Exercise is like brushing your teeth.

Exercise should be like brushing your teeth, something you do daily. That’s how I think about exercise. Besides not brushing your teeth for a a month or two would be pretty gross and you wouldn’t do that. At least I hope you wouldn’t. Sometimes you have to change how you think about something to start getting it into your life.

Exercise is good for you that’s something we all know, its the implementing of it that is difficult. I rarely hear an excuse that someone was just way too busy to watch the current episode of Game of Thrones, but my they were too busy to exercise. Really it should be the opposite or try combining the two. I watch movies or shows while I peddle away on the stationary bike.

I’ve been told how consistent of an exerciser I am and that is because I made a point to become one. This did not happen overnight but over years. Now I feel off when I am not active, it doesn’t feel good. Yes, there are days I don’t want to but I’ve learned that most of the time and by most I mean 99% of the time I am happy I have exercised.

There are a lot of Tv show and movie workout out there. Game Of Thrones is an easy on to do this for, try this next weekend while watching the season premiere.

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Weekly Menu for 3-2-14 and Chicken and Dumpling Recipe

Not much to say this week, the cooking dinner slump is starting to resolve itself which is nice. Tried a new recipe it was the pork shoulder with tomatoes, not a favorite. It had a bitter taste to it from all the paprika and it was just okay. If a recipe is just alright I know we don’t really love it enough to make again. Often the second time round got it a no. Life is too short for mediocre food.

Sunday – Stuffed Shells & garlic bread
Monday – Steak baked potato, veg
Tuesday -Turkey Tacos
Wednesday – Chicken and Dumplings
Thursday- Pork shoulder with tomatoes, noodles, green beans
Friday – Easy
Saturday- Stove top Mac-n-Cheese, spinach

This week recipe is a family favorite. The soup part is improvised depending on mood and what I have on hand. We are out of celery, used the last of it in the spaghetti sauce I made last week. So I subbed celery seed in this to give it more flavour. The dumpling recipe is originally from Fanny Farmer but I’ve modified. I also double the dumpling recipe. This recipe will freeze fine if you do not expect to have actual dumplings intact. They disintegrate and create a pleasantly thick soup. Dumplings are also an easy way to perk up leftover soup. Just make sure you have enough liquid.
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Chicken and Dumplings

Soup
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 packet chicken breast or tenders (about a pound), cut up
2 cups carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped or 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 pound greens (I used collards)
2 quarts stock
parsley.

Saute onion until translucent add garlic celery, and carrots. Cook for about 5 minutes and add chicken, let it cook for a couple of minutes. Add stock and greens, bring it to a boil. Cook for about 10 minutes meanwhile get the dumplings ready. Turn heat down before adding dumplings. You want it simmering.

Dumplings
1 cup flour
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs (1 slice bread)
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, well beaten
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup milk or milk substitute

To make the bread crumbs use your immersion blender and use the bowl for the dumplings for blitzing. The immersion blender works like a dream. Otherwise use your blender. I use our everyday bread from Wheat Montana.

Put flour, baking powder, and salt in bowl with bread crumbs and stir. Add the egg, butter, and milk. Stir until blended. You can do the dry ahead of time if you want to and add the liquid before cooking.

Use a spoon and plop dumplings into soup. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Do not check, do not take lid off, its hard not to look. Put heat on low and let cook undisturbed.

Yoga in Focus

Each month I pick out a theme for my yoga practice. I focus on that aspect at least once a week often two days a week and leave the rest open. The reason why I started this is that it helped take me out of my comfort zone. Because sometimes you have to pick sequences that are not your favorites.
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Creating a well rounded home practice includes asanas that are not in your top ten. By pushing yourself out of your favorites you start to grow and improve your yoga practice. Some of these are things I am not good at or can even do fully. I try to cultivate a practice of joy in the moments of struggle or just sheer absurdity of it. Laughter makes any of the versions of paralyzed mermaid pose frankly more fun. Or when your arms are ready to fall off in an intense kundalini yoga kriya, laugh it makes it better. It may not change what you can do but it feels better.

January tends to be yoga that focuses on cleansing and de-toxing after the indulgence of the holiday season it feels good to support your liver and kidneys with yoga. February is a more subtle month there isn’t a big need after that January cleanse month.

What came to mind this year is heart openers and solar plexus. Why these two choices? I am starting with the second. It is still on the dark side where I live, not a lot of light yet. More light than there was a month ago but the days are still short. Focusing in on the navel is a great way to tap into the power of the Sun and your own personal power. It brings out the light in you.

Heart openers because this is the month of Valentines Day when many end up feeling like crap. Its a weird holiday that places so much emphasis on being in a romantic relationship. It also makes people feel lonely and loser like for not being able to participate. But what it comes down to is you need to love and like yourself and remain open to love, the world, and opportunities. Heart openers are going to help you do this. They also work through emotional issues since they open up the heart chakra.

Pairing up the heart with your will means you align yourself in love. The choices you make will come from the gut and the heart. That makes it a wonderful, powerful, and awesome place to live.

Weekly Menu 1-26-14 and Chicken Divan Recipe

I knew we were going to have chicken divan sometime this week. Here’s the thing with casseroles they use a ton of pans. If you start from the beginning you have to cook chicken, broccoli and make your sauce than you put it in a baking dish. That’s a ton of dishes for so little.
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Most casseroles I make a big batch and freeze half of of it, so I get two dinners and leftovers for lunch. You feel better with your pile of pots and pans knowing at least one night you don’t have to dirty what feels like a billion dishes.

My other strategy is to make extra food for the casserole. For the Chicken Divan I cooked the chicken on Monday when we had chicken and gravy. I made two packets instead of one. Saturday we had broccoli and made double what I needed for dinner. Since two of my components are already cooked all I need to do is make the sauce and put it in a baking dish which makes it easy peasy.

Sunday – Porcupine Meatballs, potatoes and carrots
Monday – Chicken, gravy, mashed taters, green beans
Tuesday – Pork Chili Verde, hominy, tortillas Pork Quesadillas & hominy
Wednesday – Freezer Soup, rolls
Thursday – Chicken Divan and rice
Friday – Easy night
Saturday – Stuffed pork chops and spinach

Chicken Divan adapted from Savuer. I love this stuff, the almonds on top are so good we like to eat it with rice. We like things saucy so I use 2 cups broth if you like things not as saucy use 1 cup.

1 pound cooked chicken, cut up
2 cups cooked broccoli

Put in 9×13 baking dish and set aside while making sauce.

Sauce
1-2 cups chicken stock
1 cup milk or milk substitute
5 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
3 tablespoons wine
pinch nutmeg
1/4 cup parmesan (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

1 cup Sliced almonds

Melt butter and add flour cook for a two minutes. Whisk in stock and add milk or milk substitute making sure there are no lumps. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and add wine (I use what’s open, sherry works too) and nutmeg. Stir occasionally cook until thickened about 10 minutes. Turn off heat and add cheese if using. Pour over chicken and broccoli. Sprinkle almonds on top.

Monthly Groove: DIY Risers for a Barbell

This month’s groove is a DIY project. I’m at the point in my lifting plan (NROLS) that I am heading into deadlfits. My 22 pound plates are taller than me 25 pound plates so i start with my 22s but they are only 5 inches high when my starting position should be 8 inches unless I want to lift from a deficit.
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This is one of those things that’s important but for a home gym risers for the barbell, well I can think of other things I’d rather spend my money on. A second set of handles for dumbbells and two more 10 pound plates come to mind. So I thought on this for a long while.

My first inclinations was to hit up our scrap pile of wood. The one big issue there would be needing to make stops for it, heavy things rolling off risers does not sound like fun. I kept that in the back of my mind and kept searching.
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One day as I was pulling a bunch of old magazines out of the crawl space it came to me. Magazines! I have plenty of them. I got out the trusty duct tape and made myself magazine risers. Since they are paper they have more give so my barbell won’t roll off and away when I’m not using it.

This was a simple and easy thing to do. You will need
Magazines
Duct tape or some other heavy duty tape
A ruler

Measure you tallest plate. Mine was 5 inches which meant I needed about 3 inches of magazine height. Stack the magazines, measure, tape up. Repeat to make two. I checked and make sure my magazines were level for my second stack by comparing it to the first stack.

Weekly Menu for 1-19-14 and Chicken, Avocado, Mushroom, Spinach Sandwiches

Pizza is always a favorite with the family we make it about once a month and at the moment its been about two months since we have had it. Competition for pizza leftovers is stiff so I make two of them. One is a veggie pie and the other a meat and veg pie. The veggie one is made first for two reasons. One it tends to be more moist and doesn’t hold up as well and two we hit the first pie the hardest. I’ve tried adding a salad or carrot sticks, no one eat them so I gave up on that.

Tried another new recipe for Asian style meatballs that was lack luster and am kind of over new recipes for a bit. Going to stick to some of our standards and favorites for now. We have avocados and am going to make a chicken sandwiches with them this week. This particular sandwich is a hybrid of two different sandwiches.

It started out as a duplicate to a Village Inn sandwich it was chicken, avocado and mushroom. Than I came across a recipe in Bon Appetit for chicken, mushroom, and spinach sandwiches. I decided to combine them and come up with my own sandwich. They are really good, If you don’t do bread they are good just as a regular entree. If you do, do bread make sure to use a high quality roll.

Sunday- Pizza, one veg, one meat.
Monday – Asian meatballs, rice, broccoli
Tuesday – Mom’s Chicken and Noodles
Wednesday – Tuff Pork, risotto cakes, and spinach (risotto was frozen)
Thursday – Chicken, avocado, spinach mushroom sandwich and oven fries.
Friday – Easy Day
Saturday – Turkey tetrazini

Chicken, Spinach, Mushroom, Avocado Sandwiches
I love these sandwiches, love them. Don’t let the steps put you off you only use two pans and the chicken takes the longest to cook. I make my own rolls for this. They are so good.
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Makes 4 sandwiches.

2 chicken breasts cooked and cut in half
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
2 to 3 handfuls Spinach, sautéed
Cheese
Avocado, sliced or mashed.
salt and pepper
olive oil
butter
wine
paprika

1.Take chicken breast and cut them in half. If they are small you will need more breast, tenders also work well. Season with salt and pepper, dust with paprika. Heat pan, add teaspoon of olive oil, and sauté chicken until done. Set aside..

2.To make the mushrooms, slice and in the same pan you cooked the chicken, pour in about 1/2 cup wine and deglaze pan. Add tablespoon butter, toss in your mushrooms, sprinkle with paprika, and sauté mushrooms until soft. Add a little more wine if you need to, you can also add some garlic.

3. Cook the spinach while you make the mushrooms. Heat a pan and sauté up your spinach. About 5 minutes.

4. Melt cheese on chicken.

5. Let folks assemble their sandwiches.

Don’t lift more than 5 pounds? My purse weighs more…

Whenever I come across information that tells women not to lift more than five pounds, it makes me wonder how they came up with that number. Why is five pounds the alleged magic number for women and weights? Nothing in our lives weighs more than five pounds? How is that even helpful to anyone?

It makes me think about what I pick up in a day. How heavy is that bag of groceries? More than five pounds that’s for sure. Women pick up heavy things everyday in real life. Kids weigh a lot more than 5 pounds, even my little cat weighs more than 5 pounds. I carry her around with one hand.
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My guess is my purse weighs more than 5 pounds too. Which lead me to ask just how much does my purse weigh and pull out a scale. The current state of my purse is that it needs to be cleaned out. It stays that way for months. So the contents of my purse in its current state is typical.

My purse weighs 8.8 pounds. I thought it was going to be 9 or 10 pounds so I was pleased to come in under my guess. I was correct that I carry around over a pound of lipsticks. Its been this way for months now and I just keep collecting more change so it will only get heavier until I break down and empty it out.

Next time you time you hear the message women shouldn’t lift heavy weights, ignore them. It is a ridiculous idea that women are either incapable of lifting heavy things or that we shall wind up with big bulging muscles (most of never will get to bulgy). For me lifting heavy things had made me more compact and strong enough to lug my heavy purse around all day with no problem.

Don’t let others ignorance hold you back from strength training. Lifting heavy things will do wonderful things for your health and your vanity.

Tips for Staying Healthy in the Winter

The holidays are over and its now January with its lack of light, some nice cold weather and a ton of wind. January is the anti month for getting outside and raw foods sound well cold and raw. It is the month that I struggle the most with getting my veg and fruit in. Here are my top tips for surviving January and staying healthy.
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Tip number one is for getting some veg and fruit in your diet via the green smoothie. They can be as simple or elaborate as you want them to be. They always perk me up.

Tip two indulge in some cardio. I’ve pulled out my old school videos (yes, videos) and added in one long indoor cardio session. Gets the blood flowing and your mood will improve as you try and Hiphop along with Paula Abdul or get really old school with Kathy Smith. Kickboxing is another favorite of mine. Janice Saffell delivers a great workout.

Tip three soup. Soup is nourishing and comforting. You can veg it up, plus it hydrates. Make a nice broth based soup for dinner or lunch.

Tip four, don’t forget to drink your water too, winter heating dries you out. Winter in general can mean lower humidity levels and you don’t sweat as much. This makes it easy to ignore water.

And tip five is yoga tells us if we feel sluggish we need to get our energy moving. Try this simple exercise: Sit on the floor cross legged and than get up without using your arms if possible, sit back down, repeat this for one minute. You will give your systems an energy boost.

There they are my tips for staying healthy this month. What do you do to stay healthy?

What’s Up in 2014: Happy New Year

There’s a few thing I would like to do this year some are just for fun and some for work. I am going to make 2014 be a brilliant year. I am sure of it. Here are a few goals I have for this year.
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GIMP learn it better! I started Gimping in November 2013 and I really like. Can we say fan art! I participated in a Secret Santa over at Gate World this year. I had fun making the stuff for my person and getting some lovely work from someone else. It also comes in handy for blog pictures.

Collage more. Collage is calling to me hardcore. Mixed media art I need to do it.

Volunteer at the Stafford Animal Shelter. I want to give back to the place that took care of my gal before I adopted her. I am thinking cat cuddler and helping out with Bark in the Park.

Toastmasters has a local branch. Its on my list of things I want to do and it will help hone my public speaking skills.

Newsletter, I will do a newsletter. I will do it, you should sign up for it. *wink, wink* It will be weekly summation of my blogs and include current programs, deals, and other opportunities. Sign up here!

2014 is a year that is going to focus on my business. I have come a long way and still a long way to go. I’ll be working on increasing my local in person presence while keeping up and exploring my online presence. I’m seriously interested in Google+ and will be launching a business page for that in January. Of course I’ll still be tweeting links of interest, tips, and cool stuff.

Figure out the next step for education. There are few ideas floating about in my head that I want to explore and see who and what speaks to me. Looking at B School and want to check into getting certified with Ravi Singh and Ana Brett as a Kundalini yoga instructor.

One thing that I am really excited and proud of is my 14 Day Jump Into Healthy. It is 14 days of content delivered to your inbox and is yours to keep, so if you get behind its not a big dealio. What it will do is help you to start cooking at home, get moving, and de-stress. It currently half price until January 31st at 25 bucks, this is a steal. Lot’s of great stuff in it. 14 Day Jump Into Healthy Sign Up!

Now that its all written down that looks like a ton of stuff to do. Holy fracking moly, I’m excited.

Weekly Menu 12-15-13 and Chicken Caccatoire Recipe

Let me tell you a secret, I don’t always make the scheduled meal on the scheduled day. You can change the day you make something. I do it all the time. If you are tired or short on time and that new recipe you want to try is too much that day…

You do not have to stick completely to the plan, change it around or even change what you are making on a day. Don’t be afraid to change it up if you need to. Last week got all re-arranged to better fit my week.

Sunday – Chicken Cacciatore with polenta
Monday – Russian beef and black rice
Tuesday – Costco, something very easy ???
Wednesday – Spaghetti and meatballs
Thursday – chicken and stuffing (freezer), winter squash
Friday – Easy – turkey burgers, oven fires, veg.
Saturday – Stir fry, chicken

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Chicken Cacciatore
3 to 4 pounds of chicken thighs (skinless, boneless, your choice)
Brown chicken in about 2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup onions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary and sage
Add to pot and cook for about five minutes, onions will soften up.

Add 1 clove minced garlic sauté for about 30 seconds and add
1/2 cup wine, I use what’s open.

8 to 14 oz. tomatoes chopped
3/4 cup water or chicken stock.
Bring to boil and than reduce heat and cook for 20 minutes with lid on.

Add 1/2 cup kalamata olives
1/2 cup slice mushrooms
Cook ten minutes with lid off and let reduce.

I didn’t have any mushrooms, so I left them out.