The Spell is Broken (or Back to the Gym!)

Am I the only one who does this?  You stop going to the gym  for a good reason (hand surgery/dad’s death/out of the country, etc.) and then you get all gym shy, and just can’t make yourself go back?   Yes?  I’m the only one?  Well, anyway, TODAY I WENT BACK TO THE GYM!!!  Yahoo.

To be fair to myself, the incision in the palm of my hand is still very irritating, and the thought of putting a weight in that hand or using a bar/machine is just too much for me.  And my leg/knee is bothering me enough that I don’t want to do any more damage to it.  But as I told Shelley, if I can wash dishes with that hand, surely I could put it in the pool for the same amount of time.  So that’s what I did.  Got my suit on before I left the house, and just went straight to the pool.  40 minutes!  About half ‘running’ in the pool, and the other half swimming.  It felt so great.  It was really fun to run without my leg hurting.  I think I’ll go back tomorrow!

And now, back to my favorite topic, FOOD!   Most of these pics are not new ideas, but either involve a shortcut or a twist on a favorite recipe.

I made a batch of the Spaghetti with Bacon sauce.  That is a big recipe–12 servings.  I decided to go ahead and make the whole recipe because the sauce will freeze well, and I can use it during my Spa Week (more on that tomorrow!) and/or during my recovery from my second hand surgery (scheduled for Nov 1.)  The shortcut here is that I used the pre-cooked bacon crumbles that I got from Costco.  I don’t like cooking bacon, so these things really work well for me.  I usually have to put the bag of bacon in the freezer because well, you know–big food from Costco, and there is only one me.

While the sauce simmered, I chopped/sliced/diced the “big four” veggies that I like to have pasta sauce on top of–zucchini, carrots, onions, and mushrooms.

I used half a serving of Barilla Plus pasta with these veggies.  Honestly, I prefer the veggies, but old habits die hard.  I have to keep trying the pasta once in a while.  That Barilla Plus has more protein than regular pasta because they use “legume flour blend.”  They irritate me though, because their labeling is misleading.  They tell you they have 17 grams of protein in 100g.  Wow!  Oh, but wait.  A SERVING is 56 grams.  You’d be eating 380 calories worth of pasta to get the 17 grams of protein.  Might as well eat one of those great “high protein energy bars.” Okay, rant over. This really was very tasty!  There’s a lot of parmesan cheese melted into the sauce at the end.

Last night I got home late after a trip to the big city.  I went to Trader Joe’s and stocked up on some specialty items that I can’t get in our little town.  By the time I got home I was really hungry.  And tired.  These are one of my old favorites–carrots, not even peeled, cut into chunks, sprinkled with Mrs. Dash and salt, and a little butter/lite butter on top, and microwaved for however long it takes for them to get nice and soft.  LOVE LOVE LOVE these.  (I think it took 4 minutes in my current microwave.)

And fortunately I had indulged in one of my favorite TJ’s pre-cooked meals:  Rosemary Chicken.  310 calories for a small chicken breast and a good amount of rice.  I think their secret is cooking the chicken and the rice in chicken broth because it is really so moist and flavorful.

Today, another favorite–butternut squash fries.  I think I like these because you get a bigger volume for your calorie dollar than sweet potato fries.  Anyway, the shortcut here, for me, is partially pre-cooking in the microwave.  Just stick the whole squash in there.  I put it in in the morning for 4 minutes (2 min, turn, another 2 min) so it was cooled off by the time lunch rolled around.  It makes it SO MUCH EASIER to cut up  and peel.  SO MUCH EASIER.  Bake as usual  (for me, 375 degree oven, 15 minutes, turn, another 10 minutes.)  I like to eat them with just a little cocktail sauce.  Is that weird?

This is just yogurt with some homemade granola, using Shelley’s recipe.  No shortcut here, but its fun to vary the nuts and fruit that I add to the recipe.  This one has pepitas and pine nuts, and raisins and dried apricots that I cut into bite sized chunks.  Very satisfying.

No picture, but you all know the trick about making your oatmeal with unsweetened almond milk, right?  Only 40 calories, and it makes it so delicious and creamy.  Just substitute the almond milk for the water specified, and cook as directed.

That’s all for now, folks.  What’s this world coming to–posting two days in a row?

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9 thoughts on “The Spell is Broken (or Back to the Gym!)

  1. I’m so glad you mentioned being “gym-shy.” I’m having exactly the same problem since my injury. I’m still dealing with a rotator cuff problem, but it’s time I got moving a bit more. I think I’m going to have to force myself the first time. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Good job on getting back to the gym!!! That’s great! 🙂

    I’m going to have to break down and try the butternut squash fries. I’m not sure what a butternut squash looks like, though. Which one is it? There’s so many squashes (squashi?) to choose from!

  3. Finally I can comment! I’ve been blocked from commenting on your blog for some reason. Crazy. But I’ve been reading 😀

    Anyway, good for you for getting back to the gym. I often find it very hard to get back into a routine after a layoff and then once I do wonder why? Because I feel so good.

    For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been roasting carrots 2 lbs. at a time then I can just reheat and eat all week. Peel and cut carrots into big chunks. If they are thick I also cut them in half lengthwise. Put on a cookie sheet with 2-3 T of olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper then roast at 425 for 20-30 mins. Holy YUM. Sooooooo good!

  4. You make that granola look amazing. I should branch out with the additions!

    I’m so glad to know I’m not the only one who gets gym-shy. And I’m worried about that happening in the next couple of weeks. But I need to remember that you survived, and I will too. Glad you went and had such a good workout!

  5. We both got to the gym this week! I am finding myself a little gym shy because this is a new gym for me and I feel self-conscious right now, but I have to suck it up and lift!

    You don’t like cooking bacon? That is one smell I love, but I have trouble sneaking bacon bits when it is done 😀

  6. Yes! I get gym-shy too, even though our gym is pretty quiet at lunchtime. If I stop going, I lose the momentum, and then wonder why I’m feeling depressed. Why do I have to keep relearning that endorphins are worth the investment of time and sweat?

    Loved the foodie part of this post, too! You had me at “bacon.” 🙂 I’m definitely going to try your tips for pre-cooking the butternut squash – it’s a pain to cut up raw!-and for using almond milk to make oatmeal. That sounds wonderful!

    Hope you & the pups have a great weekend!

  7. Love the half noodle, half veggie spaghetti idea. I am going to do that for sure. I totally understand not wanting to cook bacon. It’s just so messy. I occasionally buy the precooked bacon but it is not as good. I use Hungry Girl’s idea for a BIG bowl of oatmeal. You add one cup of milk and I like almond best. Then you add another cup of water. I also use a dash of salt, a giant spoonful of canned pumpkin and lots of cinnamon. I’m all happy with that giant bowl of breakfast. 🙂

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