Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mud Buddies

Started yesterday off with some savory oats that Helen recommended: oats, egg beaters, cheese and hot sauce.  It didn't sound like a good combination.  Oats are supposed to be sweet, right?  I just kept telling myself grits, grits, grits.  And you know what?  They were very good!  I liked them.  But they are also very filling and I couldn't even eat them all.  Thanks for the tip, Helen!
 Tuesday was a no running day for me because my back was still upset with my Monday Zumba performance. These hips just weren't made for shaking like that I guess. Or I shook a little too much the wrong way. Who knows? I do know the end result was not good.

I got the itch for a bike ride so the kids and I loaded up the bikes and headed to Brazos Bend State Park southwest of Houston.
We started off on gravel trails that were nice. Saw a couple of alligators, some ducks, and ibis. Made it back to the main road that was lined with beautiful oak trees.

 Rode over a bridge with a flowing creek below.

 We stopped for a break at some water fountains and there was a large mud puddle.  Usually I'm telling them to avoid water and mud at all costs but I kind of felt like a kid again so I told them to go for it. :)

We all had nice mud splatters up our backs afterwards and our shoes were soaked but it was worth it.

 We rode some back trails that turned super muddy.  It really gives the legs a workout!  I could feel the burn. 
My bike tire caked in mud
 Wish I had this kid's energy.  He was always ahead of us.  Go, Charlie, go!
 Rachel was not a happy camper on the muddy trails.  It was a lot of work but still a lot of fun.
 We saw a sign for a trail that said it was a shortcut to the main road so we took it and ended up going in a big circle. Doh!

 I brought along some Cliff Shot Blocks and some Chocolate Outrage GU.  The kids split the Shot Blocks and I had half a tube of GU.  Oh my!  This is like chocolate frosting in a tube!  LOVE.IT.  I gave Rachel the other half to try and she squeezed every last bit of it out of the tube.  A new favorite for sure. 

In all we biked a little over 13 miles and had a blast.
Dinner was one of the best I've made in a while:Baked Penne and Sausage Supper from America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook.  Everything in this book turns out great but this has to be a new favorite.  Chuck said the only thing bad about it was that there was not more of it.
 The flavor reminded me of a very good sausage pizza.  I will be making this again in the near future.
Baked Penne and Sausage Supper
Makes 4 servings

1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 onion, sliced thin (I chopped mine into tiny pieces so I wouldn't see them once it was cooked)
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into matchsticks
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
8 oz. hot or sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
salt & pepper
8 oz. whole wheat penne pasta
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (about 4 oz)

1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat to 425 degrees.  Lightly coat an 8" square pan with cooking spray. Pulse the tomatoes with their juice in a food processor or blender until mostly smooth, about 5 pulses.

2. Heat the oil in a 12" nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

3. Stir in the sausage and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.  Stir in the processed tomatoes.  Bring to a simmer and cook, until slightly thickened, 6-8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot.  Add the pasta and 1 Tbs salt and cook, stirring often, until almost al dente but still firm to the bite.  Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta and return to the pot.

5. Add the meat sauce and reserved cooking water to the pasta and toss to combine.  Spread half of the pasta mixture in the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the mozzarella.  Repeat with the remaining pasta and 1/2 cup mozzarella.

6. Bake until the pasta is bubbling and the cheese is lightly browned, about 15 minutes.  Let cool 5 minutes before serving.
4 servings. Per serving: 380 calories; 13g fat; 45g carbs; 8g fiber; 22g protein

After dinner we watched Biggest Loser.  I decided to do my upper body strength training while watching the show.  I'm doing the routine from Oxygen magazine's January 2011 issue but it's starting to become a little easy.  I can make it more difficult by using different bands and adjusting the tension but the exercises don't leave me sore anymore.  It may be time to go ahead and start the February issue's exercises.  It's a 3 month plan.

Regular pushups are becoming slightly easier but the tricep pushups nearly kill me each time. Still working on it though. :)

Good news is that Chuck said he can really tell I'm losing the inches.  Yay!  I'm avoiding the scale this week.  It's hidden under my bed.  Not going to stress about the numbers if I'm losing inches and feeling good.

Have yourself a great day and put that penne sausage dish on your menu.  It really is very good.


  1. That dinner sounds wonderful. I love pasta but it doesn't love me so much. My stomach doesn't like bread and will only handle a few bites of whole wheat pasta. The bike ride sounds fun. Hoping to get some biking in when the weather is warmer. Waiting on hubby to fix my back tire.

  2. You know what I love? That you didn't let your aching back keep you from getting some exercise. You rock Kelly!

  3. Oh that looks like fun :) Totally what i would do, go right through the muddy puddle!

  4. Oooh, I'm so envious. I want weather where we can wear shorts!!! *big frown*

    I was really happy that ONE coat was sufficient to walk the dog & kids around the neighborhood. I'm itching to hit our nature preserve with some nicer weather asap (it's super soggy here, not the best for trampling up steep hills...but as soon as possible BAM!)

  5. Speaking of mud buddies.... we need to set aside some time to do the Mud Buddy race next year.

    BTW, you look good in those blue pants. ;)

  6. You are one fun mom! Love the bike day, mud puddles and all. :)

    And hello? Your Dash shirt is HANGING off of you! Holy crap! Go back and look at my race recap pictures - there is on of us starting and it show us from behind. You can see a huge difference! Screw the scale - just look at the pictures and your clothes!

  7. *one* of us...sorry, I got a little excited!

    Again, you look fantastic!

  8. Jealous of your outdoor bike ride - on Friday our HIGH will be 9 degrees with a windchill of -15. I am ready for spring!

    I need to see if my library has that new cookbook - I love every recipe I've made from the test kitchen show!

  9. I can't get my mind around savory oats! It just seems...unnatural! Although, I'm new to the oat thing to begin with, so I may convert one day!

    Way to break in your bike, Kelly! You guys are road warriors!

  10. Looks like that bike ride was a blast!

  11. What a fun day! I miss the warm weather and the outdoor bike rides. The pasta looks divine!

  12. I have an award for you! Come and pick it up from my blog - well done!

  13. How fun is that!
    Even sideways, it looks like fun!

  14. I so would never think to put eggs in my oatmeal, but you just might have talked me into it with that picture. I bet it keeps you full for hours!

    The dinner looks ah-mazing!


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