A Day of Accomplishments

I usually post something fitness-related on Wednesday. The reason being is because Wednesday and Workout both start with “W” and that’s just how scientific and technical I am. However, I’m not doing anything new and exciting at the gym right now. I have added last week’s workout into my weekly rotation because judging from the 3 days of soreness of my legs and behind, it’s gotta be doing something good! There I go, getting all technical again.

My goal is to work out four days a week right now, but truth be told, I’m averaging more like three. Working out four days would be better than three. However, three is better than none at all, which is probably what I would do if I didn’t try for four.Workout Quote 1

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Last year, I signed up on the Read-Through-the-Bible-in-a-Year board at our church. Sadly, I did not finish. This year, I signed up again, but decided to continue where I left off last year. 

Today I finished the Old Testament!

Tomorrow, I will begin the New Testament which goes a lot quicker in my experience. So though I signed up to read through the Bible in 2013, I will be finishing it in 2014.

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Could I have done better? Absolutely!

Do I wish I hadn’t signed up? Absolutely not!

I had a goal. I did not meet it. However, if I hadn’t had that goal at all, I wouldn’t have even tried. And accomplishing something is far better than accomplishing nothing.

And since we’re talking about accomplishments, today I cleaned out 3 dresser drawers!

This was an unintentional by-product of getting a new vacuum. I had a 20% off coupon for Bed, Bath, and Beyond and decided to use it to purchase the Roomba. Since we got our new puppy last year, I have been Swiffering and vacuuming every day. EVERY DAY!!!

I have now had the Roomba 5 days and can I just say…

MIND BLOWN!!!

Sunday, I even ran it twice. Surprisingly, Waffles leaves it alone except for the occasional warning bark. When I have the Roomba vacuuming along with the dishwasher, washer and dryer running at the same time…well, I can safely say we have reached the age of the Jetsons! It was worth every penny! And with that coupon I saved $120. I would recommend it to anyone who has pets.

What does that have to do with my drawers?

Well, in order to Roomba-proof the house, you have to pick up any loose articles on the floor that could potentially get sucked up.

Which meant I had to pick up the Victoria’s Secret bag that has been sitting in the corner of my bedroom since the semi-annual sale. Please don’t even count how many weeks ago that was. When I went to put all the new undergarments in the undergarment drawers, I found it full. So I’ve been wearing, washing, and replacing them…in the bag. And that is the ugly truth!

My name is Andrea and I have a procrastination problem.

However, the motivation of not having to vacuum inspired me to make room. Cleaning one drawer led to cleaning another and before you knew it, I had 3 bags of lingerie ready for the trash and 3 organized drawers filled with bras that have not exceeded their shelf life. It’s a beautiful thing.

So between finishing the O.T. and having clean drawers of drawers (haha – get it?) I feel I can take the rest of the day off and let the Roomba do the work.

Q&A for the Day:

  • What fitness goals are you pursuing right now?
  • What spiritual goals are you pursuing right now?

Phil. 3:14 “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

Venison Chili – Texas Style

When I woke up this morning I checked my weather app and it was 39 degrees. Then in front of my very eyes, it went down to 37!

I know for those of you living in the whole “polar vortex” scandal, this might seem downright balmy, but for us wimpy South Floridians, it’s frigid!

My husband said we need to move farther south, which I guess means we’re either moving to the Everglades or Cuba. And because neither of those places has a Trader Joe’s, I knew it was time for an emergency comfort food meal!

You might remember my mentioning we have a little venison in our freezer right now, so I decided I would use some to make a pot of chili. If anything says emergency comfort food, it’s chili. Up until now I’ve been using the ground venison to make the Pioneer Woman’s Simple, Perfect Chili and it has been perfect chili.

But I’ve used all the ground meat. So I hunted through some cookbooks and combined a few recipes to make a beautiful pot of Texas chili!

Texas Style Venison Chili - Barbells and ButtercreamAt least, it’s my version of Texas chili. I’ve never been to Texas, but Florida Chili doesn’t have the same ring. Apparently what makes it Texas chili is that it’s all about the meat and seasonings without the added distraction of tomatoes or beans. But what do I know…please don’t hate me if you’re from Texas.

But if you want to add some beans, go right ahead, because I’m not the boss of you. And my kids said they wanted beans so I added a can of black beans to the pot (after the pictures) because apparently I’m not the boss of them either.

Between you and me, it was a good addition.

Spice MixThis chili started with the most beautiful combination of spices that include one of my new-to-me favorites. Smoked paprika! How did I even live?

Onion.GarlicThen I chopped up some onion and garlic. You can also use bell peppers, chili peppers, or jalapeños, but my kids aren’t into that and I wanted them to eat it without making the barf face. If you are a mom, you know what I mean.

Browned VenisonNow it’s time to brown the meat. Do it a little at a time or it won’t brown. It will just turn and ugly gray, and nobody gets excited over gray chili.

Onions.Garlic2Once the meat is removed add the onions and garlic.

Chili SpicesAdd the spices and embrace the whole aromatherapy thing going on in your kitchen.

DeglazeNow add the broth and scrape up all the browned little bits.

Cover ChiliAdd the meat, cover and go about your business. Do some laundry. Wash the floors.

ThickenAfter you wake up from your nap cleaned your house from top to bottom, stir some corn flour into some of the cooking liquid.

Thicken2And stir that back into the chili.

Texas Style Venison Chili - Barbells and ButtercreamI really wanted to serve this over cornbread, but didn’t have any eggs in the freezer. How do you run out of 18 eggs in a week?! So I served this over fritos, which made the kids happier anyway.

I’ll make cornbread next time.

Texas Style Venison Chili - Barbells and ButtercreamBecause I am sure to be making this again.Texas Style Venison Chili - Barbells and Buttercream

Texas Style Venison Chili

serves 6-8

  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
  • 4 pounds venison or beef chuck roast, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups beef stock
  • 1/4 cup masa (corn flour)
  1. In a small bowl, combine cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, oregano and Cayenne pepper. Set aside.
  2. Season venison or beef with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven heat 2 Tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Brown meat on all sides in batches. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and add remaining oil if necessary. Add onion and garlic, stirring occasionally until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Return the meat to the pot. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer 1 1/2 hours or until meat is fork tender.
  4. Remove chili from heat. Transfer approximately 1/2 a cup of cooking liquid to a bowl, add the masa, and whisk until smooth. Stir into the chili and cook until slightly thickened, just a few minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Spoon chili into bowls and garnish however you please.

adapted from Williams-sonoma Comfort Food

Texas Style Venison Chili - Barbells and ButtercreamCome along, little doggies! Isn’t that what they say in Texas?

Q&A for the Day:

  • Have you ever had Texas chili…in Texas?
  • How do you like to top your chili?

Kindergarten Kids Make It Look Easy

When 5 a.m. Monday morning rolled around I rolled right over in bed and hit the snooze button. At 5:10, I hit it again. By 5:20 I mumbled some lame commitment about working out later in the day, that even at that early hour, I knew would never happen.

What a mistake! Because the day started with the kids arguing and the dog chewing up my Target coupons. I’m not sure how my not getting up to work out started their day off wrong, but what else could it have been?? Other than MONDAY.

After I did get the gremlins out the door, I felt like I needed a little music to soothe the soul. And what came up first on my Pandora Station? Be Still My Soul by Chris Rice. God knows just what we need.

So after that little gift from God and having learned from my mistakes, this morning when the alarm went off, guess what I did?

I HIT THE SLEEP BUTTON AGAIN!!!! I hadn’t slept well, waking up every hour or two until I FINALLY realized the ceiling fan wasn’t on at about 4 a.m. Once the fan was on, I slept like a baby for the rest of the night…one whole hour of it.

But today instead of resetting the alarm, apparently, I just turned it off!

Fortunately we only overslept by 15 minutes and the gremlins actually had it way more together this morning so nobody was late.

But today I was determined to get in a workout because…

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So once the kids were off and I had taken Waffles for her morning walk, I looked for something easy that didn’t require a gym or equipment.

I had seen a workout on Facebook posted by Zegit Health Advisor that looked short and simple.

The workout consisted of:

  • 10 push ups
  • 10 sit ups
  • 25 squats
  • 20 lunges (each leg)
  • 80 jumping jacks
  • 1 minute wall sit

A better description of this workout would have been Fast and Furious!

I thought the most challenging part of this workout was going to be the lunges or the wall sit. But what really turned out to be killer was the jumping jacks.

JUMPING JACKS? How could that be difficult? Kindergarten kids do those for goodness sake. I tweeted that same thing on Twitter and Health Advisor replied “And they make it look so easy!”

Yeah, rub it in why don’t you?

By the time I had finished the 3rd set, my legs were quivering and I was sweating. Those jumping jacks got your heart pumping too! And I was very aware of my legs all day. Most of the time, we go about our business and don’t pay attention to each other. But today I think they were a little mad at me for switching things up.

Well, good! That’s to make up for them not getting out of bed in the morning! HA!

I also looked up Health Advisor and am now following them on Twitter and Pinterest because it looks like they have some other great workouts that I look forward to trying…

…after I recover from this one.

Q&A for the Day:

  • Do you have any favorite at-home workouts?
  • Do you use the snooze button often?

Hitting the Barre

I’m going to make this quick because it’s 10:30 at night. This means my oldest has long since hit the hay because he is serious about getting a good night’s sleep. Whenever we try to plan something that might keep us out a little late, even if it’s on the weekend, he will always say “But that will keep me out past 10:30!” What kind of teenager is he?! Well, at least he is well on his way to being healthy, wealthy and wise.

Anyway, it’s been a sweet forever since I have posted anything fitness related and I was determined to get something up on the blog. Do you know why you haven’t seen many fitness posts lately? Because my fitness routine has been a bit booooring. I’ve been doing it, but haven’t really been into it.

I’ve been wanting to change it up and try something new. So when I found out we had a Pure Barre less than 20 minutes from home, I knew I wanted to give it a try.

Have you heard of Pure Barre? To quote from their website, “Pure Barre is a total body workout that utilizes the ballet barre to perform small, isometric movements, which burn fat, sculpt muscles and create long, lean physiques.”

In other words, your muscles will burn and shake like Pompeii right before she blew. I literally was quivering and thought somebody might think I was having some sort of seizure. And that’s when the instructor said “If you’re shaking, you’re doing it 100 percent right.”

Good to know. Because I was.

You really aren’t doing a lot of big moves, just little contractions and pulses. You also use a small ball and hold it through many of the exercises. There is one exercise that you are holding the barre with your hand and place the ball in the crook of your knee and hold it there while you do tiny, rear leg lifts. I dropped that stinking ball at least 3 times! Pure Barre

The instructor also goes around the class and corrects form where needed. I needed it frequently. Not to worry, though, so did others, and you could really feel the difference when you got it right.

The next day I was sore, but not incapacitated. I’m actually looking forward to going back. The classes were a bit expensive, $23 per session. However, if you purchase a package, the price per class went down. There is a new member package that is $99 for one month of unlimited use and I believe I’ll give that a try.

This was exactly what I needed to give me a boost in my routine. I feel motivated again!

I’m looking forward to sharing the results with you.

Q&A for the Day:

  • Have you tried any new fitness classes lately?
  • Have you ever tried Pure Barre?

New England Clam Chowder

New England Clam Chowder - Barbells and ButtercreamIt is CRAZY beautiful today!

Blogging al FrescoSo gorgeous I’m blogging away outside on the lanais soaking in every bit of this 75 degree, 0% humidity afternoon.

Nap timeSo gorgeous, that my sweet, little bullie is laying at my feet soaking up the rays with me.

So gorgeous that it’s hard to believe that earlier this week I was running the heat all night long (a rare occurrence in Southwest Florida).

New England Clam Chowder - Barbells and ButtercreamSo gorgeous that it’s hard to believe that soup seemed like a good idea!

Yep, today we’re wearing short sleeves, grilling burgers, and watching football with every window in the house open wide.

Do you hate me now? Listen, that’s how I feel when you are talking of your beautiful 75 degree autumn days and it’s still 95 degrees with 100% humidity here. Still friends; right?

But earlier this week it was soup, sweaters and slippers!

New England Clam Chowder - Barbells and ButtercreamAnd days like that need a hearty, comforting, clam chowder.

I may be a Florida mommma now, but I was raised a New England girl.

Now if you talk to 5 people from New England, you will get 5 versions of clam chowder. It will always be a white chowder, unlike those crazy New Yorkers. But some like it thick and some like it thin. I lean toward a thinner chowder, but feel free to make this thicker by increasing the roux (flour/fat ratio). You can also crumble crackers into your bowl to thicken  it like my dad.

PotatoesThis chowder starts with lots of diced potatoes. Boil the potatoes until they are just beginning to get tender, but are still firm when pierced with a fork, then drain and set aside.

Salt porkWhile the potatoes are boiling, brown some thickly sliced salt pork or thick-sliced bacon (this is a peppered variety but just plain salt pork is fine) in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat.

Crispy Salt PorkOnce that is crisp, remove it with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Remove most, but not all of the rendered fat from the pan.

Chopped OnionsAdd chopped onions to the pot with the pork fat over medium heat until translucent.

RouxSprinkle flour over the onions and stir the roux until smooth and golden.

Canned ClamsHere’s where a chowder purist would vehemently disagree with me, but I use canned clams. I have 3 hungry kids. Do you have idea how many fresh clams I would have to use and clean to feed them?! So I use the best canned version I can find. End of story.

Clam juiceSlowly add your clam broth and stir until smooth and thickened.

Milk for ChowderSlowly stir in the milk and cream.

PotatoesAdd your potatoes and clams.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.New England Clam Chowder - Barbells and Buttercream

Keep in mind that I doubled the following recipe.

New England Clam Chowder

Serves 6

  • 4 oz. salt pork, diced
  • 3 – 6.5 oz. cans chopped clams
  • 12 ounces natural clam juice
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup of flour (more if a thicker broth is desired)
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons of butter
  1. Boil potatoes, drain, and set aside.
  2. In a large pot over medium heat, brown the salt pork until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Use a spoon to remove most of the rendered fat.
  3. Saute the onions in the remaining pork drippings until translucent. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir until smooth and golden brown.
  4. Slowly add the clam juice and stir until thickened. Add the milk and cream and heat until almost boiling. Add the potatoes and clams.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Sprinkle with pork bits before serving.

New England Clam Chowder - Barbells and ButtercreamIf you can’t fight the weather, enjoy it! YUM!

BulldogI smell bacon!!!

Q&A for the Day:

  • What comfort foods have you been enjoying lately?