Monthly Archives: June 2010

Summer’s Bounty

In case you didn’t already know, summer is my favorite season of the year.  Not only are the days longer and warmer, but there are beach vacations to be had, and countless hours to be spent reading by the pool.

However, the absolutely BEST part of summer is its amazing bounty. 

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This is the best time of year to visit a local Farmers Market to pick up the freshest produce available.  There are so many colors and textures to choose from.

For me, this means that I have absolutely no trouble getting my five servings of fruits and veggies a day.  🙂

It also means that dinners are light, healthy, and super easy!  

Last night’s dinner was no exception. 

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To recreate this delectable dinner at home follow these easy steps.

1. Cook your favorite pasta according to the package directions. 

2. Chop or slice your favorite fresh veggies.  I used summer squash, zucchini, onion, garlic, sliced tomatoes, and mushrooms.

2.  Heat a pan over medium heat and lightly mist the pan with olive oil spray.  No need for oil in this dish!

3.  Once the pan is hot, add the veggies and sauté for a few minutes until they are cooked through. 

4.  Season the veggies with a bit of sea salt and crushed black pepper.

5.  Mix in fresh chopped basil.

6.  Serve and enjoy!

You can add thin strips of steak or baked chicken if you want to add meat 🙂

The veggies were so flavorful and juicy that you didn’t have to add any cheese or oil. 

It was perfectly simple.

What is your favorite easy, light summer dish???

~Jen

magnolia Remember, Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You!!!

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Sweat, Soccer and Nostalgia

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This was me yesterday. 😉

Well,  not really, but sort of.  I took a LesMills BodyCombat class at the gym and it kicked my butt!

The whole class lasted 53 minutes and the entire time my lungs were screaming, my muscles were burning, and I had such a good time!

My heart rate monitor said I burned 946 calories, which I think is an over estimation, but only by about 100-200 calories.  The instructor said that she burned 750 calories, and she was an itty bitty thing.  It wouldn’t surprise me if I actually burned close to 800 calories! 

Last summer I took 2 BodyCombat classes a week and it helped me to get in amazing shape.  Once school started, it became more difficult to attend the scheduled times, so I kind of gave up going.  I’m thinking that after the endorphin high of yesterday’s class I will once again try and go at least once or twice a week for a  high energy, high paced class.

After BodyCombat I watched the USA –vs- Ghana World Cup game.

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It made me miss soccer terribly.  I haven’t played since I broke my sesamoid in a game last spring.  My foot really hasn’t been the same since.  I am able to run and take kickboxing classes and the like, but I think actually kicking a ball would be rather difficult.  Not only would it be a little painful, but I think I would be a little afraid every time I went for the ball!

However, the desire is so strong I may have to buy a ball and try kicking it around to see how it goes.  Who knows, maybe I could play Fall Ball with a little practice.

After the horribly disappointing game, Larry came home from bringing home the bacon, and we headed to West Point, VA for a couples shower in honor of our friends Beau and Gen who are getting married next weekend!

It was a summer soirée complete with a crab feast

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and a meticulously crafted sea turtle cake.

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Isn’t this cake amazing!!!!  The party host humbly made this cake the night before in the comfort of her kitchen!!!   

No one wanted to cut into this masterpiece, but eventually someone couldn’t resist the temptation of a delicious dessert and grabbed a piece.

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The crab feast portion of this party was the biggest temptation for me since giving up meat.

Growing up, my Pop-Pop would hold crab feasts at his house a few times each summer.  He would go into DC to get a few bushels.  Then my brothers and I would watch with our mouths watering as he pulled each crab out, threw them into a pot of boiling water, and cooked them to perfection.

We would spend hours picking crabs and running around the yard in our bare feet with Patsy Cline and Hank Sr. records playing in the background.

As much as I wanted to sit down and start crab picking last night, I just couldn’t do it.  It was an incredibly nostalgic moment for me, but I stuck with the meat free fare instead and I am rather proud of myself for it! 🙂

Today will be a pretty laid back Sunday.  Larry and I are planning on going to the gym for a quick lift followed by a little pool time.  I can’t wait to spend a few hours reading my new book.

Hope you are having a wonderful weekend!  Stay cool!!!

~Jen

magnolia Remember, Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You!!!

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Life is Good

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Isn’t this a cute mug???  One of my students gave it to  me as an end of the year present and I absolutely adore it!

And can you believe it?!?!?!?  I am actually home on a Saturday!!!  This hasn’t happened in a LOOOOOOONG time.  In fact, I was so befuddled by being home on a Saturday that I forgot about the Saturday Farmers Market.  The one Saturday I’m home and I missed it.  Oh, well!  There’s always a Saturday next month 😉

Yesterday I was a pretty happy and healthy girl.  I woke up pretty sore (and am still sore today).  The Kardashian workout really rocked my body!

As I was doing this workout I didn’t think it was as intense as the Yvonne Strahovski workout, but my muscles are begging to differ.  I am S-O-R-E!  And I did this workout almost 4 days ago!!!!!

Because I was having  a hard time walking without wincing ;), I decided to try and swim laps for exercise.  Swimming is an excellent way to burn calories without putting strain on your body.  The water provides excellent resistance for muscle toning, which means you get a great cardiovascular and strengthening workout in one session.

I have to confess, however, that I’ve never been a super strong swimmer.  I was a life guard in high school, but I was never on a swim team, and I never swam for fitness.  Swimming was just something I did for fun. 

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I decided that that needed to change.  Since I have a pool membership and I enjoy sitting at the pool reading, I decided to combine relaxation with a workout.

I packed my pool bag with lots of sunscreen, a sun hat, an excellent read (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson), and my waterproof heart rate monitor. 

I read during kid swim and swam during adult swim.  🙂

In total I did 32 minutes of freestyle laps.  I can do 50 yards in one minute, but I had to rest for 30 seconds between laps.

My heart rate monitor said I burned approximately 289 calories, and Larry and I estimated that I swam about 1,000 yards which is about 914 meters.  Not too bad for a swimming newbie. 

Swimming is definitely different from running.  When I am running I can control my breathing in such a way that I feel like I am breathing normally.  This is not so with swimming.  I have to learn to get into a rhythm with my breathing, so that I don’t have to take a break between laps. 

And let me tell ya!  Swimming wears you out!  I was exhausted!  It reminded me of the summers of my childhood when my brothers and I would swim for hours and then come home and crash.  My mom must have been on to something there 😉

Once home, I treated myself to a Green Monster.  It was green and glor-i-ous!

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-1 scoop of protein powder

-1 bananna

-1 cup frozen peaches

-1 cup almond milk

-2 tablespoons chia seeds

-3 cups cooked spinach

Today I am planning on taking a BodyCombat class at the gym and then heading to Target to see if I can find a cute and cheap summer dress to wear to our friends’ wedding shower this evening. 

Mozoltov!

~Jen

magnolia Remember, Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You!!!

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Salmon & Mock Tuna Melts

Here it is!  The pictures and recipes I promised yesterday 🙂
Salmon and Mock Tuna Melts

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Can you tell which one is real fish????  I made them and I’m having a hard time telling!

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Mock Tuna                                                           Real Salmon

 

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I found the recipe for Real Salmon Melts in the July/August issue of Clean Eating Magazine

It is very similar to making tuna salad except rather than using canned tuna fish, I cooked a large salmon filet and pulled it apart with a fork.  Then I added shredded carrots, celery, onion, dill, lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, paprika, and a little sea salt and pepper to taste.  For the wet ingredients, I used nonfat plain Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise and a couple teaspoons of Dijon mustard. 

Larry liked this so much he had two sandwiches!

The Mock Tuna is what I am really excited about.  I hadn’t realized how much I missed tuna sandwiches until I saw this recipe on the Compassionate Action for Animals website. 

Here is my modified version 🙂

  • 1 (15oz.) cans chick-peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise (could have used less)
  • 2 stalks celery minced
  • 1 large carrot cleaned and shredded
  • 1/4 small sweet onions, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

In a medium sized bowl mash chick-peas coarsely with a fork.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mixed gently.

To make these “sea” inspired salads into scrumptious melts, toast two pieces of pumpernickel or other whole grain bread.  Arrange tomato slices on toasted bread and top with about 1/2 cup of “fish”/veggie mixture.  Cover each piece with a slice of cheese (I used provolone) and broil for 3 minutes or until the cheese is melted.  Top with remaining slice of toast.  Slice and enjoy!

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I served these sandwiches with this Mediterranean Chickpea Salad from WebMD.

I get so excited when I find recipes like this that take the place of a meal from my meat eating days.  There are so many options out there!!!

Do you have a favorite meat free version of a traditional meaty meal???

When I go to the beach this summer and my entire family is eating tuna fish sandwiches, I will not have to eat a completely different meal.  I can have my own meat free version (though I know my brothers will heckle me to no end). 🙂

Well, I’m off to the gym for day three of my Healthy Habits workout.  My muscles are a little sore, but I’m still going strong. 😉

How are your Healthy Habits coming along?

~Jen

magnolia Remember, Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You!!!

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Shaping Up with a Kardashian

Hello, friends!  It’s awfully strange to be writing a post around lunch time, but that is the true beauty of being a teacher–  summers off! 😉

I had planned on sharing with you some beautiful pictures of the Salmon & Mock Tuna Melts that we had for dinner last night.  However, Larry needed the camera for work today, so I’ll have to post those later this evening.  Trust me!  You do not want to miss these recipes!  Especially if you are newbie vegetarian and you’ve been missing tuna sandwiches 🙂

Yesterday was day 1 of my 60 day Healthy Habits Fitness Challenge.  I decided to do a workout routine that I found in last month’s Shape Magazine.  June’s issue featured Kim Kardashian on the cover, and included one of her workout routines created by Gunnar Peterson

Kim Kardashian Workout [Source]

You can find Kim’s workout on the Shape website by clicking here

I thought this was the perfect workout routine.  You can do up to 5 circuits, and each circuit takes about 10 minutes.  This makes it ideal for days when you can only do about 30 minutes, or for days when you have more time and can do 50-60 minutes.  Best of all, you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own  home!

My heart rate was elevated throughout and I worked every muscle in my body.  I’m not sure if I love it quite as much as the Yvonne Strahovski workout, but it was a good change of pace.  I was a sweaty mess by the end. 🙂

Where do you find your workout routines???  I find most of mine in Shape magazines and on other blogs. 

Today I plan on going to the gym to run about 3 miles on the treadmill (yuck!) and to do some ab work. 

I really enjoyed reading your comments on Healthy Habits you would like to adopt.  If you haven’t already left a comment telling us your goals, please do!  It’s so helpful to know that there are other people out there working toward being their healthiest self!  Also, I would love to hear how day one and two have gone. 

Remember to check back later this evening for the Salmon & Mock Tuna Melts recipes! It will probably be a little after 8 PM.  🙂

~Jen

magnolia Remember, Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You!!!

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Bulgur Breakfast and Healthy Habits

Mmmmm…  I am eating the most glorious breakfast at this very moment. 

Last night I forgot to make a batch of Overnight Oats, so this morning I was left to ponder what to  make for breakfast.  Just as I was about to start a batch of Protein Pancakes, I saw it—a container of leftover bulgur from last night’s dinner.

Hmmm.  What could I make with this?  Could I make breakfast out of a dinner food??? 

Absolutely!

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I took 1 cup of the cooked bulgur, mixed in a smushed banana, large quantities of cinnamon, a swirl of maple syrup, and a dollop of cashew butter.  Stirred it all together and voila! 

Simple Leftover BULGUR BREAKFAST!

Bulgur is a whole grain that  has been eaten since ancient times.  It is actually known as man’s first “processed food.”  However, don’t be afraid to try this healthful grain.  When you think processed in today’s day and age you think preservatives, additives, added trans fats, sodium, etc.  However, bulgur is processed in modern times much in the same way as it was in ancient times.

In fact:

“Many of the wheat’s naturally occurring vitamins and minerals permeate the kernel during cooking thus maintaining more nutritive content than other forms of processed wheat products.” [Source]

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I say that if you haven’t already tried bulgur, you should give it a go!  It is wonderful as a side to any dish and can take the place of brown rice or cous-cous.  You can also try Vegetarian Halupkies or Stuffed Peppers

But enough about breakfast.  What I really wanted to talk to you about today is staying healthy with a hectic schedule.

As you may know, the past few weeks have been extremely busy for me.  Don’t get me wrong!  I’ve had a wonderful time traveling all over the state, visiting my alma mater, going on wine tours, watching my brother graduate, standing by my best friend’s side on her big day, closing out the school year, etc., but this continuous go-go-go has not had the best impact on my health.

Most of my meals have been super quick throw-togethers, and my workouts have also been super sporadic.  In fact, I think I have only worked out a total of 4 or 5 times since the second week of June!  My energy levels are low.  I have not been careful about meals and snacks.  And I just plain feel funky!

It is so easy to get out of the workout groove, yet so very hard to return to a regular routine of health and fitness. 

There will always be times in our lives when the daily grind will make it harder for us to stay on top of our game.  However, rather than beating ourselves up over the poor choices we’ve already made, we should just put our best foot forward to get back on track.     

They say it takes 30 to 60 days to make something into a habit.  So, if you want to make daily exercise a habit, then it is necessary to do some sort of physical activity every day for 30 to 60 days. 

I would like to reestablish the regular workout routine that I’ve left in the dust the past few months.  I am challenging myself to 60 days of physical activity.  Because rest is important, some of these workout days will consist of gentle yoga, long walks, or stretching routines.

Here is my Healthy Habits Challenge to you! 

Is there a healthy habit you would like to establish for yourself? 

Perhaps you wish to drink 8-12 cups of water a day?  Or eat 5 daily servings of fruits and veggies?  Maybe you need to get into the habit of flossing every night?  Or maybe, like me, you wish to make daily exercise a habit?

I challenge you to put your best foot forward in trying this habit for the next 30-60 days.  If you would like, leave a comment below letting us know what Healthy Habit you are trying to establish, and we can provide each other with support. 

Here’s to Happier Hearts and Happier Minds!

~Jen

magnolia Remember, Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You!!!

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My Best Friend

Little Miss MIA is back… again!

Have you ever had a time in your life when it was go-go-go constantly, and when you finally did get to sit down and rest it was time for bed???  Well, that is how the last two weeks have been for me. 

I’m thinking that since school is finally out for the summer, Beth’s wedding was pulled off without a hitch, and Larry is back from Costa Rica, life will be much calmer and somewhat back to normal 😉

In fact, yesterday was a wonderfully, blissful and relaxing day, which is good because it was our second wedding anniversary!  🙂

It’s still hard for me to believe that two full years ago I married my best friend.  It feels like just yesterday we were deciding to be an official couple!

In fact, the story of our relationship has a rather complex beginning.  We dated for a little while our sophomore year of college, but being 19 and in college we decided to just stay friends.  We both dated other people, but were somehow always drawn back together.

It wasn’t until the day of my graduation from college, three years later, that we decided to be more than just friends.  Larry told me in those beginning days that we would be together forever.  To be completely honest, I thought he was just sweet talking me! 😉

On June 21, 2008, I realized he was pretty serious 😉

It was the most beautiful day of my life.  We were married in rural Virginia at Clover Forest Plantation surrounded by our closest friends and family.

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During our first two years of marriage, we have survived lay-offs, grad school, a recession, family illnesses, and so much more.  It truly is a wonderful feeling to know that your best friend is always by your side through thick and thin, sickness and health, the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

Who knows what the next two years will bring.  What I do know is that no matter what life may throw our way, we will pull through, stay strong, and stay true to those sacred vows we spoke only two short years ago. 

~Jen

magnolia Remember, Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You!!!

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