Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Workout Wednesday: Cardio and Total Body

It's a leap year, which means today is an extra day. We all get one more day to accept the fact that February is o-ver. Is this year flying by for anyone other than me? I swear. Maybe I'm super sensitive to the issue because with every passing day, my little girl gets a bit older. And bigger. Can't precious little babies stay small forever?! If only.

So not only is it Leap Day, it's also Workout Wednesday. At least in my little corner of the Internets. Did you work out today? Will you work out today? Perhaps the following will provide a little inspiration. It's a total-body workout with cardio before and after the strength portion.

Workout Wednesday: Cardio and Total Body
Equipment: This routine is best done at a gym with a readily available treadmill, hand weights, elastic band and both cable and calf press machines. However, the cable machine is only used once and calf presses can be done on a step or just the floor. If you don't have an elastic band, you can replace it with a hip machine at the gym. And you can replace the treadmill with a track or sidewalk.

If you aren't sure what to do about the first cardio portion, you can use this as a guide. It's mostly a walking workout, with but one portion of running. Feel free to adjust as you see fit, based on your own cardio fitness.

Lemme know how it goes. And remember, the above is but a guideline that you can tweak according to your own needs. Never lift more than you can, for example. So if 12-pound weights are too heavy, drop down until you feel comfortable.


In other news, this Catholic girl gave up coffee for Lent. And sweets, which is going well. But the coffee give-up...not going so well. I'm having some pretty intense cravings. Especially for this:

Teeccino herbal coffee. Vanilla Nut. So good. And caffeine-free, which is good for me right now. Oh, AND—it's not really coffee. Just herbs and other goodness that have been perfectly blended to recreate that awesome coffee flavor. I'll say it again: So good. And so good for you.

And technically, since it isn't coffee, I could drink it during Lent. But that just feels like cheating, no?

Question: What's your favorite cup of coffee? Where does it come from, what does it contain?

ENTER MY GIVEAWAY! You just might win a snack sack from snackTAXI! (Contest ends at midnight EST on Friday, March 2, 2012).

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Foodie Pen Pals: Freckles & Spice

So last month, I took myself off the Foodie Pen Pal list as I was elbow deep in all things new baby. But since life has been slowly settling into a new sense of normalcy, I felt totally comfortable promising my participation in this month's exchange—so glad I did. Ashley of Freckles & Spice sent me a great package:

I love it when I get something homemade. In this case, it was a jar of coconut dark chocolate cherry almond butter. Clearly I didn't hesitate to dive right into it:

Nutella wha? Who needs it when you've got this stuff on hand.

These were pretty good, too:

Go Raw Pumpkin Super Chips. They made for some great afternoon snackin', if I do say so myself. As did the Zing bar, which I ended up eating on my way to the gym one morning. I love that she sent me a Zing bar. It's honestly one of my favorites, but I can't seem to find it anywhere around where I live, so to get my hands on one is obviously a very exciting thing.

Also exciting: The jar of salsa and corresponding tortilla chips...

...that I eventually turned into some black bean soup.

My favorite recipe calls for one cup of salsa. I couldn't resist the experiment, and it changed up the flavor of the soup a little. I typically stick with the same jar over and over again. Why mess with a good thing? Turns out, messing with a good thing can be a very good thing.


Thanks for the great package, Ashley!

Now, dear reader, what do you say to some participation? If you say "hey, sign me up" then you'll want to know the following:

You know you want to.

ENTER MY GIVEAWAY! You just might win a snack sack from snackTAXI! (Contest ends at midnight EST on Friday, March 2, 2012).

Monday, February 27, 2012

WIN THIS: A Snack Sack from snackTAXI

I'm an on-the-go kinda gal. From shifts at the gym to impromptu weekend jaunts, to Target runs and various other appointments, I often find myself away from the house. And consequently, away from a snack should I need one. And I'm not very fun to be around when I need a snack. Especially if I'm forced to snack on something less than desirable in terms of my diet. So I've taken to packing snacks in my purse and, as of late, in the diaper bag. Seriously, I'm like a toddler. Give me food, settle me down. So when the kind people behind snackTAXI offered to send me a snack sack to review, I chomped at the bit. Look how cute:

I'm loving the urban circus print, and at 4x6", I'm also loving the size. It's quite perfect for just about any snack imaginable. Goldfish? Rice cakes? Pretzels? Even a PBJ. And at just $6.95, it's an affordable alternative to the box of baggies. You know, since it's completely reusable. And let's face it—a snack sack looks much, much cooler than a plastic baggie when tossed inside your of-the-moment on-the-go bag:

Am I right or am I right?!

Back to the reusability factor. All you have to do is throw it in the laundry, at least that's what I did. I supposed you could wash it by hand with your dishes, too. But it came out just find in the laundry:

The exterior is 100% cotton and inside, you'll find some nylon. If you live the gluten-free lifestyle, you can even find snack sacks made out of gluten-free fabrics. Sweet, right?

Need something bigger than a snack sack? snackTAXI has you covered there, too, with sandwich sacks, produce sacks and even twice-as-nice napkins. Seriously, if you have kids or if you pack a lunch on a regular about being the coolest kid on the block!

Now here's where it gets fun. Mustard blossoms fun:

Cute, right? It could be yours. could be.

snackTAXI send me the above so that I could share the love with you, dear readers. If you want to win the mustard blossoms snack sack above, just leave a comment on this here post telling me what you'd fill it with. (Please leave your email address so that I may contact you if you win.)

Additional entries can be acquired by doing any of the following:
1) Like snackTAXI on Facebook.
2) Like A Daily Dose of Fit on Facebook.
3) Subscribe to A Daily Dose of Fit via email.

Be sure to leave additional comments below if you've done any of the above. Contest ends this Friday, March 2, 2012 at midnight EST. I will announce the winner on Sunday, March 4, 2012. (Is it seriously March already? Gah!)

G'luck, and happy snacking.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Breakfast, lunch...

...and dinner, too. But in my haste to consume my taco and quesadilla from La Perla, I failed to take my camera out of the diaper bag. That place is just too dang good to pause and reflect. It's like a little Mexican vacation, but right in my hometown. I did, however, take some pics of my breakfast. I love it when breakfast looks good and then tastes good, too. Check it:

At first glance, you might think the above to be a very simple bowl of yogurt, berries and bread. But alas, it's so much more.   What started out as a cup of vanilla Chobani turned into a cinnamon-honey infused concoction with some Nutcase Crunch mixed in.

Nutcase Crunch?

This tiny sample came in a Conscious Box and I absolutely love what it is—and what it is, quite simply, is a mixed up bag of ground almonds, pecans, unsweetened coconut and pine nuts. How easy would it be to replicate at home, and how perfect is it for my yogurt? So easy. So perfect.

Let's take a closer look at that piece of bread.

It's a slice of Hearty Oat Loaf smothered in Salted Almond Butter. You must print both recipes pronto. And then write this down as a healthy lunch option:

Mixed greens, mixed berries. Plus a rice cake topped with salted almond butter and grape jelly.

I totally rocked the berries and butter today.

Question: What was your favorite meal of the day? Any single ingredient carry over from one meal to the next?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Too smart.

I recently came across the following quote and I felt immediately that it should be posted right here (right now) for all of you to see.

Why did I want you to see it? Because:

1) I love me a good quote. Words will always and forever be on this Earth to inspire and engage.

2) We all too frequently forget that we write our own stories. Sure, there are things that stand in our way which are ultimately out of our control. But with a little brainpower, we can ultimately overcome those things. Or at least learn to work with them. That is, if we put our minds to it. And only we can control our own minds. So every once in a while, remind yourself that when the going gets tough or when there are a ton of things standing in your way—remind yourself that you are in control. There's nothing you can't handle if you put your mind, heart and soul to it.

This, of course, is true both in and out of the gym. So I hope you'll go, Smarty Pants.

Go and conquer that gym.
Don't let you or yourself get in the way.

Question: Are you working on anything in particular at the gym these days? A faster mile? More weight on the cable machine? Longer planks? Tell me. And tell me what you're doing to keep your head in the game.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Treadmill (and a really good lunch)

I'd put money on the fact that hardly a single soul actually likes to run on a treadmill. We all do it, mostly because we sometimes have to, but that doesn't mean we actually WANT to run on a machine versus the open road. Let's face it, the sights and sounds of the open road are way more engaging than another 45 minutes or so of CNN, ESPN or so-and-so's talk show. Am I right? Give me birds and bees and annoying drivers who don't scoot over. That's real running. The kind that actively engages you. But again, the treadmill is a part of almost every runner's life, whether we runners like it or not. So we're forced to find ways to entertain ourselves, repetitive television stations be damned.

Maybe you like to keep track of how fast the person next to you is running.

Yeah, you've been there and done that. Don't lie.

Lucky for me, the lady next to me today was walking while I was running. No competition. Besides, it's not like I really care.

Sort of.

I do care, however, about the lunch I ate today.
It was pretty friggen' good.

But I expect nothing less from Ashley, she who writes The Edible Perspective.

Ashley is among a big handful of food bloggers that I follow, and they all pretty much amaze me with their ability to come up with...literally create from nothing but scratch...such awesome recipes not formerly found anywhere else. I could never be so talented. I definitely prefer to follow a recipe, or even tweak a recipe to fit my individual tastes. Rare is the recipe I create on my own. It's just not my thing, despite my greatest efforts otherwise. And so today for lunch, I tested out her recipe for apple sage chickpea burgers.

But I turned them into waffles (and used almonds instead of sunflower seeds):

Seriously, they were so good. Even the husband liked them, and he's hard to please when it comes foods like this. They were oddly reminiscent of my dad's stuffing. Perhaps it was the sage. I think next time I make these bad boys, I'm going to add wild rice and water chestnuts to see if I can really match the flavor. I just love that stuffing, but I only get it once a year. Sad face.

Oh, and I'll definitely break out the waffle maker. So much easier than making patties and timing the flip so as not to completely destroy said patties.

PS: I also ate half of a grapefruit. I'm seriously addicted right now.

Question: How would you define your relationship with the treadmill? Do you like it? Force yourself to like it? Maybe you prefer it to the open road, which is totally acceptable.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Workout Nutrition: The Ultimate Guide (#Infographic)

Workout Wednesday, come and gone. Sorry about that. Hannah and I had a day. Well, I had a day. For some reason, I was completely exhausted from start to finish despite having made it to the gym for a bit of strength training. Needless to say, I didn't spend much time in front of the computer.

Today seems to be somewhat of a repeat. Perhaps the early morning chow sessions are catching up with me. But, little miss is in her swing right now so I thought I'd take full advantage of my empty arms to share with you this ultimate guide to workout nutrition.

Despite the fatigue, I've been eating quite well lately. And now that Lent is upon us, I'll be cutting out sweets and my once-a-week (sometimes twice-a-week) Starbucks run. This can only be a good thing, right? You know, since I'm working out again. Good nutrition is, after all a very important part of one's exercise regime. Consult the following for more info:

And now, since my arms are still empty, I gotta go switch that laundry.

Question: What's your favorite post-workout snack?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pineapple Macadamia Granola

And it continues, this dull winter we've been having up here in Michigan. A few flurries fell this morning, but they didn't stick around long enough to cover up all the naked trees. They came and went, just like the rays of sunshine so few and far between. So it's at this time of year, when everything is ugly and blah, that I start to crave a vacation—a tropical vacation. Let's be honest, though. This girl and her guy (and her daughter) aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

We're not going to Maui:

We're not going to Cozumel:

We're staying put—but that doesn't mean our minds can't vaca as needed. And it certainly doesn't mean that our taste buds can't take a trip here and there.

I'm loving this right now:

Pineapple macadamia granola, inspired by the banana-coconut granola I read about on Including Cake. This stuff is literally a tropical explosion in your mouth, what with the coconut oil, pineapple chunks

Inspiration: Banana-Coconut Granola, Including Cake

• 1-1/2 cup oats
• 1 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
• 2 tbsp chia seeds
• 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
• 3/4 cup dried pineapple, chopped
• 1/2 tsp cinnamon
• 4 tbsp coconut oil, melted
• 2 tbsp honey
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 1 banana, mashed

1) Preheat oven to 350F.
2) Mix dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
3) Combine, then pour onto a cookie sheet.
4) Bake 10 minutes, longer depending.
5) Store in an airtight container once cooled.
6) Try not to eat it all at once.

Oh, and it's very good on the pineapple-flavored Chobani:

Then again, pretty much any type of granola is good on Chobani.

QuestionIf you could travel anywhere in the world right this second, where would you go? Me...I'd head down to Anguilla. With a big bag full of books. And some sunscreen. (And the husband and daughter.)

Monday, February 20, 2012

"Trust yourself."

Michael Jackson started with the man in the mirror, while the evil stepmother talked to the "mirror, mirror on the wall." However you approach that shiny piece of glass, make sure the reflection staring back at you is the recipient of a love that lasts forever and ever more.

If it isn't, if something needs to change (perhaps your diet, perhaps your attitude)—then change it.

You have that power. And it's never too late.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Good Running Form

And so, we find ourselves at Sunday. Hooray! 'Course, these days, MY days tend to mesh into each other because I've yet to go back to work. It's so fun being home with a baby! Good thing Hannah gets to come to work with me. I'd miss her so. And she's already been to the nursery at the gym. She basically zonks out in her car seat while all the kiddos run and play around her.

It's only a matter of time.

Speaking of running. Yeah, this girl is doin' it again. I took a few laps around the track on Thursday and again on Saturday. It felt oh, so flippin' good. I stopped running at the beginning of my eighth month of pregnancy. It just got to be too uncomfortable. But I'm back at it, slowly but surely retraining my body to pound pavement like I used to, which brings me to an excellent and appropriate infographic:

Whether you're running marathons or jogging around the block, good form is essential. Bad form leads to injury, and injuries aren't any fun whatsoever. So take a minute to absorb the above so you can recall it next time you lace up.

Are you lacing up for any races anytime soon? I have two that I'd really like to run this year. The Color Run 5K in the Summer and The Hot Chocolate 15K in the Fall. Both of which are in Chicago. I think I can do it, and I'm currently looking for volunteers to show up at both races to hold the following signs for me:

OK, not really. But it'd be funny.

Question: Got any races in your future?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

What I Eat

After yesterday's post, I thought it might be fun to write a food diary post—a slight glimpse at some of the things I eat from breakfast through dinner. Remember, I don't necessarily count calories so you won't find any numbers here. Rather, I take the "eat healthy, wholesome and good food whenever possible" approach. With a few cheats her and there, of course. Mostly because I'm human.

Let's start with breakfast:

If I don't feel like making oats, I typically reach for the toaster and some brown rice bread. And a cup of yogurt, usually of the Chobani sort. This particular "sort" happens to be one of their new flavors: Passion Fruit. Yummy, but the seeds freak me out (they look like bugs, see for yourself). Two to three hours later, I'm usually ready for a snack. If I've been to the gym, said snack is usually a smoothie:

Yep, I am literally slurping down the smoothie in that picture. Couldn't help myself, it was friggen' good. Like...chocolate and strawberries good. I'll get ya the recipe someday. Until then, let's look at a typical lunch:

Here we have examples of my two current food obsessions. Grapefruit and the salad bar at my local grocery store. The other day, I bought both for less than $2.00—Who said healthy eating was expensive?! Not this girl. Let's talk about the salad for a minute. Combine 1 TBSP of olive oil with 1/2 TBSP each of Balsamic vinegar and honey. It might sound weird to you, but it was good. (Oh, AND...see the muffin? Check out Fit Foodie Finds for the recipe. Yep, that was some Link Love.)

Moving on. Time for an afternoon snack:

This is where it gets tricky for me. I tend to get really,  super hungry in the afternoon. Wheat Thins, although not the healthiest, are my favorite crackers. I would have dipped them in hummus if there had been any in my 'fridge. But I'm not always home in the afternoon, so sometimes my afternoon snack is a bar of sorts. Or a smoothie if I hadn't eaten one earlier. Or sometimes I swing through the closest coffee shop for a latte. It all depends. But when it comes to dinner, I do my best to get a hot (and healthy) one on the table:

An open-faced ground sirloin burger, sauteed broccoli and onion, and a sweet potato topped with some maple cinnamon almond butter (dude, it's me). Beyond the above, I've been known to nibble on a little something before bed. Lately, it's been a bite or two of a homemade granola bar. Or maybe half of a Chobani if I hadn't already eaten some that day. Doing so really helps me get through Hannah's nighttime feedings.

And so, folks. There you have it.
That's what I eat. Not bad...not the best at times, but generally pretty good.

Have a Saturday!

Question: What do you grab when you need a bedtime snack?

Friday, February 17, 2012

"How many calories should I be eating?"

It's the million-dollar question, really. And everyone's answer will be different. Mostly because everyone's needs are different. At least that's my opinion, my not-a-dietician-or-nutritionist opinion. But there are ways to get a good guesstimate if you're the type of person that needs a hardcore number to focus on. Me, I'm not. I'm just curious, and so it goes that living my dietary life according to a number just stresses me out and makes me eat more. Simply because I can't go over a certain number. It's like I automatically want to. So I don't record every last calorie. Maybe I should. But I don't. I rely more on how I feel and how my clothes fit. And my performance at the gym.

These things are all-telling, and this has worked fairly well for me so far.

But I suppose we should talk about that magic number. Just in case you're the type of person—it's perfectly OK to be that type of person, btw. A few things to consider:

1) You need a certain number of calories to simply just exist. Without those calories, your body freaks out. It can't do what it needs to, like make you breathe and keep you awake. This concept is otherwise known as your resting energy expenditure (REE).

2) If you are exercising, or if you are breastfeeding (me), you'll need to add a certain number of calories to your diet in order to accommodate these activities. Because, and I'm sure you know this, these activities burn calories that eventually need to be replaced. This, of course, is how you'd maintain your existing weight. Translation: activity energy expenditure (AEE).

3) Here's where it gets tricky. If you are trying to lose weight, you'll need to make sure that calories-in aren't greater than calories-out at the end of the day. But, let it be known, you'll still need to take in more than that basic just-to-exist amount.

I know, it's confusing. Let's break it down with some help from a handout (courtesy of DSWFitness).

Step #1: Determine your resting energy expenditure using one of the following formulas.

Step #2: Pick your activity factor.

Step #3: Tie it all together by plugging the appropriate numbers into the following equation.

Now remember, the resulting number represents the amount of calories you need to take in to stay just the way you are. So if you'd like to lose some weight, you'll need to come in under that number on a daily basis. One pound of fat is worth about 3,500 calories. Do the math and you'll see that cutting out 500 calories every day of the week could possibly take off a single pound.

Talk to a dietician/nutritionist if you have some serious weight loss goals. Only they can help you determine a safe and effective weight loss plan.

Remember, the easiest way to lose weight is to be honest with yourself about your diet and the amount of exercise you're getting. The two go hand-in-hand, and you absolutely cannot expect to see results if you eat crap daily but still hit the gym (or vice versa).

(Happy Friday!)

Question: Do you count calories? Why or why not?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Knife and Fork Lift

So a few weeks ago, Greatist ran a post outlining 17 fitness fads that ultimately flopped. Things like vibrating platforms, the Shake Weight and toning shoes made the list. As did these:

Yes, they are what you think they are. Utensils made into hand weights, otherwise known as the Knife and Fork Lift. For real. I'm not even joking.

Each utensil weighs 1.5 pounds and ultimately serves to remind the user that "eating puts weight on and requires exercise to take it off." The website goes on to claim that "lifting food with these utensils is like doing curls with dumbbells." There's also a Spoon Lift, but it's currently sold out.

If you've got $39.95, can buy the set above. Or not. If you're really that desperate to remind yourself that exercise takes weight off, I recommend writing it down on a Post-It note. Or just cementing it to your memory. Fork and knife hand weights? Silly.

But hilarious, nonetheless.

Question: Are you guilty of buying any of the flops on the Greatist list? I have a Power Band, but it was free. (And I never wear it.)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Workout Wednesday: Exercises Done Wrong

Momma got to the gym again, hooray! I found myself on the elliptical for 20 minutes, then the treadmill for another 15. Machine-based cardio bores the bejeezus out of me, but makes for a great opportunity to do some people watching. Looking across the gym floor, it's not hard for me to find a person or two (or three) doing Exercise A and/or Exercise B completely wrong. This, as you might imagine, can be quite frustrating for someone who is used to correcting form.
That said, I thought it might be a good idea to craft this week's Workout Wednesday from exercises commonly done wrong. This prevents me from pointing fingers. I don't like pointing fingers.

And I know you don't like getting hurt, so let's get started!

WORKOUT WEDNESDAY: Exercises Done Wrong
Equipment: Hand weights that are heavy enough to challenge your back, chest and shoulders.

1) Squats. Always remember to keep your knees behind your toes. The easiest way to make this happen? Keep your weight in your heels. Many people find this hard to do, which ultimately leads to strained knees. Not strengthened leg muscles.

2) Calf Presses. Feet should always be hip-width apart. When you press up onto your toes, keep your ankles in line with your feet. Don't let them roll out to the side. This takes away from the effectiveness of the exercise and puts stress on your ankles.

3) Bent rows. Find a mirror, you'll need it to make sure that your back is completely straight as you bend over to a 45-degree angle. Take out the hunch, guys! And keep it out as you row up and down.

4) Chest press. Using your hand weights, lie flat on a bench. With your palms facing the floor, press your back into the bench and you press the weights up and down. Don't let your back come off the bench. This is the problem...when you lift your back, you're using muscles other than those found in your chest. And this obviously lessens the effectiveness of the exercise.

5) Bicep curls. The problem here involves the shoulder. No matter the type of bicep curl you're doing, if your shoulder moves forward-backward as you lift, then you're lifting those weights wrong. Keep your shoulder stationary to keep all the work in your bicep.

6) Triceps dips. Move your hips off the bench, but keep them as close to the bench as possible. The further you are away from the bench, the more stress you put on your shoulders.

7) Upright row. In all honesty, I don't do this exercise myself or with my clients. I used to, which led to some shoulder issues. It's so easy for this one to go so wrong. But if you are doing them, then you need to take special care not to let the elbows lift any higher than the shoulder joint. For real.

8) Crunches. Where to start...ay, yay yay! It doesn't matter how many you do, how fast you go or what weights you incorporate. If you can't do the crunch right, you won't see any benefits. So, well, let's start at the beginning. Hands behind your head, lower back pressed to the ground, eyes to the ceiling. Inhale, exhale as you crunch up. Don't let your back come off the ground. Don't pull on your neck. Don't let your elbows come in. Keep it nice and slow, moving through the full range of motion. Really, truly tune in to what your abs are doing.


Of course, there are a number of exercises that people do wrong, but these are the most common offenders. At least in my opinion. So if you do the workout above, or if you incorporate the exercises above into your own workout, just promise me that you'll do them right.

You never know who might point a finger at you if you do them wrong.

And when you're done working out, don't forget to grab yourself a healthy snack to refuel that body of yours. If you rely on bars, you might consider this one, which I've been noshing on as of late:

(In this case, as I was headed home from the gym.) There's a "trail mix" type of flavor, too. Haven't tried that one yet.

Speaking of "trying things," I did some ab work today. Planks, crunches and leg-lifts, oh my. And for real, need help! When basic crunches do you in, you know it's true. At least I have a good excuse, and she's currently sound asleep against my chest.

I'm totally getting my money's worth out of that carrier.

Question: What exercises do you have a hard time doing correctly? Do you struggle with any of the above? And finally, what's your go-to post-workout bar?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Crunchy Peanut Butter Granola Bars

One of my goals for this year is to update my Link Love page, and since today is all about love, I figured it would be a great time to start. I read so many great blogs, and I haven't been sharing them with you—bad blogger! Although, it's not that I've been keeping them a secret, it's just that I haven't had the time to list them on my Link Love page for you to find (and enjoy) for yourself. That's about to change, starting with Chocolate-Covered Katie.

She and I both had you at "chocolate," right? Or maybe it was "healthy dessert," the phrase that ultimately sucked me in as a follower. Yeah, sure...I've got a sweet tooth. Or two. And when it comes to Katie's recipes, one need not feel guilty about indulging said sweet tooth (or teeth, as it is in my case).

Back in January, Katie posted a recipe for Copycat Nature Valley Granola Bars. This recipe both intrigued me and reminded me of my days in college. Nature Valley bars were forever my go-to snack in between class or during those late-night study sessions. I liked the Oats 'n Honey flavor, but LOVED the Peanut Butter version even more. (It seriously is a good thing I'm not allergic to peanuts.)

Feeling inspired by her recipe, I set out to make my own version—with, of course, some peanut butter. What resulted was a set of granola bars that didn't last in my house because they were stupid good:

Crumbly, just like the originals. But bigger, so you only get to eat one (not two, like the originals). Beware, though. I only got about eight bars from the recipe that will follow. So if you anticipate loving them, or having to fight for them, then you might want to double up on the ingredients.

Inspiration: Copycat Nature Valley Granola Bars, Chocolate-Covered Katie

• 1 cup oats
• 1/4 cup peanuts, coarsely chopped
• 3 tbsp whole wheat flour
• 1/4 tsp baking soda
• 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
• 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
• 3 tbsp honey
• 2 tbsp creamy peanut butter

1) Preheat your oven to 350F.                  

2) Mix dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients separately. Combine.

3) Pour mix into an 8x8" baking pan. Line it with parchment if you'd like, otherwise a nonstick or glass pan'll be fine. Press the mix down into the pan. I mean, really press it.

4) Bake 15 minutes. Let cool for half an hour before cutting into it, otherwise it'll just crumble.

These store well in plastic baggies without any need to keep them separated. And if you end up with a ton of crumbles, as bars like these are known to produce, keep 'em. They make a great oatmeal topper.

Speaking of oatmeal, yesterday was National Oatmeal Day. I had no idea, otherwise I would have had some oats for breakfast to honor such a wonderful thing.  I would have posted about it, too—yeah, no Dose yesterday. Little Miss Hannah had her cranky pants on all day. Believe you me that I actually started this post yesterday, but alas, I could never find the time to complete it.

I did, however, manage to get to the gym yesterday—for some strength training! Man, missed those weights. Hannah hung out in the nursery, while I did the following:

Holy cow, I can feel it today! Yesterday's workout wouldn't normally cause me to break a sweat, but I sure did bust my own butt. Without even trying, really. I guess that's what seven months and childbirth'll do to a girl.

It's good to be back, though. I do so love it.

Question: Do you use the arms on the elliptical? I kind of don't like them...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Woman's Week at the Gym

So what's your Inbox like? Get a lot of useless junk mail? Forwards from friends that aren't funny? Yeah. Me, too. I tend to delete, delete and delete...but for some reason, I chose to read, read and read one called "A Woman's Week at the Gym." You may have seen it yourself by now. I have no idea who wrote it, but it made me chuckle.

Dear Diary: 
For my birthday this year, my husband got me a week of personal training at the local health club. Although I am still in great shape since being a high school football cheerleader 43 years ago, I decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and give it a try. I called the club and made my reservations with a personal trainer named Christo, who identified himself as a 26-year-old aerobics instructor and model for athletic clothing and swimwear. Friends seemed pleased with my enthusiasm to get started! The club encouraged me to keep a diary to chart my progress. 

Started my day at 6:00 a.m. Tough to get out of bed, but found it was well worth it when I arrived at the health club to find Christo waiting for me. He is something of a Greek god—with blond hair, dancing eyes, and a dazzling white smile. Woo hoo!! Christo gave me a tour and showed me the machines... I enjoyed watching the skillful way in which he conducted his aerobics class after my workout today. Very inspiring! Christo was encouraging as I did my sit-ups, although my gut was already aching from holding it in the whole time he was around. This is going to be a FANTASTIC week!!

I drank a whole pot of coffee, but I finally made it out the door. Christo made me lie on my back and push a heavy iron bar into the air then he put weights on it! My legs were a little wobbly on the treadmill, but I made the full mile. His rewarding smile made it all worthwhile. I feel GREAT! It's a whole new life for me. 

The only way I can brush my teeth is by laying the toothbrush on the counter and moving my mouth back and forth over it. I believe I have a hernia in both pectorals. Driving was OK as long as I didn't try to steer or stop. I parked on top of a GEO in the club parking lot. Christo was impatient with me, insisting that my screams bothered other club members.. His voice is a little too perky for that early in the morning and when he scolds, he gets this nasally whine that is VERY annoying. 

My chest hurt when I got on the treadmill, so Christo put me on the stair monster. Why would anyone invent a machine to simulate an activity rendered obsolete by elevators? Christo told me it would help me get in shape and enjoy life. He said some other crap too. 

Butthole was waiting for me with his vampire-like teeth exposed as his thin, cruel lips were pulled back in a full snarl. I couldn't help being a half an hour late—it took me that long to tie my shoes. He took me to work out with dumbbells. When he was not looking, I ran and hid in the restroom. He sent some skinny witch to find me. Then, as punishment, he put me on the rowing machine—which I sank.

I hate that jackass Christo more than any human being has ever hated any other human being in the history of the world. Stupid, skinny, anemic, anorexic, little aerobic instructor. If there was a part of my body I could move without unbearable pain, I would beat him with it. Christo wanted me to work on my triceps. I don't have any triceps! And if you don't want dents in the floor, don't hand me the darn barbells or anything that weighs more than a sandwich. The treadmill flung me off and I landed on a health and nutrition teacher. Why couldn't it have been someone softer, like the drama coach or the choir director? 

Satan left a message on my answering machine in his grating, shrilly voice wondering why I did not show up today. Just hearing his voice made me want to smash the machine with my planner; however, I lacked the strength to even use the TV remote and ended up catching eleven straight hours of the Weather Channel.

I'm having the Church van pick me up for services today so I can go and thank GOD that this week is over. I will also pray that next year my husband will choose a gift for me that is fun—like a root canal or a hysterectomy. I still say if God had wanted me to bend over, he would have sprinkled the floor with diamonds!!!


Pretty funny, eh? If you know who wrote this, please tell me. I'd like to thank them for the chuckle. (And, of course, give them credit.)

Question: If you wrote about exercising in your diary, what would it say?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Salted Almond Butter

Life with a food processor is good. Very, very good because I can't stop making nut butters which happen to be on my list of can't-live-without foods. In all honesty, I think I'm obsessed with my food processor. To the point where I might need an intervention here soon. For real. Look:

Salted Almond Butter. It's so good that it doesn't even exist in my house anymore. It was gone in a matter of days. I drool just thinking about it.

So drippy:

Oh, don't you worry. I will certainly be making another batch soon. Now that I know the secret to making almond butter in a food processor: PATIENCE. For real, you need tons of patience. Almond butter does not come together quickly, but when it does, it truly does. (Trust me, I've wasted many a good almond.)

And then there was this:

Looks like sludge, I know, but it's a Salted Almond Butter Smoothie made with (you guessed it) spinach. And obviously, a huge dollop of salted almond butter. It used to look like this:

Source: My brain.

• 1 cup vanilla almond milk
• 1/2 banana
• Spoonful of salted almond butter
• 1 tbsp cocoa powder
• Dash of cinnamon
• Giant handful of spinach

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Note that regular milk (any milk, really) will work. Feel free to add a dash of vanilla extract if the milk you use is not already infused with the flavor.

Oh, and if you want the recipe for Salted Almond Butter, you can head on over to A Full Measure of Happiness. I followed Lauren's lead on this one. You should, too.

Have a great weekend!

Question: Are you a fan of spinach in smoothies? It honestly took me a few tries to jump on this food trend. But I'm glad I did!

Friday, February 10, 2012

I'm cranky, therefore I must be hungry.

Having a little one in the house has severely tested my schedule-oriented way of life. I am the kind of person that likes things to be in order—I can only handle a certain level of spontaneity. For example, don't ask me to go away for the weekend without giving me at least an hour to pack. In fact, don't ask me to pack for something if I don't know exactly what I'm packing for. I like to be prepared, and nowhere is this more important than when it comes to my diet.

I need three meals a day, and I need a snack in between those meals. Most importantly, I need (want) all of that to be as healthy as possible. You don't want to know me if those three things run amok.

I get really, super cranky when I'm hungry.
Which is why I'm a schedule-oriented person.

Obviously I'm learning to adapt to my new life of no-schedule living. For starters, I'm not working right now so I'm not planning out my day as extensively as I used to. But this new life of mine,'s all about the new life living in our house. My daughter is sort of on a schedule, but said schedule runs amok quite easily which means I don't always get to eat (or shower) when I want to. And I'm getting up in the wee hours of the night to feed her, which ultimately confuses my body into thinking breakfast should be had at 2:00AM.

So combine that confusion with a lack of sleep, well. You get the picture. I'm cranky lately. Or should I say, I could be cranky a lot lately if I let myself. One look at my precious daughter typically makes me forget about my grumbling stomach. Or my drooping eyelids. One look at my precious daughter reminds me that these things don't mean a thing. She is worth it. Schedule? What schedule?! Who needs a schedule!

I just need food. I'll never not need food. Without it, ya better watch out.

Looks like I'm not alone, either. I was browsing the other day when I came across a great article that explains how "serotonin levels—a hormone that helps regulate behavior— fluctuate when people are stressed out or haven't eaten." Studies show (as they explain in the article) that when this hormone runs amok, we lose our ability to control anger. (And obviously anger is a part of being cranky.) How did the scientists behind the study figure this out? By manipulating the diets of test subject volunteers, which obviously threw their serotonin levels out of wack. Long story short, what we eat and when we eat it directly affects our ability to remain calm and collected.

So I'm not crazy. I'm just hungry.
All the more reason to eat right, I guess.

Question: Do you get cranky when you get hungry? Are you schedule-oriented when it comes to food?

REMINDER! Don't forget to enter my giveaway! You just might win a copy of Steve Ettinger's book,Wally Exercises! (Contest ends at midnight EST on Friday, February 10, 2012).

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Workout Wednesday: Walk This Way (#Infographic)

" this way, just gimme a kiss..."

Come now, who doesn't like Aerosmith? Classic band, one that I appreciate now more than I ever did when they were truly big-time. And there's something about Steven Tyler. Don't get me wrong, he's insane, but I'm oddly drawn to him. Love him on "American Idol," too. I'm not a die-hard fan of the show, but I always tune in to the auditions and I have to say—Steven Tyler entertains me. Almost as much as those poor souls that can't really sing. But that's neither here nor there. This week's Workout Wednesday is clearly about walking.

Take a look at the following, and then I'll give you a workout:

So really, it's perfectly clear that walking produces some serious health benefits. Everyone seems to think that you have to run to really get a good workout, but it's just not true. Some people hate running, but love walking. Some people can't run because of its high-impact nature.

Many of those people are choosing to walk instead, and they aren't getting any less of a workout because of it. 30 minutes, five times a week. That's enough.

So if you need a break from running, or if you need to up your walking game, try the following the next time you lace up. (Note: I kept this workout as general as possible so that it would translate to both the treadmill and the track or sidewalk. Let me know if you have any questions.)

Now, some of you fit folks might look at the above and find it to be less than a challenge.
I offer you this advice:

1) Ask yourself if your "Easy," "Moderate" and "Challenging" speeds need to be increased

2) Add some hills. If you're on a treadmill, this should be easy and I recommend doing so whenever you walk at a "Moderate" speed. Once that becomes comfortable, hit hills during your "Challenging" speeds instead. And if you aren't on a treadmill, see if you can reroute yourself in a way that adds hills to your route. (The kind you have to walk up, not down. Down is too easy!)

3) That five minutes in the middle where you maintain a "Challenging" intervals, switching out a minute of walking at a Challenging speed with a minute of walking lunges. Or jumping jacks. Or even running!

Whatever you do, I don't recommend that you use hand weights. Many people add them to their cardio, but I'm honestly not a fan. I think it puts too much pressure on your upper body. Proper form is still a big part of cardio, and holding weights can certainly affect form.

Oh, and don't forget to cue up some Aerosmith on the 'ol playlist.
You know you want to.

(Hannah and I made it to the gym again today. One hour of walking at a slow-moderate pace. Hooray!)

Question: How much walking do you get done in a day? When you're out running errands, do you try to move at a steadier pace, or do you go slow? Nothing gets my heart rate up like a good shopping/walking session at the mall. Ha!

REMINDER! Don't forget to enter my giveaway! You just might win a copy of Steve Ettinger's book,Wally Exercises! (Contest ends at midnight EST on Friday, February 10, 2012).


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...