Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How to Make Sweet Tea Like a Southerner

My boyfriend used to live in Mississippi and spent a lot of time in New Orleans as well, while he was down south teaching for two years.  In his time there he learned a lot about the southern states and the area he lived in.  For example:

  • Where he lived and many other areas down south people are unbelievably kind!
  • The food is amazing!
  • There is nothing quite like hearing live jazz on the streets and in bars!
  • AND there is a certain way you have to make your tea for it to be Southern Sweet Tea.
He moved down to teach at Hancock High School right after Hurricane Katrina and so there were not very many places to stay or live, not even many open hotels.  Luckily one couple was kind enough to open up their home to him and allow him to stay with them.  It was this sweet couple that taught him how to make true Southern Sweet Tea.  Tonight I was sick of drinking water, so I made a delicious batch to get me through the week :)

Southern Sweet Tea
5 bags of tea (Nestea works)
1-2 cups sugar

It doesn't really matter how much water you use (as long as it is less that 2 quarts).  Put water and the 5 tea bags into a pot and bring to a boil on high-heat on the stove.  Once boiling, let the bags sit in the boiling water for 5 minutes.  Then turn the burner off and let water and tea bags sit on the stove for 1 hour.  Once the hour is up, take the tea bags out of the water, squeezing the bags to get any extra tea flavor out of the bag.  Pour the "dirty" tea water into a pitcher and add sugar.  The amount of sugar you use is based on how sweet you want it to be.  I just put one cup in, but my boyfriend likes it sweet and puts 1 1/2 cups in.  (Side note: He said some of his students down south told him they would put in 4 cups sometimes, holy rotting teeth!!) After the sugar is dissolved in the warm water, fill the rest of the pitcher up with water, mix and serve over ice! 

Food Diary Day 1

What I have used in the past and what I decided to use this time was to track my diet. This site has a lot of cool tools and is definitely worth checking out.  Sometime this week I will give you some of the highlights of using this site! As for now, this is the product of yesterday's food diary... until I can find a better way to display it.  

Have a great day!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Food Diary

Healthier Quest Update
Since my quest for a healthier diet I have come up with bigger and better reasons to be on this quest... my bowels are all out of whack.  A few years ago I went to the doctor because my stomach would get incredibly uncomfortable and painful and my bowels would be all out of sorts.  Despite their efforts they weren't EXACTLY sure what was wrong, but they thought it was irritable bowl syndrome.  Since then, I haven't had quite the issues I used to, but it has recently started acting up.  This being said I am going to start a food diary.  I wish I could just use my blog, however, I haven't been keeping very good record on here. I have used food diaries in the past, but have never went back and studied my records, but this time I intend to so I can see if there are any patterns.  Have you ever kept good records of your diet?  How did you evaluate and "study" your records afterwards?  Any tips or good resources would be much appreciated!

On another note, Luther, my beta fish is still alive!  He hasn't really been eating though, makes me nervous :-/

Happy Monday!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

State Champs

This weekend was the first time in a long time that my weekend actually felt LONG!  But it was a good long! The reason it felt so long was because my boyfriend was on spring break so he came to visit me early (Thursday)!

Thursday night we watched the Wisconsin game... a disgusting performance... at the Eagle's Nest.  It was super packed, so it took a while anytime we wanted to get any food or drinks from the bar.  Since he got to town later in the afternoon, that was about all we did.

Friday I had to work, but I left a little early so we could get to Madison to watch the state basketball games.  Eau Claire County had three schools down at state, which is incredibly rare!  Regis (my old high school), North and Altoona were all down there for the tournament.    While we were in Madison we were able to visit with a number of community members and old friends at the tournament. It's always fun to catch up with people you don't see very often.  After the state tournament games we headed to the Nitty Gritty and got some food, I had the black bean burger with fries, which was good and a TON of food!  The burgers on the menu all sounded great, however it was Friday and I'm Catholic, so no meat for this girl... oh well, next time I'll try out a juicy burger :)

Getting ready to receive their medals
Saturday was an exciting day! Regis and Altoona both took home the gold, but unfortunately North couldn't pull out the first game. The Regis girls haven't been back to state or won the gold since I was there with the team in 2002 and 2003, so it was fun to relive the emotions and excitement I felt back in the day.  I also have a big soft spot for this particular group of girls because I helped coach them last year.  Great group of girls to win the gold! We headed back to La Crosse later that day, after Regis and Altoona finished playing and after the Butler game was over (CrAzY game by the way!!).   By the time we got back to town we were both exhausted so we rented a movie and stayed in to snuggle.  We haven't had a relaxing movie night in such a long time, I loved it! If you are wondering, the movie we rented was Due Date. I highly recommend this movie... it is hilarious and has a very cute ending.  For any guys out there, it's not a chick flick, my boy loved it! Have you seen it already? What did you think?

Today was a relaxing day full of watching the NCAA games. March Madness is more "Mad" than ever this year!  Is anyone's bracket still intact? Mine is donzo!

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Back to the HP Lab

Yesterday in the Human Performance Lab we did sub-maximal VO2 testing. This is a way of getting a good estimate of your VO2 max based on your heart rate, without doing extensive VO2 max tests with all the fancy tubes, computers and calibration equipment.  Here is the protocol we used, which is an 8 minute procedure.  You start out at a pace on the treadmill that can get your heart rate to at least 110 bpm (for me it was 4.2 mph).  You need to keep this pace for 4 minutes and then check your heart rate, at which point it should be at least 110 bpm. (Note: If your heart rate is not pretty close to 110 bpm around the first two minutes, you should bump up the pace and start your 4 minutes over again.)  After your first 4 minutes, increase the speed 1.0-1.5 mph from the speed you are at.  Stay at this speed for 4 minutes and then take your heart rate again.  Once you have those two data points, there is a series of calculations that are made to estimate your VO2 max based on your heart rate.  If you are interested in knowing how to calculate this send me a message and I will send you more information.  My results showed that my VO2 max was 39.59 ml/kg/min.  So what does this mean, how does it compare?  In comparison to the rest of the class, I was in the middle of the pack of the girls in the class. Based on some standard fitness classifications for women I was ranked a 5 out of 6, in the "excellent" group for VO2 max.  Not too shabby!

I have really been enjoying this lab that I am taking for school.  It is fun learning how to administer as well as being a subject for a variety of fitness tests. Have you ever taken a lab similar to this or had the opportunity to learn about fitness testing?

Monday, March 21, 2011

A New Addition to the Family!

Yesterday my boy and I added a new addition to our little family, a beta fish!  Meet Luther!

Look at that little guy, isn't he adorable (the one above and below this comment ;) )

We sure love our new little fishy!  Since I live in La Crosse and he lives in Eau Claire, Luther is living with me!  Now, I just have to keep him alive, I didn't have very good luck this summer with other fish  :-/

Breakfast was a French toast bagel with cream cheese
Lunch was this lovely spread of goodies

Salad w/Virginia ham * Honey bran muffin * Cantaloupe * Pretzel thins * Carrots * Celery (w/peanut butter)

Very filling and I like having items like this because I can drag them out over a period of time... snack-like foods!

Dinner was leftover mac & cheese from last night & some pretzel thins with strawberry yogurt to dip them in (awesome combo!)

I just got finished baking cookies using the Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies recipe from  Runnerscookie.  I really like the taste of them, however, just a warning mine did not stick together very well when I tried to take them off the cookie sheet.  

Today my workout was a fairly quick one!  I did a track workout, 2 x 1600 m (8:30 pace), with 2 minutes of walking in between.  After the quick run, I hit the weights for about 20 minutes. 

Off to do some studying or maybe I'll just watch Luther swim around in his bowl :) 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Healthier Quest

It has come to my attention that since I started my half-marathon training plan I have kind of let go on my eating habits.  Carbs have been the primary focus of my meals and my body feels different.  Although my weight has stayed the same, I feel "doughier" if you will.  I know my body needs carbs for fuel while I am training, however, many of the carbs have been from things like white bread, sweets, and other "bad" carbs.  

GOAL:  More fruits and veggies, and better carbs!

I started my morning off right with this lovely plate of goodies. 

Oranges, strawberries and caramel fruit dip
Does anyone else not like the white stuff on oranges? 

I'm not anal, but I do pick some of it off. 

Shopping Sunday
My groceries also coincided with my new goal, here's what I got.  

Pretzel crisps, barley, honey bran muffin mix, chocolate pudding powder from Weavers.  Weavers is a little store in Augusta, run by a group of Amish people.  It is a GREAT places!  They have everything you can imagine that is healthy and then they also have some great homemade sweets.  I got both of those big bags of pretzels crisps for $5!  BOGO deal they had going on :)

From Festival I picked up milk, tonic water, salad, cantaloupe, eggs, Virginia ham, cabbage, celery, blueberry yogurt, French toast bagels, and a kiwi.  I decided to try something a little different and bought some tonic water.  I have had tonic when I drink, however, I wanted to see if I could jazz it up with some fruit and enjoy it.  Has anyone else experimented with tonic water?

I'm off to enjoy my Sunday, I hope you do the same!  Happy Sunday Funday :)

Friday, March 18, 2011

If the body says no... listen!

Today was one of those days, when my body just said "no, I can't do everything you want me to today". My half-marathon training plan calls for an 8 mile run today, but because of the weather, the fact that I was sick this week and last week was the first time I ever ran 7 miles straight, I planned a slightly shorter run... 7.38 miles. Well I set out at 2:20 and had my heart set on being back by 3:30, an hour and 10 minute goal time.  At about mile 6, my body was donzo, needed a break! My right knee was acting up (haven't had problems with that since my basketball days), my heart rate spent 51 minutes out of my "heart rate zone" (over 180), which was due to the intense amount of hills on my route which I did not expect, and I did not bring water.  Yes I know, excuses, excuses!  But the "excuses" won today.  I am learning to listen to my body better. I ended up walk/running my last 1.38 miles and finished in 1 hour 20 minutes, not too far off from my goal.  I'm going to adjust my workout plan just a hair and work for 8 miles next week... oh yeah and start icing to prevent a something worse with my knee :)

Breakfast: Honey Nut Cheerios, slice of wheat toast w/butter
Snack: Rocky Road Cake Pop from Starbucks... I recommend! Moist, sweet, delicious and small!
Lunch: Red potato w/a little creamy broccoli soup overtop
Post-workout snack: Key lime pie flavored Greek yogurt
Dinner: ? Not sure yet ? What are you having for dinner?

A Moment in the Mind of a 5-Year-Old
Quote of my night last night at the sleepover I had with my almost 5-year-old niece, "Auntie Mac, a little guy came into our house last night and turned out milk green! I don't know how they did it and I don't know who it was! Isn't that so weird!" Have to love my sister and brother-in-law's little trick on my niece for St. Patrick's Day!  What did you do for St. Patrick's Day?

My niece this summer

How is your bracket doing after all of yesterday's games? Alright off to enjoy more March Madness!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

March Madness!

March Madness is the highlight of my spring break!  It does help March Madness's case that I was sick two of the days this week... but regardless I love basketball and I love that the tournament started during my spring break because I don't have anything that I HAVE to do, so I can lay around and watch basketball all day if I want...Which is what I am doing right now :)  Did you fill out a bracket? I filled out two, in one I have Duke winning and in the other I have Kansas taking it home.  Who do you think will win?

Sick Notes
Like I already told you I spent a couple of my days of spring break sick, well one really sick and one getting back to normal. I took those two days off from working out, so when I got back at it the day after I recovered my four mile run felt AMAZING, especially since the weather has been gorgeous for winter in Wisco!  On Monday, the day I was really feeling crumby all I had to eat from when I woke up at 9 am until 8 pm was beef broth, 2 slices of white bread and some saltines!  I was dying!  But everything I ate went right through.  Finally by 8pm my system settled down a bit, but my body ached sooo bad!  But I said my guts feel alright so screw it I just need food! I really think my body was in shock from such a small amount of food, that I was getting chills and was achy all over, because after I ate the Erbs and Gerbs sub and chicken noodle soup that my boyfriend brought me I felt a million times better! Note to self:  Eat more when sick (if you can keep it in)!  It feels good to be back in the saddle and I only missed 2 days in my workout schedule.

St. Patrick's Day
Yesterday my mom made a bet with my boy and I.  The bet:  The losing couple of Farkle has to make Reubens for dinner tonight.  So Jed and I took my mom and dad on and won, so we get to enjoy a nice traditional Irish sandwich for dinner tonight! What is your favorite dish on St. Patrick's Day? Do you have any traditions?  The one thing that I have not done on St. Patty's Day that I have been wanting to do (and I won't get to this year) is have a green beer!  Is that so much to ask?!  I'm not sure what happened last year that I was unable to have a green beer, but today I have dinner with my parents and then I promised my little niece we could have a sleepover tonight (I forgot it was St. Patty's today when I made plans earlier this week).

Something New
Today since it is a cross training day and I don't have my normal spin class to go to since I am back at home, I decided to head to our local YMCA and try out a Cardio Fusion class.  Here's the class description:
"This class is a blend of aerobic exercise designed by the instructor for the class. Some of the likely elements of this cardio class will be: Step Aerobics, BOSU Ball, Hi/Lo Aerobics, and Kickboxing. 45 minute – 1 hour class. "
This is not normally the kind of workout I would choose to do, which is exactly why I DID choose to do it today.  I wanted to try something new!  The class for sure got my heart rate up and I worked up quite a sweat doing it, it was however tough on the knee joints!  There was a lot of hopping and bouncing around, which is great aerobic exercise... They should have "involves jumping" in the class description like they do for some of the other classes! Anyway, I am glad I tried it and I would probably do it again.  Are you open to trying new things?  What things have you tried that are new to you lately?  

Well, off to enjoy March Madness and one of my last relaxing days of spring break!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Whew!  The hard, stressful part of my week is finally over!  My three exams are done with, now I just wait for results and finish the work week out :-/  Even though I'm not looking forward to the score part, I am looking forward to what comes after the work week is over... SPRING BREAK!  I have never been more ready and more in need of a spring break ever in my life, so the timing is perfect!  I am not going anywhere, but it will give me time to relax :)

Aside from my tests I have had a crazy busy week with intramurals because it is tournament week this week! As of tonight I am finished with intramurals for the week.  Due to tournament time my week has been extremely active and my body is feeling it!

Monday- Lift . Track workout . Basketball game . Volleyball game .
Tuesday- Run 4 miles . 2 volleyball games.... 4's volleyball CHAMPIONS baby!!
Wednesday- Basketball game... I had to take it easy today, because I have a 7 mile run ahead of me   tomorrow!

Yes, you heard me correctly, 7 miles tomorrow... this is untrotted territory for me!  It just snowed today and it's really yucky outside so I think I am going to run on the treadmill tomorrow so I don't ruin my new shoes.  Wish me luck!

Today's post is really lame, I apologize but it's been a crazy, busy week... time for this kid to get some much needed zzzzz.  Good night!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Weekend Recap

This past week I skimped on the posting, this week might be a little skimpy too.  I have three mid-term exams so I will be devoting most of my time to studying for those this week... Muscle Physiology, Interpretation of Statistical Data and Biomechanics do not make for an easy study. The next few days are NOT going to be enjoyable, but the good news is that it is over Wednesday afternoon! So for a lack of posting the past couple days here is my recap of what happened:

Friday I got my butt out of bed extra early and hit the bike for a solid 50 minute bike ride in my apartment's gym.  Then I got myself ready for work and crammed a lot in for a short work day.  It was my plan to try to get out of the office at 2 so that I could head back to my hometown and make a guest appearance at my boyfriend's middle school basketball practice.  Apparently the girls have been requesting that I come to a practice, since a number of them know that I used to play college basketball.  I did this last year and I loved it, so I decided why not do it again!  I was only able to make it for the last 30 minutes of practice, but they still enjoyed having me jump in and playing 3-on-3 and 5-on-5 with them.  After practice I met my parents and grandparents over at the local church for a fish boil!  Oh how I love this time of year for the sole reason that it's fish boil season! On the menu was....

Cooked carrots
Cooked onions
Seasoned potatoes
Ice cream or sorbet (raspberry or lime)

It was amazing!  I cannot wait to go to another one!  Once we finished dinner we headed back to my parent's house and played Farkle.  My boy came over later bearing a King Cake!  It has been a tradition for us since we started dating to get a King Cake at the beginning of Mardi Gras every year.  This year we got an apple flavored one from Gambino's.  I was the lucky one who got the baby in my piece of cake, so looks like I will be hosting the next King Cake party!  If you're interested in the history of King Cakes check out this site or you can find it on Gambino's webpage.

On Saturday I started my day by going to the grocery store to pick up some things for my sister's birthday brunch she was having at her house.  We had a lot of baking to do before everyone got to her house at 1pm.  Here's what the brunch menu looked like:

Monkey Bread
Baked French Toast

If anyone's interested in any of those recipes, leave me a comment and I'll post them on here.  After brunch I had to truck back to La Crosse so I could meet my girlfriends who were coming to town!  The boy and I went our separate ways tonight... he had a boy's night in MN and I had a girl's night at my place! I forgot how fun it is getting ready to go out with girls!  Normally I just get ready by myself or with Jed, but it's just not the same.  The six of us girls got ourselves ready and then headed out for a night on the town!  A couple of my friends had never been out in La Crosse, so we had a great time hitting as many places as we could.  A normal weekend in La Crosse are very entertaining and exciting, but it was escalated this weekend since many of the places were celebrating Mardi Gras, so we got a lot of free beads and other items!  I didn't have my camera (I gave it to Jed for the night), so I am waiting for my girlfriend to post them so I can share them on here.

First thing on the list?  Del's Bar Bloody Marys!  Great way to start the day out!  I just stayed for one, and then told them I would meet them back at my apartment because I needed to get a start on my studying.  Since my friend from out of town had a number of other friends she was visiting here, it worked out okay that I left a little early.  They left town about 3pm, so after that it was SERIOUS study time for pretty much the rest of the night, minus about 30 minutes when I went for a run.  It was nice to help get my body and system back on track... my body will thank me tomorrow.

Hope everyone had a great weekend! Good night!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Stress Got the Best of Me

These past two weeks have been incredibly stressful! This is the one time I wish I wasn't a full time grad student and a full time graduate assistant.  But let this be a learning experience to me I suppose!

My morning started out okay with my eats and exercise.  I ran five miles and lifted weights for 25 minutes by 8:30 am this morning.  Then I proceeded to eat a French toast bagel with cream cheese for breakfast.  (These French toast bagels are AWESOME by the way!) After getting some work done and going to my first class (my stomach was growling!) I came back to the office and ate my lunch- salad and carrot slices with Tuscan Italian dressing, celery with peanut butter and a smoothie with strawberry yogurt, blueberries and coffee in it. Then back to work I go... hi-ho-hi-ho-hi-ho it's off to work I go :) Around 3pm came my downfall!  My nerves were strung and my head was crammed full with to-do lists and stuff from class and I needed a break to get a coffee.  So I took a 20 minute break and headed to Java Detour to grab a coffee, where my cravings for sweets (and food in general) began.  Now let me say I have had cravings before, and I can fight those off most of the time... but this craving felt different!  It was such an intense craving, I have never had this before... apparently stress can really throw your body for a loop.  So I gave into my stress cravings (which I allow myself to do here and there) and got a Mr. D's donut!  I gobbled that up right away and began sipping on my sugar-free raspberry latte while driving back to work.  At 4:30 I headed over to my second class of the day.  It was definitely time for dinner when I came back to the office at 6:30 pm (if you couldn't tell I  had a long day on campus/work today).  So I had packed Ramen noodles in my lunch bag because I wanted something quick and low maintenance.  Problem:  The only container I had to heat up my Ramen in was a Tupperware container (I know not a good idea, but I went for it).  The Ramen called for being heated for 5 minutes, but when the microwave read 1:30 left I called it quits because the place smelt like a plastic factory.  Into the garbage my Ramen AND container went!  So what to do for dinner now?  Of course I headed to Taco Bell because it's 88 cent crunch wrap supremes this week!  But not only did I get a crunch wrap supreme, I got a volcano taco as well... delicious but clearly not nutritional or low calorie (good thing I got a good workout in today!).  With my mouth on fire from my volcano taco, I had to have something sweet when I got back to the office, so I grabbed a chocolate bar in the vending machine. Ugh, finally the end of my stress eating binge!  Rough!  Surprisingly though, I didn't feel like complete crap... which normally I would if I ate all that junk.

I finished off my night with a intramural basketball game and now I am on a 12 hour fast until 10 am tomorrow because I have to give a blood sample in my lab so I can find out lots of cool information (ie: cholesterol levels, blood glucose levels, etc).

Even though stress got the best of me today, I recognize and acknowledge that I am human and a downfall every now and again is not the end of the world unless I make it to be... so I'm not making it to be!  Tomorrow I'm back in the saddle :)

Good night!