Weekly Menu 12-2-13

I was going to start this segment in the New Year and decided frack it, let’s get it going now! Just what is this new segment? Why has she not told us yet? Here it is the Weekly Menu post. My vision of this is to help you all get started planning your own weekly menus by sharing mine and a recipe each week. Yes, you will be seeing what we eat each week and yes, there will be repeats on those menus.
 photo DSCF2003-3.jpgFriday has been the Weekly Groove post which is getting changed to a monthly thing. I like it but sometimes I feel like it can be a bit sparse and getting people cooking is something I am extremely passionate about.

Its a sbiwy (aka snowy) day here, the kind of day that lends its self well to big pots of food, baking, and lounging about reading or writing with a cup of coffee. This week’s menu is heavy on Italian food and hamburger, just how it happened.

Sunday – Pork and Hominy soup from the freezer and cornbread
Monday – Pizza!
Tuesday Bolognese and pasta
Wednesday – Meatloaf
Thursday – Tasty beef casserole
Friday – Easy day, French dip sandwiches and sweet potato fries
Saturday – Chicken and wild rice soup, pumpkin rolls

Simple Big Batch Bolognese
1/4 cup olive oil
1 to 2 onions, diced
1 cup celery chopped
1 1/2 cups carrots chopped
1 to 5 cloves of garlic chopped
2 pounds hamburger or ground turkey
1 cup wine
1 to 3 tablespoons dried basil or fresh
1 to 3 tablespoons dried parsley or fresh
1 to 2 bay leaves
12 cups of tomatoes that’s 1 number 10 can or oz.
2 cups grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Heat pot and put oil in it. Add diced onion and cook until softened. Chop the celery and add it to the pot and do the same with the carrots. While they cook chop up your garlic and cook for about a minute. Add the ground meat in and brown. Add wine cook for a few minutes and add herbs and tomatoes. Simmer for 2 hours on low, stirring occasionally.

I add the veg as I chop them, you want to start building your flavour layers at this point in time. I usually add some herbs but if you don’t its okay. You are looking at about a half hour to an hour prep time depending on your knife skills, they will get better and you will get faster. This cooks for a long time but you can do other things while it simmers, just give it a twirl now and then. I get 4 to 5 quarts.

Staying Active in Winter

Staying active during the winter can be challenging. It is cold out, there is weather, and less daylight. Working runners often end up running in the dark morning or evening, add in a nice warm house or bed. Who wants to get out and run. Heck who wants to go out to a cold car and drive to the gym. No one. Here’s how are my top 5 tips for staying active during winter.

I know I’ve used the Yoda picture before but he just nails it.
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1. Schedule your workouts. You wouldn’t skip a meeting or doctors appointment, would you? Think of your workouts the same way.

2. Have the right gear. If you are going to run through winter or do outside cold weather activities get the right clothes. Cotton holds sweat and will have you cold before you know it. I have wicking underwear for winter, how I survived before them I have no idea.

3. Do a Challenge. I did a squat challenge last year that was a lot of fun. Other years I did a cookie challenge. For each cookie I ate I did an extra minute of exercise. It really makes you think before you gobble a bunch of them up.

4.Keep it flexible, yeah I know I told you to schedule them but if time is short and you planned on an hour you don’t have, change your plan. Even 15 minutes of exercise is going to make you feel better.

5. Rest is important do not neglect it. If you feel under the weather or still beat up from your workout take a rest day. Should I workout while sick is a question that gets asked a lot and I respond that your workout is to get better if you are sick, rest if you are sick. Take the time to nurture yourself when you need it, it will pay off.

Workouts and being Sick

Working out while sick, what to do? Do you push on through the workout or rest? My inclination is to tell you to rest or do something that is very easy. Regular exercise will help you fight off infection and help prevent disease. But once you are already sick it can be difficult to decide whether to proceed with a workout, modify or skip it.
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Keep in mind it is your immune system that goes to work after a hard workout. The immune system takes care of the muscles you stressed during that workout. Which means if you are sick the immune system is working to make you well. Put a hard workout on top of that and there is the potential to overload it and compromise your goals.

Recently my glands decided to swell. I was tired, my throat and head hurt, and I felt cruddy in general. I thought about exercising and said frack that. A few days later I tried to yoga and it made my headache worse. I stopped what I was doing and went back to reading. All in all I took about a week off of exercise. My current weight lifting program is challenging enough when I feel like superwoman, let alone when I all I want is some soup, lemonade, and to go back to bed.

Instead of overloading my immune system I took time off, eased back into exercising, and finished NROLS Basic Training 4 feeling awesome instead of tired and dead.

Why You Should Practice Yoga.

A lot of people start yoga to stretch or as a recovery workout  and yoga works very well for that.  But it can help in a few areas we struggle with, such as sitting too long, over eating, and changing  your mood.  A few things yoga can help……..

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1.  Help alleviate back pain. There are many causes of back pain and one of them is sitting in a chair working at a computer.  Sitting for long periods of time shortens the hip flexors and pulls the front of the body forward. Yoga will help you open the front of the body, build abdominal strength, and can free up your hips which will all help alleviate back pain.  If you have a back injury be careful, consult a doctor, and seek out a good teacher.

2. The breathe is so important.  Shallow breathing stimulates the flight/fight instinct and makes one feel panicky, long deep breathing changes that.  Taking a full, deep breath calms and soothes, along with giving you a good hit of oxygen. Notice how you breath when you are upset or angry and then start to breathe deeply.  It becomes harder to hold onto those emotions once the breathe pattern changes.

3. Mood! Yoga is a natural mood elevator.  It will change bad moods into good if you give it a chance.  In a good mood use yoga to enhance it and maintain it.  Work it out on your mat so you don’t have to work it out on  yourself or someone else.

4. Mindfulness.  Yoga can help you be more aware of behavior patterns you want to change.  Being mindful attunes you to you and your desires and passions that you might even be aware of.  Mindfulness helps to reinforce positive patterns you want to keep and grow.

5. Meditation is a subtle creature that works on all levels.  Being still and quiet is an activity that isn’t seen too much in modern life.  Make time for stillness and open up your life.  Don’t be put off by mind or body chatter that is part of the process.  Meditation can take many forms so experiment with it.  It can be done at your desk, while walking, driving, so many places and activities that can be turned into a form of meditation.

Opening Up With Yoga

Yoga can change your life. Sometimes you don’t even see it happening other times you do. That change is not on the schedule you might want it to be. But it is there, on the outside or lurking below the surface. The change can be the goal of taking a bad mood into a good mood. I used yoga to help me with overeating when I was working on not binging. But one of the most powerful transformations I have seen that stays with me and reminds me how power practicing yoga can be was when I was in college. This blog is about a young college student who went from being closed off to the world to being open and bright.

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I don’t remember her name but I can picture her in my mind. She was in one of Susan Ann’s yoga classes. Susan Ann taught general yoga at the University of Utah and was my first yoga teacher and inspiration, but this is not her story so enough on her. One girl in my college yoga class was very collapsed in on herself. Her shoulders slumped forward which put her head out of alignment, but most of all she was very closed off. She didn’t smile much and did not invite you to come talk to her. She looked like an interesting person but unapproachable. I remember thinking how uncomfortable it must be to have ones’ shoulders slumped forward and neck jutting out, like a vulture.

Over the course of the semester she started straightening out and not slumping forward She went from someone who did not engage, to talking with other students in the class. As the semester progressed she was brighter, more open and gained two inches in height by standing up correctly. How we hold ourselves directly applies to our life: how we see ourselves and how others see us. Someone who is folded up on themselves is perceived as closed off. It sounds corny when talking about yoga opening one up but it is true.

Yoga helped this young student move forward. She turned out to be a very interesting person who started chatting with a few of us who would talk briefly before and after class. She was excited about how she had changed and grown two inches. She will always have a place in my heart. Namaste.

Glow For It Green Tea Smoothie

This post has changed three times now and is a little late, sometimes that is how life goes.  I made this smoothie the other week and  loved it.  It is bright green and very cheery looking. Green tea works well with kiwi and packs an antioxidant booster into your liquid.  I made my green tea while making breakfast so it would have time to steep and cool.  Don’t be afraid to make it strong it will not overpower the smoothie.

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Glow For It Green Smoothie

2 cups green tea

2 cups kale (I eyeball it)

2 cups kiwi, peeled and cut up

1 to 2 tablespoons chia seeds

Put it all in the blender and blitz for two minutes.

Note on the blending time.  2 minutes seems to be what my Cuisinart blender needs. So if your smoothie still has leaf bits in it blend longer and if you have a super duper blender you can go shorter.

Let’s Talk About Food

Youtube uploaded today. Wahoo! It didn’t want to last Friday.  Ever feel confused about what to eat, you are not alone.