Progressions and Fitness Challenges

Photo courtesy of Getty Images: the boat pose – a spine-strengthening position performed in the fire/wood progression.

I didn’t meet my goal to go to yoga both days this weekend, but I did get up this morning and go to the fire/wood progression. And it hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would be to get re-acclimated to the 98 degree temp. I’m definitely not as strong as I used to be and nowhere near as flexible, but I’ll get there. A very fashionable friend of mine cleaned out her closet recently and gave me first pick before she dropped them off to donate. They’re all a little tight which has been great motivation to work out and eat right this week since I got some really great new pieces that I want to wear soon.

But that’s not my only motivation right now. I want to look good in pictures and be fit enough to endure hours upon hours of sightseeing in my upcoming trip to Paris! I leave in less than one month from today and will be there for a full week with a friend from college. And knowing this friend, I’ll need to build up some stamina in order to keep up with her. So in addition to my regular workouts, I added in this mini workout the past couple of days to tone everything just a bit more.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images. Text added with PicMonkey.

I’ve been seeing this mini workout floating around Pinterest with the tip to do one round every day before you shower so it quickly becomes part of your routine. Seems like sage advice though I didn’t incorporate these moves in that way – it’s better to do what works for you. Either way, it only takes about 10 minutes and you’ll definitely feel it towards the end.

And to keep the momentum going, my fitness challenges for the upcoming week:

Fitness challenges – w/o 8/27/12
Drink 8 glasses of water every day
Go to 3 yoga classes
Run 10 miles
Walk dogs 1 mile every weekday morning

Wish me luck.


Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas

Today I made another trip to Sprout’s and spent entirely too much money. But I’m freshly stocked with fresh fruit and a ton of vegetables and a lot of ingredients for healthy meals for the upcoming week. I’m also trying Debbie Meyer Green Bags, which promise produce will stay fresher longer, so we’ll see if they work.

I had actually only gone shopping for ingredients to make roasted vegetable enchiladas, which I originally discovered on Pinterest but is from one of my favorite food blogs. I got the ingredients and tons more which I can’t wait to feature. Until then, my adaption of Perry’s Plate roasted vegetable enchiladas.

Cooking spray
1 medium sweet potato, cut into bite-sized cubes
1 red bell pepper, cut into large bite-size pieces
1 green bell pepper, cut into large bite-size pieces
1 poblano pepper, cut into match sticks
1 onion, halved and sliced
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets
1 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 jars bottled salsa
1 package corn tortillas
Fresh spinach
1-2 cups shredded cheddar/Monterrey Jack mix or queso fresco

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

Lightly spray a lipped-baking sheet with cooking spray. Mix sweet potato, bell peppers, poblano pepper, onion, and cauliflower in a large bowl. Sprinkle cumin over vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle on olive oil and using your hands, mix well until all vegetables are coated. Spread in an even layer across baking sheet. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until vegetables are tender and brown spots are beginning to show. When vegetables are finished, remove from oven and let cool.

Reduce heat to 350 degrees.

Lightly spray a large casserole dish with cooking spray. Spoon salsa into dish until bottom is covered. Tear tortillas into large chunks and cover salsa. Top with spinach, roasted vegetables, then cheese. Repeat another layer and top with remaining tortillas. Cover tortillas with salsa and remaining cheese.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until topping is hot and bubbly.

Grown Up Gouda Grilled Cheese

We had a cool front come through Dallas which means it was in the low 90s today instead of the low 100s. So I took advantage of the weather and went for a run. Going back to hot yoga after such a long absence is still intimidating me so the solo run was perfect. I only did about 2.5 miles and have to keep reminding myself that I’m just starting an excercise program again and to take it slow. But I ended at 3 miles after picking up the dogs for a cool-down walk and my goal is to go to a yoga both days this weekend.

For dinner, I opted for another meatless meal since I had chicken earlier today. I had leftover sourdough bread from the roasted vegetable sandwiches earlier this week and gouda from my homemade version of Egg McMuffins. And inspired by how good the raspberry jam was in the vegetable sandwiches, it made an appearance here as well. The slightly nutty and buttery flavor of the gouda paired perfectly with it. This was quite possibly the best grilled cheese I’ve ever had – what I’m calling the grown up gouda grilled cheese. It was quite rich so I only ate half of the sandwich with a some of the leftover mediterranean quinoa salad, but I would also pair it with fruit, a salad, or tomato basil soup for a lighter side.

My grilled cheese was proving difficult to photograph so enjoy this artistically rendered version courtesty of

2 slices sourdough bread (I used cracked wheat sourdough from Sprout’s)
Olive oil
Raspberry preserves/jam
3 slices gouda (Recommend Sargento’s pre-sliced natural gouda)

Heat a large skillet on medium to medium-high heat. Brush both slices of bread with olive oil and the opposite side of one piece with raspberry preserves. Top preserves with sliced gouda and the other slice of bread. Place in skillet. Cook 4-6 minutes per side or until golden brown.

Leader of the Pack

Petunia Grace has fully ingrained herself as the leader of the pack at our house. What started as a timid kitten who kept a watchful eye on dogs to make sure they kept their distance has now become the tormentor rather than the tormented.

We started with this: dog watching from a safe distance. Now we’ve reached the point where Petunia takes over. The picture below was taken shortly after she bullied the dogs until they got off the bed. And then she took their spot. Just look at that face. I think it says it all.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

With the leftovers from the roasted vegetable sandwiches, I threw this salad together for a flavorful summer dinner. I’m trying to phase out meat from most of my diet and have recently discovered quinoa as a good source of protein. The first few recipes I tried with this grain were a bland bust, but I think I’ve got it down now. This was light, flavorful, and filling.

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
Roasted vegetables
Balsamic raspberry vinaigrette
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Combine quinoa and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until quinoa is done. You can tell the quinoa is ready when it is slightly transparent and the string-like germ is visible. Set aside to cool.

Heat oven to 300 degrees and toast pine nuts 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Mix pine nuts, roasted vegetables, balsamic raspberry vinaigrette, and feta cheese into quinoa. Stir well to combine. Chill 30 to overnight. Flavors meld together while chilling so this is great as a lunch the second day.

Roasted Vegetable Sandwich with Balsamic Raspberry Vinaigrette

Last week I had the most incredible roasted vegetable sandwich at Cafe Brazil during a lunch meeting. After a week of craving another one, I decided to re-create it at home. While it wasn’t exactly like the restaurant’s, it was equally as delicious. And a great way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet, which I am always trying to do.

Vegetable medley of red and green bell peppers, onion, squash and zucchini
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
1 tablespoon raspberry preserves/jam
Sourdough or thick whole grain bread (I used cracked wheat sourdough from Sprout’s)
Feta cheese, crumbled

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Toss vegetable medley with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast peppers and onion for 15 minutes. Add squash and zucchini and roast for 15-25 more minutes or until vegetables are tender.

While vegetables roast, mix together balsamic vinaigrette and raspberry preserves in a small bowl.

Toast or grill bread and layer one slice with roasted vegetables. Drizzle balsamic/raspberry mixture over veggies and top with crumbled feta cheese. Top with remaining slice and enjoy.

Meet the Furry Family

You will be seeing these guys a lot.

From left:

Petunia Grace, the newest member of the family and only cat. She picked me out during an adoption event at Petco. Evidently she knows a sucker when she sees one. See picture below – that laser “pick me” focus says it all. She’s been with us just about a month now and has enjoyed exploring every inch and surface of her new home and tormenting the dogs.

Phoenix Louise von Dogster the first. My first dog and a shelter rescue from New Mexico after leaving college and yes, that name does fit on her dog tag. She enjoys running, walks, playing ball, playing ball, and playing ball. If she were a human, I’m pretty sure she’d be an Olympic athlete.

Franklin Benson Ellis Whitobee Furter. AKA Frank Furter the weiner dog, Furter for short. Furter is spoiled, pampered and quite crotchety when he doesn’t get his way. He enjoys tuna, pesto, napping on pillows, and belly rubs. He does not enjoy Petunia Grace.