Ms. Marvel Project

Soy sausage and peppers over penne vodka

After a quick run to Trader Joe’s yesterday afternoon, I got struck with some inspiration for dinner: soy sausage and peppers over penne vodka! I love the soy sausages they sell at TJs and I loved the look of the orange and yellow peppers they had available that day, so I picked up a few. The recipe below includes proportions for one person since I was making it just for me during my kitchen adventures yesterday:

Ingredients:
1 soy sausage
1 orange bell pepper (or whatever your favorite bell pepper color is)
2-3 cloves of garlic
1/2 onion
Penne pasta
Your favorite vodka sauce (I used Trader Joe’s organic variety)

Trader Joe's organic vodka sauce

Trader Joe's tofurkey sausages

Directions:

1. Begin cooking the penne pasta as normal. This is likely going to be the part that takes the longest, so start boiling the water before you move on to the next few steps.
2. Chop up the onion and pepper and saute in a pan with a little bit of olive oil. Cook for about 6-8 minutes until the peppers start to soften.

Peppers and onions

3. Around this time, the water in your other pan should be boiling. Throw the pasta in.
4. Mince garlic and add to onion and pepper mixture

Soy sausage and garlic

5. Chop the soy sausage into bite-sized pieces and add as well. Let cook for 2-3 minutes
6. Add vodka sauce to the pan. I don’t measure how much sauce I use – I just eyeball how much I think it will take to cover the amount of pasta I’m cooking.
7. Let simmer for another 10 minutes.
8. Around this time, your pasta should be done cooking. Drain and set aside until your sauce is done.
9. Combine pasta with sauce mixture and you’re ready to eat!

soy sausage and peppers over penne vodka

This recipe was simple and delicious. The peppers added great flavor to the sauce and the soy sausage really bumped up the protein content on the meal, as well as making it filling and satisfying. I’ll be making this again!

March 18, 2012 Posted by | Project, Recipes | , | 1 Comment

Working on upper body strength

TGIF, right?? It’s been another long and hectic week over here. Last Saturday, D, my brother and I went to this show at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. It was great, especially for us video game nerds. It was fun to get out for the night and do something cultural, even though D was pretty sick that day (he caught my cold).

I was pretty much done with that cold, however and got back into my usual workout routine this week:

Monday, Wednesday and today I made sure to do my pushups and this morning I got up to 34 pushups – my most ever! I’m very happy to be seeing and feeling some muscle in my arms now since I was sorely lacking in that area before.

Monday, I also did a ton of cardio:
– A quick 20 minute Zumba wii session during lunch
– 60 minutes on the stationery bike after work

Tuesday, I did some more Zumba (what can I say, I’m hooked!) for 45 minutes during lunch.

Wednesday and Thursday were off days and today I will either do Zumba or bike during my lunch break yet again.

Over the weekend, my goals include getting to the gym with D both days to do elliptical/treadmill work and some weights. The great thing about participating in the pushup challenge is that I’m getting in some strength work three times per week, even if I don’t actually make it to the gym to do weights. Tomorrow when I go, the big question will be: have I improved any on the chest press machine?? My performance 2 weeks ago was pretty dismal so I’m hoping for improvement!

What’s your favorite way to work on upper body strength?


young and restless

Blog Hops Everyday and A Mommy's Blog Design Friday Blog Hop

Getting to Know You

March 16, 2012 Posted by | Blogging, Project | , , | 3 Comments

Tempeh Stuffed Peppers

The other night I had a craving for stuffed peppers, something I’ve rarely had and never made. But knowing that peppers are one of my favorite vegetables, I decided to get a little creative in the kitchen and the results were delicious!

Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium/large green peppers
  • 1 package of tempeh
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • half of a large onion
  • 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 of a 15oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 2-3 tablespoons of parmesan cheese

Optional Spices:

  • Dried basil
  • Paprika

Directions:

1. Cut the tops off of each of the green peppers and scoop out all seeds. Trim off a little bit of the bottom of the peppers so they’ll stand up without falling over.

Hollowed Out Peppers

2. Prepare the tempeh, either by chopping it up finely or running it through a cheese grater, depending on how large you want the pieces to be. I went the chopping route for simplicity.
3. Dice the onion and throw it into a skillet along with the tempeh, along with 1-2 teaspoons each of paprika and basil, if using, and some salt and pepper.
4. Mince the garlic and add to the saute pan
5. Let the mixture cook until the tempeh just slightly starts to brown and the onions get a little soft: 6-8 minutes

Sauteing the tempeh and onions

6. Transfer the tempeh mixture into a large bowl. Add the crushed tomatoes and breadcrumbs and combine. If it’s looking a little too dry, add some more of the crushed tomatoes.
7. Scoop the tempeh mixture into each of the 4 peppers and place on a foil-lined square pan. Top with as much parmesan cheese as you like

Tempeh Stuffed Peppers

8. Cook at 375 degrees for around 50 minutes, until the peppers are tender.

After being cooked

9. Serve and enjoy! Top with additional leftover crushed tomatoes and parmesan, if desired.

My dinner

March 11, 2012 Posted by | Project, Recipes | , | 3 Comments

The Pushup Challenge

What a long and crazy week! There was so much going on: appointments, taxes, dramatic highs and lows at D’s job, after work activities… I’m so happy the weekend is here (or will be in about 3 hours) that I almost don’t know what to do with myself.

In an effort to kick things up another notch in the fitness department, this week I decided to take on the One Hundred Pushup Challenge. I am a self-proclaimed weakling when it comes to pushups or anything relating to upper body strength, and this is one of the things that has always plagued me during my quest for fitness. At the gym with D last Saturday, I got especially frustrated when I couldn’t do more than one chest press on a certain machine. After that, I determined that this needed to change immediately. Enter the challenge.

I started on Monday and the plan calls for doing pushups 3x per week, which allows for plenty of rest days for your muscles to recover. And it starts you off at whatever level you’re currently at. I’m doing pushups on my knees and I surprised myself this week with how many I was able to do: 19 on Monday and 22 on Wednesday. Today is day 3 and I made it up to 29! The program is only 6 weeks, so I find it to be completely manageable and easy to fit into my schedule. Plus I’m already starting to see the beginnings of definition in my arms.

Aside from that, I’ve been a little off with my cardio this week so I’m trying to get back into that full force now. I did Zumba yesterday during lunch, burning almost 500 calories and with the weekend here, I’ll have many more chances to work out.

Have any of you ever tried the pushup challenge?


young and restless

March 9, 2012 Posted by | Project | , | 5 Comments

Looking forward

I’ve done some thinking about goals this week, and one of those things I’m hoping to accomplish during the next several months is taking the Ms. Marvel Project to the next level. I knew when I started this blog that eventually I’d want to move to my own server and have more control over everything that goes into the design and functionality of the blog — this is the type of thing I do for a living after all! (except I don’t do it for blogs, but for software)

So, this week I’ve been researching server hosts and everything that would need to go into the process and I have a good plan of what to do next. All I have to do now is make the jump!

I’ve also put together a facebook page for the Ms. Marvel Project. There’s not a whole lot going on there yet, but if you’d like, you can join now:
http://www.facebook.com/msmarvelproject

As far as my fitness status? This week I did excellent with my eating and I’m very happy to report that because up to now, I hadn’t been doing that great. I did overindulge a little in NY last weekend with some exceptionally rich meals, but once I got back, I got very much back on track.

Now, the challenge of staying on track for the weekend! Anyone out there have any tips to share for staying on track on weekends?


This week’s Friday Blog Hops… check them out!

young and restless

That Friday Blog Hop

Blog Hops Everyday and A Mommy's Blog Design Friday Blog Hop

March 2, 2012 Posted by | Blogging, Project | , | Leave a comment

Where are you springtime?

Winter has made itself known here in the northeast once again. We’ve been lucky so far this winter in that it hasn’t snowed very much. But let’s be honest… it’s now March 1st and I desperately want some SPRING WEATHER!

That picture was taken just as it started to snow yesterday. It’s still snowing now, 24 hours later.

I’m dreaming of the days hopefully only a few weeks from now when I can walk outside without a gigantic winter coat, scarf and gloves; when I can open the windows in our apartment and let in some fresh air; and when I can finally get that renewed excitement about life that springtime always brings.

The motivation is already starting to kick up over here and I have been completely dedicating myself to all of my goals since we returned from New York. I’ve been eating great, though I haven’t worked out much — I brought back a minor cold with me when we returned — and I have some big projects in mind that I want to start working on in my life.

D and I spent a good portion of last night talking about the possibility of one day in the not too distant future looking at buying a house. One of my big goals this year was to pay off all of my debt (student loans and car loan) and so far so good in that department. If all goes according to plan, we will be financially ready to look into buying at the end of 2013. Coincidentally, we got a flyer in the mail yesterday for a free first time homebuyers seminar that’s being held at a local bank in our town at the end of the month, and we’re thinking of attending.

I’ve also got some big plans in mind for the Ms. Marvel Project and my fitness goals.

And on Saturday, I’m doing one of the things that always makes a girl feel fresh and renewed: I’m getting my hair cut! I really only bother getting it cut once every six months or so, so it really is kind of a big deal when it happens.

So, maybe spring fever has taken hold of me just a little bit, even if the weather hasn’t started to cooperate just yet.

What are some of your spring goals?

March 1, 2012 Posted by | Life, Project | , | 3 Comments

The elusive tipping point

So many bloggers out there talk about this phenomenon called a “tipping point” – the point in their lives at which losing weight/getting healthy seemed to click and start working for them. More often than not, I’ve seen other bloggers’ tipping points have been triggered by major life events – something big that happens that causes them to refocus their goals and make the necessary changes.

Something I’ve been thinking about lately: How do you find your tipping point when everything in your life is status quo?

I’ve come to the conclusion that I need some sort of tipping point to occur for me to finally start losing weight and getting in better shape. I work hard at working out, that’s for sure, but as I’ve mentioned many, many times before: my problem is food. And if you want to see results, you need to change your eating habits.

Maybe I need to take things into my own hands and do something drastic like throwing out all the bad food I have in my kitchen and restocking with nothing but healthy foods. I’m also hoping the changing seasons will kick things into gear, because nothing motivates me to want to improve my life more than the onset of springtime. It’s a season of change, and maybe it will get me out of this rut I find myself in.

D and I are going to New York this weekend and we’ve been preparing for it all week. It’s going to be a nice, although very brief, getaway and we’ll get to do some fun things while we’re there. Perhaps being in NYC again will inspire me.

What do you think about this “tipping point” business?

February 23, 2012 Posted by | Life, Project | , , | 3 Comments

Long term vs. Short term

One of the greatest battles we face with ourselves when it comes to getting healthier and in shape is the never-ending inner debate over which we want more: short term happiness or long term happiness. Logically, when we’re looking at it from a distance, long term happiness seems to be the obvious choice. It will last longer, for one thing, and more than likely it will be more fulfilling. This is why we create goals like losing 10 pounds or exercising more often – because we believe that it will help us achieve this happiness in the long term. If we didn’t think these things would make our lives better, we wouldn’t be trying so hard to achieve them.

However, the trouble comes when our short term happiness becomes more important. It’s so easy to fall into this trap:

I’m having a bad day, and if eat this chocolate, it’ll make me feel better

Or

I would much rather watch this TV show while lounging on the couch than going to work out today because it will make the evening a little more enjoyable

In situations like these, we’re sacrificing our long term goal for a little bit of short term happiness.

This is a constant issue for me. I always start the day with good intentions, but then as life unfolds during that day, I start looking for ways to make myself happy right now, and often that means doing something that isn’t in tune with my health goals.

This past weekend was a great example of this inner conflict. I went into the weekend having already worked out 4 times during the week, but with the intention of working out at least one more time on Saturday or Sunday. Instead, we got takeout for dinner two nights in a row, didn’t go to the gym, and yesterday in particular, I ate pretty much non-stop all day long.

I need to learn to tell myself that working on my long term goals WILL contribute to my happiness, and can even add to the short term happiness from time to time. There are many times when I feel much happier and more energized after a workout. It’s the food issue where the battle really takes place for me.

What do you think about long term vs. short term happiness?

February 20, 2012 Posted by | Project | , , , | 1 Comment

10 Pound Challenge check-in and a Fit Experiment

This week marks the 1 month point of Newlyweds on a Budget’s 10 Pound Challenge, and it’s time for a check-in.

How am I doing so far?

Well, I’m still struggling with my eats a little bit and splurging more than I should. However, my workouts are improving every week, and I know I’m getting stronger. Because of the food though, I havent’ seen too much change on the scale.

Starting weight: 146.8
Today’s weight: 145.6

Difference: 1.2 pounds
Pounds to go: 8.8

Still a ways to go, but I still have 2 months AND this week, I’ve taken another step in the direction of eating better: I joined My Fitness Pal. I had tried it out in the past, but I had never used the social features and I think this time around, that’s what’s going to keep me motivated. Are any of you using it? If so, add me! My username is msmarvelproject. Or leave your username in the comments and I’ll find you. Let’s help each other get in shape!

I’ve been tracking for 2 days and because I’m forced to track everything I put in my mouth, I’m less likely to have lots of random small snacks throughout the day. Also, one of my favorite features is that at the end of every day when you complete your entry, the program tells you that if every day was like that day, how much you would weigh in 5 weeks. It keeps you motivated!

This will be an experiment for me, and I’m excited to see if it will make a positive change in the way I eat.

February 15, 2012 Posted by | Project | , , , | 7 Comments

Challenging myself

After doing one of the toughest workouts I’ve done all year on Tuesday, I was pretty much out of commission for the next 2 days. My muscles were SORE like you wouldn’t believe – to the point where sitting down and standing back up again was almost impossible. Naturally, I took Wednesday off from working out to try to recover.

Thursday, I still wasn’t back to a good enough state to try to do anything involving weights to any degree, so instead, I went to the gym during lunch and did 50 minutes on the elliptical. It was kind of nice to just have a whole workout session focused on cardio for a day. I got to listen to music and just kind of zone out.

When I woke up this morning I was able to successfully sit/stand again without my thighs feeling like they were staging a rebellion, so I thought it would be a good day to try Tuesday’s workout again.

Well, once I got started, my legs decided to let me in on the fact that they were NOT READY to get back into the lunging and squatting required, so I stopped after the first 4 steps this time and decided to throw on Zumba instead. I did 45 minutes, and was totally dead by the end. I just finished right before sitting down to write this post, so I’m doing some stretching right now as I type.

It’s pretty clear that the advanced nature of these workouts is going to be something I need to take pretty slowly so my muscles can catch up to what I’m asking them to do. I’m pretty confident that if I stick to these weights-centric workouts that I’ll see some good results in the muscle department. My legs are already feeling a little bit more solid.


It’s here again: Friday blog hopping!

Getting to Know You

young and restless

February 10, 2012 Posted by | Blogging, Project | , | 2 Comments