Friday, October 31, 2008

I Have Created...A Masterpiece

A big thank you to Skwigg for the heads up about the website [me] & Goji. You can create your own custom artisanal cereal! I ordered "Abby's Cherry Walnut Crunch" on Friday, and yesterday my tube of deliciousness arrived. I opened it right away and had a sample. It was so good! Sweet crisp flakes, huge cherries, crunchy walnuts - I fell in love immediately. I know I shouldn't have. It cost about $15 for the 600g tube (15 servings). The price depends on what you put into it. I started with the artisanal cereal (multigrain oat bran, rye, spelt, barley, amaranth, wheat germ), and stayed simple, adding only cherries, walnuts and flax (there are over 40 ingredients to choose from). Since I have Strawberry Yogurt Burst Cheerios on hand (kids love it), here's a quick comparison:

Abby's Cherry Walnut Crunch
Serving: 3/4c
139.2 calories
4g fat
23.6g carbs
5.1g fiber
5g sugar
4.6g protein

Strawberry Yogurt Burst Cheerios
Serving: 3/4c
120 calories
1.5g fat
24g carbs
2g fiber
9g sugar
2g protein

So Abby's Cherry Walnut Crunch has a few more calories, but less sugar, more fiber and more protein. And it's delicious! Just wish it wasn't so darn expensive. :) It will be great plain, with milk, or sprinkled on top of yogurt!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Recipe Wednesday

Time for a dessert! I have to apologize, I can't remember where I found the original recipe online. This is my adaptation of a delicious high protein chocolate peanut butter cheesecake. The cheesecake is surprisingly healthy. Not an everyday dessert, but a nice treat. It's made from only 4 ingredients:

1/4c cottage cheese (I used fat free)
1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder (I used Designer Whey)
1T natural peanut butter
2T milk (I used fat free Calorie Countdown Dairy Beverage)

Preheat oven to 350. Blend all the ingredients together in a blender or with an immersion blender until fairly smooth. Pour into a single serve ramekin, or glass "pudding dish" that is oven-safe. Place the ramekin in a larger baking dish and add water to the larger dish so that it comes about 1/2 way up the side of the ramekin. This waterbath will help the cheesecake cook more evenly. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the top is firm to the touch. Let cool, then place in the refrigerator for a least a few hours, over night is best.

With the ingredients I use, it comes to:

276 calories
33.5g protein
12.5g carbs
10g fat (mostly from the pb)

Now the variations on this are endless. To make it "turtle" cheesecake, I add about a teaspoon each of SF caramel and SF hot fudge, plus 1/4 oz of crushed nuts. This adds 73 calories, 1.4g protein, 2.4 carbs, and 5.9g fat.

You could use vanilla protein powder, omit the peanut butter and then top it with raspberries, strawberries, peaches, etc after it cools.

You could use vanilla protein powder, omit the peanut butter, and add 2T of blueberries to the batter after you blend it smooth.

I haven't tried this yet, but on Saturday I plan to use vanilla protein powder and add 2T canned pumpkin. (I'm on a pumpkin kick right now!)

Here's a picture of the turtle variety I had last night:

It was so good! I can't wait until Saturday to try the pumpkin cheesecake.
You can easily double or triple this recipe if you want to make more than one serving at a time. You could even sextuple or octuple it and put it in a pie crust. I haven't tried that, so I don't know what the baking time would be - but have fun with it!! Let me know if you think of any particularly yummy varieties - I love a good cheesecake!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Weekend Challenge and My New Toy

This week the challenge on the Turbulence Training forums was a great bodyweight workout (a big thank you to smoketheblowfish for coming up with this one).

With a 20 minute time limit, here's the circuit that you repeat:

Prisoner Squats - 20
Jumping Jacks - 50
X-body mountain climbers - 10/side
Bulgarian Split Squats - 10/side
Narrow Pushups - 20 (hands shoulder-width apart)
Jackknife (feet on ball, hands on ground) - 10
Burpees - 10

a) Repeat again and again and again (if you can)
b) 20 minute time limit
c) each rep is 1 Point
d) additional 1/2 Point for each Pushup Burpee
e) additional 1 Point for each Spiderman Pushup Burpee

My Results:
After the first round, I was thinking "this isn't so bad". After the second, I was breathing pretty hard. After the third, I was sweating hard and there were a few curses being uttered (something about smoking a blowfish). After the fourth, there were a few more curses (my apologies to Smoke's mother). I thought I might puke when I started the fifth. I only got 1/2 way through the X-body mountain climbers.

If you count each side as it's own rep, I came up with 150 points per round.

4 full rounds (150 x 4) = 600
partial 5th = 80
bonus for spiderman push up burpees first 2 rounds (10 x 2) = 20
bonus for push up burpees 3rd and 4th time through (5 x 2) = 10

Total score = 710

Great workout! And it's all bodyweight exercises - the only equipment required is a stability ball for the jackknives (or you could substitute a forward or diagonal lunge) and a couch or chair for the Bulgarian split squats. You could do this workout just about anywhere.

And now...about my new toy. Heeheehee. Here's a picture:

I love it! It's the Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar. Every time I walk by I have to do a chin up. It's great to have a bar right at home. And this one isn't permanently attached to the doorframe. I can take it down and put it up whenever. It took, like, 10 minutes to assemble and then I was doing chin ups. Whoo-hoo!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Week 8 Update

I can't believe it's been 8 weeks already! Only 4 more weeks to go - time for a transition. For the past 8 weeks I have been using Turbulence Training for Mass. Beginning next week, I am going to use the new Turbulence Training Home Abdominal workout (advanced). It will be a really nice change as most of the exercises are bodyweight. I will also begin doing intervals again so I am hoping to lose a percent or two of bodyfat over the next 4 weeks. My nutrition has been solid for the past couple weeks and I am going to eat as cleanly as possible for the remainder of the contest. Everyone posting in the TT Contest forum is doing so well and there is a lot of REALLY strong competition. I am going to have to work really hard these last 4 weeks to even stand a chance!

Just a reminder you can still sample the Original Turbulence Training Manual for $4.95 for 21 days. That includes the bonuses (TT for Abs, TT for Amazing Lower Abs, Chris Mohr's Nutrition Guide, etc) and you can try out the TT forums as well. Now that I think about it, you can also sample the Turbulence Training Home Abdominal workout for $4.95 as well, but I don't think it comes with 3 months to the forums (although it does have some other nice bonuses).

We're doing another challenge workout this weekend - I'll update you tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Recipe Wednesday

This recipe is one from my childhood. The first time I visited home from college, I asked my mom to make this for dinner. It's a great casserole, perfect for supper on a cold autumn or winter night. It's called 7-in-1 Casserole, but I only use 6 ingredients. I don't remember what the 7th one was! I think it was something like mushrooms or celery. Feel free to throw in a 7th ingredient!

1 pound lean ground beef
2 large baking potatoes (like Idaho or russet)
1/2 small onion, chopped
about 14 baby carrots
2-8oz cans of tomato sauce
1/4c brown rice
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat the oven the 350 degrees (F)
2. I like to precook the rice in 1/4c of boiling water on the stove for about 10-15 minutes. Otherwise it's still crunchy when I take the casserole out of the oven. If you like your rice a little crunchy, you can skip this step.
3. While the rice is cooking, peel the potatoes and slice them into very thin circles. Slice the carrots in thin circles as well.
4. Place the potatoes and carrots in a large glass square or oval casserole dish that you've sprayed with a quick spray of non-stick cooking spray.
5. Sprinkle them with a little salt and pepper
6. Place the ground beef and onions on top of the potatoes.
7. Pour the 2 cans of tomato sauce over the top.
8. Remove the brown rice from the stove top and drain any excess water. Add the rice to the top of the tomato sauce and mix it into the tomato sauce a little bit.
9. Bake covered or uncovered until the beef is no longer pink, and the potatoes are tender, about 60-75 minutes.

I thought I had taken a picture of it when I had it last week, but I couldn't find it. It's the casserole that's in the container in my post "A Day in the Life", but I don't think you can see it very well! This will make 4-6 servings, although my husband and I can easily eat this all in one sitting between just the 2 of us. :)

Friday, October 17, 2008

New TT 6 Minute Abs Video

Here's a new Turbulence Training 6 minute abs video from Craig Ballantyne. This is a beginner circuit and is great to work in a couple times a week after your regular workout.

A Day In The Life...

I recently had someone ask me (thanks Niki!) how I do all this with 2 kids. I thought a good way to answer that would be to go through a typical day:

4:55am - Alarm goes off. Hit snooze.
5:05am - Alarm goes off again. Sometimes hit snooze again, but today I got up. Get dressed. Drink 4oz water + 1 scoop vanilla whey protein.
5:30am - Get to gym and workout - Today was Turbulence Training for Mass, phase 2, workout D; plus TT 6 minute abs circuit
6:20am - Finish workout and head home.
6:30am - Get home and drink 4oz water + 1 scoop chocolate whey protein. Eat 1/2 a banana.
6:45am - Leave home and take the bus to work.
8:30am - Eat breakfast. Today was 2 egg beaters nuked in the microwave, 1/4 tomato, 1 apple, 1T peanut butter. Then work, work, work.
11:20am - Decided it was nice enough for a walk outside. Stopped by the cafeteria on my way back and picked up a few items from the salad bar.
12:00pm - Lunch. Today was leftover casserole from last night and salad with spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, hard boiled egg.
2:00pm - Snack. Plain yogurt with strawberries, blueberries, walnuts and flax.
4:30pm - Get home from work and start making supper. (Hubby stays home with the kids all day so we don't have to pick them up from daycare or anything like that.)
5:15-ish - Eat dinner. Tonight was chicken breast with 1T sugar free BBQ sauce and sweet potato. Kids "don't like that" so I make a roast beef sandwich for one and a jelly sandwich for the other. I try not to be a short order cook, but some nights it still ends up that way.
5:45-8:00pm - Play with kids, check email and TT forums, get kids ready for bed.
8:00pm - Bedtime snack. Tonight it was 8oz Calorie Countdown dairy beverage with 1 scoop Cinnamon Bun Muscle Milk and 1.5 svg vanilla pudding powder (a new experiment). I let it set in the fridge and then topped it with cool whip free and walnuts.
8:30-10:00pm - Put kids to bed, get lunch and snacks ready for next day. Today is Friday so I usually finalize my meal plan for next week and finish my grocery list for tomorrow. This is also time for loading the dishwasher and doing laundry.

That's about it. I try to be asleep by 11:00pm.

Last night I actually took a picture of all the stuff I brought to work today. A few more containers than usual.

On the left, from top to bottom, we have an apple, plain yogurt, egg beaters, casserole, spinach. And on the right is strawberries/blueberries, peanut butter, walnuts/flax and tomato.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Recipe Wednesday - Beef and Barley Soup

OK, I need a catchier name than "Recipe Wednesday" but it will work for now. Today's recipe is Beef and Barley Soup. Thanks to a fellow TT Member for posting the original recipe on the TT Member forum. This is my updated version. I changed a few things and make it in a crock pot. This is a great fall recipe. I like to serve it with a slice of buttered wheat bread, but it's perfect just the way it is.

Beef and Barley Soup

Cooking Spray
1 pounds beef stew meat, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 medium rib of celery, chopped
2 cups chopped carrot
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
splash of worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
14-ounce can less-sodium beef broth
1/2 cup uncooked pearl barley

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Brown the beef on all sides. Remove from pan and place in a crock pot.

2. Heat 1t canola oil, if needed, in pan over medium-high heat. (If the beef was fatty, you may not need to add additional oil.) Add celery, carrot, and garlic; saute 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove veggies from pan and place in crock pot.

3. Add water, salt, worcestershire sauce, pepper, broth and barley to crock pot. Cook on low for at least 4-5 hours, or on high for 2-3 hours.

Serves 4

I forgot to take a picture the soup the last time I made it, but I did take a picture of my dessert tonight. Pumpkin Cheesecake from the Eating for Life cookbook. I could live on this cheesecake. I eat it year round, but it's great for fall. I've even used it as a substitution for pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Challenge: The Turbulence Training Bodyweight 500

Today I did the Turbulence Training Bodyweight 500 for a workout. Another TT Member (thanks M2P!) posed the idea for a mini challenge and quite a few people gave it a try. I did the "no substitutions" version on chin ups and pull ups, but I did do kneeling push ups. Here's what I did:

50 Prisoner Squats
50 Pushups (kneeling)
25 Jumps
25 Stability Ball Leg Curls
50 Stability Ball Jackknifes
50 Step-ups (25 reps per side)
25 Pull-ups (1 at a time)
50 Forward Lunges (25 reps per side)
50 Close-grip Pushups (kneeling)
50 Inverted Rows (beginner, with knees bent)
50 Squats
25 Chin-ups (mostly 1 at a time)

Total time: 26:17

I wasted a lot of time doing the pull ups and chin ups 1 at a time, but I was determined to do them all! I'm surprised the staff on duty didn't come and check on me when I collapsed to the floor after that last chin up! I think I laid there for 5 minutes. LOL

If you decide to tackle the BW 500, let me know! You are supposed to try and finish under 27 minutes.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Recipe Wednesday - Spicy Chicken Omelet

I thought I would try something new. I'm going to try and post a recipe every Wednesday. Please let me know if you try it out and what you think of it! I encourage you to take any recipe and use it just as a formula. Change it up and make it your own! Tonight for dinner, I had planned to make Jillian Michaels' Spicy Chicken, but my son informed me that today was opposites day in preschool, so we had to have breakfast for dinner. Hmmm...How do I not go off plan, and still have breakfast for dinner? I ended up changing the recipe a little, and then added 2 eggs and a little cheese to make a spicy chicken omelet. It looked awful, but tasted really good! Here is the recipe (and a picture, for all you flash dieters!):

Spicy Chicken Omelet

1 4oz chicken breast
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2c mexican style diced tomatoes
2 eggs, beaten
1/4c shredded cheese

1. Cook the chicken breast. I pan fried it in a quick spray of Pam cooking oil spray - about 6 minutes per side for a 4 oz breast. Then remove it from the pan and cut into bite sized pieces.

2. Place the chicken back in the pan. Add the garlic and tomatoes (I used Rotel Tomatoes w/ green chilies - you could use fresh tomatoes and/or jalapenos or just use salsa). Let some of the tomato juice cook off.

3. Add the beaten eggs.

4. Cook until the eggs are as firm as you like them. Sprinkle the cheese on top.

I served mine with cauliflower and strawberries:


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Turbulence Training Twitter Contest Finalists

The finalists have been announced! I am so excited to have made it to the finals!!

You can vote by CLICKING HERE!

Anyone can vote - one vote per computer. Last day to vote is Monday, October 6. Thank you if you decide to vote for me (I'm contestant #3)!!!