Friday, December 03, 2010
Andre, my BodyPump / BodyCombat instructor, asked me on Wednesday night if we could work out a deal: I give him English lessons, and he will do a couple of personal training sessions for me for free. =) Me be likin' this idea!
For one thing, I would really like to tone up more here and there. I mean, I don't really need to drop more weight - at 5'5'' and 123 lbs, I think I am thin enough. And my cardio is right on - I really can't do any more than I am doing, training for a marathon! But I still have skin flab on my lower abdomen from my MASSIVE belly I had during my twins pregnancy (I might just add, "MASSIVE" is an understatement). Not to mention, my derriere could certainly use some work... Everything seems to sag more and more these days. That, and I have done a lot of reading about runners' injuries, and am finding more and more reasons to do ST, and make sure your core and other muscles are very strong.
So, I am thinking, I will try to take him up on the offer, if we can work out a good arrangement that fits in our schedules. Fun, fun!
Just for some back up, I have already ordered several workout videos that I am hoping I can work in - Jillian Micheals Yogo Meltdown, 6-Week Abs, and Shred It with Weights, as well as Jackie's Xtreme Time-Saver Training... My sister will be forwarding those on to me over here in Germany in the next couple of weeks.
Definitely looking forward to putting a little more emphasis on some ST!
Thursday, December 02, 2010
I had an awesome 7-mile run this morning through the falling snow (SOOOO beautiful, btw), and seemed to be feeling fine. Got my day going, started my housework, no problem.
Then after lunch, my tummy starts feeling really weird. Not horribly painful, but slight cramping. I start feeling a little weak and out of it, so I laid down and took a nap for about an hour. Got up, and certainly did NOT feel better. I felt so queasy, I thought for sure I was going to throw up... But nothing has happened.... yet. I'm definitely not ok, though. Shouldn't surprise me, though - all my kids have had a little funk this last week.
I'm just glad tomorrow is a rest day. Hoping I'll be back up and running for my date on Saturday with Mr. Long-run. For now, I'm gettin' to bed early (early being 8:15!), drinking lots of tea and water, and hoping I kick whatever this is within the next 24 hours.
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Last night, I went to my cooking class, all excited to see what we were going to make! Usually we do a 3-course meal - an appetizer, main course, and desert... or two. We are trying to cover all the main forms of dough that the Germans use, so sometimes we do 2 different deserts... not so good for the diet, but we don't make enough for everyone to pig out.
My teacher starts to explain what we are going to do, and I was a little disappointed - we were going to work on setting up a cold breakfast buffet, like something you would see at a hotel or something. Germans typically eat bread rolls for breakfast, topped with different things like meat and cheese, Nutella, things like that. So we were going to work on arranging a meat and cheese platter, and arranging the buffet the proper way.
But THEN she pulled out some recipes - we were going to make granola!! And home-made Nutella!! And a few salad-type dishes, for instance, one with parma-schinken, (not sure what that is called in English) mozarella, tomatoes, and fresh basil. Plus a large fruit salad, to go with the granola cereal - that's how Germans like it - and a milky sauce to go with the granola and fruit salad.
My friend and I called for the granola, and I was dying to try to make the nut-cream, or homemade Nutella. First we started with the granola - oatmeal flakes, chopped almonds, chopped hazelnuts, cocoanut flakes, and a few other things. And then you just grill it in a pan, with just a little oil and honey! Then add the raisins later after it cools. SO EASY!! And you skip all the junk they put in the store-bought stuff!
Then I tried to make the nut-cream. We had some ground up hazelnuts, so I used that, plus some honey, cocoapowder, and butter. I used a small hand mixer to try and puree it up really fine. Well, 'really fine' didn't really happen, but it was still YUMMY! I brought the left overs home to my hubby, and had him try it - he LOVES Nutella... a true German - and he REALLY liked it!
Anyway, I am SOOOOOO gonna start making my own cereal from now on! It's so easy, and so much cheaper to buy the separate ingredients and make it yourself! My son loves cereal, but I hate buying it, because the stuff I think is healthy is always so expensive.... NOT ANY MORE! He already tells me I am the world's BEST cook ever! Now he will idolize me even more! HAHA
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
I love cooking, and I think I always had an interest in it, especially in making things that were truly homemade, no boxes, no mixes, no canned pre-made sauces, but really homemade. But if you would have asked me 10 years ago if I had any interest in owning my own cafe, I would have said emphatically, "No!" Even further off was the idea that I might be good at event planning! I see myself as a total scatter brain, and quite unorganized. I have never been good at planning anything, even a party for myself!
But a couple of years ago, I started doing a whole foods, everything-made-from-scratch diet. I started cooking all sorts of new things, new dishes with new vegetables I'd never heard of, all sorts of different ethnic dishes, and loved it! Eating at home became so much more exciting, and eating out has nearly lost all appeal. Then I started dreaming a bit (I'm a HUGE dreamer!), and thinking that I'd really like to maybe have my own whole foods cafe one day.
Last February, I was asked if I were interested in cooking for our church banquet for approximately 120 people. My friend, who had been part of the events planning in the past, promised she'd help me plan it, that I just needed to be in charge of the cooking. Well, I had no experience, I mean ZERO, with this sort of thing, but I agreed. It went AWESOME! I loved every minute of it, cooking and putting my heart into it for those people!
Then I decided to find out how I might be able to gain the schooling and training to legally one day have my own cafe, because here in Germany, it's all about having the right piece of paper! I asked around, and found that learning home economics was a great way, and seemed most practical for me since I would not only learn the proper food prep and handling guidelines, and cooking for large numbers of people, but also learn practical housekeeping and all sorts of things that will help me now as a housewife and mother.... Planning and preparing for my dream, AND doing something to help me with my present "job"... Can't go wrong! So, I'm currently studying home economics... We have class tonight and will be cooking! Can't wait!
In addition to starting school, I volunteered to take over the event planning at my church for the 4 main food/celebration events each year.
One of those is what we call Adventskaffee, a celebration on the 4th Sunday out from Christmas - which was this past Sunday - and we celebrate by having a really Christmasy get together with coffee and cake. We set up a banquet-type hall, decorate, and people bring their cakes. This was the first event that the planning was really on me. My friend (the same one who asked me if I wanted to cook) gave me huge tips on what to consider, but let me make all the decisions. Plus I had a huge part in the actual decorations, which I have NEVER thought I was good at!! But I'm finding creativity that I never knew I possessed! I also hand wrote cards for each table in calligraphy writing with Christmasy Bible verses on them - "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given..." and so on, and a couple verses from
Luke too. I bought some really pretty napkins, and folded them all neatly and set them at each place. I had so much fun doing it, I only wish I'd taken pictures!! It was all a huge hit. I got tons of positive feedback about how everything looked, and how it was set up. Of course there were a few things I needed to do differently, but I'll know for next time. One of my good friends also told me she could totally see me having my own cafe one day!! Of course she knows that's my dream, so she might've just said it to be nice.
I don't know where all of this will take me. I don't know if the doors will open up for me to have a cafe or event-planning/ catering business, but I'm glad I have the opportunity to try new things, and find new strengths I never knew existed in me! Seriously, if you would have told me I could plan something like this, decorations and all, and pull it off, I would have laughed in your face!! Haha!
Monday, November 29, 2010
When it comes to eating healthy, sometimes we moms feel like we are all alone. Our husbands could care less how many calories are in the food, and whether or not they ever eat a vegetable. And the kids are just darn picky. But I have discovered, particularly in the last 2 years, that we as moms have a LOT of influence when it comes to what our families eat. If we take a little time to try new things out and be creative with what we make, we may find our family eating healthy right along with us.
I was a single mom (actually going through a divorce from his father) when my son Mikah was born. I was trying to do the best I could do making a future on my own, so I was working full time along with taking full time evening classes toward a degree in business. So, I put simply - I WAS BUSY!! I liked cooking, but simply didn't have the time. When I did cook, it tended to be easy stuff that was already pretty much made, like frozen ravioli with canned pasta sauce. I would make grilled chicken and veggies now and then. But I was not very health conscientious, so I remember hitting the drivethru at the nearby Wendys, McDonalds, or whatever for me and my son pretty frequently.
So, when he was 3 and 4, it shouldn't have surprised me that if I put ANYTHING in front of him that was not pasta, pizza, or chicken nuggets, he would NOT eat it! When he was 4, he started going to a pre-school where he ate lunch with them. It was a good variety, and he slowly, very slowly started eating more things, but was STILL super picky.
Today? Totally different story. I made a huge 6-serving "salad" made from just red bell peppers, mushrooms, and a little bit of grated carrot, tossed in a home-made dressing on Friday. He wolfed at least 4 servings down, and told me it was so delicious, he couldn't wait until I made it again!!! He is less picky than I WAS when I was his age!!
What made the difference? Me, I think. A couple of years ago, I started a whole-foods diet, both to lose weight and just to be healthier, and I started following a meal plan with all sorts of new recipes, making everything from scratch, and using more vegetables probably within the last 2 years, than I have in the whole 28 years prior!! At the same time through the last 2 years, Mikah has DRASTICALLY become more open to different foods, and tries almost anything. He loves when I make anything with bell peppers and mushrooms (hence, the reason I made that salad when I came across the recipe), and practically BEGS me if he can munch on them raw. I NEVER saw it coming!
So, here are a few things I think that help, if you have a family of picky eaters like mine:
1. BE POSITIVE! Make new things, taste test it first, and make ALL SORTS of "yummy" noises! Seriously, I think this is highly influential. =)
2. Make it taste good. If you wouldn't want to eat some bland, plain vegetables, then don't expect the kids to want them. Try different things, season it up. Check out recipe books, even ones geared for kids, and get ideas. Find out what suits your kids' taste, and do it.
3. If at first they don't seem to be psyched about them, try, try again. Many times, kids have to try things multiple times before they develop a taste for it. I saw this as a kid myself - I hated, I mean, DETESTED lima beans, but was required to eat them, at least a little portion. I had to wash them down with water, I hated them so bad. And then, it was almost from one day to the next, all of the sudden, they tasted GREAT to me! You can try again, and season it differently, or combine it with something else... be creative, but don't give up.
4. Serve the veggies first, as the "appetizer." I got this tip from a magazine, and thought it was great. Kids are more likely to eat it/them if they are really hungry.
5. Let your kids participate in meal prep. I also read this one in a magazine, and found it particularly true with my own family. When your kids get to see what all goes into the meal, and be a part of it, like helping wash the veggies or toss them into the pot, they are much more likely to want to taste their "own handiwork."
6. If worst comes to worst, hide the veggies. When I make spaghetti meat sauce, I sometimes grate up carrots, zucchini, and other veggies, and sautee it with my beef. This adds a great deal of flavor, but they are disguised by the tomato sauce! My kids really like it that way.
7. Be somewhat insistent with the veggies. I know some parents don't want to force their kids to eat, but maybe have a minimum requirement of what they have to eat, and reward them when they do it.
I am sure there are other ideas and tricks out there, but these are some that I feel have made a difference with my family. Hope this might help some other mommies out there...
BTW, my hubby is also eating way better these days. He is like a big kid, and doesn't "like" veggies, and never eats fruit. When we met, he was all about pizza, burgers, chicken nuggets (sounds just like my son!), and he was a total Coke-aholic. But in the last 2 years, I have found some recipes for dishes with LOTS of veggies, which have now become some of his favorite dishes - a chicken vegetable stir fry, tuscan chicken, a Italien zucchini skillit (side dish), things like that. So, it IS POSSIBLE!
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