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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Review: Cooking Light's Superfast Suppers

Superfast Suppers

I LOVE this cookbook!!!!! It was a Christmas gift and ever since we've been having great dinners nearly every night. I don't even want to go out anymore. One of the secrets to my current weight loss is this cookbook. It contains easy to make meals in under 30 minutes (with the exception of the chapter on crockpot cooking). What I love about this one is that it plans the entire menu for you, and gives you steps to follow to prepare 2-3 recipes at once. Meals are usually a protein and a side, and sometimes include salads, breads, veggies, etc. And the best part? They're very light.

I've made probably 30-40% of the menus in this cookbook now, cooking them nearly every night. The only down side is the more expensive ingredients (sometimes) and quite frankly the time it takes to find and purchase all of the ingredients in the grocery store. I spend a lot more time in the produce aisle these days.

Two favorite chapters are the section of meals for two people, and the "20 ingredients" chapter, where you keep 20 ingredeints on hand to make each of the 20 recipes. Favorite menus include peppered beef tenderloin with orange-herbed asparagus and crusty french rolls, pan-seared chicken in proscuitto-fig sauce with roasted green beans, caesar-style green salad, and whole grain rolls, chicken piccata with garlic-basil pasta and steamed green beans, and seared chicken with avocado and tortilla chips con queso... yum!!!!!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Frederick Half Marathon Course Finalized Finally

It's kinda hilly.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

Ah, the holiday of love.  These days, I've seen just as much "Boycott V-DAY!" messages as I've seen "get your sweetie a Valentines Day gift!" messages.  But, I think Valentines Day doesn't deserve the bad name and resentment that it gets...

Issue #1: It's a holiday created by Hallmark
Actually, it's not.  It really is all about St. Valentine (and apparently a few St. Valentines at that), and Chaucer was the first to associate it with romantic love.  I can go into it more, but it's probably easier to just link over to wikipedia.  Did Hallmark actually create any holidays?  It seems like people think Hallmark has a lot more power than they actually do.  I haven't specifically looked up other holidays, but I always hear Grandparents day as being one that Hallmark created... really, if they did, would it be that bad to send your grandparents a card one more day of the year?

Issue #2: It's sad for people without Significant Others
I can sympathize.  Granted, it's been many years since I was without a significant other on Valentine's Day, but I have been there before (and I've also celebrated Valentine's Day while in a relationship that had nearly completely fallen apart and that's just as bad).  I tend to think that everyone's time will come in that area.  Chin up!  This is a great time to think about the other people that you love, even if you're not romantically involved with them.  Plan a dinner with friends or family.  Host a party of your own.  Or, don't celebrate at all... always an option :)

Issue #3: Men forget, do a bad job, or otherwise screw it up
Ladies!!  If you are out there waiting for your guy to not only remember Valentines Day, but also spend months planning the ultimate romantic evening for you without any intervention or assistance on your part...  well, you're setting yourself up for some MAJOR disappointment.  You need to do one of two things: Train him or give him some help.  Preferably, you should be doing some of both.

Dave was clueless about gifts and being romantic when we first met.  So was every boyfriend before him.  He had to be TRAINED.  I sat around for the first few years, dropping hints and being very subtle about what I wanted.  Guess what?  I was disappointed.  I had to specifically say "Hey, for Valentines Day, I'd like (fill in the blank)."  And guess what?  He did it!  Help him out, train him!  What I found was that over time, he not only listened to what I asked, but also started adding his own special touches that were romantic and sweet.  I was happy, he was happy, it was all good.  (Yes, our marriage ended, but this was truly the one area he got right).  Note: I'm specifically not mentioning Todd here because, well, he's a current relationship and blabbing about how good or bad he is in this department on a public forum is not something I wish to do.  Suffice it to say that Todd is awesome.

So, I know the response, because I've heard it.  "But, if I tell him what I want him to do, it's not as special because he's only doing it because I told him to!!"  My answer: GET OVER THAT.  FAST.  You can have a great time doing exactly what you want to do for Valentines day because you were specific about your needs and wants to your man.  Doing so, you can make it easier on both of you and you can both be wonderfully happy.  Your other option is to put in your head exactly what you want, but only "drop hints."  You can be vague on the subject and hope he knows what you mean.  Then, when he gets it wrong, you can be upset and start a big fight and ruin the day for both of you (especially him, since he won't be looking forward to next year, that's for sure!).  Men aren't mind readers.  The quicker you realize that, the better off you are.

And ANYWAY, who says this holiday is all about the men doing things for women?  How about asking your man what HE wants to do and showing him a little love?  Give the guys a break!

Issue #4: Everything is so commercial, and gifts are expensive.

Well, welcome to capitalism!

I think women need to lighten up on their men.  Don't let Zales, Jared or Debeers tell you that you need some sort of fancy jewelry to feel loved.  Just enjoy the time you spend together, because that's really what it's about.  Really.

Issue #5: Cupid scares me.
HE SCARES ME TOO!  He's a flying baby with a bow and arrow!  Does this strike anyone else as weird?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

This Weekend...

  • I got faster.
  • I bought running clothes. Like I need more running clothes.
  • I went to a birthday party!
  • The cat chewed on my hair.
  • I did a new workout video!
  • There was snow.
  • Things are happy and content.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

My First True Speed Training Session

So, this morning I met Debra & Sue at the track for a speed session. Here's an explanation (this is based on Jeff Galloway, if there is another way of speed training, I don't know details)...

How it works:

We were doing 4x800. The 800 is 2 laps around the track (800 meters). So, here is what we did (and I'm following Jeff's recommendation to the letter):
  • Warm up by running 4 laps (1 mile) around the track at a slow/moderate training pace, doing 2:1s.
  • Run 2 laps around the track at the pace you select (I'll talk about this in a second). Run straight through, no walk breaks. You want to try and finish the 800 meters in your specified time frame.
  • At the end of the 800 meters, walk one lap around the track.
  • Run another 800 meter, walk, etc, until you've done 4.
We're not running at miracle mile pace.
  1. Go here - and enter in your miracle mile time. Or if you don't have a miracle mile time, take your best guess.
  2. It will give you a half marathon pace that you are capable of right now. You can choose up to 30 seconds faster than this pace per mile to be your half marathon target pace.
  3. Once you have your half marathon target pace per mile, divide by 2.
  4. Subtract 15 seconds.
  5. That is how fast you should complete each 800 meter repeat.
My miracle mile time is 10:31, my half marathon pace is predicted right now at 12:37 per mile. I expect to improve this year, but I wanted to take it a little easy my first try so I went for a goal pace of 12:20. Divide by 2 and get 6:10. Subtract 15 seconds and get 5:55 for my 800 meters.

IT WENT REALLY WELL!!!!!! I really feel like we did a great job of learning our pace and training our legs to run at race pace. Even better, it always gives me confidence to do something like this that is challenging but also doable. I felt great for the whole rest of the day.
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