rockinthemomrole

I'm on the journey called Life, let's travel together

IMG_0187


Leave a comment

Goal Setting – Goals Achieved

As mentioned in a previous post, I had set a short term goal of lifting 200 pounds by Thanksgiving ’14.

Well, guess what?? I DID IT! I hit 200 pounds, and not only did I lift it once, but 3 times! And a week ahead of schedule!

I hope that this does not come across as bragging, because that is not how I intend it.

Yes, I am proud of my accomplishment!  I have come so far, pushing through and working around physical and mental setbacks. But I share this with the hope that my success inspires you to set goals that are achievable. I did not start off setting this goal. I started off with the goal of fitting into my clothes better, and not feeling 90 at 50. I achieved the first goal within 6 months, and the second has been ongoing and liberating. I realized needed something else to work towards, so I set new goals.
First: To get a big plate on the bar for Dead Lifts.
Then: To Bench Press 100 pounds at least once.

Once achieved, I reset my goal again:
To get a big plate on the bar for Back Squats.
To Dead Lift 200 pounds

Well, today I reached my latest goal, and I set a new one:
(2) BIG PLATES on the bar for Dead Lift!

The point of my post, and my advice is this: Set small achievable goals. Once you reach your small goal, you can set another. This way you work up to, and within a decent amount of time, achieve your goals. You need to feel the success of achievement. Setting too high of a goal can be discouraging if you happen to have setbacks, either physical or mental. Keep them short/small and attainable, resetting once achieved.

If I had set an initial goal of lifting 200 pounds, not only was it an unimaginable goal to me back then, but it has taken 18 months to get to this point. I absolutely would have given up LONG AGO if I had tried to even set a goal that ambitious. I think this lesson can be applied not only in fitness, but in life. Hindsight is 20/20, and I wish I had this knowledge and motivation years ago. I’ve learned in this process however, don’t look back, just keep moving forward. Sometimes you may have to rework your goal if life throws you a wrinkle, but readjust and keep plugging away. This is a mental game, more than a physical one. Surround yourself with support, and minimize your exposure to Debbie Downers. Cause heck, if this pudgy old lady can do this, you surely can too!


Leave a comment

Domestic Goddess Tip: Selecting Eggplant

IMG_5793

Did you know that eggplants are either male or female? I was watching Alton Brown one day while he was cooking eggplant and learned this tip that really has come in handy: When you select an eggplant, try to find a male.

Why?

Because it will have fewer seeds! Why would you want to reduce the seeds in your eggplant based dish? Because they can be bitter. Not only do females have lots of seeds but the older the fruit, the more bitter the seeds.

How do you determine if your eggplant is a male or female, without cutting it open? By the blossom end. A female will usually be indented like a belly button, and oval shaped. A male will have a smoother, flatter blossom scar and be more circular. Also, younger eggplants will have fewer seeds than older eggplants.

The eggplant above is a male, and as you can see, has very few seeds. This tip USUALLY works but fair warning, I have picked out what I THOUGHT was a male, but turned out to be female. The scar on this one is more ovoid shaped, but it was flat, not indented. I have found that to be a better indicator than the actual shape.

One more tip: Allow time to salt your eggplant. Not only will it reduce the moisture, which can affect the way it cooks, but it also draws out any bitterness that might be in the fruit. I cut mine into discs or slabs, salt and let drain on a cookie cooling rack over my sink for at least 15 minutes, up to an hour. Then I lay on paper towels and press firmly to extract as much moisture as I can. Once this is done, they are ready to cook according to your recipe.


Leave a comment

Princess and the Pea

IMG_6015

I was mopping my floors one day and to make it easier I just stacked the kids beds together.
I turned my back and I find Big Girl perched on top, snoozing in total comfort.
I was immediately reminded of a childhood story, The Princess and the Pea.

Since she didn’t move for hours, I guess there were no peas!

Snort!

IMG_5947


1 Comment

Transformation

A year ago June (which would be 2013) I began my journey to transform my mind and body. I had gotten to a point where I just became - as I like to describe – uncomfortable in my skin . I was overweight, tired and unmotivated. My body was in a state of constant ache and injury, and I was unable to enjoy physical activities with my family and friends. I just felt, well, way older than 50. The thought of being 90 and feeling this way, or worse, was overwhelming. Spurred on by this depressing realization, and on the suggestion of a friend, I went to The Biggest Loser Resort in Chicago for a week which I journaled: Here, here, here, here and wrapped up my experience here. It was the kickstart I needed to get me turned around and headed in the right direction.

Upon returning home, I enthusiastically embraced my new active lifestyle. I started walking 6 miles with my buddy, Big Girl (Little Man had not arrived on the scene yet), as well as putting a few miles on my bicycle. I also began in earnest, training with Ron Hoff, a personal trainer who specializes in Progressive Weight Resistance Training which I mention HERE in a previous blog post.

Well here we are a year later and you are probably wondering where I’m going with this.  And why did I post that grainy photo above?

Transformation.

When I started out, one of the exercises he started me on was the Dead Lift, (see here for an explanation, but DO NOT TRY without a professional to guide and spot you) for which my trainer started me with dumbbells. Very, VERY light dumbbells. Looking back, ridiculously light dumbbells! But, as he coached me, everyone starts at the beginning. As my strength started to build, we progressively worked up to lifting just the bar. Then we began to add weight plates to the bar. The photo above was the first time Ron put the BIG PLATE on the bar. That day was a milestone for me, and a gauge of my accomplishments. That meant that I had gone from holding a couple of weights in my hands probably totaling about 24 pounds to now lifting a bar off the floor that weighed 135 lbs. I was so excited when the ‘big plate’ was put on, I ran upstairs, grabbed my phone and texted the picture to my family!  (It appears iPhotos blown up in wordpress come out grainy, sorry for that! I’m gonna work on figuring out how to get better resolution)

Today, this is my ‘warm up’ weight! I easily lift this for 12 repetitions not only for Dead Lifts, but also Back Squats. After the warmups,  we move up to the higher weights. My heaviest lift has been 185 pounds for 3 reps.

My goal? To lift 200 pounds by Thanksgiving.

And I will achieve that goal!

That is what I mean by ‘transformation’. Not only have I leaned out, built muscle, increased bone density (always good for aging women) and have rockin awesome legs; but I also have discovered that living life is so much more pleasurable! It’s a breeze to haul the summer clothing bins to the basement and heave them on the shelves. Bicycling 40 miles is pleasurable, even up hills. Carrying the 50 pound salt bags to the basement isn’t even work. Carrying 4 loaded grocery bags to the car is a snap. Everything about my life is easier and requires less effort. I don’t feel 90 at 50. I’m 51 feeling better than I did when I was 40, 30 even.

That. Is. Transformative.

Everyone has their favorite exercise, or lack thereof. But I can honestly say that everyone, and I mean EVERYONE would benefit from progressive weight training. Not only does it build bone density for women and men alike, it helps to increase your metabolism by adding muscle, which at a resting rate burns more calories than fat. I love that my body is now actually burning more calories now as I sit and blog! But the primary benefit that keeps me coming back for more is: it is an AMAZING endorphin booster. I live in the arctic tundra where Vitamin D is in short supply for many months. That can lead to the blues and lethargy, a downward spiral none of us needs! Because you use so many muscles in your body to Dead Lift or Back Squat heavy weight, it floods the brain with endorphins. You know, the stuff that makes us ‘happy’ and invokes a pleasurable feeling?  I use my weight training to manage the negative emotional effects of the long winters as well as keeping that ‘fat coat’ off! (Weight training may not look like it burns a lot of calories during the workout; but your body’s metabolism is super charged and you will continue to burn that 300-400 calories/hour for the next 4-7 hours. You also build muscle, which as I mentioned above,  burns more calories than fat at a resting rate.  Now THAT is awesome!)

I mean it when I say that every single human being can benefit from this type of training, because the benefits are NUMEROUS! I will add the following caution: Please consult with a trainer that is educated or very experienced in weight training, specifically Progressive Weight Resistance Training. My trainer is a Power Lifting champion many times over. He has decades of experience as well as certifications in Personal Fitness and Nutrition. You can achieve great results, but only if done properly. Honestly, that means having a professional to ensure your form is correct, you are lifting enough, but not too much. A trainer can watch you as you lift and assess your bodies ability to handle the weight, moving you up only when your body can handle it. They will help prevent injury, which leads to setbacks, and help you maximize the benefit of your workout. (I’ve had a few injuries and setbacks, but my trainer never let me quit. He tailored my workouts around the injury, building up supporting muscles and keeping me motivated)

If you are not familiar with this kind of training, I highly recommend you do some research for yourself. If you take my advice, please, leave me some feedback. If you have had success with weight training, tell us your story in the comment section. If you have had challenges in your fitness journey, please share how you overcame them. And if you happen to be where I was a year and a half ago, looking for support or motivation, reach out and lets make this a community support group.

We only grow older. The clock only moves in one direction. But we do not have to succumb to the effects of time without having a little say about the matter. I intend to have a LOT to say about it…for a lot more years to come!

IMG_6041

(And here we go, moving up in weight! 200 pounds? Here I come!)


Leave a comment

Mini Babysits

IMG_0103

Mini says “I love these guys, and I take good care of them!”

We were blessed with a few warm days late fall this year. Wanting to take advantage of the nice weather, Big Man and I decided to try and get as much winterizing as we could done. That way, unlike many other years, we were not trying to do it in below freezing temperatures with the snow falling!

So, while we were working, Mini was in charge of watching my furry kids. I drug out their beds and let Little Man and Big Girl soak up the last of falls warm sunshine.

Here in MinneSNOWta, you learn quickly (and sometimes not so pleasantly) to take advantage of the good weather. I would have rather spent the day riding on my bicycle or on the Harley, but the pay off was so worth the sacrifice of a weekend. We are currently running 20 degrees below normal. Yeah. Thats Minnesota for ya!

IMG_0160


Leave a comment

Pumpkin Protein Shake

I’ve been looking to increase my potassium to help combat some muscle fatigue and cramping I’ve been experiencing.
Bananas tend to be the ‘go-to’ source for potassium but also are high in fructose and calories, neither of which I want.
Looking for some natural alternatives, mushrooms and pumpkin caught my eye. While I’ve been adding mushrooms to my morning eggs, I’ve developed this post workout shake to not only keep my potassium levels high enough to help power me through my workouts, but also to increase my fiber, vitamin A, antioxidants and B vitamins.
And of course, with Progressive Weight Training, protein following your workout is critical to repairing and building the muscles you have broken down and stressed.
This shake is perfect year round but I love it for the fall/winter season. Not only is it good for you, but delicious!

Notes: In this Post Workout Protein Shake you can exchange the coconut water for a high protein nut or rice milk or skim milk.
You can also substitute pumpkin pie filling for the plain pumpkin if you don’t want to mess with spices. I like to fiddle with mine, adding lots of cinnamon for blood sugar and appetite control.
Also, I am hooked on the Melaleuca protein powders. The Pro-flex has 20g of protein, the Vitality has 30g. They are rich and yummy tasting as well as formulated, but use your own favorite brand.
You can add a shot of espresso, instant espresso power or instant coffee, or skip altogether.

8-10 oz of Coconut Water
2 scoops of Protein Powder (Vitality = 30grams)
2 tbsp Pumpkin
1 tsp decaf instant Coffee
5 grinds of Nutmeg on the grater
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
Dash of Ginger
Small pinch Allspice
Large handful of Ice

Blend and enjoy!

IMG_0048


Leave a comment

Puppy Shavasana

Last night my daughter and I were perusing through my laptop photo album and we both started to giggle when we came to this photo: Little Man and Big Girl having a little post walk siesta.

My daughter giggled and said “Mom, we (her sister and herself) call that puppy shavasana, cause it’s just like the corpse pose in Yoga!”

She was right.

And I giggled some more!

IMG_0016


Leave a comment

Amazing & Amazingly Simple Fall Appetizer

Looking for an entertaining appetizer that will disappear and have your guests or host scraping the bowl for? Well, this one is to die for.

While roaming the aisle of my local grocery (yes, I roam when I have the time) I spied these new chips from the company Food Should Taste Good - Harvest Pumpkin. We started buying this brand because the line delicious and gluten free. Recently they have really branched out and experimented with some fun new flavor combinations. The pumpkin one really peaked my interest to use as a signature fall appetizer.

I opened the bag and tasted a chip, wondering was it sweet? Savory? Or both?

Both. The chips have pumpkin and sweet spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and allspice, but they are not sweet. There is just a touch of sugar in them but are dusted with sea salt and that balances the flavor.

I then headed over to the cheese department and my favorite cheese expert was there. We have spent countless hours together creating dishes that pair well with cheeses. We contemplated what would pair best with these chips as a dip and together came up with this combination. I have served it twice since then and both times, with all ages, it was extremely well received.

If you cannot find a whipped goat cheese, simply find the creamiest brand you can find, add a bit of cream and either whisk or use a hand blender to mix. (Do not use Feta, use Chèvre) You will be adding the chutney to taste, just be sure to not add too much. There should be a balance of sweet/tangy and savory. For the container shown in the photo, I added about 2 heaping tablespoons of chutney. Mix the two together and serve with the chips on the side.

This appetizer will be out for Thanksgiving in my house. I hope you enjoy it too.
Please, let me know what you think!

1 container whipped Chèvre Cheese
2-3 heaping Tablespoons Apple-Cranberry Chutney
Food Should Taste Good Pumpkin Tortilla Chips

IMG_0017


1 Comment

Domestic Goddess Tip: Peeling Garlic

IMG_5353

Peeling garlic can be tedious and messy. One day, while contemplating the daunting task of peeling two heads of garlic for a recipe that needed 40 whole cloves, I recalled a commercial for a garlic peeler I had seen on TV. They were peddling a tube made of rubber that you put the garlic into, roll, and voila! Out came the peeled garlic cloves all pretty and naked!
Well, I’m not a fan of gadgets and I’m kind of a kitchen minimalist. I’m not a big fan of single task tools, (unless I use them quite regularly) which is why I have never thought to buy one.

It dawned on me however, that the rubber gizmo was made from material no different than my Silpat mat. I grabbed my baking mat (You can find off brand non-stick baking mats but the original is called a Silpat) and gave it a whirl:

Simply lay the cloves in a line parallel to the edge, and then ‘roll’ them gently, pushing down slightly while you roll. Use the palm of your hand to roll and keep the pressure firm but light as you feel the cloves turn under your hand.

I found I could process quite a few at a time if I kept them about the same size. I would remove the ones that were peeled and if needed, rub a couple more times to remove the stubborn skins.

This may sound almost simplistic, but trust me, it works. It saved me a good chunk of time and more than a few pennies for a product that I would have to store and only use once in awhile. And clean up is a breeze! Simply wipe down your mat with a damp cloth and let dry. If the garlic was juicy and you pressed too hard, you might need a bit of soap, but still…what a breeze!

I use this method for large quantities of garlic. You can use it for one or two cloves, also. I have an amazing garlic press which I use for one or two cloves which ‘minces’ the garlic and leaves the skin behind. Not the same result as whole cloves, but a tool I found worth the investment for minced garlic. That tip might be for another post.

Or maybe I should start a product review category?

Your thoughts?

 

Gluten Free Butterscotch Pumpkin Bread

Leave a comment

P1010311

Fall finally gave way to the nudges of winter here in the arctic tundra. What better way to embrace the long, dreary winters here than to whip up a batch of tasty, moist, full of warming spices, gluten free quick bread? With my girls coming and going between college and work, its always nice to have a loaf on hand for them to a slice, grab and go. With the turning of the weather, I really wanted to be inspired by the fall/winter spices and comforting moisture of pumpkin. I modified a tried and true banana bread recipe given to me by my daughters Godmother, Auntie Barbara, who received it from her grandmother.

When my kids were born, we lived in a small neighborhood just on the outskirts of Portland. It was an older neighborhood with a wonderful mixture of small, entry level sized homes as well as some a bit larger and more established. We happened to one of the first families to move in as the neighborhood began to turn over. As a stay at home mom, I was blessed to have so many wonderful, loving retirees who absolutely doted on my children. That is how we met ‘Auntie’ Barbara and ‘Uncle’ Bruce. They took us under their wing, supported us, loved us and mentored us. They accepted the responsiblity to become my children’s GodParents. Every time I make this banana bread (which has been passed on to my own daughters) I reminisce over our shared times together. I think that is why I love to cook so much. I associate so many wonderful memories with food shared, the telling of the history behind precious recipes passed down, along with celebrations and holidays enjoyed. This recipe has sentimental meaning to me and my family. I hope that by making it, it will create wonderful memories of your own.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread
(this recipe is so simple, don’t over think it!)

1/2 cup Butter (unsalted) melted
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Pumpkin (plain pumpkin, NOT pie mix)

2 Eggs slightly beaten

2 cups Gluten Free Flour (i recommend Pamelas Artisan Flour)
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking Soda
Spices : 1.5 tsp Cinnamon; 1/2 tsp Nutmeg; 1/4 tsp Allspice; 1 tsp Ginger; optional:1/4 tsp clove

1/2 cup Hot Water

Handful of Butterscotch Chips. (Hershey’s is Gluten Free. Nestles is NOT!)

Preheat the over to 350 degrees if using a metal bread loaf pan, or 325 for glass. Grease the pan with cooking spray or butter.

Mix melted butter together with the sugar, stir in the pumpkin with a wooden spoon. Lightly beat your eggs, then add in to the pumpkin mixture and stir to combine.

Mix dry ingredients together alternately with the hot water. Stir just to combine. Pour into prepared bread loaf pan and sprinkle the top with butterscotch chips.

Bake 1 hour 15 minutes. Check at 1 hour and continue to bake until a toothpick comes out clean in the center. A few moist bits may cling but it should not be raw.

****In the original recipe, replace 3 mashed bananas for the pumpkin and eliminate the spices. Optional add-in are your favorite nuts.
*******The original recipe does not call for vanilla but you can add 1 tsp if desired.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 203 other followers