February 26, 2013

Baked Shrimp Scampi

Since I have been observing lent this year by giving up cheese I figured I would also challenge myself to not eat meat on Fridays.  So Fridays = no meat and no cheese.  Challenge accepted!  This Friday was also unique in that we were going to the Tegan & Sarah concert (so much fun!) that night which meant I had about 45 minutes to cook dinner, eat, get ready and be out the door!  So I searched the internet looking for something that was meatless, cheese-less and quick!  I decided on a baked shrimp scampi - not the healthiest thing on the planet (everything in moderation) but quick, easy and from the picture looked delicious! 
Baked Shrimp Scampi
1/2 cup of butter
2 heaping tablespoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 LB shrimp (raw, shelled, deveined, tails detached)
1/2 LB linguine

Thaw, peel, devein and de-tail the shrimp (if not already done) ~ preheat the oven to 450 degrees ~ in a sauce pan melt the butter and combine with the dijon mustard, lemon juice, garlic and parsley ~ whisk occasionally and allow to heat throughly, but not boil ~ place the raw shrimp in a greased shallow glass baking dish (I used an 8x8) ~ pour the butter mixture in the dish and bake for 12 - 15 minutes or until shrimp is pink (do not over cook or the shrimp will become rubbery) ~ while the shrimp is baking, cook the linguine ~ plate and serve together with your favorite veggie (I chose broccoli, of course)

This dish was REALLY good!  Go light on the sauce because it is rich but this recipe mirrored some of the best shrimp scampi I have had, not to mention it is a great super quick weeknight meal!

February 25, 2013

Intense Treadmill Incline Workout

Yesterday was the second time that I attempted this workout and I will be the first to say that it absolutely kicked my butt!  The combination of incline and speed made it super tough - and even though I would like to say that I was able to keep up with each speed, it didn't always happen and sometimes I had to decrease the speed, but never the incline.  I hope sometime soon I'll be able to complete the workout in full but for the time being  some modifications will work.
Minutes Incline Speed
0 -- 5 1 6
5 -- 6 5 4
6 --7 5 6.5
7 -- 8  6 3.5
8 -- 9 6 6.3
9 --10 7 3.5
10 --11 7 6.1
11 -- 12 8 3
12 -- 13 8 5.9
13 -- 14 9 3
14 -- 15 9 5.7
15 -- 16 10 3
16 -- 17 10 5.5
17 -- 18 11 3
18 -- 19 11 5.3
19 -- 20 12 3
20 -- 21 12 5.1
21 -- 22 13 3
22 -- 23 13 4.9
23 -- 24 14 3
24 -- 25 14 4.7
25 -- 26 15 3
26 -- 27 15 4.5
27 -- 30 5 3.5

This workout really got my heart rate up and by the end I was a sweaty mess!  And even though it is only a 30 minute workout you burn the calories and sweat as if you were going for much longer!  After the workout and since it was a Sunday (i.e. not much to do the rest of the day) I opted to jog for another 15 minutes.

Give it a try sometime - but be prepared, it's tough!

February 24, 2013

No Cheese & Fitness Update

It has been a week and a half without cheese and so far so good!  It has definitely been a challenge but oddly enough not THAT difficult.  Yes I have had a few cravings for mac and cheese and yes it was slightly difficult when Adam got a cheese pizza for dinner and I made fish, veggies and pasta but it's been good - I have not had one piece of cheese since lent started on Wednesday, February 13th.  

The best part of my 'no cheese' time though is that I am down 3 LBS!  Now I am pretty sure that the 3 LBS is not solely attributed to not eating cheese but in the absence of cheese I have been focusing on making healthier decisions; and furthermore it has really forced me to focus on what I am eating.  For instance, yesterday we went to Manchester, VT and went out to lunch - the only place that was open at that time of day (around 2:30 PM) was a pizza and pasta shop; they offered to go elsewhere but I said that no, this place would be fine.  I considered the menu for a long time and asked numerous questions of the girl behind the counter - she may or may not have had to go back and ask the chef more than once if cheese was in a certain dish.  I contemplated a sub but to me subs just aren't the same without cheese (not yet at least), then I thought pesto pasta would be a winner but no, that dish had cheese in the sauce as well.  I ended up getting a chicken caesar salad with no cheese and a non-creamy caesar style dressing.  It was a small victory but I was so proud of myself!  Later that night I took the extra time and made pasta with veggies and a piece of fish - another victory!

The true test of my no cheese stand will come when I begin traveling next week.  Starting next week I travel to Des Moines and Davenport, Iowa, then the following week I am in Orlando, Florida for the week followed by a stint in western New York, Springfield, Missouri and Connecticut.  Since we will be on our own for all our meals I think one of my strategies will be to bring/buy groceries and 'eat-in' for breakfast and lunch.  This plan will also save me a ton of money and make my perdieum check even larger!

And with that here is my fitness schedule for the upcoming week!

Workout Schedule for February 24 - March 2, 2013
Sunday: 45 Minute Incline/Speed Treadmill Workout 
Monday: Spin Class at VENT Fitness
Tuesday: TBD - Treadmill Workout
Wednesday: Spin Class at VENT Fitness
Thursday: Insanity DVD or Hotel Gym Workout (Des Moines, Iowa)
Friday: Insanity DVD or Hotel Gym Workout (Davenport, Iowa)
Saturday: REST 

Happy Sunday!  On tonight's menu beef stroganoff!  I'll be sure to blog about that and other recipes I have attempted soon!

February 20, 2013

Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie

For Valentine's Day we decided to stay in.  It is super expensive to eat out on Valentine's Day around here so we opted for a quiet night in with a bottle of wine, cupcakes and a nice homemade meal.  I decided to make Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie; I had seen this recipe on another blog and figured it looked good enough to give it a try.  It was also super easy to put together and given that it was a slow cocker recipe I threw it together, went to work and everything was essentially ready when I got home.  We ended up splitting the cooking because unlike a 'regular' pot pie this recipe is served over biscuits - so Adam ended up making his delicious homemade buttermilk biscuits to go along with dinner!  It more or less ended up being like a chicken stew served over biscuits but it was so good none the less!
Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie
3 - 4 large bonless chicken breaks
1 large onion
1 cup celery
1.5 - 2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of chicken & herb soup
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 bag frozen vegetables (corn, peas, green beans and carrots)

Grease the slow cocker with 'Pam' ~ place the chicken breasts on the bottom of the slow cooker ~ chop the onion and celery (seperately and set aside) ~ in a large mixing bowl mix the soups, onion and black pepper ~ pour the soup mixture over the chicken ~ place the celery on top of the chicken mixture ~ ocver and allow to cook for 8 - 10 hours ~ about 1 hour before serving shred the chicken (do this in the slow cooker with a fork and knife - the chicken should easily fall apart) ~ add the frozen veggies and stir ~ recover and cook veggies for an additional 45 minutes - 1 hour (less if you turn the slow cooker up to 'high') ~ in the meantime bake your favorite biscuits ~ serve the stew over sliced homemade biscuits.  Enjoy!
The stew/biscuit combo was hands down delicious!  It surprised me that it was THAT good!  And better yet - it easily reheated for lunch the next day.  I will definitely be adding this recipe into the rotation!
Slow cooker chicken pot pie - served over homemade biscuits!

February 19, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Chili

Last week I made an awesome buffalo chicken chili - it was so spicy that it had me sweating and my coworkers couldn't handle it, but despite that I thought it was delicious!  A couple days before I made the chili I had made boneless chicken wings and smoothered them in homemade buffalo wing sauce - they were awesome and I had enough wing sauce left over to use for the buffalo chicken chili!  Both recipes were adapted from Plain Chicken!

Homeade Buffalo Wing Sauce
2 cups red hot sauce (I used Frank's)
1/2 cup melted butter
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp seasoning salt
Melt butter and combine with hot sauce ~ mix in remaining ingredients ~ whisk until combined ~ serve over chicken wings and/or use in chili!
Buffalo Chicken Chili
1.5 - 2 LBs ground chicken
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 can chili beans, undrained
(an vegetarian chili beans will work)
2 (8oz) cans tomato sauce
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup homemade buffalo sauce
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 medium onion (or 3 Tbsp dried minced onion flakes)
(** for extra spice add 1 tsp - 1 tbs red pepper flakes)
In a large skillet or dutch oven brown the ground turkey until no longer pink ~ once finished drain and place in/return to dutch oven ~ add all remaining ingredients ~ stir throughly ~ bring to boil and then reduce heat to slightly above 'low' setting ~ cover and allow to simmer for 25 - 30 minutes ~ top with cheese, crackers or sour cream - or if you're a chili purest like me - eat it plain!
Spicy and delicious!  Buffalo Chicken Chili!

February 18, 2013

Goodbye Cheese!

For lent this year I decided to give up cheese.  Yep you read that correctly - the professed mac and cheese addicted has given up cheese for 40 days (in reality - 44 days).  The fact of the matter is that I eat too much cheese - way too much cheese!  It is beyond delicious and I have been known to have multiple blocks in my fridge at once.  After much reflection I also realized that cheese is often the catalyst to many of the delicious - yet unhealthy meals I make.  Cheese (except when very little is used) adds TONS of calories to a dish and regardless how good it tastes - I don't need those extra calories.  Today is day #6 without cheese and so far so good!  I have had to make conscious decisions not to add cheese and have had to search for some cheese-less recipes to make for dinner but so far it has not been that bad.  (I will admit that I did have a mac and cheese craving the other day - but I tried to quickly dismiss it).  The other night I even made a dish for my family that was topped with cheese but I seperated some for myself and baked a seperate dish without cheese!

To go along with this I am trying to take my cheese-less 40 44 days to the next level.  It may sound stupid but I have found myself saying it often the past week or so - "my body is a temple" - and I am really trying to make it one!  To me this is an opportunity to eat super healthy, workout a ton and reignite my weight loss!  Wish me luck!!

About a year ago this appeared on a billboard in Albany.  It is sponsered by a pro-vegan organization and is quite 'in your face', especially when plastered on a billboard overlooking the highway.  And while I don't completely subscribe to what the billboard is about - I understand that cheese can and does indeed make you fat!  That being said - I think this lental challenge will be great for me and will hopefully spur a sense of moderation when it comes to my cheese consumption.

February 17, 2013


A lot has happened the past couple of weeks! My workouts have been hits and misses - one week I was right on target and then another week I struggled. Lent has started which means I have given up cheese so my workouts and diets have been more on track as of late (more on that later).  Here what has been going on ...

Adam celebrated his birthday! First with his family in Pittsfield, MA.
On his actual birthday (February 5th) we went out to celebrate with a bunch of friends. First stop with was the Ole English Pub & Pantry. On your birthday they give you a 'tea cup' full of beer (about 100 oz) for free!
That is one BIG tea cup!
Next we moved on to the Biergarten where on your birthday they give you a free 'boot' which about another 100 oz of liquid!

Man vs. Boot!

And done!

 Happy at the Biergarten!
So after all the birthday festivities everything calmed down and went back to normal!  Work has been busy and I am planning extensive travel for March and April - Iowa, Missouri, Western New York, Florida and New York City!
New curtains graced my living room!

We had this little snow storm called 'Nemo' - it was sort of a dud in Albany though - we only got about 6 - 8 inches!

After Nemo - the next morning!

The snow storm hit Friday night into Saturday morning - so on Sunday Adam and I decided to go snowshoeing!  Last winter I tried cross country skiing  which was a lot of fun but I had been wanting to try snow shoeing for a while!  During the summer and fall we hiked a lot and since snowshoeing is essentially hiking in the snow it seemed right up our ally!  We went to Pineridge Cross Country Ski Area which is located about 35 minutes outside of Albany.

Hiking boots strapped into snowshoes!

Here we go!

Adam snowshoeing!

Very pretty scenery!
Snowshoeing was a ton of fun!  So much so that we are contemplating  buying a pair for next season.  Hopefully it'll snow at least once more so we can go out again - fingers crossed!
I also got this wicked cool new headset for work!  It helps a ton when I am on the phone all day strategizing with different states! 

One of Adam's birthday presents were concert tickets to see Matt & Kim and Passion Pit.  The concert was really upbeat and a ton of fun!  Here is Kim of Matt & Kim booty dancing on top of the crowd!

 For Valentine's Day Adam got me an awesome French Press coffee maker! 
(As well as a book cook and a necklace!)

And through everything that has happened over the past couple of weeks - a kitty was often cuddled!

February 4, 2013

Workout Review (January 28 - February 3, 2013)

Overall this past week was a good one.  Last night was the Superbowl so of course I fell off the wagon a little (can you say - buffalo chicken dip - oh I sure can!) but other than that it was a good week!  I got in some good workouts (mainly spinning) and discovered a couple new treadmill workouts (more on those later).  I need to continue focusing on my portion control and figure out a way to motivate for Saturday workouts; I always workout on Sundays but I need to squeeze in at least one more workout every weekend.

This upcoming week will prove to be more challenging - Adam's birthday is Tuesday and we will be eating out basically every night this work week with various friends and relatives; this will definitely challenge my portion control and I need to make sure I get in all my workouts - but I think I can make it happen!

Workout Schedule for January 28 - February 3, 2013
Monday - Spin class (VENT Fitness)
Tuesday - Spin class (Total Ryder in Motion)
Wednesday - Spin class (VENT Fitness)
Thursday - 3 miles
Friday - Rest
Saturday - 3 miles (ACTUAL - Rest)
Sunday - 5 miles (ACTUAL - '45 Minute Treadmill Workout' plus 15 minutes of jogging)

Workout Review: I didn't 'log the miles' as I was expecting but I feel like I had some good workouts.  I also discovered an awesome new workout on the blog Carrots N' Cake - the '45 Minute Treadmill Workout'!  She has a 'walking' and 'running' version - I chose to do the walking one because I'm not ready for the intensity of the running one.  For someone who gets bored on the treadmil easily (me!) this is awesome - the time flies by and you are changing it up every couple of minutes - it was also a really good workout! 

Time       Speed    Incline
0-3:00      3.5         0%
3-4:00      3.5         1%
5-7:00         4          3%
7-9:00         4          5%
9-11:00       4          7%
11-16:00   3.5        10%
16-21:00   3.5          8%
21-22:00      4          4%
22-23:00   4.8          4%
23-24:00      4          4%
24-25:00    4.8         4%
25-26:00       4         4%
26-27:00     4.8        4%
27-29:00     3.5       10%
29-31:00     3.6       10%
31-33:00     3.7         6%
33-35:00     3.8         4%
35-38.00     4.5         2%
38-40:00     4.0         2%
40-45:00     3.5         1%

Workout Schedule for February 4 - 10, 2013
Monday - Rest
Tuesday - 3 mile run
Wednesday - Hot Core Flow at The Hot Yoga Spot
Thursday - 4 mile run
Friday - REST
Saturday - 3 mile run
Sunday - 5 mile run

Happy first week of February!!