Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Tip of the Day-- Single Serving Smoothies

Confession:  I am the meanest, lenient mom ever.  I make my kids help do the dishes.  A speciffic child didn't do dishes yesterday, so the dishes are waiting in the sink for said child do when he/she comes home from school.  Yes, I said lenient because I didn't check said child out of school to finish the chores, wake them up at 4 am to finish before school or pull them out of bed at 11pm.  (Been there, done that.  Not my thing.  Didn't get the results I wanted.)  So I wait in my house with a sink full of dirty dishes for school to be released.

But here is my problem.  My single serving blender container is dirty and I don't want to wash it!  (I'm a tad lazy and stubborn too.)

The Brilliant Idea?

Behold the MASON JAR

The threads on the regular mouthed mason jar are the same size as the blender ring.  And YES it works!

 Now I can enjoy my carrot, apple and grape smoothie! And still be the meanest mom on the block!

For those inquiring minds: 10 baby carrots, 1 hand full of grapes, and 1/2 apple with 1 cup of water.  Blend till smooth.

Food Answers

Have you ever tried a diet that you thought would be impossible?  Well, this week I am on an alkaline ash diet to try to alleviate some health problems I have been having.  My doctor gave me a list of foods to eat.  All veggies and fruits.  No dairy, grains, protein (except almonds and dry beans), animal products, or sugars (naturally occurring sugar in fruit and molasses are ok).  How does one eat like that!?!  For a week or more at a time?!?

You know me and my obsession with cheese and chocolate and desserts and yummy foods.  Yeah, I like the green stuff too, but what makes my salad divine is the sprinkle of feta or the balsamic and olive oil dressing.  Yeah, none of that stuff for me.

Today, I am repenting and saying good bye to that bad attitude.  No more pitty party for me!  (On the up side, I have lost 6+ lbs this week...)  And I have done a lot of reading.  Here are some terrific resources I have found.

Needing good grain recipes?  Check out Quinoa Recipes
photo credit: Jenny Factory via photopin cc

Feeling stressed and not sure what is going on?  Heard about Alkalizing your body.  See what Alkaline Acid Testing is what it can say about your body.

Feel like you have sluggish digestion and your body won't tolerate foods it used to?  Check out Surprising Symptoms of Poor Digestion .

Beets can really help your body to digest food?  You have got to be kidding!  Read on.

And the bonus: 10 tips for weight loss

Feel Happy Today!

Holy Hannah-- Wednesday's Workout

Health experts are saying that for different health goals you need different workouts.  Longer low impact walks to regain heart health.  High intensity cardio mixed with moderate cardio to sculpt that body fast.  With the cardio intervals in mind I designed this workout to sculpt and tone and smash those lungs all at the same time.  Introducing..... (drum roll please)...

Holy Hannah 
(because during the workout I thought, "Holy Hannah  Why did I do this?!?"

photo credit: pasukaru76 via photopin cc

Holy Hannah features 100 reps of strength training for your back, triceps, chest and biceps and 300 reps of crunches.  The miserable exciting part?  After each set of 10 reps Hannah requires 30 seconds of high intensity cardio.

Need some examples of high intensity cardio?  Jumping Jacks, Suicide Drills, Fast Feet, Up Downs, Crab Kicks, Tuck Jumps, Ladders, Burpees, Tire Jumps, Box Jumps, Scissor Lunge Jumps, just to name a few.

Pick your poison and enjoy it for 30 seconds.  Then back to the toning.  Want your exercises?

Do all 100 reps before moving on to another body part.  Remember 30 seconds of cardio between each set of 10!
Bench Press (4 sets of 10)  Heavy weights (I use 15 lbs or higher)
Peck Fly with Bicep Curl (4 sets of 10)  Medium to heavy weights (I use 8 lbs) Laying on your back with your arms forming a T, bicep curl your arms in.  Extend back out.  While squeezing your shoulder blades together, and keeping a slight bend in your elbows, bring your hands together above your chest. Release to the starting position.  That is one rep.
Elbow Squeeze and Raise (2 sets of 10)  Medium to light weights (I use 5-7lbs)While standing, bring your arms to a right angle, and squeeze your elbows together just above your chest.  Pulse upward one inch while keeping those elbows glued together!  Each pulse is one rep.

Do all 100 reps before moving on to another body part.  Remember 30 seconds of cardio between each set of 10!
Bent Over Lat Row (4 sets of 10) Heavy weights (I use 15 lbs) With heavy weights in hands bend over at the waist keeping a slight arch in your back.  With arms hanging, squeeze the shoulder blades and pull the elbows up towards the back visual cue
Seated Row (4 sets of 10) Sit with your legs extended in front of you.  Place an exercise band around your feet.  With palms facing down, squeeze those shoulder blades together and row the elbows toward your back.  visual cue
Pull Ups (2 sets of 10) Ladies, I am not THAT tough! I modify them.  Guys, GO FOR IT!  Ladies, here is my favorite way to modify this exercise.  Using a sturdy table, remove all chairs.  Sit down under the edge of the table with your legs extended. Hold the table with your hands and support your weight with your feet.  Think long and lean like a board.  Do a some pull ups here.  Here is a video demo.

Do all 100 reps before moving on to another body part.  Remember 30 seconds of cardio between each set of 10!
Laying Overhead Press (4 sets of 10) medium to light weights (3-7 lbs) Laying on the ground bring the weights to your ears with palms facing up.  Trying to keep the weights one inch from the floor, straighten your arm.  Release to the starting position.
Skull Crusher (4 sets of 10) video medium weights (5-7lbs)  Laying on your back bring the weights to your ears, palms facing either in or up.  Straighten the arms up toward the ceiling.  Lower back down.  demo
Elementary Back Stroke (4 sets of 10) light weights (3-5 lbs)  Sounds easy right.  Begin with a laying overhead press.  Keep those weights as close to the ground as possible.  When you have extended to the top of the movement, squeeze the shoulder blades and "snow angel" the arms to your waist.  Bicep curl to return to the starting position.

Do all 100 reps before moving on to another body part.  Remember 30 seconds of cardio between each set of 10!
Bicep Curls (4 sets of 10)  Heavy weights (10-20lbs)  Arms in front of you forming a 90 degree angle.  Curl up and resist down.
Lateral Bicep Curls (4 sets of 10) Heavy weights (10-20lbs)  Arms to your side forming a 90 degree angle.  Curl up and resist down.
Bicep Hinges (2 sets of 10)  Heavy weights (10-20 lbs) Arms to the front forming a 90 degree angle.  Hold that 90 while rotating the arms to the side like the hinge on a door.

Crunch Combo
Enjoy your break at the end.  Just 2 sets of jumping jacks in between sets of 100 crunches.
30 Traditional Crunches (knees bent, forming a table top.  Engage those abs.  Back pushed into the floor)
20 Bicycle Crunches
30 Toe Touches (laying on the floor with toes reaching the sky try to touch the toes)
20 Reverse Crunches(laying on the floor with knees bent, pull knees to the chest.  lower down)

20 Jumping Jacks

15 Side Plank Dips (right)
30 Traditional Crunches
15 Side Plank Dips (left)
40 Russian Twists (sitting on the floor, knees bent, twist torso from side to side)

20 Jumping Jacks

30 Bicycle Crunches
15 Oblique V-Ups (right) lay on your side; bring knees and elbows together
20 Reverse Crunches
15 Oblique V-Ups (left)
10 Toe Touches

Now THIS is FUN!

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Dog Eat Dog Workout

I was writing this for Wednesday, but got sidetracked.  Hope you enjoy the humor...

Today was gorgeous outside!!!  I needed to get some miles in for my Lazy IronMan March, and I thought what better way than to take my faithful, furry companion Mocha out with me to enjoy the sun.  She walks beautifully on the treadmill downstaris, so I figured why not let her get some exercise with me outisde in the sun!

My favorite pic of Mocha-- a couple years ago with the kidlets!
We got one house up the street when my dog bolted after the neighbors cat-- obviously I wasn't holding the leash tight enough.  I hurried to retrieve the canine, apologized to the cat owner catching some rays and we continued.

Let me pause there for a minute.  Do you ever have that foreboding feeling, telling you to turn back, run away and for Pete's sake STOP!!! I mile into the walk I wished that feeling had come only one house away from home.

As we continue walking up the street some dogs behind a fence start barking.  Mocha pulled at the leash and whined and barked, begging to play.  Suddenly I hear a screen door slam shut...  "Drat," I think "A neighbor complaining about dog noise."  Nope.  A neighbor just let his dog out to join the ruckus.  A yellow lab shot across the street strait toward my dog-- and stopped 2 feet short.  I encouraged said lab to go back home, (Go away you dumb mutt), reprimanded my dog for trying to chase after said dog, and reached the top of the street without further harm.

Before I left the house I committed to 4 miles, and I was determined to succeed, come hell or high water.  Want to know what hell might entail?  Trying to walk peacefully in the sun with a dog determined to pull hard enough to dislocate your shoulder.  I channeled the Dog Whisperer-- calm, dominate energy. I remembered that my dog must practice discipline during exercise.  We practiced,  She pulled.   We stopped.  Corrected behavior and continued.  And Miraculously....

Two miles into the walk my dog relaxed.  She walked next to me smiling, wagging her tail.  Maybe this is what heaven is like.  Success!  Joy!  Peace! 
Things I learned:
  • My dog thinks the grass next to the sidewalk is a free for all play zone.  She does better if we walk in the road next to the sidewalk facing on coming traffic.  She is walking in a smaller space and is more likely to be obedient and less distracted by the smells of other dogs on the grass.
  • Having a dog pull you can really work the muscles in your back.  Be prepared for muscle stiffness.
  • SUNSCREEN!  A four mile walk with a less obedient dog will take longer than a quick 4 mile run.  Use the sunscreen and plan accordingly.
  • Walking a dog takes mental and physical determination-- But the pay out is Immense!

π Day Let Down

I was so excited this week to celebrate Pi (π) (3.14159....).  And not just because I love making and eating pie.  This year I was going to teach the kids in 1st and 3rd grade about pi, and why 3.14159 is such an awesome number.
photo credit: Mykl Roventine via photopin cc

What did I do instead?
I pondered the circumference of the toilet bowl ( 2 \pi r) and the volume of a throw up bowl (πr2h) and even evaluated the area of circular vomit splatter  ( \pi r^2).

Stomach flu is not my best friend-- especially when it interferes with pie eating. (I saved a piece for when I feel up to eating it!)  Here's hoping your π day and your pie was fantastic!!!  

photo credit: pauladamsmith via photopin cc

Monday, March 11, 2013

Pie Day Count Down!!!

Do you celebrate it?  Pie Day?  3.14  Do you eat pie on March 14th at 1:59?  Yeah, I am a geek.  I love my pie and any excuse to make another is reason for celebration at my house!  And if I can throw in a touch of French cuisine into Pie Day, my world is complete.  Know what I'm talking about???

photo credit: axelsrose via photopin cc
QUICHE!!!  The ultimate Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner appropriate pie.  I will admit for years I struggled to make my quiche turn out right.  It was always too watery so I would bake it longer and it would end up chewy.  So not good eats!  I struggled until I found Julia.  Julia Child that is.  Today I will share her secrets and we can rejoice in quiche delishe (a play on words.  Did it make any sense?)  Julia's tips are found in From Julia Child's Kitchen.

From Julia Child's Kitchen
Buy Julia's Book Here
Alright then.  Julia's secret:  no set measurement on the fluid to add to the eggs.  No two eggs are exactly the same size.  When we insist on adding exactly 1/2 cup fluid to an 3 eggs, the total volume will vary based on the size of the eggs used.  Which means discrepencies in how the quiche bakes.  To get around that problem, Julia suggest using 3 beaten eggs plus enough cream (or milk) to make 1 1/4 cups total.  Sounds simple enough right.  When I used her formula, my quiches immedietly turned out perfectly!!!  JULIA ROCKS!

I am going to share the "basic" quiche recipe.  I love a "Quiche Bleu"  filled with crispy bacon (1/2 cup), red onions (1/4 cup), blue cheese (1/4 cup), and a sprinkle of fresh tomatoes on the top.

Happy Baking!

Basic Quiche From Julia Child
3 large eggs, beaten in a measuring cup
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of nutmeg and pepper
about 1/2 cup cream-- enough to fill the measuring cup with eggs to 1 1/4 cup
1 cup Filling ingredients... bacon, ham, onions, cheese, veggies
1 8 or 9-inch prepared pie crust

Pre-heat the oven to 375.
Whip the eggs together.  Add salt, nutmeg, pepper and cream to make 1 1/4 cups fluid.  Toss desired filling in the pie crust.  Pour the liquid on top stopping 1/4 inch from the top of the pie crust.  Place quiche pan on a cookie sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes.  When the quiche has doubled in size and is nicely brown it is done.  Need to double check?  A skewer should come out clean.  If if has bits of custard on it bake another 3-4 minutes.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Empty Calories and Empty Days

photo credit: Javier Aroche via photopin cc
Junk food.  Admit it... You know you have it in the house, just like I do.  The stash of leftover candy you hide from the kids, to be enjoyed in the seclusion of your locked bedroom.  The greasy onion rings that call to you with their siren song, begging you to indulge.  You and I both know they are BAD FOR YOUR BODY!  We call them empty calories.  They are devoid of nutrition, health benefits and general goodness.    But we indulge nonetheless.  I can even go a whole morning (mid-day and sometimes even all day) without putting one healthy thing in my mouth!

I've been thinking my daily habits are a little like junk food munchingI can be busy all day long and not put one really GOOD thing in my mind.  I feed my family, but not my soul.  I escape from my hectic world and retreat into my favorite tv or novel worlds.  And I still feel empty...  I have not given my mind and spirit what they need.  Real Nourishment!

Just food for thought today...  What do you do to nourish your mind and spirit?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Lazy Iron- Cycling Workout

How's the race going for you.  Have you logged many miles yet?  I am getting ready to tackle my first bike segment of the race.  In my basement.  Yeah it is still too cold for me (yes, I am wussy) to ride outside.  But frankly, riding indoors can be boring at best!  How do I overcome my desire to jump off the bike and run around screaming like a mad woman?  2 words....  Music & DRILLS

You are in charge of your own tunes, but here are some ideas to keep your body moving when your mind says "fugetaboutit!"
photo credit: Nottingham Trent University via photopin cc

Each of these ideas is an entire workout.  Break them up to add to your favorite rides...

Cadence Check Points:  Every 3 minutes (every time a song ends) check your cadence-- how many times one leg completes one revolution of pedaling.  Count how many times your right leg goes down for 15 seconds.  Shoot for 20 revolutions in 15 seconds (about 80 per minute).  Experienced cyclists have a RPM of 80 or higher on a flat course, inexperienced stay near 50.  Time flies when you are counting instead of thinking...

Spin-Ups:  After warming up, gently increase your cadence over 30 seconds.  When your rear begins to fly off the saddle, reduce your cadence and recover for a minute or two before your next spin up.  Complete 4-6 spin ups.  Be sure to spin easy at the end of the workout.

Isolated Leg Training:  This drill forces each leg to have smooth range of motion and beautiful form.  After warming up, pedal with one leg for 30 seconds, while the other leg rests.  (Technique moment... At the top of the pedal stroke, drive your knee and toes forward.  As your foot begins the downward motion, apply pressure to the pedal as if you were scraping mud off a shoe.  As your foot moves to the back of the pedal stroke, lift and unweight your foot and prepare to drive your knee forward again.  You want to constantly be delivering force to the wheel throughout your pedal stroke.)  After  completing one cycle with each leg, spin with both legs for one minute.  Accumulate 3-5 minutes of ILT per leg.  Spin Easy to finish the workout!

90's day:  Need some insane Cardio on the bike.  This is the workout for it.  Keep your Cadence at 90 + RPM for the entire session.  When you can't keep it at 90 RPM, rest for a minute then pick it back up.  This teaches your body to be comfortable at a higher revolution.  Enjoy it!  90 RPM is equal to 22 revolutions in 15 seconds.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Spring Salad Surprise

Why the surprise?  This is my favorite salad of all time and I haven't posted it yet!?!  How could I do this to you?  My kids BEG for this salad.  I love the dressing on any fruity salad.  I have cut the sugar down some from the original recipe-- Feel free to cut the sugar down some more if you like.  Here you go...
photo credit: Plat via photopin cc

Strawberry Spinach Salad
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
1/2 cucumber, sliced
1/4 red onion, wedged
12 oz spinach
 Toss together.  Dress with a Lemon Poppy Seed dressing just before serving.

Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon poppy seeds

Whisk together until well combined.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Accepting What I Can Change-- My Power TO LOVE

Today I need a little therapy.  Life feels crazy, busy, stressful and my attitude is taking a nose dive.  So here is my confession...

"Hi, My name is Erica.  I am a control freak!"

Right now my kids are laughing hysterically.  Mom a control freak?  I NEVER KNEW!!!  (note their sarcasm)  Somehow I have convinced myself that if I work hard enough at                    it will                (fill in the blanks).   Somehow I think that results will be in proportion to the effort I make.

If I quiz my kids enough in spelling, they will become spelling champions, or at least not fail the test.  If I cook for hours to make a dinner, my family will show appreciation.  If I exercise my body hard enough and eat perfectly, I will look like Reese Witherspoon.

Reality check.  I can only control my actions and not how anybody (including my own BODY) responds to them.  I can control how I care for my children, not the skills they develop.  I can control how I cook for my family, not what they will eat.  I can only control how I care for my body, not how my body responds to that care.

I can do pushups and tricep dips all day long, but I can not compel my arms to be as toned as Michelle Obama's.  I can do 1000 crunches a day, but I can not force my stretched stomach skin to disappear.  I can live off 1200 calories a day, but I can not make my fingers longer and more slender.

Maybe my problem is judging, labeling and condemning myself and others-- Believing that it/they/I  SHOULD change.  Believing that I am powerful enough to change EVERYTHING through my effort.    Sounds like PRIDE.

And Pride's antithesis?  LOVE.  Not just any love... As a brilliant friend would say,

Love*without fine print
photo credit: Miriam Cardoso de Souza via photopin cc

Reality Check #2 ...
I can control how I LOVE my children, AND LOVE them with skills they develop or don't develop.  I can show my LOVE for my family by cooking, and LOVE them whether they eat or not.  I can only LOVE body.

I can LOVE pushups and tricep dips all day long, and love strength to do work with my arms.  I can LOVE my 1000 crunches a day, and LOVE the evidence of carrying 4 babes in utero.  I can LOVE my 1200 calories a day, AND LOVE the genetic heritage of short hands.
I can LOVE!