Monday, November 29, 2010

Motivation Monday

Did you overindulge just a little during this first weekend of the "Holiday Season?" I know I did, but we had such a nice time that I have no room for any of that self-loathing business. It's a fresh week with plenty of opportunities for healthy living.

I remember how it used to be, overindulging on holiday food, drink and treats from Thanksgiving straight through until January 2nd, because you just know you can't start your "New Year Diet" on a holiday. Right? Wrong!

It's never too late to make a healthy choice, never to late to take a walk, never too late to get started on your current year's resolutions. There are still 5 weeks left in 2010, 5 weeks to take care of your health and get some physical activity in, 5 weeks to make sure you get enough rest, drink enough water and eat lots of fruits and veggies.

There will be plenty of time to indulge in Christmas cookies and New Year's cheer, but don't let it fill up the last 5 weeks left on the calendar. Make the most of the time, the best present we can give to ourselves is the gift of good health!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Photo Sunday

I hope you've all had a wonderful holiday, we sure did. Here are a few pics of our festivities...










The meal was wonderful and doing the bulk of the cooking on Wednesday made for a very relaxing and enjoyable holiday. I decided on Pineapple Upside Down Cake for dessert because Rob does not eat pumpkin. It turned out beautifully and may just be our newest holiday tradition. I used this recipe from Foodblogga. Came together easily, turned out beautifully.


Friday was the Curry Cook-Off. I know it may be silly to some, but I really get into it, donning a bindi and Bollywood jewelry...


My dish won for the second year in a row, so I was thrilled about that. The Turkey Tikka Masala was very tasty. And Team Bindi won the music trivia challenge. It was a great night!

Team Bindi~with Ben, Paul, Laura

I'm definitely ready for several weeks healthy fare and lots of physical activity before Christmas is upon us. I'm bloated, as you can see from my muffin top up there. But not only that, I want to keep my immune system in tip-top shape because 'tis the season for colds and flu and I'm just not having any of that this year.

I'm off to wash the juicer and now it's time for coffee. Happy Sunday!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

I have so many things to be thankful for, far to many to list. There is reason to be thankful every moment of every day, with every breath, every step.

Thank you for spending time reading this blog. Thank you for caring enough about yourself to take action toward creating a healthier life for yourself and your family. Thank you for thinking that you are worth it, because you are.

Wherever this special day takes you, please be safe and most of all, enjoy it!

Ten things to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Recipe: Tangy Cranberry Chutney

Tangy Cranberry Chutney

Oh, cranberry sauce! It's my absolute favorite thing on a Thanksgiving table. I was chatting about food and cooking at work last evening as I made my rounds (shocking, I know.) One of my little ladies said how much she loved cranberries and dressing. As long as she had them, she had a Thanksgiving meal. True that!

While I will always think nostalgic thoughts about the jellied sauce that plops out and stays in the shape of the can, it just can't compare to homemade cranberry sauce. And it's so simple to make yet it is a culinary Universe away from the canned plop.

I adapted the following recipe from Ina Garten's Cranberry Fruit Conserve recipe, which is fabulous in its own right, but this variation is amazing!

Tangy Cranberry Chutney

1 pound fresh Massachusetts cranberries, rinsed
1 and 3/4 cups sugar
zest and juice of 1 lemon
zest and juice of 2 tangerines or 1 navel orange
1 granny smith apple, peeled cored and diced
1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of salt
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
1 cup chopped walnuts

Place all ingredients except the vinegar and walnuts in a large saucepan, bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium low, simmer, stirring often, for 20 minutes. Stir in vinegar and continue simmering for another 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in walnuts. Cool, spoon into clean jam jars and refrigerate.


Devour!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Share the Abundance


Thanksgiving, for most of us, is a holiday of abundance. Abundance of food, drink and cozy times with friends and family. But there are people who struggle to put food on the table every day.

Our neighborhood always holds several food drives throughout the holiday season and our local supermarkets also hold food drives. It's a way for Rob and I to give something back this time of year.

If you are able to do so, please take a moment to locate a food bank or food drive in your area, whether its just one dollar or a few cans, every little bit helps.

Give at your local supermarket as you stock up for your holiday or click one of the links below to share your abundance.

Charity Navigator
Feeding America.org

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Food Porn as Promised

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I never liked Brussels sprouts, like cabbage only smaller. But when one marries an Englishman, Brussels must become part of the kitchen repertoire. Over the years, I've become more tolerant of these suspect little cabbages. And when I tried roasting them, I really learned to appreciate the slightly sweet and nutty flavor of them.

It's very simple. Just trim the stems and peel off the outer leaves and cut them in half. Then toss them with olive oil and some everyday seasoning, put on a foil-lined tray and pop them into a preheated 400 degree oven. Roast until they are just tender and getting browned up, which will take about 20-25 minutes. For extra flavor drizzle on some balsamic vinegar before serving. I love the little leaves that fall off and get crisped up like little chips.


Hot Sausage, Greens and Barley with Acorn Squash

This is a fall favorite and a simple supper. Wash the acorn squash, pat dry and cut in half lengthwise, scrape out seeds, brush with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast on a tray in a hot 400 degree oven until fork tender, it takes about 45 minutes to get to the texture I like. Meanwhile, put one pound of sausage meat in a skillet and cook over medium high heat until crumbled and cooked through. Transfer to bowl, use the same skillet to cook the greens (I used a 1 pound bag of frozen turnip greens but you can use any greens you like, fresh or frozen.) Then I added some reserved cooked barley, about 1 cup. Once this mixture is hot, add the sausage meat back. I don't need to season any further, sausage meat has plenty of flavor. Serve mixture in the cavity of the acorn squash.

I purchased the sausage meat from the farm, it's a local, pastured Tamworth pig that is turned into whole hog sausage. That means that every cut of meat is ground up and seasoned. It's so tasty and quite lean for sausage, the flavor and texture is so good, no fillers or hard things. If you have the opportunity to try whole hog sausage, give it a go and let me know what you think.

I transformed the leftover sausage, greens and barley mixture into a soup for supper the next night. Just add chicken stock.

The following recipe is such a keeper, I made it twice, last Saturday and again on Friday. The thinly sliced potatoes on the top is such a refreshing change from stodgy mashed potatoes. Rob gives this recipe is highest marks.

Cottage Pie
adapted from the November issue of Everyday Food

Makes 6 servings

drizzle of olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 large carrots, bias cut into 1/2 inch slices
coarse salt and ground pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste (I swapped in 1 tbsp of ketchup and 1 tbsp HP brown sauce)
1 pound ground grass fed beef
2 teaspoons fresh chopped herbs (I used oregano and parsley)
8 ounces dark beer
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup frozen peas
1 large russet potato (about 3/4 pound), very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and carrots and cook, stirring often, until onion is soft, about five minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir in ketchup and brown sauce.

Add meat and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until almost cooked through, about three minutes. Add fresh herbs and dark beer and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring frequently, until slightly reduced, about two minutes. Sprinkle flour over mixture and stir well. Add 8 ounces of water and cook until mixture thickens, about two minutes. Stir in peas and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer mixture to a two-quart baking dish.


Top with potatoes, overlapping the slices then drizzle the potato slices with the melted butter and season with salt and pepper.


Bake until potatoes are browned around edges and tender when pierced with a knife, about 45 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Devour!


Today, I'm making pot roast to try out the enamel and cast iron dutch oven we purchased last weekend. I've always wanted one and when World Market offered these beauties for $50, I could not resist. They had red and blue, but could not resist the garden green hue.

I will let you know how it turns out.

I'll leave you with one of my favorite questions...What you been cooking good?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fitness Friday


I woke up to a fairly cold morning, I just wanted to wrap myself in my blankie, curl up on the couch with endless cups of tea and watch all sorts of Thanksgiving related food programs. But instead I donned my Big Bad Wolf "Who's Afraid?" cap and attended my first boot camp/cardio-strength class.

I've heard lots of positive, if intimidating, things about boot camp but I couldn't resist trying a $3 drop in class. I was intimidated because I knew it was going to be hard. But what would happen if everyone said "I can't do it, it's too hard" and just gave up? If William Blackstone, the inventor of the modern home washing machine, had just quit we'd be pounding our dainties on a rock down by the river to get them clean.

The class was fast moving, lots of high energy bursts of cardio training with segments of muscle exhausting maneuvers like plank, a variation on scorpion push ups, squat jumps, lunge jumps, running sprints, real Bob and Jillian sort of stuff minus the yelling. The instructor was very encouraging although I actually wanted to cry at one point, the "I can't do it, it's too hard" became "it was hard but I DID IT!"

I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone and I will do it again. How else do we improve if we don't challenge ourselves? When we push ourselves to do physical activity so many things improve; general health, muscle strength, mood, cardiovascular fitness, our brains, but what has most improved for me is my self esteem. Why? Because I have a feeling of pride in my ability when I accomplish my workout be it a walk up the mountain, Zumba, my weight training routine, or a new boot camp class. And self esteem is better than any pair of skinny jeans.

So get out there and challenge yourself... "Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible." St. Francis of Assisi

Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands, they just don't.~ Elle Woods, Legally Blond

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Let's Talk Turkey

Can you believe that next Thursday is Thanksgiving 2010? I was tickled pink when Rob turned to me (as we watched the Thanksgiving themed cooking shows last Saturday) and said, "Thanksgiving has become my favorite holiday." It was very sweet. Rob, being an English ex-pat, had never celebrated Thanksgiving until he moved to the US in 2001. Those first few years he was ambivalent about the whole thing and just didn't get why I didn't want to have turkey on Christmas. LOL!

I'm looking forward to it because it is a day that Rob and I get to spend together doing what we love, a hike up the mountain, watching the parade and working in the kitchen sharing a bottle of wine. And of course, the turkey. On Friday we're attending the annual curry cook-off at Lisa and Bill's home. I bought a large turkey so I could transform some of the meat into delectable Turkey Tikka-Masala. I'm also going to make Sag Paneer, which is spicy, creamy spinach that is topped with morsels of Indian paneer cheese. Fun time with friends around homemade Indian dishes, now that is something to be thankful for.

The food shopping is done and I just finished cleaning and organizing the house. Rob and I will make all the side dishes on Wednesday so that on Thursday we will just tend the turkey (a lovely plump bird named Nigella) and make the gravy.

I have memories of my mother cooking up feasts of epic proportion with so many amazing and elaborate dishes but she stressed herself out so much that I wonder if she ever enjoyed any of it. I'm keeping the menu fairly streamlined and have some good outdoor physical activity planned because endorphins and fresh air make for great mood and decreased stress. A holiday isn't a holiday if I'm stressed out. I mean, what is the point?

Whatever your holiday plans are, make sure you look after yourself so that you can truly enjoy your holiday weekend. Get plenty of rest, get some physical activity in and drink lots of water to stay hydrated if you plan on imbibing on flowing holiday wine. Eat slowly, savoring every lovingly prepared morsel. Eat mindfully, enjoy a little of everything but pay attention to when your body says "STOP EATING." Take some time to reflect on all the things that we have to be thankful for, our health, our loved ones, the fresh air, the blue sky, all the little things that make life joyful.

What are your Thanksgiving plans and what are your strategies for keeping this holiday healthy and stress free?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How Average Are You?


Visual Economics has published this fascinating glimpse into the annual food consumption of the average American. Click on the image above to see it full size.

How average are you?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday Motivation: Be Your Own Genie

Fat Andra use to pray for a genie in a bottle to magically appear one day and "poof" make her thin. If you are or if you've ever been overweight, I know that you know exactly what I'm talking about. But alas, there are no magic lamps or bottles, no genies and certainly no magic bullets or magic beans when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle.

Or is there? Two years ago I had an idea that I could be my own genie and make my health and fitness goals happen. I made (and continue to make) them happen. I became my own genie in a bottle. And so can you!

Starting right now, you can become your own magic genie. You can decide right now that overeating processed junk food is not the answer to your problems. No matter what the questions is (other than pure hunger) food is never the answer. You can decide right now that your body will benefit much more from a nice walk out in the fresh air rather than being sat inside in front of the television or the computer. You can decide right now that you are worth taking care of, that your health is priceless and not worth compromising for instant gratification of a snack cakes and fast food or zoning out in front of "reality" TV.

You do have a magic genie, he or she lives inside you right now. You only need to let them out!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Come With Me Up The Mountain

It was a perfect fall day yesterday. The dry conditions we've had this fall has made for some stunning color...


We did some errands in the morning, then set out to the mountain after lunch. Since Rob and I first hiked it last July, you have seen me write about "the mountain" many times. Well, today you're coming with us...

Kennesaw Mountain view from Stilesboro Road

The mountain is part of the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, (for more information on the trails, click here) which is where some of the heaviest fighting of the Atlanta Campaign during the Civil War occurred. It's a protected area with preserved earthworks, cannon placements and monuments.


The view from the bottom

There are many hiking trails throughout the park but my favorite is going up the mountain top trail then coming down the mountain road. New let's get going!

The entrance to the trail (and Rob's sexy legs)

It starts off pretty steep straight away. According to Local Hikes.com, this trail is considered "moderate." Though I'm not an experienced hiker, I'd have to agree since it's challenging but not difficult. There are folks who blow past me like I'm standing still, and there are those that I leave in my dust.


One of the first steep steppy turns

After this turn there is another steep bit then it levels out for a nice flat stretch to catch our breath and recover the legs a bit. Then it goes steep again...

Bone dry and rocky, good shoes are a must

Get a load of this chick...


Fat Andra could never have imagined!


More steepness...


and more steps...

This is where I caught my toe and almost fell one morning when walking with Lisa. But she was so quick she grabbed me by the arm and kept me from doing a faceplant into the stone steps. Lisa was channeling The Flash that morning, thank goodness! There is one more turn then we reach the entrance to the parking lot which is a good place to recover for a couple of minutes before the last push. The views are amazing...


Atlanta!

The Stairs of Despair leads to...


The last bit of really steep terrain


The first of several cannons

We keep going uphill until we reach the medallion that marks the highest point of the mountain...

SUCCESS!

By this time, the endorphins are going, happiness washes over us and we've got a gorgeous glow and rosy cheeks. I always stand on the medallion and bow to the four winds and then stop and take in the views of Marietta...

Then it's time to head back down the stairs and down the mountain road...

And take in the lovely views along the way...


Little Kennesaw Mountain


Back at the bottom

We did it! It takes just about an hour, even with my pauses to take photographs. That's quite an improvement over the 90 minutes it took us our first time.

It's a wonderful way to spend an hour. That's the key with fitness activities, find something you truly love doing and it won't feel like a "workout" it will just feel like a fantastic part of your day. If you ever find yourself in the Cobb County area of Georgia, drop me a line and I'll take you on a trip up the mountain for real.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Congratulations!

First Steps is the winner of the Bakery on Main giveaway, she was the 8th comment and the randomizer picked #8. I had a screen shot fail, so please take my word for it. :/ Thanks to everyone who participated.

It's Friday, so I'm off to the farm to pick up my milk and eggs. Then I'm heading to Kohl's to find a new sports bra.

How are you adjusting to the time change? It always messes with my system, but I'm feeling pretty good after getting some stellar sleep this week. I wish "they" would pick one and stick with it. Hmmph!

What have you got planned for the weekend? Rob and I are going to walk the mountain tomorrow and I have some nice menus planned (chicken paprikash, baked cod with lemony rice and brussels, cottage pie) so there will be some food porn forthcoming.

I'm going to have some pomegranate arils with yogurt and granola now, then I will get on my way. Have a wonderful Friday!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New Goodies: Bakery on Main Granola and Bars


The nice people at Bakery on Main sent me a parcel with some lovely samples of their goodies to try. Bakery on Main makes what they call gluten free gourmet naturals. While I don't eat gluten free as a rule, I do appreciate any company who puts out a great tasting product that has great ingredients. And Bakery on Main fits the bill. All the nutrition information and the ingredient lists are available right on their website. I love that these products do not contain high fructose corn syrup and are made with simple ingredients.

The pack contained 3 bars; Extreme Trail Mix, Cranberry Maple Nut and Peanut Butter Chocolate and 5 snack size bags of granola; Apple Raisin Walnut, Nutty Cranberry Maple, Extreme Fruit & Nut, Cinnamon Raisin Fiber Power and Triple Berry Fiber Power.

So far I have tried the Cranberry Maple Nut bar, the Extreme Trail Mix bar, the Apple Raisin granola and the Triple Berry Fiber Power granola.

First up, Cranberry Maple bar, very pronounced maple aroma, nothing like the smell of real maple syrup. Lots of sunflower seeds, which I love. Not too sweet, really nice crunch, a little light on the cranberries, though. The Extreme Trail Mix was crisp and crunchy-munchy, lots of raisins, sunflower seeds, almonds and other nuts. Pretty satisfying for a bar of it's size. I don't eat lots of bars but they are nice to keep on hand for an on the run snack with a piece of fruit to keep one out of the drive-thru. Not sure if I'd go out of my way to buy these bars but as a gluten free option, they are definitely a good find.

The Fiber Power Granola was the real winner for me. The Triple Berry Fiber Power packs a whopping 9 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein in a 1/2 cup serving. Fiber means fullness and this is definitely filling. It tasted so good! It's high in calories, like most granola tends to be, but this is good bang for the calorie buck. I sprinkled this granola over a banana and some homemade yogurt for breakfast after Zumba yesterday and it kept me going for hours. Other brands of granola I have tried just can't compare to that. The Apple Raisin Walnut was also very tasty and crisp and crunchy but it wasn't as filling at the Fiber Power.

If you are sensitive to gluten or just want some really nice granola to snack on, give Bakery on Main's Fiber Power Granola a try. Thanks to Bakery on Main for sending out their goodies, I look forward to working my way through the rest of the pack.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday Motivation: If Not Now, When?


You want to feel better and you know that it's all down to how you eat and how much you move. If not now, when?

Sure the holidays are coming, food filled cozy times spent indoors, but they are just a handful of days out of 365. If not now, when?

There is no law that states your New Year's resolution can't be completed at the end of said year. If not now, when?

Every meal is an opportunity to make healthful choices. If now now, when?

Spending just one hour a day moving our bodies will give a fabulous lift to the other 23. If not now, when?

The happy, healthy life you want is yours for the taking. If not now, when?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Eating Healthfully on a Small Budget

This blog gets a decent amount of traffic, so I know you're out there reading even if you don't comment. But I'm going to ask each and every one of you who reads this post to answer the following questions...

How much do you spend on groceries every month?

Do you think it's possible to eat healthy on a small budget?

What exactly would be considered a small budget?

Some folks think that eating healthfully, therefore being healthy and fit is only for people of means. Yes, very poor people often have access to only poor quality food and that is distressing and unfortunately I don't have a solution to that problem. Other than extreme situations, do you buy into the idea that healthful eating is a privilege of wealth? Or is it just another excuse to not take responsibility for what we put in our bodies?

Yes, we're lucky. Rob and I both have jobs and although I bargain hunt, and strive to be economical in the kitchen, I am able to buy my milk and eggs at a local farm and shop the nearby farmer's markets for seasonal, local produce. Yes, I have means and access. But what if I didn't have the means, would I still be able to feed my husband and myself a healthful diet on a limited budget?

This is a challenge that I'm thinking about taking up and blogging about in the coming year. But I really want your input. Please think about it and answer the above questions. This information is crucial for my challenge. Thanks in advance and thanks for reading!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday Giveaway!


I've been contacted by the nice people at Bakery on Main Gourmet Naturals, makers of gluten free, GMO free (this is a big one for me) wholesome granola and bars. They offered to send me samples for me to review. This is a first for me and I'm thrilled, you know how I am about my new goodies! They were also kind enough to offer a sampler to one of my readers.

If you're interested in winning a sample of some of Bakery On Main's goodies, check out their website and let me know which of their products sound most tempting to you and leave your reply along with your e-mail address in a comment here so I can contact you. Please enter by Thursday November 11th, I will randomly select a winner on Friday the 12th.

Watch this space for my review!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

New Goodie: Kitchen Basics Unsalted Broth

Savory, salty sodium. It is what makes food taste so moreish. Sodium is an important electrolyte, crucial to fluid balance of the body as well as muscle contraction (including the heart muscle.) But 90% of Americans eat too much sodium and too much sodium can cause bloating, high blood pressure and put us at risk for heart disease, kidney disease and stroke.

How much is too much? The recommended value is between 1500 and 2300 mg per day depending on where you fall in the chart demographic. To put that in perspective, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt contains 1120mg of sodium, 1 teaspoon of table salt contains 2132mg of sodium. ONE TEASPOON! My former drug of choice at McDonald's the extra value meal of a Big Mac, large fries and large Coke contains 1410mg of sodium.

The first defense we have at keeping our sodium intake within a healthy range is by reading labels. Foods with no label are best (whole grains, vegetable, fruit, lean meat) but we all need to take help in the kitchen during busy times so I can't stress highly enough how important it is to read the label when choosing packaged/processed foods. I like to make my own stock, but I don't always have time or the gumption so when I saw Kitchen Basics new unsalted cooking broths, I was thrilled to try them. With just 150mg of sodium per 8 ounce serving, Kitchen Basics puts you in control!


I bought the chicken and the beef and made up two wonderful supper soups with them. I used cayenne pepper, black pepper, fresh herbs and a couple of pinches of salt along with the stock and was able to coax out amazing flavor from these meals. Well done, Kitchen Basics!

First up~ Roasted Beef, Barley and Mushroom Soup, adapted from a recipe in the October 2010 Everyday Food magazine.

Tip~ I cook up 1 cup long cooking barley, which makes 3 cups. I use one cup for the recipe and put the other two cups in the freezer for breakfast dishes and future soup recipes.

Makes 4 generous servings
Preheat oven to 425 Fahrenheit

1 pound grass fed sirloin fillet steak, cut into bite sized cubes
1 pound baby bella (cremini) mushrooms, rinsed and halved/quartered
1 pound carrots, bais cut 1/2 inch thick
2 shallots, thinly sliced into half moons

Toss above mixture in a bit of olive oil and fresh, minced herbs (I used oregano), a pinch of cayenne pepper, fresh ground black pepper and a pinch of salt. Roast in hot oven for about 30 minutes.


Meanwhile, pour 1 quart of Kitchen Basics unsalted beef broth into a soup pot and heat to simmering. Add roasted meat and veggies to the broth, along with 1 cup cooked barley, simmer for 10-15 minutes to let the flavors meld. Devour!



Next is Autumn Chicken Stew from September/October 2010 Eating Well magazine. Click for the recipe. This made 6 generous main dish servings. I doubled the veggies but not the chicken. I roasted bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts in a hot oven before dicing the meat and adding it to the stew. Roasting chicken on the bone just gives better flavor and texture than when stewed. I added celery to the onions and used the Stayman-Winesap apples we picked the previous day. And I used Kitchen Basics unsalted chicken broth.


Isn't it pretty? It was a bowl full of warm, autumn harvest goodness. The combination of apples, parsnips and carrots was a sensation. It was excellent leftover, I had it for dinner at work two nights in a row, it was that good.

I was pleasantly surprised at how rich and delicious these broths turned out to be, especially since they have no added salt. Kitchen Basics unsalted cooking broths are a great find and will always have a place in my nutritious and delicious pantry.

*note~this is a completely independent product review, not a paid promotion.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thanks Mom and Auntie!

Since my old bread machine shit the bed, Mother and Auntie lovingly sent me a brand spanking new Zojirushi Home Bakery Bread Machine. Zoji just made her inaugural loaf, piping hot Heavenly Whole Wheat bread. It came out beautifully shaped, delicate and flavorful. I'm very excited! My old maker worked okay but this thing is amazing. I'm looking forward to trying a new recipe for Broccoli Cheese bread to take with me to book club tomorrow evening.

By the way, the book is The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards. I just finished reading it. I was surprised to see such lukewarm reviews on Good Reads. It was touching and beautifully written, the beauty of the prose making up for the perhaps overly sappy content. I loved it and won't soon forget it.

What are you currently reading?

If you haven't yet shared your Last Chance Victory, please do. Don't just lurk, I'm always interested in what you have to say.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Last Chance Victories

It's November 1st! Nana always said, "Time marches on," but sometimes I feel like it's running rather than marching. In just two months we will have a bright and shiny new year laid out before us, full of possibilities and the promise of new experiences and adventures.

But that doesn't mean it's time to give up on 2010. Have you achieved your health and fitness goals this year? If so, wonderful, keep up that momentum up for the last two months and hit the ground running for 2011. If not, whether your goal is to eat healthier in between the holidays, to get in daily workouts or to organize your closet, there is plenty of time to get started on your last chance victory.

My first "last chance victory" is to finish my post on weight training, including the review of the New Rules of Lifting for Women book. I've got a half written post that needs some more thought and I really want to get that done. I know it will motivate me to get back to regular lifting and hopefully it will motivate you try it out.

I'm also going to focus on maintaining my weight and eating healthfully in between the handful of major holidays we have coming up and getting in my 4-5 cardio workouts, including 1-2 weight training workouts each week through the end of the year.

Rob and I have been slacking at the weekends when it comes to our walks together, so I want to focus on getting out and walking together on at least one weekend morning each week through the end of the year. We'll have some time off together during the last week of December so I'm going research some different trails for us to explore, as well.

There will be plenty of time for turkey, Christmas cookies and Champagne, but that's just a small part of this time of the year, tell me how you plan on using the last two months of the year to your most nutritious and delicious advantage.