It’s A Wonderful Life

This weekend was all the feels.  Happy for my step-son Joe and his wife celebrating the beginning of his 28th year on this earth with a trip to Belize.  Then Friday remembering all the things I used to do for Tonyโ€™s birthday, and September 22nd no longer felt special to me โ€“ it was just another day. 

I went out for Happy Hour as one of the paralegals I was worked for was leaving.  I hardly ever went out after work because I always just wanted to come home to Tony.  It’s funny, but even after nearly three years of him being gone, I still check my phone at times thinking “did he text me asking when I’d be home?”  I had three beers at happy hour and got home around 9.  Hannah and Jacob ordered pizza and I had some of that and another glass of wine.  I was having a pity party for one.

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I took pictures of everything I ate and drank, and when I tallied the damage Saturday morning, I had 49 points for “dinner.”   Part of me just wanted to go right back to bed, but I decided to face the music and make the 8:30 Weight Watchers meeting.

I lost 1.2.

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I allowed myself to let one night of out of control change my whole mindset of all the good things I did all week.  I also realize that I can’t do that every week, but I woke up Saturday with a new mindset.  I have so much good going on in my life right now, with Hannah and Jacob getting married in a few weeks, Jacob getting a job in his field, celebrating my Mom’s 77th birthday.  It’s a Wonderful Life.

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Hannah drove to my Mom’s house (she loves driving!) and I was playing around with the snap chat filters – this picture above had me laughing so hard – it thought my neck was another face!   Laughing is so good for my soul.  It’s a Wonderful Life.

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My Mom and Hannah – hard to believe my Mom’s oldest grandchild Hannah is going to be 26 on her next birthday!  

We did a very easy Mexican fiesta, where, as normal, I made enough food for a family of 15.  It’s always my rule of thumb to have too much than not enough.  To have a life where you have too much food?  It’s a Wonderful Life

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I realized I took mostly videos and posted them to my Instagram story, so I’ll post the beef marinade later this week – I made ground beef tacos as well as steak tacos.  On the side was my stovetop refried beans – so good!

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My sister bought this chocolate pie for dessert.  It was 6 servings, and there were six of us – perfect!  Until I scanned the box and discovered that one slice of pie was TWENTY SIX points.  So I had a fork bite, and had a glass of wine for dessert.  ๐Ÿ˜›

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Sunday morning has to be my favorite day of the week.  While I am productive, there seems to be a bit of a slower pace, time for that extra cup of coffee.  It’s a Wonderful Life.

I made Mexican breakfast pizza with some of the leftovers for brunch – this was 11 points and kept me full for hours.  So much so, that I only had granola and a banana before hitting the gym.  Any day I get to have pizza – it’s a Wonderful Life!

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Hannah told me on Saturday that my closet was bothering her.  Yes, I said that correctly.  MY closet was bothering her. She opened at the coffee shop yesterday, but at around 11:30 she texted me “are you ready?”  

She came home and pulled EVERYTHING out of my closet so it was completely empty. Again, I realized I took videos for my Instagram story, so took screen shots below, but you’ll get the idea.  Hannah said that the key to a closet is that someone could walk in, put an outfit together and you’d want to wear it.  If I hadn’t worn it in six months, if it was too big or too small, it went to the donation pile.

Ignore the pet stains in my carpet, which Hannah assures me when she rents a carpet cleaner, they will come up ๐Ÿ˜€

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Guess what?  I donated a CONTRUCTION size bag of clothes yesterday. 

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And those are my work clothes that made the cut.

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And in case you are wondering, yes I do have enough pajamas and comfy clothes to have a dedicated basket for them ๐Ÿ˜€  Having a daughter with excellent organizational skills?  It’s a Wonderful Life.

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The closet project only took two hours from beginning to end.  Hannah went to take a nap, and I went to the gym.  When I was just about to start my 30 minute circuit, I saw this couple below.  I believe that maybe the wife had a stroke, but I could hear her husband tell her “you’ll get your strength back!”  It was so touching how he was encouraging her as he pushed her to different exercise equipment.

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I then realized It’s a Wonderful Life that I am ABLE to workout.  I shouldn’t look at it as “I have to work out” rather “I can work out!”  It really pushed my workout.  I did the 30 minute circuit.

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Then did a walk/jog/sprint on the treadmill – my last one minute sprint was at 6.6 mph.  It’s a Wonderful Life.

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Do you guys rememer the episode of Seinfeld where Jerry dated a girl with man hands?  As soon as I saw this picture, that’s exactly what I thought of and started laughing out loud in the gym bathroom.  #klassy

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So while my weekend was an emotional roller coaster, I feel good about where I am.  I have so much to be thankful for and realize that live is for the living.  And while Tony isn’t here anymore, I am blessed to have had a love like I did.

It’s a Wonderful Life.

Happy Birthday Tony!

Today would have been Tony’s 57th birthday.  I went to the DMV yesterday because I finally paid off Tony’s car and plan to sell it.  We each had a car in each of our names, not joint, to keep the debt/income ratio down.  It never dawned on me the last few months of his life to add me to the title to his car.

There was a man in his late 70s at the DMV directing people to the right line.  He asked why I was there, I explained that my husband passed away and I needed to get the title of his car in my name.  He looked up at me and said “he must have been young.”  I replied “Yes.”  He looked at me and said “know he is an angel looking down you with a million other angels.”  

It’s been so long since I’ve said those words “my husband passed away” and his kind words I thought I would have cried right then and there.

The months leading up to Tony’s death though, he didn’t have much of an appetite, and long time readers will remember that it got to the point where even the SMELL of food made him feel sick and he begged me not to cook anymore.  That was a tough blow, because I found solice in the kitchen.  The therapy.  I could get lost in a batch of bread dough and let all my troubles just melt away.

So I was shocked as shit when he asked for lamb chops for his 54th birthday – which would have been his last birthday on earth.  Here’s the deal – I never made lamb chops before, and I haven’t made them since.  But he loved them.  That was the last meal that I remember he actually ate more than one bite before pushing his plate away.

I miss his laughter, his touch, his kiss.  His miscellaneous texts during the day, his 11:30 a.m. call to my work just to say hello and that he loved me.

So today, my advice to you is to hug your kids, your spouse, significant other, dog – whoever you love in your life, and put your phone done for a while and just be thankful that they are still in your life, because no one is guaranteed tomorrow.

Thanks for all the birthday wishes for Joe yesterday – the pictures are fixed too – I didn’t realize they hadn’t shown up until late afternoon.  His wife surprised him with a trip to Belize and they are leaving today.  Not gonna lie, I had to look that up on a map – wasn’t exactly sure where that was!

And tomorrow is my Momma’s birthday – she’ll be 77!  My sisters family and Hannah and I are going to my Mom’s house for a Mexican fiesta.  It should be fun.

Make some great memories this weekend.  Make it a great day!

Happy 28th Birthday Joe!

I can’t believe my step-son Joe is 28 years old today.  TWENTY EIGHT.  It seems like yesterday this is what our little family looked like.  Joe was 10 years old (a few months before turning 11) and Hannah was 8.  

It’s still hard to believe that this picture was taken at my company picnic a mere three weeks after Tony and I met.  I remember Tony telling me that he never introduced girlfriends to his son until he knew it was serious, and I respected that.  I met Joe a week after we met and we moved in together a week after this picture was taken below.

We lived at my house durning the week, picked up Joe because he lived with his Mom on Friday night, spent the weekend at Tony’s house and it just worked. 

A few months after Joe met his now wife Liz, they decided to move to Austin, Texas.  At the time I think his Dad was like “are you sure you want to do that?”  But also for selfish reasons as well, because he knew he wouldn’t see him as often.  I reminded Tony about how quickly we got together, and that made him feel a bit better.

I love the life Joe and Liz have created with their two dogs and cat.  They have the best adventures and are living life to the fullest, which makes me all kinds of happy.

Joe, know that you were the best thing to happen to your Dad in his whole lifetime.  I loved you so much, and if he were here, he’d tell you how proud he was of you and life you’ve created for yourself.

If you were here, I’d make you a carrot cake with no nuts or raisins, and I probably would have made you monkey bread for breakfast. ๐Ÿ˜€

I love you Joe!  Here’s to your 28th year – I know it’s going to be an amazing one! 

Please leave some comment birthday love for Joe – I’d appreciate it!

Make it a great day!

Hak’s Korean BBQ

I woke up early to walk before work yesterday, but it was raining pretty hard, so I went to Plan B.  Waffles!  I am going to sound like an asshole now, but my homemade waffles are better than this mix, but I had a coupon for a free box and it’s been in my pantry.  These are good in a pinch though.  Each waffle is 5 smart points.

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I couldn’t decided between sweet or savory for breakfast, so you know me, I did both!  In between the waffles is egg whites (1) ham (1) lite mozzarella (1) topped with strawberries and 1/4 cup sugar free Smuckers pancake syrup.

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By lunch time, the rain went away and it was blue skies.  My sister couldn’t walk yesterday with me, so I was on my own.

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I walked as far east on Randolph as I could, and saw this view below.   I am so lucky to work in this great city.

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I realized I forgot to take a picture of the vinegar I used for these homemade pickles, so I’ll post that tomorrow – you’ll want to make these – I shared them with a few of my co-workers and they went nuts over them.  Over the weekend I found random cuts of pork in my freezer, so I baked them straight from frozen in my cast iron skillet at 275 for 90 minutes.  Once cooled, I cut off all the fat, chopped it up and used Blackwood BBQ Southern Carolina mustard BBQ sauce – holy balls, this was so good!   Chicago peeps, click on that link above and find a Blackwood BBQ location near you – it’s the best brisket I’ve had outside of Austin.  Lunch was 3 ounces of pork (3), the BBQ sauce (1) and a light hotdog bun (2), so lunch came in at 6 points.

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Knowing that I was going to the gym when I got home from work before eating dinner, I made this quick snack – a banana topped with two tablespoons chocolate PB2 (2) sprinkled with a teaspoon of cashew pieces.

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That was a good plan, however, my blood sugar was only 145 when I got home.  At that time of night, my blood sugar will drop 100 points, so I played outside with the dogs for a while (Roman is OBSESSED with the frisbee) and did a 35 minute Sean T workout.  

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Rummy is concinved there is something in our wood pile, which there probably is!

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I made some brown rice and that cooked while I did my workout.  I bought this cooking sauce at Sam’s Club on their discount rack.  I got a box of 6 packets like this – 3 Korean BBQ and the other 3 are Chipotle.  Since the rice was done by the time I finished my workout, this dinner came together in a matter of minutes.  You can use this sauce at the very end and cook just a few minutes, or you can use it in a crock pot.  The whole packet is 8 smart points, I used 1/3 of the package for one serving and called it 3 points.

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I heated my cast iron skillet over medium high heat, added 1 teaspoon coconut oil and cooked six ounces of chicken (4) and 1/2 cup of mushrooms for two minutes.  While that was cooking I steamed my broccoli in the microwave, then tossed that it the pan, added the sauce and cooked an additional 2 minutes.  Served with 3/4 cup brown rice (5) with a drizzle of sriracha.  And dinner was done ๐Ÿ˜€

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I woke up this morning and saw that Chef Sharone Hakman (who created the cooking sauce) mentioned me in his Instastory – how cool is that?!

 

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My timehop this morning showed me four years ago Biz – who then believed she had a muffin top – I wish I had that middle today – but I am working on it!

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I promised to update my Healthy for 2017 every day until the end of the year, but Hannah and Jacob were really chatty with me last night (love) and the night got away from me and then it was time to go to bed.  But I am happy to report that I drank 3/4 gallon of water (so close to a gallon!) and stayed on track, and had a serving of pistachios (is that spelled right?!) because I had the points for them.  

Tonight we are going to the venue where we are having Hannah and Jacob’s wedding shower since they are having a small wedding to iron out the last minute details.  I am hoping my blood sugar will cooperate so I can go to the gym after that – the benefits of belonging to Planet Fitness – its open 24 hours 7 days a week.  If you have a PF near you, you should check it out – super cheap and clean.

Happy hump day – let’s make it a great day!

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Cups

I woke up 30 minutes early yesterday and got a quick walk in before work.  It was gorgeous – no breeze, 50 degrees.  I loved the fog hovering over the river.  It was such a great way to set the tone of being on track for the day.

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I didn’t do a full grocery shop this past weekend because I had plenty of food to use up.  I am the queen of doing a full grocery shop every.single.week until Hannah is like Mom, you can’t fit one more thing in the pantry!  Okay, I get it ๐Ÿ˜€

I meal prepped these ham, cheese and veggie breakfast cups over the weekend.  So easy and delicious and the best part is that each cup is only 2 smart points (but 5 for two and 7 for three).  This would be perfect for a brunch because everyone could add their own favorite veggies and it bakes all at once.  

I am having trouble with my recipe plugin, so below is the recipe.  I love the crispy edges of the ham.

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Feel free to use any veggies you like ๐Ÿ˜€

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Yesterday was such a busy day, I didn’t have time to set up any pretty pictures of my food.  I had two breakfast cups (5) with fresh fruit on the side.

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Luckily my sister and I got together to walk – it was sunny and 72 – perfect!  By the time I got back from our lunch walk, I had already walked 11,000 steps!

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In meal planning through my fridge/freezer/pantry I found this . . . soup?  chili?  Not exactly sure, all I know is that I wrote “5 points per cup” so I had that with an ounce of tortilla chips for 9 points.  I think it must have been a vegetarian chili because there wasn’t any meat. 

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The day flew by.  I had a Premier Protein on the train ride home because I had goals to get to the gym before dinner.  Hello stranger!

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I did the 30 minute circuit first:

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And then finished it off with 30 minutes (5 minutes cool down) on the treadmill.  I start out at 3.5 mph hour for 4 minutes, then “sprint” one minute and repeat.  My last sprint was 6.1 mph – which is about a 9:40 minute mile pace.

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I didn’t eat dinner until almost 9:30.  I decided to use leftover steak to make a steak, egg, cheese and hashbrown brinner panini.  I used the Joseph’s Lavash bread (2) two ounces of steak (2) one egg (2) 3/4 cup Ore Ida hash browns that I cooked with Pam (1) and an ounce of muenster cheese (4) then put it on my panini maker to get it all crispy and melty.  I dipped this into spicy salsa and this was a super filling and delicious 11 point dinner.  

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I ended up with a few steps yesterday ๐Ÿ˜€  I remember when I first got my Fitbit that I thought it would be impossible to reach 10k steps!

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Day 1 of Biz 2.0 was great.  I was tempted by apple cider donuts, leftover pizza, gummy bears that were on sale at the store, and I chose me over the food.  Now let’s see if I can continue that another day.  Just taking it one day at a time, but it feels good to be in control.

The only thing I was lacking yesterday was water – I might have only had 60 ounces, so I am going to fill up my gallon container and keep it on my desk as a reminder to drink up!

How was your Monday?  What are your goals today?  Make it a great day!

Weekly WI and Shrimp Lo Mein

Friday night I posted my dinner on Instagram and Connect, and I got all sorts of messages “recipe please!”  There isn’t really a recipe because there are only four ingrendients, but I thought I’d post it here for reference.

Print

Shrimp Lo Mein

A super quick and easy weeknight dinner using store bought stir fry sauce - so delish!

Servings 1
Author Biz

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces dried lo mein
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 3 ounces shrimp
  • 1 tablesponn House of Tsang szechuan
  • 1/4 cup starchy pasta water

Instructions

  1. Cook the lo mein noodles according to package directions - mine only took 3 minutes.  Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the starchy pasta water.

    In a large skillet, saute the shrimp for 2 minutes.  While the shrimp are cooking, put the fresh green beans in the microwaver and cook on "fresh vegetable" setting.  I love this method because I love a crunchy fresh green bean.  Remove from microwave, chop into bite size pieces and toss that in with the shrimp. 

    Add the noodles, stir fry sauce and as much pasta water as you want (I used 1/4 cup) to make a sauce.  Cook one minute until the noodles are coated with the sauce and serve. 


Recipe Notes

I put this in the WW recipe builder and it was 8 smart points - 6 points for the noodles, 1 point for the shrimp and one point for the stir fry sauce.

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This is my favorite stir fry sauce – only 1 smart point per tablespoons and super spicy.

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I may have had a couple beggars wondering if I was going to finish it all!

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The week before last I thought I would have had a 3 pound gain, instead, I lost .6 – but I knew it would catch up with me.  My meals are spot on – I know exactly how many points my breakfast, lunch and dinner is, but it’s the “extras” each day that add up to a 3.8 pound gain in two weeks.

Hannah and Jacob love snacky food, as do I, but I try not to buy that stuff because I know come 9:00 at night when I sit down and relax, my immediate thought is “I think there are Doritos in the pantry!”  Gah.  

I also went to my WW meeting last Thursday, and someone mentioned that it’s only FIFTEEN WEEKS until January 1, so I need to get my head back in the game and see if I can end the year on a positive note – I lost 20 pounds the first 10 weeks of the year, so I am hoping to continue that streak going through this holiday season.  

I am taking it one day at a time, posting my daily results on Healthy for 2016 page on Facebook (message me if you want to be added to this private group or email me at mybizzykitchen@gmail.com)

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I babysat for my friends on Saturday night who have two kids, ages 7 and 10.  Such fun ages!  Of course, I brought stuff to make pizza – duh.  I think the kids played with the pizza dough for roughly 30 minutes before we actually made the pizza.  The older one decided to use cookie cutters to make the pizza, and I loved that idea.  I wasn’t sure how they would turn out after baking – only the snowmen which were a smaller cutter, lost its shape while baking, but the large cut outs turned out great.

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Here are the pizzas before hitting the oven.  O doesn’t like a lot of cheese ๐Ÿ˜€

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Baked at 425 for 10 minutes – these turned out great and they each ate everything they made over the course of the evening.

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When I got home around 10:00 on Saturday night, Hannah and Jacob had made a bonfire and they said they had a productive eveining.  My house pretty much is “company ready” at all times.  My living room is always spotless, as is my dining room.  The kitchen is always in various stages of cleanliness, but not too bad.  My basement, however, is a hot fucking mess.  Like all the time.  It’s the “catch all” when someone doesn’t know where to put something “just put it in the basement.”  

They spent a few hours sorting what was down there, putting a donate pile together on items not used, breaking down boxes, etc.  I’ll post a picture when it is done (you didn’t want to see the before!) but I was very happy at how far they had gotten, and truth be told, quite embarrased that I had let it go that long. 

Saturday afternoon we continued the project, and in going through some of my old stuff, came across this old WW sliding points calculator.  Anyone remember taking this to the grocery store?!  I also found an old WW calculator, and finding those old tools only motivates me to get to goal, so I can stop paying Weight Watchers money – ha!

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One of my cooking club friends husband posted on Facebook that he was thinking of going to an Oktoberfest a few towns over, and I suggested after we worked in the basement a couple hours to go.  

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Um, thank you weeklies, because I dipped into them for this grapefruit beer – if you love grapefruit and beer, this is delicious!  My guess was 5 points for the 12 ounce pour.

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I love this picture of Hannah and Jacob aka my roommates. ๐Ÿ˜€

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Here is something I learned though – don’t go to a fest during the last 90 minutes because they were out of almost all the food.  When I finally chose this sauerbraten sandwich with sauerkraut, they guy said “last sandwich of the day!” And literally scraped the bottom of the barrel to put this sandwich together.

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It was just okay.  The meat was tender, butthe sauce too sweet, even with the balance of the saurkraut.  Oh well, the beer was delicious, we had fun and the kadults had the best apple cider donuts of their lives – all good!

I was still hungry when we got home, so made this quick and easy beef with green beans and mushrooms – again another meal that I could eat over and over.  Four ounces of beef, a cup of green beans and mushrooms.  While I sauteed the green beans and mushrooms in Pam, most restaurants pour clarified butter over their steaks before they hit the table.  I melted 1 teaspoon of butter (2 points) and poured it over the beef and veggies so that I had a buttery taste in every bite.  So good.

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Day 1 of 15 weeks of Biz 2.0 (or 11.0 – but whose counting?!) ๐Ÿ˜›

I am using Biz of 2013 for inspiration – and realize that strength training has to play a bigger role in my workouts.  Walking is fine for cardio, but I will only reshape my body with weight training.  I want to be a bad ass like my friend Jody who does Crossfit.

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Four years ago today I was well over 100+ days of Insanity. I was consistent, not perfect and need to do that again.

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I got up early and snuck in a quick 25 minute walk before work in 50 degree weather – it was glorious and a great way to start the day. 

Happy Monday – make it a great day!

25,000 steps!

While I prefer a sunny day over rain or overcast, a rainy day is my brother’s favorite.  I had to snap this pic and send it to him yesterday.

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I had more bubble up breakfast.  I think I am going to tweak this recipe over the weekend, adding more egg whites, veggies and reducing the biscuits.  I can’t believe I am about to say this out loud, but it’s almost too much bread. 

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My sister has decided not to do Weight Watchers anymore and do her own thing, so I was solo at Weight Watchers.  A good leader makes all the difference, and even though I weigh in at home on the weekends, it never hurts to go to another meeting.  One of our members there Steve has lost 73 pounds and kept it off for the last two years.  He still comes to the meetings every week and still tracks everything – such in inspiration!

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If I were going straight home last night I would have bought some of these mushrooms – how gorgeous are they?!

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I got back to work and got slammed and didn’t eat my lunch until nearly 2:30 – not the prettiest picture, but this was my Cincinnati chili with an ounce of chips on the side for dipping.  I decided not to take insulin with lunch so that my blood sugar would be high enough for my 5k later.  It wasn’t until I finished the last bite that I was like “was chili the best choice before a run?!”  #fartparty

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The race was at Grant Park and our route was on the lake front.  Geogeous 70 degrees and sunny – could not have asked for a better night.

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And the scenery didn’t suck either ๐Ÿ˜€

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Done!  My time was 46 minutes, but I didn’t start right when the gun went off, so my guess was 40 minutes – I jogged and walked when I had to – I didn’t push it too hard, and I felt great the whole time.

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This is my co-worker Melissa and fellow Weight Watcher – we go to the same Saturday meetings because she lives out by me.  I remember meeting her last winter when started at the firm and I remember her telling me that she’d lost 20 pounds and felt so great.  Well, fast forward some months and she’s down EIGHTY POUNDS.  Yes, I am shouting because it’s that fricken awesome.  She’s stuck with it.  I know she still goes to Portillo’s, has ice cream, but she makes it work and her consistency has paid off.   I need to take some inspiration from her – I seem to go in waives of being fully committed, to being off the rails, and everywhere in between.  Someone at the WW meeting yesterday said that Christmas is in 15 weeks.  I don’t want to start the new year off where I was when I started.  Yesterday’s 5k was just the kick in the pants I needed to continue this journey.

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We were provided Potbelly boxes – I had a sandwich (12) small bag of potato chips (4) two small cookies (4) and a pear.  I was hungry!  Yep, dinner set me back 20 points, but I was only over 5 for the day.

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I always forget how gorgeous Chicago is at night.  So lucky to be able to work in such an awesome city.

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I was getting ready for bed when I realized I was only 200 steps to 25,000 steps, so you better believe I hit it.  ๐Ÿ˜€

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I am a tiny bit sore today, but tonight I am going to pull up a stretching video on demand – I know I didn’t stretch long enough before the run last night.

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My daughter in law Liz has a new video out – green vegan posole!  Check it out.  I plan putting that on my menu next week, sans all the onions.  And instead of mushrooms, I may add shredded chicken.  ๐Ÿ˜€

And Chicago peeps!  I’ll be working at The Chopping Block on Saturday, September 30 from 10-6 at the Lincoln Square location – I could be working the grill or the register, or anywhere in between – if you are in the neighborhood, come by and say hello!  Click on this link for all the info on apple fest – it’s always fun!

Happy Friday – we made it!  I am babysitting for some friends tomorrow night so will be having party pizza Saturday tomorrow where we’ll build our own pizzas – the kids are 7 and 10, so I love sharing my love of cooking with kids.  And I am excited to see my friends new house – should be fun.  She’s the one that decorated my house – can you believe that was two years ago already?! 

Alright, time to do some blog reading before my train hits the station.  Make it a great day!