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Posted on Apr 6, 2011 in Dear Diary, Fail, Working Out | 6 comments

Yet Another Workout Fail

Good morning all! Thanks for your comments on yesterday’s Weight Loss 101 post — working out regularly is still something I’m really trying to figure out and embrace.

In the spirit of practicing what I’m a-preachin’, last night I set out all of my workout clothes, bagged up an outfit to change into, and set my alarm clock for an hour earlier than I normally wake up. Yes, that’s right, I was going to work out before work. DUN DUN DUNNNNN.

I’m sure you are all shocked to hear that I’m not really a morning work-outer. I enjoy my sleep, and I work every day from 7:00 AM until 3:30 PM, so it always just made more sense to put off my workouts until after work when I have the time do to it. My building has a gym right in it, so it’s easy enough to pull off… but it’s also easy enough to pull out excuses not to: I’m tired, my lunch isn’t sitting right, I have to run some errands before traffic gets bad, blahdeeblahblahblah.

So, like I said, I laid out my stuff, set my alarm, and went nighty-night earlier than usual in my attempt to get my sweat on when I woke up.

And then I overslept my alarm.

Ah well, I figured. I can just go to the gym after work like normal. I grabbed the bag I had set next to the door and headed out (always in a rush, of course, due to the aforementioned oversleeping. Naturally.)

Halfway to work, I realized that I had packed my WORK clothes into my gym bag because I had planned on wearing my gym clothes there this morning. Womp womp.

So here I am, unable to workout until I get home and hoping I’ll be able to motivate myself to do so when I get back. But hey! At least I have a completely useless set of extra work clothes with me! (I guess this would be the day to spill something on myself, eh?), no gym clothes, and what I feel should be a big, fat FAIL written across my forehead. Le sigh.

Anyway, let’s move onto some happier-ish things:


Dins from last night!

I made up a pasta dish that had green peppers, onion, orecchiette pasta and a chunky tomato sauce. I mixed it all together in a giant Pyrex so that it was easy enough to box up what I didn’t eat and save it to bring to lunch later this week.


On the side, I also cooked up some vegan buffalo wings that I was really excited about:


I got these spontaneously on a grocery trip last week and was looking for an excuse to cook ’em up. Unfortunately, they were pretty much an epic fail. I followed the instructions on the box and cooked them in a pan on the stove as per the manufacturer’s recommendation but the buffalo sauce got kinda gross that way, and the texture and taste was just really off. I ate one, then bagged them up. I can’t bring myself to just throw away the rest, so I’m gonna need to brainstorm ideas for how to incorporate them into another meal without really having to taste them. Haaaaahahaha, sigh. Any ideas?

Question: Are you a morning or after-work workout person? Any tips for getting started in the mornings if you’re trying to transition into becoming one of the former?

Have an awesome Wednesday, everyone! We’re halfway to the weekend (and the beginning of my epic week-long birthday celebration! :P) w00t!!

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Posted on Mar 18, 2011 in Food, Pup Posts | 12 comments

Poor Unfortunate Souls

Given that my legs still weren’t working yesterday after my dip into P90X on Tuesday, my hopes of jumping back on the exercise horse were dashed. They are still pretty sore today, but I think I can at least manage a nice walk with the dogs to take advantage of what is supposed to be a beautiful day!


I kind of owe them a walk anyway.


In fact, I owe them a lot more than that.

Soulful Schnauzer

Because despite my lack of being able to move a whole lot, I still tried to be productive yesterday. (Mom, I apologize in advance for what you’re about to see.)


Yep. They got haircuts. What I am officially dubbing as “summer haircuts”, in fact, as they have literally no hair left on their bodies. Ahahahahahahahaha. Daxter had some really intense mats (mattes?) in his hair around his legs, and since I started grooming the dogs myself I hadn’t ever really cut their “skirts” (the hair from their underbelly down to their feet) because I don’t know how, haha. So, I just kinda figured I’d start fresh!

But, um… I don’t think they were quite as pleased with the whole experience as me. And neither was my brother, to be honest.


It’s also made me painfully aware of how Harry is getting a little too much cushion for the pushin’, if you know what I mean. Must run in the family! Maybe I should change the title of this blog to “Honey, I Shrunk the Harry!”? 😛

Don’t worry, Mama. It will already be growing back in by the time you come back from Texas. And their faces are still cute! I didn’t cut any of the hair on their faces, so they kind of look like little bobbleheads. Heehee.

Shmooshy Faced Love

Haaaahahahahaha. Okay, okay, let’s move on and leave these poor, tortured animals some dignity. Noms from last night!


I made a little pasta dish! It included one serving of whole wheat spaghetti (2 oz. – I measured!), half a humongous yellow summer squash that was sauteed in EVOO with garlic and red onion, some organic roasted garlic tomato sauce and topped with Daiya vegan mozzarella! It was deliiiiiicious. I put a few too many red pepper flakes in the sauce so it was spiiiiiiicy, but still really, really good.


For the Love of [Vegan] Food

And last night I also baked up an adorable little [vegan] Banana Bread Oatmeal Cake! I brought a couple pieces to work with my for breakfast:

I basically started out trying to make banana bread but I used oat flour (ground up raw rolled oats in food processor) as well as a little bit of whole wheat flour, and it turned out more like a chewy cake than bread. Okay by me! I also am just now realizing I didn’t put any baking powder or soda in it. Maybe that’s also a contributing factor… hahaha.

Anyway, it’s pretty good. Not the best thing I’ve ever made, but good, and very quick to be able to grab with me for brekky this morning. I just sweetened it with a tiny bit of agave (no other added sugar) and also melted the bananas in the microwave! I also used a flax egg for the first time! Not sure I got the ratio of flaxseed to water exactly right, but whatever. I dusted it with raw oats and unsweetened coconut (of course) to make it look pretty. Hehehe.

Are you a breakfast staple-eater, or do you like experimenting with new things for breakfast? One thing I feel like I’ve noticed in the food/healthy living blog world is that as experimental and fun as people get with their lunches and dinners, breakfast always seems to be pretty much the same things over and over again. I’m definitely starting to fall victim to that, I gotta make sure I change it up! 🙂

I hope you all have plans to take advantage of the fabulous weather we’re allegedly getting this weekend! See you on the flipside! 🙂

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Posted on Dec 2, 2010 in Dear Diary | 4 comments


It is freezing today. Want proof?

There’s your proof. 😉

Guess winter decided to finally get off its lazy butt and get moving, huh? I even hear whispers of there being snow this weekend!!

Unlike many (okay, most) people I talk to, I actually love winter. I love seeing the world covered up in white, I love seeing puffs of warm breath hitting the crisp air, I love sweaters and scarves and mittens and hats (it’s true, you should see my collection!). Maybe it’s a product of spending a large percentage of my life living in Canada, but I just really have a special place in my heart for all things winter.

You know what else has a special place in my heart?

That’s right. You’re looking at a brand-spankin’-new 7-cup Cuisinart FOOD PROCESSOR!!! It was a fabbityfab lightning deal on Amazon, and I am already so in love. I know, I know, I know, I’m not supposed to be buying things for myself now. But I just couldn’t pass it up. Besides, I wouldn’t be happy with myself if I let someone else pay full-price for one of these bad boys if I could get it for myself for 60% off! It is glorious.

Despite the fact that yesterday was a pretty glum day for me (work has been getting to me a little bit lately…) I perked right up when I opened the box that housed this puppy. And yes, I had multiple boxes to open when I got home from work, haha. It’s like every day is Christmas, getting so much stuff delivered every day! The UPS guy knows us REALLY well now. 😛

As soon as I busted it out and after it look me like 10 minutes to figure out how to detach the bowl from the body (that thing was ON there!) I quickly tested it out by mincing up some red onion, garlic, and red pepper. And then just to see how it would do, I tossed a handful of baby carrots in there too! I’m not really sure what my goal was, I definitely didn’t even have a dish in mind to cook. I think I was just excited. So excited, in fact, that I ended up going kind of overboard and over-mincing everything until it was just this really pretty but really useless orange-red slush.

Darn that pulse button. It’s so much fun to push!

So in true Gretchen fashion, I quickly decided I needed to figure out SOMETHING to do with it. After ravaging my pantry for a bit, I tossed my slush in a little pan with some olive oil and cooked it up, while I threw some whole wheat pasta in a pot. Then I took my nice big stockpot and sautéed a block of tofu up with some EVOO, salt, and pepper, then dumped in a can of diced tomatoes, some leftover spinach, mushrooms and chicken sausage from pizza night, and then finally added in my simmering food-processor mush.

The result?

Pasta a la Pantry!

It was actually quite tasty! You couldn’t really taste the carrots or red pepper, which I guess is good because carrots aren’t traditionally a pasta ingredient. Having a food processor would be really handy if you had kids who didn’t like to eat vegetables (or a husband who refuses to… right Jenny? ;)) because you can get them pureed really, really fine to add into sauces or other dishes.

I added a few kalamata olives and capers on top at the last minute because I think I was trying to convince myself I had made a Mediterranean dish, but they weren’t really necessary (though always delicious! Mmm, olives… drool…)

Anyway, I successfully used up a lot of ingredients that I already had on-hand, and made an entire weeks-worth of pasta that’s chock-full of veggies. A success, I think! And to think, due to the bad day I was having, I was contemplating ordering in for dinner instead. I think that the arrival of my food processor was God’s way of telling me to stay on track!

I have noticed I’ve been succumbing to emotional/stress eating a lot more this week. I really need to get over myself and man up, because this is going to be super detrimental if I let it continue. I haven’t been counting calories very much lately either. I mean, I have been ballparking numbers in my head, but I haven’t been recording, which I think is bad. While I do want to wean myself off of actually writing down every single thing I eat, I’m not at a stage yet where I really NEED to practice doing that (learning intuitive eating – as I believe it’s called – is much more of a maintenance practice than an active weight loss practice. And with only 5 weeks to go until the cruise, I really need to step it up!! Ahhhhh!

Okay, I think that’s enough for right now. I hope you are all looking forward to see some festive house photos once we finally get the rest of the holiday cheer put up in the house (and once I can steal my brother’s fancyschmancy camera to play around and take Christmas-y photos that will do this glorious holiday season justice!) Also, my beautiful and amazingly talented friend and former housemate Ali has been offering to do a photo shoot with me to celebrate the pounds lost so far (36, to be exact!) for some time and we’re finally doing it! So look forward to a couple of glamorized shots of yours truly to be gracing your retinas in the near future. 🙂

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Posted on Nov 16, 2010 in Food, Recipes | 1 comment

Mushroom Love

Hello all. Doesn’t the title of this blog immediately lead you to a totally 70s-inspired place? How are my flower children doing on this dreary, bleak, drizzly, disgusting Tuesday? That good, huh? Ahahaha, well, hopefully my rapier wit and carefully crafted wordplay (HA!) will perk up your spirits this morning. Prepare yourselves, friends, for I actually took pictures of the dinner I made last night. Shocking! I know! But miracles, it would seem, do happen. And I’m sure you can guess what the main ingredient of said dish was…

Behold, Some Kind of Mushroom Pasta Dish (clever name, right?)

Step One: Practice your knife skills and chop up some mushrooms. Here we have some baby bella mushrooms on the right, and some plain ol’ white button mushrooms on the left. Oh, and while you’re at it, mince up some onion and garlic for some aromatic magic.

Step Two: Heat up some olive oil, toss in your onion and garlic and let it sweat it out for a bit on medium heat. Then, add your mushrooms to the mix. If you’re a disciple of Julia Child, you are probably aghast at the amount of mushrooms I have in one li’l ol’ pan (“Don’t crowd the mushrooms!”) but if you’re a disciple of impatience like I am, this method works juuuuuust fine. Season with salt & pepper.

Step Three: Whilst (can I use “whilst” here? I’m doing it.) your mushrooms are cooking away, cook some whole wheat rotini (or the pasta of your choice) according to the instructions on the box. I, in true Gretchen fashion, made the entire box because I’m a huge fan of cooking in bulk and having many meals of leftovers, er, left… over. Drain pasta and put back in the pot.

Step Four: Check back in on your mushrooms. When they start browning up and getting nice and soft (they will have reduced dramatically. They almost fit in the pan at this point!), add them into the pot that is holding your cooked pasta.

Step Five: Be a little ashamed. Because you’re now going to dump in your secret ingredient. Which is not really secret, but is also not really that healthy:

Add one can of Cream of Mushroom Soup (or if you’re really fancy, you can make your own and use it instead to rid yourself of all the preservatives and whatnot) and one can of water to mushrooms and pasta. Mix.

Step Six: Realize that your dish is completely and uniformly brown. You quickly dive into the fridge looking for something colorful to at least break up the literal monotony.

Step Seven: Practice your knife skills some more and chop up some green onions. Sidenote: green onions are my absolute favorite thing to chop. It makes me feel so pro because it’s so easy! Mix the green onions with the pasta, taste and continue to season with salt, pepper, and your favorite spices to your liking. (I ended up adding some red pepper flakes for some heat.)

Step Eight: Plate! I also did up a very quick 100 calorie steak (they come in the grocery store in vacuum-sealed pre-portioned servings! I forget what brand but I am really digging it) with some salt, pepper, and paprika.

Step Nine: Eat! I definitely think this was a winner. The steak played with the pasta and mushrooms very well, and the green onions were a nice fresh (and pretty) part of each bite. Also, one serving with about a cup of pasta with the steak was only 350 calories(ish)! So, not too shabby, and it really was quite filling. Didn’t stop me from having 1/2 a cup of mint chocolate chip ice cream later on, but that’s a different thing altogether. Hey, at least I measured my serving! 🙂

It’s funny, because when I was a kid I used to haaaaaaaaaaaaate mushrooms. Seriously, they were my Brussels sprouts. My tofu. My arch-nemesis. I refused to even let a single mushroom touch my plate. But now? I lovelovelove them! I think they are just such a perfect compliment to so many different proteins, and they can be so pretty in a dish. Who would have thought fungus could be pretty? I brought some more pasta with me for lunchsies today (sans steak) so I’m excited to chow down in a few more hours, hehehe.

Anyway, that’s all for right now. Taylor was giving me grief about not posting enough pictures of my food, so I hope this has sufficed for the time being. 😉 I just don’t like posting pictures of such poor quality and photography skill, haha. I really need a DSLR camera… Well, I don’t need one. But I want one. And hey, it is the season of both giving and wanting that’s come up, right?

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