Monthly Archives: June 2010

Amy’s pies : 1-1

Okay, I will admit now to you guys that I’ve sort of been lazy in the kitchen lately which is why I have been buying so many frozen foods. I’ve been so busy and it has been so hot here that it literally drains any energy I have left for cooking. I promise I will be back to cooking my own food again soon.

But in the meantime, it has been fun to try some new things and at least I am buying good brands with better ingredients, like Amy’s, right?

I found some frozen pot pies at Rainbow Blossom on Saturday, so I decided to give them a try for lunch on two separate occasions this week.

I didn’t realize it before I took this to work, but this one had to be cooked in the oven! Luckily, we happen to have one here, but it was hard to wait 15 minutes for my lunch to cook when my stomach was rumbling.

And it was worth the wait! The veggies, even though they had been frozen and then re-heated inside the pie, were tasty and still firm and I loved the crust.

And it had some tofu in there too! I really enjoyed this one. Way more than this:

This one cooked in the microwave, thank goodness, but sadly, I didn’t care much for it.

It was edible, but the mashed potatoes didn’t have a lot of flavor and the entire dish itself was just pretty bland. I think I found probably two garbanzo beans in the whole pie.

There just wasn’t much to it. I think it could’ve used some more seasoning or something. As much as I hate to add salt to anything, I think that might’ve helped, looking back.

I’m definitely picking up another veggie pot pie in the future though, that thing was amazing!

Earth Balance and Fakin’ Bacon

When I decided to go vegan back in October, I learned that Smart Balance Light was a buttery spread that fit right in with my dietary preferences so I have been using that for a while now.

I mostly use it on sweet potatoes, some veggies, on warm toasted bread. Like 1 tsp at a time! So containers last me forever. I also occasionally use it in what little baking I do these days ;-)

But recently, my last container of SBL ran out and I decided it was finally time to try what I hear so many of my vegan blogger friends brag about…EARTH BALANCE!

I was amazed at the variety there was to choose from (even at Walmart!) but I decided to start with the basic natural buttery spread. It is soy free, vegan and a good source of Omega 3’s.

Earth Balance has more calories per serving than Smart Balance Light, but it also has fewer ingredients. And I have found the two to be quite different!

I first used Earth Balance on a sweet potato I had with dinner one night this week.

I was amazed at how well and quickly it melted. Plus it had a very light “buttery” taste (for lack of a better word).

I next tried it on an English muffin, which I also topped with some preserves.

It tasted so good and the preserves didn’t cover it up at all. It melted on there perfectly.

Okay, so here’s what I have determined: Smart Balance Light is a vegan substitute for MARGARINE. Earth Balance is vegan BUTTER. There is a difference and your personal preference will determine which one you use more of.

I think I’m sticking with this one for a while. It melts better, tastes better and you can cook with it. Smart Balance was always so hard to blend in with baking ingredients.

Oh! I almost forgot…wondering what that bacon-like food is up there?

You guys remember how I recently tried tempeh and loved it so much (that I haven’t had tofu since then)?

Well, my friend Sam highly recommended that I try the Fakin’ Bacon which are smoky tempeh strips that you cook on the stove and serve up with breakfast (or in vegan BLTs, which I’m so going to have to try next).


They kind of fell apart on me a little bit and I wasn’t able to get them very crispy but that was because I got impatient and wanted to eat them!

They tasted great though and I think next time I will just cook them a little longer to desired crispiness. I love tempeh!!

Losing focus & 30 days of yoga

I have not made it to Body Pump this entire week!

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Yesterday, I was just way too tired because I had stayed up late on Wednesday night and had some house cleaning to do for this weekend.

And on Tuesday, I was way too sore from a yoga class that I took on Monday night. It was seriously the most intense class I have ever been to. I was sweating like I was in hot yoga only it was just a regular, air conditioned room.

Now, to me, the point of yoga is not to sweat as much as you can, burn a lot of calories, or to be extremely sore the next day. What I like about yoga is that it makes me feel leaner and longer, plus it gives me so much mental peace and happiness. It also stretches out the tight spots I get from all the walking, running and other activities I inflict on my body.

And it’s fun to challenge yourself in new ways you didn’t know were possible. That’s what happened in this class and that’s why I was a bit sore Tuesday. We did some long holds in chair pose and with support, I got to do wheel again! I hope someday I can do this one on my own. ;-)

I recently read about Healthy Ashley’s 30 Days of Yoga challenge, where she is committing to doing at least 10 minutes of yoga per day for 30 days. This caught my attention and I totally intend to at least give it a shot. I mean, certainly I can do 10 minutes, right? Sometimes I stand in tree pose while I’m waiting for dinner to finish cooking. ;-)

But then again, as a person who enjoys multiple forms of exercise, I have a hard time staying focused on any one (or two) activity in order to see real progress. I jump around between running, weight lifting, yoga, walking, etc. so much that I don’t stick with one thing for very long or I neglect one activity for another.

So what should I do?

I think this is happening because I do not have a specific goal. No races to train for (yet) and nothing else really motivating me right now.

I don’t like choosing between so many things I enjoy but is it really realistic for me to think that I can run, walk, do yoga and Body Pump each multiple times in one week? There are just not enough hours or days.

If I were able to fit them all in, I feel like I would be doing each thing one day and then not devoting enough time to anything to keep it up.

Hmm…deep thoughts for a Friday afternoon!

I feel so distracted right now. Did I mention my high school reunion is tomorrow?! Perhaps I should wait until Sunday to make any major decisions. ;-)

What are your favorite forms of exercise? Are you able to fit them all in?

Alternatives to traditional pasta

I don’t eat pasta very often because I tend to eat too much and then I’m left feeling bloated and uncomfortable. I think a lot of that has to do with the type of pasta you eat, in that “traditional” pasta makes me feel the worst.

Traditional American pasta, that is. Which means, when I say “traditional” I mean white pasta out of the box.


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Traditional pasta may taste the best to some of you, but lacks a lot of nutrition some of it’s alternatives offer.

Whole grain styles like Barilla are better (much more fiber and protein) but perhaps my favorite alternative to pasta overall is spaghetti squash. But it’s so not in season right now.

Also, I’m into trying new things these days, so I picked up a box of brown rice pasta to see what it was all about.

The Lundberg brown rice spaghetti is gluten free, organic, vegan, non-GMO verified and made from 100% whole grain brown rice. In fact, the only ingredient is “organic brown rice flour.”

The nutritionals are somewhere between “traditional” and whole grain pasta. You get 4 grams each of protein and fiber per serving and the calories are the same as traditional pasta. It takes a few minutes longer to cook but looks surprisingly similar when ready.

While I expected (and kind of hoped) the pasta would be a little more “grainy” than it was, I found it to be a really great alternative.

In fact, I really couldn’t tell much of a difference, other than the “noodles” were a bit softer before cooking than traditional spaghetti noodles are (hard and crunchy).

And I definitely didn’t get a stomach ache from eating this bowl!

If you or anyone you know anyone that has Celiac disease or eats gluten free for other reasons but misses pasta, get this stuff! :)

Disclaimer: I bought this product with my own money and was not paid by the company to provide a review. This is my opinion based on my own personal experience and taste.

Lazy eggplant

Since I’ve been staying pretty busy during the week with social and exercise commitments, I have been using a lot of “convenience” foods so that I can still eat healthy foods that I love but not have to spend time in the kitchen that I just don’t have right now.

Eggplant is one of my favorite foods and unfortunately, I haven’t had the time or patience to make an eggplant dish from scratch in quite a while. But fortunately, I found this little product at Fresh Market and it is amazing!

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When I picked this up, I totally expected it to have egg in it since it’s breaded, but after reading the ingredients and noticing the little “Vegan” with a checkmark note on the bottom right corner, I knew this was sold!

It’s kind of weird though that they have a picture of cheese melting on it. Oh well, I guess it could be Daiya ;-)

It cooks really quickly too. I heated up two slices in a pan on the stove, 1-2 minutes on each side. The box says to use oil but I just use cooking spray.

One serving of this delicious, cripsy eggplant is only 100 calories! And it’s delicious!

Pan frying makes it nice and crispy and since I don’t normally eat breaded eggplant it was quite a treat. There are five servings per container for this box, which was around $4. Not too bad!

What healthy “convenience” foods do you have on hand?

Rediscovering the beauty of walking

After I walked my most recent 5k on Saturday, I really got to thinking…when was the last time I walked?

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Like really walked? Not just to and from the car or around the grocery store? Yeah, I couldn’t remember.

Which is really sad because when I first started on my health journey more than three years ago, walking was my thing. I walked just about every day and it definitely contributed to my weight loss, better moods, and better sleeping at night.

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So, why have I abandoned it so?

I guess I get caught up in running sometimes. When you become a runner, it can be easy to see walking (for exercise) as a sub-par workout in comparison. Which is so not true and anytime we think that we should slap ourselves! ;-)

Anyway, as luck would have it, I have really just felt like walking this week.

On Monday, I had my clothes packed for the gym and when the time came to go, I had this incredible urge to just put on my shoes and head outside for a walk instead, even in the 90+ degree weather and humidity.

So I DID! I sweated like crazy and drank an entire 24 ounces of water in an hour but man did it feel good. I did the same thing today.

I have decided that I need to take a break from running and enjoy some nice walks this week, especially since the weather is so hot and my running partner is out of town. And I don’t have any races planned until the end of July.

Here’s what’s been great about walking so far (the past two days):

  • Walking doesn’t require me to leave work early to go change my clothes at the gym or have to change back into them afterwards (just my shoes).
  • Walking allows me to be comfortable carrying a water bottle and not see it as a hassle.
  • I never feel out of breath.
  • I can walk in high summer temperatures/humidity and feel totally fine (running in summer heat makes me want to pass out).

That reminds me of the time I walked to Walmart in 6 inches of snow (for French bread and Nutella, ha ha), while it was still coming down. Walking is a year-round sport for sure.

I have no plans to quit running beyond this week’s hiatus but perhaps I shouldn’t neglect walking as much anymore. I didn’t realize how much I had really missed walking. But I will be back to running next week!

I can certainly love them both and do them both often, right? :)

Do you enjoy walking? If you are a runner, do you walk regularly too?

Whole wheat gnocchi

It seems like I have been trying a lot of new things here recently but I am not complaining. In fact, I feel like it has given me a wealth of blog material, which is always a good thing ;-)

So I found this one day when I was shopping at World Market and I knew I had to try it!

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Gnocchi is a type of pasta, sort of like a dumpling, and this particular variety was made with sweet potato. I had never had gnocchi before and couldn’t wait to give it a try!

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I topped mine with some chunky garden pasta sauce, a diced veggie burger and some nutritional yeast, which makes for a great parmesan cheese substitute (and adds a little bit of protein).

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It had a very chewy texture, almost sticky (which may have been my cooking of it) but I liked the flavor a lot. It wasn’t sweet like a sweet potato but it also wasn’t as dry and grainy as some whole wheat pastas I’ve had.

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It also has a lower calorie content than pasta and didn’t leave me feeling as full and bloated as I tend to when I eat it. It also cooked a lot faster!

I think just for the sake of experimentation, I would try the “regular” kind and experiment a little more with my  toppings and mix-ins.

This box provided 2-3 servings and cost me $1.50. Some pastas are cheaper than that (per serving) but it was a nice, inexpensive break from the usual ;-)

Have you had gnocchi?

Champions 4 Her 5k 2010

On Saturday morning, I woke up to the sounds of thunder and heavy rain. Then came the flashes of lightning. I have to admit…I was NOT happy at all.

I ate breakfast, got dressed and drove down to the race site. I sat in my car as the rain kept coming down and the lightning kept striking. Surely this race is going to get canceled, I thought. But it didn’t. And I feel sort of guilty for wishing it had.

The Champions 4 Her 5K started a few minutes after 8:00 and we didn’t get very far before a massive downpour came over us. I had already decided to walk before this because my aunt was there and also I wasn’t feeling motivated to run at all because I had ran on Friday and my hip was a little sore. But the downpour just helped solidify this commitment.

As we were walking, we noticed that they changed the course a bit this year. We used to go across the bridge to Clarksville, but thanks to construction on Main Street (probably related to the Yuck Yum Arena) we ended up just going all the way down one street, turning around and coming back.

As far as race courses go, it was pretty boring. But I was glad for the time I spent chatting with my aunt, mostly about the crazy weather we have been having here lately!

My aunt and I walked the 3.1 miles in less than an hour in the pouring rain. Which I thought was pretty awesome considering.

The rain also cleared up enough after we finished so that we walked around a little bit and got some free health screenings. They had quite a bit of useful information at this festival, it really is a great event and I’m glad I went down there after all.

I’ve learned from this that sometimes we just need to slow down and enjoy the walk and take the “race” part out of it.

If that’s not a metaphor for life, I don’t know what is.

Body Pump 74 & 100 posts!

Last night, I attended a Body Pump class where the instructor taught the new Body Pump 74 “release” which is a whole new routine with new songs and everything.

The instructor said last night that they will teach this version for three weeks and from then on add their own modifications until the next release comes out.

BODY PUMP 74 WAS INTENSE!

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The new things about this routine were quite noticeable:

  • Squats had a new move of down, hold and then up for a 2 count. I felt the burn!
  • We did lunges for almost 6 minutes straight! My legs were shaking and crying by the end of that. We were on each leg nearly 3 minutes before switching.
  • We were on the ground (and the bench) doing pushups, dips, and other moves for triceps which was a nice change from the presses with the bar.
  • We also did pushups for shoulders in addition to the other stuff, which required a lot of quick transitions.
  • The ab moves were a little different including…
  • Planks! We had to stay up in plank position and step our feed wide and back in multiple times (called Walking Hovers).

I’m sure there are more but that is what stood out in my mind. Surprisingly, I’m not sore yet today. But it hasn’t been 24 hours yet, so I’m not going to get too excited!

1oo Posts

It is so hard for me to believe that this is River City Fitness‘s 100th post. When I first started this blog in January, as a spin-off of my food blog See Sarah Eat, I had no idea that it would make it this far or that I would have fallen so in love with it.

When I first decided to separate these two areas of my life into their own blogs, I wasn’t sure how it would work out. But now that I’ve been doing it for a while, I feel like doing so has helped me focus on the two more individually and that my posts are more thoughtful and easier to read than my old “marathon” posts. I hope you agree!

I’m really grateful for those of you who’ve joined me from reading my other blog and also those who have found me through other means. I really appreciate your readership and I hope the next 100 posts are even more exciting than these have been.

Happy Friday!

p.s. You can now follow my workouts on the new Weekly Workouts page! You can also “like” this blog on Facebook!

p.p.s. I got another 5k tomorrow! Recap to follow :)

Amy’s saves the day

A few weeks ago, our girl’s night group started doing a weekly Bible study in addition to the regular eating and movie-watching that we do together on Wednesday nights.

The book we have been using, Ruth by Kelly Minter, includes a recipe for dinner each week which Beth, our host and leader, has decided to cook for everyone.

Unfortuntely, only one of them is vegetarian and none are vegan. But I really don’t mind making a little extra effort so that I can still eat with my girlfriends and still be able to stick with my personal dietary preferences.

The meal the first week of our study was chicken enchiladas. My friend Ashley was kind enough to bring some extra rice for me that was vegan friendly and I just had to come up with what to eat for my main course.

I think I was going to grab a non-dairy burrito but then I just so happened to find these one day when I was walking around Target. And they were on clearance!

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It was so nice to be able to eat basically the same thing as my friends only more suitable for me :)

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The enchiladas were very tasty and filling, I probably could’ve eaten just one but I was starving at the time so I inhaled them. Absolutely delicious!

Check out these nutritionals:

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1  
Servings Per Container: 2
Serving Weight: 135 g
Calories: 160
Calories from Fat:50
% Daily Value
Total Fat: 6g 9%
  Saturated Fat: 0.5g 3%
  Trans Fat: 0g  
Cholesterol: 0mg 0%
Sodium: 390mg 16%
Carbohydrates: 22g 7%
  Fiber: 3g 12%
  Sugars: 2g  
Protein: 5g
0%  
Organic: 90%
 
Vitamin A: 8% • Vitamin C: 10%
Calcium: 8% • Iron: 8%

Black Bean Vegetable Enchilada
INGREDIENTS : (VEGAN) FILTERED WATER, ORGANIC CORN TORTILLAS (ORGANIC WHITE CORN COOKED IN WATER WITH A TRACE OF LIME), ORGANIC TOMATO PUREE, ORGANIC ZUCCHINI, ORGANIC TOFU (FILTERED WATER, ORGANIC SOYBEANS, NIGARI[MAGNESIUM CHLORIDE, A NATURAL FIRMING AGENT]), ORGANIC BLACK BEANS, ORGANIC YELLOW CORN, ORGANIC ONIONS, EXPELLER PRESSED HIGH OLEIC SAFFLOWER OIL, ORGANIC SWEET RICE FLOUR, ORGANIC BELL PEPPERS, SPICES, TAPIOCA FLOUR, BLACK OLIVES, SEA SALT, ORGANIC GARLIC, ORGANIC GREEN CHILES. CONTAINS SOY.

Dairy FreeCholesterol FreeLactose FreeVeganKosherTree Nut Free

I’m becoming a big fan of Amy’s products more and more these days. Yes, they are processed but the ingredients are all good and I love that everything is vegetarian and many things are vegan and organic too.

Thanks Amy’s, you saved the day! :)

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