Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Shoutout to Walgreens!

I had an issue at Walgreens over the weekend and I emailed customer service. On Monday I got a phone call and apologies AND an offer for a gift card! Thanks Walgreens! The gift card was very very appreciated and I think I appreciated resolving my issue more because it means I can shop at the store in the future.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Slacking Off

I don't want to exercise tonight. :-( I want to watch Psych reruns instead. Which will win? Psych or P90X? I don't want to skip anything because I know that is  a bad habit to start. However.. I just don't want to.  I did walk for 2.6 miles today so that's exercise, right? Maybe I will just do Ab Ripper X later or something.

I have lost 2.5 pounds so far. I have mixed feelings about this. I don't want to lose weight; I like my current weight. I just want to build muscle. However, I may need to lose "fat" weight before I can build muscle. I also know that I haven't been eating enough. MyFitnessPal tells me everyday that I will lose weight if I continue on that track. I can't wait to get my protein powder. That will be easy calories. I am not a snack-er so it's hard to remember to eat healthy snacks to increase my intake.

Protein update: My coach says that the high protein is necessary to burn extra fat during the first phase of P90X. After that, I will go to a diet where protein and carb are more balanced. Phase 3 places emphasis on carbs. Technically, he already has me on a Phase 2 balanced diet. This is because I don't want to lose weight.

Another episode of Psych is starting so I'm off.

Friday, March 23, 2012

How much protein do you need?

Since I started P90X again, I have been tracking my calories using MyFitnessPal (I hope to post a review soon). MyFitnessPal has a guided questionnaire that helps you choose the number of calories that you need based on your goals or you can input your desired goals. For example, it told me that I needed 55% of my calories from carbs. When I do the review I will add the other nutrients. I can't remember them right now.

I also signed up for Team Beachbody with a coach. Team Beachbody suggested that based on my goals (P90X, toning and maintaining weight), I should consume 2100 calories each day in a 40:30:30 ratio. That is 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% fat. My coach told me that I should aim for 40%, 40%, 20%. I also know that the first phase of P90X requires a high protein diet  (50%). So which should I choose?

I decided to go with coach's suggestion. However, that meant 154g of protein each day!!! And that's before exercise! Throw in a high calorie-burning P90X routine and I apparently need more. Without P90X I need 1540 calories per day and with it I could need up to 2100. I didn't realise how much protein that was until I tried to eat it. So far I don't think I have managed to eat more than 80g of protein any day. But I must admit that some nights I am very hungry. For example, I am hungry right now. But it's hard to figure out what to eat when I've almost hit my daily carb goal but there's a lot of protein left to consume. Additionally, I can't have my cholesterol intake be too high.  I guess I need to make wiser carb choices. I eat brown rice and whole wheat bread though so I am not sure what to change.

This gets even more confusing when you read that the suggested amount of protein each day is 0.8-1g per kg of weight. I weigh 54kg so that would mean 54g of protein each day. I know this would increase because of P90X but is 154g - almost 3 times the required amount a good increase? All of this is very confusing to me. I need to ask my coach about this but I am trying to wrap my head around some other information before I do. I've read that high protein diets can be risky for people who have kidney disease. I don't know if I have kidney disease and hope I don't. I also don't want to damage my kidneys.

For now I am doing a 40-30-30. I am going to be drinking a protein shake each day. However, I will not go more than 100g per day. I am just not comfortable with that number. The problem comes from the percentage breakdown compared with the solely protein calculator. They just don't match up.

I will post again when I learn more.

Until then.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Kraft Fresh Take Cheese Breadcrumb Mix - Have you tried it?

I bought a few bags of this last week and just used the Cheddar Jack and Bacon tonight. I seasoned some chicken with salt and pepper (chili & red pepper). After it marinated, I followed the instructions on the bag. It was pretty easy. There is cheese on one side and seasoned breadcrumbs on the other. You open the seal and shake them all together and then toss your meat in.

Verdict: DELICIOUS! I could tell it would have been great before it went in the oven. I am now regretting that I didn't get a few more bags when they were on sale.

Yes, I know you could season your own breadcrumbs and grate your own cheese but this makes things quick and easy. You don't have to get a bag to toss your meat in because it already comes in a Ziploc bag. You should try it out.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

P90X Day 9

Still going strong! Tonight was Cardio X. Sweat! Sweat! Sweat! I did more of the workout than I did last week. Love that I am a bit stronger. Additionally, I am not sore like I was last week. I don't have to dread walking up the stairs.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

P90X Day 7 and 8

Day 7 is rest or X Stretch. I was busy and wanted to simply rest instead of stretching. However, my mother told me great things about stretch and I know that it is easy to fall off the wagon if I skip a day. I only did about half of the X stretch but considering it's also a rest day, I'm not being hard on myself.

Day 8 - We start all over again - Core Synergistics. I love Core. But tonight I was exhausted. I had only slept about 3 hours and I wanted to just skip exercising. I almost did too but I am glad I pushed through. I took a nap and after my nap, I exercised. I didn't give it my all but that's OK. I am way under calories and until I figure out how to properly boost my caloric intake, I won't stress about not exercising too hard. I don't want to lose weight and I will hurt myself if my intake is too low.

Things I've made lately..

Sweet Potato Sourdough Challah

Whiskey Chocolate Mousse Pie

Round Braided Loaf (I can't wait to slice into this!)

I made these in response to a Cooking the Hard Stuff Challenge from Julie at Willow Bird Baking. The Sweet Potato Sourdough Challah was absolutely amazing!!! I can't wait to make it several more times. I made the round loaf without eggs so it isn't a true challah. I wanted to master braiding. And I think I did! The Whiskey Chocolate Mousse Pie was also delicious! I am not good at pie crusts and I am working on that but I am glad I made it. 

I will share recipes at another time. Now it's time for P90X Stretch. It's rest or stretch day but I want to try stretching. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

P90X Day 5 and 6

I'm still hanging in there!

Day 5 was Legs & Back plus Ab Ripper. I didn't finish legs and back. Right now I can't remember why not. It probably was the pain or motivation. However, I know exactly why I did not finish Ab Ripper X. I made it about 10 seconds. I WAS IN PAIN. I was just simply too sore to do it. I knew before I started that it would be difficult. The first exercise is Ins & Outs and I did one "in" and one "out" and I was done. I could have pushed through but I think it is best to listen to my body and last night my body said "NO!" Yes, there are some days I will need to push through but I knew that Day 5 was not that day. It hurt so much to walk up and down the stairs.

And then there was Day 6 - Kenpo. I LOVE Kenpo. I happily did all of Kenpo and could have kept on going longer than the hour. Kenpo is martial arts and it's a different pace from the other workouts. Sometimes it's fast, sometimes it's slow. I must admit that I am not coordinated and don't always get the sequences right but I still have fun and keep moving.

Tomorrow is Rest or X Stretch. I think I will do Stretch as my mother pointed out that it really helped her back. I'm looking forward to that. At some point this week I want to talk about my caloric intake.

Until then...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

P90X Day 4

I may have mentioned that I do not like Yoga X. It's long and my attention span sucks. But, I decided that I was going to give it a fair shot this time around. I tried. I really did. I started first trying to watch Cold Case (love that show!) while I did it. 30 seconds into that, my mother called. I tried again after I got off the phone with her but something else distracted me. Then I realised that I couldn't do the poses while watching Cold Case. I didn't know the routine well enough and Tony Horton talks a lot during yoga.  So I turned off the TV and watched Cold Case. Then I tried to finish my pie crust (I'll post about that later). After the pie crust, I tried again but my cousin called. Round 3 - my mother calls back. I finally started again without interruptions but after an hour, I was just no longer focused on exercising. I was getting hungry and worried about being dizzy so I gave up. It wasn't that bad though. I think the interruptions helped. I wasn't thinking about the 1000 vinyasa sequences because I kept being interrupted. I'm in it for the flexibility and not the mental aspects so that's fine with me.

Maybe next week I will do more.

Friday, March 16, 2012

P90X Day 3

Today was Ab Ripper X and Arm & Shoulders. I forgot how painful Ab Ripper X was. 15 minutes of PAAAIN. I didn't do all the reps. I just can't yet. However, I will eventually. My midsection is the reason I am doing P90X. I have always had a tummy even when I was ridiculously underweight. Yes, I know - very attractive. I hope to push through the next 87 days and come out with a relatively flat stomach.

I didn't do all of arms and shoulders. I think I did about 20 minutes. I know I should have finished up but I needed to go make a pie crust. Yes, I gave up exercise to make a pie crust. I sure do have my priorities straight.

Tomorrow is the dreaded yoga. I am making no promises where that's concerned.

Until then...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

P90X-ing again

I got my mother started on P90X and frankly I am jealous of all her progress. She is doing the Doubles routine and wasn't even in pain! She is twice my age and 10 times as fit. JEALOUS. I was openly happy when she said she felt some pain after her Plyometrics workout. I know that that could be me too. I am just lazy and lack the motivation. So on Tuesday night I dusted off the Core DVD and started again. The push-ups were difficult. I really couldn't manage them but I got through most of everything else. Like the last time, it will take me  a little while to be able to do the entire workout. Tonight I did Cardio and my body is already hurting. I know that I am going to be crying tomorrow but I just have to push through it. It won't be as bad next week.

I even joined a Facebook group and a Beachbody trainer is following me on Twitter. I hope that this will be enough to keep me motivated. I know some days I will want to watch TV or lie in bed instead of exercise but I hope that I will keep doing it. I did it almost every day for approximately 8 weeks before I stopped completely. I hope I can make it to 90 days this time.

This time I am not trying to lose weight. I lost all the weight I wanted to lose (without exercise!) so now it's just about toning, being fit, flexible and building muscle. Do you have a fitness goal?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Do you use Swagbucks?

I signed up for Swagbucks maybe two years ago. I didn't use it for a while because I switched computers and forgot about it. Wait.. perhaps, I should backup. What is Swagbucks? Essentially with SB you can earn rewards for various things including searching. You probably make several Internet searches per day, right? I use Swagbucks as my main search engine. Let me tell you, it is difficult to not automatically switch to Google. Google rules me. You can use your swagbucks in Swag Store to purchase various items including gift cards.

I really wish I had remembered about Swagbucks before. I made a couple purchases on Amazon recently and I could have used my Swagbucks to buy Amazon gift cards. I am glad that I remember now though. I really really want a kitchen scale and I hope that I can find one on Amazon.

If you're interested in some easy cash, you should check out Swagbucks. Please note that all links in this post are referral links.If you sign up for Swagbucks using these links, I will earn referral bucks. If you're OK with that, please do!

Monday, March 12, 2012

What are you watching?

For about two years, I didn't watch much television. I kept up with my favourites online but for the most part, I wasn't watching anything. Dexter, Burn Notice, Royal Pains, NCIS (LA), CSI (Miami), Big Brother and The Amazing Race. That's it. However, recently, I started keeping up with more shows. I even added some new series to my list. One of which is The River. Have you seen it? What do you think?

The River follows the search for a missing explorer on and along the Amazon River. I love the thrills so far but I have read that the ratings are low so I assume that this show might be nixed soon. Another new show that may be nixed is The Firm. I will admit that the pilot wasn't very compelling. However, I have kept up with the show and I am hooked! It's unfortunate that it was moved to Saturday night but I happily watch it. I can't wait to find out what the deal is with Sara Holt.

Then there is Awake. Awake is only two episodes in and I am sure it will be around for many seasons to come.  It follows a police officer after a terrible accident in which either his wife, son or both were killed. He is experiencing two realities. He wakes up and he is with his wife but his son is dead. He wakes up again and he is with his son and his wife is dead. In both realities, he is talking to a therapist about this. You should definitely check it out.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Philadelphia Indulgence Chocolate Cream Cheese


I'm in love! I have put it on EVERYTHING - including just a fork. I just added it to a microwave mug cake (just flour, sugar, baking soda, oil and the milk chocolate cream cheese) and it was DELICIOUS. Yes, the caps are necessary. Go! Get some!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Braided loaf

I baked a braided loaf tonight. The recipe called for whole wheat flour and sesame seeds but I skipped them. It also called for braiding.I tried but I didn't do the best job. It was a really wet dough so it was a bit hard to work with. The loaf turned out pretty well though. I am still working on getting better height from my loaves. I think I am probably using a larger loaf tin than the recipes that I follow. I use a 9 x 5. Maybe they use an 8 x 4? I have gotten amazing rise in the past though so maybe it's just that my yeast is finicky.

ETA: I think I also overproofed my loaf. I did some reading last night and learned that overproofing can lead to less oven spring.

Monday, March 5, 2012

My trip to Aldi Food Market

I woke up on Saturday morning feeling too lazy (as usual) to leave my house. I made up some plausible excuse and decided I would head to Aldi on Sunday. The Aldi is across from a Walmart so I figured that I would determine if I needed anything from Walmart before I headed there.

Whenever I head out on these scouting trips (no major shopping), I tend to walk. That way, I get my exercise in. It's an 8 mile walk (round trip) and so far I have been able to do it easily. The return trip is usually the hardest since I spend a lot of time exploring but I typically walk along a bus route just in case I need to throw in the towel and hop on the bus. I was especially careful this time since I have a mild cold.

I checked the weather for Sunday and sure enough, rain was expected. I sighed. I wanted to jerk some pork also. I can't fire up the grill in the rain. The only way to do it was to get up really early and head to Aldi. Um. No. Around 2 pm, I put an audio-book on (my new obsession!) and decided to chance it. It started to drizzle as I stepped out but it stopped when it realised I was serious. Take that, rain!

First thing to know about Aldi is that you need to rent a shopping cart. I am glad that I read about this before so I had a quarter ready. Aldi is all about cutting overheads. If employees don't need to constantly gather errant shopping carts, they can focus on other things. Renting the shopping cart is easy. You stick your quarter in and pull your cart out. When you return it, you lock it to the cart in front and your quarter is returned to you. Simple! I can see how this could be frustrating for those who don't know the policy beforehand. However, it should be pretty easy to get change inside the store.

My first shopping cart didn't work very well and I had to return it. After that, I was on my way. I didn't need many items - flour, garlic, and ginger. It isn't a large store. In fact, it is relatively small. They don't stock multiple brands of the same item and most likely it is the store brand. Items are stocked on pallets. You are literally ripping the shipping plastic off some items to get to them. When a pallet is empty, the employees replace it.

Now since they don't stock multiple brands, Aldi is not the store for you if you have brand loyalties. However, if you are willing to test the store brands and save some money in the process, go ahead and check it out. Now about those savings. I didn't want to take my notebook out to record prices so I tried to memorize a few prices of items I would probably buy. Overall, Aldi does seem to have lower prices than your average supermarket or even Walmart. However, there are some items that could be comparable especially if the supermarket is having a sale.

My 5lb of flour cost $1.69. I think the Walmart brand is $1.98 while the Publix brand is $2.49 or $2.29.  That's significantly cheaper if you use a lot of flour as I do. The one disadvantage is that the flour is bleached.   I don't usually care if my flour is bleached or unbleached. However, my sourdough does (it also doesn't like tap water). It's usually hard for me to find unbleached store brand flours. I have never seen unbleached Walmart brand flour and my Winn Dixie doesn't have an unbleached version of their flour either. I'm glad Publix does!

So basically, if you need specialty items, Aldi may not be the store for you. I did hear a mother tell her child that they needed to head to Publix next. However, if you just need to the basics, I suggest you check them out. As I type now, I remember that I had wanted to check out some other items in the store. I guess I will need to go back. Here are a few items that I know were cheaper than I usually see at other stores:

  • Chips
  • Cake mixes
  • Shortening 
  • Yogurt (I got 6 oz cups for 39c. I think Greek yogurt was 89c)
  • Some frozen meats
  • Bagged salads (I saw one that was 99c but I didn't pay attention to the prices of others)
  • Potatoes (A 5lb bag of Idaho potatoes was $1.29, I think. I would have grabbed a bag if I was driving.). 
  • Onions (On sale, my Sedano's would probably have them cheaper or about the same price) 
  • Milk 
That's what I remember now. Checkout was pretty simple. Some items have multiple barcodes so that it is easy for the cashier to scan them. It doesn't matter how the item is placed on the scanning belt, it will scan. For example, the bag of flour had a barcode on each side so there were 6 barcodes total.

Aldi does not offer shopping bags. Well, let me rephrase, you won't get the traditional plastic or paper bags there. You could always buy a reusable shopping bag. The cashier scans your items and places them into the cart beside her. You then put the items in your cart yourself and then take them to a bagging shelf along the wall and put them in your own bags. Or, you could just take them to your car as is. It's up to you. I think that's the same thing that Costco does,right?

So that was my quick trip to Aldi. Will I go back? Most likely. I always need flour!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Have you shopped at Aldi's?

I have heard a few bloggers mention Aldi Supermarket when they mention ways in which they saved. There wasn't a store near me so I didn't pay much attention. Last week I noticed there was an Aldi flyer in the mail. I thought that was odd but never thought about it anymore. I just tossed the flyer. A few days later, it hit me: I wouldn't have gotten a flyer if there wasn't a store nearby. Sure enough, a store opened a few weeks ago nearby. It's about 4 miles away and while that's not terribly far, I do have several supermarkets that offer me great deals within a one mile radius. It would have to be an extremely good deal for me to venture that "far".

On weekends I usually do an 8 mile walk. I don't like exercising but walking is enjoyable enough. This weekend I think I will take a trip to Aldi's. I have been reading up and the prices do look amazing. I am glad I researched it because I wouldn't have known that I needed to take my reusable bags with me. Am I the only one who always forgets the reusable bags?

If I make it tomorrow, I hope to blog about it. I think I am coming down with a cold so that may prevent me from heading out there. But let's keep our fingers crossed!