Posts Tagged ‘healthy’
Another non-crafty post from me. However, this has been hanging on my heart as something I wanted to share, so I decided to take the time to do so. It’s a bit long, so allow yourself a minute to read it!
Summer is over, it’s time to get back into professional working mode and just plain old getting things done. That’s what fall is for, right? Ugh! Are you having any trouble getting motivated to accomplish the items on your to do list??? I know I most certainly am.
Today I am going to explain to you how I motivated myself to help accomplish one of my biggest goals right now. The goal? To complete my second marathon this year (and ever!). The motivation???
That’s right…donuts. Of the dunkin’ kind to be specific. So how in the world did donuts motivate me to improve my marathon training? Well, let me give you a little background here.
My training for the Marine Corp Marathon in Washington D.C. began in June of this year (2011). Right in the middle of summer vacation. At Disney World. Ummm, yeah. Right. Then, we finished vacationing in north Florida. Then we went here, and then we went there, and then we were busy with this and that and the other. Before I knew it, I was back to work at my job as a high school teacher.
Prior to the start of the school year I had only been consistently “on schedule” with training for exactly one week. Every other week over the summer I had missed a day, or ran a shorter run due to time, etc. So much for the goal I had for setting a personal best this fall. Maybe next time.
My work schedule is quite impossible when it comes to fitting in a marathon training schedule. I have to leave my house to be at work at 6:45. Let me rephrase that…I have to leave my house at 6:45a.m. with two clothed, teeth and hair brushed, lunches prepared and backpacks packed, fed children, two fed and WALKED (for at least 15 minutes) dogs, and a showered, hair done, nicely dressed, paperwork in order, lunch packed, me. Six. Forty. Five. Out the door.
Our evenings - FAR too busy for me to ever schedule a run. Not to mention, that is our family time. Time we take very seriously and demand of ourselves. Homework completed in the afternoons, sit down dinners every night, 30 minutes of reading together. Not to mention again, our extracurricular activities. I am not even going to get into THAT today!
Does this sound like your life at all? How are we supposed to accomplish anything else if our schedule already sounds like that??? Maybe for you it is not running. Maybe it’s a craft project or a novel you want to write. Maybe a book you want to read or a room you want to clean out. How do we get this stuff done?
Well, for me, I realized, I had to be truly genuine with my priorities. What was important to me? I committed myself to this run. As a matter of fact, I am raising money and running for a great cause at the MCM this year. How was I going to fit those five mile runs in during the week? The only solution possible for my schedule is to pull myself out of bed early. EARLY. I already wake up at 5:00am.
That meant somehow finding the motivation to get up at 4:30am, or earlier, to fit in a good 4 mile run (the shortest run I do during the week). ***See, you knew I was going to connect to the top of this post somehow, right?***
I tried, over and over again, but every time I even thought about doing it, I found a million excuses not to. I didn’t have the right dark running gear, I was too tired (uh…), I had too much work to do the night before. I became awesome at talking myself out of trying a morning run.
Silly me, I found it. The motivation. Donuts. Donuts that I didn’t even eat. The first week of school I promised my homeroom class I would get them donuts Friday if they had all of their paperwork turned in to me. These are high school kids. I wasn’t expecting them to actually do it! Well, they all had it all turned in on Wednesday. This, of course, meant breakfast was on me. I had to finagle my whole morning schedule to stop at the not-so-on-the-way donut shop to get 3 dozen donuts before school.
As my alarm went off at 4:30am that morning, it hit me. I was getting up to do this because I made a promise to my students and I couldn’t let them down. Why was I not able to make the same promise to myself to get up and run? So I did exactly that. That morning I promised myself I was going to at least give a morning run a try first thing next week.
It was literally as easy as that. I suppose that is what an epiphany does. It lets you see the light. For me, this light was being honest and true to myself. I knew I really wanted to run in the morning. If there is something you really want to do you have to give yourself that self-talk that motivates you to do it. No one else is going to pull you out of bed. No one else is going to put the paint brush in your hand, or the pen, or whatever tool it is your goals require. Only you can decide how important it is to you.
So make an intentional, driven choice to begin, and finish, something. If you can’t do that for yourself it must not be important enough to do. Make the decision to either do or don’t do and get that project out from hanging over your head.
I am now running at least twice a week in the mornings. Mostly Tuesday and Wednesday. Friday’s are 8 and 10 mile runs for me right now, which is too much even for me to do in the morning. I carry a flashlight and wear reflective gear and I give myself at least 20 minutes after waking up to eat and have a glass of water before I run out the door. I also carry my cell phone (I have watched one too many episodes of Law and Order) and I stay close to my house. I go to bed between 8:30 and 9:30 at night (which I thought I would HATE and I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE it) so I am up and ready to go at 4:30am. We also do a great job organizing our lives for the morning before we go to bed. Lunches made, coffee pot ready to brew, bags packed, clothes laid out, house clean. It is amazing how much this has helped us organize our lives too.
Whatever you are looking for motivation to help you with, decide whether or not you REALLY want to do it. If the answer is yes, then do it. I found, the harder it is to get started doing something, the bigger the rewards are when you actually finish it!
Sorry for the novel!
We just finished an interesting meal in my house. It came from a Cooking Light Magazine. The whole meal was less than 370 calories (according to the magazine). There were vegetables. Bean Sprouts. There was TOFU. Everyone ate it (9 year old son, 6 year old daughter, two servings for the Hubby). Everyone ate it and LIKED it. I LOVED it.
All of the above are pretty fantastical things here. TOFU??? That was the first time I dared asked my children to eat a meal with ingredients such as those above including carrots, shallots, cucumber, and more. I have never touched TOFU before, let alone cooked or tasted it. The same was true with bean sprouts. Bean Sprouts? Eeew! Right? Well, that’s what I used to think.
Hopefully I have made it clear that I am working to ensure a healthy lifestyle for my family. The only way my kids are going to learn is if I teach them, right? They say the best way to lead is by example. We have made many changes to the way we eat and live in the past few months. I am looking up recipes that are healthy and natural. I am purchasing almost exclusively whole foods – or foods that have not been processed. We are walking up and down the “normal” aisles of the grocery store a lot less and spending much more time in the produce sections as well as the organic sections. We make weekly trips to the farmer’s market to get our week’s veggies. Buy local!!!
This recipe represents several of our changes. Not every attempt has been a hit, but this one definitely was!
The Pros of this recipe:
- of course, first, that everyone liked it
- low in calories
- high in taste
- I only had to buy two of the ingredients
- I was able to use the basil and chives from my garden
The Cons of this recipe:
- a LOT of dishes to measure and cut the ingredients and a big mess to clean up
- though I only had to purchase two things – there were a LOT of ingredients, several of which you may not have in YOUR cupboard
- the magazine said 35 minutes and it certainly took me longer to prepare and cook this dish
You definitely want to get the ingredients ready in advance as you can see in my picture below. Stir-frying is quick moving cooking and things will certainly go awry if you are hunting down the bottle of lime juice
Changes I made (many of which were to not have to purchase more than was necessary):
- I could not, for the life of me, find tempeh and still don’t know exactly what it is; however, in researching online, I learned that it is similar to TOFU, so I figured that would substitute just fine (I think it did)
- I’m not sure if there is a difference between an English cucumber and the “regular” kind, so I just used a cucumber
- I didn’t use banh pho rice sticks; I used the oriental noodles I had in my pantry
- I didn’t use mint or cilantro because I didn’t have the fresh herbs (I am sure this would make it a very different tasting meal) and I didn’t use any lime wedges
My favorite quote of the night:
“Mommy, this chicken tastes weird.” I never did tell them it was TOFU. I was not a huge fan of it myself, but it wasn’t terrible. The taste was fine, it was the consistency. Next time, I will still probably go with TOFU (so that should tell you that it was perfectly ok), but I will crumble it up instead of cutting it into cubes.
The most important thing that I am learning as I do more cooking around the house is that it is all about whatever you want. I still need recipes to guide my way though. I would NEVER think of something like this on my own. I have really enjoyed cooking out of Cooking Light. They do a great job of making a low fat or healthy meal taste fantastic. I have only that the subscription a few months and I have already cooked several recipes, including their low calorie banana pudding. Hubby LOVED that one too!!!
Thanks for dinner Mom! Little K was the first one done! This is definitely a keeper and needs to go in the file with all the other usual suspects around our house.
Oh, I suppose you want the recipe, hmm??
- 8 ounces uncooked wide rice sticks (banh pho) any old oriental style noodles will work
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sesame oil, divided
- 1/2 cup organic vegetable broth
- 6 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon chili sauce you can find this in most grocery stores in the ethnic food section
- 8 ounces tempeh, cut into 1/2-inch cubes I used firm TOFU, which I recommend crumbling while you cook if you are a consistency person
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 cups fresh bean sprouts
- 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced English cucumber
- 5 thinly sliced green onions
- 1 1/2 cups matchstick-cut carrots
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves I omitted
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro I omitted
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts
- 12 lime wedges I omitted, not to mention, surely this must be a typo and they only meant 2 wedges as it says in the directions below
- 1. Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain and toss with 1 teaspoon sesame oil.
- 2. Combine broth and the next 4 ingredients (through chili sauce), stirring with a whisk.
- 3. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; swirl to coat. Add tempeh, and stir-fry 3 minutes or until lightly browned. whoa! huge splatter of oil, much more than usual when I stir-fry! be careful and have a shield ready Add garlic and shallots; stir-fry 1 minute or until shallots begin to soften. Add eggs; stir-fry for 30 seconds or until soft-scrambled, stirring constantly. Add soy sauce mixture, and bring to a boil. Add noodles and bean sprouts; toss gently to coat. Cook 1 minute or until sauce is thickened.
- 4. Remove from heat, and top with cucumber and the next 5 ingredients (through fresh cilantro). Sprinkle each serving with 1 teaspoon dry-roasted peanuts and the juice from 2 lime wedges.
I highly recommend it and can’t wait to make it again myself!
Good for me, good for you! Today’s post is another healthy living post, which I am trying so desperately hard to do! I found this recipe for Morning Glory Muffins on my favorite, of course, allrecipes.com. It is fantastic!
And why is it good for me and good for you? Well, it is full of:
carrots, great for vision, and lowering blood cholesterol
wheat flour, packed with calcium, iron, and fiber
cinnamon, there are too many reasons why this may be good for you to list, so go check this link out yourself :)
apple and apple butter, one a day keeps the doctor away, right?? check this out
cranberries (I used these instead of raisins), full of antioxidants and all these other reasons
- eggs, great source of protein and vitamins
- about 150 calories per muffin of all that goodness (I yielded several more than the recipe called for and made a few alterations)
Not to mention, it tastes wonderful! My alterations: I used craisins instead of raisins because we just prefer them around this house and I only added one TSP of vanilla instead of a TBSP, by accident really, but it didn’t hurt the flavor at all. I would still put a full tsp in next time. Also, I did not do the nut/wheat germ topping because I was too lazy and they looked just fine the way they were!
This really reminds me of a recipe I think my mother made while I was growing up and I am sure I HATED them back then. I don’t remember eating them, I just remember seeing them, and probably wishing they were brownies. :) Alas, a lot has changed since then and I think this is an excellent breakfast or snack muffin. Great on the side at dinner too!
I have recently found these awesome little treats at my local Walmart. Brother’s All Natural Fruit Crisps (this is not a paid endorsement or advertisement…I just like them a lot!). They are pure and simply, freeze dried fruit. Nothing added, at all. Just fruit. No preservatives or color or anything. And the package of apples, for example, is only 39 calories for one bag which says it contains 1.5 of the little buggers. They really are a lovely little snack and totally do a good job at staving my appetite off between meals.
I also LOVE those little bags of apple chips you can find in the produce section of your grocery store. But I think it is incredibly ridiculous to pay 3.99 for a small bag of baked apples! I decided I would go ahead and make my own and see how it went.
You can see in the directions below, it was a relatively easy process. I had the apples ready to go in the oven in less than five minutes. But oh my gosh, they were in the oven baking for HOURS (I am sure I spent more than 3.99 on my electric bill baking these)! I thought one hour would do the trick…it was closer to 3.5. I clearly used too many apples (five) and should not have baked them on two cookie sheets at the same time like I did. I also started baking them at 200 degrees and finally upped it to 250 after hour two. Next time I will bake them at 250 degrees from the get go.
So here I am including the recipe as I would follow it NEXT time I make these, and hopefully it will work. Despite the ridiculous baking time, the results were fantastic. Wonderful crispy apple chips that I have been snacking on these last few days. So yummy!
How to Make Baked Apple Chips
2 – 3 large apples
1 – 2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Prepare one baking sheet by covering in parchment paper. Core the apples and slice them using a mandolin or food processor. If neither is available, slice the apples as thinly as you are able. Spread evenly across the cookie sheet and evenly sprinkle with the rest of the ingredients (or as little or much as your taste desires). Gently toss together before placing cookie sheet in oven on middle rack. Bake for one hour at 250 or until apples are no longer soggy.
Apples are such a declicious treat the sugar and spices are completely optional. You can just throw the sliced apple in the oven to bake and it will be just as delicious.
Raise your hand if you are on a diet! Me too! Raise your hand if it has been super easy to follow! Mine neither (either? neither? you know what I’m saying)! I have recently (like, last week) started my first diet ever in my life. Sure, I have had times where I have counted calories or made sure I was eating a lot of high fiber, low fat foods. To be honest though, I never knew why. Why high fiber? Why fish? Why not my favorite thing on the planet…BREAD?! For goodness sake, why is everything that tastes to good SO BAD for us??? It just isn’t fair!
We all have our reasons for dieting. Most of my friends would give me a hard time if they even knew I was “dieting.” I, like everyone else, also have my reasons. For the last five months I have been training for my first marathon. Already a big deal for most, this is a really big deal for me because I have only considered myself a runner for about 8 months now. I have used running as an exercise in the past, but the most I ever did was a once a week running club. We ran a 5K and celebrated our 300 burned calories by drinking probably 3 times that in beer. Not incredibly effective, though incredibly fun.
My first 5K race (3.11 miles), I finished in 44 minutes. There was beer after that run too. That is just over a 14 minute per mile pace. When I told my mother, she told me she used to walk a 5K in the same time. I was so embarrassed. Not to mention, I was also running it with my boyfriend at the time, who loved me so much he left me behind so he could still have a good finish! Yes, that is sarcasm you note. Don’t worry, I broke up with him a week later. Of course, he’s my husband now, so I don’t know how much that is saying! :o)
Last week I ran 20 miles in just under 3 hours and 4 minutes. That is a 9 minute and 10 second per mile pace. For 20 miles! I am very excited and proud of how far I have come when it comes to my running. I have dedicated myself to it and not only am I achieving my goals, but I feel healthier than I have in my entire life.
However, I have struggled with the “fueling” aspect of running. Energy bars, protein shakes, before, after, all day…what to do? I have recently thrown myself into researching what and when I should be eating for the different running exercises I do, which right now range from 4 miles of running up and down hills, to the 20 mile long run (the most I will do pre-marathon is 22 miles). I finally found a diet that I think is working out wonderfully for my needs.
It is a 50-25-25 diet. 50% carbs, 25% proteins and 25% fats. Carbs are split up into “good”: fruits and veggies; and “bad”: breads, pastas, you know…the GOOD stuff!!! I have everything laid out into a spread sheet that I am living by day-to-day. I count the calories for EVERYTHING I eat and place them into their proper categories. No, of course I am not going to live like this forever. But I am certainly going to do it for a while. Long enough to teach myself how to eat properly on my own. I’ll talk more about the 50-25-25 aspect of it during another post. I should probably wrap this novel up for you right about now!
The point of today’s post is that I am already tired of eating all of this stinking fresh fruit! And I LOVE fruit, I always have. I am eating quite a diverse menu of it too! But I’m bored with it already. So tonight for dessert I decided I would add a little flair to my post dinner fruit serving and I came up with these fancified pears. They were SO yummy and definitely filled me up, satisfying my sweet tooth at the same time. They also made my kitchen smell wonderful! A great winter fruit dessert! By my account, one serving comes in at under 180 calories, mostly good carbs.
Fancy Pears (serves one, multiply recipe as necessary for multiple servings)
- 1/4 cup cranberry juice
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 dash cinnamon
- 1 dash ground cloves
- 1 dash nutmeg
- 1 pear (I used bosc), peeled, cored, and sliced as desired
Combine the juice, sugar and spices in a small saucepan. Simmer on medium heat until lightly bubbly (I covered mine and it was simmering in 3 – 4 minutes). Add the peeled pear slices and simmer 8 – 10 minutes covered, stirring occasionally. Do not allow to boil rapidly as you do not want to overcook the pears. Remove from heat and pour into serving bowl. Serve warm.
Any kind of juice will work – apple, orange, pomegranate, you name it. Cranberry just happened to be what I had on hand. You better believe I drank all of the juice after I ate the pears too! A great warm drink on a cold winter night – spiced cranberry juice! DE-LISH! Next time I will probably add some walnuts or pecans either during the cooking process or as a garnish on top…gotta get those fats into my diet too!
In case you are wondering, I totally kick my husband’s butt running now. We can both maintain a decent speed for about 3 or 4 miles together, but then I can leave him in the dust. Just had to throw that in there :).
Hello and HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope this post finds all of you happy and healthy and having a great start to 2011! So, it is that time of year to ask that question…What is your New Year’s Resolution? I have had somewhat of a hard time coming up with one for myself. I have told friends that the best thing I can think is to stop spending my husband’s money! We’ll see how that one works out for me! ;) I know many of you, like me, also hope to spend this new year eating healthy and taking better care of our bodies. I thought the best way to start us off in 2011 would be to put up a post with a healthy theme…a super easy, quick, and yummy good-for-you snack.
I know after only one time of making these that I will never get store bought granola bars again! Here is a recipe for granola bars adapted from one I found on allrecipes.com. I used some of the suggestions by other cooks on the website and it really simplifies the measuring process even more.
Easy Homemade Granola Bars
- 3 cups quick oats
- 3 cups of any combination of anything else you want to go in
- (for my first batch I used about a cup of coconut, half a cup of sliced almonds, half a cup of crushed cashews, half a cup of dried cranberries and half a cup of semi-sweet chocolate morsels)…but anything you want will work!
- 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add condensed milk and butter and combine with hands until thoroughly mixed. Spread into a Pampered Chef Large Bar Pan. Use a piece of wax paper to press the granola down to condense it and push it into the corners and sides of the pan. Bake in preheated oven for 20 – 25 minutes. When the outer edges are a golden brown the granola bars will be a nice chewy consistency. Leave them in a little longer if you prefer them crunchier. Let cool in pan for 3 minutes then use a pizza roller to cut into bars. Remove to a wire rack and let cool completely. Enjoy!
Allrecipes.com says these are 144 calories per bar as prepared in their recipe. Not too bad for a snack that contains ALL natural ingredients. Go look at the back of your store bought granola bars and see what their ingredients are! YIKES!
Recommendations for next time: I will include some flax seed and/or wheat germ for more fiber. I think I will add at least one, if not two teaspoons of pure vanilla extract or almond extract. Maybe a tablespoon of brown sugar and half a teaspoon of some cinnamon, cloves, etc. I will also add more nuts to get that protein in there even though the calories will go up.
I am really excited to look for fun, new, yummy ingredients to make these bars. I am going to work on them to try and make them a great snack to eat before, during, and after my runs. I am training to run my first marathon this March, so you might see more healthy cooking recipes from me and less super chocolate cakes.
Okay, maybe not!!!
By the way – here are the ingredients on the back of the granola bars I usually eat. A whole lot more than oats, nuts, butter, chocolate and coconut:
GRANOLA (WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED OATS, BROWNSUGAR, CRISP RICE [RICE FLOUR, SUGAR, SALT, MALTED BARLEY EXTRACT],WHOLE GRAIN ROLLED WHEAT, SOYBEAN OIL, DRIED COCONUT, WHOLE WHEATFLOUR, SODIUM BICARBONATE, SOY LECITHIN, CARAMEL COLOR, NONFAT DRYMILK), SEMISWEET CHOCOLATE CHIPS (SUGAR, CHOCOLATE LIQUOR, COCOABUTTER, SOY LECITHIN, VANILLA EXTRACT), CORN SYRUP, BROWN RICE CRISP(WHOLE GRAIN BROWN RICE, SUGAR, MALTED BARLEY FLOUR, SALT), INVERTSUGAR, SUGAR, CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, GLYCERIN, SOYBEAN OIL. CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF SORBITOL,CALCIUM CARBONATE, SALT, WATER, SOY LECITHIN, MOLASSES, NATURAL ANDARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, BHT (PRESERVATIVE), CITRIC ACID.