Friday, July 29, 2016

My Week

It's been a week.  This sums it up.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Now that Mr. Higgins' parents have moved to town, I'm in search of more recipes for entertaining.  On this day, I wanted something easy.  When I looked at my Pinterest recipes, these Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars looked delicious.

I love recipes that require no strange this one was perfect!  I followed the recipe exactly...but made enough for an 8x8 pan.  Figuring out a bake time turned out to be the only challenge.  

But I put the pan in the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes (the recipe said 20 minutes for a 9x13).  At 15 minutes, it did not look done so I ended up adding an additional 5 minutes of cook time.  At that point, the edges were plenty brown - as was the rest.  

I let the pan cool and then.....realized they were gooey - so gooey they were not cooked all the way.  Ugh.  I put some in the fridge and they were actually delicious.  The rest went into the freezer.  I plan to defrost them, warm them, and put vanilla ice cream on top.  They are incredibly yummy.....but they needed longer in the oven.

Monday, July 25, 2016

FitnessGlo Challenge: Week 5

Wow, another month of Glo to go!  

With all my horrible summer eating, I need to work out like crazy.  Here we go!

Monday: Amy's Cardio Intervals + Kickboxing Skills and Drills + walk

There need to be a lot of cardio this week.  Today, Amy's Intervals - always fun and challenging.  Doing one high impact move for 90 seconds is never easy!  Then, Amy's kickboxing - so very different from Combat but very fun!  At lunch, I walked at the rec center - and then did some serious ab work.

Tuesday:  Petra's Circuit-Style + weights

Normally, Petra's easy weights/cardio workout would have annoyed me.  I didn't feel challenged or productive.  But I think I really needed a lighter morning...and her workout was light.  Almost all the cardio was low-impact and I kept it that way.  I even used lighter weights so my weights at work would be more effective - and they were!  So it turned out to be a productive day, after all!

Wednesday:  Ilyse's Work Hard, Have a Great Time + McLean's Kickbox Your Way to Fit

No, I did not have a "great time" with Ilyse but parts of this workout were fun.  It's definitely not my favorite since it's geared more toward athletic cardio (i.e. non-stop jumping and hopping) but at least it was effective.  After that, I tuned into McLean's kickboxing workout.  I always forget about the lunge jumps that happen at the beginning of the workout.  Ouch!

Thursday:  Scott's Boot Camp Burn

This was my second time through this workout and I didn't really remember it from the first time.  Alternating between cardio and weights, it's good without being too intense, though it's a level 3.  Jeffrey uses a ball for some exercises so I subbed a lighter weight.  Just like Denise Klatte, Scott seems to follow the same formula for the majority of his workouts.  At least he's predictable!

Friday:  Ilyse's Full-On Cardio Blast + Amy's Wonderful Cardio Blast

Family obligations mean I won't be able to work out tomorrow so my Saturday workout had to happen today.  I needed serious cardio and Ilyse delivered.  So much jumping!  Whew!  After that one, I tuned into Amy's workout...but I didn't follow it too closely since she uses a ball in this one.  I did the high-impact moves and then tried to keep my heart rate up as Amy did ball stuff.  Ha!

Saturday: REST

Sunday: Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn - Fat Blaster

I wanted to really work today so a Peak 10 workout fit the bill.  I really do love this CIB - there are a few circuits that are just plain fun.  And then some are very challenging, so it's a good mix.  I did a total of 60 minutes of cardio.  Then, five minutes of work with the 12-pound weights, a good stretch, and sit-ups.  So, about 75 minutes of work today.  Cool!

Calorie Counts:

My eating has not been great.  I'm only getting about two or three days of healthy eating in - below 1200 calories.  But it's the summer and I'll have to buckle down again all too soon.

Friday, July 22, 2016

A Desperate Fortune

I forgot that Susanna Kearsley's novel, A Desperate Fortune, had been loaned to me….and then I thought I'd best get it read!  After having read several of Kearsley's, I knew what to expect, or so I thought.

My Goodreads review:

I thought I was a bit tired of Kearsley's Jacobite historical fiction….and then this book proved me wrong.  This novel, however, did not focus as much on the Jacobite cause.  Instead, it told the story of one woman, Mary Dundas, on the fringes of the rebellion who led a rather ordinary life….until she's asked to go on a secret mission.  

The story alternates between Mary's and a modern day code-breaker who is tasked with deciphering Mary's journal for a Jacobite historian.  Again, I thought this storyline would bore me but somehow Kearsley kept me reading and wanting more - from both time periods.  

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Orange Bundt Cake

I need to find some good cake recipes.  After one failed birthday cake attempt, I'm determined to get better at making cakes.  

Since I'd never used my bundt pan, I decided my first cake should be a bundt.  I looked and looked and finally settled upon this Easy Orange Bundt Cake.

This is "easy" because you start with a cake mix and add to it.  Nice!  I found a butter golden cake mix - Duncan Hines - and used that along with vanilla pudding (there was no French Vanilla at my store).  For the juice, I used my low-calorie Tropicana.  And for the extract, I used vanilla....though I was tempted to do the orange.  I love orange stuff!

I left off the glaze - too many calories - but Mr. Higgins loved it without it.  Then, I took a lot of the cake to work and people raved about it.  Men, who never comment on the goodies I bring in to work, were emailing me, saying this was the best cake ever.  

Dang.  I guess it was really good!!  

Monday, July 18, 2016

FitnessGlo Challenge: Week 4

I'm almost halfway through this Challenge.  Wow!  I'm enjoying it so far, with only a few gripes about the program.

Monday: Amy's Intervals

I really enjoy this workout that Amy has designed.  It's different from the other HIIT workouts - in a good way!  It's a challenge but with little dread factor.  I only got in this 30 minutes today.  Life happened and it was uncontrollable.  

Tuesday: Denise's Cardio and Sculpt Challenge + walk

So this workout seemed very familiar....because, I'm learning, all of Denise's workouts are very, very similar. Sigh.  This one had some good cardio in the beginning (she used a medicine ball; I did not) followed by some good weighted exercises.  After her push-ups, I did my own cardio and weights since she turned to core then.  At lunch, I walked at the rec, wanting to burn more calories!

Wednesday: Dozois' Calorie Burning Cardio Blast + HIIT - Breathless and Energized + Scott's HIIT - Sports Inspired Intervals + walk

Desperate for serious cardio, I strung together three HIIT workouts this morning - all of which are among my favorite workouts on Glo.  Michelle got me started with the lighter of her two HIITs - Calorie Burning.  So much fun!  Then the more difficult HIIT - Breathless, followed by Scott's HIIT.  His is easier only because the breaks are longer.  I felt well worked out after those three!!  Ha!  At lunch, I walked at the rec center.  So much eating out means I need all the calorie burning I can get.

Thursday:  Scott's Multi-Level Cardio Intervals + Denise's Total Body, Total Sculpt + weights

At first, I was worried about Scott's workout, which utilized a medicine ball.  I didn't use a ball and then the ball wasn't used again after the warm-up.  Yay!  This proved to be a good interval workout. Cool!  Denise's weighted workout was like the rest - but at least it's quick and effective.  At lunch, I did weights at the rec.  Fun.

Friday:  BodyFit 360 Vol 2 - Dance Conditioning

Due to crazy morning events out of my control, I had only 30 minutes to work out.  So I did 20 minutes of the dance in Michelle's Dance Conditioning…and then the full stretch.  I wanted that stretch!  And it was very nice!

Saturday: Scott's Cardio Drill Awesomeness + Get Your Circuit On + Ilyse's Fire Up the Six Pack

I didn't know whether to dread this morning, so that was nice.  Scott's Cardio Drills (cardio alternating with weights) was a good level 3  - though not really a challenge for me.  What is challenging about Scott is the number of weight reps he does.  Whew!  His Circuit was a level 2 and a bit easier - so I tried to make it harder.  So many reps, though….geesh!  All in all, 70 minutes of weights and cardio.  After a nice stretch, I did Ilyse's ab workout.  Her core workouts are difficult!  I barely got through the first half of this one!

Sunday: Cathe's Cardio Core Circuit + Amy's Metabolic Meltdown

As usual, I dread Cathe's Circuit workout.  Ugh.  But I wanted cardio so I made myself do it.  And I survived!  Yay!  After that 40 minutes, I tuned into Amy's workout for 25 minutes of additional cardio.  I was tired after all this!  I stretched and did my sit-ups.  Whew!

Calorie Counts:

This week has not been good.  I had a few good days but that was it.  Sigh.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Another Week

This sums up my weekend, my week.

Monday, July 11, 2016

FitnessGlo Challenge: Week 3

We're back from the July 4th holiday, when I ate way too much.  But it was all fun, and fun was needed, so it's fine.  

The excessive summer heat is making everything almost unbearable, including working out indoors.  The house is so much hotter.   Ugh.  But this new Challenge is keeping me motivated - new workouts are good!

Monday: REST

The holiday meant a rare day off!

Tuesday:  Denise's Super Cardio + Total Body Strengthening

Weights today.  Ugh.  Denise's Super Cardio was mostly weights, after a cardio warm-up.  That warm-up, though, was non-stop!  Whew!  Jump rope, run, jack, plyos....  I was glad to do weights!  After this one ended, I moved on to her shorter Strengthening workout, which was all weights.  I was sweating like crazy throughout this workout!!

Wednesday: Cathe's Intensity + walk

My one complaint about this Glo Challenge: all the weights.  This program would have you do weights practically every day.  And I don't understand that, especially from people who should know better.  I was desperate for cardio so I chose to throw in Cathe's workout - though I hate doing it in the morning.  It's tough but at least I feel like I worked hard!  At lunch, I walked at the rec center.....  Always proud of myself for doing that bit of extra.

Thursday: Ilyse's Dance Intervals 101 + Powerhouse Cardio

Ilyse's dance workout was not in the Challenge but I needed cardio!  And it was nice to do one of my favorites.  Powerhouse was in the Challenge program...and it uses weights.  Sigh.  I didn't use them - I did the cardio instead.  And Ilyse did tons of cardio with and without light weights so it worked out fine!

Friday:  Denise's Medicine Ball Blast + Amy's Complete Body Sculpt + weights

I won't lie - these videos were disappointing.  For Denise's, I don't have a medicine ball so I used a 6-lbs weight occasionally but otherwise used this video for cardio.  Denise's cardio, from what I've witnessed so far, is very unimaginative.  Shuffle, jump rope, jack, squat jump.  Over and over.  Amy's workout was good but it had a lot of floorwork which I can't do easily in the mornings.  So I only did the standing work.  Sigh.  At lunch, I did weights at the rec.  

Saturday:  Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn Remix + McLean's Cardio Hip Hop + Amy's Core!

Peak 10 today!!   Yay!  I love this CIB and it was fun today!  I sweated like crazy and worked hard - a great feeling!  After that 55 minutes of cardio, I tuned into McLean's dance workout - one of my faves.  And always fun!  I got in 15 minutes of that before a nice stretch.  Then, Amy's core workout…..tons of crunches.  Ouch!  A great day!

Sunday:  McLean's Test Your Limits + Scott's Calorie Bursts for Calorie Burn

I was dreading weights today with McLean.  This workout looked tough and it was.  I skipped the burpees, doing other cardio instead, and I had to shorten some of the floor work.  I wanted more cardio!!  Scott's workout was heavy on the weights, which was good.  So, 65 minutes of weights/cardio.  I then stretched and did some abs. 

Calorie Counts:

I had several good days this week.  Thursday was really bad, as was Sunday.  I weighed on Sunday, before the day started, and my weight wasn't too, too bad.  Sigh.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Watermelon Salad

For July 4th, I wanted a different fruit salad.  My mom generally throws together a strawberry concoction that varies - blueberries, pineapple, etc.  But I wanted watermelon.

When this recipe popped up on Twitter, I  printed it immediately.

Our substitution: we used blueberries instead of blackberries.  For some reason, my limes would hardly squeeze any juice out.  But I put what I could get on the salad.  The mint sounded great but I didn't really taste it unless I bit into it.

All in all, this was a tasty salad....but it could do without the limes or the mint.  Chunks of watermelon and a sprinkle of blueberries.....delicious!   

Monday, July 4, 2016

FitnessGlo Challenge: Week 2

One week down and I'm really enjoying this challenge so far!

It's fun doing so many new workouts.  There's very little dread factor when I wake up because I usually don't know what to expect!  Ha!

Monday: Denise's Interval Sweat + Dozois' Work It + walk

I've done very few of Denise's workouts - and none of her cardio, I think.  So she was a change this morning.  Her level 3 workout was about a 2.25 for me but it was still fun.  She layered in a lot of squats and lunges and after a while I did my own cardio instead to get my heart rate up!  Next up, Michelle's level 1 workout which I really tried to make more challenging by jumping.  It was a nice change.  At lunch, I walked the track at the rec center.

Tuesday: Amy's Complete Strength and Conditioning

Back to weights today!  Amy's workout is very effective and different enough to be good.  I like how every FitnessGlo instructor has a different style and that really helps to keep things fresh.  Amy's weights are more basic than others, like Dozois, and it's a nice change.  A good, productive morning!

Wednesday: Petra's High Intensity Drills + Dozois' Calorie Burning Cardio Blast + walk

Oh, Wednesdays.  My most difficult workouts are done on this day.  I did Petra's HIIT last week so I was dreading it a bit today.  But I got through it and didn't take the easy route on anything.  Michelle's Blast finished off my morning - and I felt really well worked out.  Ha!  At lunch, I walked at the rec center.

Thursday:  Scott's Boot Camp Burn + weights

So I'm learning that Jeffrey Scott has a style and it doesn't vary overly much.  Ha!  This workout alternated cardio drills and weighted compound exercises.  I won't lie - some of the weighted moves were difficult for me.  It's hard for me to do those really fast and that's what Scott wanted.  But I did my best and it felt good - after the fact.  At lunch, I did weights at the rec.  I'd been dreading it so I'm glad it's over!

Friday:  Dozois' BodyFit 360 Vol. 3 - Athletic Conditioning

I needed to do cardio today - but not too much or too hard.  So I did 25 minutes of the cardio from Athletic Conditioning.  I tried to keep it mostly low-impact.  Then, 20 minutes of the fabulous stretch on this DVD.  Love it!  

Saturday: Peak 10 Cardio Strength Remix + Scott's Sports Inspired Exercises

Yay!  Peak 10 today!  I was looking forward to seeing how I'd do in a Peak 10 workout and today I got my chance.  And it didn't kill me!  It was tough, for sure, especially since this one goes to the floor for the first four (out of five) circuits.  Whew!  But I got through it!  And I went on to do 30 minutes of Scott's strength and cardio drill workout.  I didn't go 100% on the cardio - I was tired - but I did it all.  Afterward, a nice stretch and sit-ups.

Sunday:  Ilyse's Your Best, Sweaty Self + Full-On Cardio Blast

Today: all cardio.  Since I won't get a workout in tomorrow, this one was important.  Ilyse is different than the other Glo instructors.  When she does cardio, she works you and she doesn't use a timer.  And her counting gets off.  So you will jack or star hop or jump until she feels like it's time to stop.  And then you don't stop - you jog until the next thing.  Her cardio is definitely a challenge!  Both of these were difficult but I got through it.  So, 50 minutes of cardio and then a stretch.  

Calorie Counts:

I had three good days but this week was tough.  And the holiday made it tougher.  Sigh.