Healthy Microwave Apple Pie

This is basically my favorite healthy snack: apple pie in the microwave. It’s super easy. All you need is an apple (I prefer granny smith, but use your favorite variety) and cinnamon.

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Step one: Slice the apple. You can also cut the slices into smaller cubes if you wish.

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Step two: Cover slices with as much cinnamon as you like (some people add a itty bitty bit of sugar, but I like just cinnamon)

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Step three: microwave for about 45 seconds

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Step four: enjoy your healthy apple pie!

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Bonus: no extra carbs.

It is so yummy and refreshing and My Fitness Pal gave it less than 100 calories for the snack. If you like apples, you will love this!

I’m Taking A Step Towards Health, and My Wallet Hates It

As you know, I signed up for the gym at the very beginning of the month. Well, I have signed up for personal training sessions as well. I feel like I need the push a trainer will give me, plus some other added benefits.

I have scoliosis. My back is as curvy as a snake, and that causes me back pains as I don’t do what I should to take care of it. The personal trainer that I have been assigned also has physical therapy training, so he should be able to teach me how to strengthen my back so I don’t have as much pain during the day at the office.

My family history is riddled with heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and everything else fun you can think of. By taking the steps to learn how to better take care of myself now, I can prevent my family history from catching up with me. I am hoping that this is the start of a lifestyle change that will follow me around, even without a personal trainer.

THEY GAVE ME A PLANNER TO TRACK WORK OUTS AND MEASUREMENTS. That’s not really important health wise, but it made me super excited. I love planners.

The downsize to all of this is the added cost. A gym membership is not bad by itself, but the cost of the membership and the personal training is pretty big. I’m not too worried about my budget, but my wallet really hates me this month. Next month will probably be a “no-spend” month outside of the cruise and other necessities.

Also, healthy food is stupid expensive. We already stick to chicken and turkey for a majority of our meals, but it’s more expensive to get stuff for salads for a week than it is for sandwiches. Then you have to hope the produce at the grocery store looks okay enough to buy (and, believe me, that is not a guarantee). Not to mention you barely have a few days to eat said produce before it goes bad, ESPECIALLY avocados and bananas. Don’t really know why bananas go bad so fast, but they do.

So, I’ve got to revamp our menu and grocery budget to include more fruits and veggies and less sugar and carbs (my heart hurts typing carbs. Carbs are my life.). If you have any tips, please let me know, and wish me luck with the personal training! I’m only slightly nervous that they are going to kill me.

Challenge Update

A few months ago I posted about a health challenge between myself and my husband. As we are two weeks from that challenge deadline, I thought I would give an update.

Reminder: the challenge is for each of us to lose ten pounds by September 15. If he wins, he gets a crap ton of books. If I win, I get a new one piece bathing suit for our cruise on October 1 (hence the September deadline. I need time to shop).

As of today, he is two pounds away from the goal, and I am four. Not where I wanted to be personally, but it’s still doable.

We signed up for LA Fitness this weekend after having two week guest passes from my coworker. I have seen a huge difference in the past few weeks just from going to the gym regularly. I only really use the elliptical, but I am averaging about 2.5 miles in 20 minutes with 2 miles completed in 22 minutes. Bonus: the machines at the facility hold my Kindle Paperwhite perfectly so I am able to read while working out, and I think that has helped a lot.

The plan for the next couple of weeks is to hunker down on the healthier eating and hitting the gym at least four times a week. I need to throw in some strength based workouts in there somewhere as well, but I am pretty confident that I will beat this challenge.

After that, I’ll just have to make sure I do not over-indulge on the unlimited rolls, sodas, and alcohol that are available on cruise ships. I am determined not to gain more than a couple pounds (because it’s almost guaranteed on vacation) on the cruise. Healthy choices now make healthy habits later, right?

Cruisin’ My Way to Vacation

Vacations are both amazing a necessary. Sometimes you just need a break from everything, especially when things get hectic. It’s all part of self care and mental health. And while I am a huge fan of the beach and theme parks (mainly Disney World), the best getaway is the open ocean.

I am 31 days from my anniversary/ husband’s birthday cruise and exactly one year away from our Alaskan cruise.

Cruises are amazing because you usually do not have cell phone reception or internet when you are on the ship. You can buy packages that give you access to these things, but I like the break from technology and social media. Therefore, no one back home can reach you and you can relax all you want.

You also get a lot of bang for your buck on cruises. The price of a room on a cruise ship includes 3 meals a day and beverages at these meals. You get access to shows and games and pools and casinos (not free, you have to gamble your own money). Some of the bigger ships have ice skating and bumper cars. You just have to get to the port and everything else is taken care of.

My husband and I are a fan of purchasing the extra beverage packages for soda, specialty coffees, and alcohol. These packages are not a one size fit all, so there is some guesswork on if the package is worth it, but we find that we get our money’s worth.

Excursions are fun, but not required. These are not included in the cruise fare, so we tend to choose one or two depending on the number of ports and if we have been there before. I am perfectly content with enjoying an almost empty ship on port days, and a lot of the amenities, like the spa, have discounts on those days.

I have only sailed on Royal Caribbean to the Caribbean so far. Alaska will be a major change for me, especially since I do not like cold. But the excursions there are so much different than the excursions in the caribbean- there is no snorkeling in Alaska. Their big thing is fishing and whales. Yay whales!

I will probably be a life long cruiser, and while I love RCCL, I do need to do a Disney cruise at least once. Maybe that will be in the near future (like 2020 at the soonest). If you have never been on a cruise, I recommend them. They have something for everyone, no matter the age (I have friends who have told me the kids’ programs are fantastic, and I remember having a blast when I went on a cruise when I was like 10). Just don’t forget to wash your hands.

Easy Peasy Healthy Breakfast Muffins

One of my favorite breakfasts is egg-white muffins. You can make them anyway you want, but I find them to be a much healthier alternative to power bars and cereals. According to My Fitness Pal, one muffin using the ingredients listed is about 70 calories, give or take. I do not use exact measurements on this, so if that bugs you, I am really sorry.

I use the following ingredients:

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  • A small thing of egg whites
  • Jimmy Dean crumbled turkey sausage
  • Green pepper, chopped
  • Onion, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A little bit of cheese

The actual making of the muffins is easy:

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Grease your muffin pan
  3. While oven is preheating, chop your veggies
  4. Put a pinch-ish of each dry ingredient into muffin pan
  5. Add salt and pepper
  6. Add just enough of egg whites to each tin to make ingredients float (you may need to redistribute with a spoon at the end to get things more even)
  7. Stir each muffin a tad with a spoon to mix up ingredients and to make muffin fluffier
  8. The pan should look like this: 20180704_081827
  9. Bake for 20 minutes
  10. Enjoy!

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I end up making containers of two¬†muffins and storing them in the fridge. My husband and I then can grab them and throw them into our lunch boxes to eat when we get to work. I warm up a container for a minute, then let it sit for another minute so I don’t burn my mouth.

Feel free to change up the ingredients to make the muffins just the way you like them. My husband likes to add sriracha to his after they are done cooking, but we have not tried adding the sauce to the actual muffin yet. Let me know how your experiments turn out!

A New Challenge

I have known my husband for seven years. When we met, I was fresh from high school and softball and he was in ROTC. I only say that for reference- we were both doing athletic things and therefore we looked a lot different than we do now.

Life happened. We both have desk jobs and don’t move as much as we used to. It’s no big deal. We love each other and are still attracted to each other. But, we are feeling the health effects of Netflix and sleep on the couch.

We started going to the park a couple of weeks ago and the improvement in how we feel was pretty immediate. It’s an average of 17.5 minutes per mile because I have NEVER been a cardio type of girl, but we decided to work on our time before increasing our current 3 mile trek.

So, this past weekend we made a deal. I have a list of “rewards” I get to treat myself to when I lose a certain amount of weight and keep it off for a week. He knows about this list, and, if I lose 10 pounds by September 15, he is going to buy me a new bathing suit for our cruise in October. If he loses the 10 pounds, I am going to buy him something of his choosing for the same value. Right now, that’s going to be like $70 worth of books as he is reading the Horus Heresy and is 47 books long or something like that, but he can change his mind before then.

I’m totally getting to that 10 pounds before him. I’m a competitive girl. I may not be better at jogging/running than him, but I have a feeling I’m going to be better at portion control and doing a more variety of work outs. This is going to be fun.

No Gym? Be Creative!

Gyms are expensive. Well, they are when you’re in your mid-twenties and on a budget so you can buy a house one day. Sure, a lot of apartment and work complexes have “free” gyms, but my experience says those gyms have three machines and are kind of sketchy. There are ways to get around this and still have a great work out at home.

My primary source for a variety of workouts is the Daily Burn app. I do share the cost of it with my mom, but there is a monthly fee for the service. HOWEVER, that service comes with a daily new workout and a library of anything you can think of. Beginner’s yoga? There’s a program for that. Quick intense abs? A twenty minute workout video will make you hurt in the good way in no time. There are even videos for the crazy cross-fit type stuff I personally stay far away from. Daily Burn is a great source of mixing up the type of exercise you want to do each day. Or, you can me like me and find five or six workouts you love and just rotate between them.

Don’t want to pay for an app? I use my Wii for cardio. Oh, yeah. Just Dance is my jam. 2016 is my favorite one for a cardio workout- I set up a playlist of 10 songs (it comes out to roughly 35 minutes of exercise) and let it rip. I don’t care too much about the “score” and I trust my Samsung Gear more than the calorie count on the game, but I groove. Some songs get special treatment- “low” dances mean I keep lower in a squat for most of the song to work my thighs and “hell yeah” means I’m treating this song like I’m on So You Think You Can Dance even though I’ve only had one year of ballet in my life ever. No two Just Dance games are the same. Some just have songs that do not get you moving. Others have really easy choreography that doesn’t give you what you need. It is a test as you go type of thing, but it is an easy and fun way to get in a workout.

Of course, there is always going to a park to walk/ run. This isn’t my thing, but I am starting to put this into my rotation. There’s also using the different routines you find on Pintrest, or just making up things as you go along. Workouts are what you put into it. The more you work, the more results you get. Just beware if you have pets: cats will rub up on you and lay under you when you are trying to do a plank. It adds to the challenge, and it will happen often.

What are your go-to at home workouts? I would love to hear more suggestions!

Health Goals for 2018

I won’t lie: working as an accountant has caused me to ignore my health for the past couple years. Between the long hours of busy season and sitting in a cubicle for 8 hours a day (not including the hours of traffic I sit in a week), I have not been as healthy as I should be. I snack a lot, and I do not move much during the week. As such, I have quite a few things to work on.

My main goal right now is to get into a work out routine and stick to it. I am averaging three to four thirty minute workouts a week at the moment, but I need to up the number of days and the amount of time. Five days a week with three cardio days is my target, and once I am able to consistently hit those days, I will up my workout time to forty-five minutes, then to an hour.

I am also moving towards healthier foods. More chicken and fish. More fruits and nuts. Less sugary snacks. Lesser portions at meals. That sort of thing. I already drink water (maybe one soda or alcoholic beverage on the weekend), so I am not worried about that side of it. I started making egg white breakfast muffins to take to work, but the other big meals are harder to plan on the healthy side. And bread is my weakness. It’s so good, you guys.

Overall, my goal is to lose 45 pounds over the next couple years. I understand that the hardest part will come when tax season starts up again- I usually make excuses not to work out because I am so tired after working 60+ hours a week. But, if I can make it a habit now, I am hoping that the spring will be easier.

Obligatory Ice Breaker

Thanks for joining me! My name is Karissa, and this is that awkward first post to introduce myself. Much like those annoying first day of school activities where the teacher makes you tell everyone what’s weird about you.

I am an accountant working in one of the major cities of the United States. I am in my mid-twenties, been at my current job for a three and a half years, and am on my fifth go on the C.P.A. exam. You will probably see a lot of posts complaining about the exam. I technically only have one section to pass, but I am waiting on my score for a section I had previously passed and lost the credit on. Yeah, the C.P.A. exam is timed and conditional. If you don’t pass all four four-hour sections within 18 months, you start losing your passing scores. And if that expiration falls within tax season, you’re pretty much guaranteed to lose that score. Studying and tax season do not mix well. At all.

Back when I had free time, which was when I was in college and not working, I loved to write. I mainly stuck to fantasy and fan-fiction, and I am a pro at failing NaNoWriMo. I did win in 2013, but I never finished that book. So, half victory there. I still write when I can, mostly one-shots of my various characters from role-plays that I have with my cousin. A lot of those characters have been with me for over a decade, so I tend to use them when I need to get some emotions out.

I read the same stuff I write: fantasy. Lately I’ve been in a Star Wars extended universe kick, but I do take breaks with other stuff. Harry Potter and Wheel of Time are my favorite series, and I love anything to do with mythology. I have dabbed in the Stephen King world with non-sleeping results, and classic novels like Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice are a couple of my go-to titles when I need an escape. Yes, I read Game of Thrones. Yes, I am mad that we still do not have Winds of Winter.

Nerd confessions: I wish I had time to cosplay. I have a sewing machine with no time to make anything. Video games bore me before I finish them. I have only completed the Batman: Arkham games and Dishonored. I want to re-try Kingdom Hearts before the third one is released, but I know I won’t. If it is Disney or Broadway related, odds are I know it. I used to work at Disney World as part of the Disney College Program, and I just really freaking love theater. I cannot sing or dance, but I will rap Hamilton like the white girl I am. Marvel movies are better than DC, but I am a Batman girl when it comes down to it. He has the best villains (I don’t care it’s cliche, the Joker is the best).

I have been married two years come October and have been with my husband for seven years this month. We have two adorable cats who are assholes, and we will probably get more cats when we finally move into a house. I am very type A whereas he is type B, but we love each other and he gives me plenty of heads up when plans change (HAHAHAHAHAHAHA I wish). He’s teaching me about soccer and Warhammer, and I’m trying to teach him baseball and there’s more books than Warhammer in the world. I must preclude that last bit with the fact we started our relationship with him letting me borrow the Wheel of Time series. I like to tell people it was a con to keep me around. It’s a fourteen book long series. It took up the first three years of our relationship. Now, he’s just really picky when it comes to books because nothing lives up to WoT. I get it, but I don’t at the same time.

OH! I have two planners: one for daily life and one for fitness tracking. They are covered in stickers and I have spent way too much money on Etsy getting things to decorate them with. I also have three different sets of colored pens, but I need more. This kind of goes with the whole “I am type A” thing. Planning is one of the ways I relax. I love it. It soothes me.

Um, I guess that’s a good start for now. Let’s do this thing.