Fitness Friday: The Kitchen Workout

The Kitchen Workout

 

I put out some feelers this week to find out where you really need help and how I can best provide that help and support to you. One of the most requested topics was How To Fit In a Workout. I’ve previously given you posts featuring 15-minute workouts, workouts focused on specific trouble zones, and workouts you can do from home.

I’m taking it down to an even MORE PRACTICAL level & hoping that you find this new series called “Workouts You Can Do Anywhere” easy-to-implement & do-able in almost every situation.

Today is the first post in the series, and we’re starting in a room in your house where you likely spend a great deal of your time — THE KITCHEN.

You’ve heard the expression “Abs are made in the kitchen?” Well today, we’re not just making abs by eating a clean diet. We are literally sculpting abs (and other muscle groups) from the convenience of your kitchen! Each move takes only about 30 seconds to complete. Try these moves while you’re: waiting for the coffee maker to do it’s thing or the tea kettle to boil, while your toast is in the toaster, or ANY time  you have a minute or two while going about your normal routine in the kitchen.

Let’s get started…

1) The first move is Leg Swings. Stand perpendicular to the counter and place the hand closest to the counter on top of the counter for support. Swing your outer leg frontwards & backwards (like a pendulum). One complete forward & backward swing is considered one rep. Keep your glutes in tight and leg muscles engaged.

Aim for 15 reps, then turn around & switch to the opposite hand for support & opposite leg for swinging performing 15 reps on that side. If time allows, do one more set (15 more reps on each side).

When I do this exercise, I feel both my glutes and hamstrings engage.

2) Second is Wall Pushups. This is a type of supported push-up that allows you to build upper body strength. The movement is exactly what it sounds like. Facing a wall, (or again, using the edge of the counter if there isn’t a free wall in your kitchen) start on your tiptoes with arms and elbows straight and palms against the wall. Bend elbows to come in towards the wall, then push away until your arms & elbows are fully extended. Try and squeeze in 10-12 reps. Trust me, you will feel this after a few reps if you are doing it correctly and keeping those elbows close to your body. If time allows, perform another set.

3) Bicep curls (with cans or water bottles). Grab a couple of 28-ounce cans from the pantry (these are usually canned tomatoes in my kitchen!). If you don’t have any, grab a couple of filled water bottles to complete this exercise. If you have a set of handweights, you can use these too!  Just trying to keep this geared towards you using your few spare minutes to squeeze in some exercise! Really focus on those bicep muscles and curl those cans up at the same time to complete one rep. Do 15 reps. Again, if you have time, go for a second set!

Give yourself a good stretch when you finish these three moves. Stand facing the counter with straight arms, both hands resting on the counter’s edge. Slowly lean forward with a straight back (you can bend your needs slightly if you need to in order to keep a straight back). Hold for 20-30 seconds. I feel this stretch in my back, hamstrings, and in both arms.

BONUS MOVE: Before you stretch & if time allows,  drop down and plank it out!! Start with holding a 30-second plank. Each time you do this, try and hold for a couple more seconds. You will definitely feel your abs shaking as well as your arms as you hold a strong blank.

What did you think of The Kitchen Workout? I’d love it if you’d leave a comment below & let me know how you felt after trying one or all of these moves!

Hope you enjoyed this first post in the Workouts You Can Do Anywhere series! Next week, we’ll be doing simple moves for just a few minutes in another place you already spend a lot of your time.

SUBSCRIBE below so you don’t miss a single post!  :-)

 

 

 

Meatless Monday Roundup: Use Those Leftovers

If you’re like me, you hate throwing away leftovers. As if the waste weren’t bad enough, think of all that time you put into grocery shopping, food prep, and cooking just to toss the leftovers away. Ugh, I hate that!

Stop the madness! Today, I’m showing you 5 Easy Ways to use stuff you probably always have in the fridge to make a great breakfast, lunch, or afternoon snack.

Everyone's Favorite French Toast.jpg

1. Got half a leftover baguette or biscuits from last night’s dinner? How about whipping up French Toast for breakfast or brunch? This recipe is a huge crowd pleaser. As someone who order French Toast every single time I see it on a menu, let me tell you … this recipe makes a mighty fine breakfast or brunch. Got fruit or berries in the fridge too? Perfect! Toss on top for an extra nutrient boost!!

Savory Quinoa Cakes

 

2. If you’re a vegetarian who is always looking to add a little more protein to your meals, then you probably cook quinoa pretty often. Like rice, we tend to cook more than we may use in one serving. Tired of just reheating & eating leftover quinoa? How about trying these awesome Savory Quinoa Cakes? I whipped these up one night before friends were coming over for a cocktail. Even the meat eaters went back for seconds!

Quinoa Breakfast Porridge

 

3. Usually grab a bowl of instant oatmeal for yourself or make hot instant cereal for the kids? Forget about instant today and try heating up leftover quinoa and topping with yogurt, honey, and berries to make this super fast, easy, and protein-rich Quinoa Breakfast Porridge. So so good!

Slice of Fritatta on a Plate

 

4. Got leftover veggies or raw veggies with a short shelf-life? Fritattas are a great way to get a good source of protein (from eggs) as well as nutrients from any veggies you have lying around. The Fingerling Potato & Kale Fritatta in the photo used leftover potatoes as well as some kale I had in the fridge that I threw in for even more of a protein boost. The most popular recipe viewed on this blog with loads of Pinterest pins & likes is the Spicy Veggie Fritatta. Again, this is a great way to use up eggs that are nearing the expiration date, whip up a quick dinner, and use some veggies that won’t last much longer in the fridge.

Talk about using up leftovers… if you make this for dinner, you may even have enough to take with you to work for lunch the next day. Heats up in a minute, unlike those frozen dinners that take 8 minutes in the microwave. I’d much rather be eating than wasting ten minutes heating up something full of preservatives in the microwave!! As Sweet Brown would say, “AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT!!!!!”

Sweet Brown

 

5. What about bananas? I don’t know about you, but I like my bananas just after they turn from green to yellow. Once they have spots, I have GOT to hide them in a protein shake, something I’m baking, or transform the ingredient (as they say on Chopped ;-) into something more palatable!! Voila! Try these Sweeter Mashed Sweet Potatoes. Full of beta-carotene (which your body turns into vitamin A), these sweet potatoes have a little brown sugar for taste, but you can easily add stevia, raw honey, or anything you prefer for natural sweetness.

Sweeter-Mashed-Sweet-Potatoes.jpg

 

I hope you found this Meatless Monday Recipe Roundup on How To Use Those Leftovers helpful! I’m always looking for ways to use up veggies & other leftovers.

Have you got your own favorite ways to use leftovers? Leave me a comment below & share your tips & tricks!!

 

 

Fitness Friday: Are You a First Generation Fitness Enthusiast?

Happy Friday everyone! I wanted to try something a little different for today’s #FitnessFriday post.

Until recently, I was one of the only people in my extended family that was really in to health & fitness. A little while back, my cousin Jill started kicking butt & taking names by ramping up her fitness & dropping a significant amount of weight (good job, girl!!) My “cousin-in-law” Beth also joined the party and despite having four young kids and a full-time job, she is up at 4:30 a.m. to hit the gym before the kids are up getting ready for school.

Then LOTS of other cousins and my sister started the 21-day Advocare challenge. My sister lost a whopping 40 pounds in 40 days!!! My cousins have all posted great results of their own on Facebook & continue to drop pounds each week.

We are all what I call First Generation Fitness Enthusiasts. By that, I mean we didn’t grow up with moms and dads who did Jane Fonda or mall-walking (at least as far as I know!!!)

At some point, we each came to the conclusion that we wanted it enough to BRING IT, despite the time, energy, effort it took or the fear of making a change.

Because change can be scary, right? Change brings up feelings from the past, maybe when we tried something that didn’t go so well. The image below says it all:  If You Change Nothing, Nothing Will Change!

nothing-will-change

Question: Are You a First Generation Fitness Enthusiast? What prompted you to embrace change and opt for a healthier lifestyle? Also, what motivates you to KEEP GOING when something comes up?

If you have a blog or Facebook page where you talk about your own fitness challenge & journey, I invite you to share your link below! It helps us all stay motivated when we realize how much we have in common with one another!

Have a great weekend!!

Meatless Monday Recipe: Magical Breakfast Cream

I’ve always been a little enamored with the French lifestyle. The language and the accent were always very attractive to me, which is probably why I continued studying French after high school. The women I met always seemed so confident (and THIN!) as well.

Now, after visiting France, I can say that some of the romantic imagery in my head is true — the open air markets, the calm, “go with the flow” attitude — and others not (not every woman is stick-thin and walking around town with a snobby poodle).

Most of the food is wonderful and people take time to enjoy what they eat, even if that means not rushing back to the office within 30 minutes (GASP!)

A few weeks ago, I started looking for easy & tasty dinner recipes and I stumbled upon the French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook written by once-CEO of the famous Veuve Cliquot champagnerie, Mireille Guiliano.

French Women Don't Get Fat Cookbook

I highly recommend this cookbook (which you can find here) for a multitude of fabulous recipes!!

One of my favorite recipes in the French Women Don’t Get Fat cookbook is for breakfast … the tantalizing Magical Breakfast Cream recipe. This is extremely tasty, filling, and highly addictive! I’ve been making this just about every morning for the past two weeks, and I can’t get enough. It has also helped reduce the sweet cravings I was having during the day.

I’m excited to share this one with you for Meatless Monday! Here’s what you need to make one serving.

Magical Breakfast Cream Recipe

Preparation Time: 10-15 Minutes

Ingredients

1/3 cup yogurt (I used lowfat Greek yogurt)
1 teaspoon flaxseed oil
1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey (or to taste)
2 tablespoons finely ground cereal (with no added sugar — I use Udi’s Au Naturel granola)*
2 teaspoons finely ground walnuts*

Directions

1. Mix yogurt and oil in a bowl. Add lemon juice and mix well then add the honey and mix well. (It is important to add each ingredient one at a time, mixing well between additions to obtain a smooth, creamy texture.)

2. Add ground walnuts and cereal to the yogurt mixture and mix well. Serve at once.

* You can finely grind the cereal and walnuts using a small food processor or mortar and pestle.

Mireille’s notes:

* You can do a week’s worth of grinding cereal/nut mixture and keep it refrigerated so in the morning it will take just an instant to mix together!

* Flaxseed oil is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, have no fear, you will not taste the oil in the fine creamy blend.

Very simply and oh so tasty! What’s your favorite healthy breakfast recipe?

Fitness Friday: Lower Body Blast

Happy Friday! So many people LOVED my previous post, The Best 10 Workouts You Can Do at Home … especially the Kill Those Calves workout. That workout alone received more than 1400 repins on Pinterest!

If its lower body you want, then that’s what you’ll get!! :-)

I’m working on more lower body toning myself, and I have reviewed TONS of lower body workout pins on Pinterest, YouTube videos, as well as my print magazine archives.

Today I’m going to share one of the BEST lower body workouts that I found.

This was a segment from one of Jillian Michael’s videos that I discovered on YouTube. I’m having you repeat each move three times to get that lower body burn that will equal GREAT RESULTS.

I’m calling this workout the Lower Body Blast. I did this 2 days ago, and I can still feel the burn (in a good way!)

Lower Body Blast workout

Tack on this 20-minute session after 30 minutes of cardio or do on its own to create shapely glutes & thighs. To watch each of these moves performed, check out Jillian’s demo here.

WORK HARDER THAN YOU THINK YOU DID YESTERDAY!

 

 

 

Meatless Monday Recipe: Coconut Flour Paleo Pancakes

Happy Monday! As promised last week, I’m sticking to my protein-packed Meatless Monday recipe theme this week. Today we’re cooking breakfast!

 

Eat Cake for Breakfast

Who doesn’t want cake for breakfast … especially when its a healthy, tasty, Paleo-friendly pancake recipe :-)

This recipe uses coconut flour instead of regular flour & egg whites instead of eggs. I like using a carton of 100% cage-free egg whites vs. separating eggs, but it is entirely up to you!

Here’s what you need to make six medium-sized pancakes …

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 scoop vanilla-flavored whey protein powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 dashes cinnamon
  • dash salt
  • 2 dashes ginger powder
  • 3/4 cup plus 3 tbsp 100% egg whites
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted in microwave (plus extra coconut oil to use in skillet)
  • 3/4 cup almond milk (may substitute regular milk here if you aren’t on a dairy-restricted diet)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pam cooking spray

Optional ingredients: Sliced bananas, Pure maple syrup

Paleo-Pancakes

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (coconut flour, whey protein powder, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and ginger.)
  2. In a smaller bowl, whisk together egg whites, 3/4 cup almond milk, vanilla extract, and melted coconut oil.
  3. Pour the egg white mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir well. You want this batter to be the consistency of regular pancake batter. If it is too thick, add a little more almond milk to thin out.
  4. Spray a large skillet with Pam cooking spray & heat over medium-low heat. Add a little coconut oil to the pain as well.
  5. Once oil is melted, pour some of the batter into the skillet to form a 6-inch pancake.
  6. Cook until the bottom of the pancake has reached a golden-brown color and top is set (you will see the pancake bubbling, just like a regular pancake). Flip & cook the other side.
  7. Remove from pan & repeat until you have used all of the batter. This recipe makes about 6 pancakes.

Product recommendations:

If you can’t easily locate coconut flour or coconut oil at a nearby grocery store, I recommend purchasing Bob’s Red Mill Organic Coconut Flour and Barlean’s Organic Virgin Coconut Oil on Amazon.

paleo-pancakes-nutritional info

Fitness Friday: Yoga for Runners

Some of the best post-run stretch routines I’ve ever done include some basic yoga poses for hip flexors, quads, and hamstrings.

Today’s #FitnessFriday post is an awesome Yoga For Runners Infographic developed by Michigan-based sports & fitness apparel store, Gazelle Sports. I think you’ll agree this picture is worth a thousand words!

Infographic courtesy of Gazelle Sports

Infographic courtesy of Gazelle Sports

Runners: What are your favorite pre & post-run stretches?

 

Meatless Monday Recipe: Fingerling Potato & Kale Fritatta

Happy Monday! I’ve been feeling really tired lately, and I’ve realized that one possibility is that I am not getting enough protein in my diet. I don’t think I did a great job upping my protein intake when I was training for my last half marathon, so I’m make a conscious effort to track my intake more carefully before I start training for my next run.

Part of the problem is making sure that I have prepared food on hand to fuel up in the morning & after runs, otherwise I get lazy and just grab what is available. Can anyone relate to that scenario?

One of my goals is to start including Nutritional Info with all of my Meatless Monday recipe posts, so if you are trying to keep track of your nutrient intake it will be a little easier for you as well :-)

My Spicy Veggie Fritatta was SO popular, I decided to create another fritatta recipe. Fritatta’s are tasty, easy to make, and great for leftovers because you can serve it warm or at room temp. Today’s fritatta recipe is a

Fingerling Potato & Kale Fritatta

I think you’ll enjoy it!

Fingerling Potato & Kale Fritatta Recipe

Here’s what you need for about 8 servings.

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped kale
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup gruyere cheese
  • 1 lb. fingerling potatoes
  • Olive oil, 4 tbsp. (1-2 tablespoons are reserved for roasting your potatoes; if you are using leftover roasted veggies, you only need 2 tbsp. of olive oil)
  • 1 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

This is a GREAT way to use up leftover roasted vegetables like potatoes that you have in the fridge. If you don’t have any leftover veggies, check out my Easy Peasy Roasted Vegetables recipe to roast the fingerling potatoes for this recipe.

Roasted-Potatoes-sm

After you have roasted potatoes, proceed as follows.

Instructions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet or other oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Stir in the kale and minced garlic and cook until greens are wilted.
  3. Add the roasted fingerling potatoes to the skillet and toss to combine.
  4. Preheat the oven broiler.
  5. While the kale, garlic, and potatoes are cooking, beat together the eggs, shredded cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 10 minutes (DO NOT STIR!!)
  7. Remove from stovetop & place in the oven broiler (about 6 inches from broiler) for3 to 5 minutes, until eggs are just set & frittata has started to brown/cheese has started bubbling.
  8. Watch closely so that your frittata doesn’t burn!
  9. To serve, top the frittata with the fresh herbs and a few grinds of fresh cracked pepper.

Nutritional Information:

Nutritional Data provided by Wellness Science

Nutritional Data provided by Wellness Science

Slice of Fritatta on a Plate

Question: Do you have a favorite veggie fritatta recipe?  Share it with us below!

Meatless Monday Roundup: Eat Your Greens!

Meatless Monday Recipe Roundup: Eat Your Greens

 

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! In honor of St. Paddy’s Day & Meatless Monday, I am featuring some of my favorite and most popular Green Food recipes!

I’d love to hear some of your favorites too, so don’t forget to share your links in the comments below!!

1. Super Clean Green Smoothie

Dr. Oz Detox Smoothie

 

2. Easy Arugula Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Arugula Salad | The Wellness Scientist

 

 

3. Mushroom Soup with Greens, Sweet Potatoes, and Ginger

Mushroom Soup with Creamy Almond Butter

 

4. Easy Homemade Guacamole

Photo courtesy of Real Simple realsimple.com

Photo courtesy of Real Simple
realsimple.com

 

5. Reduced-Fat Asparagus Quiche

Asparagus Quiche Recipe

 

We all know that getting our daily dose of green is good for us. Here are just a few benefits of chowing down on leafy greens!

Benefits of Eating Greens

 

Fitness Friday: How To Recover After a Half-Marathon

If you’ve been following me for awhile, then you know this past Sunday was the day of my second half-marathon! We ran a beautiful course in Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina. We were really lucky with the weather being warm and sunny when just days before it had been cold and raining.

At The Finish Line

Now that the race is over, good race recovery is super important. Here are some tips on How To Recover After A Half Marathon.

Recovery Phase One: After You Finish

Walk it Off

After you cross the finish line, don’t collapse into a heap! I know you are tired, but do a little walking  to give your legs a proper cool-down & keep cramps at bay.

Hydrate

Continue hydrating after the race. Water is good, but if you have access to Gatorade, coconut water, or something with electrolytes that’s even better. There will likely be beer at the Finish Line. By all means, imbibe if you wish but keep chugging water as well so you don’t get dehydrated.

Stretch It Out

This one is a must.  After cooling down for a bit, stretch your legs! If you were great about stretching while you were training, keep it up! Be thorough … stretch your hamstrings, quads, hip flexors, and IT bands. You’ll be SO glad you did the next day and several days after!

 

Recovery Phase Two: An Hour to Several Hours After You Finish The Race

Eat!

After you’ve done your stretching and had some H2O, find something to eat. Most races will have foods such as bananas, sports bars, etc. Not all races are created equal, so if it isn’t specified on the Race Day info that food will be available, bring some with you.

Rest

Make sure you get a good night’s sleep to facilitate the healing process. Sleep is one of the best things you can do for your body after an effort like this, so rest up!

 

Recovery Phase Three: A Day Or Two After the Finish

Keep Hydrating!

When you wake up the day after race, you are probably  going to experience a little muscle soreness in your legs (perhaps elsewhere too). Keep drinking water and eat healthy vitamin-packed foods to speed up your recovery.

Schedule a Massage

After 13.1, you’ve earned yourself a massage appointment to work out the kinks and aches & pains due to the DOMS effect (delayed onset muscle soreness).  Ask the therapist to spend extra time on your calves, hamstrings, or whatever is the most sore.

Do a Little Recovery Jog

Take a walk around the block or jog if you are up to it. This will help loosen up tight muscles and speed up recovery too. Two miles should do the trick!

Celebrate!

Give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done! You just ran 13.1 miles — that is AMAZING! I see so many people beating themselves up because they didn’t meet their goal time. Stop the negative self-talk! You just did something incredible, so celebrate your awesomeness.  And as they say, you still lapped everyone on the couch!! :-)

Palmetto Bluff Half Marathon