Remember Those Muffins?

Yeah, those pre-workout muffins? These ones. Well, I just made a batch with apples and raisins in them and let me tell you they smell DELICIOUS. I can’t wait to have one before my run tomorrow morning. I just cut up an apple and threw in a handful of raisins. I’m still using ultra grain flour, too. Yay healthy muffins!

In other news, did I mention I switched to the dark side last week? I finally got a smart phone (dun dun dun). And today my new case came in the mail! How cute!

It’s been a while, so lets get a few sets of bonus abs in!
25 straight leg raises
25 bicycles
25 crunches
25 kayakers (aka Russian twists)
1 minute plank
Repeat 3 times and feel the burn!

Tomorrow is the last day before Ramadan, a Muslim holiday where you fast during daylight hours and eat after dark. My friend is Muslim, and to celebrate her last day of “freedom”, she, another friend, and myself are going out to lunch. I love that even though we all come from diverse backgrounds and religions, we can still be good friends and have fun together.

Good Things 🙂


Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead

I’m currently watching a documentary on Netflix called Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. It’s about a man named Joe, whose lifestyle lead him to develop health problems such as high blood pressure, a severe skin disease, and almost-issues like being pre-diabetic and at serious risk of heart problems. He decides to “Reboot”, that is, do a juicing cleanse for 60 days. The documentary follows him on his journey through the withdrawals of fast foods, sugar, and processed foods to eventually losing over 200 pounds (and counting) via his new diet choices and switching from a sedentary to active lifestyle. Check out the website here. His dedication to better his life was an inspiration to many of the other people interviewed/followed in the documentary, and it got me thinking, too.

Now I’m definitely not saying I’m about to do a 60-day juice cleanse, but it has made me wonder more about the foods I’m putting (and maybe shouldn’t be putting) into my body. In the last few months I’ve been trying to get my full daily recommendation of fruits and veggies (2 cups of fruit and 3 cups of vegetables, according to this CDC website), and even that has been a little challenging (maybe not so much the fruits…). I’ve been buying more veggies like carrots, cucumbers, avocados, and tomatoes, and have even added 1 8oz. glass of V8 V-Fusion (Light!) to my diet to help. I bring carrots to work for a snack, saute squash or eat individually packaged veggies from Green Giant for dinner,  and have even taken to finding staple recipes like Caprese Quinoa Salad and Korean Cucumber Salad for Wednesdays when I bring back my haul from the farmer’s market.

Another thing I don’t think I want to do is become a vegetarian or vegan. I LOVE meat. It’s good, good for me (depending…), and is one of my main sources for protein. Many vegetarians and vegans (but not all!) end up needing to take supplements to get essential vitamins and minerals they may not get otherwise as a result of their diet. Our ancestors lived in a natural way of using the land, and I want to continue to as well. Unfortunately, with the higher and higher demands of meat in the world today, manufacturers are injecting animals with things like steroids and growth hormones.

On the same subject, many similar facts are being stated about fruits and vegetables. Pesticides (“cide” meaning “to kill”) and other chemicals are being sprayed on the crops to keep insects away and to make the food ripen at the “right time”. So, the solution? To buy organic. Everything? Some things? That’s what I’m working on understanding now. Besides remembering which fruits and veggies I need to buy organic, there’s the fact that I’m fresh out of college and still trying to find my way in the world (we’re talking monetarily here…). So far I’ve learned one simple rule about buying organic. Things you need to peel, like mangos, avocados, bananas, corn, onions, etc… don’t need to be organic. However strawberries, blueberries, peaches, tomatoes, etc… should be. Then nutrition articles  start to contradict each other and scientists discover new things. By the time I do some research, I feel like I’m right back where I started. My knowledge bank is overflowing with “GMOs” and “BHT” and “BHA” and “BPA” and nitrate products and refined sugars and on and on. I’ve started collecting information and storing it here, on my Pinterest page, where I can refer to it easily before I go grocery shopping or save a recipe.

Semi-considering all that’s going around now, I try to eat the best I can. If I’m craving something sweet, I try to make my own dessert so I can control how much good stuff and bad stuff goes into it. I’ve taken to substituting unsweetened applesauce for oil in my waffles, cake, and some other recipes (although we found out the sad way that it’s not a very good substitute in brownies). I buy a big bag of brown rice to cook and season myself instead of buying the high-sodium boxed and 90-second microwave bag versions. I’ve also grown to love quinoa. I like Greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt. JIF natural peanut butter instead of regular or reduced fat. I buy cereal with 8 grams of sugar or less. I use regular milk (1%) for bowls of cereal and recipes, but have started using soy milk (original, unsweetened) in smoothies. I get lots of my protein from the things listed above, like milk, meat, Greek yogurt, and eggs.

In the end, I just try my best to eat as well as I can every day. If I go out to dinner and get something that’s not the… healthiest… it’s okay. I can’t feel bad about one unhealthy meal. Just like one good meal doesn’t make you “skinny”, one bad meal isn’t going to make you fat. It’s your overall diet and habits that make your body the way it is. Take care of it.

Here’s a list I found on a blog pinned to my Pinterest page of documentaries (like Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead). I’ve only seen Fat Sick and Nearly Dead and Supersize Me (which I watched in high school and would definitely recommend). I hope that by watching some more of these I learn more about today’s food industry.

  1. Food Inc.
  2. Vegucated.
  3. Fork Over Knives
  4. Hungry for a Change
  5. Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
  6. Fork Over Knives The Extended Interview
  7. America the Beautiful
  8. Killer at Large (why obesity is America’s greatest threat)
  9. A Walk to Beautiful
  10. FAT What No One Is Telling You
  11. King Corn, Our Daily Bread
  12. Supersize Me
  13. Future of Food
  14. Food Matters
  15. Fed Up
  16. Food Fight

From what I have seen and read, the thing I do know is that if I ever decide to do an extreme lifestyle change (that would mean not only becoming vegetarian or vegan, but even going dairy-free, etc…) I would do a LOT of research to make sure I was doing it properly. The last thing I would want in my wish to change and be more healthy was to do the opposite and deprive myself of essential nutrients. If you decide to change your diet, check with a doctor for advice, and if you see any bodily changes that aren’t normal, get things checked out. You don’t want to try to better yourself and end up going the opposite direction!

Well, I guess that’s enough rambling about things I’m not an expert on. Do you have any tips or easy ways to remember other rules about food and diet?

Happy happy Fourth of July!

Good Things 🙂


P.S. No one ever got fat from eating too many fruits and vegetables.

“And inside…. MUFFINS!”

If anyone can tell me what movie that title quote is from I’ll give you something for free. I’m not sure what, but I’m open to suggestions. Just because it’s a great movie. Mom, you don’t count, but I’ll give you a hug anyways.

Tonight I’m talkin’ bout muffins. I found this recipe online. I really like it because it’s just big enough to give me an extra boost in the morning before I work out, but light enough that I don’t really have to wait for it to digest. Lots of healthy muffin recipes call for them lately, but I like that bananas aren’t an ingredient. Once I ate a banana before a 5k race and it… let’s say… came up the same way… about 100 yards from the finish line. Good news is I felt like a new women and sprinted to the end. Okay news is I know not to eat bananas before I work out. Bad news is I had to find out that way. Each muffin is around 100 calories, depending on what you put in the recipe. I’ve made these the way the recipe calls for with blueberries, but I’ve also made raisin, and blueberry and dark chocolate chip. Strawberry and raisin is in the oven right now!

The thing I changed in this recipe was to use Ultragrain flour instead of white (which I do with just about everything now). I also noticed that there are two different temperatures it says to cook on in the directions. I’ve used 400 degrees successfully each time, for about 21 minutes (but every oven is different, so watch the time!).

First, make a giant mess on the counter

First, make a giant mess on the counter

Mix the dry ingredients without letting the flour puff up in your eyes

Mix the dry ingredients without letting the flour puff up in your eyes

Put muffins in the oven. Caution: HOT

Put muffins in the oven. Caution: HOT

Sorry I got caught up and didn’t take pictures of all the steps.

In other news, I’m back into making these things called barefoot sandals. I love them and try to sell them when I can as well. I just made the awesome 4th of July one below last week . It’s so sparkly it reminds me of fireworks. I love all sparkly things. And not just because I’m blonde. You get that thought out of your head right now.

Fourth of July Barefoot Sandal. You can find some others I've made on my pinterest. I don't have an Etsy account, but if you'd like one, email or comment and we'll figure it out from there :)

Fourth of July Barefoot Sandal. You can find some others I’ve made on my pinterest. I don’t have an Etsy account, but if you’d like one, email or comment and we’ll figure it out from there 🙂

Well, they’re done! The condo smells delicious and they look even better. The recipe makes about 12, and I usually just freeze them and pull one out in the morning, pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds, and EAT IT.

Mmmmm Close-ups make everything look more delicious. But actually these look delicious from far away, too.

Mmmmm Close-ups make everything look more delicious. But actually these look delicious from far away, too.

What’s your pre-workout snack?

Good Things 🙂


Weekend Challenge March 16th & 17th

Happy Friday everyone! You week is almost over and it’s time to relax! Your Weekend Challenge isn’t an active one this time. I’d like you to try drinking 1 (8oz.) glass of water before each meal. I’ve been reading a lot of articles lately that say this helps to fill you up so you don’t eat as much during your meal. So before breakfast, lunch, and dinner this weekend try drinking some water to conquer that initial hungry feeling. Then chow down (hopefully a little less than you normally would)!

Another thing you can try if you find yourself with the munchies and looking for snacks all weekend is to hydrate. Lots of times your brain will tell you you’re hungry, when all you really need is some fluid. Listen to your tummy!

Do something fun outside this weekend. It will make you happy, and you deserve to be happy.

Good Things 🙂


Legs, Legs, Legs, and English Muffins

Has your weather been as nice as ours has the last couple days? Clear blue skies and temperatures hovering around 70 degrees, with a lovely 50-something at night. Perfect weather for a run. Or a light jog, or a walk, or a hike, or a bike ride, or a just get the heck outside and enjoy the sunshine.

Or maybe the Frigid North is up to its normal habits of think clouds and snow. Time for some sledding or cross country skiing!

Either way, here’s a leg workout that’s an awesome way to finish whatever cardio session you just sweat through. It’s pretty basic, but really works your butt, hamstrings, and quads for a 15-minute-or-less total strengthening and toning exercise set.

You can do this one without dumbbells to start if you’d like to experiment. If you want to make it tougher, grab whatever you’re most comfortable working with (5-lb., 10-lb., etc). Don’t be afraid that your arms can’t handle that much weight for arm exercises, as you won’t actually be lifting, but rather holding.

Here are your exercises:

Same-leg lunge: Start standing straight up, feet together. Hold one dumbbell in each hand at your sides. Step forward and lunge with your right foot, putting most of your body weight into your right heel. Push through the right heel back to your starting position. This motion is kind of like taking a step forward and then stepping back again, as opposed to a walking lunge where you move across the floor. Repeat on SAME LEG.

Curtsey: Like these pictures from a previous post, but just holding the weights at your sides instead of doing a v-raise…
Step 1– Stand straight, feet together
Step 2– Holding weights at side, tap one foot back and behind standing leg
Step 3– Return to standing position
Repeat on SAME LEG

Step-to-Squat: Start standing straight up, feet together. Put one weight down, so you’re only holding one with both hands at chest level or between your legs. Step right foot out to the side and squat down (like a regular squat). Come up and bring right foot back to standing position. Repeat on SAME LEG.

Squat Pulse: Spread legs and feet further than shoulder-width apart. Keep that one weight at chest level, or hold it between your legs. Squat down so legs are parallel (or close!) to the ground. Come up to a 45 degree angle, about halfway up. Come back down to parallel. Repeat! To keep some of the pressure off of your knees and get the most out of your squat, pretend like you’re going to sit down in a chair. Stick your butt out and squeeze those cheeks!

So all together, one set will look like this:
1. Same-leg lunge– RIGHT
2. Same-leg lunge– LEFT
3. Curtsey– RIGHT
4. Curtsey– LEFT
5. Step-to-Squat– RIGHT
6. Step-to-Squat– LEFT
7. Squat pulse

Try 3 sets of 10 (each exercise) to start. Get through ALL exercises 1-7 before you stop to rest for 60-90 seconds. If you need more time, take it! Try to push yourself to keep your recovery time only as long as your legs need it. You’ll feel it in your legs, but it also gets your heart rate up a bit. When your legs stop getting sore after this workout, try spicing it up by doing the exercises in a different order, using heavier weights, or attempting more reps or sets.

I’m up to 15-lb dumbbells now, doing 15 reps of each exercise on each leg. My next step will be a rotation between 4 sets of 15 reps and 3 sets of 20 reps, because I’m not sure my hands want to hold 20-pounders. At least not until I get lifting gloves.

I made homemade english muffins last Sunday. Before I started talking about them I wanted to make sure they were edible. I’m happy to report they are not only edible, but also delicious!

English muffins. Yes, they look burnt, but they were definitely cooked perfectly.

English muffins. Yes, some look burnt, but they were definitely cooked perfectly.

I got the recipe from another blog called BudgetBytes. Here is the link! Making them was very cheap compared to buying them from the store. It “takes” 3.5 hours, but most of that is just allowing the dough to rise.

Superbowl plans tonight, anyone? I’m making my own pizza and watching the game with my boyfriend and some friends. Neither team is on my naughty list, but I think I’m pulling for the 49ers so it makes the Packers look better and Dad wins his bet.

Hey, at least I didn’t choose a team based on whose uniforms were prettier.

Good Things (and a good week!) 🙂