Friday, August 28, 2015

Sanibel Cowl

So it's only been about 10 months since I had a finished knitting project to show wow.  How pathetic!  It's been slow going on my first adult sweater.....  But I managed to finish something in the meantime.  

I found some sale yarn over Christmas in black that had silver weaved in and out.  It was perfect for a cowl so I found a pattern and got to work.  This took me about 3-4 months to complete but I like it!  The yarn isn't itchy and it'll go with a lot in my wardrobe. 

Pattern: Sanibel Cowl by Beth Ann Paustian
Yarn: Feza Yarns Alp Natural
Needle: US 8 circs
Made for: me!
Time to completion: about 3-4 months

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Spicy Green Chile Pork (2015:15)

We had some pork loin in the freezer that just begged to be used in a new and different way.  I love green chile pork tacos so I went about trying to find a good recipe.  This one seemed tasty and got great reviews.  

I put all the ingredients in the crock-pot and let it cook overnight, just like my BBQ pork.  In the late morning, I shredded the pork and kept about 3/4 cup of liquid.  I add some additional green salsa to the liquid and blended that up.  Then, I added the pork back to the crock-pot and let it soak up that liquid.

The pork was good - but I didn't think it was spicy or flavorful enough.  Next time, I'd add more green salsa after shredding the pork - and more SPICE.  I guess those of us in Texas are used to spice and it takes a lot to make us happy.

But still, this pork made great tacos and nachos (Mr. Higgins' idea).  My tummy was a happy camper all day long!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Week Two: Combat Challenge #2

My first week of Combat was fun and different so I was looking forward to week two and different workouts.

I was also a bit achy from week one.  Ha!

Monday: Les Mills' Sh'Bam #16 + Scott's HIIT - Sports Inspired Intervals + walk

It's so nice looking forward to Monday morning workouts!  I finally slept well last night and was rested this morning, making it even better!  My second Sh'Bam workout was just as fun as the first!  Wow!  Once again, there were one or two segments I didn't love but most of them were great!  After that workout, I did some HIIT with Jeffery Scott - always fun but difficult.  At lunch, I did the bike at the rec.  It's a love/hate relationship with that machine.

Tuesday:  Les Mills' BodyCombat #60 + walk/jog

Like yesterday, I was practically looking forward to my workout!  The Combat classes online are a nice change from the DVDs and this one was intense but fun.  I love the kicks and punch/kick combinations.  If I dislike anything, it's the non-stop punch sequences.  But those aren't too, too bad.  At lunch, I did the treadmill, adjusting my incline and jogging a bit.  I got nice and sweaty!

Wednesday: Les Mills' Grit #4

This workout never, ever sounds appealing.  When do you get up in the morning, longing to do burpees, push-ups, and squat jumps?  I never get up feeling so inclined!  But I did this workout, which was a mixed blessing....  There were long timed increments of doing the same things over and over....take a a few new things over and over.... I did not do burpees, not wanting to hurt myself.  Still, I was huffing and puffing like nothing else.  I did my own cardio after the video ended.  I was beat! 

Thursday:  Amy's Combo Strength Conditioning + Ilyse's Just Dance + walk/jog

I ate horribly yesterday….which motivated me to walk and jog at lunch today.  But first, my morning workout.  Amy's strength workout was new to me and it was alright - nothing great but okay.  I always love this dance video from Ilyse - not too high impact and just right for this morning.  At lunch, the students crowded the rec center but I walked and then jogged 1/3 of the track for about 8 laps….then, just a walk.  It felt good to stretch and do abs afterward - my bum hurt from Grit.

Friday:  Les Mills' BodyFlow #63

Fridays are wonderful for so many reasons and they start early, at 5:30.  It's my light day and I really look forward to fun, but gentle moves on this day.  For the first time, I tried BodyFlow - yoga by the Les Mills crew.  It was really good!  My hips definitely opened up.  The video lasted about 30 minutes, after which I did abs and some additional stretches and ballet moves.  A good morning!

Saturday: Peak 10 More Cardio Strength + McLean's Cardio Hip Hop

I was not 100% this morning but somehow psyched myself up to do this difficult CS.  I warmed up with McLean for five minutes and then on to Dozois' workout.  Wow, it's tough!  Then, about 15 more minutes of McLean's dance workout.  Yay, cardio!

Sunday: Les Mills' Combat 60 Live + CRWORX #16

Time for Combat - and a long one!  The live DVD version is so much fun!  I was dripping sweat in no time.   Ha!  My favorite thing about Combat is the punch/kick combinations - so fun!  I did some of my own cardio to make it 60 minutes.  Then, 10 minutes of CRWORX #16 - the ab portion which was tough!  Ouch!!  

Second week of Combat - done!  And so much fun!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Fudgy Chocolate Chip Yogurt Cake (2015:14)

In our summer of unhealthy eating, I wanted something chocolatey.  And something new.  This recipe for Fudgy Chocolate Chip Yogurt Cake had been on my Pinterest board for a while and it looked easy but yummy.

I subbed egg substitute for half the eggs and then used a bit of Splenda to cut back on the sugar.  I used a combination of semi-sweet, dark, and milk chocolate chips.  Once upon a time, I had toffee chips but not anymore so I left off the topping.

When it came time to bake, I wanted this cake under-done.  I took it out at 33 minutes and it seemed perfect.   When we finally cut into it, I was happy.  The chocolate chips fall to the bottom and, if warmed in the microwave, are a bit melty.  Yum!  This would be great with vanilla ice cream but I didn't want to go overboard.  It's also not too rich….perfect for a random dessert.  

This one is a good solid recipe - not out-of-this-world but still good!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Martian

After Mr. Higgins read The Martian in less than a week and raved constantly about it throughout, I decided I should read it as well.  And I really must read it before the movie comes out!  

If you haven't read it, you should.  It's great, nerdy, adventurous fun.  Here's my Goodreads review....

"Holy crap!" How many times did I say that as I read this book?! 

I can't say enough about how entertaining and addictive this book is. It's also an emotional roller coaster as Watney has a reason to get his hopes up….and then nothing. He's stranded again. 

The physics, botany, and chemistry of this book is way over my head but as a nerd, I found it fascinating and I highly recommend it.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Week One: Combat Challenge #2

This week I'm back to Combat.  I first tried Les Mills' program earlier this year, using the DVD set. This time around, I'm trying it On Demand on the Combat site.  I'll do a few of the longer Combat workouts on DVD but mostly, I'll do what's on the site.  Why?  Because it includes more workouts and different workouts - yoga, dance, pump (no!), cycling (no!), abs.

I'm excited to try these new workouts.  I'll subscribe to the site for only the two months of the Challenge (it's $12.99/month) and will keep FitnessGlo going to supplement the workouts.

Let's get started!

Monday: Les Mill's Sh'Bam #17 + Ilyse's Just Dance + bike

I had so much fun with my first On Demand workout by Les Mills.  I tried Sh'Bam and it was great!  This "line" of Les Mills is dance.  Out of the entire workout - 30 minutes - there was only one routine that I didn't love, and it lasted only 2-4 minutes.  So, wow!  After that was done, I tuned into Ilyse's dance workout - always fun!  So, a fun morning and a great way to start a Monday. At lunch, wanting something different, I got on the bike at the rec.  Ugh.  I hate bikes but it was a good change today.

Tuesday: Les Mills' BodyCombat #61 + bike

Time for Combat!  Yay!  It was a lot of fun to get back into this program with the classic workout.  This routine was a lot harder than I expected - and I was feeling it!  Whew!  All those jabs, hooks, and uppercuts really add up when paired with some simple footwork.  That lasted about 35 minutes, after which I did my own cardio to get up to 50 minutes.  At lunch, I tackled the bike again.  I know, I should have done weights....but I have my summer Wellness Challenge weigh-in on Thursday and I need cardio!  But I hate bikes.  Just sayin'.

Wednesday:  Dozois' Heart-Pumping Total Sculpting + Ilyse's Groovy Dance Party + walk

Late last night, my shoulders began to ache; this morning, I was almost miserable.  All from BodyCombat.  Wow.  I was looking forward to weights with Dozois today - her 20 minute workout is perfect!  Then, dance with Ilyse is always fun.  I stopped a few times throughout that video to do some more weights.  A good morning workout!  At lunch, I walked at the rec and even added some jogging intervals into the mix.  I weighed this morning and I'm 0.2 pounds within my "normal" range - so just barely there but amazing nonetheless considering my eating of late.  I need to maintain that through tomorrow morning for my weigh-in!

Thursday:  Les Mills' Grit #3 + Ilyse's Your Best, Sweaty Self

I was dreading this morning like nothing else.  Grit is Les Mills' HIIT workout series.  Some have weights, some do not.  I chose to not do weights and I tried to find an easier one for my first go-around.  This was not easy but at least it didn't have 10 minutes of burpees.  Despite my aversion to burpees, I did a few in this workout.  And it wasn't too bad.  The video lasted 30 minutes and I then switched to Ilyse's new workout which is pure cardio and tough.  This one is unlike her usual workouts, which is good….but ouch!  So, an hour of cardio, then a stretch.  I left for my scrapbook retreat after all this.  Yay!

Friday:  PeakFit Dynamic Flexibility

After all these crazy workouts I needed something very calm today.  Plus, I was out of town at my scrapbook retreat.  Michelle's Dynamic Flexibility was just what I needed.  I love this one!  And despite it being all flexibility, I always start dripping sweat.  It felt great this morning!

Saturday:  Combat 60 - Extreme Cardio Fighter

On the weekends, I'm going to alternate the two Combat 60s on the Les Mills Combat DVD set.  They're the few DVDs that did not screw up in my laptop.  This morning - amazingly - my shoulders still hurt from Tuesday.  Ugh.  I powered through all the punches in this workout and I'm proud of myself for doing it.  It's the last day of my scrapbook retreat and I didn't really want to work out.  LOL!

Sunday:  Peak 10 Cardio Strength - Fat Blaster

Working out was the last thing I wanted to do today, after getting home from my scrapbook retreat.  I was tired and my stomach was upset.  But I made myself do it - because I ate too much the last three days.  I added on some additional cardio to make it 60 minutes - and then a 5 minute stretch.  

My first week of Combat was good!  And achy!  HA!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Black Cat Love

Black cats don't photograph well.  It's one of their curses.  Recently, Mr. Higgins got a good pic of his dear Sidious.

Isn't she cute and Sith-like?  

My main souvenir from New Orleans was something I could not live without - Sidious eating a beignet....

How cute is that?!  Priceless.  Mr. Higgins abhors anything French but he smiles every time he sees this, so mission accomplished!