Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Soda Cake

Wow, I've been making a lot of treats lately!!  I saw the recipe for this cake on omnomicon when I was making the rainbow cake a little while ago.  I just used a regular white cake for that, but still wanted to give this lower calorie version a try.

All you do is dump a can of a carbonated beverage (I actually used raspberry flavored, carbonated water) into a white cake mix and bake it according to the directions on the box.  It was really easy.  I think it was originally listed on the Weight Watchers website.  If you use carbonated water like I did, there are absolutely zero calories except what the mix already contains.

THE FINAL REVIEW:  This isn't really a "wow that's amazing" kind of dessert.  I could have frosted it (Omnomicon also has a low-cal frosting) to give it a little somethin somethin, but I don't really like frosting anyway.  It is, however, a good alternative for dessert if you're on a diet or trying to watch your caloric intake.  It's not a healthy food, but it is a healthier option than, say, this cake (which I've made twice now and can't keep it around long enough to get pictures to blog about really is that good).  Even though the carbonated water I used had a raspberry flavoring, It didn't taste much like raspberries.  The cake definitely holds its own flavor.  It was okay, but since I'm not that obsessed with the calories I'm eating, I probably won't make it again.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Cinnamon Toast

When I was growing up my dad would often make an entire cookie sheet (or 2 if everyone was home) full of cinnamon toast on Sunday evenings.  It was a perfect way to end the weekend.

First we (I say we...I really mean my dad; I occasionally helped) would toast the bread under the broiler for a few minutes so the bottom wouldn't get soggy, then my dad would butter the bread (it took me about ten minutes to butter bread as a child...let's just say my OCD tendencies started early) and I would sprinkle on some sugar and cinnamon.  Then we would put it under the broiler, watching very carefully and take it out when it was caramelized and completely delicious looking.

I saw The Pioneer Woman's version of cinnamon toast a while ago and I just had to try it.  I learned from a young age that cinnamon toast was a serious undertaking, so thank Heaven Above that Pioneer Woman treated this task with solemnity.  She goes through four different approaches to making cinnamon toast, my way being second best.  I could not believe there could be a better way to make cinnamon toast, but I tried it and...ahem....I have to agree.  Sorry, Dad.  I'll happily take it either way, but if I'm making it, I'm making it Pioneer Woman's way.

Take a cube of butter...

Add about a half-cup of sugar...

And a teaspoon or two of cinnamon...

And mix it up with a fork.

Make a delicious puddle of vanilla extract, and mix that into your butter.

You will end up with something like this, and you'll want to eat it with a spoon, or your finger if you don't want to waste time with a spoon, but DON'T.  I promise it's better on the toast.

This is where things get interesting.  Really slather on the butter mixture and bake your toast at 350 degrees for about ten minutes.  The butter will melt and you'll worry that by leaving it in the oven longer it will get even soggier, but trust me.  It will start bubbling up just a little bit, and at this point you're safe to turn the oven to broil.  Leave them in for a few more minutes; watch carefully to avoid burnt cinnamon toast--no one likes that. 

This is well worth the wait.  You will be rewarded with a crispy, crunchy, caramelized version of cinnamon toast, and you'll probably want to eat it hourly daily.

The back of your toast, as you can see here, will be toasted through.

The butter really soaks into the bread when you bake it at 350 degrees for a few minutes and cooks the bread.  It takes a little longer, but like I said, it is totally worth the wait.  

THE FINAL REVIEW:  Amazing.  That's all I have to say about it.  The addition of vanilla and the way you bake this toast makes it the perfect dessert, snack, or even breakfast.

P.S.  Sorry about the photos...they're from my phone, so that's why they're extra lame  :)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Fit Friday: Week 7

running = running


--Begin with a 5-minute warm-up walk, then run 25 minutes.

Saturday, February 18--2.615 miles--263.6 calories
Monday, February 20--2.54 miles--282 calories
Wednesday, February 22--2.906 miles--284.7 calories

Monday was President's Day, and my sister wanted to go running with me again (outside...dun dun dun).  I was nervous (again), because even though I knew I could run 16 minutes, I had to run 25!  Outside!  And if I didn't I would have to run again later on the treadmill!  We found a parkway to run at, and it was sooo much better than just running around my neighborhood.  I didn't feel like people were peering out their windows at me, and we didn't have to worry about stopping to cross the street.  I actually really liked running outside because there was so much more to look at.  Sure, I couldn't see my chart and workout schedule, but I could distract myself by trying to make it to a certain landmark and then when I got there picking another one.

We made awesome time, comparatively speaking.  We ran 25:21 and ran 2.54 miles.  Don't worry, that's just a 9:59 mile!!  I don't even know the last time I ran one ten-minute mile, so averaging that for 2 and 1/2 miles made me feel amazing.  Running with my sister pushed me a lot.  I've always been  less active than her, so I was sure she was probably going slower so she was able to run by me and not make me feel bad.  I didn't want her to feel like I was slowing her down, so along the way whenever I thought I had slowed down or I was holding her back, I would kick up the pace just a little bit.  She told me later that she was thinking basically the same thing!

My other two runs for this week were about the same as usual.  On my first run, I got really bad side cramps with five minutes to go, but I tried not to think about it and pushed through.  I also had side cramps more than half the time when I was running with my sister outside...I need to look into what is causing that.  I really hope it's preventable because it is really annoying trying to run through cramps.  Ugh.  I hate it more than anything right now.

Next week I'm doing all 28-minute runs, and the week after is the last week!!!  I can't believe I'm so close to being done!  Not done done, because I'm not just going to quit; I have been torturing myself too much to just stop.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fit Friday: Week 6


1/3--Begin with a 5-minute warm-up walk, then jog for 5 minutes, walk for 3 minutes, jog for 8 minutes, walk for 3 minutes, and jog for 5 minutes.
Friday, February 10--2.622 miles--250.8 calories

2/3--Begin with a 5-minute warm-up walk, then jog for 10 minutes, walk for 3 minutes, and jog for 10 minutes.
Monday, February 13--2.522 miles--245.3 calories

3/3--Begin with a 5-minute warm-up walk, then jog for 22 minutes with no walking.
Wednesday, February 15--2.522 miles--253 calories
     + a 16-minute run on Saturday, February 16--1.45 miles--163 calories

I usually do a little self-assessment when I'm at the end of my time running to see if I'm dead tired or if I can push myself a little bit longer.  I usually find that I can push just a little more, so I run an extra minute or two or turn up the incline a little bit.  I've realized through doing this that I can do a lot more than I give myself credit for.  I've never really pushed myself physically like I am now; whenever I got tired before I would just stop.  I always took the easy way out with exercising, and I guess that's probably why I was never happy with where I was at with my body and my fitness level.  I'm still not perfectly happy where I'm at, but I feel like I'm finally actually reaching some goals and I can see the progress I've made, whereas before I felt like I was just walking in place (figuratively...and literally. HA!)

The runs this week were way better than my previous week.  It was still hard to do, and I could tell I was pushing myself, but I think not having an incline did wonders for me; I feel like I can do anything!

On Saturday my sister came over and wanted to go running.  I thought that running outside would be waaay harder and was afraid I'd only be able to run for a couple of minutes.  But I told her I would try it; I figured I didn't have anything to lose since I had already gotten my runs in for the week.

We ran for almost a mile and a half!!  It was hard (it was super windy), but it felt so good to know that I had conquered another obstacle!


P.S.  ^^That's totally not what I looked like, I'm sure...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fit Friday: Week 5

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This week the workouts start changing each day.

1/3--Begin with a 5-minute warm-up walk, then jog for 5 minutes, walk for 3 minutes, jog for 5 minutes, walk for 3 minutes, and jog for 5 minutes. 

Monday, January 30--2.043 miles--241.4 calories

2/3--Begin with a 5-minute warm-up walk, then jog 8 minutes, walk 5 minutes, jog 8 minutes.

Tuesday, January 31--2.015 miles--239.7 calories

3/3--Begin with a 5-minute warm-up walk, then jog 20 minutes with no walking.

Wednesday, February 8--2.484 miles--249.6 calories
     + Thursday, February 2--1.327 miles--160.5 calories (made it to 18:30--so 13:30 of the 20-minute run)

My first run this week was okay...I really thought I might die on the third 5-minute run.  My second run was awful!!  I got terrible side cramps, but I pushed through and finished that run too.  Then on my third run for the week I just could not make it through.  I ran 13 and 1/2 minutes, but when I saw how far left I had to run I just couldn't go any further.  We left for California early Friday morning (I refuse to work out on vacation...I may someday change my mind about this, but for now I'm sticking with the idea that when I go on vacation, I vacation) and didn't get back home until Tuesday night.  So Wednesday I tried again with a pit in my stomach thinking this may be my breaking point.  If I couldn't get this 20-minute run I would have been really tempted to just give up.

Little did I know that I had unknowingly sabotaged myself along the way!  For some reason, the incline on my treadmill was set to a 5.0...I don't know how I didn't find that out on any of my previous runs (no wonder they were so hard...!!).  So I set it to a zero, just hoping I could make it through 20 minutes.  I had been running at a speed of 6.0 too, so I ran at a 5.0 this time to give me as much in my favor as I could.

I could not believe it when I looked at how long I had been running and I was already at 18 minutes!!  So I turned it up to a 6.0 for the last couple of minutes because I felt FREAKING AMAZING.  Then at 20 minutes I still felt great.  So I kept running and went 22 minutes!!  This is definitely my proudest moment up to this point in running.

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Friday, February 3, 2012

Fit Friday: Week 4

Via my crazy running, marathon training friend, Christine!


--Begin with a five-minute warm-up run; then jog for 3 minutes, walk 90 seconds, jog 5 minutes, walk 2.5 minutes, jog 3 minutes, walk 90 seconds, jog 5 minutes.

Tuesday, January 24--2.172 miles--234.6 calories
Thursday, January 26--1.885 miles--205.6 calories
Friday, January 27--2.33 miles--250 calories
     + Monday, January 23, 2011--1.101 miles--115.2 calories
     + Monday, January 23, 2011--0.5 miles--50+ calories

This week was a toughy.  For some reason on Monday I could NOT get through the five-minute portion of the run.  My first attempt I made it through the three-minute run but couldn't get through the five minute run, so that night I decided to just see if I could run five minutes straight.  That's it.  I told myself I wouldn't have to run the whole thing that day; I could just be done after five minutes of nothing but running...and I totally did it!  It was actually way hard, but I felt really proud of myself when I was done.

So Tuesday I went hard and tried to tackle the whole thing...and succeeded!!  By the end of the run I was feeling like I could run a marathon.  Not that I actually could because I was way too tired.  And then when I was thinking about how hard it was for me to run for five minutes I felt completely pathetic!!  Only five minutes??  Really?!?  I felt like I was never going to finish this 5K training if I could barely get through five minutes of running at a time.

The one thing that gave me motivation to keep going was looking back on my first day of running, and how tough it was for me to run 60 seconds at a time even with a 90-second walk in between each run.  Knowing I had already come so far from that was a big boost.

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In my first Fit Friday post I mentioned that I hung up my training plan in front of my treadmill.  Right on the wall of my living room.  I love having it there because it's so cute and TOTALLY goes with all the decor in my house.  NOT.  But I really do like it there because it 1) gives me something to look at while I'm running, 2) I can see how far I've come and remember back to how I felt running, and 3) I can see what goals I have coming up and see that they are attainable because of what I'm doing now.  I also printed out a spreadsheet from Excel so right afterward I can write down what date I accomplish what part of my run, how far I ran and how many calories I (supposedly) burned during that run.  This is great because I can easily see how I'm doing and if I'm on track.  I look at this a lot too when I'm running, and I try to go farther than the day before or burn more calories and kind of challenge myself.

I've heard of a lot of people putting up inspiration pictures in front of their treadmill or on the fridge or in the mirror so they see what they want to look like and get motivated, but I haven't done that (mostly cause I think it would be awkward to have swimsuit models hanging up all over my house).  I saw this and thought it was so seriously funny that I might change my mind on that now.