Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day workout!

Happy Memorial Day! Most people have the day off, but I signed up to work, so I am sticking to my normal routine: working and working out.

Today's workout was #9 out of 44 workouts in the Fitness Blender 8-week challenge. It was short, but definitely packed a punch. This workout was one of the HIIT workouts, so short, sweet, and intense beyond belief. It left me laying in a pool of sweat, trying to figure out how to work my legs again, lol.

Round 1
I did one of their warm ups before the workout and think I have found 2 new favorites. I love anything that I can do on my lunch break, so this was a perfect combination and still left time for me to get in a cool down afterwards.

I am still going strong with the workouts. I sometimes have to convince myself to do them, but I am sticking to it. I haven't missed a day yet! And the best part is my husband told me that he is starting to see a difference in my body since I've been working out regularly again! I think I was smiling for about two days after he told me that, lol. I'm easy to please, I guess. But it's the little things in life that you have to appreciate anyway.

Speaking of appreciating, my hubby and I took some time this weekend to appreciate each other and our relationship as we passed our 3 year mark. Three years dating, 7 months of marriage. That means that I have 5 months left until we take 1 year anniversary photos... which means that I need to stick to the plan so I can reach my goal weight/fitness level by October and look good for the photos! I think I can do it! I'm feeling strong! Wish me luck! : )

And let's also take some time to appreciate the veterans, those still with us and those not, for all their sacrifices.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Fitness Blender: Week 2

Hey all,

I started Week 2: Day 1 of the 8-Week Fitness Blender challenge today. I gotta say that it will be a miracle if I can walk tomorrow! In a good way! : )

Round 1
I am still going strong with the workouts and I really, REALLY enjoy them being different each day. I never get a chance to get bored. I can feel my flexibility and strength and stamina improving already even with just one week down. I'll be weighing in on Friday, so hopefully I'll see some progress there.

I just wanted to give an update and also talk about hidden menus. I have recently discovered that Panera has a "hidden menu". It is nearly impossible to find, but here is the link if you're interested.

The menu consists of 6 meals, appropriate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and they all have a primal twist.

Power Breakfast Egg White Bowl with Roasted Turkey
"Developed by Scott Davis, Panera Bread's Chief Concept Officer, Panera's "off-the-menu" dishes offer nourishing options that make sticking to New Year's resolutions simple. All of these meal selections are an excellent source of protein and contain limited processed carbs. But you won't find these items on banners in our cafes, or even on the menu board."

I wish I knew why they make it so hard to find online, but I am going to have to see if my local Panera supports this menu next time I'm out and need to grab something quick.

What do you think of the hidden menu?


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Oklahoma Tornado

It's all over the news. Moore, Oklahoma was hit by a tornado both on Sunday and on Monday. The one on Monday was the biggest one that we've seen in a very long time. It was 2 miles wide and had winds of 200+ mph. I'm not sure if it has been categorized as an EF5 or an F5 as of yet. I do know that there are many casualties with adults, children, and animals affected. So many people lost their homes. One of the schools was destroyed, trapping some children and faculty inside, and the medical center had some damage as well.
One of my good friends experienced this tornado first hand. Her neighborhood was destroyed on one side of the street and the houses on the other side, including hers, suffered only minor damages. They weren't able to make it to the shelter in time, but they all made it out safely. Her mother is one of the teachers at that school though, and she had gone missing for a short time before they found her. I'm so happy they are all ok.

The power has been turned back on in her area. They are still searching for victims and cleaning up the debris, but hopefully the worst is over.

If anyone would like to help or donate to support the relief efforts, this link will show you how to do it:

Help Tornado Victims

Friday, May 17, 2013


Day 2 of the 8 Week Challenge

I finished up Day 2 of the 8 Week Fitness Blender Challenge (Round 3) yesterday. I guess you could say it was the first day of following a real workout, since the first day was the fit test.

Round 1The whole workout lasted about an hour and I was feeling pretty good, but also whipped by the end. I had to modify a few of the exercises. I've noticed that typically I fall somewhere around the bottom of the range of calories burned by the end of the workout, but this time I was somewhere in the middle so I felt like I got a good effort in and managed to burn almost 500 calories! I am feeling it today too. It hurts so good! : )

Credit :
It's been a long time since I have woken up sore, in a good way. I fell off my bike and was sore for a few days, but that's a bit different! ; )

I am really looking forward to today's workout. I can't do it until after I get off work, but I will be pumped and ready. I'm working on getting a balanced breakfast and lunch so I will have enough energy and fuel to give it all I've got!

I started the program on a Wednesday, so technically I still have 2 more days before they give a rest/optional cardio day, but I am always so busy on the weekends that I am just going to take the rest days tomorrow and Sunday and jump back in with the next one on the list.

I will say that I am a bit anal/OCD and created my own calendar to follow. The instructions that you get when you pay for the program come in a long packet/PDF. I didn't want to have to open it and then scroll down to find the right day and try to remember which one it was (I have a bad memory)... so I created an Excel worksheet calendar with the links to the workouts, added comments to show how long each one was and what equipment was needed, and even included the full comments from the packet for each day too on other tab. It's pretty cool, nice and neat, and definitely my style! I would share it, but .... that wouldn't be fair to Fitness Blender, since it's a product that they sell and they really appreciate the donations for those products. Plus, it's probably illegal, lol. But it's only 6.99$, so if you're up for the challenge, hop on over to and get your own copy and get into it with me! Or just go and check out their new website!

This weekend is going to be super busy! I signed up for some overtime at work, have to help teach the children's ministry at church this week, and I am helping to throw a birthday party/anniversary party for a couple of friends and my parents. They've been married 29 years now! Congrats, mom and dad! But ... this means there is going to be a lot of not so great food around. I have to be strong. I can get on track with exercise, but it's not going to get me anywhere if I don't keep up on the diet end too! I plan to do well this weekend and be able to report back a success. Hold me to it! And have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Fitness Blender Update/8 Week Challenge

As my new favorite source for workouts, I have to inform you all that Fitness Blender has made a change. Just a week or so after I wrote the review on Fitness Blender, they went and updated the site. It still has all the same great features, but they've added in a few new things too! My personal favorite now is the ability to search for workouts based on calorie burn and level of difficulty!

Note from Kelli and Daniel:
"You can now save favorite workouts, and search by workout length, difficulty, training type, calorie burn, equipment, muscle group and more. We're so excited, we hope you love it as much as we do."

To see my original review:  Click!
So if you love them as much as I do, or have never visited, go ahead and check it out. I know you won't be disappointed!

Ok, so that's the exciting news. Also, I went and bought their 8 Week Challenge. It is the 3rd one of the 3 they have put together. To buy the program, just click here. They provide instructions on fitness and nutrition for the 8 weeks and the links to the videos too. They provide a balance between core, strength, stretching, cardio, HIIT and everything your body needs to get in the best shape it can in 8 weeks. I have just done Day 1 so far, which is a fit test. They say that most people typically lose between 16 & 24 pounds in the 8 weeks (which is 2 months) and that is pretty darn good, if you ask me. It's not just losing weight either, but also toning and flexibility and so much more to get you looking your best. All you need for this program is dumbbells. Most of the time you can substitute with household objects if you don't have dumbbells. That's just my experience though.

I was lucky enough to catch them during their special discount period. They were advertising the 8 week program at any donation. So you could pay anywhere from 1.50$ to 100$ and they'd send the program to you. Normally it is priced at about 6$ though, so even at full price, it is a great deal! It's especially nice for people like me who love the workouts, but don't know how to put them together exactly, or don't have the time to schedule them, or just people who do better with someone telling them what to do and when. I can't find anything I dislike about this website. I promise I'm not working for them, I just love them! So check 'em out! : )

 Find them:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Primal Blueprint 30 - Day Challenge

Breakfast: To Eat It or Not To Eat It?

I would say the answer would be both! Eat it, but don't eat it!

When I say it it, I mean that you should eat something within a half hour of waking up. Studies have shown that eating within that time frame boosts your metabolism and it gives you the energy you need to get through your day. It also means that you won't be starving yourself after your fast (sleeping), so when you do decide to eat, you won't pounce on anything that crosses your path.

Eating breakfast isn't just important for adults though. Kids need that boost in the morning too. Studies show that people who eat breakfast in the morning are better-able to perform the required tasks of the day, but also children who eat breakfast are less likely to be absent from school.

I have noticed that you kind of train your body to get used to this. I used to skip breakfast, which is bad, I know now. And I was also very heavy during that time (which is also very common for people who skip breakfast). But when I skipped breakfast, I noticed I wasn't as hungry in the morning. Once I started eating breakfast, I'd hear my belly groaning each morning within minutes of getting out of bed. Just like most other animals, it gets on a schedule and likes to stick to it! I can't vouch for others, but that was my experience, so even if you think you aren't hungry in the mornings, try it for a week or two and see if that changes.

Ok, now, when I say "don't eat breakfast!", I mean do not eat the foods we have all come to know, and love, as breakfast foods. This means waffles, pancakes, french toast, donuts, muffins, bagels, and cereals! I don't care if it says "Nutri" or "Natural" or "Fiber" or "Gluten-free" on the box/bag/can ... check the labels. Check the ingredients. If you can't pronounce the ingredients on the list, then you should put it down and go find something that wasn't created in a laboratory. The food industry has got a sneaky way of marketing their products. They can get away with "less sugar" and "natural" because there aren't very good guidelines for what they have to take into account. For example, sugar is hard to track because there are many different types of sugars and they aren't required to include all of them on the nutritional guide. So here is my solution to that:

grams of carbohydrates / 4 = tsp of sugar that you consume with each serving

ex: 20 g of carbs / 4 = 5 tsp of sugar

Ok, so that is just one serving. How many of you eat just one serving of cereal? Anyone? I know most cereal serving sizes are 1/2 c to 3/4 c and I know that I used to fill that bowl to the top! And sometimes I would even go back for a second bowl. That is a lot of sugar, which we know is very bad for you.

So now that I've told you what not to eat, what should you eat?
I would recommend getting in the 3 key food groups: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. And by "carbohydrates" I mean veggies! So a plate of eggs (protein/fat), veggies (carbs), and half of a sweet potato (carbs) with real butter (fats) will not only fill you up and be a great balanced breakfast, but it also is super delicious!

If you insist on finding something prepackaged, due to lack of time or resources, just check the ingredients list and see exactly what they are putting in the product. I can't say I have checked every label, but it is easier, for me, to just shop the perimeter and stick to real foods without the boxes or bags.

Another great option is to make breakfast foods ahead of time so you can just grab them and go. Casseroles are great, quiches are delicious. One of my new favorites is making meat muffins. That doesn't exactly sound the best, I know, but I'm talking like meatloaf in a cupcake tin. You can throw just about anything into some eggs, whip it up, pour it in muffin/cupcake tins ... 20 minutes later you have got meat muffins to last you all week that you can grab, heat, and go! It's also nice because you can include the 3 key food groups in them and get the balance all in one item.

Below is one of the recipes that I tried recently and thought was pretty good. I made them last night, breakfast for dinner, but my husband will be saving the rest for his breakfasts this week (he doesn't enjoy cooking and doesn't like waking up early to do it, lol).

Southwestern Omelet Muffins
 (found on Fast Paleo)

  • 6 ounces breakfast sausage links, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, assorted colors, chopped small
  • ½ cup green onions, chopped small
  • ¾ cups kale, chopped small
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder (or 2 cloves chopped fresh garlic)
  • 4 ounce can green chiles, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (I omitted due to not liking cilantro)
  • 1 dozen eggs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Heat large skillet on medium high heat. Add sausage and brown all around.
Add peppers and kale and cook to soften, about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, beat eggs with remaining ingredients.
Add sausage and veggies.
Line muffin tins with papers and divide egg mixture among them, filling about ¾ full.

Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the center is firm to the touch.

So, eat your breakfast, but don't eat breakfast! ; )

Mayo Clinic
Fast Paleo

Friday, May 10, 2013

Speaking of workout clothes ...

Relaxed Fit Crop PantSo, the other day I put up a picture that said that you are more likely to workout if you've already got your workout clothes on. I'm not sure that works for me! If I go to sleep with my workout clothes on, in hopes that it will make me want to get up and go for an early morning walk, I am still just going to hit the snooze button and tell myself, "Tomorrow... Zzzz." That's just me though. I've heard it really does work for other people. But me, not so much.

Light French Terry Hoodie VestFor me, the process of getting the workout clothes on is what really motivates me. It could be because I have to get up and get moving to do so. So, after I just get done putting them on, I am much less likely to just go lay back in bed or go back to sitting in front of the computer. I also have a nerdy tendency to imagine I'm part of some epic movie montage and I'm getting geared up for my big moment where I conquer my workout! ... But again, that's just me. And you should do whatever works! So whether that is going to sleep in your workout gear (or putting them on ahead of time) or imagining yourself in a movie, use what works!

As far as types of workout clothes, I am very much not into shorts. I don't really feel confident enough to show my thighs just yet. Plus, the types of workout that I do usually involve some kind of plyo action, and there is just too much jiggle for me to feel like that epic conqueror.  

Sweetheart Neck Racerback TankSo, I typically wear tights and a tank top for my indoor workouts and throw on a hoodie if I take it outside. I can't say I have tried many different brands, but I really love the Danskin brand. I just think that their clothes are comfortable, they're stylish, they fit well (hate when I buy something and it feels like it was made for one specific body type, which is usually not mine), they are affordable (they've always got their clothes on sale at WalMart) and they come in many fun different colors! They've got tops, bottoms, jackets, bras, leggings, and even bags! So, what's not to love?

If anyone has another brand that they really love or would like to recommend, I'd love to hear about it!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Workout Clothes for Motivation!

I know that I always feel a bit more ready, a bit more energized, when I get my workout gear on. Get those workout clothes on and get moving!!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Recipe: Honey Mustard Burgers and Sweet Potato Apple Mash

This is another one of the new recipes that I have tried recently. This one, very quickly, moved to the top of my list of favorite meals! I really wish I had doubled the recipe because the amount of mash that came from the recipe only lasted through one meal. The six burgers was fine, but I think I will double or triple the mash recipe next time. I'm also not that great at keeping burgers in one piece (not a lot of practice), so I didn't take any pictures of my own this time.

I really love this recipe from Civilized Caveman Cooking because the two different pieces go so well together. The mash is sweet and tart at the same time while the burgers are sweet and savory. It's a perfect combination. I also love this option because I can make burgers and not need a bun. I even think the mash could be used as a dessert or with pork chops too.



  • 2 Lbs Ground Beef
  • 1/2 Cup Honey
  • 1/2 Cup Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Tsp Sea Salt, 1 Tsp Pepper
For the Hash:
  • 2 Cups peeled, diced Sweet Potato
  • 1/2 Red Onion Diced
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple peeled, Diced
  • 1 Tbsp Cinnamon

 Cooking Steps

Taken from:

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine your ground beef, honey, dijon mustard, sea salt, and pepper.
2. Using your hands, mix the meat well to ensure an even coating.
3. Once mixed, make 6 patties about 1/2 inch thick and set on a plate.
4. Grill over medium high heat about 7-10 minutes on the first side and 5 minutes on the second side
    until done to your liking.
5. Serve over a bed of Sweet Potato Apple Hash below

For the Hash:

1. Preheat a skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Melt a cooking oil of your choice, I used coconut oil.
3. Add your apples and onions and saute until the onions start to caramelize.
4. Next add your sweet potatoes and saute for 2-3 minutes.
5. Now take some water and pour it into the skillet, mixing well, and ensure nothing is stuck to the
    bottom of the pan.
6. Cover the pan and let the water steam your potatoes.
** If after all your water has evaporated your potatoes still aren’t done, add more water and repeat.
7. Once done to your liking, turn off the heat and add the cinnamon and mix well, then plate.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

When Life Knocks You Down...

Recipe: Bacon and Vegetable Quiche

My husband has a habit of grabbing his breakfast on the run. Normally it is a bowl of oatmeal with different fixings, sometimes fruit, sometimes protein powder, sometimes peanut butter .... or even combining the three. He used to be hooked on cold cereals, all loaded with sugar and other artificial ingredients, but we haven't seen one of those boxes in our home for about two years. And he feels so much better now that he's starting his day out a little better.

However, sometimes the oatmeal can get a little boring. So I've been searching for suitable breakfast meals that I can have ready for him to just grab and go. I recently have come to appreciate quiches and was on the Fast Paleo website and came across one that I'll be sticking in my box of favorites!

It's called "Bacon and Vegetable Quiche" and is super yummy and filling, which is perfect for my husband. I tried it for the first time this week and he's been happy to have options in the morning. All he has to do is pull it out of the fridge, slice a piece, heat it up, and put it in his container to go!

So here's how you make it:


  • 12 eggs
  • 1 cup of bacon (I used more)
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach
  • 2 zucchinis
  • 1/2 white onion (I used a full onion)
  • Smidge of coconut oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • iPhone not needed unless you like music while cooking : )

Cooking Steps

1. Shred sweet potato, zucchini and carrots.  (I just chopped these finely)
2. Chop spinach, bacon and onion and add to vegetable mixture.
3. Combine.
4. Add eggs into combined vegetable and bacon mixture. Mix thoroughly.
5. Add salt and pepper – mix.
6. Rub oil over tray to avoid quiche sticking to the tray.  Pour    mixture onto the tray.

**Size of quiche depends on your own preference and portion intake.

Bake at 180 degrees for 45 minutes.
**A knife/toothpick is inserted and comes out clean the quiche is cooked.  
(Some reviews questioned whether the 180 degrees was Celcius or Fahrenheit and they said Fahrenheit, but at the end of the cooking time it still wasn't done. So I put it on 350 degrees and cooked another half hour.)

Set and allow quiche to cool before cutting.

**Vegetable selection is based on what I had in the fridge, but it is entirely up to you! Tastes great with the bacon, or smoked salmon for those who don’t eat bacon – for vegetarians, the quiche on its own also tastes great! 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Product Review: Fitness Blender

I may have been a little MIA on the blog these last few weeks, but I haven't been slacking off! I have gotten a bunch of new workout DVDs (and websites) and have been trying them out. I am so excited to review this one because it has quickly become my favorite source for a good workout!

It's called Fitness Blender and you can find them at Fitness Blender is made up of a married couple, Kelli and Daniel, who create workouts that you do in your own home with little to no equipment. They don't have a fancy studio or a production team or anything, but their videos are very professionally put together in their home studio (garage). Typically, Kelli does the workout and Daniel narrates, but I've seen some videos with Daniel being the model too. I thought I would prefer Kelli describing the workout as she does it (similar to Lisa Marie in BodyRock), but it's much more organized and thorough with Daniel doing it behind the scenes. He's supportive and encourages you to give your all, but doesn't make you feel rushed. He also offers tips on proper form as you go along.

Daniel and Kelli
I like the format more than even some of the BeachBody or Jillian Michaels workouts because it shows a preview of each move that is coming up, so you have time to prepare and can jump right in when the timer starts instead of trying to catch up as you learn the move. It also has a scale on the side of the screen that tracks an average calories burned, for those of you who don't have a heart rate monitor. (I have found that my calories burned rides on the lower end of the scale each time, but I also take more breaks than they do!). On the other side of the screen is an indicator scale from 1 to 5 where they rate the difficulty of the full workout. So that's a good tool to utilize if you're trying to decide which workout you want that day.

Another great aspect of this website is that it has a search tool. So you can refine your search based on exercise type (functional, strength, toning, balance, flexibility, cardiovascular, plyometric, isometric) or by muscle group (you name it, they got it). You also have the ability to type in a keyword to search for something in particular, like their famous "Epic 1,000 calorie burn workout at home".

Did I say 1,000 calorie burn workout? Yes, I believe I did. They have two of these actually. Both are about 85 minutes long and include warm up, cardio/HIIT, strength training, stretch, abs, and cool down. I have to say that my curiosity won out over intimidation and I gave this workout a try and LOVED it! It is challenging, for sure, but I was able to keep up or modify so I still got in a great burn. You can modify to make most moves easier or harder, depending on your fitness level. And at the end, if you followed along, I can guarantee that you will feel completely drained but also amazing at the same time!

Not all of the workouts are over an hour though; some of the videos are even just ten minutes long, like some of the ab videos. It depends on what you are looking for. I really feel like they have taken a creative approach to the workouts too, as they don't incorporate just the same old boring moves that you see in many of the workout DVDs nowadays. Many, if not most, of the moves that they have in their workouts are ones that I've never seen before. They're variations of the old stand-by's, sure, but the little variations make them fun.

Each workout also comes with a description of what equipment you'll need and which exercises will be performed and you can even print this out to take with you or to use another time to record reps or weight or whatever you like. 

In addition to the full workouts, the website also includes videos on how to perform individual exercises properly. Again, it has the search tool so you can find whichever exercise you want easily. Then there are tabs for different articles on exercise, nutrition, health, weight loss, and even recipes. If you're looking to buy equipment, the website has a store tab. You can also learn more about the Fitness Blender duo and support them by making a donation. They even say that they are willing to create custom workouts for donations of certain denominations.

To sum up:

Pros - 

  • You choose how long your workout is
  • Tons of workouts to choose from
  • Search tool to find the workout you want
  • Organized and professionally made videos
  • Calorie burn bar
  • Degree of difficulty scale for choosing workouts
  • FREE
  • Printable worksheets
  • Chart to show what equipment is needed
  • Tips on proper form and encouragement throughout videos

Cons - 

  • I wish they had a timer to show how much time is left in the total workout 
  • Have to play the video on a computer or device with Internet access
It's easy to see why I love Fitness Blender. Since I do all my workouts at home anyway, having to do them on my computer is not a problem for me. It actually might even be easier because of how we have our living room arranged currently.

So those are my thoughts. I highly recommend you go out and try them. I am sure you will find at least one or two workouts that you just can't help but love! And if you like them and want to share the love, go ahead and donate or spread the word about the site so they can keep giving us these awesome workouts! 

Find Fitness Blender: