Archive for March 11, 2010

“Make Your Own” Night

One dinner I’ve found that is SO easy to tailor to individual tastes is pizzas. That’s exactly what was on the menu tonight!

I chopped up a bunch of veggies- mushrooms, red peppers, red onions, eggplant, and asparagus.

veggies

Then sauteed them with some garlic, Italian seasoning, and black pepper. When the veggies were done I scooted them to one side and cooked up some chopped meatballs for the husband.

sauteed veggies

Then we each got to make our own pizza! I used whole wheat flatbreads from the bakery instead of making pizza dough tonight. They were tasty, and made things super easy.make your own pizza

My pizza had the whole veggie mix, plus sundried tomatoes on a layer of Laughing Cow Swiss Cheese & Bertolli marinara (since it was already open!), then topped with goat cheese & basil.

I’m convinced you could put goat cheese on anything and it would taste magnificent.

veggie pizza

I toasted the flatbreads in the oven as it preheated, then threw the pizzas in a 425 degree oven for about 5-10 minutes. So good and crispy, but not too crunchy.

pizza for one

Dessert

For dessert I decided to experiment with making rice pudding. I’m not sure why, I don’t even know that I can definitively say I’ve even had rice pudding before.

Coconut Rice Pudding

1/2 c short grain brown rice

2 c water

1 1/2 c milk

1/2 c coconut milk

1/8 c egg substitute

1/2 T cinnamon

1/2 t nutmeg

1 T unsweetened coconut flakes

orange zest (optional)

1 t vanilla

1/8 t salt

squirt agave nectar

Soak rice in water ~1 hr. Bring water to boil, then cook over medium heat 10-15 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cook over medium low, about 20 minutes, or until most liquid has absorbed. Remove from heat with some liquid remaining, as it will thicken upon standing.

rice pudding

This was really good! It wasn’t sweet at all, so if you’re looking for a more traditional “dessert” I’d stir in some extra sweetener at the end.

coconut rice pudding

I served mine with extra cinnamon and coconut. Then went back for seconds thirds.

What’s your favorite dessert? Mine’s a toss up between tiramisu and key lime pie 🙂

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March 11, 2010 at 9:54 pm 16 comments

“Make Your Own” Night

One dinner I’ve found that is SO easy to tailor to individual tastes is pizzas. That’s exactly what was on the menu tonight!

I chopped up a bunch of veggies- mushrooms, red peppers, red onions, eggplant, and asparagus.

veggies

Then sauteed them with some garlic, Italian seasoning, and black pepper. When the veggies were done I scooted them to one side and cooked up some chopped meatballs for the husband.

sauteed veggies

Then we each got to make our own pizza! I used whole wheat flatbreads from the bakery instead of making pizza dough tonight. They were tasty, and made things super easy.make your own pizza

My pizza had the whole veggie mix, plus sundried tomatoes on a layer of Laughing Cow Swiss Cheese & Bertolli marinara (since it was already open!), then topped with goat cheese & basil.

I’m convinced you could put goat cheese on anything and it would taste magnificent.

veggie pizza

I toasted the flatbreads in the oven as it preheated, then threw the pizzas in a 425 degree oven for about 5-10 minutes. So good and crispy, but not too crunchy.

pizza for one

Dessert

For dessert I decided to experiment with making rice pudding. I’m not sure why, I don’t even know that I can definitively say I’ve even had rice pudding before.

Coconut Rice Pudding

1/2 c short grain brown rice

2 c water

1 1/2 c milk

1/2 c coconut milk

1/8 c egg substitute

1/2 T cinnamon

1/2 t nutmeg

1 T unsweetened coconut flakes

orange zest (optional)

1 t vanilla

1/8 t salt

squirt agave nectar

Soak rice in water ~1 hr. Bring water to boil, then cook over medium heat 10-15 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cook over medium low, about 20 minutes, or until most liquid has absorbed. Remove from heat with some liquid remaining, as it will thicken upon standing.

rice pudding

This was really good! It wasn’t sweet at all, so if you’re looking for a more traditional “dessert” I’d stir in some extra sweetener at the end.

coconut rice pudding

I served mine with extra cinnamon and coconut. Then went back for seconds thirds.

What’s your favorite dessert? Mine’s a toss up between tiramisu and key lime pie 🙂

March 11, 2010 at 9:54 pm 16 comments

Pump You Up

Wanna pump some iron?!

Knowing you’re supposed to strength train and knowing why are two different things. Having strong muscles can help protect your joints and prevent injury!

Did you know you start losing muscle due to age as early as 18?! I’m already 6 7 years behind!

Why does this start so early? Well, think about what happened when you were in your early 20s- if you’re like me, you got a desk job. Even the most active people tend to be fairly sedentary during the day. Decreased activity results in muscle loss (remember hearing “if you don’t use it, you lose it”?).

Why is this a problem?

– Decreased strength

– Reduced aerobic capacity (muscles use oxygen!)

– Lower energy needs (meaning you need to eat less to not gain weight)

– Poor response to stress

The good news is muscle is highly responsive to exercise. Muscle loss can be corrected through progressive resistance training (an exercise in which muscle contracts a few times against a heavy load that is progressively increased with training). By lifting properly, muscle can be gained in fewer than 6 weeks, with as little as 30 minutes 2-3 times per week.

Yup, you read that right. 30 minutes, 2-3 times per week. Not so bad is it? Intensity is actually the most important factor to stimulate muscle growth. So what’s recommended? Lifting 60 to 100% of your one rep max (the most you can lift one time). One way to judge if you are lifting enough is to follow this pattern:

Perform 3 sets: Do 8 repetitions for the first 2 sets. For the 3rd set, lift until your muscles fatigue- if you can do more than 12 reps, increase your weight by 5% during your next training session.

It’s also not the amount you lift, but how you lift. There are 2 phases to lifting a weight: the concentric (or lifting) phase and the eccentric (or lowering) phase. When you lift weights, the increase in strength comes from repairing damage to the muscles. Eccentric exercise is what causes muscle damage (and soreness!). While this may sound like a bad thing, it isn’t- muscle breakdown actually encourages new muscle growth, making your muscles stronger and larger. The ideal way to emphasize the eccentric phase would be to lower more weight than you lift, but that would be impossible. Instead, try lowering a weight 3 times longer than you lift it (i.e. lift for 2 seconds, lower for 6). .

(If you’re like me and have trouble counting, just go really slow on the way down and repeat until you can’t anymore. It helps if you have some good tunes going to distract you ;))

Good news- weight lifting is good for weight loss! Studies have shown people lifting weights a couple times a week need to increase their calorie intake to maintain weight. Why? Strength training increases your metabolism (the process of building muscle actually requires energy (aka calories). Also, being stronger makes people naturally increase their activity throughout the rest of the day. (Aerobic exercise, while important and good for you, does not increase metabolic rate.)

The benefits of strength training don’t stop there- it also improves bone strength. Shockingly, the risk of death from a hip fracture equals the risk of death from breast cancer!!! It’s never too late to start lifting weights: A group of 90 year olds increased their strength 200% in 8 weeks!!

To put all of that as simply as possible: increasing muscle mass is like turning a 4 cylinder engine into a V8- more muscle burns more calories.

And remember, when you have a bigger engine, you need more gasbe sure to eat enough, especially protein!

Remember: Lift enough, and lower slowly!

Happy lifting!

March 11, 2010 at 10:30 am 17 comments

Serve Me Up Another

I enjoy every single bowl of oats I eat (obviously, or I wouldn’t eat oats 2093293 times a year), but I think this one tops the charts.

Pumpkin Apple Oats

I couldn’t decide between the pumpkin and the apples. They were both just begging to be eaten- so I used them both! (The oh-so-common fall back option for a non-decision-maker like myself)

pumpkin apple oats

My oat combo with pumpkin puree and cottage cheese stirred in, then topped with roasted apples, wheat berries, and crushed walnuts.

pumpkin apple oatmeal

I swear I had a spoonful of peanut butter on top of this but I can’t find the picture?!

apple pumpkin oats

I was seriously so sad when this bowl was finished. I almost got up and made another, but I controlled myself. Actually I dug into the last slice of banana bread instead 😉

And some Fresh Market Peppermint Blend coffee. I’ll be pretty happy when this bag is gone, but until then, I’ll keep drinking away. I’m just itching to get my hands on some Spring Blend!!!

peppermint coffee

Almost weekend!! 🙂

March 11, 2010 at 7:16 am 7 comments


Welcome! This blog is all about food & fitness, and trying to find balance after an injury. Read along as I train for a half-marathon, triathlon, & have FUN while staying healthy!

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