Friday, December 30, 2011

80--- Roasted Grapes for New Year's Eve

Ready for the easiest appetizer of all times that looks very classy and has a great story?  Behold:

The Spanish eat 12 grapes at midnight on New Year's to bring luck.  The goal is to consume all grapes before the last stroke of the clock.  Each grape represents one month, and if a grape is sour, that means there is a chance of that month being a bit rough.

Let's make sure we have no sour months.  Roasting grapes will bring out the sugar!  Cut them into sprigs of 12 for your guests and serve right before midnight with a slice of brie and some crackers.  The flavor actually morphs into an apple-like sweetness.

Good luck!

Roasted Grapes
Serves 8

Red grapes, thoroughly washed and cut into 8 sprigs of 12, dried on paper towels
Olive oil spray
Salt


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Place dry grape sprigs onto parchment paper, then lightly mist with olive oil.  Sprinkle lightly with salt.

Place baking sheets into oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, until skins are slightly crisp but insides are still juicy.  Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly prior to serving.

Place each sprig onto a small plate with cheese and crackers (if desired).  Serve a few minutes prior to midnight (with instructions for consumption).

Nutrition Info per 1 serving grapes: 24 calories, 0.5 g fat, 0.2 g protein, 4.7 g carbohydrates, 0.3 g fiber

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

80--- Tuna Tartare

Are you ready for a fancy-pancy appetizer that takes less than 10 minutes to make?  Tuna Tartare.  You must find a fake accent of some kind and stick your nose in the air when you say it.  Tuna tartare may sound really 5-star, but it is so simple and if you use the freshest ingredients, will please even the most un-distinguished palate.

Raw fish? Yes. But sushi-grade raw fish does not even taste the slightest bit fishy.  Or I would not eat it and THAT my friends is a guarantee.  I highly recommend purchasing from a reputable buyer (thank you Montana Fish Company) and using the tuna the same day.

I used a whole-grain mustard in this recipe that my friend, Heather, bought for me in London at Harrod's.  It is Christmas Mustard.  This is amazing.  Very mild, yet very good.

Tuna Tartare
Serves 6-8

4 oz sushi-grade ahi tuna steak, trimmed and sliced into 1/4" cubes
2 green onions, finely sliced
1/4 cup English cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
2 1/2 tsp whole grain mustard
1/4 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp mustard seeds OR sesame seeds (optional)
Sesame Rice Crackers

In a mixing bowl combine ahi cubes, green onion, and cucumber.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together mustard, soy sauce, lemon juice, pepper, and mustard or sesame seeds (if desired).  Gently fold mustard mixture into ahi mixture.  Refrigerate for one hour prior to serving (try to avoid making TOO far in advance for freshness sake).  Serve on rice crackers.

Nutrition Info per 2 Tbsp tartare and 2 rice crackers: 67 calories, 1 g fat, 5 g protein, 9 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 119 mg sodium

Monday, December 26, 2011

Here's an App for That!

Are you hosting for New Year's Eve? Or are you expected to bring something to maybe your husband's ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend's house (just speculating)?  How about something fab?!

Here is a little collection of some Eighty Twenty apps from 2011.  A few new ones are on the way. But until then....................












Saturday, December 24, 2011

80--- Napoleon Baked Eggs

Make your family these eggs on Christmas morning and they will forgive you for filling their stockings with underwear and socks.

It is speculated that pizza was invented in Naples, Italy.  The first pizza may have very well been a Margherita Pizza, named for Queen Margherita, and had components of tomato, basil, and mozzarella to resemble the colors of the Italian flag (hence: Napoleon Baked Eggs).

These are baked eggs with a margherita base layer.  It may very well be my new ultimate favorite meal (better than stuffing? yes).  When you bake the eggs the yolk stays soft, so when you dip toast points into them you get a creamy mixture of tomatoes, garlic, and basil along with your egg.  I once had an omelet at The Mill in Murrieta, California that had these components.... obviously a fond enough memory of mine to create my own dish!

Napoleon Baked Eggs
Serves 4

4 large eggs
2 roma tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
2 roma tomatoes, pureed in a food processor
10 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
4 cloves garlic, pressed and finely minced
2 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Combine tomatoes, tomato puree, basil, garlic, olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a bowl (can be made up to one day ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to use).  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spray individual ramekins with olive oil spray.  Spoon mixture evenly into the bottom of ramekins.  Crack one egg on top of margherita mixture.  Repeat with each ramekin.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese onto each egg, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place ramekins into a 9x13" baking dish filled halfway with water.  Place dish into oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until whites are set completely, leaving yolks runny.  Remove from oven and garnish with additional basil chiffonade.

Serve immediately with quarters of toasted English muffins for dipping.

Nutrition Info per 1 ramekin: 137 calories, 8 g fat, 9 g protein, 5 g carbohydrates, 1.5 g fiber

Friday, December 23, 2011

12 Tips of Christmas: #12 Write It Down


More about acupuncture for weight loss in the future.  In the meantime, this is FUNNY!
 Studies have shown that when you are trying to make improvements to your lifestyle and diet, writing down your intake and exercise can help you to stay on track.  Maybe it's the accountability, maybe it's the awareness, either way, there is something powerful about seeing in writing what is going on in your diet and physical activity.

It's hard to know where to start, if you truly do not know where you are to begin with.  I suggest if you are looking for some healthy changes in the New Year, start with where you are RIGHT NOW.  Maybe you will notice a pattern that needs some tweeking, or maybe you need to start from scratch.

You can keep track of your intake and exercise in a small notepad that fits in your purse or pocket, OR you can try one of these uber-helpful websites that have been Eighty Twenty approved:

(yes, there's also an app for that)
(and yes, there's also an app for that)
(Apple app, not Blackberry that I can find)

There are many many many others.  These are just a few that I have pre-screened for you.  They are FREE (websites, not apps- except for My Fitness Pal- both are free).  I have found that the biggest difference is the amount of "stuff" that you want to record, etc.  Spark People has the most, My Fitness Pal is the most basic, and Livestrong is somewhere in the middle.

Whether you want to make a minor or MAJOR change, keeping track will help you to stay focused on your goal! 

None of these websites have paid me to mention them.  Use at your own discretion.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

20--- Mulled Red Wine for Two

Also known as: Warm Spiced Wine or Glögg if you are Norwegian.  It's kind of like warm cider....but with a lovely adult twist.  This beverage is all kinds of holiday and happiness brewed together to warm your insides.

Just in case your holiday plans include cuddling up on the couch with your sugar plum like mine do...... this recipe is perfect for two (but can be doubled or quadrupled if you wish)!


Mulled Red Wine for Two
Serves 2.....duh

1/2 cup pomegranate juice
1 clementine or small tangerine, sliced into circles
3 cloves
2 star anise pods
2 cinnamon sticks
1 piece fresh ginger, peeled (one 1/4" slice)
2 oz Chambord
16 oz red wine of your choice

On the stovetop, heat pomegranate juice, clementine slices, cloves, star anise, cinnamon sticks and ginger over medium-high heat until boiling.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add Chambord and red wine, then reduce heat to very low.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Strain mixture and funnel into two serving glasses.  Garnish with a clementine slice and cinnamon stick, if desired.

Additional mixture can be refrigerated (strain before refrigerating), then rewarmed for serving.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

12 Tips of Christmas: #11 The Weekly Goal


Are you one of those people who get up on Sunday morning and say "I'm going to exercise for 60 minutes five days this week"?  I used to be one of you.  And then I would over-sleep, over-schedule, over-whatever myself by Tuesday, miss my workout, and then feel like a failure.  And THEN I would shrug and say "Oh well, I will try again next week", and SKIP the remainder of my workouts for the week because I was going to get a fresh start next week. 



Anyone with me here?  Self-sabotage?  Yes.  We were quite good friends.



Then I read up on some research that was compiled on exercise goals.  All of the articles discussed minutes per week as a goal.  Huh? But don't you have to exercise MOST days of the week for AT LEAST 30 minutes?  Well...... that would be the best plan.  However, if you cannot make that happen it appears that you will STILL have great health improvements by meeting a minutes per week goal.

So now....... I set a weekly goal (for myself and some of my clients).  Let's say your goal is 150 minutes per week.  You get in a 30 minute walk on Monday, then a 30 minute cycle class on Wednesday, then your week BLOWS UP and you do not get any additional exercise in.  And then it's Sunday.  YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE!  You still have 1 day (if your week begins on Monday like mine) to get in 90 minutes of exercise!  Do-able?  Yes! Ideal? Maybe not, but get it done anyhow.

I usually take Sundays off.  But if I haven't met my weekly goal by then, my hubby knows that he'd better get out his running shoes!

Recommended goals for moderate intensity physical activity:
150 minutes per week for health improvements
150-250 minutes to prevent weight gain or for modest weight loss with diet restriction
300 minutes or more per week for more significant weight loss or more significant training adaptations (depending on your goals)

Set a goal!

No excuses. No "outs".  Just do it (thank you Nike).  Whatever it is that you do.  With approval from your health care provider if exercise is new to you.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

20--- Holiday Pesto Pinwheel Rolls

If you are partaking in the 80/20 lifestyle, it is absolutely necessary that you make THESE one of your 20s.  You know me and pretty food. I'm all over it like ribbon on presents, like marshmallows on cocoa, like skis on snow.

Make your own pesto (see mine for Basil-Pecan Pesto below) or use store-bought!

Holiday Pesto Pinwheel Rolls
Makes ~28 rolls

Rolls
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees)
1 Tbsp white sugar
1 1/3 cup warm milk (110 degrees-- heat in microwave)
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 2/3 cups bread flour + more for rolling
1/2 tsp olive oil
1 egg
2 Tbsp milk

Basil Pecan Pesto
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
2 Tbsp olive oil
2/3 cup chopped pecans
1 cup Parmesan Romano cheese, shredded
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp salt

In large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water, then add sugar and let stand 5 minutes until yeast foams. Stir in the milk, butter, brown sugar, salt, and wheat flour. Add bread flour gradually and mix to make a stiff dough. Turn out onto lightly floured board and knead in remaining flour until dough is smooth, ~10 minutes. In another mixing bowl, place 1 tsp olive oil.  Place dough ball into bowl, and turn over to grease top. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, ~1 1/2 hours.

While dough is rising, combine pesto ingredients in a food processor and mix until a smooth puree is formed.  Place in refrigerator until ready to use. 

When dough has risen, punch dough down and divide into two pieces. On a lightly floured surface roll out each into a 1/4" thick rectangle. Spread pesto evenly onto each rectangle, being sure to get close to the edges. Roll dough tightly, lengthwise. Use a sharp knife to slice into 1 inch pieces and arrange on two lightly greased baking sheets, 1" apart. Let rise until doubled, ~1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Whisk together egg and milk.  Lightly brush the tops of each roll with egg wash.  Bake rolls on middle racks of oven until golden, 12 to 18 minutes.

Monday, December 19, 2011

12 Tips of Christmas: #10 Resistance Exercise

 According to the new position stand by the American College of Sports Medicine, healthy adults should perform resistance exercise (strength training) for each of the major muscle groups 2-3 times per week.  Translation: each muscle group should be worked 2-3 times per week.  Doing two days of arms and 1/2 a day of legs is not balanced (Honey Bun: I'm talking to you here).  You should always use proper form (ask a personal trainer at your gym for more instruction, and if your wife is a trainer it's OK to listen to her). 

Studies have shown that even a single set of exercises will help you to gain muscular strength and size, but two to four sets may show greater gains.  You do not need special equipment!  Use bands, dumbbells, soup cans, or even just your own body weight (ie: push-ups, squats, lunges).

Obviously, resistance exercises will make you stronger, and some hypertrophy (muscle enlargement or toning) may result, but what are the other benefits?  Yes, there are others.


Resistance exercise also effectively increases bone mass and bone strength of the specific bones stressed (the bones that your muscles are pulling on).  This may prevent, slow, or even reverse the loss of bone mass

Strength training may also prevent depression and anxiety, increase energy, and decrease fatigue.  Like intervals, resistance exercise may also help boost your metabolism for 1-12 hours after your workout!  It can also lower blood glucose levels through improved insulin sensitivity.

If you are new to resistance exercise, I recommend trying a fitness class that incorporates strength training at your local gym!  It is a great, safe way to learn new exercises, and make new friends.

Ladies out there: What will strength training NOT do? Make you HUGE! It's not in your genes so put that out of your mind completely.  It may give you some nice pretty feminine muscle definition..... nothing wrong with that, eh?

Photo: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/Bodybuilders-Through-the-Ages.html?c=y&page=7&navigation=thumb

Sunday, December 18, 2011

80--- Veggie Latkes with Apple Yogurt

I am not Jewish.  I actually only know two people who are.  Nevertheless, I am always wanting to expand my worldly view.  Here is a gastronomic introduction to Hanukkah!

Latkes are typically potato pancakes that are eaten during the Festival of Lights.  They are shallow-fried in oil and served with sour cream or applesauce (quite the debate as to which is best from what I have read).

Hanukkah begins Tuesday night at sunset-- so let's celebrate with some Veggie Latkes!  Obviously, these are non-traditional but I also enjoy making my own traditions. AND I combined the "sour cream" and applesauce for a little sweet & savory dipper.

Veggie Latkes
Makes ~24 medium-sized (3-4") latkes

1 head cauliflower, trimmed and steamed
1 small white onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, finely grated
1 1/2 cups packed fresh baby spinach leaves, finely chopped
2 1/2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mash to mix.  Spoon 3/4 of mixture into a food processor and puree until smooth (but not overly-pureed).  Place puree back into bowl and mix into remaining 1/4 of ingredient combination.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat (prepare with cooking spray if desired).  Place 2 Tbsp batter into pan (may cook multiple at the same time, depending on the size of your pan) and press into a circle.  Cook 3-4 minutes on each side, flip and cook on other side until lightly brown and cake-like.  Remove from pan and serve hot.  You may place them on a baking sheet in an oven heated to 200 degrees while remaining latkes cook.

Apple Yogurt
10 oz low fat Greek Yogurt
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp honey

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and serve!


Nutrition Info per 4 latkes with 1/4 cup apple yogurt: 107 calories, 2 g fat, 9 g protein, 12 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 198 mg sodium

Saturday, December 17, 2011

12 Tips of Christmas: #9 Eat a Rainbow

This is Rainbow Chard.  Pretty, huh? I doubt that I will
ever be able to find it here in Montana, so I guess I had
better grow some next year!


What's the best vegetable to eat?  All of them.

The phytonutrients, and therefore the benefits, of certain fruits and vegetables are often associated with color!  Here is a breakdown of SOME of the nutrients found in these colorful foods:



White

Foods: Cauliflower, garlic, pears, turnips, onions
Nutrients: Quercetin & allicin
Function: Healthy bones, support arterial function, promote cardiovascular health

Yellow Orange

Foods: Pineapple, lemon, yams, apricots, carrots, mangoes, chickpeas, yellow pepper
Nutrients: Carotenoids and bioflavonoids
Function: Skin hydration, immune function, eye and heart health

Red

Foods: Pink grapefruit, tomatoes, cranberries, red cabbage
Nutrients: Lycopene and ellagic acid, antioxidant compounds
Function: Heart health, memory function, protect your blood vessels, cartilage, tendons and ligaments from damage, urinary tract health

Green

Foods: Spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, asparagus, green beans, kiwi, zucchini
Nutrients: Calcium, lutein, carotenoids, and bioflavonoids
Function: Visual health, antioxidants, strong bones

Blue Purple

Foods: Prunes, eggplant, grapes, beets, red cabbage, blackberries, blueberries
Nutrients: Resveratrol
Function: Heart health, anti-inflammatory, memory function


So you see, there is not just one "best" vegetable.  They are all great!  Eat a variety for outstanding health benefits! 

Friday, December 16, 2011

80(ish)--- Sugar Plums

They only look like meatballs.....
The Sugar Plum Fairy.......While visions of sugar plums danced in their heads

Sugar plums sure get a lot of attention around the holidays.  But what is a sugar plum?

These sweet treats are old-world confections make with a combination of pureed dried fruits (plums and others) and nuts, rolled into a ball and coated with sugar.  I found many different recipes on the NPR website and then took the liberty of making my own version with things that I had sitting in my cupboards. 

Christmas bonus: No cooking is required! I'm sure that Santa would enjoy a healthier treat when he visits your house this year!

Sugar Plums
Makes ~14

1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup apple juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
Dash ground allspice
Dash ground cloves
1/4 cup chopped pitted dates
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup dried apricots
1/4 cup chopped pitted prunes
2 Tbsp dried unsweetened coconut
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp powdered sugar
1 Tbsp finely crushed pistachios

Place walnuts and apple juice into a small bowl.  Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours, until slightly softened.  Drain apple juice and place walnuts into a food processor.  Add spices, zest, lemon juice, dried fruits, honey and coconut.  Mix until a puree is formed.

Combine powdered sugar and crushed pistachios in a bowl and mix until evenly distributed.

Remove ~1 Tbsp fruit mixture and roll into a small ball.  Place on waxed paper.  Repeat with remaining mixture.  With clean hands, roll each ball in sugar mixture, then roll in hands to evenly coat.  Place onto a plate.  Repeat with all balls.

Refrigerate sugar plums for ~1 hour prior to serving.  Store in refrigerator.


Nutrition Info per 1 ball: 78 calories, 3 g fat, 2 g protein, 9 g carbohydrates, 1.5 g fiber

Thursday, December 15, 2011

12 Tips of Christmas: #8 Supplements

It is my professional opinion that with a balanced diet you can consume all of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that your body needs without taking a supplement.  Unless you have a condition which inhibits the absorption of a certain nutrient or you avoid a food or group of foods that provides you with a substance.

Our bodies are fantastic machines that for the most part operate flawlessly.  However, now that our culture has turned to a faster-paced, convenience-based way of life, we may not always make the best food choices to aid our bodies' operations. 

If your deficiency suspicions are supported by some lab work  (ie: iron panel or vitamin D test, etc), then yes take a supplement.  But popping pills just because it may be a good idea?  Maybe not. 

My point is...............you should be able to get all of the vitamins, minerals, etc that you need from your food (see conditions above).  However, is it wrong to take a daily multivitamin
just to cover your bases?  No.  It will not hurt you.  But it should NOT be used as a replacement for food nutrients.  Research has shown that the vitamins and minerals we obtain from food sources are more readily absorbed and have greater antioxidant actions than those we consume from supplements.  There is not magic antioxidant potion, lotion, juice or pill that can cure all of your ails.  But I truly believe that food can.

Try a balanced diet!  Nothing can replace that.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

80--- Breakfast Farro with Dates & Walnuts

My plan is to completely bombard you with new whole grains.  Look out!

Meet Farro. Farro is a simple whole grain with twice the fiber and protein of wheat.  It is able to be grown in poor soil and has a nutty texture when cooked.  I found mine in the bulk bins of my local specialty grocery.

I whipped some up for breakfast for a tasty, nutritious and filling meal!

Breakfast Farro with Dates & Walnuts
Serves 2

1/2 cup farro
2 cups water
1/4 cup pitted dates, chopped
2 tsp brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Stir in farro and return to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 40 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Stir frequently during cooking.

Nutrition Info per 1 cup: 326 calories, 9 g fat, 11 g protein, 52 g carbohydrates, 7 g fiber

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

12 Tips of Christmas: #7 Breakfast

Looks like a lovely place to have some breakfast!
This is the most important thing that I tell my patients and clients.  And I tell them often.  You MUST eat breakfast!  Everyday!  And make it a good, substantial breakfast.  And if you can't make it good and substantial at least make it SOMETHING.  Anything.  Some things are better than other things, but all somethings are better than nothing.

Breakfast is your metabolism's call to war after hiding out for the past 8-12 hours.  It provides your brain with the always important carbohydrates that it needs to operate.  This first meal will set the tone for your meal habits for the rest of the day, and it will help to control your appetite!  Skipping breakfast may cause increased hunger at your future meals of the day, possibly causing poor choices and extreme portions.

High fiber meals with some protein and healthy fats make great choices for breakfast!  This will fill you up, stick with you until lunch, and slowly digest to release energy throughout your morning.  I LOVE oatmeal or other whole grain cereals.  My fallback? Plain organic yogurt with Kashi and berries.  Experiment and find YOUR staple breakfast, something that satisfies you and meets your nutritional needs, then make variations every now and then to prevent boredom.

Breakfast is a lovely meal.  Enjoy it!  Your body and your brain will thank you.

Monday, December 12, 2011

20--- Cranberry Thyme Shortbread Slice Cookies

Would you like to serve your guests highly addictive, not overly-sweet, interesting little morsels this holiday?  This is your recipe.

Herbs in cookies? Seems odd, but it is so tasty.  You MUST try them!  Store the dough in the freezer for up to 3 months or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days prior to baking.  How easy is that?

Cranberry Thyme Shortbread Slice Cookies
Makes 4 dozen

1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
2/3 cup powdered sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp pure vanilla extract (almond works too)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped finely
2 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup fine granulated sugar

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with a handheld mixer until smooth.  Add powdered sugar and continue mixing until smooth.  Beat in egg yolks, dried cranberries, thyme and lemon zest.  Gradually add flour and continue beating, just until flour is mixed in.

Form half of dough into a ball, then cover with plastic wrap.  Repeat with remaining half and refrigerate dough balls for 30 minutes.

Roll each chilled dough ball into two uniform logs, roughly 1 1/2" thick and 12" long.  Refrigerate for one hour (or until ready to bake).

When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove logs from refrigerator and roll each in granulated sugar.  Use a very sharp knife to slice each log into cookies 1/2" thick and place each cookie onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet (note: cookies do not spread very much during baking).

Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, until they are set but not brown.  Remove from oven and immediately transfer to a wire rack to cool. 

Store in an airtight container.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

12 Tips of Christmas: #6 Intervals

Intervals have recently received a lot of attention due to new research.  This research has shown that cardiovascular interval training can increase calorie expenditure and fat loss.  This exercise format may also help to increase your endurance capacity.  Intervals will also help to boost your metabolism throughout the rest of the day!  AND it's fun! 

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has been the focus of several fitness fads, such as the Insanity workouts.  Exercises are continued for 30-60 second intervals, and are followed by rest, then repeated.  The recovery time varies between 60 and 10 seconds (depending on format, ie: 3:1, 2:1 or 1:1).  These intervals are repeated throughout the entire workout.

These intervals can be done during your walk or run, on a trail or treadmill (speed or hill climbs), on a cycle or other piece of cardiovascular fitness equipment or with plyometric total body exercises (see your local gym schedule or personal trainer for ideas).  Simply up your speed or resistance for 30-60 seconds, then bring it back to a lower moderate intensity for 10-60 seconds.  Repeat for 30 minutes.

Intervals can be really difficult but they make time fly!  This is the only way that I can get through a treadmill workout!

 Make sure that you warm up properly and check with your health care provider if you have an injury or other condition that may not allow you to exercise.

So go get your interval on!

Photo courtesy of Sauce Headwear and Carlie Breen Photography.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

80--- Christmas Kamut with Pomegranate Seeds & Peas


Kamut, also known as Khorasan wheat, is a whole grain with high protein, vitamin, and mineral content.  It's texture is chewy, and it has a nutty flavor, making it a wonderful addition to soups and salads.  It DOES contain gluten.

This salad is not only tasty but pretty.  That's essential for the holidays, isn't it?

This grain does take a while to cook, which allows you time for other holiday chores, like wrapping, online shopping, decorating............

Christmas Kamut with Pomegranate Seeds & Peas
Serves 6

1 cup kamut (I found mine in the bulk section)
3 cups water
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp pomegranate juice
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 cup peas, cooked
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/4 cup pine nuts
2-3 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1 cup pomegranate seeds

In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil, then stir in kamut.  Return to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 75-90 minutes, or until all water is absorbed and grains are tender, but still chewy.  Place kamut into a bowl and refrigerate for one hour.

While kamut is chilling, place olive oil, pomegranate juice, dijon mustard, garlic powder, salt, and vinegar into a glass jar.  Shake to mix, set aside.

When kamut has chilled, stir in green onion, peas, pine nuts, and pomegranate seeds.  Add dressing and toss to coat.  Gently fold in crumbled feta.  Place salad in refrigerator for at least one hour prior to serving.

Nutrition Info per ~1 cup: 244 calories, 9.5 g fat, 9 g protein, 30 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber

Friday, December 9, 2011

12 Tips of Christmas: #5 Put it on a Plate


If you are a snacker, you probably know it.  But when does snacking actually turn into grazing? What's the difference?  Well, snacking is having a small meal between meals when you are actually hungry.  Grazing is eating small amounts all day long, possibly due to cravings, boredom, stress, some hunger, etc.

Snacking may be a good idea.  It will give you that little energy boost in between meals.  Grazing, however, may actually cause you to consume MORE calories than you would by eating regular meals.   Eating little amounts all day long may never trigger your satiety cues, leading you to constantly feel like you are hungry.

So what do you do if you ARE a grazer?  I say "Put it on a Plate".  Make an occasion out of eating.  When it is placed in front of you on a plate, your portion may appear larger than if it was something that simply traveled from the bag to your mouth via your hand.  Putting it on a plate may also cause you to think before you eat.  What is the reason why you are eating?  Hunger should be your answer (there are exceptions).

To get out of the habit of grazing, try having three basic meals.  Make them balanced, then assess your HUNGER between meals.  If you are hungry, try a small snack AND...............put it on a plate.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

80--- Roasted Curried Chickpeas

Who knew that you could toss garbanzo beans with a little olive oil and your favorite spices and you would get such a tasty, gluten-free, high fiber and filling snack?

Make your own spice combo and give these babies a try!  They are a lovely party snack, and also a terrific gift!

Roasted Curried Chickpeas
Serves 5-6

1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained, rinsed, and dried (lay out on a paper towel to dry)
2 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp yellow curry powder, divided
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground ginger

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Make sure that chickpeas are completely dried, then place into a mixing bowl.  Add olive oil, 1 tsp curry powder, garam masala, 1/4 tsp salt, garlic powder, paprika, and ground ginger.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (for easy clean-up) and spray lightly with olive oil spray.  Spread chickpeas evenly onto foil.  Bake for 30-45 minutes, turning peas halfway through cooking (those closest to the edge of the pan will cook fastest).  Remove from oven with chickpeas are crispy and lightly browned.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 tsp curry powder and 1/4 tsp salt.  Allow to cool prior to serving.

Store in an airtight container.

Nutrition Info per ~1/4 cup: 119 calories, 2.5 g fat, 4 g protein, 16 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

12 Tips of Christmas: #4 Meat


What a handsome man with such a tiny fish!

If you have read The China Study or watched Forks over Knives you already know where I am going with this.  Plant-based diets may be the fo-shizzle as far as healthy diets are concerned.  The research behind these diets cannot be ignored.  Even more so, the research does not have a financial interest behind it.  Who would benefit financially from us eating more plants?  The broccoli farmers? They certainly do not have the Benjamins to back research of this caliber.

The research suggests that consuming higher amounts of animal proteins may "turn on" cancer production while consuming fewer will "turn off" the same trigger.  Animal proteins are the major source of saturated fats and dietary cholesterol (only source) in our diets.  Therefore, reducing the amount consumed will also benefit our hearts and cardiovascular systems.

Plant foods contain more vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients than other more calorie-dense foods.  Therefore, by eating the same amount of calories of fruits, vegetables, grains, beans and legumes as you would of meats, dairy and other processed foods will provide you with more viable nutrients.

We typically consume meats as a source of protein in our diets.  However, reaching your protein needs for the day is achievable through eating only plant-based foods (tofu may not even be required).  Vegetables, grains, beans and legumes are sources of protein too!  Most Americans consume significantly more protein than they need anyway (even most athletes do too).

Another little fun fact that I heard on The Today Show (yes, very reliable source): if everyone on earth consumed a plant-based diet, no one would go hungry.  So much of the food that is produced goes to feed animals that calorie for calorie, we would have MORE food if we did not use our crops and farmland to feed livestock.

I'm not saying NEVER eat meat.  But if you do one thing for your health, just try to consume more fruits, vegetables and other plants and a little bit less meat.  Try to not base your meals solely on your protein, but think about your "sides" as your focus. 

Remember that moderation is the key to everything. LIFE IS ALL ABOUT BALANCE. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

80--- Chimichurri Butter Bean Salad

Chimichurri sauce would be spectacular on anything, both edible and inedible.  It is a puree made from a variety of herbs and spices, and is most typically served atop steak or chicken. 

Butter beans are a variety of Lima bean that serve as a wonderful meat substitute.  The combination of chimichurri and butter beans is spectacular (and very healthy).  Protein and fiber will fill you up without killing your daily calorie budget.

Chimichurri Butter Bean Salad
Serves 4-5

CHIMICHURRI
1 bunch parsley leaves
2 cloves garlic, pressed and minced
5 large fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp water
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp fresh ground black peper
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp capers
1 Tbsp lemon juice

SALAD
2 cans butter beans, drained and rinsed
3 Tbsp capers
1 roasted red pepper, blotted dry and chopped
2 ounces sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped

FOR CHIMICHURRI
Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor and mix until a smooth puree is formed.

FOR SALAD
Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Add chimichurri and toss to coat.  Serve immediately or chill prior to serving if desired.

Nutrition Info per ~1 cup: 270 calories, 6 g fat, 13 g protein, 33 g carbohydrates, 12 g fiber

Monday, December 5, 2011

12 Tips of Christmas: #3 Meal Planning

"What's for dinner?"

As a food blogger with two other jobs, I must meal plan.  If I don't plan we don't eat and I don't blog.  Meal planning can benefit you as well!  Take 20 minutes one day per week and sit down and write out a meal plan (mine is actually on my Blackberry so it is with me always).  Get your family's input (or not).  I know people who like to plan on Wednesdays when the grocery ads come out in the paper.  They then base their choices on the sales that week.

Planning your meals can help you to make healthier choices.  Keep in mind that leftovers can be used for additional meals, and incorporate them into breakfasts, lunches, or additional dinners.  Also include whole grains, fruits and vegetables in your planning.  Make your meals realistic! If you do not get home on Tuesdays until 6:30pm, what are the chances of you making beef wellington?

Find the recipes that you will use and make your grocery list based on your plan!  Also include items for planned snacks and beverages.

When using your list at store, don't be swayed by the "extras" that are not on your list!  This will help to eliminate unnecesary snacks and "junk" from loading up your cupboards and it will also save you money!!

Knowing what your dinner plan is and having those grocery items on hand will help to save you time at the end of the day..... and maybe even enough time to fit in some exercise or more family time!

So what are YOU having for dinner tomorrow?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

20---Sassy Mule

The holidays are here!  Time to get together with my homegirls and mix up some tasty beverages!


This is Jack.  He is my friend Heather's miniature donkey.  Yes, I realize that this post is about Mules.  And yes, I know that donkeys and mules are different.  But he's just so darn CUTE!

A Moscow mule is a beverage of vodka and ginger beer created in the 1940s.  It is typically served in a copper mug, but it is not necessary (this is argued by some).  A mule is tasty on it's own, but I thought that I would dress it up a bit for the holidays.  Now it is outstanding.

Sassy Mule
Serves 1

1 1/2 ounces (one shot) vodka infused with ginger and limes (optional: see below)
2 ounces pomegranate juice
1 ounce lime juice
4 ounces ginger beer (I used Cock 'n Bull)
2 fresh basil leaves
Ice
Pomegranate seeds

For infused vodka: One week prior to serving, place 1/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and sliced, and one sliced lime into a 1 liter glass container.  Add vodka (80 proof is best) and place in refrigerator to infuse.

For beverage: add basil leaves and vodka to a shaker.  Muddle basil leaves with a muddler (the fat end of mixing spoon works well also).  Add a few ice cubes, pomegranate juice, and lime juice to the shaker.  Shake until combined and chilled.  Pour through strainer into a serving glass containing 3-4 ice cubes.  Top with ginger beer and stir gently.  Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and garnish with fresh basil, if desired. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

12 Tips of Christmas: #2 Move to the Music

Time to drop a beat, yo!

According to an article in The Sport Journal, "Research has consistently shown that the synchronization of music with repetitive exercise is associated with increased levels of work output. This applies to such activities as rowing, cycling, cross-country skiing, and running. Musical tempo can regulate movement and thus prolong performance. Synchronizing movements with music also enables athletes to perform more efficiently, again resulting in greater endurance."

Music is a wonderful motivator!

Here is how to find your tempo:


1. Load your portable music device with high energy tunes (some of my faves include "Moves like Jagger" by Maroon 5 (128bpm), "Glad You Came -Remixes" (127 bpm) by The Wanted, and "We Found Love" by Rhianna (128 bpm)). Hmmm. My running tempo must be 127-128 bpm.

2. Play your music during your activity, whatever it is.  Walking, running, biking, dancing, etc, so on and so forth.  Find a tune that matches your tempo (maybe a wee bit faster for a challenge).

3. Into your Google search engine (I heart Google), type the name of the song and "tempo".  Somewhere on the world wide web there is information on the BPMs (beats per minute) of that song. 

4.  NOW- using Google type in the number of BPMs and "song list".  Other people who also use the world wide web have posted song lists that match your beat. 

5.  Download the listed songs and POOF! you have a workout mix that will keep you motivated, and maybe make you move a little faster.

Friday, December 2, 2011

80--- Skillet Ratatouille with Parmesan Polenta


Are you exhausted from Thanksgiving cooking? And cleaning? And leftover usage?  How about a nice, simple vegetarian meal?

Skillet Ratatouille
Serves 4

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 eggplant, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
8 oz fresh button mushrooms, chopped
4 cloves garlic, pressed and minced
1 zucchini, cut into 1" cubes
1 yellow squash, cut into 1" cubes
1 red onion, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
24 oz cherry tomatoes
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
1/2 cup fresh basil chiffonade
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large ovensafe skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add garlic, and onions and cook until softened, ~ 5 minutes.   Pour in wine and broth and heat to a simmer.  Add eggplant, squash, zucchini, mushrooms, basil, thyme and red pepper.  Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for ~15 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir in cherry tomatoes, salt and pepper, then place skillet into oven and cook for 20 minutes uncovered, until tomatoes are soft.

Parmesan Polenta
2 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, shredded


In a large saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, and saute for 1 to 2 minutes, making sure the garlic does not burn.

Turn the heat up to high, add the broth and bring to a boil. Gradually add the cornmeal while continually whisking. Once you have added all of the cornmeal, reduce heat to low and simmer. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring every 3-4 minutes to prevent lumps. Stir in parmesan ~2 minutes prior to serving.

To Serve:
Add 1/2 cup polenta to a bowl and top with 1 cup ratatouille.  Garnish with shredded Parmesan if desired.
Nutrition Info per 1/2 cup polenta with 1 cup ratatouille: 261 calories, 9 g fat, 13 g protein, 24 g carbohydrates, 7 g fiber, 390 mg sodium

Thursday, December 1, 2011

12 Tips of Christmas: #1 Beverages

I realize that I have been shorting you on Tips lately (previously Nutrition Tips- now will contain some exercise tips as well).  I've just had so many good recipes to share!

So...... Now presenting (drum roll).... the 12 Tips of Christmas!  Wish me luck- here we go!

#1  Beverages

The holidays provide joy, cheer, generosity, friends, family, pretty lights, booze, & sugar.  There may be a few other things that I am leaving out, but I think I covered the bases.

Festive parties can let liquid calories slip right in.  And guess what? You may never realize they were there.  Liquids do not cue to same satiety triggers that whole foods do.  Eggnog, cider, hot cocoa, peppermint martinis, and mulled wine can truly add up in calories and sugar.  Additionally, alcohol may lower your inhibitions, making you more likely to make poor eating choices.

Remember that life is all about balance (as we like to say here at Eighty Twenty).  Moderation is the key to the holidays!  Treat your sweet beverages like you would dessert-- savour them (maybe replace your dessert with them if you choose). 

Just be conscious of your slurping, sipping, guzzeling, chugging, gulping, swigging, etc.  Do you get where I'm going/ hear what I'm sayin'/grabbin' what I'm blabbin'?

Cheers to dat.