Monthly Archives: January 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Roasted Chickpeas

I’ve been keeping a pretty tight watch on Pinterest lately. Yesterday I spent an hour friending people and looking through their pins. It was AMAZING. So many cheap DIY ideas and pretty house stuff. I can only imagine what it will be like when I actually have something to plan for like a new house or a wedding or a baby or something. One question I have, with all the time people spend on Pinterest, do they ever actually do any of the things they pin??

Here the link to my Pinterest if you’re interested in following me.

On that note, Pinterest has become my online recipe book and I finally made something from it on Sunday: Roasted Chickpeas. I found the recipe on one of my favorite blogs: SammieKennedy.com. Here is the link for her post of the recipe.

So I had a couple of cans of chickpeas with every intention of making them into hummus, then I thought, why not fry them instead? These were so tasty warm out of the oven but even better when I toasted them again the next day. So savory with just a little crunch. And actually pretty good for you. And for the financial restricted, they’re cheap too!

RoastedChickpeas-Published

 

Ingredients

  • 2 12oz cans of organic chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (ok because this will be medium heat only)
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. 
  2. Drain and rinse the chickpeas with water. Dry them on a paper towel.
  3. Add chickpeas and all spices to a bowl and stir until chickpeas are covered.
  4. Pour oil in pan then heat it in the oven for a few minutes. Take it out and shake the pan to distribute the oil.
  5. Spread the chickpeas in the pan in a single layer.
  6. Cook for 10 minutes shaking the pan every 3 minutes to ensure the peas don’t burn.
  7. Enjoy!

Tip: These will dry out over night. Stick them in the toaster for a couple of minutes for an even tastier, crispier snack.

Thanks for the recipe Sammie Kennedy! Everyone, please check out her site for more awesome recipes and health info.

And let me know what you think after making these 🙂

 

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Happy Monday: Weird Love

Saturday was a VERY long day of work for me. Let’s just say I was surrounded by screaming kids in a room with lots of echo. For NINE hours. Teachers: how do you do it?? Anyway! It meant that Sunday involved a whole lot of nothing. Mike and I watched both NFL playoff games and some really terrible television (my favorite kind).

We also had some spare time to talk about our relationship. We do that every once in a while. Just dive into what we think we’re doing well or what is missing for one or both of us. Of course we talked about some stuff that has been a work in progress for the last several months. But we also talked about how close we feel to each other having had to adapt to in this foreign environment: small town in Midwestern USA.

Being here has only increased our love and respect for each other and confidence in our relationship. The way we are learning to work through our relationship and personal problems is pretty awesome.

On that note, Mike sent me this the other day and I think it’s wonderful. Maybe you will too!

WeirdLove

 

I hope that wherever the love comes from in your life, that you’re getting a lot of it today. Happy Monday! 🙂

 

Friday DIY: Brazilian Wax (Ladies Only!)

Men (and conservative women), you are forewarned: this post contains A LOT of in depth lady jargon. It reveals the dark side of beauty. DO NOT READ THIS. STOP NOW.

If you’re still reading, be prepared. Now ladies, how many of you get waxed down there in your nether regions? How much does it cost you? $30, $40, maybe something like $80? First, let me explain why I wax:

  1. Shaving really sucks. I used to get terrible razor burn and razor stubble is just foul. I don’t want my VJ to feel like sandpaper.
  2. Waxing only needs to be done every 4 weeks, and once you’ve been doing it for several years, you can go as long as 8 weeks!
  3. It actually makes your hair follicles weaker and your hair thinner. I’m to the point where my hair has stopped growing in some spots. Awesome!

Yes, it hurts. But it’s so worth it. And because your hair follicles get weaker, the pain actually gets less the more you do it. One thing I should mention is that, once you start waxing, you should NEVER shave. It reverses all the long term benefits I mentioned above. If you shave once, it’s like starting from zero on the waxing scale.

When I moved from Boston to Peoria, the price of Brazilian waxing went from $40 to $80. WHAT?!? I’ve been searching for months for something cheaper to no avail. I did find a beauty school that did the simple bikini waxes (check out this post) but no one would take it all off without charging an arm and a leg. So I decided to do it myself.

Needless to say, I was VERY nervous. Who the heck takes the chance of buying their own wax, spreading it hot and sticky all over the very sensitive patch between their legs, and then ripping it off with their own two hands? I could be making a very big mistake. But I will say, I’d watched quite a few estheticians do it to me, might as well try and do it to myself right?

Moom

So I did my research on wax and found this great option on Amazon. Of course I had to go natural so I bought sugar wax. It’s water soluble and works great on thick and thin hair. It’s called Moom. It came with everything I needed to wax (except for the sweat-absorbing starch) including microwavable wax, reusable strips, and wooden applicator sticks. And the best part, it was only $14!

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So it arrived and I stared at it on my dresser for several weeks before I plucked up the courage to try it. I set up my little station and went to work. The only things I needed that weren’t included were a towel to sit on, a mirror for when hunching over wasn’t enough, rubbing alcohol to disinfect, starch to soak up the moisture before I got started, and tweezers for post-wax clean up. Here’s how it goes:

  1. Use a cotton ball to spread rubbing alcohol over the region first.
  2. Dab some baby powder, corn starch, or any kind of starch (I used tapioca because that’s all I had) before you get started. It soaks up any moisture and the wax sticks better.
  3. Trim your hair down to 1/2″ (1cm) so the wax can pick up more of it.
  4. Heat up the wax until it’s a honey-like consistency.
  5. Analyze the direction your hair is growing in. Spread the wax in a thin layer in the same direction.
  6. Pull your skin taut and pull the strip off very fast in the opposite direction of hair growth.
  7. For a bit of relief, put pressure on the area immediately after you pull the strip off.
  8. Work methodically in sections so you don’t have to wax any area more than once.
  9. You won’t get every single hair so use the tweezers to snag stragglers.
  10. Rinse off any patches of wax with warm water. Dab dry then apply a light moisturizer to soothe the skin.

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I did feel a bit like a hunchback after 45 minutes of sitting in front of the mirror but it went really well! I didn’t rip off any skin and my happy triangle is smooth and clean. The tub of wax isn’t even 1/3 gone and I rinsed the strips clean with hot water and can use them again next time. It was a MUCH better experience than I anticipated and I’m so stoked that I found a cheap alternative to salons.

Who wants to try it? Ask me any questions, I’m happy to answer. I hope you all have very wonderful, very sexy weekends 😉

Thriving Thursday: Whatchu Know About Sugar?

The people in the Wellness industry (including myself) have been battling America’s sugar overload almost like it’s the plague. Unfortunately, our addition of sugar to EVERYTHING processed means that it kills almost as many people. However, surprisingly enough, there is a time and a place for sugar. Let me explain . . .

SugarGranules

Every kind of sugar that enters your mouth, including carbohydrates, needs to be turned into glucose in order for your body to use it. GLUCOSE. This is the kind of “-ose” we’re going for here. Remember it. Unfortunately, there are very few food sources that contain pure glucose. Some examples of them are: glucose syrup (found in some of the good sports supplements), plant fiber (indigestible to humans), and amylose (plant starch). Plant starch sounds like the best options here and can be found in potatoes, wheat, and oats but with these forms of glucose our body absorbs it in chains of molecules and those chains must be broken down before we can absorb the glucose itself.

Keep up with me here!

There are TONS of other forms of sugar that contain glucose but they inevitably come with another kind of “-ose.” Because I try to eat food closest to its original form, I’m going to focus on sugar that has been through very little processing. Let’s see what’s in some of the most natural sugars:

  • raw cane sugar = glucose + fructose
  • honey = glucose + fructose + up to 22 other kinds of “-ose”
  • agave = glucose + fructose
  • fruit = sucrose = glucose + fructose
  • plant starch = pure glucose = dextrose (yes dextrose is 100% glucose)

It’s important to note that, although most of these natural sweeteners are made up of glucose and fructose, they are all combined differently. Some are found in molecular chains, some are just floating around, some are a combo of chains and floaters. I’m not going to dive into what combos are better but I can help you figure the correct time and place for eating sugar. Yay!

So clearly, if you’re consuming the forms of sugar listed above, you’re going to be eating glucose and fructose. But what does your body do with all that? Glucose, once our bodies break it from whatever chain it’s in, goes straight to our muscles and liver to be stored. If we don’t use it quickly enough, it turns into fat. Fructose has to be processed and goes to your liver. Some of it turns into glucose and joins the other glucose in the muscles OR stays in the liver. From the liver it turns into fat which, unless burned immediately, stays fat and makes you fat!

Basically, unless you burn the glucose in your muscles and the fructose in your liver before it turns to fat, you’re going to get fat! The only way to burn those sugars is through physical exercise. You knew it was coming!

Strength Training (anaerobic): during the workout your body breaks down your muscles and then, over the next 48 hours, it uses all kinds of energy (and protein) to build them back up again. The muscle-building energy comes from the glucose and fructose. Muscle building keeps those things from turning into fat and, if you train hard enough, it will use some of your fat as energy too. That’s how people burn fat!

Cardio Training (aerobic): after a certain period of time, your body is just continuously burning energy. This energy must be replenished DURING the workout in the form of glucose (and inevitably fructose).

Action steps:

  • If you’re happy with your weight: sugar is ok! But only during a cardio workout over an hour-long or within an hour after an intense strength training workout. These amounts of time are heavily debated but this is what I believe.
  • If you’re trying to lose weight: no sugar is better. If you avoid sugar then your body will burn fat as fuel. Just monitor how you feel. If you start to get dizzy, light-headed, or shaky, eat half a banana and allow your body 10 minutes rest to stabilize.

SugarSources

Some good forms of sugar as fuel during and after your workout:

  • honey
  • brown rice or quinoa
  • bananas
  • carrots
  • sweet potatoes

Bad forms of sugar. Really bad, don’t EVER eat them, they are neurotoxic. As in toxic for your brain:

  • Nutrinova (acesulfame potassium)
  • Nutrasweet or Equal (aspartame)
  • Twinsweet (salt of aspartame)
  • Nutrasweet (neotame)
  • Sweet N’ Low (saccharin)
  • Splenda (sucralose)

Some good news for high intensity athletes:

Skratch

If you’re looking for a fantastic, delicious, and quick powder to mix in your workout drink, try Skratch. It’s made by my new friend, Allen Lim, and combines cane sugar and dextrose. Dextrose, if you remember from above is 100% glucose. Perfect! It doesn’t have all the crappy sugar and other additives that most exercise drinks (like Gatorade) have. I’ve tasted raspberry and he gave me a sample of lemon-lime on Sunday which I drank during my workout last night. Oh-my-goodness it tastes SO good. No disgusting after taste and you can drink it for hours without getting that slimy feeling in your mouth. It’s delicious.

Have any questions or comments? Let me hear them!

Related Articles:

Workout Wednesday: Lofty But Attainable Goals

Do you have a weight loss goal right now? Most people, especially in this season, want to get more fit. What’s your goal? At work we are doing a 30 day weight loss challenge. Last night we did the first weigh-ins. For four weeks we challenge everyone to eat right at least six days a week and exercise at least three days a week. So I challenge you, if you have a goal, do the same thing!

If your goal is fat loss, get naked and get on the scale. If your goal is more lean muscle, find a flexible tape measure or piece of string and measure around the largest part of your stomach, arm, and leg. Then record the numbers. Somewhere that you won’t lose or forget.

Then start the baby steps. Plan your meals and your workouts. Don’t give yourself an option to deviate. Workout in the mornings before you start your day, and remove all sugary, bad-fatty foods from your house. No temptations. Don’t go out to eat if you can’t resist the hamburger and fries. It’s only four weeks! Challenge yourself. Be proud of every day you can get through in a completely healthy way. I think a person’s success is defined by the ambition of the commitments they can keep. So make your goal lofty but reachable, and then go get it!

measuring

I’ve been slacking off for the past 6 weeks. With the holidays and everything, it’s time for me to get back into it and start some serious training. Bike season is coming up! So I’m going to join the Challenge. But for me, it’s going to be a lean muscle challenge. So I used a tape measure and piece of rope. My measurements are: 32.5″ (stomach), 12″ (right arm), 24.5″ (right leg). I’ll let you know how I’m looking in 4 weeks!

Finally, here’s today’s workout:

Beginner through intermediate (12 minutes)

– 20 seconds on/ 20 seconds off

– each exercise 3 times in a row

Advanced (16 minutes)

– 30 seconds on/ 10 seconds off

– each exercise 4 times in a row

Exercises:

High Knees

1) high knees – speed is most important with this one.

plank(better)

2) X plank – start in straight plank…if you can, jump out your legs then step out your arms to form an “X”, move them all back in and start again. Don’t forget to keep your body straight as a plank!

jumplunge

3) jump lunges – align your joints ALWAYS, shoulders over hips, front knee over toes.

crunches

4) crunches – look at the ceiling and lift your shoulders. DO NOT pull on your neck.

calfjump

5) calf jumps – fluid jumping, very little bend in the knee. like you’re at a concert without any space. ps. the girl in this photo is ripped! So awesome.

wallsit

6) wall sits – quads parallel to the ground. If it’s too easy for you, Keep your legs touching each other. Still too easy? Raise one foot off the ground, switch at the halfway point.

So what’s your goal and how will you do it?

🙂

 

Tasty Tuesday: Chicken Tikka Masala

Professional cyclists DO NOT eat a healthy diet. Especially not the riders over in Europe. Mike and I saw this first hand when, while following the Giro d’Italia, we picked up their discarded feed bags on the side of the road. All we found were pastries and “energy bars” full of refined sugar and bad carbohydrates. It was unbelievable to us that their team directors think it acceptable and, above all, profitable to fuel their riders with these kinds of food. How much better would they perform on a 5 hour race day if their bodies could actually use the food they were given?

FeedZoneCookbook

This weekend I met two of my favorite chef’s: Dr. Allen Lim and Chef Biju Thomas. They co-authored “The Feed Zone Cookbook.” Allen Lim was the director of sport sciences for professional cycling teams, Radioshack and Garmin. He introduced the idea of gluten-sensitivity and the importance of a healthy diet in a training plan. Biju Thomas is an avid cyclist and chef to some of the top riders in the US. The cookbook is based on very simple but very healthy meals that could be cooked with 3-5 ingredients on one stove-top while on the road. I love it.

One of my favorites (and now perfectly adapted for me) recipes is their Chicken Tikka Masala. Their version uses lots of yogurt which is fine if it’s raw (or at least organic) but I wanted to see if I could get rid of it altogether. So I replaced it with canned coconut milk and OH-EM-GEE. Really, really yummy.

I was always nervous about cooking curry because it’s so tasty that I figured it would be complicated. Absolutely not the case. This is one of the easiest dishes I’ve ever cooked and it now holds a preferred spot on our meal planning menu.

Curry-Published

 

Ingredients (3 servings, double this to make 6 servings and last a couple days)

  • 4 cups of cooked quinoa for the base
  • 2 lbs chicken, cut into bite sized pieces (I used my leftover chicken from my roast last week)
  • 1-cup tomato sauce
  • 1 12oz can organic coconut milk (shake before opening)
  • 2 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 a sliced onion
  • 1 tsp salt
  • a dash of cayenne pepper or 2-4 green chiles, cut into strips (optional)

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and, if you can, let marinate in the fridge for at least an hour. I didn’t have time for this and it was still delicious.
  2. Pour all ingredients into a deep pan and simmer, uncovered, over medium heat for 30 minutes.
  3. Spoon on top of your quinoa and enjoy!

It’s the simplest and most delicious meal. Definitely one of our favorites. Try to pair it with a spinach salad to get your raw veggies in.

Let me know how it goes! I hope you’re all having very fun and spicy days 🙂

 

Monday Mayhem: Cyclocross Nationals

Gooooooood Morning! This weekend was Mike’s birthday. We decided to drive three hours up to Madison, Wisconsin to see some friends race and check out the city. What an awesome 48 hours it was.

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Mike’s best friend, Kevin, decided to make the 5 hour trek from Cincinnati, Ohio to surprise Mike and spend the weekend with us. I have never seen Mike genuinely surprised and it was so wonderful. After a few awkward moments of, “What the heck are you doing here??” They were both so happy. The sarcasm and inside jokes started immediately and lasted all weekend. Luckily I know them both well enough that I could be included.

Madison is a really great city. I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did. Wisconsin University has 42,000 students. In a city of 250,000 residents, they have a huge impact on the fabric of the city. Their downtown is full of hippie dippie restaurants and shops and we all felt right at home 🙂 On top of that, I love the urban design and architecture of Madison and would love to spend some real time there.

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After we woke Mike up with Happy Birthday and cupcakes, we spent all day Saturday watching Cyclocross bike races. They are a combination between road racing and mountain bike racing. Basically racing in parks and on hills and through mud and over obstacles. Unfortunately, Wisconsin in January is very wet and very cold. The mud was about 6″ deep and it was 20°F. Mike, Kevin, and I were SO happy to be spectators instead of racers. We got to watch our friend, Katy race. She’s incredibly strong and came in 6th! Not bad for collegiate nationals!

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We also got to spend some time in the indoor pool and jacuzzi and our hotel. It came in very handy when our hands and feet were completely frozen. Can you imagine how the racers felt??

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Some awesome businesses we visited in Madison: The Great Dane Pub and The Old Fashioned Restaurants (cheese curds with garlic sauce and grass-fed beef burger, YUM)

All in all it was a fantastic weekend. Mike’s birthday was a success. We were all reminded how awesome bike racing is and are starting to get excited about the upcoming road racing season. I also, thankfully, remembered that there is life outside of Peoria and that I have friends! Haha. I’m struggling a bit here but looking forward to being able to plan some of our future over the next couple months.