epic workout in a pinch

What do you do when you get to the gym late and miss your beloved BODYPUMP class??

You improvise!

The other day, I was babysitting for a friend and had every intention to leave in time to get to BODYPUMP to make sure I got a full-body strength session before I taught my cycle class.  But, life doesn’t always work out the way you want it to, and moms sometimes don’t get home on time.  And then the girls and I had to show her all the puzzles we put together in her absence.

By the time I walked into the gym, I could already hear the warm-up song playing and didn’t feel like walking in late.  So, I headed upstairs to hit the weights.  *While I do enjoy lifting weights, I find I gravitate to group classes instead of solo lifting sessions…if only I had a partner who wanted to lift with the same schedule as me!

I started on the leg machines, but knew I wanted to do a full-body workout.  I don’t know if I intended to do so many ‘combo’ moves, but I find upping the intensity by working upper- and lower-body parts at the same time makes my workouts more interesting (and challenging!) to me.  I was tempted to listen to my current audiobook (Where’d You Go, Bernadette, by Maria Semple), but figured I wouldn’t be able to count my reps very well.

Here’s what I did:

Seated Calf (3 x 10-12 reps @130 lbs, both regular and inner calf)

Glute Extension (3 x 10 reps @ 90 lb)

Leg Extension (4 x 8-10 reps @ 75-85 lbs)

Leg Curl (3 x 8-10 reps @ 85-90 lbs)

Shoulder Press/Plie Squat (3 x 10 w/ 15 lb dumbbells)

Skull Crushers (3 x 10 @ 30 lb barbell)

Bicep & Hammer Curls/Static Lunges (3 x 10 w/ 15 lb dumbbells ON EACH SIDE)

Single-Leg Deadlift/Row (3 x 10 w/ 30 lb barbell)

Incline Flies (3 x 10 w/15 lb dumbbells)

Tricep Kick-Backs (3 x 10 w/ 15 lb dumbbells)

Single Dumbbell Bicep Curl/Static Lunges (3 x 10 w/ 15 lb dumbbell ON EACH SIDE)

Seated Reverse Flies (3 x 10 w/ 15 lb dumbbells)

Standing Obliques (3 x 10 w/ 30 lb dumbbell ON EACH SIDE)

Standing Front Raises (3 x 10 w/ 10 lb dumbbells)

Push Ups/Plank w/ Side Leg Lift (3 sets, 1 push-up and 1 leg lift)

Abs (4 sets of 25, bicycles and crunches)

…and then I taught cycle.  Needless to say, my legs were TIRED on that bike!


Donut Taste-Off

This past weekend, Andrew and I did a donut ‘taste-off’ with the Nyes (minus Mrs. Nye, who had to go to church early that morning), something we’d been talking about for quite awhile.  Mr. Nye has always raved about the peanut donuts at our local Tops, and–of course–Paula’s is a sensation for sure.  I’d been excited about this event since we started planning it.

We decided to include both Dunkin’ Donuts and Tim Hortons as ‘controls’ of sorts, as well as Tops and Paula’s, and threw in two more ‘dark horses’ for good measure: Donut Kraze, a tiny 24-hour donut & coffee place Andrew and I discovered and hit-up every once in awhile when we’re in Buffalo, and Eileen’s, a West Seneca bakery the Nyes like that makes excellent birthday cakes.

Donuts to be taste-tested included peanut and plain glazed, as peanut donuts are the Nyes’ favorite, and glazed are Andrews.’  He’s a picky one, that man. We ended up with five total for each flavor category, as Tim’s didn’t have a peanut donut and Tops didn’t have a glazed.

Mrs. Nye prepped some of the donuts before she left so we could have a psuedo-blind tasting:


I facilitated the tasting, beginning with peanut. I cut one donut from each location into small pieces and any extra was lined up on a platter in the order in which it was presented in case people wanted more of a particular one.  We each scored the donuts as we liked (Professor Adam used letter grades, I used a scale from 1-10 and gave each a range with comments).


Andrew tallied up all the scores–can’t you just see the steam coming out of his ears??


Here are the results, ranked from BEST to WORST:

Peanut: Donut Kraze, Eileen’s, Paula’s, Tops, Dunkin’ Donuts.

Glazed: Donut Kraze, Eileen’s, Tim Horton’s, Paula’s, Dunkin’ Donuts.

Boy, aren’t we glad we included both Donut Kraze and Eileen’s!  In reviewing my personal notes on the peanut donuts (I didn’t really participate in the glazed testing, as I don’t really like them anyway and didn’t want to waste the calories.), I liked Eileen’s the best, followed by Donut Kraze, which I noted to have a ‘peanut butter’ flavor, followed by Paula’s, which had a hint of cinnamon.

We also got to taste a couple other offerings from these places, including French Crullers from Dunkin’ and Tim’s (both of which were awful–way too much glaze), Paula’s red velvet (my personal favorite–basically a red velvet cake in the shape of a donut) and a cinnamon ‘bun.’  I also love sour cream donuts, and I can only assume our winning locations would be the best places to get them.

Thankfully, we pawned off all the leftovers on family members after church, so I wasn’t plagued by donuts all week, praise God. Also, neither of our winning locations (Donut Kraze and Eileen’s) are in East Aurora, nor are they even places we drive by very often, so there isn’t really a danger of starting a habit of stopping for donuts.

Now, if only I could find that adorable donut-shaped pillow I saw in the window at the Toy Loft in town a few weeks ago…


Buffalo Chicken over Sweet Potatoes

I’m not exaggerating when I say that this combo is one of the best I’ve ever had.  It checks all the nutrient boxes (carb, fat, protein) while packing a ton of flavor into a healthy punch.  It feels indulgent, but isn’t.

I was inspired by a Facebook photo of a friend’s takeout meal from a downtown restaurant: buffalo chicken over roasted sweet potatoes. I wondered by she was having it on sweet potatoes instead of a bun–was she gluten-free or paleo, or did the restaurant just serve it that way.  We may never know.  But, more importantly, why hadn’t I thought of that?

I’d purchased a container of blue cheese as a post-Whole30 indulgence (only to be put back on an elimination diet by my doctor for unrelated reasons–grrr), and decided to go ahead and use-up the container by adding it to this dish.  In all honesty, it doesn’t need the blue cheese, whether you use the included mayo-based dressing or not…it’s THAT flavorful.


(Excuse the poor photo–snapped while eating lunch at my desk at the hospital.)

I adapted a recipe from Well Fed 2, by Melissa Joulwan.  She includes a recipe for Buffalo Chicken Salad that begins with cooking chicken breasts, but I went with a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from the grocery store for convenience.

Here’s what I did:

1 rotisserie chicken, breasts only, shredded

2-4 oz blue cheese crumbles

4 small sweet potatoes, halved

1/4 C hot sauce (any brand)

2 T butter or ghee

Dressing: mix together 1/4 C homemade mayo, 1/2 T cider vinegar, 1 tsp chopped garlic, 1 T chives, 1/8 tsp paprika

  1.  Roast sweet potatoes cut-side down on a foil-lined baking sheet for approx 45 minutes, or until soft. Let cool.
  2. Melt 2 T butter (or ghee, if you’re paleo) and mix with 1/4 C hot sauce in a bowl.  Add shredded chicken and stir to coat.
  3. Place 2 sweet potato halves cut-side up in a container (or on a plate) and top with 1/4 of the buffalo chicken mixture.
  4. Top each with some blue cheese and a drizzle of your homemade dressing.
  5. Enjoy!