Archive for September, 2013

September 30, 2013

Delicious Kitchen Magic

cooking magic

The weather’s turning cooler, and there’s magic in the air! Or wait—maybe that’s dinner! When I was younger, I used to run with my dad around our neighborhood as my mom fixed supper. The times I remember most are the night runs we would do when the evenings were sharp, cold, and cloaked in darkness. And, as a teenager, I was starving right before dinner (and almost every other moment). So, when we would pass by one house in particular on our route, the most beguiling smells of dinner permeated the darkness, driving me almost insane with hunger. I was very dramatic back then! Supposedly, scents are some of the most potent conduits to our memories, and I believe this to be true. So true that I am instantly transported back to that cold winter night 20 years ago if I pick up the scent of dinner cooking as I meander around my own neighborhood.

Now You Can Do It Too!

Well, if you want to drive your neighbors crazy with the scents coming from your kitchen, I have the perfect solution for you. I stumbled upon this easy spaghetti recipe 10 years ago, and I’ve yet to meet a soul who doesn’t love this dish. And let me tell you, it’s most assuredly the recipe that people adore, not my cooking skills. J

Reasons to Love This Dish

  1. It’s amazingly delicious.
  2. It’s packed full of heart-healthy, cancer-fighting antioxidants and healthy fats.
  3. It’s really easy.
  4. It requires pantry staples you probably already have or can easily acquire.
  5. You’ll have leftovers for days (that is, if you are without children, like we are—otherwise, you may just have 1 meal)
  6. People will think you are a much more talented chef than you really are—just enjoy it!

Spaghetti Puttanesca

Pasta

Prepare 1 lb spaghetti, linguine, or angel hair noodles as directed on package. Amount of noodles per person varies. Feel free to use whole-wheat pasta, protein-rich pasta, or even spaghetti squash!

Sauce

  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes—not drained (can be regular diced tomatoes, but I like the texture of petite diced)
  • 2 Tbsp black olives, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp capers (drained)
  • ½ tsp (or a nice dash) red pepper flakes
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • dried or fresh parsley, good dash for color (most of the time I omit this)
  • parmesan cheese, grated (optional)

Serves 4, conservatively

Directions

Heat large skillet until hot, then add the olive oil to the skillet. When oil is hot (thins out like water and sizzles if you flick water at it), add minced garlic and watch it closely. This is the time your kitchen starts smelling heavenly! You want the garlic to get slightly golden-brown but not burned.

When the garlic is golden-brown, add the can of tomatoes (both tomatoes and juice) and turn heat down to medium or so. Make sure you watch your bare feet when you add tomatoes—oil tends to pop a lot until tomatoes have blended with the oil.

Then add the black olives, capers, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper, and stir to blend. Turn down the heat to low-medium, and allow the sauce to simmer for about 12-15 minutes—you’ll stir occasionally, and you’ll cook until most of the sauce liquid has been cooked away. Make sure sauce is not cooking at too high a heat or it will stick to the skillet. When sauce is done cooking, take off of the heat and add parsley, if desired. When I serve it, I put noodles in bowl, then a spatula or two of sauce, then some parmesan cheese over it. Yummy!!!

A Few Notes: For 4 people who love this recipe, I’d double the sauce recipe, because the sauce is pretty chunky and not runny. I also keep the noodles and sauce separated and put them together as I serve them, even as leftovers—but you can combine them if you like. As far as
noodles and sauce go, I like to prepare a bunch, so I have leftovers for a few days. And these are killer leftovers!

Enjoy and Happy Cooking!

Brooke

September 30, 2013

BARRE HOPPING

 

Hi, my name is Marzia and I have currently been diagnosed with barre hopping. No, no that kind of bar with drinking (although I like to do that on occasion too), I am talking about the exercise barre.

 

As a fitness professional, I love to try new things. I don’t discriminate. I feel like that variety is great for the body. You need to work little and large muscle groups to get maximum results for a balanced body.

 

I fell in love with barre about 6 months ago. I have seen it on ads, media, FB, and groupon over the past few years. It intrigued me. I decided to purchase a groupon to see if it was worth it. Well, to my surprise, it was! I loved it. It was such a hard workout with no weights, I was shaking my first day and sore as hell! I was sold. The longer I did it, the more I researched it, I craved more. There are different types of Barre offered. So I signed up via groupon at a few different Barre places in my city. I actually loved the different Barre styles my city had to offer.

 

I love a challenge, so I decided to educate myself on barre and get certified. I found a great barre certifitcation here in Dallas called Vbarre created by a former ballet dancer named Veronica Combs. Her style of barre is ballet, pilates, strength and cardio fused together. It was a great blend that kept me sore for days. I learned 51 exercises and her method. I am looking forward to taking her next barre certification class. I don’t want to be “just good” at it, I want to be excellent!

 

Now that I got certified, I am so excited to teach it to my clients. Also, stay tuned for videos on our FB page.

 

Soon to be a barre expert,

Marzia

 

September 26, 2013

An Introduction to Gyrotonic. What???

Recently I was introduced to Gyrotonic and absolutely fell in love with this unique form of movement exercise.  Fast forward a month and now I’m a Certified Gyrontonic Apprentice and will soon be offering Gyrotonic training at my studio, Lift Pilates Experience.

What is Gyrotonic?

I can tell you Gyrotonic training is not geratonic, not gyrotonics and definitely not part of a Mediteranen dish.

I can also tell you Gyrotonic training is a type of three-dimensional exercise taught on weight and pulley based equipment called the Cobra. Founded by Juliu Horvath, an ethnic Hungarian, professional dancer from Romania.  Horvath suffered a series of debilitating injuries during his dance career, and began developing what are now known as the GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® Methods as a way to heal himself and regain his strength and agility.  Gyrotonic has principles of yoga, ballet, tai chi, and gymnastics.

Gyrotonic is similar to Pilates in some ways since there is an equipment system and mat work (Gyrokinesis) and both focus on the core.  The differences are that while Pilates is two dimensional and tends to focus more on stability. Gyrotonic is three-dimensional and emphasizes mobility.

The machine known as the Cobra at first glance looks very intimidating but the good news is that its not at all. The machine consists of a bench that you sit or lie on and a tower with a system of cables, pulleys, and weights, which you move with straps on your hands or feet or with handles attached to circular plates in the front.  Gyrotonic movement feels so good that you almost forget you’re exercising. The system emphasizes breath control and controlled resistance to develop flexibility and strength while encouraging a complete range of circular motion.

You can also learn more about Gyrotonic at www.gyrotonic.com. Also take a look at this youtube video to hear Juliu speak and see what the equipment and movement look like.

Kathy

 

 

September 25, 2013

All About Energy

Need more energy? Everywhere I turn, someone somewhere is asking for tips for more energy. As a wellness professional, I’m wondering why nobody asks about their lack of energy, and about probable causes for little get-up-and-go.

Alas, most people are in need of more energy, especially as we move through the hectic fall season and into the—gasp—holiday season. No fear. Abundant energy is awaiting you. Choose your favorite source and move forward with gusto!

Stock Your pantry!

Bananas

In addition to providing valuable nutrients, including potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6, bananas are a good source of carbohydrates. A plain banana makes the perfect preworkout snack. For something more substantial, mix one into a smoothie, spread one with nut butter.

Peanuts, Peanut Butter, and other Nuts and Nut Butters

Nut butters have been called an athlete’s best friend: Because they provide “fuel and sustained energy,” they’re a great sports food and actually one of the “best diet foods around.” Nuts and nut butters are good recovery foods because they have a combination of protein and carbs, while their healthy, heart-protecting fats keep you going over the long haul.

A Favorite Go-To Energizing Recipe:

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Roll a banana in your favorite wrap. Drizzle a little honey and sprinkle with cinnamon. Add dried fruit on top, if desired.

Spinach

Combine leafy greens with a lean protein and you have an athlete’s power house for sustained energy and muscle repair. Toss in some carbs, too, for a high-energy meal.

Beans

Legumes are a great source of both protein and carbs in a heart-healthy and inexpensive package. Toss them into salads, soups, stews, chilis, and pasta dishes, or serve with quick-cooking brown rice and jarred salsa for a superfast supper.

Oranges

When you exercise, your muscles receive tiny tears—the vitamin C in oranges and many other fruits helps repair them.

Dried Fruit

People sometimes shy away from dried fruit because it can pack a lot of calories, but its portability, nutrient density, and easy-to-access carbs make it a healthy choice for longer workouts such as hiking and biking.

Stock Your Supplement Cabinet

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For early morning workouts, clients, or appointments, I use Advocare’s Spark. As a coffee lover, I appreciate the caffeine and blend of vitamins and minerals to jumpstart my day. The amino acids support the aggressive workout I’m about to put myself through.

Ultimate O2Ultimate O2 (from LectroLife Technologies) is a spray that promotes the transfer of oxygen into the bloodstream. I keep it in my purse for daily use. One to two sprays directly on my tongue provide atomized energy, oxygen, and peppermint oil to support an energized perspective to whatever I am doing,

Essentia Water—never underestimate the power of a hydrated body. When in doubt, chug a glass of water.

Stock Your Night Stand

Lavender

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender is an adaptogen, and therefore can assist the body when adapting to stress or imbalances. I like to close out my day with lavender oil on my temples and the back of my neck. It is a great aid for relaxing and winding down before bedtime, yet has balancing properties that can also boost stamina and energy.

A cool eye mask

I use mine because my husband falls asleep after me and sometimes watches the television. The night mask ensures a better chance of uninterrupted sleep.

A Journal

Sometimes my mind won’t turn off, so I jot down everything that pops into my mind and leave it on the nightstand. If it’s on the paper, it’s out of my head. I can deal with it tomorrow, after I am fully rested. 

In health, Lacey

September 24, 2013

They won’t kick you out of the club….

I tend to follow the Paleo Guidelines of eating. It’s what works for me. Lots of meat and veggies and no grains or dairy. My body can tolerate the dairy, but the grains…well, over time I have definitely discovered I have a gluten sensitivity. I also never miss drinking my Shakeology…a shake that is filled with over 72 vitamins and minerals that is packed with dense nutrition. That shake is not technically paleo as the protein source is whey. People say to me all the time….”you drink Shakeology, but its not Paleo.” My response…”SO! They aren’t going to kick me out of the club!”

Whether you are vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan, paleo or whatever other ways of eating there are out there, they are all just guidelines. There is no membership program and you aren’t going to get slapped with a penalty for “breaking the rules”. They are just that…guidelines. These guidelines give you a framework with which to define your eating. It might just be a tried and true system of what works for you. 

Don’t feel the need to be so strict with one way of eating. Do what works for you. What feels right for you. Eat what makes you feel satiated and full of energy. That is what matters most when it comes to eating, not the label attached! Image

September 23, 2013

Want Plyo? Start Jumping!

Plyometric training, also known as jump training or reactive training, is a popular and effective way for people to improve speed, agility, and power. Think of the ways that professional athletes in all kinds of sports move, cut, jump, tackle, bounce, and explode off the ground—their ability to move like this (and stay injury-free, hopefully) is due to plyometric training.

 However, you can harness the benefits of plyo, even if you are not an elite athlete. This type of training can be added to your normal workouts to improve almost every part of your active lifestyle. Plyometrics can speed reaction time, increase strength, improve cardiovascular fitness, accelerate weight loss, fine tune balance and core stability, and help you kick your own rear!

 So, how can plyometrics help you? Imagine stepping off of a curb clumsily and scrambling to avoid falling onto the pavement. Or perhaps walking your favorite canine companion and suddenly, Fido sees a bird and yanks on the leash—don’t get pulled along with him! And lastly, just living your life—you may have to change directions quickly, grab a runaway toddler, or move in an unusual way—you don’t want to throw your back out!

 Note: Plyo can be intense, so beginners should start with small bursts of activity and build up as their endurance and strength increase. Also, jump training is not advisable without a doctor’s blessing if you have any chronic condition (history of heart disease, diabetes, COPD, high blood pressure), past joint injuries or surgeries (repaired knees and hips, etc.), or muscular instability, especially in the lower body.

 Plyo/Abs Circuit With Step

Here’s my current favorite step workout—a plyo/abdominal combo with strength alternative. Cardio and strength in the same workout? Now, that’s what I call efficient! Turn up your music, grab your stopwatch, and get moving!

 Beginners: Go down the circuit, 30 seconds per each exercise. Repeat circuit if desired.

Advanced: Go down the circuit, 1 minute per exercise. Repeat circuit if desired.

*IMPORTANT: A 5-10 min. warm-up is essential before plyometric training to warm your muscles and avoid injury.

  • Lateral squat jumps on step (start facing left with right foot on step, then lower your body into a squat, jump up and switch feet in the air, landing with your right foot on the floor and your left foot on the step; repeat)
  • Lunge jumps (without step)
  • Abs: crunches OR Strength: DB bicep curl and press
  • Jump squats  (without step)
  • Wall squats  (without step)
  • Abs: bicycles OR Strength: DB lateral raises
  • Fast feet (begin facing the step with right toe lightly resting on edge of step, then jump off your left foot, switching feet in the air, landing on your right foot with your left toe resting on the step; repeat quickly)
  • Step up with high knees
  • Abs: V-outs OR Strength: DB front raises
  • Jumping jacks/prisoner jacks (in 15 sec intervals, switch from jumping jacks to prisoner jacks—prisoner jacks are like jumping jacks, but you stay low in a squat as you jump and keep your hands behind your head, elbows wide)
  • One-legged squats  (without step)
  • Abs: Plank OR Strength: DB triceps extension

Cool-down: Spend  5-10 min. walking or stretching. This is your treat for all your hard work!

Have a fabulous week, my friends, and get bouncing!

Brooke

September 20, 2013

BANANA SPLIT SMOOTHIE

Because smoothies always taste better in a fancy glass!

Because smoothies always taste better in a fancy glass!

Variety is the spice of life! I love my smoothies but get bored of drinking the same smoothie every day. I try different fruit and nut combinations to keep my taste buds entertained. I love experimenting with staple products I keep at home in the pantry or fridge.

My latest smoothie taste more like a dessert. Hello banana split and goodbye gut busting calories! Taste like a banana split without all the bad ingredients and the guilt. The past few times I have made this, I am so sad the last slurp is gone. I can’t wait to have another one! I look forward to the next time I have this smoothie. *Careful, I recommend having this only of you have a major sweet tooth. Taste so good it is dangerous.

I used all of these ingredients plus cherries. (I ran out before I shot this pic)

I used all of these ingredients plus cherries. (I ran out before I shot this pic)

Banana Split Smoothie:

1 cup chocolate almond milk

1 banana

1/2 cup strawberries

1cup frozen cherries

1 tablespoon of Spectrum’s Decadent Blend Chocolate chia flaxseed

1 tablespoon chia seeds (regular plain)

1 tablespoon PB2 dark chocolate (or chocolate almond butter)

2 tablespoon SunWarrior chocolate protein powder

Blend all ingredients and enjoy!

Marzia

September 19, 2013

Koa Water. Drink your Fruits and Vegetables!

Hey! I hope everyone is having a wonderful week! Well I’m always on the look out for nutritious and delicious beverages which for me consists of water (preferably Essentia), organic brewed teas, kombucha, coconut water and fresh pressed juices.  I quit drinking sodas and bottled juice long ago when I realized it was basically gmo sugars, food coloring, preservatives and lots of other chemicals.

If you live in or around Dallas you may have seen Koa Organic Water in the cooler of your favorite juice bar or studio.  I saw it too and was skeptical about something labeled “organic water” and wondered if it was just another marketing ploy devised by some big company not very concerned with my health.

Whats inside Koa?

 

 

Well, I’m happy to say I was way off. Today I met with Jonathan Rosenberg, Co-Founder of Koa Organic Water and asked him what exactly is Koa Organic Water? Well its not actually a water but water squeezed from 100% organic fresh fruits and vegetables.  There are no added dyes, sugars or chemicals. The organic fruits and vegetables are squeezed in a way that maintains all the natural vitamins, minerals and polyphenols. Sounds good to me and I have to say Koa Water is very refreshing and has an almost has a silky texture.  Also Koa Water is not run by another big company but by two Dallas entrepreneurs with a big dream of becoming the world’s healthiest beverage company.  I can get behind that.  Their bottle including the cap is 100% bio-degradable.  For more information check out the links below and their Kickstarter video.

http://www.koawater.com

https://www.facebook.com/koawater

Here are a few other food and beverage related links and videos I feel compelled to share!

Food Babe’s take on Coco Cola’s new ad campaign

http://foodbabe.com/2013/01/25/coca-colas-low-calorie-beverages-will-kill-you-before-they-solve-obesity/?sb

Article on Coco Cola Beverages

http://www.alternet.org/food/why-coca-colas-new-ad-campaign-may-be-dangerous-your-health

New Chipotle Commercial – So worth a view, please check this out!

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/17/business/media/chipotle-returns-to-animation-to-support-sustainable-farming.html

Kathy, Fit Fashionista

September 18, 2013

Oh Baby! Time to Celebrate!

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What do you do after two siblings announce they are expecting babies the same week? You grab your super woman cape and spring into laser-focused shower mode. As “Cool Aunt Lacey” I get to host two baby showers and one additional for a great girlfriend of mine within the next month, so I have been scouring blogs, Pinterest, and my own imagination to create three separately-themed, equally-glorious baby celebrations.

I’d like to share some of my favorite “Fit and Fun” baby shower recipes. Just because you’re celebrating, doesn’t mean you need to forgo all will power and see how much sugar you can eat during one party. Remember, there’s a little one on the way that you’ll need to keep up with. Now is the time to get serious about endurance and clean nourishment. However, to avoid a mass exodus before you’ve given a toast to the momma-to be, the food must be tasty, too. I think you’ll enjoy these!

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To re-create a Dr. Seuss favorite, serve Green Deviled Eggs!

Cut eggs in half lengthwise. Remove yolks; set whites aside. In a small bowl, mash yolks with mustard, vinegar, nutritional yeast, Italian seasoning, spinach shavings, and sea salt. Spoon the mixture into egg whites, and refrigerate until serving.

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Power Cupcakes (Moms have super powers, right?) 

Protein Rich Frosting

1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder (I use Advocare’s Muscle Gain), 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese, 1/2 Greek yogurt, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1-2 packets of Stevia. Mix together.

Cake

1 cup oat flour
, 2 scoops vanilla protein
, 2 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour, 
4 egg whites, 
1/2 cup applesauce, 
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, 
1 tbsp vanilla extract, 

4-6 packets of Stevia, 1/2 tsp baking soda
, 1/4 tsp baking powder. Mix together and bake!

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What child doesn’t love playing in the mud?

Mudslide Smoothies

Ingredients

  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen banana slices
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • 1 cup milk (almond/soy/cows)

Directions

Put all ingredients in a blender and mix for about a minute or until smooth.

Should you need some more ideas for your upcoming baby or bridal shower, let me know. With three sisters, I created my event portfolio a while back, and feel like a pro! To re-charge your body after hosting an event (or multiple events), check with your nearest holistic wellness practitioner (or me) about receiving a ionic foot soak. You’ll need to re-charge your body’s battery after all that hard work!

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Did you know?

  • A mini-baby shower, or a shower for a second, third child is called a “Sprinkle?”
  • The original intent of showers was for women to share wisdom and lessons on the art of becoming a mother. (Yikes—I better step it up.)
  • The baby shower is typically arranged and hosted by a close friend rather than a member of the family (now you tell me…)
  • In Brazil, a party called “chá de bebê” (baby tea) is offered before birth (I everyone to say “cha’ de bebe” out loud—it’s fun.)

In celebration, Aunt Lacey

September 16, 2013

What’s on the Menu?

lets eatHi, Friends! It’s Brooke, here. Are you ever tired of coming up with new meal options that are clean, quick, and budget friendly? Welcome to my life!! I love finding new clean recipes, but I can’t blow my grocery budget buying lots of new ingredients for just one dish. So, what’s a girl to do? When I find a few dishes I like, I tend to stick with them and play around with various ingredients, salads, snacks, etc. Here’s an example of a stress-free day of tasty meals and snacks that build on similar ingredients.

Breakfast

Filling Oatmeal with Strawberry Goodness

Filling Oatmeal with Strawberry Goodness

Tip for a simpler life: I save any leftovers from breakfast or lunch for afternoon/pre-workout snack.

  • Scrambled eggs (2 whole eggs, ½ c. egg whites)
  • ¾ c. oatmeal with coconut oil, sliced strawberries, walnuts, and Truvia
  • ½ banana
  • Multivitamin
  • Water

Alternative Breakfast (Super delicious and easy to wrap up and take with you if your morning is busy.)

  • 1 English Muffin, halved and toasted (Food For Life® Flourless 7 Sprouted Grains)
  • 1 poached egg
  • 1 veggie sausage (Morningstar® rocks!)
  • Mustard
  • Few sprinkles of Tabasco sauce
  • Water

Morning Snack

  • Protein shake (whey blend and almond milk)
  • Trail mix of dried fruit and nuts
  • Water

Lunch

Brown Rice Bowl--yum!

Brown Rice Bowl–yum!

  • 1 c. brown rice, cooked
  • 1 Spicy Black Bean Burger, roughly crumbled (Morningstar)
  • 1 c. broccoli
  • ¼-½ avocado, roughly chopped
  • Lemon juice, sea salt, Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle seasoning
  • Water

Mix all together in a bowl and season as desired. Yum!

Afternoon/Pre-Workout Snack

  • Scrambled eggs left over from breakfast along with salsa, wrapped in a tortilla
  • Oatmeal left over from breakfast OR toasted English muffin topped with almond butter, bananas, blueberries, flaxseed, and honey
  • BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids)

Post-Workout Snack

  • BCAAs with glutamine
  • Protein shake (whey protein with almond milk)
  • Other ½ of the banana

Dinner

Fresh Chick'n Salad with Summertime Peaches

Fresh Chick’n Salad with Summertime Peaches

  • 1-2 c. mixed spinach and herb salad, topped with mushrooms, carrots, grape tomatoes, green onions, slivered almonds, and drizzled with light dressing
  • 1 veggie chick’n cutlet, sliced (my fav is Quorn®)
  • ½ peach, sliced, topped with fresh raspberries (add 1 sheet of cinnamon graham cracker if you like)
  • Water

Now, that’s a healthy meal plan anyone can stick to. Have fun finding your kitchen staples, and make friends with your glassware/Tupperware—they will save your behind when you are on the go. Have a spectacular week!

XO,

Brooke