Almost gumbo

Hi friends! How was your day? Hope it was lovely. Any fun plans for the weekend?
Thank you for the awesome feedback on the October Workout. If you try it, please let me know what you think! A few of you already made it today’s workout- I might have to do it again myself tomorrow.

So we’re both home from work,


got to catch up on the day

and have bellies full of almost gumbo.

red beans and rice

Ok, not really gumbo at all. More like red beans and rice, but today I couldn’t get gumbo out of my brain -this was the closest thing I could come up with 😉

When we lived in North Carolina and Georgia, I experienced some very new-to-me foods. It’s funny that they were all old hat to the Pilot [he was like, “You’ve never had GRITS before?”] and I was so excited to be trying out new things. I’ll never forget my first gumbo experience. It was at a place in Raleigh, close to the airport since we did the long-distance thang for a year, and I wish I had a picture of my face when I tried it.

Since I don’t, I imagine it looked something like this:

foodgasm-2010-8 Source

I have no idea what was in it, but WOW. That was not my only happy experience with Southern food- they also introduced me to the wonder of sweet potato fries.


Anyway, for tonight’s dinner, I just threw some ingredients we had on hand together, hoping it would taste kind of like gumbo.

Some brown rice, chopped onion, a couple of bay leaves, thyme and sea salt into the rice cooker:

rice cooker

and when it was finished cooking, added it to some kidney beans and organic chicken sausage with sage and cayenne.

rice and beans

Gumbo has a lot more liquid and veggies, but it did the trick 🙂

We’re off to walk little Bell- it’s actually a hoodie night over here! Love it.

Enjoy your night <3



Today’s tip: Need a way to change up regular burpees? Try doing it on 3 Bosu balance trainers- two in front and one behind. Start with your hands on each front Bosu (under your shoulders), pop back into a plank (so your feet are now on the 3rd Bosu in the back), jump forward in between the front Bosus, then jump on top of them into a squat. Lather, rinse, repeat.


Do you use the Bosu balance trainer in your current routine? What’s your favorite move?

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  1. Sheena on October 6, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    Ah what a glorious photo of Aarti…I’ve definately made that face unknowingly at restaurants, so engulfed in the deliciousness that I forget I am out in public – oops! I’d say your creation looks more like almost jambalaya that is totally delish 🙂

  2. Brittany @ L'épice de la vie on October 6, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    How long did you and the pilot do the long distance thing? Personally, I’d be interested in hearing some tips on making the long distance work ESPECIALLY with one half in the military. It seems as that might be a possibility in my future and I’m just trying to figure out logistical sorts of things (i.e. who pays for the travel? where to stay if there is a roommate situation? how do you balance your life *here* and their life *there*? etc etc)

    That “gumbo” looked really tasty! What chicken sausage did you use? I tried to buy some sausage but read the ingredients list and was too skeeved to follow through!

    • Fitnessista on October 6, 2011 at 11:55 pm

      we were long distance for an entire year. he was in nc and i was here in tucson.
      as far as the questions you asked:
      -we took turns paying for tickets. we had a promise with each other that every time we were together, we would get tickets for the next time we’d be together. this way, i wouldn’t have to be stuck here missing him and not know when i’d see him again
      -if there’s a roommate situation, i’d recommend staying at a hotel. base is super cheap (like $35 a night?) and worth it for privacy
      -as far as balancing life in both places, i didn’t really. when i saw him, i thought of it as going on a little vacation instead of trying to create anything for myself there. we’re usually take road trips and just enjoy each other’s company
      it was hard, but not nearly as bad as i thought it would be.
      the chicken sausage was from whole foods, but i can’t remember the brand… the organic ones usually have a simple ingredient list.

    • mountain girl heidi on October 7, 2011 at 7:29 am

      As far as the distance with deployments (you didn’t mention it, but it’s inevitable in the military), it’s much easier with increased internet capabilities in the deployed locations. Skype is awesome, and my husband always has easy access to phones. We didn’t always talk every day, because life was routine for us on both ends, but even 15 minutes when we did talk helped. I sent lots of care packages and letters, and it’s always fun for me to see what kind of interesting things I can send him. (Trader Joe’s is a great place for deployment gifts/foods.) Life is mundane and drab over there, so try to be positive and colorful. 🙂

      And, as Gina said, the base lodging is super cheap and, from what I’ve stayed in, generally pretty nice. Definitely take advantage of it. Usually you can’t make reservations (but that might be random locations), but unless there’s a huge event going on, finding available lodging shouldn’t be a problem.

  3. Rachel on October 6, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    I’m from Louisiana so I get super strong cravings for gumbo as soon as the weather cools off at all. Being a native, I have to have the real thing though and I will spend an entire Sunday cooking just for that one bowl of heaven! Your jambalaya/red beans & rice/gumbo dish looks like it would do in a pinch though 🙂

    • Fitnessista on October 6, 2011 at 11:52 pm

      if you have a good recipe, please send it my way! 🙂

      • Shelly on October 7, 2011 at 10:01 am

        Chiming in as a Louisana/Mississippi girl- not sure it’s possible to make gluten free gumbo b/c it starts with a Roux which is when you cook flour in oil until it browns, then add water plus your veggies and meats, then serve it over rice.
        That being said, your meal looks close to Jambalaya- another southern classic!

        • Rachel on October 7, 2011 at 10:13 am

          Oh, I didn’t think about that. And you have to use regular flour – I’ve tried other things and it just doesn’t work.

  4. Kelly @ Laughter, Strength, and Food on October 6, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    The Bosu is one of my favorite things to use! Great idea to use more than one for burpees! Genius! 😀

  5. Valerie on October 7, 2011 at 12:03 am

    I really love the bosu! My favorite is to flip it over, grab the sides, and do some shaky push-ups. Kills the upper body in a good way.

  6. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga on October 7, 2011 at 12:07 am

    The rice cooker gumbo looks great! And so do those sweet tater fries.

    Never had grits..haha! I remember when I moved to NC from Chicago although I had had grits before, I was still always amazed at the amount of grits…and the amount of Waffle Houses on the side of the road 🙂

    Love that bag in the first pic, too. So cute!

  7. Emily on October 7, 2011 at 12:09 am

    Mmm, I remember my first gumbo experience … the husband and I just watched “The Princess and the Frog” for the first time, and all the creole cooking referenced sounded sooo good we looked up a southern food restaurant in San Francisco and orderd a gumbo and a jambalaya to split! It was also a blues club, so it worked out to be a pretty great date night! And I think the expression my face may have been similar.

    That just might be on the menu tomorrow … thanks for the idea!

  8. Allison @ Food for Healing on October 7, 2011 at 12:25 am

    i`ve seen the bosu ball but have never known any exercises that can be done with it, you either have to do a post about it or i just have to look it up myself lol

  9. Laury @ thefitnessdish on October 7, 2011 at 12:37 am

    I am in love with your Lulu bag!

    Bosu is by far one o fmy favorite tools at the gym. I do everything on it. I even switch up a lot of body rock moves and do them on there! My favorite is a burpee with an overhead press. Lye the body upside down,, hands on either side…jump feet back, jump them in, jump up holding bosu, and press above head. “lather rinse repeat” lol.

    The triple bosu sounds intense…biggest tip there is to keep the core engaged and not drop the back…could be rough! Love it though and def going to try it out!!!

  10. Ali on October 7, 2011 at 1:09 am

    Haha, yea for gumbo you got to make the deep dark Roux, that is what makes it so rich and deep and amazing! I have been wondering, what is the best meal you have ever had?

  11. Jenni on October 7, 2011 at 1:45 am

    Mmmmmm, grits! 🙂 I grew up in NC and grits have always been a staple food. Have you had shrimp and grits? Yummmm…I’m moved to California in June – and packed lots of grits to come with me. haha!

  12. Caroline on October 7, 2011 at 2:41 am

    gina i LOVE the BOSU balance trainer! I am a master trainer for BOSU and give workshops in Nor Cal for fitness pros… the triple bosu burpee is a GREAT move! Would love to share a fun bosu workout with you someday soon 🙂

  13. Mmm a friend of mine makes the best gumbo with andouille. And I like doing planks while holding onto the handles on the flat side of the bosu. And squats are killer on the bosu as well!

  14. Hillary on October 7, 2011 at 7:21 am

    My boyfriend currently lives in Raleigh, and I love visiting him for the food. The BBQ there is out of this world (and the biscuits! Be still my heart).

    Love the Bosu trainer—I do squats on them, and they make my quads burn like no other!

  15. Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin on October 7, 2011 at 8:25 am

    I’ve actually never tried gumbo, but I’ve always wanted to! I really want to visit the southern states someday to try out all the cuisine!

  16. Suzanne on October 7, 2011 at 8:42 am

    I do a different variation on burpees with the bosu ball. I stand, holding the handles, and jump into plank with the ball side down on the ground. I jump into a squat and stand, lifting the bosu over my head. The balance really works your core and the lift is a great shoulder burner!

  17. Alison J on October 7, 2011 at 9:17 am

    I live in Raleigh, and love your blog! grits are the BEST. i make some pretty amazing ones. do you know where you had the amazing grits experience? i would love to go try theirs, and see if they match up to mine!!

  18. Lizzie @TheWeekdayVegan on October 7, 2011 at 9:18 am

    I incorporated some of the exercises from the Schweaty October Workout into my workout last night, and I am sooooore this morning!

    I love bosus…they have them at my gym and my favorite exercise is to stand on the black side and do suicide 21s while balancing. I have yet to fall off, but I know it will happen eventually!

    I hope Bella got some of the chicken sausage!

  19. Anna @ On Anna's Plate on October 7, 2011 at 9:32 am

    Girl…I’m sorry…but if you want gumbo, you’ve GOT to come to Louisiana 🙂 Nothing else compares 🙂

  20. Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning on October 7, 2011 at 9:36 am

    I love the Bosu trainer!! I usually turn it upside down (so I’m standing on the platform) and have someone throw a medicine ball to me and squat while throwing it back, or to the side (working the obliques) or just slam in down on the ground and catch it, and do it again. (All real technical terms, huh?)
    It has improved my balance so much!

    Oh- and love your bag!!!!

  21. Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries on October 7, 2011 at 10:08 am

    I LOVE the Bosu. When I used to train, I would have my clients do all sorts of exercises on them. They’re great because they’re so diverse and really help with stabilization and balance, which is something so many people underestimate.

  22. Felicia (Natural + Balanced) on October 7, 2011 at 10:28 am

    i want to buy a bosu 🙂 one day, one day..

  23. Beth (Well I'll Be) on October 7, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Being from TN, I’m used to hearing about all the southern foods like gumbo, sweet potato fries, etc, but I like hearing about the food your family makes like Tamales and such. I’d never really know what those were until I read your blog.

  24. Alycia on October 7, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Grits are a staple to me! I grew up in NC, but was moved to Wisconsin by my hubby. People up here have no idea what grits even are. They have nooooooo idea what they are missing out on!

  25. Joelle (On A Pink Typewriter) on October 7, 2011 at 11:41 am

    I love that opening photo!!!!

    I had my first experience with southern food going to New Orleans last winter for the first time.. I had never before had gumbo or jambalaya or po’ boys (very New Orleans!), and honestly I still haven’t had grits haha. It was all amazing though!

  26. Marci on October 7, 2011 at 11:58 am

    I love using the BOSU – even for doing simple curls or with the bosu ball side down makes me way more focused on my form. Maybe the BOSU can be a focus on post in the future?! I would love to hear more ideas on workouts with it!

  27. deva at deva by definition on October 7, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    I have never used the bosu before. My gym has them, but keep them put away when a class isn’t using them, which makes me sad. I use the swiss balls a lot, though.

  28. Gina on October 7, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Have you ever had the Mexican Gumbo at QDoba? It is by far one of my favorite things to get there!

  29. Katie @ Peace Love and Oats on October 7, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    that looks delicious! close enough to gumbo for me! My friend who went to school in New Orleans actually made a real gumbo for us once, with crayfish and sausage!

  30. theorist on October 7, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    I have been meaning to ask you about the Bosu!!! Thanks for this post/reminder. So many of the students in a class I take at the gym (Total body conditioning) have trouble using the bosu for some of the move (e.g., squats, fast feet) b./c it make our feet HURT!!! any suggestions to make this pain stop? perhaps we are doing something wrong? Just thinking about it make my feet hurt a little right now. Haaahaha!

  31. Natasha on October 7, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    MMMMM GRITS!!! Do you like your grits with butter, salt and pepper? or sweet grits with honey or maple syrup? Thinking of grits now made me want some sausage gravy and biscuits….so bad for the diet…sooooo good for the tongue 🙂

  32. Marguerite Miller on October 7, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    I used to use the BOSU at my old gym! They had me stand on the hard plastic/rubber side and try to do squats! They were killer! But I always loved that one piece of equipment!

  33. Erin on October 7, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    Bosu is great – 2 faves: flip it over (round side down) stand & do weighted squats. Also planks/side planks off the rounded side really work on my balance/core/arms.

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