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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Win It Wednesday - Passport To Prana

While in New York over the weekend for the Fancy Food Show and meetings for the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival I was able to sneak in a couple of really great workouts.  Before leaving for the Big Apple, I received a Passport To Prana card by the company to try out during my visit. 

Passport To Prana allows you to Explore the World of Yoga at some of the best studios in cities such as New York, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Dallas and Philadelphia, and soon in San Diego, Atlanta, Boulder, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, Portland, Seattle, Washington and Denver. 

For this week's Win It Wednesday, we are giving one person their very own Passport To Prana card!
Your Passport to Prana entitles you to one yoga class at each of the participating yoga studios in the city of your choice. 

The Passport To Prana card retails for $30, which is an incredible value and opportunity to test out a wide range of studios, hopefully finding one that you will want to continue your practice.  


My Passport to Prana moment took me to Exhale Mind Body Spa by Central Park. 



I called the studio about an hour before a Core Fusion class was to begin and easily got signed in and directions to the location.  After registering my Prana card online, I popped in a cab and headed for class.  I didn't take enough care when reading the class description (I think I was just too excited to go), and realized once I arrived that I had signed up for something a little more than yoga:
Fusing the disciplines of core conditioning, Pilates, the Lotte Berk Method, interval cardio training, and yoga, this highly-acclaimed and publicized mind body experience incorporates 50 years of collective teacher expertise from co-founders Fred DeVito and Elisabeth Halfpapp. Allowing you to work from the inside out, this transformational class consistently delivers results, including washboard abs, a tighter and higher backside, long, lean muscles, and an athletic, toned body.
An athletically paced class which is open to beginners and all levels. Continued emphasis on the basic Core Fusion® positions with longer duration, variations, and interval cardio training.
I was a bit nervous going into the class but let me just say WOW.  This was probably the most intense demand on my muscles I have felt in a long time.  My trainer, Mike, puts me through my paces but this was a totally different kind of workout.  I left the class feeling energized and excited for the new test on my physical ability.  In fact, I was so pumped afterward I bought two of their CDs on the way out!


Are you ready for your Passport to Prana?  Want to win it?  Since this is reaching you a little late in the day on Wednesday, I will keep entries open until end of day on Thursday (midnight).  All you have to do is either reply to this post in the comment box or email me at fitnessandthefoodie@gmail.com with a response to the following question:

 What is one kind thing you did for someone else this week?
 
Good Luck and Namaste!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Radio Silence

Okay, okay.  I deserve the award for worst blogger of the year.  Hello, my name is Michelle, and it has been four days since my last post.  In my defense I have been:
  • Celebrating hubby's birthday
  • Planning Celebrity Chef Luncheon with Chef Bernard Guillas
  • Training with the Evil Training Monster
  • Traveling to NYC for Fancy Food Show
  • Picking up great new product to feature on Fitness & The Foodie 
  • Attending Chuao Chocolates "Arousing the Senses" Scotch and Chocolate Pairing
  • In meetings with Wine Enthusiast Magazine
  • In meetings with the James Beard House
  • Doing Core Workout thanks to Passport to Prana
  • Fitting in workouts however I can
Its so nice to be missed and I really want to thank everyone who contacted me wondering if I had fallen off the face of the earth or into a food induced coma. It was a challenge to post each day while on my trip, next time, I'll be sure to warn when I go dark for a couple of days!

I'm in the airport now with my flight boarding back to San Diego so we will catch up fully later tonight, I have so much to share!  First, here is a little highlight from Michael's birthday last Friday:

Egg Wars, Let Them Eat PanCAKEs!

Egg Wars

Growing up my step-mom was the breakfast queen and there was absolutely nothing I loved more than the warmth that came from her kitchen on fluffy egg and buttery biscuit filled mornings.  These mornings were a time for family bonding of sorts, and while I'd like to say we had taken a cue from the Brady Bunch, breakfast accompanied instead our own fiercely competitive egg centric version of the Worldwide Wrestling Federation.  Okay, before your imagination gets the best of you, let me explain.

Egg Wars, Battle of the Eggs, or Eggtopia as we sometimes called it, pitted 12 white shelled contestants against each other in a battle to the death, where only one egg and its general would reign supreme and, upon victory, make the ultimate of sacrifices.

The wars began always with my brother and I, and later when my sister was born, in painstakingly careful selection over our egg army.  This process followed always by decoration of our soldiers in crayon uniforms, mine with varying degrees of furled brows and angry faces that no doubtingly served as a double threat to my enemy.

After careful preparation, at last, we would face off in pure head to head combat.  Egg in hand, my brother and I would smack our fearless fleet against each other one at a time, our armies dwindling with each cracked shell, until the last egg was left standing only to find itself whisked into a scrambled batter like the others that fell before.

It's a bit nontraditional, I'm sure, but its memories of these quirky mornings and the ceremony behind breakfast that makes me excited for birthdays, or any occasion really, to make a celebration out of the first meal of the day.

Walnut, Golden Raisin, Applesauce Pancakes

So, for Michael's birthday I set the alarm for 5:00 a.m. to whip up a breakfast of Whole Wheat Pancakes, maple smoked bacon, and hot, black coffee.


These pancakes turned out so fluffy.  I actually cut back on the sugar and used quick cooking steel cut oats instead of the farina, and substituted nonfat milk for the vanilla soy milk.  It made the pancake savory instead of super sweet so the combination of warmed maple syrup was a perfect companion.



I topped with a little banana and was in total pancake heaven.  I actually forgot the oil in the recipe and am amazed they turned out so good.  That's what I get for trying to channel my inner Gale Gand at five oh oh in the morning.

Hearty Pancakes
Cooking Light Magazine

It was a cake filled day and we continued to celebrate later in the afternoon when Stephanie treated us all to a home baked tower of pure chocolaty love.  Before we dug in, of course, we had to sing and have Michael blow out the candles.


Or, rather, the fireworks.  This was the craziest candle I've ever seen.  After the pyrotechnic display, the flower on top opened up to six mini candles and Happy Birthday music box.




I knew we had more celebrating to do later so I exercised as much self control as possible and opted for a two bite taste (which was not nearly enough) and a little of the strawberries served on the side.



Stephanie is a fantastic cook but I think cakes are her specialty.  I'll get her recipe and be sure to post soon.  It was SO good!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Yesterday

Sometimes I feel like I blink and the week is gone.  This is certainly one of those weeks.  Between all of our new projects at Fast Forward Events and exciting new opportunities for Fitness & The Foodie, time is literally flying by.  I've always been one of those people who thrives on pressure, deadlines and a full schedule so I love this time in my life but I also know that the hectic days and nights are also potential food traps.  Lack of time = Lack of planning = Poor food choices.

Since I'm aware of this, AND since we are now entering our third and final week of this Game On round, planning and preparation is key to staying focused on what I eat and budgeting time for workouts.

Yesterday started with my standby breakfast of Fage, Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Cereal, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, Agave Syrup and Almonds.



This breakfast was packed full of super foods!  I knew I loved this breakfast and that the ingredients were all good for me but I did not know I was covering so many of the super food bases.

About mid day, I had a major snack attack and reached for my stash of Doctor Kracker Cherry Semolina Culinary Crisps.


Snacking is not something we do often on the Game On program since we are eating five solid meals a day.  The clever writers of Game On built in 100 calories free each day.  Kind of like mad money that you stash in safe spot for a splurge later on.  The Cherry Semolina crisps are 110 calories for 8 crackers, so I had 7 to munch on while I finished up some work.  The Crisps are a little bit sweet and a little bit savory which makes them a perfect afternoon snack.  And they contain organic flaxseed, whole wheat flour, and sesame seeds - super foods!


I've been trying to master the advanced step class with Paco which is every Tuesday night but feel so lost!  Standing at the front of the class he always yells, "Watch me, watch me," then spins, steps, leaps, repeats, does it backwards, and glancing at us says, "Got it?"  To which I always yell, "Uhhh, no!"  Which never seems to matter as he, and the rest of the class, plunge in to the manic movements. 

I'm determined to get it!  So last night, I made sure I had enough fuel in me to get through the torture and to also take a 30 minute ab class that followed.  I grabbed a banana and one of the many varieties of KIND bars the company sent me to try.


I tried the Fruit & Nut Delight KIND Bar and talk about super foods!  I feel like I really hit a home run yesterday.  The KIND Fruit & Nut Delight Bar is packed full of nut super foods:  Almonds, Brazil nuts, peanuts and walnuts and also includes, magnesium, copper, folic acid, vegetable protein, potassium, and vitamin E, dates, raisins and apricots.  I love the texture of these bars, they are chewy with a ton of crunch from the nuts and with my banana made me feel fueled up for my hour and a half workout.

Having just completed an Angel Flight with Michael, whose company donates his time and cost to fly critical care patients to and from treatment, I am inspired by companies that adopt a corporate mission give back to others.

"Being KIND to the World" is part of KIND's mission and the company is dedicated to giving back 5% of its profits in what they call The KIND Movement.  How can you not love that?

Thanks to a lot of energy and good luck I made it through the step class, and the ab class, and headed home to make dinner.

Today

I hit the ground running this morning with my super food packed shake of Fage, Flax Oil, Blackberries, Blueberries and Banana.



And even though I spent the afternoon on the go, I managed to sneak in a small lunch of 1/2 a grilled chicken breast and leftover quinoa from last nights dinner.  I was so hungry and in a rush I scarfed it down before taking a picture!

We've been neglecting Hunter lately and have not gotten him out for his walks.  When I got home, Michael and I spent some quality time with our boy and headed out to explore the neighborhoods of La Mesa.


A hidden gem in the Village is La Torta Cafe with just about every type of Torta you could ever dream up.  On an indulgent day (or a day with a slight hangover), this is worth every little calorie.  On most days however when we are craving La Torta we stop by and order the chicken tortilla soup.




The soup is full of pinto and kidney beans, white chicken breast meat, tomato and a delicious broth.  I order mine without the tortilla strips and without the cheese.


I also headed to my garden and cut greens for my salad.



And topped with yellow bell pepper, tomato and almonds.

Tomorrow

Tomorrow I'll announce the winner of Win It Wednesday!  Stay tuned!

Win It Wednesday - Arizona Rescue Water

This week I received a care package from the team at Arizona Tea filled with four flavors of their new Arizona Rescue Water.  Today's Win It Wednesday winner will receive a four-pack of the water to try - one of each flavor!


The company partnered up with TWINLAB to design the new line of enhanced waters filling them with vitamins and antioxidants designed to increase the rate of fluid replacement in the body.  The waters come in four varieties:
  • Energy (Lemon-Lime)
  • Immunity (Pomegranate Punch)
  • Detox (Orange-Citrus)
  • Relax (Berry Blend)
Each bottle is 2.5 servings and contains 25 calories per serving.  If you like energy drinks this water is a great alternative with a lot less calories, no artificial flavors or colors, and Green Tea extract (Super Food Alert!)   I tried the Energy (Lemon-Lime) after my hour and a half workout last night and liked the flavor and lack of aftertaste.  The calorie content is appealing as well and I can drink this easily on the Game On program.

Here's what you need to do in order to win.  Answer the following question by entering your reply in the comment box or emailing it to me at fitnessandthefoodie@gmail.com.  Comments will be posted!

What are your plans for the July 4 weekend?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Catching Up!

Well, our big plans to spend the weekend on the water in Discovery Bay with friends Shirley and Raz were literally blown out the window.  The winds were so bad all weekend we had to abort and move on to "Plan B" which started with breakfast out Saturday Morning at the Byron Cafe.  This was one of those no frills mornings where we pretty much brushed our teeth, washed our faces and ran out the door.


I ordered a veggie egg white omelet with spinach, mushrooms, tomato and zucchini with a side of fruit and rye toast.  I asked for it dry but it came lathered in butter which was a huge bummer.



 Michael ordered biscuits and gravy and I had to sneak a bite they were so good!


After breakfast, we left the guys and went on a girl's excursion to the Farmer's Market.  The produce was beautiful with everything from eggplant and cherries to nectarines and the largest daikon radishes I think I've ever seen.













With Game On we are allowed one day "free" which means that throughout the day you a free to deviate from the fitness challenge's rules.  It is a day taken off from exercise, from the structure of how we eat, and from the ban on alcohol.  For me, this meant being able to taste my way through the Farmer's Market, which I was all to happy to do!

I tasted a spicy roasted red pepper pasta sauce that had, I think, about 80 cloves of garlic in it.  For me, the more garlic, the better!

This meant though that I needed something to balance the aftertaste and thankfully this blackberry pie landed in my hand.  The crust was so good the company actually bags and sells mini bites of it.  I bought two bags of the crust coated with cinnamon and sugar. My only hope is that Michael eats them before I get the urge!

What I'm Reading

Since wake boarding was out of the question, I had plenty of time to read.  Right now, I'm reading Super Foods RX, The Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life.  I truly believe in foods ability to help aid us in our health.  As I read through the chapters, I'm going to make sure to give you a few highlights on what I learn and I'll be bolding super foods as I add them to my meals.



So as I read and enjoyed the view, Shirley and Raz's dog Chase took advantage to get in some lounge time too.





I don't know how it was possible after our breakfast but around 2:00 the guys were hungry and craving hamburgers.  Shirley and I split a turkey burger on whole wheat buns and ate some of the strawberries we picked up from the Farmer's Market.  (Side note, we also picked up about two pounds of cherries that we devoured throughout the day.  I definitely got in my servings of fruit!)


I was really looking forward to a couple of glasses of good wine with dinner.  We picked up a bottle of Cabernet from Justin, a winery out of Paso Robles that I've come to know from producing our San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival.  Their wines are pretty consistent and reasonably priced.  This bottle was $20 at the Safeway in Byron.


We barbecued tri tip, chicken, Indian spiced veggies and served with salad and corn.  I had a little of everything but saved my room for dessert.


Dessert consisted of our Farmer's Market finds of fresh, organic strawberries and lemon shortcake with hand whipped whip cream.  Or, should I say, hand whipped by me.  My arm was so tired but this was absolutely worth the effort!

Angel Flight

While it was great to get in some R&R and visit our friends, the real purpose for the stop in Discovery Bay was to connect with a pilot completing the first leg of an Angel Flight mission and then transport the passenger from Byron to Riverside.  Our Angel Flight passenger was a charismatic high school student who had just completed his junior year, on his way to visit his grandparents to be fitted for new leg braces.

He relished in the opportunity to show off recent prom pictures and also jumped at the chance to ride in the cockpit as Michael's co-pilot.


Details about our passenger are not able to be disclosed but I'd like to share with you that the amount of adversity he has faced both through his physical disability and the added pressures of coping with them as a teenager are cause for him to be anything but the joyful, optimistic, teen he is.  I left his presence inspired and grateful to have met him, and so proud of Michael and his business partner and company for donating time and resources to this cause.

Birthday Cake Revisited

After the Angel Flight on Sunday we got back in town just in time to help celebrate Becki's birthday.  Becki was the maid of honor at our wedding and one of my closest friends.  She also happens to be on the "other team" for this round of the Game On Challenge so Sunday night was a test of her iron will!

Jolee made a beautiful dinner of Sea Bass, roasted beets and potatoes, asparagus, a pineapple and avocado salsa for the fish and green salad.  This is a perfect Game On dinner with the combination of carbohydrates, protein and fat and it was absolutely delicious.


Birthdays are just not birthdays without cake and leave it to Jolee to completely redefine what this means during the Game On Challenge.  Becki's Birthday Cake Reinvented consisted of layers of grilled pineapple and mascarpone cheese blended with blueberries and a bit of agave syrup.

Bits of the cinnamon sugar pie crust I picked up at the Farmer's Market and wafer cookies were served on the side for a little extra kick for those who wanted it.  This dessert is really going to push me to get creative when I have a sweet tooth!

Evil Training Monster Lives

Today meant back to reality, back to work, and back to serious fitness with the Evil Training Monster.  I missed two big workouts that I normally do over the weekend both with the E.T.M. and my usual kickboxing class at the gym.  With only two days until we weigh in for this week's Game On score, I really have to dial the fitness back in so I pushed myself tonight as hard as I could without passing out.








It was a great workout tonight but my camera in Mike (the ETM's) hands is dangerous.  I'm totally busted!


Tonight is taco night!  We made turkey tacos with black beans and I had mine on lettuce wraps instead of corn tortillas.  It is the perfect post-workout dinner!


Spin class is at 6:00 am and that is going to come super early.  I'm off to bed! 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Best Egg White Omelet Ever

Friday, June 18

Before leaving the house to take my test for Traffic School I took advantage of the morning home with Michael to make breakfast.  Omelets and I have not been so simpatico and more often than not turn out more like a scramble than the perfect half circle egg heaven they are supposed to be.   So I've made it my mission to 1) make the perfect egg white omelet and 2) be able to whip up this breakfast in about 15 minutes.  Yesterday, I finally got it right!



I heated the pan under medium high heat and sprayed it with olive oil.  Once heated, I poured in about 1/2 a container of egg whites.  When the bottom of the whites started to firm, I lifted it lightly on the sides and tilted the pan so that the runny parts went under the cooked egg.  Repeat this a few times until you have very little, if any, runny egg white on top.  Here's the part where it usually becomes a scramble for me.  Take the spatula and run it along the edges and under the egg to loosen, then lift and flip.

Once flipped, if not covered in the egg, layer in your ingredients on one half of the omelet.  In yesterday's omelet, I put two slices of low fat provolone, sliced tomato and grilled onion, salt, pepper and thyme.  I took about 1/3 of the omelet for myself and served with berries, 1/2 of an Orowheat sandwich round with a little bit of peanut butter.

If you happen to be an advanced omelet chef then hopefully you can appreciate what a victory this is for me.  If you struggle like I have then my advice is to keep trying.  It was totally worth all the egg-failure to get to this perfect little creation!