May 26, 2012

Veggie and egg bake

Part of my plans with getting back to Chicago are blog-based; namely, I want to get back to where I was pre-California. Posting daily, with weigh-ins on Fridays, a new recipe every week, etc. I owe so much of my initial success to blogging, to the accountability I found by posting here, and I know that it will be crucial with getting back to successfully losing weight. I have really big plans for the next few months, and can't wait to share them as they get sorted out!

For now, a recipe, because I haven't shared one in forever: a delicious baked egg and vegetable dish.

I've been seeing eggs in so many forms on different blogs and Pinterest: crust-less quiches, frittatas, the little Paleo egg cups made in muffin tins. I looked at a ton of recipes, then sort of threw my own mix together. It worked, and I've since made this a few times a week. Perhaps I'm strange, but I like eggs hot *or* cold, so I usually make it in the morning and stick it in the fridge so lunch is ready when I get home from work. It's just as good hot, though, if that's your preference.

Preheat oven to 350ยบ F. Take 2 cups of veggies and chop them up - I do 1/2 cup mushrooms, 1 1/2 cups raw broccoli. In a separate bowl, whisk together 2 eggs and 7 egg whites with whatever spices you would like - I like salt, black pepper, chili powder, and cumin. Mix it all together and pour into a 9x9" baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 25 minutes or until set.

The whole dish is under 350 calories with lots of protein. It could easily serve two people, but I typically have Greek yogurt and fruit for breakfast at 7 a.m., a handful of almonds for a snack at 11 a.m., and get home around 2 p.m. pretty hungry. I'm still readjusting to teaching in the morning (I taught evenings 5-6:50 p.m. for the Spring semester).

I think what I like best about this is that it's really versatile - mix up the veggies in a few different ways, add cheese or maybe some meat if you wanted, vary the spices. I can't wait to make this for Matt when I get back to Chicago - if you recall from last summer, he's a notorious veggie hater, and I think this might be a good way to get more veggies into our eating plans. He also doesn't cook anything more complicated than oatmeal; I've started a board on Pinterest of things we can try and cook together.

And speaking of Matt, I'm so proud of him - he's lost 65 pounds, and ran a 10 mile race this morning! He was a bit disappointed with his performance, but it was his first race longer than 10K, and long races are a whole different challenge. He's never ran with gels, for example - fueling mid-race is not necessarily tricky, but figuring out nutrient timing is very much a trial-and-error sort of experience. All things considered, I think he did a great job - just finishing is something to be proud of! We're both signed up to run a half marathon in July and he's a bit discouraged after this morning, but I still have faith he'll be able to do well at the half!

What about you? Do you like cold eggs? What are your favorite recipes for converting veggie haters? What's your favorite racing distance?

May 21, 2012

Break to Breakers

Spring semester classes ended a week and a half ago, and I finished all my grading fairly quickly. I spent most of last week relaxing as best as I could, though looming in the back of my mind was a concern about my summer course and whether or not it would be canceled due to low enrollment. The maximum number of students I could have is 30, and at one point it was as high as 27. Then, within the last few weeks, they plummeted down to 13 - not good, because my coordinator had told me that the course would be canceled if it went under 15. Then she said it was 10, and I contacted her again when my numbers dropped to 8. Then she said it was 5, and since then it's held strong at 8.

It was a stressful situation, first because a canceled class would mean no paycheck, but also because if I didn't need to be here to teach, I'd be moving sooner. Luckily, though, it all resolved itself, and today was the first day of classes.

A class of 8 presents unique challenges: class time tends to go by faster with fewer kids to discuss and share, so I have to be mindful of that in my lesson planning. On the positive side, though, grading will be quicker!

Besides worrying about work stuff, I spent last week applying for jobs in Chicago and working out. I found my absolute dream job and have my fingers crossed for that. I also joined a gym that's a few miles from my apartment, just a 30 day pass but good to stay active this last month or so. I've missed the elliptical so much! The tough part is that I can't wear myself out as much as I would like in a workout because I know there's either a 2 mile walk or bike ride home after (plus the 2 miles of getting there to begin with!). It isn't too bad though, I'm just glad to be back in a workout routine. Just running/biking had me in a rut lately. I won't be taking my bike to Chicago, I know I'll miss having it as an option. But I've put in thousands of miles on the same 20 mile loop, and I was feeling bored, dreading working out.

To close out my week of summer break, I headed up to San Francisco with Angela, one of the filmmakers working on the Ragnar documentary project. I was planning on participating in Bay to Breakers with Marisol, and she wanted to film some of the experience. We got to the city on Saturday afternoon and I hit the expo to grab my bib, then we grabbed dinner at a great little place and called it an early night since we had to be out the door at 4:50 the next morning to catch our shuttle to the start line.

There were several shuttles, and in an amazing twist of fate, Marisol and I ended up on the same one, so we got to meet right away. It was so wonderful to finally hang out with her - she is incredibly inspiring, not to mention totally sweet, and has been an amazing source of support since I moved to California, since she used to live near where I am now and understands some of my frustration with the place. It was a brilliant day - it felt incredibly comfortable, too, which was great. When you read someone's blog, especially with health and fitness blogs where we're so open about struggles, you get this feeling like these people are your good friends. And that was what this felt like - it didn't feel like meeting for the first time but rather, reuniting with someone you've known for ages. I couldn't have been happier.

The race was huge - over 40,000 people - and is really more of an event than a race. There are tons of people in all sorts of crazy costumes, and we did our part by wearing tutus.

My favorite costumes, though, were the salmon who "swim upstream" - they run from the Breakers to the Bay. Brilliant!

We kept a good pace for the whole route, about 7 miles or so (12K), including a long hill with a very steep incline. We survived it! And at the end, we got awesome medals for our hard work. Score!

And it was totally hard work - between the race and then another 3 miles to catch my bus to the train home, my legs were absolutely exhausted. I rode my bike a little today to stay active because I knew running or the elliptical would knock me out - I attempted a long run a few days after walking 10+ miles per day in San Francisco with Matt in January and had to stop mid-run because my legs were killing me. The tough part of San Francisco walking isn't just the distance but the hills, and I have much respect for anyone who runs/races there regularly!

Walking around the city, even just for a day, made me incredibly homesick. Between being in a city and missing the atmosphere, and seeing places I visited with Matt and missing him, it made me ache for my beloved Chicago. The countdown calendar is shrinking, so that's a good thing!