Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Spicy Black Bean Soup Recipe

I bought ingredients for this soup about 3 weeks ago when our weather was unseasonably chilly.  However, since I'm a procrastinator, I made it Monday evening when it was about 80 degrees outside! 

This soup is actually really delicious!  Has a nice spicy kick to it.  It's from the Weight Watchers Cookbook "Best Eats."  This is a pretty fabulous cookbook actually.

Spicy Black Bean Soup
Serves 8

1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 (15.5 oz) can black beans, undrained
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 (14.5 oz ) can vegetable broth (I used Chicken broth, low sodium)
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chiles (I used a 10 oz can of rotel and a few tablespoons of tomato paste)
1 (11 oz) can sweet corn, drained (I used "no salt added")

1. Spray a Dutch oven (I just used a skillet, I don't have a dutch oven) with nonstick spray and place over medium high heat.  Add the onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 5 mins.

2. Place the onion mixture, 2 cans of the beans, cumin, red pepper in a blender (I used a food processor) and pulse until smooth, return the mixture to the Dutch oven.  Add the remaining can of beans, the broth, tomatoes and corn to the Dutch oven; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until slightly thickened, 20-25 mins.

Per Serving (1.5 cups): 186 Cal, 2g fat, 10g fiber, 10g protein, 31g Carbs

**Do you eat soup in the summer?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Week 3 Training done!

My week 3 marathon training is complete.  We had a cut-back week for our long run last weekend so we only had to do 5 miles.  There is a cut-back week every 3rd week so that your body has time to recover.  Next Saturday is a long 9 miles!  But so far the training is going well!  I will keep you posted.

So what else have I been up to?  Hm...are you sure you really want to know? goes...

My new tattoo!


I mostly laughed through any pain

My foot and my cousin's foot with her new tattoo too!
That's right folks...little old me got a tattoo!  I never wanted one.  Ever.  Don't really care about tattoos. 

But a few months ago, I came up with the bright idea of getting one on my foot, to which my cousin Toni said she wanted to get one as well! 

I had no idea what to get.  I'm an indecisive person.  Finally, I brought all my ideas to the tattoo place and they drew this up.  I liked it. 

My cousin got the autism ribbon on her foot and a heart with flowers on her back for her husband.

I almost cancelled my appointment two days before because I heard you couldn't workout for at least a week.  My first thought was, "I can't miss a whole week of training for my marathon!"  My cousin called the place and the woman doing her tattoo has run a marathon and said I can still workout and train for it.  She would send me home with all the proper instructions.

Everyone that I knew thought it was really odd that I was getting a tattoo!  Little, innocent old me!  And they were equally surprised that it was my idea.

I know some people are totally against getting a tattoo.  I wanted it on my foot.  I figured it's easy enough to cover up if I need to.

And it doesn't even hurt really at all now.  My foot may be slightly swollen (because my shoes are fitting a little snug), but otherwise, it's totally fine!

It hurt a little while getting it done.  But I thought it would be worse from what others were telling me.  The foot is a painful spot because there is no meat there. 

Anyway, that's what I've been up to.  Maybe it's an early mid-life crises?  lol.  I do some crazy things every now and again (can you say sky-diving twice, bungee jumping, roller coasters, white water rafting).  I'm an incognito dare-devil!  lol

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It's in the Measurements!

For those of my blogger friends that were here (or are here) because they were attempting to lose some weight, did you take your measurements before you started?

I never did.  I started weight watchers in May 2007.  I reached my goal weight in July 2010.  It took me 3 years but I wouldn't trade a day of that for anything.  I lost about 90 total pounds.  Since last November, I gained a few back and am now about 10 lbs above the goal weight range. 

In April, I decided to join a different gym and also get a personal trainer (that gym was having a special on training sessions at that time).  My personal trainer's name is Mike.  He is 26, very nice guy and a runner as well!  He runs marathons also. 

I'm a pessimistic person about myself.  It's very hard for me to congratulate myself on things.  I can be very optimistic when it comes to others, however.  And Mike is very optimistic!  He is very encouraging during our sessions, makes me try to believe in myself and also is a great support for my running. 

Mike also took my measurements when we started training together two months ago.  For the last few weeks, he has been telling me that he wanted to re-take the measurements and see how it was going.  He kept forgetting and I didn't want to remind him for fear there was going to be no change!

I had only lost about 3-4 lbs and was disappointed.  I told him I didn't want to see the results.  I said he could look at them but I didn't want to see.  To which he responded, "Are you SURE you don't want to freakin' see this???"  Well, of course then I said I would!  And I lost about 1.5 inches everywhere!  Waist, hips, legs, etc.  He added up and the total inches lost were 9 inches!  He was very pleased.  He also tested my cardio and I moved up in that 9 points (whatever that means) and went from the "poor" category to the "fair" category.  Seriously, how was I ever in the "poor" category anyway!  He said moving up 9 pts was very good.  My BMI was down a few and everything was better!

So if you are struggling to lose a few lbs, maybe take your measurements!  The scale isn't the only factor in getting healthier and losing weight. 

My small change goal this week from Tami at Nutmeg Notebook is to not eat after 9:00 pm.  The only exception to that is a glass of milk (if I still need a dairy), or I can eat a small dinner if I haven't yet because I got home late, or veggies for a snack.  That's it!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Small Change & Music

Hi everyone,

My small change last week was to really monitor what I was eating before I ate it. Assess whether I was hungry or not. And did I really want the item. Sometimes I even took as long as 1/2 hour before eating the item, to make sure I really wanted it. It helped! I lost 3.4 lbs last week (although I also kicked butt in exercise). I did start slacking at the end of the challenge last week though so I give myself 70% success rate overall.  I'm kind of disappointed that I start slacking at the end but it's not perfection I'm after, it's progress.

This week my small change challenge will be to incorporate the same challenge last week but also to make sure I get all my vitamins in!! I haven't been getting any in for the last 2 months or more!  I've been sick for 2 months (the past 1 month with just a cold) and I still have the cold!  Everyone keeps asking me if I've been taking my vitamins.  I say every time, "No, but I know I should be!"  Then they roll their eyes and laugh! 

My full load of vitamins include:
Iron (I'm anemic)
Vitamin D
Fish Oil Pills
Vitamin C (Which I should really be taking right now!!)

I think I need one of those "old people" vitamin cases for the days of the week!!  Haha!!

Next order of business.  I need to update my music on my phone.  What music do you guys have on your playlist for when you are working out and/or running??  Please give me your suggestions!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Weekend Run and Family Party

Happy Sunday evening everyone!

My small change challenge must have worked last week because I was down 3.4 lbs which is good because I was up 3 lbs the week before!!  It's a never ending cycle!!  lol

This weekend was my first long run of my marathon training schedule.  It was 6 miles.  I decided to run with CARA (Chicago area runners association).  In my area, it meets at 6:50 am!!  That's early but since it was the first one of the training, I didn't want to miss it. I wanted to meet everyone.

And can I say, it's really nice to run with a group of people.  I think it will be handy when we are up in miles, any of the long double digit miles!!  There are people that keep the pace for you so you can train at a certain pace.  It should be interesting to run with them.  They also have water stations and Gatorade throughout and some food afterwards.

Today we had an early Father's Day celebration and b-day celebration for my grandfather.  My dad picked the meal...Chinese takeout!  lol.  I guess it reminds him of his childhood.  I made pina colada cupcakes from Gina's blog and key lime pie. Click on the above link for Gina's recipe.  They were really good!!

The key lime pie is a low fat recipe you may have seen before.
1 box sugar free jello
2 - 6 oz. containers of light key lime yogurt
1 - 8 oz. container of cool whip (I used fat free)
1/4 cup water
Reduced fat graham cracker crust

Boil the water and then dissolve jello
Mix in yogurt
Fold in cool whip
Pour into crust and refrigerate for a couple hours

Pictures please!!  Well, I tried to post the pictures and was having issues!!  I'm tired of trying, so no pictures!!

Hope your weekend was great. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Half Marathon, Full Marathon and Small Change News

Hi everyone,

I'm posting and eating lunch.  Killing two birds with one stone!  It's not always the best thing to do but it's the only time I have right now and afterwards, I'm going to take a walk in the nice 90+ degree heat!!  :)   I love the hot weather!  We get so much cold weather that I'm not going to complain.

I had a half marathon near my Aunt and Uncle's house over the weekend.  It was VERY small.  There were only a max number of about 50 people there!  I'm used to the big Chicago runs where there are thousands of people.  This was in a small Western town called Plano.

The temperature was about 60 degrees but very humid.  After about mile 1, my garmin wasn't charged and died on me!  It was charged a week before so it shouldn't have needed charging but I didn't check.  My fault.  So I couldn't use the garmin for pace or mileage or anything.  Then my headphones when out on me about half way through.  Note to self:  Charge all electronic devices prior to 13 mile runs!!

This run was HARD!  I didn't anticipate beating my best time since I didn't have my garmin.  Also, there were hills.  LARGE hills!!  About mile 10, I stopped dead where I was, looked around, said "Oh F--K!!"  Then I realized I had nothing to do but finish.  Since there were only 50 people and this was a long run, we were so spread out.  At mile 10, no one was around me.  But I kept going.  My only goal was not to come in last.  I think I was about 10-15 people from the end.

I did finish.  When I checked my time...I was only off of my personal best by 38 seconds!!  Really!?!  If I would have known that!!!!!  My best is 2:14:09 and this half time was 2:14:47!  Wow.  I was pretty impressed with this time.  Normally, I would get mad not beating my old time and coming so close, but with the hills on this one, this was harder than any other half I did!  So, I'm a winner!  lol

I also went to a running clinic for the half over the weekend.  They gave advice on hydration and fuel, shoes, stretching, etc.  It was long but good information was provided.  I also got a free book by a Chicago Marathon runner that has run over 100 marathons.  It has to do with training for a marathon.  Seems pretty good so far.

My marathon training starts this week.  Since I ran the half on Sunday, I'm skipping my first 3 mile run today.  Then I will run 3 miles tomorrow, 3 miles on Thursday and 6 miles on Saturday for the long run.  I will be running the long runs at 6:50 am on Saturday's to run with a training group!  I do not want to get up that early but running a marathon takes discipline!!

For the Small Change Challenge that Tami at Nutmeg Notebook has going for the month of June, I'm still keeping my "no pop" this week that was my goal last week, but I'm adding food for this week.  I'm going to "think", really think about it before I grab something to eat or snack on.  I tend to do mindless eating so this week, I will be mindful.  If I'm hungry, I'll eat it.  If not, I won't.  Seems easy enough!  :)

I hope you are all have a nice summer!  So sorry, I've been slacking on blog reading!!  I'll pick it back up one day! 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

My life status update!

Happy Thursday afternoon everyone!  I've been MIA.  There has been much going on with me.  Good things of course.

First topic of the "My Life" series:  my new job.

I was nervous taking a new job.  I knew I wanted to move on from my old place but starting somewhere else can be scary. You wonder if you made the right decision.

Well, I started on Tuesday.  From what I can tell right now, I made the right decision.  The attorney I will be working directly for is 1 year younger than me (haha) and very very nice and patient.  Another girl started at the same time for the other attorney. 

And I actually get my own office too!  Nice right?  Pretty big for a small time girl like me!

My office!

Anyway, other new in the "My Life" stories:  Running.

I had a 10k run with my cousin Nick on Memorial Day.  I do this run every year and I love it.  The only problem was, it was hot!!  But here is Nick and I before the run.

We were pretending to run here, but it looks like we are going to  chest bump each other
I finished the 10k in a personal best.  6.2 miles in 59.48 min.  Great job!  Pace of 9.38 per mile!

Nick also made a personal best by cutting his previous time by 11 minutes!  Way to go Nick!

My next run is a half marathon this weekend by my Aunt and Uncle's house.  I almost forgot I had this one because I only signed up 3 weeks ago.  Wish me luck!

Other running news:  Marathon Training.

I start my marathon training officially next week.  I'm really nervous about doing the marathon.  I know how physically and emotionally draining it is on people.  But I have my personal trainer's running schedule that he made me.  This month is not too bad.  Here is a really bad, sideways copy of sorry!

I will be running 4 times a week. 3 smaller runs and 1 longer run.  I will post more as I start this.

"Small Change Challenge"

This week starts the small change challenge from Tami at Nutmeg Notebook.  Click here for the most recent post about it.

My small change that I will be working on this week is to not drink any soda/pop.  We get pop free at work and I tend to start relying on it too much.  It's free, it has caffeine, I use it when I'm hungry.  But instead, it makes me feel bloated.  I don't drink enough water.  It probably makes me hungrier.  So this week, that's what I'm working on.

Still going to my personal training too.  I will post a separate post more about that another time.

Have a great summer everyone!  I love that Chicago warm weather is finally here!!