Monthly Archives: November 2010

Newbies at the gym

Breakfast was boring cereal today–Honey Nut Cheerios and coffee. I wish I could eat more for breakfast, but I just feel so full after my coffee! I know I need to eat more protein in the morning though because I get hungry at about 9:30 or 10 a.m. every morning.

honey nut cheerios and coffee

At work, I snacked on Cranberry Walnut bread and had another cup of coffee.

Lunch was about 90% organic. The only thing that wasn’t organic was my string cheese.

string cheese, O'Soy Raspberry Stonyfield yogurt and Amy's vegetable pot pie

I had tried Stonyfield’s Soy Yogurt last month and didn’t love it. The flavor I had was Blueberry. Today, I tried Raspberry and it wasn’t so bad. The flavor was still not as good as dairy yogurt. I am going to try Whole Soy yogurt soon and see if I like that better.

Every time I make one of those Amy’s vegetable pot pie meals, my co-workers comment about how good it smells when it’s warming up in the microwave. It is pretty good. I don’t eat frozen meals anymore except for Amy’s.

The other organic item was my chocolate for dessert! I tried Newman’s Own Organics Espresso Dark Chocolate. This flavor is perfect for a coffee lover like me. I have had other espresso chocolates that were more strong in flavor but I liked the subtle flavor of this one.

Dinner was my usual quick meal. A whole wheat tortilla with cheese and pintos. What is with me and this meal? I really need that oven to work so I can make some recipes from cookbooks and be a little more creative.

We really did have to rush to eat because I ran to Target after work and then we met my in-laws and Craig’s Aunt at the YMCA for the community free week. My in-laws have never belonged to a gym, so I showed them around and then they tested out some machines. I hope that they join a gym someday. Maybe when they are both retired and have insurance that offers a membership for free. My parents have that and it really encourages them to go more often with free classes for senior citizens, which is great for them both socially and physically. Before my mom started working out, she was getting arthritis in her arm and could not lift her head over her shoulder (and even secure her bra). Joining a gym helped tremendously and her doctor credited her lack of pain and increased mobility in that arm with her exercise regimen.

I need to get to bed early tonight. My body is sore from Sunday’s Body Pump and yesterday’s Boot Camp. It isn’t sore in any particular area, just is overall and I feel tired. Resting in bed is going to feel so good!


Back to my routine

You have the whole week to enter my Stonyfield yogurt giveaway, but come on readers, enter now!

After I post this, I am going to search the internet for some Cyber Monday deals. I am not looking for anything in particular for Christmas presents or myself, except prescription swim goggles and there aren’t any deals with those. I just hoped that there were a few excellent deals that would be too good to pass up. Anyone find anything exciting online?

Back to work this morning. In a way, it feels good to be back to a routine. I loved my days off, but a routine is also good too.

I had Total Cranberry cereal with pomegranate arils for breakfast and a big glass of coffee.

breakfast on 11-29 Total cereal

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Body Pump, Swinging and Christmas decorations

This morning, I read the Sunday paper, had a blueberry Chobani with pomegranate arils and chia seeds on top.

Blueberry Chobani, pomegranate arils and chia seeds

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My first giveaway-Stonyfield yogurt coupons

I am hosting my first giveaway on Fit in the Midwest! I asked Stonyfield yogurt if they would send me some coupons.

Stonyfield card

They sent me two 5.3 oz. Oikos Greek yogurt coupons and one 6 oz. coupon for their regular yogurt so I could try the yogurt myself. I received the same coupons to share with one lucky reader! If you haven’t tried Stonyfield yogurt yet, here is your chance! I am most excited to try their Oikos Greek yogurt. I have tried all of their other yogurt products except the Oikos.



To enter:

1) Please comment below with your favorite yogurt brand and/or flavor.

2) For an extra entry, please follow me on Twitter @FitintheMidwest and tweet this giveaway.

3) If you don’t have Twitter, just link to the giveaway on your blog and share that link with me (this also gets you an extra entry).

You have until 8 a.m. on Saturday, December 4th to enter. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. I will post the winner on my blog that morning, so please check back in a week to see if you won! Good luck!

Lazy Friday

Well I guess I wasn’t that lazy yesterday, but it felt like a nice, relaxing Friday.

I ate lots of leftovers…my quinoa recipe for breakfast.

quinoa and coffee

I am not much of a Black Friday girl (more of a Cyber Monday gal), but Craig wanted to go to a music store to buy his Christmas present for himself with a percentage off that doesn’t come along too often. He dropped me off at a department store because they had a coupon for $10 off any $10 item. Of course, so many things were not applicable with the coupon, so I didn’t find anything. I gave my coupon away when I left the store. The crowds were bad, but I was just happy I didn’t have to go anywhere else, so I didn’t mind.

Lunch was cheesy potatoes, green bean casserole and stuffing. Holy carbs! No wonder I wanted to snack the rest of the day. Eek. I need to get back to my normal eating habits.

thanksgiving leftovers

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So much to be thankful for

I have so much to be thankful for today: getting to spend the day with my family, my wonderful husband and cat children, my health, freedom, friends and the yummy food enjoyed by all this afternoon (and that my recipe turned out ok and most people liked it).

Here is a recap in pictures.


















And because I am a foodie, I am thankful for rumors that a Trader Joe’s may be going in a location much closer than the TJ’s location I currently have to drive to to get my fix.

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Practicing my Thanksgiving dish

Hooray! Thanksgiving is tomorrow and that means I have a four day weekend! Can’t wait for Pumpkin Pie, Green Bean casserole and Sweet Potato casserole tomorrow. Oh and a few glasses of wine. 😉

Breakfast today was Total Blueberry and Pomegranate cereal with some POM arils on top.

Lunch was the rest of my Subway sandwich, baby carrots, red peppers, Newman’s Own Organic pretzels and Newman’s Own Organic chocolate chocolate chip cookies.

This was my first time trying the pretzels. I asked Newman’s Own Organics if I could review some of their food and they sent me a huge package of various items. I’ll be reviewing them over the next week/weeks. The pretzels were hot as they say on the package, but they weren’t overwhelmingly hot. The heat reminded me of jalapenos or Frank’s Red Hot sauce.

I was tired after work and took a little nap. Then, I got to work in the kitchen. I wanted to try out the recipe I am making for Thanksgiving tomorrow to make sure it was ok. I am making Oh She Glow’s recipe Mandarin and Maple Spiced Quinoa.

The recipe calls for toasted almonds and pecans. Until about a year ago, I wasn’t really much of a cook or baker. Reading food blogs has helped me with my confidence in the kitchen and I guess writing my own blog also has done the same. I confess that I hadn’t toasted nuts in my life until tonight. My co-worker scared me a bit today, saying that it was hard to do. I just tried it anyway and set the oven for 350 degrees, coated the pan with cooking spray and then coated the sliced almonds and pecans too. They were in the oven for about 10 minutes and I flipped them over a couple of times. They turned out perfect! I am going to toast nuts for recipes more often. It’s so easy. I put the heated oven to good use and baked some brownies too.

I measured out the ingredients, followed Oh She Glows’ recipe on my iPod touch and it was really easy to make!

I think (hope) it will be a hit tomorrow. Except for my mom and Craig, all of the guests attending Thanksgiving lunch have never tried Quinoa before.

It’s a great dish for fall. I had commented to Craig that it would be good for breakfast and then I reread Oh She Glows’ post and she said the same thing.

Mandarin & Maple Spiced Quinoa with Cranberries, Apricots and Almonds

Chewy, crunchy, and subtly sweet, this dish captures Autumn all in one delicious spot.

Adapted from ED&BV.


  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 1 & 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup toasted almonds
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp mandarin juice
  • 1/2 cup mandarin slices, from can or fresh
  • 1-2 tbsp pecans, chopped & toasted
  • 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp sea salt, to taste
  • Cinnamon + maple syrup + sea salt, to garnish before serving

Directions: Add your quinoa, water, cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt, and mandarin juice. Bring this mixture to a boil and then reduce to low and simmer for about 12-13 minutes. Now stir in your chopped dried apricots and cranberries. Cook on low, covered, for another 5 minutes. Stir in your oil, almonds, and maple syrup. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Stir in the mandarin oranges very gently. Pour into a bowl and garnish with chopped pecans, a drizzle of maple syrup, cinnamon, and sea salt. Makes about 2.5-3 cups.

What are you making for Thanksgiving?

Have a great holiday!

Why I love the “Y”

I recently joined the YMCA and had previously belonged to a gym that was open 24/7. I got bored just doing weights, the elliptical, treadmill or bike. I challenged myself more by taking local rec department classes like Yoga and Boot Camp, but I had to pay around $30 for each of those classes for two months/one day a week classes.

Luckily, due to a new wellness program at work, I was able to join the YMCA for a discount. As long as I go 12 times a month, that discount is still reflected. I have had no problems going more than 12 times a month and you will see why.

Here is what I love about the YMCA as a gym:

“It’s fun to stay at the YMCA!”

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

  • I never get bored with my workout–There are many machines to choose from (weight and cardio), swiss and medicine balls, an indoor track and a swimming pool. If I get tired of lifting weights on my own and doing the cardio machines, I can always attend a group exercise class and they are included in my membership.
  • Thus, I am motivated to keep going back to the gym. Boredom = not wanting to go. When I lack motivation (this happens in the winter the most or if I am really tired), I picture myself at the YMCA and instantly pump myself up to go.
  • Great classes and teachers–I have taken Yoga with two different teachers (who offer completely unique styles), Body Pump and Body Pump/Flow. All have been excellent so far and if you find you don’t like a particular teacher’s style, you can always find another class with the same focus at a different time, etc. I haven’t tried them yet, but there are many other classes offered such as Zumba, Spinning, Water Aerobics, Bodyblast Boot Camp, Step Aerobics. My goal is try every type of class offered at some point, even if I think certain classes aren’t going to be my thing in the end. At least I will know they aren’t for me!
  • Friendly staff–the people who work at the YMCA, whether at the front desk, membership desk or the fitness staff who teach the classes all seem to love their jobs because they are so friendly and welcoming. I think other companies could learn from how friendly and customer service oriented the YMCA staff are.
  • Great for families–The YMCA seems to cater to children and families. They offer swim lessons, day care, children’s classes, a teen room, Breakfast with Santa, etc.
  • FitlinxxFitlinxx is a program and small computer screen that is connected to the weight machines. You have to get a unique ID from a staff member and complete an orientation to get your weight machine settings in place. You sign in at a kiosk before starting your weightlifting workout. There are little computer screens on each weight machine that has been hooked up to the program, which includes 10 machines at my gym. You enter your number at each machine to start your workout. Cardio machines do not have these computers, so you enter cardio workouts manually. If I was entering an hour long yoga class, it prompts me for the day I took class (if it was in the past, you can go back to that date), how long I exercised for, how many calories burned (this works with cardio machines) and how strong you felt in that particular workout. I wrote about Fitlinxx and my YMCA orientation here on 10/3. That offers more details into how Fitlinxx works.
  • Friendly competitions–if you like friendly competitions, the YMCA offers them for a small fee. You can join a weight loss incentive program to keep off the holiday pounds. There is also a mini-triathlon I saw signs for recently. You compete by paying $25 and take a water aerobics class, spinning class or bike on your own and run for a certain amount of time on the track or treadmill. Kind of cool and I may do it sometime.
  • Lockers–my old gym didn’t have lockers and I was kind of paranoid about leaving anything in my cubby. I feel much safer now that I can use a locker for free.
  • Free classes— I am not sure how many classes like these are offered through the Y each year, but I attended a free Portion Distortion class there a couple of weeks ago. The YMCA hosted and the class was taught by a Registered Dietitian who works at a local hospital. I wish there were even more nutrition programs linked to the YMCA, but that’s just the nutrition enthusiast in me speaking.
  • Personal Training–My YMCA offers personal training for a fee, but if you need motivation, I am sure this would jump start your love of fitness.
  • Whirlpool–I have only used the whirlpool at my gym once, but have to take advantage of this more often to ease my achy muscles!

I am sure I missed something, but these are the factors that make me love my new gym.

If you live in the Milwaukee area, be sure to sign up for a free trial at the YMCA from November 28-December 4, 2010. You won’t be disappointed!

Brainwashed by Subway

Craig and I seem to be addicted to the TV show Undercover Boss. We always say we are not going to watch it, but I see the previews while I watch The Amazing Race and can’t help but leave Undercover Boss on. This past Sunday, they featured Subway and both Craig and I found ourselves craving a Subway sandwich. We fulfilled that craving tonight by having it for dinner. We had a buy one footlong, get one free coupon and then we always have another half for lunch the next day.

I got the “usual”–nine grain honey oat with ham and provolone, spinach, black olives, green peppers, tomatoes, pickles and a little bit of jalapenos.

After Subway, we went to the library. We are geeks, I know this and it’s ok. Craig and I love libraries.

I read Self magazine while Craig picked out a huge stack of DVDs to watch over the four day weekend.

I picked out two books–Conscious Kitchen by Alexandra Zissu and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz.

I hope I don’t slack off over the weekend and find some time to read these. I have high hopes for that and for cooking & baking.

Rewind to my other meals of the day.

Lunch was an Arnold’s Thin with Muenster cheese, spinach, cucumbers, red peppers, & Frank’s Red hot sauce; a Strawberry Chobani and three Chocolate Chocolate Chip Newman’s Own Organic cookies for dessert. I know it’s not the healthiest, but I eat lunch at my desk every day during the winter. I like to read blogs, check my e-mail and read books. I am not much of a social person when it comes to lunch. To relax, I prefer my routine. In the summer, I take walks and eat outside.

Breakfast was Honey Nut Cheerios with skim milk and coffee with Pumpkin Spice creamer.

Tuesday is usually my rest day from the gym, but I went because the YMCA will be closed on Thanksgiving. I also went because I was not sore at all from Boot Camp yesterday. I just biked for 15 minutes to get my legs moving and did 8 of the weight machine circuit stations. It was super busy, so I had trouble getting on all of the machines. That’s ok though, I mostly wanted to cover my legs to strength train for my ankle injuries and I accomplished that goal.

Off to work on my “Why I love the Y” post! I started writing it at lunch today and hope I can finish it tonight.

Tweet tweet

I finally joined Twitter.


I am not sure I quite “understand” it yet, but I joined last night. It was the hash tag thing that confused me!


Find me here: @FitintheMidwest
Hope to see you on Twitter! If you want to wait to follow me, I promise I will have a giveaway soon and following me then will earn you an extra entry. 😉
After work, I ate and went to Boot Camp. It was a good, tough class.
Now, I am headed to the couch to read the last 100 pages of The Girl Who Played with Fire. I need to finish that book and move onto something more cheery next. Any book recommendations?
Ok, that’s all folks for today. I was in a Monday funk today and didn’t take pictures of my food. I figured I would be doing that enough on Thanksgiving anyway!