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HIIT Tuesday #3

Hey guys! Time for round 3 of HIIT Tuesdays!

I personally love HIIT workouts because it’s really easy to do a number of exercise combinations at home with no equipment. On the other hand, there are a million different HIIT exercises you can do at the gym with different equipment which will challenge you in new ways. Good stuff.

This particular HIIT workout is a Tabata workout. Tabata workouts are theoretically done in 4 minutes (although there have been many times when I’ve cheated and rested longer than I was supposed to). Here is the breakdown:

4 minutes total

20 seconds of work/10 seconds off

Total of 8 rounds

Here are a couple Tabata workouts to try:

Home Tabata Workout

  • Jump Squats
  • Burpees with Pushup

Doing_Jump_Squats

 

(Jump Squats)

So, start with jump squats for 20 seconds, rest for ten, then on to burpees with pushup for 20 seconds, rest for 10, etc. It’s a total of 8 rounds, 4 of each exercise.

Just remember with these tabata’s to go all out during those 20 seconds.

 

Here’s another example of a tabata you can do on a treadmill:

Tabata Treadmill

Set the treadmill to around 6.0 speed

  • Incline of 12 for 20 seconds
  • 10 seconds rest incline of 3

8 rounds!!

A treadmill tabata is a great way to end your workout. It’s short and painful!

 

Have you tried tabata workouts? Any good combinations? 

Clean Eating Switch: Coffee Creamer

*First of all, thank you for the comments on my previous post. It’s a touchy subject so I appreciate hearing your opinions on the matter.

Anyway, on to today!

I have a bit of an obsession with nondairy creamers. Not so much because they’re non-dairy, but because they make my coffee taste so darn delicious!! Thank you Coffee Mate for saving me the trips to Starbucks since my coffee now tastes like Peppermint Mocha (sugar free by the way).

cream

I go back and forth between thinking, ” a calorie is a calorie. That’s all that matters so have your sugar free nondairy weird creamer. It’s less calories than half and half.” Other days though, I remind myself that I’m drinking nondairy creamer…what the hell is that? Maybe a calorie is a calorie, but it’s probably safe to assume eating whole foods, even full fat milk and cream, is better than majorly processed pretend coffee creamer.

I love their seasonal flavors. They always suck me in. Damn you Coffee Mate!

So, let’s compare….or maybe we shouldn’t….Here’s half and half (I’m guessing non organic half and half has the same ingredients):

cream2

So, that’s pretty straight forward: 2 ingredients. Here are the nutrition facts:

cream3

 

Two tablespoons is 40 calories. That’s not terrible. Let’s take a look at Coffee Mate creamer:

cream1

 

Oh my.

When it comes to non dairy creamer, I always think of my dad. He’s not a health nut by any means but even he was reading the label and asked me, “non dairy creamer? So, what is it?” I responded with, ” I don’t know. Don’t ask questions just enjoy the delicious taste.”

So, non-dairy creamer versus half and half. Half and half wins (clean eating-wise). I need a little flavor in my life so I asked some folks on Facebook what they use in their coffees and here were some responses:

Unsweetened vanilla almond milk is my FAV thing to put in coffee… Try that! Less fat

I just add spices or flavoring to my coffee and use regular half and half … just as tasty and not nearly as expensive!

Also, peppermint extract + cocoa + stevia/sweetener of choice = yummy peppermint mocha flavor

I went from using creamer AND sugar in my morning coffee to coconut oil and no sweetener!

Try using almond milk or flavored coconut milks instead! Still delicious and much better for you that both coffeemate AND half n half.

 

I think I’m going to try either coconut oil or coconut milk. Coconut milk seems thick like half and half while giving it a little flavor. My husband put coconut oil in his coffee for a while too. That sounds yummy and a good way to get some fats in your diet.

Here are a couple other ideas I found on Pinterest:

almond milk

 

Homemade almond milk creamer! Yum.

Coffee-Creamer-W-Watermark-1024x756

 

LOTS of different kinds of homemade creamers on this blog: coffee streusel, pumpkin spice, peppermint mocha, etc. Definitely need to try a few of those!

I’m almost out of my Coffee Mate creamer. When I am, I’ll let you know what I try next! I think homemade peppermint mocha is in order….

What do you use in your coffee?

Facebook Bully

Okay, I’m sure most of you have heard about this by now. This woman, Maria Kang, is a fitness model and blogger with 3 kids. She posted this picture to her Facebook page and it went viral:

mariakang

 

That’s her and her three children. She’s obviously pointing out that 3 kids is hard work yet she finds the time to bust her buns to look as good as she looks. That photo enraged some people. People responded to the photo with their gillions of excuses about why they didn’t look like her. I’m not really going to talk about the picture, but I will say, I assume she was speaking to the millions of people out there who are perfectly healthy and able bodied individuals. Was it in an obnoxious way? Maybe. I’m personally not offended by it. Three kids sounds incredibly challenging so I don’t doubt she worked hard to stay fit.

Anyway, she posted another thing recently about campaigns featuring (what she claims are) obese women in lingerie. She goes on a rant about how we should stop celebrating these body types because they’re unhealthy. Here’s what she wrote (Here are the pictures):

I woke up this morning to news stories about how overweight nearly obese women should be proud of their bodies (as they posed in lingerie). I think we should all accept how any healthy body through good nutrition and exercise manifests but I’m starting to get annoyed and here’s why:

1. We have a health issue in America with over 2/3 overweight or obese.

2. We have a healthcare crisis. We spend over 3 trillion in healthcare yearly!

3. We have a childhood obesity issue, with many children suffering from adult diseases like diabetes.

4. We have magazines everywhere praising the celebrity (with all her resources) for being fit after months of giving birth and scorn the “real every day mom” who is able to be successful.

5. We keep blaming the culprit (school lunches, fast food, etc) when the real change starts at home – ESP those who lead, which are the parents.

There are some serious contradictions in our society. I know many people still get riled up with me and my convictions but the truth is I KNOW how it is to work your ass off and not have energy at the end of your day. I know how it feels to be overweight and not drop an ounce after years of disordered eating. I know how difficult it is to raise multiple children – all born a year apart – and make my fitness and nutrition a priority. Lastly, I know how it feels like to grow up with an unhealthy mother wondering if she will live to see your wedding day.

I know it’s hard. I know it’s not easy to break habits and build new ones. I know your environment challenges you and I know making your health a priority amongst the many priorities to stay afloat in today’s world is difficult. But I will tell you this: IT IS WORTH IT.

We need to change this strange mentality we are breeding in the U.S. and start celebrating people who are a result of hard work, dedication and discipline. I’m not bashing those who are proud and overweight, I am empowering those who are proud and healthy to come out and be the real role models in our society. (Vent done)

 

She was blocked from Facebook after posting that.

Reader’s claimed that she was “fat shaming.” I wouldn’t really consider what she wrote to be “fat shaming.” I think she’s just trying to point out how serious obesity is and at some point, people need to take responsibility for themselves. I have to say, I agree with her on that. If you love your body and you’re considered overweight, then that’s fine. But (almost) promoting obesity, is not okay. Obesity kills people in this country everyday. It would be nice to sit here and encourage obese (I mean obese…not chubby) people to love their bodies but to love their bodies, they have to take care of them. Obesity will kill you. That’s just the bottom line. I understand that it’s easier said than done, but people have to take responsibility.

Of course, I understand a million things can get in your way whether that’s underlying health issues or simply a consuming job. There may have been other ways to point out the seriousness of obesity, but this is how she chose to express herself.

I don’t know about you, but I have seen a million other Facebook posts that are actually offensive. In my opinion, this kind of seems a bit childish. Like, “I don’t like what you’re saying so I’m kicking you off.” Was that necessary?

I went to her blog and read some comments posted below her posts. After reading the comments, I’m not even close to offended by what Maria herself wrote. Here are some comments from classy readers (head’s up there is language):

you are an ugly cunt – inside AND OUT

I hope your (not cute) kids are all huge

That’s nice, bring the kids into it.

C’mon, you are a judgemental fool who thinks we are dumb enough to think your hate filled rant is meant as inspiration. Maybe your parents didnt take care of themselves because they didnt want to spoend too much time with your self centered insulting self? You are sick and mean and derve whatever negative backlash is sent your way. You embody the stereotype of cold hearted asians thinking they are superior to others. GET A LIFE LOSER!

So…she was fat bashing but I’m pretty sure you’re Asian-bashing?

I like this comment:

If you (the generic you) find Maria’s writing so offensive, how about just not reading it? Is someone holding a gun to your head forcing you to read her Facebook page? If so, blink twice and we’ll send help. If not, STFU about how she’s oppressing you (cue Life of Brian clip in head).

And unsourced statistics about random disease X causing you and everyone else in America to be fat (except, apparently, Maria) don’t do anything except make everyone else think you are just making shit up to feel better about your pathetic life.

Kind of harsh, but so are the other comments.

 

What do you think about her picture and Facebook post? Offensive? 

Here is a link to her blog.

 

 

HIIT Tuesday #2

Hey guys! Today’s HIIT is all about your buns. Hopefully, those sweet cheeks of yours will be on fire after this workout. If they’re not, then you obviously already have buns of steel and it’s time for you to move along.

jimgaffigan

Unfortunately for you there are no pictures of me doing the workouts this week. Apparently my husband had more important things to do like “work” and “make money.” I’ll guess you’ll have to settle for these other sexy people showing you the moves. If you have any questions though, feel free to shoot me an email!

 

Buns ‘O Steel:

  • High Knees- 1 minute
  • Forward Lunge with Kickback- 30 seconds on right leg
  • High Knees- 1 minute
  • Forward Lunge with Kickback- 30 seconds on left leg
  • High Knees- 1 minute
  • Squat with Pulses- 30 seconds
  • High Knees- 1 minute
  • Single Leg Bridge- 30 seconds right leg
  • High Knees- 1 minute
  • Single Leg Bridge- 30 seconds left leg

Go through entire circuit 2-3 times.

 

Here’s a breakdown of the exercises:

High Knees:

highknees

 

(source)

I like high knees because they give your legs a little bit of a break while keeping your heart-rate up. I’m sure you’ve all done them at least once in your life (soccer practice anyone?). Basically, you’re bringing one knee up at a time (the higher the harder) then switching to the other knee. Switch back and forth as fast as you can.

Forward Lunge with Kickback:

First thing you do is step forward with your right leg into a lunge. Next, push off that right foot back towards starting position but instead of putting your foot down, swing your right leg behind you, keeping it straight, squeezing that right butt cheek, then come back to starting position.

This is what the kickback looks like:

glute-kickbacks

 

 

(source)

Squat Pulses:

Drop down to a squat position then from there, perform small pulses for the entire 30 seconds. Pulses basically mean move up and down just slightly so you’re in the squat position the entire time. These will burn!

Single Leg Bridges:

slbridge

 

(source)

From the position above, lift your butt off the floor squeezing your glutes, then slowly lower back down. To make this even more challenging, try not to let your bottom touch the ground during the 30 seconds of work.

That’s it!! Let me know if you try it!

 

In other news, check out the Elf for Health program. It’s basically a way to encourage and be encouraged by others whether that’s sending your elf a new workout, new recipe, or just saying hi. You don’t have to have a blog to participate! Here are some more details:

Elf Duties

As an Elf, you are expected to support your assigned buddy with their holiday health goals and the daily challenges. Elves & buddies will be reassigned every 2 weeks. You are only asked to email your buddy 2 times per week:

  • Monday: Send your buddy an email to help them with the challenges for that week. Ideas of things to include/attach: your own personal tips & tricks, inspiring words and/or images, a new, healthy recipe or workout to try.
  • Thursday – Saturday: Any time during these days, check in withy you buddy! For example, ask them if they tried a new recipe, workout, or had fun with any certain challenges. Feel free to tell them how you did with your challenges, too!

Anything more than those 2 emails is up to you but feel free to go above and beyond this to show your support! Just a few ideas: send your buddy Tweets, shout outs on our Facebook Page, email a fun workout you liked or send a hand written recipe or note.

 There are different challenges for each day you participate. For example, Monday was Meatless Monday so posting a meatless recipe on your elfs Facebook page or emailing it to them would be perfect.

challengesquare_edited-1

 

I’m looking forward to unsubscribing from all the crap mail I get tomorrow. It’s actually something I’ve been meaning to do! Anyway, you can read more about Elf for Health at The Lean Green Bean blog. There are prizes involved by the way for the best Elves…just some motivation :).

Weekend Guilt

My brother got married this weekend! I still can’t believe it. He is my little brother so it’s especially weird. Isn’t he still like, 12? Turns out he’s not.

Anyway, it was a great weekend filled with family and food. What more could you want? Oh, and Arizona rain. It never rains in Arizona except the weekend my brother wants to get married outside.

 

I don’t know about you, but weekends can be a challenge diet-wise. Sometimes they’re pretty good, just like weekdays. But other times, they’re pretty terrible. Monday’s feel like dejavu: guilt looming over you about how many drinks you had this weekend, nachos you ate, or, in this case, wedding cake and candy tables.

On the one hand, if you are seriously trying to lose weight, or cut down on alcohol, or cut out sugar, weekends are hard because of social pressures. Can you imagine being at a wedding and not drinking? Oh the questions you’d get! Everyone there (if you’re female) would assume you’re pregnant. Once they found out you’re not though, you’d almost be the freak of the wedding. Why are you not drinking?! You’re making everyone else uncomfortable!

Not having support around you can be tough. The best advice I can give on the matter is to stay strong and think about the next day. Tomorrow will come and you will feel so good about yourself that you said no because you wanted to..whatever the reason. If losing weight is important to you, don’t let social guilt bring you down. You are strong enough and capable of taking care of yourself.

 

That was kind of a random rant. I just want to be clear and say that I had a different kind of guilt this weekend. I indulged because I’m not trying to lose weight. My problem though is feeling bad the next day. In my case, I try to remind myself that 1 weekend of indulgences is not going to ruin my life especially when it’s your brother’s wedding. I have to force myself to stop counting calories, stop thinking about the gym, and enjoy yourself. Live a little!

I love to workout and try to eat healthy but it can be too consuming sometimes. At the point where it interferes with your happiness is the point where you need to take a step back. It’s easier said than done though!

 

Do you feel guilty after weekend eats? How do you approach it?

Lululemon.

 

don't gain any weight girl!

don’t gain any weight girl!

You may or may not have heard about Lululemon’s old CEO (but current chairman of the board of directors) and his comments lately about their defective pants. First, I’ll give you some information on the pants. A couple months back Lululemon was called out on the quality of their pants being less than stellar because they were see through. I don’t know about you, but when I buy $100 yoga pants, I expect them to make my ass look tight and to NOT be see through. I don’t think that’s too much to ask right? Especially the see through part.

Okay, so they messed up. They should apologize, return money, etc. and make better pants. End of story. Well, the CEO, Mr. Chip Wilson went on Bloomberg TV explaining what the actual problem with the pants was. It wasn’t that their fabric was crap, it was that women were squeezing their big fat booties into sizes that were too small. To be fair, he didn’t say those exact words…he said this:

“The thing is that women will wear seatbelts that don’t work [with the pants], or they’ll wear a purse that doesn’t work, or quite frankly some women’s bodies just actually don’t work for it.”

“So, more likely that they’ll be see-through on some women than others?” Bloomberg’s Trish Regan asked.

“It’s really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there over a period of time and how much they use it,” Wilson responded.

(source)

So, I apologize, not fat booties but fat thighs rubbing together. I think I speak for all of us when I say, what????

Obviously his statement is pretty much offensive to every women except the .5% whose thighs don’t touch. Chip Wilson is allowed to have an opinion. His opinions should probably be kept to himself in order to not damage the Lululemon brand, but if he wants to shout them from the rooftops…so be it. My real problem with his statement is he is not taking responsibility for his product. Lululemon has been around years before the see through pant debacle so clearly they were making the pants differently. Take responsibility for your product. If you have the balls to charge women 100 dollars for yoga pants, they better be high quality and you know it. It is such a cop out to blame the pants on the person wearing them.

In a way, this PR nightmare is sort of a good thing for me. It forces me to rethink shopping there and spend my $100 elsewhere. Think of how many yoga pants I could buy at Target for 100 bucks!!

Mr. Colbert is my favorite.

What are your thoughts on this ordeal? Do you shop at Lululemon? By the way, I wouldn’t consider myself a regular shopper. I really only shop there when I have gift-cards because the place is ridiculously expensive. I’m almost embarrassed to say how much stretchy black pants and tank tops cost there. Ugh.

 

Health Food Finds (AKA Impulse Buys)

AKA my-husbands-going-to-kill-me-if-I-keep-shopping-like-this. I wasn’t terrible during this excursion. I went to our nearby (30 minutes away) health food store to pick up some probiotics for my stomach (more on that later) and ended up with a small cart full of goodies.

I wanted to share some of the goodies I got and why I bought them (other than boredom).

First up: Ghee…AKA clarified butter

ghee

 

Okay, so how is ghee different than butter? Ghee is basically butter that has been boiled and removed of its residues (whatever those are). Ghee is widely used in India although they typically make it from buffalo milk, not cow’s.

Are there health benefits to using ghee? I honestly didn’t find much information out there about the health benefits…solid information. Paleo lovers use ghee because it lacks milk proteins lactose and casein so ghee is a good option for people avoiding dairy. People following an Ayurveda diet swear by it too (the “mode of goodness”), but the bottom line is, it’s mostly fat. Fat is not a terrible thing, even some saturated fat. That being said I would not down ghee by the spoonfuls…or butter..or any other fat. Everything in moderation right?

ghee1

So, ghee tastes good. Adds a nice buttery taste to my meals but I’m not sure I’d buy it again (it’s pricey). Here’s some more information on it.

Next up: nutritional yeast

nutyeast1

 

My stomach has been irritating me a bit lately so I’ve been trying to cut down on dairy. Of course, I have no clue if dairy is even bothering me so this is somewhat of an experiment. I bought the nutritional yeast because I have heard other people use it as a cheese replacement.

What is it? Um…fish food? Looks like it. FatFree Vegan Kitchen’s website has a great article where she explains what the heck nutritional yeast is:

“Nutritional yeast is made from a single-celled organism, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, which is grown on molasses and then harvested, washed, and dried with heat to kill or “deactivate” it.”

Like the name says, nutritional yeast is very nutritional! It is a complete protein and packed with B complex vitamins. It’s perfect for vegans or Paleo dieters…or people like me who just like to eat everything. I sprinkled some on my eggs and I have to admit, I really like it!

nutyeastLooks like fish food right? Tasty.

#3: Psyllium Husk

psyllium

 

Okay, first of all, psyllium husk can come with some side effects so you probably want to talk to your doctor before taking it-especially if you have gastrointestinal problems.That being said, psyllium husk is a great source of soluble dietary fiber. Let’s call it “colon blow.”  Like I said before I’ve been having some, ahem, tummy problems so wanted to slowly add a little more fiber to my diet. Some people also use psyllium husk in gluten free baking (which I just learned). The ground up husk helps bind moisture together so you produce less crumbly breads. I’ll let you know how I feel about psyllium husk after a few more weeks…

Next: Fermented Foods

zuke

 

So, this is another thing I’m adding to my list for belly help. I’ve been reading a lot about fermented foods and probiotics for gut health. Basically, fermented foods add healthy bacteria (like yogurt or Kombucha drinks) to your gut which in turn, balances everything out. What I mean by “balances everything out” is it helps your gut absorb foods and keep you regular.

This particular jar of pickled goodies was good…..but not my favorite. I do like sauerkraut so I think I’ll give that try. Maybe attempt some homemade kombucha too? We’ll see!

Finally: Raw Black Beans

beans

 

Okay, these aren’t really a weird health food but I’ve never cooked raw beans before. I’m curious to see if they taste any better or are worth the time. I’ll let you know!

 

What are some weird health foods you like? Ever cooked raw beans?

 

Kabocha Squash Review

I don’t know about you, but I have been hearing about this Kabocha squash for what seems like forever. I swear every blogger on the planet is obsessed with this squash. I’ve wanted to try it for sometime now but my grocery store here in town never has it. A couple days ago I ventured to a health food store (which is about 30 minutes away) and wouldn’t ya know…they had a kabocha squash.

Kabocha is an Asian winter squash. Why it was in the health foods store and not my every day grocer is beyond me (Are they healthier?), Anyway, I obviously picked one up. They look similar to a small pumpkin except green…almost like an acorn squash but not as defined (if that makes sense).

little kabocha on the left!

little kabocha on the left!

I looked up a couple recipes and it seems the best way to cook them is to roast in the oven. before any cooking, I had to cut that bad boy open. I’ve had a little experience cutting raw squash in the past (spaghetti squash, butternut) and let me tell you, it is difficult. Before I attempted to cut this open I sharpened my knives…which I’m sure are now dull again.

I cut the squash down the middle..actually, I didn’t my husband did with a meat cleaver. I tried though I swear!

ksquash1

 

There’s got to be a way to cook the squash first, then cut it right? That works with spaghetti squash but I guess in this case you might need all the guts out first….it’s probably worth trying! Next, I scraped out all the seeds.

ksquash2

 

I wish I was done cutting…but this was only the beginning! Next, I cut that mother in small slices which was a bit of a pain…not gonna lie.

ksquash3

 

My husband finished cutting the squash hence the random chunks (he violently used a meat cleaver). I tried to explain to him that they needed to be perfect small slices and he proceeded to ignore me and butcher the squash.

ksquash4

Finally it was time to bake those babies. I turned the oven to 400 and drizzled some coconut oil on squash. I cooked them for about 35 minutes tossing them a couple times while they were baking. I actually split the slices up onto two cookies sheets just to make sure they were getting cooked evenly. I have a tendency to throw everything on one cookie sheet and several pieces get fried while others are raw..oops.

mm fatty coconut

mm fatty coconut

ksquash6

 

ksquash7

We had our squash with some brussels sprouts and chicken. Great dinner!

ksquash8

 

That last picture is a bit of a closeup..sorry.

 

Okay, so what did I think? Was it all that it was cracked up to be? To be fair to kabocha squash, I’m not a professional chef so there is a good chance I did not do it justice. Then again everyone else in the world seems to be cooking it the same way or eating it for breakfast or making ice cream with it so I think I came close enough?

I thought it was good. Descriptive I know. Just good though..not mind blowing…not gross…just good. I honestly haven’t found a squash yet that makes me gag so you can add this one to the list of bazillions.

It reminded me of pumpkin…maybe sweet potato too? It was a different texture (thicker maybe?) than some other squashes like pumpkin for example. The part I actually really liked was eating the skin. The flesh was soft and sweet then the skin added a little bit of a crunchy texture. Can you eat the skin of other squashes? If so, I’m gonna start trying that.

So, kabocha was good but I don’t think I’m going to make 30 minute trips to the health food store to buy it on a regular basis. Cutting that thing up was not really worth the hassle.

 

Have you tried kabocha squash? Are you a squash lover? Like I said, I like every squash I’ve tried. My husband doesn’t really love yellow squash and he sort of tolerates spaghetti squash. Spaghetti squash is awesome. Perfect for low carb lovers.

HIIT Tuesday #1

Hey guys! So, it’s Tuesday…and Tuesday’s seem like a really great day to do some HIIT (high intensity interval training) right? I’d like to make this an ongoing feature on the blog: every Tuesday a new HIIT workout. Sound good?

(On a side note this is my first experience with picmonkey so forgive my amateur pictures :) ).

This first workout is great because it’s easy to do at home-which is what I did. Brooke was napping so I decided to get in a quick workout. Originally, I was going to do each move for a minute but looking back I’m glad I didn’t…30 seconds was plenty long! Here’s the workout:
pic1

Some of those moves may sound a little funky so I’ll break them down.

Spiderman Pushup with Knee Tuck (thanks to the Purely Twins for introducing me to this move): Start in a pushup position. When you lower down for a pushup, bring your right knee to your right elbow, then straighten back out. From there, jump your legs forward (see 3rd picture) then back again so you’re in a pushup position. Repeat spiderman pushup with left knee and left elbow.

spiderman

Jump Squat with Overhead Press- If you don’t have weights, don’t worry about it. I used 1 8lb. weight. Start in a squat holding the weight between your hands. From there, simply jump up simultaneously pressing the weight overhead then land softly back into squat.

jump squats

Burpees with Dumbbells- This is another one you can leave out the dumbbells and just do regular burpees. These are standard burpees just holding some weights so it makes it a little harder.

burpf

Traveling Pushup- Perform a regular pushup, then bring left hand to right hand so you’re moving your whole body, then move right hand out away from left hand so you’re back in pushup position. You’re basically moving back and forth between pushups.

pushupsf

 

Walking Planks- Or up down planks? Not really sure what these are called. Anyway, start in the pushup position then lower down to your left forearm followed by the right (now you’re in plank position on your forearms). From there, straighten back up onto your right arm then your left.

plankfinal

 

Mountain Climbers- No picture for this…sorry (I’m sure you’re crushed). I kind of assumed everyone knew about good ol’ mountain climbers. In case you don’t, here’s a link to a great video on them.

 

You can thank my husband for these kick-ass photos :).

I called this workout “Shoulder Scorcher” because you spend a lot of time in the pushup or plank position which in turn, burns the shoulders. You should be SICK of plank position by the end of these. Enjoy!

Do you try hiit workouts? What’s your favorite?

First Canning Experience

I had a pretty productive weekend….I canned for the first time! I wish I could say I had an overabundance of fresh apples someone gave me from their orchard, but that was not the case. The only people with an overabundance of apples were the fine folks at Costco. I understand that the whole point of canning is to preserve foods when you have too much….not go to the store, get foods, then preserve them. But ya know what? I wanted to try it so Costco did not let me down. At least the apples were a good deal so it wasn’t too ridiculous.

I bought a canning kit a couple months back with the intention of canning blackberry jam (back when blackberries were in season). Well, I got the blackberries before my canning supplies came, then the supplies got lost in the mail so what were we to do? I suppose we could have froze them but we ate them instead. No jam. Anyway, since then I’ve been itching to can something but sort of felt like that ship had sailed (at least until next summer).

We had some family in town this past weekend and they brought some freshly canned goods so they definitely inspired me to hit up Costco and buy me some apples. Their foods did actually come from family and friends gardens….you folks are lucky up in Oregon!

 

(I think) Applesauce was a good choice for my first canning recipe. It’s really easy. You can make it as complicated (add other fruits?) or as simple (just apples and water) as you’d like. Mine was pretty simple:

Canning Applesauce (or eat-right-now-applesauce)

  • 5 1/2 pounds of apples (I used Gala)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg

For canning, this is a very small amount. Probably not worth doing. Most recipes call for between 10-20 something pounds of apples so yes, this was a low amount.

Anyway, I started by peeling and slicing the apples. No fancy gadgets here…just a knife and an apple.

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Next, I threw all the apple slices into a large pot and poured about a 1/4 cup of water in with them. Basically, you want about an inch of water (or juice) at the bottom so the apples don’t stick. I cooked the apples for probably about 45 minutes…maybe even an hour…until I thought they were mashable. I also stirred them every once and a while.

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When the apples were getting close to done, I sterilized the jars. First, I washed the jars and lids in soapy, warm water. Next, I got out another large pot, added the jars (just jars), and covered with water. I brought that water to a boil and let it boil the jars for about 10 minutes. Next, I turned the heat off and added the lids and the end of the tongs I was going to use. I let that all sit for about 15 minutes.

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I like my applesauce chunky so I mashed the apples with a potato masher. Then added the remaining ingredients. That’s it I was ready to can! *If you like your applesauce smooth, just add to a blender, food processor, or food mill.

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Once everything was ready, I took the jars and lids out of the hot water with my tongs and placed them onto a paper towel. I put the handy dandy funnel on top of the jar and scooped the applesauce in. My little canning kit came with a magnet and a plastic tool to get the bubbles out of the jar. The bubble remover (official name?) could probably be anything even a butter knife. Just stick it down the side of the can and press the food in the opposite direction. Once  applesauce was bubble free I used the magnet to pick up the lid and place it on top, then just screwed it on!

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I brought my hot water back to a boil and placed 2 jars in my basket (I could have done more but I was nervous). I lowered the basket into the water and let it boil for about 35 minutes. Applesauce usually needs to sit in the water for about 20 minutes but since I’m at higher altitude, I adjusted the time.

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Once my 35 minutes were up, I let the cans cool. If you hear a pop (and I believe you should) that means the cans have sealed and you’re good to go. I only heard 2 pops so we will see….

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Brooke was helping me…couldn’t have done it without her!

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I made 4 full jars with a little left to spare. Brooke and I ate the little that remained. Warm applesauce is delicious by the way.

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Baby hand!

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So was it worth canning for 4 hours for 4 jars of applesauce? Probably not, but I’m glad I did it so I feel a little more comfortable in the future when I might be canning 20 jars. It’s a little hectic with a baby running around, but I would love to do more of it in the future. I think if you have a garden with lots of goodies, it’s definitely a good way to preserve your food. I personally love getting homemade foods as gifts so it is also a great gift idea.
Have you ever canned?