Hopefully you all have been adding in the exercises we discussed last month. Building a solid foundation with the stability exercises.
This time we will be moving to more sport specific exercises while developing strength. Most snow sports have periods of high intensity exercise followed by rest and an active recovery. Think of downhill skiing. You get all of your gear on, skate down to the chair lift and sit. Then it's all out drive on the way down the hill. Repeat. This is what you are prepping for.
The other big one with snow sports is uneven and often slick surfaces. This is why we have included the balance board in part one and the BOSU squats in part two. They help to get your body ready for the ice and snow!
In addition to the suggested exercises, we also highly recommend adding stair running or the stair mill. These are huge in helping to add the endurance you need for downhill skiing, cross country skiing or snowshoeing. Start by adding 10 minutes in 3-4 times a week and add a couple of minutes each week.
Here are next six exercises to add into your exercise routine this month Try to get the number of prescribed reps in. If they are too easy then add some weight. As always, make sure your form is great, not just good!
Game of Thrones might be over, but winter is coming! Get prepared or get left behind.
There is nothing more soothing than a wonderful squash soup on a chilly fall day. I usually tend to pick butternut squash as my base squash but this year I tried out some different recipes using pumpkin. Since it is only here for a short amount of time it feels like a special event when making it.
With as many food allergies as I have, I tend to look at recipes as a guideline rather than a rule. This recipe is loosely taken from, "The Martha Stewart Cookbook".
Instead of half-and-half and sour cream I used coconut milk. I also roasted the pumpkin and carrots to add a little more flavor. Pumpkin is bland it needs all the help it can get!
This is really a base soup that other things can be added to it. Sage is always good with pumpkin as is ginger, rosemary, cumin, or turmeric. I like a little kick so I added red pepper flakes and more fresh ground pepper at the end.
As I do with recipes make it your own. Add flavors to it that make you happy.
Roasted Pumpkin Soup
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Lightly brush the inside of the pumpkin and the carrots with olive oil. Place the vegetables on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Cook for 45-50 minutes until the carrots and pumpkin can be easily pierced with a fork.
Once cool enough to handle, scrape the pumpkin pulp out of the shell and set aside.
In a cast iron soup pot, melt the butter. Next add the onion, leek and shallots. Saute for 5-7 minutes.
Next, add the pumpkin, carrots and pears and mix well. Cook for another minute.
Add the stock and the fresh thyme. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.
In batches, place soup in a blender and blend until smooth.
Return the soup to the pot and slowly add the coconut milk in.
Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Next Veggie of the month.... everyone's favorite Brussel Sprouts!
As the weather turns colder its time to think about changing up our workouts to start getting ready for skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing or for some just snow shoveling! With any snow sport you must build a foundation of strength.
In this three part series we will give suggestions of exercises to add to your workout program. This first part is all about stabilization.
These exercises are foundation on which the next two parts will build on. There is nothing "sexy" about these. Just the basics! A must in order to get your body for the more dynamic moves to come.
The 6 exercises to add in this month to help build stability are as follows:
Start or add where you are in your workout program. As always make sure your form is spot on every rep. Make sure to check out our video below to get a visual of all these exercises.
Pumpkin became our obvious choice October’s vegetable of the month.
Mmm, pumpkin spice lattes and breads. Pumpkin waffles from Trader Joes and of course, pie with pumpkin ice cream no less.
That's all well and good, however, in our quest to get folks eating vegetables in a healthy way, this one is too often simply associated with lists like the one above. In reality, Pumpkins are a great base for healthy eating.
While containing not a lot of calories it's packed with nutrients. In fact in 1 cup of cooked pumpkin there are only 49 calories but it has 245% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, 2 grams of protein, and 3 grams of fiber.
The high amounts of beta carotene that converts to vitamin A in our bodies when consumed is credited with helping with eye and skin health. Beta carotene is also known to protect the cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Thats just some of the many good reasons to eat pumpkin!
The question is, "How do I eat more pumpkin to get the health benefits without all the not so healthy additions?"
A couple of good ways is to add pureed pumpkin to your morning oatmeal, or you afternoon yogurt. Or as a yummy smoothie. (Recipe below:)
The reality is that pumpkin is extremely bland. It needs some help with flavor, which it turns out tend to also be good for you.
For example the two most commonly used spices are cinnamon and ginger.
It is very easy to open a can of pumpkin and and add some extra fiber and vitamin A to a recipe. However, if you want to make the real thing. It is super easy to roast a pumpkin.
First pick up a sugar pumpkin or go to your local farmer’s market for a special roasting variety.
Cut the top off and cut the pumpkin in half.
Remove the seeds. (And save them to make some yummy roasted pumpkin seeds. Also highly nutritious.)
Lightly brush the inside of the pumpkin with olive oil.
Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, flesh side down and roast at 400 degrees for 40-50 minutes.
Once cool enough to handle, dig out the pulp and place it in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.
You may need to scrap the edges a couple of times and if needed add a tiny bit of water.
Store for up to a week in your refrigerator or freeze for several months in the freezer. Since there is such a high concentration of water in pumpkin you may need to mix up the pumpkin in the blender again once it is defrosted.
A great way to use up this great fresh pumpkin puree is in a smoothie. Super simple and very yummy.
Pumpkin Pie Protein Shake
Combine all ingredients in blender and enjoy!
You may notice that our straw looks a little different! In addition to trying to get folks to eat more veggies, I am also trying to use less plastic. The above picture features The LastStraw. It folds down to into a small carrying case that can attach to your keychain. Also includes a straw cleaner. Love this! For those of you in Spokane you can find it at the Kitchen Engine. It works great for those lattes I mentioned earlier :)
Coming up in two weeks a Pumpkin soup recipe!
There are many things I do that I know my clients think are weird. Probably the one I get the most reaction to is when I feel a cold coming on - I drink garlic tea. I swear it keeps the cold/flu from going into a full blown event.
This idea was shared with me by one of my past clients. She was a midwife who would prescribe garlic tea to her new mom’s with mastitis. She would have them try 24 hours of the tea before prescribing antibiotics. She said only one mom came back after the 24 hours asking for the big guns.
This lead me to make garlic tea whenever I feel a bad cold coming on. I just fill a sauce pan 3/4 full and place an entire bulb of garlic (papery skin removed) and boil until the water is reduced in half. Then I drink the tea and eat the garlic.
I know to some of you this sounds disgusting but the boiling actually mellows out the flavor of the garlic.
In a time when there is a fear of prescribing and taking too many antibiotics garlic may be useful. While I would not say it would knock out everything it might help with some milder illnesses.
In recent years there have been many studies on the benefits of garlic not only with cold/flu prevention but with other health claims as well. Here are just a couple of reasons that garlic maybe good for your health.
Garlic is available all year however the 'in' season of garlic is Summertime. When picking out garlic make sure there are no black spots, its firm, and does not have a garlic aroma. When storing your garlic place it in a cool dark place, not the refrigerator.
Garlic powder and granulated garlic can be substituted into recipes. 1 clove = 1/4 tsp of either. If you are worried that these are artificial in any way don't! Granulated garlic is just fresh garlic that has been minced, and dehydrated. Garlic powder is dehydrated garlic ground into a powder.
I wanted to find a fancier way to make my garlic soup so, of course I went to the master Julia Childs. In her first book, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" she has a very simple recipe for garlic soup. Below is my version of her recipe. I used fresh herbs since I have an over abundance of herbs right now. In her book she gives you options for dried.
2 heads of Garlic, peeled
2 quarts of water
3 whole cloves
2 TBSP of fresh sage, minced
2 TBSP of fresh thyme, minced
1 Bay leaf
1 TBSP of fresh parsley, minced
Salt and Pepper
3 Egg yolks
3-4 TBSP of Olive oil
1. Place the first 8 ingredients in a saucepan. Boil for 30 minutes.
2. While the soup is cooking whisk the eggs until they are thick. Very slowly add the olive oil in one drop at a time will whisking slowly turning the eggs into a mayonnaise.
3. Once the soup is done strain through a strainer. Pushing as much garlic as you can through.
4. Next take just a ladleful of soup out and put in a smaller bowl. Drop in the mayonnaise mixture slowly into the soup slowly incorporating it. You have to be very careful with this one since you don't want to make egg drop soup! After the egg mixture has been incorporate add the smaller bowl to the larger bowl of soup and whisk together.
5. Enjoy your soup with some hard cheese such as parmesan or bread of your choice.
This soup is extremely mild and yummy tasting. Enjoy!
Next month's veggie: Pumpkin!
Growing up in Denver we often went to a local restaurant, The Saucy Noodle, for dinner. Walking in, one of the first things you were meant to notice was printed on the back wall, - If you don’t like garlic, go home!
It was one of my favorite places to go. Mostly because of the garlic.
At home, however, we never ate much garlic and it didn’t help that I went on to marry a man that hated garlic. Luckily, while I was pregnant with my son I took my first cooking class. A wonderful experience that sent me on the way to cooking for my family and incorporating garlic into our daily diet.
It turns out adding just this little, but highly nuturious, vegetable to our diet can have many health benefits. Documentation of the use of garlic goes back centuries.
Egyptians, four thousand years ago, used garlic in addition to onions and radishes to feed thousands of pyramid builders to keep their up their strength. In Ayuveda medicine, which dates back 2,000 years, garlic is believed to help maintain a healthy heart.
Many cultures over the years have claimed various health benefits when it comes to garlic. However, the first documented experiment was not done until 1858 when French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur found that garlic inhibits the growth of bacteria.
Almost a century later in 1944 Chester Cavallito, an American Chemist and also known as the Father of Garlic Chemistry, isolated and started to study allicin in garlic.
Allicin really is the magically component to garlic. It is a sulfur compound that is not present until the clove of a garlic is crushed. This sulfur compound is the plants natural defense mechanism against insects and fungi. Which makes sense since it is the reason for garlic’s pungent taste.
Allicin is highly unstable and breaks down into more than a 100 biologically active sulfur containing compounds. One of these compounds is Ajoene. It is believed that ajoene is responsible for garlic’s anticoagulant proprieties and maybe why studies have shown garlic helps to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Several studies have been done on garlic intake and hypertension. Individuals with high blood pressure had reduced blood pressure while taking a garlic supplement. The intake to achieve this reduction is high. Close to 4 cloves of garlic a day! (1, 2)
Cholesterol can also be reduced. One study showed up to a 10-15% reduction in LDL. (3, 4)
With all these health benefits there are so many reasons to start adding garlic into your daily diet. One of my favorite ways is roasted. It is super simple and adds so many flavors to an otherwise blah dish. I love to add the raw cloves to a pan of roasted vegetables or to just roast an entire clove. Then I can add to salads or smear onto a nice piece of gluten free bread!
The roasted garlic is much milder than raw and for individuals that have a hard time digesting garlic this maybe the way to go.
Roasting Garlic 101
First remove as much of the outer papery skin as possible without having the cloves come apart.
Next, cut the top 1/4 inch off the top of the garlic.
Then place the garlic in a small sheet of aluminum wrap. Drizzle with olive oil.
Wrap up the garlic. Place on a baking sheet.
Roast at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes.
The cloves should be soft and the juices brown.
Use a small fork to remove the cloves.
Enjoy in salads, on a piece of toast or with any meal really!
On our next garlic post: Garlic Soup & Cold Cure
This is the time of year that we are overloaded with zucchini. Whether you planted it yourself or a neighbor wants to pawn off some their home grown fruit.
That’s right I called it a fruit. I was shocked to find out that technically zucchini is a fruit. So really I should be calling this month fruit of the month. However, we culinary enthusiasts use it as vegetable.
Zucchini are part of the curbita pepo family which originated in Meso America. However, zucchini is hugely popular in French and Italian cooking. In fact if there are no blossoms attached to the summer squash most French and Italian cooks believe it is no good. (Joy of Cooking)
Squashes are low in calories, due to the water content. However, high in fiber, vitamin B6, C and K, riboflavin, folate, and minerals potassium and manganese.
In addition to your basic zucchini there are several different types of summer squash. Below are just a couple I found at our local farmer’s market.
One of the most popular uses of zucchini in recent years is zucchini noodles.
I resisted this for a long time even though I don’t eat gluten but I have to admit that I now have a big spiralizer and zucchini noodles have become one of my favorite. I often eat them raw but other will sauté briefly in a pan with a little bit of olive oil. I don’t want to dirty another pan!
Summer squash pairs well with basil, chicken, cilantro, dairy, onions, pine nuts, quinoa and many other. For a full list check out our summer squash info sheet below.
Grilling summer squash is super simple and an easy way to add some veggies to your summer dinner quick! Just slice the full length of the squash. Brush with a little olive oil and grill. You can add some seasoning or just splash with a little balsamic when done grilling.
The nice thing about grilling is the extra water in the summer squash evaporates. This is why I prefer to grill rather than to sauté the squash.
When sautéing you must draw out the water. There are two methods to achieve this. This is either done by salting first and letting it sit for about 20 minutes. Then blotting dry with a paper towel or boiling the fruit first whole.
I talked about this in our last blog. Place the whole squash in salted boiling water for 10 minutes.
Then cut into cubes.
Heat a pan over high heat. Place in some sort of fat - olive oil, butter, ghee, coconut oil etc. and heat until bubbling.
Place the cubes of summer squash in the pan and sauté for about 5 minutes. Make sure to keep a watch on the squash since it will cook quickly and over cooking the squash can cause it to become watery.
Now that you know a couple of simple ways to cook squash lets get the recipe.
Zucchini Quinoa Pesto Salad
This recipe came out of the need to use up to things that have grown in abundance in my garden this year. Basil and zucchini.
I only recently have started to like quinoa. There is no way I can just eat it as a side to my dinner as I would rice but I do find when combined with a yummy dressing and some veggies it is very tasty.
First cook the quinoa: Rinse 1/2 cup of quinoa with water. Place in a sauce pan with 1 cups of either water or stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat cover and cook until all the water is absorbed. This takes about 10-15 minutes. You can tell the quinoa is done when the germ ring is visible around the outer edge of the grain.
As the quinoa cooks either grill or sauté your zucchini. Either method will work for this recipe. If grilling slice the zucchini into cube size pieces before adding to the salad.
Next make the pesto. This pesto has a lot of lemon to it. I find the lemon goes well with quinoa.
2 cups Basil
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 Parmesan Cheese - grated
1/8 cup of lemon juice plus a little lemon zest
1/4 t salt
1/4 t red pepper flakes
3 cloves of garlic
Combine all the ingredients except for the olive oil in a food processor. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while the machine is running.
* If you want a dairy free pesto just omit the parmesan cheese.*
Next, look for any other great veggies you have growing in your garden or found at the market. I through in some tomatoes but you could also add corn, kohlrabi, sweet bell peppers, or sautéed Swiss chard.
Toss quinoa and the pesto together. How much pesto you use is up to you. I tend to use half of what I make and save the rest for another recipe.
Next, add the veggies and mix lightly.
This salad will store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
You can prepare all ingredients ahead of time but just store separately until ready to serve.
FYI This salad goes really well with grilled chicken or shrimp.
We are now offering a super cool info sheets to go along with each veggie of the month.
Check it out below.
Click on the button below to download your own copy.
Next month's veggie: Garlic!
It is only recently that I have to really started to appreciate and incorporate zucchini into my diet. When I still ate wheat zucchini bread was alway my favorite. However I never really enjoyed it in it’s raw form.
The start of my love of summer squashes and zucchini started two summers ago when I was at the Spokane Farmer’s market. They had this strange small green looking pumpkin type squash for sale in July. I asked the guy what it was and he said it’s a zapallito squash from South America.
He then added it’s really good - you should try it. Which is basically what I’m going to tell all of you to do. The last two summers all I did was cut it up and grill it or sautéed it. Both were ridicioulsy delicious.
This little squash (and you do want to buy it in it’s immature stage) has the taste and texture of zucchini but it’s just a little more dense and little sweeter. Native to South America, it is often found in savory tarts, omelettes, roasted, or stuffed in Argentina. However the favorite dish in South America using this squash is called Mianesas de Zapallito. Translated to lightly breaded and pan fried.
When buying this squash or any squash at the farmer’s market make sure the outside has an unblemished, glossy, smooth skin. They should feel heavier then they look. If there is deep gashes or soft spots look for another.
All of these squashes store well in the fridge loosely wrapped in plastic for up to a week.
This year I wanted to try something besides just roasting the zapallitos. A favorite dish in Argentina is Zapallitos Rellenos. A stuffed squash. They often stuff it with beef and top with cheese. Which sounds awesome to me. However, I know that I have quite a few vegetarians that read this blog so I figured I would make Zapallitos Rellenos two ways. Black bean or Beef.
The main concern when cooking any summer squash is the water content. It is high in squash. So in order to not make your dishes mushy there is a little prep ahead of time. Next time, I’ll talk more about prepping zucchini for sautéing.
Stuffed Zapalitto Squash: Two Ways
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
For the stuffed zapallitos squash you must first boil them whole. For about 12 minutes. I first read about doing this in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Volume 2 and I thought that sounded ridiculous. (Side note: If you want some zucchini recipes that look amazing, full of fat and totally not good for you. Check out her book.)
Boiling whole is must before cutting the squash in half, digging out the inner stuff and stuffing with some good yummy stuff!
In a large pot with heavily salted water boil the zapallitos for about 12 to 14 minutes. Don't worry they will not melt or disengrate. Unless you leave them in to long. I didn't try it but is seems like that might happen.
After the 12 to 14 minutes remove the zapallitos and place on a plate to cool before slicing in half.
Next, take a knife and slice around the inside edge. I found that there is a nice ring around the inside to cut. There should be about 1/4 of an inch of squash still intact.
With a spoon dig out the pulp. Drain as much water as you can out of the pulp. Pick out as many seeds as you can and then dice. Set aside.
Place the halves down on a plate so more moisture can drain.
To save on time I tend to make the rice and the stuffing while the zapallitos are cooking.
First the rice:
Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Add the 1 cup of rice along with a pinch of salt.
Reduce the heat, cover and cook until the rice is done.
While the rice is cooking I make the cilantro and garlic sauce in my small blender. Add the 1/2 cup of cilantro with 1 garlic clove and 4 tablespoons of water. Blend until smooth.
Once the rice is finished fluff and combine with the cilantro and garlic sauce. Set aside.
To prepare the beef mixture you'll need to brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium/high heat.
Once the beef is browned remove and set aside.
Place the red onion and jalapeño in the skillet and cook for 5 minutes.
Next add the green pepper. Cook for 2 minutes.
Then the cumin. Cook 30 seconds.
Add the beef back to the pan along with the rice and pulp. Stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
To prepare the black bean mixture start by adding 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet.
Place the jalapeño and red onion and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
Add the green pepper. Cook for 2 minutes. Then add the kale until it is slightly wilted.
Add the cumin. Cook 30 seconds.
Remove from the heat and toss with the black beans, the rice and pulp in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Next comes the stuffing! Blot the zapallito halves with a paper towel. Trying to remove as much moisture as possible.
Lightly spray a cookie sheet with olive oil.
Place the zapallitos on the cookie sheet and stuff with your stuffing of choice. Top with the shredded cheese.
Bake for about 20 minutes. The tops should be a golden brown. Let cool slightly and enjoy!
A couple of notes:
In two weeks we will explore the different types of common summer squash. Plus a fantastic zucchini recipe and guidelines on how to cook zucchini.
Over the past couple of weeks you’ll notice that Veggie of the month was not being posted. In fact there was not even a vegetable for June or July!
This was due to a illness in our family. In fact my son was hospitalized for a total of 9 days in June. It was a rough go but thankfully he is completely healed.
Which means it is now time for the Vegetable of the Month to return! I actually had this blog written for July and time got away from me. Instead of waiting to post it next year I thought I would just post it now.
Look for a new post next week for the true August veggie: Summer Squash!
With the time taken off I realized that a weekly recipe is just not realistic with my work and family schedule.
Instead I am going to highlight a veggie twice a month.
This also frees up some of my time to write about other things…. like exercise and health!
Kohlrabi was suppose to be the highlighted veggie for July. It is so delicious that I want to make sure you all still go to the farmers market and try one. (Seriously I love this one! I started cutting and kept eating bites as I cut it up!)
Kohlrabi is known as a German Turnip. Although not technically from the turnip family but rather it is part of the Brassica family. Same as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts. Which means it's good for you!
This one is another very interesting looking vegetable. In fact its similar to celeriac in that I wonder what made someone want to eat it. They must have been seriously hungry!
First off, the outside layer is just not edible. I mean it won’t poison you but its does not taste great. So this means some peeling needs to be done in order to get to the good stuff. I’m not going to lie. It’s not easy to peel. You need a very sharp peeler or a good paring knife.
Once peeled, you’ll discover a wonderful white flesh inside that is very similar to a very crisp apple. Kohlrabi comes in several different colors. A deep purple, pale green or white. However, once peeled they all look the same, and can be eaten raw if you like. For those of you needing a little crunch at night instead of chips this would be a great substitute. In fact this was our preferred way of eating it.
It also would be a great addition to any veggies you serve with hummus or dip. Or thrown into a salad for a some added texture.
Make sure to not throw away the leaves since they edible and yummy! They are perfect for going in a salad. The leaves can be substituted into any recipe that calls for spinach or collard greens.
When storing kohlrabi, cut the leaves off and eat them soon, within a day or two. Then place the kohlrabi in a plastic or paper bag and place in the crisper section of your refrigerator. It will stay fresh for 2 to 3 months. If you really love it and want to preserve it for winter you can freeze it.
One of the ways we tried cooked kohlrabi is by sautéing them with apples. Super simple recipe!
Sautéed Kohlrabi & Apples
Eat and Enjoy!
Look next week for our return of regular veggie of the month blogs!!
Finishing up April's blog on Celeriac was a little tough. Not due to the subject but rather my work schedule. I'll follow up with another celeriac recipe in the fall when the root is fresh and everyone feels more like a root vegetable recipe.
For now we are moving on and embracing spring! Kale is our vegetable of the month for May.
I have already heard plenty of feedback amongst my clients and friends on their feelings on kale. Jason for example hates it. However I have to say has been quite the sport when testing recipes! In fact I think I have found one recipe in particular that will become a regular addition to our diets.
There are so many ways to prepare kale and narrowing down what I was going to feature on this blog was difficult. I decided to skip kale chips since recipes can be found in several books, websites, etc. My only advise on kale chip is to make sure they are dry otherwise you'll steam rather than roast.
I also decided to not feature sautéed kale. For one, it is super simple and really does not need a a whole recipe dedicated to it. Just add a couple of tablespoons to a saucepan on medium high heat. Throw in some minced garlic for 1-2 minutes. Then add 1/2 cup of water and about a pound of kale, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add your favorite herbs and spices and that's it!
Instead, this first kale recipe is my all time favorite kale salad. In fact, I call it my Crack Kale salad because I literally can not stop eating it. In reality it really is a Greek Kale Salad.
Full disclosure I got the original recipe off of another blog years ago and cannot remember which one. However, I have changed it and added ingredients so I don't believe it resembles that original recipe, which I can't find!
So let's get started....
Start with a bunch of Lacinato kale. Cut stems away and slice int small strips. Place into a large bowl.
Next, add the 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/4 tsp of salt and pepper to the kale.
Massage the kale for a couple minutes. This helps to soften the kale and aids with flavor.
Next add in the following:
Time to make the dressing!
In a small bowl combine:
Now if I'm in a hurry and need to get to work I don't measure but I guesstimate amounts of these ingredients. Throw them into a small dressing container and shake it all together once I'm ready to add it to the salad at work.
The great thing about kale is it holds up really well. This salad will last for 2-3 days.
Toss the dressing with the salad and enjoy!
If you need a little more protein you can always add some grilled chicken.
Next week we will explore the many benefits of kale plus our new favorite kale recipe!