I’m sorry I’ve been such a neglectful blogger this month. Between the move and getting used to where everything is and registering for school and figuring out what’s wrong with my knee…again…I’ve been a little distracted.
But it’s all good.
While it’s true I tore my medial meniscus in the knee I had surgery on in June, a cortisone shot should put me back on the workout track. The injection is Tuesday…fingers crossed…after which I’ll hope over to the local Y and sign up. Doc wants me in the water for exercise and they have a pool and three different water aerobic classes. Personally I’d rather be on the elliptical or arc trainer, but I’m still under orders to take baby steps, so I’ll get in the water and do as I’m told. Patience, as you know, does not come easy.
In the other area of life adjustment, as of last Wednesday, I am a student at Community College of Allegheny County in the dietetics program. (See “Change From Within” if you want to know about this path I’ve chosen.) I was able to use the credits from my bachelor’s degree to satisfy the gen ed requirements, so except for chemistry (which I’ll take next summer…ugh! I’m sooo not left brain that way…), all of my classes in the next two years will be nutrition/dietetic related. Talk about food immersion.
Speaking of food immersion, I’m adapting to my new food budget and getting acquainted with the grocery stores around me, not to mention cooking for one. I made a batch of minestrone soup over the weekend and after eating it for dinner on Sunday and lunch on Monday, I still have five servings in the freezer. What a cheap and prolific recipe!
Speaking of prolific recipes, I wanted to share this one with you. Here in the northern climes, the weather has turned nipp(l)y and there’s nothing like whipping up a big batch of comfort food that will stick around longer than one meal. I found this on Eat Better America a couple of years ago and it’s one of the most filling (and yummy) meals I’ve ever made. A cup to a cup and a half goes a long way in keeping you satiated.
Grain and Vegetable Casserole
4 Servings (1 1/2 cups each)
2 medium carrots, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced
1 can (14.5 oz) diced or stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained, rinsed
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup uncooked pearl barley
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup uncooked bulgur
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Shredded Cheddar cheese, if desired
Sliced green onions, if desired
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In ungreased 2-quart casserole or 13×9-inch (2-quart) glass baking dish, mix all ingredients except cheese and green onions.
2. Cover with foil; bake 30 minutes. Stir. Cover and bake 30 to 35 minutes longer or until barley and bulgur are tender and liquid is absorbed.
3. To serve, sprinkle with cheese and green onions.
Now on to the giveaway. Daughter Carlene recently spent some time with “10-Minute Solution: Pilates for Beginners.” If you’d like to throw your name in the hat to win this DVD, leave a comment below or send an email to email@example.com. I’ll draw a winner on Tuesday, November 23.
Pilates is a great way to increase strength, balance, and posture. It requires you to work against your own body weight to build muscle rather than lifting hand weights, and promotes a strong core to ensure balance.
With that said, I don’t know if Pilates and I can ever be best friends. I respect it and the results it can generate, but it is not an easy road.
Let’s just say I got through “10-Minute Solution: Pilates for Beginners” and didn’t hate it. The DVD is made up of five separate segments, including Core Basics, Lower Body Basics, Upper Body Basics, Total Body Combo, and Long & Limber Stretch. Because each segment is only 10 minutes long, time really goes quickly (bonus!). And because it’s a beginners DVD, the instructor spends ample time explaining correct breathing techniques and positioning. Each segment can be played individually, or you can create your own routine, choosing the sections that you enjoy best.
The only segment that I found especially difficult was the Upper Body Basics. I, like my mother, have arthritic wrists and could not do the plank exercises very well. Planks require you to balance on your forearms and your toes, which is great for the core, but sadly, very bad for my wrists. I was able to do only about half of that of the instructor. Everything else, while challenging (considering my abs are hurting two days later), was achievable.
If you’ve always wanted to try Pilates, then I highly recommend this DVD. It is the best beginner Pilates workout I’ve encountered so far. Enjoy!