Tag Archives: cheap

Workout Wednesday: Get Out What You Put In

My life is turned a little bit upside down right now. The future is very uncertain and, as an anxious person with a planning mind, that does not bode well for me. Because I don’t have any idea what the future holds, I find myself kind of just floating around. I’ve stopped trying in everything because I don’t know which aspect of my life will send me in the direction I’m trying to go.

I have goals, big one and little ones. I’m doing pretty well with the little ones, just taking things day by day. But man, those big goals are eating away at me. How the heck do I find my path??

Anyway, I know this relates to quite a few of you when it comes to getting healthy, for life. Where do you start? You start right here. With something manageable. Something that doesn’t consume several hours of your day and makes you feel worlds better. So join me for the workout, take the baby step towards your bigger goal 🙂 I’ll let you know when I find my first baby step to my bigger goals.

And let me know if you have any questions!

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:

LowJacks1LowJacks2

1. low jacks (beginner-side step with a your torso isolated at the same height)

PikePushup

2. pike pushup (looks funny but it works!)

Lunge

3. lunges (quickly, without or without weight)

MountainClimber

4. mountain climbers

RussianTwist

5. russian twist

FrogSquat2 FrogSquat1

6. frog squats

 

Workout Wednesday: Perceived Threshold

People ask me every Tuesday night whether I’m going to take it easy on them or kill them with this workout. My reply is always that I’ll make you feel like you’re dying but you’ll feel amazing afterward. And it’s true!

With these types of workouts, you should be going at such an effort that your muscles stop working, your lungs are burning, and you feel an achy pain in muscles you didn’t even know you had. As long as you are not feeling sharp pain anywhere, and are focusing on correct form, you are doing it right. (If you start to experience sharp pain of any kind, especially in joints, stop that exercise immediately and consult a doc about it.)

So keep going, hard. Work through the pain. The thing that separates you and a higher level of fitness is the ability to push past your perceived threshold. You can always go faster, jump higher, and lunge lower. No excuses!

And now … the 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 (hold your hands at a certain height and bring your knees to touch them)

TriDip

2. tri dips (legs bent in or held straight out)

calfjump

3. calf jumps (too easy? jump higher, jump faster, hold weights in your hands)

crunches

4. crunches (focus on lifting your shoulders, DO NOT pull on your neck; beginner-feet on ground, intermediate-feet at right angle, advanced-feet in air)

plank(better)

5. plank tick tock (beginner-knees or elbows on ground, intermediate-full plank, advanced-lift one leg and, keeping it straight, swing it out to the side, then bring it back to center and do the same with the other leg, in a pendulum-like motion)

Lunge

6. speed lunges (keep feet planted and bounce upper body up and down, switch legs at half-way point)

+ Fit Minute. Choose one of the following exercises. Do it for a full minute at 100% effort. Count how many you do and record it. We’ll be doing these after every workout from now on:

  • Level 1 – side to side steps or jumping jacks
  • Level 2 – push ups
  • Level 3 – burpees

I hope you get all charged up after these workouts like I do. Love and a big smile 🙂 – Ash

Friday Design: Spring in My Dining Room

It’s Spring in my dining room! As most of you know, I’m an architect by training. So when we moved into our apartment here, I was SO excited to actually have some space to decorate. I absolutely love bold colors so I was pretty bummed when I realized that we couldn’t paint the walls. Instead, I’ve learned to inject color into a room through wall art, dish ware, rugs, etc.

I found a deal at our local grocery on a dozen roses ($5!) and used them to bring Spring into our home. It’s still pretty cold here but the sun in shining and it’s putting me (and everyone else) in a great mood. Not to mention my Happiness Project is actually working 🙂

photo 2^ Pretty flowers in my new vase …

And, if you’ve checked out my tagline (“braving the world with no money in my pocket and a smile on my face”) you know that we can’t put much money into making our apartment beautiful. So here’s the breakdown:

  • Gorgeous Fire/Water painting – moving gift from a very close friend. You could probably do a simple, impactful painting for about $50. As a word of advice, shower praise on the artists in your life. There’s nothing better than a gorgeous piece of art that actually means something.
  • Table set with cool, high-back chairs (I plan on refinishing this) – Craigslist $80
  • Striped rug – TJMaxx $65
  • Plant – bought it as a seedling – Loews $10
  • Recycled tire pot – Unclaimed Freight Store (check for one in your area) $10
  • Yellow vase – Unclaimed Freight $3
  • Green and blue swirl fruit bowl – hand painted by me! $25 (but worth the experience)

photo 1Everything in this photo= $188

And now we’re at the weekend. YAY. Au revoir until Monday! I hope you all have a relaxing couple of days. Love and hugs – Ash

 

Tasty Tuesday: Chunky Eggplant Sauce

I hesitate in calling this dish a “sauce.” It’s chunky with creamy eggplant and can almost be eaten on its own. But the flavors are so strong in their deliciousness that it has to be paired with something more basic.

It was an adaptation from a Veggie cookbook I haven’t opened in years. It’s hard to find yummy eggplant recipes that aren’t coated in cheese! But I found one, this is a winner.

Eggplant Sauce- Published

 

Chunky Eggplant Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (I keep a jar in the fridge at all times)
  • 1 Tbsp tahini (also keep a jar of this)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • meat if you want- I used chicken breast leftovers from Indian takeout.
  • something for the base- I used quinoa

Instructions:

  1. Trim the ends of the eggplant. Cut it further into 1/2″ slices. Cut those into quarters.
  2. Steam the eggplant 6-8 minutes or until softened.
  3. While it’s steaming, chop onion and tomato. Sauté them on medium heat together with the olive oil. Now add the meat if you want.
  4. When the eggplant is done steaming, strain it in a colander. Press the juice out with a spoon.
  5. Add the strained eggplant and tahini to the sauté and turn off the heat. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  6. Add it to something basic like quinoa and Enjoy!

Let me know how it goes. Love and a giant smile. -Ash

 

DIY Friday: Cheap and Easy Framing

Large picture frames are expensive. Sometimes you can find deals in standard sizes but when you have a photo or poster of weird dimensions, forget it. Custom frames can cost $100+. So when I found this sweet wrapping paper (yes it’s supposed to be wrapping paper) at Paper Source, I bought it and decided to figure a creative way to frame it. Another cool thing is that the wood is heavy so it weighs down the poster and keeps it straight.

Tip: when you take it off the wall to move, all you have to do is roll it up! And use this for multiple frames. It’s really easy to do once you collect the materials.

Total cost (including the “poster”)$15

2013-02-22_1361540378

Materials:

  • A poster worthy of framing
  • 1/4″ x 1″ trim, the length of your poster
  • wood stain and a brush (optional, you can keep it raw wood)
  • 8-10 flat thumbtacks
  • 4-6 wire brads (skinny nails)

Instructions

  1. If you don’t have a saw at home, when you buy the wood, ask the hardware store to cut it for you. With only 2 or 3 cuts, they usually do it for free.
  2. Optional: Stain the wood. Let it dry in open air before proceeding.
  3. Pin the top and bottom of the poster to the back of the wood.
  4. Nail it into the wall with the brads.
  5. Admire your handy work 🙂

2013-02-22_13615402572013-02-22_1361540301

Let me know how it goes. Or just send me a photo! 🙂

Workout Wednesday: Simple Tools

These workouts I post are amazing. I have to be a little conceited in this because I’m making them for other people. You! They are literally 12 minute workouts that can build muscle and burn fat for at least 24 hours (more like 48). I thought it was a crock of you-know-what until I actually factored them into my workout schedule. And now I can tell you from experience, THEY WORK.

The best part is that you don’t need a gym. Or weights, or resistance bands, or a fitness ball. You just need a timer and a clear spot on the floor (and maybe a yoga mat if you have hardwood). Oh yeah, and you need some will power.

A patient did ask me the other day what I use to time my workouts. Why an interval timer of course! You can find free ones on the internet and run it off your computer or, if you have a smart phone, there’s an app for that. Just search “interval timer” and voila! It should be free or at most $1. So worth it.

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:

Side Hops

1. side hop (jump fast and high)

GoodMornings

2. good mornings

LegLift

3. leg lower (lose the ball on this one)

Swimmers

4. swimmers

DiamondPushup

5. diamond pushup (do this on your feet, knees, or standing against a wall)

SitAndPray

6. sit & pray (get low and put your weight in your heels)

How did it go?

 

DIY Monday: Happy Couch Pillows :)

Happy Monday Ya’ll! I am so happy January is over. That was a tough month for me. It’s always kind of shaky getting back on your feet after the holidays. Combine that with some harsh weather and you get a very sad, cooped up kind of life. But only for January! And now it’s February and spring is a whole month closer!

So this weekend I got Saturday off at the very last minute and I got TWO whole days off in a row. Woohoo! I took complete advantage of it by snuggling in for some terrible TV for pretty much the whole two days. I also decided it was time to break out the new sewing machine I got from my parents for Christmas.

It is unbelievably cool. They’ve invented so much neat stuff since the last time I sewed (about 10 years ago?) So I got the requisite pant and shirt sleeve hemming out of the way. And then I began on our new couch pillows!

photo 3

photo 5 photo 4

Some old (18″x18″) pillows from Goodwill, simple cotton fabric, and about two hours of machine time and I had these babies! I took a lot of inspiration from Pinterest but I needed to make some that wasn’t too girly (in consideration for the man I share a house with) but was also kinda funky and cute. I love them.

I used this awesome guide for fold over pillows.

TIME: 2 hours sewing time

COST: about $10 each

LEVEL: beginner – pillows are SO easy. The hardest part was sewing in circles for the eyes.

photo 2

What do you think?

Happy February! 🙂

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 🙂

 

Tasty Tuesday: Meal Planning and Taco Night

A common excuse for why people don’t cook for themselves is that it takes too much time. To these people I say, “NO!” If you want to be healthy, you have to figure out how it works into your schedule. Of course, I can help you with this.

My Solution: Cook three times a week, the nights you have a bit more time. Easy meals that take no more than 30 minutes. Cook double and eat leftovers on nights you really don’t have time to cook. However, make sure that you are reheating the leftovers in the oven and on the stove top, microwaves are BAD. Let the 7th day be your meal vacation day and get a pre-cooked pizza or order in.

This strategy means I only grocery shop once a week and it’s only for the three meals I need to cook plus a little breakfast and lunchtime stuff. And now nothing goes bad either!

So this week one of the three meals was make-your-own tacos. YUM. It’s cheap and so incredibly delicious.

photo 1

photo 2

Make-Your-Own-Tacos

Side Ingredients (mix or match with whatever you have, and organic is best)

corn tortillas

refried beans

no sugar salsa

cucumbers, chopped

guacamole

pecorino cheese, grated (< hard sheep’s cheese, like parmesan but without the lactose)

Taco Meat Ingredients

ground turkey or chicken (< very important that it’s organic)

1 onion, diced

1 Tbsp coconut oil

garlic, 2 cloves minced or 2 tsp powder

1 Tbsp cumin

salt and pepper

optional: portobello mushrooms, other soft veggies

Instructions

1. Cook the taco meat. Sauté the onion and garlic in the coconut oil on medium heat for 5 minutes.

2. Add the ground turkey/chicken, spices, and veggies. Set to medium-low heat and cover. Stir occasionally while heating side ingredients. Cook for a total of about 15 minutes.

3. Heat refried beans in a pot on stove. Stir frequently.

4. Heat tortillas in oven on lowest setting for 5 minutes. While you’re plating the sides.

5. Put it out all nice and pretty and let people serve themselves! Enjoy.

Hope you’re all having wonderful Tuesdays 🙂

 

Fun Times Friday: Date Night Creativity

If you’ve been following this blog for a bit, you know that Mike and I go on a date every Saturday night. Each week we switch off planning and paying for them and, if possible, we make it a surprise. So last week was mine and, considering I’m on a VERY tight budget I’ve had to get pretty creative with what we do. My budget most weeks is about $25 for both of us. How the heck do I figure that out??

Well if you keep an eye out for free events going on in your town, you never know what you’ll find! There’s a nice, upper class area called Peoria Heights that I drive through every once in a while and I saw a sign for “Chocolate in the Heights.” You know those signs that you tend to ignore because you’re just too busy going about your day? This was one of those. But since I’ve come to realize my not awesome financial state, I’ve started actually looking at those signs! There was no description of what it was, just that it was the next Saturday (yes!) from 10am-5pm. I did a little searching and found a slightly more detailed poster for the event.

chocmap2012brochure

Using my deductive reasoning, I assumed that each boutique and shop on the main street would have some kind of deal on chocolate and/or something free to offer. Done and done!

As usual, I planned to take him to this event and then bring him home and cook a nice, sit-down meal for us both.

I kept it a surprise until we parked in the Heights and let’s just say Mike looked less than excited. However! I kept the energy going. I gave us $15 to spend on chocolate and whatever else we wanted and, because I had to work late, we had an hour to do it.

It ended up being REALLY fun. Of course we only took one picture because I was too excited to remember to take more. But we discovered a whole street of awesome shops we didn’t know were there: an oil and vinegar shop with about 30 different types of gourmet vinegar (cool!) and a few more specialty shops with random but also really unusual knick-knacks. We got some great gift ideas for Christmas.

photo-3

^ Yep, I look like I’ve just discovered gold.

We used this as our food vacation day and got lots of delectable treats. Free stuff we indulged in: chocolate fountain (see above), chocolate pretzel clusters, oil and vinegar samples, cheese, wine, beer, and chocolate cupcakes. With our $15 we bought an amazing triangle of cheese, a bar of specialty chocolate, and some Pear Balsamic Vinegar. And we had such a good time scoping out the options and then going back to the shops to purchase what we wanted.

So it’s possible! To have a few hours of fun and still stick to your budget. You just have to keep an eye out for free things around your town.

Happy Friday everyone! 🙂