Friday, May 31, 2019

What I'm Reading This Week #22

Happy Friday all!  As usual, the short week proves the most irritating of them all.  I'm ready for a restful weekend but sadly, that won't be this one.

So let's just get to...

This Is What Happens to Your Body When You Sit All Day   (Yep, all of these.)

6 Cognitive Distortions That Could Be Fueling Your Anxious Thoughts  (Be gone, mind traps!)

50 Worst Ways to Lose Weight   (True dat)

I Was Fit, Ate Healthy, and Still Had a Stroke at 41. Here's What I Wish I Had Known 
(And now you can.)

Dear 'Fat' Mom/Friend/Family Member: It's Time to Go to the Doctor   (We had one of those and with each new doc we see, feel the compulsive need to tell them upfront about our weight loss because we need them to know we're not your 'stereotypical fat person.')

50 Health Tips That Will Make You Feel 20 Years Younger  (My personal favorite is streaking.)

I Tried a 30-Minute Stretch Class, and Let Me Tell You, You're Not Stretching Enough 
(It's true.  We stretch for 10-15 minutes after each workout and it's still not enough.)

All the Ways Google Tracks You—And How to Stop It  (Word)

AACK!  Cathy Guisewite made a wildly successful comic strip by and for women but...  (Really interesting article for Cathy comic fans.  I think, as usual, these days, the criticisms take it too far.  I grew up with it and it didn't affect me more than the women around me saying the same things did.)

This couple's secret to a 79-year marriage? Sharing a...  (Aww, how sweet!)

Monday we've got some workers coming to do a job on the patio so we need to find a way to get things out of their way.  We've got some medical crap we're trying to get squared away and it's just all irritating but fingers crossed when it's all straightened out we've got a better situation than we had 2 1/2 months ago.  Sunday we start our Transform 20/LIIFT4 hybrid for the month of June.  Yay.  😬

What do y'all have planned for the weekend?

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Thursday, May 30, 2019

Food Review: Anthony's Nutritional Yeast Flakes

Nutritional yeast is one of those things I used to buy, use once, forget about then shove to the back of the pantry and find when it's expired.  I've seen the error of my old ways.  First off, what the heck is nutritional yeast?  Nutritional yeast is similar to the yeast that people use to bake, but it undergoes a heating and drying process that makes it inactive.  Nutritional yeast is dairy-free and typically gluten-free.  It can be a supplement for people with food allergies, and those on restricted diets.  It's also low in fat and contains no soy or sugar.  

After a bit of research, I chose this one...

Here's the nutritional information.  Note the protein and fiber and all of those awesome B vitamins ...score!  (See note at the bottom regarding dosing)

I've gotta say, it's nice to have a company with a sense of humor too.

Here's what it looks like in case you've never seen it before.  It almost looks like potato flakes.

But how does it taste and how the heck do you use it?

Nutritional yeast tastes like a healthier version of cheese puff dust for lack of a better description.  I use it to toss on plain fresh popped popcorn to make it taste like cheddar which the Mr loved.  I sprinkle it on rice or quinoa for a cheesy taste.  You can toss some in with almond flour or panko breadcrumbs to make a nice breading for chicken or zucchini fries.  There are tons of great recipes out there like here and here.

There are a ton of benefits from the B12 boosting your energy, it supports your immune system, may improve glucose sensitivity, promotes healthy nails, skin, and hair and supports a healthy pregnancy with the folic acid.  So you can see it's a nutritional powerhouse.  However, it may not suitable for everyone.

It is recommended that people with IBD, glaucoma, those with higher risks of gout and hypertension avoid using nutritional yeast because it could worsen their symptoms.  Obviously, people with a yeast sensitivity or allergies shouldn't use it. A note about the serving size for my personal needs.  Obviously, the amounts are on the excessive side looking at the percentages.  I use 1/4 of the serving size if I see I'm low on B vitamins on a particular day after planning my meals for the week.  It barely adds anything to my calories but gives me a boost that gets me acceptable levels of the vitamins I'm looking for as these are all well over what's required.  Should you decide to give your B's a boost, look at requirements and decide what dose is best for you.   Consult your doctor before using if you have any concerns.

Have you used nutritional yeast?  What's your favorite way to use it?

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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Grillin' and Not Chillin'

I know it's a little late for a weekend roundup but given I had a few pre-vacay posts done up for this week, I was taking advantage of them to attempt to chill this weekend.  

I had more red meat on vacation than I have in 6 months, so traditional burgers on the grill were out.  But we did get our grill on with some Beyond Meat brats, turkey burgers, and some teriyaki chicken kebobs.  I paired those with some fruit salad and corn on the cob on Sunday.

It was hot and rainy.  115-ish days until Fall.

We are in the middle of a butt-kicking week on the exercise front to prepare us for next month's torture fest.  Anyone who does Beachbody on Demand (BOD), may know that in mid-April Joel Freeman and Shaun T did a hybrid calendar of their LIIFT4 and Transform 20 programs.  I already had our calendars planned for April and May but saved their calendar for June because I thought if anything could hopefully burn off vacation sin, it would be this:

(Click to enlarge)

This is the hybrid torture they came up with, so this is what next month will look like for us.  We did two as a test in April and yeah...we gonna be sore.  We're going full on "before" mode measuring, taking pics, etc.  I'll go more into how we did on vacation soon, but I'm letting past me take the wheel on a few more posts since I must've sensed I'd need the break.

We binge watched the Netflix show Dead to Me with Christina Applegate which was quite good and original with every episode ending with a bombshell.  My only thing is I see season two just being irritating because you know the simple solution that would immediately resolve everything won't be done.  I hope I'm wrong but our experience the past 5 years is TV is REALLY good the first season then drops to mediocre the second season and gets sucked down a craphole any season after that.  (Side eyeing you, This is Us and others.  Though I must say, 9-1-1 has been a pleasant surprise of getting better.)

I got some flowers planted and got the tree trimmed that has been blocking our view out of the garage when he backs out that I'd been too lazy to get to the past week.  I don't know why, but I've had a very hard time getting motivated to do anything since we got back; everything seemed overwhelming, including gardening.   The Mr was kind enough to put up the curtains on the side fence, so we have privacy when we want it.  I'm still irritated that the sand between the pavers has green pollen that we can't seem to get out, you know...when it's not coming out in chunks.  That's right that polymeric sand that was supposed to harden into concrete is soft and therefore we can't seal it.  I knew going with my instinct not to seal it when we got it done was a good one.  I have to imagine that I'm going to have to dig out all of it at some point and redo it ourselves.  Not something I can even think about right now since we have to get our hose bib replaced and stain the concrete pad since it looks like crap.  New windows have to happen this year as well so we need to clean the bedrooms so we can get a quote, submit to the HOA to get held up for 2 months before approval for the window company to say they're backed up two months before they can get to us so we should be looking at winter.   *twitch*

Speaking of twitches, the Mr about blew a gasket after dealing with our former cable company for the last time.  It takes a lot for that man to be driven to cursing and screaming at someone over the phone, but yeah, they managed to do it after our video service being out since Saturday.  It was an issue we dealt with before vacation and should've been an easy fix and all the out of the country call center people know to do is tell you to reboot and send a signal.  You've done this 6x...7th time isn't going to be a charm.  So we're now Sony Vue customers.  I'm trying to find a good station that will give me what Music Choice did, but I'm not ashamed to admit some tears were shed.  That is what is on 80% of the time because I hate TV and how I find new music.  Spotify and Pandora suck.  I'm going to be a mess until I get my groove with something and don't have to use three damn remotes to operate everything.  Yep, totally need another vacation.

How did you spend Memorial Day weekend?

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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Healthy Eating on the Road with Hot Logic Mini (recipes included)

When you begin planning a road trip to Yellowstone, Google maps quickly tells you two things:

1)  You're going to be in the car for a looooong time and

2)  You may not have ANY choices when hunger strikes come lunchtime much less healthy options when going through long stretches of nothing.

Enter the Hot Logic Mini.  I've talked about this before, but as a refresher, if you eat, you should own one.  They offer two kinds for smaller meals, the regular plug-in version and the car version with the 12V plug.  (You can also get an adapter for the plug-in if you don't see a need for two.)  We have both and thank goodness!  We took both of them because we wanted the option to use the one in our car and also use the plug-in version in our hotel room for breakfasts or dinners before or after a long day.  I like to get BPA free meal prep containers which are totally fine to use in them and have them ready to pop in the Hot Logics.  I also have collapsible bowls and all in one utensils that fit in the front pouch of the carrier, so we have everything we need with us at all times.  This totally saved our butts this trip.  This is a beautiful, big country and there's a lot of open road out there which means bathroom and meal breaks have to be planned accordingly.

From breakfast, lunch, and dinner that I premade to warming up cookies I surprised the Mr with to warming up burritos, it is a MUST for any road trip big or small.

Here are some of the recipes I used.  They were weighed and measured out for two people, and we just split them down the middle.  I made sure there was nothing too "musical" in there like onions, peppers, etc. because open road and lack of bathroom options do not mix.

Mexican Chicken Quinoa Bowl

8 ounces chicken
Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime Salt-Free Seasoning
10 ounces quinoa cooked with bone broth
6 oz black beans
1/2 cup Trader Joe's enchilada sauce
1/8 cup scallions, chopped
2 oz shredded pepper jack cheese

Cook up the chicken with the Mrs. Dash and cut it into pieces and cover the bottom of the container.

Add 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce to top the chicken.

In a separate bowl, add 10 oz. of quinoa cooked with bone broth.  (Extra protein and nutrition.)

Add 6 ounces of cooked black beans to the quinoa.

Add 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce and the scallions and mix together.

Put the quinoa mixture on top of the chicken then top with your pepper jack or preferred cheese.

Place the lid on and pop it into the freezer.

I like to wrap the outside of the container with Press and Seal for when it's in the cooler then take it off before putting it in the Hot Logic.  I label the outside with what is inside so we can grab it and not have a mystery meal on our hands.

Alternate recipe for Turkey Taco Bowl

Same as above but sub:
8 oz cooked ground turkey breast for chicken breast
Add 2/3 cup frozen organic sweet corn

Chicken Parmesan Rotini

6 ounces organic whole wheat rotini pasta
8 ounces cooked chicken breast (with seasoning)
6 ounces Silver Palate Low Sodium Marinara Sauce
2 tbsp parmesan asiago shavings

Cook up chicken breast.  I used Italian seasoning, black pepper, and garlic powder.

Cut it up and put it on the bottom of the container.

Top the chicken with 50g of the marinara sauce to keep it moist as it heats.

Place the cooked whole wheat pasta on top of the chicken and even it out.

Top the pasta with the rest of the marinara.

Top with the cheese evenly so when it's split the serving should be pretty consistent.

Pop on the top and into the freezer it goes.

Alternate recipe for Turkey Bolognese Rotini

Sub 8 oz ground turkey breast for chicken breast
Add 2 ounces extra marinara

Layer 50g of sauce on the bottom of the container, add cooked pasta, put another 50g of sauce on the pasta.  Mix remaining 6 ounces of sauce with cooked ground turkey breast then add to the top of the pasta.  Add cheese on top of pasta and freeze.

Here's one for breakfast.

Breakfast Casserole for two

1 cup hash browns (bagged in fridge section)
6 eggs
2 breakfast sausages (I used chicken apple sausage)
2 ounces gruyere Swiss cheese (or preferred cheese)
1 ounce chopped scallions
Spice of your choice

Preheat oven to 425.  Spray some cooking spray on small foil tins (two will fit in a Hot Logic mini)  Divide raw hash browns in half and line the bottom and sides.

Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until relatively crisp.

Cut breakfast sausage and line the bottom of the pan.

Add beaten eggs with scallions mixed in over the top of the sausage.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the middle of the dish is firm.

Turn off the oven and top with 1 ounce of cheese on each dish.

Place in the oven and melt.

Place in the freezer then cover with foil and put in freezer bags until you're ready for them.  This helps quite a bit when you need to leave super early in the morning, and no breakfast spots are open.  Plug it in before you go to bed and wake up to a hearty breakfast so you can eat and be on your way with a full tummy!

Obviously, you don't need to be traveling to enjoy these recipes, you can make them and just take them to work with you.  When the Mr has the occasional double he has to pull for training another shift, he can take a full dinner (halved for one person) with him, and it stays at 160 degrees until he's ready to eat.  It warms it up, never cooks it which is why plastic is safe to use in it.  People even put their single serving freezer dinners like Lean Cuisine type dishes in and all!  The Hot Logic Mini is truly a lifesaver regardless if you're trying to eat healthy on the road or every day at work.

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Monday, May 27, 2019

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day everyone!  Whether you're firing up the grill to roll in the unofficial start of summer or visiting the resting place of those who served and sacrificed, take the time to enjoy the day and reflect on your freedoms. 

We are.

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Friday, May 24, 2019

What I'm Reading This Week #21

We made it to Friday!  This was a long one.  The Mr came back to a shizzshow at work which will quickly suck the zen out of any vacation mode you were in.  I came back to a note from my new(ish) gynie recommended by my old gynie that she was shutting her doors because old gynie swooped in and talked her into the same teaching position that took old gynie away from me.  Yeah, I only need birth control and my appointment was in 3 weeks.  *cue frantic researching/calling and finally nailing someone down only 2 1/2 weeks later than my previous appointment that left me drained*  On the upside, it'll give me 2 1/2 extra weeks to hopefully get more vacation weight off of the permanent keg I'm sporting.

But enough about our vacation mellow sucking lives, let's get to...

A Common Preservative in Cheese and Bread Could Negatively Affect Our Metabolism, Study Finds  (Courtesy of the Mr and he was happy to hear none of our bread or cheese had it.)

Healthy Smoothies Require WAY Less Fruit Than You're Probably Using  (Make sure you're not going nutso on raw flaxseed)

When, Exactly, to Schedule Your Workouts  (Beh.  As long as you do them, it doesn't matter when but yes, this does make sense and I've found it to be true for me personally.)

50 Ways To Live On Your Own Terms  (Tell everyone else to blow it out their @ss?)

It Doesn't Matter When You Eat  (It's different for everyone.)

A Cluttered House Is a Cluttered Mind  (So true.  Everywhere I look I get overwhelmed and feel like the only answer is a dumpster and shaking your house out like an old rug.)

It Can’t Rain All the Time: How The Crow Captured the Angst of a Generation  (I was obsessed with this movie when it came out.  RIP Brandon and no, it should never be rebooted.  A man lost his life making it and it's his legacy.)

I Thought I Understood Facebook. Then My Dad Died   (Don't assume you know how people use it.)

How to Document Your Child’s Life Without Plastering It All over Social Media  (The internet is forever, no matter how much you think you've locked it down.  I've seen SO many inappropriate shares from people that I had to hide them for good.)

12 Vacations That Get Cheaper in Summer   (My guess is because they are humid, stink boxes by then except Colorado.)

Dog Won't Let Postman Deliver Mail — Unless He Plays Soccer With Him  (He's pretty good!)

Memorial Day weekend is upon us and I know the Mr needs it for sure.  I got some flowers planted yesterday and will plant the rest of them out front today since perennials have made it abundantly clear they refuse to come back in that bed.  Now, I just have to remember to water them.

Anyone got any plans?

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Thursday, May 23, 2019

Our Longest Road Trip Yet

This year was the year we decided to conquer a trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.  We weren't going to wuss out either, we were going to drive it.  I turned the park planning over to the Mr (a first for him on our big vacays), and I focused on side trips and getting us out there without ending up with DVT.  Because we're big fans of National Lampoon's Vacation (and that the Mr's first cross country road trip with a sibling resulted in ZERO stops), I wanted to fit in some Griswold style stops for us to stretch our legs.

Pinkie the elephant in Wisconsin as we hit the last snowstorm of the season.  The Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD, and yes, that mural in the middle is made of ears of corn.  The Jolly Green Giant statue in Blue Earth, MN, and the Dignity Statue at a rest stop in Chamberlain, SD.

Our first major stop that didn't involve a stop off for gas or bathrooms was Badlands National Park.  It was cool to see all of the layers in the formations.

According to the NPS website, the layers are composed of tiny grains of sediments such as sand, silt, and clay that have been cemented together into sedimentary rocks. The sedimentary rock layers of Badlands National Park were deposited during the late Cretaceous Period (67 to 75 million years ago) throughout the Late Eocene (34 to 37 million years ago) and Oligocene Epochs (26 to 34 million years ago).   So yeah, they old.

You may have heard of the famous Wall Drug Store if you're a fan of travel shows.  The Mr was itching to get here, and I was looking forward to the "backyard" which is where pic props and such are for good photo ops.

I have to say, the store(s) itself is nothing special.  Lots of souvenirs but nothing I would say are unique souvenirs so if you drive by it and are totally bummed it was closed for store purposes only.  Don't be.  But the stuff out back is fun to pose with and be hokey.

We stayed 2 nights in Rapid City, SD and spent our full day going to see Mount Rushmore and a glance at Crazy Horse.

We also went to Custer State Park, which was gorgeous.  The Needles Highway is amazing to drive, and you can see some awesome scenery, including Sylvan Lake.

You can also see some majestic wildlife like bison...

...blacktail deer and pronghorn.

On our way west, we hit Sundance Wyoming and Devil's Tower, which was one of the Mr's favorite stops on the trip.  We almost didn't think we were going to go because we hit our second snowstorm and it was quite apparent Wyoming doesn't get around to plowing roads until noon.

It was a great stop with a trading post out front where you can actually get some great pics without having to pay to go in the park if you don't have the time.  But if you do, there are some prairies with some adorable, fluffy prairie dogs in their natural habitat.

We stayed in Montana as our home base for the first week.  I am SUPER picky when it comes to home rentals and found what was as close to perfect, aesthetically, as I could get.  That's the cabin in the middle of the top left pic.

We had marmots that visited on the regular along with deer, turkeys, magpies, some elk in the mountains and had trout to feed in the pond.  We enjoyed a few fires inside with the woodburning fireplace and spent our anniversary roasting weenies and eating smores.

Then it was on to Yellowstone National Park.  We broke it up over several days and enjoyed being immediately greeted with wildlife just past the Roosevelt Arch.

The Mammoth Springs area was cool to see the stair step formations, but we both agree the Norris Geyser Basin was our favorite.  I think that had a lot to do with us getting there very early and had it almost to ourselves, but the brilliance of the pools and colors around them from the bacteria were awesome.

Obviously, we saw Old Faithful and some of the other major sites like the famous falls, Grand Prismatic Spring and spring is baby season, and we were more than happy to see them.

There are a ton of wildlife viewing opportunities almost everywhere in the park (even outside of it) like bison taking a rest in the middle of town, bighorn sheep, elk, cranes, and frolicking babies.

The second half of our vacation was the Grand Tetons and the south portion of Yellowstone since it didn't open until later in the trip.  But first, we made a point to road trip to Idaho, which was close to the border of where we were staying.  We drove 2 hours into Idaho Falls, and it was actually a beautiful state!

I'm sure most Idahoans don't want me spilling the beans on how beautiful it is there, but even after doing the Griswold-ish potato museum (with a great cafe attached), there was plenty to see.  We drove around potato farms, visited Hell's Half Acre, which are lava fields that look like the Big Island of Hawaii and of course, we had to visit the manmade Idaho Falls.

Our new digs were in Jackson, Wyoming, and chosen specifically because it had the most opportunities for moose sightings.  We've been dying to see a moose for years ever since we saw our first moose crossing sign in Maine.  Our place didn't disappoint on that front.

As we were getting ready to do our workout, the Mr spotted a large animal out of the cheesecloth like closed blinds.  Thinking it was a horse, he opened the window and noticed Marty.  We spent the next 15-20 minutes watching him from a respectable distance as he ate twigs, leaves and pine cones.  I just sat there and cried.  It was a pleasure watching him, and we were treated to another moose on the property a few days later just chillin'.  Both came back in the evening on the days we saw them and then several moose in the park as well.

Speaking of the park, Grand Teton National Park could not be more beautiful.  The star of the show is really the mountain range and all of the different angles to view them from.  Obviously, you can go to more famous spots like Mormon Row for pics of the barn which everyone's seen a zillion times (so I didn't show it), but there are other spots like Menor's Ferry and the chapel that are worth a stop as well.

We made our way back to Yellowstone via the south entrance and saw West Thumb, Yellowstone Lake, and the mud volcano area.  Some of the roads were still closed so there are things we didn't get to see but glad for the things we could.

We stayed a 10-minute drive from Jackson which is not to be confused with Jackson Hole.  Jackson is the town while Jackson Hole refers to the entire valley.  It's famous for its antler arches made with elk antlers that they shed every year.

While there wasn't as much wildlife as Yellowstone, Grand Teton and the surrounding Elk Refuge had some amazing viewing opportunities.

It still makes us shake our head that some tourists have asked employees what they do with the animals at night.  Seriously?

And for those of you noticing an absence and wondering...

While it would've been nice to see some...from a distance...I was terrified to run into one, especially on a trail since they're just waking up and searching for good food sources of which I would make an excellent one.  I'm sure we'll see one sometime but not this go round.

We put close to 6000 miles on the new car so it's a good thing it'll be coming to me when he's done with it.  We broke up driving to and fro with stops on the way there at attractions, and since there wasn't much by way of attractions on the drive back through Nebraska and the plains, we made that drive go fast with two audiobooks.  Richard Blade: World in My Eyes which is a must read if you grew up in the '80s and even better if you do the audiobook and Olivia Newton John's Don't Stop Believin' which is also a must for any Livvy fan.  I would also recommend the audiobook version for hers because she is so animated reading it and gets very emotional and you couldn't get that from just a read on your own.

It was truly the trip of a lifetime, and we had more downtime on this trip than ever before, but it was planned that way.  We do wish it had been less windy some days because the winds made it impossible to soak in any warmer temps, but it was still good.  It was the wildlife that made it so special and of course, the person I shared the road with.  We had no idea what to expect, and you just hope a trip that long doesn't end in disappointment, and I'll be honest, we had some.  We started with wipers that needed replaced 7 hours into the trip and 3 hours into the trek back, our wiper fluid pump had a leak, and we had no fluid going through the heart of bug country.  It was hard not to barf until the next pull off to squeegee off the death at a gas station.  That has been fixed, but something is also wrong with the A/C that we're 90% sure the dealer won't be able to replicate so yeah.  Thankfully, it didn't give out or anything, but it's making weird noises and given we returned to 90-degree temps, my fear is until it craps out on the random is when they'll take it seriously.

Have you been to Yellowstone and/or Grand Teton National Parks?

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