As usual, this weekend flew by too fast, but I had a relaxing break catching up with my task list and getting in a little play time. And I’m grateful the insanity of the last few weeks is behind us for now and I have a long weekend to look forward to. The craziness of the last couple of weeks made me realize that I don’t get enough time to do all the things I want and/or need to do because of how much I want to cram into my schedule with trying new recipes, house work, exercise, etc. I’m way too good at overbooking myself and feeling disappointed when I fail to get everything in I wanted. So this week I’m looking at simplifying my schedule and freeing up more time in the evenings by moving my workouts to the mornings before work.
I was never a morning person in my earlier years preferring to sleep in when possible and viewing it as impossible to function at the wee hours of the morning before the sun comes up. I viewed those who hit the gym first thing as super-powered mutants, especially if that meant leaving the house at the crack of dawn to go to a gym, shower, then go to work. Easier for a guy that doesn’t have to worry about hair and makeup I’m sure. I love getting exercise in 6 days a week, it helps me sleep better and feel more energized. But it also takes a huge chunk out of week evenings which can be tough after a long day at work. I tend to be a robot with my weekday morning routines, I get up about the same time and follow the same procedure to get ready for work and have a breakfast smoothie before tearing out the door at 7 AM. I’m nervous about changing that schedule by getting up even earlier and running on tighter time, but these are the benefits I’m hoping to see:
- Having more down time in the evenings and days in general
- Working out 7 days a week instead of 6
- Being more alert and ready to start the work day
- Having more freedom on week nights to go out to dinner, meet friends, etc.
And there are other benefits to working out in the morning too:
This morning was my first trial, I jumped out of bed at 5 AM, threw on gym clothes, guzzled coffee and headed our home gym to fit in exercise for the day before breakfast. This is something I wouldn’t even consider without a home gym because it’s just too early to go to a gym and still have enough time to be at work by 7:30 AM. Anyway, the first few minutes of cardio was painful as I tried to get the blood flowing and my brain functioning, but it got much easier 10 minutes into it and I was able to wiz through my Bowflex routine after, grab another cup of coffee and have enough time to hit the shower and get ready for the day. I’m still feeling the lack of sleep today, but I knew there would be an adjustment to this new schedule and am determined to tough it out.
Another new adjustment is having breakfast after the morning workouts instead of before on weekend and working out later in the morning and waiting for dinner to digest and working out later on week nights. I was nervous about this because working out after work at a crowded gym before dinner never worked well for me, I was always hungry and feeling lathargic and hurried to get home and eat. But so far working out in the morning on an empty stomach has worked out okay, no energy sags or digestion cramps. I’ve heard over and over again that having something high in protein after a workout is good – perfect time for a protein breakfast smoothie. So this week should be interesting as I adjust to the new schedule, but so far I’m really liking it.
The chaos for the last week has produced some interesting eats because I was eating by myself a lot and using what I had in the house. Like this:
A bed of baby spinach, raw butternut squash noodles, fresh marina sauce, shredded vegan mozzarella topped with hemp seeds. I make so many variations of marinara sauce now that I don’t need to look at a recipe anymore, not sure if that’s good or bad. But I’m still getting a lot of butternut squashes from our garden that needed to be used up. It was pretty tasty for a last minute layered mess.
As I said, I’ve been on a huge marinara kick lately:
Zucchini noodles this time with thicker, chunkier carrot/hemp seed marinara sauce and topped with nutritional yeast, more hemp seeds and some Italian seasoning.
For this one, I was out of spinach and kale for a salad and improvised with a huge yellow squash from my dad’s garden:
I used a veggie peeler to create yellow squash shavings in place of greens, mixed plum tomatoes red pepper, red cabbage, avocado and tossed with Annie’s Shiitake dressing and hemp seeds for a unique and tasty salad that was just as good as leftovers the next day after marinating in the dressing overnight.
When things get overwhelming, one of my favorite raw comfort treats is banana ice “kream”. I was thrilled when I first discovered some frozen banana slices and almond milk made amazing soft serve quickly in a good blender. But sometimes I crave a heartier, more rich, whipped texture. And that can happen with a good food processor.
Protein Ice Kream
- 2 bananas, sliced and frozen
- 1 scoop SunWarrior Chocolate Protein Powder
- 1/4 cup walnuts (optional)
Place frozen banana slices and protein powder into a food processor and process until creamy and smooth, add walnuts and pulse until chunks are evenly distributed. Serve and enjoy. Makes 1 large or 2 small servings.
The picture does not do it justice, it’s an amazingly creamy treat and my absolute favorite way to eat bananas. It’s a fun one to customize too sometimes tossing in frozen peaches, blueberries, other nut varieties, vanilla, peppermint extract, etc. However, it does require a decent food processor to turn rock hard frozen bananas into a smooth puree without shooting a blade across the kitchen. I tried a similar recipe in my mom’s older-than-time, lightweight, tiny food processor awhile back and it nearly threw itself off the counter with the weight of the banana spinning around inside. When I went to my first raw recipe class over a year ago, the instructor had a huge Cuisinart 14-cup food processor with a heavy motor base that meant business … this one.
At the time I didn’t have a food processor and was a bit intimidated by it’s size, large amount of accessories and price. She insisted it was worth it for processing tough raw veggies and doing large batches at a time. Months later I finally splurged and am glad I did after that scary experience with my mom’s cheap little one.
My crazy schedule over the last few weeks has left little time to read the many amazing blogs in my Google Reader and when I do have time, trying to figure out where to start and get to blogs I’ve missed is not so easy. Using this LifeHacker post, I arranged my blog subscriptions into weekday folders for more effective reading and so far I’m liking it.