Twenty weeks in Portugal.

Day One Hundred Thirty Six (dia um centena de trinta e seis)

Monday (Segunda-feira)

17 Fevereiro 2014

I got up feeling slightly worse than I had the day before–I must have been getting a cold. Nevertheless, I ran 5 miles, met John at Pic Nic because he wanted a cafe before going to the gym, then walked to ALKE to meet Ken. It was Chest Day.

We did 30 push-ups to start and end (today I did 30 staggered to start and 30 plyo to end). We did 4 rounds of each:

  • DB bench
  • DB Incline
  • Chest Fly

For core we did 4 rounds of 15 reps: hanging leg raises, decline sit ups (w/weight), and SB roll outs. We went back to Pic Nic and I was so hungry that I said we had to go home before we could go shopping. I was getting hangry.

After we ate (I had some leftover salad stuff with chickpeas and red peppers) we walked up to Fatima’s with Romeo. When we got back, I also went to the fruit market and Antonio’s. I was going to get all this outrageous food to make francesinhas because Leila and her boyfriend (who is visiting from the Algarve) were coming over for dinner. Francesinhas are sandwiches that are famously from Porto, which have sausage, roast beef, and ham, stacked together like a club sandwich, over french fries, covered with a fried egg (of course!), cheese, and then a special sauce made of beer, butter, and tomato puree. I was going to make one for myself without bread, cheese, or french fries. Or sauce.


Instead, her mom made us bacalhau, a traditional Portuguese Cod dish, with sweet potatoes (because they know I am trying to be good), and the most yummy black-eyed pea salad. I took this video of Leila’s mom, Lucy, a few weeks ago. She is the biggest badass jump-roper I’ve ever met. Here she is jumping rope with Liliana.

I made a second attempt at homemade Larabars, this time the flavor being coconut cream. Except I didn’t have coconut oil so I used coconut milk. I love the blog I found this recipe on; My Whole Food Life.


I made a big dish of roasted veggies and “red” velvet cookies but without the red dye and without the white chocolate covering. Right when I went to start baking I realized I didn’t have any flour or brown sugar, so John ran back down to Antonio’s for me. He came back moments later with flour, but no brown sugar.

Once I finished making the cookie dough (which had to set in the fridge for an hour) John went to coach the juniors and I went off to teach. Leila started her internship in the city, so I was surprised to see her at class. Even though her boyfriend is only here for the week, she won’t skip any classes. She just drops him off at the gym and then comes upstairs to work out.

Lola’s cousin’s girlfriend (my new American friend) came to class, too. She told me she didn’t run on Friday because it was hailing. Yes, it was hailing. She is leaving for America the next day where it is supposed to snow. I am not ready to go back there yet.


When I got home, I finished making the cookies (which came out looking like tiny little chocolate cakes).


I set the table and then went to walk Romeo. When I was outside Leila & Jose showed up. Leila sort of started to tell me earlier that she was terrified of big dogs. We brought Lucy’s bacalhau (holy yumminess), black-eyed pea salad, sweet potatoes, wine, and juice upstairs and waited for John. It took her a little while, but Leila began to calm down about Romeo. John got home around 9:00pm and apologized profusely; Pedro just hadn’t come to pick them up until almost an hour later than usual. We thoroughly enjoyed Lucy’s food and then Leila suggested we go to Furnas.


We got bundled up and into her Fiat. There is another place in Furnas where there are hot springs just for your feet, so we went there first.


It was so hot that it hurt. And you can’t move your feet at all or it will start hurting all over again.


After we sat around the pools for a while (which are relaxing once the pain stops) we got back into her car and headed for 3 Bicas which is a cute little log cabin style cafe next to the hotel. We all got cha de limao which is really just hot lemon water, but it was tasty. John tried to play the horribly-out-of-tune-piano and we got home around midnight. I slept vertical because I had completely lost the ability to breathe out of my nose.

Day One Hundred Thirty Seven (dia um centena de trinta e sete)

Tuesday (Terca-feira)

18 Fevereiro 2014

John was up most of the night (even though we had been so relaxed at the pools, when we came home we were both restless) and I was blowing my nose every 5 minutes. I went out to run 7 miles at 11:00am and he was still conked out. It was BEAUTIFUL out! Almost a beach day, and definitely a running in shorts-and-a-tank day… It didn’t stay that way; when I was done running the clouds were coming out and it wasn’t quite as warm. I was supposed to do three easy miles, three faster miles, and one cool down mile. I lapped the vila and then ran up lomba do Caveleiro until I hit 3 miles, then sprinted down and around the vila one more time before my “cool down”.

John had risen and filled my water up for me when I got back (feeling sweet!) and then we went to the gym. LEG DAY:

  • front squat to TRX trail leg squats
  • single leg RDLs to lateral lunges
  • Core: 15/20/25 TRX knee tucks and pikes

We went to Pic Nic where I indulged and had a galao (after 7 lomba miles and those legs, I needed it!). We then went home where I made a gigantic bacon, egg, and sauteed veggie lunch for me and John. I attempted a five-ingredient roasted cauliflower and sweet potato soup that, because I am still learning to cook, was more like “almost burnt” cauliflower. Ken came over for a haircut at JB’s barber shop.

Leila came to class again along with her mom, Lucy, who’s bacalhau I could not stop talking about.


When I got home John was at practice. I had the leftover fish with my sweet potato soup (pretty lame and tasteless, but I put some roasted zucchini on top, which was good). I Skyped with my cousin Meg and then with my parents (who I usually Skype with on Sundays, but I had totally bailed on them after traveling to Nordeste). Around 9:30pm, Romeo started jumping at the door and I told him to wait, and that I would take him out when I was done talking to my parents. When we finished Skyping, I looked downstairs to tell Romeo I would take him out in one minute. Only I didn’t see Romeo. I only saw my front door. Wide.Open.

He must’ve opened the door when he jumped up on it, only I didn’t hear it. I grabbed his leash and my key, and dropped my phone (because, who was I going to call?!) and went out to find him. I walked up towards Ken’s apartment first in hopes that he was chillin’ outside. But he wasn’t

I found him in the square outside Pic Nic. At first he ran right towards me and I thought it was going to be a cinch to grab him. Nope. He took off to my left right before he got to me and ran behind the bank. Luckily, the bank has a fenced-in parking lot behind it so he was trapped. He circled it once before admitting defeat and sauntered over to his collar. We walked home where he didn’t stop panting for at least an hour.

John came home asked, “Has Romeo been out?” HA.

Day One Hundred Thirty Eight (dia um centena de trinta e oito)

Wednesday (Quarta-feira)

19 Fevereiro 2014

I got up and bliggity-blogged for a while. I had decided to run and do yoga, but forgo the gym. John & Ken went to the gym and I went out to run 6.  When I was all done, I went home and grabbed Romeo and we met the boys at Pic Nic. While it had been pretty nice for my run, the rain began once we were sitting outside Pic Nic. Post-cafes we went home where I attempted to make tofu burgers #1 with the dehydrated tofu flakes I bought with Lina. I had put them in water to rehydrate when I picked up Romeo. I added to them egg, onion, garlic, and oregano. I made a corn tortilla to put it on, as well as a fried egg. I did not, however, squeeze the water out of the tofu before I added everything else, so they sort of fell apart. I made 5 “sort-of” patties, which I put on top of the tortilla, lettuce, tomato, egg, and then topped with a little ketchup and piri-piri. Not bad, and definitely worth a second attempt.


I wanted some more healthy snacks so once it stopped raining I walked down to Antonio’s, Casa Cheia, and then up to Fatima’s. I got conditioner, pistachios, some teeny-tiny silicone baking cups so I can make gluten-free treats for myself, a shredder so I can made desserts out of zucchini, and a couple of bags of salted peanuts. I figured with us being out of peanut butter, it being soooo expensive here, and this blog article I read, I would try my hand at making it. These bags were only one euro each.

On my way from Antonio’s to Casa Cheia I saw the bread van! I got 6 papos secos for John and continued on my way. When Neither Antonio’s nor Casa Cheia had cashews (or a grill lighter, ours was out of fluid) I started to walk to the other end of the vila to Fatima’s. I grabbed almonds, cashews, and a lighter and then realized I didn’t have enough dinheiro on me for all three. I needed the lighter. I needed the almonds to make protein bars. I just wanted to eat the cashews because I love them. Damnit. I put the cashews back on the shelf and walked home with my arms full of goodies.

I started in on my peanut butter experiment when I got home. Because the peanuts I bought were oiled and salted, I just had to pulse them in my food processor for about 10 minutes (probably would’ve been less if I had a high powered machine), stopping every 30 seconds to let the peanuts sit so they could secrete their oils. The finished product looked like natural peanut butter. With my two bags I was able to fill up two empty and cleaned-out honey jars.


I should probably start labelling these concoctions. I now have applesauce and peanut butter in honey jars, and black bean hummus in a Gatorade container. Where I previously had botched ketchup. And protein powder. And, of course, orange Gatorade. Gross.

After that was all cleaned up, I set off to make Chocolate Almond Protein Bars. These began with making your own almond butter. No problem, I thought, I just made peanut butter! I am the master nut-butter-maker. I can do anything. Not.

I am pretty sure the almonds I bought were dry roasted, so they didn’t have any of their own oils. After at least 10 minutes of pulsing, all I had was chunky almond flour. I added some canola oil (1 tbs), because some people commented that you could do that. When that started to work, it was clear that I needed more liquid. Only I didn’t want to add any more oil, so I added a little water. This worked perfectly, only now I had a sticky mound of almond flour which I was supposed to mix with oats, honey (agave for Vegans) and the chocolate protein powder John took from his giant bag at the gym for me. “John!” I yelled into the bedroom where he was, “Can I have that protein powder!?!” After rifling through his backpack for a few minutes it was clear he didn’t have the Gatorade container he had filled. He ran over to the gym where he had left it.

The recipe said to put all of the ingredients into your food processor, but my food processor is far too small. That meant hand-mixing, which was more than a little difficult. I also didn’t have any parchment paper, so I lined my 8×8 pyrex with saran wrap, smushed the oh-so-sticky batter inside, and hoped for the best. I shmeared some melted chocolate on top, sprinkled slivered almonds on half, and put them in the freezer to set.

I just wanted to make one more thing before heading off to teach: sweet potato chocolate cookies. I had one whole roasted sweet potato leftover from Monday night’s dinner, so I used that as the base. I omitted the chocolate chips and put in 1/2 cup of cocoa powder, because I wanted them to be more like the perfect little chocolate cake cookies I made on Monday. I also subbed my homemade applesauce for coconut oil, corn flour for the coconut flour, and honey for the coconut sugar. Though they weren’t as pretty as the cookies I made Monday, they were absolutely delicious and the best gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free cookies I have made to date. Also, because they were just for me, I didn’t take the same time to make them into nice shapes.

My “red” velvet cookies: IMG_1925

My sweet potato “cookies”:IMG_1926

John pointed out that they more closely resembled something that Romeo “made” than they did cookies. But he also ate a few and didn’t have any smart comments.

John went off to coach the juniors and I went off to teach. Leila came to class again and even though Lola is as sick as me (maybe even sicker), she came, too.


What is a “handwalk”, you ask?

When I got home, I made myself a big fat salad bowl and ate the rest of my burnt cauliflower soup. I Skyped with my friend Carrie from home and Cathy from California. John got home from watching Arsenal lose in the Champions league and made a PB&J for dinner. Romeo jumped up on the door and this time I ran downstairs to take him out.

Day One Hundred Thirty Nine (dia um centena de trinta e novo)

Thursday (Quinta-feira)

20 Fevereiro 2014

I got up feeling as though I could almost breathe out of my nose. I took a coconut cream Larabar out of the freezer and let it defrost while I had my green tea. The Larabr tasted like sunscreen, but not in a totally bad way. Because I was planning to do a second attempt at tofu burgers for lunch, I decided to make some homemade ketchup to go with them. I found a recipe on that other blog I totally love: Lipstick & Berries. Because I can never follow a recipe, but also because I didn’t have the right ingredients, it was a total fail. I put in too much vinegar and I used my immersion blender instead of my food processor. The smell alone was making me sick so I threw all of it in the trash. Blech. It was the stuff nightmares are made of.

I took Romeo for 1 of my 4 miles, came home, tried a Chocolate Almond Protein Bar (tasted like delicious candy) and then John and I took off for the gym. It was Back Day:

Ken came later so we started without him. John and I started with 4 sets of 10 pull-ups. I can do 3 by myself before John holds me feet up. I could officially be a Marine.

  • Single arm row @ 4 rounds
  • Lat pull down @ 4 rounds
  • Reverse Fly @ 4 rounds

Ken caught up with us and we all did 4 rounds on the TRX of 8 rows, 8 flys, and 8 Ys. We were not doing core, so I did one 1:00 plank and two 1:30 planks in between TRX rounds.

When we got to Pic Nic it was packed, so we sat outside. After we enjoyed our cafes and the boys enjoyed their Trancas Maca (which I learned means apple braid) John and I headed home where I attempted (again) to make tofu burgers.

This time I squeezed all the water out, but they still didn’t really stick together in patties. I put John’s 5 little semi patties on a papos secos (bread van!) and topped it with a fried egg and cheese. I put mine on a crappy corn tortilla that I made (sans recipe) with lettuce, tomato, ketchup, piri piri, and a fried egg. Still not really “burger” like, but actually totally yummy.


After we had lunch, we took Romeo for a long walk. I wanted to get more fuzzy socks so I could try to incorporate slideboard activities into my routines at ALKE. We went down to Casa Batista where I got 3 pairs for €3.80. We saw Vitor, who was going to take us to Riberia Grande on Friday so I could get my tattoo. We walked over to him to find out what time we should leave when he told me that the tattoo guy (Rafael) couldn’t do my tattoo on Friday. Again! Vitor said he would be happy to take us on Monday if Rafael could do that day. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

When we got home I made black bean hummus (I really, really, came close to following that recipe!) and my Chia Almond PB Balls with Nutella instead of PB and no raisins (the Nutella is plenty sweet). John reminded me the other day that we had bought Nutella but never actually use it.


The Nutella didn’t hold the ball shape as well as PB does, so they were more like bites, but so totally delicious and candy-like.


After I pulled the Nutella bites out of the oven I went off to class. I only had 5 ladies, and they were lucky that my fuzzy-sock-experiment worked. They got to go “slideboard” mountain climbers, in addition to lots of other fun things.


It is amazing how annoying your own voice sounds when played back to you. Sorry!

I went back to Fatima’s on my way home (again!) for almonds, almond slivers (I finished the ones I had making the Nutella bites), and saran wrap. Lola found me there and gave me a piece of maca bolos (apple cake) that she had made. She and I have been talking a lot about healthier ingredients (like subbing applesauce and bananas). I walked home where I made zucchini noodles to eat with the sauce I had made earlier. I walked Romeo, Skyped with my cousin, and Skyped with two of my athletes who I adore and miss terribly.


As usual, the highlight of my week involved none of the food or friends listed above, but beating Ken by 1 point in words with friends.


My life is complete.


Day Thirteen

Portugal: Day Thirteen (decimo terceiro dia)…Ponta Delgada!!

I got up early enough to shower and have a galao with John before Lina and Carla picked me up at 11:00am. They were right on time and we headed up the lomba that takes you to Mira Mar’s stadium and eventually into Furnas (hot springs). It took us about an hour to get to the capital because Carla was driving; if it had been Lina, we could’ve been there in 45 minutes.

We went to Lina and Ernes’ house in Ponta Delgada first to drop off some homemade cooking for Lina’s daughter, Xana, who is a freshman at the university there. She is living in their house with two other girls. We dropped off the food and picked up the shopping list she’d left for Lina. We headed off in search of a spot to have a Portuguese lunch.

We stopped at a spot on the water that was pretty empty when we arrived. It quickly filled up with tourists, which it must do often because the menu was complete with English translations for each item. I chose a peixe dish (egg battered and fried mackerel with boiled potatoes and salad), Lina had a steak with egg (because everything here comes with an egg on it), and Carla ordered octopus. We started the meal off with some of the most buttery-garlicky garlic bread I’ve ever had; all the food was amazing. We opted out of dessert at this restaurant to find a bakery instead.


We went to Pao de Rei which I think is a chain, because we passed at least one other while in the city. I got a delicia crème de ovo and Lina and Carla both got a tiny little tart filled with caramelized custard. We had galaos. Once we finished, we went to the mall. We poked in a few shops, I bought a pumice from The Body Shop (which was on my wish-list!!) and then we went to the supermarket in the mall: Continente. Lina did her shopping for Xana, and Carla and I started out grabbing “just a few things”. By the time we got to the register, we were balancing items on top of our shared cart. I got a few things we really did need: a spatula, a vegetable peeler, a can opener, plus some other goodies like soy milk (SO much cheaper here!) and cookies. This store was like a super Target, complete with a Tofa (like Starbucks) near the entrance.

We went back to Lina’s house to drop off Xana’s food. After that, we went to a beauty supply shop so Carla could stock up for her salon. I got tweezers (also on my wish list!). We had one more stop before we headed back to Povoacao: we went to the harbor to have one last galao and so the girls could show me the pier.

IMG_0209I am leaving this picture small so you can’t see how bad it is of me. Carla (left) and Lina (right) look awesome, so here it is!

The weather was beautiful; a little cloudy but warm. Ponta Delgada was basically what I expected: much more shopping and housing, and restaurants and cafes, than Povoacao, but still very much a Portuguese archipelago city. Low buildings, cruise ship port, delicious food, fresh produce, and NO traffic. We left the city around 5:00pm so Lina and I could get back for class at 6:30pm. While there were a few cars on the road, and a few tractors we had to pass, the ride was basically the same as it was at 11:00am in the opposite direction. The roads are very windy across the island, and cars are constantly ascending and descending along the mountainside. I was working on writing up my routine for class on my iPhone when I felt a wave of something. Was I really full? Was I dehydrated? The feeling was unrecognizable. All of a sudden it hit me: I was nauseous. I didn’t know the last time I felt this way (probably because I was simultaneously inebriated). We were about to head into Furnas, only about 15 or 20 minutes from Povoacao. Carla asked me if the curves were making me sick, and I told her they were. Lina said the road from Furnas to Povoacao was the worst, and Carla told me she would pull over if I needed her to. We made it back to our rua without having to. I had just enough time to throw the perishables in the fridge, change into my gym shorts, run to Bobby&Ken’s for the speaker (which after several attempts to knock down their door it was apparent they were not home and I was going to teach class speaker-less), and hustled upstairs at Toronto Nights. While I remembered to get my tweezers and my pumice stone and my soy milk, I forgot completely to look at a bluetooth speaker. That item remains on my wishlist.

After class (if you want to see the routine, I’ll include it at the bottom of this post) I ran home to shower so I could be clean for my Skype date. On the calendar for tonight was the Luccheses:

Screen Shot 2013-10-16 at 8.31.41 PM Image 1

Carrie, Grace, and I got to spend about half an hour catching up before John came home in time to hear about how Carlos scored a goal in between periods at a Bruins’ game at the garden. He also wanted us to know he’s mastered scoring goals with both feet at Sudbury Youth Soccer games. We said our goodbyes and our I-Love-Yous and got off Skype to have dinner: frango again.


I am slowly introducing my group of ladies at ALKE Fitness to FH warm-ups. We did shuffles and the supine series (most of it) Tuesday night, and Wednesday I showed them cariocas and the quadruped series. They don’t know it yet, but tomorrow is Black-Band Thursday. John brought some home from Mira Mar’s complex for me. Boo yah!

Wednesday’s workout:

Yoga mat: :35 / :15
Sky divers
Alt pointers

Stability ball: :30 / :15
SB crunches
Side crunches
X4 (2R 2L)

Roll outs
Side plank R/L
X4 (2R 2L)

Aerobic step: :30 / :15
Knee punch (sprinter’s step up) R&L
Single arm Push up plank ALT

Box blasts
Side plank

20 Throwdowns with a partner.

Day Nine/ Sabado

Portugal: Day Nine (nono dia)

John and I have invited Ken&Bobby over for a pre-game carb load brunch. I bought some massa (Portuguese sweet bread) the other day and have been wanted to make french toast out of it. After I go to the market and we, of course, get a galao at Pic-Nic, we met the boys on the way back to our apartment, and began to cook. On top of the massa french toast, John made home fries and I made bacon and eggs. We feasted.

Before we went to the market, John had taken Romeo for a walk. On the way home, Romeo decided to jump in the fountain across from our apartment, which happens to be full of coy fish and algae. Romeo now smells like algae and dead coy fish, and if you for some reason couldn’t smell him, you would know something was up because his feet were green. GREEN.

IMG_0778Yes, this nasty fountain water.

So, after brunch I took Romeo to the beach with me. I wanted to read in the sun, but I also figured salt water and sand were a better kind of dirty than algae. Romeo likes the water, but he is terrified of the waves. So, each time he delicately prances toward the water, he immediately turns and gets the F&*!& out as fast as he can to avoid the big scary waves. I considered leaving him behind so I could get in the surprisingly luke warm water, but if you know Romeo, you know why I can’t do this. Romeo is an escape artist and has been found in all sorts of places all over Sudbury, Newton, and most-recently, Framingham and thanks to many very kind strangers, he has been returned over and over again. Since I couldn’t get in the water, I headed back to my blanket and read.

I love the weather here. Even though when it is only 70 degrees, in the sun it feels incredibly hot. And even when it’s overcast and breezy, it’s still warm. It was really windy, but since the beach is blocked by a mountain, you don’t feel it there. After about an hour, I headed home with a different-kind-of-dirty Romeo. Success.

John and I showered and got ready, and decided to go watch the juniors play. Since we couldn’t find a ride, we walked (hiked) up the lomba that leads to the desportivo complex. I have recently learned that there are seven lombas in Povoacao. Two of them are not that bad in terms of hill grade. This is one of them.

We got up to the stadium in time to see the last 10 or so minutes of the Infantis game. These kids are probably between 9 and 11, John and I decided. We saw Mira Mar rip four goals in those final minutes. Felipe, who plays with John on the first team, coaches these youngsters. When the game was over, he joined us in the stands to watch the junior game. We asked him what the final score of that game was. Oh, desculpa, what was that? Yeah, 21-1. #miramarSC

We watched the first half of the junior game and they were winning 2-0 when we convinced Pedro to drive us home. John had to change and grab a lanche (snack) before Pedro picked him up again at 6:00pm for their game in Ponta Delgada against Sao Roque.

I hung around, worked on my blog, chatted with Serenela, had a galao at Pic Nic and mostly waited around. I finally went home around 12:30am and John was still not home. I sent him a text message (which he can’t get unless he is on wifi), hid the one key we share, and headed to Toronto Nights. Lina was there (working) but Carla was not. Lina introduced me to her English-speaking friend, Paula. We drank and danced and finally John (with Ken&Bobby) showed up. He didn’t get my message about the key, they wouldn’t let him in wearing shorts, and they had lost their game 3-2. Something else you might not know about John? The only thing he likes less than wearing his shirt is losing.


If you want to know the painful details of their loss, check out Ken’s blog.

We walked home together, he changed, and we headed back to Toronto Nights. By the time we got there, Ken&Bobby had left, probably because they, like me, didn’t know anyone else there. We had one beer each and were home before 2:00am. Woo hoo #bignightout ! Even though they lost, John did score his first goal of the season! #soccerstarjohnny

ImageToronto A Noite