Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Trainers, Books, and Hot Peanut Butter

Since my contribution to the Super Bowl party Sunday night was suppose to be sweet, I tried a new recipe from a fun website (Nosh with Me) I stumbled upon on Saturday. I ended up making Marshmallow Crunch Brownies. I decided the actual brownie layer didn't need to be homemade and opted for the Ghiradelli Double Chocolate Chip mix; I've tried several homemade brownie recipes, and none have been significantly better than the box--so I save myself the time and money. Anyway it's a combo of brownies, marshmallows, peanut butter, milk chocolate, and Rice Krispies. Needless to say, it's rich and yummy. I'd give it 4.2 stars out of 5. I think it might would have scored higher if I hadn't licked all of the bowls and eaten so much as I baked.

I'm glad for February. January wasn't the best month ever and I'm tired of feeling moody and less than 100%. The upside has been that I have succeeded so far with my resolution not to consume diet sodas. I also gave up sweets for two weeks, which was sort of nice. I liked not having the energy/blood sugar drops that I sometimes experience after eating goodies.

Another resolution was to read two books a month. I still need to read the last 100 pages of Eat, Pray, Love and am struggling to get excited about it (I started this book last summer!). It's sort of like reading a middle aged stranger's journal, and I think 200 pages was just enough of that for me. I want the next book I read to be much better. Any suggestions?

I've learned some new things from my trainer and definitely worked out harder than I would on my own, but all in all I've been pretty underwhelmed by the experience. I've wondered if I should sit down with my trainer and talk about it, but since I only have 4 or 5 more sessions I may not bother. I think I will ask if my remaining sessions can be used in 30 minute segments since we should be able to do what I need to in that amount of time. I think he is used to working out with people who aren't serious and chit-chat and whine, so I often finish fairly early and end up doing cardio or more abs--and I can do cardio on my own and don't need to do 15 minutes of abs. Last time we did 4 or 5 sets of each exercise (because I completed everything much more quickly than he'd anticipated) and that just seems inefficient to me. Three weeks ago he reviewed my diet (and you guys can guess how poor it was, especially given the holidays; it has since improved:) and said it was fine and that I should eat 2000-2200 calories a day to meet my goal (of losing 5-10 lbs and decreasing my body fat), which I can't figure out.

He pushes eating 6 times a day, which I had been trying until last week....but I've concluded that eating 6 "meals" a day just doesn't work for me. It takes way too much thinking about food, and it sort of rendered me obsessed with eating/food/planning my next meal. Not healthy. And I've read articles and studies that suggest that it doesn't really make a substantial difference in your metabolism either. So I'm back to 3 squares a day and liking it much better (and thinking about eating a lot less).

p.s. I'm grateful that my love of running and weight lifting and experimenting in the gym (I did my first real high intensity interval training (HIIT) yesterday and loved it in that weird sort of I almost feel sick way) sort of helps balance my love of hot peanut butter mixed with milk chocolate and homemade Italian cream cake and whatnot.


TC said...

I told you I made those cupcakes, right? I literally had people tell me they were the best cupcakes they have ever had :)

Books... Between, Georgia; Gods in Alabama; Whores on the Hill; Population 435; Wicked; Son of a Witch... the list could go on. However, if you're looking for something to dive in fast, I'd go with Whores on the Hill. I couldn't put it down.

Ally said...

TC: They were definitely some of the best I've ever had....so yummy! Thank you thank you thank you for the recommendations. Whores on the Hill? Nice title :)

OK Chick said...

WOW that looks great. I will have to try them soon.

6 meals a day seems like alot. Do you eat every few hours? I do three meals and two small snacks. It seems to work good for me. I think whatever works best for you is what you should do. I would love to do 3 meals a day, but 7-12 is ALONG time, and I need a snack!

Books. Oh my goodness you need to read What a Girl Wants. It's by Kristin Billerbeck. It's my favorite book. It's a Christian Chick-lit. Even if you aren't into chick-lit it's still good, because it pokes fun of being single in a church. VERY FUNNY!

Lib said...

I love your life updates, AJ.

So, here's my soapbox on EPL...
I LOVED the Italy part. I found that India was strange, yet interesting (but she started to annoy me), and Bali was better, though not nearly as good as Italy. When I first read the book I liked it, yet as I reflect back on it, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I see it through new eyes, now that I'm in grad school for writing, and it seems odd to me that she had a book deal before she even went on her year-long escapade across the globe. It seems unfair--like she censored all her experiences through the lens of her writing. She could twist each encounter to suit her needs for the book. On another level, I almost didn't read it after the first few pages, where she comes out and says she isn't a Christian. I thought, "well, fine, lady, but why do you need to announce that and make a big deal of it?" I tried to keep an open mind as I read it, and it sparked good conversation and thought, but in retrospect, the book seems pretty gratuitous, assuming, and has underlying tones of a sense of entitlement. Gilbert is no doubt a gifted writer, but overall, my opinion of it today differs from that of a year ago.

I'm going to tackle Tolstoy's Anna Karenina next, and after that, The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand. No more pop-culture books for me. It's all about the classics, baby.

I like your two-books-a-month deal. I'm going to try and roll with that too, though I don't know how it'll work. The way I read books now is different than before. I read to see "how they work," more than for content/entertainment. So...it takes me longer. I'm reading Revolutionary Road right now...Yates is a fabulous writer, but I'm already sick of the marital quarrels.

See what you did by mentioning books in your blog? You unleashed the literary monster in me :)

Those brownies look amazing. I made brownies on Sat night--the Ghiradelli ones as well. I also added dark choc chips to them and slightly underbaked them, so they were super gooey. With coffee, that's one of the best things in the world!

Well, gotta run! Let me know what you decide to read. I just finished "A Year of Magical Thinking," by Joan Didion, which I really loved. It won the National Book Award, but it may not be everyone's cup of tea.

Have a great day, AJ.

PS--I'm glad it's Feb too--it's my daughter's birth month and Chris's and my anniversary month! That means lots of cake and champagne!

Isabella said...

"3 squares a day"....made me smile! Praying for you in February :)

ella said...

I eat about 4-5 times a day in small portions. What I usually do is split up one meal into 2 or 3 then have a fruit snack or granola bar. But I am hungry all the time.

As for your trainer, I think you should get a new one. It doesn't seem to me that he really knows what he is doing. My trainer used to kick my ass for a good HOUR.

W T G said...

Wow, the crunch brownies sound good. Got sany left-overs? In terms of books, that depends on what you fancy but I recently read a short story entitled Tears of My Soul by Sokreaksa Himm. This true story REALLY challenged me about being forgiving. Maybe you've heard of it ? Anyway, it really moved me. It's another testiment that Jesus is faithful & good when we let go and let God take the helm.

Ally said...

WTG: I've not heard of that book; I'll google it though. I left the last two brownies with the party's hosts, so I wouldn't eat them:)

Ella: I hate being hungry all the time, and when I eat more frequently it seems like I'm hungrier.

Isabella: Thanks friend.

Lib: I love your long comments! I felt the same way about EPL....the Italy section made me want to go live in Italy and eat and relax and just be, but somewhere along the line the India part just got really old.

I added chocolate chips to my brownies too--but I used milk chocolate.

I'm impressed with your classics reading. I cannot seem to get captivated by any of the books I "should" read.

Ok Chick: I usually wait and eat breakfast at work around 8:30 so that the gap between it and lunch isn't so long. And I'll eat a snack sometimes if I'm really hungry. I like chick lit, so I'm sure I'd like Christian chick lit. Thank you for the recommendation.

BrunetteKoala said...

Those look AMAZING!!!

Ys said...

Mmmm yummy. Can you send some over to Wales for me? ;)

As for books I'm going to pimp Nick Sagan's Idlewild Trilogy as I am absolutely obsessed with it :)

Anonymous said...

1) Those brownies look amazing!

2) 'Eat, Pray, Love' is a great book - keep going!

3) 6 'meals' a day? No thank you.

Pam said...

Oh, I so drooling over the thought of those brownies. I'll have to make some for my office. I was going to make cupcakes for Valentine's but I can see that these might be a hit.

About Eat Pray Love. While I ended up really liking the book overall, I was really drained after reading the India portion. It took a lot out of me for some reason. I can understand being hesitant to want to finish it. I sometimes run across books like that. Especially since you started it last summer, I'm sure it probably feels like it's hanging over your head.
RYC about Prep. Yeah, it just wasn't what I thought it would be. Some bits were really good but I was just a bit annoyed with it in the end for some reason.

Jennifer said...

YOu know what's kind of sad? I am like totally disinterested in sweets now that I'm pregnant . Before, I may have drooled over these brownies you've showed here - especially since the brownie is my favorite form of chocolate. Perhaps when I'm no longer with child and back to my normalish sweet-loving self, I will have to give these a try - YUM! And also Ghiradelli double chocolate brownies are the ONLY way to go!!!

I too have found eating multiple times a day super hard. Even if they are smaller meals. I think not everyone needs to eat that many times a day - so way to stick to what works for you. (o: Right now, I just eat when I'm hungry. Which ironically is 6-8 times a day.

Mamacita said...

January for me is like someone asking me a serious question right in the middle of hysterical laughter. It just doesn't fit. So Feb is much better...I love heart shaped, pink cookies b/c I'm a total dweeb!

I like the eating 6 times a day but I just really graze and try not to eat too much or too late. That's my only plan. I like brownies too. I could inhale a pan right now.

I love reading. It's good brain exercise and I feel smarter. I've known people who get married, have babies and grow so painfully dull! Reading helps prevent that. I just started Cry of the Soul by Allender/Longman. It's good. Good for Feb, especially, but that's another blog entirely. Also, like Lib, I'm a classics fan but have never read Jane Eyre. So I'm picking that one up. And why not a good Agatha Christie? Good and wintry and fun--the one in Baghdad is a fave. In the winter I can only do books with happy or closure filled endings.

As for the trainer, I'd say talk. Get your money's worth--what do you have to lose if you only have a few sessions left anyway? And maybe I'm a glutton for punishment but I love that almost sick after workout feeling.

Scotty said...

I read where TC recommended 'Whores on a Hill', and I forgot what I was going to write. Humph.

OK Chick said...

I just noticed your PS at the bottom of this post. It made me laugh.
"I'm grateful that my love of running and weight lifting and experimenting in the gym sort of helps balance my love of hot peanut butter mixed with milk chocolate and homemade Italian cream cake and whatnot."
Welcome to my world. HAHA!

Anonymous said...

I couldn't finish eat pray love either. I loved the first segment, then got bored with her journey. I gave the book back to my friend before finishing. Out of sight, out of mind.

Ally said...

FC&F: Yeah it does get really boring; I'm almost done though, so I'm going to finish just so it can count for my second book for January.

Ok Chick: I think there are a lot of us!

Scotty: Yeah, that's quite the title.

Mamacita: Thanks for the fun long comment. I'd forgotten about Agatha Christie. I loved, loved, loved her books in middle school. She's so clever. I should pick one up.

Jennifer: I think you're right--it's just whatever works best for you. And so weird about not caring about sweets anymore....I guess God is helping you be all healthy to provide what your baby needs?

Pam: I'm already thinking about what I want to make for VD too.

BEG: The section on Bali is so far better than the one in India...so at least I'm liking it a little more....

Ys: I've never heard of that trilogy. Another one for me to google.

BK: Thanks!

trish said...

I was just trolling around the internet, came here, and saw you asking for book recommendations. You may regret that I stumbled onto your blog. Here it goes, from someone who read 60 some odd books last year, and this year wants to read 100+ books, these were my faves from last year:

The Likeness by Tana French: a literary thriller that was hands down the best book I read last year.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein: the narrator is a dog, and the dog's master is a race car driver, and this book was so amazing I can't even tell you.

The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton: this is about five women who start a writing group in the 60s. It's fiction, but you'll wish you had friends like this.

I think that's good for now. I don't want to overwhelm you. :-)

Cat_Chaser said...

Like those yummy Brownies!
I've reading "Belief in God in an Age of Science" by John Polkinghorn, at a rate of one page/week.
But I have to warn, this book may irritate ya! :)

Rachel said...

Wow, those sound amazing.

I was curious about that Eat, Pray, Love book. I'm glad I didn't take the chance and buy it.

KennethSF said...

I'm not sure I'd be able to conform to a 6-times-a-day diet either. Aside from the risk of overeating, I'd just become broke in short order (I work from home, so I eat out to get some fresh air).

I'm currently reading Liar's Poker by Michael Lewis. It's an insider's account of Wall Street. So far, I'm engaged. The author shows the testosterone-driven culture that encourages people to take huge risks, often imprudent ones. It tells me a lot about why we're in the current economic mess.

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