Tag Archives: easy

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

 

DIY Friday: Meal Planning Board

So you’re trying to eat healthy? I bet you have tons of people in the wellness community telling you “it’s really not that expensive!” Well they are wrong. Eating healthy can be VERY expensive. To keep the cost manageable you have to do a lot of planning. You have you cook most of your own food and you can’t have any food waste. Unless you plan, IT IS time-consuming and expensive.

Mike and I have been gradually increasing our health factor over the last several months while trying to keep costs low. We have set up a system where, whenever either of us buys food, we put the receipt on the coffee table for the other to review. It holds us accountable and makes us analyze where money could be better spent.

Then I meal plan. I’m very organized and love to plan ahead so this isn’t too hard for me but I was lacking the necessary tools. That’s why I made this bad boy. My meal planning board.

photo 1 copy

 

My dinner system:

  • Cook double-portions every other day. This means only cooking from scratch 3 times a week! I cook half the meal only partially so it’s not overcooked when I reheat it for dinner the next day.
  • Eat leftovers on the days I don’t cook.
  • Have our “vacation meal” on the seventh day.

It’s quick and means that I can buy more in bulk. Our breakfast is the same every morning (Grainless Granola) and each of us takes care of our lunch separately. It’s a pretty nifty system but I was getting really confused about which meals I was going to cook and which food I needed on my weekly grocery shop.

So during our Simple Sunday this past weekend, the weather was nice enough to paint out on the porch. I finally did my Meal Planning board and I love it!

Supplies:

  • Pretty frame (mine was $5 at Goodwill)
  • Spray paint (for color)
  • Spray paint (for chalk or whiteboard coating)
  • clothespins
  • some cardstock to label the pins
  • fabric to hold the labels
  • hot glue gun
  • a little sandpaper to prep the frame glass
  • painters tape (if you want to do a pattern)
  • an old sheet to protect your floor

Instructions:

photo 2^ Make sure you have a surface to stick the pins to. This frame had lots of dips in it so I blocked it out with some chips of cardboard I had in the recycling bin.

photo 3^ Separate the frame and glass. Sand the glass so it will hold the paint. Spray down all pieces with however many coats they need. *I started with chalkboard paint but it didn’t work all that well. I went back and exchanged it for whiteboard paint and repainted the glass.

photo 4< If you want to paint a pattern, wait until the base layer is dry and then tape it off and spray. *I originally had yellow stripes in mine but it was just too much with the raised dots AND baby yellow. After I finished it I went back and repainted it all white.

Stick the clothespins down with hot glue. If that doesn’t hold, graduate to the messier but much stronger Gorilla Glue.

photo 2 copy^ Cut out your cardstock. And write out any of your favorite dishes. Hot glue your fabric pockets to store them in. Then label the pins with the same cardstock. Mine are for each day of the week and then Snacks to take to work for that week. Here’s the template I made for my labels:  MealBoardLabels

Another idea, for complicated meals, write the ingredients on the back of the card so you don’t have to look back to the cook book every time.

photo 1 copy

And now you have a meal planning board! I’ve only been using mine for a week and I already love it. It takes the strain out of meal planning and makes cooking SO much easier. I will say it looks a little sad and bland with all the white and gray but I’m hoping I can paint the walls our next kitchen so it will just be a pretty accent on a sunny yellow wall. 🙂

Let me know if you have any questions. And HAPPY FRIDAY! Love and a toothy smile. – 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! 🙂

Tasty Tuesday: Gran’s Veggie Soup

Have you ever tried to make soup? The ingredient list can be long but the process is so easy! Soup is delicious (especially in the winter), freezable, and cuts way back on the dishes. I encourage anyone with a big pot and cutting board to try it. This specific recipe is from my Gran.

My Gran is incredibly healthy. She could kick my tail in the gym and sticks to eating mostly veggies and other deliciousness that keeps her immune system rock solid. She’s definitely an example for me and where I want my health to be over the next couple decades.

A few weeks ago she sent me this recipe. It’s for a low-heat Veggie Soup. It doesn’t look that yummy but I made a massive batch and Mike and I have been guzzling it down. So tasty!

Gran’s tips: If you can, buy organic pre-cut veggies or bring in some extra help (in the form of a boyfriend or husband?); the chopping can take a long time. Cook a double batch and freeze the extras for soup next week!

So without further ado, here it is:

VeggieSoup

Gran’s Veggie Soup (6 servings)

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 small carrot
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups veggie or chicken stock
  • 2 lbs broccoli
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1/8 cup flat leaf parsley
  • 5 oz spinach, fresh
  • 1/8 tsp cardamom (only buy what you need, it’s $79 a lb!)
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Chop up the onions, carrot, broccoli, and tomato into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Cook water, onions, carrot, and garlic in a large pot over low heat for 10 minutes, until wilted.
  3. Add the stock, broccoli, tomatoes, and parsley. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes.
  4. Add the spinach and all spices. Cook for 1 minute then remove from heat.
  5. Let cool for 5 minutes then blend/puree everything.
  6. Return it to the pot. Add lemon and serve it warm.
  7. Enjoy!

Thanks for this one Gran! Everyone else, let me know how it goes 🙂

 

Tasty Tuesday: Bacon, Blue Cheese Dates

In honor of the Superbowl and the end of my strict January diet, I decided I would treat Mike and I to one of my favorite bite-sized morsels: Bacon, Blue Cheese Dates. I copied these from a delicious restaurant in Boston: The Regal Beagle.  I visited a couple of years back with some good friends of mine and fell in love.

These violate my “no cow diary” rule but the dates are good for you and the organic turkey bacon is too! And holy bajolies they are tasty. The blue cheese gets kind of muted when you cook it so it doesn’t have the bitter after taste, all you get is the sweet of the date and salty of the bacon. YUM.

BaconDates-Unpublished

Bacon, Blue Cheese Dates

Ingredients (2 or 3 servings)

  • 10 organic medjool dates, sliced open and pitted
  • .15 lbs blue cheese
  • 5 strips organic turkey bacon
  • toothpicks or cupcake baking pan

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  2. Stuff blue cheese inside the cut dates. Only enough so that the dates can still close.
  3. Cut the bacon in half and wrap it around the dates.
  4. Pin each roll with a toothpick or set it in a cupcake pan to hold it together
  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes until bacon is done.
  6. Enjoy!

 

 

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 🙂

 

Workout Wednesday: Hop Back to It

This is my first workout post since the Holidays. I’ve finally detoxed myself off of the ChocoCheese Diet: a sophisticated diet of only chocolate, cheese, wine, and NO exercise to speak of for the 10 days surrounding the Holidays. And I’m finally over the flu. Do you think the two were related? Hmmm.

I’m over the fever of my flu but still have a lingering cough and some sniffles. No matter! Read this awesome blog post about if you should or shouldn’t workout when sick. So because my fever is gone, I hit the yoga mat for some light exercise on Monday and then did the Beginner form of this workout yesterday. Today I’ll be back on the bike trainer doing intervals for an hour or so.

Anyway, it’s the New Year. We don’t have any more excuses. You have to get back to your regular routine whether you like it or not. And yes, I’m really struggling with this one too. Want to face it together?

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 hops

LegBalance

2. leg balance – touch the top of your water bottle or the seat of a chair (switch sides at 10 seconds)

PushUp

3. push up

hipraise

4. hip raise

plank

5. plank (with kicks for advanced form)

Squat Jump

6. squat jumps

REMEMBER: this workout only works if you push yourself. HARD. This is the most difficult part of getting back into home workouts… but I don’t wanna push myself… just do it, you won’t regret it, I promise.

What are you struggling to pick back up this New Year? How are you going to beat it? 🙂

Throw-It-In-Your-Bag Thursday: Homemade Trail Mix

I’ve been getting a little fired up in my posts the last couple days. Warning, that trend is about to continue … I’ve been getting it from patients and friends: I just don’t have time to eat healthy! I have so many presents to buy and still have to work my job! OH-EM-GEE guys. This is not an excuse, it just means that you have to be better planners for the few weeks that your schedule is tight. If you can learn to do it now, imagine how many busy times it will help you through.

Here’s what most people do when they don’t have time to pack a lunch: eat fast food or don’t eat at all (less likely but the healthier people think this is a better option). NEITHER of these is ok. You MUST eat multiple times a day to give your body the nutrients it needs to function properly, you’re not going to get those nutrients from fast food. End of story.

Now that we have that established, how the heck do you bring enough food to last you an entire busy day??

Well, you can make a smoothie (recipe for an awesome one is on its way), make a healthy sandwich, bring a couple pieces of fruit and….drumroll please…make your own trail mix! YAY!

photo 5

The trail mix has to be homemade because packaged and pre-made mix usually has quite a bit of sugar in it. Sugar coated dried fruit, nuts roasted and nutrients killed, or just plain chocolate chunks that pretty much cancel the goodness of the other stuff. I’m lucky enough that my grocery has an awesome bulk section (see above) but you can buy packaged raw nuts and seed too. No excuses.

A Few Rules:

  • no roasted nuts
  • no sweetened dried fruit
  • no chocolate unless it’s unsweetened
  • NO SUGAR

Trail Mix Possible Nuts:

  • almonds, raw
  • cashews, raw
  • walnuts, raw
  • pecans, raw
  • pistachio nuts, raw
  • brazil nuts, raw
  • macadamia nuts, raw
  • Any other nuts you like but NO PEANUTS! The processing of those hasn’t been so great lately.
  • sunflower seeds

Trail Mix Possible Sweetness:

  • raisins, unsweetened
  • dried cranberries, unsweetened
  • dried apricots, unsweetened
  • dried mango, tough to find unsweetened but so tasty when you do
  • chocolate morsels, unsweetened (aka. bittersweet chocolate chips)

Instructions:

  1. Buy a few bags of whatever ingredients you like and keep them handy.
  2. Throw a couple handfuls of each into a resealable plastic bag whenever you need and throw them in your backpack, briefcase, or car. Make enough to last you a few days.
  3. That’s it!!

TrailMix1-Published

I made this mix while writing this post. It took me a total of 2 minutes and 39 seconds. Just kidding, I didn’t time myself. But it was really quick!

Anyone else have mix-in ideas?