Showing newest 21 of 24 posts from August 2009. Show older posts
Showing newest 21 of 24 posts from August 2009. Show older posts

Monday, August 31, 2009

Did you know this?? I didn't!

Do you shop at Costco (or any other bulk store)? Well I do, but one thing I don’t buy there is olive oil (or green tea)! Did you know olive oil’s disease fighting potency drops by 40 percent after 6 months and green tea’s drops by 32%? To stop this from happening buy smaller amounts of olive oil and green tea, keep them in cool, dry places and get cooking and sipping before 6 months is up!

I know I’m heading straight to my pantry and throwing out all that old green tea and olive oil right now!

Check out my favorite vegetables using olive oil!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

AH-mazing cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery!

Sometimes you just have to splurge! After walking (A LOT) this weekend we decided to stop into the very famous Magnolia Bakery for their well known cupcakes. We decided to go with a vanilla cupcake with chocolate icing and let me tell you it was BY FAR the BEST cupcake I've ever had! It was a perfect size for a pre or post-lunch snack. They make their cupcakes fresh everyday, so they are for eating right away. There are three different locations in the city, so if you ever pass one, going in is a MUST!
For more information check out:

Friday, August 28, 2009

Celebrate MORE birthdays!

Danny’s big 2-7 birthday is TODAY! His favorite cake is anything with chocolate icing, but this year we are trying something different. Have you heard of the American Cancer society’s new “More Birthdays!” initiative? They are basically celebrating more birthdays, because a world with more less cancer is a world with more birthdays. This is the new official (delicious) cake that you should celebrate with! We are! So hop on the band wagon and celebrate more birthdays by CLICKING HERE!

The Official Birthday Cake of the American Cancer Society 
New Red Velvet Cake Created by Alexandra Mudry

Ingredients (for cake):

3 large or 5 small beets (to make 2 c. puree)* 
1/2 c. applesauce, unsweetened/natural 
1 c. granulated sugar 
1/2 c. canola oil 
2 large eggs 
2 large egg whites 
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted 
1 tsp. instant espresso powder or instant coffee
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder 
3/4 c. all-purpose flour 
3/4 c. whole wheat flour 
1/4 c. quinoa flour** 
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda 
1/2 tsp. salt 
1 c. dried cherries

*You may use canned beets, but make sure they are stored in their own juices and not seasoned. If using canned beets, add a tablespoon (or more) of water and puree until smooth.

**Quinoa flour is found in most health food stores. If you are unable to find it you may use 1 c. all purpose flour to 3/4 c. whole wheat flour.

For the roasted beets: Preheat oven to 375. Trim ends of beets and place on a parchment paper or foil lined baking pan. Drizzle with 1 tbsp. canola oil. Roast until fork tender (about 2 hours). Once cooled peel then place in blender or food processor with 1-2 tbsp. water. Puree beets until they reach a smooth and even consistency. Set aside. (Can be made several days ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.)


1. Preheat oven to 375. Spray baking pan(s) with canola oil spray and dust with flour. Discard the excess flour (or if making cupcakes, line tins with paper wrappers).

2. Combine oil, eggs, egg whites and sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed with a paddle attachment until smooth and light colored.

3. Add the tsp. of espresso powder to the melted chocolate and stir until combined.

4. Turning the speed down to low, slowly drizzle the melted chocolate into the mixture. Once the chocolate has been added, turn off the machine and scrape the sides of the bowl.

5. In a separate bowl, combine the cocoa powder, applesauce and beet puree. Add this mixture to the egg mixture. Place the machine on medium speed to incorporate, scrape down the sides of the bowl and then add the cherries and mix again. Remove the bowl from the mixer.

6. Sift the remaining dry ingredients together and then gently fold into the mixture (do not over mix or the cake will become tough and dense).

7. Pour batter into pan(s) and bake for 40-45 minutes (or 20-25 for cupcakes), until tooth pick inserted in center comes out clean.

8. Cool and remove from pan(s). If not using immediately, wrap in saran wrap and refrigerate. Cake can be made a day in advance. (The cake is rather delicate and crumbly so it is easier to work with once chilled.)

Happy Birthday Danny (and Chaff)! :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Become a (DARK) Chocoholic!

If you are a chocolate lover (which I definitely am) you should make the switch to dark chocolate. Why you ask? Well, dark chocolate has more antioxidants than milk or white chocolate because of its higher cocoa content (usually about 65% higher). Would you also believe it has been shown to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol also? Studies show that taking in a small bar of dark chocolate every day can reduce your blood pressure and your bad cholesterol by up to 10%. Not to mention dark chocolate can give you a small caffeine jolt and is a natural anti-depressant.

To get these benefits you should look for pure dark chocolate or dark chocolate with nuts (avoid dark chocolate with fillings like caramel which contain just sugar and fat and negate the antioxidant benefit).

So next time you feel a chocolate craving coming on reach for dark chocolate (just remember your portion control!)

My favorite is dark chocolate M&M’s!

Try these dark chocolate chip cookies!

You can swap out flour for whole wheat flour, use egg beaters, and cut the sugar if you want to lower calorie count!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Faster, Faster! (Then Slower, Slower)

Interval workouts

Do you ever get bored of doing the same speed for 30 minutes on the treadmill or elliptical? I know I do. Recently, I decided to get into some interval training whenever I do make it to the gym (these summer days I try to hoof it outside). It really breaks up the monotony and gives you a good sweat session. In general exercise is a natural anti-depressant and anti-anxiety remedy.

Interval training is short bursts of high intensity exercise followed by lighter period of exercise. Interval training improves your body’s use of oxygen, which helps you burn more fat. It increases your post exercise fat burn, lets you burn more calories in less time (always a plus) and increases fat burning and your ability to build muscle. Why wouldn’t we do interval training?

You can do interval training on any cardio machine (bike, treadmill, elliptical, even track)

CLICK HERE for a great example of interval workouts (scroll about half way down)

For more information:

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Are you a planner?

Tips I follow when I go back to school:

I have found that there are a couple of things that I follow throughout the school year (and summer) that really help me stay on track. The number one tip that helps me is to PLAN. I literally plan everything for the entire week. I plan my trip to the food store, my breakfast, lunch and dinner, my gym/running schedule for the week and any time I am going to eat out. It may take a lot of thinking/planning/time in the beginning, but honestly once you get used to it, it becomes second nature.

If you plan everything you don’t really have time for slip-ups. I also always keep snacks on me so if I get hungry or am out later than usual, I don’t have to stop at a store. I can just have a quick granola bar or a handful of nuts to hold me over until the next meal. (My family always laughs at/makes fun of me because I always have food on me.) Also planning my lunch and dinner allows me to save money because I am not going out to eat for either meal too often.

When I go out to dinner (if it’s possible), I always look up the menu before. It makes it SO much easier to make a good choice before you walk into the restaurant. (Don’t be afraid to be high maintenance and ask for sauces/dressing on the side or food not to be cooked with butter/oil.)

If you run into uncertainty (office party, spur of the moment dinner) then just make the best choice you can. (You still have to splurge, otherwise you will binge.) One (small) piece of cake won’t throw your whole week off!

So get out your paper and pen and let the planning begin!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Vitamin D: Why you NEED to take it!

This past year I was watching Oprah (like I normally do during the school year) and she had Dr. Oz on. He was talking about vitamins and Oprah asked him, “If people could only take one vitamin a day what should it be?” He said vitamin D, no question. After that I was interested because I normally took vitamin C (so I don’t get sick from those germy students) but that was really it in the vitamin department.

What does vitamin D do? It maintains proper calcium levels in the blood, helps your bones),maintains normal cellular growth and function, and maintains healthy immune function.

Apparently as a country we are deficient in vitamin D. (More than 75% of us are deficient in the vitamin.) You can get your daily dose of vitamin D from the sun, fish and milk. But the problem is we, as Americans, don’t really take in enough of those things each day to fulfill our daily requirement.

So why is it so important? After doing a little bit of research I found that being deficient in vitamin D can cause a whole slew of medical/health problems. So if you take a supplement you can prevent:

Is that list long enough? If you take a vitamin D supplement, you can prevent these things.

How can you get your vitamin D daily: Get 20-30 minutes in the sun 3 times a week(which really isn’t possible during the winter months).

So go out there, get in your sun, and when the summers over go get yourself a bottle of Vitamin D 1,000 IU!!

For more info, check these sites out:

Friday, August 21, 2009

Run it (on the beach)!

If I don’t get up early when I’m at the beach then I am not going to exercise. I do give into days off, but I try to at least walk everyday. If I don’t’ get up early then I get involved (preoccupied) and don’t end up going. I’ve convinced Danny to go with me today. We are going to do a combination of walking and running like we did when we were here for Memorial Day weekend.

We are going to head down to the beach and walk for 5 minutes. Then we basically will do intervals. Run for 4 minutes, sprint (I don’t know if you can call what I do on sand a sprint, but for all purposes, it is) for 30 seconds, walk for 2 minutes and do it all over again. We usually will do this for a total of 5 times and then walk again for 5 – 10 minutes. When we are done, we are DONE! Jump in the ocean or shower DEFINITLY needed. We probably will end up doing this two times this week, the rest we’ll hit the pavement.

Next time you have a chance to work it at the beach, try this! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My VERY favorite (marinated) vegetables

Being at the beach to me is simultaneous with grilling. Usually my brother in law, Jeremy is the head chef in the kitchen and I will be his sue chef. He has fantastic creations for everything you can think of. He always just whips up a sauce for whatever we are having, chicken, steak, ribs, fish, anything. I have to say my most favorite thing he makes is grilled vegetables. He marinates them (for what seems like no time at all) and they just come out grilled to perfection. We usually throw in eggplant, green and yellow squash, Portobello mushrooms and a red onion. I am good at cutting the veges up (really anyway you want but we cut the eggplant into semi circle pieces and the squash into diagonal pieces). After they are cut up we put them into large Ziploc bags. Then we throw in balsamic vinegar (enough to coat everything with some at the bottom), olive oil (I usually just drizzle this in), chopped garlic, salt, pepper, oregano and basil. Then shake it up (make sure its ZIPPED first) and let it sit for about a half hour. Put foil down on the grill and grill away! They usually take about 25 minutes to cook through. MMM yum.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Surrender to your sunscreen!

I’m heading to the beach today and I thought I would talk about sunscreen. Danny and I have a frequent summertime argument about it. He thinks that I don’t put it on (when I ALWAYS do) and that he shouldn’t have to either. Well, he’s wrong on both accounts because EVERYONE should wear sunscreen. You can protect yourself from skin cancer and premature aging just by wearing it.

When going out in the sun people should wear at least 15 SPF (Sun Protecting Factor). Sunscreen is needed to protect your skin from UVB radiation. (If your sunscreen says Broad Spectrum it will protect against UVA rays as well.)

Did you know sunscreen should be applied 15-20 minutes BEFORE even stepping outside?? It takes that long for it to set in and start to work! So start lubing up now, you’ll be happier you did when you’re wrinkle free later!

For more info:

Did you know how BAD tanning beds were?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Let's Get Moving!

Beach week!

We’re down at the (Jersey) shore, in the Point Pleasant area for the entire week for Danny’s family vacation. If I don’t want to succumb to an extra 5-7 pounds in one week I always have to find ways to keep moving. (If not it’s VERY easy to do bagels everyday and ice cream every night and lots of other not too good for me things in between!)

I don’t go crazy, but I like to figure out some type of exercise a couple of times this week. I figure I can use what is right in front of me…THE BEACH! Running/walking on the beach is HARD. It definitely scorches extra calories as compared to hitting the pavement. In order to prepare to walk/run on the beach I’ve turned to SELF magazine for these couple of tips:

Factor in footwear – if you are walking/running less than a mile then go barefoot. Any more than that and throw on your sneaks. (Otherwise you may get shin splints.) This is really helpful to me because I never know whether to wear sneaks or not!

Hit the hard stuff – Go close to the water to walk/run on the packed, hard sand. “Each step will give you less rebound than you’d get on a sidewalk, so you have to use added energy to keep moving,” says Tommy Boone, Ph.D.

Assume the position – You need good form for a total body workout. Relax your shoulders and engage your core (hold your stomach in tight), swing arms from to back and squeeze those glutes!

Plot your path: Most beach slope one way, which means one leg with always be uphill as you walk/run. Make sure you turn around and work the other leg!

Okay so now I am prepared to get on the beach for a calorie burning workout….more tomorrow, on whether I decide to walk or run it !

Monday, August 17, 2009

Hello from the Jersey Shore!

Hello from the Jersey Shore! We are here in Jersey (finally!) for vacation! Yay! When we come for a week Danny’s parents usually (very, very, generously) take care of all the food. (His mom reads this, so I have to kiss up a little bit, Hi Ellen!) We try to make a couple of things to bring down to at least have for the week. I’m thinking that we will make two trays of baked ziti and some meatballs. (Last year we didn’t bring down anything because we were wedding planning CRAZY!!)

I made two trays of pasta, one whole wheat, one regular (for those I haven’t turned over yet). I made this the other night for Danny and I and it turned out so amazing. It was a quick throw together. I preheated the oven the 375 degrees. I started with a saucepan, a little olive oil and chopped garlic. When the garlic browned I opened two of the large cans of crushed tomatoes. I diced up an eggplant and 2 zucchini and threw it in the sauce. I also added a half-cup of chopped spinach and a small can of (drained and rinsed) early peas. I let it cook for about a half hour, also adding in salt, pepper, oregano, and basil. When the sauce was almost done (when the eggplant becomes transparent). I cooked whole-wheat yolk-free noodles. You have to be very careful with these because they can overcook in one minute. I only let them cook for about six minutes to very al dente. When the pasta was finished I line the bottom of a corning ware dish with the sauce. I layer the sauce, noodles and reduced fat mozzarella cheese. I add extra sauce to the top of it. (I just sprinkle the cheese in the middle of the pasta; I use most of the cheese to line the top.) Then I put it in the oven for about 15 minutes so it all cooks together. I put the broiler on for about 3 minutes so the top gets crunchy. It is delicious and you are definitely getting in your veges for the day!

*The veges cook and kind of disappear into the sauce, so whoever is eating it won’t totally be able to tell it is filled with all different vegetables, which is great for skeptics! Eat up!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Choose Coffee Now!

I love coffee, like REALLY love coffee. I really LOVE my favorite coffee place in Rockville Centre, Kookaburra Coffee Company. Anyone who has spent any time with me, mainly over the summer, knows that we have to stop in there at some point throughout the day. Sometimes I will get a jumbo (think Dunkin Donuts Medium), but most of the time I’m too embarrassed and just get an XL. Turns out, my addiction is CHOCK full of health benefits. Good thing!

According the SELF magazine, here are the top reasons to help up the coffee habit:

  1. Benefit your “bean”: Lifelong caffeinated coffee fans may be less prone to develop Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. (Caffeine blocks inflammation in the brain, which can lead to Alzheimer’s.
  2. Sip for your smile: Coffee has antibacterial and anti adhesive powers, so it may keep cavity-causing bacteria from eating your enamel away. Drinking a cup a day has been shown to slash oral cancer risk by half. (WOW!)
  3. Brew for your ladies: Premenopausal women who downed four cups of regular coffee per day had a 38% reduction in their breast cancer risk (according to the Journal of Nutrition). Coffee unleashes phytoestrogens and flavonoids that may stifle tumor growth. Those who had less than 4 cups a day DIDN’T benefit, so DRINK UP!
  4. Stop Stones: Gallstones grow when mucus inside your gallbladder traps cholesterol crystals. Xanthine, found in caffeine, may reduce mucus and risk for deposits. Two or more cups daily may help.
  5. Save your skin: Two to five cups of regular coffee daily may help lower your risk for nonmelanoma skin cancer by up to 17%. Caffeine may spur skin to kill precancerous cells and also inhibits tumor growth.
  6. Dodge diabetes: People who sip 3 to 4 cups of regular OR decaf coffee a day are 30% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Chlorogenic acid may help prevent insulin resistance, which can cause the disease.

That information just BLOWS me away. Now I will have A LOT to say if anyone ever challenges my habit!!

Here is the article!

Here is info about Kookaburra! If you're ever in the area...GO immediately!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

New Header!

Thanks to my friend Kelly, I have an amazing new header on my page!
She completely designed and created it, to give it a fresh look. If you ever need any graphic designs you should definitely use her. She loves to do free lance work. (She also designed our wedding map, which was INCREDIBLE!)
Check out her website:
Thanks Kell!
P.S. Now you can subscribe by email so you don't have to remember to come back every day! (Just go to the bottom of the page.) And don't forget to become a follower as well! (You DON'T have to have your own blog to become one, a couple of people have asked me that. You just need an email address! :) )

News Flash! Choose turkey or chicken!

Do you choose red meat regularly? If so, listen to this! In SELF magazine’s, Healthy Living Flash I was shocked to read about this burger bummer. Women need to choose beef free days! Women who eat less than 4 ounces of red meet a week survive longer than those who eat more says The Archives of Internal Medicine. This may be due to the saturated fats and high cooking temperature of red meat, which produce cancer-causing compounds. Next time try these turkey recipes!

Giada's Turkey Meatballs (I LOVE Giada!)

My FAVORITE turkey burgers!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Get SERIOUS about Stretching!!

In college when I would go to the gym with my friends after we were done we would always sit on the mats that were supposed to be for stretching. Usually instead of stretching I would just sit there and chat. One of my friends is like a pretzel, she is just so limber and flexible and I am the absolute opposite. Needless to say I would probably be better at it if I actually ever did it.

Why is stretching so important? After reading all of this (even though I really knew it already) I think I may put some more time into it…maybe.

First off did you know that you shouldn’t stretch cold muscles? You actually should do a 5-minute warm up (walk or jump rope in place) to get your muscles going. If you stretch without warming up your muscles may feel tight and could lead to tearing, pulling or straining.

Stretching pre-workout helps you loosen all of your muscles. It delivers more oxygen to your muscles, promotes stronger ligaments and lets your muscles work even harder.

Stretching post workout is also very important. After you are done with your workout your muscles will tighten up again. It will help loosen up your muscles and prevent some of the next day soreness. Stretching also helps with flexibility. If you do it more, you will be more flexible. (I need to learn this!)

I think I will take 5 minutes out to stretch pre and post workouts! Here is a video of some basic stretches you can do to improve your muscles flexibility.

Why you should stretch!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Favorite Snacks of 2009!

What are your favorite snacks? During the school year I don’t tend to switch things up usually AT ALL. I basically eat the same breakfast, lunch and snacks from Monday to Friday, September to June. My snacks of choice are Fiber One chocolate bars and jello (besides fruit, I get whatever is available). During the summer I may branch out to the 100 calorie pack chocolate covered pretzels (I LOVE chocolate covered pretzels!!).

I found this list in SHAPE magazine and I realized how boring I am. They broke the snacks up by under 100 calories, under 150 calories, and under 200 calories.

This is what Shape.Com says Makes a Product a Shape Best-Snack Winner

  • - 200 calories or less (except the mini meals)

  • - 0 grams of trans fat and no more than 3.5 grams of saturated fat

  • - No more than 400 milligrams of sodium (except mini meals)

  • - No high-fructose corn syrup

  • - Calorie-controlled portions, whole grains, little added sugar, and extra vitamins or minerals all got special consideration

Some of my fav’s:

  • Jello
  • 100 calorie pack almonds (if you don’t portion control, its SO easy to eat 500 calories worth)
  • Kashi TLC 100 calorie packs
  • SunChips (family fav)

Click here to see the full list of favorite snacks!

Have you ever tried any of these? Which ones are your favorite? Do you eat the same snacks every day like me?

Note: You can buy the big boxes/containers of almonds and Kashi crackers and just split them up yourself, its SO much cheaper!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Want Alfredo Sauce? You CAN have it!

Have you ever seen these tofu shirataki noodles in the food store (usually by the fresh produce) and been really turned off by them? My sister and I used to be too, until Hungry Girl convinced us to give them a try. In her book she claimed that they could be used for a pasta swap, but seriously how could that be? We reluctantly gave them a try. We followed her directions and took them out of the floating water they come in (kind of yucky) and rinsed them VERY well. Then we dried them (also) VERY well and threw them in the microwave for one minute (you can also stir fry them).

In her cookbook she has a recipe called Hungry Girl Fettucine Girlfredo (a play on fettuccine alfredo). We had already tried the “alfredo” sauce on whole wheat pasta so we knew that was GREAT (seriously, you need to try this, see below) We put it all together, put it in the microwave for another minute and it was done. Looking at it, it actually looked really tasty, and guess what, it was REALLY good. Knowing that the whole thing is only 80 calories, I think, made it taste even better.

There are actually a lot of great ways to use the tofu shirataki noodles. There is a whole section in the Hungry Girl book devoted to using them.

Hungry Girl Fettuccine Girlfredo

  • 1 wedge laughing cow light original Swiss cheese
  • 1 tbsp fat free sour cream
  • 2 tsp reduced fat grated cheese
  • 1 package fettuccine shaped tofu shirataki

You can use them in stir-fries, as a pasta substitute, as Chinese lo-mien noodles, etc. Give them a try, it’s worth it! We’re hooked!

Click here for some Hungry Girl tips for using them!

Click here for another Hungry Girl Tofu Shirataki recipe!

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Just came back from a relaxing weekend in Humarock with lots of friends, food, drinks and beach! Had lots of time to reenergize and laugh with my girls.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Happy Hour's Here!

It’s FRIDAY! We're heading to the beach all day and we'll be looking for something to celebrate the weekend with later on. (Won't you?) If you are looking for a switch up from the Spiked Pink Lemonade Punch then try this Skinny Sangria. (It’s from one of my new favorite websites Skinny and the City.) Sangria from restaurants are delicious but LOADED with calories and sugar. This sangria recipe still tastes great but it’s only 135 calories (compared to 250) for an 8 oz. glass.


1 (750 ml) bottle of red wine (any variety will do, Skinny and the City's suggests an inexpensive pinot noir) 2 ounces Cointreau 1 pint strawberries, sliced 1 lime, thinly sliced 1 lemon, thinly sliced 1 orange, thinly sliced 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and sliced 3 cups (24 ounces) of diet lemon lime soda or seltzer Instructions:

Slice fruit and place in a chilled pitcher. Add wine and Cointreau and refrigerate overnight, allowing flavors to blend.Remove from fridge, add diet lemon lime soda or seltzer, pour into wine glasses filled with ice, and serve!

I’ll let you know how it goes! Have a great weekend! Make Good Choices! :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Have a "Gratitude" Attitude!

I think SELF magazine is my favorite magazine (for the month) because I haven’t been able to put it down. The Editor In Chief had a great letter this month with a resonating message about how to look and feel great at any age. I just love the message and wanted to share it with all of you. (The Editor was inspired by Dara Torres and her tips on aging.)

Three tips on how to look AND feel great at any age:

  1. Take time to recover: You can’t go hard all the time. Take time to relax and soak life in.
  2. Drink coffee: (Do I even need to say why I love this one??) Coffee has health protecting antioxidants.
  3. Have a “gratitude” attitude: At the end of every day stop and think about all the good things in your life. There’s always something to be thankful for.

I am going to be doing all of these things on this long weekend while I am on the beach in Humarock, Massachusetts with college friends. I will be sure to take time to recover (by sitting on the beach), drink coffee (hopefully stopping at my ever favorite south shore Massachusetts’s’ Mary Lou’s) and having a “gratitude” attitude (by being thankful of the time I get to spend with my friends).


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