovers for lunch the next day, so that works for me. Going through this process should help set me up for success for the week. I think that focusing on just one week at a time is a great timeframe - it will allow me to stay realistic about other commitments I have going on that might emerge as barriers and it also coincides with things like grocery shopping! So, here we go....

I run with my friend every Mon/Thurs/Sat. I am committing to strength training this week via the 30 Day Shred DVD.
M: Run (5min warmup, 5min intervals x 5, 5min cool down & stretch)
T: Biking 30min
W: 30 Day Shred, 60min Hike with the dog
R: Run
F: 30 Day Shred, 60min Hike with the dog
S: Run

Meal Plan
M: Biscuit-topped beef stew (it's healthier than it sounds, promise!)
T: Szechuan tofu stir fry with brown rice
W: Balsamic glazed chicken breast, spaghetti squash & salad
R: Ravioli w/ salad
F: Leftovers
This weekly menu post will also give YOU the opportunity to make a recipe request. If you see something that piques your interest, just let me know in the comments and I will try to incorporate it into my Tasty Tuesdays recipe post. ;)

Potential Barriers:
- A dear friend lost her mother to lung cancer on the weekend and I will be attending the visitation on Tuesday night. I plan to get in a quick bike ride as soon as I get home from work and promise to appreciate life along the way!
- Half my teammates at work are on vacation this week, so there is potential for unexpected workload. If necessary I'll go in to the office early to protect my evening workouts.

Happy people plan actions, they don't plan results. - Dennis Wholey

Friday, September 10, 2010

240 (0)

Zip. Zero. Zilch. My first goose egg. I’d love to say that it’s been a tough week in Rae-land, but I’d be lying. Truth is, I didn’t give 100% this week and it showed on the scale. The scary thing is that I can’t even pinpoint exactly what went wrong:
- I ate pretty well. 1500 calories most days

- I exercised pretty well. Logged 6 miles this week doing 2 sessions of Cto5k

- I drank water

Wait a minute. SCRATCH THAT! Who am I kidding? I know exactly what went wrong:
- I only tracked my food 4/7 days, and I darn well bet that I went over on the days I didn’t track

- I only did two days of my running program when I should have done at least 3 like I intended

- I didn’t drink nearly as much water as I normally do. Maybe 1L per day instead of my usual 2L.

- I didn’t strength train at all.

This is evidence that I can’t continue to do as I have done and still expect to see progress. I really need to push myself for the week ahead and go get some results. Yes – results. Those things you have to chase down, the things that don’t just fall into your lap while you slack off. Doing things half-assed isn’t going to get me to my goal. I think I need to spend some time this weekend reminding myself of why I’m doing this! This is no time to give up.

I’m going to post this to my fridge and my office wall this week to remind myself “Most people never run far enough on their first wind to realize they’ve got a second”:

I hope you’re all having a better week than me!


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tasty Tuesdays #7 - Spicy Black Beans

When I got home from work tonight I found a few ripe roma tomatoes on the vine in my garden and it was time to put them to use! This is a hearty meal idea that I like to prep for my lunch. It is full of protein and veg, the ingredients are easily found (and often in my pantry!) and it's easily paired with brown rice or stuffed into a tortilla wrap for a quick meal.

Ingredients round up: black beans, onions, tomatoes, cumin and chili powder. Olive oil, salt and pepper not shown.

To begin, heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Use medium heat.

Chop up the onions and tomatoes.

When the oil is warm, add the onions and your spices. I use about a tablespoon of cumin and half a tablespoon of chili powder. If you like your food spicy, go ahead and dial up the heat with more chili powder or hot sauce. Let this cook for about 5 minutes until the onions are soft. You may have to add a little water to prevent it from getting dried out. A quarter cup should do it.

Add the tomatoes to the skillet and cook this down for a few minutes.

While the tomato/onion mixture is cooking, you can wash your beans...

...and add them into the mix.

Stir it all up! Let this simmer for 5 minutes until it's heated through. That's it! I usually throw this over brown rice and add a tablespoon of plain fat free yogurt on top to keep it interesting.

Rae xx

PS - In response to some email questions, I thought I would clarify that I am not vegetarian. I just happen to eat a lot of meat-free meals when I'm watching my fat and calorie count! I promise to include some more carnivorous recipes soon. ;)

Monday, September 6, 2010

240 (-2.2)

I apologize for being AWOL this past week. Hubs and I decided to go away to cottage country for the long weekend. It was a last minute decision that left us scrambling on Thursday.

Now, the cottage is a very dangerous place for me diet-wise. Couple that with the rainy weather we had to endure and...let's just say it was one of the LEAST active weeks I've spent up there. The good news is that I managed to make some pretty good choices. Well....as long as you don't count that piece of sinful chocolate cake I ate on Saturday night to celebrate my mother-in-law's 60th birthday! I don't regret it one bit. It was the first real indulgence I've had in weeks and weeks and it felt good to have a small piece on this special occasion.

I managed to lose 2 pounds this week. This left me just 3 pounds shy of my goal to lose 15 pounds by Labour Day as part of Clyde's iTouch challenge. So, I give myself a big FAIL on the challenge, but you know what? I'm quite happy with the result. I purposefully set a lofty goal to help motivate myself. Twelve pounds in one month ain't too shabby, if I do say so myself. ;)

Now, I'm off to get in my run for the day and make a delicious healthy meal plan for the rest of the week. Have a good one!

Pssst - you should stop by Clyde's site to congratulate him on accomplishing his goal of losing 50 pounds by Labor Day. WAY TO GO CLYDE!!! You are an inspiration! ;)