How To Get Into Fitness For Real- Part 2 Nutrition

Today is February 28th and I have officially been Into Fitness since January 29th.  I started with getting into a sustainable workout routine that I like.

Remember when I wrote part 1 of how to get into fitness?  Well, I have stuck to it and added the other half of the fitness puzzle: nutrition.

I am down 7.6 pounds as of today! So I guess you could say what I’m doing is working! 🙂

BUT MORE THAN WEIGHING LESS, I FEEL WAAAAY BETTER!

Woot! That’s my goal. 🙂

We all gotta eat to live but what we eat really impacts how well we live.  I started thinking that NOT ALL CALORIES ARE CREATED EQUAL.  With that in mind I took a look at what calories would help me to FEEL GOOD.  Afterall, feeling good is my goal here.  I want to live a long life feeling as good as I can by living out Real Fitness.

Real Fitness (to me) means sustainable healthy exercise and healthy eating.

  What makes it sustainable is choosing quality calories so you aren’t starving.  I mean it.  If you eat primarily junk calories, then you are starving and no amount of junk calories can deliver the nutrition you NEED.  The result is you are nutritionally starved.  I have noticed that when I eat McDonald’s for example that I am hungry soon after eating.  When I eat hard-boiled eggs and toast I am way more satiated for fewer calories.  I don’t think it is right to tell you what to eat.  I just want you to think about what you like to eat and ask yourself:

Are these quality calories?

&

How can I make substitutions to improve the quality of what I eat?

With that said, I enjoy a mocha almost, if not, every day.  This mocha has milk chocolate and white chocolate powder *read* NOT QUALITY CALORIES.  But, I want to eat in a way that I enjoy so I substituted skim milk for whole and don’t go overboard on the chocolate.  I put just enough in to make it enjoyable.

I make sure my calories are in large part from real food, not processed crap.  Remember, the tiny part of the food pyramid is fats and oils.

I’ve also started counting calories so I know how much is in what I eat.  This helps over time to learn what appropriate portion sizes are.  I’m also finding I don’t want junk food as much because I know it won’t make me feel good for very long.  In fact, it will make me feel awful if I let it get out of proportion in my total daily intake.

You know what else?

Those fatty sweet and salty foods spike your appetite and when you eat more and more, you gain weight.

I want to feel good and when I eat quality calories there’s just no need to binge on junk.

Instead, I measure out a serving of the goody I want and put it in a seperate container or bag.  For example, I bought Cadbury chocolate eggs (the little ones that come out for Easter every year).   I love them enough to pay the outrageous price!  Since I am focusing on eating quality calories I don’t need Cadbury to fill my hunger.

I get to enjoy Cadbury Chocolate Eggs for what they are; just a treat.

So, I hope you can see my point here that eating well doesn’t mean eliminating the treats (at least in my book).

FOCUS on making sure you get the QUALITY CALORIES you need first, then if you still want  a treat, you can enjoy a serving.

If you are wanting to get into Fitness for Real I hope you’ll join me!  I am loving it.  I feel so much better.  Fitness is all about giving your body what it needs.  I love the stress relief of exercise and losing a few extra pounds is awesome too!  I love the stress relief of quality calories.  I love the stress relief of not being on some sort of “diet”.  Sure you won’t lose 20 pounds in a week this way but you could in ten weeks and then NEVER see that 20 pounds again.  When you are into fitness for real, you care about what your body needs to work its best, not about losing weight right now.

 Believe me, if you do something hasty like take pills that raise your “metabolic heart rate” *read* “up your risk of a heart attack!”  you are more likely to lose weight and gain it back and have long-term health problems.

That just doesn’t meet my goal.

Dear Jesus,  You are ultimately in control of our health.  Thank you that you designed our bodies to be efficient machines and gave us the means to be fit.  I pray that anyone who reads this is blessed by it and that you will enable them to take good care of the body you gave them.  I love you Jesus.  Thank you for sustaining me and giving me each breath.  Amen.

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Pot Pies & Buckleberry Tart Mini Pies, Fun Food Friday’s

Remember those huckleberries and blackberries we picked?  Well, we made mini pies. Yum yum.  All you do is make basic pie crust for another thing like say, pot pies. Then use the left over crust to make mini pies with a small cupcake tin.  I filled the crust with whole berries and some pureed berries with added sugar.  So yummy.

I like to fill my pot pies with whatever is on hand.  I have lots of zucchini already so that made it in along with chicken and white sauce.  I don’t have a specific recipe for them just whatever I have that sounds good together.  This is good for variety too.

 close up 1 close up 2 Giddo lovin the tarts happy giddo pot pie cut up pot pie half pot pie top view

And here are a few pictures of our garden produce. 🙂

happy kale

Purple Long Beans

Purple Long Beans

tomatoes

Dear Jesus, thank you for delicious real food.  Thank you for blessing our garden.  Thank you for loving us.  Amen.

“Thai” Creamy Pesto Chicken & Quinoa, Fun Food Friday’s

I seeded my vegetable bed in late January which worked out great this year.  I had enough spinach to make and freeze a large batch of spinach pesto in ice-cube trays to make them single serving size.  We slaughtered chickens about a month ago so we have great chicken around.  I am absolutely in love with quinoa.  We happened to have a can of Campbell’s cream of chicken soup.  We were out of milk but had half and half…

What does all this make?

If you buy a Campbell’s can of creamy chicken soup, there’s a recipe for creamy pesto chicken and bow tie pasta on the label.  I figured, why not substitute my ingredients?  I have come to find substitutions make for exciting dishes.

Last nights dinner wound up having an amazing Thai flavor.

Go figure!

“Thai” Creamy Pesto Chicken & Quinoa (6 servings)

Ingredients:

  • Can Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 6 oz. (spinach) pesto
  • 1 cubed chicken breast (pan-fried)
  • 1/2 Cup half-n-half
  • Sliced red bell pepper
  • 4 cups cooked quinoa (2 cups uncooked)

Mix everything except the quinoa and heat it through, spoon quinoa onto dinner plates and top with creamy pesto chicken mixture. Enjoy!

creamy thai chicken n pesto quinoa

I’m telling you this is SO darn good. 🙂

Dear Jesus, thank you for awesome and wholesome meals on the cheap.  Thank you for blessing our garden.  Amen.

Fun Food Friday, Garden Update & Celebration Pictures

We will be celebrating the 4th of July over the weekend with Bart’s extended family.  Until this year we have somehow escaped food responsibilities.  While that has been nice, I am excited to contribute.  For the weekend I made a fruit salad with grapes, blueberries, pineapple and honey-dew melon.  I didn’t follow a recipe just bought things that sounded good together and had similar flavor characteristics.  Maybe others would disagree but I think it sounds like a good smoothie too. 🙂  I also made a pasta salad with zucchini from our garden (hence the garden update)!  My brother-in-law, Matt doesn’t like mayonnaise so I decided to go with a pasta salad instead of potato salad.  Here’s hoping he likes it.

While at the store in a sea of shoppers yesterday (July 4th), I called my Mom and she mentioned a “salad” called the Watergate Salad.  I thought it sounded neat and so I purchased ingredients to make it too.

Bing Cherries on top pasta salad in the middle and fruit salad on bottom

Bing Cherries on top pasta salad in the middle and fruit salad on bottom

Raspberry Kombucha

Raspberry Kombucha

Watergate Salad without pecans- peanut free

Watergate Salad without pecans- peanut free

To make Watergate Salad all you need to do is pick up a box of pistachio pudding mix at the store and look on the side of the packaging for the recipe.  You combine mini marshmallow’s, pecan pudding, crushed pineapple with juice, chopped pecans and whipped cream (the recipe calls for whipped topping.) I substituted homemade whipped cream.  If you have a Vitamix blender homemade whipped cream takes about 20 seconds to make.  I omitted the chopped pecans because every package of pecans said “made in a facility that processes peanuts”.  Our three-year old has a severe peanut allergy.  It isn’t worth it to me to include the nuts. 🙂

FRUGAL TIP- The Dollar Tree sells Tupperware that is BPA free.  I found 17 cup capacity containers!

The garden this year has done very well.  My tomatoes are around 3 or so feet tall and there are fruit on the vine.  I’m hopeful for ripe tomatoes.

Here are some photographs of my garden from yesterday:

One of our strawberries

One of our strawberries

blueberries carrots cherry tomato plant

Close-up of my cherry tomatoes

Close-up of my cherry tomatoes

Close-up of my slicer tomatoes

Close-up of my slicer tomatoes

close-up strawberries

Just two peas in a pod

Just two peas in a pod

Kale and Zucchini

Kale and Zucchini

lavendar slicer tomato plant

Spinach, Bush Beans and Chard

Spinach, Bush Beans and Chard

strawberries zucchini

Here are a few photographs from our celebration yesterday at our friends, the Binghams’ house.  Hank is in a pool with his buddy Logan. 🙂

These photographs are compliments of my husband, Bart.

hank and logan hank big smile

Splash!

Splash!

The boys got to do sparklers with a Solo cup to protect their hands. Good idea Mary!

The boys got to do sparklers with a Solo cup to protect their hands. Good idea Mary!

The following photographs are compliments of my buddy Mary:

Bart and me

Bart and me

Gideo watched the fireworks from his carseat.  Tired boy.

Gideo watched the fireworks from his carseat. Tired boy.

Hank and Logan working out a plan. ;)

Hank and Logan working out a plan. 😉

The frog looks concerned

The frog looks concerned

One of my favorites.

One of my favorites.

Dear Jesus, thank you for blessing our garden.  Thank you for the upcoming celebration weekend.  I pray the food I made will travel well and others will enjoy it.  Amen.

Hollandaise of Champions, Fun Food Friday’s

hollandaiseAbove you see a photograph of MY homemade (from scratch) authentic hollandaise sauce on top of traditional Eggs Benedict.

Let me start with saying that this was on my “too difficult” list for a long time.

Years.

I used to work at an upscale restaurant called 13 Coins and would enjoy Eggs Benedict every chance I got.

Now that I know what is in it, I am thinking I will enjoy it less frequently. 😉

A couple of weeks ago I got the courage up to give this French sauce a try.  Afterall, I am a quarter French.  With the help of the world-wide web and a  chef who wrote an amazing article on authentic hollandaise, I felt better equipped to tackle my fear.

Could I really truly make hollandaise from scratch that was thick like mayonnaise?

Praise Jesus, I can now!

Let me tell you it is SO good.

And…

YOU CAN DO THIS TOO!

It turns out you don’t have to be a chef named Pierre to master hollandaise.  I’m sure a purist would disagree but for our purposes here’s what you do:

My Hollandaise Recipe:

  1. Put 3 egg yolks and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice into your (Vitamix) blender.
  2. Whip (on low) the yolks and lemon juice until they turn a lighter yellow
  3. Add a dash of salt and 10 tablespoons warm (not hot!) melted butter
  4. Blend on high for about thirty seconds
  5. Pour mixture into a small pan on your stove over Low heat
  6. Add in a dash of Cayenne
  7. Slowly heat through bringing up to no higher than Med-Low
  8. Stir well scrapping the bottom of the pan
  9. When mixture gets *really thick its ready!

* If your hollandaise goes from thick to lumpy squirt in a little extra lemon juice, then stir well and you will have smooth hollandaise again.  (This is called fixing “broken sauce”.)

I sure hope you’ll give it a shot!  Have a great weekend.

Dear Jesus, I am so excited to be able to finally make hollandaise sauce with confidence.  It is such a treat!  Amen.

Oh! Chocolate, Fun Food Friday’s

The boys and I had the pleasure of visiting a coffee, wine and chocolate bar called, Oh! Chocolate, after surviving a stressful trip to the grocery store last week. This place is incredible!
Oh! Chocolate is located in Normandy Park at 19865 1st Ave South.  They make their own chocolate on site.  They use Victrola Coffee.  Victrola Coffee Company is located in Capitol Hill.  They have a nice dine in wine bar.  They have a menu of real food so your not stuck with coffee and a muffin from the drive through when your hungry for more.

And the icing on the cake?

I asked the barista if they had lollies for my crying children.  She replied, “No. We give out candy necklaces.”

WHAT!?!?! AWESOME.  No gooey sticky fingered children.  Praise God.

I handed the candy necklaces back to my unsuspecting children and like a really good musical, the birds sang to the rhythm of little kids chomping in delight.  It was too good to be true.

both boys chomping cloes-up of hank close-up of giddo 1 close-up of giddo 2

It gets even better!

I ordered an Americano.  This is my “tester” drink because you can tell a lot about the skill of the barista and the quality of the coffee by how well they make an Americano.  Just espresso and water means they can’t hide burnt shots or crappy coffee beans.

I took a sip and joy pranced across my taste buds.  Little joy ferries flooded my senses.

The service was quick and friendly.  The barista was wearing, get this, CLOTHES!  The candy necklaces were free!  And they handed me a menu to take along so I would know what all they have available.

If you find yourself in Normandy Park, give these guys a try.  They’ll appreciate your patronage as they are a new establishment and you won’t regret it.  I worked in coffee sales and pretty close with our own roaster for a while.  Suffice it to say, I am more than a coffee snob.  I am down right picky.  Not rude but I can smell nasty coffee from a mile away.  Well friends your search is over.  Maybe you need a nice place to get a glass of wine, want homemade chocolates or just want excellent coffee.  At Oh! Chocolate you can have it all.

Happy Momma. :)

Happy Momma. 🙂

I should add, I am not in any way affiliated with Oh! Chocolate (except as a new customer that plans to return.)  I am not being compensated for this review.  These are my honest opinions and observations.

Dear Jesus, I am so excited to have such an excellent business near by.  I just can’t say enough good things about them.  Please bless this business.  Amen.

Ladybug Cookies, Fun Food Friday’s

I know real food is really important. Please forgive my indiscretion here as we embark on a very short, extremely awesome and fail proof cookie recipe from, eh’ hem, a cake mix!
Maybe you are amazing at making cakes from scratch. If so, I am standing up to applaud you right now. I admire you. I am definitely NOT you. My cakes to this point in my cooking career are, well, poor.
I recently scratched Hollandaise off my “too difficult” list! (That’s another post, stay tuned!) But, cake from scratch? No dice.

What’s all this talk about cake have to do with the most amazing and fail proof cookies?

I’m glad you asked.

While planning for my buddy, Karlene’s, baby shower I came across this gals blog. The baby shower was ladybug themed so I was looking for food with spots and along came a spider, no a ladybug…. cookie!
With a little tweaking, I learned you can turn pretty much any cake mix into awesome cookies. Hooray!
So here’s what you do…

Pink Ladybug Cookies:
Pour strawberry cake mix into a big bowl.
 Add 1tsp. baking powder
Add 2 large eggs
Add 1/3 Cup oil, use coconut oil if it makes you feel better 😉
Add a dash of vanilla extract
 Mix by hand until all ingredients are incorporated and mixed well.
 Scoop in rounded mounds onto an ungreased baking sheet then bake 10 minutes per batch at 350 degrees farenheit.
Remove from the oven and let rest for 3 minutes on the cookie sheet.
Get out your bag of chocolate chips!
 After your cookies have rested 3 minutes push chocolate chips onto them flat side up, three to a side (these will be your ladybug spots).
Transfer to a cooling rack.
 Cut diagonally through a Ziploc sandwich bag and snip the corner close to the end to make a small hole. Then melt about 1/2 Cup of chocolate chips in the microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir till the chips are all melted and smooth. (Our microwave is a low power model, reduce your time to 10 or 15 seconds if you have a powerful microwave or you’ll get burnt chocolate) Then spoon the melted chocolate into your cut Ziploc bag and you can “pipe”, or draw, a letter “Y” down the center of each cookie. Ta-Da you have ladybug cookies!

close-up ladybug cookie lady bug cookie platter

Here’s the link to the original blog post:
http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2013/01/23/strawberry-chocolate-chip-cookies/

Thank you Sally!

Here’s what Gideon did while I made cookies:

Giddo with potatoes

My mother-in-law shared a Reader’s Digest article with me that explains potatoes should not be stored in the refrigerator.  I promptly pulled them out of the fridge and placed them in a basket in a dark spot in my kitchen.  Looks like I’ll need to find a different place to store them. 🙂

I decided to give this awesome recipe a try with a different cake mix, chocolate angel food cake.  Great news!  As long as you don’t trip over a potato on the way from the oven to the cooling rack, the cookies are amazing.

Here’s a picture of my double chocolate chip cookies:

Cake Cookies

YUM!

In other food news, tomorrow we are helping slaughter chickens with our friends.  Pray for us that we’re able to be a huge help. 🙂

Dear Jesus, thank you for helpful bloggers and their awesome ideas.  Thank you that Karlene’s ladybug themed shower went great and everyone had fun.  Amen.

Kombucha, Fun Food Friday’s

Do you Kombucha? Just kidding, it’s not a dance.

Have you drank kombucha? I have heard friends throw this word around lately. My curiosity was peaked. I wondered just what this stuff was. While visiting my coach, Beth, last week she demystified this kombucha for me. I am considering giving it a whirl myself. I tried hers and its tasty stuff!

Enough already, what is kombucha?

Well I’m so glad you asked. It’s fermented tea. Don’t worry it is not alcoholic because the S.C.O.B.Y. breaks it down.

S.C.O.B.Y.? What’s that?

In a word weird.

Ok seriously it’s an acronym for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. It looks like this:

S.C.O.B.Y.

If you aren’t too grossed out by this guy floating on top of your tea for a week then maybe you can join me in making some!

Head on over to this website: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-kombucha-tea-at-home-173858 for great step-by-step instructions.  Let me know if you try it!

Dear Jesus, please help me to make this new tea safely.  I hope it will turn out well.  Thank you for a friend who explained just what kombucha is.  Amen.

Tasty Healthy & Quick Breakfast Quinoa, Fun Food Friday’s

Remember when I mentioned quinoa (pronounced “keen-WA”)? (If not click here) Well, I still love the stuff. When I make it I like to make extra to have on hand for a quick scramble or burritos. I happen to really enjoy salsa and sour cream, as in I would eat them alone. 🙂

Well, what do ya know?

The three make a beautiful combination.

So here’s my un-recipe:

Quick Nutritious and Delicious Breakfast Quinoa
2 C. cooked (re-heated) quinoa
1 Tbl. sour cream
2 Tbl. salsa
Mix a bit and enjoy!

Have a nice weekend all!

Dear Jesus, thank you that truly good food can be even faster than stopping at the golden arches and be really healthy too. I felt so good all morning because this simple meal was nutritious and protein packed. I hope others will get a chance to give it a try. Amen.

Crying Tacos, Fun Food Friday’s

In Spanish tradition, food made with joy will fill the one who eats it with joy.  Likewise, food made in sadness will bring the one who eats it sadness.  Well, I wish you were at my dinner table so you could have enjoyed our tacos.  I made them with delight and they’re so tasty they’ll make you want to cry tears of joy!

Crying Tacos

Crying Tacos Recipe with Homemade Taco Seasoning

You’ll want to have the following ingredients on hand:

Flour, butter, baking powder, salt, meat, quinoa (pronounced “keen-WA”), salsa, sour cream, greens, chili powder, paprika, onion salt, garlic powder, oregano, cayenne pepper and black pepper.

  1. Make a batch of homemade tortillas! (I use butter in place of shortening and it turns out better.) There is a huge difference between fresh homemade tortillas and store-bought.  This step is important.  I heat up two pans to cook the tortillas two at a time.  You could also put the uncooked tortillas in an oven safe custard bowl or other larger bowl and bake them till their crisp to make a tostada (welcome to taco time anyone?).
  2. Make up a quick batch of taco seasoning. (Mix 2tsp. chili powder, 1.5tsp paprika, 1tsp. onion salt, 1/2tsp. garlic powder, 1/2tsp. oregano, dash of cayenne pepper and black pepper.)
  3. Fry up whatever taco meat you like and season to taste and cook up a cup of Quinoa (use in place of rice).
  4. Layer as follows: Tortilla, Cooked Quinoa, Seasoned Meat, Salsa, Cheese, Chopped Spinach (load it on) and Sour Cream.
  5. Weep joyfully as the food fills your tummy.

Ole for real food!

Just a little side note:  It seems we look sideways at a meal that is mostly veggies as if something is out of balance.  I need to point out advertising says eat meat, meat and more meat.  Perhaps our perception is out of balance.  I say make your taco around 10% meat and 20% chopped greens (especially if their from your home garden). 🙂

p.s. We have our first red strawberry of 2013!

First Strawberry 2013

Dear Jesus, I am so excited about this recipe.  Thank you for giving me a place to store it for always.  I pray that others will give it a try.  Please bless their efforts. Amen.