Friday, July 29, 2011

Foodie Friday

So splurge dinner came a little early this week. I had some Houston Entree vouchers that were about to expire so we decided to use them up in one glorious night.

I started the day with a protein shake: almond milk, Jay Robb vanilla protein, and some Pb2.

Then I was pretty much on the road the rest of the day. Needed a hair trimming and Rachel was meeting some friends at the mall plus a trip to the grocery store plus rush hour traffic. 

While I was running the roads I made a stop for some gas and also got a small bag of beef jerky and a SF Rock Star. Lunch of champions.  Not really.

OK, first stop was to Julia's Bistro. Nice, trendy place that just happened to be having a party/fundraiser going on.
 Chuck chilling out while the party's going on behind him.
 Ahhhh. No kids menus.
 Oh look! A mojito. Very refreshing.
 When we go out, I get to choose the wine. This is a French Malbec. More tannins than the Argentina variety but I like the boldness of a Bordeaux so this was just perfect.
 Our voucher was for two prix fixe dinners. Chuck and I decided to get one of each so we could sample each other's food.
 Pork belly. Was much better than I thought. Chuck ordered this.
 I got the amazing snapper croquettes. Wow these are packed with flavor.

 Chuck got the gazpacho. I'm not a huge fan of raw tomatoes but it did have a good flavor.
 They had a replacement for the jicama salad. This was spinach, goat cheese, pine nuts, sliced peaches and vinaigrette.

 I had the most excellent cod. I couldn't even finish it all but Chuck helped me out. I don't care for mushrooms much but these were fantastic.
 Chuck got the chicken dish.
The staff was very friendly and knowledgeable. Complimentary valet parking is behind the restaurant. Definitely a place I'd like to visit again.

We were in Rachel's car because Vincent Van Go (my minivan) was still in the shop getting damage from the wreck fixed. It was a perfect night to put the top down and listen to some Depeche Mode while cruising to our next destination.
We arrive at Royal Oak Bar & Grill on Westheimer in the Montrose area. Valet parking and this place must have been the place to be. Packed. There are two stories plus an outdoor seating area. Here's a little video of the bottom floor.
Some girls in matching tiny dresses brought over a free sample of something called Red Stag. Yum!!
 I sipped on a ginger julep that was perfect.
 For our voucher we ordered some spring rolls with a sweet chili sauce.
 And some jalapenos stuffed with a bacon and cheese mixture.
We really weren't hungry so we just enjoyed the nightspot atmosphere and nibbled a little on the food. Just wanted to try it and see if it was someplace we'd like to visit again.

Got home before midnight and watched a movie and finally went to bed around 3am. When will I learn that I can't stay up all night like that?

It was quite a splurge evening and this morning I'm sipping on my protein shake. After all of that rich food I need something bland for my poor tummy. Believe it or not, the scale was actually down some this morning. I'm expecting it to reflect my dinner in a couple of days.

And guess who came home this morning?! Vincent Van Go!!!!! I know I bash him verbally from time to time but it is a sweet ride. Outside it's pretty meh but inside it's nice and it's so much smoother than the convertible. Welcome home, Vincent. :)

Now to get packed to go visit my parents for the weekend. Charlie will be 11 on Monday so we're going there to celebrate with his cousins.

Have a great weekend! See ya Monday.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


I saw a quote this morning that I'd like to share:
"It's better to wear out than rust out."

I like the sound of that. But sometimes you must take a day off from wearing out. I did that Wednesday.

Tuesday (see post below) I went running and wrote up my blog post while I was cooling off. I can't shower immediately after exercising because I just continue to sweat as soon as I dry off. So I have to wait to cool off before I can shower.

After I finished the blog post I tried to get up to go bathe but my left leg wouldn't work. I could hardly lift it and each step was painful. At the joint where my leg meets my hip there was a sharp pain. It was located more near my inner thigh though. Hard to explain without getting too graphic. The point is that I had something wrong going on.

I did some fancy and painful stretches in the shower and they seemed to help. I did a few more stretches when I got out trying to get my hips into alignment and finally it started to feel better. Never had that happen before!

Wednesday I took a rest day from exercising mostly because I was so sleepy. No amount of caffeine can make up for a long night of little sleep. I just couldn't sleep Tuesday night.

I guess my stomach wanted a rest too because I didn't eat very much. Certainly not as much as I should.

Lunch: leftover burger patty in low carb tortilla with a few bites of watermelon.
 Captured the kids playing together.
 We read about New Zealand and the Maori people and Polynesian Islands. Afterwards Rachel decided to paint her brother as a Maori warrior. Cool!
 Sleepy. So sleepy. Carl's Jr. offered to cook dinner for me (aren't they sweet?) so I got a chicken club sandwich but at home I tossed the bun and put it on a low carb pita half. VERY good.

Dessert: low carb ice cream bar. Not stellar eating today.

Yeah, nothing too exciting to report. OH, did I tell you that Vincent Van Go is finally in the shop getting his fanny fixed from my accident back in March? Yep, he went into the shop on Monday.

Even though it wasn't my fault the other insurance company wouldn't pay for my damages because their policy holder wouldn't cooperate. I think they should still pay but my insurance company will pay for it (after I pay a pricey deductible) then go after the other person and make them pay then I get my deductible back. Looks like I won't get anything back from the whiplash expenses. :( At least he's getting fixed. Driving a miniature van is bad enough but a wrecked mini van is the worst.

And this morning (Thursday) I didn't get up in time to go running before the heat set in. I don't mind walking in extreme heat but running is a no go. So maybe I'll get one in tomorrow.

Happy Thursday! :D

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Weigh In/Hiking/Running Edition

Weigh ins, and hiking and running. Oh my! 

Weigh in: lost 3.4 pounds last week. I was on track for losing 5 pounds but it went up slightly at the last minute.

Monday I started the day off with a protein shake made with coffee, almond milk, vanilla protein and sugar free caramel syrup by Torani. Very tasty. I'm enjoying these shakes during the hot weather.
Then it was off for a hike before the temps reached the 3 digit mark.

This time I went to Memorial Park in Houston. It used to be a WWI training camp called Camp Logan back in the day. It is almost twice as large as Central Park in New York City and is the largest urban park in Texas.

The trails are color coded and most of the time they are well marked.
 We started on the purple trail then blue then orange, purple again then red I think. We were all over the place.

 It didn't feel like we were inside the 610 loop! We were inside the city but surrounded by woods and birds. The topography was not what I expected either.
 It's a multi-use trail which means bikes and pedestrians are supposed to share the road. Not much road to share right here.

 I do not trust my cycling skills to tackle these trails just yet. There are some serious drop offs.
 Made it to a viewing platform and saw Buffalo Bayou. I want to paddle it! You can paddle right through downtown Houston on this waterway.
 People ride their bikes down here! The downhill doesn't look too bad but the uphill looks killer. And I'm pretty sure I see at least a dozen places for my front tire to lodge and send me sailing.
 Charlie was determined to see an antlion. I told him it was not a good idea to plop down in the middle of the trail because bikers could come around the corner at any moment. Literally seconds later one came around and I grabbed Charlie by the camelback and tossed him aside. Our bad.
 Woodpecker holes.
Check out these trenches! It's hard to see the scale of it but they were tall.

 The hike was supposed to last 2.4 miles but I made a few wrong turns and ended at the parking lot at almost 2 miles.

Lunch was some roast beef with mustard on a low carb tortilla.
 A got the munchies for something sweet so one of these:
 Dinner: Taco Salad. This is so freakishly good. Taco meat, lettuce, salsa, cheese and Ranch. It's all good.
Tuesday morning I got up at an early-for-me hour and got my gear on and hit the streets for a run.  It's really stretching it to say it's a run. I saw my shadow. I waddle. Wonder if there are 5K waddles? Ralks? Wuns?

Getting back in to running I'm starting out with a 3 minute walk and 1 minute run intervals. It wasn't too terribly hot. Just hot enough to make me sweat like crazy.

On a side note, I know my 3.1 mile path in the neighborhood and I've been watching this one dog turd on the sidewalk for over a year. It won't go away. Now it's all white and I think it may be fossilizing before my eyes. I may start a chart to see how long this turd survives on the sidewalk. What did that dog eat, anyway?!

Anyway, I finished in 44 minutes 50 seconds. Not lightning speed but my splits were pretty nice. My run intervals were all 10 and 9 minute miles. My walk intervals were slower at 16 and a 17 minute mile pace. Need to speed it up. I'm not as worried about competition as I am just getting the run over with. Done. Running isn't the most fun thing in the world for me but it does help tone up some loose bits and pieces plus I LOVE going to the 5K runs. SO much fun.

Another side note: spandex finds and becomes one with every nook and crevice. I had to dig a few times and tug a few more times.

Tried to get a picture of my glistening sweat but it's hard to see. Believe me. I was sweaty.
Have a groovy day. It's time for me to have a protein shake.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Not-So-Happy Hiker

Monday already? The weekend truly flew by. One day it's Friday and then *poof* Monday.

I didn't take pictures of all my eats because I typically don't blog a lot over the weekend. There is usually something happening and Chuck is home so I'm out and about. But the eats were right on plan and I made great choices.

Sunday we got up at 6:45am to meet up with a hiking group an hour away on the north side of Houston at Jesse H. Jones Park. All of us, except Rachel, wore our new daypacks and hydration packs. Charlie was so enamored with the idea of drinking water from a hose that he almost drained his water before we even started walking.

It turned out to be a pretty big group. I'd guess around 15-20 hikers. Some of these guys were pros and knew all of the right gadgets to carry and which socks were best for blisters, etc. Color me impressed.

Then the starting gun blasted (not really) and we were off. When I drag take the family on hikes we stop, take pictures, observe nature, walk slowly to absorb it all, discuss how various trees and shrubs were used by Native Americans and pioneers. This was not that kind of hike.

I used my Run Keeper app (Thanks, Mr. Blog!) to keep track of pace, distance and time. The average pace was only 2.5 mph but that wasn't taking in account the times we would stop at the end of the trail or to look at the map because we'd gone the wrong direction. So the pace was a little faster than that.

Not only was the pace faster but we didn't stop to look at anything. Not even when we could hear that a woodpecker was nearby in a tree. It was walk, walk, walk.

Actual conversation from hike:
Charlie: My shoe's untied. Hang on.

Chuck: Kelly, wait. Charlie needs to tie his shoe.

Me: Leave him!! We can't fall further behind. Weakest can do nothing for him. Quick, look at the moss growing on the bottom of that tree as we pass.

Rachel: Mom is in to competitive hiking.

Me: Shut up!!

It became a little tense as I struggled to keep up with the sprinting pack. They were all very nice and the pace really wasn't that fast as far as walking goes. I just had trouble getting my legs going.

My family does not look amused.

Spring Creek

 Mile 2.5 Rachel develops a blister. By mile 3 she has two blisters. That happens to be when we stop for a water refill/bathroom break so we leave early while the rest of the group continues to walk another 3 miles. My shirt and shorts were soaked with sweat. I could literally wring sweat out of my shirt.

I don't mind cutting it short because of Rachel's blisters. I have a problem with leaving early because it was a struggle for me and I was ready to leave. I hate giving up. It really gets to me and I was dealing with some self doubt problems the rest of the day.

Hiking is supposed to be my thing. Do what you like; like what you do. I do hiking. I have the gear. I have the magazine. I have the trail books and shirts. And then I got left behind. And it frustrates me.

For too long I felt like an outcast (and it was me putting this on myself, not others) because of weight. I felt really bad about myself and while losing the pounds I just wanted to feel normal. I wanted to be able to walk into a restaurant and not feel like people were staring at me. I would actually not go to the bathroom because I didn't want to have to get up and walk across a room. I was so afraid of being judged or stared at. As I've lost the weight I've started to feel normal. I'll even go try on clothes now! I don't mind walking across a room (as much).

With hiking, I felt like I was normal. I could keep up with the pack and fit in. On Sunday, I was at the back of the pack and struggling. I didn't feel normal because I was having trouble walking at a normal pace doing something I love. I'm really having trouble describing how/why I felt the way I did. I guess I just didn't want to be last in something that I thought I could do.

I prefer my more relaxed, sightseeing hikes but I want to have the ability to keep up with the competitive hikers. And this was a "short hike" according to the organizer! Usually they hike 10-12 miles. These people are almost walking half marathons every week.

There's really only one thing to do. Quit and find a different hobby. Nooooo. I'm joking. I'm going to go on some solo hikes and boost my mileage and time and when I'm ready I'll join the hiking groups occasionally and do some faster hiking. I just have to condition myself.

Like I said, they weren't really going that fast. It was a normal pace and I should be able to keep up. I guess strolling through my hikes hasn't really helped get me ready for the faster paces. It bugs me that I shouldn't have had a problem with the pace. All in all, I'm glad I went. The people were very friendly and it seems like a nice group. I'm sure I'll meet up with them again. It just won't be as much of a struggle for me.

Enough complaining. I just needed to get that out in the open.

Sunday night was my splurge meal. I received another recipe to test for America's Test Kitchen. This one was for Spaghetti al Vino Rosso with Walnuts, Breadcrumbs and Parmesan.

It was eay to prepare albeit a little odd. The noodles are partially cooked in water then finish cooking in red wine. The wine soaks into the noodles giving it a grayish purple color. Tasty but definitely not up to the usual standards of America's Test Kitchen. I wouldn't make it again.
 Some salad with Ranch.
 Splurge dessert: chocolate ganache cake.
I didn't eat but a little more than half the pasta and only a few bites of the cake. Not horrible for a splurge night.

It's Monday so back on the wagon for me. :)