Eating our way through Paris

Hallo von Deutschland!

It’s rather nice to sit down and write a blog post for once.  A cup of coffee in hand and BBC World news on the background. Snow outside. Coldest and snowiest winter here in FIVE years.

We traveled around France and Switzerland for about 8 days, and then bedded down in Bad Tolz, Germany for the week to relax with my mother in law and her friends a bit (she is from Bad Tolz), eat delicious German food, and keep our fitness up by walking everywhere and working out in the it most beautiful gym I have ever seen along the Isar River.

Here are some of my favorite photos from our time in Paris. I was blown away by the architecture and age of everything there, including the 17th century apartment we resided in for 3 nights. I loved every cute detail, even the creaky floors and low ceilings.

My next post will be about Provence and our truffle hunt!

XOXO

Lydia

PARIS:

 

2016-No Excuses

A few weeks back I was incredibly touched to hear someone I have never met reads my blog. I originally started this blog for me, but have come to love the ability to connect with other like-minded souls through this online space. That connection is why I continue to keep this up, despite the business of life. For a while I was silent,  but I have come to terms with the fact that no one  is dictating the rules…. that it is  perfectly acceptable to write every few months….that something is better than nothing…that even if only one person is getting something out of this blog then the effort is worth it. Yoga helps me see clearly that life is not about rigidity but fluidity. Even if I only have 15 minutes to come to the mat and do a few sun salutations , something is better than nothing . I am aiming for balance, not rigid rules.

It’s no secret to my close friends and family that I am busy, that I have little time to check in with friends and be proactive.

But that’s not a valid excuse…for anything.

Everyone is busy.

We make time for what matters most.

In 2016 my resolution was to make time for what matters and cut out the noise.

Health matters. Family matters. Marriage matters. Time with friends matters. Keeping a roof over our heads matters. Doing what we love matters. Giving back matters.

Worrying about things…feeling overwhelmed and trying to do everything well all the time….not only is it not possible, but it is a waste of valuable, precious time that could be spent helping myself and others around me grow and learn.

Therefore, I am posting the first recipe of 2016 as a healing, no excuses recipe that anyone can make.

If you have 15 minutes you CAN make this and you CAN take charge of your health. This is a power-packed meal, but also rather decadent and special because of the homemade croutons.

Check out these green ingredients!

gazpacho ingredientsThis soup is best served cold or room temperature and a good  choice for one of those Savannah-winter -70- degree- days.

Cheers to 2016 and a healthier you!

Green gazpacho

Serves 5
Prep time 10 minutes
Allergy Tree Nuts
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish, Side Dish, Soup
Misc Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
This no-cooking-needed green soup can be made in a flash and will leave you feeling refreshed and healthy from the inside out.

Ingredients

  • 3 Cucumbers , peeled, medium
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 1/2 baguette(split into 2 parts)
  • 1 teaspoon minced jalapeno
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 6 cups fresh spinach (or 1, 16 oz bag frozen)
  • 1 cup basil(or cilantro)
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 4 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 3/4 cups olive oil
  • greek yogurt
  • 2-3 cups cold water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Note

This soup can easily be made gluten free by substituting the bread with a peeled baked potato and leaving out the croutons.

Directions

Step 1
Lightly toast the walnuts on a sheet pan and let cool.
Step 2
Roughly chop the peppers and cucumbers and garlic so that they are easier to drop into the blender.
Croutons:
Step 3
Chop 1/4 of a baguette into cubes. Toss with 2 T of olive oil, 1/4 t of salt and 1/4 t pepper in a plastic bag. Roast cubes at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes until toasted. Let cool and store for up to 1 week in pantry.
Step 4
Blend all vegetables and walnuts , 1/4 baguette, vinegar and honey until smooth. Add in yogurt , olive oil and and cold water and salt and pepper. Add cold water to desired consistency.
Step 5
Serve cool with toasted croutons on top.

 

 

 

 

 

Charleston & Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

My sister, Emily,  lives in Charleston now! While we were there for the Charleston Marathon back in January we drank mimosas, ate giant cinnamon rolls the size of my head from Wild Flour Pastry , and ate dinner at this delicious and highly-hip Vietnamese restaurant called Xia Bao Biscuit . Also, the Butcher & Bee might have been my favorite lunch spot so far this year. Please do yourself a huge favor and check these places out the next time you are in Charleston! Obviously I was more concerned with taking pictures of food than people while in Charleston, hence the dearth of actual photos from the race or photos of my sister, who is actually quite beautiful.

cinnamon roll

cinnamon roll pictured on a normal-sized dinner plate

I thought you should know my goal for 2015 is to blog more, as well as  post my eats on Instagram more often. I have been missing this space lately. This is a lofty goal because I am at heart a slow-it-down, turn- off -technology type of person on the evenings and weekends due to  sitting at a desk all day at work.  The best way for me personally to manage stress levels and happiness is UNLPUG,  watch the fish tank for a while,  or sit outside and take in nature and relax .  Speaking of fish tanks, this is the newest 90 gallon addition that Larsen setup this weekend. We will add some big fish in a few weeks.

aquarium

 

But back to the  food! This is a  recipe I shared at a recipe-swapping/Thirty-One party recently . I call these pumpkin dinner rolls. I pair them with salty country ham or sausage, but you can eat them plain,with butter, honey or jam too for any Holiday occasion or just for a Sunday morning brunch.

pumpkin rolls

Let’s clear several bread-making myths out of the way right now.

Bread making does not have to be scary, difficult or time-consuming. All you need to do is make sure your yeast is alive and working properly and utilize a mixer with a dough hook.  The dough hook has been the only reason I started making bread because , honestly, you don’t want to see me in the kitchen with just flour and a ball of dough . It’s scary…-little poofs of flour end up in the weirdest places in my house. Sometimes I even leave flour hand prints on my butt and go to the grocery store like that…

So, for me the dough hook is  a magical and essential piece of equipment because it takes out the whole kneading-by-hand process.

I hope you enjoy these rolls and just so you know, I consider these a treat, not a daily part of healthy diet.

I am obviously an advocate for eating as much whole, unprocessed food as possible about 90% of the time . White flour and sugar are definitely treats in my book.

As I mentioned before, my new year’s resolution is to post more here as well as post healthy daily eats over on my instagram page: LYDIA2BLUEEGGS

 

Toodles!
Lydia

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

Prep time 3 hours
Cook time 22 minutes
Total time 3 hours, 22 minutes
Allergy Egg, Milk, Wheat
Meal type Appetizer, Bread, Side Dish
Misc Freezable, Serve Hot
Buttery pumpkin rolls for your next dinner party!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 16oz canned pumpkin
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cups brown or turbinado sugar
  • 1 packet fast-rise yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 5.5 cups bread flour

Note

You can  test your yeast by sprinkling a bit into warm water (approx 110 degrees). Leave it for about 10 minutes and come back. If the yeast has not bloomed, you know the yeast is either bad or your water is too hot or cold. If it has bloomed and expanded, you should be good to go to proceed with your recipe.

Remember, hot liquid will kill yeast, so do test the temperature of your liquid if you can. Around 110 degrees is perfect. If you have no thermometer, the liquid should just be warm to the touch on your wrist, not hot.

Directions

Step 1
Combine warm milk(warmed to temp advised on yeast packet of 110 degrees), yeast, pumpkin, flour, 1 egg, sugar and salt in bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook attached. Quickly mix all ingredients just to combine with a wooden spoon.
Step 2
Knead the mixture with the dough hook on medium speed for at least 5-7 minutes. Keep in mind this will be a somewhat sticky dough. It will still look stickier than normal bread roll dough.
Step 3
Turn out mixture to a clean, greased metal bowl . Cover with plastic wrap tightly, and store in a warm place for 1.5 hours.
Step 4
The dough should be at least double in size at this point as pictured. Grease two metal pie pans. Punch the dough down and roll 15 balls with your hands, placing each ball of dough touching or nearly touching side by side in the pans. Cover for 1.5 more hours.They should rise and all be smashed together.
Step 5
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake your rolls about 22 minutes. Drizzle with the 4 tablespoons of melted butter a few minutes after baking.
Step 6
Serve sliced with country ham or sausage for sandwiches.

 

 

 

Sweet Sweet Summertime

I have to say I am thrilled to see my blog is still in existence. I had serious doubts.

I know I dropped off the face of the Earth for 5 months a while . I am not going to apologize anymore because sh* happens. You  forgive me, right?

Why don’t I start when I left off, sometime in March before I started studying for another dreadful exam and had no life for 3 months?

We brought home a package of bees and embarked on a beekeeping adventure with the bee boxes I had bought Larsen for Christmas.   Their population has exploded so much that we have added a 4th box to their hive, which will be slowly filled with honey over the next several months. I have noticed folks are quite curious about them.  Most commonly, people ask how we will actually extract the honey. That, my friends, is done with what is called an extractor, which we will be purchasing shortly. Basically,  after you uncap the wax off of the frame filled with delicious honey (which is covered in wax to keep the honey in), the extractor will spin  the frame to remove the honey. You then filter the honey and jar it. You can actually use every part of the hive in some way, including wax, propolos, honey and royal jelly. Pretty neat!

bees

The garden has been in full swing since April , but sadly the tomatoes have not fared well again due to the rain and bugs and disease. Many of them have black bottoms. I am so disappointed in our tomatoes this year. However as you can see from the photo below, the marigolds, jade green beans , yellow squash and carrots have done amazingly well!

veggies summer 2014

 

On the cooking front,  grilling out fish and veggies has been our summer meal of choice . I thought I would share a recipe I developed with grass fed beef and fresh herbs and cucumbers from the garden. See below for the recipe! It is super fast, fresh, healthy and the perfect meal to cap off a dreadfully hot day because no oven is required.

I am happily back to running, coaching and working out hard, incorporating light weight training at home and power yoga into my week too. It’s great to be back with the crew! Rock N’ Roll Marathon is right around the corner in November, then I will be training for the Charleston Marathon (if I can be convinced to run another full marathon, cough cough), then Cooper River Bridge Run. We have a lot of travel planned for the first half of next year, so  I just hope I can fit everything I want to do in. But travel is another post in itself!

For cross-training, here are 2 of my favorite online workouts so far for the experienced yogini or exerciser, both intermediate/advanced levels. (Please do not try these workouts if you are not familiar with proper weight training form or yoga.) These will kick your butt. Be forewarned. But nothing in life is worth having if you didn’t sweat a little for it, right?

YOGA:

ALI KAMENOVA INTERVAL POWER YOGA-40 MIN

WEIGHT TRAINING(need 5 or 10  pound dumbells):

GYM RA ADVANCED DUMBELL/CARDIO WORKOUT

We are officially boaters now, which was completely unplanned thanks to my wonderful grandfather.  I cannot wait to take friends out on  the boat,  fish, and explore the rivers. We had to drive all the way to Louisiana to get the boat from Pa and celebrate his 87 th birthday with the family for a short but sweet long weekend in Cajun-country.  Much to my  vegetarian friends’ dismay(sorry I am really not sorry) I ate a huge fried oyster po’boy, Zapp’s potato chips, cracklins(which is double fried pork fat dusted with a delicious seasoning), boudin, homemade crawfish etoufee, duck, turtle soup, and coconut pie in  matter of 48 hours. Then we drove home for 16 hours listening to a book on tape . I didn’t want to look at meat for 2 days after that.  Totally Worth It.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pa fishing

Pa and all the ladies in the family!

Pa and all the ladies in the family!

Life is good. Summertime is sweet.

And I missed you guys!

With Love,

Lydia

Mediterranean Burgers with Cucumber Salad

Serves 6-8
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Allergy Milk
Meal type Main Dish, Salad
Occasion Barbecue
This summertime deconstructed burger is a perfectly refreshing meal topped with a light cucumber salad.

Ingredients

  • 2lb grass fed beef
  • 1/2 cup grated onion and juices
  • 1.5 teaspoons cumin
  • 1.5 teaspoons coriander
  • 2 cucumbers (peeled and cubed)
  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons low fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped basil
  • .5 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)
  • 6-8 wedges Naan bread or pita bread
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoons pepper

Note

You can buy Naan bread at Whole Foods or make your own! Grass fed beef can be found at your local farmer's markets and specialty grocers.

Directions

Step 1
Combine the grass fed beef, grated onion, cumin and coriander in a large bowl. Add 1 t salt and 3/4 teaspoon of pepper.
Step 2
Shape beef into patties and grill over medium-high heat until just cooked through and juices run clear. Remember that grass fed beef cooks significantly faster than store-bought beef. Cover with foil and set aside once they are cooked.
Step 3
Combine the yogurt, mayo, olive oil, fresh herbs and cucbmbers in a medium bowl and chill for 20-30 minute.
Step 4
Serve the burgers on top of warm Naan bread topped with a huge helping of cucumber salad.

 

 

 

 

Theraband Mania Workout

get off the couchHere is another workout for you. You will need a medium-strength theraband and a large space, like your driveway or a park!

Tie the ends of the theraband together, so that it forms a loop. Step into the loop so it sits on your ankles.

with theraband around ankles:

90 Secs –stepping to the right- Side Squat Stepping 

90 Secs-Stepping to the Left-side Squat Stepping

90 Secs forward-Duck Walking 

90 Secs backward-Duck Walking 

Theraband around your thighs just above the knee for this one

90 Sec Leg Abductions in Bridge Position

NO theraband:

90 Secs Walking Lunges

Theraband Upper Body Exercises: Repeat 2 times through

60 secs Shoulder PressSit on the middle of the band. Grab each end and press it straight up to the sky.

60 Secs Pushups– no band

60 Secs Row– Sit upright with legs extended in front of you. Wrap band around your feet and pull band towards you, squeezing your shulder blades together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home Workout Kickoff

get off the couch

I have been teaching bootcamps in the park anywhere from 2-4 times per week for the last year and last night I taught my last one(….tear). Now that is is over, I figured I would give back my going through all the workouts and posting some of them for my participants who still want to get in their workouts(I will be there in spirit!). Notice the very faint tab on top of my blog that says workouts now. I will be posting the links to all of them there so that you can book mark that page and pull it up to find the workouts easily!

I am not going to spend alot of time or effort  explaining the exercises, mainly because 5 million other sites have videos and explanations already. Look them up. They are basic exercises that you should become familiar with anyway!  So I have linked some of them with explanations, others not. Once I post a few workouts and you become familiar with the basics, I will not link the exercises anymore. Got it?

(Note: You can order an individual  theraband here. I recommend using  a medium-weight one.)

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Butt-Kicking Bootcamp Routine-Repeat this List TWICE for optimal results.

20 X  Lunge to  Plank Right Leg -Start in plank position. Bring one knee in toward the chest and plant your foot between your hands, stand up with you weight in your front foot to a lunge position. Reach down, hands to the ground on either side of your foot and step back into plank.

20 X Lunge to Plank Left Leg

30 X Squat with Sidekick

90 sec Reverse Plank-just hold position

20 X Granny Pushup-This is a regular pushup. …just 2 counts down , 2 counts up…nice and sloooow LIKE A GRANNY;-)

30 X Bridge Lift

20 X Sit Up with Leg Lift-Start on you back with knees up and  legs bent, heels walked in towards your glutes and feet on floor. Sit up, reach up to the sky and lift one leg, fully extending it and toe pointing away. See this link for what you should look like once you sit up. Modify by doing simple crunches if you cannot yet do a situp.

20 X Triangle Pushup

20 X  Prone Superman Lift

15 X Lateral Leg Lift in Side Plank Left

15 X Lateral Leg Lift in Side Plank Right

15 X Lateral Leg Circles  Left

15 X Lateral Leg Circles Right

20 X Supine Double Leg Lifts

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

A note on modifications and form: These workouts are written to be challenging.

To get the most out of every exercise, your core should be sucked in(engaged!). Imagine you are posing for a picture and sucking your belly in the entire time you are working out. Shoulders are always relaxed away from the ears.

Modify pushups by doing them on your knees.

Modify any plank or side plank by working  on your knees and/or forearms.

Modify any core exercise by bending  your  knees instead of keeping legs extended, and reducing your range of motion. 

 

 

 

My Favorite Cool Weather Meal

I ran a marathon a few days ago, and last night  I honestly didn’t even want to stand up to walk to the bathroom, let alone cook. Can someone bring me a bedpan?

I enjoy the aches and groans of my muscles reminding me I ran freakin’ 26.2 miles. Truth be told Saturday November 3rd was an amazing day, the weather was perfect, and I had some gas left in the tank at the finish and great cheerleaders along the course. I had the pleasure of running with some wonderful ladies from C.R.E.W. for part of the race, and they kept me at a steady pace until I jetted off by myself for the last mile!

Marathons. Are. Awesome.

The training is the hard part.

But back to those the -last-thing-I want-to-do-is-cook nights like last night, coincidentally.

Lentil Dal is my absolute favorite recipe for those kind of nights because it is cheap, fast, delicious,  healthy, and vegetarian(though I am sure you could throw in some bacon).

Lentils are not especially exciting, I know.  Until a few years ago I cast a wary on on any menu item involving lentils mostly because I had never been exposed to them much. We were not Indian -food eaters in my family. Yet, last year something in me changed when I realized an ugly, dried up little legume can be transformed into soups and stews and patties and make you feel happy when you eat it with a thick slice of warm bread by the fireplace and a good book.

Dal can be made in so may different ways, but this one is incredibly light and fresh  and  not at all  heavy thanks to the lime juice and coconut milk.

Lentils are a protein-packed legume, fat-free, and each variety has a different taste and cooking time. My personal favorite lentil is the red one, which you can find at nicer grocery stores, and health-food stores. Red lentils cook lightning fast, and become soft and mushy when cooked, whereas the typical brown lentil you see at the grocery store has a longer cooking time and keeps it shape more when cooked. I think you could feasibly use any type for this recipe, but red would be the best.

Turmeric , which I add to my dal, is  a powerful healing spice. It  contains phytochemicals which have been shown to reduce the growth of cancer cells and lessen arthritis symptoms .

Lentils +turmeric+coconut milk+rice+chilly night+sore muscles+laziness=heaven.

This will  warm your body and soul. Enjoy.

Creamy Lentil Dal

Serves 12
Dietary Vegan, Vegetarian
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
This creamy lentil dal with coconut milk and lime juice will warm your body and soul on a cold night .

Ingredients

  • 3 cups red lentils
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • juice of 2 small limes or 1 large lime
  • 1 onion (finely diced)
  • 4 cloves garlic (diced)
  • 6-8 cups jasmine rice (cooked)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander (freshly ground)
  • 1.5 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 tablespoons coconut oil

Directions

Step 1
First cook your jasmine rice according to package direcetions, and set aside.
Step 2
Meanwhile, cook your lentils in 3 cups of water and 3 cups stock.Bring to a boil, reduce, heat and simmer 10-15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
Step 3
In another pan, saute your onion in coconut oil 5-10 minutes until browned. Toss in garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.
Step 4
Stir in all the spices to onion mixture until well combined. Stir in lentils and a bit of stock if needed. Then add in coconut milk.
Step 5
Warm on medium to low heat and stir until well combined. Take off the heat and stir in lime juice.
Add more stock to taster depending how thick or thin you would like it.
Step 6
Serve over jasmine rice with a slice of lime.

 

 

 

Working out on vacation?

Howdy.

I ate and drank a great deal this past weekend. Pomegranate sangrias, artichoke spinach dip, chips with bleu cheese, wine cocktails, fireball shots, and some greasy pizza at 2:00 a.m. that none of us actually bought…hmmmm.  Some of those foods may or may not  have been fallace- shaped. If they were, you will not ever see the photos.’ Twas my bachelorette weekend with the girls, and by girls I am talking about girls I have known for practically my entire life :my sister, her best friend who has been going on family vacations for years, and my two best girlfriends I have known since 7th grade. Everyone lives out of Savannah, so it was a blast to get together for several days and celebrate!

 

While on the beautiful Seabrook Island, South Carolina, I had time to think and ponder life while basking on the beach. I thought about how I  need to get my booty into gear and post about fitness and health. I work out. Why not share some tips?

HOW TO FIT IN A VACATION WORKOUT


#1 Prior to your vacation, DO NOT fool  yourself  .That thought “We’ll see what happens. Maybe I’ll work out while I am gone….”. is totally ridiculous (unless you are a major type A personality- perfectionist- control freak ).

All of us non-perfectionists and lazy folk on our vacations will be  pigging out, drinking too much,  going sightseeing and having a fantastic time because that is what we do on vacations. Do you REALLY think you might work out? NO, my friends. The magical workout fairy is not going to descend upon you and plant an idea that working out would be fun amidst all the other REAL  fun. So you must not ever say “maybe”. You will or you won’t. Choose “WILL”.

# 2Plan, plan, plan. The only way you will get in a workout is if you pack a few outfits, shoes, and ipod and prepare for exactly what  you will do . That means researching where you might run or ride your bike or swim or whatever else you need to do. If it is weight training, you should check to find a local gym or hotel gym and how to get in. Check to see what the hours are. Write out your work outs or upload a yoga podcast to your ipod.

#3 Communicate with your travel partner that you will be working out. This is very important. Tell them “Hey honey, I am going to workout out on Wednesday at the hotel gym while you ______. That way , they know it is important to you. Better yet, plan to workout together. Motivate each other.

#4 Keep it short. You are on vacation, so I realize you don’t want to spend time working hard because the point is to relax.  By doing a short intense workout  you can still reap the benefits of  a long one. If you usually run 6 miles, run a hard 3 miles. If you usually do 3 sets of an exercise, even doing 1 set will help you maintain strength. Think smart and short.

#5 Be flexible. That means doing a quick in-room, bodyweight hotel workout if there is no gym available. It means running the stairs outside the local hostile you are staying in. It may even mean hopping on an elliptical when you are , gasp, only accustomed to the treadmill.

Below you will see my go -to  hotel workout with links to most exercises included. All you need is yourself. Clothes and shoes are not required, though I recommend them in case housekeeping pops in…

 

30 jack -squats

30 pushups

20 Stationary Lunges Each Leg

20 chair dips

30 Lying Straight Leg Raises

30 Glute Bridges

Plank -hold as long as you can

25 supermans

Stretch 5 minutes.

 

 

Do you workout while on vacation?! Share your tips!!

To your health and fitness,

 

Lydia

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I Am Loving Lately

Can we just pretend it is April 1st again, please? Because somehow the entire month has passed by so quickly that I have yet to post about Easter eats, my birthday eats, the actual Boston Marathon, and all that other stuff that has happened in between. Somehow in all that hoopla I forgot my best friend’s birthday, made a batch of  cookies that never rose, then made a batch of super-flat muffins, and had a few nice runs. It all balances out I guess, the good and the bad.

This is a “What I am Loving Lately Post” because there is  a great deal to love about April, namely..

1) Working in the garden and planting veggies before it becomes too ding-dang hot. It is  incredible to watch a seedling transform into a monster tomato plant in just 6 weeks. I eagerly watch them everyday, how they change and grow, and those things literally grew an inch a day for while. Is this how raising a human baby feels, with less crying and poo?

We grow everything organically and currently grow 4 types of tomatoes, 4 types of squash, onions, shallots, eggplant, bellpeppers, lemons, key limes, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, oranges, and a host of herbs. Marigolds planted around the perimeter keep off pests!

 

 

2) This adorable reusable bag to adorn yourself with at  the farmer’s market . This is waaaay cooler than anything you have seen. Promise! Inside the front pocket you will find 2 re-usable, matching grocery bags.

 

Then, look inside and , BAM, you have a whole other galaxy, the cooler. But that’s not all. ANOTHER adorable clip-on fabric wallet that holds…you guessed it…another re-usable bag. This is starting to sound like an infomercial.

 

Now, you won’t ever be  the dodo that forgets your reusable bag at the farmer’s market, has to endure hippies staring at you in disbelief as you grab yet another plastic bag and sheepishly carry them all to your car hoping no one notices..oh and then one breaks and you have to frantically collect rogue tomatoes rolling between people’s feet..not that that happened to me or anything.

3) This cookbook from Back in The Day Bakery.

It is FAR from healthy, so very far, sigh,  ….but I plan on tweaking the recipes so you can enjoy them without concern that you just gained a pound from that cookie. Sweets are not healthy, but you CAN include nutritious ingredients rather than eat a nutritionally-empty calorie bomb as an occasional treat.

I ran home to make the lemon loaf from the book, and mine below turned out pretty incredible. So. good. people.

 

 

4) Local Strawberries, used in this cake I made for Easter.  Yes, friends,  two cakes in one post, because there has been more cake eating than usual this  month! Back to local strawberries, which  are tiny, super-sweet, and bear little resemblance to those gargantuan ones at the grocery store. Give them a try! You can use them in so many healthy ways, such as smoothies, yogurt parfaits, just for snacking, and of course for baking!

I used Southern Living’s Strawberry Mousse Cake recipe, but changed the outside frosting recipe to include lemon zest and juice.

5)  New running kicks, Asics GelNeo 33. In case you did not know, I work in the running business, so , I will most likely have some shoe reviews here. I will tell you the honest truth ,too if I do not like them.

 

I have to say I love these. I have only ever run in the Asics Kayanos, but lately those have felt heavy. These feel lighter, and they are grey, which means they will show less dirt.  I need a bit of support for my feet, so these work perfectly and they are pretty eye-catching.

 

Just so you know, I was not paid to review anything in this post. These are just some of my faves from April that I felt I should share.

Coming up tomorrow, a healthy and filling farmer’s market -fresh pasta salad.

How to Travel & Eat Healthy

One of the most common complaints I receive from clients is “I gained 5 pounds on vacation!”

I  understand why this happens.  Healthy food in airports is like sweet tea in New England :IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND!  And who wants to order a water and pathetic salad at a restaurant known for something delicious but unhealthy? I get it. I love to eat, too.

If I do not plan when I travel, I automatically grab for convenient foods in the airport, not healthy ones. Plane and airport food is highly processed and low quality, so rather than depend on finding an acceptable salad at the airport or eating the mystery meat on the plane , I plan ahead.

Here is what I do when I travel for both cost reasons and health reasons:

Pack homemade protein/granola bars or Lara bars.

These are perfect for eating on the plane when they start passing out meals. Opt out of the meal, and enjoy your snack. I always pack enough so I have  1-2 bars per day.

Pack a protein source that does not have to be refrigerated.

Nuts are the perfect option here. Small bags of almonds , walnuts or packets of Barney butter are great.

As soon as you arrive in your destination, stop at a grocery store to stock up on fruit and healthy drinks.

I grab waters, juice or green tea.

Eat in for breakfast.I eat a banana smeared with peanut butter or a bar and piece of fruit for breakfast. This is a huge money saver and helps you avoid eating out 3 times per day. When I was in Argentina, I typically skipped the buttery medialunas(similar to  a croissant) to eat a filling and nutritious breakfast. I also sometimes made peanut butter banana sandwiches for lunch if I ate breakfast out.

Indulge at a restaurant if you are in a place know for the food.

If you know you are going to a delicious, local restaurant, go ahead and order that world-famous calamari or cheeseburger. Try new things at places  you may never visit again. Just share the dish with a friend and order a side salad. If you visit a not-so-stellar restaurant or a chain restaurant, go for the healthier options.  If I am  going to Chili’s, I have a salad. I remind myself I can have Chili’s any day, but a world famous hot dog loaded with toppings in Boston is worth it!

Limit yourself to 1-2 drinks per day. Avoid dessert everyday.

A glass or two of wine with dinner is great, but coupled with a rich dessert and multiplied by the number of nights you have eaten out while traveling, you are adding 200-1000 calories per meal per night. Eat out like this for just 5 nights and you have consumed a surplus of  anywhere from 5000-8000 calories. Wow, two pounds.

I prefer to limit my alcohol consumption so I can have my dessert one or two nights.

Just remember it is all about calories in and out. If you eat indulgently at every meal, drink  every meal, and enjoy dessert every night too, you will most likely put on weight. If you indulge SMARTLY you can easily avoid weight gain.

Exercise while traveling.

This  will help you immensely in staving off extra pounds. Walk, go to the hotel gym, run,  and just  MOVE, and you will feel so much better about eating that dessert! The biggest mistake my clients make is putting exercise on hold while traveling.  Not to mention you lose fitness in just a week or two of doing absolutely nothing.

Remember that on vacation or trips, exercise is not all or nothing.

Doing even one set of of a regular exercise or a very short cardio session will keep you in shape. Studies show that doing your regular exercise for a shorter amount of time is beneficial.  So go ahead and pump  out a set of pushups in 5 minutes when you wake up or run a mile because it actually will keep you from losing strength and endurance.

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Hotel Bodyweight Workout

Warmup for 5 minutes with jumping jacks or marching in place. Do some dynamic stretching in arms and legs.

Do as many squats as you can in 2 minutes.

Rest 90 seconds

Do as many pushups as you can in 2 minutes.

Rest 90 seconds.

Hold a plank as long as you can.

There you go. A  simple 10  minute in-room workout that will challenge you in just one set.