Saturday, December 31, 2011

Revisiting My 2011 New Year's Resolutions

It is almost that time of year again. I'm talking about resolution making time. Last year around this time I went back to my list to check off all that I had accomplished and push out or remove all the items that were no longer relevant. It was kind of fun so I'm doing it again this year. My goal is always to check off as many items as possible. So what were my 2011 resolutions

2011 Fitness Goals:
1) Run more miles in 2011 than in 2010. I ran 1,084 miles in 2010. That is the number I need to beat.
Accomplished! Not by a whole lot but I still did it. As of 12/30 I am at 1,117. DONE!

2) Run a sub-4 hour marathon. I am so close. I can do it!
I can proudly say that I finally did this! Yay! Actually I did this twice! DONE!

3) Sign up for a 10K race. Beat PR of 50:10. Revisiting a distance I haven't raced in a long time.
Well this goal is half done so I will need to push this one over to 2012. I did sign up for a 10K but I ran it for fun with Sister K so no new PR but it was so much fun!

4) Climb a kiddie rock wall to the top. Remember in this post when I tried to climb but only got 3 feet off the ground and got scared. Yes I am afraid of heights.
This goal is a total fail. Namely I am still afraid of heights and have not taken any steps to get over it. Pushing out to 2012.

4a) Climb a giant indoor wall or ride a hot air balloon.
Also pushing out to 2012. 

5) Run another trail race.
Yay another goal completed. DONE!

2011 Personal Goals:
1) Plan 2012 European trip
This trip is currently on hold so pushing out to the distance future. 

2) Organize my living space.
Work in progress! Pushing out.

3) Volunteer at least once this year.
Okay this one was another fail. Pushing out.

4) Learn some French and/or Italian.
I am removing this one for the time being but may add it back on at a later time.  

Three out of a bunch isn't bad. Okay well maybe it is but who's counting? Up next are my 2012 goals and resolutions. Go big or go home I always say. No, I actually never say stuff like that and I'll probably end up going home but nothing gets me going quite like a challenge. Game on!

Friday, December 30, 2011

I'm Bringing Veggie Back

Last night I went over to the new Irvine Mitsuwa to check it out and also to have dinner at the Santouka located in the food court. Despite the small size of the food court, there were a couple of tasty food stalls including Misasa, Hamada-ya bakery and this fabulous Takoyaki and Taiyaki stall called Go Squared.

I am a fan of both Takoyaki and Taiyaki. Takoyaki is a snack made from a batter with small pieces of chopped octopus in a heated circular mode. The finished product is about the size of a golf ball. I'll highlight that another time. Today I am going to talk about Taiyaki.

Taiyaki is a sweet snack made from a batter in a heated fish shaped mode and can be filled with chocolate, custard or red bean. I am a huge Taiyaki fan. I like the red bean one. I'm almost certain that these little fishes will surely derail my dieting efforts. I introduced M to them today and he instantly fell in love with the custard and chocolate ones. They are best eaten warm and freshly made. They taste like waffles, except with chocolate or custard on the inside.

This one here is filled with red bean. I think I went overboard as I had two after dinner. I love the fish shape! The tail is my favorite part to eat. I save it for last. Just a weirdo Madison thing.

I walked around the Mitsuwa market after dinner and noticed how organized, bright and nicely packaged everything was. They had a prepared food section that looked pretty good.

If I hadn't just eaten dinner, I would have taken this one home. I didn't end up buying any groceries on this trip but you can trust that I will be back very soon. Maybe even make some nice Japanese inspired meals.


Say hello to my little friends! Seriously I need to get to know these two guys again. I've really fallen off the healthy eating wagon the second half of this year and I want to make an effort to clean up my meals.

For sure that means no more of this stuff...

So one of my resolutions for 2012, which will be posted soon, is to eat more healthy. M wanted to go out to breakfast this morning so off we went. I wanted to practice getting back into eating more healthy by actually eating healthy meals today. So normally I would have an orange juice but I decided to order this tomato juice to switch things up.

Sister K recently taught me how to use some new settings on my camera and this photo is dedicated to her. :)

So normally when I am not really paying attention to what I am eating, I would order a muffin from here (Mimi's). They have some tasty muffins. Today I decided to order something from their Lite Fare section. This here is two eggs over medium with a side of fruit and rye toast. It wasn't half bad. It's no muffin but eating all those muffins was causing me to look like a muffin. 

For "linner" I had this Grilled Chicken Salad from Stonefire Grill without the cheese and with the dressing on the side. Haha, so this wasn't half bad either but it's hard to eat a salad when my dining companion is sitting right across from me having a pulled pork sandwich chased by an "everything" pizza. What a life!

I think today went well and the suffering was minimal. I'm such a food drama queen. It's going to take time for me to enjoy the taste of healthy food again after eating all that rich food and decadent desserts over the holidays but eating healthy has it's own rewards. I actually felt more energized today and this food didn't aggravate my colitis as much as the processed stuff I've been living off of recently. So look for more farmers market posts coming up in the near future when I get reacquainted with my long lost buddies the veggies!

Friday Five Favs 12/30

I'm getting somewhat regular with these Friday Five Favorites postings. So these 5 things are what I'm loving this week.

1) Gummy Vitamins - don't know why I haven't tried them until now. Perhaps it was the sugar content that I was concerned about but these things make taking vitamins a boat load of fun and deliciousness!

2) Pie-In-A-Jar - this was a homemade gift from Sister K's bf and I have to say that it is one of the most unique gifts I've gotten in a long time. I really love when people make things for me because it truly is so much more meaningful. Speaking of, I have to show you these gloves that Youngest Sister K made for me, maybe next Friday. She is a really talented teenage crocheter. This pie spoke to my love of creative gifts as well as my inner foodie. Plus, it is so cute on the inside!

3) Froggy Bag Clips - so I really love these froggy bag clips. They are adorable and I had needed some so badly. Cute and functional, I love it so much!

4) The Spicy Shrimp and Squid dish at Thai Cafe in Irvine - I ordered this dish for the first time recently and am in love with it! 

5) Giada's Holiday Biscottis recipe - this recipe using pistachios and cranberries was not only festive but it was pretty delicious! I am never happy with how my baked goods turn out but these I would make again. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Eye On The Prize

There isn't a word to really describe how I feel after spending a couple of days at my parents' house where they fed me 3 large square meals a day with snacks in between and me not working out what-so-ever. The closest word I can think of is "poopy". Yeah I feel like poop. 

I just enjoy food way too much! I will always have a weakness for overindulging on my parents' cooking because they are such amazing cooks. Not complaining! Just emphasizing my lack of self control. 

I haven't gotten a decent run in since December 17. It wasn't because I was lazy. It was because I'm a procrastinator that worked too many hours the month leading up to Christmas, so I had to do all my shopping a couple of days before Christmas.

It's all over now! I'm doing a little happy dance on the inside. Good riddance, I don't have to do this again for another year. 

I finally got a run in today so things are looking up. I contemplated signing up for the SoCal Half and promised myself that if I put in enough training that I could reward myself by signing up for that race. However, I feel so sluggish from just a couple of days of non-activities that I am doubting whether or not I will be able to put in a good performance at that race. 

Frankly, I am a little over running a race for fun. That should be what training is for. I always feel like I use that line when I don't plan to or want to train hard. There are exceptions of course. I mean I did run Surf City this year while I was coming out of a cold for fun. I also ran the Knott's 10K with Sister K for fun. And I did run Big Sur and the Disney Half for fun so that I could take photographs along the way. But for all those other times when I said that I was running something for fun, it was mainly because I wasn't focused on training and decided to mail it in once again. I'm saying all this because 2012 is the year of no excuses...well it is for me. Unless I get sick, side-lined or if I am indeed actually running a race for enjoyment of the surroundings or running with someone. 

I will be posting up my 2012 fitness and personal resolutions in a couple of days to help me focus and realize all my goals this year.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Gingerbread People

I was trying to look for some photos of the last time that gingerbread man/people were made at my parents' house and apparently it was a long time ago because I cannot find any photos from within the last couple of years. 

This baking project was Sister K's and here is where it all started.

Awaiting to go into the oven.

Mixing up the icing.

What a motley crew!

I helped with piping the icing. It was a lot of fun. Plus, I didn't lose my head trying to get all the lines perfect!

Happy Birthday Sister K!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Holiday Biscottis and a Cup of Cheer!

Every December for the past three years, I've subscribed to Food Network's 12 Days of Cookies email newsletter. For twelve continuous days in December, I would get a different cookie recipe; and for the past three years, I've wanted to at least make one of those recipes but because I go crazy when the holidays hit, I've yet to make any of those cookies.

I pretty much thought that it wasn't going to happen again this year because once again the holidays are driving me nuts and I was caught up in getting ready for Christmas. Then one day last week, I get an email from Sister K asking when we should all get together to do some baking. This was just the reminder and inspiration that I needed to go and dig up a recipe that I had socked away. So which cookie did I select for the grand honor of being my first 12 Days of Cookie experiment?

I selected Giada's Holiday Biscotti because aside from the fact that I adore biscottis, these were made with pistachios, dried cranberries AND dipped in white chocolate and covered in more pistachios! I've been carrying this recipe in my purse for the last 3 weeks and can you blame me. This cookie recipe was from Day 6 from the series this year.

Form into a long flat log and bake for forty minutes at 350.

After it comes out of the oven, let it cool for 30 minutes before slicing the log on a diagonal and baking again until golden brown.

They are good just like this enjoyed with a cup of hot tea or coffee...

...with a pup warming your lap...

...or you can dip them into some melted white chocolate and cover in some crushed pistachios! I enjoyed some on this Christmas morning and they are pretty fabulous.  

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays to everyone that comes here to my humble little corner of the internet to share in my shenanigans. I hope you are spending this day surrounded by loved ones, presents, great food, abundant health and joyous laughter! Seasons Greetings!


Friday, December 23, 2011

Workout Trainer by Skimble

I was suppose to get a run in today but when I got to the gym, I was just not in the running mood. I never force myself to do something that my body isn't on board with. Never. I guess that is the secret to my continued passion for fitness.

I did get in one warm-up mile but I hopped off the treadmill after that and hopped on the Spinner bike to do an interval workout. I found this neat little free App on my iPhone last night called Workout Trainer by Skimble which is a program with a listing of tabata workouts that you can do with little to no equipment. What's neat about the App is that everything is timed for you and the audio profile will verbally guide you through the workout. It will tell you when to work hard, when to rest and it will countdown the seconds for you. I'm used to being the one that tells people what to do on the Spinner bike so it was nice not to have to think too much and just go!

I was drenched by the end of the 32 minute interval Spinner bike workout so I'm going to give it two thumbs up. It is simple too. It is best done on a Spinner or stationary bike but you could also do this outside on a bike on a level, smooth and uninterrupted terrain. I think doing this inside is probably safer and more controlled.

So you do 4 rounds of the following with a 2 minute recovery in between sets.

10 secs - Intense Effort
45 secs - Recovery
10 secs - Intense Effort
45 secs - Recovery
15 secs - Intense Effort
45 secs - Recovery
20 secs - Intense Effort
45 secs - Recovery
15 secs - Intense Effort
45 secs - Recovery
10 secs - Intense Effort
45 secs - Recovery
10 secs - Intense Effort

The 32 minutes just flew by. I did some HIIT and some Abs after this and called it a day.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Vacation Days Are Awesome!

Day two of vacation started out with waking up late, again. I went to get a massage. Getting a massage during the busy holiday season is the best idea, ever. Ever!

It was extremely windy today. Car rocking windy. Naturally that meant pho for lunch. It really hit the spot.

Also, I purchased a box of "cutie" tangerines yesterday and they are really small. I don't know what I was thinking. They are too small for me.

Ended the day by having dinner with M and his parents at Cafe Hiro. Ume-Shiso Spaghetti. If you haven't had it, you are missing out. Running planned for tomorrow morning, for sure. Must! If running goes well tomorrow, I am going to sign up for another race. If not, I will not sign up for another race.

Holiday Construction

Last year on this date my sisters and I worked on this gingerbread house kit. I didn't have time to post about it at the time but today is as good a time as any. Looking at these photos made me realized that I fell off the baking wagon around March this year. I had challenged myself to bake something at least once a month but that only lasted until March. Oh well. 

I think we picked up this kit at Michael's Arts and Craft or Trader Joe's. Can't remember now.

Everything started out okay...

...but this is harder than it looks. I had to enlist the help of Sister J to hold up the walls as I applied more icing to kept the walls up. The roof kept sliding off too. You need to stick a couple of toothpicks in there to hold it up.

Little Sister was doing all the detail work. Thank goodness because that looked tedious.

Putting snow on the roof. This made the roof even heavier. I was afraid the whole thing was going to slide down.

Sister S doing some nice detail work on the roof.

Nice, right?

Here's the finish product. I'm embarrassed to say that I did the frosting. It started melting for some reason and it was cold as heck at my parents' place!

Oh well, we had fun putting it together but we won't be getting into construction any time soon.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sheesh The Holidays!

On the first day of vacation I woke up really late. So my planned run will have to wait. Haha, I made it rhyme. Anyhow, I decided to save my energy to finish up some shopping I still had left and lots of wrapping that needed to be done.

No work means pancakes for breakfast!

Then I came here to shop. It was a madhouse. Aren't people suppose to be at work on a Wednesday? That was the sole reason I took time off work, so that I could shop in peace. I guess everyone else had the same idea. Bugger!

Fighting crowds, walking around for hours and standing in endless lines made me hungry so I went into Red Robins for a bite to eat. Believe it or not, this was my first time eating at a Red Robin. I wanted to eat badly but instead decided to have a grilled chicken salad. It wasn't half bad. I didn't really care for the iceberg lettuce but the crisp chopped apples and the candied walnuts classed this salad up a tiny bit.

The bottomless steak fries they serve here with all their burgers and sandwiches are pretty amazing!

I didn't do anything too exciting today but finishing up my Christmas shopping and getting most of the stuff wrapped is pretty exciting to me because now I get to relax tomorrow!