Cranberry & Almond – ohhh so good!

Happy Friday!!!  What a long week!!!  I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about work last night and started panicking because I had so much to do first thing this morning.

Today’s lunch is pretty simple and nothing to brag about, except for this Glenny’s Cranberry & Almond Bar.   They were on sale at Stop and Shop and figured I would try the brand.  They are Gluten Free, dairy free, and all natural, which is always a plus!   I was a little disappointed in the size, but once I took a bite I realized there was absolutely nothing to complain about!

I’m pretty excited about getting out of work today and starting the weekend! I am going bridesmaid dress shopping for one of my very good friends’ wedding tonight. There are 6 of us girls in the bridal party and then of course the beautiful bride!!! Then, I get to wake up super early and begin a nice weekend getaway with the hubby in New Hampshire. We are going to go hike Mt. Chocorua for the first time. We did Mt. Washington a while ago and this time we wanted to do something a little less extravagant and bring out beautiful puppy with us! We’ll see if she can keep up!

Stay tuned for Sunday nights post – I should have tons to blog about!

Do you guys have any fun plans for the weekend?  Are you doing anything actively fun, or just fun with friends in general??

Posted in My Opinion: Judy's Review, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Thanksgiving Favorite – Chocolate Salami

Every family has their Thanksgiving traditional dish.  It could be a main dish served next to the fabulous looking Turkey or its a dessert that everyone looks forward to eating right before that wonderful nap when the football game is about to come on!

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving “must have”?

For me, my favorite dessert is a Chocolate Salami (are you surprised that there’s chocolate in it???) that my mom makes every year.  It’s sweet and simple and I look forward to eating it once a year!

Ingredients

  • Ø  2 Packages of Goya Maria Cookies
  • Ø  1 Stick of Butter, melted
  • Ø  3 Large Eggs
  • Ø  6 TBS Sugar
  • Ø  3 TBS Cocoa
  • Ø  I shot of liquor (I use Marsala)
  • Ø  ½ Cup of coconut

Chop cookies into very small pieces – they should be no smaller than a corn cornel, and no larger than a dime.  I usually put all of the crackers into a large mixing bowl and use a plastic cup to crush them slightly and then crush the rest by hand (can be time consuming, but so worth it!).  Using a mixer beat the cocoa, sugar, eggs and butter.  Add the liquor of your choice.  Mix in the cookies until well blended.  Lay out a roll of aluminum foil and place the batter onto the roll.  You basically want to form the batter into a log.  Once its rolled pretty well pact, sprinkle the coconut all around the batter on all sides.  Roll up the aluminum foil and place in the refrigerator overnight.  It’s best to slice right before serving.  Or slice it ahead of time and place back into the refrigerator until serving.  This is a great dessert to make ahead of time to avoid the hectic baking that comes the night before Thanksgiving.

So far this week I have been able to keep up with my workouts, which is great.  Work has been pretty busy and we’re going away this weekend so I have been packing and trying to get some housework done since I won’t be around this weekend to do it.  My cardio workout last night was great, but I feel like I’m hitting a wall right now and can’t increase my mileage.  I don’t know if its because I am still struggling with a sore throat.  Although I feel fine 99% of the time, occasionally my throat is sore.  I haven’t been able to run more than 4 miles yet, which is OK – but I’d like to be able to do a 10K in 55 minutes.

I kept my heart rate monitor on during the 15 minutes I did weights:

  • Ø  3 reps – 40 pushups total
  • Ø  3 reps – 90 sit-ups
  • Ø  3 reps – biceps using 5 lb. weights
  • Ø  50 Jumping Jacks
  • Ø  10 Squats with the 6 lb. medicine ball

It’s important to not only do a cardio workout but also work other muscles and areas of your body to have an overall balance.  Your clothes will feel better immediately!  I started consistently working out again 3 weeks ago and I have already noticed a change in the way my clothes fit.  It doesn’t make finding something to wear in the morning a hassle any longer! 

Last night I made a vegetable soup.  Apparently the hubby was not that big of a fan, but I quite enjoyed it!  It was extremely healthy and super easy (as most of my meals are!).  All of the vegetables in this soup I got from the Vegetable CSA (week 3) on Monday!

Ingredients:

  • Ø  ½ a container of Cherry Tomatoes
  • Ø  1 small onion
  • Ø  1 clove of garlic
  • Ø  3 leaves of Bok Choy or Kale
  • Ø  2 Carrots, chopped
  • Ø  1/3 of a Leek
  • Ø  1 TBS Olive Oil
  • Ø  2 Bay leaves
  • Ø  Salt/Pepper to taste
  • Ø  3 Celery Stalks
  • Ø  2 Parsnips

Sauté the onion, garlic and olive oil in a medium size sauce pan.  Add the tomatoes and sauté for about 5-8 minutes, or until the tomatoes have lost most of their juices.  Now add all of the ingredients above and add enough water to cover the veggies (and some) to the sauce pan.  Let this cook for about 40 minutes.  You can add rice or orzo to this also, but I wanted to go carb free yesterday. 

I loved that I didn’t need to add any type of vegetable broth to it.  Since the Vegetable Share equates to $16.28 per week, and I only used 2/3 of my vegetables here, I’d say this is a very cheap, healthy, and flavorful dinner.  If you want to add a protein, I think shredded chicken would make it so yummy!  I think if there was chicken in it, the hubby would have enjoyed it more – he’s not really an all veggie, no protein/carb type of guy!

Attention all you Jillian Michael’s fans - I’m sure I’m not the only one that misses her on The Biggest Loser.  Even though the other new trainers are doing a great job, I still feel she was fabulous on the show and greatly miss her!  She is not going to be on the panel of the Drs Show and today they will air an episode with Bob Harper on it!  I can’t wait to watch it!!!!  They make such a fabulous team! 

If you could choose one trainer to workout with for 1 hour, who would it be? 

I’d obviously choose Jillian!!!

Which workout DVD motivates you the most?

Posted in CSA Vegetable Share, My Favorite Recipes, Weekly Workouts | 1 Comment

Auntie Lou’s (Chocolate) Banana Bread

Need I say more?  I don’t like bananas, but we all know that they are very healthy for you and the potassium helps you from getting extremely sore after a long run.

3 Ways to force yourself to eat Bananas by hiding the flavor:

  1. Add them to yogurt with granola
  2. Make Banana Bread and add chocolate
  3. Make a delicious fruit smoothie

1 & 3 would be the most ideal, but if you haven’t gotten through your banana’s by the end of the week, you might as well make good use of them and make some banana bread.  The recipe I use was given to me by a family friend.  She used to always make it and bring it into work.  At first I was stubborn and said that since I didn’t like bananas there would be no way I’d like banana bread(this was in my fatter and unhealthy days before Fitness4Looks).  But then, I saw chocolate on the bread and thought – that has got to taste good!  You can put chocolate on anything and it will taste fabulous!    that’s my opinion…

Auntie Lou’s Banana Bread (I felt that since I was given the recipe, I couldn’t change the name since I didn’t alter any ingredients)

Ingredients:

  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick at room temperature)
  • 6 mashed bananas
  • 3 cups Flour
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup Walnuts
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Beat the eggs, sugar and butter.  Add the bananas, flour, baking powder and salt.  Beat all together until thoroughly mixed.  Stir in walnuts.  Pour into 2 greased loaf pans.  Sprinkle chocolate chips on the top of the batter.  If you use larger chocolate chips, stir them into the batter for a sweeter bread (as shown in this photo).  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Banana bread is so good – I can’t believe it took me 25 years to taste it.  Pop Quiz – I did not eat banana bread for the first year of my life, and I have only been eating it for the past 12 months, How old am I?

There are so many different types of breads out there.  I am going to start making a new bread on Sundays.  Mainly because I like to bake, but also, the hubby needs to switch up his breakfast.

What’s your favorite type of bread?

Have a fabulous day – Happy Hump Day!

Posted in Fabulous Breads | 2 Comments

Pulled Pork with Spicy Cole Slaw

 

Pulled Pork gets put into the comfort food category for sure!  I never ate pulled pork growing up, it just wasn’t one of the dishes my mom would make.  Once I ventured out and began experimenting with friends, I found this absolutely, to die for recipe:

Depending on the size pork you use.  I have used a 15lb pork tenderloin before and these are the quantities I used.  This is an extremely convenient meal if you’re looking to cook for a large group of people.  It’s super simple and very tasteful! 

 

Place the pork in a bowl for at least 6 hours in the Brine in the refrigerator.  Add water to the Brine Solution, enough to cover the pork completely. 

 

Brine Solution:
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 TBS Dry Rub mix
2 bay leaves

 

Rub the Rub on the pork :) Be sure to cover the pork completely with the Dry Rub.  Bake at 225 degrees.  Like I said, depending on the size – if you have one of the smaller prepackaged pork tenderloin(2 in a package) that is about 2lbs, you will only need to bake for 4 1/2 hours.

Dry Rub:

 

1 TBS ground cumin
1 TBS garlic powder
1 TBS onion powder
1 TBS chili powder
1 TBS cayenne pepper
1 TBS salt
1 TBS ground pepper
1 TBS paprika
1/2 cup brown sugar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cider Vinegar Barbecue Sauce:
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup yellow or brown mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Place all of the ingredients into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Let simmer for about 15 minutes.

 Spicy Cole Slaw

 

  • 1 Pkg. of Broccoli Slaw
  • ½ Pkg. of Shredded Carrots
  • 1 Red Chile, sliced
  • 1 cup of Mayo
  • ¼ cup spicy mustard
  • 1 TBS Cider
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • ½ tsp. celery seed
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 3-4 dashes of hot sauce
  • Salt/Pepper to taste

Blend all of the ingredients together!  I don’t typically eat Cole Slaw, but this is a keeper!

I bought some very delicious Wheat Buns to complete my dinner!

As you can see, I made some delicious corn bread to go along with the pulled pork sandwich.  Apparently you can’t have one without the other, so I’m told!  I never ate corn bread before (I know, I’ve been missing out!) but everyone always talks about how delicious it is, so I had to try making it for myself.  Here’s the recipe I used:

 

Ingredients

 

  • 2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups milk
  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs and milk, stir together. Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture.
  2. Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking pan. Bake at 400 degrees F for 22-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cut into squares; serve warm.

This came out soooo good – it’s surprising that we still have some left over!  As you can see, my sister and hubby couldn’t wait to grab a piece so here’s the only picture I have of the finished Corn Bread!

A lot of work went into this meal, but it was worth every minute of it.  The satisfaction of eating it was great!  Needless to say I did some running to burn off all of the brown sugar that is involved.  I’m still sore from the Circuit Training on Sunday and my 3 mile run yesterday, but after eating my delicious pulled pork sandwich I had no excuse but to work out! 

We are almost half way through the week boys and girls – are you sticking to your workout goals?  Can you believe its Thanksgiving next week! 

What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish?  Is there a way to substitute some of the more “fattening” ingredients to make the dish more healthy without losing any flavor? 

 

 

Posted in My Favorite Recipes | 3 Comments

Circuit Training 101

If you are from New England, then you are grateful for the weekend we just had.  What fantastic weather for November!  It was a perfect weekend to spend time outdoors!  On Saturday we enjoyed the company of our Godchild, which was great as usual!  We went to Ravenswood Park and hiked for 3 hours!  If you are ever on the North Shore in MA, I highly recommend taking a walk through here.  It’s a nice place to go if you want to do a 1 mile loop or a longer 3+ mile loop.  There’s a really pretty lookout that you can enjoy also!

Jamie hiked with the baby and I had a very heavy backpack which tired us out!!!  It was definitely worth it though, isn’t this little guy cute!

Onto a more interesting workout experience!!  When I first started working out, I was extremely nervous about Circuit Training.  Now, I value the workout experience because its so valuable and it makes you feel so accomplished when you’re finished!  When you’re doing the different exercises, it works your total body out rather than just one defined area.  You gain muscle through the resistance training and you increase your cardio endurance with this type of program.  

5 Circuit Training Benefits: 

  • Improves your cardiovascular fitness
  • Increases your metabolism which results in burning more calories
  • Get a total body workout in 20 minutes
  • Don’t need to do it everyday since you’re working every muscle
  • Changing up your workout keeps you interested

My Circuit Exercise this weekend consisted of the following:

  • 10 Squat Jumps
  • 30 second Plank
  • 25 Jumping Jacks
  • 30 Sit ups
  • 15 Push-ups
  • 10 Burpee’s
  • 30 Ab obliques
    I’m not a huge fan of knee push-ups. If you can’t do a full push-up, I’d recommend improvising!

Repeat these exercises 3 times.  This is definitely a great beginners circuit training workout.  You can switch in Jump Roping instead of Jumping Jacks if you have one. 

We went to a local private beach which is in a really nice area.  THANKS to the hubby for his awesome dedication to Fitness4Looks and helping me out with today’s workout and blog post.   

The best part about Circuit Training is that the amount of exercise equipment needed is minimal.  We brought our Yoga Mats to the beach to keep us from getting super sandy today.  Other than that, the only equipment we brought and needed was the medicine ball.  I’m so happy we bought the medicine ball – we use it almost every day in a number of different ways!

The weekend was a successful active weekend.  I feel rested and good about all my physical activity that took place!  Once again, Monday comes so quickly and a new work week begins. 

What are your workout plans this week?  

What is the one piece of workout equipment that you could not live without?

Posted in Workout Tips & Ideas | 3 Comments

Happy Veteran’s Day!

Happy Veteran’s Day and also Happy Friday

I was really touched this morning when listening to Matty in the Morning’s radio segment called Right Now.  A listener called in to say that her husband will be starting his return home today from Iraq and is expected to be home on Thankgiving Eve.  She hasn’t seen him in a year and they got married two months before his deployment.  What a fabulous gift during the holiday season!!!  I’m very thankful to be able to see my husband every night – I can’t imagine going a full year without seeing him!  I have so much respect to all those families that are so strong 365 days of the year and for the sacrifice not only the men and women fighting for our freedom, but for the families that support them with so much love!  So from me to all the soldiers that protect my families freedom, THANK YOU!

Ok, so I don’t really have any fun plans yet for the weekend BUT that doesn’t mean that there won’t be any fun in store!  It’s the weekend and let’s be honest, whether you’re home sitting on your couch or you’re out with some fabulous friends – if you’re not at work, then you’re very pleased!

I’ve recently discovered Wallaby Yogurt.  I used to only eat Light & Fit Yogurt, which I am really a huge fan of, especially because its only 60 calories, but wanted to try an organic brand to compare.   When comparing the two, they are both delicious and therefore I will continue to eat both.  I think I will use L&F for smoothie’s to keep the calories down and Wallaby when I want to eat the entire container for breakfast (like today!).  My onlyyyy complaint, which is honestly a minor one, is that each Wallaby Yogurt (Link is to their blog) is about 140 calories.  That’s not “a lot” but considering the L&F one is only 60 calories, it makes a huge difference to my daily routine!

Today’s breakfast = Strawberries & Cream Wallaby Yogurt with a Banana!

(I ate the Berries & Cream for breakfast yesterday)

Either way, Wallaby has a great product and if you haven’t already tried it, I highly recommend doing so!  I also bought Cascadian Farm frozen fruit for my weekly smoothie’s!  I usually buy the fresh veggies but quite honestly when they are not in season, I feel pretty guilty blending up fresh berries when they can be expensive!  Therefore, during the winter months, frozen is my way to save money at the grocery stores.

So today is my rest day which I’m pretty pleased about!  Last night the hubby and I threw our medicine ball to one another while doing a squat also, 50 squats later, I did 100 jumping jacks AND I ran up and down my 2 flights of stairs 10 times…..why buy a stair master or a stepper if you have stairs in your house?? 

Workout tip of the week:  Use your stairs for more than just going from room to room in your house!  The outcome – a great back side and a great cardio workout!

Have you ever used a piece of furniture to “assist” you in your daily workout?

Have a fabulous weekend!  Do you have a fun workout planned?  I doooo I dooooo, look for it on Monday’s post :)

Posted in My Opinion: Judy's Review, Workout Tips & Ideas | 1 Comment

Apple Pie & Giveaway Results

Thank you to everyone that took part in the Poll on Sunday – This was my first giveaway and I am pleased to announce that the winner is…..GirlBehindSix! 

 

 

As promised, here is my very simple and delicious apple pie recipe:

  • Store bought pie crust (I used stop and shop brand!)
  • Apple Crisp mixture
  • 1 Stick of butter, sliced into about 8 pieces
  • 6-7 Apples, sliced

Make sure to take the pie crust out of the fridge about 30 minutes prior to using or else you won’t be able to unroll the crust.  Put one of the crusts onto the pie dish.  Then, just layer the apples, crisp mixture and butter.  With the other pie crust, I usually use a pizza cutter to make the slices and place on top of the apples.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes and there you have it, a simple, 75% home-made apple pie!!!  For the record, I’m not quite sure how I determined it was 75% and not 50%….

So last nights dinner was pretty random and yet pretty good!  I took the vegetables that I received from the Vegetable share this week and just blended as well as I could.  I baked turnips, carrots, celery, chives, and beets for about 40 minutes.  The mixture was so good, I will definitely make it again!!! 

 I made a sweet potato and mashed it up with some pepper.  As protein, my favorite as usual, chicken.  I added spinach and cheese and just rolled it up with a tooth pick and baked it for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees.  It took about 20 minutes to get this dinner completely ready so it was perfect all around!

For my workout last night, I ran 4 miles in 40:30 which wasn’t all that bad.  I wish it was a little quicker but I guess it takes a little bit of practice again since I haven’t really been making an effort to run fast.  In addition, Abs, Bi’s, Chest were also being worked on.  I have been sore all day from doing chest which feels awesome!  I used to think that being sore was awful, but really it just means #1 I am out of shape and #2 I’m working hard enough! 

The hubby and I are actually hanging out tonight which is a change.  We have both been busy and by busy I mean that the hubby has either been playing his new video game (Call of Duty) or he’s been working late.  Not sure what the evening has in store for us, but so far dinner is set!

 I bought the crust for $1.50 which is sometimes better to buy than to make from scratch…Maybe next weeks pizza will be gluten-free and organic…you’ll just have to stay tuned!!

So any fun plans for the weekend?  Have you been sticking to your workout regime?

I have a fun surprise planned that I can’t yet post about :) but I can’t wait to share!!!

Posted in Everyday food, Giveaways | Leave a comment