Sunday, December 20, 2009

Who needs the gym when you’ve got snow?

Not that I could have made it to the gym with the amount of snow that I had piled on my car. Let’s just say 2 hours of digging your car out, moving it, getting stuck, pushing it out, and helping the nice people who helped you get out of their spots constitutes as some kick ass exercise for the day. Phew! I’m beat!

Oh yeah, next time you decide to try to dig your car out of a snow cover, remember to have a shovel. We couldn’t find a store in the area that had anymore shovels, so I used a bucket, another girl used the cover to a Rubbermaid tub, and another girl had a broom. We were all from upstate NY: They were from Buffalo and Rochester, so we should have known better. What were we thinking?

Needless to say, that was my workout for the day. I will very much enjoy my Sunday pizza (we found some frozen “Authentic NY Pizza Dough—made in Brooklyn” so I can’t wait to give it a shot)

real ny pizza dough logo

But before I get into pizza making mode, I wanted to talk a little about the gym and trying to keep in shape through the winter. I don’t typically put on much weight over the winter months but I will admit that my workout schedule dwindles to one or two times a week due to many factors, with snow being the biggest one.

I don’t know about you, but when I bust my ass to shovel out a parking spot, I am not ready to give it up to the next a-hole that will come in and claim it with a garbage can or orange parking cone. Yes, this happens, especially in Boston. We had so many parking issues when we lived there and I never wanted to get home too late (hence I went straight home from work to get a spot) and I never wanted to leave once I got there. I would try to get out and walk in the snow as much as I could but then it would turn to ice, which was more dangerous than anything else. I spent a lot of time in the winter months being very depressed because I felt like a prisoner to the weather.

So when this winter rolled around, I decided I’m not going to let it get the best of me. I will work through the shorter days and the snow covered parking spots to be sure that I get my workouts in and keep myself sane.

Last week I went to the gym for 2 workouts – a Sunday long run and a mid-week sprint. Long runs on the treadmill suck, so to make it more bearable I broke it up into 2 heats, with lifting in between. I ran 5 miles first at an easy pace (9:30ish), then spent 15-20 minutes lifting and doing ab work, and then I ran 3 more miles at a quick 8:20 pace. I was trying to go for a negative split, and it really kicked my ass. I felt good until the last mile when my body started to hurt, but I pushed through it and stretched for about 10 minutes after I was done.

The problem with running on the treadmill is that I honestly feel like it hurts me more than running on the ground. I took two days off because my FOOT (arg!!) started bothering me. I haven’t had problems with my foot since the end of summer so I knew I needed to give myself a break from the treadmill for a few days.

My sprint workout was a little nicer to me. I spent 20 minutes on the elliptical, 15 minutes lifting, and 20 minutes on the treadmill running more of a tempo run at an 8:45 pace.

Breaking it up is key for me. I get so bored on the elliptical…20 minutes is my max. And since I know the treadmill hurts me, I won’t be able to run more than 5 miles on it. And let’s be honest, who wants to run more than that on a treadmill anyway?

Almond Flour

After HEAB received a package from a friend that contained almond flour, I immediately started asking questions about it. What exactly is it? How does it compare to regular flour? Is it good?

It’s just ground up almonds. From the research I conducted, almond ‘meal’, which is less fine than almond flour, is much easier to find in stores, and can be used in conjunction with, not as a replacement to, regular flour. Kind of like whole wheat flour, it will absorb more water and not form the same consistency as a recipe that calls for regular flour.

I decided to try making some bread with it, but what started out as a loaf of innocent pumpkin bread turned into a crazy concoction of Dark Chocolate Banana Pumpkin Spice bread.

In a bowl, I combined:

  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp each of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice
  • 1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 very ripe mashed bananas
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp dark chocolate powder

I baked it in a Pam greased bread pan for an hour at 350* and here’s what I got:

choco bread1

It tastes almost like a chocolate spice muffin. The almond meal gives it more of a gritty texture than a cake texture, but I liked it. If you like sweet, add some sugar or sweetener of your choice. I didn’t add any because I thought the banana would sweeten it. I would add 2 more bananas next time I make it for the added sweetness but other than that I thought it was good. I spread some coconut oil on top. Yum!

Since it’s a short week this week, I didn’t make a Slow Cooker Sunday recipe. I have plenty in the freezer to hold me over for the next three lunches. Lucky for me I have Christmas Eve off, which is probably when I’ll be fighting the crowds to get the last of my shopping done. <sigh> If I could have trusted the roads here (and didn’t want to fight to lose the parking spot I spent 2 hours digging out of) I would have done it this weekend. Oh well. The words of a true procrastinator.

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