Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ending a Chapter

Today at 10:30am, I was officially finished with my last final and finished with my college career! Wow! So much has happened in the last four years, I feel a need to recap some highlights from my time spent in college.
First, here's a pretty picture of little Durango-town, which has been my home for 3 out of the last 4 years. 

This is me and one of my very best friends, Melissa. We met my freshman year of college, she's from Arizona and had never seen a heavy snow storm until moving to Durango!

My sophomore year: camping in between Durango and Silverton.

During the winter me and my roommate, Vanessa, ingeniously heated up cookies on our space-heater :)

Also during my sophomore year, I visited my best childhood friend, Angela, in LA for spring break. Here we are playing frisbee on the beach in March!

Then I was lucky enough to spend my junior year in Spain. The picture above is from La Rioja region of the Basque country. 

The faithful gang on Halloween in Vitoria, Spain.

Here's me and my mom in Granada, Spain, where I spent my second semester. Above us is the famous Alhambra Palace. 

My two best girls, Colleen and Olivia, and me on the beach in Lagos, Portugal. One of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. 

Last but not least, Westin and me at the top of Hogsback in Durango during my senior year. 

It's been the best experience of my life to go to college! I have met lifelong friends, traveled across the world and learned so much, not only in school, but about myself!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Catching up

It's been a while since I've posted anything...eerrr, sorry about that! Last week was pretty hectic with school; I had papers to finish and books to read. But it's all (almost) coming to an end! I have one more test tomorrow and then I'm free from college for as long as I wish! :) It's exciting and strange! The past four years have gone by a lot faster than I thought they would and especially these last two feel like they've flown by.
Graduation is just a few short days away and then the days of full-time work begin :) As if school isn't full-time work!

I meant to continue with a WIAW post this past week, but Wednesday turned out to be my busiest day of the week and it just didn't happen. So I'm gonna share a whole bunch of pictures today of the fun, in the sun, I had this weekend and some of my daily eats.

A couple days this past week I made some protein pancakes with a side of PR2 and some frozen berries that I heated up and mashed to make a sticky, chunky, fruity syrup. Super filling breakfast!

I've been snacking on Kind bars and am LOVING them! My favorite so far is Coconut and Almond, it tastes just like an Almond Joy, minus the chocolate...but surprisingly, I didn't even miss the chocolate. That's when you know it's good!

  Tuna has been on my plate, or in my bowl, a lot lately. For one, I love tuna! And two, it's so inexpensive and ridiculously filling. Best bang for your buck! Here I had a salad and topped it with tuna mixed with fresh salsa and a little lemon juice.

As you can see I've been eating while doing homework a lot! This was a delicious bowl of black beans and rice with cheese, seasoned well with garlic and cumin :)

The weather has been unseasonably warm in Southwestern Colorado and it has been nice to be able to break out my bike and use it for errands and joyrides. As you can see, the trees are blooming beautifully and the bike path smelled so sweetly of spring!

What's your favorite part of spring?


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

WIAW Birthday Edition

I'm back for another What I Ate Tuesday Wednesday! This post happens to be special because it was my birthday yesterday! The big 22! :) I was unfortunately really terrible at taking pictures of what I ate, so I'm sorry that it's going to be lacking in photos!

As usual, I started my morning off with a protein shake and some fruit, an apple, before I hit the gym.
Then after my shoulder circuit + cardio, I ate a small bowl of peanut butter and banana oatmeal and 2 eggs.

For my morning snack, I cheated a bit (it was my birthday!) and ate a raspberry-cornmeal muffin from a local bakery...I totally forgot to take a picture, but it was oh so good!

Lunch was a taco salad of sorts.

Mixed greens with rice, ground beef and some cheese with EVOO and hot sauce for dressing...yummy!

Once again, I didn't take a picture of my afternoon snack, but it was trail mix. I don't buy trail mix very often and it seems like I always forget why I don't buy it...it's because it's so addicting!! It's hard to just have 1 handful of trail mix, almost impossible actually.

Then I was also a bad kid and didn't take a picture of my b-day dinner. I went out with some friends to a mexican restaurant for Taco Tuesday! $2 tacos is a hard deal to beat! I had two carne asada tacos in corn tortillas.
Of course birthday dessert came next and they brought me the most ridiculous dessert ever! A sopapillla filled with ice cream and topped with strawberry sauce! I should've taken a picture of that monster! It was soo good!
With all the sugar in me, I was definitely not hungry the rest of the night!

And that was my WIAW...I will admit, I lacked in the veggie department yesterday, oops! Gonna have to make up for that one today!


I would also like to share a couple items I received for my birthday. Since I was home a little over a week ago, my mom gave me my presents then, one of them being a metal necklace that says "In dog we trust" on one side and the other had a cut out of a dog. It's so cute!
She also gave me some "prayer" flags, but they aren't actually the Tibetan prayer flags, they are from a local artist and each flag has a different picture relating to gardening and summer!
This one's my favorite:

How cute is that?! :)

Then yesterday, I had flowers delivered to me by my thoughtful boyfriend!

They are so pretty and perfect for spring! Good job, babe!
And since we live in different parts of the state, he send a little note saying he wished he could be with me :) (awwww!)

That's all for today! Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Monday oatmeal!

Ever since I watched that 60 minutes segment about the dangers of sugar (I wrote about here), I have been trying to be conscious about my sugar intake, especially in the morning. Since I workout in the morning, many days I have the attitude that I can eat as much sugar as I want in the AM. NOT true! Although it is better to eat sweets and heavy carbs earlier in the day, so you can use those extra calories during your day, it's not an excuse to go crazy....which I have been known to do.

Two important things I've changed in the past week are my oatmeal and coffee. Usually I add some type of sugar/sweetener to both and I've changed that habit. For the oats, it's really not so hard, now I'm just cooking the banana in the oatmeal, so the natural sugars release and I can still have sweet oats. :)
The coffee doesn't have much of a substitute that I know of, but then again, I'm not sure why I added sugar to my coffee in the first place because I love the taste of coffee.

Today, I did add something a little sweet to my morning oats...but I consider it a stroke of genius more than anything!
Introducing trail mix oatmeal!!

See! You think I'm a genius too! What could be better than oatmeal and trail mix?! I love both of those things and they go so well together!

Here's what you need:

1/3 cup uncooked oatmeal (I use thick rolled oats)
3/4 cup water (or milk)
1 medium banana
a handful of trail mix (I didn't measure)
2 Tbsp peanut butter or PB2 for topping!

Cook the oatmeal, with the banana, according to the instructions or how you prefer (I personally like to cook my oats in water and then add a dash of milk afterwards). You may need to mash up the banana a bit during cooking, depending on if you want chunks, but it also helps the natural sugars break down. When the oatmeal is done cooking, add the trail mix just before you transfer to a bowl (or just out of the microwave if that's how you cooked it), if you add the trail mix while the oats are cooking, not only will the colored candies bleed their colors, but the nuts will get a little soft...and that's no good.
Then smother the top with peanut butter of your choice and devour!

I just got done eating this and trust me, it's good!

Do you watch how much sugar you eat? What's your favorite type of trail mix?

Quinoa Burgers

Happy Easter!! (this was suppose to be posted yesterday but I had some issues with Google)

I would like to share a recipe I made a few days ago with some leftovers. It's high in protein and healthy carbs to keep you full and energized!

But first I would like to recap my gluten-free two weeks. I have to say that the first week I was really diligent and stayed away from gluten like it was the plague! But then I spent the weekend up in Fort Collins, with the boyfriend and it was inevitable that we decided to go to my favorite restaurant Lucile's! I told myself it was perfectly okay to cheat that morning because Lucile's is simply the best!                                                           

To my surprise, I didn't have any digestive issues what-so-ever that day or the next! That was pleasing, so for the rest of the second week, I avoided gluten, but admit that I cheated some.

The verdict is that I don't think gluten causes me any specific problems, but I did notice I felt much less bloated and overall "lighter" on the days I was completely off gluten. Here's an example of my "before" stomach and an "after" one week completely off gluten.

                                                         "After" 1 week off gluten

I would definitely say I saw a difference in the amount of bloating over my abs with the comparison. So I'm keeping that in mind and have been still actively avoiding gluten-dense foods, such as bread and pasta.

Now on to the recipe!

Here's what you need:
(makes 2 patties)

1/3 cup cooked quinoa
1/3 cup cooked/drained garbanzo beans
1 Tbsp flax seed
1 egg white (or 1 whole egg)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp parsley
dash of both cumin and cayenne

Place all the ingredients minus the egg in a food processor and blend until it forms a paste.

Then add the egg and mix by hand until well combined. Form the sticky mixture into two patties and cook in an oiled skillet (covered) about four minutes each side.

If you decided to put cheese on top, like I did, add the cheese after you've flipped the patties and with only about a minute left to cook.

Enjoy with a side of veggies for a well proportioned meal! :)

Have you ever tried a gluten-free diet?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Danger of Sugar

If you like scary movies, you should watch this!!...well you should watch it even if you don't like scary movies, but it's definitely scary!! It's a portion of a 60 minutes segment they did about the dangers of added sugars in our everyday lives.

As Americans, we get added sugars in almost all packaged and processed foods and the effects are scary! Childhood obesity is a serious problem and it's all because of the recent phenomena of processed and packaged food products; I'm sure if you asked your grandparents if they ever thought childhood obesity and diabetes would be a problem they would say, "never in a million years!". 
But our generations now are different and many families do not even know where their food comes from and there are kids in the United States who have never even seen a real live cow in person before! That's insane!

Choosing whole foods and being conscious of sugar intake can make a drastic difference in your everyday life, you will not only be naturally skinnier, but your skin will look better and you won't suffer from mood swings associated with high and low blood sugar.

So once again, please watch this video and be informed on what you are eating and how you can eliminate added sugars from your daily life...cause it could save your life!

Extra reading:



Cardio day

Today was only cardio for my workout... the days I usually dread! I'm a weirdo and I really like to be in the weight room, pumpin' some iron! Cardio is usually just so boring to me, so today for my (close to) hour of cardio I decided to switch things up to avoid boredom!

I started off with 20 mins on the elliptical and used it to warm up my body and get my heart pumping. I set the machine to the "fat loss" interval, which does easy intervals that kept my heart rate at about 150 bpm, but didn't get my legs burning.

Then I moved on to some HIIT for 10 mins. I did 2 rounds of (5) exercises at 50 seconds ON and 10 seconds REST, it looked like this:
10 sec rest
50 sec kettlebell diagonal chop rightside
10 sec rest
50 sec kettlebell diagonal chop leftside
10 sec rest
50 sec kettlebell swing right arm
10 sec rest
50 sec kettlebell swing left arm
10 sec rest
50 sec running reptile plank

That's one round.
I used a 20lb kettlebell for the first 4 exercises and didn't take a break between rounds.

Then I hit the treadmill for 22 mins of running; doing some steady intervals, I was able to run 2.80 miles in that amount of time, which is about a 7:50 min mile. It felt really good! Here's what my intervals looked like:

Time (min) Speed (mph)
0-5 7
5-10 8
10-12 7
12-15 8
15-17 7
17-20 8
20-22 8.5

I finished with some stretching, which my calves desperately needed, re-hydrated and went home to eat some oatmeal, per usual :)
Adding the little bit of HIIT training into my cardio day really helped me stay focused and actually energized me for the run...there's just something about swinging weights around that gets me excited!

Do you like cardio or weight training better?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday!

This is my first ever "What I ate Wednesday", which is pretty much an idea a food blogger started to unite foodies from all over the blogging-world! How neat is that?!

Every month there is a different theme to WIAW and this month is adding an extra cup of veggies into your daily life...I can dig that!

Since it's Wednesday, I'm technically going to write about what I ate Tuesday but that's no biggie, it's not like there are rules to WIAW!

The morning started off with a scoop of chocolate protein powder in about 16 oz of water and a handful of blackberries.

Then it was off to the gym for a morning workout of arms and abs circuit training + 20 minutes of cardio.
Post-workout I ate some overnight, mason jar oatmeal: 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1 banana, chia seeds, sliced almonds, cinnamon and some peanut butter (of course!).

Which I ate outside. :)

Then I had a snack around 11am during homework time: greek yogurt with backberries and a cup of coffee.

I ate lunch a couple hours later, just before I had class, which consisted of baked chicken seasoned with smoked paprika, quinoa and a big salad with some almonds and apple cider vinegar on top. 

This was a filling lunch, but I was already hungry by the time I got out of class two hours later, so when I got home I made a little more oatmeal with frozen strawberries...I was almost done eating it when I realized I should take a picture!

One of my friends got accepted into grad school for the fall, so we went out during happy hour to celebrate! I just had coffee and some of the delicious dessert that was ordered (I'll admit it was me who proposed dessert), I didn't take a picture of it, but it's probably better that way, you'd be running to find some chocolate after seeing it! It was a brownie sundae with chocolate ice cream and whipped cream on top! Soooo good and I'm seriously glad it was split between four people!

Then I came home and got dinner cooking while I did more homework. I made a carrot/asparagus soup with brown rice and topped it with avocado. 

 How's that for extra veggies!

Soup recipe to come! It's a simple soup, in making and in flavor and I'm glad I made rice to go with it because it wasn't very dense. I adapted it from an asparagus soup recipe, but didn't have enough to make a full pot of soup, so I added carrots as well!

I finished the night off with some tea and inspirational Youtube videos :)

Be Flavorful!