Library Haul

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I made it to the library today – the library provides a guilt-free “shopping” fix for me and has since I was a girl (I used to say that the library should have shopping carts; my enthusiasm has cooled slightly since the fines in WI are $.25 per day overdue instead of the $.10 they were in IA.)

These are the books I found today – all short and a little pop culture-y (good for my sleep-deprived brain) and inspiring for the new year to boot:

Motherhood Smotherhood: Fighting Back Against the Lactivists, Mompetitions, Germophobes, and So-Called Experts Who Are Driving Us Crazy

The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth: Entrepreneurship for Weirdos, Misfits, and World Dominators

The Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises: Four Weeks to a Leaner, Sexier, Healthier YOU!

Invent, Reinvent, Thrive: The Keys to Success for Any Start-Up, Entrepreneur, or Family Business

I must be shallow – all of these books have awesome covers (except, maybe, that constipated-looking blonde whose belly button or pubes really ought to be showing). Also, if there’s any uniting theme here, it’s “Books with Semi-Colons and Groupings of Three in the Title”.

Have you read any of them? I’ll keep you updated on what I think. I’m trying to read while breastfeeding instead of putzing around on social media or playing Candy Crush.

Four of My Favorite Free Fitness Apps

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Nike Training Club

This app has an incredible amount of free content – thank you, Nike! It features interval-style workouts for different fitness levels and goals. Each workout includes exercise instructions and how-to videos (extremely helpful), built-in interval timers, narration, and the option to play your own music. If you have this app it’s easy to perform high-intensity,challenging workouts at home with minimal equipment and little fitness experience.

MapMyRun

The free version of this app performs the basic functions I’m looking for in a running app – it keeps track of my pace, route, and total distance run, as well as calories burnt. As much as I’d eventually like to buy a FitBit or GPS running watch, this does the trick in the meantime.

IntervalTimers

This app is a super simple timer perfect for interval/tabata workouts. What I like most about it is how loud the alarms are – easy to hear even over blasting music.

TwoGrand 

I really love this photo food journal app. As opposed to counting calories or macros, this app allows you to simply snap photos of what you eat, creating a visual sense of how much food you’re consuming. You can follow other users with similar goals/lifestyles and participate in challenges (“Drink x oz. of water per day”, “Workout abs everyday for a month”, etc.). You can follow me under username margeauxvittoria (as long as you promise not to judge me for my Christmas indulgences).

Workout Journal (Week of 12.7.14)

Sunday – NTC Ab Routine (15 min.)

I’m really liking the Nike Training Club app. Zach and I did a 15 minute ab routine on the living room floor while discussing how we wanted Ben and Jerry’s and it was surprisingly hard. We didn’t get ice cream afterwards either.

Monday – 1 Hour Zumba Class

Same class as last week but with a substitute teacher. It’s amazing how different Zumba teachers can be – the regular is definitely much more fun. Zumba can really easily become step aerobics which I HATE. The usual teacher turns it into actual dancing, though.

Tuesday – 20 Min. PiYo Video

Zach did this BeachBody program while I was pregnant and I’m just now getting into it. I like it – however, after my recent hour-long yoga classes, this workout felt kind of like a cop-out.

Wednesday – 1.7 Mile Walk

I went walking with the same friend at the same park again this week. We go around 4:30 just when the sun is setting and, oddly enough, I enjoy the cold and dark. It’s nice to get in touch with nature even when nature isn’t particularly inviting. We saw a bunch of geese, two muskrats, and a few rabbits.

Thursday – 20 Min. PiYo Video

This was an upper body workout with a lot of pushups…I needed it. I can barely do full-body pushups anymore and I miss having that ability – one of my short-term goals is to regain that!

Friday – Tone It Up Video + 30 Min. “Run”

As much as I dislike the style of Tone It Up (the pastel colors, trashy outfits, use of the word “tone” – which is pretty much irrelevant in fitness culture now – and general sorority vibe) their workouts are decent and work for my current fitness level and lack of gym membership. The arm workout I did was challenging with my 10 lb. weights. This week’s attempt at running was about as sorry as last week’s. My phone died halfway through so I don’t know what my exact pace was, but let’s just say it wasn’t great.

Saturday – Rest Day

I’m feeling slightly discouraged fitness-wise this week. As a person, I have a hard time being patient while working towards a goal that is still really far away. I’ve been in much better shape in the past than I am currently and that’s hard for me mentally. But I’m sticking with it! Exercising every day has helped me keep my emotions in check postpartum and upped my confidence too.

Gluten-Free and Low(er) Carb Breakfast Ideas Part 3: Customizable Chocolate Protein Shakes

Parts 1 and 2 of this series:

Customizable Chocolate Protein Shakes 

protein shakes

I’m pretty picky about protein shakes but my riff on this recipe is delicious and relatively cheap too. Listed below the recipe are all the different versions I’ve made. 

Makes 2 shakes

  • 1 cup fat-free cottage cheese
  • 2 scoops chocolate Designer Whey (this is the cheapest decent-tasting whey I’ve found at Woodman’s, where I buy most of my groceries)
  • 4 teaspoons Pyure brand stevia (I buy this at Wal-Mart – it’s 2X sweeter than sugar)
  • 2 standard ice cube trays’ worth of ice (or about 20 large ice cubes)
  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla or chocolate unsweetened almond milk

Blend together all ingredients except ice. If you’re not going to drink the smoothie right away, you can throw this mixture in the fridge. Sometimes I do this the night before a busy day if I’m not sure that I’ll be able to find time for breakfast.

Just before drinking, add ice and blend on high until smooth.

Variations:

Add in ideas

  • Add 2 tablespoons of nut butter (almond is my favorite)
  • Top with sugar-free whipped cream
  • Add a few drops of mint or vanilla extract
  • Blend in two frozen bananas
  • Add 2 tablespoons of MCT oil (basically liquid-state coconut oil) for healthy fats
  • Use vanilla protein powder, chocolate almond milk, and a handful of fresh raspberries for a shake that tastes surprisingly like raspberry cake batter!

Workout Journal (Week of 12.1.14)

As some of you may know, I had a baby in November! Sweet little Miles was born 11/11 and he has upended our whole world (in a good way). Just this week I am beginning to feel as if I can manage my life again – the fact that I’m actually getting more than five hours of sleep a night now may have something to do with that.

I told myself during the last month of pregnancy that I would be slow and careful about returning to exercise/normal routines postpartum and really give myself a chance to recover and relax. This was definitely needed (for me) during the first two weeks with Miles, which were cuh-razy. Lots of crying, excessive laundry piling up around our apartment, and Oreo-eating. And general “what is life now” philosophical despair.

However, it gets better! I feel pretty great this week, I’m within four pounds of my pre-pregnancy weight (I’d like to lose 14 lbs. total though, but that’s a different post), and I’ve actually felt like exercising again. I can’t get over how much easier EVERYTHING is without a giant belly. A sun salutation is a revelation. Pushups, walking, squats – even Christmas tree decorating – feel so much more do-able. Which makes me want to do them.

Hence this post, and (hopefully) weekly exercise posts, since I want to stay accountable to myself to be active everyday. Plus the nosy stalker in me loves to read about other people’s workouts, and perhaps you’re the same (I got this idea from paleomg.com and katheats.com). Many of my workouts are done at home/using free resources, so maybe they’ll provide inspiration for your exercise routine. If you have any suggestions for me, let me know!

Monday – 1 Hour Zumba Class

Zumba

My brother-in-law’s college offers a great free Zumba class and he has intermittently snuck me in since I moved to WI. Shhh. Don’t tell anyone. College is so expensive that we justify little things like this to ourselves.

I was wondering if Zumba would be too intense so soon after giving birth but (as I’ve heard from other women concerning postpartum exercise) I was impressed by my cardiovascular capacity and actually felt semi-coordinated.

Tuesday – NTC Leah Kim’s Advanced Yoga Workout (45 min.)

Nike Training Club is an amazing free app with HIIT-style workouts that are easy-to-follow, challenging, and really high quality. Most of their workouts are more strength/calisthenics-oriented, so I was curious to see what this yoga workout would be like. It was okay – a basic gym-style flow with some nice transitions and balancing routines. I felt weak and kind of missed my restorative (AKA easy)  pregnancy yoga.

Wednesday – 1.7 Mile Walk

Walk

Miles and I met a friend at a local park for a walk – I used my Baby Bjorn to carry him and wore my father-in-law’s giant coat over both of us. It worked quite well! He stayed really warm and I got a little bit of an added workout.

Thursday – 1 Hour Yoga Class

I’ve been going to a local community yoga class on Thursdays for most of the summer – it only costs $3 and I’ve learned a lot from the teacher. She’s very knowledgable but still chill and fun and brings her sweet dog Shala to most classes. This was my first time back after Baby and it felt great to see everyone again and be able to participate in the whole practice, unimpeded by my belly.

Friday – NTC Better Butt Workout (15 min.) + 1.7 Mile “Run”

workout 125

This was my first attempt at running postpartum and it was really just a sad run/walk. I’m proud of myself for getting out there but I definitely have a ways to go to get back to my pre-pregnancy running ability. It didn’t help that I did the NTC routine first – it gives me jello legs! I did this routine last week as well and definitely saw major improvements between the two attempts, although it’s definitely a tougher workout for me at this point.

Saturday – 1 Hour Yoga Class

Another $3 Community Class. This one was tough! The class focused on standing balances and twists – so lots of Chair and Warrior Series with deep closed twists. My thighs were killing me after yesterday’s workout. It’s a 9:05 AM class though so it was a good way to start the day.

Simple 30 Min. Prenatal Workout

simple prenatal workout

I know. You don’t feel like exercising. Neither do I. Just promise yourself you’ll start…this is a simple thirty minute routine that will help maintain your muscles and prepare you for labor. It might also improve your mood 🙂 Results are inconclusive as to whether it will actually induce labor though…my due date was Thursday and I’m still waiting!

Gluten-Free + Low(er) Carb Breakfast Ideas Part 2: Mini Raspberry Cheesecakes

Check out the first post in this series here:

Gluten-Free + Low(er) Carb Breakfast Ideas Part 1: Protein Pancakes

Raspberry Cheesecakes 3

My quest to eat a high-fat and/or high-protein, low-carb, gluten-free breakfast (whew, that’s a lot of qualifiers) every day continues. These cheesecakes have been a favorite grab-and-go option. They’re also great for people like me who prefer sweet over savory in the morning.

#2: Mini Raspberry Cheesecakes

Cheesecake for breakfast is weird – but you won’t catch me arguing. These are easy to make, easy to grab out of the fridge, they’re gluten- and sugar-free, and the ingredients list includes eggs, berries, and nuts. If fat is an issue for you, you can substitute reduced-fat cream cheese and sour cream. Adapted from this recipe.

Makes 24 mini cheesecakes

Crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups almond flour
  • 1 1/4 cups finely chopped pecans
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons Pyure stevia (I buy this at Wal-Mart – it’s 2X sweeter than sugar)

Filling:

  • Four 8 ounce blocks of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup Pyure stevia
  • 1 cup raspberries, frozen or fresh
  • Sugar-free whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 300 F and put cupcake liners in two cupcake pans. Combine all crust ingredients in a medium bowl (I like to use my hands). Measure 1 tablespoon of crust mixture into each cupcake well, pressing down with fingertips to form crusts.

In a stand mixer, beat together all filling ingredients except raspberries until smooth, scraping bowl with a spatula as necessary. Stir in raspberries. Divide filling among crusts, filling cheesecakes to the top of liners. If you have any extra filling left over, spray a couple ramekins with nonstick spray and bake the extra filling in those. They can be enjoyed as crustless cheesecakes.

Bake cheesecakes for 15 minutes, or until set in the center. Cool completely on cooling racks, then store in the fridge until enjoying. You can also freeze cheesecakes and simply thaw them overnight in the fridge when ready to eat. Top with sugar-free whipped cream for extra fun 🙂 

raspberry cheesecakes 2