Sunday, November 15, 2009

Rock Climbing Revelation

Over 2 years ago I began hiking with Alan in order to lose weight. I decided to set a fitness goal that included a 3 day trek into the Grand Canyon with Kassie and Alan. I liked hiking and I thought it was a decent way of getting exercise because I'm not a Gym goer. After the fires my hiking came to a complete stop and I felt as though just walking around the neighborhood wasn't going to help me maintain or achieve any fitness goals.

This October Alan invites several people to join him at Joshua Tree for Rock Climbing. I had hopes of being able to read a novel in the sun and relax while Sergio had some fun with the boys. What ended up happening surprised me more than anyone. I had an idea of rock climbing and it was all wrong, I thought it was learning dozens of knots before ever being able to attempt anything. I also thought I was going to have to be strong enough to lift my own weight before attempting any climbing.

I forget how it happened but I decided to give rock climbing a try at Joshua Tree. It was fun, I only went up a tiny height and up a very sloped rock in comparison to what the others had attempted and achieved. I enjoyed it and decided to purchase shoes of my own the next time there was a sale at REI. The day came that I had the opportunity to buy shoes and a harness. That same night I was contacted by a new group called Women Who Love Life through ( I had joined a few weeks before). They planned to go to Hangar 18 in Upland, an indoor rock climbing gym the next day.

So the next day I took a belaying lesson at Hangar 18 and did a couple of routes. I was sweaty and exhausted, I wanted to do more but my body couldn't handle it. Also, it was hard to have faith in my belayer, she had just learned to do it that night as well. I felt like she could not keep up with me and so I had to go slower in order to allow her enough time to keep the tension on the rope as I ascended.

After my fourth time going I was looking forward to something new, Sergio's co-worker Kelly had invited me to go bouldering. Again, I was oblivious of what the activity entailed and imagined it could not be possible for me to do it because of a previous perception I already had in my mind. The bouldering experience was amazing! I could not believe how much I enjoyed it and how much it relaxed me. Before I began my new job I began practicing meditation in order to focus on homework better. The bouldering experience was similar because of the tremendous focus and after wards there came the euphoric sense of accomplishment. I was so pumped up at the gym I decided to wrap my fingers in order to keep climbing, although my finger were so tender. The next morning I did a 45 minute Jillian Michael's routine a well. At work I was so focused and efficient, my mind felt clear and body felt very relaxed. I can't wait to climb again and see what other little revelations come from it, for me.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Chicken Stir-Fry

According to Wikipedia I made stir-fry tonight with a combination of steaming. Sergio does not dig Spinach and I know that that is not a typical ingredient anyways but I love making dishes my own. To this I added cilantro for my own spin. I can proudly say that this one is definitely straight from my imagination. Since it was such a hit with him I will write this post out more like a recipe card so I can look back on it later. I hope you all get a chance to make it or be inspired to make something similar.


2 tbsp vegetable oil (or any other high smoke point oil like peanut oil or lard)
3 garlic cloves - finely chopped
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (each cut into halves and then chopped into bite-size pieces)
1/4 c rice wine vinegar
1/4 c light soy sauce (that's the only kind I had on hand)
1 onion- julienne d
1 red bell pepper - julienne d
1 pint of button mushrooms - stemmed and roughly chopped
1 c (handful of cilantro) - roughly chopped

Heat your wok or largest skillet to high heat and then add the oil. Add the garlic and bell peppers and stir frequently so garlic doesn't burn. Add the onions, soy sauce and vinegar and continue to stir. Add the chicken and cilantro and cover with a lid or with foil and lower heat to medium. If I were to use beef I would add that first and then remove it to add the veggies and then return it so it doesn't dry out. Since the chick was thinly sliced and then chopped the moisture from the liquids and the really watery vegetables will help cook the chicken through. After about 5 to 7 minutes add the mushrooms. I served the dish over white rice. I added a Serrano pepper to my rice and water for some heat while it cooked, it wasn't too hot at all, yummy!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Carmelized Onion Burger

Speaking of loving onions, I decided to keep it going today by making a burger topped with loads of thm. To avoid a dome shaped patty, Bobby Flay recommends shaping the patty with a small "well" or "indent" into the middle of the burger. I also grilled two ears of corn in their husks for about 30 minutes. Hello chile y limon!
Today I walked to the Monrovia library, 3 miles round trip, it wasn't hard but it was hot today. It makes me feel a little better about eating the hamburger buns.

Monday, August 10, 2009

I love my griddle

Why is it that when I cook on my cast iron griddle the meal feels healthier? Today I decided to cook some boneless, skinless chicken thighs on the griddle. I cut off the excess fat and seasoned with garlic salt and Jamaican jerk seasoning. I sprayed my griddle with PAM, let it get hot and then put them on the grill. I think the secret is making sure the griddle is hot enough and not messing with it once it's down.
The griddle I use is large enough to lay across to burners. The center of the griddle gets hot too but not hot enough to cook protein, in my opinion. In the center I grilled red and yellow onions sliced 1 inch thick until they had beautiful grill marks and where soft and sweet. I served the chicken with the onion "patties" and a side of what I call Italian salad. It has red onions (raw and sliced thin), cucumbers (seeded), and tomatoes (seeded) tossed in balsamic vinaigrette.

As I started writing this I remembered I was supposed to take a picture! In the words of Charlie Brown "ARGH!"

By the way, my chicken was so super juicy and Sergio claims he could give up all candy if he could get sweet grilled onions instead.

summer calabasas with tilapia

Calabasa is the Spanish word for pumpkin but it refers to both squash and zucchini. I bought both this Friday at the weekly Monrovia farmer's market. I julienne d one zucchini, one yellow squash, and one red onion and let them sweat together with help of olive oil. I seasoned with garlic salt and black pepper and then added the tilapia right onto the vegetables and covered the pan. I had two think piece so I flipped them after about 7 minutes and then cooked for another 5 minutes. I served the meal over white rice with a squeeze of lime, it was so pretty. I really need to remember to take pictures, maybe next time.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Crock Pot saved my BF

Before leaving, for three days to San Diego, I threw together a crock pot for Sergio. An onion, red bell peppers, carrots, beef (already cubed from Costco), 2 cups of chicken broth, a can of tomato sauce and some salt along the way. It was too easy and I felt better that he wouldn't be eating fast food for three days. I used to look up recipes online, but have now just use combinations that are to our tastes.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Infuse that oil

I can't say I discovered it, as in inventing it, but I did discover it in that I love this technique. I didn't realize I was always infusing my oil by adding garlic or onions, but now that I know and I can really get creative. I made a dish that I call Spicy Shrimp Pasta. I heated evoo (extra virgin olive oil) and added a handful of dried chiles de arbol, and 4 whole garlic cloves smashed with the side of my knife. Meanwhile, I boiled and salted water for my angel hair pasta ( I've made this with whole wheat pasta too and it was fabulous). Once the aroma of the chilies fills the kitchen I turned off the heat and added the oil, garlic and half the peppers into a blender. Here it depends on your taste, I'm a wimp, so six of these bad boys is enough for me. When the pasta is a minute away from being ready turn off the heat, drain and shock the pasta in ice water, but keep 1 cup of the water it was cooked in. Return the blended mixture to the pasta pot and then add the protein of choice, or large mushrooms, or firm tofu whatever! I use the pasta water to help cook the protein through quickly and then return the pasta for a minute or two to let it finish cooking and so it can absorb all the flavors of the infusion.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Why is it so hot?

I know that my hiking has really been paying off although I am still always the slowest of all the hikers I feel that I am improving my stamina. I didn't feel much soreness at all the day after my second Mt. Zion hike of the year. I was bitten again while hiking by something that caused bruise-like marks on my legs and terrible itching. Besides that it was a great training hike for me since I set the goal to do Mt. Wilson, looks like I may be hitting that as soon as Sunday. The heat has really been making me wish for more opportunities to hike, in the meantime I am still doing either the resistance cord exercise or the boot camp exercise. I definitely and always careful to keep my portions smallish and cut excess fats/oils, like mayonnaise. It will hopefully be easier not more difficult to get into a routine once school starts (tomorrow). Dogwoods is a local store sort of like Henry's and they are advertising 6 limes for $1 so I am going to make another batch of ceviche. The recipe is so simple and was a hit the party. Hope you all have a chance to make this at least once this summer, it's such refreshing treat. Ceviche Video and Ceviche Recipe. BTW I used cod for my party, enjoy!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Free Diet Tracker

So this is not weight watchers but this FREE and almost as good. Instead of a points system this is based on calories. This is the link and I tried it out today. So far it has found everything I plan to eat today and things that already have in the refrigerator. The allowance it gives you is based on some details you give after clicking on "My Pyramid Menu Planner". This is too cool, check it out.

Monday, June 22, 2009

that tortilla soup

i made that chicken tortilla soup a few days ago and it came out without a hitch. unfortunately, i felt pretty guilty about the tortilla chips and cheese, so i cut it out and it tasted pretty boring. so last night i tried it again, this time i added big chunks of onion and half a can of corn to the broth as i waited for it to simmer. After adding the chicken and serving, i added some mexican rice. the dish came out successful: filling, tasty, and a little less guilty.
AND i haven't had any starbucks food in a week. yay!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Fast Friday

I'm so proud of you Nicole, Planks are SUPER HARD! This Firday Nicole came over for a hike at Chantry Flats but due to some severe thunderstorms and lightning we bailed and decided to scrapbook. We managed to make nothing but it was fun anyways and what we did make was edible. I chopped up a super quick salad and then showed Nicole how to make Rachel Ray's Thai Chicken Noodle Soup. It is so fast and makes about 6 servings, I calculated the cost to be $1.38 per person (using thigh meat instead of breast meat). That's right! Anyways, Saturday was left-overs again and no walking because I woke up and had a terrible migrane, I think it may be allergy related. Sunday I felt much better, I made grilled chicken sandwiches and for dinner made a beef stir fry. Now since I've been stagnant since Friday I really need to get moving. Today I'm doing Disneyland with Melissa and if that's not exercise enough for today maybe we'll do a little more walking when we get back.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Nicole's Weigh In

After returning from our road trip I avoided stepping on the scale. I knew I had gained weight from sitting around in the car for 7 hrs a day for approx 6 out of our 11 days on the road. It took me 4 days to get back to gym. I went for 3 days straight and felt good, but hated looking at myself in the mirror. My gut is back! I had lost a little bit of it earlier this year, but with the layoff and the trip and the stress I couldn't keep up my routine that I started last November. I had a tough time getting back to the gym again this week after yet another roadtrip up north, but I did it on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. I decided I needed to commit to more core strengthening than I have before. I committed to adding planks into my routine. I was dying today! Every time I had to cough it hurt! I am taking Friday off since Steph and I are going on a hike. We are hoping to meet weekly on Fridays for a hike. My cardio at the gym is going to alternate between walking and climbing to help train my body for future hikes. I know its not the same as actually hiking or walking out doors, but I get to read and listen to music while I do and I really like the quite time to myself. No phone, No one talking to me, No crazy hot sun, No bugs etc. Weights are my favorite part of working out. I need to do some more research on new routines for my arms and legs, but squats and pushups along with stretching and planks are the core part of my anaerobic portion of the work out. Looking forward to all of your posts! I like this idea of sharing and I need the inspiration for eating better.

Wednesday & Thursday Night

Last night I made individual Meat Loaves and they were pretty tasty. I've never attempted any meat loaf and they were easy and quick to prepare so I'll keep the recipe around for when I have ground beef but no buns. Since tonight is leftover night, today I give my legs a break and do no exercise either. Time to scrapbook!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Thunder & Lighting

I decided to stay home when the thunder started getting louder. Instead I put in my boot camp video and managed only 20 minutes. Someday I hope to get through the entire workout. I weighed myself for the first time in a long time and I guess I'm consistent at 166. In 2007 I was inching towards 200 at 198 and was a size 14 barely avoiding size 16. That is when with Alan and Sylvia's help I started eating better and walking almost everyday for at least 30 minutes. I think getting down to my 21 year old weight of 145 is not realistic but getting toned is goal I hope to accomplish by Christmas. Shaharoh and I had said we would be "hotness" by last Christmas and I think we didn't get too motivated. Just writing about what I have accomplished in a few days (whether or not anyone reads this) has really inspired me. So don't be shy ladies, share how naughty or nice you were. Steph
I'd like to start by saying Happy Birthday Sara!
Yesterday I walked almost 3 miles without intending too. I was going to go down to my usual stopping point but I got adventurous and made a new turn then realized it didn't go through and had to keep going. I'm glad I got a little lost, it was not easy and it was sort of warm too. You can track your distance by using the free tool at
Distance from Start: 2.97 mi
For dinner I started pretty early to start a crock-pot recipe by Sandra Lee called Colorado Chili. I add one less can of green chili and a yellow onion instead of red. I also add one can of corn and I made corn bread muffins to go along with the chili. Sergio and I will be eating this for lunch all week long. Tonight I want to try and make Individual Meat Loaves by Ina from Barefoot Contessa. I already have everything in the fridge or pantry so I'll let you know how it turns out.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Monday Night Marinade

Tonight's dinner was inspired last night while watching Sandra Lee's TV show. She used chicken drumsticks to make a quick dinner, I ran to the freezer before I could forget to put down some that I had in there. Today I went onto the Food Network web site and looked up recipes for the drumsticks and found a very highly rated recipe by Ina again (Barefoot Contessa). I food saved the drumsticks in the marinade for about 3 hours and grilled them on my cast iron skillet. I also made a variation of her side dish with red bell peppers and red onions that was fast an delicious. Sergio asked if I added sugar to the vegetables, nope, all natural sweetness. I did not add the basil but it turned out great. The only exercise I got today was from doing 2 loads of laundry, tomorrow I'll get out to walk at least 30 minutes. Below are links to the two recipes I used today.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Free Day

I think we should all have a free day. My free day is going to be on Sunday's.   I'll be cooking Talapia today, I cleaned out my freezer and noted my current frozen inventory.   I started writing up all of my food intake in the last two days.   Should we include our current weight, measurements?  I'm okay with publishing my weight.  

Sunday Breakfast Machaca

This morning I used up left over pot roast to make Machaca style eggs. I sauteed chopped red bell peppers and a white onion, seasoned with pepper and garlic salt. Then I added the shredded left-over beef and finally 4 scrambled eggs. We ate this with corn tortillas and Sergio gave it an A+ for speed and taste.

Day Hike - Mt. Zion, Chantry Flats

Yesterday, May 29th at 7AM, Alan picked me up and we headed for Chantry Flats for a hike to Mt. Zion. The loop can be made shorter or longer by changing the routes you take. Alan was feeling adventurous and let me decide our route as we went along. Total time was about 6 hours and distance was almost 9 miles total. The only soreness I had today was in my calves and shins because I did a more strenuous hike last weekend that worked my butt, thighs, and arms. I'm hoping to either walk 30 minutes per day or go on hikes with Alan when I can to get toned and maybe lose 10 pounds. I'll post info on the previous hike later when I get more data about our trip. The pictures may be pretty but the hike was not easy the entire way up to Mt. Zion. There were annoying flies and mosquitoes that would not be repelled by even Deet lotion, one got me :-( On the way down and uphill hiker told us he saw a baby rattlesnake and I was so nervous for a while until we got back into the cooler areas of the woods. This was my first hike at Chantry Flats of the year and I really hope it's not the last.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Tilapia and roasted vegetables

I watched an episode of "Barefoot Contessa" yesterday for the first time and decided to try out a recipe she demonstrated. She only used broccoli but I also added zucchini and peeled and diced potatoes. Toss the ingredients with olive oil, salt pepper, garlic chopped, and toasted pine nuts. I didn't have any pine nuts so I added crushed red pepper and Italian herb seasoning instead. Lay the seasoned veggies on a baking sheet and put in oven at 425 for 20-25 minutes depending on how small you cut your potatoes. Buen Aprovecho!