Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Be Gone February...Brighter Days are Just Around the Corner

Hello, I have been absent from blogging including visiting others and writing my own.  February is probably one of my least favorite months of the year.  Besides Valentine's Day the month is just blah!  I've been uninspired lately.  I guess everyone goes through a funk.  However, I have been recently inspired again! YEah!

I'm working out a lot more, feeling so much better! Eating a lot more of this:

and a lot less of this:

It's hard for me to admit this but I have gained around 25 lbs back over the last 2 years.  I said I would never do this again.  I had kept it off for around two years. Bwah!!!!! You can chock it up to age, moving, husband's retirement and difficulty finding a job but the bottom line is I chose to eat poorly and stop exercising! Ugh...It feels better to say it and acknowledge my choice.  All that said I do have a knee issue that has kept me from working out the way I used too.  I am looking into this.  However,  I know that eating better is the key.  I have starting doing strength again, taking new classes, and Pilates.  I really think the Pilates is key for me, folks.  Seriously, if you have a mid-section issue and your doing cardio and strength you're missing out.  Especially if you have a stubborn tummy area.  Believe me I have other areas that I am concerned with but after stopping Pilates mine grew and I now have a small tire to prove it.  Normally for me this is not a trouble spot but I could really tell a difference when I stopped.  I found a few new sites and great motivational posters on Pinterest to keep me motivated and I finally have lost around 4 lbs since mid-January!  I have a long way to go but I'm reading about health, reading blogs and pinning inspiring quotes.  I can DO it!!!

Reading God's word

This gal's blog really has inspired me lately.  She was used to have a different blog that focused on decorating.  I loved that too.  She has started a new one though dedicated to healthy living. She has lost over 65 lbs.  Way to go! 

Another little bit of inspiration is this lady Chalene Johnson.  Ever heard of Hip Hop Hustle, Turbo Jam?? I love her workouts, so fun.  This is how I lost my weight a few years ago.  I still love Turbo Kick, the class I used to teach, just as much now as my first class in 2005.  If you love to dance, kickbox or get a great workout you should try it.  She has a wide variety of programs to try and home versions too.  I prefer the live classes though.  They rock!!!!

I love watching Dr. Oz too.  I have picked up a few tips from him and tried some of the recipes.  I will report back from time to time for how they are working for me.  Here are some tips that I'm trying to lose weight.  I'd love to hear what others do.

1. My favorite new snack:  Cored apple, sliced and stacked together, a squeeze of lemon juice, a Tbsp. of ricotta cheese, with some almonds for crunch and protein.  Try it, it's yummy! 

2. Pilates for Beginners  Ideally try and do this workout 4-5 times a week for the best results.  I would also recommend renting a DVD or taking a class.  Form is very important.

3 Zumba I do this twice a week for an hour, great workout and fun! 

4.  Do some kind of strength training.  I use my 5 lb hand weights, my own body weight (think push-ups)  I do this at least 2-3x a week combined with short burst of cardio.  

5. Diet:  I try to eat protein within the first thirty minutes of waking up.  (eggs, protein shake, yogurt, almond butter)  For lunch I eat a salad and lean protein.  For a snack I have more protein and complex carbs.  I have also added White Kidney Bean extract that Dr. Oz recommended for people with my body type.  I add this to my smoothie or take it at lunch time.  For Dinner I eat more lean protein, lots of veggies.  I do have pasta some nights.  I think this is okay in moderation.  I eat no more than one serving, no garlic cheesy bread though :)  I use olive oil, veggies, herbs and garlic to flavor my sauces. 

I would love to hear your struggles with weight or success stories.  Do share!

Blessings of Health,

Monday, February 6, 2012

Quick Week Night Pasta Dinner

Here's a simple recipe that I make on a regular basis.  Sometimes I swap the type of pasta and veggies out for other kinds and it's a whole new meal.  It's a great meatless meal too.  I love Italian cooking.  I would love to use the reason that I have an Italian family background, but sadly nope.  That's not what is typical in Indiana.  We're German, English and maybe Irish :)  That's about all the variety you find. 

Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil
serves 4-6

1 1/2-2 cups of Ditalini Pasta (depending on how many people you're serving)
2 cloves of Garlic
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup of fresh cherry or grape tomatoes cut in two
2-4 fresh basil leaves chopped roughly
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil

Boil a large pot of water.  When it reaches a full rolling boil add your salt.  I use sea salt in mine. Add your pasta making sure you stir, this should only take about 7-9 minutes.  Follow the directions on the package of your pasta to be sure you don't over cook it.  Meanwhile dice up your cloves of garlic and add it to a hot skillet with the olive oil.  You should use a large chef pan or 12 inch skillet that will accommodate your pasta.  Next, add your can of diced tomatoes to the olive oil and garlic.  At this point I will salt and pepper the dish. Allow the juices from the tomatoes to get flavor from that garlic and cook down some.  This is the sauce and flavor for your dish.  Then add your fresh tomatoes and allow them to cook for a few minutes.  You still want to taste that freshness.  By now it's time to take out that pasta.  Don't drain that water!!! Use a strainer or large spider tool and get out that cooked pasta.  Turn off the heat of your skillet the heat of the pasta will heat up your dish.  Now it's time to add your diced mozzarella and basil.  I add some of the pasta water (1/8-1/4 cup) and toss it well.  Transfer to a serving bowl. Taste your dish and add more salt and pepper. 

I love this versatile dish.  I believe you can still enjoy pasta in moderation.  I love that you can get your veggies in the skillet too.  I might serve this with a salad and bread sticks.  

I've adapted this recipe from Giada

Here are some other things to add:  broccoli, asparagus, artichokes
Experiment with other kinds cheese or meat add ins too:  chicken, tuna, turkey, ham or prosciutto, Parmesan, fontina, pecorino-romano.