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Archive for September, 2011

Recipe recommendation: Cheesecake Cookies

September 26, 2011 Leave a comment

Cheesecake Cookies... delicious!

 

These were really simple to make and took very little time in the oven. If you can, use parchment paper. Totally makes the difference.

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 stick butter (room temperature)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 TB vanilla extract
  • 1 cup + 1 TB flour
  • dash salt
  • 4 graham crackers, crushed finely
  • 2 TB brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of ground clove (optional)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Combine graham crackers, brown sugar, cinnamon, and clove (if using) in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Beat together cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl.
  • Add sugar and salt, and turn on the hand mixer again.
  • Add flour and one more time, beat to combine (add flour in 1/4 cup at a time is my recommendation)
  • Scoop out batter using your TB spoon into a ball, roll in the graham cracker mixture, and put on the cookie sheet. Keep going until you run out of batter.
  • Bake for 13 – 15 minutes, depending on your oven’s heating capacity
Categories: Desserts recipes

Turbo Fire: It’s a workout and a half (review)

September 22, 2011 Leave a comment

What I like about it: It’s not just about cardio, which it does almost fiendishly well. It’s also about overall body strengthening and conditioning. Check it:

Turbo Fire DVD List

  • Fire 30 class/Stretch 10 Class DVD
  • HIIT 15 Class/ Stretch 10 Class DVD
  • Fire 55 EZ Class/Stretch 10 Class DVD
  • Core 20 Class/ Stretch 40 Class/ Stretch 10 Class DVD*
  • Fire 45 Class/ Stretch 10 Class DVD
  • HIIT 20 class/ Stretch 10 Class DVD
  • Fire 45 EZ Class/ Stretch 10 Class DVD
  • HIIT 25 Class/ Stretch 10 Class DVD
  • Sculpt 30 Class/ Tone 30 Class DVD*

Turbo Fire Advanced DVDs (may need to be purchased seperately)

  • HIIT 30 Class/ Stretch 10 Class DVD
  • Fire 60 Class/ Stretch 10 Class DVD
  • Abs 10 Class/ Stretch 10 Class DVD
  • Upper 20 Class/ Lower 20 Class/ Stretch 10 Class DVD*

* = incorporates the use of a resistance band and/or lower body band

With minimal equipment needed, this workout provides an intense conditioning experience in the comfort of my little home workout studio. Let me say that again: it is intense. It’s definitely not for someone who doesn’t already have some sort of regular activity plan incorporating cardio, strength, and flexibility training.

Chalene has Allie up on stage doing modified moves if you don’t want to go completely bonkers with intensity or if you have a physical issue that prevents you from going all out. It helps me definitely in this regard. Chalene is great at always having someone on hand demonstrating modified moves in all her workout videos. That’s something that’s usually not present in gym classes, but I think it should be. Not everyone is at the same level as the instructor, after all.

A cool thing about this workout system is each workout’s length is right in the title. Only got 10 minutes? There’s an Ab workout or a stretch you can do. Only want to work upper body today? Get rockin’ with Upper 20. Or, follow the schedule included with the DVDs. It’s helpful in that the schedule starts with the workouts that are shorter in duration, culminating in Fire 60 somewhere after the 20th week. Holy majoly, Fire for 60 minutes??? I’m not there yet 🙂

Turbo Jam is a great introduction to this type of activity, and it will help a new person get into the condition needed to keep up with Turbo Fire. Not only that, Turbo Jam is hellaciously fun. I still use it and enjoy it. Check out a previous post I did featuring a video from Chalene outlining the differences. Or, visit your local park, gym, martial arts studio, or basketball court, and get your sweat on until you feel ready for Turbo Fire.

My personal objective is to combine Turbo Fire with my regular martial arts training to get my body stronger, kicks and punches with more power, and be able to hang with the seasoned athletes. Having a six pack would be a plus, I’m not going to lie 😉

Categories: Health and Fitness

Chocolate milk: Not just for cookies anymore

September 20, 2011 Leave a comment

In trying to step up my workout game, I’ve been doing a bit of research on post workout recovery drinks. Most of my workouts happen after 6pm, so I’m often sluggish the morning after. It could very well be that my body needs that little extra something to repair itself during the night and also keep the metabolism going.

However, if you go to any nutrition store, you’ll see tons of choices in recovery drinks. One I tried (P90x Recovery Formula) didn’t taste as good as I thought it would, and it was hellaciously expensive.

Well, I found one that cost about 3 bucks and can be bought at any grocery store: lowfat chocolate milk. It’s got tons of protein and good carbs for muscle repair, and tastes great. If you do a search on “post workout recovery drink” chocolate milk is one of the top hits.

Last night I tested the theory out for the first time. I went to my Kickboxing class, which is pretty high intensity in nature. Drank some chocolate milk immediately after, and I didn’t feel as sluggish this morning when I got up to get ready for work.

That’s just my experience, though. Drink what you like after your workout, but maybe one day you’ll give chocolate milk a chance. It’s worthy 🙂

Recipe Recommendation: Chicken Paprikash with Dumplings

September 17, 2011 Leave a comment

I found this version online at AllRecipes.com today and decided to try it out, with some revisions. Namely, I completely forgot to buy an onion when my husband and I were at the grocery store buying the ingredients. He wasn’t overly sad with the exclusion of onion because he’s not really big on it. Also, I used drumsticks and thighs for this version. I think they tend to keep the flavor better than breasts when cooking Paprikash.

When it comes to paprika, I’ll add it to anything. Tuna, chicken salad, eggs (they wouldn’t be deviled without it in my opinion), it all works with paprika. I think it’s an addiction by this point, I may need treatment. Well, after eating this dish anyway… I’ll think about it.

Note about the dumplings: Don’t overcook them. 10 minutes in rapidly boiling water, and make sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot.

Dumpling Ingredients

  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Chicken Paprikash Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 pounds bone-in chicken pieces, with skin (I used thighs and drumsticks)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sour cream

Directions (modified)

  1. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1/2 cup of water. Gradually stir in 2 1/2 cups of flour to make a stiff batter. Using two spoons, scoop out some batter with one spoon and use the second to scrap off the spoonful of batter into the boiling water. Repeat until several dumplings are cooking. Cook dumplings for 10 minutes or until they float to the top; then lift from the water and drain in a colander or sieve. Rinse with warm water.
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter and add chicken; cook until lightly browned, turning once. Cook an additional 5 to 8 minutes. Pour in 1 1/2 cups of water, and season with paprika, salt, and pepper; cook 10 minutes more, or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear. Remove chicken from skillet and keep warm.
  3. Stir 2 tablespoons of flour into sour cream; then slowly stir it into the sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, and cook until thickened.
  4. To serve, add dumplings to the sauce, then spoon onto dinner plates adding a piece of chicken.

 

Textbooks…

September 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Only one bookstore in town carries a book I need for class. It can’t be a used book because only the new ones contain an online code needed for homework. Ok, fine, I go check it out. 140 bucks total for one stinking book. I buy it with the pretext of holding on to it in case I can’t find another online. I do later that day for 100 bucks. I buy the second book with the intention of returning the first one for the full amount.

Now, yours truly isn’t always great with scheduling, so I manage to miss the return date by two days… evidently the bookstore only gives you a week to return textbooks for a full refund.

The nice clerk suggests I sell it back. For what, 15, 20 dollars? Dude, there’s got to be a better way.

And there is… online selling. I listed my new book plus a book from last semester over the weekend for a little under what everyone else was selling it for. The other book has sold so far. In other words, it’s not all a lost cause 🙂

So if you ever find yourself wanting to sell textbooks to recoup some cash, consider doing it online. You might be able to get more money back than you thought possible.

Update: I sold both books 🙂 Shipping wasn’t too bad, about 20 bucks for both (one weighed almost 5 lbs), and they’re on their way to their new homes.

Categories: Rants Tags:

It was a clear sunny day in September

September 11, 2011 Leave a comment

10 years ago, when the world changed from something safe and somewhat innocent, into something completely different. And yet, there still exists hope, hope that a semblance of that old innocence and security can come back. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but at some point. Young folks have the right to experience that at some point in their lives.

I thought about posting an image that defined the day for me, but it’s still too raw, too powerful, too emotional. Search for “The Falling Man” and you will see the image I am referring to.

I remember a trip I took with my fellow high school band members to New York City for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (I’d place the year at around 1993). I’d never been to the East Coast before this, much less out of Texas. Walking around Manhattan, I remember feeling so small and inconsequential, and never more so until our bus parked next to the World Trade Center for a few minutes. On the sidewalk, I remember looking up, and not being able to see where the building ended and where the sky began. It was just a monolith. Never did I ever imagine that that behemoth would come tumbling down 8 years later.

The question always comes up, where were you on that day and how did you handle it? I had just gotten to work, and a coworker who always watched the news on her little TV in her office had it on as usual. We walked in and she immediately yelled out for us to come to her office. “What’s going on, Glinda?” “I think a plane just hit the World Trade Center!” No way, there’s no way that happened. And of course, it did. And so all through the day we watched the coverage, no one could really focus on anything else. Panic, terror, grief, all the raw emotions were on display. I cried for the poor souls lost when the buildings came down.

One day soon I will take my husband, who has never been to NYC, to the Memorial. And I can see for myself how the city has changed from that first experience when I was 17 to the New York City post-9/11/2001.

Categories: Uncategorized

Workout DVD recommendation: Turbo Jam 3T

September 6, 2011 Leave a comment

Turbo Jam 3T... a great strength training workout

 

On the days that I don’t have martial arts or graduate classes, I try to get some strength training in. However, what’s one to do when the gym is 10 miles away and the part time athlete is too lazy to drive?

3T to the rescue 🙂

If you’ve read my previous fitness blog posts, I seem to have a running theme in that my workout choices tend to stem from the Turbo Jam/Turbo Fire series. The reason for this is simple: Chalene creates routines that I find challenging, effective, and fun. As trainers often say, if it isn’t fun, you probably won’t stick with it.

3T is about 30 minutes long, perfect for a day when I want to pair it with her Lower Body Workout. If you have free weights you have the option of using them, otherwise, resistance tubing is recommended. And yes, you will feel it with the tubing. My tip is to get new tubing if you want to start this workout. New tubing costs around 7 bucks and provides more resistance than old tubing… the stretchiness tends to wear out over time.

So you have some old favorites, lunges, squats, biceps, triceps, shoulder moves, they’re all in there. Plus, there’s a pretty decent Core workout at the end of the video to get the abs burning.

Incorporating both into my regular routine of kickboxing and krav maga seems to have improved my kicks and punches quite a bit. It feels good when the body feels strong.

Categories: Health and Fitness
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