Work Out that Case of the Mondays

It’s Monday morning and your alarm is going off – you hit the snooze button once, twice, and consider a third time until you remember that bowl of pasta and glass (okay, two) of wine you had Saturday night. Time to roll out of bed and hit the gym!

monday

Mondays are the hardest days to get to the gym, but you’ve got to start your week off right and set a precedent for Tuesday. Even if all you’re doing is speedwalking on the treadmill (or outside in the crisp Spring air), being active early in the week is key.

exercise-clipart

I try to always include a good amount of cardio in my workout, but strength training is something to not be missed. Not only does it get you sweating at the time, but it builds muscle that will increase your metabolism throughout the day and keep you energized to do your daily tasks.

Over the years I have flipped through more fitness magazines than I’d like to admit, and here’s one circuit workout I do to work my legs, arms and abs, made by piecing together exercises from various magazines

 

MANIC MONDAY CIRCUT – repeat twice

All reps done with 5-8 pound weights in hands

Split Leg Lunge with Shoulder Raise (Back Leg on BOSU Ball) – 10 reps each side

Lateral Shoulder Raise (Stand on BOSU Ball) – 15 reps

Front Lateral Shoulder Raise (Stand on BOSU Ball) – 15 reps

Plie  Squat – 15 reps

Bicep Curls (Stand on BOSU Ball) – 16 reps

Single Leg Kick Back – 20 reps on each side

Tricep Kick Back (Stand on Bosu Ball) – 15 reps

Single Leg Dead Lift – 10 reps each side

60 Second Forearm Plank

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins

….or what I refer to as “the time I was halfway through making a cookie recipe when I realized my baking sheet was at my friends house”

I know it’s been months since I blogged, but I’m determined to get back into it, and hope I can gather a following of even a few who will appreciate my blunders, creations, and activities I post on here!

Now back to the baking.

When I realized the only pan I had was a muffin tin, I hoped that the recipe would still work and not be too dense in the muffin state. Boy did I luck out. They were delicious! The major downfall to this was that instead of getting 3-4 dozen cookies, it only yielded one dozen muffins, so not as many people were able to enjoy them. And by that, I mean my male coworkers and roommates couldn’t have seconds ;-).

I adopted this recipe from Bakers Royale‘s Blog and took to it to make it suitable to my male-run kitchen. Try it either way, just beware. They are perfectly Fall-Suitable Delicious!

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Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins
Yield: 12 good-sized muffins

1 3/4 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
3/4 Cup Flour
3/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Butter, Browned
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup Pumpkin Purée
1 Tbsp Flaxseed + 3 Tbsp Hot Water (or use 1 whole egg)
Chocolate Chips to Sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a pot (preferably do not use non stick), melt butter on medium heat, swirly occasionally until it develops a light brown flavor a nut-like smell
While (or after) the butter is browning, mix the first five ingredients in one bowl.
After the butter has cooled, In a separate bowl, mix the remaining ingredients (except the chocolate chips). Then combine the two bowls, stirring tuntil well combined.
Divide the batter into a greased muffin tin, topping each muffin with chocolate chips.
Bake in the oven for 23 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean

You can also put more chocolate chips inside the batter, I just goofed (as often happens with some of my recipes) and forgot them until it was time to put them in the oven!

Let me know what you think :)

Smoked Salmon Cucumber Cups

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I had the opportunity to use my imagination today with some leftovers and was beyond ecstatic with the results. Ahead is the simple recipe for a basic salmon salad and two easy appetizers you can create with it

Baked Salmon Leftover Salad

Leftover baked salmon (I used filets that had been marinated in miso a few days before baking)
Amount depends on how many leftovers you have!
Equal parts mayonnaise and Greek yogurt
To Taste: Lime Juice
Wasabi paste
Salt and Pepper
Celery, small diced
Green onions, thinly sliced

Mix mayonnaise, yogurt, lime juice, wasabi, salt and pepper
Flake salmon
Mix all ingredients – should not be too wet, but want to stick together

As two appetizer options you can serve on top of toasted French bread as a crostini, or inside a scooped out cucumber cup as shown in the picture

Enjoy!

Christmas and New Years Eve Balance

It’s that awkward six days between the overeating (and drinking) done on the Christmas weekend and the needing to get into that LBD for New Years Eve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After weeks of preparing mentally and physically for this gruelling holiday, I made the wonderful mistake of running on Christmas morning in the 30 degree weather, despite already feeling the come-ons of a cold. Note to self: Never again! The cold air completely destroyed me and now I have five days dedicated to rest and recuperate before ringing in the new year.

Now on the other hand, I absolutely hate New Years Eve. Such anticipation. Everyone needs to look good, someone ends up drinking too much, and the 30 seconds leading up to midnight tends to lead up to a letdown.

 

I realize this entire post has been slightly depressing, but here’s a tip I hope to follow myself: Don’t base your plans on what you hope to happen at the end of the night – make plans on what’s affordable for you and with people who you know you will have fun with! All that matters is that you have a good time and aren’t regretting your choices the next morning – or all of 2012!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year =)

Box Brownies Made Unboring

My grandma asked me the other day to make brownies for a potluck she was going to. Being the generous grandma she is, and not realizing I prefer to make things from scratch, she bought me a few boxes of Duncan Hines Boxed Brownies. Instead of being simple and following the directions on the box, I decided to spruce things up a bit. What an awesome idea that turned out to be! Such a delicious shortcut way to make unique treats!

The first one I tried was very simple and only requires a few ingredients

Duncan Hines Chewy Fudge Box Brownies w/Peanut Butter Frosting and Peanut Chocolate Chip Topping

  • Chewy Fudge Brownies (any type or brand is fine)
    • As well additional ingredients listed on box
  • 1/2 Cup peanut butter
  • 2 T butter/margarine, softened
  • Powdered sugar, use until consistency desired (~1 Cup)
  • Peanuts, chopped (optional)
  • Chocolate chips
  1. Follow box directions when mixing brownies
  2. Bake according to box (I used the 8×8 pan directions, lining the glass pan with foil)
  3. While brownies are baking, mix peanut butter, butter and powdered sugar until creamy and at consistency wanted. Pour in desired pattern onto finished brownies and top with peanuts and chocolate chips
  4. And voila!

The second batch took a little more thinking, and a few minutes with Google =)

Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge Box Brownies with Cream Cheese Swirl

  • Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies (any type or brand is fine)
    • As well as the additional ingredients listed on box
  • 8 oz cream cheese tub (I used fat free)
  • Vanilla coffee creamer (1 Tbsp container)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Equal packet
  1. Follow box directions when mixing brownies and pour into 8 x 8 pan already lined with foil
  2. Whip together remaining ingredients for a minute
  3. Pour cream cheese mixture into brownie pan and using a knife, swirl around into a random design
       4. Bake brownies according to box directions
       5. Yum!!

Banana Bread Cookies!

These cookies are so amazing you would never guess they were vegan!

Recipe Adapted From: Veg Web

1 mashed banana

1 Cup brown sugar

½ Cup white sugar

Slightly less than 1/3 Cup oil

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

1 ½ Cup flour

1 ½ tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

¼ Cup water

2 ¼ Cup oats

Optional: ½ Cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Mix all wet ingredients

Mix all dry ingredients, then add to wet ingredients. Add water and oats and mix

Spoon onto greased cookie sheets and bake for 350 degrees for 13 minutes, or until the bottoms of the cookies are golden brown. Let cool on cookie sheet before storing

Yield: 3 dozen cookies

 

 

Pumpkin Chocolatey Goodness

I had a half used canned of pumpkin purée in my fridge and was looking for a recipe to use it in when I came across a link linked to a link which was linked to another link! Each recipe was another variation of the other, but I ended up basing my version on a halved Martha Stewart recipe. She was just at Google (my place of employment) on Friday and I felt inspired!

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Pumpkin Chocolate Bars
Adapted from Martha Stewart

Ingredients:
1 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 Tbsp ginger
1/4 Tbsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
5/8 cups granulated sugar (1/8 + 1/2 C)
1 egg white
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped, toasted nuts (optional)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line an 8×8 inch baking dish with foil or wax paper. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, spice, baking soda and salt. Stir together and set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined. Mix in the pumpkin puree.
Add the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated.
Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts

Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake until the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs, about 35-40 minutes. (Check at 30 minutes) Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before cutting.

To serve, lift the cake from the pan using the foil and transfer to a cutting board. Peel off the foil and using a sharp knife, cut into 24 squares.

How to Start Running

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To some, running is not in their vocabulary. For others, it’s just a means to an end – losing those twenty extra pounds or fitting into that bridesmaid dress. And for many it is a way to escape the real world and get into a zone where nothing else matters. No matter what your reason is for not enjoying running, I am here to tell you there are ways to change your views of the strenuous exercise.

If you had asked me two years ago what my favorite workout activity was, it would’ve been the stairmaster hands down. I loved how sweaty I got without having to jog mindlessly on a treadmill watching a muted tv when I could have a book or magazine in front of me on the stairmaster.

Flash forward to July 2011, when I’m running six miles outside by myself. For some avid cross country runners this may seem like nothing, but for me it was one of the biggest accomplishments. Now how did I, an elliptical junkie who could barely run 20 minutes a few days a week, achieve this? Three easy steps:

1. Grab a Running Buddy!
Meeting Jackie was the best thing that could have happened to my exercise routine. She showed me that running went by a lot faster when you had someone to talk to throughout. Not only do we push each other to go further, but having our running date set each week motivates me to run on that date as well as other days in the week, not wanting to slow her down because I slacked off.

2. Download Upbeat Music
Everyone has different taste of music, but I can tell you what works for me. Before, I was listening to various upbeat music: Black Eyed Peas, Britney Spears, Kanye, All American Rejects – pretty much anything that made it into the Top 40 in the past 8 years. But when friends introduced me to house music, I realized what my workouts were missing. Avicii, Tiesto, Afrojack, Laidback Luke – they all have the most amazing beats behind their sets that make you want to keep moving. The easiest way to check out this style is to download Tiesto’s Club Life podcast on iTunes for free!

3. Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol can harm your workout plan in many ways. Not only does it quickly add up in calorie consumption, but it increases your appetite, causing you to consume more than you would on a regular occasion. The after effects of alcohol can include depression, sluggishness, and a gnarly hangover as well, causing your workout to be less stimulating than normal, or for it to be cancelled all together.

These are steps that worked for me – they are not necessarily going to work for everyone. But if you have the desire to add running into your routine, I would give it a try! Worst that happens is you get a couple runs in :)

Xoxo
Mitzy

How to Start Running

To some, running is not in their vocabulary. For others, it’s just a means to an end – losing those twenty extra pounds or fitting into that bridesmaid dress. And for many it is a way to escape the real world and get into a zone where nothing else matters. No matter what your reason is for not enjoying running, I am here to tell you there are ways to change your views of the strenuous exercise.

If you had asked me two years ago what my favorite workout activity was, it would’ve been the stairmaster hands down. I loved how sweaty I got without having to jog mindlessly on a treadmill watching a muted tv when I could have a book or magazine in front of me on the stairmaster.

Flash forward to July 2011, when I’m running six miles outside by myself. For some avid cross country runners this may seem like nothing, but for me it was one of the biggest accomplishments. Now how did I, an elliptical junkie who could barely run 20 minutes a few days a week, achieve this? Three easy steps:

1. Grab a Running Buddy!
Meeting Jackie was the best thing that could have happened to my exercise routine. She showed me that running went by a lot faster when you had someone to talk to throughout. Not only do we push each other to go further, but having our running date set each week motivates me to run on that date as well as other days in the week, not wanting to slow her down because I slacked off.

2. Download Upbeat Music
Everyone has different taste of music, but I can tell you what works for me. Before, I was listening to various upbeat music: Black Eyed Peas, Britney Spears, Kanye, All American Rejects – pretty much anything that made it into the Top 40 in the past 8 years. But when friends introduced me to house music, I realized what my workouts were missing. Avicii, Tiesto, Afrojack, Laidback Luke – they all have the most amazing beats behind their sets that make you want to keep moving. The easiest way to check out this style is to download Tiesto’s Club Life podcast on iTunes for free!

3. Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol can harm your workout plan in many ways. Not only does it quickly add up in calorie consumption, but it increases your appetite, causing you to consume more than you would on a regular occasion. The after effects of alcohol can include depression, sluggishness, and a gnarly hangover as well, causing your workout to be less stimulating than normal, or for it to be cancelled all together.

These are steps that worked for me – they are not necessarily going to work for everyone. But if you have the desire to add running into your routine, I would give it a try! Worst that happens is you get a couple runs in :)

Xoxo
Mitzy

Farmers Markets

California is known to be a sunny, sustainable state with a variety of people: celebrities, hippies, fishers, farmers, builders, skiers, etc. That variety also comes with a plethora of vegetables, fruits, grains, fish, meat, you name it! We Californians have been very spoiled in living in such a diverse and amazing area and I could not imagine living somewhere that I did not have such options.

Which brings me to one of my favorite new discoveries: Farmers Markets! I have known about them for quite some time, attending my first one in 2006 on a warm Thursday night in San Luis Obispo. But ever since moving back up to the Bay Area I have been attempting to attend the one half a mile away every Sunday morning. Friends and I have tried to meet up, getting breakfast after purchasing delicious fruits and vegetables!

What I really love about having so much produce to choose from is that buying new varities of things allows me to search and try new recipes that I may never have if I was just doing my regular shopping at Safeway.

I strongly suggest that everyone try to get out to the local Farmers Markets (check out http://www.local.com/results.aspx?keyword=farmers+market&cid=828 for ones in the Bay Area). It’s not only a great way to spend a sunny day, but you’re also helping the environment by reducing gas in transportation, and helping local farmers!

<3 Mitzy

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