9/18/08

What a week

As usual, another week down, another week closer to my wedding.
But among the happy times of counting down and finishing up a few last details, I still try to squeeze in everything I do which makes my life very eventful.

For 1 whole week Karel and I were without AC. Actually, our AC worked but it was stuck on 86-degrees. I didn't mind it at first but the evening was just awful. And since I am spending a lot of time at my computer I was super hot in my hot apartment. We first bought a fan so we could get through the night without waking up all sweaty but then when maintenance came last mon morning we were so happy that he said he fixed it. After I came home from school on that Monday afternoon I realized it was not fixed and something was really wrong. We gave it a week because we were told it needed some time to cool off our 3rd floor apartment but I think 7 days was a bit too long.
On Mon, Karel explained all the AC details to the maintenance man and once again the AC was being worked on when I was away at school. Finally, on Mon afternoon...we had air! Oh the relief. We only keep it at 76-degrees but just to feel the air after we come home from training is so welcoming. I am a big stickler on turning off lights, not letting water run, not leaving the fridge door open and doing anything I can to "be green" but September in Florida is not a fun time to be without AC (I thank my parents for teaching me to be environmentally friendly :).

During the weekend of no-AC I was busy studying for my first Microbiology exam. Honestly, I am so TIRED of school. I have been in school for 8 years since HS and well, I am just tired of sitting in the classroom. However, I now have a career path and knowing what will come in the next couple of years is really helping me sit in class from 9:30-12:20 and 12:30-1:40 on Mon and Wed. The exam went well, I got a B and I am happy with that grade for my first exam. I know how interesting Microbiology sounds to everyone but really, I am more looking forward to biochemistry next semester. A little closer to my area. Bacteria doesn't excite me as much as carbon bonds and macromolecules.

Well, now that my classes are over this week(I love thurs-sun!) I get to catch up on everything I don't finish during the week. Primarily, I get to go to the grocery, clean and do laundry. Errr....laundry and cleaning :(

Last night was interesting because there was a bad storm and we lost power at 8pm. The fish and smudla did not appreciate the darkness and loud noises of thunder and we were a bit concerned when the power stayed off for the next few hours.
As Miss Planner, I couldn't believe I didn't have a hurricane/black-out kit on hand and Karel and I were scrambling around for a lighter, matches or a flashlight. No batteries in the flashlight, I couldn't find any matches but I did find a lighter with the help of my cell phone. No, I didn't call the lighter, I needed some kind of light to find it.
With the candles lighting up our bedroom, we decided to relax and read. Karel read a Floyd Landis book and I was reading Fitness magazine. Smudla LOVED it that we opened up the window for some kind of breeze but the noises of people outside, gathering in the rain, was a bit annoying. I decided to call it a night at 9pm but I had a lot of trouble sleeping. Finally, at 12:30pm the electricity came back on and once again we had air. The fish were also happy because they were without oxygen (bubbles) for 4 1/2 hours :(

So, now that the exciting stories are over, I will talk about how TIRED my body is right now.
The running is going well, getting on my bike mon-thurs is tough due to school but swimming has consumed my life. I only swim twice a week (tues and thurs, 6-7) but it is tough, tough, tough.
Here are the two sets that have really done it for me this week. The only thing that gets me through these sets is thinking like a swimmer rather than a triathlete. I get to a point during my swim workouts where I feel like I am running out of oxygen, my arms are simply going in circles and if I keep going, the guys who are lapping me will eventually slow down.

Tues:
400 warm-up
8 x 75 on 1:20, continuous IM (fly, back, breast. Free, fly, back. Breast, free, fly.etc.)
3 x (4 x 100). #1: 1:30 #2: 1:25 #3: 1:20 #4 1:15
100 recovery swim between each 4 x 100 set.
400 for time (I did this on 5:30).
200 warm-down
(40 min. interval run post-swim)

Thurs:
Warm-up: 200 swim, 200 kick, 200 pull
8 x 75 on 1:20, continuous IM (fly, back, breast. Free, fly, back. Breast, free, fly.etc.)
Main Set:
2 x 400's (150 swim, 50 kick, 200 free) rest 30 sec.
3 x 300's (100 swim, 50 kick, 150 free) rest 30 sec.
4 x 200's (100 swim, 50 kick, 50 IM) rest 30 sec.

Warm-down 100
Total: 3800 yards (1 hour!!!)
(15 mile bike post-swim. I easily could have slept on my bike I was sooooo tired!. I saw karel doing 5-mile intervals on the route I was biking on and he looked really strong. I looked pretty pathetic and my aerobars were putting me to sleep).

9/17/08

Where are my pasta lovers?

I'm not a big pasta fan. The name Olive Garden or Macaroni Grill doesn't really get me excited for pasta. I'm more of a pizza girl. When I think thin crust pizza, light on the cheese, lots of marinara sauce and loads of veggies...my mouth starts watering....yummmmmm.
But enough about me. For all the pasta lovers out there, I have created a healthy (yes, you heard me right) lasagna. I love cooking for Karel and I love trying new meal ideas. When I was heading to Wal-Mart for a few groceries on Friday afternoon I texted Karel if he wanted anything in particular for dinner. He will eat anything so I usually don't ask him what he wants but when I received the text "Lasanga" I started to cringe.
Lasanga!!!?? I knew this meal wouldn't be for me but I do not feed Karel foods that I wouldn't eat. I would not cook for him a high fat, high calorie and big portion meal even if he could get away with eating it all. I am all about showing people that meals can be healthy for everyone regardless of daily caloric requirements. I am always on a mission to take people's favorite foods and create a healthier recipe.
Because I didn't want the Lasanga noodles I created my own version (which Karel also enjoyed). So, for those looking to save a few calories but still want the texture of thick Lasagna you will really enjoy the last picture of my "noodle-free" Lasagna. We also had a nice salad with the lasagna.
And if the pictures don't do this meal justice, Karel had this to say as he was eating "This was the BEST meal you have EVER made. This is the best meal I have had in a long time." :)
*remember, I don't measure when I cook. So when preparing this meal prepare as much as you want but recognize your portion for that meal. You don't have to eat everything...even though this meal can't be any healthier! And after you have your portion, you will have leftovers! I created this recipe on my own so you can use whatever you want for the layers (ex. whatever veggies you want in the insides and if you choose, you can use real meat-I recommend a lean meat). Karel didn't mind another meat-free meal.

This meal took me about 20 min. to prepare. I let it cook for about 30 min. A bit long for me but during that time, I prepared a big salad. All ingredients are from Wal-Mart. I used two pans which were sprayed with olive oil spray. I pre-heated the oven to 375-degrees.

Ingredients:
Veggies: Brocoli, onions, mushrooms, corn
Sauce: Marinara sauce
Meat: Vegetarian sausage, vegetarian meat crumbles, black bean and corn salsa.
Cheesy layer: Firm tofu, parmesean cheese, roasted pepper hummus, shredded cheddar and Mozzerella sliced cheese.
Noodles: Whole wheat Lasagna noodles

I absolutely LOVE these sausage links. Karel likes them too! I love cutting them up on my salad or with my eggs. I also used about a cup of my frozen vegetarian meat crumbles.


I ended up only using 6 noodles! I only did 3 layers and used 2 noodles on each layer.


According to the package, I boiled the noodles in water until softened and then when I was ready to start layering (when the veggies and meat were cooked) I drained the pot with the noodles.


This is the "meat" mixture. I added chili flakes and a little hot sauce. Also, a staple in most of our meals, I added salsa to the pan when the frozen meat was cooked. The sausage links are refrigerated so they didn't take long to cook.


The veggie mixture really made the lasagna thick. I rarely eat brocoli (unless I am with my mom, she loves it!) but I decided I needed to be add some green to my veggie mixture. The brocoli and corn was frozen so I heated those first. Then I added the fresh mushrooms and chopped onions.


If you have kids they will LOVE helping you with this part. And if you think you don't like Tofu, you won't even know it is in the meal. I decided to crumble up the tofu like ricotta cheese and that was a lot of fun. Then to spice it up, I added a spoonful of Hummus and a little parmesean cheese.



Now you start layering!!! I started with 2 noodles. I then used about 2 spoonfuls of marinara sauce to lightly cover the noodles. Then I put the meat on the sauce, then the tofu and then I piled up the veggies. Because I made two dishes, I used half of every mixture (veggies, meat and tofu) for the noodle-free version. After each layer was finished, I sprinkled a little shredded cheddar cheese (regular, not fat-free or reduced).


This was the noodle-free finished product before I put it in the oven. As you can see, I used the same layers (without noodles) and made sure I had the marinara sauce in there. I put 1/2 slice mozzerella cheese on top by splitting it into little pieces/strips.


This was the finished product of the pasta lovers HEALTHY lasagna. I used the other 1/2 slice mozerella cheese by tearing it into pieces and laying it on the top layer before I put it in the oven.

9/15/08

Speaking of change...

If you think this blog is about me you are wrong. Baby steps....change for me takes time :)

As for my other half (wedding countdown 41 days!), Karel has added a new addition to our cycling family by taking up a new sport. As if these bikes weren't enough for him....






He now has a mountain bike (no pic yet..the bike seems to stay at the Trek Store).
Karel is now a mountain biker here in Florida. According to my dad Karel is a little clueless if he thinks he can ride on mountains here in Florida but I think karel is proving my dad wrong.
Karel got his mountain bike about 2 weeks ago and has fallen in love with it. His first moment of love at first sight (or ride) was at the Trek Conference in WI. Ever since the text message "I have to get a mountain bike" I think Karel was feeling the effects of his long cycling season.
Karel is ready for his base training which means lots of hours on the bike in the winter. He still wants to race but the motivation to train anaerobically/hard is slowly dwindling. I think we all get that way during the season. In an effort to keep things interesting and me on edge, Karel decided to do his first mountain bike race on sunday (yesterday).
So, with one day of practice on Fri (at Hannah park in Jax beach) with a few of the Trek guys who mountain bike, Karel was really excited for the race. Seeing that he fell 5 times on Friday, I was a bit nervous for his race on Sunday. I am all for endurance and adventurous sports...but not with our wedding 1 month away! As I headed to the beach on sat morning for my training, Karel headed to Gainesville to pre-ride the course.
On sat evening Karel came home a bit tired and extremely hot and said the course was tough. He said there were lots of people out at the course since this race was the first Mountain bike race of a series of races. A series of races I'm sure Karel will be doing.
On sunday morning I headed out for a 11.5 mile run+1 hour spin on my bike as Karel headed to Gainesville with Alex. I wanted to go with Karel but unfortunately, studying took all my attention this weekend since I have my first microbiology exam on wed. :(
Not sure of the logistics of a mountain bike race but according to Karel everyone starts in a wide field and you sprint to the trail which is only a few riders wide. Karel had trouble clipping in which caused him to be at the back of the pack as they entered the loop course. I think the race was about 90 min (not sure) but Karel said he gained a lot of positions on the climbs. I think there was around 50 people in his wave..but again, I am not sure of the details. Karel raced in the 30-39 sport category (I think) and after 3 grueling loops with only a camelback to hydrate him, Karel placed 6th place in his first mountain bike race!
I am glad Karel made it back in one piece. I am happy he has decided to pursue a new sport because it makes him happy to do something challenging. As for me, I am still enjoying the challenge of trying to descend on my aerobars so I think I will stick to tri's for now. Or until Karel talks me into a mountain bike and I lose all my fears and join the guys on the trails. I think that day won't come anytime soon :)