Archive | May, 2011

Yoga & Calisthenics

31 May

I found Jennifer Aniston’s workout at Self Magazine’s website.  It’s perfect to do at home and without any equipment. The cardio portion you could even modify by doing sprint intervals at a local high school track instead of on an elliptical machine.

I’ve tried it a few times and was dripping sweat by the end of it. At the very least, it’s a few new moves to incorporate into your regular workout when you need to switch it up to keep seeing results.

Ms. A in "Just Go With It" - makes me want to give her workout a try!


Simple Swap: Honey Mustard & Low Fat Mayo

25 May

I’m not a fan of plain, yellow mustard – at all. I used to opt for mayo (only the teensiest bit) when making a sandwich at home or getting one from Subway, and then I saw that EVERY calorie came from fat. Gross.

So next time I was at the store I checked the label of Light Mayo – 35 calories (instead of 90) per serving…but 30 calories are from fat. Gross.

I was eating my sandwiches dry for awhile.

Then I discovered honey mustard:

This little gem is only 10 calories a serving with NONE of the calories from fat. And it is a much better alternative to a dry sandwich.

Then I came across the dilemma of, “What am I going to use to make tuna???”

Low Fat Mayo, of course! (I’m not sure what makes it different from ‘Light Mayo’ but there IS a BIG difference in calories.)

Low Fat Mayo only has 15 calories per serving (10 of which are from fat but…I’m not ready to make tuna with mustard so…) and has tasted fine to me in my last batch of tuna.

I looked at the mayo that’s made with olive oil, but that still had 50 calories/serving 45 of which are from fat – ick.

Now, I only use honey mustard on my sammiches ( 🙂 ) and keep a small jar of Low Fat Mayo for tuna use only!

Great Cooking for 1 or 2 List

24 May

A blog I read regularly Childfree Chic just posted this great list of essentials for cooking for only one or two people. While some of the items are in my “wish list”/”splurge” category, there are great ideas and tips in this post. Check it out!

ESSENTIALS: Cooking for Two (or One)

BFF Dates for Mental Health

23 May

Hello readers!

I want to share with you a very important way that helps me stay sane – my mental health tip, if you will.

Meet V:

The bestie - Vanessa

Periodically, she and I have BFF dates (which originated when we both worked at Round Table Pizza and the manager would give us “BFF Assignments” that we could work on together, LOL). During these dates we normally keep things low-key like movie night-in, FRIENDS marathon, shopping, making dinner or going out for an inexpensive dinner – or any combination of all these!

We use this time to blow off steam, have heart-to-hearts and/or just catch up and regain mental balance (which is very important for having a well-rounded healthy lifestyle). And one of our favorite locations to work on our mental states is this nearby dive bar Tequila Hoppers.

Check out our typical order:

Chicken nachos and a pitcher of cadillac margaritas

No, it’s not healthy food but it’s sooo good for the soul 🙂 And even healthier for your wallet:

Yes, that does make it only $9 per person.

Personally, I don’t have the will power to eat healthy 24/7. I’ve accepted that because of this, I will never be as cut as Jillian Michaels, but for me it’s worth it. I do my best to eat healthy MOST of the time, but I also have to enjoy myself and sometimes, nothing can be substituted for half-price loaded nachos and margaritas.

Sometimes you just have to feed your soul. 🙂

Food For Thought

20 May

I’m reading “Eat Pray Love” and there’s this great paragraph on an Indian guru’s teachings on happiness:

“…people universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you’re fortunate enough. But that’s not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don’t, you will leak away your contentment. It’s easy enough to pray when you’re in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments.” (p. 260)

I think that’s a very true concept. While reading this, I related it to something more physical, more tangible – exercise/physical fitness. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people (even myself) lament about how hard it is to get in shape and yet, it’s so easy to fall back out of shape. Then they turn to crazy diets to shed pounds before an important event (praying during distress). It’s because you have to continue working to maintain whatever fitness level you want to keep, otherwise you will fall back into old habits and routines – just like happiness.

Consider this your motivation for the day: Exercise your ability to be happy!

Bown Sugar & Mixed Berries Oatmeal

19 May

Inspired by Starbucks’ “Perfect Oatmeal,” I put together this yummy breakfast last weekend with stuff I had on hand.


Brown sugar, oats, mixed berries, hot water

  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 2 TBSPN brown sugar
  • Handful of fresh or frozen mixed berries
  • 1/2 cup water

Boil the water – pour it over the oats. Stir oats periodically as they absorb the water. (You can add water a little at a time if you like your oatmeal a little more runny.) Once you get to the consistency you like, add in brown sugar and berries for a perfectly portioned, hearty and healthy breakfast (that is also perfect fuel for a Saturday morning workout)!

You could even use nuts or dried fruit as toppings, or heated fat-free milk instead of water – whatever will make your oatmeal “perfect” for you. 😀

(Note: I used frozen berries and I didn’t give them enough time to defrost before I put them in my oatmeal, so my recommendation is putting them in the fridge the night before you want to make the oatmeal to be sure they’re ready to go in the morning.)

The total cook time took about 15 minutes (including the time it took to boil the water) and didn’t cost me anything since I worked with what I already had at home. 🙂

New Running Shoes!

17 May

The BFF and I had a date at the Ontario Mills this past weekend because I wanted to check out the Nike Factory Store and because it had been two weeks (!!) since we’d seen each other.

I’ve been running a lot lately and trying to build up my endurance for a half-marathon I’m thinking about signing up for, so I wanted to see if I could find a quality running shoe within my budget. I did!

Nike Citius +

These are super light-weight, are Nike + compatible (so the Nike + plug-in and a new iPod are now officially on my wishlist), and were $65 after tax – not bad! The style is a little louder than I usually wear (I’ve never had silver and turquoise tennis shoes before…) but I tried them out for the first time last night and I love them!

Dinner for One: Teriyaki Veggie Stir-Fry

12 May

While I was pulling things out of my crisper drawer the other morning trying to put together my lunch for the day, I noticed I had a handful of veggies that needed to be eaten ASAP.

Then I noticed I had some brown rice left over. And remembered I had teriyaki sauce in my pantry. …Sounds like dinner to me! Then, the day that I planned on making this, my boss passed on a goodie basket from a catering company that’s courting the university for a contract.

Foodie Goodie Basket

Goodie Basket - olive oil, loose-leaf chamomile tea, radishes, turnip, artichoke, carrots, rosemary and greens

I’m not sure how I’m going to use the radish, turnip, artichoke, rosemary and greens (all fresh – picked THAT day) but the carrots went right into my stir-fry.


Teriyaki veggie stir-fry

  • 1/4 yellow squash, sliced
  • 1/4 tomato, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 3/4 Cup cooked brown rice
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • Teriyaki sauce to taste
  • **You can add or subtract any vegetables to your preference**

I started by sauteeing the garlic in olive oil. Once the garlic was lightly browned, I added the tomato, celery, squash, carrot and red onion.

Eat your colors! Veggie stir-fry

Once the veggies became a little soft, I poured in the pre-cooked rice. After the rice was warm, I added about 2 TBSP of the teriyaki sauce (you can add more or less, depending on your preference). Total cook time takes about 15-20 minutes.

Veggies and brown rice stir-fry

Veggies with brown rice added

Stir well, serve hot and I opted to pair it with a glass of Chateau St. Michelle’s Cabernet Sauvignon (for no other reason than I’m trying to finish the bottle).

Teriyaki veggie stir-fry

Quick & easy teriyaki veggie stir-fry

I would have had leftovers for about one more meal, but I was starving and this was delish! This is also a great vegetarian/vegan (?) dish.

Quick, easy and satisfying 🙂

Oh No! JM Leaving BL

11 May

I watched my DVR-ed “Biggest Loser” episode from last night and during one of Jillian Michaels’ 1-1 with the camera she mentioned, “This is my last season with the Biggest Loser.” I nearly cried.

Jillian Michaels & Biggest Loser

This is Jillian's last season on the Biggest Loser

Ok, not really but I was sad. I’ve watched the Biggest Loser for the past 3 or 4 seasons religiously and Jillian was a top reason to watch for me. I would LOVE to have her kick my ass at the gym and I love watching her push contestants to go farther than they thought they could. (Not to mention, I wouldn’t mind have her physique…) And now, she’s not going to be on the show. 😦

Another reason I love watching Biggest Loser is because of how motivating it is for me to actually get myself to the gym. (Unfortunately, I usually watch it first thing in the morning when I’m getting ready to work so I have to wait all day before I can act on my motivation…) But I don’t know how interesting the show, and the workouts shown, is going to be without her. I like Bob, but I’m not a fan of the two new trainers at all. I don’t want to watch contestants box with the new girl trainer – I don’t have access to a boxing ring or a trainer to show me what the heck I’m doing once I put gloves on. Also, the new guy has been trying to hype up this weird African dance-martial art thing…I think it’s silly.

Anyway, I don’t know how late I am to the party in finding out that Jillian Michaels is leaving, but I’m disappointed nonetheless.

Do you watch Biggest Loser? Who are your favorite trainers? Where do you get your motivation to excercise?

Simple Swap: Slim-Fast Lunch

9 May

Ok, I know a lot of people think they couldn’t possibly get by with just an 11 oz drink for lunch, but really, you can.

I’ve never done the Slim-Fast 3-2-1 plan and I don’t use the shakes to lose weight per se, but I do keep Slim-Fast meal shakes on hand for days like today – I opted to sleep in 15 minutes rather than put together my lunch and I’ve been running non-stop since I walked in the office.

Slim-Fast meal shakes

Slim-Fast meal shakes

This shake is perfect to grab and go, and because it has 10 grams of protein (20% of your daily intake), it really does fill you up until dinner. The vanilla and strawberry flavors have 180 calories per can, while the chocolate royale (pictured) has 190 calories. I prefer the chocolate and vanilla flavors. Strawberry is OK and I recommend staying far away from the capuccino kind (ick!).

Another perk – they’re affordable. You can usually find six-packs for about $5 at WalMart and just this past weekend I saw a 12-pack there for $10 (either packs come to $0.83/can!)