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Good Food, Good Friends, Good Weekends!

I’m just going to come out and say that it was a pretty darn good weekend! The weather was gorgeous, the food and wine delicious, and the company of new friends and old friends was even better. 🙂 When I woke up on Sunday morning, I was excited to see the sun shining, but also looking forward to getting back on the “eating well wagon”! I did some damage this weekend, but hey it happens, I enjoyed it, had fun, and I’m not going to beat myself up over it. Life is too short to not enjoy good food.

After a long walk with a good friend and the two dogs, I decided to hit up the supermarket, grab my food items for the week and cook up some healthy recipes. The muffin recipe is one that Jocelyn makes on a regular basis and the spaghetti squash recipe is something that I threw together at the last minute. Both are delicious and I cannot wait to have my leftover spaghetti squash this week. Not sure what to throw in there, but I’ll get creative. Thinking it maybe my substitute for salads….

PB and Banana Muffins (adapted from recipe by Jessica Seinfeld)

1/2 c. light brown sugar
1 cup Krema Smooth & Creamy Natural Peanut Butter
2 large bananas
1 large egg
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 and coat muffin pan with non stick spray.  Combine brown sugar, bananas, egg and peanut butter in a bowl and mix well.  In a serperate bowl or large ziploc bag, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  I also add 2 heaping tablespoons of ground flax seed at this point.  Mix dry ingredients together and then pour slowly into wet ingredients. Stir to combine, pour into muffin pans until they are half way full (should make 12) and bake for about 15 mins.  Yum – o, especially great for early morning drive to mountains!
Spaghetti Squash (by Me)

1 cup cooked spaghetti squash
4 ounce chicken breast diced and seasoned with salt and pepper
5 diced mushrooms
2 garlic cloves
1/4 c roasted red peppers
1/4 c crushed tomatoes
2 T of basil
Red Pepper Flakes to garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the spaghetti squash and remove the seeds. Place on a baking sheet and heat in the oven for 45 minutes. While squash is cooking, heat up a skillet on high heat. Spray with cooking spray and cook the chicken for two minutes on each side. Add the mushrooms, garlic, roasted red peppers, and crushed tomatoes and cook for another 2 minutes. Take the spaghetti squash out of the oven and use a fork to scrape out the insides. Place on a plate and pour the chicken mixture over the top. Dinner is served!
What are you cooking up this week for lunch? Did you try something new this weekend whether it be a recipe, new fitness class, new restaurant?

Can’t Make It To The Gym…

Yeah for Fridays! We finally made it through another week and one more week closer to SPRING! I can officially say I am sick of winter and ready to see the grass, blooming flowers, and enjoy my long runs outside without dodging random snow banks. 🙂 If you haven’t figured it out already, I really enjoy training outdoors. Since I spend a decent amount of time in the gym for work, the outdoors are very therapeutic for my sanity. Lately my training regimen has been the Stair Master, Yoga, and Circuit Training. I just haven’t been in the mood to train one specific body part these days, so Yoga and Circuit Training have been a great “tone it all over” routine.

*Make sure to check back next week for my review of Powerflow Yoga in Chatham! I have done 7 classes, with 3 different instructors in the past two weeks and it’s been AWESOME! *

Speaking of circuit training…I did this workout at the gym the other day and it was a pretty fantastic. If you don’t have time to get to the gym, then you can totally do this at home. I know most of my readers have this equipment in their homes, so I don’t want to hear any excuses. I did 35 Minutes on the Stair Master (no hands) and then the circuit took almost 40 minutes.

Perform 3 sets of each circuit. Take a full 1-minute break after each one.

  • Jump Rope: 1-minute
  • KB Swings: 15 on each arm
  • Renegade Row with Dumbbells: 20 Total
  • Step-Ups with Dumbbells: 20 on each leg
  • Dumbbell Row on Bench: 20 on each arm
  • Stability Ball Jacknife: 20 repetitions
  • Mountain Climbers: 60 Total
  • Push-Up with Feet on Bench: 20
  • Stability Ball Leg Curl
  • Alternating Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 30 Total
  • Triceps Kickback with Dumbbells: 20 Total
  • Hammer Curls with Dumbbells: 20 Total
  • Standing Dumbbell Row: 20 Total

Make sure to hydrate while performing this circuit and have a healthy enriched protein snack or meal after completing. Listen to your body and do what works and feels best for you! I hope you enjoy this one and please feel free to e-mail me with any questions or concerns. I love hearing from you!

Do you like doing “Circuit Training”? If so, how many times a week or month do you do one?

Roasted Vegetable Soup: by Lauren Morse

Thank goodness for friends who LOVE to cook! Lauren came to the rescue this week with two new slow cooker recipes! The past two weeks have been so busy with taking lots of classes at a new yoga studio: Powerflow Yoga, a “Girls Weekend” in Boston, and lots of clients. I’ve been pretty tired and the cold weather isn’t helping my mood. Pushing myself to get outside for a couple of long runs and taking at least 3 yoga classes per week, have been absolutely fantastic and a great change up in my routine, a great way to meet new people, and just get fresh air. 🙂

Lauren put together this slow-cooker meal the other evening and I cannot thank her enough for sharing it with all of us. Enjoy and Happy Hump Day!

From Art of the Slow Cooker: by Andrew Schloss

Ingredients:

2 onions, cut into 1 inch slices
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 in sticks
2 celery ribs, cut into 1/2 in thick slices
1 med turnip, peeled & cut into 1 inch slices
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch squares
1 sm sweet potato, peeled & cut into cubes
8 white mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
4 large garlic cloves, whole and unpeeled

2 tbp. extra virgin olive oil
6 cups vegetable broth, divided
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes, preferably fire roasted, with their juices
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 tbp. chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley (for garnish)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425.  Toss onions, carrots, celery, turnip, pepper, sweet potato, mushrooms, and garlic with the olive oil on a large rimmed sheet pan.  Spread out into an even layer and roast for 30 minutes, or until the vegetable are tender and lightly browned at the edges.

Scrape the vegetables into a 5-6 quart slow cooker.  Pour 1 cup of the vegetable broth onto the sheet pan and scrape up any browned bits clinging to it; scrape into cooker.  Add the remaining 5 cups of broth, the diced tomatoes and their juice, salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme.  Cover the cooker and cook for 2-3 hours on high or 4-6 hours on low, until the flavors are blended.

Garnish soup with parsley when ready to enjoy!

Makes 6 servings

Modifications:

  • I used a rutabaga instead of a turnip because I couldn’t find a turnip at the market.  If using a rutabaga, it’s easier and safer to peel it with a sharp knife rather than a vegetable peeler.
  • I’m a garlic lover, so I  doubled what the recipe called for and used 8 cloves.
  • I used Pacific Foods Organic Low Sodium Vegetable Broth- delicious and flavorful without the extra sodium!
  • I left out the kosher salt.  If soup needs more salt, I’ll season it bowl by bowl.
  • I roasted the veggies for 25 minutes instead of 30.  They were tender at this point and didn’t want them to overcook and get mushy.
  • I also roasted the onions separately from rest of veggies b/c theytend to cook faster.  Onions cooked well in 20 minutes.

Additions (from cook book):

  • Feel free to alter selection of veggies to your taste, but try to keep the volume of vegetables approximately the same.
  • Like most soups, this one benefits from age.  The flavor will improve after it sits for a day.
  • Garnish with grated cheese, is desired.

What is your favorite yoga studio? And what is your favorite yoga pose?

Sunday Night Dinner with Lauren and Rob Morse

It felt so good to not work this weekend. I got so much done on both Saturday and Sunday! I tried out a new yoga studio (review to be posted either this week or next); dinner and drinks with a client; laundry; paid bills; and movie date and dinner with my good friend Lauren and her husband Rob on Sunday evening.

Lauren and Rob found this fish taco recipe on Epicurious (click on the link and it will take you to the recipe, so that you can read reviews, and other tips. Another great site for finding delicious recipes). I’ve been craving Mexican for a couple of weeks and when Lauren suggested fish tacos, I was pretty excited. We had ourselves a feast. Fresh guacamole, different salsas, and chips were munched on before dinner was served. There were no margaritas this evening, but they will be when the weather is warmer. 🙂

Thanks Lauren and Rob for picking up all the ingredients and having me over at your beautiful new home! I cannot wait to come over and cook more delicious recipes in the upcoming months. Maybe a slow cooker one…. 😉

Try out this delicious, healthy, fresh, and light recipe sometime this week. Let me know how it turns out, what kind of fish you used, and take some pictures, to send my direction.

Ingredients:

2 cups chopped white onion, divided
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
1/4 cup olive oil
5 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
1 pound tilapia, striped bass, or sturgeon fillets
Coarse kosher salt
1 cup Greek yogurt
Corn tortillas
2 avocados, peeled, pitted, sliced
1/2 small head of cabbage, cored, thinly sliced
Lime wedges

Directions:

Stir 1 cup onion, 1/4 cup cilantro, oil, 3 tablespoons lime juice, orange juice, garlic, and oregano in medium bowl. Sprinkle fish with coarse salt and pepper. Spread half of onion mixture over bottom of 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish. Arrange fish atop onion mixture. Spoon remaining onion mixture over fish. Cover and chill 30 minutes.

Turn fish; cover and chill 30 minutes longer. Whisk Greek yogurt, milk, and remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice in small bowl.

Brush grill grate with oil; prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill fish with some marinade still clinging until just opaque in center, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Grill tortillas until slightly charred, about 10 seconds per side.


Coarsely chop fish; place on platter. Serve with lime Greek yogurt, tortillas, remaining 1 cup chopped onion, remaining 1/2 cup cilantro, avocados, cabbage, Salsa Verde, and lime wedges.

What is your favorite Mexican recipe? Do you like to have a Margarita or a cold beer with your Mexican feast?

Product Review: Life’s Basics Plant Protein

Wow this week has been quite busy! I cannot believe it is already Friday, but I’m also really excited that it is Friday! 🙂 After starting my job a few months ago, I was working six days a week and came to the conclusion this week, that I can no longer do that. I am no spring chicken and I realized that if I don’t take time to myself, I am going to get burned out and not love what I do anymore. Not a good thing in my opinion. Plus, this is a time in my life, when I need to have fun, get out, enjoy life, and be selfish (in a good way of course). Money is money, but being happy, healthy, and staying sane is more important!

Now that I got that off my chest, I am so excited to review Life’s Basics Plant Protein, that was recommended to me by my good friend Lindsay Cotter. I have been on the prowl for a good protein powder for a while and what better person to reach out to then Lindsay. Being that she is a nutritionist and we have very similar training regimens, I knew she would be a great resource. Being that I am on my feet for most of the afternoon/evening, a protein shake is a perfect way for me to quickly re-fuel. I also don’t like to eat in front of my clients while I’m training them, because I think it is rude and not professional. At least with a protein shake, I can educate them on the importance of incorporating one into their diet, the benefits, recipes, etc. It’s a great conversation piece. They are always fascinated. 🙂

Lindsay recommended a couple of protein powders to me, but she spoke very highly of Life’s Basics Plant Protein. I ordered away and within days I have 18.6 ounce tub on my doorstep. I’ve made 3 different shakes this week (recipes below) and LOVE THIS! You know you have ordered a great product when the list of ingredients are all words that you can pronounce:

  • Pea Protein
  • Isolate
  • Hemp Protein Powder
  • Rice Protein Concentrate
  • Natural Vanilla Flavor
  • Fructose
  • Xylitol: okay this one is a little tough 😉
  • Stevia & Salt

The flavor is great and my shakes have been delicious. More importantly I have felt awesome. This week has been very busy during the evenings and I usually run out of steam pretty quickly. These smoothies have kept me full, focused, and energized. One heaping scoop of this powder has 22 g of Protein! 44% of your daily value! Make sure to check out their website and order a tub for yourself this weekend!

Here are 3 New Smoothie Recipes that I made this week and LOVED:

It’s almost the weekend and I am so looking forward to spending time with friends, a long run, and going to see “The Fighter” on Sunday afternoon. It has been FOREVER since I have gone to the movies. I cannot wait!

What is your favorite protein powder and why? Do you try a lot of different protein powders or just stick with one?

Monday Morning….sigh….

So what did everyone think of the Superbowl last night? I spent the evening with my brother and the two dogs. Very mellow and relaxing! We made a healthy spinach salad, sweet potato fries, and delicious hamburgers. Simple, satisfying, and filling. You can never go wrong with a cheese burger. 🙂 I also whipped up a batch of the Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili that I made a couple of weeks ago. I am planning on using this for lunch this week, to change it up from the usual salads. This dish is so easy and there is probably a good chance you have most of the ingredients in your pantry. For lunch, I’m planning on topping mine with sliced avocado! Yummy!

Two cups of hot coffee, the sun shining into the kitchen nook (soaking up my Vitamin D), and it’s not freezing cold outside! This could be a good start to the week. 😉 I wanted to go for a long run down the country roads this morning, but I am going to wait until the snow melts. It’s just too risky, even though I’m itching to get out there. A friend of mine on Facebook suggested I like NJ Trail Series and I am really excited to run in a couple of these events, during the winter. We’ll see…

I started this morning off with….OATS! I took a break from oatmeal this weekend, because I have a tendency to overdo things, especially when it comes to food. Today’s oats included:

Needless to say it was heavenly! If you live on the east coast, have you tried Crazy Richard’s yet? I cannot get enough of this peanut butter. It’s so so so good. I really want to whip up some peanut butter cookies using their product.

This week is going to be a busy one! I’m going to enjoy this scrumptious breakfast, pack up my gear, and hit the gym for a 30 Minute session on the Stair Mill and a biceps & triceps workout. Here’s to a new week, with new mini goals, healthy eating, and intense workouts. Enjoy your Monday!

What is your favorite peanut butter recipe? Please share with me!

Small Changes Here and There…

Blah Blah Blah

Good Morning! This winter has been pretty pretty pretty redunkulous! There isn’t really much to say anymore, because it’s just expected that we will get a storm at least once a week, the sun only shows itself maybe twice a week, and the chances of seeing green grass, well that definitely won’t be happening until April. 🙂 So who is excited now? Like I’ve said before, the weather is out of our control, so might as well just grin and bear it, continue to eat well, exercise hard, try new classes, and take advantage of your slow cooker!

Today I wanted to share with you what I’ve been eating lately, because I have been feeling AWESOME, with little changes here and there. I do have to give a special thanks and High-Five to Lindsay Cotter and Lauren Anderson for always being there to answer my questions about protein, portion sizes, fats, substitutions, etc. You name it, I ask it and they are always there to help me! And with their help, I feel energized and healthy both inside and out. Here are some of the small changes I have been making lately:

  • Cutting back on the amount of  “fake” sugar I put in my morning coffee
  • More vegetables at lunch and dinner (this keeps me VERY full)
  • Adding a healthy fat at lunch: Goat Cheese, Avocado, or Walnuts
  • Two scoops of protein to my shakes instead of one for my late snack
  • Adding more protein to my breakfast & lunch (Greek yogurt, tuna, eggs: the whole egg)
  • Cutting back on my salt intake (hot sauce has a lot of sodium…another DOH!)

I know that these my seem insignificant to you, but to me, they have made a huge difference in my performance while training, and while training other clients. I need lasting energy since I am on my feet for 6-7 hours straight. 🙂

So this is how I started my morning, what I’ll be eating for lunch, and my afternoon snack:

Breakfast:

  • 2 cups of coffee with unsweetened almond milk (4x equals: I was having 6…Doh!)
  • 1 c Fage Total 0% Greek Yogurt
  • 1 diced pear
  • 1 c Kashi Go Lean

Lunch:

  • Leftover salad from last night: lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, carrots. Dressing: Olive oil and balsamic vinegar
  • 1 ounce goat cheese
  • 4 diced mushrooms
  • Leftover broccoli rabe that was sauteed in olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper

Snack:

  • Chocolate Chip Clif Bar (Needed a break from the protein shake and Clif Bars are always a good snack that usually keep me full for 3 hours!)

Well it looks like I’m going to work today and I’m “supposed” to have clients from 2-8 PM tonight. I would love if everyone showed up, but we’ll see! Stay warm today and drive safely wherever you are traveling too! Happy Hump Day!

What changes have you made in your diet in 2011? Have they made you feel better or worse? Please share with me, I’d love to hear from you.

Workout That My Clients Love

Good Morning Kala!

It was eerily quiet this morning when I woke up and I feel like it is the calm before the storm that is supposed to slam the east coast today and tomorrow. Ice storm? Really? Two days? What the heck is going on these days? They are now just reporting a possible tornado in Louisiana? Say what…

This weather is UNREAL and almost comical. It’s totally out of our control, so I’m just trying to go with the flow and not get too frazzled. ;)The next two days should be interesting both at work and with whatever this storm throws at us. I’m still planning on going in today and just waiting to start receiving the cancellation calls…

So what does this girl eat when it is cold, gray, and snowing? Well a bowl of oats of course! This combination is delicious because the pear was so sweet and juicy and the combination of the saltiness of the peanut butter=heavenly. Healthy, filling, and great fuel before a workout…Try it out!

I wanted to share with you a workout that I have been using on a couple of my clients and they have absolutely loved it! It’s a great full body circuit that scorches calories, gets your HR up, and tones all the trouble spots. I had them start off with a 10 minute warm up on the Stair Mill. Try to shoot for 10 minutes with no hands and increasing the speed every 1-2 minutes. A great way to kick-start your workout!

Workout: Perform 3 sets of 15 repetitions with a 1-Minute rest between each.

  • Squat on the Bosu Ball while holding a medicine ball
  • Shoulder Press with DB’s while standing on Bosu Ball
  • Biceps Curl with DB’s while standing on Bosu Ball
  • Plank on the Bosu Ball with forearms
  • Leg Press
  • Walking Lunges
  • Squat Jumps
  • Push-Ups with feet on bench
  • Step-Ups with DB’s
  • Triceps Dip on bench
  • Stability Ball Leg Curl
  • Bridge on Stability Ball
  • Leg Raises
  • Bicycle

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, I would love to hear from you! All of my east coast readers, stay warm and drive safely the next two days. This will be interesting…

What kind of workout do you do at home, when the weather traps you inside?