Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Winner, Winner PORK dinner!

Well, I don't know about you but when I have a lot of time on my hands I seem to take it out on the kitchen! I have been cooking what seems to be non-stop the last 2 days! I did find time to get my butt up and go to the gym--Pilates and Cardio Blast! Plus I got a little help from this lady:

I have about 4 of her DVD's and I am just totally in love with her. Do I get bored sometimes when I am doing her workouts? Sure...but I stick through them and love how I feel in the days after! I usually always end my workouts with abs. I usually do about 750-1000 crunches in a sitting. I know, it sounds like a lot but if you get a playlist of your favorite 4 or 5 "pump-you-up" songs going, you can do about 150-200 per song! I only do about 50 then rest for about 30 seconds. Your core is essential in all of your workouts! Tomorrow morning I head to cardio kickboxing at the gym and then I am going on Thursday morning to spin class with some ladies in Baltimore. I love planning my workouts! It helps me stick with my routine!

As stated in my previous post, I did make Courtney's Cranberry Apple Bread except instead of cranberries, I used some of the berries I picked on Sunday! I was so anxious to try it, I was sitting in front of my oven with the oven light on like a little kid! Ha! It finally came out of the oven looking like this:

My mom sliced off a piece before I could take a picture!

Let me tell you this bread is TOO DIE FOR! I would probably recommend sticking with Courtney's recipe though as far as cranberries are concerned. My berries had some hard seeds in there--but it's still delish!

Yesterday, I wanted to bust out the crock pot really bad so my mom suggested looking for or creating a pulled pork recipe. Don't have to tell me twice!

I made a Spicy Carolina Style Pulled Pork and as most people know, things made down in the south are made in bulk. So, I just divided the recipe in half and compromised as such. Here is the full and whole recipe:

Spicy Carolina Style Pulled Pork

3 Tbl brown sugar
2 Tbl paprika
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
5 lbs. pork shoulder
1 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbl Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp sugar
1 Tbl spicy brown mustard
1 Tbl garlic powder
1/2 tsp powdered cayenne pepper
2 red onions, quartered
2 yellow onions, quartered

Combine the brown sugar, paprika, salt, and pepper and rub the mixture over the roast. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate a few hours (overnight is best). In a bowl, combine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper flakes, sugar, mustard, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Mix well. Place the quartered onions in the bottom of a crock pot. Unwrap the roast and place on top of the onions. Drizzle most of the vinegar mix over the roast, reserving some to add to the shredded meat at the end. Cover and cook low for 7-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours. Remove meat and onions to a cutting board. Remove skin and set aside. Using two forks, pull and shred the pork apart. Chop the onions and mix into shredded meat. Serve on warm rolls/buns with extra vinegar sauce on the side. Add some barbecue sauce if desired!

I will have leftovers forever!

Tomorrow I plan on making Banana Blueberry Bread (What's with my bread craze??)

Ok MAJOR brag time...Today I discovered that in the past 5 days, I have won not one, not two, but THREE giveaways!! I couldn't believe it! Literally I was jumping up and down screaming when I found out! What did I win??

  • From Laura I won some Clearly Fresh Bags.They use a BreathWay technology to help keep fruits and vegetables fresh longer! Yay!

  • From Kristine I won a Bella lunch bag by Toss Boutiques! It is insulated and I got to choose my own design and letter to put on it! Woohoo!

And finally...from Jenny I won $150 worth of Chobani!!!! That is 10 cases of Chobani that will be sent to my house (holy crap!) Can you believe it??
I am so excited! I cannot wait to receive these goodies in the mail! I don't know how or why my luck has changed but it did! I am not complaining!

Well, it's off to bed for me. Can't wait for my cardio kickboxing class in the morning! Here are tonight's questions I have for you all:

Do you like to plan your workouts or plan them on-the-go?? What is your favorite crock pot recipe??

Tomorrow is hump day which means it is almost the weekend (a holiday weekend at that!) and I hope you enjoy it to the fullest...on your own two feet...

Until the next step bloggers...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Heal Better!

::{Did you know that 42% of exercisers hurt themselves every year?? Knee pain and sprains are among the most common injuries, helping to fuel over $2 billion in amount of annual sales for OTC (over-the-counter) pain relievers!!}::

Oh yes, my friends! Are you a statistic?? Unfortunately, with my weird anatomy, I am. Well, guess what? A real pain in the butt hamstring, knee, ankle, shoulder, back, etc. doesn't have to put your workouts on ice! Here are some smart ways to help ease those aches:

The Pain

Sharp and sudden

What to do Stop working out immediately! Let loose with some "sailor trash talk." Honestly! Research and studies show that cursing/swearing helps block pain! Next, try some GENTLE stretching. Listen to your body! That should help if the pain was just a muscle spasm. If stretching makes it worse, you could have a strain. (I strained my ACL twice in high school--BELIEVE ME! THIS IS NOT FUN!) You might need to  change your workout routine or stop altogether depending on location and severity. To treat the injury, apply ice for 20 minutes several times a day and always remember RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation)!

Dull aches/cramp that hits as soon as your workout begins

What to do Keep going for a couple of minutes and the feeling should subside. If the pain continues, stop your workout and rest the specific joint or muscle bothering you until you can exercise without pain. To prevent cramping the next time you hit the gym? Warm up for 10 minutes instead of 5, 15 instead of 10, or what have you. If the pain early in those workouts, see your doctor.

Overwhelming ache late in your workout

What to do During exercise, your body tries to get rid of lactic acid and carbon monoxide that builds up and physical exhaustion can cause aches and pains. Reduce your intensity or your pace (even though for us fitness people, this may KILL us!!) Women who consumed caffeine before a tough cycling round (Yay spin class!) tolerated leg pain better than those who took a placebo according to a study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Maybe try downing some of my favorite: Dunkin' Donuts Hazelnut Coffee (cream and sugar please!) or my other favorite: Starbucks Skinny, Non-fat Caramel Macchiato . Caffeine blocks adenosine, a hormone in your brain that helps process your body's pain!

So, what's the good news in all of this? You can learn to squash looming thoughts about pain and use our own mind to help you feel better! Fix the mind first, then the body will follow! That's right! Adopting the attitude that most physical aches are non-threatening can help you in the long run (no pun intended!). You hurt less when you perceive pain as your body's natural way of healing itself and getting stronger!

If you think about pain in a way that makes it seem more benign, you can reduce your pain by 64%!! Example: To produce a cooling effect, imagine little snowflakes landing on that aching shoulder. Picture your cells multiplying and having small tools to repair an injured muscle. This, in the nursing world, is what we call guided imagery. For a couple minutes, two or three times a day, close your eyes and visualize the process happening right then and there.

When pain hits you (sometimes hard and square between the eyes!), think about your workout regimen that week: Did you increase your reps? Up your speed? Do a new workout class? If you change your activity, pain could be normal. Apply ice and take good ole' ibuprofen (Advil). It acts as an anti-inflammatory and reduces swelling, allowing tendons to move more freely.

Make sure you are getting enough sleep! When you are tired, your gait (balance) and technique during your exercises can be compromised!

If you are healing from an injury, don't stop working out! Just modify your routine. You can get the same benefits of running on a treadmill for an hour in the pool swimming laps! Activity helps deliver oxygen and nutrients to different parts of your body which is critical in having it heal better!

Listen to your body and you will become much more strong!

So go conquer those aches and pains on your own (though sometimes crippled) two feet...

Until the next step bloggers...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Berry Picking...and Baking!

Ok so as most of you know by now, I work the night shift at a hospital (7p-7a). Starting around 11pm, I get extremely bored and need to keep myself busy to stay awake. This is when I like to catch up on all your blogs and what you all are up to...

In searching for new recipes to try, I have discovered that I love any food that has berries in it. They are probably my favorite fruit and they just taste so good in pretty much anything!

So today, after catching up on some sleep, my mom and I wandered to Larriland Farms here in Maryland to go berry picking!


This place seems to be a heaven for people like myself because you can pick your own blueberries, cherries, red/purple/black raspberries, beets, herbs, and flowers. They also have homemade salad dressings, jams, kale (which I got as well), granola, etc. for sale. Yay! Today, my mom and I decided to pick raspberries and blueberries.

Don't they look great?! Yummy!

So, when looking through my seemingly never-ending recipe book (many of which came from all of you!), I have decided on two:

Thanks so Courtney over at Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life I got her recipe on Cranberry Apple Bread here!

Just in case, here is the recipe:

Cranberry Apple Bread

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup milk
1 cup frozen or fresh cranberries
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 Tbl canola oil
2 cups chopped, peeled tart apples (Macintosh)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk eggs, oil, and milk. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in apples, walnuts, and cranberries. {I will try the berries I picked today!} Transfer to an 8x4, 9x5, or mini loaf pan sprayed. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-65 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing. 

Next, thanks to Kelly at Laughter, Strength, and Food I found her recipe for Strawberry Almond Granola Bars here and have actually already made some. Holy cow are they good! They were so easy and they stay moist for so long! I think they were gone in about 2 or 3 days!

Strawberry Almond Granola Bars

1/2 cup reduced fat creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 egg
2 Tbl. canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup chopped strawberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat the peanut butter, maple syrup, egg, oil, and vanilla until blended. Combine the oats, brown sugar, and salt. Add the peanut butter mixture and mix well. Fold in the chips, almonds, and strawberries.

Transfer to a 9x13 baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until set and edges are lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars and enjoy!

When talking to her via email, she said, "I make them all the time and they are great because you can throw in anything you have on hand and don't have to follow a recipe!" Those are the best recipes, I think!

All in all, not a bad Sunday! Now it is off to work! Which brings me to my Sunday Funday questions:

Have you ever gone berry picking?? What is your favorite fruit??

I hope you all have a relaxing Sunday night and you are ready to conquer the week on your own two feet...

Until the next step bloggers...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Life can be pulled by goals just as surely as it can be pushed by drives. ~ Vicktor Frankl

Back in the grind on this marvelous Monday, bloggers! I hope everyone had a great weekend!

So in my last post I left you with the knowledge that some of us DC bloggers were getting together at the Nationals game on Thursday. Well, from the looks of it, all 16 of us had a great time! Thanks so much to Amanda for organizing and planning on having covered seats (since it started pouring in the middle of the game!) Lots of friends were made and contact information saved. Just another way to connect with people in the area who have the same goals in mind!

*Thanks to Stephanie and Chloe , Gretchen , and Liz for the picture. I am not sure who has "copyrights" but I saw it on your blogs first :o) *

These inspiring ladies made me want one of these real bad:

Some of the girls had them and they look like they take great pictures! In looking at them online, they are expensive! Do you know of how to get one for cheaper?? Send advice my way, please!

Yesterday I ran what has seemed like my millionth 5k but this one was very special. My hospital hosts a Father's Day 5k/ 1 mile Fun Walk each year to help benefit our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The NICU is the unit of the hospital where premature, tiny, sick babies go to to gain strength to survive and go home. Some stories end on a happy note and others do not. That is the reason for this event! Parents of NICU babies come, even "NICU graduates" as we call them come out to help support this terrific unit. Personally? The only tie I have to the NICU is the fact that I work in the Labor and Delivery/High Risk OB unit in the hospital and some of my patients have their babies go up there. However, I run for those babies who are no longer with us and for those currently struggling to survive.

My legs are very sore today--the course was pretty "hill-y." It was about 80 degrees at 8am when we started and I have been recovering from the flu. I ran about 9 1/2 minute miles though so I am pretty happy!

Despite my legs being sore, I woke up "early" today, ate breakfast, and went to Pilates class at my gym. I fell in love with Pilates a while ago but they finally offer it for free now! Wooo!

For breakfast this morning, I cooked up some of these babies...

I usually make the equivalent of at least 2 large eggs. Then it led to this...

Oh yes! 4 large egg whites, ham, green/red peppers, spinach, low fat shredded cheese, and onions all wrapped in a whole grain tortilla! Super yummy! No recipe required on this one my friends--it's that easy! Just put some olive oil on your skillet and toss everything on and cook both sides until crispy brown and cheese has melted!

As soon as I came home from Pilates, I felt like I could run a marathon! So I turned on my Wii Fit Plus and had a little fun boxing, hula hooping, and yoga for another 35 minutes!

I spoke to someone at my gym and told her I was thinking of becoming a certified Piloxing instructor next month and she wants me to teach a class!! How exciting is that?? I will keep you posted as the time draws near!

Tonight I am making Cod and with a new found recipe, homemade granola bars! If they turn out well, I will post the recipe tomorrow (hopefully)!

Have you ever taken a Piloxing class?? What are some of your favorite classes to take at the gym??

Anyway, I am off for round 2 at the gym today! Hope you all had a great start to your week and you have an even better night! Allow yourself to love what you have in your life and the fact that you are walking on (sometimes sore!) your own two feet...

Until the next step bloggers...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. ~World Health Organization, 1948

Ahhh I am so behind! I feel so out of the loop it's not even funny! I need to get more motivated to update this more often! I have been so busy my head is still spinning...

Two weeks ago, I went to a Baltimore Orioles game (it has been forever since I have gone to one of these without working it!) with my friend Brittany who I haven't seen in forever! She brought along her one-year-old daughter, Jayden, who I fell in love with and chased all around the club level. I got her to say, "Sarah" so I was pretty excited about that!

Her legs were going wild--isn't she cute??

That same weekend, I had the honor to hear Dr. Ben Carson speak at a Nursing benefit dinner with my friend, Angie. We got very giddy over it and could barely control our excitement. Maybe it was because we are in the health field and he is such an inspiration or if it was the two open bars...

Me, Dr. Ben Carson, and Angie

This past weekend I went to North Carolina to see my baby cousin graduate from high school. I am so proud of her! She has been like my little sister since we are so close in age so I definitely was not going to miss seeing her graduate!

Me and my 6 (yes there are 6 in their family!) cousins

Me and my aunt

Joshua (the oldest--he's almost 20) and I

Me with Rachel...the official high school grad!

While I was down there, we took a day trip to Fayetteville, ate lunch on base at Ft. Bragg (Army, Special Ops base...Yummy!), then did girly things like go to an antique store, walk around the park and just as we were about to head back, my cousin tells me she has never been to a Hooters. Whattt?? Detour! I took her to her first experience at Hooters (fun I know...) where she introduced me to an apparent southern delicacy...fried pickles. I could only eat a couple but they weren't that bad!

Tonight I am heading to Washington, DC for a first DC bloggers get-together at the Nationals game and I couldn't be more excited! There are about 15 of us or so going and in honor of it, Amanda has graciously written a guest post for my apparent new "Twitter Friend Thursday!"

Five Things You Should be Doing Right Now

Hi everyone! I’m Amanda and my blog is Eats, Love, and Happiness. My blog falls under the “healthy living category” but will be focusing on a few big life changes in the next year or so. I recently quit my job to attend culinary school and complete change careers and I’m planning a wedding. Things are a little crazy right now, but I couldn’t be happier. A lot of people have asked me for advice on how to make a big decision like this and how everything is going to work. While I don’t think quitting your job and spending a ton of money on tuition is the perfect choice for everyone and there is a certain time for every big decision. I do however have a few pieces of advice that I think most people can start following right now!

1. Wake up an hour earlier. It’s really amazing what you can do in that hour and although it’s god-awful to hear the alarm go off, I think you’ll really appreciate that extra time for yourself. Right now I’m getting up to workout, but I also love enjoying a cup of coffee and just watching the morning news. It’s so peaceful and quiet and is a great time for reflection.

2. Buy a Groupon for something you never thought you would do. Groupon and Living Social are both providing amazing opportunities for us that we might have never tried. Even if it’s as simple as an afternoon of paint ball or trying a different restaurant, take advantage of these discounted blessings in disguise. You’ll never know if it’s fun without trying it!

3. Play with a dog. Or play with a baby. Some of us might be getting to that age where we think it might be the right time to start a family. Putting yourself in the position where you are responsible for another living thing (even if it’s just for a night or the parents/owners are right beside you) will give you a good gage as to if you are ready. Either you love it or you hate it, but approach it with the mentality that this is a responsibility not just temporary entertainment.

4. Get rid of your cable. I’m over it and you should be, too. That doesn’t mean I don’t like watching tv, because believe me I do. But I do promise you that most big life decisions require a big financial investment and cutting that monthly cost will do wonders to your savings. Netflix is the way to go.

5. Make a spreadsheet. I swear by spreadsheets. If you have ideas as to where you want your life to go, list each option and start listing pros and cons. You might be able to finish the list in a few minutes or it may take you a few months. Getting your ideas on paper (or a computer screen) is a huge first step. Brainstorming is key!

I hope that these tips help those of you who are searching for your dreams. And for those of you who are pursuing them, what tips do you have to offer?

I want to thank Sarah for inviting me to guest post on her blog and I hope that you’ll all check in with me at Eats, Love, and Happiness to see how the big changes are going!

Thanks Amanda! I love your idea about the Groupon--I have an app on my phone that sens me all the deals in my area daily! You bloggers can follow her on twitter here!

Well, after the past couple of weeks, this is what I have been looking like the past couple of days:

They love to snuggle while I am relaxing

However, I have got to get back into the grind! So this morning, I got to the gym around 7am to do some much needed cardio! After a little more than an hour and a half of running on the treadmill, rowing, stairmaster, and the eliptical I was ready to pass out! and afterwards came home to make myself one of these:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Shakeology!!  Love these things--so filling!!

I will have to let everyone know how the blogger get-together turned out!

Have you ever been to a blogger get-together in your area? Have you ever drank Shakeology??

I hope you...yes, YOU!... conquer the day...on your own two feet....

Until the next step bloggers...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

"I get by with a little help from my friends." - John Lennon

I am so behind bloggers! I feel like I have been out of the loop for DAYS now! Ugh! Of course with it being Memorial Day weekend, it was jammed with fun activities!

Along with working, graduation parties, another wine festival, NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship (Way to go Hoos!), hanging out with friends who I haven't seen in a while, and rekindling others, I am exhausted! I am crazy excited for this weekend though. Going to the Orioles game with an old friend, dinner with Dr. Ben Carson (that's right...dinner with THE Dr. Ben Carson...if you don't know who that is, look him up! Cuba Gooding Jr. played him in a movie!), and lastly, looking at some houses. Fun, right?! Last night I worked night 2 of 3...I am about to get ready for #3! Let me tell you that 7p-7a can take a lot out of you! I just take a good book with me and I'm set though and try to catch up with all of you!

Since I missed this weekend's "Spotlight Saturday/Sunday" I am doing today a "Twitter-Friend Thursday!" Ashley graciously agreed to be my next guest post! Check her out on twitter! She always has great tips and inspirational words plus- she's a BEACHBODY coach!

Fitness 101: Back to the Basics

I am delighted to meet the readers of Walking on My Own Two Feet. I’m Ashley and I blog over at Home Made Fit. I’ve only been around for a few months but I have created a space where I can write about my own fitness and nutrition journey and the things I learn along the way. I have a special interest in women’s health issues.
I don’t know about you, but Memorial Day marked the first “real” day of summer in Chicago, in that it was really the first day where it was sunny and warm in weeks! As much as I love summer, it means the start of swimsuits, shorts, and tank tops. I am taking on 60 days of Insanity to get prepared. Here are three basic steps to get you started!

1. Find something you enjoy doing

Like hiking…

I know this sounds cliché – but honestly – if you can’t enjoy it, it’s hard to find the motivation. I like to run, I like fitness classes, I like DVD programs that include fitness schedules and nutrition plans. I hate treadmills, elliptical, and stationary bikes. I found Turbo Fire in January of 2011, which worked for me. But for years I would “get committed” – go to the gym 3-4 times a week for a few weeks, then fall of the wagon and go weeks, even months, before I would try again.

Which brings me to my next tip…

2. Don’t get discouraged

Even once you find something you enjoy, you won’t want to do it every day. And when you take a day off, don’t let it get to you. You can even take 2-3 days off. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t cut out for this, or that it isn’t worth it. Fact – I took a whole WEEK off – and have recommitted to another 60 day schedule starting May 31st.
 "To achieve the greatest success, you must embrace the prospect of failure."

3. Schedule your workouts

1st schedule them – put it on the calendar. Don’t let it be negotiable. Of course if you just say, I will work out today – chances are, particularly if you are just beginning your fitness journey – the workout will keep being pushed off until finally it is bed time and you say “tomorrow is another day.” SCHEDULE THEM. For instance, today, I literally have 30 minutes blocked out in my calendar at 5:00 pm today for my workout. No matter what anyone else invites me to do – I will say that I have a prior commitment. 2nd organize your workouts. It is important you get both muscular and cardio activity in your workouts. So schedule them with what I call a “forgiving schedule.” I like to mark my schedules with numbers rather than days of the week, so if I need a break, it’s okay, I skip a day, and then I start back on the next day. Let me give you an example, something similar to what you would see in Turbo Fire, but you can use any workouts: Day 1: 30 minutes cardio; Day 2: 20 minutes abs + 20 minutes cardio; Day 3: upper body strength; Day 4: 45 minutes cardio; Day 5: 20 minutes yoga + 20 minutes of deep stretching.

Now – if you started Day 1 on a Monday, it stands to reason that day 5 would be Friday. But let’s say that Thursday is super busy for me so I can skip it, and resume day 4 on Friday instead. This is what I call “the flexible schedule”

That’s all folks!
In a nutshell: THAT is all it takes to start your fitness journey and make the transformation.

Hope I get to see you over at Home Made Fit!

Thanks Ashley! You look amazing! I too am crazy about TurboFire (I admit I have all of the DVD's!) Beachbody in general has amazing programs out there that can get you slimmed and toned fast! Some other Beachbody programs you might have heard of are Insanity, HipHop Abs, P90x, Slim in 6, Brazil Butt Lift, and 10-minute Trainer! You can check them out here!

What are you up to this weekend? How was your Memorial Day weekend? Are you a part of the Beachbody team?!
It's almost Friday! We might be running on fumes but at least we are running!...on our own two feet...

Until the next step bloggers...