Mealin’ and Movin’

I’m taking a cue from the lovely Janeetha today and blogging about some mealin’ and movin’ I’ve been doing over the last couple of days. My photos have tended to accumulate in my camera since I haven’t gotten on a good daily upload schedule, but I am getting better!

Let’s start with Monday’s dinner:

Baked potato skin with Mariah's Sweet n' Spicy Chow Chow Relish, swordfish with mango salsa, steamed broc.

Last Friday, my Whole Foods tweeted that swordfish steaks would be on sale all weekend for $9.99/lb. I texted my mom ASAP and she jumped on that deal, so that was dinner Friday night. Well she bought so much that we had tons of leftovers, so despite the fact that I felt like I was eating a gourmet meal Monday night, it was actually mostly leftovers! The swordfish was beyond perfect. I know you’re not supposed to eat more than a certain amount of it per week since it contains higher levels of mercury, but I rarely get to eat it so having swordfish every day Friday-Tuesday can’t do me too much harm – right?

And of course the Mariah’s Sweet n’ Spicy relish from the farmer’s market was awesome and has continued to be awesome.

I made the mistake of not eating breakfast before I left the house yesterday, and was starving by the time I got to work, starving, but not so starving that I was too impatient to snap a quick pic of Wednesday’s breakfast:

PB&Co Dark Chocolate Dreams and the most inappropriate looking banana I'd ever laid eyes on, seriously.

Lastly, moving on to Wednesday’s workout:

I left work a few minutes early so that I could get to one of my favorite classes, Interval Training. You can read more about it here. I felt challenged and energetic, thanks to the Thomas english muffin and Chipotle Laughing Cow wedge I had right before class,  and left with a strong, accomplished, albeit sweaty, feeling.

I know I'm lookin' pretty gross…


…but I was feelin' pretty damn good!

I have to brag for a second and show you my awesome sneakers. They seriously give me such a boost each time I lace them up.

Purchased from the Adidas Outlet. Wish I could've bought the lavender ones too!

And while I’m sharing workout gear, I have to say my gym bag gives me a bounce in my step too.

Vera Bradley small duffel.

Came home and rewarded myself with a feast: turkey burger, turkey sausage, sauteed onions, grilled asparagus, green beans, and 50,000 Ore Ida fries with spicy mustard. Mmmm the gym does good things to my appetite.

I woke up before my alarm this morning, which was awesome because I had time to get in a 30 minute Exercise TV Yoga Sculpt video on our cable’s free on-demand. It was my favorite kind of yoga: quick, but super challenging, so that I was out of breath and sweating by the end. Workout done, and I wasn’t even planning on having time to work out today, so that was a nice surprise!

Are you a swordfish fan? Do you have any cute gym gear that makes it more fun for you to work out?

Workout Wednesday

Sorry, no food on today’s post, seeing as it’s Wednesday and workout starts with a W, I thought I’d put a fun little alliteration together and do a post on my favorite workouts. I almost always get my activity in the form of a group fitness class. I think they’re a great way to increase motivation (I always want to work harder than my neighbor) and challenge myself, as well as learn new plyometric and weight training moves for specific body parts.

I live in workout clothes so I can eat entire snack tables.

I try to switch up the classes I take to keep my body guessing and my mind interested in working out. I’ll go through phases, but try to go with the flow, because if I force myself to do a class just because I feel like I should be doing that type of class instead of another, I’ll just grow to hate the gym. For example I was the queen of spin as a junior, but haven’t really done any spinning at all in a little over a year and am fine with that, because I  just got sick of it and still haven’t wanted to get back to it. And if I do want to someday, I definitely will head back to spin class.

Let's get physical?

My gym uses a lot of classes by Body Training Systems, which is very similar to Les Mills for you bloggers that haven’t heard of them. A lot of the classes are virtually the same and offer a great workout with a nice variety. I do know of one blogger that I have been following for quite awhile, Heather, who teaches BTS classes. Any others out there who are certified to teach a BTS class?

Group Power: I did this one on Monday. This has the exact same set-up as Body Pump – a song for each muscle group, with weight-lifting moves choreographed to the music, using a bar and plates. I always leave Power feeling so strong and accomplished! In fact, my hamstrings are still sore right now, just two days later. No matter how much I try, I never seem to get as good of a strength training workout on my own as I do with this class. I love feelin the burn!

The songs in Power go like this:

  1. Warm-Up
  2. Legs (usually all squats with the bar)
  3. Chest (some combo of presses, flies, and push-ups)
  4. Back/Legs (some combo of dead-lifts, dead-rows, clean-and-presses, and sometimes flies)
  5. Triceps (some combo of tri push-ups, kickbacks, overhead extensions, and presses)
  6. Biceps (curls, occasionally a bicep row is  thrown in there)
  7. Legs (some combo of different types of lunges, and sometimes sumo squats)
  8. Shoulders (some combo of split raises, presses, upright rows, rear delt t’s, arnold presses, and more)
  9. Abs (lots of different possibilities here)
  10. Strech

So as you can see there are plenty of varying exercises to keep your body guessing and keep your interest peaked!

Group Step: Think your traditional step classes, but each song has its own focus, and is choreographed. So if I keep going to Step each week, I get better and better at the routine and can put more into it each time. I love dancing and this kind of reminds me of that!

Just like Power, the order of the song focuses does not change, but the songs in each release do along with the steps!

  1. Step Start (warm-up)
  2. Step Ahead (cardio-focused)
  3. Step Up (cardio-focused, usually involving lots of knee lifts)
  4. Step Strong (leg workout, squats and lunges)
  5. Step Energy (top speed)
  6. Step Agility (balance worked in somehow, usually involves running and high knees)
  7. Step Motion (lowers heart rate before the finale, often involves dance-like moves like mambo, cha-cha, etc)
  8. Step Attack (peak heart rate, think a combo of Step Strong and Step Energy)
  9. Step Symmetry (abs and/or push-ups)
  10. Step Down (stretch)

Group Groove: For all you Zumba fans out there, you’d really enjoy this class! This is purely a dance class, but it’s a great workout all the same – in fact, I’m attending tonight! Just like Step, it gets really fun once you’ve gone enough times and have the routine down pat because then you can put more effort into getting really into the moves and getting the best workout possible. Some of the moves are cheesy (the last release did involve a moment or two of air guitar…) but it’s easy to sub-in your own momentary move if you feel too silly (for example, I do dynamic lunges during the air guitar portion).

Groove songs go a little something like this:

  1. Warm Up
  2. First Dance (just to get you into the dance mode, a fairly easy routine)
  3. Party Dance (usually a Latin song, involving lots of cha-cha-cha)
  4. Cardio 1
  5. Low Dance (legs focused, most of dance done in low-stance, usually something urban)
  6. Cardio 2
  7. Break Dance (get heart rate down before peak, slower, often ethnic in some way)
  8. Peak Dance (two-song mash-up, learn the moves in first song and go all out with them in second, peak HR)
  9. Last Dance (cool-down)

Group Kick: This class is what I like to call a kickboxing-dance hybrid. I would throw the dance thing in there because it is choreographed. Instead of punching and kicking bags you are punching air, but you can still get a great workout in. Kick typically involves lots of jumping and fast-feet. I always forget how much it works your shoulders – mine are usually surprisingly sore the day after! There are little cardio drills spaced throughout, at the end of random songs, that can really kick your butt and put a nice interval spin on the workout.

I don’t get to go to Kick nearly as much as I’d like to anymore because the classes are either on nights I have school or are too late in the day on weekends for me (I like my 8am and 9am classes on Saturdays/Sundays). But whenever I do I am always surprised at how sore my shoulders and legs are the next day!

Pre-gaming the gym with Jif.

Unfortunately my gym doesn’t offer any other BTS classes, but there are plenty of other things I like to do there:

  • Interval Training: This class kicks my butt every time – it’s 3 minutes of intervals alternating with 3 minutes of weights. Each weight interval is a different body group. So much is changing that you don’t get bored with any one move!
  • Yoga: I haven’t gotten to a gym yoga class in awhile but when I’m stuck at home with no other workout alternative (hello snow days), I really like the P90X Yoga DVD. I am covered in sweat by the end and though 90 minutes seems long, the hardest portions of the workout are split up by nice stretching moves.
  • Pilates: Ditto on not getting to pilates in awhile, but it’s a great ab workout and also surprisingly hard on the legs. Don’t shun pilates or yoga until you try them – they are tough! I was in a pilates and yoga phase my senior year, I did each about twice a week, and loved how flexible and lean I felt.
  • Elliptical: Not a class, but when all else fails and there is no class for me to take but I want to work out, I hop on the elliptical, alternate the resistance from normal to super high, and read a magazine. Sometimes this is just all I’m in the mood for, AKA I’m not in the mood for an intense class but want to get moving, and it works for me!
What workouts do you like to do? Was there anything you tried and surprisingly loved (or hated)?

Thank you to Body Training Systems for the images in this post. I was not given any incentive to write about their programs, I just did so because I love them!

Farmer’s Market Finds

On Sunday I went to the Coventry Farmer’s Market, and was in absolute foodie HEAVEN. I entered the premises and was first confronted with an Agave cart selling tacos and burritos. Yes please! I got in line for one before realizing that, duh Caitlin, what other foodie opportunities await you here, especially when you have an Agave LivingSocial deal to use and can go there in Hartford any old time?

So I entered the rest of the market and was blown away. I got to try tons of amazing and unique samples. I had the chance to chat with vendors about their products, personally compliment them on their amazing offerings, and best of all, support them by purchasing some of the tasty treats. No, I don’t know how much money I spent, but I’d say it’s worth it for local stuff that is of a good quality that’s hard to find in the grocery stores. I must have looked pretty goofy, this chick in sweaty workout clothes and bright pink sneakers, walking alone through the muddy fields of the farmer’s market with what was probably a ginormous grin on my face, but I couldn’t help it – this place just made me smile! I highly recommend this market to any CT resident.

Oh and in case you are wondering, after I filled up on samples I ended up settling on a spinach pocket from a Yantic, CT-based Lebanese restaurant owner – soft, pillowy dough filled with spinach, lemon juice, thyme, and other spices. So good, and my cheapest option after I’d already dropped too much of the other kind of dough on the following finds:

Beltane Farms: chive goat cheese!

The guy at the Beltane Farm booth was so nice, and was kind enough to let me know about their wine and cheese tasting happening this Sunday! He let me sample this chive flavor, as well as a dill-wasabi that was out of this world, on some wheat thins. I’ve never cooked with spreadable goat cheese, only crumbled, so I’m curious – anyone got any recipes involving goat cheese in this form? It seems harder to use when you can’t crumble it on top of or into a dish!

Yummy Hummy: pico de gallo

The woman at the Yummy Hummy booth had lots of great samples. They  had already sold out of the pumpkin spice hummus unfortunately but I hope to catch it at my next visit. She sampled her hummuses (hummi?) on veggie chips which was awesome because I’m addicted to them, I buy them in bulk at TJ’s whenever I can. I tried an awesome chipotle hummus as well as a garlic hummus. The chipotle was very unique and the perfect amount of spiciness – I hope to pick some up next time. The garlic was pretty good but not interesting enough or any better than Cedar’s for me to consider getting some. But this salsa really won me over. It was so fresh and chunky, just the way I like my pico. Had to get some!

Christine's Community Kitchen: kosher dill chips!

If you don’t already know, I’m a pickle addict. I’m also a garlic addict. Imagine my delight when Christine’s Community Kitchen’s tent was sampling both pickled garlic and garlic pickles! And then…the guy in front of me bought the last jar of pickled garlic. Thanks, guy! I tried it though, and it was pretty awesome. The garlic pickles however, were meh. I couldn’t get enough garlic flavor! So I went with a jar of the classic dill chips, perfect for my daily lunchtime salad beast.

Mariah's Chow Chow Relish: sweet n' spicy!

Mariah’s Chow Chow Relish is available in four different flavors and was sampled on what looked to me like Food Should Taste Good chips. This was the first flavor I tried (the flavors go in order from sweetest to spiciest and this is the second sweetest) and I jumped on it right away as soon as the woman at the tent said that it goes great in baked potato skins. I am a baked potato addict and frequently fill my skins with salsa or pico of any kind. I tried this relish in my potato skin last night and this woman (Mariah herself?) wasn’t lying – holy crap it was wonderful! I can’t wait to see what dishes I could whip up with this relish too. Any ideas for recipes that call for a sweet n’ spicy condiment?

Capa di Roma Roasted Garlic marinara sauce

Finally, I purchased this Capa di Roma marinara sauce specifically because a) I love garlic, b) the sample of the regular marina was amazing and I knew garlic could only make it better, and c) I knew a spaghetti dish was on the menu that night at home. Their both also had samples of their balsamic vinegar, which I fell in love with, but didn’t purchase since it was a bit out of my price range at $14.

Sunday night dinner

We absolutely loved the sauce, but unfortunately the whole jar was gone after one meal! My mom mixed with with browned ground turkey and veggies, and we served it over whole wheat spaghetti. The garlic flavor was phenomenal!

Steamed broccoli, plenty garlicky too.

My favorite side dish to have with Italian dishes is broccoli! I went back for seconds of that, as well as seconds of the sauce and meat combo. This was one awesome meal – thanks to the Coventry Farmer’s Market for making it even more memorable! And for making last night’s dinner memorable too with that relish!

What’s the best find you’ve come across at a farmer’s market?

October Opportunities

Happy October! I can’t believe September is already gone. It seriously flew by! Though I love summer and being warm, I did get a little excited as I was driving to the Coventry Farmer’s Market yesterday (gonna have to post about my purchases ASAP) and saw the fall foliage creeping onto the trees, as well as signs announcing various local fall festivals and Halloween events. I love me some fall! EDIT: Right after posting this I discovered I had won two free tickets to the AppleFest that I mention in this post – is that fate or what!?

Right near my dorm!

Meghann did a post on things about October that she is looking forward to, and though mine may not be as hardcore as hers (marathon training? Umm…) I thought it sounded like a good way to get myself excited about the month ahead and give other people ideas for fun things they can do this fall at the same time!

Amazing fall beverage I had on Saturday: bourbon infused with peach, apple, and cinnamon at Rooftop120 in Glastonbury, CT.

So for those of you who want to know…what am I looking forward to about October?

1. Visiting Tennessee

Orange Nation AKA my family.

In the last weekend of this month, my family and I get to fly down to UT to see my sister and catch a football game! I’m so excited to see Hannah’s school and her dorm, and also to tailgate and attend my first UT football game since I was very young. My family is made up of some die-hard Vols fans, and despite being a UConn alum, I will always be a Vol through and through! I was just raised that way. There really is nothing like SEC football and I’m hoping the fall weather will be out in full-force for the game to add to the fun, cozy vibe of bonding over the game with my family.

Yes, that was my uncle’s 50th birthday cake.

2. Fall Festivals

Oh wow, just thinking about all the fall-like events I have lined up for this month gets me so psyched! The AppleFest in my town is always a huge deal, and like a townie nerd I seriously can’t wait. I even plan to volunteer at our church’s baked potato booth at this event, and if you didn’t know already, I’m a serious baked potato addict.

I also just recently found out about a few wine-and-cheese festivals at local farms that are reasonably priced and will be happening in the weekends to come. I am so excited to try new wines, cheeses, and more, as well as support local farms and vineyards. They’re all so reasonably priced and it’s a good idea to do a local search to find out if anything like this is happening in your area!

Corn maze in South Windsor, CT.

I’m also pretty excited to completely nerd out and check out the CT Renaissance Faire and their Halloween Knights event this weekend. I love all things Halloween and Lidia and I are planning to hit up this thing to shop, eat, and oh yeah, dress up. Yes, I ordered a costume off of

Lidia and I are no strangers to nerding out when it comes to fall activities.

3. Halloween

Even though I am unfortunately past the age of trick-or-treating, and now past the age of college bar-hopping as well (I maintain my opinion that Halloween is the best weekend of college each year), I still can’t help but get excited for Halloween. I’ve already started decorating my work cubicle and bought a little ladybug outfit to wear there since the holiday falls on a Monday. This will also totally reflect how much of a grandma I am, but I’m excited to spend my first Halloween at home handing out candy. Please don’t make fun of me. I think it’ll just be fun to see the excited kids in their costumes!

There’s really nothing like a college Halloween.

I also think that it’ll get old after about 15 minutes since a) no one ever comes to our house and b) I can’t really stand kids. But we’ll see how it goes.

If a Green Man shows up on my front step, I’ll be shocked.


Foliage right by my house!

There’s really not much more I can say about this. I just love fall leaves. LOVE THEM. On a sunny day there is just nothing more beautiful than driving down a road framed on either side by orange, yellow, and red leaved trees.

Driving through upstate NY.

5. School

I’m such a loser. But yes you read that right, I enjoy school and in October, we really start getting into the meat of material in courses now that we’re past the intro stuff. So yes, I am looking forward to school. Maybe not starting my ten-page paper, but at least it’s on a subject that I’m interested in (corporate ethics and marketing in the fast food industry). And with school also comes more time studying in my new favorite cafe each weekend. Their newest coffee flavor is chocolate dipped banana – what’s not to love?

What are you looking forward to most this coming month? Do you have any goals for the month that you want to share?

PS. Completely off-topic but I totally forgot to post one of my pizza creations in my pizza making post!

Broccoli and fat-free ricotta. Not the most creative of pies but certainly tasty. Those are roasted brussels on the side 🙂 favorite roasted veggie.