Saturday, June 29, 2013

Meat meat meaty meat meat!

If I'm going to spend a whole lotta calories, I'm gonna make sure it's good and worth it. Nothing scratches that foodie itch like a juicy burger cooked on a grill. And it's not all fat and calories, beef does a body good with protein, iron and B vitamins.

First things first, get a hunka beef! I pick a chuck roast that looks like it has a good amount of fat in it. Then it gets cut into chunks like so..

Time to set up the Kitchenaid mixer with the grinder attachment and start to feed the beef cubes through.

The meat goes through the coarse grinding plate once...

It's ground but still has visible pieces of fat that aren't fully incorporated. Gotta squeeze all that fatty love into the burger for juicy wonderfulnness. And so it goes through the coarse grinder a second time...

Now the white flecks are alot less prominent. But this pile of red gooey love is not ready to be burgers yet. They'd turn out grainy. So I slap on the fine grinding plate and get...

It's just so beautiful *sniff* .... give me a moment. I'm verklempt, speak amongst yourselves....*bites knuckle*...

Aaaaannnnd we're back!

Now I gotta make burgers that are all the same size so they  finish to medium rare nomminess at the same time. One of the best tools I have in my kitchen is a $5 burger shaper. Love this thing:

You can see the little black clicker thing is on 1/3 pound which is my preference. The burgers are big enough to hang off the bun even after cooking but don't have the embarrassing shrinkage issues of a 1/4 pounder. The 1/2 pound setting is great for the really big appetites but just too imposing for little ole me.

Burger shaper does its job and there's a small army waiting for a smokey fate on the Big Green Egg:

Of course, there's always the option of making sliders too!

Either option cooks up just fine.

Seriously - the best burger you'll ever eat and you get your official fussy foodie card in the mail shortly thereafter. Excuse me, the burgers are ready...I gotta go!


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Life Begins After 40!

On January 1st of 2011, I was 40 years old and clinically obese. I set a goal to achieve a healthy weight and BMI by February 2012. NY resolutions are not a way to make sure something is absolutely gonna happen and this absolutely needed to happen. Resolutions seem predestined to fail within 8 weeks of being made, but a goal...carries more weight (ha!). Plus not completing a goal is not in my vocabulary.

The weight came off, fitness level was perfect, right? Not exactly. I maintained the loss without a problem from Feb 2012 to November. Then gained about 5 pounds over the holidays which came right off by Feb 2013. No biggie. But I realized I was getting complacent. How was I going to stay motivated to keep up the healthy habits? Same way I lost the weight without losing muscle to begin with: determine a goal and work to meet it. What could I do that was something new and exciting? Something I've never done before? Well, against all reason, in Feb 2013 I set a goal to be fit enough to participate in a mud run by summer 2013. Then I reviewed my goal every week without actually doing a damned thing about it. Just kept exercising and eating for maintenance without worrying about this crazy thing I had put on a goal list.

Then in March a Groupon came across my iPhone for the Survival Race. Working every other weekend means this mud run nonsense would be occurring when I couldn't attend, right? Nope - it was on my weekend off and far enough off I'd have pleeeeenty of time to train for it. Crap. Well, surely it was too expensive, right? Nope - Groupon was only $65 and came with a free ticket for Great Adventure. And my husband and I had just talked about taking our daughter to GA this summer anyway so I'd be saving on purchasing my ticket. Absolutely no reason not to purchase the Groupon and sign up. So I did.

For the next 3 months I did the Couch to 5K program, found a nature preserve by my house to run 5Ks in terrain and lifted many heavy weights. I was concerned about cargo nets, heights, climbing, etc. Public parks have nets, monkey bars, rings and trails - I used them all repeatedly. Found a great core workout in a magazine and by the end of those 12 weeks, I could see my abs! That has never happened before. All of this activity took no more time than my usual workout routine, since old stale workouts were traded for the new ones geared toward the event.

Growing up I was not considered the athletic one. But at 42 years old I completed the mud run in 45 minutes, placing 254 out of 1582 participants. That put me in the top 16%! How the hell did that happen? For women in my age group (40-44) I came in 7 out of 80. Whaaaat?!

The sense of accomplishment is just fantastic. Less than 3 years ago I was laying on the couch, pumped up on Prednisone just to breathe and missing work. The high amount of fat had depressed my immune system causing horrible bronchitis. Now I can do this crazy mud run thing.  If you are reading this blog and want to change your weight/fitness, you CAN do it. Hell, if I can do it, anyone can.

Set goals. Drink water. Eat 5-6 times a day. Eat lots of veggies. Lift weights. Don't sit a lot. Read this blog (shameless plug alert!). Let's show the world what women can do. Especially once we turn 40. We are awesome.


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Lose Fat While At Work

Food is glorious and it's BBQ season. Even training for a mud run, I still managed to sneak on a coupla pounds. My scale tells me I gained muscle, which rocks. But I do wish I had lost some fat in from the backs of thighs - that jiggly junk is hanging on for dear life. However, I can do 25 pushups in a row and swing my way through all the monkey bars at my daughter's school.

It boils down to my daily calories. They've been a touch over cause of all the wonderful food lately. The Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble was gone in 2 days flat and I'm the only one in the house that likes rhubarb. Again though 2 pounds of muscle is crazy! And muscle burns more calories than fat so I'm taking this as a win.

Our bodies need to be in a slight calorie excess to build muscle. That's why it's almost, but not completely, impossible to build muscle while losing weight. Gotta lift a bunch of heavy stuff on a very regular basis to keep your body from breaking down muscle while losing weight. This means you too ladies! Then when the fat is gone, those abs are ready to be shown off. I never saw my abs before now even when I was thin and in my 20's - cause I was a cardio queen. Wisdom comes with age. *nods wisely*

I plan on keeping these 2 pounds of muscle but still want the thighs gone. To that end I'll keep lifting muy heavy weights. But I'm gonna go back on the eating plan and burn a bit more calories every day. Doing a bunch of cardio takes too much time for this busy mom so I installed a treadmill desk at home and set up a standing workstation at work. My boss is gonna plotz on Monday when he sees this. It was a ask - for - forgiveness - not - permission kinda thing.

Several of my newer employees thought I had lost my mind. (The ones who have been with me for the long haul are used to me by now.) But once I explained I had lost 70 pounds and needed to keep it off - the look of "boss is nutz" was all replaced with "please tell me how you did it!" Yeah. That's more like it.

It boils down to doing what you need to do to get the job done and to hell with what people think of you. In the long run, your impressive outcomes are going to make people want to be like you. Doing what everyone else does will get you where they are. Considering there's an obesity epidemic, I don't want to be like everyone else.

Like the treadmill desk, the standing workstation took less than 1/2 hour to put together. It was done during a web based virtual diversity training that I needed to take before the end of my company's fiscal year. Just let the training run on the computer run while I moved stuff around my desk and figured it out. Once the training was done, it took 2 minutes to unplug everything, put it in it's final spot and plug it all back up so the cords weren't in the way. Cost was nothing because the milk crates were just laying around anyway.

So, how do you plan to torment your boss with fitness?


Friday, June 7, 2013

Lose Weight While Blogging

One one hand, I want to stay healthy and keep off the ton of weight I've lost. On the other hand, I really need to keep track of the household finances which usually reguires a good deal of butt - in - the - home - office - chair time. Enter the busy Mom mantra - find a way to multi task!

The is my cheapass (ahem thrifty) treadmill desk made with a shelf from Home Depot for under $8 and two bungee cords that cost about $2 each. I saw someone do this in a Youtube video a few weeks ago. Genius!

Whole thing took less than a half hour including going to the store.

Drilled a hole in either side of the shelf with a 3/8 whatever the hell bit this is.

Set the shelf on the treadmill and attached the bungee cords.

My bungees were a little too long to be taut but since I'm too damned cheap to buy new ones AND didn't have time to go back to the store, I just knotted them until they were short enough to work. Done and done.

Only issue is that the iPad is too low versus my head / hands to use comfortably when it's sitting right on the shelf. But I put a milk crate on top of the shelf and it's very comfortable right now as I'm blogging about it. Check it:

Like the concrete wall in the background? That's cause my home gym is in the basement. It just looks like I'm blogging from a prison cell block.

Anyways, there's plenty of cheap ways to work in calorie burning movement even while paying bills online. Anytime you get the chance to keep from sitting - take it! You'll have a lot less butt to sit on in the long run.


Sexy Summer Salad

This sweet and savory little number has it all. Crunchy nuts, softly roasted root veggies, snappy greens, sweet cherries and a salty kiss of feta. Don't blame me if you fall in love after the first bite.

2 T Walnuts, chopped
1 C Hakurei Turnips, peeled, cut into half moons
6 ea Baby Carrots, sliced longways
1 T Walnut Oil, divided
Pinch each kosher salt, onion powder, garlic powder, cracked black pepper
2 C Turnip Greens, washed, chopped
9 ea Cherries, fresh, pitted, quartered
2 T Feta Cheese, crumbled
1 t Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste (I used Pink Himalayan Salt from Trader Joe's)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spread walnuts out in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast util medium brown. They burn quickly - as soon as you can smell them they are usually just about ready. Set aside to cool.

In a medium mixing bowl, toss turnips and carrots with 1/2 tablespoon of walnut oil. Add kosher salt, onion & garlic powders and cracked black pepper. Toss to evenly distribute the seasonings. Spread turnip and carrot mixture in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees until the vegetables start to brown on the edges and are tender. Set aside to cool.

Once the walnuts and vegetables are room temperature put them both in a mixing bowl. Add turnip greens and cherries then toss to evenly combine everything.

Add feta, reserved walnut oil, balsamic and salt/pepper. Carefully and gently mix everything together.

Makes one entree sized portion, two side salad portions or 4 something healthier instead of chips with a sandwich portions.

Nutrition info is for the entree portion, cut numbers in half for the side salads; divide by 4 for the sandwich platter portions:

Calories: 472
Fat: 32g
Sat Fat: 7g
Poly Fat: 17g
Mono Fat: 4g
Trans Fat: 0g
Protein: 17g
Carbs: 43g
Fiber 13g

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