Sunday, December 30, 2012

Winter is Definitely Here

 We have a lot of snow here now....there is no escaping winter this week after two snow storms.  Fortunately, I am someone who enjoys having four different seasons, including winter.  There are frustrations such as a blizzard timed perfectly to require 4:30AM snow removal so we can get to work, but then there are definitely some great things too.  For example, on Christmas morning I had the opportunity to take our dog, a frisky labrador retriever, out for a hike in the woods.  It was beautiful.  We just had a healthy coating of snow and there is a different type of quiet outside just after it snows.  The brisk temperature combined with the peaceful quiet and a wagging tail trotting along with me made for a nice workout and a very relaxing holiday.  The rest of the day was all family and it was wonderful.
With the cold weather, some comfort food has been in order this weekend.  On Saturday, myself and the little one prepared a healthy chocolate chip, banana bread.  We threw it in the oven, set our timer and headed outside to play in the snow while it was baking.  When we came in from the snowy cold, here is what was waiting for us: 
For this banana bread, I changed up a banana-blueberry muffin recipe from Jillian Michaels' Master Your Metabolism Cookbook.  I really like this book- it's not just about reducing calories and losing weight.  It's about using whole foods, removing the processed stuff out of your diet as much as possible and highlights so many critical physiological functions that are impacted by processed food.  Here is the recipe I used (I changed it up due to ingredients on hand and my little one's inherited affection for chocolate):
Banana-Chocolate Chip Bread
~Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees
-Spray loaf pan with olive oil spray
~1 very ripe banana- mashed
~3/4 cup plain, low fat greek yogurt
~1/2 cup honey
~2 teaspoons vanilla extract
~2 cups whole wheat flour
~1/2 cup wheat germ (you can use all flour if you do not have wheat germ- I just happened to have some and added in the nutritional boost)
~2 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder (Until I read this book, I never knew I had to look for baking powder that says "Aluminum Free.")
~1/2 teaspoon baking soda
~1/2 teaspoon of salt
~1/3 cup chocolate chips of your choice (my favorite is dark)
Mix all of the wet ingredients in one bowl.  Mix all of the dry together in another (except the chocolate chips).  Add the dry to wet and mix thoroughly.  Fold in your chocolate chips and spread the batter into your loaf pan.  Place in the oven and then reduce temperature to 375 degrees.  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.  Let cool in pan for at least 10-15 minutes & then slice and enjoy!
Stay warm out there!
Sunday, December 23, 2012

Coming Back...

I definitely took a looong hiatus! It was a result of a few different reasons, mostly time management.  I did miss blogging though.  I missed the motivation that comes from connecting with others that are invested in fitness, training goals and healthy pursuits all while balancing motherhood and everything else life has to offer.  I regularly visited my reading list of blogs for tips, tricks, recipes and motivation and I am thankful to those writers and health enthusiasts who kept the motivation coming!  And then I decided to dust off the old blog, make some updates and give it another whirl.  Of course, I'm returning with some realistic expectations of myself.  I'm not anticipating earth shattering daily, weekly....or even monthly posts, but I do look forward to getting in the groove with this source of healthy motivation again.

So, what's been happening? Well, a few things but here are some highlights:

  1. We did participate in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share for the 2011 summer/fall season and I would highly recommend it!  We had an abundance of vegetables and it took some getting used to in order to ensure food wasn't wasted.  By comparison, we did not sign up for the CSA for the 2012 year as I thought a weekly trip to a farmer's market might work better for us, but I missed the CSA.  The CSA is like signing up for a gym membership versus saying you will pay as you're committed, the veggies are waiting for you in a basket with your name on have to cook them and eat them or they will be wasted.  I definitely think we ate healthier the year we purchased the CSA.  I am already researching for this year.  We are also planning on expanding our own garden so I am trying to find the best fit for us.
  2. I finished my first Olympic Distance triathlon!  Truthfully, this was not a case where I had this amazing motivation to step up my tri training to new heights.  The training time just wasn't there.  My favorite race that I have been competing in since 2008 always offered both a sprint and Olympic distance....until this year.  Early in 2012 I reviewed the registration information and to my horror the sprint distance was gone! It was now go big or stay home....what's a girl to do? I signed up.  Thankfully, with the help of a couple training buddies, I got in as much training as I could although not nearly as much as I wanted.  I comfortably finished and it was a great experience....even with the scorching, humid heat wave that was bestowed upon us on race day.
  3. We participated in the 10 days of Real Food Challenge.  Towards the end of the summer, I realized that organization was slipping...and packaged foods were making more of an appearance than I would care to admit in our lunches, especially for the little one.  Again, time management was the culprit!  So, I asked for the family's support to get back on the wagon with a 10 day pledge.  It went really well.  The food was delicious.  I felt better.  I think we all felt better.  Is it possible to eat as clean as the 10 day pledge all the time? No, but it definitely brought back a much healthier balance.  More on the great things I learned during this at a later time.
So, that's a quick recap.  As the holidays approach, I wish everyone health and happiness during this very busy time of year! Take care and be healthy!