p90X: Reshaping Bodies Everywhere

A few posts back I noted I was lacking motivation to move my body.  I found a remedy for that malady: p90X.

As a former personal trainer and general exercise enthusiast, I had tried this program before and it gave me results. Why follow someone else’s program when I have the knowledge to create my own?
a) Time.  I don’t have to take the time to create something for me.   Someone else has already done this.
b) I will cheat.   By cheat I don’t mean I won’t do the exercises.  Like everyone else though, I would gravitate towards those exercises which I enjoy the most and chances are, if you enjoy it, it’s easy.  Conversely, if you don’t enjoy it, that’s because it’s challenging and you should be doing it!
c) Tony cracks me up.  I don’t necessarily find him motivating but I do find small comforts in his humorous quips when I’m absolutely wrecked from whatever crazy move he and his team have dreamed up.

Previously I found that I was at top shape at the 8 week mark into this program.  At that point small viral hosts that I fondly refer to as my children brought home a multitude of germs and I ended up sick and sleep deprived.  Illness and sleep deprivation lead to a hard time following this program.  If you’re thinking about trying this program the most important piece of advice I can give you is to get enough sleep!  This time around I’ve managed to avoid the incoming viruses and I’m getting a fair amount of sleep.  I’m also managing to get some running done which I couldn’t do as consistently last time.   The program trains 6 days a week.  If you’re training for a race or some other sport-specific event, you may have a tough time fitting it all in.

I’m 14 days into this and already feeling pretty strong.  That was one aspect of this training that caught me off guard: how strong I was by the time it ended.  Previously I had always trained for endurance rather than strength.  I used p90x to see what I could push and how strong I could get.  My 100 lb 9 year old felt like his 40 lb sister.   It was really terrific.  I’m looking forward to that again and hoping for much more.

Building Muscle

Building Muscle

Green Tomatoes

Towards the end of the summer I discovered heirloom tomatoes.  It all started with a desire to propagate my own tomato plants next year.  It turns out that you can’t do that unless you have heirloom tomatoes.  I found some partners in crime who donated some seeds to my cause and one particularly generous individual gave me a tomato so I could taste it and harvest my own seeds from it.  It was an Aunt Ruby’s German Green.  I wasn’t forward thinking enough to snap a pic of it but I’m sure if you search it out, you’ll find a picture or two out there.

For some reason the idea of eating a green tomato left me squeamish.  Deep down a part of me insisted it was not ripe even though I knew better.   A few days passed and I started to fear for the life of the tomato.   The last thing I wanted it to do was rot on my counter but I was also very hesitant to cut it open and actually eat it.   Finally I came up with the idea of using it in a dish I make with tomatoes, onions, corn and chicken.  It was delicious! I put most of it in the dish and the colour was fabulous.  I gathered up some courage and ate a piece and what do you know…it tasted just like a red tomato! The tomato was quite large and I ended up leaving a quarter of it behind.   I was ready to eat the rest when it suddenly dawned on me…I hadn’t harvested any seeds from it!  That was the primary purpose of me having it; eating it was secondary!  Ahh, the irony of it all.  I harvested the seeds, ate the rest and we’ll see if the seeds germinate next spring.

Green Tomatoes, Red Tomatoes, Purple Onions and Yellow Corn

Green Tomatoes, Red Tomatoes, Purple Onions and Yellow Corn

Bringing in the Harvest: Roasting Vegetables

I’ve always loved a good roasted potato. To me, it is perfection in textures married together: crispy outside, soft and mealy on the inside.  I decided to add some variety to this basic theme and opted to try roasting carrots, onions, brussels sprouts and of course my beloved potato, all together.

For the first attempt, I followed a recipe.  I used completely raw vegetables which may not seem important but it factors into my second attempt.  Thinking that the potatoes would take a little longer to cook than everything else, I chopped those up a little smaller than the carrots.  The onions were somewhat problematic.  I chopped those into quarters.  Since the recipe called for all of the vegetables to be placed into a bowl and mixed together, the layers never stayed together thereby making this vegetable much smaller than the others.  I split the brussels sprouts in half and cut the carrots into small pieces as per the recipe.  Everything was drizzled in a few tablespoons of olive oil, salted and peppered, tossed and put into a prepared cooking pan.  Cook at 350° for 20-40 minutes and presto: burned onions (or, “seriously caramelized” depending on your choice of words), carrots that were almost completely shriveled up, slightly over-done sprouts and partially uncooked potatoes.  Hmmm….  having said that, we still managed to polish off the food as it was quite tasty.

This time, I couldn’t afford to make a mistake.  I chose this dish as a side dish to our Thanksgiving dinner so it had to be done right.

We had some cooked potatoes in the fridge still with their peel on and everything, just calling out to me to be used.  Of course I obliged.  I cut the potatoes into decent sizes remembering that they were already cooked.  I cut the carrots in larger size pieces than the potatoes.  Again, I halved the brussels sprouts.  I quartered the onions and placed them in such a way that (I hoped) they would stick together while cooking or at least not burn.

I used a 13 x 9 pyrex baking dish for this, completely un-prepared (no cooking spray used as per the original recipe).  As I prepared the vegetables I placed them in the dish, omitting the tossing from the first attempt.  Once the vegetables were all set, I gave everything a liberal spray with my olive oil cooking sprayer, dashed with salt and pepper and put in the oven at 400°.  I cooked them for 30-40 minutes, turning them every 15 minutes and removed them from the oven.  About 15 minutes before our turkey was ready, I popped the dish back into the oven to warm the vegetables.  The result: terrific!  Everything was cooked to a uniform degree.  The roasting had concentrated the flavours of each vegetable and as you can see from the After picture, there wasn’t much leftover.

Roasted Veg: Before

Roasted Veg: Before

Roasted Veg: After

Roasted Veg: After

To recap:
Pre-heat oven to 400°.
Chop vegetables, using pre-cooked potatoes.
Place veg in cooking dish.
Spray with olive oil.
Add salt and pepper.
Cook for 30-40 minutes, turning every 15 mins, until done.
Enjoy!

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