Aug 312014


I have been on and off with my health (fitness) ALL of my life. I was a competitive athlete as a child into my preteen years and then walked away from it all (oh the stupidity of youth) and have never regained a consistent long term routine of working out ever since.  My weight has been a yo-yo all of my life but I always felt pretty healthy under it all – ya know?

But, things add up, and things change – and events, some of you are familiar with these yourselves, happen as part of life —   a pretty reckless period of nightlife in my twenties, then parenthood, and the work grind, and then hitting my 40s (when your body naturally starts changing and slowing down etc), and then to top it off, taking a deskjob…..oh my goodness.

I no longer felt healthy (and that was years ago).  I slowly developed habits and a lifestyle that have caused some significant health issues – and overall just was NOT working FOR me any longer.  So when I really opened my eyes and realized that I was winded walking a short distance and that I wasn’t MOVING like I used to – bending over, hopping over a curb, lifting – nothing felt smooth or ‘easy’ anymore…..I knew that changing my diet wasn’t going to be enough – I needed to start exercising.

Fortunately, since moving a few years ago – I knew just what box my old work out DVDs were in and I got them out and started with the ‘intro’ ones – 8 minues to show you the moves kind of videos. I eased into the actual workouts and really felt positive results immediately – more energy, better mood, clarity, and increased desire to keep moving! Still, I was pretty disappointed when after a few weeks I tried to jog. It was a dismal failure. Granted, I live in a neighborhood that doesn’t have a single flat surface, but still – I was really surprised and felt defeated. But, I knew any movement was better than none so I kept doing the DVDs and I kept walking, with intermittent attempts at jogging, and all of a sudden one night it dawned on me that I had done a quarter mile without walking!  And I was like holy BEEP! JUST 2 weeks ago I couldn’t come close to that!

I haven’t been perfect since – keepin’ it real here – I took a 6 month hiatus where I did NOTHING. I just started back 4 weeks ago.
The interesting thing is – I didn’t lose it all. The first few days were really hard but it wasn’t like starting all the way back at the beginning – I have quickly come up to right about where I left off. I haven’t attempted all of the DVDs again yet but I did jog the other day and I’m right about where I was when I stopped in January.

some of the videos

some of the videos

These are the videos that I am using – my go to one is first:
The Firm: Ultimate Fat Burning Workout – I like that this combines small handweights with cardio – it’s a 40 minute workout and gets my heart rate up. It’s currently my favorite workout. 🙂

Turbo Jam: Calorie-Blasting Cardio, Kickboxing, Body-Sculpting Workout DVD Program
(an oldy but goody!) I do this one rarely but used to love it. Will pull it out and rotate it into my lineup.

Shaun T’s Rockin’ Body DVD Workout
Love his energy and the workout – but do have to say I’m not coordinated or groovin’ enough for this to be comfortable!

Jillian Michaels: Shred-It With Weights
I have high hopes for this one however am unable to do most of this — that dang kettlebell is HEAVY! And some of the moves are just impossible for me, I need to use an arm of whatever to manuever, but I am hopeful that I will one day be able to smoothly perform each movement!

Tae-Bo: Basic and Instructional (Tae-Bo: The Ultimate Total Body Workout for Men & Women) [VHS]
another oldie but goody!! Full disclosure: my family leaves the room when I do this one, they just can’t take Billy Blanks in that tank…..

Tony Horton’s P90X3 Base Kit – DVD Workout
My newest purchase. I was only a few weeks into when I got sick and took my 6 month hiatus. I want to give myself a couple more weeks and then I’ll start back in on this. I was (am) unable to do a lot of this to the level they do it on the program but can do most of the moves less intensely and for less reps . . . still a great workout and because it works off your own bodies resistance (for the most part) it’s easy to do anywhere.

I even found an old workout on youtube that I used to do in highschool (for a brief period of time with my bestie Kim) I’ll leave you with that. 🙂

ENJOY! And know that truly, if I can do it – YOU CAN DO IT! Think how great it will feel in two weeks……….

 Posted by at 4:35 pm
Aug 162014

Ok, true confessions – I love me some big juicy beef burger. BUT, I also love my health so I’ve been experimenting with leaner meats and I’ve finally found my way to a fabulous chicken burger.  And lovin’ you all like I do — I have to share!

THIS was my lunch today. Chicken burger with kale, pickled peppers, and creamy lemon dill dressing on a toasted wheat bun. The dressing and pickled peppers offered a nice freshness and light tang that paired wonderfully with the deeper flavors of the meat and toasted wheat bun.


Isn’t that GORGEOUS!!!??

Tastes good and is good for you!

And trust me, this was NOT dry at all.  Chicken burgers have gotten a bad rap – this was juicy and full of flavor.

And noooooooooooo, it didn’t taste like a beef burger – it’s not supposed to – it’s CHICKEN!!

Its a great sandwich period.

Here is what I’ve learned:

#1 – Don’t mix it.

You heard me. Seriously. No mixing. Of anything.

Just ground chicken.

Gently shape it into a patty and let it rest. Too much handling ruins the texture of the grind. Grind is good – mush is bad. Remember that. 😉

And for goodness sakes – make sure it’s COMPLETELY at room temp before putting it in the pan. This ensures the fastest and most even cooking.

Before placing patties into the pan – sprinkle your seasonings on the outside.  Trust me, it will be alright.  The seasonings will stay on and they will have the slightest toast to them adding a nuttiness that is fabulous.

I like a mix of sage, celery salt, garlic, and thyme. But whatever your little taste buds desire is fine.

look at that………………YUM.

20140816_125644 #2. HOT pan.

That golden crustiness up there? Hot pan.

Make sure your pan is hot before you place those babies in there. Hot pan –  And just a touch of oil in there. AND LEAVE IT ALONE. Cook on one side until you see the meat is cooking up the sides of the patties,  then – leave it a bit longer – then flip.

I know you want to see what’s going on under there, but really, let the pan sear that burger so all the juice stays inside.

The top side (that you’ve already cooked) should have a lovely crunchy coat on it – YUM!

The top will begin to puff up as it cooks – resist the urge to push it down!  After you’ve bitten your nails a while, hopped back and forth foot to foot a bit, seriously questioned if something is wrong, come back and read this post – then, and only then can you gently push it down to ensure even browning (really – give it a few minutes to char a bit on the bottom so you don’t lose all the juices when you press! )


#3. The Toppings

Remember, we’re not trying to fool anyone here – this is a chicken burger – a delightful burger that deserves it’s own thang. So get creative – top it with my creamy lemon dill dressing,  pickled peppers, and kale — or whatever else makes your tastebuds tingle – – but PLEASE no plain mayo or the dreaded catsup.

Do that and you should have a fabulous chicken burger – juicy and full of flavor.


Fried Kale

After I removed the burgers from the pan I threw some fresh kale right in the same pan.



You’ll want to press it down with something – I used an extra fry pan and my jar of pickling peppers (but be careful if you use a jar – the heat will travel right up and through that pan!)





Just cook until it begins to smell a little toasted.

Creamy Lemon Dill Dressing

Place a couple of tablespons of mayonnaise in a bowl, add finely chopped lemon peel, a splash or two of the lemon’s juice, and dill to taste.  Mix well. (should be two servings)




Pickled Peppers

This is one of those ‘by sight’ and ‘to taste’ things – and actually, this used leftover ‘pickle’ from a jar of cucumbers I had pickled last week. Bascially a 16 oz mason jar full of vinegar and water with sugar to taste (think bread and butter pickles) to which I added sliced green peppers. Let them marinate for a day or two.

When you put it all together

20140816_130937 20140816_131324

Because I’m focused on increasing my fitness level right now I paired it with fresh grapes and a half a peach. The peach has some cinnamon sprinkled on it and this was SOOO good. 🙂

(The entire mean was roughly 550 calories according to my piecing it all together on My Fitness Pal. )

I’d LOVE to hear other chicken burger recipes – if you’ve got a favorite one, let us know in the comments below!