After surviving the zucchini, I decided to take GiGi’s advice and give Eggplant Chips a try. Just as soon as I found a teeny, tiny eggplant with which to experiment.
No, it’s not a ginormous tomato (although it was on the larger side), it’s a teeny, tiny eggplant! The International Market had these Indian eggplants available, so I decided to invest the $0.26 and give it a try following these instructions. More or less.
I sliced thin, tossed with a dribble of olive oil and a wee bit of salt (no sea salt or kosher salt at my current residence), baked at 400° for 20 minutes, and then flipped them over for about 5 minutes more.
Lacking a high degree of spatial intelligence, I think I sliced them a little too thin for the suggested time and temp, but it did serve the purpose of making them extra crispy! Also extra tasty! I’m eager to try them with different seasonings and such, so eager that I’m making another run to the market for more teeny, tiny eggplants today. (Tonight I might just go crazy and have eggplant chips AND zucchini crisps–in the same meal!)
Before the chips, I hadn’t really liked any of the eggplant dishes I’d tried, so I had no idea of its nutritional value. At only 20 calories for an entire cup of slices, it’s definitely a low-calorie food and one that packs a lot of nutrition into those few calories. Even factoring in the teaspoon (or less) of olive oil I used, this little side dish was about 50-60 calories. (Source)
I also didn’t really know which kind of eggplant to buy. Here in Memphis, I’ve mostly seen the globe type, but I’d also spotted some elongated (think: cucumber shape) eggplants here and there. Wondering what the difference was, I turned to Cook’s Thesaurus (♥) and learned that the longer, slimmer eggplants are likely Japanese varieties and are less bitter than the globe-type eggplant. I’m all for less bitter! (Fortunately for me, the Indian eggplants are good substitutes for the Japanese eggplants. Lucky break on my part, because I had no idea. )
I’ll let you know of my further eggplant explorations. I’m sure you’ll be on the edge of your seats.
Okay, on to exercise! As I mentioned in my last post, I’m currently working in phase 2 of New Rules of Lifting for Life (sort of), and as expected, it’s pushing me a bit more. Instead of the 2 sets of 15 reps for the strength portion, the book recommends 2-4 sets of 8 reps. I’m doing 3 sets now, but I’m going to up it 4 on the upper body days.
Here’s my current repertoire:
Workout A (Lower Body Focus)
Core: plank, side planks – The book says 30 seconds each, but I’m doing 1-2 minutes on the standard plank (depends on whether my feet are on a ball or balance pads or on the floor) and 30-40 seconds each on the side planks. Side ones are a big struggle for me.
Combo: reverse lunge with single arm press – This combo is new to me, and I’ll just say that I’m glad it only calls for 2 sets of 10 reps.
Power – dumbbell swings – The book calls for kettlebell swings (2 sets of 5 reps), but I only have dumbbells so I do 2 sets of 5 reps with each arm.
– Split Squats: I added in the 30# bar with this, and so far my knees are handling it okaaay. I’m moving cautiously with this one.
– Lat Pulldowns: I’m doing the standard seated version now, but I’m going to alternate with kneeling lat pulldowns when the mood strikes.
– Hip extensions with the Swiss Ball- My glutes still do not like this one; my pants do. I’m experimenting a bit with where I place my feet on the ball, which makes it slightly more interesting. But not much.
– Dumbbell bench presses – I’m up to 30# dumbbells on this one, and vary it by sometimes placing my feet up on the bench and sometimes holding them straight out from the bench. If the benches are all in use, I’ll use the machines and hop from incline to decline to standard chest presses.
And then I’m supposed to do some 10-minute metabolic things, but I generally don’t have the space for it, so I hop on the stair climber or elliptical or do something else to finish it off. (Neither do I start with the book’s warm up routine, as it calls for skipping and hopping about the gym. Not happening. I stick with former Trainer Kevin’s warm-up–wall sit, wall push-ups, squats, triangle wall push-ups, front-to-back lunges, floor push-ups. It’s been working for me for over 5 years now, so I’m sticking with it.)
Workout B (Upper Body Focus)
Core: The schedule doesn’t call for planks but I’m doing them anyway. It’s a good way to spend a few minutes getting my mind slowed and focused on the tasks ahead.
Stability: Swiss Ball Mountain Climbers – I like these and am definitely feeling more stable while doing them.
Power: Elevated Explosive Push-ups – I use the squat rack bar for these, if it’s available. I’ve worked the bar from the lower third of the rack down to the bottommost rack.
– Single leg deadlifts: A-MAZE-ing how much more stable I am doing these now. I don’t get super wobbly until the third set.
– Dumbbell Shoulder Press: I switch out between regular presses and single arm presses, depending on my mood and how much time I have.
– Squat Rows: I love this one, probably because it’s one of those exercises where I can pull more than 100 pounds. ::cheapthrill::
And that’s what I’ll be doing for the next while. I’ve got back-up exercises for each move in case someone has the audacity to use the equipment I need and sometimes I swap out just because I want to.
Speaking of exercise, I see by the clock that it’s time for me to head to the gym now. Neat how that worked out.
Wishing you all a safe and happy (Memorial Day to U.S.) weekend! You can take a look at this and see where I’ll likely be:
Here’s hoping I’m in the 70% that doesn’t get rain!