The long and winding road to fitness, day 133

I had a much-needed and well deserved day off work today.  I slept in…until 6 am, if you can believe that!  Then I just stayed in bed reading until closer to 7 am.  Finally got up and fed the cats, made toast and juice, took that upstairs and read Sunday’s newspaper while eating breakfast.  What a pleasure to be able to take my time getting ready for the day.

I did walk for 20 minutes.  I went to a little park in the neighborhood.  It’s hard to believe that I’ve lived here for ten years and have never stopped  at that park.  I’m definitely going to go back, with camera in hand.  There was a lady playing with two large dogs in a field, nice walking trails, playground equipment, tennis courts, picnic tables, shelter houses.  I had no idea that the park was so nice.  So that was a fun experience.

I also did some lower body strength training and range of motion exercises for my shoulder.  I was surprised that my shoulder wasn’t bothering me more today.  I did a lot of heavy lifting over the past couple of days at work…and the boxes are often too big for me to comfortably wrap my arms around (yes, that’s because I’m short…not much I can do about that).  But my shoulder didn’t feel any worse today than it does any other day.

I eventually went out to the gas station to spend way too much money on gas.  How is it that gas prices can jump over 25 cents in one day?  Oh, I don’t think you want me to get started on my answer to that question.  I also ran into CVS to pick up a couple of things that were on sale…

With coupons added to the sale prices and a $2 ECB, I ended up spending less than $1 for these items.  Don’t you love saving money on things you use anyhow?

I did finally bake the squash I bought a few weeks ago.

I also cleaned and baked the squash seeds…

Makes for a quick, easy, salt-free treat.  Have you ever roasted pumpkin or squash seeds?  What seasonings do you use?  I used a little olive oil and garlic powder for these.  I also like Cajun seasoning.  Okay, now I’m off to eat some squash for my dinner.  Hey, how about that…that’s a vegetable…or is it a fruit?  Well, no matter, at least it’s healthier than fast food, right?

The long and winding road to fitness, day 124

I hate to be a downer, but I’m afraid that’s what I’m going to be tonight.  I had the weekend off work and didn’t really accomplish a lot.  I had lots of things planned, but only managed to get a few of them done.  I’ve got to snap out of this funk I’ve been in lately.  Okay, I know what I need to do is simply do the things I know I need to do…no matter whether or not I want to do them, whether or not I feel like doing them, whether or not I’m in the mood to do them.  It’s like exercise, you may not be in the mood to do it, but if you just start you’ll usually find yourself feeling better and better as you go along (not always, believe me, I know that). 

I didn’t bake the kale chips I intended to bake today.  I did kind of clean the kitchen though.  And I have my lunch and snacks prepared for tomorrow.  Unfortunately tomorrow starts super early…5 am again, blah!  So I really need to try to get to bad early tonight…try being the operative word…it’s not easy to go to sleep on demand, well, unless you’re a teenager, then you can usually sleep for 16 out of 24 hours every day.  Ahh…those were the days and we were too young to realize it!

And Halloween is coming…do you buy the candy early?  Aren’t you afraid you’ll eat it and then just have to go out and buy more?  Or do you buy candy that you don’t really like?  Hmm…now there’s a thought…oh…now if only I could come across a candy I didn’t like…

Jack-o-latern

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The long and winding road to fitness, day 123

Oops…I skipped blogging about my journey for a few days…the truth is I haven’t been doing all I could over the past few days (weeks) to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  I’ve been eating too much, exercising too little, not getting enough sleep, not dealing well with stress.  But I’m not giving up…no siree, not me.

On that note, I did do quite a bit of walking today and I pulled out my crock pot and cooked an inexpensive cut of beef with sweet potatoes, carrots, red potatoes and onion.  Oh my, the house still smells wonderful and the meal was delish!  I think that’ll be my lunch at work for the first part of the work week.  I also bought some kale to bake up a batch of kale chips.  I think those things just might be addictive.

I guess the title is quite descriptive of this journey…the road is long, winding, lots of hills, sometimes there’s rain or snow to battle.  But through it all, I’m going to just keep putting one foot in front of the other, moving forward, slow as the pace may be.

a slow cooker Oval Crock Pot

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The long and winding road to fitness, day 111

Another day without a lot of good fitness news to report…darn it!  I didn’t get anywhere close to enough sleep last night.  Holy moly, these crazy kids (sounded drunk, or something, to me) pulled up in front of the building next to mine.  Loud, obnoxious arguments going on, shoving and screaming by the girls (what’s with that?  is it like, supposed to be attractive to the drunk guys?), a lot of cussing by all of them (my mom would have beat me half to death if I ever talked that way, she wouldn’t have cared if I was an adult or not).  This went on for probably 20 minutes, then they went inside for a while, then came out and picked up where they left off.  I couldn’t believe the cops didn’t show up.  Like everyone else, I expected someone else to call, and apparently no one bothered.  They finally cleared out around 5 am after an hour of this nonsense.

I got up and went in to work to do payroll.  I was shocked.  This week’s was one of the easiest I’ve done in quite some time, not a lot of missed punches.  And it didn’t hurt that I’d kept up on it all week.  So I made it out of there before we opened!  I stopped at Kroger and bought the Sunday newspaper…and a Digiorno pizza…what?  How did that thing get in my cart?  I think it must have jumped in while I was looking at the oj.  Anyhow, what I’m getting at is that I had pizza for lunch…bad Patti, very bad Patti…but pretty good pizza for a frozen pizza.

I did make the minestrone soup (http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=246310).  I am going to steal a line I read on another blog today (from Cassie at BackToHerRoots)…”I bastardized the hell” out of that recipe.  She had me laughing while I was reading her blog about making peanut butter Nutella cookies.  Then, while I was trying to find all of the ingredients for the minestrone and not having much luck, I realized I was getting ready to do the same thing to that minestrone recipe.  I was shocked to discover that I didn’t have any canned red or white beans (used black beans instead), thought I had an onion only to find out it wasn’t good any longer so I used canned tomatoes with onion in them, had no vegetable broth so subbed beef broth (kind of changes the entire taste of the recipe, but still…), had no celery so used celery salt and then didn’t add the salt that the recipe called for, then I quadrupled the amount of a lot of the veggies (zucchini, green beans, carrots), used kale instead of spinach and used a lot of it.  Used whole wheat penne pasta (I really like the taste and texture of whole wheat pasta).  I used one can of black beans and one can of corn instead of the two cans of beans that the recipe called for.  So…not sure if Olive Garden would recognize this minestrone, but it still tastes terrific~

Not very good lighting for the picture…but you can see what I’ve done…now that’s my dinner for the week.  Ought to be good for at least a couple of servings of veggies.

I still didn’t feel like getting outside and doing anything and that’s a shame because it was another gorgeous day.  So…still no pictures of the lovely fall leaves, no pictures of the geese on the pond, but I do have a cute picture that is kind of fitting for the Halloween season…

Poor little Spook with her Halloween costume on…she was so funny…she didn’t much like it but she had me laughing as she fought it.  Just so you don’t think I was abusing her, I didn’t leave it on her long and she attacked it as soon as I got it off of her.

Have you ever dressed your pets up for Halloween?  Did they like it?

The long and winding road to fitness, day 110

Cucurbita moschata 'Butternut'. Original descr...

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How pleasant to have a day off work and have the weather be amazingly gorgeous.  I went out to the farmers market this morning, bought a butternut squash and some other cute little squash (I can’t remember the name of it, but take my word for it, it’s cute!). I also bought a bunch of kale to use in my minestrone tomorrow.  Whatever’s left over, I’ll bake as kale chips.  Think I’ll flavor them with some garlic this time.  There were really a lot of people at the farmers market for an October Saturday.  Of course, the weather might have had a little to do with that. 

I wanted to go out for a drive and take some pictures, but I just didn’t feel up to it.  I’m still feeling kind of sick to my stomach and tired.  So I decided to just kind of take it easy today.  I went through my coupon files and got rid of all of the expired coupons and cut out the coupons from the flyers that were kind of piling up.  I gathered a bunch to take to work to share with my co-workers.  There are so many coupons that I have no use for, but I hate to just throw them away.  So sharing them with the people I work with is my answer to that.

I hate to admit this, but I did no exercising today other than the walking around at the farmers market, and that was more of a stroll.  Well, I say no exercise, but I guess I can count the range of motion exercises and stretching as something.

My eating was, once again, just okay.  Not enough veggies and only two fruits for the day.  I’ve got to make that minestrone tomorrow to up my intake of veggies.  If I can find the link to the recipe (I’m pretty sure I found it on SparkPeople.com),  I’ll try to post  it tomorrow.  If you like the minestrone at Olive Garden, you’d like this recipe.

I’m going to have to go in to work for a little while tomorrow morning to do payroll (yeah, I guess that’s somewhat important) and exercise my creative abilities (ahem) in putting together an ad board and then send a picture of it to the district manager.  I also need to make sure they do a good job with the ad set.  All in all, I’m hoping to finish in 3 hours or so and then get out of there and enjoy the rest of my weekend off.  Who knows, maybe tomorrow I’ll feel like taking some pictures.

I wanted to share this picture of a pumpkin that our floral designer created as a way to honor breast cancer survivors (and those, like my mom, who lost the battle).  My mom is never far from my thoughts. 

The long and winding road to fitness, day 95

Rostfri vattenkittel för Modernum, 1954

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I must say today was a much better day for me than yesterday was.  No corporate people showed up at my house to give me a hard time…ha!  I slept in until…oh…5:30 or so…got up, fed the cats, put the tea kettle on, fixed breakfast and sat down at the computer for an hour or thereabouts.  Quite peaceful.

I made a small pot of turkey chili…probably four servings altogether.  It was really easy to throw together.  I had some turkey in the freezer that I’d shaped into patties when I bought it, so I pulled out a couple of those, threw them in the pot with some diced onion.  Once that was all good and browned, I opened a can of chili beans and a can of tomato sauce, mixed all of that together, added a little water and some chili powder.  Cooked for a while, then added some pasta (now don’t go crazy here, I’m from southern Indiana, not Texas…we always put pasta in our chili and I’m not changing that…I like it that way).

Okay, so I didn’t really make this like my mom used to…she always used elbow macaroni.  I didn’t happen to have any elbow macaroni, but I had some whole wheat pasta and figured it would serve the same purpose.  And it did…this was pretty good and I was able to make a small enough amount of it so that I’m not going to have to eat it for the next 30 days…just kidding…more like 2 weeks, but you get what I’m trying to say, right?  So, I also didn’t have any saltine crackers in my house (I’m going to remedy that tomorrow) so I subbed flaxseed crackers…hmm…not such a great substitute…not terrible, but it definitely didn’t evoke memories of my childhood down on the farm…wonder if Grandma even knew what flaxseed was?!

As I was sitting here writing this, I realized I haven’t eaten anything since that bowl of chili while watching Days Of Our Lives (holy moly, did you see that Jack is coming back?!)…could be why I’m hungry.  I’m thinking a bowl of cereal and a banana sounds pretty good.

I didn’t do a lot of anything today…a couple loads of laundry, vacuumed the whole house, changed sheets on the bed,  and made that pot of chili…a nice, fairly lazy day after that corporate fiasco yesterday…forget about it, Patti…I’m sure they’ve forgotten all about you~

I crock pot, do you?

I love my trusty old crock pot…and when I say “old” that’s exactly what I mean.  This thing is seriously old, but still works like a charm.

I’ve been looking at newer crock pots, but darn it, this one still works just fine.  No, it’s not digital or programmable, but it does what I need a crock pot to do…effortlessly cook for me.  So, I’m going to hold on to this one for at least a while longer.

Today I decided to prepare vegetable beef soup in my crock pot.  Talk about an easy meal (or week’s worth of meals in my case).  I diced up some new potatoes, tossed in about a fourth of an onion, diced.  Grabbed a bag of stewing beef from the freezer ( I buy this when it’s on sale, divide the package up into two or three smaller packages, and freeze), plopped the meat on top of the potatoes and onion.  Then the really easy part…I went to the pantry and picked out a few cans of veggies…I choose green beans, corn, and tomatoes.  Sometimes I’ll throw in peas and carrots, I just didn’t happen to have any carrots today.  It doesn’t really matter which veggies you use, this soup is going to be good.  I did add one can of low sodium (I forgot to mention that all of the veggies I buy are low-sodium) low-fat  beef broth and enough water to cover.  Turned the crock pot on high and let it do the rest of the work for me.

I dipped this bowl out because I was starving (fancy that, I’ve eaten very little today and actually was experiencing hunger…wow!).  Then I added a handful of whole wheat orzo (sometimes I use rice, pasta, whatever…sometimes just the veggies and meat) and put the lid back on to cook some more…how’s this for a great way for me to eat my veggies?  This is one of the things I love about fall…it’s soup time again!