Fitness Friday

No, this isn’t a new feature, but I wanted to write a post about this.

I’m not the most in shape person. I can thank my somewhat small appetite for the fact that I’m on the skinny side because I certainly don’t burn many calories in the gym. I’ve never been to a gym, which is a shame because we have one in our apartment complex. They just really intimidate me.

While browsing Pinterest, I found this little workout challenge thing.

Workout

It seemed easy enough, working up to harder and longer moves. Plus there’s no jumping jacks or anything of the sort because I have no idea if jumping would disturb my downstairs neighbor. Yet another reason to wish we had a house.

I thought working on all of these together would do a nice, somewhat well-rounded workout.

Well, it’s day 3, and I’m in pain. 50 squats is seriously a ton of squats! My thighs hurt whenever I stand up, so I decided to scale back on those a bit, more in line with how many push ups I’m supposed to do per day. If by the end of thirty days I can do 50 squats more easily, I’ll be happy.

My thirty days are up on June 25th, a month before my wedding. I’ll definitely have to check in again to write about how it went.

Fashion Friday – Hiatus

No post today. I’m not really feeling Fashion Friday so much. I’ll still do beauty posts and random fashion posts, but I don’t think I’m going to keep this as a weekly thing.

I might change to Fiction Fridays or something else, I haven’t decided yet. See you guys in the next post!

Thrifty Thursday – Granola Bars, Attempt #1

Granola bars are one of those things that aren’t exactly a necessity, but they’re very useful and good to have around. Whether it’s to throw in your bag on your way out the door, or a much needed snack between meals when you don’t want to indulge too much, granola bars are usually well worth buying. It just sucks that they cost so much, up to a dollar per bar.

I’ve wanted to make granola bars for so long. My stipulations for finding a recipe are 1) can’t have peanut butter (my fiance hates it) and 2) shouldn’t have a bunch of ingredients I’d never buy normally. These banana bread granola bars seemed to fit the bill. So I tried them.


I gathered all of my ingredients, a good practice. I tend to grab things as I go and I end up unorganized and running short on time, or I forget something. These bars need old fashioned oats, one banana, ground flax seed, honey (we were running low so I subbed in some maple syrup. Bad idea?), vanilla, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and nuts. I used cashews because that’s what my fiance asked for.


Tossed the flax seed with oats in one bowl, and mixed together everything else in the other. I didn’t get my banana very smooth, whoops.


Poured the liquid over the dry ingredients and mixed thoroughly. It seemed really dry so I did add maybe a teaspoon or more of honey.


Pressed it out really flat into a pan. I used my potato masher to push it down farther.


Then I baked it for 35 minutes.


They were seriously crumbly and had trouble staying together. Half of it was more ‘granola’ than ‘bar’ which is cool too I guess. I’ll have to find a use for the granola part, maybe buy some Greek yogurt. If I make this recipe again, I’m going to double the amount of syrup or honey because I was very conservative with it.

What I Read Wednesday – Together Apart by Natalie Martin

Together Apart

This is a brand new feature for the blog and something I’ve always wanted to do, review books before they come out. I downloaded this book through NetGalley, and it will be released on June 23, 2015.

While on holiday in Santorini, Adam decides to take the plunge and ask his girlfriend, Sarah, to marry him. Maybe the proposal was unexpected, but he didn’t expect her to say she didn’t want to be with him anymore. But his problems don’t end there. Not only is Adam suddenly single, but they also recently signed a lease together they can’t break. They’re stuck living together despite the breakup.

Sarah has a secret that made her break things off, but she can’t reveal it, she’s never revealed it to anyone. Her only confidant is her diary. Adam is understandably frustrated that Sarah won’t tell him what’s wrong, so when he stumbles over boxes of diaries from her childhood, he can’t resist reading them in an attempt to know her better.

The story is told from Adam’s point of view with excerpts from Sarah’s diaries, both present and past. The old diaries provide backstory in Sarah’s voice, a perfect unreliable narrator. Before he can discover her secret, she goes looking for her diaries and he has to give them up.

History repeats itself and Sarah wants to change the outcome this time, regardless of Adam’s feelings. A tragic event sends her back to her childhood home and forces Sarah to finally reveal the truth.

Adam and Sarah are very human and flawed characters. While you’re screaming at Sarah to just be out with it and stop dwelling, at the same time you understand that relationships aren’t always simple. Adam tries to move on because Sarah is adamant that they are over, but his love for her keeps him trying to find out her secret so he can fix things. He’s just not prepared for how major her secret is.

The ending seemed a little rushed to me, tying things up neatly in a bow, but it’s nice to get an actual resolution instead of leaving the book open ended. Overall, I rate this book 4/5 because it was well written and made you want to see what happened next.

Strawberries?

Don’t you hate when someone tells you something and you insist they’re wrong, but then they turn out to be right?

Last year I attempted to grow strawberries on our balcony but we got so much rain that it got flooded and they died. It was a seriously pathetic looking plant.

Dead Strawberry

See? It grew one single strawberry, but it was not a healthy plant whatsoever. So I abandoned it and let it die and then it got covered in snow all winter.

My fiance said ‘it’ll come back next year, just leave it there.’ And of course I thought he was crazy because that plant was beyond saving. A few days ago he told me to look at my pot still on the balcony.

image

Well then. Looks like they’re going to try again this year without my help. I’ll give them water when it’s dry, but they made it this far without me, I want to see what happens.

Tasty Tuesday – Blueberry Chia Jam

This is a bit different from my usual Tasty Tuesday post but I thought it was pretty cool. I’ve been wanting to make jam for a while and grabbed some blueberries that were on sale to experiment with. I couldn’t find pectin at the store so I found this alternate recipe to try.


I measured out about a cup of berries and rinsed them off.


Then I pureed them in the blender with three tablespoons of honey. It didn’t make much, but for an experiment that’s okay.


Then I stirred in three tablespoons of chia seeds. This is my first time trying anything with chia seeds.  It’s really watery when first blended, but setting it in the fridge for a little while firms it right up.


My breakfast this morning. Yum! Full recipe can be found here.

Menu Monday – May 25

Two months exactly to the wedding day, so excited!

This week’s menu:

  • Baked Chicken Legs with Corn on the Cob and Potatoes – If you like fried chicken but not the grease and unhealthiness that comes with it, try this method of baking the chicken with a nice crispy skin.
  • Smoked Sausage and Chick Peas – I made this a few weeks ago for the first time and I’m definitely looking forward to eating it again this week.
  • Vegetable Tofu Stir Fry – I definitely want to make stir fries a weekly thing, they’re delicious and so easy to make and eat your vegetables.
  • Man Pleasing Chicken with Spinach and Pea Fried Rice – Made this chicken a few weeks ago as well, but the rice is a new dish for me.
  • Spaghetti – I use my mom’s recipe, and I think she got it from her aunt. Cook the spaghetti and heat up a can of plain tomato sauce. Add in oil, water and spices (usually a packet of spaghetti sauce mix, but I mix my own blend). Mushrooms are a great addition as well.

The total for dinner ingredients plus ingredients for my Thrifty Thursday projects came out to about $31. I still need to go to Trader Joe’s and get a few things.

I bought ten pounds of potatoes but forgot to actually put any in my meal plan, so I’m going to have to get creative. Loads of frozen french fries!