Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Plank Problem SOLVED

A good friend at exercise complained this last week about her planks not working her core the way she wanted.  She was "jealous" of the strait as a board position that some others could achieve, but she couldn't.  I paused to check out her form and realized what she was missing.....

This is what she looked like.....  Can you spot the error in form?

Elbows directly below the shoulder.  Check
Bum tucked under.  Check
Abs pulled tight.  Check
Shoulder blades squeezed together.   DING, DING, DING!!!

Just fixing the shoulder blades changed the plank position to look like this.

Squeezing those shoulder blades together is the KEY to forcing your abdominal muscles to do the work in this exercise.  We want the abs to learn to lay flat (and hold in that pooch).  They can only truly engage when the shoulder blades are tucked in and down.

Happy Planking Ladies.  Tuck those shoulders back and down!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Malibu Chicken and Wild Rice

Broiled chicken, ham and pineapple with a teriyaki glaze served on a bed of wild rice with roasted bell peppers.  Yeah, it was that kind of heaven at my house last night.  Yes, it took a couple failed attempts at the glaze before I decided that a store prepared teriyaki would do just as well.  Yes, I overcooked one piece of chicken.  But, oh, was it good.

This recipe is an adaptation of DesertNowDinnerLater's crock-pot recipe.  If you are a fan of yummy crock-pot chicken, check it out.

Malibu Chicken
4 chicken breasts
8 slices of ham
1 can of pineapple, (or 1/4 of a fresh one)
1/4 cup of your favorite teriyaki sauce
2 cups cooked wild rice
3 bell peppers, sliced

Slice the bell peppers in long narrow strips.  Set aside.  To reduce the thickness of the  breast, (and to get a better portion size) slice the chicken breast in half from top to bottom and side to side .  Each breast will become two thin chicken patties.

Set the oven to broil.  Place chicken on a broiler pan.  With a pastry brush, paint the chicken with teriyaki sauce.  With the oven door cracked a tiny bit, cook the chicken under the broiler for 5 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the heat.  Flip over.  Brush with teriyaki sauce.  Top each chicken breast with one slice of ham, and a pineapple slice.  Brush the ham and pineapple with teriyaki sacue.  Broil the chicken, ham and pineapple stack for 5 minutes more or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees.

Remove from oven.  While the broiler is still hot, place the bell pepper strips on a cookie sheet.  Broil the peppers for 5 minutes or until they begin to brown.

Serve on a bed of wild rice with a garnish of teriyaki sauce.

Happy Eating

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Anna- Workout Wednesday

I love the story of Anna in the New Testament.  A widow of 80+ years, she worked in the temple day and night.  Luke reports that she fasted and prayed much.  While at the temple she recognized the infant Jesus as the Savior of the World.

I want to be like Anna.  In honor of Anna, I can work on being fast-- I know a bad pun.

Anna's Workout focus on upper body strength and speed and agility training.  Complete 50 repetitions or your Max of each of the strength exercises;  relax with just ten repetitions of each agility exercise.

Strength (50 repetitions or YOUR Max)
Crunches on an exercise ball
Bicep Curls with an exercise band
Tricep Push Back with an exercise band
Push Ups
Pull Ups (modified or however you can do them)

Agility (10 each)
Backwards Run & Sprint- run backwards the width of the gym, as you approach the end of the gym, plant a foot and sprint across the gym.
Side Shuffle with ball toss- shuffle your feet sideways across the gym.  Toss a basketball (weighted ball if you're awesome like that) at a wall and catch it as you travel across the width of a gym.
Burpees-- You know this one
Shuttle Run-- Relive the HORROR glory of elementary gym class with this exercise.  Remember doing this with chalkboard erasers?  2 erasers on one side, 2 on the other.  Run across the width of the gym carrying one eraser, drop it, grab another and repeat.  Check out this video for a reminder.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Grilled Peach & Chicken Salad

There is still time to break out that BBQ and grill this season.  And hopefully you can still find some garden fresh ripe peaches to add to this simple salad.

This recipe came about because my 10 year old was obsessed with grilling peaches.  He would not rest while peaches remained in the house and he had not gotten to taste their "luscious goodness" hot off the grill.  So, I figured what can go with grilled peaches?  Chinese BBQ chicken of course.  Place them both on a bed of greens, toss in some cucumbers from a neighbor's garden.  Voila, Grilled Peach and Chicken Salad was born.

Grilled Peach & Chicken Salad
3 ripe peaches, halved
2 chicken breasts
1 cucumber, sliced
1/4 cup Chinese Barbeque Sauce
4 cups mixed greens for salad

Heat grill to medium.  Place peaches cut side down on the grill.  Cook 6 minutes.  Flip and cook until seared.  Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, cook chicken on the grill for 12-15 minutes turning once or until the internal temperature reaches 165.  Turn heat to high.  Brush Chinese Barbeque Sauce on the chicken.  Cook one minute more on each side, brushing more barbeque sauce on with each turn.

Slice chicken and peaches into bite sized pieces.  Toss chicken and peaches with the lettuce and cucumbers.  Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon of Chinese Barbeque Sauce over the top as a dressing.

Happy Eating!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Julia- Workout Wednesday

Who is Julia?  Well not only is she a fantastic friend and awesome work out groupie, she was also a woman in New Testament Times who lived in Rome.  All we know about her is that Paul sent her his greetings.  So I will assume that she was a woman of faith, virtue, hope and charity -- just like my friend Julia.

The Julia Workout focuses on the back side of the body-- you know those parts we don't see in the mirror and don't always think about.  The back side is essential to balancing muscles, range of motion and real strength.  In fact, as you strengthen your back your body becomes free to do more work.  So as you are doing these exercises remember to pinch those shoulder blades together and push them down your back.  While your at it you might as well tighten that tush too (think holding a penny between your two cheeks)!

Julia's Workout  complete 50 of each exercise using good form (pinch those shoulder blades together and push them down the back)  When your form deteriorates, move on to the next exercise.  Check out the video/image links for more information about each exercise.

Seated Row
Lat Row
Bicep/Tricep Curls Using a medium weight, hold your arms near your torso.  Curl your arms up into a bicep curl.  Rotate the wrists to the floor and push back behind you into a tricep curl.  The upper arm remains stationary throughout the exercise.
Push ups
Box Jumps Lunge Combo  Imagine jumping over a box, then lunging forward.  That is this exercise.  Tuck jump over an imaginary box then lunge forward.  Alternate which leg walks forward into the lunge.  When you are lunging, make sure you take a large step forward and your weight stays in the front heel.
Bum Lift- lay on the floor with your knees bent and your feet elevated on a chair. Squeeze that tush as you lift your bum off the floor.
Side Plank (1 minute each side total)
Plank Set (High, Low) 30 seconds each, twice

Monday, September 9, 2013

Barbeque Pork Chops

Are you ready for some divine (and easy) dinners?  A few months ago I told you about a FANTASTIC Chinese Barbeque Sauce we tried at my mom's house.  It has become a staple at the Miller Dinner Table.  The next few weeks I'll be sharing the many ways we have used this yummy sauce in healthy easy meals.

On today's menu, Chinese Barbeque Pork Chop, served on a bed of quinoa or rice, with sauteed vegetables.

Chinese Barbeque Pork Chops
1/4 cup Chinese Barbeque Sauce
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
5 oz sliced mushrooms
1 teaspoon minced garlic
6 boneless pork chops
2 cups cooked rice (1 cup uncooked) or
2 cups cooked quinoa

Heat the grill to medium.  Grill pork chops six minutes per side, or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.  The last 3 minutes, brush Chinese Barbeque Sauce over the pork chops. Flip and repeat.

While the meat is cooking on the grill, heat a skillet over medium high heat.  Pour in the vegetables and garlic.  Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the vegetables have browned and softened slightly.

Serve the pork chops and vegetables on a bed of rice or quinoa.  Some kids like extra barbeque sauce on the vegetables.

Want to expedite dinner.  This makes an easy freezer meal.  Chop vegetables and freeze them in a zip bag.   Place pork chops in a zip bag.  Portion 1/4 cup barbeque sauce in a zip bag.  Toss all zip bags in one gallon zip bag.  Freeze.  Thaw 12-24 hours in the refrigerator before cooking.

Happy Healthy Eating!!!

Friday, September 6, 2013

It's About Love

To my 3 loyal readers out there, I apologize in advance.  This blog post isn't about health, wellness, fitness, or food.  Just some thoughts that have been swimming in my mind for a few weeks that I want to get down on "paper."

You might know that I have started working a temporary, part-time job.  12 hours a week for 6-8 weeks.  It is a fairly mindless, monotonous job.  I work in an assembly line preparing cosmetics for shipping.  At work, the radio blasts out popular tunes.  I have been saddened by the suggestive and sometimes blatantly immoral lyrics suggesting the fun of getting wasted and laid.

I know the debate over morality in music has ragged for decades-- watch out for Elvis' gyrating hips-- but one song in particular has forced me to think and question and wonder.  Have you heard it?  Same Love, by Macklemore, with Ryan Lewis, featuring Mary Lambert.

Same Love points out the hypocrisy in America regarding homosexuality-- the stereotypes that flood the media and the minds of the American public, the words used to label others laced with hate and hurt, and the inability to love those who are different.

"America the brave still fears what we don't know
And God still loves his children is somehow forgotten"

Same Love calls for progress, for love and for kindness,

"Whatever God you believe in
We come from the same one
Strip away the fear
Underneath it's all the same love"

 I love these parts of the song.  Yes, we need to love.  Yes, we need to be kind!  But while Same Love is preaching love, it condemns religion and those who struggle to embrace love, kindness, tolerance, and Biblical morality.  Those of us who love our friends, but do not condone the acts of homosexuality.

I am saddned at the labels used to describe conservitive Christians:

"The right wing conservatives think it's a decision
And you can be cured with some treatment and religion
Man-made rewiring of a predisposition
Playing God, aw nah here we go"

Same Love urges us to, "Live on and be yourself," but is there tolerance for those who agree to love and be kind, but choose not to agree with homosexuality?  Is there patience, kindness and concern for individuals who are coming to grips with their own views on Gay Rights in an political climate pushing for immediate change?

It seems to me that both view points need to up their kindness quotient.

I am labeled a hater, a hypocrite and a religious zealot because I teach my children (all in the same breath) that God LOVES EVERY ONE OF HIS CHILDREN, and He has called homosexuality immoral-- humans do all sorts of things God has asked us not to and yet he loves us.

I also teach my children (in the same breath-- or maybe I breath twice-- it's a lot of words to get out...) that smoking is bad for your body and mind, but WE LOVE PEOPLE and are kind to our neighbors who smoke-- we just choose not to.

I also teach my children, that it is best to pay cash for purchases and to avoid debt if at all possible.  Yet, I don't condemn the person who lives off a credit card.  I just don't live that way.  I have the right to teach my children what I believe is right, and to teach them to LOVE others, regardless of their choices, political persuasions, or sexual orientation.

I honor and love my GBLT friends.  They have made terribly difficult, heart rending decisions in their lives.  I can not for one instant imagine the pain and heart ache they have endured learning to love themselves for who they are and facing the criticisms of people who are unkind.  My friends, be strong in what you believe and in who you are.

I, too, will stand strong in who I am and in what I believe.  I believe in LOVE, hope and kindness.  I believe in  a world where we can agree to disagree and still go out for drinks after work (make mine a virgin)!  I believe in a world where we don't judge others based on their political agendas, life choices, hair color, skin color or sexual orientation; rather we see each other through the lenses of love, forgiving weaknesses, showing kindness and allowing God, who knows us and loves us best, to guide our hearts.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Apple Cake- In a Jar

I had dinner with a friend the other night and she served this for dessert.  My first thought was, "Jump Back!  You can can a CAKE!?!"  Well her mom has been doing it for years (half a century) so if you're brave like her and want a fun after school snack or dessert you can pull out of your pantry, this is for you.

If' you're not up for canning it, try the cake anyway.  Apple Cake is a dense rich cake full of spicy aromas and flavors.  It is good eats-- especially served with a lemon sauce.

This recipe has not been approved by the USDA. Foods not canned according to USDA-endorsed recommendations present a risk of botulism. Please consult your local local university's extension office for comprehensive canning information. (I like USU's  Complete Guide To Home Canning)

Apple Cake in a Jar
2/3 cup shortening
2 2/3 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
2/3 cup water
3 cups grated, peeled apple
2/3 cups rasins
2/3 cup chopped nuts

Mix ingredients together.  Sterilize 7-9 wide mouth pint jars and lids.  Grease each jar with shortening.  Fill each jar 1/2 full.  Bake the cakes on the middle rack of the oven at 325 for 45 minutes. (lids off)

The last 5 minutes the jars are in the oven, boil the lids and rims.

Remove one jar from the oven.  Wipe the the rim of the jar clean.  Place a rim and lid on.  Let cool on a cooling rack over night.  Repeat the process with each jar, keeping space on the cooling rack for air circulation.

Will keep one year.  Each pint serves 4-6 easily.

Lemon Sauce
In a pan stir together:
2 Tablespoons corn starch
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt

Gradually stir in 1 cup boiling water.  Stir and cook over medium heat until the mixture boils.  Boil, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Mix in:
2 Tablespoons butter,
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Pour over Apple Cake in a Jar or just eat off a spoon.  Best when warm.