Healthy Exercise Anywhere!

So we all know how busy we can get and it’s easy to let exercise fall to the way side. I am on a business trip with Mr. Techie in Virginia and am spending my time catching up on my reading and only a few favorite TV shows since I have a to-do list of things I want to catch up on in terms of my reading. Anyway, I got to the point of my day when I’m a little restless staying in the hotel room by myself and there is literally nothing around us except some fast food restaurants and a huge 4 lane highway so I can’t really walk anywhere to get some exercise without looking like a hitchhiker waiting to be picked up. 

 

Sooo, I decided to do a little exercise routine in my hotel room and by searching Pinterest, I found quite a few ideas and suggestions…..given that you don’t have weights and specific equipment in a hotel room normally and that we don’t have a gym in our motel, it’s best to do as many of each exercise in the best form with as little rest as possible.

 

First- body weight squats with pulses……after doing as many squats as possible in good form, on the last squat stay in the squat position and pulse gently in that position for as many reps as you did all of your squats in. For example- 24 squats would mean 24 reps of gentle pulses on the last squat before standing up straight again. You can do it!

Second- Bulgarian Lunges- with the top of one of your legs balancing behind you on a chair, do a lunge motion on your leg that is standing in front of the chair. Make sure your chair doesn’t have wheels or prevent it from moving by positioning it between a wall and chair or something in the room. Switch feet and do the same number of reps with the other leg as well…..you’ll be feeling it by the time you’re done for sure!

 

Third- Tricep Dips with Lifted Leg- while sitting on a non-moving chair for safety, place both arms on either side of chair seat and lift right leg until straight out. Put all of your body weight on your arms and left leg and dip your body in front of the chair by doing a push-up type move with your arms on the chair. This is another one that you need to have a non-wheeled chair or have someplace to put the chair against so it doesn’t move. It could also work on the edge of the bed.

 

Fourth- Push ups on the bed or on a stable chair, desk or sink ledge. With arms at shoulder width apart and feet together and at an angle  with your feet behind you, do push ups by using your body weight to move your arms up and down on the surface. 

 

Fifth- Squat Jumps- With feet shoulder length apart, squat down in good form then go straight into a jump up as high as you can. Continue squatting and jumping to raise your heart rate.

 

Other Cardio Options- Jump ropes can be done outside in the parking lot, running up stairs if there is a second floor to your hotel, jumping up and down on one step either in the parking lot or on a step in the staircase. 

Keep in mind it’s easy to take a 2-3 pound weight in your suitcase to do simple weight exercises for your arms and you can even take ankle weights to do leg exercises or even to add resistance to some of the exercises listed above. Good luck! It’s so easy to keep in shape on vacation but also don’t forget it’s not all about the exercising, it’s the food intake as well!

 

Don’t forget to cool down!

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Pie Crust Success!

Well, growing up in Lancaster PA, I always heard that to make pies you have to make your own pie crust. At least that’s what my grandmother’s and other ladies in my life always told me. Unfortunately, I also heard the horror stories of making them and how hard they are.

We watch alot of the food network and I’ve seen the chefs make their own crusts and it didn’t seem to hard but based on the horror stories….well, I never wanted to press my luck!

 

Wellll….I guess the time arrived and it’s for sure something that I actually didn’t mind doing. I wanted to make a cherry pie for dinner at my brother’s on Thursday since he’s not a cake person, but the store didn’t have cherries or pie filling so I got apple pie filling instead. I know I should have made my own- maybe next time. We’re heading to Virginia for Mr. Techie’s work and will only be back on Thursday so I had other things on my mind to do instead of making my own pie filling. I’ve done it before so I figured one time of using a can wasn’t going to kill me….or anyone else for that matter!

 

So I used the generic recipe that I found online for a pie crust and here’s what I came up with…..

 

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

2 sticks butter, chunked and cold from fridge

1/4 cup ice cold water, or as much as needed

 

I started by putting the flour and salt into the food processor and thanks to my birthday last year, I have a giant bowled food processor so I knew it could handle all of this. The whole recipe makes 2 crusts so if you only want one or your bowl isn’t big enough, just try splitting it in half. I’ve never done it, but assume it would work. I might have to mess around with that at a later date. Anywho, I pulsed the flour and salt for about 10 seconds then added all the chunked cold butter and whirred it up until it was incorporated- there was still a combination of chunky butter/flour goodness and some areas of just plain flour with little pieces of butter. That’s what you’re looking for! With the processor going, slowly drizzle the ice cold water in a little at a time until it becomes a ball- not sticky like pizza dough…just enough to be able to squish it all together afterwards. Definitely don’t process more than 30 seconds here. I added too much water at first so I just added some more flour, processed for 5-10 seconds and checked to make sure it wasn’t gummy anymore. Overall, I made sure not to process more than the 30 seconds though. Dump it out onto a slightly floured surface and squish all together then break into 2 pieces, shape into 2 discs and store in saran wrap in fridge for 1 hour.

 

Once cooled completely, take out one disc, roll out in some flour and use the rolling pin to help move it to the pie pan. Make sure to cut around the edge of the pie pan to cut off the extras- i used these on top of the filling for a criss cross pattern.I didn’t need to spray the pie pan or anything and just poked the bottom with a fork then stuck it in the oven for 10-15 minutes to cook the bottom. Once I added the filling then I used the extra crust pieces from cutting off around the edges of the pie before baking, made a large criss cross pattern and sprinkled sugar on top of the whole pie. I stuck it in the fridge then baked it to cook to top criss cross, warm the filling and make it all ooey, gooey. I’ll be sure to post pictures when I serve it Thursday night after dinner! Until then, ta ta!

Fluffernutter S’mores Bars- Could Two Things Get Any Better?

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Fluffernutter S’mores Bars…..nothing says summer and homey to me more than those words combined! We just came back from camping and although we didn’t do the s’mores thing this time (tryin’ to keep my girlish figure and all….), we’ll be sure to have them in another of our camping trips this summer since it won’t be the last!

I found this recipe through pinterest and they were just called Fluffernutter bars which already looked and sounded amazing. (Thanks Brightgreendoor.com). Sooo, I decided to make them as a treat for my Mr. Techie and his boss since we’re supposed to be leaving for a business trip today to Virginia and his boss is going as a last minute thing. I thought it might brighten their spirits a little to have something warm, gooey and oh so delectable from the oven once we all get there.

I started with the batter for the flutternutter bars….

1 cup butter, melted

1 cup peanut butter (I substituted 1 cup chocolate soybutter and a a big scoop of peanut butter since I didn’t have that much peanut butter left)

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

2 Tb. vanilla (I make my own of course, and that’s another post)

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 of a large container of marshmallow fluff

1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup peanuts, salted if you wish

Preheat the oven to 350. I started by mixing the butter, peanut and soy butters, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla until mixed. I slowly added the flour in half cup batches until it was fully incorporated but not overly mixed- just until it’s all mixed in. Then I took ALL the marshmallow fluff and folded it gently into the chocolate mixture (mine was chocolate because of the chocolate soy butter, but if you didn’t use it, yours will probably be a white/cream color), and dumped it all into a 9×13 pan which was greased very well. Don’t forget you are using tons of marshmallow fluff so you’ll need to be able to get it out easily. Parchment paper would probably be best going up all sides and on the bottom, but I was too lazy. I evenly coated the top with the peanuts and graham cracker crumbs for that s’mores bar taste. Bake for 35 minutes (the original recipe from Brightgreendoor.com says 20 minutes but maybe I added more marshmallow or something because mine took way longer. When I looked at them at 20 and then 30 minutes it was still pretty jiggly in the middle so I covered it in foil to prevent the puffy marshmallow from burning and kept cookin’ until I felt like they were done…..about 35 minutes. Keep an eye on them to see when they look done to you. (I’ll have to try this again another time….for posterity sake, to see if it takes that long again or if it’s just something goin’ on today.)

Anyway, when I took them out, ooooh baby, were they amazing looking with all the puffed up marshmallow fluff bubbles. I just wish it weren’t so hot that I could just eat the ooey, gooey marshmallows just from there.

Here’s the after picture….making you jealous at all?

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I’m really trying not to eat them all, or really even one since I’m cutting back on sweets to only 2-3 times per week. I’m hoping these help the business trip to be a little better than usual and maybe I’ll be invited along again just so I can bring the goodies….hmm I knew there was another motive for me lol.

What do you do to let motivate yourself to eat a healthy lifestyle?

Manicotti Gone Wild via Pinterest!

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So as you may start noticing, I’m an avid cook and baker through my absolute favorite site- Pinterest! Of course you can’t guarantee that when you get to the link that there will be all the information you need and that is what I encountered when I checked out this recipe- http://acidrefluxrecipes.com/shellys-zucchini-roll-ups-aka-pasta-less-manicotti-weight-loss-recipes-for-women/…..there was a list of ingredients but no instructions on how to use the list or how long to bake so off I went to use my common sense and imagination to get my desired product….and of course I learned a few things along the way which I’m of course willing to share with my readers!

Here is the picture that went with the link on Pinterest….

 Shellys Zucchini Roll ups (aka Pasta less Manicotti)   Weight Loss Recipes for Women  vegetarian diet

First I started with the list of ingredients….which seemed simple enough (right?!)

5-6 Medium Zucchini or Summer Squash, sliced thin lengthwise (I used 3-4 small for 2 people)
4 oz. Whipped Cream Cheese- reduced fat or fat free if possible
4 oz. Ricotta Cheese- reduced or fat free/healthier than full fat at least
1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 teaspoon Oregano- dried
1/2 teaspoon each Basil and Parsley, fresh if possible
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
12 oz. Tomato Sauce

1/2 tsp-1 tsp lime juice, optional

For me, I’ve made my share of lasagnas (and who hasn’t?) so I kind of figured out to use my mandolin to cut the zucchini into long strips after chopping off each end- this resembled the lasanga noodles but of course are flexible without needing to be cooked. Don’t forget to preheat your oven to 350.

Slice or cut up zucchini- I used a mandolin set on 3, but you could use a knife too.

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I used a round 9″ glass pan, and covered the bottom in maybe a half cup of tomato sauce.

In a bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, whipped cream cheese, spices, salt pepper and lime juice if you are using it. I have an AeroGarden sitting in my kitchen growing herbs so it’s easy for me to pick fresh herbs right off and chop them up and stick them in, but if you like dried than go for it. It’s your perogative as the cook!

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Lay out 4 zucchini strips and place a tablespoon or so sized dollop (I love that word, dollop….dolllllloooooooop, dolloppp, dollop….see why I love it?) on the end closest to you- about 1/4 of the way up.

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With confidence you didn’t know you had (because of course for me, they always unroll as soon as I put them down lol)…..roll up each zucchini piece with the filling inside and put seam side down in sauce until every space is filled with goodness.

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Now for me, I had some extra filling left, so I put slathered some tomato sauce over top of all the cute little rolls and spread it all over. Add dollups (there’s that word again?!) of the filling on top of the sauce and use a spatula to spread it all evenly.

Bake for 20-30 minutes and use a large non-slotted spoon to dish onto the plates. For us, I didn’t make anything else- we’re trying to stay away from carbs at every meal and there’s already zucchini in here, but you could add garlic bread and a side salad if you’d like- I don’t mind! It’s critical to use a non-slotted one if your sauce is thin….ours was thin AND I used a slotted spoon so I was fighting with gravity to not mess up my kitchen with yummy tomato-cheesey sauce trying to get everything to the plate.

ImageIsn’t that a beautiful presentation? I only snapped one picture since we were starving and Mr. Techie doesn’t eat much during the day so he’s always hungry when he gets home too.

ImageThe end result? A clean plate from Mr. Techie and he even went back for another round! I ‘d say it was a success….

TIPS AND TRICKS….

Ok, so now on to a few tips of the trade for this recipe- I think I used too much sauce and filling on top because it was very soupy afterwards. I also wish I would have taken just a few minutes extra to put toothpicks in the rolls because as soon as I started to take them out and plate them, they fell apart. We did have to cut each one in half so there were smaller halves to eat because, unlike a snake, our jaws don’t open that far and slurping a huge strip of zucchini into our mouths like a piece of spaghetti….well, it’s not very lady-like. Or so I’m told.

Now, since it’s just the two of us and as long as the main dish includes veggies, I don’t do side dishes very often. My go-to for this would have been a side salad and some garlic bread for Mr. Techie but the laundry basket was overflowing and calling my name (well, really having clean clothes for tomorrow seemed like a good idea), so I folded laundry until Mr. Techie got home and we ate. He didn’t seem to mind not having anything with it, but he’s gotten used to not always having a side dish. Does that make me lazy? I sure hope not because sometimes I just don’t want to have to fuss with it!

What’s your thoughts? Do you always make a side dish even if there are veggies in the main part? Do you include dessert with every dinner?