Tag Archives: life

Thriving Thursday: A Different Cook In My Kitchen??

Last night I had a visitor. His name was Dave. I’ve met him twice before. He knocked on my front door, unloaded his tools, and took over my kitchen! It was an odd experience but definitely an enjoyable one. That’s because he’s a SaladMaster Chef!

Now I’m not one to advertise for other people. It’s annoying, I know. But this company is awesome. I love their product and their way of advertising. I’m not getting any kickbacks or freebies for telling you this, I just think you should know.

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I enter drawings at all the festivals and expos I work and I finally won 🙂 SaladMaster is an elite brand of cookware. Now I know that sounds lame but it was seriously awesome (even Mike thought so). Their cookware is surgical stainless steel and, therefore, doesn’t leach any toxins into your food. He did an experiment with baking soda that showed just how much crap our other cookware put into our food. It was gross.

The other cool thing is that the pots and pans are designed to seal when they heat up so the little pot became like an oven. It heats all the food in half the time and keeps it under 182°F. This means that it loses very little nutrients in the cooking process but anything it does lose, it just circulates back in!

So Dave cooked for us while we sat with wine in hand and watched him. Check out the amazing meal he cooked us in 30 minutes (including the cake). 30 MINUTES!

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Because it’s so nice and has a lifetime warranty, this stuff is VERY expensive. Like take out a loan expensive. But for what we spend on healthy groceries, Mike and I are considering it an investment. We’re going to save for the next couple months and see what we can afford. Until then I’m going to be cooking in my pots and pans with a grimace on my face. Haha.

The great thing is that he did give us some freebies for having the dinner. Some bakeware that I’ll be using as much as possible instead of our current pots and pans.

Note to Peoria residents: I’m in the process of setting up our next dinner, but this time I’m going to invite some friends (more freebies!). A free healthy meal and a night with Chef Dave. It will also be a full education on American cookware and how SaladMaster fits into that equation. If you want to come, let me know, I’ll make sure I include you. And yes that means you PFC patients. Anyone is welcome.

I hope you’re all having very happy days. Love and a big grin. -Ash

 

Workout Wednesday: Timing is Everything.

I have three questions for you. Yes, YOU. A lot of people have been falling off the health bandwagon. It’s about that time of year when resolutions crumble and the same people who were enthusiastic 2 months ago are reverting back to the I-don’t-have-time excuse.

So my questions are:

  1. Have you developed a regular workout routine?
  2. What time of day can you absolutely NOT workout?
  3. What time of day does a workout give you the most benefits? (i.e. energy, happy hormones, strength, agility, etc)

Please answer them below. Seriously. Because if you don’t know the answers to these questions, it’s time to figure them out.

My answers:

  1. Yes.
  2. Definitely not anytime after work.
  3. The morning. Waking up and doing something for myself starts my day on the right track.

Now that you’ve thought those through, here’s the workout for this week!

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- Use a shoe as an obstacle to jump over. Jump high and very fast.

PushUp

2. pushups (beginner- on your knees, intermediate- on your toes with only a slight elbow bend)

RussianTwist

3. russian twist- bend at the waist, lift your chest to the ceiling. (beginner- feet on ground, intermediate- legs at right angle, advanced- legs straight in air)

jumplunge

4. jump switch lunges (jump high, lunge low)

BirdDogs

5. bird dog (beginner- from hands and knees, intermediate- from plank position)

wallsit

6. wall sits (beginner- feet flat on ground, advanced- lift one knees at a time, hold for 3 seconds)

Hope you all have Happy Wednesdays. Love and a big ‘ole 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

 

Mold Your Mind Monday: Do we need a women’s movement?

And of course, in my haste and excitement I completely forgot that today is Mold Your Mind Monday! (< still experimenting with names) As I mentioned last week, I read some really great posts from bloggers all over the world. Today’s is from one my first and favorite followers: Ruth Rainwater.

She posted yesterday on the evolution and necessity of the Women’s Movement. It’s anecdotal and gives a great look at the dark place our society came from. Just read it.

Do We Still Need A Women’s Movement?

– Ruth Rainwater

 

Simple Weekends Are In.

We did it. I know it doesn’t seem like a huge feat but it felt incredible. We turned it all off. We turned off our phones, computers, and TV. No technological communication with the outside world for an entire 24 hours.

But we were productive still! We managed to go thrift shopping, learn backgammon, reorganize the kitchen, clean the apartment, cook breakfast and dinner, and start an awesome new project (more on that to come). I woke up this morning feeling like I’d had a full 24 hours rest. When we succumb to the TV  all day, I feel like the day passed without me noticing.

So we’re committing. Every Sunday that we are at home, it will be a Simple Sunday. We’ll spend the day together doing everything and nothing. I can’t wait 🙂

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On a different note, we went back to line dancing on Saturday night! My regular followers will remember this date a few weeks ago when we spent the evening at Stone Country Saloon. Well I fell in love with line dancing and have wanted to return ever since. I got the hang of a few more dances and am set on going back until I’m a line dancing pro. I’m still working on getting Mike out for the two-step (he’s getting there).

So, in conclusion. Simple Sundays are officially in. Line dancing is officially awesome. And I am officially relaxed. How were all your weekends?

Love and a smiling face,
Ash

 

Just Turn It Off.

Have you ever run into a pole? Fallen off a curb? Swerved into the other lane? Crashed your car? Ignored your friends or significant other? Have you ever checked out of reality and into technology?

If you have a phone, TV, computer, tablet, or game console, you have. Technology is awesome. It has absolutely morphed our world and the way we communicate with each other. For instance, I can have a quick text conversation with my friend in China when she wakes up in the morning and I’m just about to hit the hay. And I can have a weekly conversation with my Gran just to hear each other’s voices.

But the real question is: do you know when to turn it off? When was the last time you turned off everything with a power button? Unless you were on an airplane or suffering a power outage, when was the last time you turned off all the screens?

In this crazy modern world, I think we need to be very careful that we don’t lose all forms of social interaction. But also, how do we just shut it all down and relax?

This weekend, Mike and I are going to have Simple Sunday. We will turn off the TV, our computers, and our phones. We will read books, play board games, and talk to each other. Maybe we’ll even cook together or something hoity toity like that. But we WILL NOT have any connection to the outside world unless we go out and talk to people.

I’m excited. But I’m also weirdly nervous. How do I relax my brain without TV? What if there’s an emergency and my family needs to reach me? Board games are boring! And what if I want to do a little online shopping? These sound like stupid questions but wouldn’t you be feeling the same way?

That’s terrible! So why don’t you try it? A simple day without technology. Talking to people. Face to face. And teaching your brain to relax without any outside help.

Let’s reconvene on Monday. Happy weekend Ya’ll!

 

Thriving Thursday: Magic Water

Every morning I wake up and have a warm glass of this Magic Water. It boosts my immune system, detoxifies my digestive tract, balances my alkaline, and starts me on the track towards a hydrated day. It was recommended to me by my naturopath last year and I didn’t bring it into my normal routine until last month.

Ok, ok, I know you’re itching to hear it what it is … LEMON WATER! Believe it or not, lemon water provides all of the following benefits:

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1. Balances your pH. Most modern humans are horribly acidic. They absorb all the toxins in the air and food and it provides the perfect environment for diseases and other problems to grow. An acidic body is ripe breeding ground for inflammation, allergies, arthritis, skin problems, depression, digestive problems, stress, and chronic disease. Although the lemon is acidic, when metabolized by your body, it has an alkaline effect. For more info on the value of an alkaline body, check this site.

2. Detoxifies your digestive tract. Lemon is a natural diurectic meaning it make you pee! More urination clears toxins and unwanted material from your body. Warm water stimulates your digestive muscles and helps the solids flow more freely (if you know what I mean).

3. Detoxifies your blood (and skin). Lemon juice promotes the function of your liver, the organ that cleans your body. In the long run, this means cleaner blood. Happy, clean blood makes it harder for diseases to spread and helps the skin and hair stay healthier and clearer.

4. Boosts your immune system and other intangibles. Lemons are full of Vitamin C (anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, immune system booster), potassium (stimulates brain and nerve function), Vitamin B (energy production, tissue repair, growth, and development) and important minerals that help build strong bones and teeth. STOP. wait. read this paragraph again…

5. Keeps your mouth busy.  Lemon juice is full of pectin fiber and will keep you full for a few hours. This means I can start my day off with lemon water and Grainless Granola and don’t get hungry until about 5 hours later. Pretty incredible. Also, as mentioned above, the lemon juice stimulates your liver. A slow running liver makes for slow metabolism but a quick and healthy liver means move over Beyonce, I’m slimming down!

6. Keeps you off the bad stuff. Throughout the morning many of us need a pick-me-up. When I drink the Magic Water, I no longer need a coffee or even a cup of tea. For those of us drinking coffee (or energy drinks) laden with sugar and dairy, Magic Water can be a great option.

There’s no way you’re not convinced by now, so here’s what you do.

Instructions

  1. Fill an 8oz glass with warm water. I do 1/2 cold water then 1/2 boiling water because the water in Peoria is no good.
  2. Squeeze 1/2 a (real) lemon into the water. Fake lemon can have sulfites.
  3. Stir and drink up!

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You can bring it to work, you can drink it while you’re getting ready, just factor it into your routine!

Sources
My Naturopath – Dr. Kelly Austin of California Natural Health
http://factslist.net/2013/01/why-you-should-drink-lemon-water-in-the-morning/
http://www.livestrong.com/article/215380-drinking-hot-water-lemon-in-the-morning/
http://lajollamom.com/2011/01/drink-warm-lemon-water-in-the-morning/

 

Workout Wednesday: Don’t Eat Too Soon Beforehand

Happy Wednesday Ya’ll! I had a smoothie way too close to the beginning of this workout and it threatened to come up for 20 minutes after I was done. Whoops! So just make sure you have a relatively clear belly and are ready to work those muscles until they fatigue!

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

TriDip

2. tri dips (beginner-bent legs, advanced-straight legs)

PlieSquat

3. plie squat

crunches

4. crunches (feet on the ground, legs 90°, or legs straight in the air)

MountainClimber

5. mountain climbers

PushUp

6. pushups

+ 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 all have wonderful Wednesdays! 🙂

 

Tasty Tuesday: Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet potato fries. I’ve only had them once or twice in restaurants but I ALWAYS love them. So when I saw this post from Snack Girl, I figured I’d try it. Holy Bajolies these things are good. I did it a tiny bit differently from Snack Girl’s original recipe so here is my version:

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We ate them with Santa Fe style scrambled eggs: eggs, almond milk, red pepper, spinach. Then salsa and avocado on top. YUM.

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Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes (yams)
  • coconut oil or grapeseed oil (because it’s high heat)
  • cumin
  • garlic powder
  • salt
  • pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Peel sweet potatoes then cut them into thin lengths. The thinner the cuts, the more crispy and delicious the fries.
  3. Lay out the sweet potato in single layers on the baking sheets.
  4. Sprinkle them with oil then with all the spices. Be conservative with the spices.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes then grab some tongs (or burn your fingers) and flip every fry. Continue cooking for 5-10 minutes or until the fries are golden brown.
  6. Enjoy!

Ashley Life Update: It’s snowing here again! The second storm in a week! Since I can work from home most mornings and my workouts are all here too, I’m loving this. I can just sit at our dining table, working and looking at the pretty snow 🙂

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“The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food”

I’m not the only blogger or author writing about health, wellness, and design. There are others; thousands of others. Sometimes it makes me feel tiny and insignificant but then I realize: this is awesome! These people are so passionate about health and wellness that they take the time (a lot of it) to research and educate others.

Their articles are interesting and, a lot of times, align perfectly with subjects that I’d like all you to know. I consider myself a source of information, motivations, and amusement for you guys. So … from now on, Monday posts will be articles (or links to articles) written by other people.

I don’t want you to think I’m copping out. I love writing for you guys. But if someone else wrote it better than I ever could, why don’t we boost that person’s traffic and feedback instead?

So here is my first Spread The Knowledge repost. Mike passed it on to me after one of his marathon internet-learning sessions. I was hesitant to use it as my first repost because it is LONG. But even if you only read the first page or two, it will be worth it. It is dense with hard-earned research. Michael Moss gave me information that I never would have known without his intensive detective work. I’m impressed. The article has changed the way I think about the Standard Westernized Diet. It’s awesome. So just read it.

The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food 

– Michael Moss (New York Times)