The Work Out Rut Remembered

By Thursday, I was pretty much caught up on sleep, but still happy to have the day off from work for Veteran’s Day.

I’ve been traveling so much and working so hard that all I really wanted to do all day was relax.

So, my plans were pretty simple:

  • Re-create the tea soup from San Francisco
  • Work on my chocolate chip dough ball recipe
  • Bake something cool…like an apple crostata
  • Do something nice for my 80-ish veteran neighbor
  • Teach Zumba

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A day of baking and cooking wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the grocery store. I had a groupon for $30 worth of groceries (for $15), so I stocked up on splurge items I have been too cheap to buy till now:

  • Tahini (in a glass jar because aluminum is starting to weird me out with all the BPA claims, etc.)
  • Carob Powder (wish I had found roasted, but this will do)
  • Garam Masala
  • Grain sweetened chocolate chips
  • Dulse

Pretty sweet, huh?

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I’ve been trying to avoid all purpose flour as of late just because it seems like whole grains are so much better, but there are some things that just need to be made with all purpose flour still. I found a compromise flour at the store – unbleached all purpose flour. Nice.

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I don’t know why I’ve never tried making a crostata before. I guess, in general, baking intimidates me. I don’t really know much about baking and I don’t typically feel comfortable playing around with recipes. But, I’ve been trying to get myself to experiment more.

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So on my free day of the week, I decided to try the apple crostada recipe by Giada DeLaurentis that I’ve been eying for awhile now.

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The recipe was actually much easier than I thought it would be. Dare I say it was easy?

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The dough whipped up in no time and the hardest part about the filling was the peeling, coring, and slicing of the apples. That’s my kind of baking recipe.

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While my crostata dough rested in the fridge, I created my delicious Green Tea Soup.

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It was the perfect cold-weather-day meal. I’ll definitely be making this one again soon. Hopefully, with some fun variations on bowl ingredients.

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By the time I was done with the soup, it was time to move on to the next step of the crostata. Roll out the dough and fill.

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I was a little surprised at how high the apples piled up on the crostata dough. I could blame my unusually large apples, but who knows. Maybe it was supposed to be this full.

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I went with it and folded the dough up the sides and hoped for the best.

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38 minutes later, I removed this golden-piece of awesomeness from the oven. Oh yea!

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Unfortunately, I’d have to wait a few hours before I got to reap the reward of my hard work. I still had to teach Zumba!

I saw my doctor again earlier this week and he cleared me for working out. My neck/shoulder/back hasn’t been bothering me during the day, but I’ve been waking up in quite a bit of pain. My doctor didn’t seem to think it was anything too serious, which was great. Plus, he gave me the ok to workout, which was even better.

I don’t know if you’ve ever had an injury that prevented you from working out, but I did last year and it was a mentally brutal period of time where I envied every person I saw running down the street or walking around with their gym bag. It wasn’t so much that I felt obligated to workout or that I was worried I’d gain weight if I didn’t work out…I just genuinely missed it.

Not gonna lie, though…I wasn’t looking forward to class on Thursday. Missing your regular work-outs for so long can easily throw you into a workout rut. You get comfortable not working out. You like having your free time back. You become lackadaisical about the whole workout idea. Not to mention for me… It had been two full weeks since I’d worked out at all, let alone teach Zumba. I was nervous about teaching. What if I’d lost my stamina over the last two weeks and realized half way through class I couldn’t finish (embarrassing!)? What if I’d forgotten the moves to all the songs I was planning to do and had to make up something on the spot with the eyes of an entire class watching? I had a lot of what-ifs running through my head as the class started up.

But…the show had to go on.

And on it went…nearly without a hitch. Hazzah! It was actually a really good class and my neck/shoulder/back felt fine the whole time. I was so relieved!

As I left class, I suddenly remembered what it was like to be in a work out rut. I remembered when I had no drive to workout, just a couple years ago. Hubby would gently encourage me to go to Zumba, reminding how happy I always was when I’d come home after class. I remember how every week, I’d look at him skeptically and force myself begrudgingly to go to class and how every week, I’d come home with the biggest grin on my face and feeling like a million bucks.

On Thursday it was deja vu. I forced myself to go to class, but I came home so happy. It was like it was a few years ago except…things were a bit different this time. This time, I was already snapped out of the rut. This time, I was already excitely planning the next time I could go to class. :)

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Hubby had dinner waiting when I got home. But first, we visited our veteran neighbor to drop off half of the apple crostata for Veteran’s Day. I was a little worried about the crostata tasting ok, since neither hubby nor I tasted it before wrapping it up for delivery. But, I figured that the ingredient list was pretty simple so unless I accidentally used salt instead of sugar, it should be at least decent.

For dinner, hubby grilled up rib eye steaks and cooked micro-baked potatoes and steamed broccoli. The steak had a really nice flavor, but reminded me of why I’m falling out of love with meat. It was a bit fatty and I felt like I was dissecting the steak instead of enjoying it. I really didn’t want to disappoint hubby with not liking it since he worked so hard to cook it, but it wasn’t meshing well with me. :(

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By the time dinner was over, I was extra-excited about tasting my first ever apple crostata. It looked pretty good, but I wasn’t sure how it would taste.

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The verdict…

Nomalicious! It was fabulous and so simple. I will definitely be making this again and am already thinking of new filling ideas for future crostatas – both sweet and savory.

Have you been in a workout rut before? What did you do to get out of it?

Dough Balls….Take Ten?

Greetings friends!

So, my posts this week haven’t exactly been as real-time as I like to do. I blame the red-eye I took Sunday night…or was it…Monday morning?

Backing up for a minute…This past weekend, I was in San Francisco with a whole bunch of my bloggie friends (new ones and old ones) for the fabulous Foodbuzz Festival 2010. I decided that, instead of wasting all day Sunday to travel, I’d enjoy Sunday in San Fran and do a red-eye home. The catch…I had to work on Monday.

So on Sunday, you know my plans were mostly rained out. But, I still had a really great time hanging out with my blog friends, then another friend, and then blog friends again before taking the red-eye back. There were two crying babies on the flight home but the main thing keeping me from sleeping was my sore neck (still having some pain in my neck, shoulders, and back…ugh!). Even the travel pillow I purchased at the airport in hopes that I may get sleep seemed to do no good. I think I slept one hour of the 4 hour and 20 minute flight.

The red eye wasn’t my primary pain. It wasn’t even the one hour of sleep. It was the fact that I had to work a full day at the office, tackling an inbox of requests that had surely piled up for the two days of vacation I took. My group likes to say “no vacation time goes unpunished.” :( And that is sad, but true. Monday was definitely one of those days that I was completely envious of those who do not have a 9 to 5 job. Oh how lucky were the others who could just go home and sleep more, or relax all day, or leisurely blog or cook delicious things while I was stuck at my computer doing technical things.

But, I survived Monday and Tuesday was much easier.

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On Tuesday, I even found time to bake. I decided to try to re-create Annie the Baker’s famous dough balls.

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My first batch came out completely flat. Fail. My second batch more resembled dog treats than human treats.

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My third and fourth batches came out pretty tasty, but not quite like cookie dough. I guess that’s what I get for trying to healthify the cookies (I took out a lot of the butter and sugar). Something tells me that for the dough balls to really taste like chocolate chip cookie dough, they’ll have to have full fat and full sugar.

So, I guess I have a fifth batch in my future. Perhaps Thursday night?

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