Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Multi Grain Bread Recipe

Once a week for the past two and a half years I have been making my way to Great Harvest Bread to pick up our favorite multi grain High Five Fiber bread. It is so soft, healthy, and it tastes amazing! I decided I would try to make some healthy homemade bread last week and it turned out to be a success. I wanted a bread that provided our bodies with some fiber, some omega 3's (flax seeds), and some folic acid (wheat germ). I found all three of these things in this recipe and instantly fell in love.

I think spending time in the kitchen can be very therapeutic. Cooking and baking is very relaxing and can help alleviate stress. Just imagine you in your clean kitchen with your favorite apron and slippers on, preparing a meal that will bring goodness to your body after a long day, with some awesome jazz music playing in the background. Just try it, you will have a great time I promise. It will be as good as a bubble bath, or maybe even meditation.

When cooking for yourself and for your family, consider each ingredient you use. Knowing exactly what goes into your food makes you more aware of the things you allow in your body. I think it is easier to make healthier choices when you make and prepare your own sustenance, as opposed to trying to find something you think might be healthy on a take out menu. Try to remember when preparing your food at home that using ingredients that come directly from the earth, in their natural state is always best. A lot of nutrients are eliminated from food when it has been processed and altered.

Beware: this recipe makes 6 loaves, but can easily be cut in half. It also takes a couple hours so try it when you have some time to stay home. You won't want to stop eating after just one slice, pace yourself! Also, remember that when using flax seeds you need to grind them first, otherwise your body can't digest them and won't absorb their nutrients. I do this with a coffee bean grinder. Enjoy!

The Jam recipe isn't healthy so it will be posted on my personal blog.

Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 3 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 7 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup flax seed
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1/4 cup cracked wheat
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups bread flour

To Make:
  1. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in 1/2 cup warm water. Let it swell before using. In a large bowl, mix remaining 3 1/2 cups warm water, honey, molasses, oil, eggs and lemon juice. Mix well. Add yeast mixture and stir.
  2. Gradually add 5 cups whole wheat flour beating well after each addition. Add the flax, cracked wheat, wheat germ, and sunflower seeds, stir well.
  3. Let stand for 20 minutes, until mixture is very light. Stir in salt and the rest of the flours until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  4. Knead 10 to 15 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. Put into a greased bowl and cover, let rise in the oven with light on until doubled, about 1 hour.
  5. Punch down and shape into 6 round balls. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.
  6. Form into loaves and let rise covered in oven until doubled. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) 25-35 minutes.
Be Happy, Be Healthy,
Courtney

Saturday, February 21, 2009

CARDIO GIRL

Mari's Workout for the Week
Cardio is hard(for me). I hit a wall at about 30minutes(mentally). I have a goal to run (my first) half-marathon in 2009. I will not be able to reach that goal if I cannot overcome this (very) frustrating problem I am having!

THE LIGHT!
One thing that has really helped me push past my mental block is mixing-it-up. (light at the end of the tunnel) Instead of only running, I have tried to incorporate other forms of cardio- cycle class, do stairs, and jump rope, etc.
Not only does it help me get past that (on average 3.5mile) mark, it benefits the days that I do run.
I feel stronger & can work through my "i need to stop, i can't breathe" mentality.
I'd also like to try swimming, but I am a pretty crappy swimmer so we'll see.

THE WORKOUT - STAIRS
The workout I am posting this week is as hard as you want it to be.
The stair-mill at the gym gives a great work out, but i hate it!
(Because of the whole "mental" thing, I just stare at the time as it crawls by).
Running stairs outside is AWESOME. I know weather doesn't always cooperate, but if you get the chance--do it! Find a staircase at a park, in a neighborhood, or even a stadium. Just make sure its long! (the steeper the better too)
Here is one of my workouts for stairs, it varies depending on how many steps your staircase has..the one I go to has about 90 so this is for that, adjust accordingly.
Walk down after each time up.
Ten-up
1st: walk up (warm up)
2nd: jog up
3rd: run as fast as you can up
(if you dont make it up the entire way jog the rest of the way up)
4th: skip 1 step while running up
5th: run up
6th: skip 2 steps while running up
7th: run up
8th: hop up (both feet together)
9th: hop up one leg
(half on right, half on left)
10th: walk up (cool down)

This workout took some seriously building up to last spring, & I am not at this level yet now--but I hope to be! So if you can't do it your first try, don't worry. Its a beast.

**BONUS**
read this article about running stadiums: tips on how to do it effectively & how it can improve your race!

BE HEALTHY. BE HAPPY.
Mari


Friday, February 20, 2009

Snack? Yes please!

I have determined that I am the world's greatest snacker. I could snack all day and be a happy camper. I have sat down with a bag of crackers and an hour later realized I have eaten the half of it! Luckily I also love to eat crisp veggies and I allow myself to eat as many of them as my little heart desires.
Snacks can be great, but shouldn't replace our meals. It is important that we have 4-6 small meals a day, and only a couple snacks in smaller portions in between those smaller meals. I have decided starting today I am going to put a pre-determined amount of the less healthy snacks that I enjoy (crackers, cheese, etc), in tupperware for each day of the week. Once it's gone, it's gone and that is all I get for that day. I will still allow myself to snack on as many delicious and heart heathy vegetables as I can. Here are some of my favorite snacks of all time:

Sugar Snap Peas
These are awesome you guys and they are my absolute favorite! They are full of vitamins, have no fat, are a good source of roughage, and are so satisfying. They are a great replacement for crackers/chips because they still give you that crispy texture we look for when we crave the unhealthy alternative.

Fresh Homemade Salsa
recipe can be found here

Apples
I LOVE peanut butter so I will eat it with my apples every now and then. I adore the fresh, churn it-yourself peanut butter you can get at Whole Foods Market. Almond butter is also a good option if you need to eat your apple with a side.

Here is where I get weak when it comes to portion control:
I am now going to only allow myself 10 multigrain crackers OR 20 pistachio crisps a day. I am also going to eat no more than 1/4 cup of raw nuts at a time.

I am also going to cut back on my cheese intake. I usually eat one string cheese every day. That isn't horrible but in order to achieve my health and fitness goals this is something I feel I need to cut back on, so ONE every 2-3 days it is.

I will be putting 7 of these together at the beginning of every week. This way the healthy choice will have already been made ahead of time when it comes to snacking. Now I won't skip a meal, and then snack for two hours because I am starving.

Some other great snacking vegetables and fruit that take little to no prep work are:
  • Bell peppers
  • Cellery
  • Baby carrots
  • Bananas
  • Kiwi (excelent source of fiber!)
  • Oranges
You might be surprised to find how filling these tastey treats can be!
What are your favorite healthy snacks?

Remember: when you're healthy, you're happy!
Courtney

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Breakfast Recipe

Mama's Homemade Granola
Mari's Recipe for the Week

Breakfast is a hard one for me! I get up so early to commute, I don't want to get up even earlier to eat! Id rather just eat an early lunch- It's a goal of mine to start eating it! Breakfast sets the tone for the rest of the day. Our bodies need to be fueled regularly & breakfast is no exception. Its be proven that people who eat breakfast are more likely to maintain a healthy weight. Not only that, but its Yum!! And we are less likely to eat garbage close to lunch because we aren't dying for a quick fix!
Here is a homemade granola recipe my mom makes, its so good! You can use this recipe for so many things! I use it for on top of yogurt & my new favorite is on top of Oatmeal! For the Amazing Banana Oatmeal I get my bowl of oatmeal & slice bananas all over it, then I add my granola & a titch of honey (or brown sugar if you prefer). YUM! Just the right amount of crunch! If you don't like bananas, other fresh fruit works too! I just love the honey/banana combo.


* This recipe is HUGE so you can cut it in half or make it all and store it in a tupperware or zip lock & have enough for a month!


Here's what you'll need:
7cups Oats
1 cup wheat germ
1 1/2 cup coconut (optional)
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
3/4 cup canola oil
1tbs water
1 1/2 tsp vanilla (i always add a little extra!)

Preheat your oven to 225 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Once mixed add the rest of the ingredients one at a time while stirring until well mixed. Place on large cookie sheet or even a roasting pan in oven. Stir every 7-9 minutes until granola is golden brown.
This is a basic granola recipe..I like to spruce it up with dried berries & raw nuts! You can add basically whatever you want! Make it your own. ENJOY!

Be Healthy. Be Happy.
Mari

Monday, February 16, 2009

Courtney's Workout of the Week

video

Mare, here are two workouts I am in love with this week. These two exercises are fantastic for building and toning glute muscles. We both need this for different reasons. I am trying to get rid of some of my luggage back there and tone up, and you are trying to add some shape to your skinny bum. I thought you might be able to benefit from these since you are trying to build a butt. The first day my trainer had me do these I could barely walk. Sitting down was brutal because I was so sore. This was exactly what I was looking for because nothing gets my butt sore. These two exercises are great to pair up with lunges, box step-ups, one legged squats, or one legged dead lifts. Get ready to feel the burn, these workouts isolate your glutes and you'll be feeling it after your first few reps!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

CALCIUM DOES A BODY GOOD


Calcium is one of those supplement-vitamin-mineral things, you may have heard of it.

It has been said to be the mineral most likely to be deficient in the average diet. Why aren't we giving it the attention it deserves? Calcium is AWESOME for you! It is vital for your bones & teeth. But it also helps weight loss (some articles say it helps you not store fat around your stomach too!), protects your heart, and *bonus* helps improve PMS!

Most of us were raised to think we could only get the Calcium we need through Milk. Well of course Milk, Cheese, and Yogurt are all rich in Calcium---but since we have to watch our dairy intake (especially anyone trying to lose weight) here are a few fabulous foods that contain Calcium & of course, you can always just buy supplements at your local health food store.
Salmon
Spinach
Peas
Broccoli
and even Almonds
Be a Healthier You & Include more Calcium in your diet!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Here is your first healthy dinner recipe:

Spicy Ginger Tilapia
I have just recently fallen in love with eating fish. Before a couple of years ago I couldn't even stand to be around it. Now I crave it. That is why it's important that we try new things and have an open mind when doing so. It is light, heart healthy, and when fresh it is so tasty. Tilapia is my favorite fish to eat, it doesn't have even the teensiest fishy taste or smell. I have also recently enjoyed making my own rubs for meat and fish. This Tilapia was just rubbed down and cooked on a stove top grill until it was perfectly flaky.

Ingredients:

2 Tilapia Filets
2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 t Sea Salt
1 t Rosemary
1/2 t Onion Powder
1/2 t Garlic Powder
1/2 t Ginger
1/2 t Cushed Red Pepper
1/4 t Paprika
1/4 t Cayene Pepper

To Make:

Combine all your dry ingredients in a bowl. Rinse and prepare your fish. Rub both sides of the fish with your delicious homemade seasoning blend. Preheat your stove top griddle or pan to a medium/high heat. Add 2 T of Olive Oil to pan before adding fish. Cook the Tilapia about two minutes on each side, or until perfectly flaky. You want the fish to pull apart when touched with a fork. It should be opaque in the center. Remove from heat when done and serve with a lemon wedge and your favorite fresh steamed veggies.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

And so it continues...

Mari and I have started this blog to help one another stay motivated to reach our fitness and life goals. We are sisters-in-law who love each other and share many of the same interests. One of which is living fulfilling and healthy lives. We will be sharing healthy recipes, meal plans, exercises and inspiring finds in order to help each other reach our full potential.