Tag Archives: yoga

Transitioning from 2016 to 2017

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2016 was a tough year for me.

It’s probably one of the reasons why I didn’t post much in the second half of the year. I think the worst part about it all was feeling so helpless and guilty about it when I knew other people who were going through much more difficult experiences. I could go on about all of the personal reasons, professional changes and circumstances that led it to be so challenging.

But then I wouldn’t be moving on.

Instead I’d like reflect on the good things. Instead of wallowing in despair, I’d like to bask in the gratitude. I have every intention of manifesting a healthier, happier and kinder 2017.

We Lived

  • Rob and I walked away from a potentially fatal accident on February 14th. Rob was left with some physical scars. I’m still left with some mental and emotional ones – fear of driving in certain conditions and replays of the event in my mind. But we are still here. That is what matters.

I Read

  • I’ve often read that when you are unsure what to do with your life, think back to what you loved most as a child. I adored reading. I got back on it this year and it’s been my saving grace. It has not only challenged my mind, but it also helped me pass the time when all I could think are negative thoughts.
  • I set a Good Reads goal to read 26 books in 2016. I chose this number because I’ve never measured the number of books I’ve read in a year before and I tend to read slowly. When I surpassed those 26 books, I changed my goal to 30. After that, I left the number the same; but in my mind set my sights on 52 books. In the end, I read 60 books in 2016. For me, that’s a feat.
  • I was introduced to audiobooks, which is something I really want to share with you in another post. It’s done wonders for keeping my mind from thinking worst case scenarios about every driver on the road and instead helps pass the time on my new commute.

I Returned to Yoga

  • When I moved to MN back in 2003, my friend Jen and I joined a yoga class together. I loved it. Every drive back from class, I would say to her, “I just love Yoga!” I was in a state of bliss.
  • In 2006 when Rob and I bought our house, I cut expenses in a ton of places, including our yoga class.
  • When I felt ready to go back, our truly perfect yoga instructor had retired and moved abroad. Finding another class was difficult. I couldn’t find anything else like her style or that suited me. I wasn’t one to do videos at home because I liked the personal instruction.
  • Then my friend Kristi casually told me about Yoga with Adriene – free You Tube videos that she said were great for beginners. She was right. I started doing those in the morning and it helped me reconnect to my body. But also because I didn’t want to be totally lost when…
  • Jen and I went on a yoga retreat to Kripalu. This was a 40th birthday gift to ourselves. It was blissful. I never felt better. I never really posted about this experince, but I would highly recommend it to anyone. It was so nice to do gentle yoga (my choice) about three times a day, attend wellness sessions and have healthy meals prepared for me. I also got two massages and learned that the hot stone massage is the one for me! Jen and I joked that it was a rough day when we had our silent breakfast, attended a yoga class, leisurely read, enjoyed lunch, attended a meditation session and then napped before our massage appointments. 🙂 That was a true gift.

So in 2017, I want to continue to recognize all of those ways that I can be kinder to myself and continue to practice those things. Because I am grateful to be here.

It’s truly fitting that I start out the year with a cold – one that had me sleeping 12 hours overnight and then another 4 hours in the afternoon. My body is telling me to take care of myself and ease into this.

In what ways do practice self-care?

Cheers~
Carrie

Scaling Back Generous Portion Sizes

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It’s supposed to be 60-degree weather this week here in Minnesota. YAY! It’ll make for great outdoor running weather. And with that I want to send my well wishes to all of the Boston Marathoners today. I know it’s going to be an emotional run. Cheers to all of you participating!

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Last week, I made this Beer and Beef Risotto. It was only my second time making risotto; but I think it turned out pretty well. It seemed to consist of more beef than risotto. But I think I prefer that.

Beef & Beer Risotto

Beef & Beer Risotto

The only changes I made were that I used an amber beer instead of a wheat, beef broth instead of chicken {you know, that whole fins and feathers thing}, two cups of baby portabellos instead of one and three cups of chopped spinach instead of four. Oh, and I added a sprinkling of shredded parm on top because, I mean, who doesn’t like that? I think the beef broth may have given it some added depth. It made four servings clocking in at about 610 calories each. The portion sizes were generous. It could definitely serve six.

When portion sizes are generous, break ’em up into more portions.

Speaking of generous portion sizes, we tried our second round of Plated this past week because we had two free plates coming. Get your two free plates here. For my full review of Plated, click here.

The Plates
Fontina Polenta with Roasted Spring Vegetables
770 calories (30-40 minutes)

I was really surprised when my husband agreed to a meatless meal. When he gave the approval, I jumped on it! We had our first polenta in Italy and fell in love with it. This was my first attempt at making it.

Before making this dish, while I was amidst my Couch to 5k run that night, I wondered what would happen if a Plated customer was missing an ingredient. I mean, because warehouses make mistakes all the time, right? We’ve all had missing items from online orders. Missing an ingredient could make or break a dish! And what if you had no backup plan?

After I began chopping and separating the veggies, I noticed that there were no carrots for me to chop. How could this be that I the night I thought about it, I’d be missing an ingredient?!

I finally accepted that our roasted vegetables would be sans carrots; but it was not a make or break ingredient. So I began unwrapping the other items. DOH! The carrots were in the same bag as the asparagus, just hiding on me. So it ended up that we weren’t missing any ingredients. In fact, we were plus one shallot!

My trouble making this dish was that my polenta wasn’t turning smooth and creamy, like the recipe card stated. Instead, it was a sticky, massive clump. I am wondering if I should have measured the polenta. Maybe I shouldn’t have made the assumption that what was in the bag was what I needed. My solution was to add more water throughout.

I should have used a bigger dish for this massive amount of polenta and roasted vegetables. How could this serve just two people?!photo 4

I don’t know if adding more water to the polenta to smooth it out increased the size/amount of polenta that was yielded; but even when I put it on the plate, it looked like so much food! I even left some polenta in the dish and just scraped out all of the roasted veggies.

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Rob thought the polenta tasted more like grits. The flavor was fine, but neither of us ate all of it. It was just too much. But we did gobble up the veggies. If there is any one thing we’ve learned from Plated, it’s that we do love roasted veggies! This blend of carrots, peapods, cremini mushrooms, grape tomatoes, green onions and asparagus was the perfect mix for me, tossed in a vinaigrette and roasted for 15 minutes on 450. We will be having those again!

This dish could have made three or four servings, with the amount of polenta I made.

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Lemongrass Pork with Vermicelli Noodles
800 calories (20 – 30 minutes)

When we received the ingredients for this dish, I couldn’t believe the amount of vermicelli that arrived for just two people. I didn’t understand. Did it shrink when cooked?  I don’t think I’ve ever made this style of rice noodle before.

But I was right, there was waaaaayyy too much vermicelli. Enough for at least four people. I dished up huge portions on our plates and still had this leftover:

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No worries. I put it into a container and plan to add some peanut sauce and some sort of protein to it this week. But it still left a lot on our plates.

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Rob was disappointed because in his mind, the sauce wasn’t really a sauce. I knew it was going to be a runnier sauce, of which he is not a fan.

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But that wasn’t the issue. It was the fact that you could barely taste the sauce because it didn’t cover the mound of vermicelli on the plate. All of that being said, the pork was so tender, juicy and just perfectly seasoned. I must say that Plated really knows how to do a pork marinade. That’s 2 for 2 for us!

So in sum, here’s what we learned this week:

  • We love roasted vegetables.
  • We love marinated pork.
  • Plated offers generous portion sizes and we should break them down into three or four portions if need be.

I wouldn’t count on getting three or four portion sizes every time you order two plates, though. Instead, think of it as a bonus and just be mindful when plating.

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And now, for this week!

planning

Food

*Another Plated week for us! Get your first two plates free (minimum order of four plates) by clicking my referral link here! To read my Plated review, click here.

Dinners:

  • Monday – Another Meatless Monday! Ricotta Gnudi with Aspargus Peas and Mint from Plated.
  • Tuesday – Having some girlfriends over for dinner. I’ll be making this Greek Turkey Casserole (thanks to Racheal’s suggestion!). For dessert, I’ll be making Easy Homemade Mango Frozen Yogurt, based off this recipe.
  • Wednesday Basil Beef Bowl with Quinoa Stir-Fry from Plated.
  • Thursday – Our Anniversary! You’ll probably find us here. But it is Dining Out for Life night, so it would be probably more appropriate to dine at a restaurant that supports the cause.
  • Friday – TBD
  • Saturday – TBD
  • Sunday – TBD

Lunch:

Breakfasts:

Fitness:

I wanted to share a Yoga Downloads deal I got the other day: Just $18. Yes, you can find lots of free yoga apps online. I just need a real routine and to start from the beginning to go back to where I was pre-back surgery. Plus there is a lotincluded. I think it’s going to be #worthit. Trying it out this week!

  • Monday – RUN: Couch to 5k – Week 6, Day 1
  • Tuesday –Recumbent Bike/Yoga
  • Wednesday –RUN: Couch to 5k – Week 6, Day 2
  • Thursday –REST
  • Friday –REST
  • Saturday – RUN: Couch to 5k – Week 6, Day 3
  • Sunday – Recumbent Bike/Yoga

Running Again!

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Did you see my {Shamrock} Saturday post revealing his breeds from the DNA kit we used? If not, check it out. He’s a-dog-able.

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I have great news. My broken toe is pretty much healed! I walked on the treadmill this weekend a bit and decided I’m going to give the Couch to 5k another go. I’ll start slowly. I’m not going to worry about speed at all… I’ll go slow if I have to and back off if I have toe or back trouble. But I’m just going to do it!

I ran my first 5k about two years ago. Then last year, while recovering from back surgery, I participated in the same 5k. Only, I had to walk it. It was then that I decided that I’m going to be a part of the Challenge Obesity 5k every year as a re-commitment to health each spring.

The great news is…

The Challenge Obesity 5k normally takes place in April. However, it’s been scheduled about a month later this year – on May 17th. This gives me just enough time to complete the Couch to 5k program. And if for some reason I need to slow down and scale back… Well, then I can always walk it!

I want to incorporate some yoga to continue to build my core and some strength training, too. And I’m looking for recommendations. I did find this 5k training program, which includes links to stretches and yoga workouts, those of which I’m going to try to add to the Couch to 5k program. What do you think?

Do you have specific yoga moves you’d suggest? Also, does anyone have an easy, beginner strength training program that you’d recommend? How ’bout links to your favorite stretches or yoga poses post-workout?

Now it’s time for…

planning

Food

Dinners:

  • MondayOne Pot Ravioli Lasagna from Tiffany at Cute Dogs and Hugs. She had me at San Marzanos. This makes eight servings, so we’ll have plenty of leftovers for lunches and such this week!
  • Tuesday English Muffin Pizzas <– We finally had these this weekend! The recipe makes eight English muffin halves. I made the sauce for all eight, but only put four in the oven. We’ll have the other four (two halves for each of us) this week. They are so good!
  • WednesdayGarlic & Herb Pork Chops with Parmesan Asparagus
  • Thursday – Dinner at a friend’s place.
  • Friday – We are going to see the Sing-Off Live. I’m proposing dinner out beforehand at the Loon Cafe. I haven’t been there in years and even then it was only for drinks. They’ve won awards for Best Burger and Best Chili. We’ll be the judge of that. 😉
  • Saturday – TBD
  • Sunday – It’s my turn to choose for our girls’ dinner night out. Only… I chose breakfast at Victor’s 1959 Cafe. I’ve been there for dinner with my mom, but the breakfast menu looks even better! Can’t wait for more Cuban coffee! Oh wait. That’s breakfast. Dinner with Rob TBD.

Lunch:

Breakfasts:

Fitness:

  • Monday – RUN: Couch to 5k – Day 1
  • Tuesday – Cross train/Yoga
  • Wednesday – RUN: Couch to 5k – Day 2
  • Thursday – Cross train/Yoga
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – RUN: Couch to 5k – Day 3
  • Sunday – REST

This week, I’m looking for some of your strength training and yoga links for runners!

Please share!

Cheers~
Carrie

Couch to 5k – Week 8 {And Food & Fitness Link-Up}

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This past week I completed the last week of the Couch to 5k program!

That means that I will be running my first post-surgery 5k this coming weekend. The 5k-ish {not official, more like 3.21 miles} is a walk/run fundraiser for the Scott Carver County Humane Society, which is where we found Shamrock.

My fundraising goal since I signed up just 3 weeks ago is $250. With your help, I’ve raised $100! Surely I have 15 more friends who can spare a 10-spot. If so, you can donate here. A special thanks goes out to all of you who have donated already. Cheers to you!

So how did Week 8 go?

Couch to 5k – Week 8

Day 1 – Monday

  • 5 min warm-up
  • Run 28 min
  • 5 min cool-down

It was a little rough. I’m having the soreness and aches and pains in my legs that I’ve had in the past. But I’m also having back pain. It’s no where nearly as bad as it was before surgery, but I hope it’s not running that’s causing it. I’ve been icing and taking everything else pretty easy.

Day 1

Day 2 – Wednesday

  • 5 min warm-up
  • Run 29 min
  • 5 min cool-down

Same aches and pains and random lower back pain. This does not happen immediately after running. In fact, I feel better while I am running. Sometimes it’s a few hours later or the next day.

Remember last week’s Food & Fitness Plan? Well, I semi-failed on the Fitness portion. I only ran the three days required in the C25k program. I didn’t do anything else. I did try walking the dogs one night, but Sham has been no good on the leash lately. I’ve decided to walk them separately, hoping to teach Shamrock a little more. They used to be better walking together, but I think Sham is becoming more confident and getting bolder! At least Rob gets to walk them in the 5k walk on Saturday.

And that yoga I said I’d do? Haven’t done. It’s my core that I need to make stronger!

Day 2

Day 3 – Sunday

My Saturday run became my Sunday run due to the fact that we had to get out of our neighborhood early to avoid a local festival and make it to a wedding. But then on Sunday, I just wasn’t feeling well. By the time I got to feeling better to run, it was 7:15pm and I knew if I changed into my running clothes then and made my way outside, it would soon be dark.

That was no excuse. And I knew running would do me well mentally and also help make up for my poor eating All. Day. Long. So I did this run on the treadmill. Though we recently got a very nice, new treadmill, I forgot how hard it is to run on that thing. Not hard on my body, but how hard it is mentally. I look down at the time and speed rather than pay attention to how I’m feeling when I’m running outside. I don’t know how I’m going to continue this throughout winter. I need to change my mindset, cover the time so I can’t see it, and find something really stimulating to watch on TV. Any suggestions?

So, despite completing the program, I don’t feel ready at all. When I ran my first 5k, I was working out five days per week. I need to get it together and do that instead of just running the three times.

This week, I’m running for 30 minutes each on Tuesday and Thursday. Of course, I’m nervous about Saturday, but it’s nothing like the nerves before my first 5k. And I actually don’t expect to do very well this time. And I’m facing my worst fear of coming in last. But, so what if I do? At least I’ll have finished it. I do have legs and feet and lungs to run. That’s something for which to be grateful!

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And now for this week’s Food & Fitness Link-up:

planningLast week, I did so-so. My food plan was pretty good until Sunday. On Wednesday, I was cooking for just me so I changed my mind on baking a frozen black bean burger and decided to use up some sausage and make some Lasagna Soup instead. And since nothing was truly planned on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I can tell you that it was not good. That needs to change!

As for fitness, I need to figure out how I am going to really get on this yoga/pilates core work-out thing? Why am I not doing it? Why am I putting it off? I need to make a plan to do it right after work or something. I want to be stronger. I want to prevent back injuries in the future. This is what I need to do.

Here’s the plan for this week:

Food:

We are pretty well-stocked, so I didn’t do any grocery shopping this week. But I didn’t make it to the farmer’s market, so I need to add some veg to round out the meals below.

Monday – Pork Chops with Veg

Tuesday – Hot dogs & Veggie (Suggestion?)

WednesdayChicken Taco Skillet (with beef)

Thursday – Chili or Bag Meal

Friday – Healthy Take-out

SaturdayWalk FUR Love 5k. Dinner out – most likely here.

Sunday – Packer Game Day! It doesn’t look like it’ll be on regular TV here, so we’ll probably go somewhere to watch it. One of our favorite Packer Bars is the Buffalo Tap. Whatever we do, I’m going to look for the healthiest options! Dinner will be leftovers.

BreakfastsMagic Smoothies, Overnight Oats, Granola with Milk, Peanut Butter Toast (lots of options!)

Lunches – Leftovers (Lasagna Soup!) and Snack Lunches

Fitness:

Monday – Walk on treadmill and/or pilates/yoga. It’s going to be 100 degrees today!

Tuesday – Run 30 minutes

Wednesday – Pilates/Yoga, walk one dog around the block

Thursday – Run 30 minutes

Friday – Walk one dog around the block (Rest Day)

Saturday – 5k Race

Sunday – Pilates/Yoga, Walk

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REMINDER:

The Wine Bible giveaway ends at midnight tonight! {technically Tuesday at 12:01 am CST}, so please head over there to comment on what you’d like to learn most about wine for a chance to win!

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Please look at my Food & Fitness Plan to answer:

What are your favorite side veggies and favorite ways to prepare them?

What kind of veggies do you serve with hotdogs!?

What is your favorite healthy take-out food?

What would you order at First Course of the Buffalo Tap?

How do you add pilates and/or yoga into your fitness routine?

Cheers~
Carrie

Fiesta En

Think You Can’t Run? Watch This and Tell Me You Can’t.

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I recently saw this video of a Disabled Veteran who was told he would never walk, unassisted, again.

He surprised everyone that by doing yoga, he did learn to walk again… And in the process, lost 140 pounds in under a year.

Check out this inspirational transformation.

Then, tell me that you can’t run.

If you are all inspired by this man, consider joining me to Challenge Obesity on Sunday, April 21st in St. Paul, MN. It’s a walk-run event, so don’t even think you have to be “ready” to run it. But there’s no reason not to start the Couch to 5k program now…

What sorts of things have inspired you in your life?

Cheers~
Carrie