Sunday, August 30, 2009

Food Tip: No Sugar Please
Here is the tip….avoid sugar. If there is an alternative to sugar, please use it. Sugar is where a lot of the extra calories come from. So if given the option, take it. I know "but those artificial sweeteners are so bad for you. " So I may die, but at least ill be skinny in my coffin.

And this is something that is worth noting. Fat-free food alternatives use sugar to make their food taste better. Watch your labels because just because it isays it is fat-free does not mean it is good for you!

Fitness Tip: Know your resting metabolism.
To count calories, it is important to know your resting metabolic rate to see how many calories you burn when you sit on your butt and eat Ben & Jerry’s. With this information you can calculate how any calories you have burned on the treadmill and see how many calories you can consume throughout the day. If you want to loose a pound a week, you must burn 3500 calories a week. That means if you eat 1500 calories, and your resting metabolsim is 1500 calories, then you must burn 500 calories seven days a week to burn a pound. Here is a great website to help you know your resting metabolic rate so that you know how many calories you can consume a day at rest and not gain a pound.

Recipe: Dessert…yes you can have it!
Banana Pudding! (this is great for 4 or 6 servings)
1 box sugar-free Jello instant banana cream pudding mix 1 1/2 cup fat-free milk I tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp pumpkin spice (or allspice)
1 tub sugar-free Cool Whip, thawed plain low-fat yogurt (about 1/2 cup) 1 box sugar-free vanilla wafers4 medium, ripe bananas, sliced
Mix the first six ingredients in a bowl.
Take a baking dish and layer half of vanilla wafers and bananas. Then spoon the pudding mixture over it. Make a second layer over mixture of bananas then cookies. Let sit in refrigerator for 3 hours.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Blog Entry 8.28

Blog Entry 8.28
Food Tip: Blanching
Ok, so this is gross but the older I get the gassier I become. Ok…uncomfortable?? I suggest not standing behind me!
I eat a lot of broccoli. A ton actually. So to avoid the gas, blanch!
If you place the broccoli in boiling water and wait until it gets green, then dump in cold, icy water……you can eat broccoli that is still fibrous and not mushy and have all of the flavor with none of the gas!

Fitness Tip: Stop the crunches
If you don’t have a flat stomach then stop doing crunches! If you have a belly, the only thing a crunch does is stick out your tummy. Its silly if you are packing a few around the middle. Do more cardio! Use your time wisely! Seriously!
Recipe: White Bean, Artichoke and Red Pepper Hummus
Why hummus? It is a good source of fiber….plus it can be used not only as a dip for carrots, but its an awesome condiment in replace of mayonnaise on sandwiches! So make it at home now, its way cheaper!
1 16 oz can of white kidney beans
1/4 cup liquid from can
1 16 oz can artichoke hearts
6 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on taste)
3 tablespoons tahini
(if you can find it, use an all-natural peanut butter or almond butter) BIG TIP!
2 cloves garlic, crushed (roasted is a nice touch)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 red pepper, roasted and peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
Take a red pepper and place on a grill for about 5 minutes a side. Put in cold water and remove the skin. Make a rough chop. Add rest of ingredients and place in blender or food processor until slightly smooth!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Blog entry 8.27

Fitness Tip: Mornings versus evenings

This is primordial struggle akin to such conflicts as good versus evil, man versus machine and possibly the Moors versus the Christians in the Crusades. Should I work out in the mornings or the evenings. Let’s face it, if you have to ask, you are not disciplined. Pure and simple. Here is my advice to you - get it done. If you work nine to five, too many things may come up if you are planning an evening workout. If you are working, you have eight hours to create an excuse to not workout. It can be exhausting thinking of ways to avoid the gym. But it does not burn calories. So here is my tip- wake up and get it done! That way you will go to the gym for sure. Also, starting with workouts in the morning are great ways in which to speed up a staggering metabolism.

Food Tip; Write it down

Your best friend in controlling your weight is not the treadmill or a dumbbell - it is pen and paper. Write down what you eat. If you do this, you will assume accountability. By making that step, you will be very conscience of what you put in your mouth (chuckle -as you should be!) I am telling you, it will work! It gives those of you with no Will Power (which is now my new business alias) a sense of control in this insane world.

Recipe: Lazy BBQ Chicken for the Crock Pot
Here is something that you can do before work and it will be done when you get home! Or perfect for a rainy day.
Serves 4
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 cups tomato ketchup
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp brown sugar (or honey)
1 tbsp soy sauce (or balsamic vinegar and pinch of salt)
2 tbsp garlic powder
1tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp paprika
1.5 tsp ground red hot pepper flakes,
Combine all ingredients for the sauce in the slow cooker and stir. Add the chicken, coat with the sauce.
Cook on high 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. If you are making before work, set a lamp timer to start pot if you are not there! It’s a great trick!
Serve this over something equally easy to make like brown rice, polenta.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Blog Entry 8.25

Food tip: Product Endorsement: Barilla Plus Multigrain Pasta

So we all know that multigrain or wheat pasta is healthier than white (unless you live under a rock!). But often these healthy pastas taste like hair and regret. Not this one! Barilla Plus Pasta is awesome. It is in a gold box in the pasta section of most grocery stores. It is an excellent source of protein and good fiber, along with good oils. It is the perfect meal. And it tastes fantastic! So if you are craving a bowl of carbs on a sad day, eat this and you won’t have to live in regret. It has up 17 to 24 grams of protein a serving!

Fitness tip: Protein
Protein is key in building muscle. Protein eats fat! Literally! But do you know how much protein is in your meal. Well here are some tips.

Chicken breast 27grams
Ground beef ¼ lb 21 grams
Milk 8oz 8 grams
3 eggs 18 grams
Salmon 3oz 22 grams
Shrimp 3 oz 18 grams
Tuna one can 39 grams

Recipe: Greek pasta Salad
Makes 6 servings
This lunch for this week!
1 box Barilla Pasta Plus Farfalle
5 oz Feta Cheese
1 diced green pepper
6 oz Black Olives sliced
3 chicken breasts grilled and cubed
Place all of these ingredients in large mixing bowl or Tupperware.
1/4 cup teaspoons olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tsp honey
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
Make dressing and add to rest of ingredients. This is a great pre- or post workout meal!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Blog Entry 8.23 Chili

First of all, please sign up as a follower of mine!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now read.

Food Tip: Plan you meals.
So why do you order a pizza , eat eight hundred extra calories, and spend a week regretting your choices? Because you do not plan your meals! That’s why you stop and get a double-cheeseburger and think popcorn is a meal. So this is what works for me to alleviate those pressure decisions (bucket of chicken or taco bell).
I cook one day a week for four days. By doing this, I can just reheat a meal every day and it is already done for me. Okay, so it’s Sunday. The weather is nice and a Bloody Mary is in order. So, get a crock pot, open some cans, and let it sit in there. Then be off with your day. You can take ten minutes of prep work to make a meal for at least two to three days! If you plan your meals today by making some good reheatable meals, you will not make bad choices and will have no reason to feel guilty the rest of the week (unless you have grew up Catholic like me).
Fitness Tip: It’s Sunday, I’m not going to the gym.
Neither am I. Sundays are meant to recharge and refocus. So do it! So don’t work out. I mowed the lawn. I burnt some calories I feel good. Go walk your dog! Burn some calories that way. Or spend the day planning your workout schedule. This is a great day to schedule your workout, refocus and recommit!

I feel very good that I shall win again with this one. It was a good chili night. Plus, the crock pot is in order for this one. This pot of chili can make 8-10 servings. See meals for the week! I practice what I preach.
3 cans chili hot beans (or kidney) ( do not drain)
2 lbs browned ground turkey (drained)
1 16oz can of tomatoes diced
1 cup frozen corn
Dump all of these above items in crock pot

Spice Blend
3 cloves garlic
1 can diced green chiles
1 large onion (diced)
3 tbsp allspice
3 tbsp chili powder or cumin
1 tsp fennel seed
1 tbsp garlic salt
1/3 of one 5oz can of chipotle in adobo
6 black peppercorns
3 tbsp ginger
1 tbsp curry powder
1 cup chicken stock
Take all of these ingredients and blend in food processor, blender. This is important because it will make the spices very consistent.
Take the spice blend and combine crock pot with all other ingredients. Cook in crock pot at low heat for 8 to ten hours. It is a good heat. The Indian seasoning is awesome. Do not over use the chipotles! They can take over like a short dictator.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Food Tip: Aldi Rules
Ok, so If you don’t have an Aldi, I am sorry. I think you should call Angela Merkel personally and ask her to set up this wonder of grocery shopping. (it’s German you know) They have the best prices. Ok, so the produce is not great. But I am a penny saver, and I love to use frozen veggies because you can save a fortune. They also have a product line called Fit & Active. Fit & Active has an assortment of snacks, yogurts, dried fruit and meals that are really good for you and equally convenient. Aldi is definitely no Trader Joe’s, but you will be surprised on what you can get out of there! Bring a quarter. You will see why.

Fitness Tip: Sweat
So here is a good rule of thumb - break a sweat every day. If you get your body to sweat daily you are probably burning more calories than you will take in for a day (if you are watching what you eat). So it does not count if you sweat while having Margarita’s by the pool. But if you are active and you get to the point you maintain a sweat for ten to twenty minutes, you did enough to maybe not loose weight, but you should not be gaining any. This is what I do on my non-training days. I do just enough walking of the dog to break a sweat. And if you have a dog, walk him/her. They need it just as much as you.

I am the reigning Boulder Walk Chili Winner. No, I am not giving you the recipe because I never wrote it down. But I am making some today and we shall see how it goes so I can share. I love chili, In fact, I would eat a dog turd if it were covered in chili. So I ask you to submit to me any recipes I can try!
I am getting a ton of tomatoes! Therefore, I am going to share with you a recipe of tomatoes and fennel that will blow you away. Don’t be tired of tomato recipes by me. This is the season and you will be mad when you run out of tomatoes and you have to pay three dollars a pound at the grocery store. Okay, I know. When am I going to cook again? I did last night, and it rocked. I will share you that recipe tomorrow because its definitely more of a Sunday, slow-cooking find of meal.
Also if you are reading this blog, please sign up as a follower! I am going to attempt to post the blog on a food blogging website and I need your help! Plus, would it not be cool if I could make money cooking? Shameless self-promotion. I know…
Heirloom Tomato And Fennel Gazpacho with Lump Crab Meat
Serves 4 (but it
1 1/2 pounds heirloom tomatoes cut in wedges
2 cups of tomato juice (or V-8 because you’ll regret if you forget to have one)
1 small fennel bulb chopped
2 cups lump crab meat (cleaned thoroughly)
1 avocado, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup chopped basil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon vinegar (red wine or cider)
1 teaspoon garlic salt
Slice the bulb of the fennel in cubes. Cut the tomatoes into wedges. Then cut the wedge once more in half, width-wise. Place tomatoes and fennel in large bowl with all of the other ingredients except avocado and crab. Give a light toss.
Serve into four bowls. Add lump crab equally among bowls. Finish with avocado disbursed equally and crack some black pepper on top.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Blog Entry 8.20

Food Tip: Put down the spoon!
It is still warm and after being in sun it is good to cool down. Don’t have a tub of ice cream. I mean do I have to say that? Don’t waste your time in the gym. I recommend buying a bunch of red seedless grapes and putting them in the freezer. When you need to cool down or when you have a sweet tooth, this really does the trick. I know it is not the same as a tub of ice cream, but instead of feeling like a sloth , you can feel sated.

Fitness Tip: Have a plan.
I know why people do not do strength-training. It is not because people do not like weights, it is because they have no clue where to start. Going to a gym without a plan is like starting a war with no exit strategy. It is important to know what you want to do. Hire a trainer for a few sessions to get a routine down for you. Get a book that reveals some sort of guidance. Or simply say, legs today, upper body tomorrow. It can be really intimidating not knowing where to start. If I didn’t have my trainer before, I would never have learned what I know now. Also, bring a pen and record what you did. I can’t remember what I ate yesterday, do you expect me to remember what weight I had the lat pull down machine last Wednesday?
I have two vegetarians that are following me. Don’t get used to meatless meals! Sometimes, I do feel the need to lay off the meat. This usually happens when I eat to much the night before. I polished off those steaks last night, and I could use something light. So here is what I am making for lunch.

Recipe: Tex-Mex Salad
Serves three, or two hungry carnivores.
2 Tbs. lemon juice
1 Tbs. whole-grain mustard
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 diced cucumber
1 tsp cumin
1/4 cup diced celery
2 cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup fresh or frozen corn, thawed
1 avocado, diced
1/2 cup diced sweet red pepper
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1 scallion, cut thin
1 cup grated Monterrey jack cheese
Whisk together lemon juice , cumin, oil, and mustard in large bowl.. Add all remaining ingredients except cheese, and toss salad. (chuckle). Top with cheese and serve.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Blog Entry 8.19

Food Tip: Get Rid of Your Plates

You are overweight because you eat too much. Sounds harsh? But it’s true. So make all the justifications you want, you just eat too much. It’s not your fault. Your mother ( if she was a good mother and not Octomom) told you to finish your meals. It was inbred in you. So blame your mother. Its her fault.

Ok…I am kidding and love you Mom (she reads this you know). The problem is not Oedipal but it is in you portion size. Here is the trick. Get rid of your dinner plates. They are too big and you should never eat a meal on a dinner plate because there is just too much room on them. Keep them for holidays. For every day meals, switch to a stylish salad plate. This will hold the correct amount of food for one sitting. Plus it gives you a justification to go shopping.

Fitness Tip: Rest.
So here is a tip. Make sure you do not overtrain when it comes to strength-training. I cannot tell you how many people I see doing the same workout everyday. It pains me to no end. Plus, its boring watching you. I mean if I have to spend forty hours in a gym I need another channel to watch if you know what I mean.

So in fit expert terms, never work the same muscle group two days in a row. In fact, if you are working your upper body one day, work your lower body the next day. Rest is where muscle is built. Your body needs at least twenty-four hours to recover from strength-training. If you overtrain your muscles, your body will be in a constant state of recovery and will never repair and grow muscle (which is the key to loosing a few). Just because you know a routine does not mean it is good to repeat it. If you need some diversity, hire me.

Recipe: Moroccan-Inspired Flank Steak Over Smashed Cannellini Beans
(Btw my recipes serve three people because between my hubby and me, we will always have a friend come over….normally hungry and often, empty-handed)
Ok so If you want mashed potatoes but can’t justify the calories and starch, here is a high-fiber way to eat them!.
2 cans Cannellini Beans
1 tbsp Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp rosemary dried
1 tsp chili flake
Add olive oil to pan on low heat. Add chili flake, garlic and rosemary. Get the garlic slightly brown and add one can cannellini beans drained and one can with liquid. Turn up the heat to medium and cook down for ten minutes or until beans are slightly mushy. Take a slotted spoon and mash the beans so they are slightly lumpy. It looks like masked potatoes, but its got good protein, high-fiber and they can certainly replace potatoes.

Ah, here is the rub (to quote Hamlet‘s soliloquy)
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp chili flake
1 tsp fennel seed
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried rosemary
6 or so peppercorns
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt
Place in coffee grinder, a food processor or a Magic Bullet is for are lucky like me. (Ok a blender will do, so will a bowl and some elbow grease.)
Take a two pound Flank Steak. Remove the excess fat (there should not be much!) Apply the rub and have sit in refrigerator for four hours or more. Off to the grill! Cook to your favorite temperature, Let rest for a few minutes to redistribute the juices, serve with side of beans!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tuesday 8.18

Food tip: Frozen Chicken Breasts Don’t Have to Taste Crappy
Moan if you like, I use frozen chicken breasts in a great deal of my food. I know foodies are scowling in disapproval - I am used to that (hence the therapy). But why spend $5 a pound on fresh chicken breasts when you can buy 3lbs for $6? I love to shop at Whole Foods (or Whole Paycheck!), but I cannot afford to do so. So let me show you how you can make a frozen chicken breast taste just as good as a fresh one.

The secret is to brine the chicken breasts. Brining is kind of like a marinade, but it changes the texture of the chicken by redistributing the juices. This is how to do it.
1. Take home a 3 lb bag of chicken breasts and put in a large Tupperware.
2. Add a cup of vinegar, 3 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp salt, 1 tsp red pepper flakes, 2 tbsp Herbs de Provence or Rosemary, I capful of lemon juice and 1 tsp Black Pepper.
3. Let the chicken defrost in the Tupperware for a day or two.
4. The chicken should become white and not pink. Brining takes the flavorless moisture of a chicken breast and replaces it with the yummy brine you made.
5. Drain the juice and rinse. All of the flavor is in the chicken so you cannot get rid of it now. Pat dry and add to your recipe
No one will know the difference. You could pay more but I can’t understand why if you use this method.

Fitness Tip: Balance!
I don’t mean standing on one leg, although that is a good idea and the thought makes me chuckle. But it is important that you balance both cardio and strength-training in relatively equal amounts in your routine. Strength-training works fast-twitch muscle fibers while you are working out. Cardiovascular work ,like running, works slow-twitch muscle fibers. To get a good balanced physique it is important to incorporate both of these aspects to training. If you do all cardio, you will end up with a good weight-loss, a build-up of slow-twitch muscle fibers, but a saggy physique. If you do only strength-training, your results will plateau because you have never maximized the muscle gains you could make. Furthermore, cardio helps vascular movement which can only help you in recovery times after strength exercises. Therefore, find a balance of both cardio and strength. If you don’t know how to do strength exercises, hire me.
Recipe: Pan-seared Chicken, with a Potato -Corn Hash
1 Lb Chicken Breast
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp flour
1/3 cup white wine
1 tbsp Rosemary
2 large Yukon Gold Potatoes (diced) - use them because they are quick to cook!
1/3 cup diced fennel (just use the bulb and dice it up)or red onion if you don’t like fennel.
½ cup frozen corn
1tsp thyme
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Take the chicken breast and place in a plastic bag. ( I reuse the grocery bags because they are good for this and picking up dog poop too.) Add the herbs and flour.
Get a skillet warm with olive oil, enough to cover pan
But chicken in until brown on one side, then flip.
Remove chicken and deglaze the pan with lemon juice and a few splashes of white wine. Deglaze means just put in the pan and stir. Get those flour flakes and all the goodness and mix with white.
Place sauce on chicken breasts and rest on side.
Add a few more tbsp of olive oil. Then place rest of ingredients to pan on a high heat. Stir so potatoes brown evenly. Add a splash of water or chicken stock and cover to steam the ingredients should take about ten minutes tops. The finer you dice, the quicker it will cook.
Then place chicken, sauce over potato-corn hash. Warm accordingly and serve. One pan, less cleanup. Very yummy.

Monday, August 17, 2009


I often hear people talk about inspiration. Musicians always claim that some esoteric legends inspired their work. Authors always conjure up well-respected literary giants as sources of inspiration that somehow influenced their works. Quite frankly, I think its a lot of it is crap.

I have spent the greater part of my life looking for a divine intervention- something or someone that was going to tell me what I was meant to do. I have spent times meditating, countless hours of therapy, and of course- schooling. What I owe in student loans adds up to the gross domestic product of many nations. No teacher, no book, nothing ever spoke to me.

On a ridiculously hot, sticky and gross Sunday I saw inspiration. Ok I wasn’t in church- although wouldn’t that be a kick in the nuts. Nor did the heat make me delusional and I had some epiphany akin to a Navajo Sweat lodge. I went to a movie about a girl who blogs about Julia Child.

Alright so I am no fool. I know I am not the only one blogging because they saw the movie Julie & Julia. But for the first time in my life I wanted to race home and start something. I didn’t want to do anything but to get on my computer and start a challenge. And during the movie my inspiration came. I had an idea to start something that for the first time, I think I can finish.

I came to realize that inspiration does not come to you; rather inspiration is a product of trying something someone else tried and putting your own spin on it. No, I am not going to redo the recipes of Julia Child. But I am going to make my own culinary challenge.

I love to cook. I am a personal trainer. It just seems like a good fit for me to share how I struggle on a daily basis to balance both things- which easily can contradict each other.

The kitchen is the one place where I feel a sense of control. But while I cook I loose myself. Most of my life I have just gotten by. I have always felt a sense of purpose in the kitchen. I have always found a sense of accomplishment every time I made a meal. I love the end result! And so do my friends because at least twice a week they come over, (empty-handed) to enjoy my culinary feats.

In the gym something similar happens. I workout and I feel a rush. I feel like I am doing something good for myself. During that time I have a sense of focus and direction. I want all of you to use the gym and think of it as time to get away from the real world- rather than watching other’s people’s scripted reality on television.

So here is what I am going to do. With every entryI blog I am going to give you some advice on how you can love food and not feel like you wasted your time in the gym. I am going to give you tips, recipes and above all a sense of hope. You see people think that when they try to loose weight or stay healthy you have to give something up. I was raised Catholic. I gave up enough stuff during Lent - I am good for awhile. I would rather you learn how to substitute things so that you can make the best of what you .

So next, I am going to do some research I can sink my teeth into. And yes, the cheesy pun was intentional. I promise I will use more puns because the groan that you made when you read it is just too funny.